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Author Archives: usindiamonitor

The Democrats are TRYING to Lose

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor. For now. What’s the point.

It all came to me recently like an epiphany of psychopathy. When I see what House Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Nadler, and the Squad are doing, or waste my time on the Democratic presidential primary debates, the crystal ball actually becomes clear for brief glimpses. The Democrats are TRYING to lose. Ah, it all makes sense now!

(Getty)

There can be no other explanation. They just don’t want to win.

They want to look weak.

They have zero charisma.

They have no moral courage- only moral outrage.

They present no vision for the future.

They do not want lead.

They LOVE to follow.

Their vague slogans suck.

They are enslaved by a rabid minority of “woke” social justice warriors on social media who lead them down rabbit holes that don’t matter to most Americans.

They react instead of act.

Don’t take my word for it. Not a one of them seems to be capable of taking on the criminally insane neanderthal whose brain is quickly descending into little more than a slurry of mush, emitting brain farts and verbal diarrhea from his toilet seat Twitter account. This pervert orangutan just might win again despite presenting the easiest possible cakewalk for Democrats to either impeach him or defeat him in 2020’s election.

Democrats are such a pathetic joke. There is not a mountain but a mountain range of evidence of criminal misbehavior to impeach this twat and his lackeys like the hack Barr and the crook Pence 100 times over. Take your pick: lowering America’s shield to let the Russians attack us. Purposely eroding the protection of election infrastructure. Abusing his office as a walking emoluments clause violation. Tax fraud. Insurance fraud. Bribery by foreign governments. Attacking our own FBI, CIA, and press. Embezzling campaign, charity, presidential transition, GOP, and inauguration dollars. Dozens of counts of obstructing justice. Covering up obstruction of justice. Conspiracy with foreign intelligence agencies. Collusion with foreign business partners. Illegal election payments to porn stars and Playboy bunnies. Hacking Facebook accounts, probably yours included. Breaking laws to freely and openly pollute our land, air, sea, lakes, and rivers. Praising the dictators that chop American resident journalists to pieces. Locking children in cages. Giving cruel dictators around the world like Modi, Xi, Kim, Putin, and MBS succor and free reign to butcher people. The economy is obviously tanking, the deficits are exploding, the Russians are hacking, and current policies are leading us straight into the next recession- like every goddam Republican president does without fail over and over again in a predictable horror movie we’ve seen before.

While Trump and McConnell piss on the US Constitution like Russian hookers in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton bed, what are the Democrats, the opposition party and so-called resistance, the only thing standing between us and the death of democracy doing?

Muddling through an impeachment inquiry while they can’t even agree on what to call it. Arguing about who is better on racism and reparations. Debating about an unpopular, half-baked health care plan that has no strategy and isn’t funded. Shouting about whether there should be a Q in LGBTQ. Arguing about which bathrooms people can use and who had a more difficult childhood and what percentage of your DNA is Native American. The Democrats are entirely tone deaf and completely disassociated from what most Americans care about. They want to lose. Let’s just accept it. Political correctness is more important to them. The world makes sense now.

The solution is easy. File the damn Articles of Impeachment already. Repeat after me. Every other word out of the mouths of every Democrat should be impeachment. Every other action by every Democrat should be impeachment. Lead! Take a stand! Have a spine! Whatever the faults of the cheating, corporation-owned Republicans leading America off the cliff fast, to their benefit the other side has no compunctions; they impeached a dude over a dick-sucking in the Oval Office, and then went on to romp to victory in 2000 anyway, because at least they have the balls if not a beating heart.

Even a shred less than my solution is utter failure, which is exactly where this train wreck is headed as these cowards on the left shirk their constitutional duty to the American people. It appears this is exactly what they want anyway, because they are afraid of taking power, responsibility, and accountability.

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WATCH NOW: Grandpa Kitchen YouTube Channel

My new favorite cooking show on YouTube is an unlikely candidate. Being experienced in Indian cooking, I don’t often go online to find out how Indian people like to make things, because I can go to my mother or other personally known experts for subcontinental cuisine data mining. I’d rather learn about say, Chinese or South American recipes. So I was skeptical when YouTube’s AI algorithms suggested something new, which I very nearly skipped over. But Grandpa Kitchen is a program based in India that has stolen my heart, despite the cooking show not even having any sort of kitchen to speak of. And I’m not alone: there are millions of hits per video and a massive global fan base including nearly 6 million subscribers built up in just the last two years. You could call it a sensation, and it’s pretty unique at that.

