New York Terror, and the Era of Post Reason

Courtesy Daily Express
Photo Courtesy: Daily Express (one time, academic, non-profit use)

An Islamist fanatic yesterday drove his van, and ran over eight innocent people to death, in broad daylight in Manhattan. It happened close to where terrorists blew up Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, and killed thousands of men and women.

Sometimes, we are so stunned by violence and terror that it freezes us. We don’t want to function. We don’t want to wake up from bed. Worse, we don’t want to think. Yet, thinking is the most precious, God-given power we have when something like this happens.

One month ago, a white terrorist man used his weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and killed 58 innocent people in Las Vegas. But American media neither called him a terrorist, nor was there any serious discussion on the dark-age gun violence across this country. Big politicians, particularly those supporting Trump and National Rifle Association (NRA), asked us not to “politicize” on the genocide. Now, after the New York terror, their rhetoric has changed 180 degrees.

When in June of 2015, Dylan Roof, a 21-year-old, self-proclaimed white supremacist killed nine innocent black worshipers in a South Carolina church, media neither emphasized on his white supremacist rhetoric, or his use of the gun to kill. They hardly mentioned that he worshiped Hitler, and repeatedly said he believed whites were superior race, and that blacks deserved to die.

Yesterday, here in New York where we live, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the suspected Islamic terrorist with a possible ISIS connection chanted “Allahu Akbar,” and ran over eight innocent people with his truck. And it is getting explosive media coverage everywhere. Trump is talking about sending the perpetrator to Guantanamo Bay, and talking about much more repressive measures to “deal with terrorism” his way.

I have no problems to condemn this gruesome violence, or with the way media is covering the act of violence 24/7. But then, there is a serious problem built in the way big media and big politicians cover, exclude or undermine other acts of terror. It creates more hate against Muslims and the religion of Islam per se, even though that hate is politically motivated by the people in power — to divert attention from other critical issues relating to our lives. Look at the way Trump is capitalizing today on the NYC violence. And he has his Fox TV, his New York Post, and his Alt-Right, and his racist radio talk show hosts on his side. 

Most people — whether American, Indian, or European — don’t have the awareness, information, or analysis to understand this serious dichotomy and double standards in media coverage, or the way populist politicians such as America’s Trump or India’s Modi capitalize on such barbaric acts of violence, and create more division, hate, repression, or war. And they exploit on this very deep ignorance and political illiteracy.

Since 9/11/2001, when we saw the Twin Towers blow up right in front of our eyes, the world has become a very different place. I call it the Era of Post Reason. The 1%, their corporations, politicians, and media have successfully managed to make sure we the 99% do not use our reasoning power anymore. They have made us push back into a time when ordinary people fought against each other, hated each other, and bit off food from each other’s hands. 

Unless we come up with a viable strategy to come together, and actively engage ourselves into thinking, reasoning, and analyzing — to realize who are doing the violence and war, why they are doing it, and how they are making the world a more violent, divided, hateful place — only to the benefit of the extremely rich and powerful people at the top, it is a lose-lose situation for all of us.

I hope we reflect on the causes of terror, violence, repression, and war, and bring ourselves back to the time, when reasoning was a normal, natural, intelligent human way of life.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Stephen Paddock’s Motive

American media is still at a loss on Stephen Paddock’s motive.

Remember Paddock? Long time ago…like…way back when…on the first day of October 2017…this white man got himself a massive stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, and killed at least 58 innocent people in Las Vegas. He also hit 500 other people with his American guns, rifles, and bullets.

And the entire thing is going down memory lane…fast. Very soon, it will be another forgettable history. Nothing will happen here in the U.S. to stop the violence and bloodshed. Nothing will happen to stop the NRA and its gun monster.

Media is sketching the killer’s psychological profile. And FBI and police and law enforcement are trying to find his motive. Why did he kill so many people? They are scratching their heads. The ISIS connection theory that some floated is debunked.

Here’s why and how Stephen Paddock killed so many people.

An ordinary white, wealthy man. He has no meaning of life. He curses himself everyday. He is alone, divorced twice. Gambles with hundreds of thousands of dollars…in fact, millions of dollars…and this big addiction for money seems to be his only reason to live.

He knows his father was a bank robber and a notorious criminal: he keeps a dark trauma secretly in his mind. He doesn’t have any faith in the system, and wanders in life aimlessly, making money and more money.

At one point, he doesn’t want to live anymore. He wants to kill himself. Just before that, he sends his girlfriend away to her native Philippines, and sends her a bunch of dollars. Nice gesture! His mortal duties are now done. He is ready to die.

Up to this point in this story, there’s little difference between Stephen Paddock the mass murderer and any other average white, black, brown or yellow man living in Sweden, Germany, India, Nigeria, or China. This is not an extraordinary profile of a lone wolf.

Here comes the difference. The men in those other countries want to kill themselves. And they do. In fact, suicide rate is much similar in Sweden to what is it is in USA: about 10 per 100,000 people. In Germany, it’s 9; in Finland, it is 16; in India, it’s 22; and in China, it’s 22.2.

The difference is this. The other countries — none of them — have such primitive, medieval lax and laughable gun control laws. Their gun lobby is not so fiercely strong, they don’t have a rabidly reckless organization such as the National Rifle Association that buys off politicians from both parties. Example: John McCain alone got $8 million from NRA.

The other countries’ media is sane and common sense, and their education is much more modernized than that in America. They know guns and civilization don’t go together. In fact, they know violence has no place in a civilized society.

