My Indian Perspective on Current Events and Current Affairs
Sunday, June 15, 2008
If China dominates oil, it will dominate region
As the gas prices across the nation hit record high levels, I am not concerned about the United States’ dependence upon oil from the Middle East.
If the United States is not willing to buy its oil from the Middle East, China is in a position to gobble it up. The position of the United States as a global superpower is dependent upon its level of oil consumption. If and when China steps in to dominate the oil market, it would proportionately increase its military supremacy and we would witness the Chinese war ships patrolling the Persian Gulf.
The United States may forego its need for oil from the Middle East, but could it step back from its role to provide peace and stability in that region ?
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
McCain’s pragmatic approach preferable
It has been claimed that what is good for America is good for the rest of the world. America’s total spending for the Iraq war is about $617 billion. Does this military spending boost the national economy and create jobs? The verdict is that the military spending is draining resources from the productive economy. It has a detrimental impact on many sectors of the economy. It has resulted in slow economic growth, less investment, higher trade deficits and fewer jobs. The American economy has slowed down. The federal deficit spending has weakened the U.S. dollar in the global currency market.
Meantime, the national debt is expanding at about $1.4 billion a day. Currently, the national debt stands at about $9.4 trillion. In the fiscal year 2006, the U.S. government spent$406 billion on interest payments to the holders of the national debt. The national debt is projected to grow beyond $10 trillion by January 2009 when the new president takes office.
In spite of this bleak economic forecast, American national security will remain hostage to events on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no easy way out. I would prefer to endorse the pragmatic approach of Sen. John McCain and that the U.S. troops can not really come home as being promised by his Democratic rivals.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Celebrities’ boycott of China deserves support
I am filled with optimism when I heard the news about the boycott of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing by film director Steven Spielberg and actress Mia Farrow. I am hopeful that movements like the “Global Action Plan Day” would one day liberate the Tibetan people and people across the globe can work together to end the illegal occupation of Tibet and restore their rights for freedom and preserve their cultural identity.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Wage workers’ plight deserves attention
While The Ann Arbor News remains focused on the importance of hiring a new football coach, no one has the time to pay attention to the minimalistic existence of countless numbers of hourly wage workers who toil in your neighborhood friendly grocery stores/supermarkets and at the numerous strip malls that have sprung up in this city. These workers are unorganized, their wages are stagnant and their work-related benefits are getting gradually eliminated season after season. As the workers have no protection, they swallow unfair treatment which, if not rampant, is a fact of life.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Cartoon of beheaded Buddha reprehensible
The editorial cartoon picture of a decapitated Buddha that was published in The Ann Arbor News on Oct 3 is plainly disgusting and is clearly an insult. It serves no purpose other than to hurt the feelings of people who respect Lord Gautama Buddha. Having worked for the Central Intelligence Agency’s “Campaign for Tibet” for more than four years in the past, I have come to the following conclusions.
1. America’s support for democracy and human rights is good when and where it serves its selfish interests.
2. America does not care to give a hoot to Buddha.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Encourage immigrants to become taxpayers
I would like to commend Jean Miller for her July 23 Other Voices essay asking that each and every immigrant should be treated with dignity. There is also a valid and genuine concern expressed by others who claim that some of the undocumented immigrants may avail services without paying for them and become a burden upon the society.
I would suggest that every person arriving in the country should be encouraged and be given the opportunity to pay federal, state and local taxes on every penny they earn, even without showing any proof of legal immigrant status.The government has an obligation to protect the borders as best as is feasible and it will be easier to identify taxpaying aliens. Individuals who earn enough credits to derive benefits such as Social Security and Medicare should be given a preferential treatment to adjust their status, provided they maintain a clean, crime-free record during their stay.
Wednesday, April 25 , 2007
U.S. could give Iraqi families assistance
On Easter Sunday morning I contemplated if the search for insurgents in Iraq could also include providing immediate relief to the inhabitants of the homes that are entered by the American troops.If no evidence of involvement in insurgency is discovered, the inmates of a home that is searched should be compensated for any property damage, their living conditions should be evaluated and relief aid should be delivered simultaneously.
The assistance could include giving bottled water, non-perishable food, nutritional supplements and oral rehydration fluids for children. Very sick persons when found should be transported to a field hospital.
