Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Upside Down of Nuclear Power

Thanks to the magic of Google, anyone with basic internet skills can write a guide book. During the recent debate on the Indo-US nuclear deal, a cottage industry of self-appointed experts churned out opinion editorials on all sorts of things from technical matters to economics to security. A soup of acronyms boiled over and the result was a terrible mashup of misconceptions, bad ideas and unviable rubbish.

I wish to be very clear for the benefit of jaded readers in this field - The Upside Down of Nuclear Power - is NOT like that.

Someone who knows what they are talking about, can take facts and opinions, and place them in the context of a workable plan of action. The author of The Upside Down of Nuclear Power has done exactly that. He has put in a lot of effort into keeping the vocabulary clear - but there is an unbroken chain that connects all the words in the book - the basic policy statement that - nuclear power is the best form of baseload generation for India .

Those of us who are familiar with GoI literature on such topics will instantly realise that this policy idea is completely independent and distinct from anything the DAE has said on this issue. The DAE's public posture on this issue has been limited to positions set out in the Nehru-Bhabha era i.e. the department only seeks to reduce the technology gap between India and the developed world by building new energy solutions that are responsive to the country's needs.

Very little is known about how India's present electricity needs will evolve. Currently a wide disparity exists between electricity consumption in the urbanised, industrialised, Indian rimland and the rural, agricentric mainland. Everyone acknowledges that this kind of disparity is also echoed in the developmental differences and everyone wants the developmental disparity to heal. However no clear ideas exist on the impact of developmental reforms on electricity needs. Against that backdrop a robust reliable baseload generation option based on locally available "green" fuels makes sense.

However the debate on nuclear power in India is hostage to public perceptions of the DAE's competence to deliver on stated goals. Heretofore the DAE has had difficulty importing nuclear fuels and faced severe technology development hurdles. The lack of fuel and technology development problems have conspired to reduce the quality of nuclear generation low. This has ensured that the position of nuclear power's place in the generation pecking order remained low.

The author appears to have realised that DAE's own efforts on the technology side in last fifty years, and the improved situation vis-a-vis fuel supplies after the Indo-US nuclear deal have completely changed the game. Also growing sci-tech competence in India will significantly reduce the time associated with technology development cycles. This fact is missed by most advocates of renewable energy generation in India.

Despite enthusiastically advocating nuclear power generation in India, the author does not shrink away from discussing the concerns about health safety and environmental degradation. While there is obviously no prescriptive approach that will sufficiently address all the issues that have been raised, there is no attempt being made to hide them. The discussion on nuclear liability issues is quite stark. Try getting such honesty from the sea of people that advocate carbon energy usage.

Similarly the book acknowledges the development costs that come with the advanced fuel cycles proposed in India. However as the author is an economist, the costs of this are subtly contrasted with costs of similar initiatives to reduce emissions from carbon energy sources. That is the kind of thinking that allows you to look past the usual "sticker price" appeals.

All in all, I found the book to be a refreshingly honest affair, written in a style that can be read by ordinary people. Keeping a complex discussion on this topic readable by non specialists without resorting to hype is very difficult and I feel the author has succeeded in that task.

My only minor gripe with this book is the cover, which is somewhat quirky. I feel that it distracts the reader from the book.

That said, I enjoyed the book and I hope you will too.


At 7:46 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

Hi Maverick,

I must thank you for that very positive review.

And yes I did not like the cover too much either, but the publisher was adamant on making the book 'seem' approachable.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I don't know if it's safe to have nuclear power plants in India. Eventually, you're going to put one near maoist territory. That is a scary thought. With the ecological disaster tha is now happening to the US where everything is supposed to work we now see how vulnerable we are. So I'm not sure India should be doing this.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I wrote something on a blog.

At 6:30 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Any nuclear power plant will remain under CISF guard. It is unlikely that India will agree to having Cognisa/Wakenhut/Blackwater types on their soil.

The Maoist insurgency will spread to urban areas. I don't see it as a reason for India to stop doing things, however....

if the USG thinks the Maoists are that big a potential threat then it should advise US firms want to withdraw their bids for nuclear power plants in India.

India can't stop the US from withdrawing its entry in to the Indian market.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Any participation of the US in the India nuclear power generation market will be minimum. Engineering specs at most. All labor and construction will be local. The main thing a US firm will be involved is the vessel itself. I've seen one being built at the Quad Cities nuclear power plant in Illinois. It was built by Chicago Bridge and Iron. But all specs were by Westinghouse and Sargent and Lundy Engineers. India will want it dowen super cheap.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I forgot to mention that there are the steam turbines to drive the generators but those may not be made outside of India either.

And really, who knows when India will buy from America? May never happen.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I do not forsee any private security operations being allowed in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant in India.

Outside of that possibility any concerns raised through the proper channels will be addressed.

So far the Maoists have not attacked any power generation infrastructure. Given how much power generation in India matters, it is only a matter of time before the Maoists realise that this something they want to target.

There is a conundrum here, if we do not push ahead with the development of nuclear power sources, we risk creating a problem far worse than the Maoists. If we do push ahead, we will likely have to prepare for a confrontation with the Maoists.

The key will be to handle the confrontation in a way that does not empower the Maoists.

Extreme security measures against marginalised tribals will simply hand a moral victory to the Maoists.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger maverick said...

why was yazid on a hit list?

was he the real financier of the NYC attempt?

At 6:59 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

The only US 'plant' in the medium term that will be able to supply pressure vessels will be the Northop Grumman- Areva JV at Newport News.

And I doubt whether it will be in a position to send anything towards Asia.

In all likelihood the first US reactors ( which in any case is a load of crap, since the "US" com-panies are now essentially Japanese owned) will source their pressure vessels from Japan Steel Works.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

And dear Ralphy,

It is precisely to avoid any greater spread of naxalism that nuke reactors are required- I think you'll get the drift of the energy economics argument here.

As far as physical security of plants is concerned - external terrorist attacks on our nuke plants are a non-issue . they are built to the highest standards of safety and no terrorists can penetrate the security barrier.

And believe me Maoists will never be able to "overrun" an Indian nuke plant.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:07 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

The Insider Problem

At 7:12 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

In any case blondie has got the yamrikis assigned the least problematic states for their sites.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Then what's all of this nonsense about liability issues with "American" companies?

Anyways, India has a lot of internal problems to be building nuclear power plants.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger powerslave said...


Do you know how many nuclear plants India operates or is in process of building ? Have you checked their safety record ?


At 8:24 PM, Blogger amberG said...

May be interesting to some - from an email:
This last week there was an important experimental result announced at CERN and the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy. The OPERA > experiment made a very impressive technical achievement and observed > a single muon neutrino which transformed into a tau neutrino and was recorded in an underground experiment. Electronics systems pointed tracks back to an emulsion of film where the tiny tracks were developed and seen.

This is a very nice confirmation of our picture of neutrino oscillations and CERN produced a nice video that the public can
understand about the science and the detector.

I thought the video was well done and some of you might like to
watch it:

Let's all enjoy neutrinos!

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...


India may have a good record so far but don't you think the threat of maoism is growing? The GOI doesn't seem to be willing to do what it takes to either

a: Put the proper resources into a major coin operation


b:Come out blasting until the maoists are dead to everybody's satisfication.

Half measures avail to you nothing.

Unless something is done about it, it's just a matter of time until one of those morons figures out how to do something really horrific. The US is having the same problems on the Mexican border. The other day we had to *ask* if the Mexican Army would go and check and make sure the Falcon Lake dam on the rio grand river was still safe. It is a *five* mile long dam that the US and Mexico shares. The FBI had gotten word that the Zeta drug cartel was going to blast it in order to get back at the Gulf drug cartel. There are a number of major cities below that dam. Sooner or later some moron is going to do it because Mexico is like India: it's the US's fault because we buy so many illegal drugs, never mind the violence that is killing the Mexicans. go figure. US fault is universal.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

Until there is accurate intelligence available there is little point in shooting one.

India is not like Pakistan where some random people are rounded up and passed off as "Al Qaida No. 3" for the amusement of some American policy jokers.

The Maoist threat is one of many that India will face in the next fifty years. The Maoists are only one facet of a wider social and political crisis.

There is growing economic disparity in India and there is an uncontrolled arms market in Pakistan. It is only a matter of time before these two problems become strongly coupled. We can at best delay this coupling until the market in Pakistan becomes more heavily moderated.

If the Maoist philosophy i.e. of sorting out problems by shooting people becomes prevalent - there will be no way to stop the violence. What you are seeing in Pakistan today, you will see in India tomorrow.

A section in the US national security policy community has always held the view that India is simply too large to be easily governed and that unless the population is reduced drastically there is no way to make things "better" (presumably for the US) in India.

Not quite so long ago Indian academics in the US were told by the their counterparts that rather than expend resources to build a caring, compassionate and reformist state that carefully chaperoned a pluralistic democracy, it is more "efficient" to take a "short cut" i.e. let state institutions decay and a Malthusian catastrophe occur. The "New India" can then pick up the pieces afterward and become just as awesome as post-colonial Japan or post war Korea. As with all things, this viewpoint has its adherents in India.

It is not surprising if some people think that India should shoot first and ask questions later where the Maoists are concerned.

Needless to say, it is very poorly received in India.

If American investors are skittish about the Maoists, it is understandable, however it is unlikely that India will hand over security of any reactors in India to anyone other than the CISF.

At 7:15 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The Union Carbide verdict has been given. The Chairman of the Mahindra group has been sentenced. That is equivalent to sentencing the CEO of GM or Chrysler or Ford.

It is amusing to see how many news articles are slandering the Indian judicial process for having done "too little too late" - instead of commenting on how (or why) the US government still refuses to extradite Warren Anderson or on how MNCs routinely place profit over environmental obligations in poor countries like India.

It is surprising that none of the newspapers printing nonsense about the lack of judicial sensitivity in India has sought to contact Warren Anderson for a comment on this issue.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


It is not about MNC's ... it is about GOTUS ... why is GOTUS shielding a criminal? Will it protect BP also?

Do you support this? Are you a willing accomplice/conspirator? I thought you had some morals, being religious and all ... :)

At 11:22 AM, Blogger maverick said...

If thousands of Americans had been killed because of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico - it is likely that the BP leadership would have been lynched outside the Capitol.

If the BP CEO had sought refuge in India after murdering thousands of Americans, the US would simply have declared war on India.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

And no, I don't support the prosecution of CEO of Union Carbide or whuteveh company it is now. There were no Americans running that plant when the disaster occured nor would there ever be so due to India's unofficial jobs policy. Same way for nuclear power plants. And I don't know who said it was OK to let people build their dwellings next to a chemical plant like that either. Unless you are saying those dwellings were there before the chemical plant.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


>>> Are you declaring yourself as "non-religious"?

we've been through this ... recall "monistic"?

>>> You as a physicist are hereby under suspicion...

look up "grand unified theories", the holy grail of physics ... very, very monistic :)

>>> And no, I don't support the prosecution of CEO of Union Carbide

aah, the buck stops at VP, eh? ... how very "moral" of you ... very market oriented and capital friendly ...

tell me, why did Exxon pay for their oil spill? ... they could've just blamed it on the caption of the ship ...

At 2:30 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Ralphy,

Money speaks everywhere - especially with the media.

That is why the newspapers are focusing on slandering the Indian judicial system instead of asking tough questions about why the USG has turned down several extradition requests.