Here in the U.S., however, violence is glorified, and the ordinary people are brainwashed into believing violence is fun and harmless (until it hits them personally): look at America’s Hollywood and its relentless violent movies, look at America’s extremely violent video games and billion-dollar often-violent porn industry, and look at America’s culture of violent sports and games. The American powers and media have always portrayed open violence and sex and gore in a glorified way, and it has made people desensitized.

A man who is a lone wolf, frustrated and unhappy and wants to kill himself could decide to kill a bunch of happy people (such as the concert-goers in Las Vegas, or the little elementary schoolchildren in Connecticut) — because he has an emotional and depraved sense of revenge for his inability to cope with his own life vis-a-vis the happy young people’s happy, full life. He doesn’t know anymore if he is killed five, fifty, or five hundred people. He is mindlessly carrying out his life’s final wish: kill them, and then kill yourself.

Period.

A primitive, medieval American system supported by the gun and WMD industries, their media, and politicians gives him the opportunity to buy and stockpile WMD, and plan a mass carnage at the time he decides to take himself out.

And that’s precisely what happened in Las Vegas. And that’s precisely why USA has three times as many gun deaths as Finland, five times as many as Sweden, and six times as many as Germany. The number of gun deaths in USA could actually be higher, by some other estimates.

The other developed nations – even developing nations — have developed on gun control and education on WMD. America has not.

Pure and simple story. CNN and NBC and ABC won’t tell you this simple story in such a simple way.

You decide. Let me know what you do.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Gun sale in America

Gun Violence in America: It’s the Gun, Stupid!

Not that I’m going to say anything radically different from others who have more, professional expertise on this subject.

Here’s a short summary of this blog post: Guns. Kill. People. Children. Period.

National Rifle Association, and their WMD industries and favored politicians — mostly Republicans, but some Democrats too, would disagree with the above statement.

But let them disagree. Would the sellers of poison ever agree that poison is bad for your health? At least, they have a warning label. Do Wal-Mart guns carry such labels too? Or, the weapons of mass destruction Stephen Paddock bought at Guns and Guitars in Nevada?

Like, Warning: Guns are Deadly Weapons. Guns Kill.  ??

To make it short, I’m posting a few charts below, to enunciate the epidemic of gun violence in America. You look at them, and you decide for yourself.

I rest my case.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

___________________________________

Chart 1.

Gun_Murders-01-UPDATED1

Data from CDC. CDC is a federal organization.

Chart 2. 

Toddler gun stats

Chart 3.

ByTheNumbers7_93American

Source: CDC.gov

Chart 4.

guns_per_capita

Chart 5.

Country shooting list

Chart 6. — Last but not least. I want to laugh…but this is no laughing matter.

Pat Robertson on Las Vegas massacre

 

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President Obama, poor and powerless and proud, I shall still support you.

God Bless America!
God Bless America!

Congratulations, Mr. President Barack Obama, on your second term. I could not be happier that your official swearing-in ceremony now coincides with the Martin Luther King day. How auspicious!

If you are interested to know why I shall still support you, here’s my personal, 13-point oath in 2013:

1. Mr. President, even though you did not keep your 2008 promises for hope and change, I shall still support you.

2. Mr. President, even though you let the exposed criminals at Goldman Sachs, HSBC or such banks off the hook, I shall still support you.

3. Mr. President, even though you used 13 times more drone attacks than Bush did and killed many innocent people including women and children, I shall still support you.

4. Mr. President, even though you did not support the Wisconsin or Chicago labor and teacher’s strikes and not do anything about Employee Free Choice Act, I shall still support you.

5. Mr. President, even though your Israel-Palestine policy is no different from Bush-Cheney’s, I shall still support you.

6. Mr. President, even though you did not close down Guantanamo, and did put Bradley Manning behind prison, I shall still support you. (I know your big bosses are keeping an eye on my activities just the 1984 way, and that makes me…excited.)

Gitmo!
Gitmo!

7. Mr. President, even though you did not clamp down on NRA and gun fanatics and prevent loss of life innocent Americans including little children at Newtown, I shall still support you.

8. Mr. President, even though I know your next four years will be no different from your first four years, I shall still support you.

9. Mr. President, even though I know ordinary people like me will go through exactly the same extreme ordeal, price rises, uncertainties, stress, anxiety and fear, I shall still support you.

10. Mr. President, even though you did not do anything for a comprehensive immigration reform and let millions of undocumented, hard working, family-oriented immigrants go through extreme poverty and exploitation, I shall still support you.

11. Mr. President, even though you have done virtually nothing to address global warming and scary climate change, I shall still support you.

12. Mr. President, even though with your blessing, IMF, World Bank and Wall Street, and their multinational corporations such as Monsanto, GE, Wal-Mart, Exxon and Disney have unleashed economic terror and made their brand of global economy a sure recipé for more poverty and more disaster across the world,  I shall still support you.

13. Mr. President, I shall still support you because you and this wonderful, two-party plutocracy tell me we have no other choice.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Sincerely Writing,

A poor and powerless but proud U.S. citizen.

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plutocracy_main2

Mass Murdering Innocent Children NOT An Act of Terror? Then, What Is?

SH1Please sign this petition to President Obama to declare gun violence an act of terror. Thank you. Click on this link and scroll down to the bottom of the petition.

______________________

-(One)-


No, I am not even talking about how these small children died. Because it might hurt a lot of people. Because it’s too graphic, too disturbing, too nauseating. Too nightmarish.

A full disclosure of facts might make a lot of Newtown residents very, very, very traumatized. It might make the entire world go through serious depression.

