Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Grave New World

March 8, 2018

The following excerpt from the Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore is :

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

Morality in Politics

May 30, 2011

Politicians in many countries are judged for their personal morality and pay the price for their personal shortcomings. Ideally, these issues of a personal nature should be of no concern or consequence to the general public and are matters to be decided by the families and / or related parties of the errant politicians. However due to the resurgence of family-based, conservative and religious movements, the politicians are being held to account in many cases and a number of the political leaders end up resigning from their posts.

Based on the information listed on multiple websites, the leaders’ missteps and mistakes runs the gamut from minor slips such as pocketing a ceremonial signing pen to criminal incarceration for various offenses including ordering the killing of critics and whistleblowers and their family members.

Of far greater consequence are the public decisions taken by the leaders in their official capacity whether it be to schedule a bombing of suspected arms depots in a region in conflict (to deflect attention from personal problems) or initiating wars based on false premises. Targeting the family members of enemy leaders is morally wrong. The use of missile strikes to target suspected militants often ends in the death of innocent civilians including children and these deaths are indiscriminate killings and morally indefensible. Last but most immoral are the massive aerial and land assaults on unarmed civilian populations in densely packed areas resulting in the killing of countless civilians including numerous children.

The massive aerial and land assault on civilian populations in a densely packed area is clearly a major and reprehensible war crime by any standard. Some of these rogue leaders have not been charged with any crimes but instead are showered with unlimited attention, aid and arms. It is up to the people in the allied countries to hold their political leaders accountable and ensure that the leadership does not aid and abet rogue regimes that commit war crimes either on occupied civilian populations or on their own citizenry (Sri Lanka is a blatant example).

The political perpetrators that have not been held accountable may feel that they are untouchable or exempt from ethical expectations due to eminent empowerment and entitlement. These leaders and their regimes may have military might, political power and burgeoning bank balances but they are morally bankrupt war criminals.

Creed of Greed

May 17, 2011

    Creed of Greed

Medical Malpractice

December 1, 2010

Doctors are for the most part dedicated individuals who have spent many years studying and continuously updating their body of knowledge. As a result of their expertise, skills and efforts, many of them are wealthy individuals and some contribute and become involved with political issues. Some doctors have their pictures taken with political candidates at fundraisers that they prominently display in their offices. There are many fine physicians and hardly anyone would begrudge them their wealth, influence and position.

There are a few doctors who are not medically competent and abuse their Hippocratic Oath “First Do No Harm”. In many instances, some of these bad apples have been able to commit numerous medical gaffes without being censured and disbarred from medical practice. Some of these incompetent medical personnel do not skimp when it is time to claim their large medical fees for questionable or medically negligent services (at best).

Some physicians blithely prescribe multiple medicines each with a host of side effects and are only concerned with continuing their lucrative financial relationship with the pharmaceutical companies. A few physicians are incompetent in their supervision of their medical teams and allow highly questionable and / or unethical medical procedures to be performed under their watch.

In the interests of patient safety, patients and their caregivers need to avoid the following medical personnel:

1) Ram Bangalore,
Medical Care Associates LLC,
1740 Oak Tree Road
Edison, NJ 08820-2847

2) Moheb Abdelmalek
(and his ER Team (Technician Kelly, RN Moscone et al at JFK Hospital, Edison, NJ)
E-5 Brier Hill Court
East Brunswick, NJ 08815

High and Low

November 14, 2010

A long running conflict, which has been taking place under the radar on one level, has been revealed.  Heightened tensions recently have exposed the deep-rooted divisions and raised this quarrel to an elevated plane.  The yardstick of the simmering anger was that both sides were inches away from all out confrontation. 

The conflict in question is the perennial struggle between short and tall men.  Some of their viewpoints and grievances are listed below.

One tall man said that tall men tower majestically head and shoulders above short men.  Short men charged that whenever a short man looked up, there was another tall man looking down on him.  

An irritated tall man remarked that short men are highhanded and are always looking for shortcuts.  An angry short man rebutted that tall men with their underhanded methods try to shortchange anyone who is not tall.     

Tall men considered that short men were one more grouping undercutting their dominant positions.  Short men responded that they were underrepresented and overlooked in their careers.  For instance, a little guy piped up that he felt that only short men should have exclusive access to the corporate ladder.  He added with disgust that the big guys could work their way up using their lousy long legs, or at most with the aid of the corporate footstool.  

