• There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

Posts Tagged ‘elections’

On this day of election results…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 7, 2012

….lets observe a minute of silence for my Republican friends





…..and now lets raise a toast to my Democrat friends




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The 2012 Undecided Voter’s Guide

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 4, 2012

One of the best posts I have read this season! To all the analytical pundits out there, this is how it should be done. J.Palmer simplifies it all! do take it with a pinch of salt ūüôā

Politic Discourse

If you are among the twelve undecided voters left in America, it is not too late to make an educated selection at the ballot box on November 6th. While the eenie-meenie-minie-mo strategy would likely prove to be just as effective 50% of the time, making your choice for President based on any one of the six following criteria will allow you to logically explain to your uninterested friends and family why you chose the lesser evil that you did.

#1. If you are rich, vote Romney. If you are poor, vote Obama.

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A Lesson from China

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 3, 2012

“ask not what your country can do for you‚ÄĒask what you can do for your country‚ÄĚ

I have been fortunate enough to do business on four continents and see how great this world is. The more I travel and meet with people, the more I recognize that America is the greatest country on earth.

The majority of my international work the past few years has been in China and I had an experience there that knocked me flat. The conversation was with a young entrepreneur who was at the head of a fast growing business.

We were eating dinner at the time of the debate between the Republicans and Democrats where the topic of our healthcare in the United States was discussed (later called Obamacare). He asked me to clarify for him what the debate was about.

In as neutral of a tone and description as possible, I stated, “There are many in the United States that believes that the government is responsible and should pay for each individual’s healthcare…

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I Still belong to the Centre Right

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 1, 2012

In one of my earlier posts I presented my views on what the role and responsibilities of a government should be. Then, I really looked forward to following the Presidential Election Campaigns and see if and how my views would change. Today, ninety days after scripting that post, Istill belong to the centre right. A lot of this can be attributed to the utter lack of intellect and logic in these elections. They have left me completely disappointed which is reflected in the absence of political post on my blog in recent times.

However, seeing that we are so close to elections, I publish a final political post to explain my position. Who would I vote for if I were an American citizen?

The federal response in the wake of Sandy has justified Government’s involvement in domains that ensure the safety of it citizens, both from foreign and nature’s aggressions.

A welfare state seems utopic but it might help to remember that whenever the government gives us an impression that it is giving more, rest assured it is taking more from us in good times. This strip illustrates the same. Imagine the father being the government and the son the citizens.

Entrepreneurship is the key to building a progressive state. I live in a country where the opportunities of becoming one were next to zero in the Socialist era. The country suffered and is dealing with the effects of that era even today. We are creating jobs based on funding from foreign companies looking for cheap labor. However we are not creating enough entrepreneurs. Budding entrepreneurs need ease of business and low taxation. Entrepreneurs create jobs. Government does not create jobs. It creates dependence.

In my country, the government doles out huge subsidies to the “poor”. At the time of independence, Indians were in dire need of this support. The entire system seemed like Utopia. But it was like that only for a short time. The system has been in force for over 60 years and we still have record poverty. Clearly, big government supporting those in need has not solved the problem. It has resulted in more people becoming dependent upon government’s gifts. A heterogeneous society with a sizable population might find a welfare state attractive, especially in current times. But over the long run, such economic positioning introduces lethargy into the public at large. While the short term results seem just, fair and idyllic, the fact is that slowly but surely the competitive and ambitious spirit that has ensured evolutionand survival of the human race begins to wane.

During these times of economic distress, I believe that the Government needs to support the country by increasing spending. I support the policies Obama has employed so far. In these times we need higher government spending and balancing of deficit by taxing the higher earning citizens. These are times that call for sacrifice. Obama is doing the right thing. But that is the only good news I have for my Democrat friends. I would not vote for him again.

Re-election will send the signal that people accept his leftist agenda and this will embolden him to make institutional changes that may change the character of  US forever. These institutional changes will put US on the path of Socialism that is bound to result in an undesirable outcome.