And, a full disclosure and a detailed description of that bloody morning inside that school might make a lot of people — powerful people — very angry. Because they’re trying to hide it all. Just the same way they have always hidden other such deaths of children: Pakistani or Afghan children blown away by drones, or Palestinian children severed by bombs, Kashmiri children pierced through by military machine guns. And so on.

Let’s revisit the historic, one of the most gruesome, catastrophic, barbaric act of cruelty that occurred on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. A deranged killer Adam Lanza brought handguns and high-powered rifles into Sandy Hook Elementary School, and slaughtered twenty six and seven-year-old children and six adults. It was one of the worst nightmares that came true. It was the ultimate gun horror even in this gun-horrible place called USA.

I imagined a lot and I had to. Because our media and our government and our elite people in power decided not to tell us how sadly, violently, painfully they perished.

I do not want to make Newtown, Connecticut residents overly traumatized all over again: they’ve been going through a lot. I do not want to make the elite powerful who’re trying to hide other such gruesome mass murder of children overly angry. Because I am too small and powerless to withstand their wrath.

I know how these little angels suffered that morning because of this grotesque gun massacre. I know because I can imagine it all. It was hell. It was blood splattered on the classroom wall. It was body parts and brains and little limbs all over. It was much, much more. Even experienced, diehard first responders needed counseling after going through that horror.

It was one of the worst terrorist acts on the soil of the United States of America. It didn’t matter if the killer Adam Lanza was a psychopath, a mentally unstable, disturbed person.

I do not care. At the end of that fateful morning, his violent terror took the lives of twenty first graders and six school officials — ten days before Christmas, 2012.

__________________________

Courtesy: LA Times-(Two)-

Some media is already spinning the Connecticut catastrophe in favor of NRA and gun lobby; they are saying such killings are almost always done by mentally sick people, and therefore, gun violence and gun control are not and should not be at the center of this discussion. They are wrong. They are making the water murky, on purpose.

There are many clever politicians and “leaders” in the U.S. government that are now taking a little stiff position, only to save their political careers. These people — some of them Democrats — have always sold out to NRA and the gun lobby. Just the same way Democrats have sold out to other powerful lobbies over the recent years: banks, financial institutions, IMF, World Bank and Wall Street. We know them all.

I have no illusions about them. Not any more. Very soon, as soon as Sandy Hook cools off, their Viagra talks will fall prostrate.

Before that happens, I want to say this.

Terror is terror, and terrorists are terrorists regardless of the state of their minds. In fact, I now believe even more that the Connecticut-type mass murder of innocent men, women and especially children IS an act of terror. We should not be confusing terror with the political word terrorism, with an emphasis on the “ism” part. I am not talking about violence for any ism — any political ideology or doctrine. I am highlighting the intent to hurt or kill the INNOCENT. I know how Indian, Bengali, Irish, Palestinian or other freedom fighters resorted to violence, and how they were branded terrorists by their oppressors. I am not getting into that discussion on rightness or wrongness of that violence. I do NOT support violence per se, and I have said it many times.

My point is, terror is terror regardless of who does it and where, as long as it hurts and kills the innocent. Sandy Hook Elementary School was an extreme, graphic example of that terror.

A recent New York Times op-ed reconfirms my belief that all gun violence is terrorism and should be called terrorism. It says: “WHAT do Mir Aimal Kansi, Ali Abu Kamal, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet and Nidal Malik Hasan have in common with Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Seung-Hui Cho and Adam Lanza? The first four claimed to be fighting the American government’s unholy oppression of Muslims; they struck the C.I.A. headquarters, the Empire State Building, Los Angeles International Airport and the Army base at Fort Hood, Tex., respectively. The last four seemed to be driven by personal motives; they shot up a high school, a university and an elementary school.”

They are all terrorists. Because they all had one intention in mind: to hurt and kill a large number of innocent civilians. They had various reasons to do it. But they all did one thing in common: kill the innocent.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School gun massacre of twenty little children WAS an act of terror. Make no mistake about it.

____________

Brady Center

-(Three)-


Again, I am asking you to read my little online petition to President Obama to declare gun violence an act of terror. (Please click on this link and sign and share).
I hope I get your support. I have only one purpose to do it: to create a paradigm shift in the discussion on gun violence. At the end of the day, there is only one goal: stop gun violence and gun deaths, once and for all.

If we do not act now, it is very likely that one of us — you or me — will see OUR children perish in the next act of primitive, gruesome barbarism — here in the U.S.

PLEASE do not let it happen.

Sincerely, Very Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Sign Petition — President Obama: Declare Gun Violence an Act of Terrorism

You can either visit the link and sign petition there. Or, please send your name and email address with your permission. We’ll add your name to the pettiion. Thank you so much for your support and share.

Petiton can be found here. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/president-obama-declare-gun-violence-an-act-of/

__________________

To:

Honorable Barack Obama

President, United States of America

The White House

Washington, D.C.

December 16, 2012

We, the following undersigned, respectfully demand that upon the backdrop of the gruesome gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut where among others, twenty little children were killed on Friday, December 14, 2012, you work with the Congress and various government organizations and departments, legislative bodies, individuals and citizens of this country, and declare that gun violence is an act of terrorism.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School gun massacre is a tragedy that put the entire country and its peace-loving citizens, parents, teachers and students under an ominous environment of hurt, sorrow, fear, anxiety and trauma. Our prayers are for the innocent victims and their families. Not just the little community of Newtown and its people, but the entire country is frozen in sadness, thinking about how the lives of these twenty little children and six other adults were unnecessarily taken away by a killer armed with weapons of mass destruction — an obvious terrorist act that is no different from any other acts of terror — anywhere in the U.S. or the world. This one tragedy has undermined the image and prestige of our nation, and embarrassed the U.S. in front of the global community.