Grandpa Kitchen features an elderly, weather-beaten gentleman with a gangster silver mustache who dons a lungi and does all of the cooking outdoors on a Telangana farm over open flames in giant pots, pans, or grills. The scenery is gorgeous and peaceful. The quantities of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food being prepared are gigantic, because “Grandpa” Narayana Reddy and his team feed the food to a large group of needy town orphans at the end of every episode in a touching display of charity that never fails to melt my heart. The grub is also world-class, and besides Indian Grandpa expertly makes Japanese, Italian, American, Chinese, and other types of dishes exceedingly well. I have seen over a dozen episodes at this point, and every single recipe looks perfectly seasoned and on-point despite the massive quantities of seafood, vegetables, meat, fats and spices required each time. The ratio just gets nailed, along with the timing over an open fire. This guy has been living food all his life and it shows.

Perhaps best of all, like all great grandparents, Grandpa has this sense of humor that is at once disarmingly self-deprecating, compassionate, and cocky. Grandpa clearly knows he is now a celebrated star on YouTube, and he knows he is a master chef, but also accepts that his accent, limited use of English words, actions and mannerisms are all comical, so he hams it up. In one of my favorite mannerisms, in every episode you will see him introduce himself to the audience in a heavy Indian accent, “This is YOUR Grandpa!” Yes sir, mine are both long gone sadly, and I am letting you fill right in.

We cannot think of a better charity to get behind right now in India. Support this channel so they keep going! Watch it now for fun! Donate on their Patreon Page! Learn how to make some awesome food in the process!

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

JUMP RIGHT IN GRANDPA SAYS IT’S OK!

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VIDEO: Is Dharam Pal Singh the Oldest Man Alive- and Oldest Marathoner at 119?

This is in extraordinary story already whether his age is true or not. I invite you to judge for yourself by viewing this video by The Atlantic Online.

WATCH: John Oliver’s Mt. Everest Takedown

Mt. Everest has become a trendy climb for the wealthy. But all is not what it seems at this South Asian destination seemingly at the top of the world. Watch this now!

THIS MUMBAI BILLBOARD IS WORTH A (MINUS) BILLION WORDS

via snopes.com

This is a real billboard advertising the Trump Tower in the Worli neighborhood of Mumbai. Read this previous article on our site to learn more about Trump’s various connections to India and Indian-Americans.

IMPEACH NOW. BECAUSE HE IS AN UN-AMERICAN CONFEDERATE.

“You know, ‘It’s in the rules,’ is not an argument that works on Donald Trump. You’re playing Monopoly with a hyena. When it bites you and shits on the board, saying ‘It’s not your turn’ really doesn’t work.”

— Bill Maher, 5/3/2019

via forum.goregrish.com

***

America is not just a country. America is an idea. Americans are part of an earnest if imperfect experiment with self-evident truths that has shaped the global order for generations.

There are things that make the American idea. America has an unrivaled, unique place in the histories of mankind and nation-states as the only one not founded and ruled by kings, queens, sultans, dictators, pharaohs, emperors, chiefs, chieftains, princes, caesars, overlords, or maharajas enforcing the law by family birthright from above on their subjects by the whip and sword. For many millennia before America arrived in the late 1700s, the best anybody could hope for was to live beneath a “benevolent” dictator who cared about the subjects whose necks were under his boot. Most of the world followed America’s suit by overthrowing the yokes of colonialism, fascism, communism, imperialism, slavery, and royalty since then thanks to American leadership.

None of this progress should be taken for granted. The idea of America is this day under ferocious attack from within. There is a Confederate hyena eating a cheeseburger in bed right now in the White House against the idea of America. This makes the hyena un-American. It would drag us by the claws back into the good old days of tyrannical monarchy. The hyena is working on it with its family and other minions today even as you read this. For this simple reason, it must be stopped. The only way to stop this hyena is to impeach it in Congress, where Democrats won a historic House gain in 2018, a blue wave repudiation of the hyena by the American people.

