Archive for June, 2019

Grand Canyon Park is 100 yrs Old …

Posted on June 30, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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Posted on June 28, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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Banker turned MP in Lok Sabha …

Posted on June 26, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

How TMC MP Mahua Moitra Tore Into the Government in Her Maiden Parliamentary Speech

Excerpted from The Wire –

Kicking off her speech by categorically saying that she “humbly accepted the mandate” in favour of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, she added “dissent is all the more important” today. 

She said this was because there are no “natural checks and balances in the Lok Sabha” because of the opposition’s shrunken strength and the ruling party’s unprecedented numbers.

She said that since the house belongs to the opposition, she was speaking to “reclaim the inch that has been guaranteed to us”.

“It is the very nature of the overwhelmingness of this mandate, of the totality of this mandate, that makes it necessary for us to be heard today” she said.

“You may say that ache din are here and that the sun will never set on the Indian Empire that it is seeking to build. But then you are missing the signs.

Only if you open your eyes, you will see there are signs everywhere,” she added. She then went on to list seven pointers that she felt were all “signs of early fascisism”

One, she said that the BJP’s version of hyper-nationalism was tearing into the national fabric. “It is superficial, xenophobic, and it is narrow. It is lust to divide, it is not a desire to unite.”

As a result, she said that the Constitution is under an unprecedented threat. She said that the anti-immigration laws like the NRC and Citizenship Bill advocated by the Modi government are being used to target one “This country is being torn apart. Citizens are being thrown out of their homes and being called ‘illegal immigrants’. People who have lived in this country for 50 years are having to show a piece of paper to show that they are Indians.

In a country where ministers cannot produce degrees to prove that they graduated from college, you expect dispossessed people to show papers, to show that they belong to this country?” she asked in an apparent dig at Narendra Modi and Smriti Irani.

The BJP incessantly jeered her, often interrupting her speech with loud shouts and ridicule. Yet, she continued, urging the chair to put the house in order. “Slogans and symbols are being shown to test allegiance”. 

Two, she hit out at the government for its alleged contempt for human rights, saying a “resounding disdain” has permeated every level of government. “There is a ten-fold increase in the number of hate crime from 2014 to 2019. It is like a valuation of an e-commerce start up. There are forces in this country who are sitting there, just pushing these numbers up.”

Controlling of mass media

Three, Moitra said that “there is an unimaginable subjugation and controlling of mass media today.” She pointed out that five of the largest news media organisations are “indirectly controlled or indirectly indebted to one man in this country” and alleged that news television channels have been reduced to broadcasters of propaganda for the ruling party.

“Let the government come out with facts and figures to show (the amount spent on) advertisements,” she said, demanding that the ruling party reveal how much money was spent on advertisements on each TV channel. 

She said the Union information and broadcasting ministry “employs over 120 people” just to monitor and control anti-government stories in media. She said the elections were not fought on important issues like farmers’ distress and unemployment, but on “lies” circulated through WhatsApp.

“You repeat and repeat a lie until it becomes the truth,” she said about the ruling party’s campaign, likening it to “Goebbels Doctrine”.

She said the Congress fielded 36 dynasts, while the BJP too gave tickets to 31.Four, Moitra said that “there is an obsession with national security and identification of enemies” in the current political climate. She added that there is a fear of one mythical “kala bhoot” – an unknown enemy that doesnt’t exist and is only invoked to create fear among children – has pervaded everywhere.

In such times, the TMC MP said, “The achievements of the army is being usurped by one man”, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The irony is that terrorist attacks have increased manifold. There is a 106% increase in the death of jawans in Kashmir,” she said.

Religion and government intertwined

Five, she said that never in the history of India have religion and government become so intertwined. “Members of the Parliament are concerned mostly with 2.77 acres of Ram Janmabhoomi while (they seem to be unconcerned) by the 80 crore acre that makes India,” she said.Six, the Krishnanagar MP said that one of the most dangerous signs of this “early fascism” is the complete disdain for “intellectuals and arts”“

There is so much suppression of dissent. Funding is being cut for liberal education. Article 51 of the Constitution demands a scientific temperament. But everything we are doing is pushing India back to dark ages. Secondary school textbooks are being manipulated and distorted in order to indoctrinate. You don’t even tolerate questioning, let alone dissent.”

In her final point, Moitra said there is an “erosion of independence in electoral system”. 