We draw your attention to the fact that in his latest, strong crusade against gun violence, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York has said the following (reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/us/politics/bloomberg-urges-obama-to-take-action-on-gun-control.html?hp&_r=0):

““It’s time for the president to stand up and lead…This should be his No. 1 agenda. He’s president of the United States. And if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns” in the next year.”

Mr. President, you must not let that scary but honest prediction Mr. Bloomberg made come true. Already, we have lost too many precious lives to gun violence over the years. According to Handgun Control, Inc., 10,728 deaths in the U.S. were directly attributed to gun violence — only last year.

In this petition, we are purposefully avoiding the contentious discussion on the rights and wrongs of gun ownership, and this petition is not about asking you to do anything about the Second Amendment. We are not even getting into the discussion of what kinds of gun or weapon need to be controlled or curbed: we leave that up to others to deal with. We are only asking that you declare gun violence an act of terrorism, and pass legislation so that any gun assault — in particular, with an intent to hurt or kill a group of people in public places such as schools, shopping malls, post offices, transportation systems, religious institutions and so on — be considered a terrorist act.

We believe we have plenty of evidence to prove that the pattern of gun violence and killing in the U.S. clearly demonstrates patterns we find in other, horrific acts of terrorism – here in our country and all over the world. We are ready to cite the evidence if and when you need them. For now, we would just want you to look at the terrible results of these acts: mass murder of American people including innocent children.

We also believe that once gun violence is declared an act of terrorism, governments and law enforcement agencies would be able to use their powers to prevent and pre-empt future tragedies, and protect the vulnerable in a more meaningful way. Such a declaration from your office or Congress would also help our country’s legal systems to try perpetrators as terrorists, and at the same time, relieve us millions of American people of more fear and anxiety knowing our president and government are truly taking this menace seriously, with a strong effort to curb the violence and save innocent lives.

With this one critically important action from your office, there is going to be a paradigm shift about the issue of gun violence.

We would be more than happy to be a part of any conversation to make this demand a reality. We hope you get into a sincere conversation soon with the American people. Americans are looking forward to your leadership to stop gun violence and death, once and for all. We are here to support you.

Sandy Hook Elementary School has been one too many. These little kids did not have to die this way. Nobody has to die this way.

Stop this terrorism in America.

Sincerely Yours,

Mr. Partha Banerjee, Ph.D.

Brooklyn, New York

Signed by:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

[…]

20 Children Killed by Gunman. This Is Not A Civilized Country.

Courtesy: LA Times

I demand that President Obama declare gun massacre an act of terrorism.

________

December 14, 2012. — Another scary, sad and traumatic day with a new gun rampage in Newton, Connecticut, USA. At least 20 children were killed by gunman in an elementary school. I wrote on my Facebook page: This is not a civilized country. And God does not save the innocent.

(No, I am not a communist.)
____________

August 6, 2012. — Another scary, sad and traumatic day with a new gun rampage in Wisconsin, USA. This time, a number of innocent Sikhs fell victims to this hate. I pray for the victims’ families and express outrage.
________________________________________

“The NRA is an organization that is adamant about no controls on weapons, in spite of the fact that we have federal laws that say you cannot sell guns to minors, to people with psychiatric problems or drug problems, or convicted felons. And yet they pressure Congress and the White House, and they’ve been doing it for decades, to not fund enforcement of those laws.”
– Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York. Quoted from The Hill, July 23, 2012.
_______________________________________________

I hope you forgive me for being so undiplomatic today. But first, I want to say a prayer for the victims and their families and loved ones in Connecticut.

Also, I remember Trayvon Martin. A few months ago, I wrote: “Trayvon Martin Would Still Be Alive If Zimmerman Had No Gun. Simple.” I hope you read it too.

Courtesy: LA TimesAfter the gun horror in Aurora, Colorado, where a mass killer killed and hurt a large number of innocent people, President Obama said that the tragedy serves as a reminder that “life is very fragile.” He said similar things in Connecticut today.

“Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another,” he said.

I am very happy to know that President Obama still did not lose his poise and eloquence even after this gruesome mass killing that shook the entire world. Really, he should not because he is the president of USA; a president must keep his poise and emotional balance even under extreme circumstances.

I congratulate him for his calm.

I am a powerless man with no money, no media, no military and no mass support. I am a powerless man who can only imagine what went on with those fear-stricken children in that Connecticut elementary school today. I can imagine their scared-to-death, white faces before their death. I can only imagine what those poor victims thought just before the mass killer mowed them down — one after the other.

I can imagine placing myself in that crowd of horrified, screaming victims of gun violence. I can imagine the hit and the hurt and splattering blood when a bunch of ultra-modern, powerful, lethal bullets pierced through my heart and blanketed my world with one final darkness. In the final moments, I can imagine I was praying to God that my wife and children be left safe. I was only wanting that they be left alone.

In those final moments before my deaths, I imagine I was praying to God that this be the last gun barbarism, ever.

President Obama, contrary to some of his predecessors, always says something that somehow resonates and stays back with you. In fact, he said this (and so, yes, a very powerful man that he is, his thoughts were not much different from those of me, a very powerless man):

Upon learning the Colorado gun violence news, the president said he thought of his own two daughters.

Candle light vigils are great, but NRA and gun lobby couldn't care less.
Candle light vigils are great, but NRA and gun lobby couldn’t care less.

“My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I’m sure you will do the same with your children,” he said. “But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation.”

