The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal (via The Council on Foreign Relations)

 This article explains and summarizes the nuclear treaty between the two countries.

This treaty is the flashpoint for the controversy and public outcry over corruption in the Indian government. More than two years after the agreement was ratified by both nations, diplomatic cables from the American State Department detailed vote buying in the Indian legislature to get the treaty passed. Wikileaks published the cables and their impact in India has been major. It has been so important that it has pushed much of the coverage of the nuclear meltdown in Japan off the front pages.

Please read the summary.

James Pilant

The U.S. Congress on October 1, 2008, gave final approval to an agreement facilitating nuclear cooperation between the United States and India. The deal is seen as a watershed in U.S.-India relations and introduces a new aspect to international nonproliferation efforts. First introduced in the joint statement released by President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, 2005, the deal lifts a three-decade U.S. moratorium on nuclear trade with India. It provides U.S. assistance to India’s civilian nuclear energy program, and expands U.S.-India cooperation in energy and satellite technology. But critics in the United States say the deal fundamentally reverses half a century of U.S. nonproliferation efforts, undermines attempts to prevent states like Iran and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, and potentially contributes to a nuclear arms race in Asia. “It’s an unprecedented deal for India,” says Charles D. Ferguson, science and technology fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “If you look at the three countries outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)-Israel, India, and Pakistan-this stands to be a unique deal.”

Buy Matt Taibbi’s New Book!

Matt Taibbi
Matt Taibbi

Buy Matt Taibbi’s New Book!

I share Taibbi’s outrage over what American justice is becoming. I recommend you buy the book and become aware of how we have two systems of justice.

James Pilant

 The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

Matt Taibbi: U.S. Should Be Ashamed It Treats Pot Smokers Worse Than Wall St. Criminals

A Wall Street bank accused of laundering money for drug cartels only had to pay a fine. Meanwhile, a man caught with a joint in his pocket had to spend 47 days in jail.

For that, journalist Matt Taibbi thinks prosecutors should be “ashamed.”

The former Rolling Stone writer — who recently announced he’s leaving the magazine to join an as-yet unnamed publication at First Look Media — railed against the Department of Justice Monday night for its failure to criminally prosecute HSBC after the bank admitted to laundering billions of dollars.

“They [HSBC] admitted it. They did it,” Taibbi said during an appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” “If you have a malefactor who is admitting to laundering $850 million for the Mexican drug cartel and he’s not going to jail, you should be ashamed if you’re a prosecutor.”

This isn’t news. HSBC agreed back in December 2012 to pay $1.92 billion to settle accusations that it laundered money for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. But the HSBC story is one nugget Taibbi uses to illustrate inequality in the nation’s justice system in his new book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

via Matt Taibbi: U.S. Should Be Ashamed It Treats Pot Smokers Worse Than Wall St. Criminals.

From Around the Web.

From the web site, 2013, What’s the Real Truth?

oday is my last day at Rolling Stone. As of this week, I’m leaving to work for First Look Media, the new organization that’s already home to reporters like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras.

I’ll have plenty of time to talk about the new job elsewhere. But in this space, I just want to talk about Rolling Stone, and express my thanks. Today is a very bittersweet day for me. As excited as I am about the new opportunity, I’m sad to be leaving this company.

More than 15 years ago, Rolling Stone sent a reporter, Brian Preston, to do a story on the eXile, the biweekly English-language newspaper I was editing in Moscow at the time with Mark Ames. We abused the polite Canadian Preston terribly – I think we thought we were being hospitable – and he promptly went home and wrote a story about us that was painful, funny and somewhat embarrassingly accurate. Looking back at that story now, in fact, I’m surprised that Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana gave me a call years later, after I’d returned to the States.

I remember when Will called, because it was such an important moment in my life. I was on the American side of Niagara Falls, walking with friends, when my cell phone rang. Night had just fallen and when Will invited me to write a few things in advance of the 2004 presidential election, I nearly walked into the river just above the Falls.

At the time, I was having a hard time re-acclimating to life in America and was a mess personally. I was broke and having anxiety attacks. I specifically remember buying three cans of corned beef hash with the last dollars of available credit on my last credit card somewhere during that period. Anyway I botched several early assignments for the magazine, but Will was patient and eventually brought me on to write on a regular basis.

It was my first real job and it changed my life. Had Rolling Stone not given me a chance that year, God knows where I’d be – one of the ideas I was considering most seriously at the time was going to Ukraine to enroll in medical school, of all things.

I’m Proud of the Ukrainians!

Ukraine protests Dec 1 2013_by_Gnatoush_005I’m Proud of the Ukrainians!

I think Paul Steven Stone has some good points here. I am also outraged at the very successful effort by legislatures all over the United States to limit the right to vote. It’s viciously, nakedly undemocratic, and is simply evil both in intent and effect. We all have a basic right as Americans to vote, and that should be something that can’t be taken away.