This should have been a day of celebration in India, finally the verdicts in this case have been handed down. Instead people are using this occasion at the media's insistence to bad mouth the judiciary and no one wants to ask why the US has done nothing to hand Warren Anderson over.

I am a realist.

I can appreciate that if India presses its case, the USG will promptly issue a material witness warrant and state that Warren Anderson's presence in the US is necessary to secure the convictions in a terrorist plot to bomb a Danish candy store in Amsterdam. And then the GoI will have to bargain to get access to him.

Money does talk and it says strange things sometimes.

If the USG does not have the strength to turn someone of Warren Anderson's social and economic standing over to the Indian justice system - how can a poor country like India be expected to chase after him?

At least GoI has secured the conviction of the reigning Chairman of the Mahindra Group. That is already more than what the USG has achieved in this regard. Perhaps if lots of Americans had been killed in the Bhopal Gas tragedy, then it is likely that the USG would been more driven to do something. That said, I don't think we will ever see anyone from a US coal company ever face a trial for culpable homicide of miners.

It is fair to say that the industrial revolution replaced the feudal agricultural setup with an equivalent corporate feudal setup.

Company groups have become the new jagirs/feudatories, and nations have become what kingdoms/empires of old used to be - uneasy factional conglomerates of competing CEOs.

In the US - the corporations are separate from the government but they practically control it through lobbying and campaign finance.

In the Soviet Union - the corporations were integrated into the state and all the big industrial leaders were made into government officials.

India has is somewhere in between these two extremes and the sheer population size ensures that no one group becomes too powerful for the common good. That is why the GoI can convict the Chairman of the Mahindra Group while such an action would be unthinkable in the US or the USSR.

In almost all countries, these CEOs control media outlets and try to tune public opinion in their favour.

Perhaps now you see why I am not unduly concerned about newspapers that demand that GoI "Declare War" in the face of the Maoist threat.

If it is in the media, there is ample reason not to believe it.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

excellent post, Mav ...

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...


Are you trying to tell me that the Chairman of the Mahindra Group, probably elderly in age, is going to actually serve time in prison? Please, don't try to tell me fantasy stories because I really try to believe in a good story and it hurts when I find out that it is not so.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

OTOH, I do like a good opera concerning tales of nuclear power plants and American Companies building them after liability issues are solved.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>> OTOH, I do like a good opera

Hope you are keeping yourself entertained with the Blockbuster Opera "Massive Stockpile of WMD Ready to be Deployed" ...

I was at the Premiere ... fantastic performance!

At 2:34 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Dear Prof T:

Yes, I know you support India's thermonuclear program. I figured you were at the premiere of that.

At 5:07 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,


Dear Ralphy,

The Chairman of the Mahindra Group will appeal the decision and the appeals process takes a long time.

As you know, India has not yet executed the accused in several high profile terrorism cases because they have all appealed their verdicts. This is the way a rational judicial system works. India does not operate a kangaroo court.

At least Keshub Mahindra was convicted - which is more than I can say for Warren Anderson.

There is a blithe acceptance of this corporate feudalism in America. The CEOs take all the credit for a success but none of the blame for a failure - and there is absolutely no accountability for a disaster.

In India we have put the former Chairman of the Britannia group Mr. Rajan Pillai in jail. Tragically Mr. Pillai was suffering from a poorly diagnosed heart condition and died in custody before his bail petition could be heard.

After 1947, the GoI began a serious drive towards land reform. These efforts were strongly resisted by agro-centric feudals in rural India. It took decades to overcome their resistance and bring a measure of relief to the subsistence level farmers.

Today after two decades of serious economic reform, a number of PSUs are economically viable entities. This along with the growing market, has systemically strengthened the industrial community in India.

There have be measures put in place to discourage feudalistic tendencies among the corporations.

This will increase the burden on the people forming the unseen border between corporate India and the national security community.

I suppose Warren Anderson could be tried in absentia and sentenced the way the late V. Prabharakaran of the Tamil Tigers was. However this might polarise relations between the US and India, as the American foreign policy is much more subservient to their corporate lords than the Indian foreign policy. I suspect that has stayed the Law Ministry's hands.

The Bhopal Gas tragedy unless resolved will continue to hang like a cloud over US access to the Indian nuclear market.

Something must be done to clear the air.

At 5:17 AM, Blogger maverick said...

In all honesty, placing responsibility on a corporation's leaders is a complex affair.

These people at the end of the day are bureaucrats trying to cut costs and maximise profits.

The corporations that they run employ and sustain so many people.

Responsibility for an accident should fall on all those people - including the shareholders who recieved the benifits of their cost cutting.

Perhaps the best way to apportion responsibility for this sort of thing is to put the entire blame for the collective incompetence of the entire company on the top person in the company and then leave the rest of the company untouched.

This way the public's desire to see justice done is served and the broader economic interests of the market (shareholders, factory workers etc...) are protected.

A fine and damages settlement should cover some of the costs to the affected people.

At 5:21 AM, Blogger maverick said...

FWIW - the US is no closer to an answer on this issue. As seen in the case of a number of corporate disasters, the American politicians protect the top level leadership for gross violations of public trust and blame is laid instead at the door of some mid level managers. The top level business leaders in the US typically buy their way out of trouble by paying off the politicians. They go to jail only if they can't pay up.

This creates a shifting but coherent nucleus of corporate irresponsibility that travels without real hinderance in the marketplace and utilises a number of flexible financial instruments to sustain itself.

In the case of Enron in the millenium or Mike's Junk Bonds in the 80s - the media was as guilty as the CEOs of creating the problems. No media personality has ever been brought to justice in the US for carrying out corporate propaganda.

Now with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, neither BP nor Transocean nor Haliburton's management will be held to account for what has happened. The shareholders however will see dividends fall as these companies are asked to bear the costs of the clean up.

At 5:22 AM, Blogger maverick said...

As an aside, the Gulf of Mexico disaster and the mining tragedy in the US hold the potential for shaking the idea that carbon energy is "so much safer and cheaper" than nuclear energy.

One hopes at least these false pretences will be set aside.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>> Yes, I know you support India's thermonuclear program.

Let's not spread rumors ... I have nothing to do with India's program ...

didn't one of your grand poobah's say, "Thou shalt not lie"?

or, is that also ignored in the expediency of letting CEO's get away with murder?

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Prof T:

Concerning lying, try to follow your own advice.

Also, I don't know of any CEOS's in the aforementioned cases that committed murder. Greed, incompetence, malfeasance, etc., yes, but murder, no.

I will take the time to make another point and then I'm done with this topic: In the US, corporate liability law is limited when it comes to the individual. Generally, for civil and criminal liabilty to take hold for the individual, specific laws have to be broken such as directly ordering someone to do something when you *know* somebody is going to get hurt. Then they are liable. But that is hard to prove. When corporate underlings accidently release gas from a chemical plant and kill thousands of people does not necessarily constitute murder of a global corporation CEO. Telling men to hurry up and empty mud out of a drill pipe so that you can save money may not constitute murder either. Murder means premeditated or in a fit of rage. There is negligent manslaughter but again its not easy to prove that either.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

>> corporate liability law is limited when it comes to the individual.

That is where I think things are flawed. This approach gives too much room for the CEOs to maneouver. As they can afford pricy lawyers, they tend to get away with much more than murder. Just as an example, people like the GM and Chrysler CEO should be held to account of the poverty of thought that led to the recent collapse of their companies. The damage that their bizarre lack of foresight has done to the US is incalculable. Single handedly they have wiped out the US automobile industry.

The CEOs all collect big salaries, bonuses and perks. I do not grudge them their salaries or their perks, but I feel they get all the credit for the successes of their organisations and for anything good their underlings do.

So why can't they take the blame for the mistakes of the underlings as well?

A CEO is deified for maintaining and fostering a positive environment when a company grows but the same CEO is not held to account for creating a criminally competitive environment that placed human lives at risk.

This seems a little too subservient to corporate interests.

I feel proving the detailed distribution of responsibility for a catastrophe is important but at the end of the day the CEO should bear all responsibility. The court should feel free hand out punishment to others in the company also, but at no point of time should the CEO be let off the hook.

I feel this will create a more responsive culture in the corporate world.

Right now the big CEOs operate as if they are above the law. This is eeriely similar to medieval feudal lords who wandered their lands raping and pillaging at will and were completely beyond all legal challenge.

If the US can't extradite Warren Anderson, then what can India do to him?

At 10:31 PM, Blogger Mullah Aalloak-uz-amman bin Ghazi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


>>> Concerning lying, try to follow your own advice.

Didn't realize that clever repartee was your forte ...

too bad the grand poobahs failed to include "Thou shalt not be silly" ...

At 6:17 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I was trying to summarise the role of international aid or international lines of credit in the Pakistani economy and this is what I came up with.

I am putting it here because it may be useful in future discussions about Pakistan.


The Pakistanis traffic a substantial fraction of the global supply of illicit opiates. The profits of this trade are in the range of 10 Billion USD.

The earnings in this trade are funneled back to Pakistan via licit and illicit international banking channels. This large flow creates its own political economic which is distinct from Pakistan non opiate economy.

While it flow of narcotrafficking funds is significant, Pakistan's economic needs do not always run in sync with this flow and a mismatch routinely develops. This situation is becoming more common now as several decades of misgovernance and poor development are catching up with Pakistan.

International aid and international lines of credit provide a way for Pakistan to tide over the mismatch. From the perspective of international lenders, the opiate revenues leaving western economies are effectively recaptured as loan repayments from Pakistan.

Whoever controls the flow of international aid and credit effectively controls Pakistan. Without the lines of credit and aid, the entire Pakistani financial sector would collapse and indeed all of Pakistan's imports - oil, food and technology - would have to be recapitalised. The shock to the Pakistani economy would be catastrophic.

This is why the "continued democracy" condition in the Kerry Lugar bill will act as a deterrent to an Army coup against Zardari.

At 6:21 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I was trying to summarise the role of international aid or international lines of credit in the Pakistani economy and this is what I came up with.

I am putting it here because it may be useful in future discussions about Pakistan.


The Pakistanis traffic a substantial fraction of the global supply of illicit opiates. The profits of this trade are in the range of 10 Billion USD.

The earnings in this trade are funneled back to Pakistan via licit and illicit international banking channels. This large flow creates its own distinct political economy.

While it flow of narcotrafficking funds is significant, Pakistan's economic needs do not necessarily run in sync with this flow. Mismatches between needs and the opiate revenue are becoming more common now as several decades of misgovernance and poor development are catching up with Pakistan.

International aid and international lines of credit provide a way for Pakistan to tide over the mismatch. From the perspective of international lenders, the opiate revenues leaving western economies are effectively recaptured as loan repayments from Pakistan.

Whoever controls the flow of international aid and credit effectively controls Pakistan. Without the lines of credit and aid, the entire Pakistani financial sector would collapse and indeed all of Pakistan's imports - oil, food and technology - would have to be recapitalised. The shock to the Pakistani economy would be catastrophic.

This is why the "continued democracy" condition in the Kerry Lugar bill will act as a deterrent to an Army coup against Zardari.

At 11:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Even under the highly moderated conditions of the contact between Headley and the NIA - there appears to be a significant lack of enthusiasm in the US about this entire affair.

They are really uncomfortable with the idea of GoI talking to Headley.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I was watching Khalid Khawaja's statement as released by Asian Tigers and I realised most of it is actually a rant against the Army and its old Deobandi friends.

While wandering the halls of youtube - I came across this gem.

