Monday, June 27, 2016

Collective Reasoning

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

On 23 June 23, 2016, the British voted to disengage with the European Union.  The voting was not really close (in the traditional sense) and when all the votes were counted the British wanted to isolate (separate) from the collective strength of the European Union.  EU was founded on 1 November, 1993 and before the British voted to disengage from the EU, it had 28 member nations and covered over 500 million people.  EU was diverse as the world is and the population and governments worked together as a major political and economic block.  The intention of a single market and uniform laws made the EU a great union for all member nations, and also as a common platform and global forum for negotiations.

The historic evidence on the British is that for many centuries they have adopted the “Divide and Rule” as their motto and philosophy to occupy/abuse most of the world.  Up until the II WW, the British never propagated for anything united as it did not serve their purpose.  The EU might have been a reversal of the British psychology on occupation and division, but last week’s vote to walk away from the EU where they were the largest partner and member is nothing but their normal and historical behavior.

Whatever might have been the psychology of the 51% of the British voters last week when they voted to exit the EU, it is in line with the age old British motto of “Divide and Rule”.  My comments here on the “Divide and Rule” might sound harsh, but ass someone born in India the British motto to divide and rule is a fact.  The population and circumstances of the current vote to exit the EU might be in today’s time, but the philosophy remains the age old attitude.

The decision to leave the association that has great influence on trade, politics and military might have many connotations.  While the individual national interest might be driving the division, the loss of collective strength is easily forgotten.  The British certainly are feeling the pressure of continued and increasing immigration from the Middle East, which has been overwhelming all the EU nations, and there is certainly no end in sight to the human displacement, which is the focus of the British and EU disassociation.  What is strange is that the British population today is not just the white people on the island, but a huge migrant population mixed with the locals.  Any displeasure or issues with the Muslims is not foreign to the UK.  It is hard to imagine that only because of the migration the British wanted to disassociate with the UK.

In fact there is little cause or reason for UK businesses to be overwhelmed by the EU relationships, as much of the world has made London as the financial capital of the world, and since the EU provided a great opportunity with its singular scope of opportunities.  All of a sudden there will be major operational challenges and disadvantages for businesses working from London with focus on EU.

The last twenty years the world has embraced globalization and economic reorientation, and very well linked thru the internet and telecommunications.  The enormous advances in information technology, and migration of people from country to country forming a global work force, all of which are now put on a pause because of BREXIT.  A world that has been working hard to move away from protectionism and closed borders, once again looking at isolationism simply because of a single nation’s self-interest.

The rumblings of protectionism and securing borders have been topics of discussion in the past couple of years.  In various parts of the world these are rightful concerns with mass exodus and terror becoming daily concerns for civilian population.  It is a fact that open society and a connected world have fostered terror and cybercrime.  As we become more mobile and more connected, the same channels have created paths for terror and abuse.

Adding to the uncertainty is the current presidential political cycle in the USA, where part of the campaign is focusing on nationalistic fervor and closing the borders.  While the US is several months away from a general election, the rhetoric that speaks to closed borders and restricted religious entry into the USA, all are feeding to fears of the nation.

While BREXIT is not a typical case for the US population, the psychologies of the voters and issues that are relevant to the democracies have similarities.  It is difficult to predict if any democracy will choose isolation.  The USA is a much larger nation with a greater diversity.  So, only time will tell and by the end of 2016 we will have a vision for the world with or without ideological isolation.  It certainly is a concern for the people and clearly on the political agenda.  It’s fascinating to watch the world grapple with the choice between free markets or isolationism.  It is surreal to see the public fearful of their security and survival.  While globalization is advocated, the threat to survival also is a formidable issue to deal with.  There is no end to reasoning one way or the other, but the world is all of a sudden looking at what next.  While we ponder and vote (indiscriminately) it is also time for collective thinking and collective solutions.  After all we are one world.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Value of Life

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

No one gets used to death.  For all living beings death is final and comes once.  However we see life and how it comes to fruition, death also is a given phenomenon for all living beings.  We have a normal, rather an average life span as human beings, except when death comes accidentally or inflicted.  As we (humans) are more evolved and obviously more intelligent of all living species on earth, we constantly look for longer life.  Mythology and history continues to be fascinated with eternal life, but so far the life span and its limitations have not been conquered by human intelligence.  We continue to have a set life span, unless we mess with it.

