Monday, 8 June 2009

Wall Street owned Congress

As if the bank bailouts weren’t proof enough that Wall Street owned Congress. History will likely show that these bailouts involved the largest transfer of wealth ever — from the working class to that small group of billionaires who own the corporations.
This fact is recognized by most people now and is such common knowledge that even the mainstream media feels comfortable discussing it…matter-of-factly.
These corporations have also exerted tremendous influence in other realms of politics, working towards destroying Obama’s campgain promises of health care, job creation, civil liberties, the Employee Free Choice Act, peace, etc.
In each case, the promised reform was gutted of its essence, and “compromise” versions of the bills are now being discussed: instead of universal health care, we will likely be universally mandated to purchase health insurance; instead of “job creation” we are told that the stimulus has “saved jobs” (contrary to the evidence); while troops are “drawing down” from Iraq, the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan is being escalated; instead of allowing workers to organize unions easier, a compromise version – Employee Free Choice Act, minus card check — seems more politically “pragmatic,” etc.
Even Obama’s smaller reforms face similar partial abortions in Congress. For example, Obama recently signed into legislation the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act. But, as The New York Times pointed out, the bill “was missing its centerpiece: a change in bankruptcy law he [Obama] once championed that would have given judges the power to lower the amount owed on a home loan.” ( Ailing, Banks Still Field Strong Lobby at Capitol, June 6, 2009)
Obama was not demanding that foreclosures cease, or that those who’ve recently lost their homes — because of the economic crisis — be allowed to return to them; he was merely advocating that those who can still afford mortgage payments be allowed to lower their balances.
Even this small crumb for homeowners was rejected by Wall Street, whose profits would have suffered.
The New York Times explains: “… the [bills] real threat was to their [the banks] profits. The proposal would have shifted negotiating power to the millions of troubled homeowners who could use the threat of bankruptcy to wrest lower monthly payments from lenders.”
This truth prompted an oddly blunt reply from Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:
“This is one of the most extreme examples I have seen of a special interest wielding its power for the special interest of a few against the general benefit of millions of homeowners and thousands of communities now being devastated by foreclosure.”
The New York Times article also quieted those apologists for Obama who claim that he is an honest leader held back by an unreasonably conservative Democratic Congress:
“Throughout it all, the banks took advantage of the Obama administration’s seeming ambivalence. Despite its occasional populist rhetoric, the White House was conspicuously absent from weeks of pivotal negotiations this spring.”
“While Mr. Obama reaffirmed his support for the proposal shortly after becoming president, administration officials barely participated in the negotiations, a factor that [corporate] lobbyists said significantly strengthened their hand.”
It must be noted that the corporation’s next big demand on the government will be to eliminate the tremendous U.S. debt, which they rightly view as a destabilizing factor for making profits. The problem lies in how they will propose to correct the problem: through the gutting of the U.S. social safety nets such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs that benefit working families and the poor.
This government debt is the direct result of trillion dollar bank bailouts and wars of aggression that benefit only the rich. The working class, however, is being enlisted to pay for these polices.
The New York Times article ends with an important lesson:
“There was no counterweight to that [the banks] legislative muscle. Bankrupt homeowners do not have a political action committee or lobbyists.”
And while labor unions do have lobbyists, they cannot compete with the purchasing power of the banks. The fact that these two groups are both members of the same political party — vying for the ear of the same politicians — is utter lunacy. This tactic has yielded absolutely zero results for workers: every progressive promise of Obama’s has been butchered beyond recognition, or outright ignored.
This is because the Democratic Party is a party of big business, now more than ever. This fact is especially important in these times of economic crisis, where corporations are — because of shrinking profits — becoming louder in their condemnation of unions, while being emboldened by Obama’s horrendous anti-labor handling of the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies.
The political power of the corporations is dramatically exposing the rotten nature of America’s political and economic system — represented by the Republicans and Democrats — where the tremendous wealth of a small group allows them unprecedented power at the expense of millions of others. Without an independent political voice, the working class will continue to be “betrayed” by Democratic politicians whose pie in the sky campaign promises fail to yield even crumbs.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Amritsar, Punjab

