17 February 2010

Fix the US Congress Movement

This is what Professor Lawrence Lessig of United States wrote about US Supreme Court decision to strike down limits on political expenditures by corporations:


.........Even before last week's decision, the vast majority of Americans did not believe that their government is, as our Framers intended, "dependent upon the People." The vast majority believes that the government is dependent upon money -- that money buys results in Congress.

This is corruption. And this corruption makes it harder for both Reagan Republicans and Progressive Democrats to achieve the substantive ends that they seek. Under conservative administrations in the last 30 years, Reagan Republicans have not seen the government shrink or the tax code simplified -- because Congress has no interest in smaller government or simpler taxes, as both would make it harder to raise campaign funds. And for the past year, despite the election of Barack Obama with a super-majority Democratic Congress, Progressive Democrats have watched with disgust as every substantive reform of this administration has been stymied by special interests expert in preserving the status quo.

Our single common purpose must be to end this corruption. No side in this debate has the right to demand rules that benefit them against the other. But all sides need to recognize that this corruption is destroying American democracy. We need a system that the people trust -- that gives the people a reason to participate, and convinces them that their participation is rewarded by the substantive policies that they have pursued.......


Here is a video about how the polity is getting subservient to interest groups. The polity is no more subservient to the Will of the People

09 February 2010

Akbar and Birbal on BT Brinjal

Act I
Scene I

The setting is the lawns of Monsanto Mohan Akbar's residence.

(The play opens with MM Akbar and Ramesh Birbal taking a stroll on the lawns.)

Monsanto Mohan Akbar: Today I met the chief of a company. The suprisingly thing was that the company had the same name as mine.

Ramesh Birbal: And what is the name of the company sir?

MM AKbar: C'mon dude, that's Monsanto. What a great company, I say!

R Birbal: Oh Monsanto! That indeed is a great company sir!

MM Akbar: They grow BT brinjal*, the tastiest brinjal in the whole world.

R Birbal: That's a cute name sir! BT Brinjal! Now, why did I not think of a similar name for the Coppenhagen summit? BT Summit or Bio Trashing Summit!

MM Akbar: Keep your focus Birbal. I am talking about BT Brinjal and not Coppenhagen Summit. That is dead and gone.

R Birbal: But BT Brinjal will remain, forever and ever. Like the plastic bags. Long live BT Brinjal!

MM Akbar: I have to hurry Birbal! I have to give a presentation to madam on how to get the prices of foodgrains down! She is hopping mad owing to the price rise. And Mr Charade Power isn't making things easy either.

R Birbal: You work too hard sir. Anyway best of luck, sir! Next time I will bring along BT Brinjal Bharta for you to taste!

(to himself) Now doesn't that rhyme: BT Brinjal Bharta*! I am really original!

(Exit MM Akbar and R Birbal)

Scene II
The lawns of MM Akbar's residence. A few days later.

(Enter MM Akbar and R Birbal)

R Birbal: Sir, I have brought BTBB for you. Here is, BT Brinjal Bharta.

MM Akbar: (looking annoyed) Now keep that bharta to yourself Birbal! That youngster of madam made such a case against BT Brinjal. He said farmers will die of starvation if we introduce this accursed BT Brinjal. He said we have 2400 varieties of indigenous brinjals Why would we need BT brinjal? He has a point there. Monsanto or not, BT Brinjal is no good.

R Birbal: Yes Sir! BT Brinjal is no good. Down with BT Brinjal! Let's kick out BT Brinjal!

MM Akbar: What Birbal, only a few days earlier you were singing paeans about BT Brinjal. Now you seem to do a complete volte face. How can you be so capricious?

R Birbal: Sir! You gave me a ministerial berth, not BT Brinjal. If you say BT Brinjal is Baigun*, so be it. I am going to throw this BT Brinjal Bharta at the bottom of the Indian Ocean lest it contaminates our indigenous brinjals.

MM Akbar: Yes do that. And make sure there are no traces of it left in that container of yours.

(Exit MM Akbar and R Birbal)

Note 1: Eggplant
Note 2: An Indian culinary preparation made from eggplant.
Note 3: Another name for eggplant. 'Baigun' in most Indian languages also means 'without any benefit or value'. Used in the second sense tongue in cheek here.

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