I would vote Republican. I am sure that Mitt Romney upon being elected will continue heavy government spending. In spite of his Rightist talk, he will have no choice but to continue government support for the people. He will not be able to reduce spending nor reduce taxes. However, he will not create institutions and regulations that will steer the US towards the Left. He will keep the US in the Centre and that will be a great position for the country to catapult from into economic supremacy once again. US will have a chance to bounce back. With Obama, this chance will be lost.

On social issues, I cannot agree with the conservatives. However, I feel that Romney will reveal his moderate self once he gets elected. He will have to if he wants to get reelected.

I may be way off the mark here. As always, comments welcomed. I have my armor on ūüôā

Posted in Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , | 26 Comments »

Political campaigns and the inane mainstream news media

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 23, 2012

One of my several roles in life is that of a political campaign consultant. I took on this field because it is one of the very few domains out there that combine logical thinking, statistical studies, psychology, emotional manipulation, power, adrenalin rush,money and greed. Having experienced campaigning in the dirtiest and meanest places, I have gained an understanding that I thought I could never ever attain. And with this, my respect for politicians fighting it out for people’s votes has grown tremendously. It is not easy to be a politician. Especially not when you are fighting elections. The process drains you physically, emotionally, monetarily and forces you to shed every pound of ego from your mind. And the worst, there is no second position in politics. Winner takes it all!

There is one institution that has disappointed me to no end. Media. I hold it solely responsible for ruining the political campaigning process and stripping it of any sense, logic and relevance. The TRP driven, sensationalism espousing news broadcasters have absolutely no interest in the interests of the electorate. At the cost of relevant concerns, only those issues are highlighted that tend to generate “noise”. Self proclaimed political gurus and analysts ask questions that are as dumb as their minds. Honestly, these analysts could not be farther away from ground reality. Yet they dominate discussions and do their bit to increasing the “noise”.

Also, the media loses no chance to pounce upon an error by a candidate and turn it overnight into a scandal. Give me a break! Candidates are human too. While the harm caused by this may not be apparent to the electorate, but it is one of the most injurious acts that weaken our democracy and in fact make ¬†irrelevant. Under constant media glare, which is not necessarily public glare, the candidates become actors. The most honest individuals are forced to become choreographed dummies driven by campaign strategists such as myself. I too transform into a puppet who’s strings are being pulled by an illusory world created by the media.

Why is it that the media (and not the people) refuses to believe that a candidate can change his belief or stand? Why is it that a candidate is held responsible for what he may have said thirty years back and a change of heart is considered a sin? I don’t mind if a candidate has transgressed in his past,we all have.¬†Why can we not elect a representative who is more like us, more human.

Yes we can. But the media does not let us. It fills our minds with attributes that we would never use naturally to elect our representatives. And why does the media do this? Because it, like all of us, needs to survive and prosper. Nothing wrong with that, only that prosperity in media has been replaced by greed and zealousness.

We need to recognize the difference between expert opinion and truth. Many times the latter is what emanates from our heart. Trust that opinion over any broadcasting attempt to sabotage your thinking. In Democracy, we are the experts. Realize this truth and cast your vote.

But I cannot wrap this post without expressing my utter dismay at the end of today’s presidential debate. It was the first debate that I saw live at 5:30 am local time. Under normal circumstances, I would have never woken up that early to waste an hour of my life, but this morning at 5:00 am I got a call from my logistics company saying that my car had arrived outside my house. What!Who in this world delivers a shipment at 5 am! Nevertheless, I dragged myself out of bed and once the car was safely parked in the garage, it hit me that it was debate time. So I watched. I cringed. And then these lines by DMX ran in my mind in response to what the leaders were saying:

Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind up in HERE, up in here¬†
Y’all gon’ make me go all out up in here, up in here¬†
Y’all gon’ make me act a FOOL up in HERE, up in here¬†
Y’all gon’ make me lose my cool up in here, up in here

That’s it.I’m done.