Hand-wringing arguments abound for why Congress shouldn’t fulfill its constitutional duty to the American idea and impeach, foremost among them that the proceedings would certainly fail at the hands of a complicit Republican-controlled Senate, leading to the inevitable landslide victory for the hyena laughing all the way into 2020. This hypothesis is based on three assumptions I consider premature: (1) 20 Senate Republicans won’t defect no matter what evidence is presented; (2) The hyena’s weak poll numbers will jump significantly enough to win after surviving an impeachment; and (3) The American people aren’t to be trusted. While we have no crystal ball, these flawed assumptions hold a cynical view of the ability of Americans to assess evidence once it has been presented to them. But we haven’t even seen large reams of relevant evidence yet, due to the significant obstruction. We still don’t know everything that happened. We still haven’t heard Mueller speak. These charges, if brought, might make for a slam-dunk case.

Bring the impeachment battle into the only arena which matters, the United States Congress. Republicans appear to be itching for this fight by obstructing the Russia and obstruction investigations, then mischaracterizing the obstructed and heavily redacted Mueller Report, and now trying to shut down all relevant cooperation. These are naked attempts to illegally hide and whitewash the truth.

There is only one remedy left.

Predictions on winning or losing should not be the only calculation in any given fight, least of all when democracy and the Constitution are at stake. The overarching need to impeach now is not just a political problem, but a moral one. Worse than the high crimes and misdemeanors already committed and which continue on an ongoing basis, are the nature of them that can only be described as un-American. We will cease to be recognizable as Americans if we allow the head of our government to be a Confederate owned by foreigners without our nation’s interests at heart, but only his own.

We should have heeded the warning signs during the 2012 election cycle, when the hyena began testing the political waters with a false narrative about President Obama’s birthplace. This sickening rant unworthy of the KKK wasn’t just racist and xenophobic. The birther movement birthed the current Confederate’s political career. It was based on a lie, just one of 10,000 documented lies we have heard uttered in public as if insulting our intelligence doesn’t matter.

But it’s not just the constant conning of Americans at stake. The policies are downright sinful. Banning people from countries because of religion is un-American and contradicts the separation of church and state. Border walls, prying crying babes from their mothers’ arms, falsely accusing the previous president of spying, calling the press the enemy of the people, bullying private citizens on Twitter, encouraging violence against political opponents and rally protesters, firing FBI Directors, Attorneys General, Generals, and White House lawyers for not taking a personal loyalty oath, calling Neo-Nazis fine people, insulting war heroes like McCain and Mueller and Gold Star families while giving succor to rogue dictators, this is all every bit un-American as pissing on the flag.

Most un-American and damning of all is gleefully watching the Russians interfere in the 2016 US election and doing nothing about it, ever, because you welcomed that interference publicly, and it helped you win a razor-thin victory. Denying that proven interference since, because the cheating makes you look bad. But it gets worse. Forbidding your government from doing anything about it? Ignoring US military and intelligence agencies’ dire warnings? Instead to tout Putin’s lines for him as his ventriloquist’s dummy?

There is nothing more sacred to democracy than free and fair elections. Without them, there is no democracy, and no America. When Mueller and Congress have attempted to honestly investigate that attack on our democracy, the hyena has obstructed and denied at every turn. What are they hiding? What is being covered up? Why are they so afraid of us learning? Why haven’t we seen the tax returns, financial records, or heard from Don McGahn? Why did the hyena’s kith and kin such as Donald, Jr., Kushner, Papadopoulos, Sessions, Manafort, Cohen, Flynn, Stone, and Gates all lie about their extensive Russia contacts?

We know why.

No president has ever been as perfect a candidate for impeachment. Impeachment inquiries and testimony would uncover at least some of that which is hidden. It’s well within the rights of Congress as a co-equal branch of government to shine the light. Thankfully the current Congress is going about it the right way by calling in witnesses and records as the first step. Much has come out just since January that was being hidden by the previous epically corrupt Congress. Just one single day of testimony by Michael Cohen exposed a multitude of new crimes, new lies, and obstruction worthy of further investigation that the American people didn’t even know about. Expose enough of these in public, and the necessary next step can be taken, and subsequently the American people will give 20 Senate Republicans the cover they need to finally do the right thing.

Americans will come to know we are still today under attack by foreign powers being assisted by a Confederate hyena of a ventriloquist’s dummy, and if we do nothing 2020 will be targeted by the same or additional forces with even more at stake than last time. Impeachment is the only way we will ever arrive at the truth. This behavior must be punished. It is the only way that the American idea will endure this dark period where democracy hangs by a thread.

