Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

What do we want in 2009?

2008 is over… finally. One of the worst years in terms of the economy, terrorism and environmental pollution.

What shall we look forward to in 2009?

The pessimist will say 2008 Reloaded.

But I feel 2009 will be a the year which will decide the fate of the economy for the next decade.

The key is the U.S. Economy and how it plays out. 2008 has shown that what happens in U.S. now affects the world in much more severity than previously thought simply because of the dependency of both manufacturing and services export led nations like EU, China, Japan and India to the consumption hungry Americans.  Add Brazil, South Korea and energy exporters, and the American drama looks worse.

Americans have too much debt to “borrow” their way out of this mess.  What they need is:

Another  economic boom led by some industry sector. (Silicon Valley tech boom in the 90s followed 80s recession, and then the real-estate boom followed dotcom crash.) This time it must be more of  an tech-energy revolution, an engineering- tech innovation leading to drastically low dollar spending on imported middle-eastern oil and keeping those dollars in U.S.  which can create consumption (and more exports and so on). U.S. will gain at the cost of  terrorsim sponsoring middle-eastern oil havens which is good news for the whole world especially India, currently the no. 1 victim of terrorism.

Some more things to look forward in 2009 is the release of Windows 7.  Have great expectations from it and might kick-start a new cycle in I.T. spending.

What should India do?

Start a Wireless broadband revolution. Use tax payer money. Heck broadband will pay for itself more than building a dam does! We can live with a bad road, but cannot live with a bad net connection. Not anymore. Internet can fuel its own economy around it in India as the domain expertise is there amongst Indians and the cost savings for this country are massive. Where wires are defeated (landline phones), wireless ahs won (mobiles). Same logic for internet. Wireless broadband can lead to online innovation in servcies from banking, finance to even education.

Another “must do” for India is simple Tax Reform. Make Income tax FLAT 10% for ALL income groups, salaried, corporate, business. Whatever your salary, 10% is tax on it.  Remove all excise duties, octroi, import duties and instead levy a flat 2% Sales Tax on all goods  & services. Thats it. This will lead to a boom in consumer spending and unlock loads of money from the black markets to the open economy. After all, the effort to hide that 10% tax is more than simply paying that tax. This makes tax planning easy and the Govt. collects more in taxes this way. 

A third “must do” is opening up the Education sector. Allow foreign universities to freely start in India. No need for “government recognition” as industry recognition of recognized US, UK, Australian and European educational institutions is enough.

Is asking for 3 measly reforms too much? I think not. Lets see what 2009 brings in.

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How India must fight back.

First, the 3 day attack on India’s financial capital – Mumbai on Nov 26-29, was not just a terrorist strike.

This was an act of WAR.

Anyone who saw the events captured on TV and heard the interviews with NSG commandos, knows by now that these militants were no run of the mill suicide bombers who have been plaguing India for years. They were not even “fidayeen” suicide squads. These militants seem to be highly trained “military commando” type who were actually thinking of escaping BACK to “wherever they came from” instead of “dying” for their stupid cause.  As the NSG commandos said, it is not easy to manage grenades and Ak-47s/56s with such precision. And they knew the layouts of the Taj Mahal Hotel like the back of their hands, which requires sophisticated planning.  Taking the marine route is the height of their audacity. These militants are ruthless, psychotic, serial killers.

The country which harbors such militants and openly allows their training must be made to pay.

And they will pay.

But attacking the terrorist camps in Pakistan and PoK is the easy part. Using the IMF loan to Pakistan as a carrot for Paki Military & their evil ISI to stop infiltration is also easy. US/UK/Israel/India bombing terrorist camps all across Pak and PoK is also easy. All of this will be done and must be done.

But India needs to do something else to ensure these terrorist strikes never happen.

And this is the hard part.

India needs to overhaul the electoral process to ensure the same old politicians and political parties NEVER AGAIN come to power. EVER.