Tall men believed that their brains, situated at an elevated location, allows for a higher level of reasoning and makes them natural leaders.  Short men assert that they are able to think quicker on their feet since it takes less time for thoughts to travel from their heads to their toes.  

Tall men declare that short leaders have a Napoleonic complex and are minute men with megalomanias.  They add that all short leaders have been either hotheaded revolutionaries or cold-blooded despots.  Short men caustically counter that tall leaders have always ranked high in instigating towering crises.   

Short men say that tall men are making mountains out of molehills and all the problems of tall men go over their heads.  Tall men insist that short men are going under with their repetitive refrain of stunted expressions.  

Tall men state that short men can only speak one tongue – the language of height.

Short men proclaim that they do not want to be denigrated any further with the “short” epithet and they want to be referred to from now on by the politically correct term “Vertically Challenged”.

Gazing at Genocide

November 6, 2010

Children, women and men

Fleeing the call of the siren

Preceding the missiles

The clustered projectiles.

Unrelenting roaring thunder

Bodies rent asunder

A leaden sky overcast

Dreams in the distant past.

Genocide gush or

Trickle-feed terror

Casualties side by side

Victims of Genocide.

Many lives undocumented

Dead souls unaccounted

Senseless insanity

Crimes against humanity.

Walk the Talk

July 25, 2010

India, which provided refuge to the Dalai Lama, has multiple philosophies and paths to enlightenment from the Hindu Vedas, Muslim Koran, Sikh Granth, Jain scriptures, Buddhist scrolls, Christian and Jewish Bibles and many other words of wisdom from various religions, sects and a host of thought leaders.  There are many paths to enlightenment.  

So, why is it that amid so much enlightened thought and lore of wisdom, there is still so much darkness and despair? It is because most governments only pay lip service to the ideals on which their respective nations were founded.  There are some well-compensated commentators and political insiders who cynically state that “politics is the art of the possible”.  These commentators have artfully ensured that it is possible for their families and themselves to gorge from the political trough and imbibe from a steady revenue stream. 

Crooked political operators operate the levers of government to benefit themselves and utilize the government machinery to intimidate and / or harm any potential whistleblowers or their families.  With the advent of multiculturalism and quotas, some minority members have demonstrated that they can be as incompetent, if not surpass, the least competent majority employees.  With so many persons from differing origins working for the government, group think and ethnic dynamics have created a tribal system of competing ethnic, social and political interests.  It is possible to rise up the ranks, without any of the requisite qualifications, simply by belonging to one of these politically connected ethnic groups. 

Some of these government employees, minority and majority alike, are abusing their privileges by using government resources to monitor, hound and harass citizens and whistleblowers.  Some of these employees accept free or reduced fare vacations to island destinations as a bribe / reward for their dubious and devious achievements.  There is also a systematic campaign of blacklisting, defaming and trying to frame detractors.  Some of these networks are well entrenched and answer to special interests and / or corrupt politicians with their nefarious personal agendas.  It has recently become easier for crooked politicians to get away with their shenanigans by bringing up nebulous security risks as a pretext to continue to monitor and harass innocent citizens.  

The citizens are left with little recourse as the police and local politicians are either wary of taking on entrenched political special interests or are in the service of the crooked politicians and / or special interests.  

The scenario mentioned above is unfortunately too prevalent in many developing nations – surely it could not occur in the Western world in countries like the USA and Canada, could it?  As long as special interests and their paid minions continue to abuse their positions of influence and privilege, there will be no walking but only talking the talk.  Anywhere and everywhere, that is a road to nowhere.

Is the Indian media misusing its freedom?

July 24, 2010

We need to first distinguish whether the medium in question is television, radio, print or the internet.  

The television media is mostly run by corporate sponsorship or political backing.  These stations will spout the vision and values of the persons with the controlling interest.  Rarely will they be able to report independently and thus the only misuse of the freedom is toeing a certain line and not being free to broadcast at will.   

The radio stations are controlled by state or corporate funding. Where there are a few independent radio stations, their target audience is limited to certain geographic areas and the news dissemination is also likewise limited to the areas in question.   