She did not question the mandate, but said that the Election Commission of India was being used to transfer key officials. Many top level officials in Bengal were moved by the ECI weeks before the polls, much to the Mamata Banerjee government’s chagrin.

She asked why the ECI has not taken action against the amount of money spent during the elections. “Rs 60,000 crores were spent during the Indian elections (this time) – 50% (of this amount) or Rs 27,000 crores by one party.”

She ended her speech by saying that in 2017, a poster available in the Holocaust Memorial in the US featured all these “early warning signs of fascism“.“I have the right to disagree,” she said, while finishing her maiden speech.

Moitra’s background. Moitra was an investment banker before she became a politician, winning her first election from the Karimpur assembly seat in 2016.

During her Lok Sabha campaign from Krishnanagar, she complained to the ECI that BJP’s Nadia district’s president Mahadev Sarkar used offensive and sexist remarks to target her.

As an MLA, Moitra was one of the few Indian politicians to wage a legal war against the Modi government’s surveillance efforts. She filed three petitions – now pending before the Supreme Court – against the Modi government’s social media and alleged snooping efforts.

Her first petition was against the UIDAI’s attempts to map social media accounts to monitor popular sentiment through Aadhaar.

Her second was against the Union home ministry’s notification that empowered ten government bodies to pre-emptively intercept, monitor or decrypt any computer to prevent any cognisable offence.

Her third petition sought an interim stay on the Union government’s efforts to snoop into computers being used in West Bengal.
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Those were the Days n These were the Guys …

Posted on June 26, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The Clement Town JSW had just shifted to near Pune n renamed itself, NDA KhadakVasla. Only the Sudan Block n Science Block n some Ten Sqn Bldgs had come up.

First Bn had Able, Baker, George n King; No 2 Bn had Charlie, Dog n How Sqn and the Third Bn had Easy, Foxtrot n Item Sqn.

Most cruel of all there were No Trees any which where.

Worse was the fact the Cinema Hall, a ramshacle Shed was located near the Peacock Bay n it could only House Half the Academy for a Show.

N the problem was that most every one would opt for the earlier Show and Appointment Holders would get the unautherized out, punish them n send them scampering.

Most would be too tired to come for the next Show.

Thus it transpired that, Three of us – One Ball, Paddy (Not the Rimcollian Guy who made Chief) but the Rider Bloke, who rode most every thing, and Self were caught trying to see the unauthorized earlier Show.

We stood up n outside did our Front Rolls, Haunches with our cycles held over our heads – n what have you until we were grimy with sweat, pain n fatigue.

Then our tormentors left us, went back in and the Show started.

We rested, regained our breath, drank the tepid water. As the air had been taken out of our cycles n the valves thrown away, I dreaded the long walk back to our Squadron when One Ball ordered, “Hold On”!

Soon, after all others had left, after I daresay, some flinging of Cycles into the lake, One Ball ordered us to help Deflate ALL Cycles n throw away the valves.

We did just That!

Thereafter we trudged back till the Science Block. There One Ball led us to the FF where we enjoyed the ice cold water from the Cooler and had a beauty of a nap on the hard marble floor.

Much too soon, One Ball awoke us saying it was time to take the ‘Salute’! And hiding behind pillars we did just that – Watching half the Academy trudge past with their defelated valveless cycles!

One Heck of a Wonderful Memory!

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Yosemite has an Engagement Pic …

Posted on June 25, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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Travelling Light n Alone …

Posted on June 24, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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Napoleon in Russia …

Posted on June 24, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Napoleon is universally considered as possibly one of the The Greatest Generals in History! Yet as per Harold Lamb, “Who can forget that he abandoned one Army in Egypt, left the remnants of another in the snows of Russia – and then strutted into the debacle of Waterloo!”

In 1805. William Pitt, Younger, who was PM for half of his 46 Yr Life, instructed , after the Corsican’s most brilliant Victory – Austerlitz in 1805, – “Roll up that map of Europe – it will NOT be needed these ten years” Waterloo happened in 1815!!!

Here is a Diagramatic Layout of the French Army’s Advance into Russia and then the Withdrawal. This shows most sharply its dwindling Strength as it moves in and then back.

The Strength of the Grand Armee’s Entry into Russia is shown in light Brown Left to Right – the reducing Thickness of the Line shows the Depleting Strenghth of the Army.