Before I had arrived in Ann Arbor in 1986, I was taking part in a military operation of village patrolling to adddress the threat of Iranian infiltration across the narrow Strait of Hormuz. I could successfully reidrect the military intelligence operation into providing relief to people living in the remote and inaccessible villages of Musandam Peninsula of Sultanate of Oman. Amongst other things, I could use the military helicopters to transport people to visit the dentist at Khasab hospital.The air base at Khasab plays a significant role in the Persian Gulf and could be used to provide humanitarian services.
Money spent upon the reconstruction effort is not making a positive impact on the quality of life of ordinary Iraqi people. The principle of dignity of human life should be upheld at all times. The military security and intelligence operation to find insurgents in Iraq should include some elements of mercy and compassion.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sound of the ‘big bang’ impossible to prove
Writers of Other Voices and letters to the editor on the subject of creation/evolution frequently mention the “big bang theory.”
On this planet Earth, a sudden loud noise is often accompanied by destruction.Our telescopes and other instruments observe dramatic stellar events like supernovae, but do not record any evidence of loud sounds.Sound needs an elastic medium such as solid, liquid or gas through which sound waves could propagate.Sound cannot exist in a vacuum. There is no way a scientist could prove or verify the sound the “big bang” might have caused.
So, who created this “void” and made it impossible to hear the bang?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Gratitude for the rising and the setting sun
This Thanksgiving Day, I want to give my thanks to The Ann Arbor News editor who is in charge of publishing the daily weather report. The weather forecast includes two tiny bits of information which I value immensely. The time of sunrise and sunset are the most important events that shape my life. The reality of my human existence is totally dependent upon this illusionary effect of sunrise and sunset. Apart from the physiological functions of my body, the existence of my mind in its three different states (awake and alert, resting and at sleep, partly conscious and dreaming) depend upon these cycles of periods of light and darkness.Dreaming is a very valuable human experience and I would not like to have that experience during daytime. In reality, the sun shines all the time but I am more happy with the illusion. In India, our people had given beautiful names to the sun. Some of those names are Aditya, Bharga, Divakar, Prabhakar, Ravi, Savitur and Surya.
The daily weather report reminds me that I should remain thankful for my existence and remember the Creator who made possible day and night without turning out sunlight.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Gay relationships deserve respect
As another election season arrives in this country, we need to recognize the unfortunate fact that the issue of according equal rights to gay and lesbian couples got buried in the quagmire of ignorance, religious fanaticism and political opportunism.
Gay and lesbian relationships are neither deviant nor represent the overstepping of any spiritual laws. All human relationships, whether between members of the same sex or members of the opposite sexes, are motivated and driven by the same emotional factors that are an integral part of human nature. Humans are ruled by their emotional needs and less so by the biological insticts of reproduction. Any woman on this planet with the strongest of maternal instincts would still desire companionship as much as motherhood.
Reproductive success or failure does not determine if the relationship survives or perishes. The relationships among humans neither succeed nor fail on account of the sexual orientation of the partners. Partners in a married relationship could stay together for decades even in the total absence of sexual activity and no social benefits are denied to such couples.
Truthfulness is the core value of human existence. Being truthful, you would hope to build up a true relationship with your God.
Since all relationships are equal, no particular relationship should be placed on a pedestal while other relationships are ignored or put to ridicule. It is morally imperative to treat all relationships with a sense of fairness and equality.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Death penalty’s correct purpose is retribution
An article June 19 in The Ann Arbor News on state Rep. Dan Acciavatti’s initiative to amend the state’s constitution to provide the option of the death penalty doesn’t mention the word “retribution.” The purpose of the death penalty is not to protect the rest of the society from violent and vicious criminals. The state has a moral obligation to respect a natural entitlement of the murder victim. The victim’s right to retribution is the real issue in all cases of murder.
Murder is inhumane because it takes away a human being’s right to exist. Murder is immoral because it is a sign of disrespect and disobedience of law. The law that states that “thou shalt not kill” is not a law instituted by man. It is the law given to man. The state should impose death upon people who violate and disobey this law. The death penalty is a just and reasonable consequence of the murderous action of the violator.