Congratulations again, President Obama. That’s exactly the type of words that won the hearts of millions of poor and powerless people like me. And, if somebody asked me to vote for your calm, poise and eloquence today, you got my vote, Mr. President, one more time.

But I would positively vote for you if you thought about not just Sasha, Malia and Michelle and my children here in America, but the millions of children who’re losing their parents and siblings and uncles and aunts and nephews and nieces every single day — because of bullets shooting out of mighty guns and tanks and bombs dropping out of the wide-open holes of those drones.

I would definitely vote for you today if you stopped that violence once and for all. Those children are hurting too. They’re hurting and bleeding and crying and writhing in pain. I can imagine that as well.

With your very sharp mind, critical thinking and eloquence — totally unlike your predecessors — couldn’t you imagine that, Mr. President?

Remember Trayvon Martin?
Remember Trayvon Martin?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not ever going to take away the grim, dark reality in Connecticut today. I am praying for the victims and their families and loved ones. I am shaking in fear. I am not being able to sleep tonight: just the same way I could not sleep when Colorado, Columbine, Northern Illinois, Virginia Tech happened. I could not sleep when Trayvon Martin was killed this February. I am bleeding deep inside. I am imagining over and over, again and again, myself and my family and children in the middle of that barrage of bullets in that Newtown elementary school today.

But President Obama, you have not done anything to stop this gun barbarism here in America, either! In fact, you refused to do anything about it.

With your indifference, gun lobbies and gun markets and NRA’s have flourished even more in these four years. All of these powerful people and organizations are now likely working for your defeat this November. So, wake up!

With your indifference and support from your own administration and political allies for gun lobbies, gun violence has spiraled out of control. So, wake up, would you?

Gun has no place in a civilized society. In no other place in the world — First World or Third World — free guns have taken so many innocent lives.

No other country in the world — First World or Third World — media and movies and video games have glorified violence, killing and guns and bombs. Don’t you get it: this violent mindset is a direct result of that glorification! Would you please wake up?

President Obama, think about your powerful children and family, and think about our powerless children and families. And think about those millions of hapless children and families all over the world.

Stop this violence now! Stop this barbarism!

That’s all I wanted to pass on tonight. I hope you take it seriously.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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It could be you, or me. Simple. Stop it.
It could be you, or me. Simple. Stop it.

My Last Letter To President Obama

NOTE: I wrote this article using my own time and resources. This is purely my personal opinion.

____________________

I hope you read it. It might help you.

October 12, 2012
New York

Dear President Obama:

This is my last letter to you. I don’t know if you have time to read it. But I hope you do.

I’m not going to say anything revealing to you; I’m going to say things that many of us tried to say to you over these four years since we worked hard with huge excitement, energy and enthusiasm for your victory in 2008. We were euphoric when you became the president of the United States. I played my small part to celebrate: I wrote a number of articles and spoke at a number of seminars, conferences and meetings to congratulate you, and explain to my audiences the significance of your election. An entire generation of young people shared my excitement; for me, I shared the ultimate vindication of my black brothers and sisters.

Guess what, I still have the Obama-2008 bumber sticker stuck on my old American car.

We all thought you were going to use your enormously powerful position to drive this country and virtually the entire world back to the direction of the ordinary working people and families, promote economic equality, hold the corporate criminals accountable and bring them to justice. We thought your leadership would stop global warfare and bloodshed, and bring some peace to mankind especially after the horrors of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft.

I am very sorry and dejected to tell you that you have not fulfilled our hopes, dreams and aspirations. You have let us down.

Two months ago, I posted an article on this blog where I had predicted you were going to lose in this November’s election. I analyzed some issues I thought were responsible for your likely loss. Some of my Democratic friends were angry reading it; they thought I was playing the role of a party pooper. Some of them unfriended me from their Facebook.

Yet, at the same time, I challenged the Romney-Ryan ticket with maximum force. I posed some questions to your Republican opponents — questions I thought media should have asked them but never did. Please visit the questions here if you are interested to know.

Of course, at that time very few people thought you could lose; and I wrote the article even before that scandalous and racist “47 percent” Romney speech Mother Jones magazine broke: speech at a $50,000 per plate fundraising dinner Romney had in Florida ($50,000 is the average annual income for an American family; in many Third World countries, it’s the annual income for an entire city, perhaps). When that exposé came out, hardly anybody thought you could ever lose; in fact, even diehard Republicans thought Romney threw the elections straight in your lap; the Florida speech was so devastatingly damaging for him and the Republican Party. But who knows, maybe, that episode had made you overconfident, and you took the first presidential debate casually with no preparation whatsoever; your election prospects since then took a nose dive. Boy, how quickly things turn!

You took that debate with your now-familiar demeanor: you took your audience — your supporters and sympathizers and onlookers across the country — for granted. That non-performance in the debate was really symptomatic of your four years of non-performance. That abject failure to rise up and overpower your fierce, well-oiled opponents and their media with measured documents and reasons was symptomatic of your four years of abject failure to rise up and do the right thing at the most critical moment.

You’re going to be paying a hefty price for that non-performance. And you’re going to drag us all down with you, by your non-performance and lackluster presidency. Your elite circle of advisors — dubious and ill-reputed political insiders who are really part of the now-infamous 1 percent, exposed because of Occupy Wall Street’s resistance and challenge — have ill-advised you. You believed in them, and took us for granted. Your drones killed many innocent people overseas; your political actions killed hopes and dreams of many here in the U.S.

I can never vote for racists and bigots.