Please see to it that this makes it to the forum.

I think the forum people have earned the right to see Col. Imam and Gen. Gul dancing.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Guys - you *have* to see publicity material coming out of ISPR.

They are releasing videos on youtube - and using words like "kafir" to describe their Jihadi adversaries in FATA.

There are videos made in honour of army martyrs which feature their mothers speaking about the shahadat. There is a whole set of these videos themed around "Azeem Maa - tere betey ki laash aa rahi hain" (I don't even want to translate that).

It is pretty amazing.

As you watch the young men lifting the casket of the dead soldiers and marching it up to the feet of the Maulvi who is ready to read the rakat - the camera pans to the lines of generals and their pot bellies.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Oh btw... there is a reenactment of the martyrdom of an SSG captain - complete with shots of the SSG main conference room in Cherat.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

it's going to be difficult for an Indian firm to do a SpaceX type development:

Brf message about India space development
For one thing spaceX had enormous help fron the US government despite what elon musk says. The US Army provided facilities from the engine test facility at McGregor TX near Fort Hood to a launch facility at the US Army kwajalien island missile range. Their fabrication center at an old aircrft plant in Hawthorne, Los Angeles is practically next door to the US Air Force Space Command facility near LAX airport. They also got seed money from NASA as well NASA experts advice on the Merlin rocket engine(LOX and Kerosene). So to chalk all that up to private enterprise is a bit of a stretch.

At 5:07 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Actually Elon is a very smart guy.

He realised that there is enormous amounts of untapped intellectual property in the US aviation sector. A number of patents have lapsed and there is a vast number of people with advanced aviation training, material science knowledge and contacts in the government aviation sector. Similarly in the automotive sector, he has realised that there are Americans who know how to build an efficient car and that they are not finding accommodation in corporate dinosaurs like GM and Chrysler.

Elon can easily exploit synergies that people in India can only dream of. The number and quality of people that Elon can bring to bear on a single problem in his launch setup is much higher than anything we can manage in India. And unlike us in India, Elon does not have to answer questions about whether a better bullock cart is more important than a GSLV and he does not have to have as wide a set of goals as Antrix/ISRO.

I have great confidence in Elon. He has built a small agile organisation and he is a very capable person himself.

I sometimes wonder if we should have a set of seats reserved in the Rajya Sabha for persons of extraordinary achievement, people like Elon, Bill Gates, various Nobel Laureates can be nominated to such seats and bring their competence to the public sector without having to deal with the difficulties associated with electoral politics in India. Naturally such persons will not be allowed to rise into cabinet rank but at the same time they could easily enrich the discussion in the Rajya Sabha.

I think Elon will go far - perhaps much much farther than ISRO can in the same time period. I feel Elon would be mistaken to think that ISRO could pose a challenge his company.

The only challenge to Elon will be if the Russians come up with a way to recycle old ICBMs are SLVs. I don't know what the technical challenges are at that end but I imagine one of these Russian ex-KGB types could put together an operation that is not very high quality but harasses the living crap out of Elon's company.

At 5:49 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

the russkis are already recycling BMs as SLVs. It isn't exactly plug and play. However the bigger changes are on the software side as opposed to payload fairing/ bus issues.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger powerslave said...

^ What is really been the good thing for the great Bear is most of their ICBMs have been liquid fueled with a humongous payload capability so from hardware side they have a launch platform flexible enough to be adopted for civilian use.

FOBS as a concept is essentially putting a payload in a designated orbit and those SATAN missiles are already being used as SLVs (Tsyklon).

At 10:38 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think Elon is relying on having lower development cycle times to get his satellite launch solutions out. He hopes to pull together existing intellectual property and research resources and pull fully developed, modern delivery platforms for use in a very short amount of time.

I don't think ISRO is a threat to his company.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger K said...

Mav: Those Azeem maa videos are amazing. . .Seeing those, I just realised I'm seriously behind on the developments in Pakeeland. . .

I wonder who else gets to see those? Is it just the rich RAPE types in pakeeland who have an internet connection and the Pakee diaspora. or are their videos and cds being sold in the small markets in "everyday" Pakeeland?

BTW: What do you make of the reports that that Gilani/Headley dude is singing to GoIs people?

It makes very little sense to me.

Note too that Shri Raman hasnt commented yet.

At 11:03 PM, Blogger sdre said...


Don't you think it's a little one-sided to blame UC alone for the Bhopal disaster? Where was the regulatory regime to govern a factory that was handling dangerous chemicals? Where were the zoning regulations that should have prevented such a factory to be installed in a large city? Why did the city government allow a shanty town to come up right next to the factory? And finally, why make a prestige issue out of nailing Anderson's ass? Would it not have helped the victims far more to negotiate for a larger settlement? For that matter, why not seize UC's assets in India to pay for the victims' treatment/rehabilitation?

You cannot hope to convict Warren Anderson, unless you can come up with a memo from Anderson that basically says: "Screw the scrubbing filters, we want to save expenses even if it costs lives." One can take away the same lesson from the Gulf spill. It is hardly news that businesses will try to cut corners if they can get away with it. When you have regulatory agencies rendered impotent by greedy politicians, or even worse, allow them to staffed by industry insiders and lobbyists, disasters are bound to happen...

At 6:07 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear K,

The bulk of the videos seem to be from the Raah-e-Rast/Nijat era. Most of the dead seem to be part of the "new SSG" that was assiduously built up in General Musharraf's time.

The videos appear to be aimed at the raushania (Enlightened Moderate) crowd, and seem to be doing rounds among fauji kids online.

The PA appears to be projecting the imminent martyrdom of their sons as a *positive* outcome for the mothers!

This is very bizarre.

The SSG and the PA has usually decorated itself with all manner of Islamist motifs, so I am bewildered by a sudden reference to "Mothers". I thought the "Mother" was supposed to be a heathen distraction from Allah's truly nominated purpose. Heck, we black arsed Indians - we talk about things like "Bharat Maa" etc... so why is the SSG (tightest of the Tall Fair Tight Assed Pak Fauj).

To die for your God was more important than anything else in the Pak Fauj - so where do mothers and sisters come into this?

There is a re-enactment of an SSG officers martyrdom in one of the videos. And the fellow talks to his sister before he leaves for Cherat (in what is to be the last time he makes the journey). In the conversation, he reminds the sister that while she may be elder to him, he (and by induction his fauj) is always above everything!

And then when he leaves, he greets his relatives with the words "Sri Amanullah" - I don't think I have heard those words being uttered by people in Pak Army promotional videos in a while.

What happened to "Allah Hafiz"? - the officers in the re-enactment refer to the Taliba they are fighting in Waziristan as "Kafirs"!

I think nothing brings it home like that image of the young captain's body being hoisted on the shoulders of all those young sharply dressed soldiers and then in the distance you can see a line of the fat potbellied generals standing with their bellies sticking from of the going through the motions of a funeral prayer.

That pretty much sums it up.

At 6:28 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi sdre,

All that you say may be correct, however if a court in India demands access to Warren Anderson after he jumped bail and then the US refuses to extradite him, the situation takes on a different colour.

Regulatory efficiency is inversely proportional to the size of the company that being dealt with. Big companies can pour money in ways that defeat the process.

The entire negotiation over damages was limited by the apparent monetary value attached to one Indian life. Because India is a poor country, that value was set to something lower than what it would be in another country.

Actually there is no way to capture that value and so to make this more palatable to the victims, an element of retribution was sought via the judicial process.

That element of retribution was achieved in the form of the current crop of convictions but Warren Anderson absconded so some of the anger is unresolved.

I do not favour seizing the assets of a company as retribution for the errors of its CEO. I think the punishment must visit the CEO and not the factory workers. That said, usually seizing assets of a foreign company is done as a prelude to a war with the nation to which the companies belong. It is a very escalatory step that is usually not pursued in this sort of situation.

The core of the problem remains the US' stubborn refusal to extradite people like Warren Anderson. In my memory the US has never extradited anyone to India. While most people see this as arrogance on part of the US, I suspect it is just a case of poor cultural awareness in the US. These folks do actually believe that can do whatever they want when it comes to sheltering criminals from India's law.

There is perhaps a greater chance of Britain returning stolen art, precious stones and gold to India than there is of the US handing over Headley or Warren Anderson.

At 6:26 AM, Blogger kgoan said...

Army will not fight Naxals, says Cabinet Committee on Security

Okay, we're well and truly out of the danger zone as far as the maoists are concerned.

ps: Sorry, the previous post by 'K' is mine as well. Blogger for some reason decided to rename me!

At 10:08 PM, Blogger kgoan said...

Now this is interesting:

Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers.

The Times article is about a LSE report that claims, among other things, that the ISI have 7 positions on the Quetta Shura.

More interesting is this bit:

". . . a senior Taliban source in regular contact with members of the Quetta shura told The Sunday Times that in early April, Zardari and a senior ISI official met 50 high-ranking Taliban members at a prison in Pakistan.

. . . Zardari spoke to them for half an hour. He allegedly explained that he had arrested them because his government was under increasing American pressure to end the sanctuary enjoyed by the Taliban in Pakistan and to round up their ringleaders.

“You are our people, we are friends, and after your release we will of course support you to do your operations,” he said, according to the source.

He vowed to release the less well-known commanders in the near future and said that the “famous” Taliban leaders would be freed at a later date.

Five days after Zardari’s visit, a handful of Taliban prisoners, including The Sunday Times’s source, were driven into Quetta and set free, in line with the president’s pledge.

If true, then it appears that Zardaris strength is in fact based, at least partially, on the reinvigoration of the old ties between the PPP and the Taliban.

I think this makes a lot of sense. To simply survive in Pak Politics every grouping *must* have access, or links, to the Pious gun wielders.

Zardari may not have Benazirs "public touch", but I'm willing to bet he has more than enough of the ruthless rat-like cunning necessary to survive in the cesspit that is Pak Politics.

At 1:05 AM, Blogger sdre said...

I think this makes a lot of sense. To simply survive in Pak Politics every grouping *must* have access, or links, to the Pious gun wielders.

I would put it a little differently: Every group of pious gunmen, the good Taliban, the bad Taliban, Punjabi Taliban, JEM, LET, LEJ, all must have support and patronage from a faction (if not the entire official machinery) of the PA. It is simply not possible to set up an armed group in Pakistan without PA's say so...

At 1:22 AM, Blogger sdre said...

Dear Maverick:
Regulatory efficiency is inversely proportional to the size of the company that being dealt with. Big companies can pour money in ways that defeat the process.

This is a cop out! Good governance, of which regulatory oversight is an important part, should not be viewed as a luxury that only Western countries can afford. Otherwise we draw the wrong lessons from Bhopal. The Bhopal disaster happened in a regulatory vacuum.

No wonder that faced with the consequences of its many failings, the government decided to go after Anderson for retribution, as you said yourself.

Finally, putting a monetary value to someone's life, however distasteful it sounds, is standard practice in litigation. In the US there is a whole cottage industry of "expert witnesses" who make calculations of how much an individual's life is worth, depending on his/her expected lifetime income. This is a lot better than how the Indian Railways value its accident victims anyway, about Rs. 100K?

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>>>>>>> In the US there is a whole cottage industry of "expert witnesses" who make calculations of how much an individual's life is worth, depending on his/her expected lifetime income. This is a lot better than how the Indian Railways value its accident victims anyway, about Rs. 100K?