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Good Grief, Vice President Biden

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 14, 2012

One of the most accurate reviews of the now famous verbal duel between Biden and Ryan. I can relate to Daniel’s thoughts and he’s presented them incredibly well.

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Dear Americans, Please take your jobs back!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 8, 2012

Free Market is a wonderful thing. If its “free” it has to be! But when the boundaries of the market disappear, the concept of freedom becomes a curse for many. A specter is haunting the world, the specter of globalization.

Profit maximization drives ambition which is a core ingredient of enterprise. But enterprise can only prosper when it is facilitated by  a free market. The gains resulting from a capitalist economy, however, display a cyclic progression. When labor is in shortage in a particular industry, the salaries increase. Soon, attracted by higher salaries, more people  equip themselves with necessary abilities to be part of that sector. Eventually, the supply-demand ratio rationalize the salary growth. In most case, salaries begin to see a reverse movement.

On the consumer end, since there is a limit to what consumers would pay for a product or service, the revenues a capitalist earns are bound to stabilize with time. The only way left to maximize profits is improving the bottom line and that inevitably leads to lower salaries.

Good Salaries….Bad Salaries….Good Salaries….Bad Salaries….and the cycle goes on. And this cycle does not hurt people, because in the utopian world of capitalism, the phase of bad salaries will be accompanied with lower prices. So everything looks normal.

So what ruins this system? Why are people complaining?

Answer: Globalization!

Pure capitalism within a pre-defined limited border works, because even though salaries decrease, people still have their jobs! Working people are happier people!

Globalization gives the capitalist the opportunity to move his capital beyond the shores of his land, to places he can find cheap labor to replace the one in his own country. With jobs lost, there is less money in people’s hand and hence you would expect prices to fall too. But no, that would not go down too well with the capitalists who want to steal a high price from you for things they now make in third world countries for a pittance. So what do they do? Get the government to put more money in your hands. Get the banks to lend you more, so you can spend more. All the while trapping you in a web of debt that you cannot come out of.

So why do I want an end to globalization when my third world country is “benefiting” from it?

1) Because I want to see Americans happy. Because when you are not happy, your government goes around invading other countries and messing them up. Please take your jobs back, be happy and let the world be at peace.

2) India removed its trade barriers in 1990 and espoused globalization. Here is what a typical rural family looked and lived like before and how it lives like now:

Before 1990: Two parents raised 2 sons and 2 daughters. When the children grew up, one brother would head to the cities to find work or join the military. The other brother would stay back in the village to take care of their parents and also continue  farming their land. The two sisters would be married to men from neighboring villages. Every festival, and there are many in India, the family would get together and celebrate the occasions. The brother who worked in the city would send his love at most festivals and would make it to the village at least twice a year to celebrate the main festivals with the extended family. He would also share his savings with the parents for them to sustain a good life in the village.

After 1990: Two parents raise 2 sons and 2 daughters. When the children grow up, both brothers head to the cities to find work, leaving their old parents behind.  The price of their arable village land is so high that the four children decide to sell it and share the spoils. It is a miracle if the division of the wealth takes place amicably. Odds are that one of the four is going to feel bitter and betrayed and gradually cut all ties with the family. The remaining three, who have never had so much money in their hands naturally do not know how to manage it. Soon, all the money is lost in unintelligent investments and the resultant tensions split the family forever.

The sudden injection of wealth into a culture that always espoused minimal living led to a collapse of our moral fabric. This collapse works well for Capitalists because it is the only way that Indian labor can be exploited for hours on end. Make the people fall in love with money and thus enslave them.