In many states, the major newspapers and magazines are published with state backing or by families and organizations allied with the political parties.  The information from these papers will toe the respective party lines.  Where established independent newspapers exist, many of the editorial boards of these papers have made a conscious decision not to alienate the powers that be.   

The internet is another matter altogether.  Established websites of all the major networks and independent media as well as countless individual websites and blogs compete for the fickle attention of the web surfers from all over the globe.  The internet is the media source that is truly independent and there is the definite possibility that many of the individual websites may be misusing their freedom to publish at will.  On the positive side, numerous independent websites, without any strings attached, have created forums for the frank exchange of ideas and knowledge.  This can only be considered a positive phenomenon.  

Many of the individual blogs and independent websites are challenging the established websites, and the former are not burdened with having to tailor the news as per the financial backers.  Many independent blogs have taken the lead in exposing official corruption, or in revealing the murkier side of politics, power and privilege. 

Some of the Indian media have abused their freedom under the guise of investigative journalism and tried to entrap corrupt politicians through sting operations.  There was also the case of the investigative journalists who were responsible for the false accusations of abuse against an educational institution’s administrator.  The administrator resigned under pressure from parents outraged by the false accusations.  Though the truth came to light later and the administrator was reinstated, the damage had been done.  

Indian reporters, in every medium – television, radio, print and the internet – must be vigilant to ensure that they observe and report the news without becoming part of the news story.   

In conclusion, while there has definitely been misuse of freedom by some Indian media, nevertheless, a thriving, independent media is necessary to act as the guarantor of civic freedoms.  Those in power may sometimes feel the urge to curtail freedoms, but thankfully due to people power and the internet, it will impossible to fully censor either independent ideas or the right to free speech.

Guarding the Guardians

July 20, 2010

Who will guard the guards? (“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”), the very discerning Roman poet, Juvenal wondered in 160 A.C.E.  Incidentally, this question was also the basis of a novel (“Digital Fortress” by Dan Brown) about a corrupt clandestine government agency official. 

In a recent change of policy, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) stated that it will no longer allow access to an entire section of customs clearance records to the Canadian public. This change in CBSA policy was a move to allay the concerns of CSIS and RCMP about sharing of sensitive information with an agency that was making its records available to the public at large.

In the Meher Arar case, a Canadian engineer holding dual Canadian and Syrian nationality was returning to Canada but was detained while in transit by US immigration officials, based on erroneous RCMP information, and deported to Syria.  Mr. Arar stated that he had been tortured in Syrian captivity and was finally released after his wife tirelessly and successfully managed to convince Canadian officials of his innocence.  The RCMP and CSIS were forced by the Canadian court to reveal evidence of their faulty and sloppy intelligence analyses, after numerous delays and attempts to withhold evidence of their ineptitude claiming reasons of national security.  The RCMP laid the blame for the ineptitude on a new employee – a recent female African immigrant.  By the time that CBC was investigating the allegations of an RCMP cover up, the female immigrant had emigrated to Massachusetts, USA.  CBC calls to the immigrant’s home provoked a warning from the husband to stop hounding his wife.    

Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant to Canada died after RCMP personnel at the Vancouver, BC airport used Tasers to shock him into submission. 

Mr. Dziekanski did not speak English and had become upset after he was delayed at the airport and was confined to a secure area.  His mother had waited for hours at the airport and finally returned to Kamloops, BC prior to his arrival.

In 2002, the day before I joined the government, I was returning to Canada from the US and after showing my passport to the Canadian border agent, was asked to stop at the Customs building.  A woman officer came out and I handed her my passport.  She asked me to open my car’s trunk and examined my luggage.  She asked me to follow her into the office.  When I came in she asked for identification.  I told her that I had given her my passport and she denied it.  She requested my driver’s license and I gave it to her.  She then proceeded to ask me many questions about my stay and jobs in the US.  She pointed to my old camera and asked for the receipt.  I did not have it.  She informed me that my camera and my laptop would be impounded.  I managed to convince her that I needed the laptop.  She asked me to leave the laptop on and left it connected on the counter.  She then told me I had to pay customs fees for the camera which would be refunded when I provided a receipt.  She also told me my name was being added to a database but would not specify any other details. 

I paid the fee and she handed over to a male colleague who completed the customs clearance.  I was then informed that I could leave and the laptop and camera were handed to me.  I told them that I could not leave without my passport.  They told me that they did not have it.  I reiterated that I would not leave until my passport was returned.  I was asked by another female agent to check my luggage thoroughly.  I went to my car and found my passport stashed under all the clothes.