Mahanth S. Joishy

Remembering an Unforgettable Sri Lanka Visit

EDITOR’S NOTE: I visited Sri Lanka as my very first of 10 countries during a 6 month world tour in 2012.

It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. In light of the horrible attacks on Sri Lanka today, I want to remind the world what a great place with great people this is, despite the senseless violence you hear about. Tragically, one of the bomb blasts targeted a hotel many friends and I stayed in and thoroughly enjoyed in Colombo, the Cinnamon Grand. We can hope the cowards who perpetrated this horror will be brought to justice soon.

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I would like to dedicate this blog entry to my pal Krishna and his new bride Neesha, to the extent that one can dedicate a blog entry to anyone.  The fabulous wedding hosted by the couple and their families in Colombo was four days of joyous celebration for a big group of us college buddies and spouses from abroad, and this mini-reunion was the first bookend of my 2012 tour.  For more than 10 years I had vowed to make it to Colombo to witness Krish getting betrothed whenever it might happen.  As floor mates, roommates, or housemates, through four years in college we were never very far apart- generally with him barely talking, and me talking too much (shocking).  I wouldn’t have missed this important moment. 

I touched down in the capital city of Colombo (more big town than small city) on January 25th and was pleasantly surprised to find many differences from the urban India I know.  The contrast in temperature was overwhelming- in New York there was heavy snow on the ground as the plane took off from JFK, and Colombo was sunny and low 90’s- a body-shocking 60 degree swing.  I was expecting to find a mini-India vibe with similar landscapes, food, and culture but in fact Sri Lanka is unlike anywhere else in South Asia.  The people are thoroughly laid-back in the classic island sense, which is good when it comes to relaxing near the beach, but not so good if you are trying to get through immigration at the international airport and the requisite duty officer is sleeping at his desk (true story).  Along the road from the airport to the city visitors can observe large Buddha statues, colorful Jesus statues, and Hindu shrines all intermingled in the suburban centers- which were an excellent sign of religious and ethnic tolerance.  After two decades of brutal civil war only just ended in recent memory between the Tamil Tiger separatists and the Singhalese-majority government, after blood-curdling atrocities committed by both sides over many years, I was glad to see numerous outward signs of harmony in Colombo, Kandy (the country’s second city), and some of the rural areas that I visited.

There is much positive to say about the Ceylonese folks.  Commerce seems to be moving along, tourism is growing rapidly now that it’s safer to travel the small country’s various parts, plenty of new infrastructure construction is underway, and on a related note foreign powers such as China and Malaysia appear to be investing heavily here.  Global NGOs have substantial operations performing good work.  I was surprised at how clean and organized Colombo was, how nobody was urinating on the streets, how white foreigners weren’t being ogled by everyone as they would be in India.  Well-maintained gardens and roads spread through the town.  I did not see much of the Sri Lankan beaches but my understanding is that they are comparable in quality to other Asian destinations with the benefit of lower cost for holidays.

To follow the larger theme we’re finding throughout Asia, Sri Lanka is clearly going someplace, forging ahead for the better especially in urban centers, where a thriving middle class is apparent and people are starting to enjoy a higher standard of living, as evidenced by shopping malls, theaters, electronic equipment stores, and fast-food restaurants being frequented by a burgeoning demographic profile.  Whether this lifestyle and modernity in general will seep into the heartlands and lift up the rural poor is still an open question, like it is for India, China, and others.  I am not so sure and the local elites I spoke with were not definitive, either.  The next question is whether Western culture and the local culture can coexist harmoniously- a dilemma for all of Asia.

In Colombo, Team Georgetown stayed at a nice resort called the Cinnamon Grand.  While we took advantage of the standard amenities- gym, spa, pool, tennis courts, shopping center, and poolside bar- for me the hotel’s food was most memorable.  On the first day I reached the hotel very early in the morning, well before sunrise, and was on my own for a while.  When the elaborate breakfast buffet opened up at Taprobane, the in-house Sri Lankan restaurant, I was floored.  Here was the bright sun rising over the resort’s shiny goldfish-laden lagoon.  What commenced next was a non-stop tour of food consumption featuring both Western and Eastern breakfast treats: an omelet made to order with extra chilies, string hoppers, hoppers, three different kinds of spicy and delicious sambals, sambar, and chicken curry.  A wide selection of breads, pastries, and fruit were sampled along with a cup or two of very tasty coffee.  The meal was awesome in every respect except one: I was quite sad to find my belly was filling up and there was no more room to eat more breakfast morsels.  The heart was saying yes, but the stomach was saying no!  There were, however, four more mornings of breakfast buffet to have, these times with company.