James Pilant

I Am a Ukrainian | Paul Steven Stone

How can you not stand up and cheer at what we’ve just witnessed in Eastern Europe? To see an entire populace rise up against injustice, autocracy and the armed lackeys of a corrupt police state reminds me of what real courage looks like, especially when it’s bolstered by the adrenaline of outrage and moral authority.

I couldn’t watch this impoverished proletariat fighting so valiantly — and risking so much — for their rights, their country and for the future of their children’s children without thinking about how far we Americans have drifted from our own revolutionary and democratic ideals. So far that we would allow George W. Bush to twice steal the presidency of the United States (see here.) staring impotently with our mouths open, too afraid of the consequences that might come from shouting out the truth and fighting for our rights. Too comfortable, in all likelihood, with our material possessions and modest success to risk any of it by standing up and shouting “Fraud! Thief! Liar!” as we should have done — as we have an obligation to do as legatees of our revolution and its democratic values!

And so we turned over in bed, having taken a sleeping pill to deal with any discomfiting after-effects of watching our country hijacked by these lackeys of disgruntled billionaires.

Yes, we’ve fallen so far from our American ideals that we would allow almost every state legislature controlled by Republicans to institute laws designed to deprive citizens of their voting rights in the name of preventing voting fraud. A fraud admittedly non-existent and clearly invoked as a fig leaf to conceal the pathetic conniving of a fastly-shrinking political minority.

via I Am a Ukrainian | Paul Steven Stone.

From around the web.

From the web site, European Public Affairs.

Branded extremists, radicals, criminals and foreign agents. This is how Ukraine’s bandits in power (or the so-called government) see protesters of Euromaidan. Hundreds of thousands of open-minded and freedom-seeking demonstrators, for whom dignity, human rights and liberty are not just plain words, are apparently terrorists. At least, this is how yesterday’s horrifying developments, claiming at least 20 innocent lives in Kyiv, were justified – as anti-terrorist operations. Clubs, tear gas, flash grenades and Molotov cocktails are again a reality after almost 3 weeks of a standstill in Ukraine’s capital.


What began as a protest against Ukrainian President Yanukovych’s decision not to sign an Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, with the EU in late 2013 has spiraled into much bigger demands. Seen as a pro-European uprising in the East, the latest dynamics highlight a much more complicated political scene. Current demonstrations represent a fight for democratic values, rule of law and a change of the country’s corrupt political system. In fact, the EU’s inaction and inability to broker a solution diminishes, to some extent, local support for the European Union. The absence of a decisive Western stance definitely harms the image of a flexible Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU. Coupled with expressions of concern that are not backed by real actions, this only irritates Ukrainians more .

From the web site, Euromaidan PR.

I have been to Ukraine numerous times. Lectured there. Received honorary doctorates from their Universities. Published books and articles in Ukrainian. Worked with Ukrainian business executives and their managers. But in all my experience working worldwide, I have never heard of or come across such blatant, open, shameless, corruption as I have encountered in Ukraine.

Don’t misunderstand. I know there is a lot of corruption everywhere. Even in the United States. Even in my home city. If you want a license to build a house in Santa Barbara you need a permit, which might take a year or more before it is approved by the bureaucracy. So you hire a “middleman” who used to work at the department of urban planning and who knows the ropes. He is called an expeditor, and for a fee will make sure that your request for a license is granted in less than a year.

To me that is corruption… though everyone considers it a normal way of doing business.

There is corruption of course in every nation-state. You will find it in Israel, in India, in Brazil. Name any country and you will find traces of corruption. But Ukraine is a different story. It represents a paradigm shift in the magnitude and nature of corruption. A sizable jump to a different level of corruption that places it in a league all of its own.

Marcos not a Hero but a Despot (via Red Lion Oratory)

Absolutely. I have followed the Marcos story for some years now. He is a hero alright, to other despots and to major crooks everywhere. Of course, thieves everywhere may just envy him for the incredible amounts of money he was able to steal.

I agree with the author that there is no way to measure what the Philippines would be like if the incredible wealth of the country had not been diverted into private fortunes for so many years.

James Pilant

Ferdinand Marcos is a despot exactly like Cambodia’s Pol Pot, Serbia Slodoban Milosovic, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s Gaddafi and the reclusive Myanmar generals just to name a few. Any attempt to label him a hero by burying him in a place designated for heroes is sick. Marcos deprived the Filipinos of liberty and freedom. He operated a secret police, incarcerated his known opponents without charge, and tortured scores of contras calling them en … Read More

via Red Lion Oratory

“Islam: Message of Peace” Comments on One of My Posts – In Search of a Good Dictator (via Diasporadical)

“Islam: Message of Peace” is the internet name of one of my blogging friends.

Here are his comments on a previous post which can be found here.

(The following is two comments which I have folded into one.)

James Pilant

“If a man like Muhammad were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he
would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and
happiness.” –George Bernard Shaw

“Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational
dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one
spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human
greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?” –Lamartine, HISTOIRE DE LA TURQUIE, Paris, 1854, Vol. II, pp. 276 -277

“He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope’s pretensions, Caesar
without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a
palace, without a fixed revenue; if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the
right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and
without its supports.” –Bosworth Smith, Mohammad and Mohammadanism, London, 1874, p. 92.