No more BJP, CONGRESS, SP, BSP, CPI, RSS, SIMI, BAJRANG DAL, MUSLIM VOTE BANK, JANATA DAL, TRINAMOOL etc type of crap ever.

To do so, India first needs to ensure a level playing field for honest, dedicated, educated, visionary young politicians to STAND for elections and more important: CAMPAIGN to the masses with their ideas. Secondly, India needs to ensure EVERYONE can easily register and vote.

This is because the bigger political parties use thugs and laundered money to campaign and campaigning in such a huge country is so EXPENSIVE that not many can afford it. And due to miles- long lengthy queues not many educated people vote.

What can India do?

India needs to ensure CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM and a PRESIDENTIAL form of Democracy.

1. ONLY individuals can DONATE to political parties. No company or business must be allowed to donate.

2. The MAXIMUM an individual can donate is Rs 5000 for Federal Elections and Rs 2000 for State Elections.

3. EVERY candidate needs to submit audited files showing the total sum collected and no. of individuals (and their Pan Card ID) along with bills for expenses during the campaign.

4. ANY Indian citizen with a passport is AUTOMATICALLY allowed to vote in ANY city he lives. No more “constituency electoral rolls”.

5. Internet voting will be allowed for Passport holders as every passport has a unique ID. People can vote form the comfort of their homes, offices or browsing centers. Families can organize “mini” voting booths to ensure all relatives are voting. This will also ensure Indians apply and get their passports (many don’t due to laziness).

6. Federal elections will no longer be based on the “constituency” part. The President will be elected directly by the public.  All elective and executive powers of the PM is transferred to the President. This ensures all the crappy constituency vote bank politics ends.  The “Parliamentary” system is a proven failure, and the US Presidential system a proven success (not surprising since the Founding Fathers of the US were a product of European Enlightenment).The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha simply change into the Senate and Congress. The world’s largest democracy desperately needs the model of the world’s OLDEST and MOST SUCCESSFUL democracy (proof: liberal democrat Barack Obama, the son of a black immigrant from Sub-Saharan African  descent wins in a “conservative white” majority nation where even elite “liberal whites” like John Kerry find it hard to win). While its difficult for a “presidential” system to change to a “parliamentary” form, the reverse is pretty easy.

7. Parallel to online voting, the Indian govt. must ensure low priced, wireless broadband connections of 100mbps speed to the public from BSNL/MTNL. Currently, broadband is “artificially priced” highly. Internet and information empowers a nation like no other. Ensures individuals can campaign during an election at significantly low costs and even raise funds via the medium. This will completely change the political landscape and throw up highly educated leaders.

Once Indian electoral process is reformed, the rest like economic, labour, law and most important -DEFENSE and INTERNAL SECURITY reform will easily follow as the root cause of all evils is the corrupt political cartel. India is simply too populous for a “parliamentary” form of governance as accountability is lost. And without accountability there will NEVER be reform.

This is the HARD way in which India needs to fight back. And this will guarentee peace & security. All the tools are there: free press, media, public mood for change. Radical political reform can happen with sustained pressure, and a 2/3rd vote in parliament. Public can force the issue with their “MPs” to vote for Presidential form of democracy and Electoral reform.

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Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come

On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées.
Quote by Victor Hugo, Histoire d’un Crime (The History of a Crime) [written 1852, published 1877]
Barack Obama

Barack Obama

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Bobby Fischer is dead!

 Life Magazine cover photo of Bobby Fischer

Read the Reuters Report below:

Chess genius Bobby Fischer dies in Iceland

Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:53am EST

By Kristin Arna Bragadottir

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) – Bobby Fischer, America’s first and only world chess champion, who beat the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky in a blaze of Cold War publicity in Reykjavik in 1972, has died in Iceland at the age of 64.

A spokesman for Fischer, who was feted as a national hero for beating Spassky but fell foul of U.S. authorities in his later years, confirmed that the eccentric chess genius had died but offered no further details.