President Obama, let me be clear. I would be very sad and disheartened if you get a shock defeat in this election. I would get a chill in my bones if someone like Romney whose racism and hypocrisy is now exposed becomes the president of America. I know he’s going to start another devastating war in Iran: the war industries and Karl Rove are working hard for his victory. I would be frozen to death if a social and economic extremist like Ryan with his Tea Party Glenn Beck doctrine becomes the vice president of this country. I know he is going to kill off the last remnant of the New Deal, including Medicare and Social Security as well as collective bargaining and such precious rights of the working people of America. His party will probably overturn Roe v Wade too, destroying women’s precious reproductive rights. Corporate America, NRA and Koch Brothers as well as organized bigoted groups are working hard for his victory.

Even though I have serious, major issues with your presidency and every single day, I feel cheated by the promises you and your administration didn’t keep, just because I NEVER want a racist and a bigot become the world’s top leaders, I would want you to win.

The only problem is that deep inside, I feel you are not going to win. And you can blame nobody other than yourself for this looming, historic defeat. Your likely loss would be the final letdown of the billions of people — particularly the young generation here in America and peace and democracy soldiers all across the world — who believed so much in your message of hope. They believed in YOU!

You let them all down. How terrible this letdown has been!

Sincerely Writing,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Obama vs. Romney: Seriously, What the Heck is Going On?

One face or two faces? That is the question.

Over the last few weeks, I asked some hard questions I thought we should all ask Romney, Ryan and the Republicans. I did the same with Obama and the Democrats.

Because the so-called mainstream media is not asking them, I thought the onus is on us.

Even though it’s an American election where U.S. citizens vote to elect their president this November, actually it’s an election that has serious impact for the entire world. In a way, it’s a global election. Therefore, politically enlightened people from all over the world need to understand the various aspects of the election as clearly as possible. For the entire world, the stake is too high.

I was happy to see the level of reaction to my posts. A surprisingly high number of readers of this blog — now from near and far corners of the world — read the questions I asked to the Democratic and Republican candidates. Some wrote their comments directly on the blog, and some others sent me their feedback personally. Some of these friends had a strong disagreement with my position on Obama; they were also unhappy to see how a super-excited 2008 me turned into a less than enthusiastic 2012 me. These friends challenged my political acumen when I asked some critical questions to the Obama campaign. When I said I was not feeling excited at all for Obama, they warned me not to pop their excitement balloon. They said my wet blanket to douse their party bonfire might hurt Obama’s chances.

I felt delighted — by the thought that my little, no-name blog had so much power!

Of course, this is almost an academic discussion. Neither Romney nor Obama is going to read my blog, let alone answer my questions. But this is all I can do. I have said it many times before: other than my writing that I use to make my readers, friends and sympathizers think, I have no power. I have no money, no pedigree, no political connection and no real hope for publishing my thoughts for a wide mainstream audience. Therefore, this is really the extent of my political activism. This is the best use of my experience, analysis and energy.

Ronald Reagan pushed french fries and ketchup for vegetable for school lunch programs. Did McDonald’s serve?

I try to make people think. I try to challenge their minds. This is my only non-violent weapon.

Now, for the sake of time, let’s select only a few issues that are critically important both for an U.S. and global audiences. Food, clothes and shelter: these three have always, historically, been the most primary for the ordinary people across the world. In today’s globally-connected society, some other issues have become critical: I could perhaps select war and violence, energy, environment, education and health for the list. Then, we could perhaps include the subject of labor, immigration and society. I’m sure you quickly see a few other issues that you would want to include in your first list. I am sure I myself would later reflect on it and include a few more that I might have missed this time around.

But at least for the time being, not to make this post unnecessarily long, let’s put together our first list of issues and compare the two big parties and their two big candidates on these issues. It might help us to understand the nature of the electioneering process as it is heating up here in the U.S., and determine objectively what exactly is going on. Often, these critical issues do not surface our way — the ordinary, powerless people’s way — in the 24/7 conversation on big media done by their big experts. I call it Journalism of Exclusion.

Therefore, again, the onus is on us to do it. We must do it. Questioning is democracy. Analyzing is too.

So far, we have identified the following issues to be critical to compare the positions of Obama and Romney and their two big parties.

(1) Food

(2) Clothes

(3) Shelter

(4) War and violence

(5) Energy

(6) Environment

(7) Education

(8) Health

(9) Labor

(10) Immigration

(11) Society

Of course, the all-encompassing, all-pervasive, overarching factor would be economics and money. Given its overlapping nature, I decided not to itemize economics as a separate point. The discussion of money would feature quite prominently when we take up these points — one point at a time. Foreign policy would be another such aspect: it’s going to be interwoven in the discussion of all the other points — one way or the other. And obviously, jobs, wages and unemployment would be another — if not the most important — all-pervasive subject. It brings us to the question of poverty, exploitation and injustice.

Millions of Americans seriously believe even in 2012 that global warming is a hoax and even if it’s true, God who created this earth in seven days will take care of all the problems. Can we include this topic in the presidential debate?

But in this intricately-connected world society of the new millennium, where political boundaries have become almost meaningless, especially when we consider how economics and money (and work) can move from one part of the globe to the opposite part — with a speed of light, and considering how the people in power are using the global connectedness to their advantage, I believe that perhaps we could add one more item on our list. And that item would be:

(12) Globalization.

There! I believe we have come up with a good list, at least for the time being. Now let’s see if we can briefly discuss and compare the positions of the two candidates and their parties on these issues. I’ll try to do it as simply as possible, without making it sound too academic. I’ll try to do it with a language most of us — including myself — would understand. You tell me, please, if this language works for you.