But that was nothing.  At a different part of the hotel lies the restaurant Lagoon, where several of us agreed we had found that most precious of edible treasures, literally the best seafood I’ve ever eaten anywhere.  I can happily say this without an ounce of exaggeration.  Customers come by, pick the specific fish, prawns, lobster, squid, or crab they want to eat from the front counter, all incredibly fresh or still alive, and then pick the type of preparation and sauce they prefer.  The chefs prepare each item to order right then behind the dining area.  Recommendations are given on request, and after sampling 7 or 8 different dishes over two different evenings, every single one divinely fresh, delicate and perfectly seasoned, several of us came to the consensus about what a highlight this place was.  Beer and lobster thermidor, dude!

Among the more interesting things I did in Colombo away from the wedding was to shadow my friend who works at an American money management firm as he went to a series of meetings with local company CEOs and CFOs for the better part of a day.  At each meeting all of the classic problems with doing business in South Asian countries became painfully apparent: high levels of political meddling in industry by certain individuals, opacity, and the strange propensity for companies to conglomerate into half a dozen unrelated industries under one corporate umbrella.  For example, a beverage bottling business might also invest in real estate, telecommunications, and agriculture. The executives were very nice, but also exceedingly casual; none of the meetings started on time, and the staff at the securities firm that set up the meetings often had no idea which room we were supposed to go in, resulting in unexpectedly long tours of buildings.  While the war is over, tourism booms and the economic outlook is looking up, without naming names I would suspect that overall corporate management will need to reach for higher standards before they can expect to become world-beaters. 

The wedding ceremonies were lively, colorful, loud, and plenty of fun and in that they are similar to weddings in India.  The main wedding event was on Saturday during the day at a large Hindu temple in Colombo.  Other receptions and parties, all with grand meals served, took place on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday to make it a solid four day affair. 

The day I reached, unable to fall sleep due to jet lag, I jumped right into things.  As I arrived on Wednesday, I got the chance to spend some quality time at Krishna’s family home during the day, and it was a bustling hive of activity.  Workers, maids, delivery people, and numerous relatives were busily moving in and out of the house.  I watched Krish make at least 20 phone calls to go over logistics for events and guests traveling from around the world.  It was quite hectic, but this surreal tableau was all part of the experience for me, as I was still trying to get over the fact I had been trudging in dirty snow just the day before. 

Day one ended with an organized dance practice as I was inserted into a performance by Krishna’s school friends and cousins representing the boys’ side in a friendly competition at the cocktail party scheduled the next day.  Representing your side in song and dance is taken seriously in Hindu weddings, so I was putting my all into it, while offering the group some comic relief during practice as well.  And of course, we got rave reviews.

The next four days were a blur of activity- wedding functions, meeting up with old friends, making new ones, eating lots of food, and exploring different corners of Colombo.  Fancy lunches, high tea, doubles tennis, swimming, and conversations about careers, relationships, and parenthood abounded.  The final event was the Sunday night reception, which featured literally the best bharatanatyam performance I’ve ever seen, with India’s leading mother and daughter dancing duo uniquely fused with local Sri Lankan musicians holding a lively drum beat.  With a former President and an ex-Prime Minister of Sri Lanka along with a smattering of High Commissioners in attendance, Sri Lankan Special Forces (see left) were standing guard at the Hilton to prevent an international incident.

After Colombo, the newlyweds and a few others of us joined up at Nuwara Eliya, the world-famous tea estates at the top of some steep hills and about an intensely curvy and climbing 6 hour drive from the capital.  The altitude brought some very welcome cool weather and mist.  We stayed at a beautiful hill resort called the Heritance Tea Factory, which was in fact a tea processing facility operated by the British for many decades of colonial rule.  Almost all of the original architecture and machinery were kept intact in this fascinating building, and if you closed your eyes for a minute it felt like being transported back to the 1800’s during the height of the British Raj. 