The Withdrawal from Moscow is Shown in Black. Again the reducing thickness of the Line shows the depleting strenth of the Grand Army …

In sharp contrast Hitler’s Panzers could NOT even Capture Moscow! However here is a look at the Casualties the Red Army suffered!

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The ‘Fauji’ Wife …

Posted on June 22, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Author Unknown – ‘Brave and Selfless’ 

The Good Lord was creating the model for military wives and was into his Sixth Day Overtime when an Angel appeared and said, ‘Lord, you seem to be having trouble with this one. What’s wrong with the standard model? … 
The Lord replied, “Have you seen the species on order? 

1. She has to be completely independent and  possess qualities of both father and mother. 

2. She has to be a perfect hostess to four or forty at an hour’s notice. 

3. Run on tea or coffee, handle every emergency imaginable without a manual. 

4. Be able to carry on cheerfully even if she is pregnant and suffering from fever. 

5. And she must be willing to move to a new location twenty times in 30 yrs.

6. And, Oh!she must have six pairs of hands.” The Lord continued –

7. “Don’t worry; we will make other military wives help her” 

8. And we will give her an unusually strong heart so it can swell with pride in her husband’s achievements, sustain the pain of separations, beat soundly when it is overworked and tired and be large enough to say ‘I understand’ when she doesn’t and say ‘I love you regardless.”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His arm gently, “Go to bed and get some rest, you can finish this tomorrow.” “I can‘t stop now,” said the Lord, ” I am so close to creating something unique”.

9. “Already this model heals herself when she is sick, can put up six unexpected guests for the weekend, wave goodbye to her husband from a pier, a runway or a rail station and understand why it’s important that he is leaving.”

The angel circled the model of the military wife, looked at it closely and sighed,”It looks fine, but it’s too soft”.

10. “She might look soft,” replied the Lord, “But you had better ask the Fauji as to what she has to put up with and endure!!!”. 

So GOD made the Good old FAUJI. GOD was tinkering with his model of the FAUJI just when the SAINTS CAME MARCHING in!!!

And for a micro mili sec GOD looked away. And sharp old SATAN saw his way! GOD saw him at his nefarious, but let it go. 

And that sure was worth a Whole lot too. Becus Satans poking had made the Fauji, Champion Screwer Who screwed just about everything – Left, Right, Center, Forward or Aft. 

First the Fauji Screws the Enemy, then screws both GOD and SATAN and just about Everythinng Else Right Before Screwing Himself .

And being Screwed by the Govt! 

And that Dear Folks is what our Lovely Fauji wife has to put up with!!!

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U Tuber Explores Stalin’s Mass Murders …

Posted on June 21, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Russian YouTuber Explores the Horrors of Stalin's Gulags

“I don’t know about you, but all my life, I’ve been hearing my parents say: ‘Be careful, don’t attract unnecessary attention, it’s dangerous. And, besides, we’re simple people – we don’t decide anything.’ My parents are wonderful people,” says Yury Dud in his film Kolyma: The Home of Our Fear. 

“But I wanted to understand: Where does the older generation’s fear come from? Why are they convinced that acts of courage, no matter how small, are bound to be punished?”

Those questions are the starting point of the Moscow YouTuber’s two-and-a-half-hour movie, in which he investigates the Russians’ “primal fear” of authority – and how it has led to political fatalism and social passivity in the country.

Dud sees the roots of this fear in the terror of Stalinism, that darkest yet still largely unresolved chapter of 20th-century Russian history. More than 16 million innocent people were forced to work in inhumane conditions in work camps where they were deprived of their freedom and their health.

It is estimated that at least two million were killed as political prisoners or for simply belonging to ethnic minorities. However, such figures remain incomplete and unreliable as many secret archives are still closed to research today.

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I’m a Climber, and a Mother, and Doing Great, Thank You …

Posted on June 18, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Courtesy NYT –

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — I’d been a professional climber almost half my life by the time I turned 30. I’d free climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park more times than any other woman. I’d established some of the world’s hardest climbs — by a male or female. Climbing was my job, the only one I’d ever had. The sport’s culture, which I was paid to represent, was built around traveling light through life, avoiding mortgages, let alone retirement plans or college funds, to live in a van. The whole point of money, the whole point of life, was to buy airline tickets to take your ropes, harness and your dirt-bagging self on the road.

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