3)¬†Spirit of Innovation has been done away with in India. The IT boom in India brought in work that involved bug fixing, maintenance and support. None of this required anything more than a 6-month crash course in computing language. The IT revolution and the US dollars it brought resulted in millions of young Indians blindly seeking admissions into Engineering colleges. Not once did they think whether they enjoyed doing what they did. They didn’t have to. The money was too good to be true.

It was easy. Learn a few coding languages, a few scripting languages, master a couple of the databases and you are ready to tackle any mundane back-end stuff that the U.S companies expect you to do. This approach didn’t encourage the students to delve into the vast possibilities of the computing world they were studying. The innovative mind had been killed by the glow of money!

4) Millions of Indians are suffering from lifestyle disabilities from working as your “Customer Service” or “IT Helpdesk”. The Call Center business employs over a million young Indians, 75% of who work the graveyard shift so that they can attend to your calls when you wake up. Needless to say, working night shifts has had a major physiological impact on their lives and some of the damage in irreparable.

5) Call Centers have created a generation of college drop-outs. When the call center business took off in India, the demand for call operators was so high that the only eligibility to work in these companies was completion of 12th grade. Young students saw the opportunity to earn good money without having to go to college and were quick to join the bandwagon. This created an entire lot of young Indians who either dropped out of college or decided not to go to one.

6) I am fine with Asians having an English name when they travel abroad. Asian names can get very difficult to pronounce and it is understandable that they have pseudo names. But isn’t it blatant cheating that call center operators in India have to use pseudo names when talking to an American caller? And I just find it demeaning that we Indians have to use a pseudo name in an attempt to veil our identity.Its plain stupid and hurts national pride!

7) Since we have become your back end employees, everything in India is about cost cutting. Every plant that you visit, every company that you study, the emphasis is only and only on cost cutting. Every new idea is suppressed because we are not allowed by our Global masters to spend anything. We are a raw material and we should only focus on making ourselves cheaper and cheaper. Leave the innovation to the developed world.

So please, take your jobs back. Someday, people will wake up and realize that it is not we who need you, but it is the greed of your capitalists that needs us. And don’t worry about our economy collapsing if you leave. My guess is, we’ll do just fine.




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What She Said. What I Thought.

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 5, 2012

“Over the past few years as first lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country. And everywhere I have gone and the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.”

Oh no! Another fairytale recital. Please, please don’t lead me to where I think you are going!

“I’ve seen it in teachers in a near bankrupt school district to vowed to keep teaching without pay. ¬†I — I have seen it in people become heroes at a moment’s notice, diving into harm’s way to save others, flying across the country to put out a fire, diving for hours to bail out a town. And, I’ve seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families. In — in wounded warriors who tell me they are not just going to walk again, they are going to run and they are going to run marathons. In the young men blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said simply, “I’d give my eyes and 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done, and what I can still do.”

Really! So now the government is praising people for fighting difficult situations. Aren’t they in that situation because of the government? You can’t finance the school district, so you appease the teachers by praising their will power. You hail the spirit of the young soldiers, and so easily forget the fact that you had promised to get them out of there before they were blinded. Empathizing with people is a good way to escape one’s own guilt in contributing to their sorry state. But its a temporary escape.

“Every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.”

There are more than a few billion people in this world that will contest that claim. Stop trying to hypnotize people into believing they live in paradise.

”¬†I loved Barack just the way he was. ¬†You see, even back then, when Barack was a Senator and presidential candidate, to me, he was still the guy who picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by in a hole in the passenger side door. He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster.”

Another attempt at celebrating struggles and minimal living. I support minimal living but only when it is out of choice. I do not like this strategy of trying to make people feel wonderful about their struggles by recounting your own. The truth is that while you have left your struggles way behind, the common man has been living far too long with them. Do not try to allay their frustrations and anger by pretending to be one of them. You are not!

“And for years, men no more qualified than she was, men she actually trained, were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continue to scrap by. But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus, arriving at work before anyone else, giving her best without complaint or regret. ¬†And she would often tell Barack, “So long as you kids do well Bar, that is all that really matters.”