I read this book "Shame" by a British Punjabi woman, Jasvinder Sanghera, talking about the force marriage and "live for the honour of the family", which are still existing in the Sikh/Indian/Pakistani community in Britain. She herself is borned and raised in Britain, but ran away from home to resist the force marriage at the age of 15, to a man in India who she has never knew or even met. She is disowned by her own family and been an outcast ever since. With her determination to help the other women who went through the same trauma as her, she set up Karma Nirvana, a community-based organisation to support the South Asian woman afected by domestic vilence and honour-based crimes. She araised my interest to see this holy place of Sikh, Amritsar.

I met with this young Hindu couple and visited the Hindu temple with them. There were on their honeymoon and were there to receive their blessing from the priest. They said, they had to run away from home due to the family objection for their marriage. They are from different caste.

What to see:

What else but the holy golden temple? The most significant place of worship of the Sikhs and one of the oldest Sikh gurdwaras. The temple is surrounded by a large Sarovar (manmade lake), known as the AmritSar (Lake of Holy Water or Immortal Nectar). All, man and woman, sikh or not, have to remove shoes and cover hair to enter the temple compound.

The worker or volunteer were preparing the chapati for all the devotees and visitors.

Go to the Indian-Pakistani border to feel the heat of the border ceremony.

What to drink: Chai!

Indian Chai is irresistable!

What to eat:

All are allowed to eat for free in Golden Temple. The atmosphere in the dinning hall was great. Queue up with the devotees and sit on the floor. Eating the simple rice and dal with hand. This is the generosity and equality preached by this religion.

What to do:

Shop for the cooked snacks, fresh fruits and vegetable from the small merchants!

Shoveling Billions

Our Economy Is Going to Keep Tanking Until We Stop Shoveling Billions to Rich People !!