Michigan should not shirk from its duty to recompense the murder victims. The state should join the ranks of the rest of the civilized society where people have the opportunity to learn and understand the consequences for their actions and appreciate the values of personal responsibility and accountability.
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Nature hasn’t given humans right to choose
The words choice and autonomy are frequently mentioned while people express their opinions about issues that pertain to life, issues such as when life begins and the manner in which it may end.
The right to abortion and the right to assisted suicide may lead us to this question. Is there choice or autonomy in the biological existence of human life?
The human body is made up of trillions of cells. The cells perform a variety of fuctions. For human growth and development, a very important function would be that of cell division and multiplication, also known as reproduction. Is there a single cell whose functions we can choose to control and regulate as we please? There is no choice if we do not have the freedom to choose. Is there a single cell whose functions we can directly govern? There is no autonomy when we do not have the ability to govern.
We may cause cellular death to protect the rest of the body from death. This principle is widely used in treating various cancers and to safeguard maternal health while managing complications of pregnancy.
Nature has neither endowed us with the liberty to choose nor bestowed us with the right to govern the cells that make up the human being. The cycle of birth and death may give us pain and we may experience severe loss of function.
Fortunately, there is hope.We can cope with the problems of human existence with our great ability to show compassion.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Embryo has natural right to growth, development
The ethical concerns that are involved in the conduct of research on living human embryos stem from the unique status of the embryo. It is prudent to discuss if the embryo could be assigned any rights that are entitled by a research subject. The embryo has a natural right to growth and development. We need to ask what actions constitute the misuse or abuse of an embryo.
During the biological life cycle, the human being should have a constitutional right to live with dignity at every stage of natural existence. The society has no inherent right to conduct research on embryos. We need to spell out the role of biological parents. Parental accountability and responsibility should be stated in clear terms to ensure that the embryo receives fair and ethical treatment.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Court decision in Schiavo case is insensitive
The attitude displayed by the U.S. judicial system is very shocking and disturbing. Justice proved itself to be not only blind but also totally insensitive to the human condition.
To offer water to a dying person is an ultimate act of kindness and compassion. Customs and traditions established in the ancient land of India make it obligatory to pour water into the mouth of a dying person even if the person is totally unconscious.
A person may not vocalize the sensation, but thirst is experienced till the final moments of life.
The U.S. Supreme Court helped to transform the legal guardian into a brutal dictator. Terri Schiavo was a disabled person who was murdered in broad day light. A handicapped person was legally exterminated in a very calculated and deliberate manner by the acts of a heartless, loveless, materialistic society.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1999
We can attain peace if price is affordable
As we await the dawn of a new year, a phrase that comes to my mind is that of “peace on Earth.”
The history of international peace keeping efforts and the various peace movements is well documented. The annual costs of peace keeping efforts in Bosnia have been reported as $5 billion. If the assessment of Israeli officials is correct, they can make peace with Syria at a nominal price of $18 billion. It appears that we can attain peace if the price is right and affordable.
Is peace a mere absence of war and international conflicts? If society and the times we are witnessing are any reflection on the state of peace, we should definitely ask ourselves the question, is peace attainable?
The various manifestations of violence in our society, whether it is gun violence at schools, violence at work-places, or domestic violence are all aspects of a lack of peace-keeping ability. In general terms, violence is seen as a law and order problem. We can approach the problem of violence in a different manner. Violence may be seen as the expression of a mind that is not at peace. Violence may be attributable to a mind, which is not experiencing an inner feeling of tranquility.
The way to prevent violence would be through promoting self-awareness. You do not really need a teacher to achieve self-awareness. You are the observed as well as the observer. Your inner eye keeps a constant watch on all of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and moods. Your vigilance would have an effect and subdue the anger or rage you may be experiencing.
People need to learn and practice the simple task of observing their own thoughts. The essence of human existence is self-knowledge and the ultimate goal of living would be self-awareness. Every human being is capable of exhibiting kindness and tolerance, is capable of expressing sympathy and is capable of sensing happiness.
While the government is busy spending billions of dollars to secure peace elsewhere on this planet, it will be a wise and an inexpensive step on our part to pay attention to our own inner peace and attaining that peace through self-awareness.