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock….I have still not heard anything that makes Barack electable. By this very example, every Tom Dick and Harry in my neighborhood is electable.Please First Lady, tell me something that is relevant. How will he create jobs, reduce debt, bring soldiers back etc. etc. Please!

“We learned about dignity and decency. ¬†That how hard you work matters more than how much you make. ¬†That helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.”

That does it. I’m feeling sick now. Another attempt to belittle wealth. Do not celebrate poverty. Beware!This statement reeks of extreme socialism. Did they write this speech in a Seance session with Marx’s ghost?

“That’s how he brought our economy and the brink of collapse to creating jobs again. ¬†Jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs. Right here in the United States of America.”

Of course, in socialist lingo “good jobs” do not mean “decently paying” jobs. And since she has already set the scene for minimal living, a pittance of a salary seems mighty good now, doesn’t it?

“Because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make. ¬†It is about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

Again! I thought only spiritual gurus talked like this. So obviously, Americans have to get used to lower and continuously decreasing  salaries.

“the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle. ¬†That is what has made my story and Barack’s story and — and so many American stories possible. And let me tell you something, I say all of this tonight, not just as a first lady, no, not just as a wife. ¬†You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still mom-in-chief.”

Another blatant attempt to play with Herd Mentality. Hope!Hope! Hope! But how long can one keep the public hypnotized under the pretext of Hope!

Conclusion: Everybody get ready to come face to face with cyclic nature of global business. Economic balance has shifted to the East. Jobs have gone and it will take some time for them to come back. What most politicians can do is only condition your minds into accepting struggles, lower salaries and minimal living. Once U.S labor is cheaper than Chinese and Indian labor,companies will bring manufacturing and service jobs back to U.S. The next time someone from India calls IT Helpdesk, it will be Richard answering the phone and saying, “Hello my name is Raj. How can I help you today?”

Disclaimer: I am a student of philosophy and politics. My analysis is only an attempt to share my thoughts and soliciting both conforming and opposing views from readers.



Posted in Political Marketing, Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Why I Don’t Keep My Money With My Government

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 4, 2012

Image courtesy: Conor Ogle

A few years back, I started investing in a Government Savings Plan. The deal was that for 15 years, I would have to put a minimum amount into the fund annually, and after the completion of the maturity period I would get the principal amount back along with the accumulated interest. The real incentive was that my investment every year would be tax exempt.

Yesterday, I withdrew the money I had invested so far. I was penalized a small amount, but it didn’t change my decision. I had decided that I was not going to keep my money locked in with my government for a long period. The Government is not only injudicious in its spending, it is also taking me for a ride with its unfair tax policies. Let me elaborate,

1) Our President until 2 months back spent more than US$ 50 Million of taxpayer’s money and sovereign debt on foreign travels. Why is that a problem? Because in India, the president is only a nominal head with no powers at all in decision making. It is a post which is a legacy of the British Raj and contributes mere pittance to the running of our affairs.

2) In 2009, our government allocated Coal mines to randomly selected business entities at prices only fraction of the market price. The Auditing Agency in a recent study reported that by not auctioning the national resources, the government has cost the exchequer of our country close to US$ 33 Billion. The Coal blocks were allotted as per the whims and fancies of those in power.

3) Similarly, in another recent finding of the Auditing Agency, it has been alleged that another national resource, the 2G Mobile telecom spectrum was allotted to the private telecom operators on a first come first served basis instead of an auction. The loss to the country from this unpardonable act was close to US $ 32 Billion.

4) Recently, a group of District level politicians traveled to China on a state sponsored trip. The objective of the trip was to study the best Dairy practices and replicate the same back home. The group returned saying that they learned nothing that was better than what we were already practicing in India. Duh! Who said that China has the best Dairy practices in the world! That trip should have been to New Zealand, Denmark, US or the EU.