For the past eight months, we have been a nation focused on bailouts and bankruptcies. For the past ten years, we have been a nation ignoring massive wealth transfer and wealth concentration through a rigged Wall Street.
As simple and clear as this picture is, some of the brightest minds in this country are unwilling to connect the cause and effect of wealth in too few hands to bankruptcies and a tanking economy.
Wealth-deprived consumers can’t buy the goods and services being produced. This leads to repetitive cycles of layoffs and growing unemployment which leads to more wealth-deprived consumers leading to more overcapacity in production plants, more layoffs, more shrinking purchasing power.
The accompanying, and equally dangerous, problem is that concentrated wealth stifles the very innovation that is necessary to create new industries, new jobs and lead us out of the downward economic spiral.
Let’s think about the individuals who tapped into Wall Street’s rigged wealth transfer system and what they have done with their ill-gotten loot: typically, they own three or more homes, fancy cars, multiple country club memberships, airplanes, yachts, and numbered offshore bank accounts. The problem is, they just can’t buy enough to compensate for the purchases they have deprived hundreds of thousands of other consumers from being able to make.
Goods sit on shelves, new orders get cancelled, leading to production cuts, layoffs, plant closings and bankruptcies.
In a nutshell, it’s the $1 Billion that Sandy Weill extracted from Citigroup as its former CEO and Chairman that’s the problem; it’s the $42 million condo he bought that’s depriving 140 other people from having $300,000 to buy a home ready to go into foreclosure for want of a buyer. It’s the hundreds of millions Weill is throwing around to plaster his name and his wife’s name on buildings that could be in the hands of 10,000 consumers going out to buy Chrysler and GM cars now gathering dust on the lots of dealers about to go bust.
It’s also that Sandy Weill and his colleagues of that era on Wall Street did not do anything worthy or smart in exchange for extracting that wealth from the system. They repealed the regulations that had kept the system on a more solid footing, then looted the system and left it a basket case. We have no residual benefits of innovation to compensate for all that missing wealth.
And that is the real and overlooked attendant danger: too many billionaires sitting atop too many billions tied up in mansions and yachts means that millions of budding innovators and entrepreneurs are being deprived of adequate funds to create the breakthroughs that will lead to new industries and future job growth.
And let’s not forget about the trillions of dollars of wealth that evaporated in bogus ventures that Weill and his fellow Wall Streeters brought to market on NASDAQ. Add those trillions to the bailout trillions and you’re looking at a lost generation of funds for innovation.
What all of this means is that President Obama has precious little time left to stop rewarding failure and bad behavior before his own Presidency is deemed a failure. It was difficult enough to countenance the reappearance in his administration of all those Wall Street faces who failed to rein in the Wall Street abuses or, worse, aided and abetted the actual creation of the opaque system that permitted the looting and pillaging. But this past week’s news that the President might be considering a pivotal role for the Federal Reserve in the new regulatory structure planned for Wall Street crosses the line, if true, from hubris to outright contempt for the American people.
The inherent cronyism of the Federal Reserve renders it utterly useless as a watchdog. (Why is it even necessary to have to state that obvious fact when no one can shake loose from the Fed what it’s done with trillions in taxpayer dollars or why it failed to police these Frankenbanks in the first place.) The same thing is true of the U.S. Treasury, which can’t auction its own debt without the goodwill of its Wall Street primary dealers.
According to March 31, 2009 data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, there are 8,246 FDIC insured institutions with total assets of $13.5 Trillion and domestic deposits of $7.5 Trillion. Four institutions, Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc., four institutions out of 8,246, control 35% of all the insured domestic deposits and 46% of the assets according to the March 31, 2009 figures from the FDIC.
Has the Federal Reserve taken steps to reduce this massive concentration since the financial crisis began? Quite the contrary. Bank of America was allowed to purchase the investment bank and brokerage firm Merrill Lynch as well as subprime lender Countrywide Financial; JPMorgan Chase took over the investment bank and brokerage firm Bear Stearns as well as Washington Mutual; Wells Fargo & Co. took over Wachovia.
The Federal Reserve’s answer to concentrated wealth is to concentrate it further. The Federal Reserve’s answer to unmanageable, dysfunctional banking institutions is to make them more unmanageable and more dysfunctional.
President Obama needs to do three things quickly to get the country back on course: he needs to separate investment banking/brokerage from commercial banks. This will restore risk taking and innovation to where it belongs, in non FDIC insured institutions. He needs to put new faces that Americans can trust in charge of real regulators with real powers. He needs to stop funneling money to zombie institutions that haven’t created anything of innovative value in a decade and channel those funds into innovative research and development projects.
President Obama needs to step up to the plate and stop listening to conflicted advisors. The fate of a nation, as well as his place in history, hangs in the balance.

Friday, 5 June 2009

RBS Connections !! WOW !!

Gosthy Links are when one of Barclays’ largest Middle Eastern greedy shareholders announced plans on Monday night to offload its stake in the British bank, pocketing a large profit less than seven months after making its £3.5bn investment. Khadem Al Qubaisi, managing director of IPIC, adding that the sale did not represent a lack of faith in Barclays, its management or current strategy.

And by the meantime in the Southern arab world ; Egypt's Orascom Telecom Holdings and Rojhan Capital have expressed interest in acquiring the Pakistani operations of the Royal Bank of Scotland while Obama is Singing poetry ( Moneterization ):

The State Bank of Pakistan had granted in-principle approval the companies to conduct due diligence, RBS said in a letter to the Karachi Stock Exchange.
The central bank earlier gave approval to Habib Bank Ltd and MCB Bank Ltd, Pakistan's two largest banks, and Jahangir Siddiqui and Co Ltd to conduct due diligence.
Orascom Telecom owns Pakistan's biggest mobile company, Pakistan Mobile Communications Ltd (Mobilink).
RBS is selling assets in Asia, including Pakistan, because of its capital constraints and the need for the bank to reduce the size of its balance sheet.
RBS bought into Pakistan last August through its acquisition of Dutch ABN Amro Ltd. It operates 79 branches. RBS Pakistan has a loan book of 68 billion rupees ($840 million), deposits of 79 billion rupees and assets of 108 billion rupees.
RBS Rocks !!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Jaipur (Pink City)