The tea estates make up just about the entire local economy of the region, with hundreds of workers plying the trade of growing, picking, and processing fine teas for the rest of the world to wake up to.  The views of the surrounding hills, lakes, and water bodies are downright breathtaking.  Thousands of rows of tea plants and other green vegetation at various heights stretch as far as the eye can see, dotted with women in colorful saris working the land.  On the first morning at the estate, a couple of us went on a brisk guided trek through the estates and forestry.  We visited a local village to see how the locals lived, while learning about the many species of birds, trees and plants that call this place home. 

During the trek I also participated in an engaging political discussion with an elderly British gentleman, a fellow traveler who had traversed the length and breadth of America for work over many years.  He has observed town after town in the heartland fall into decay from an outsider’s point of view, and we lamented the current state of affairs in Western civilization.  From the heights of the Nuwara Eliya tea estates, we both thoroughly denounced the Tea Party, which brought home that educated people around the world were monitoring the phenomenon with great concern just as many Americans are.  He had several memorable quotes: “After World War II during reconstruction: that was your country’s best time, I think,” he said earnestly, which made me rather proud to be American.  And at the end, “Isn’t it nice how two people of different ages and from different places can share the same ideas?”  Agreed.

On the way back to Colombo, from where I’d fly to Thailand, we stopped for several hours in Kandy, the second city with a sweet name, and at one point the capital of kingdoms of yore.  Kandy is famous for the most important Buddha temple in Sri Lanka, and allegedly the home of Buddha’s very tooth.  Inside the temple is an illustrated account of how that tooth came to be there- and the great hardships taken on by Buddhist devotees to move the tooth from place to place facing massive obstacles.  This temple housed the finest collection of buddha statues and artwork I have ever seen- including gold, marble, precious gems and stones, ceramics, and other materials.  Kandy was worth visiting just for this, and it was a good halt in the road trip for lunch as well.

There is much else to do in Sri Lanka, but I only had a week.  I’ve heard about the amazing beaches, the ruins of ancient civilizations up north, museums, and other trappings of the British Raj that I missed on this trip.  One thing is for certain: I will be back.  For now I’m satisfied with having come away with the best bharatanatyam performance and best seafood meal of my life within a week.

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

FROM THE VAULT: A Primer on WikiLeaks

Editor’s Note: This piece was written in 2012 when WikiLeaks and Julian Assange first became famous. Now that Assange has finally been arrested after all these years, I thought it was worth pulling this up now as a primer. This is all a bit complicated and doesn’t fit a neat narrative, including a left/right one…

via hiptoro.com

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Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

With the recent document dump by the website Wikileaks.org, 25,000 State Department cables that had been previously classified were released into the public domain in one fell swoop. As with most controversial political issues of the day, pundits and public leaders around the world came out by the thousands to comment on this unprecedented event. The latest episode came on the heals of the previous big Wikileaks story: the release of thousands of secret documents regarding the conduct of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a military video of a tragic killing in an Iraqi neighborhood by American troops from an Apache helicopter. As with the embassy cables, the war diaries run the gamut from the mundane, which is mostly the case, to quite serious and disturbing. I recommend for all of you to read the fascinating New Yorker account of how this came to pass. 

The Wikileaks exposures of sensitive government documents that were not meant for public consumption represent societal conundrums that are yet to be judged in either a court of law, or of public opinion. Is Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a hero, a whistle blower, a criminal, or a terrorist? Is he a force for good or evil? He has been called all of these things. And in an exceedingly rare case of a person entering the world stage in so dramatic and important a way, he cannot be pigeonholed as any one of these. This would be a gross and unjust oversimplification. For Mr. Assange, ladies and gentlemen, is all of these things at once- defying definitions and straining our moral assumptions. 

Whatever the outcome of all this, and whatever your opinion of it might be, Wikileaks has helped alter the course of human history by catalyzing a form of rogue journalism that is impossible for governments to prevent or stop. For a change we have someone throwing caution to the wind instead of erring on the side of caution. 

Technology has made it possible to run your website piecemeal on servers all over the world in countries with varying laws about censorship and cyber security. Once Wikileaks documents are published on the web, they cannot be easily taken down, and will never disappear from the public eye once documents have gone viral. The documents are already out there, and the backups of the backups have backups. Finances and operations are decentralized and run by shadowy members around the globe. What’s been done can never be undone. This is the largest shift from how secrets were stolen before- a tape, a person, a room, a computer, a camera, or a notebook with sensitive information can be stolen or destroyed even if there are multiples. Document dumps onto the web cannot. 