If we think carefully, there is practically no way we can discuss one of the above twelve topics exclusively: they are all overlapping. What role does food and water play in today’s politics? Food prices, food quality, water sources, water quality — and the politics of U.S. government and its two big parties — one that media hardly talks about? Coca Cola’s capturing of natural water displacing millions of poor people from their land (and putting a famous movie celebrity as their PR)? U.S. seed company Monsanto’s forced replacement of Indian farmers’ traditional seed banks with their one-crop, genetically engineered seeds forcing those farmers to go bankrupt and commit suicides in hundreds of thousands every year? McDonald’s food colonization with substandard, unhygienic food that caused obesity and serious harmful effects in the U.S. and throughout the world?

What about the foreign policy around the clothes we wear — where and how are they made? How many of us know how Wal-Mart manufactures its imported textiles from China and Bangladesh, Disney manufactures its fancy DisneyWorld costumes from Haiti or Dominican Republic, driving poor laborers like slaves and depriving child workers of their childhood and education? What about those cool i-Phones manufactured at China’s Foxconn where a large number of desperate, young Chinese workers have killed themselves — because of the horrendously oppressive work conditions and toxic environment?

Where is the discussion either at the huge, confetti-covered RNC or DNC? Is there going to be any discussion at the presidential debates? Will New York Times, NPR, PBS or CNN talk about them between now and November?

Anybody want to talk to Obama or Romney about Orwell and Newspeak?

Now, let’s see. war and violence are two subjects where the two parties’ positions are different, they say. Okay, it is true that Romney, Ryan and Rush Limbaugh’s Republican Party openly talk about a new, imminent war on Iran (or Syria, or Yemen…it doesn’t matter); on the other hand, Obama and Hillary Clinton talk about how they have finished the Iraq war and how they’re going to withdraw from Afghanistan in two years. And then of course comes Joe Biden and gives a war-drumbeat speech at DNC…as if John McCain or Joe Lieberman (remember him?) was speaking. And there is rousing chants all around at the convention…USA…USA…USA…

But let’s see: was there any reason for U.S. to be in Iraq in the first place after six or seven years of destroying an ancient civilization, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and looting their oil, gold and other treasures? It’s almost like the British colony withdrawing from India after total plundering, brutalizing and partitioning a once-prosperous civilization, putting their handpicked, subservient, “Gandhian” feudals in power. The aggressors were going to leave sooner or later anyways: there was no more reason either for the British to stay in India or for the U.S. to stay in Iraq. Where is that perspective?

Can we talk about it in a straightforward way? Oh yes, can we also include the politics Israel has always played and has been playing in this incredible mess? Isn’t Iran or Syria or Egypt or Libya or Saudi cards used in the same game?

And then come Obama’s hit list and the drones and the relentless bombing…the war is over?

And then comes Julian Assange and Wikileaks and Bradley Manning…didn’t they say whistle blowing was actually patriotic?

Would New York Times, NPR, PBS or CNN talk about them? Would anyone throw these questions — this straightforward way — in the presidential debate?

We’ll now talk about globalization, immigration, labor and the economy — and their interconnectedness. We need to know how these two parties and their candidates are different on these issues.

I hope you come back to participate in that discussion. I need you in that discussion.

(To be continued…)

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Who will talk about the globally-imposed cultural conformity? Mr. Obama? Mr. Romney? Mr. Limbaugh?

Questions Media Won’t Ask Romney and Ryan

Yeah Baby!

Related post. –President Obama, Why Should I Really Vote FOR You?

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I came up with a list of questions that I think media — big media, corporate media, multinational media, mentor media — should ask Romney and Ryan. But I have a feeling they won’t do it.

So, I guess the onus is on us. Let’s do it ourselves.

(Update on September 18: Especially after today’s breaking news that progressive publication Mother Jones exposed Romney’s gravely disparaging comments that 47% Americans love to live on government entitlements and don’t pay any taxes, mainstream media such as New York Times are jumping all over it, and conveniently ignoring many other issues. Hence, it’s even more important to address these issues now. The political debate is getting shifted from economy to race, etc., and while race is extremely important, this election should be primarily about the economy and the 1%. We must not let vested interests to shift the debate from the economy.)

American media’s coverage of the Republican National Convention was as usual shallow, superficial and sentimental. Just like the previous conventions I’ve seen since Reagan, corporate media didn’t provide any serious analysis on any serious subjects. Its big-name journalists and experts did not show any critical thinking at all. It was all glossing over, spinning, twisting and distorting.

Question: Why is it always that way? Answer: Either they are stupid or they’re not doing their job on purpose. I think it’s the latter because these otherwise well-dressed and articulate (and definitely well-paid) people and their [very well-paid] bosses do not want to lose their tons of ad dollars and traditional viewers that might switch channels once real debates, controversies or unpopular, unpleasant narratives are brought in. It’s like, if someone on TV presents serious research data that among ALL the developed countries, USA has the highest income inequality and also highest social and health problems because of the grotesque divide (these are all facts — look it up here), most people would not like to hear it. They have been brainwashed for decades. They would switch channels.

It’s pathetic to see how American media have totally degenerated especially since Reagan. There is no hard-hitting journalism at all! There is no real analysis that matters to real people and their real lives. The whole RNC 24/7 coverage was, just like before, done almost in a vacuum — as if, it was a fantasy world out there! I have a feeling the Democratic convention will be this way too.

I also have a feeling we’ll see another pathetic repeat of the above when time comes for the so-called presidential debate with similar hoopla and meaningless moderation. I have a feeling it’s going to be another exercise of naiveté, glossing over, window dressing and scratching the surface — with exclusion of critically important issues.