Rumors that Fischer, once dubbed the “Mozart of Chess”, had been ill had circulated in recent weeks on chess-related Web sites. Iceland national radio reported he had died after a serious, but unspecified, illness.

Fischer, a child prodigy who once said he liked to watch his opponents squirm and who had become an Icelandic citizen, could have faced jail in the United States for violating sanctions on former Yugoslavia by playing a chess match there with Spassky.

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov hailed Fischer as “the pioneer and the father of professional chess”.

Kasparov said he had followed the 1972 clash of the U.S. and Soviet titans closely. “Fischer’s chess was so fresh and so new and we all grew up under the strongest impression of Fischer’s victories,” he told Sky News television.

“From an ideological stance it was the fight of an individual against a totalitarian system. He had a lot of supporters even in the Soviet Union. No one viewed him as an American fighting Soviets, it was more a great man fighting the mighty machine,” Kasparov said.

Spassky, who now lives in Paris, was less eloquent on the subject of his old adversary. Asked by Reuters for his reaction, he replied: “It’s bad luck for you. Bobby Fischer is dead,” then hung up without further comment.

NO DEFENCE

The brilliant and unpredictable American abandoned his world title without moving a pawn by failing to defend his crown in Manila in 1975. World chess authorities reluctantly awarded it to challenger Anatoly Karpov of the Soviet Union, who was to hold it for the next decade.

Fischer withdrew into himself, not playing in public and living on little more than the magic of his name, although millions of enthusiasts regarded him as the king of chess.

He made headlines when he came out of seclusion to play Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992, at a time when the country was the target of sanctions during Belgrade’s war with breakaway republics.

He vanished after the match, for which he won $3 million, and resurfaced after the September 11, 2001, attacks on America. In an interview with a Philippine radio station, Fischer praised the strikes and said he wanted to see America “wiped out”.

Fischer, who also stirred controversy with anti-Semitic remarks, was granted Icelandic citizenship in March 2005 after eight months in detention in Japan fighting a U.S. deportation order.

Fischer always had a high opinion of himself. Asked who was the greatest player in the world, he once replied:

“It’s nice to be modest, but it would be stupid if I did not tell the truth. It is Fischer.”

It was not an idle claim. Arguably the greatest natural chess genius the world has seen, he was called “the Mozart of chess” when he began winning at the age of six.

“SEE ‘EM SQUIRM”

Fischer gained a reputation for being cocky. He told interviewers his favorite moment was when opponents began to feel they would lose. “I like to see ’em squirm,” he said.

He was U.S. junior champion at 13 and U.S. Open champion at 14, retaining the title whenever he chose to defend it.

He became an international grandmaster at 15, gaining the rating at his first international tournament in Yugoslavia. He once defeated 21 grandmasters in succession — no U.S. player had beaten more than seven in a row.

As Fischer’s fame grew, his temperament became more unpredictable. He walked out of tournaments because of what he considered to be bad lighting or bad air conditioning. He refused to play matches on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

In the mid-1960s, he opted out of two world championship qualifying series because he thought the tournament system favored the Russians. In 1967, when officials would not meet his demands for better conditions, Fischer angrily withdrew from international competition “for a period of introspection”.

He took his massive collection of chess books and moved to California, where he later said he had “plotted my revenge if I ever came back”.

When the rules were changed in 1972 to include an eight-player eliminator to find the challenger to world champion Spassky, Fischer had the chance to prove he was as good as he always said he was. He became a national hero; Americans who had never played chess followed the Fischer saga.

But by the 1990s, he was said to be living under assumed names in cheap hotels in Pasadena on the outskirts of Los Angeles, surviving on occasional royalties from his books.

Former friends painted a picture of a solitary man spending much of his day in rooms littered with chess books, oranges and jars of vitamins, playing chess by himself and reading magazines on chess to keep in touch.

One commentator said there was one constant through his life’s exceptional peaks and troughs — his “running battle with the rest of the human race”.

(Additional reporting from Paris bureau; Editing by Peter Millership)

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