Jaipur also popularly known as the Pink City. The city that once had been the capital of the royalty, now is the capital of Rajasthan. Today it has a population of more than 5 million residents. The city was planned according to Indian Vastu Shastra (Vedic or Pouranic Planning for the comfort and prosperity of the citizens). The directions of each street and market are east to West and North to South.

I travel in a very basic way. I did not spend much on accomodation. There is different kind of accomodation in Jaipur. Jaipur is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations of India. Every year, this pink city greets thousands of people from across the globe. To serve the best, there is no problem regarding accommodation in Jaipur. Actually, this first well-planned city of India offers numerous places to stay. Jaipur is a majestic land of royal forts and palaces. Today, many ancient palaces have been converted into the heritage hotels, which offer immaculate hospitality to guests. Jaipur has plenty of hotels well equipped with all modern amenities. The city comprises variety of luxury, deluxe, heritage and budget hotels, one can choose the place of accommodation according to one's requirement and budget. The luxury hotels offer the world class ambience matching the international standards. The rooms are spacious and airy with proper ventilation. The hotels in Jaipur provide excellent services to serve as a perfect base for one's trip. The best part of accommodation is that, most of the hotels are conveniently located, near airport and railway station. For visitors seeking decent accommodation at an affordable price, there are innumerable budget hotels and guest houses. Moreover, Jaipur has a remarkable infrastructure that makes it comfortable to stay and explore Jaipur. Here are some Luxury Hotels in Jaipur :

Rajvilas - An Oberoi Hotel
The Rambagh Palace Hotel
Jai Mahal Palace
Rajputana Palace Sheraton
Man Singh Towers
Hotel Jaipur Palace
Chokhi Dhani - The Ethnic Village Resort
Hotel Maya Inter Continental

From my experience, you get good service in indian hotels. You can get a nice double room from 500 RS

There are cheaper options for accomodation. The Three Star Hotels in Jaipur:

Hotel Maurya Palace
Holiday Inn
Maharani Palace
The City Palace
Hotel Maya Inter Continental
Exclusive Royal Meal Venue

The Three star Hotels will provide you cleanliness and the sense of safety. The hotels are always well kept and clean. There is no reasons to be scared about your belongings. From 200 RS you can get a nice room.

When I visited Jaipur, I slept in cheap hotels and guest houses. There is many Budget Hotels in Jaipur:

Hotel K.K. Royal Days
Samode Bagh
Shahpura House
The Gold Palace & Resorts
Bissau The Retreat
Hotel Park Plaza

The best way to choose whice hotel is the best for you is to compare. When you compare Indian Hotel make sure you:

- compare cleanliness
- compare price
- compare comfort
- compare the people that own the place
- compare the location

Many hotels and cheap accomodation will tell you things that may not be true. I suggest you to go in small guest house that you can find by walking on the streets.

What to eat: Indian Sweet & Chapati

There are many activities to do in Jaipur. One of my favourite is to observe the life going there. It is a very different lifestyle than where I grown-up. In Jaipur, there is many Tour available. You can book some Tour with some tourist agency. All the tours are quiet the same. The only thing here that we should be aware of is the honesty the people that sell you the tour. make sure they are reliable so you will not end-up in a junk tour situation. My suggestion here is to design yourself the perfect tour and find out the wat to make it real.