Human population has been growing exponentially, and human’s also destroying earth’s resources, and eliminating other living beings at a rapid pace.  From the beginning of time man has been brutal to every other living being and other elements on earth and as time goes by we have become more brutal in our ways.  We keep killing with indiscrimination and keep finding ways to justify the killing.

The two world wars in the early part of 1900’s have not really made is fearful our own extinction.  Many of the countries continue to spend most of their annual budgets on defense and military, while the vast portion of human race survives on very little.  The money spent on weapons outweighs spending on education, medicine and nutrition. While we continue to invest more and more on killing machines, we also continue to come-up with many new and fancy reasons to kill.

Drugs and guns have evolved into a business with international foot print over the last 100 years.  They both go hand in hand.  The drug menace, despite the harm and suffering caused to humans, continues to plague people and doesn’t seem to dampen the use despite the well documented and well publicized harm.  For reasons only valid to the users, the habits outweigh solutions to human issues.

Using guns and explosives has become a common place in the name of religion.  The destructive weapons are available all over the world, and in abundance and at affordable price, and adding to the violence is home grown fanaticism.  Attacking unsuspecting public places has now become a common place all over the world.  Suicide bombers, automatic weapons, even old fashioned knifes are being used to kill, most times in the name of religion.  While to right to bear arms has been well represented politically as a human right, the availability of arms is not being represented for self-defense, rather to kill indiscriminately in a civilized society.  It has also become common place for the perpetrators during the killing or right after to pledge allegiance to some group or someone and inflict the killings on a civilized society.  During or immediately following the carnage, the social media and TV latch on to the coverage as a global event.  Although the loss of life is irreplaceable the continuous coverage along with (almost all the time) the death of the killer is publicized to no end.  At the end of each of these killing events, the victims and the killer; all dead and their families start to grieve and also try to find answers to why the killing?

Despite the continued and almost regular killings, noting gets resolved and nothing is achieved, except the few minutes of coverage and spreading more hatred.  The part we don’t even know is that each of these killer’s pledging support to some cause really believe in what they are pledging their support to, or they are looking for a few minutes of fame.

Logically human beings respect and like life.  All of us would like a full life, with families and friends and certainly look forward to tomorrow with hope.  Just a few find comfort in the name of something (religion, freedom, cause or whatever their choice) to kill indiscriminately.  Lately we also see organized groups waging religious war on civilians, via occupation and dismantling civilian structures and populations.  While the world is by and large is governed by respect to boundaries, the latest example of occupation in Iraq and Syria certainly defies the respect for internationally acceptable laws.  How does this happen in today’s world?  Each nation has defined boundaries and their own form of government.  It is incredible to see the sudden and prolonged occupation of sovereign territories with a group of people who have organized under a religious philosophy that doesn’t concur with anyone else.

Atrocities, killings, kidnappings and parallel laws are being forced on the minimal population that is still in the territory.  All this was done in just a few months and a few thousand guys from around the world.  While the tragedy of forced occupation has killed, displaced and destroyed life and property, the world’s power has not been able to stop the carnage.  The super powers of the world with the mightiest of armies and powerful weapons (with 100’s of billions invested in creating) have not been able to eliminate the threat/s.  What is more appalling is that the same small group that defying the global powers is advocating and conducting uninhibited acts of terror around the world and on civilian population.

It is certainly wasted investment in trillions if the world’s powerful weapons can’t reclaim territory (already decimated) from a small group of fanatics.  The R&D, the technologies, the weapons, the armies, the resources and all the investments in defense technologies is nothing but wasted dollars.

Technology and communications are also playing a role in advocating the terror networks, promoting terror as a way of life (“sometimes promising heaven”).  Communications networks are freely advocating extreme acts to hurt and kill others, all unabated.  The social media propaganda is unstoppable.  We don’t need to figure out that WWW is all of a sudden a free medium for terror propaganda, and nothing can control them.  There is also no controlling the terror networks trade, funding, financing and recruiting.  While we see law abiding population being monitored and subjected to global and local laws and regulations in communications, conduct, banking and other applicable laws, the very few lawless are having an open world in which they can communicate with anyone, purchase anything they want, destroy and pillage at will and let their terror network function globally without restrictions.