5) In India, only close to 3% of the population pays income tax. No, its not a typo. 3% it is and I am one of them. This figure is unpardonable after 65 years of self rule. This figure is low NOT because our laws are slack. It is low because our government mechanism is not efficient and honest enough to get more people to pay income taxes. Since India taxes both income and consumption, it is only these 3% people that get taxed from all directions. In no court of law can that be called fair treatment.

6) I fall in the income tax slab that ends up paying close to 30% as tax. I was taught in school that we must pay taxes for the development of the country, our infrastructure, education, health services, military etc. etc. But I don’t see any of that happening.

a) Most of the National Road Highways are developed as Public Private Partnership (PPP). So I end up paying a heavy toll fee whenever I use a highway. This means I am paying for that infrastructure out of the income I have left after paying income tax!

b) India did not win a single Gold Medal in the recently concluded London Olympics. A country of 1.2 Billion and not a single Gold. Clearly the government in not using my tax money to facilitate sports either.

c) Government hospitals are either non-existent or lie in ruins with the most unhygienic services. Not to mention the grave shortage of competent doctors in them. Not surprisingly, most of us have to visit private hospitals for treatments and spend more money from the money I had left after paying my taxes! So evidently, my tax money is not being utilized in providing me good healthcare either.

7) Apparently a lot of my tax money is going to pay salaries of government employees who’s efficiency and work ethics are a crying shame. The rest of my tax money is spent in giving subsidized food and other incentives to poor people to win their votes and come back to power. And all the while, sovereign debt keeps increasing while my currency keeps declining.

And this is why I do not want a big government. I do not question its intent. Socialism is a benevolent concept, but impractical. It works in small communities but not at a Federal level. Big governments cannot put a mechanism in place which will deliver services effectively. With time they will only accumulate so much debt that you can kiss your country goodbye. Do you think the Greeks own Greece, or that the Italians are the true masters of their country? NO! Leftist policies and attitudes have pawned these countries to others….and there is no getting them back!

Sadly, above stated facts have raised doubts in my mind about long term fiscal health of my country. I do not want to keep my money locked in with a government that doesn’t know how to manage its finances.

I have better odds at a roulette table.

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Go ahead, make my day!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on August 31, 2012

The RNC last night was nothing less than a grand, grand show. But what stood out for me, and for millions others was when Clint took the stage. Yes, he brought along a bashing style that didn’t go down too well with the leftists and the “moral” police. He attacked O with a tenacity that many pundits find abhorring. However, what he said was profound. His message not only enthused the Republicans but will go a long way in swinging a lot of independent vote towards the GOP. He left an impact. A Sudden Impact!

“They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is trying, Oprah was crying. I was even crying. ¬†And then finally — and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country.”

A great dig at what herd mentality and collective emotions can lead to. In 2008, the message of hope and change brought about a voting pattern that disregarded policies and principles. Playing with people’s emotions and leveraging them works wonders in winning an election. But soon, facts emerge. Rationality prevails. Clint highlighted this point beautifully.

” But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean — you thought that was something worth doing. ¬†We didn’t check with the Russians to see how did it — they did there for 10 years.”

Clearly attacks the tendency of the present government to not consult others with regards to policies that matter. The O government has been regularly criticized for neglecting bipartisan politics. Well, if the democrats don’t care to ask the republicans about legislations, why would they even think of asking Russia about how they messed up Afghanistan.

” Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.”

Great tactic to bring Biden into the picture. Too often the VP gets lost in campaigns even though the VP’s thought process and role is absolutely vital in the government. If the VP is crazy, its a great idea to bash the crap out of him. Go after the weak links in the oppositions armor.

“I think attorneys are so busy — you know they’re always taught to argue everything, always weigh everything, weigh both sides.”

If there is one thing that O has lagged in during his term, it is decision making. Yes, it is a good thing to discuss matters with a diverse set of intellectuals. However, late action in many cases equals inaction. O has developed an image of being exactly that and a clever ploy that Clint used against him.