The Real Puppet Master? Is that you, Karl?

Maybe, Karl Rove and Koch Brothers, among others, are watching over these media establishments. That’s why they’re so afraid to ask the right questions!

However, if I were one of these big-name media personalities with big privilege to work with these politicians, I’d ask them some straight-shoot questions. But because I do not have that privilege and I have no other power than writing them down in this blog for my friends, readers and sympathizers — now surprisingly from many near and far corners of the world — I’m writing them down here. My hope is that you find these questions worthy of asking; and in case you are one of those privileged journalists with access to these big-name politicians, please see if you can ask some of these questions — and get some meaningful answers that everybody can understand.

So, without further ado, here’s my short wish list. I know, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan, you are extremely important and busy. Therefore, I’ll only ask you about a handful of topics. I’ll save the others for later.

Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, either of you can answer them. Considering you are planning to be commanders in charge of not just America, but de facto of the world, consider people like me all over the world are eagerly waiting for your honest, thoughtful and straightforward answers. Don’t haze it. Don’t faze it.

Thank you for your time, Honorable Sirs.

This is Reaganomics. It never worked for us. It never will.

Question 1. Trickle-down economic policies have failed us the middle majority, working people. Giving tons of money and power to the rich at the top of the pyramid didn’t work. It has caused enormous income inequality, and the middle class has suffered greatly. What is your plan to change the course of our economic policy and actions?

Question 2. You propose more tax cuts for the rich — individuals and corporations. And, in fact, richest corporations now Supreme Court-validated as individuals — such as General Electric — do not pay any taxes. Don’t you think it’s unfair that we the ordinary, low-income people are paying about 33% federal income taxes (some say, to pay back to Federal Reserve which is a private, all-powerful entity that nobody really knows); yet, the richest corporations are not paying any taxes? For that matter, you said you paid only 15% income taxes yourself. Isn’t that outrageous discrimination against us who make so little?

Question 3. You propose cutting taxes for the very wealthy such as Koch Brothers, the Bush family, Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch; yet at the same time, you want us to believe you’re going to reduce the enormous debt Bush govt. left for us and our children (thanks to the wars, tax cuts for the rich and bank bailouts). You also want us to believe that your no-taxes-for-the-rich economic policies will spur growth. Don’t you think by default it’s impossible to do both at the same time?

Question 4. Bush-Cheney’s brutal genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan has destroyed world peace, bled American taxpayers (i.e., us) to death, caused a catastrophic budget deficit, and tarnished the American image (whatever was left) worldwide. Now you’re drum beating another war as soon as you come to power — perhaps against Iran (or is it Syria?). How do you think that would promote either peace or economic prosperity — two things you frequently talk about?

Gandhi and Tagore taught us exactly that: to stand tall and protest.

Question 5. Rachel Corrie, a young American woman, in 2003 stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer to protest against Israeli government’s demolition of houses of Palestinian civilians. The bulldozer crushed her to death. You blasted Chinese government’s human rights violation when its tanks threatened to kill Chinese protesters at Tienanmen Square a few years ago. Do you think you can show the same resolution to protest against the action of the Israeli government when they killed Rachel Corrie?

Question 6. At the RNC in Tampa, you and your party’s top leaders such as Chris Christie have championed the cause of the American workers and families who are going through a horrendous time because of high unemployment that some compares with the situation during the Great Depression. Especially younger people, according to some research, have 30 percent joblessness, which is a record in American history. The economic situation our young people are in is simply horrible — check these facts. Are you going to create new jobs within America by supporting traditional job bases such as manufacturing and construction, and stop U.S. corporations’ massive outsourcing of these jobs to China, India and other countries? Are you going to take on Wal-Mart or Apple and their massive outsourcing?

Question 7. Multinational, U.S.-based companies such as Monsanto, Union Carbide, Coca Cola, Chevron and Disney (among many

2000-2012: Monsanto caused largest in human history farmer suicides in India!

others) have caused havoc in many other countries because of their ways of doing business. For example, over the past decade, 200,000 Indian farmers (yes, you’ve heard it right!) have committed suicide — the largest in human history — because of Monsanto’s permanent seed replacement with their own genetically engineered products and false promises of crop yield. Union Carbide’s infamous toxic gas leak in Bhopal in 1984 had killed thousand of poor workers and their families; women who suffered are still delivering crippled babies. Are you going to bring these companies to justice and compensate the victims for the disasters they went through?

Question 8. It seems both of you and your colleagues such as Chris Christie, Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal — and of course, Scott Walker — have fiercely anti-labor-union position. Can you please tell us if you’re in power, are you going to destroy organized labor once and for all? Are you going to take away their non-violent weapons such as collective bargaining?

Question 9. Are you going to overturn Roe vs. Wade and bring American women back to the coat-hanger alley days, with help from a partisan Supreme Court?

Question 10. Are you going to follow the dictates of your party’s “mainstream voice” Tea Party and abolish the separation between the church and state? Are you going to mandate Biblical prayers in U.S. public schools?

Question 11. Are you going to destroy Social Security and Medicare? Yes or no?

Question 12. Have you ever visited an agricultural or industrial farm in California, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida or Texas where owners work immigrant workers like slaves in a toxic situation — with zero human rights? Many of them die of cancer, tuberculosis and such diseases — because of their inhumane work conditions. Do you see any difference between their condition and that of the black workers and their families in a cotton plantation during the Jim Crow days?

Again, thank you for your time and honest, thoughtful, straightforward answers.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Women fought for generations, and are still fighting, for their rights.