We hear daily that the nations are trying to stop the terror networks, but we don’t hear the successful end to them.  We only hear of happening terror and constant threats.  If we were smart enough to create the WWW, why can’t the checks and balances is put in place with equal ease?  Perhaps we should focus on not just building networks, but also network checks, not just build roads, but also road blocks.

Monday, June 06, 2016

An Unenviable Job

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

My early years of growing up included the beginning of MTV and CNN, essentially cable television.  CNN and MTV are synonymous with the 24/7/365 coverage and television just blaring in every place you were in.  Mobile revolution followed the cable television to add to the ever increasing proliferation of (dumping) of anything people can think of on the earth’s ears and eyes.  Both music and news continue to be popular, and multiple cable channels keep at you on every subscription with “breaking news”.  It’s rather difficult to have something breaking 24/7/365 (even with the global coverage), but the teleprompters keep forcing on us with different person every hour, and will constantly tell us it is breaking.

The cable news network is no longer in its broadcasting infancy.  The anchors have been on the air for many years and many of them are familiar and household names, which is in line with the regular network news anchors.  The cable anchors cover the globe and have coverage from most of the hotspots in the world, and the news coverage is at par with the network television.

While the networks have specified time to broadcast news, cable has to keep pushing something or the other are breaking news 24 hours every day.  The election years provide cable special fodder as there are so many so called advisors to political campaigns with drastic and special focus on their candidates.  The 2016 election cycle has been wonderful filler for cable news, with the campaign starting with almost 2 dozen candidates vying for the presidential chair.  As of the first week of June 2016, Trump remains in the race representing the republicans while Clinton and Sanders are still duking out to represent the democrats.  Trump simply knocked out all the politically connected republicans from the race.  The lack of spirit from republicans was unexpected, as Trump simply knocked them out with words and rhetoric which was unexpected for a traditional political campaign.  Trump did not relent until he threw every republican out of the race, and the whole party in disarray.

Trump really doesn’t care about what he says and who he targets on demolishing.  A combination of harsh rhetoric and picking on one community (so far every community except white men) at a time and constantly trashing them has been his way to the republican nomination.  There was no one in the USA or the entire world including himself who expected Trump to become the Republican Party nominee.

Every community (not just minorities and women) not just in the USA but everywhere in the world has been somehow ridiculed and trashed by Trump, but majority of the republican voters still continue to support Trump.  His political elevation is really something to ponder about the mindset of the USA electorate.

Trump spends no money on advertising.  His attacks are directly by himself and his surrogates, and typically they are thru the internet (social media) and cable networks.  They will keep repeating whatever they choose to and they will do it with such conviction, that even when constantly challenged by the anchors and others, they will be relentless in their blatancy.  If you chance upon Trump or any of his surrogates on TV, the incredible audacity they display in their disdain for any political, economic or cultural process is apparent and obvious.  Not just that they are incredulous but ignorant.  Anyone anchoring the program and all other participants has no way of even suggesting a meaningful discussion.  In reality none of Trump’s discussions revolve around policy or problem solving, they are putdowns of something or someone.  The viewers will certainly feel sorry for the host, as the logic is never there with Trump supporters or Trump, they just have no respect for anyone or anything in the world except Trump.

The audience who tune in will have to pull their hair off hearing anything Trump.  Fortunately the normal networks have limited coverage of Trump otherwise the networks will be hearing boastful pronouncements that have never been accomplished, or insults to anyone on earth except white men (not all of them) who support Trump.  The viewer certainly has a chance to switch the channel, but you certainly have to feel sorry for the plight of the anchor when Trump or anyone associated with him is on the program.  You can see the clear discomfort on their faces when covering or discussing anything to do with Trump.  Despite all the arrogance and acrimony Trump still has a section of the electorate showing up to support him.   Although curiosity was the initial entertainment of Trump throwing his hat into the presidential race, it has not been funny anymore.  It is real that Trump will represent the Republican Party, and a section of the population is behind his candidacy.  The yearlong assault on the Americans and the world, along with eliminating all the potential Republican opposition has only made Trump and his surrogates more emboldened, rather than mellow.  The cable anchors really don’t have an enviable position covering politics in 2016.  The anchors are constantly in the hot seat and the viewer has no option but to keep switching channels.  Welcome to America.

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.   It ...