I agree. Not only one's life but each body part has a monetary value. According to lawyers, my index finger is worth about 3x of my pinkie. These are reasonable estimates based on "earning potential", "loss of quality of life" etc ...

Such laws are needed in India ... Railways handing out arbitrary amounts by fiat of railway minister is NOT justice ...

In fact, the best way to privatise and improve railway operations to sue them to a level where GoI wants to get out of the racket ...

I mean, how can Rs 1 lakh be adequate compensation for killing the main bread winner of a family of 4? Regardless of how poor that person may be, this is plain ridiculous ...

I have been literally *howling* about this but the intellectuals of India are consumed with where to put the cap on a nuke disaster in american owned reactors ...

Railways is the biggest corporation in India ... in any which way you want to evaluate it ... asset base, number of employees, revenue etc etc ...

why can't GoI first control its own corporation before pointing fingers at US corps?

And yes, Nuke power is about a MILLION times safer than Indian Railways ...

Heck, even Union Carbide had a better track record in India than Railways (even after including Bhopal) ... Railways has half a dozen mini-Bhopals every year ...

all this concern for nuke safety is mostly fake ...

At 10:52 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

US discovers vast mineral deposits in afghanistan. copper gold lithium, etc.

"The new saudia arabia in minerals".

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Ain't we somethin' else?


At 5:05 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

I don't know if this going to drum up support for an extension of the US stay in Afghanistan, but the Pakistanis are going to go apeshit.

The instant US touches one grain of those minerals, and they will officially be stealing Muslim wealth.

Even if the US doesn't mine it, the Pakistanis are going to try and mine Lithium in Afghanistan.

This is a red rag to the Pakistani bull!
The problem in Afghanistan is not the lack of wealth - heck the opiate trade are more than enough wealth to feed Afghanistan several times over!

The problem is getting the product out of there.

At 5:07 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Actually the raw data is from a russian mining survey in the 80s. At that time it was dismissed at propaganda backed by the Najibullah regime to draw support for its rule.

At 5:08 AM, Blogger maverick said...

And they used a Canberra flight to map the region - guess who had those!

At 6:01 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Them numb nut Russians had no idea what the scale of the deposits were. Fuck, they still don't know about Siberia. If they did they wouldn't mope around the way they do and talk about "suffering" and poor mouthing it.

At 6:24 AM, Blogger maverick said...

They are holding Siberia in reserve, it is the same as the US is holding ANWR.

At 6:30 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I prefer to give credit where it is due, the sensors used in the verification were American, the Canberras and original finds weren't.

People do have a point about mining in Afghanistan - indeed it is very primitive.

Phrases like "Saudi Arabia of Lithium" are going to make the Pakistanis go insane.

On a good day, the Pakistanis are a handful, this is going to make them more of a pain.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Mav, Ralphy,

The simple fact is that in the 80s Lithium did not have the same value it does in 2010 ... batteries are the future and lithium is the essence of batteries ...

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Whut 'bout muh lithium pills?

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...


I suspect you are right. The Pakis are going to get really uptight about this and possessive. Life is going to be hell for a while until they settle down.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger maverick said...


Good point, I did not think of that at all.

The pakistanis are going to get really excited about this.

The one thing every Pakistani would love to be is the "Saudi Arabia" of something.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I mean seriously, everyone knew that the US was half joking about taking down the soviet union via Afghanistan.

The Russian economy was in trouble long before they went to Afghanistan.

Everyone knew in the Reagan era that the entire relationship with the Islamists was a one night stand.

Only the Pakistanis took the Americans seriously and developed unrealistic notions of what could/could not be done.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


>>>> Whut 'bout muh lithium pills?

Surely, a few mg is sufficient to stabilize even a chaotic brain such as yours? ... or do you need to mine the stuff in real tonnage to quieten that cerebrum?

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Oh boy, I can't wait until Sanku incorporates this new Saudia Arabia of lithium business into his "Pink Flamingos" story. Hurry up, Sanku!

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Hundreds of soft drinks included lithium salts[citation needed] or lithia water (naturally occurring mineral waters with higher lithium amounts). An early version of Coca-Cola available in pharmacies' soda fountains called Lithia Coke was a mixture of Coca-Cola syrup and lithia water.[2] The soft drink 7Up was originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda" when it was formulated in 1929 because it contained lithium citrate. The beverage was a patent medicine marketed as a cure for hangover. Lithium citrate was removed from 7Up in 1950.[3]

The lithium ion Li+ administered as any of several lithium salts has proved to be useful as a mood stabilizing drug due to neurological effects of the ion in the human body. Lithium and its compounds have several industrial applications, including heat-resistant glass and ceramics, high strength-to-weight alloys used in aircraft, and lithium batteries. Lithium also has important links to nuclear physics. The transmutation of lithium atoms to tritium was the first man-made form of a nuclear fusion reaction, and lithium deuteride serves as a fusion fuel in staged thermonuclear weapons.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Pakis must be salivating at the thought of so much mineral wealth sitting right next door. But realistically speaking, what is more likely is that the Chinese will win those mining concessions, bring in tens thousands of Chinese workers (and employ as few Afghans as they can get away with), and strip mine the whole country...

At 9:34 PM, Blogger sdre said...

So, the new F-16s will be serviced by American ground crews so that Pakis can't use them anyway they like? Is this even believable? Has the US ever done something like that?

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>>> Has the US ever done something like that?

if anything, Packees make everyone a trailblazer ...

At 5:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

dear sdre,

I feel no amount of regulation can replace a culture of safety consciousness. That is in short supply in India even today. In Bhopal, it was non existant.

While I support all calls for stronger safety regulations, I feel the effectiveness will be inversely proportional to the size of the bribe the company will be able to muster to pay off the regulators.

In the US, this is true, however the bribe is channeled via "lobbying" organisations. Even today, in the US President Obama must walk a thin line between appeasing public resentment over the gulf oil spill and antagonizing BP, Haliburton and Transocean (a.k.a friends of VP Cheney) whose combined will could easily grievously weaken his re-election.

The only antidote to this is a widening culture of safety in the general population.

At 5:32 AM, Blogger maverick said...

First $1 Trillion worth of mineral reserves that are suddenly "discovered" by the "Pentagon". I thought the Pentagon worked for the DOD, I had no idea it worked for the Minerals Management Service in the Department of the Interior. BTW -- aren't those these minerals management people the same folks that gave BP-Haliburton-Transocean a free hand in the gulf?

and then ... finally :rolleyes -
a personification of the American desire to hunt down Bin Laden. And this guy is caught by the "ever-so-vigilant Pakistanis".

How convenient!

I worry that the men that the Cheney-Bush era inspired in the US national security bureaucracy are not going away into the night as some had hoped.

I wonder if we are likely to see a repeat of the Halloween Day Massacre if this keeps up.

I also wonder how long this soap opera will play out before US TV sets.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

It is truly disconcerting that some people in the US national security community took VP Cheney seriously when he proposed his solution to the resource crisis facing the US.

In the movie W - there is a reenactment of the principals meeting where the decision to go to Iraq is made.

In that meeting "Vice" comes up with a hoarse whisper of an idea, a tale of fear about an America that has consumed accessible resources and now competes with the rest of the world for access to less-than-accessible resources.

A rational person can see that "Vice" was cooking up a justification that would sell in the US - a little white lie about how it is possible to continue high levels of inefficient consumption as long new resources are accessed. That is much easier to sell than emphasising increasing efficiency!

Of course there are those who believed that word "Vice" was short for "Viceroy". These people took "Vice" at his word when he mouthed off that stuff about seizing resources on a global scale. They didn't see that Vice just needed to create a little campaign finance repayment and retirement fund building scheme.

These guys are going around implementing policies long after "Vice" himself has left the high chair.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The US will not let the matter of minerals as of yet to be developed in Afghanistan deter it from it military plans. The war remains unliked by the present administration and indeed by a lot of the citizens of the US.

The oil in Iraq will not deter the US either. We're leaving Iraq. We're not there to protect anybody's oil.

The mineral data in afghanistan was a carrot to see if the anybody in Afghanistan might want to stop fighting and consider making money instead. It probably didn't work. The eventual inheritors of Afghanistan, the Taliban, would not tolerate modern devlopment which is needed in order to do the mining.

No, I don't not believe that Pakistan is in control of the Taliban. Far from it. Making accomodations, yes, control, no.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger maverick said...

For the Afghans - the mines are meaningless. They have known about the soviet survey for decades now. It never made the slightest difference to the civil war. The war is driven by a combination of Pakistani greed and Afghan inability to forge national consensus.

When there is so much money to be made exporting opium why will anyone bother with mining?

You go up to the Taliban and tell them - "Look we have found Lithium, please stop trading heroin, lay down your arms to work in the mines" and they will laugh at you.

The cost to mine is high even without the fighting, and the conflict economy over opiates is well developed - so why bear a changeover cost?

The Taliban will tell you - "If you think the Lithium is worth so much, why don't you lay down your arms and work in the mines while we continue to trade in opium?"

I don't think the US has an answer to that question.

The US could leave Iraq, provided it is comfortable with the Iranians getting a foothold in the region. That has consequences for the price of Kurdish opiates and refinery output from Iraqi.

As both of these quantities are capable of causing significant economic shifts in the global market - I venture the US will not want Iranian influence in the region to rise.

I feel the US cannot leave Iraq any more than it can leave Afghanistan.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I would point out that Iran can't hardly develop their own oil much less tell anybody else how to do theirs. Their economy is in shambles and they are excitable in the extreme and will do silly things like only accepting payment for their oil in euros and provoking Israelis. Iran is simply not a global factor. Anything they would do in Iraq will set the non shias on fire and in turn sabatage the whole mess all over again. Trust me, the US is leaving Iraq. Now that is not say we won't keep an airforce base with special forces, but massive amounts of troops? No way, we'll go cheap. Their oil will keep if they self destruct.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>>>>>> No, I don't not believe that Pakistan is in control of the Taliban. Far from it. Making accomodations, yes, control, no.

and you say this so confidently after talking to exactly ZERO Taliban ...

in comparison, the dude who talked to NINE Taliban is an oracle ...

[unless you were tricking us with that "don't not" double negative]

At 9:13 PM, Blogger sdre said...

India seems to have "liberalized" visa regulations for Packees. Only the following four categories will apply:

1. A Pakistani national who belongs to a religious minority in Pakistan.

2. Pakistani woman married to an Indian national and wants to live in India.

3. Indian woman who married a Packee and moved to Pakistan but now wants to move back to India AND is now a widow or divorced AND has no male relative supporting her in Pakistan.

4. Anyone who does not qualify for any of the above three will be allowed in on compassionate grounds only.

Basically, no male members of the species homo pakistanicus under any circumstances (except maybe on compassionate grounds).

Maybe Ralphy can tell his wingnut friends to stop harassing hard working Mexicans and concentrate on real immigration reform like this...

At 2:10 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:20 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

1, Some of those hardworking Mexicans and their children cause a lot of crime and demand a lot of medical and public education services. I seriously doubt the US can keep illegal Packees from coming to America.

2. India and Pakistan have been at each other's throats for a long time. Some of it has turned schizoid. This has resulted in the current BRF site and now Maverick's blog I guess, to become a get-yer-hate-on collection of daily pointless accusations that Pakistan and its evil US master are the cause of all India's problems.

3. I don't have any wingnut friends.

At 2:23 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Where did Sanku's evil American go in Pink Flamingos?