Rajasthan the royal city of India is one of the most exciting tourism destinations of India . This amaging romantic state is well known for monumental beauty, marvelous forts, lakes, sizzling desert, harmonious traditional music, rich culture, colourful festivals etc. Considered as one of the most famous tourism destinations in India as well as in world. There are a lot of places of tourist interest in India having numerous eye catching attractions. Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Pushkar - Ranthambore - Kota - Bundi - Chittourgarh - Bijaipur - Udaipur - Kumbhalgarh - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Bikaner - Mandawa - Delhi

Make sure that you got medical insurance if traveling in Jaipur and india. Medical insurance can save you time in India. Medical Insurance should be bought previously your arrival. Medical Insurance cover many aspects of healthcare. The price of a cheap medical insurance starts from 5000 RS.

Freshly made chapati in a small shop.

The worker was cooking milk to make sweet on the street.

Workers in India have to be fit. The work in India always requires exercises. Now we can see a new generarion of gyms in India. People in India want to be fit and look good. Womens want to loose weight and get fit. In india people want to be healthy . The best way to get fit in India is the same as every where. You need to do exercises. There is many way to exercises in India. First at work or at the gym. If you dont have a gym nearby, there is many exercises that can be done from Home. Many exercise programs can be found online.

If you are looking to get fit at a facility tested the nation over, a gym chain may be the one for you. To ensure you don't end up worse off then before you were trying to get fit, check out the stretching and warming up exercises that will help prevent injuries. Taking your first steps to exercise can be a bit daunting - everyone else looks like they know exactly what they are doing, the equipment is strange, there's even a new language to learn. But there are simple things you can do to make it easier. Where do you find motivation? It's a necessary ingredient of any exercise program, but can prove remarkably elusive at times. There all different kinds of fitness classes, so it's worth checking out a few to see which one is right for you. What are beginners' workouts? While anyone can do the same type of workout, someone who is new to exercising will want to do shorter, les intense workouts until they have gained some experience and conditioning.What sets beginners' workouts apart from those that more experienced exercisers might do? The biggest differences will be duration and intensity.

For runners the rule is to increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% per week, and you can apply this rule to the total time you spend working out.For intensity, either use a heart rate monitor, or rate the effort of your workouts. You should get a couple of months steady endurance work under your belt before beginning more intense workouts such as intervals.

Boost your metabolism by including physical activity into your daily routine. A brisk walk, a swim, or participation in a sport will instantly make you feel more alert, and ready to take on the day ahead. Begin by introducing fun activities that you enjoy, as they will keep you motivated. If you are pressed for time, you may even consider ways of making slight adjustments to your existing daily activities by replacing the elevator with the stairs, or cycling to work rather than driving.

In effort to gain more energy, don't forget about exercise. When you exercise on a daily basis, your body releases a substance called endorphins throughout the body, which help to improve your energy levels and put you in a better mood. The best type of exercise for increasing energy levels is often something that gets your heart working harder. Such examples would be intense cardiovascular activities such as running, kickboxing, or cycling, or else hard weight lifting.

Both will send a surge of adrenaline throughout the body, helping to 'wake' you up, so-to-speak, and give you plenty of energy for hours afterwards. The other variations you may want to perform are those geared towards stress relief. Stress is a huge zapper of energy and when levels are high, you are, without a doubt, going to be feeling it. Activities to try that will help to take care of this problem include yoga, pilates, stretching, and deep breathing exercises . All of these can be done at the end of a tiring workday to help give you more energy for your evening hours. Keep in mind that if you are just getting into physical activity, you may feel more tired at first and not want to continue. Try and keep going though because after two weeks or so of being physically active, you will notice the benefits start to kick in.

Jaipur is now offering many fitness options to get fit or loose weight. India has a lot of qualified people like Physiotherapist to help you reach yout target.

What to see: Animals on Action

Most buildings in the city is redish brown in color. Take note that, the goats were on the roof and the children were feeding them.

What to do: Shopping

Small shops like this selling all kind of sourvenirs to tourist are all around the city centre.

The open stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables on the street is a convenience and cheap way to buy daily fresh greens.