So what now? The future of the website or the copycat movement it will spawn are hard to fathom. We can only conjecture on what has already happened. It’s time for the good, the bad, and the… highly entertaining.

No Page-Turner. After skimming the site and reading numerous accounts of the supposedly juiciest tidbits that Wikileaks has published, I was disappointed by the lack of truly interesting documents. Far from earth-shattering, most exposed documents describe routine matters and few surprises. So diplomats send cables about Libya’s dictator traveling around with a “voluptuous blonde” nurse, or Putin likes to get drunk with Berlusconi? Less interesting than a single page of any Nelson DeMille novel. I was actually pleased to see that diplomats played hardball when trying to convince foreign countries to accept Guantanamo detainees- offering aid here and a meeting with Obama there. That’s awesome- that’s what they’re supposed to be doing, it’s what we pay them for! Reading any given cable to the extent it’s worth it, is less a surprise than an affirmation that many at State were pushing US interests hard. Good. 

Public Service?. Government agencies got a horrific wakeup call that was desperately needed- and of little surprise to most astute observers. For this reason, and the fact that little if anything truly dangerous leaked out yet, Americans should be highly grateful to Wikileaks. If the US Army or the State Department could allow disgruntled runts to simply waltz out of the office with thousands of sensitive documents capable of causing such an international stir, security measures are woefully lacking. There are far too many people with high-level clearances, too many sensitive documents floating around, and too little control of the flow of information we are told is so goddam critical to national security. If this stuff was so critical, it should have been guarded far more jealously. The current situation is unacceptable. President Obama should call an immediate review of US government agencies’ information security practices. Governors and Mayors across the nation need to do the same. This isn’t just for the Pentagon or State; other agencies one wouldn’t usually expect to need worry about such as the Department of Agriculture, Social Security Administration, or the state DMV all harbor documents we wouldn’t want in the wrong hands and certainly not out in public.

The Danger Zone. This brings us to why Wikileaks is potentially a big threat. It demonstrates how a small group of determined individuals seeking to perform chaos can probably manage to do some serious harm, using a small network of inside informants and tech savvy hackers in key places. They could release documents that could get people killed if terrorists or foreign governments got a hold of them. This in itself should worry us. Although there is something fair and even democratic in the end product being seen by website visitors- government documents in their original form for one to judge for himself or herself, something traditional journalism does not give us- Wikileaks self-selects what documents get released and when. The site decides on the sources to use, and they are not made public. However socially responsible their goals may be, and however noble a goal it is to investigate how taxpayer money is really being spent, it is dangerous to wield this power to decide who and what makes the cut. You cannot shine a light from a dark place over a long period of time. It carries the type of potential for abuse of power that Wikileaks is supposed to be against.

Should it be Shut? There is much talk of shutting down the site, arresting its principals, and making an example of them. Clearly a number of U.S. laws have been broken regarding release of classified information. However, Assange and most of his team are not U.S. citizens, and in fact many of them are not known. The information was leaked from the inside of government first, and in the case of State it’s not clear which runt(s) were responsible. While the Wikileaks team could be considered accomplices to the initial crimes of stealing, the unique nature of what the website has done so far will never be stopped. In fact, imprisoning Assange could make him a sort of martyr, which could be exactly what he wants in order to accelerate the movement exponentially. 

Spreading Democracy? Although the American media is largely missing this point, closed and corrupt governments such as those in China, Russia, North Korea, Burma, and Iran are much less concerned with what US diplomats are saying about them than what Wikileaks could say about them. In this sense, Wikileaks has done Western governments and people the most important service of all. Autocrats trying to keep things close to the vest are probably pretty worried right now. 

At its best, Wikileaks could expose things to the global public that journalists, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement cannot or are unable to. It could even help bring down or alter regimes more easily than a superpower can. If it stays open, I hope Wikileaks does so. And if a byproduct of this is some more accountability at home, then so be it. Those who follow the rules generally have less to worry about.

TV REVIEW: Netflix’s Delhi Crime is THE BEST Indian TV I have Ever Seen

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

Those of us familiar with Indian television shows are accustomed to a certain look and feel. In much of it there is something missing, if you are spoiled by Hollywood standards. Rarely will you find the elusive combination of high-quality screenwriting, acting, direction, editing, lighting and film technology to call an Indian TV series world-class. In an interview Bollywood actor Prashantt Guptha told me that screenwriting in India is the weakest link in the chain.