At 5:40 AM, Blogger maverick said...

makes for interesting reading.

At 5:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Iran's economy is always on the brink - what is so special about this time?

There is refining capacity in Southern Iraq - i.e. equipment and spares that Iran has been systematically denied access to because of its refusal to recompense the company formerly-known-as-Anglo Persian Oil for the "loss" of its beloved Abadan complex. The company formerly-known-as-Anglo Persian Oil is currently in the eye of the storm in America.

Iran's oil industry suffers from problems due to its inability to replenish its stocks of equipment due to the embargo. That is what is limiting their exploitation of proven oil reserves.

In the event the US leaves Iraq. Iran will use its proxies in the region to seize control over the oil refining capacity in Southern Iran and exert pressure on opiate refining in Kurdistan.

This constrains US posture in the region.

The US could ignite anti-Shia sentiment - i.e. turn the crank that led to a rise in Sunni fundamentalism in the first place - however I think post 9/11 the US and its partners may have learned a few hard lessons in that regard. I doubt either will be keen to push an anti-Shia Jihad with the same zeal as 1979.

This is an unending war. It is best to accept that. The war will continue long after the famed short attention span of the US has tweeted itself out of existence.

At 5:58 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


those are interesting rules ... are they new? does this mean that pak cricket players etc can not apply (except kaneria)? will they get a visa for the world cup under compassionate grounds.


>>>>>> India and Pakistan have been at each other's throats for a long time.

stick to your day job of reading taliban minds.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The Talibanis under ISI control appear to be under the impression that there is an element of fair trade involved - that the ISI is supporting them because they are supporting the ISI's ventures in Kashmir.

Is that really true?

The Pakistani desire for strategic depth in Afghanistan is motivated by its desire to confront India or Russia or Iran- but they could want strategic depth purely for their own purposes.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:43 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

As Ralphy promised us ... the headline is misleading ... this never happens in the US ...

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Matt Waldman:

Liberal Democrats Foreign Affairs and Defence Adviser

Masters degree in Human Rights

President of OXfam in Afghanistan


and hates the US's guts.

Real nice article though.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Prof T:

real nice link. Have you tried

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

I talked to 9 users of ... I am convinced that Pakistan does not control

At 11:09 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Wow.. that is quite a story with the QuickClot kits.

I would love to say that I am totally surprised but I am not.

I have seen exactly this phenomenon before and the person at the center of it was a lot more famous (or perhaps infamous).

At 7:09 PM, Blogger dilbert said...

Where did Sanku's evil American go in Pink Flamingos?

Oh boy, I can't wait until Sanku incorporates this new Saudia Arabia of lithium business into his "Pink Flamingos" story. Hurry up, Sanku!

Okay, I am going to offer you a bit of free advice, which you may, of course, accept or ignore as you wish: it is generally not considered worthwhile (by sane people) to worry about what Sanku thinks or says. The guy is an egomaniacal gasbag who is clearly impressed with his own brilliance on every topic under the sun, even if no one else is. A legend in his own mind.

I don't know if you watch the FIFA World Cup (soccer) games on TV, but if you do, you have to have noticed the annoying non-stop drone of those African trumpets ("vuvuzelas") blown by the crowds. They just drone on non-stop, unrelated to any actual goings-on on the field. That's Sanku for you (and the other BRF Energizer Bunnies).

Sanku Bunny, the human vuvuzela.

At 9:35 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Some of those hardworking Mexicans and their children cause a lot of crime and demand a lot of medical and public education services.

Which is of course a perfect reason to demonize an entire population...

BTW, crime in Arizona is down, not up, in spite of those violent Mexicans. If you are worried about Mexicans demanding medical and public education services, the right (that is non-wingnut) solution would have been to make those Mexicans pay taxes, and allow them to buy health insurance so that they don't clog up the ER departments. But of course, that would require a rational discourse on immigration, which is something something clearly beyond the Angry White Folks, a.k.a. the teabaggers.

I would also like to know how banning ethnic studies classes in Arizona schools and lightening the faces of brown kids in murals will help decrease crime rates.

Illegal immigration in the border states is not exactly a new issue, and according to the FBI crime trends are actually down. So what explains the white hot anger today, could it be the presence of a "raghead" in the White House? Naah...

At 9:42 PM, Blogger sdre said...


You don't think the embargo on Iran has nothing to do with holding US embassy staff hostage for over a year, or Iran's involvement with just about every Middle Eastern terrorist groups throughout the eighties?

At 1:17 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...


Nice analogy. ;->

But sometimes it does comical over there.

At 1:42 AM, Blogger sdre said...

But sometimes it does comical over there.

printf ("Parse error, core dumped!\n")

At 1:44 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...


we're off topic here and I'm not sure maverick is ok with me contantly defending my country here on this Indian forum. I will reply this once on it and then no more from me concerning this topic:

1. I don't approve of everything that has happened or has been said in Arizona. Infact I don't live in Arizona. I think they have shot themselves in the foot on anumber of issues. Pulling people over in a non crime situation and demanding papers is one of them.

2. In the last 2 decades we have been inundated by a human tidal wave in the millions not just from Mexico but all over from Latin America. The US response has been tepid at best due to liberal ideology and conservative business interests.

3, This tidal wave cheapened the idea of American citizenship in my view. It has inundated some of the worlds most advanced medical infrastructure and placed a whopping burden on a modern public education system that spends $8-10,000 a year per pupil. And teaches them in spanish. And half their children do not even graduate from high school. Have you considered the incongruity of comming to America and demanding your children to be taught in maymmya(sp?), urdu, or hindi? Maybe they should learn sanskrit.(which is not a bad idea but we're talking about public education here) Pick up the phone dial one for Spanish......

4. I am all for everbody having employee benefits but its gotta be legal The alternative is to legalize everybody which of course is what you would like to see happen.

If its good for the US then its good for India then in that regard.

At 2:04 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:06 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...


The embargo against Iran has been a joke at best. Russia China et al (probably including India at times).

But thanks for confirming to me that American technology and know how is essential for any civilization and culture to thrive.

At 2:20 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:21 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Why is it that the liberal democrat party of britain would have as one of its main planks for foreign policy to develop a special and close relationship eith India? Your ideas?

At 5:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Sdre,

I feel the hostage situation at the embassy may simply have been Iran's way of repaying the US for its role in the BP inspired coup in 1953.

I suspect the embargo has nothing to do with the hostage crisis. The embargo has persisted long after the crisis ended peacefully.

Similarly the support to anti-US groups in the region was Iran's way of counterbalancing US support to Sunni extremists. There is an element of reciprocity in these matters. As the US support of Sunni extremists predates Iranian support of Shia extremists, this cannot be driver behind the embargo.

There was a great deal of confusion over the fate of Intalgio printing machines and 100 master engraved plates that the US government handed over to the Iranians in Pahlavi period. Rumour has it that the Iranians were now using these machines to print substantial amounts of $100 superbills. The Iranians were using these superbills to buy things on the open market without actually selling any oil. I understand that this matter was resolved in the 85-89 period. The Iranians stopped production of the bills and US improved its currency security. Little is known about how this happened. Rumors persist that the Iranians were sold American weapons via Honduran Contra/Israeli/Saudi intermediaries as part of this deal.

So I doubt the embargo has anything to do with that either.

In my limited understanding the Iranians sought to break with the price fixing strategies common to the oil market. The Iranians believed that this was the way to break the stranglehold that companies like BP have on global affairs. The Iranians (like so many people in Louisiana today) believed that BP had betrayed the trust they had reposed in it and cheated them out of rightful dues. That is why they want to make people like BP suffer.

The US government has repeatedly projected itself as the protector of oil interests and other carbon mafias. This embargo is designed to prevent the Iranians from pulling too much oil out of the ground.

That is also perhaps why it doesn't really work (as Ralphy suggests). Other countries like Russia and China want to project competing claims for protecting the oil industry's interests and periodically they violate the embargo to secure access to Iranian oil.

Interestingly a number of US based pension funds still continue to invest in firms that profit from his arrangement and very large number of US Government pensions are paid using returns from this embargo busting trade.

It is a weird and confusing world we live in. I wish I could make sense of it all.

At 5:53 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

All aggressor nations create such motivations to justify their actions as being related to survival.

So Vice President Cheney was simply repeating the logic presented by Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan when he said that the US could only survive by seizing natural resources on a global scale.

Proponents of this philosophy simply say that increasing the efficiency of US resources utilisation is economically prohibitive.

However these people ignore that actually commandeering resources on a global scale is quite a bit more expensive. The US simply does not have the ability to do this.

The war in Afghanistan and Iraq costs ~200 billion dollars a year.

If that much money had been invested in finding ways of constructing higher efficiency automobiles, distributed power generators etc... I feel the US would have been in a much better place.

Currently the outlay for efficiency improvement related research in the US is less than 1% of what is being spent on the Iraq war alone.

This is a case of misspent enthusiasm.

All those young technically minded people that the US is press ganging into its Army to shoot random Iraqis on the street from Predators and Apaches - could very easily have worked on developing a made in the USA car that has twice the mileage of the Prius - and those same Iraqis would have smuggled these this car into Saddam's Iraq.

By succumbing to the logic presented by Vice President Cheney and his friends, I feel President Bush did a great disservice to the true potential of America. If other choices had been made after 9/11 the US would have been leading the world in efficiency technologies.

I feel the US is the *New* World - the key word being *NEW*.

So selling recycled Nazi era crap about lebensraum - is just not right.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger maverick said...

So will BP (nee Anglo-Persian Oil) launch a revised Operation Ajax in the US now that it is under pressure there?

At 12:27 PM, Blogger maverick said...

The USGS survey

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Hitler and the vuvuzelas at the world cup.

On you tube:

click here

At 7:31 PM, Blogger sdre said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger sdre said...

we're off topic here and I'm not sure maverick is ok with me contantly defending my country here on this Indian forum.

Let us be clear here, you are defending your country, you are defending a point of view, which I (and a lot of Americans) profoundly disagree with. That's all...

At 8:06 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

And lets be clear sdre, the only understanding you have displayed concerning what is happening in Arizona is cut outs from yellowsheet journalism and lipsynching charges of racism.

At 8:10 PM, Blogger sdre said...


America's decades of meddling in Iran was inexcusable, so was Iran's holding diplomats hostage. I feel there is no need to justify either of these acts. Speaking of meddling, how about Iran's constant meddling in Lebanon? Furthermore, America's support of Sunni extremism went to the extent of supporting the Afghan Jihad. I don't know of America helping any Sunni extremist group carry out actual terrorist acts.

Iran on the other hand was involved with just about every terrorist group in the ME, like various Fatah factions, Hizballah, Hamas. Iran cooperated with any ME terrorist group that were interested, whether Sunni or Shia. Even today Iran is cooperating with at least some of the AQ-affiliated groups. IIRC, Iran even cooperated with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is very much a Sunni extremist.

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Ralphy is defending something ... probably his H&D ... it belongs in the Texas pan-handle, IIRC ...

to call it a "point of view" is to insult both "points" and "views" ...

At 8:15 PM, Blogger sdre said...


As far as I understand, those rules are for Packees seeking residency (and I guess eventual citizenship), not for visiting India. IOW, Sania Mirza's husband, whatsisname won't be allowed to settle in India, except maybe on "compassionate grounds." But I do like your point of Packee cricket team applying for compassionate visa :-)

At 8:17 PM, Blogger sdre said...

we're off topic here and I'm not sure maverick is ok with me contantly defending my country here on this Indian forum.

