Saturday, March 04, 2006

Some Food for Thought

Regarding India’s Nuclear Programme

…The centrepiece of the Bush visit is a US plan to lift an international ban on sales of civilian nuclear technology to India. It is an extraordinary reward for a country that secretly built nuclear weapons, exploded five of them eight years ago, and still refuses to join the non-proliferation treaty (NPT). Contrast this with the massive pressure on Iran, which has gone nothing like as far down the nuclear road, and claims not to want a nuclear bomb anyway. Sign up to the NPT and you are castigated for not obeying the rules. Refuse to sign it and you are forgiven for whatever you manage to do on your own, including making a bomb. India received a slap on the wrist after its 1998 explosions, as did Pakistan, which followed with its own tests a few months later. The US imposed diplomatic and technology sanctions on both countries. The 9/11 attacks and Islamabad's role as an ally in the war on terror eased them in Pakistan's case. Now the lure of the tinkling cash register is doing the same for India….

If you want to read the full article, here it is:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1716858,00.html


Regarding the powers of King George’s Second in Command

…Indeed, Cheney explained, he has the power to declassify intelligence. "There is an executive order to that effect," he said. On March 25 2003 President Bush signed executive order 13292, a hitherto little-known document that grants the greatest expansion of the power of the vice-president in US history. It gives the vice-president the same ability to classify intelligence as the president. By controlling classification, the vice-president can control intelligence and, through that, foreign policy. Bush operates on the radical notion of the "unitary executive", that the presidency has inherent and limitless powers in his role as commander in chief, above the system of checks and balances. Never before has any president diminished and divided his power….The first US vice-president, John Adams, called his position "the most insignificant office ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived". When Cheney was defence secretary, he reprimanded Vice-President Dan Quayle for asserting power he did not possess by calling a meeting of the National Security Council when the elder President Bush was abroad. Since the coup d'etat of executive order 13292, the vice-presidency has been transformed. Perhaps, for a blinding moment, Cheney imagined he might classify his shooting party as top secret.

If you want to read the full article, here it is:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1716599,00.html


Regarding US Oil Dependency on the Middle East

…The world now burns eight billion tonnes of oil, gas and coal every year, and the greatest of these is oil. Our dependence is absolute. It fuels 90% of all transportation. It is involved in the production of 95% of all the goods in shops, including 95% of all food - produced as it is, these days, mainly by industrialised means, and transported, as is now the custom, halfway round the world and possibly back again before consumption. We get through more than 80 million barrels of oil a day, which is 29 billion barrels a year. The US uses one-quarter of this, most of it in automobiles; and, while the rest of the world has developed cars that do 60 miles to the gallon, the US produced the sports utility vehicle (SUV), which often does as little as 4mpg. In 2003 SUVs were 23% of the US market.

The US imports a quarter of the oil it gets through, mainly from the Middle East, though it could cut that to zero if it raised the efficiency of its cars even roughly in line with the rest of the world. It seems we didn't go to war with Iraq just to protect oil in general. We went to safeguard the SUV in particular. As George Bush senior said in 1992: "The American way of life is not negotiable…

"If you want to read the full article, here it is:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1711282,00.html

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I Was Tagged Fuzzy and Blue,

Yes... I was tagged. Already some days back, but I just didn’t find the time to get my answers done and up on the web. Sorry about that. I haven’t done this before, didn’t even know what a tag was until some days ago. But what the heck, I guess I will learn:
1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies? Colour, although I really like the old Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton movies and just can’t picture them not being black and white.
2: What is the 1 single subject that bores you to near-death? Well-off people complaining about how things got so expensivewhen spending 2 pounds 50 on a coffee at Starbucks.
3: MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music? MP3s since I am travelling a lot and like to have some music around.
4: You are handed one 1st class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and $10 million cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going … Ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run? If there is a definit no on this planet, this question gets one. Each of the people I know is worth more than that.
5: Seriously, what do you consider the world’s most pressing issue now? The way we don’t care about our environment, fellow human beings included.
6: How would you rectify the world’s most pressing issue? Go back in time, re-arrange the Cain and Abel story to one where they settle their differences in a peaceful way, let history then go on in a way that generation after generation things that this was actually a cool thing to do and much better than hitting each other on the head all the time.
7: You are given the chance to go back and change 1 thing in your life; what would that be? Get to know my father and grandfather better before they died.
8: You are given the chance to go back and change 1 event in world history, what would that be? The guy wounding Adolf Hitler in 1916 would have been a better hitman and done a better job (sorry, this is not in line with my idea for a better world as spelled out above.)
9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole’ Opry –Which do you choose? Absolutely the opera... NEVER the Grand Ole' Opry (who or what is this anyway ;-)).
10: What is the 1 great unsolved crime of all time you’d like to solve? Find out who was behind the Olof Palme murder.
11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal? Hanif Kureishi, I guess, although that might change in a minute. And hoping that he isn’t a vegetarian I would have a fish barbeque and loads of salads.
12: You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky — what’s the 1st immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact? Vote Republican. No, Just kidding. I didn’t believe in heaven and hell up to know and still think I am a kind of a decent human being. So I guess that would stay as it is. Rather boring – but still better than voting Rep.

And the nominations for the next tag are

http://every-passing-moment.blogspot.com/

http://iamnasra.blogspot.com/

http://nomadica.blogspot.com/

http://amiedotcom.blogspot.com/

Don’t be too cross with me that I chose you ;-)