This is especially disappointing because in so many ways, India is a more interesting setting for film than most places in the world. With cultural, religious, ethnic, and breathtaking landscape diversity both rural and urban, the ancient and ultramodern juxtaposed bizarrely, and humans and their problems literally overflowing onto the streets with fantastic food everywhere. The music and the clothes are as intense as the food. Add a potent crush of political and societal issues such as #MeToo and gang rape always in the background, and India is ripe for a global television audience. Netflix’s Delhi Crime is a must-watch television drama based on true events, that exhibits the awesome potential of mating Western technology and expertise with Indian artistes and an Indian city as itself the main character in the show.

I was not expecting much from Delhi Crime when I began watching it- expecting some hackneyed themes from the Indian true crime police procedural, especially because Bollywood has done tons and tons of police film. Yet Delhi Crime is a true masterpiece and stands not as a great Indian show, but a great show period. Too many times I have seen Indian actors mailing it in while the story drags on and broods on its own wannabe profundity- such as Netflix’s first Indian offering, the less watchable Sacred Games, which wasted the talents of a number of fine actors. I don’t even remember what this show was supposed to be about after watching most of the season with a now-crushed desire to review it on this site.

Delhi Crime is on the other hand hard to stop watching from beginning to end. It’s not just binge-worthy. It is the best Indian television I have ever seen. We start with a gruesome crime in the nation’s capital, much worse than just a run of the mill gang rape, with highly realistic and honest portrayals of the involved Delhi police officers and officials- heroism, incompetence, workaholism, corruption, warts, and all. The political overlords were not lionized or demonized. The show is much more raw than most Indian cinema with its escapism and desire to paint everything in black and white: the cop as either hero or devil, without nuance. In this the show reminded me favorably of HBO’s classic, The Wire: criminals and cops alike are shown as complex individuals with troubled but relatable personal lives and pasts. With the wide array of philosophical differences between the various characters, the show provides a competent bird’s eye view of the Nirbhaya case which stained India permanently. As the icing on the cake, the music is fitting, and the food looks so good at times I was salivating.

Shefali Shah acted so well in the lead role, I almost thought that she was the real life Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the investigation- in turns managing the team brilliantly and misfiring easy decisions. The bad guys were so greasy and disgusting, I thought they just may have pulled the real life villains out of prison to be on the show. The actress who played the victim Abhilasha Singh had a small but memorable stint. Overall, none of the acting was bad. This is just about a first for Indian TV in my experience.

There are only two facets I choose to criticize in the show. There are shockingly piss-poor translations between the spoken Hindi dialogue, the overdubs, and the subtitles. Secondly, the storyline of the DCP’s troubled daughter is trite, unnecessary, distracting and poorly executed.

Most of all, kudos to Canadian-American director and co-creator Richie Mehta. Let’s hope Netflix, Amazon, and other Western based studios will continue their deep dive into Indian film. There is much that is worth watching in modern India, a misunderstood rising superpower whose welfare has increasingly critical ramifications for the rest of the world. Put this one at the top of your queue, or better yet- turn it on now!

The New Tan Commandments of Pervert Orangutan

It’s about time that we updated this hallowed document that has formed the basis for laws, constitutions, and general morality for centuries. Clearly the original one is pointedly outdated. Drafted here are the new (Spray) Tan Commandments in modern America thanks to Pervert Orangutan. Now THIS is the roadmap for how you MAGA.

MADE IN CHINA OF COURSE… via indiatimes.com
  1. Cheat on AND rape your first wife.
  2. Cheat on your second wife who you met while cheating on your first wife.
  3. Cheat on your third wife, especially during the childbirth of your son, with a porn star and Playboy bunny, then cover up and lie about the affairs with your mushroom shaped penis.
  4. Cheat on your taxes, take $415 million from Daddy, and tell your fans that he only gave you $1 million to explain how you lost it all.
  5. Create a charity and campaign for president just to embezzle even more money.
  6. Start a fake university and rob millions of dollars from poor people.
  7. Wherever possible, Grab Them by the Pu$$y.
  8. Rip off your contractors, hire illegal aliens, and have Daddy buy casino chips to keep your sinking casino afloat.
  9. Foment racism and white supremacy by claiming America’s first black president and last real president wasn’t born in America.
  10. Conspire with and aspire to join the league of dick taters.

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