Let us be clear here, you are NOT defending your country, you are defending a point of view, which I (and a lot of Americans) profoundly disagree with. That's all...

At 8:28 PM, Blogger sdre said...

"Yellow journalism," and "Lip syncing charges of racism." Let's see:

Lightening the face of brown skinned kids in a school mural, because some folks felt maybe there was too much prominence given to non-white kids on account of a certain raghead in the White House. Nope, no racism there.

Various Republican politicians saying stuff like "Why cant we tag every Mexican who enters the US. We do tag dogs, don't we?" Or "The stop and search law makes sense because you can always tell who is an illegal from the way he dresses or the kind of shoe he wears." I guess that applies equally to Irish or Easter European illegal immigrants as well. Nothing to see here, move on...

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


according to the gospel of Ralphy you ain't an american unless your IQ falls below his ... constitution be damned ...

the yahoo brigade of right wing-nuts will be the downfall of america ...

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

folks like Ralphy will never realize the irony of the fact that they are living on land once occupied by native americans while they bleat about immigrants from Mexico ...

At 12:32 AM, Blogger sdre said...

Well, I can't be a Real American, because my ancestors didn't come to America on a leaky boat. But even most Americans whose ancestors came on a leaky boat no longer qualify as Real Americans, because they don't live in Real America (TM) (trademarked by Sarah Palin).

Luckily for the rest of us, the Real Americans (TM) are a dwindling minority. Let me repeat, the Real Americans cannot "take their country back," and the world is better off for that...

At 1:40 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Don't try to call yourself American when you think of another country first and America second.

At 4:57 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I have no problems with people defending their country.

At 5:16 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Sdre,

There is no way to justify any of this.

Lebanon was a regional economic powerhouse with highly liberalised society, a globalised elite and very high quality banking systems. Beirut was the jewel in the crown. It was (and still remains) a significant hub for narcotrafficking and banking.

The Iranians had natural interests (going back to before the Shah's time) there. They moved to protect them in the protracted civil war that broke out in the region.

The Iranians believed that the US was attempting to pay Shah era officers and Mojaheddin-e-Khalq via Arab proxies to destablise the Islamic republic. There was period of intense instability for a period of ~5 years after 1979, when the students of Qom and the Khalqis battled for control over Iran.

The Iranians engaged anyone willing to challenge the US (including Hekmatyar) but I suspect these were simply countermoves aimed at stabilising the Islamic regime at home.

I believe there is evidence of US support to Sunni extremists, though the US goes to great lengths to hide it. For example, in Bob Baer's book on Saudi Arabia, the entire section on US interactions with the Ikhwan has been redacted.

When I see Iran and the US, I see two old friends who have fallen out. If they are to become friends again, the initiative to restart the friendship has to come from both sides - otherwise it will fail.

At 5:24 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear sdre,

I think you make a very interesting point about the "Real America" as it is being defined by Sarah Palin et. al.

I had completely missed this fact you bring up.

The only way to retain moral consistency in this stance is to reject the entire lot of people that first came on a boat as being *not American*.

If one now says that the children of such *non Americans* born in the US do not qualify for citizenship - well then, that means everyone who is descended from the original "non-Americans" is also "non-American".

That should pretty much ensure that no one - save those descended from the Native Americans - would be "American" - and even that would be questionable, because who knows where the Native Americans came from.

I am guessing that logic has never been a problem for people who craft such notions.

I guess I am wrong -- again. Nazi era crap about Aryan descent can be gussied up and bandied about in a democracy like America in even in this day and age.

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>>> Don't try to call yourself American when you think of another country first and America second.

That is what I say to all those die-hard supporters of Israel in the Congress and State Dept ... there was this one Kissinger dude also :)

At 8:38 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Mani,

Actually I think Ralphy is right.

You are going about this the wrong way.

The correct thing is to do is to think about only yourself first (regardless of which country your interests lie in) and then accuse everyone who disagrees with you of being not-sufficiently-American.

For example, if your name sounds a lot like a bird served for dinner in gourmet restaurants and you have invested a crapload of money in Sudan. Then the correct way to do things is to say that protecting your oil interests in Sudan is the "American thing to do" because "America is addicted to oil" and you are doing a patriotic duty making sure the US has access to oil from Sudan (they can always buy it from you... at a price...)

If anyone disagrees with you then tell the world that these are just people that are "against the American way of life". After that you can label them "Islamofacists", "Jihad lovers" etc... etc... without anyone asking any questions.

Sarah Palin is simply using this style of discourse in the context of immigration issues. In order to avoid the cumbersome reworking of concepts hardwired into the US constitution - she has simply invented the term "Real Americans" to replace "Americans" in the previous paragraphs.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Sarah Palin should go to a reputed "Fatwa Issuing School" like Binori ... the similarities are impressive.

At 8:11 PM, Blogger sdre said...


There is no evidence that the Mojahedin Khalq operated in Lebanon. It would not make sense for them to be in Lebanon, they would have to go through Syria, which being an Iranian proxy would not have allowed them transit. In fact, the Khalq eventually set up shop in Saddam's Iraq. At one point they were headquartered in France, but then Chiraq cut deals with Iran to release French hostages in Lebanon, so the Khalq had to leave.

Once again, no need to make excuses for Iran, they have been involved in all kinds of nastiness...

At 8:18 PM, Blogger sdre said...

When I see Iran and the US, I see two old friends who have fallen out. If they are to become friends again, the initiative to restart the friendship has to come from both sides - otherwise it will fail.

Iranians know what they have to do to make that happen. Maybe if Iran today was under a wheeler dealer like Rafsanjani, an accord would have been possible. But not with the current bunch in power, even Obama has his limits...

At 8:27 PM, Blogger sdre said...

I haven't read Baer's book on the Saudis, but I have read his "See No Evil." His first assignment was in India and he seems to have very high regard for IB's surveillance capabilities. Also interesting how he obtained the manual for the T-72 tank in Delhi, a huge breakthrough for America. In those days Americans thought the T-72 was a super tank of some kind...

At 9:06 PM, Blogger sdre said...

The correct thing is to do is to think about only yourself first (regardless of which country your interests lie in) and then accuse everyone who disagrees with you of being not-sufficiently-American.

Maverick: that is exactly right. Palin defined "Real America" as small towns inhabited by honest, hard working, god fearing Americans who are full of righteous indignation about big government, but somehow never against big corporations, the kind of people who are fixated on the 3G issues: not high speed data transport over cellular networks, but God, Gun and Gay. As opposed to, you know, bicoastal, latte sipping, multi-culti liberals practicing alternative lifestyles. Since you are interested in the narcotics angle, you can say Real America is about crystal meth, and Fake America is about pot :-)

But there is a BIG problem about this formulation, Real America is dying. Any kid with his/her head properly screwed on his/her shoulder leaves Real America right after graduating high school, and never comes back. Even the all American hero Clark Kent left Smallville for Metropolis...

At 12:22 AM, Blogger sdre said...

Why is it that the liberal democrat party of britain would have as one of its main planks for foreign policy to develop a special and close relationship eith India? Your ideas?

AFAIK Cameron has also proposed "a special relationship" with India, whatever that means. You must have noticed that even the Tories have expressed misgivings about UK's "special relationship" with America, a combination of apprehension that Obama doesn't take UK seriously enough, and some measure of regret about UK's signing on to GW2.

Perhaps the explanation lies in the fact that the UK always had a "special relationship" with India even when India was a Soviet ally, and that the UK is probably still the largest investor in India, and India is now a significant investor in UK...

At 12:29 AM, Blogger sdre said...

I don't know much about UK politics, but David Cameron, if he were to be transplanted to America, would not be welcome in the GOP. This is a fact that Real Americans (TM) would not understand...

At 5:05 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Sdre,

That is correct the Khalqis never operated in Lebanon.

Iranian interests in Lebanon pertain to financial interests that operated out of Beirut in the days before the civil war. During the civil war, the Shia population of Lebanon appealed to Iran for help and that is where Iran naturally felt compelled to intervene.

The khalqis operated in Iran. There was a brutal civil war period in Iran after the revolution. In this time, royalists, khalqis, communists and factions within Qom fought for control over Iran.

The people from Qom won but at a great price.

At 5:27 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Sdre,

I think what you have said about "real America" versus "fake America" is right on the money.

I had never made the connection between crystal meth consumption patterns and the "real America". That is imo a brilliant insight.

I was watching a documentary made by a "fake American" who followed Sarah Palin's campaign trail during the election.

It was extremely interesting to watch the opinions in the rural and small town belt in the south. Some of those opinions made complete sense in the context that they were being made.

The most poignant moment in the movie came when the filmmaker talked to three white men that were parked outside a sports event venue. They spoke in warm endearing tones of the years gone by and in spouted dire warnings and tears when speaking about the days to come. Their view was that the way of life that had existed forever was falling apart.

While these men weren't very highly educated and seemed to do little apart from sitting around on the back of the trucks drinking beer - but it was clear to them that the political center had shifted from the Southern White Male, to other more numerous minorities (Blacks, Hispanics and Women).

It was also clear to them that the entire cultural structure (which was artificially reinforced by political factors) was crumbling. The result was a deconstruction of the Southern White Male identity and that was leaving them sad and disoriented.

The stark manner in which these men presented their view of the future had me running to my copy of F. N. Boney book. I was impressed by the clarity of their thought.

You know we get this sort of political shift happening all the time in various places in India but seldom does it show up in such a vivid fashion.

I would have watched the whole documentary if it hadn't been for Supreme HQs continuous editorializing of the documentary. Supreme HQ was very uncomfortable with the subject matter of the documentary and could not watch it without going off on the people featured there. Sadly I sensed no tolerance for the views presented there.

It is a good documentary and the people there are genuine representations of what is driving the current political crisis.

I do not know if what Sarah Palin in doing helps address this crisis. She is at best throwing these poor folks a bone with some rotting flesh on it. These people once ruled the land and today the are being fed drivel and empty promises.

It was sad to see them curse one news network and swear by another. None seemed to grasp that all news networks were the same.

At 5:39 AM, Blogger maverick said...

A matter of note.

The antebellum period saw the rise of southern identity as a distinct cultural structure in the US.

While the Civil War and the postbellum period resulted in the loss of political independence for the South, the cultural organism largely survived.

Southerners managed to leverage political compliance for a kind of cultural independence. That is how southern motifs like segregation and white supremacy endured long after the reconstruction.

Using their numerical strength and cohesive nature the Southerners where able to secure a measure of political power and for almost a century after the war - they remained the determinants of political fortune.

Today that strength is dwindling, and the cohesion is falling. The South is getting older and less white than it was. Southern narratives that were suppressed to secure the power of the White Men-Uber Allez narrative are breaking free and self identification patterns are changing.

It is very interesting to watch this.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger sdre said...


The documentary you watched was "Right America Feeling Wronged," by Alexandra Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi's daughter.

BTW, Palin's hometown Wasila is known as the "Meth Capital of America," and there are rumors among the locals that Todd Palin's (Sarah's husband) family is involved in meth business. More food for your thought :-)

At 3:03 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Sorry, make that "Meth capital of Alaska."

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

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At 9:43 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

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At 11:08 PM, Blogger dilbert said...

Mav, Sdre:

Good discussion. It's not just crystal meth, it's cocaine, (abuse of) prescription drugs like Oxycontin , etc. Right-wing GOP-ers are absolutely hypocritical about critiscising "hippies, Commies" etc for using pot, while themselves abusing much more dangerous/addictive drugs.