My point is… if only Middle East follow the footstep of this Man (Muhammad – peace be upon him), in all aspect of social, economical, financial, legislative, institutional, judicial, leadership (…etc) matters of life, no dictator would assume leadership.

Islam cultivates these values from self, to family to society, (just like a pyramid) so when everyone is prepared to live a life like Muhammad (peace be upon him) did, there won’t be any chance for dictators to play with people’s lives.

Andrew Comments on a Previous Post – In Search of a Good Dictator (via Diasporadical)

Andrew often comments on this blog and I am pleased to bring his thoughts to you.

The original post is here.

Here’s Andrew –

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine the other day regarding the odds of successfully establishing self sustaining representative democracys in the Middle East. He borught up a good point. Every facet of our lives, and what is expected from us as citizens, is based on our cultural system of values. While an individual can easily become “enlightened” to the ideas of freedom and democracy, its much harder to change the cultural value system of an entire society to progress one way or another. When you look at different scales of human interaction (from the individual, to the family, to the community, to the state… all the way up), you see different sociological mechanisms becoming dominant.

These dictators remind me of the Joker in the new batman movie. What they are telling the masses has a ring of truth to it. The problem is that they pervert the line of reasoning towards their benefit, or they take it too far to an extreme. It is true that it takes a lot longer for a culture to naturally develop into a new system of values. In the West, we had our Enlightenment period in the 18th century in which the inertia of cultural values finally gave way to the way to our current system of values. The middle east didnt really go through that period the way we did. So while you can easily find a middle easterner to agree that freedom and democracy are good for values for the middle east, the emotional need to break that cultural inertia seems to not have reached that critical point yet.

I predict that it wont be 30 years after we are completely out of Afghanistan and Iraq before their democracies (that we gave to them, they didnt earn it like we had to.) are in shambles and new dictators arise to take power.


Why Should I Pay 300 When I Can Get Away With 100 (via In Charvak’s Footsteps)

Should you pay the full fine or pay a bribe?

Please read the attached blog post for the correct answer.

James Pilant

My wife D, when she goes shopping to the congested Commercial Street area, insists on using her scooter. This weekend, unfortunately, she ran into trouble. Apparently she parked where she shouldn't have and the traffic police towed away her scooter while she was inside a shop. Now D is a very conscientious citizen and obeys all rules and regulations and when she says that there was no sign that prohibited parking, I believe her. However, those of … Read More

via In Charvak's Footsteps

In Search of a Good Dictator (via Diasporadical)

Some of the best outrage is generated overseas. I hope you read this with as much delight as I did.

Here’s a sample paragraph –

Move on to what, though? Where does one go after a dictator? How to let go of a mental lifestyle that’s been seeded by a lifetime’s worth of democracy-talk? We are the generation that’s been weaned on talk that a country has to be at a certain point on the development chart before its peeps can even begin to comprehend democracy, much less enjoy its fruits. The country shouldn’t have so many freaking poor people, for starters, because you just can’t trust poor people. They never ask for much. A litre of paraffin and some cooking oil is fine, really. We have spent half our lives listening to life-presidents perpetuating the idea that, while we might never be ready for democracy, we are always ready for dictators. It would appear that we have a proclivity for despotism. That’s our lot.

This is good writing expressing that universal yearning for a life free from manipulation and control.

James Pilant

In Search of a Good Dictator What I am about to tell you, I would never tell anyone else. Yet I trust Diasporadicalists. You are the least judgemental people I know. I am confident that none of you will use what am about to tell you against me. I know my confession is in safe hands. Okay, deep breaths everyone. Here goes: When people ask me what democracy is, I still reply with a definition my primary-six civics teacher scribbled on the blackboard. That is: ‘Democracy is the … Read More

via Diasporadical

KPMG Study Shows Company Bosses Increasingly Commit Fraud (vis Ethics Sage)

The invaluable Ethics Sage has a new article.

I, in particular, like this paragraph –

I find it astonishing that corporate fraud continues to increase and top management is leading the way. The increase in the FRP statistic seems to bear out the spread of the cancer that has been attacking the capitalistic system during the past 20 years or so. Remember the “Greed is Good” mantra in Wall Street? Well it’s instructive to look at the entire quote by Gordon Gekko: “The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book you either do it right or you get eliminated…The  point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the            essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the uoward surge of mankind.”

I won’t spoil the article by revealing more. But I promise you if you subscribe and favorite the Ethics Sage, you will have little cause for regret and many reasons to be pleased with your good judgment.

James Pilant

stand strong (via lazywednesdays)

Some poetry for you day and mine.

James Pilant

close the door stand strong don't give in to their chants and songs noisy excessive din be bold take control you have a job to do You won't be moved to their weakness no surrender stand up tall give your all their cries and pleas contagious disease look at them down there pathetic we are united you and I together we will make history we will change history Listen to me their fears and concerns will soon pass with them they'll forget what you did … Read More

via lazywednesdays