I had to report to work the next day and was too tired to argue or lodge a complaint.  I later wrote a letter to the CBSA and received a polite letter that referred only to the male agent who had signed off on my clearance and made no mention of the female officer who had confiscated my passport and abused her position.  On one of my later trips to the US, I stopped at the Canadian side and demanded to know the female officer’s name.  She would not give her name or badge id and I noticed she was not wearing any name tag or identification.

After she left, I asked her male counterpart and he would not provide me her name.  I then informed the agent that the female officer had abused her position and if I was ever stopped or harassed again, I would inform my MP.  I did not receive any response but after that I never encountered any delay at the border.  I spoke to a RCMP official and asked him if my name had been added to any database and he informed me that as far as he knew, there was no record of my name in their database. 

With the increased security requirements after 9-11 and legislation like the new BSA policy in Canada and the Patriot Act in the US, the rights of citizens and legal immigrants has been drastically reduced in inverse proportion to the greater power of officials and politicians.  Unfortunately, not all persons in powerful positions can exercise their power properly.  There are a few who may let the power go to their head and misuse or abuse their authority.  A few corrupt current and former politicians have abused the overriding issue of security to advance their personal agendas and /or vendettas against their  perceived critics and their families.

Similarly minorities, as well as the majority, and special interests need to realize that they are working for the government, which is answerable to the public.  It is essential that group interests, minority members with political influence and other special interests realize that they are not private masters but public servants.

The renowned American author and humorist, Mark Twain observed with prescience: “The government is merely a servant — merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them…”.

Images and Reflections

March 19, 2010

Advertisements are in front our eyes and in our faces at every turn, in every available nook and cranny and it is impossible to avoid them.  There is even a successful advertisement campaign that gloats when a person chances to look at the advertisement in passing “You just proved advertising works”.  I am glad that I was able to contribute in a small way to firming up the shaky confidence of the advertising industry.  However, just glancing at an ad and buying the product in question based on looking at the ad are two separate issues. 

Advertisers would have us believe that advertising is as old as civilization and as important.  If this was true, successful cavemen might have been the ones who possessed better cave drawing skills and ancient prosperous Egyptians might have had more steles. 

Advertising has evolved into a science involving a battery of psychological and clinical tests and the input from a host of focus groups members delineated by gender, race, orientation, age, financial status, social grouping and geographic location.

Advertising experts state that the consumers usually buy products based on ads that they can relate to and identify with.  Many advertisers have become sensitive to demographic shifts and changes.  For instance, more advertisers now feature minority models in their ads to reach out to the minorities in society. 

As a minority member, I have often wondered if all minorities relate to and identify with the minority model depicted in the ads.  Since there so many groups of minorities from all corners of the world, it is not possible for advertisers to include each and every minority in society in the limited space for an ad.  So, there is a possibility that a percentage of the minority population may not identify with the minority person pictured in the ad, especially if the gender, age and other social criteria associated with the model are at odds with a section of the minority consumers.

While the ads are created to encourage consumers to buy products that are new and different, most consumers, according to the focus groups and the advertising gurus, will be more inclined to purchase products if the ads feature persons belonging to the same old background.

I have given a lot of thought to solving this conundrum and my solution follows.  (I would request all advertisers utilizing my idea to reimburse my creative efforts with a percentage of the profits).   In place of the minority / majority model in the ad, insert a mirrored surface. 

Any person, walking past and glancing at the ad, will see their own reflection and will be immediately drawn to the advertised product as they can fully relate to and identify with the model in the ad.  There will be an immediate rush to go out and purchase the product and the advertisers will see a marked increase in their profits. 

The only drawback to my ideal form of advertising is that since the advertisers cannot know at any given time who might walk past their ads, those companies that only sell products to a certain segment of the population would not be able to utilize my advertising idea.  For, I am sure advertisers would not want kids rushing out to buy Geritol, nor for that matter would they want very elderly persons, moving as fast as their walkers allowed them, to head out and buy Jets skis.       

In closing, I will add a caveat, “Caveat Emptor” and attention advertisers – use my idea wisely and widely and keep sending me the percentage payments. 

( – for additional articles)