If you visit Joe Bageant's blog (assuming it's still around) you'll see all these things described stark detail.

I do not know if what Sarah Palin in doing helps address this crisis.

It doesn't, and she doesn't give a damn. She is an ignorant gasbag, but cunning and pushy. The state of woeful ignorance among the Republican base (the Teabaggers, the rednecks, the white supremacists, etc.) is such that they think people like Palin actually care about them.

She is at best throwing these poor folks a bone with some rotting flesh on it. These people once ruled the land and today the are being fed drivel and empty promises.


BTW, Sdre, it's not just David Cameron. Even relatively moderate Republicans like George H.W. Bush (Dubya's father), Dwight Eisenhower, etc. would not be welcome running for elective office today. They would be denounced as RINOs.

And I see signs of this ignorant teabaggery even among some of the super-patriots on BRF.

At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things

1) Maoist country in India is in mineral rich central India. That is where we would like to put coal fired power plants, not nuclear plants.

2) Mav what was that documentary your SHQ would not allow you to see?

Sorry if I have missed a link somewhere?

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

The comments section of this article is interesting reading ...

Ralphy, your kindred spirits reside there ...

At 7:03 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Mani, the question we need to ask is:
Somehow, the "tidal wave of immigration" that took place between 1880 and 1920 did not "cheapen the value of American citizenship", but the current wave from Latin America (and elsewhere) does?

At 7:41 PM, Blogger sdre said...

So what is current EB peeve now, that MMS is somehow going to hand over Kashmir on a platter? Chaudhary Ram Singh on BRF is doing a fine job of spreading despair...

At 8:14 PM, Blogger sdre said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:57 PM, Blogger sdre said...


From what I can see, David Cameron is probably like a centrist Democrat. I took a quick look at his blog about his India visit. A commenter on the blog had asked him about what he had done to reduce the carbon footprint of his India tour, considering the serious mileage he must have racked up on flights and car travels. This is his reply:

We are off-setting all our emissions through Climate Care. As well as planting trees they also invest in renewable energy projects in the developing world. You can read about them here.

Can you imagine American Republicans talking like that?

At 12:22 AM, Blogger Nanana said...

- There is no reason to hold back the Henderson Brooks report"
- Srinath Raghavan

Interesting contention at the end - The military has got a free pass on operational matters after 1962, based on a narrative directed by the Army.

At 2:14 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

Central India is very much being considered for PHWRs.

In land sites in Madhya Pradesh are very much under consideration.

And given the energy-development linkup even chattisgarh should be looked at once things stabilize.

We must remember our richest easily accessible uranium deposits are still in the chhota nagpur plateau. ( and so ideally Jharkhand should also get nuke reactors).

Coastal sites are earmarked for imported LWRs for logistics reasons including bringing in heavy equipment during the construction phase.

We need nuke plants everywhere if we really intend to be relevant to the global pecking order in the 2030-2050 period.

And if we do follow the three stage program properly we will almost certainly have the most carbon competitive economy by 2050.

China knows this, which is why it is going full steam ahead and is setting up some 50-60 GWe nuke power by 2025-2027.

They have several small coal fored plants which don't really work and for which providing fuel linkeage is proving extremely difficult. These are mostly in mid-western China and they want to replace these. Soon you will see plenty of inland nuke reactors being built in China precisely to foster a new wave of development in Western China.

We should not let the maoist canard disrupt our nuclear power planning completely.

At 5:10 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Sdre,

You are probably right. I started watching the documentary somewhere in the middle.

I didn't know about the Palin Meth rumours.

I was under the impression that Sarah Palin had made promises to make ANWR (and other places) in Alaska available to mining interests to secure their support for her campaign.

At 5:10 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Cybersurg,

Unfortunately I do not know the name of the documentary. If I find it online I will post the link here.

At 5:12 AM, Blogger maverick said...

As most of you are aware, Crystal Meth starts out as a substance we make legally in India - Ephedrine.

This is the famed soma rasa of the Aryans.

At 5:20 AM, Blogger maverick said...

This meth thing is a very big problem in the South from what I understand.

A friend who recently drove throught the deep south with his girlfriend spoke of the hours spent playing "Meth-lab-or-not".

Apparently there is actually a guide for spotting these things

At 7:04 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Dilbert,

There are consistent reports of a large number of conservative leaders and opinion makers having addiction issues.

However the leading conservatives all suffer from addiction to highly refined substances.

The rural and low income white folk (like their non-white counterparts) suffer from addiction to less refined substances - coarser grades of opiate, meth and crack cocaine.

The main problem now - politically speaking - is that the Southern White Male - has been feed a lot of rubbish to keep his ego intact and to ensure that he is subservient to the political leadership.

As the economy declines, his ability to sustain himself and his addictions is falling. The debt crisis has hit him hard - after all - the only thing left for him to do was to create more and more debt.

There is bound to be a serious backwash and very significant anger in this population segment.

Given the traditional role that the Southern White Male plays, a foot soldier in the illegal traffic of small arms - I suspect handling this is going to be a huge problem for the US. It is a well known fact that the Southern states have large illegal armament stockpiles that are protected by young recruits to supremacist organisations. A number of these young men (like their Jihadi counterparts in Pakistan), have been told that the weapons are being stored for use in a war to restore "white supremacy in the US". They have been told that in this war the Government of the US will be compromised and the armed forces will be used against them.

At the present time the notion of white supremacy is under its gravest challenge so far. Disoriented and disgruntled young southern men could easily turn to organised violence against the state using these very same arms.
They could do so in a disorganised fashion outside the well surveilled channels of existing right wing organisations.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Here it is.

It is worth watching.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

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At 11:52 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Prof T:

Thanks for the link that worked correctly this time. Trust me, it is so much easier to follow your thought, such as it is, when you post a link that works. :->>

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...


It's pretty scary that India has an ongoing internal insurection via the Maoists and yet India wants to develop nuclear power plants for which it cannot guarantee its safety. Not only that India refuses to mount a coordinated COIN operation to deal with it?? This is very risky behavior on India's part and yet India expects the world to take it seriously as a global leader?

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Prof T:

Since we are friends I could also tell you how to create an HTML "click on link" so that your readers don't have to cut paste your your links out of your message. Would you like me to teach you how? It's free! I think your freshman students this September would be impressed with your emails. Although they are probably all Asians and know how to program HTML. And scored 2000 on their SATs. And probably smarter than I could ever be.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger powerslave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger powerslave said...

It's pretty scary that India has an ongoing internal insurection via the Maoists and yet India wants to develop nuclear power plants for which it cannot guarantee its safety.
Is this your opinion or you are re hashing some stuff from some online blog/opinion piece ?

Firstly Maoist problem has a limited geographical foot print and they have little or no presence in Urban areas where their ostensible cause looses traction.

'India has a Maoist problem' is a fact but linking it with its ability to safely operate powerplants without any valid data point is scare mongering.
As a matter of fact there haven't been any reports of Maoists attacking high value assets like N power plants in India.

Not only that India refuses to mount a coordinated COIN operation to deal with it?? This is very risky behavior on India's part.

Yes it is

and yet India expects the world to take it seriously as a global leader?
Says who ?

At 12:32 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Ralphy,

In late 50s and early 60s, France teetered on the brink of political collapse. Dozens of people were killed in attacks on a weekly basis, the French Army was bogged down in a losing insurgency campaign in Indo-China, and a very large fraction of the Army was believed to be sympathetic to the Secret Army Organisation(OAS). The OAS was a right wing revolutionary army that want wanted to keep Algeria in French hands regardless of the cost. Pretty much on a bimonthly basis someone attempted to kill the President of France.

One dark day during the Algerian war, these anti-government rebels almost seized a functioning nuclear weapon at the french test site in Algeria. It was the presence of mind of a few scientists and military officials that saved the day.

All this time, France pushed ahead with the development of civilian nuclear reactors. It sold the technology for plutonium reprocessing and other information to Israel and a number of other countries.

Yet - throughout this time - France retained its UN Security Council seat and was always held as a "Great Power".

Somehow I doubt the unwillingness to sanction the genocide of a few million tribals under the guise of a COIN campaign - is going to make India seem like any more/less of a "great power".

Indians generally believe that the claim to being a "great power" cannot come from butchering women and children in the name of COIN.

If that makes certain investors uncomfortable - they are free to not invest in India.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Prof T:

Your successful link I will post this reply:

click here like your freshman students will know how to do

And please note this postor lives in America and he knows turncoats when he sees them. :->>

At 2:27 PM, Blogger maverick said...


That is positively bizarre.

At 6:45 PM, Blogger dilbert said...


That is positively bizarre.

Hi Mav:

I have a big problem with the constant whining and moaning (by the teabaggers of BRF, i.e. TBRF) about people like Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley. They (the TBRF) are deeply in love with their oounterparts in the US (the real teabaggers, right-wing Republicans, etc), but it is an unrequited love.

The TBRF think that if they blindly support the GOP/real teabaggers, denounce Democrats ("left-wingers", "Commies" etc.), bash Muslims/Islamists, support Israel etc., that they will then be warmly embraced and accepted into America/the GOP as "one of the boys". Of course that will never happen, as the GOP base is now essentially a party of white resentment against real or imagined wrongs by "the others". Non-whites will never be accepted as equal in the new GOP.

Of course, people like Jindal and Haley were born in the US to Indian immigrant parents, but they are not "Indian" in any sense of the word that a reasonable person would recognize. Not born in India, not interested in India, indignantly disavowing any interest in or connection to India (remember the 60 Minutes interview?), converted to Christianity for the sole purpose of being accepted by the power brokers of the GOP. I see a pattern here, and it doesn't include any kind of respect for or interest in India.

Now America is a free country and so is India. I have no problem with people converting to any religion they want, picking any citizenship they want, any political party they want; but the TBRF geniuses only demean themselves and the name of India when they keep begging for recognition from the likes of Haley and Jindal. I mean, Ramana and a few others ahve contributed money to Jindal's campaign and want to go out there and do street-level activism for him, and he doesn't give a rat's ass about India. WTF is that about? These are the geniuses who post reams and reams on the forum about India's interests? Hello! Get a clue! Jindal/Haley/the GOP don't give a damn about you or BRF or India.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Maverick, thanks for the link. Even better, Google Video has a link to download the video, way cool. I watched the documentary when it originally aired on HBO, good to be able to save it.
Here's the link again in tinyurl format for convenience:

At 9:55 PM, Blogger sdre said...

They (the TBRF) are deeply in love with their oounterparts in the US (the real teabaggers, right-wing Republicans, etc), but it is an unrequited love.

Dilbert, extremely astute observation. Here's Ishaara Master (who may be a master of ishaara, but is remarkably clue-deficient otherwise) in his own words:

Airavat, despite the title its the Republicans who are willing to put Indian Americans for elected high office of State Governors.

Excuse me, but I thought all it proved was that in order to win as a Republican in a red state you have to embrace Jesus. On the other hand, those Indian-Americans who are running as Democrats in blue states appear to be quite comfortable with their ethnic identity and religion...

At 11:14 PM, Blogger sdre said...

So, did NoKo test a boosted fission or fusion device just now? read the details at armscontrolwankers...

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


what do you think? Is a pouting Ralphy more entertaining than a sulking Ralphy?


