Best of Blogs: February 4-5, 2006
EDITED BY PIERRE TRISTAM/Candide's Notebooks
Today's specials: A weekend cornucopia of cartoonish scandals and a few less serious items from around the globe. Non-disclaimer: We're liberal to the core, but we include in this daily blog review the political, the social, the cultural and the undefinable from the left, the right, the in-between from all over the globe. And we're suckers for good writing regardless of ideology. Clicking the link will take you to the original post.
Featured Blog I: Caffeine Spike
How to Eavesdrop, Episode 653
TREMBLE /January 26, 2006
I first learned about my favorite local coffee shop through a friend in AA. (To clarify, she is a friend, and she is in AA. I am not in AA, so she is not my “friend in AA.” We met in a store, when we both grabbed for the same discounted double-headed black dildo at the same time. She tugged her way, I tugged mine, and we laughed and laughed and laughed. We’ve been fast friends ever since. Again, just to clarify.) Apparently, because the coffee is so strong, it attracts a lot of Alcoholics Anonymous members and Narcotics Anonymous members. (but hopefully no Coffee Is Too Delicious For Words Anonymous members) While in treatment, addictive personalities tend to transfer their addictions into other places — caffeine, nicotine, God, etc. — and this coffee shop is the caffeine equivalent to the crack houses so dearly missed.
Because the shop is sprinkled with recovering addicts, you get to overhear lots of choice dialogue, due in large part to the rhetoric addicts learn while in AA/NA. Like today, I heard a guy sit down with a female friend of his and declare, “I’ve got a mini-problem.” Later, I heard this: “...arrogance, zealotry, rage…and a bunch more...”
Also, yes, I am looking straight ahead, over the shoulder of a large, well-dressed black man working away at his laptop. His screen, which is strategically angled away from the two young women seated next to him (running lines for a play), has been displaying web page after web page of oiled, black female asses stuffed into lingerie. Progress. Read Tremble's complete works...
Featured Blogger II: Elected Dictatorship
An Indian in the US Compares Democracies and Reviles What He Sees--In India
PK, INDIA TIMES BLOGS /February 3, 2006
[The Guantanamo Boys otherwise known as George Bush and Dick Cheney have gone a long way to reinvent the United States in their police state image. It may be worth noting that comparatively speaking, the country is not that far gone if an Indian national comparing India and the United States finds himself so much safer in the United States, and finds the press there so much more willing to hold elected officials accountable. Then again, Americans should probably not feel entirely self-satisfied if the United States' media and justice systems look good only in comparison with the world's more corrupt democracies. It's also odd to read an account extolling the virtues of the American press at a time when the press has been, like Congress and the presidency it covers, a shadow of its formerly admirable self. ]
Is India a democratic nation? Everyone says so. “ India is the largest democracy in the world.” Really? Yes, we do have by-and-large free elections. Yes, we have never had a military coup. But does that mean we have democracy? This question has puzzled me for a while as I have never felt India practices democracy. Whenever I am in India , I am scared of police while here in the United States I feel absolutely safe. While thinking a bit today I finally discovered the answer I was looking for: India is an elected dictatorship. Think about it: can you ever conceive going against a local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) or Member of Parliament (MP)? Have you read any newspaper ever criticizing any MLA, MP, Minister? What happened to Tehelka.com when they took on some members of the Government? They were lucky they took on the modest Vajpayee Government; had they gone against Indira Gandhi or Rajeev Gandhi, Tehelka.com would have been closed and Tehelka journalists would be behind bars on some trumped up charges.
How come no FIR [an indictment-type investigative mechanism] was ever filed for several years against Rajeev Gandhi when he was alive? (An FIR was filed after Rajeev Gandhi was murdered and Congress Government lost power). In a democracy with people on top, an FIR would have been filed immediately; however Rajeev Gandhi being a dictator no one dared touch him. Rajeev was an elected dictator. Everyone knows that in Delhi every day there must be happening hundreds of thousands of big bribe transactions. One million Govt. folks there multiplied by one big bribe transaction minimum every tenth day (more likely every day) = 100,000 bribe transactions every day. How many of these do you see reported in newspapers every day? If you are lucky, may be one in a month. How come so few ever get reported? Answer: Because our journalists are afraid of their life. If this were happening in United States, the journalists would be having a field day.
Underground investigations zindabad. Everyone knows what happened to Bill Clinton. Every tiny detail of his dirty doing got printed. He went through impeachment proceedings right on TV. Rajeev Gandhi did Bofor Ghapla on a massive scale. Until he was alive, not an even FIR could be filed. CBI [ India’s FBI] was forbidden to do an investigation. Is India a democracy then? Do people have power or do our elected members have dictatorship rights? Does a common man get justice? No way. What a local Nawab decides happens. He tells the judges rule my way or the highway. A common poor man keeps crying. Criminals are sometimes caught only to have the local Nawabs (MLAs) dictate to the police: free them. And the criminals are freed. Why does ferocious police free criminals? Because they are afraid of the bigger goonda, the local Nawab. In India, people treat their MLAs like God. You can witness educated people, even mighty IASs (smaller Nawabs), touching MLAs’ feet not out of respect but out of fear. Never mind MLA, even their distant relatives go around town as if a wild elephant is on the loose. MLAs = Nawabs. And yet every five years, MLAs go for election. Hence my term—Elected Nawabs or Elected Dictators. Now I am at peace. Everything fits. Elections, Ghapla, Nawabs ...
So what are the tests for democracy? Free and fair election? Not enough. Here are the acid tests I have come up with: Are the journalists really free? Can they do an investigative work and publish it without fear? Can they interview people and write a story declaring XYZ is corrupt? (In India, you frequently read in newspapers, “According to police sources, xyz killed abc. Xyz was caught.” The journalists don’t even bother to do any investigation. Just print what police wants you to print. OR ELSE. Every one knows). Are the judicial, administrative and political arms truly independent of each other? Can the police department say “FU” to MLAs? Do Governors (administrative arm) get appointed independent of political parties (unlike Congressman Buta Singh, the recent Bihar Governor)? Why are MLAs (political arm) involved in appointing administrative officers? Do courts truly do justice without dictation from politicians? Does a common man say “I get justice in my land”? I am afraid India fails miserably on both counts. I am waiting for the day when people will rise in India and throw these rotten MLAs/MPs in jail without fear. “PK”
See PK's Original post on IndiaTimes Blogs...