“It is that, you, we — we own this country.”

This line should go down in history as the one that wakes up every single citizen. “We own this country”. And you know what a big government does? It takes that ownership away from you. Huge debts translate into foreign sovereigns owning American assets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see how much of the U.S is currently owned by China and Saudi Arabia. Like they say in mortgage, you do not own a house until you have paid off the whole debt. So it is with national debt. You do not own your country with such a huge national debt. How comfortable does that make you feel?

Clint’s message was for all. He did not delve into sensitive issues but addressed general concerns that should unite the entire nation. He came, he saw, he conquered!




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Raped, pregnant and ordeal not over: Shauna Prewitt

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on August 23, 2012

This article deserves to be shared on blogs around the world. Unlike many other opinions, Shauna Prewitt’s take on recent discussions surrounding the Akin gaffe, is both touching and objective. She highlights facts that I have not come across in several op-eds. What are your thoughts on it?

“When I was in law school, my criminal law professor introduced us to the crime of rape by reading us a quote from Lord Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th-century English jurist: “In a rape case it is the victim, not the defendant, who is on trial.”

It was not merely a history lesson. I had lived it.

While a student in my final year of college, at age 21, I was raped. I have dissected that moment — the horrifying moment that I became a “victim” — from every possible angle. I have poked and prodded, examined and re-examined. Regrettably, I have even suspected myself in a desperate, ultimately futile attempt to understand how I became a victim.

But blaming myself was neither my idea nor my first inclination. I thought such 17th-century notions were long dead. I was wrong. People who did not even know me were quick to comment or speculate on my rape. What were you wearing? Did you scream loudly? Did this occur in public?

As my history lesson said, I found myself on trial, facing the most fierce judge and jury: ignorance.

Eight years after my rape, I find myself on trial against ignorance again. Rep. Todd Akin’s recent comments that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy not only flout scientific fact but, for me, cut deeper. Akin has de-legitimized my rape.

You see, nine months after my rape, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. You could say she was conceived in rape; she was. But she is also so much more than her beginnings. I blissfully believed that after I finally had decided to give birth to and to raise my daughter, life would be all roses and endless days at the playground. I was wrong again.

It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states — 31 — men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child.

Continue Reading…




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Political Diary: How to Exploit Herd Mentality Trick 1

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on August 16, 2012


This is an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) that India employs for casting votes. The voter must press the blue button next to the name and symbol of the candidate he or she wants to elect.


3 to 5 loyal supporters at every voting booth in the constituency.

Modus Operandi:

1) On the day of the elections, station 3 to 5 of your loyal supporters at every polling booth in the constituency.

2) Give them strict instructions that they should be among the early birds in line when the polling begins.

3) Just before standing in the line, the perpetrators smudge their forefingers with blue ink.

4) When they press the blue button with their forefinger, they must do it in a way that some of their ink mark gets imprinted on the button and some on the white area around the button. This will be visible in the form of a hazy fingerprint.


When people get to the EVMs to cast their vote, the undecided and the not so strongly decided voters will see the finger imprints on the blue button next to your name and symbol. Their immediate reaction will be to press the same button because they would want to go along with what they have been tricked into believing is public opinion.


I have heard varying claims as to the increase in votes this trick brings to a candidate. However, in an election every vote is priceless. I have not studied the difference in its impact in rural and urban constituencies. I would imagine that herd mentality is more prevalent in the countryside but seeing the growing level of stupidity in city folks, I won’t be surprised if I’m wrong.

Limited Scope:

Once more than one candidate starts using this chicanery, the method loses its utility.


I do not subscribe to or encourage use of such deception. What I have stated above is what I have seen and experienced in real life elections. I strongly support educating the electorate of ways crooked politicians employ to play with their vulnerable psyches.

Featured Image courtesy of Winky from Oxford,UK




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