At 11:59 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


For your viewing pleasure:

At 12:26 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Immigrants getting bashed in american society is not new ... in my life, I see two worlds ...

one is in physics, where folks are honest enough to know the contributions of Fermi, Einstein, Chandra, Yang, Lee etc ... the physics world today has accepted the fact that immigration is a good idea for the health of physics in america ...

the other is in the bars and on the streets, where folks are simply unaware ... they somehow believe that innovation in america happens due to some innate "good 'ol american know-how" ... of course some ascribe it to the truism that "God wants it this way" ...

I have found the dichotomy charming ... folks like Ralphy add an interesting cherry on top ... :)

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


>>>>> Although they are probably all Asians and know how to program HTML. And scored 2000 on their SATs. And probably smarter than I could ever be.

Although you are correct in your assessment of "smarter", that is not the issue ... it is not about being smart at all ...

IMO, it is about intellectual honesty ...

I try to teach that.

try it, it don't bite :)

At 12:54 AM, Blogger sdre said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:56 AM, Blogger sdre said...

what do you think? Is a pouting Ralphy more entertaining than a sulking Ralphy?

Ralphy, please don't sulk. I may disagree with you on some issues, but I would not want you to stop posting here. I don't agree with Maverick on everything, but I don't think he'd want me to stop posting here.

FWIW, I think Ishaara Master was wrong in banning you from BRF. But that is Ishaara Master for you. :-)

At 2:35 AM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

to use the maoist canard to check the development of nuke power in India is patent bullshit.

Also nuke power should not take the stick for what the fossil fuel and other carbon based industries have done.

the liability debate is getting skewed because of Bhopal and Gulf of Mexico and that is not really fair.

At 5:07 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Dilbert,

You are on to something there.

The communists in India modeled themselves after the CPSU. They used the same ranks, the same structure, the same tactics etc...

It is only natural that Indian's (like so many on BRF) enamoured with the American right-wing will resort to imitation.

As you point out - there are many shared concepts - demonising socialism, railing against muslims, complaining bitterly about affirmative action, protesting tax raises, etc...

The only point where it falls apart is when the GoP refuses to accept non-white folks as part of a clear cut political strategy. That shuts the door in the face of right-wing Indians living in the US and then they whine loudly.

Not only has their own country, India forgotten them, their adopted country is acting like they don't exist.

It is not so much Jindal or Haley they have a problem with. Their problem is that they cannot follow in either's footsteps and neither will lift a finger to help them.

I guess the Indian right wing folks don't understand the danger that a disoriented and disillusioned Southern White Man poses to the US. They can't grasp what the cost of leaving this social segment in a political vacuum is.

At 5:14 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

That is correct.

Those that know the role that immigrants played and are sufficiently honest will acknowledge it.

Those that don't know are less likely to acknowledge it.

Clueless idiots will wave the next generation i-phone in your face and claim it is "good old American know-how" when the phone is conceptualized in South Korea, designed in Japan, manufactured in china, assembled in Vietnam, the software is written in India, and marketed by a European company.

The only thing that is made in the US is the brand and even the the plastic on which the brand name is embossed is made in China.

At 5:26 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Ralphy,

Dude... chill out.

Gen. McChrystal appears to have completely submitted to the White House.

The implications of this are obvious.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...


He had already submitted. He just couldn't keep his big fat mouth shut about it.

He has no choice in the matter, Obama is his Commander in Chief. Might as well shut up about it and keep a log book for your memmoirs. Evidently, he couldn't do that.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


We indulge in fun and games, but seriously, please continue to post here.

However, quoting Choudhary Ram Swaroop will not get us anywhere ... I am truly impressed by his capacity for america bashing ... I don't actually read his posts anymore but I do notice the sheer verbiage ...

I thought that it was a Pakistani specialty to blame all ills on actions of others ... but the forum has picked up this expertise very effectively ... the standard canon of blame game starts in the 1930s for some ...

others are busy creating disunity ... these are the ones who wrap themselves in some blessed robe and issue fatwas on "traitors" and "sell-outs" ...

the similarities between such folks and similar groups in the US is astounding ... for every "real america" advocate, there is a "real Indian" on the forum ...

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

So you think goras don't have American know how? Ha!

click here of msnbc video

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Prof T:

7th grade Asian kids in California discover cave on Mars:

click here for Yahoo article

One kid said "it was easy, anybody in Pune could have done it if the American goras hadn't usurped their resources and withheld vital information." Another kid said "it was nice to discover the cave but I really have to study for the spelliing bee next year. It's important to my parents."

When asked what advanced degree they would like to get in college they all said "research MDs, becasue the National Institutes of Health gets way more funding than that the paltry NSF does. It's pathetic."

Wow. These kids are sharp.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger dilbert said...

Ha! So Ralphy is a comedian too? Who knew! Well done, R-Man. :)

But seriously, folks, there are a few valiant posters on BRF who are bravely trying to bring some sense of balance/reason to the howling mobs. Examples: Shiv, on the "Deterrence" and "Is India Ready for a Two-Front War?" threads; Kartik and Mrinal on the various aviation threads; Amit and Arnab on the C-17 thread (the human vuvuzela concentration on this thread is terrible); Gerard on the "Indian Nuclear News" thread.

(Apologies to anyone I've inadvertently left out).

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>>> Ha! So Ralphy is a comedian too? Who knew! Well done, R-Man. :)

heh ... its a 12-step program from sulking/pouting to intellectual honesty ...

Indeed, well done Ralphy in taking the first baby step :)

At 9:18 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Mani, this is for peace & tranquility of your Inner Pakistan:

Sankubunny's epic "From Russia With Love" is finally over. What an ending! CIA is conspiring with the Talibans and the Haqqanis in Waziristan to help them capture Punjab, Kashmir and a big chunk of Afghanistan to create a Greater Pakistan. Russiabhakts spoil the evil plan just in the nick of time. Even as Donald Ramson the CIA agent is cut down by the furious Haqqani guy, he initiates the detonation sequence of a tactical nuclear device that will wipe out all evidence of CIA perfidy...
There is also reference to a traitorous PM (or maybe his aide) somewhere. I didn't get all the details because skimmed the material rapidly. Even I care for my Inner Pakistan you know...

Finally, here is the great literary critic Ishaara Master in his own words:

Sanku, Ma Saraswati is speaking through you.

Excuse me while I go dump my Inner Pakistan...

At 11:26 PM, Blogger sdre said...

But seriously, folks, there are a few valiant posters on BRF who are bravely trying to bring some sense of balance/reason to the howling mobs.

What those Russiabhakts don't realize is that the world has changed and so has India. In the 70s and 80s it used to be that India purchased everything from USSR at "friendship prices" because American equipment was not available, and European equipment, while clearly superior to Soviet ones, were often not affordable. So, if the armed forces wanted something, Defense Ministry asked the USSR if it had something suitable, and that was the end of that.
Today, Russian military industry is in permanent decline, and India now has the choice, and money, to buy from the West, including America. Western equipment will be superior to Russian stuff, it is almost a given, and American gear will often be more affordable than EU ones, because American manufacturers have better economies of scale. I don't understand why this is so difficult to see...

At 9:15 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The Indo-US thread is turning into a surreal experience.

Amazing amounts of backpedaling going on there.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Wow, Jindal was one of the only few who abstained from a House Resolution in appreciation of Diwali! Wonder how Ishaara Master is going to spin that...

At 7:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...

wrt a comment Ramana made on the forum.

Yes, Maj. Gen. Singlaub was fired but he went on to do "great" things afterward.

I believe the man who headed the death squads knows where the bodies are buried. When the kings changed, it likely the friends of new king pressed the head of the death squads for details. He resisted and eventually lashed out. This act made him a marked man.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Sanku's literary demise of the American in his ode to Indo-Russian geopolitical cooperation reveals the Asian mind set. You see, Sanku could envision an American rigging a dead switch to a tactical nuke device. Trust me, no sane American would ever do such a thing. It is a widely held belief in America that people who wire themselves up to bombs or go on suicide missions are mentally deficient. Withness the dude that went to Pakistan last week to hunt and kill bin Ladin. The American media immediately declared him mentally ill.

Dead man switches, suicide vests, etc. are an Asian device. from Japan to the Palestine. My next door neighbor is a Palestinian. He told me that if he was a young guy he would don a suicide vest and go to Israel! Believe me, the guy is sane and no wild eyed maniac. There are WWII stories of Japanese soldiers giving themselves up only to blow themselves and their captors sky high.

In fact, it is a widely held Asian view that the American military man is not sufficently brave because he does not want to die and prefers to use technology before charging an enemy held position.

This has created a dangerous mythos. No, Americans do not want to die I can assure you of this. However, they do want the enemy to die, not just a little bit, not just few here and few there, nooo, but they must die by the truck load or the ship load or even better yet by the continent load if the enemy is considered sufficiently inhuman and dangerous.

So there you have it. Sanku's story is a nice Asian point of view action story. But for an American, it's way off kilter.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Anand K said...

Interesting. Isn't it because Americans....and to an extent the Western Europeans haven't been pushed to that extent?
I mean if you had Reapers and AWACS and JSOWs you won't need to don a soosai vest (to use the BENIS term :P) and board a bus full of civilians, would you? But I wonder how the American War of Independence would have turned out if them Frogs never showed up at Yorktown.... or say, how the expeditionary troops would have acted if Rommel's counterattack after D-Day was successful (with Hitler now turning into a frightened, desperate, fully unhinged loon and all).
While Americans did see some stiff action in the homeland in the past you NEVER saw the severe, protracted bloodletting and (more importantly) the legacy of blood the Balkans or West Asia or China or Japan had. Nor did they ever face a resource crunch like the ethnicities associated with such tactics did. And we haven't even talked of the cultural aspects....

PS: The Jews of Ancient Roman times developed this sort of psyche and tactics. See the Siccari and revolts like Great Revolt and the Bar Kokhba rising....

Besides the Balkans the only Gora which developed this sort of psyche and methods of resistance are the Russians. I mean, if you had General Subotai and the Tartars and assorted Caucasian/CAR emirates committing untold atrocities over the centuries it won't be too difficult to send Li'l Kolya to blow up those wuss Nazi tanks plowing through Stalingrad.....

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Vladimir said...

Speaking of the human Vuvuzela (BTW, nice one that, Dilbert!), did anyone see him set off an IED that JEM saar had laid? El brillinate onlee!

At 11:28 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Speaking of the human Vuvuzela (BTW, nice one that, Dilbert!), did anyone see him set off an IED that JEM saar had laid? El brillinate onlee!

Which thread?

At 4:59 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think anyone who is sufficiently conditioned can be made do such things.

The conditions that make such conditioning endemic may not have arisen in US society (though I can think of a few civil war battles where the South came close to that feeling).

Most of the present US has grown up in the age of prosperity. The standard of education is high and there is easy availability of information and medical care for a vast amount of the population.

In segments of the US population where access to such things (and social/psychological support) is lacking, any number of mental disorders exist.

It is not uncommon for cults in the US to feed on the weak and induce mass suicides . Naturally such actions do not carry the support of the mainstream - but they happen.

The kind of Pakistani style siege mentality that feeds suicidal behaviour does not exist yet in the US.

That does not mean it will never happen.

I usually do not pay attention to Sanku, but his story appears to have touched a nerve in Ralphy and his response is curious.

Ralphy, I find it odd that you do not protest the suggestion that the US would use a tactical nuke against a non-nuclear non-state actor just to cover up its own involvement in this but object to the suicidal aspect of this.


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