NEWS, NEWS, NEWS: EVERYWHERE THE NEWS
PROTESTS SPREAD IN INDIA OVER ARREST OF PHD STUDENT ACCUSED OF SEDITION; DELHI’S WATER SUPPLY CUT
So many stories. So much news. At first, I thought I would do a piece about the spreading protests in India over the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student, Kanhaiya Kumar, on charges of sedition, i.e. that he was advocating the break-up of India. I was thinking of doing a piece illustrating the differences between Free Speech here in America and Free Speech Indian style. Just to let you know where I was going, just let me say that every single Republican Candidate for the Presidency would have been arrested months ago if the had been running for office in India. Indian laws don’t allow politicians to malign, demean and slander fellow politicians the way we do here.
But news from India has taken a decidedly deadly turn chasing the sedition news to oblivion. Jats (untouchables) in Haryana cut Delhi’s water supply to protest not being included in the “socially disadvantaged” category of government preferences. (Unlike us here in the U.S. A., India has a very complicated system of social preferences to increase the participation of minorities in Indian society). More than a dozen people were killed as army units sought to quell rioting that’s gone on for several days. As a result of sabotage to a canal that supplies water to the capital, Delhians are basically without a public water supply and - as one would expect given that we are discussing India - mobbed water delivery trucks. Bottled water is selling for many times its normal price. Once again, the BJP and Modi’s response to this crisis is likely to mark a significant symbol of the BJP’s governance style and substance.
In calmer, if more nefarious news:
THINK TANK IS TAKING AIM AT FEDERAL LOANS: Group Wants to Revamp Efforts to Make College Loans Affordable
My initial thought was that right wing organizations like “Americans For Prosperity” or “The Heritage Foundation” or maybe even “The Club for Growth,” all well-known conservative think tanks watching out for the best interests of us ordinary Americans, was promoting the dissolution of low interest Federal higher education loans or Pell Grants. But, no, I was wrong. As I read through the article, the New America Foundation, is proposing to block grant Federal funds used for college student loans to the states who would then distribute the funds to public state university systems, thereby, according to the New America Foundation, lowering tuition.
But, I thought, isn’t this kind of closing the barn door after the horse has already escaped (Is there a new homily for this analogy? Maybe “installing an anti-virus program after all your data has been destroyed?). If my often faulty memory serves me correctly, one of the reasons tuition has skyrocketed is that states no longer use very much in the way of local tax dollars to support their public universities the way they used to. The public financing of the University of California through state tax dollars once amounted to over 30% of the system’s annual budget. That figure is now less than 12%. Same holds true for the University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan and the New York State University system.
There was something troubling me about what appears to be a rational idea (it is proposed as an alternative to the Bernie Sanders “free higher education for all” proposal) yet I couldn’t help but think that block grants of Federal taxpayer monies are pretty much the go-to solution by conservatives when they don’t want to be hampered by the restrictions that come with the acceptance of Federal funds. You know, laws. Like laws that prevent discrimination; that require contracts to be openly bid; that provide for criminal prosecution for the misuse of Federal funds.
So I did a Google search about the New America Foundation and guess what? Just like when I researched who was behind the “Protect America Consumers” web site that savaged the Elizabeth Warren inspired “Consumer Finance Protection Bureau” Federal Agency [ KOCH BROS UNDERHANDEDNESS] lurked the Koch Brothers, and discovered that none other than anti-Social Security, anti-Medicare, anti-Medicaid, Wall Street billionaire, Stephen “Fix The Debt” Peterson is a principal funder of the New America Foundation. You will forgive me if I am suspicious.
And then there’s this:
KALAMAZOO POLICE: UBER DRIVER’S RAMPAGE IS BAFFLING
Why Jason Brian Dalton shot and killed six people and severely wounded two more, remains a mystery. In what seems to be a random pattern involving two different vehicles and several different locations, the four hour rampage last Saturday ended in a Cracker Barrel parking lot. The Uber people have cooperated with local police providing them with a list of the last 14 people Dalton transported.
As a side note, the article also noted that Uber cars in India are equipped with a “panic button” so that if a driver becomes menacing, the passenger has a direct connection to the police. Here, of course, we have 911 (when it works) on our cell phones. Of course, police responses in India can be a tad hit or miss too. Interestingly enough, Dalton had no criminal history, passed Uber’s background check and had a 4.73 rating out of 5.0 among his hundred or so passengers.
RUSSIA – UKRAINE DEBT UPDATE: RUSSIAN LAWSUIT OVER $3B IS LATEST ECONOMIC SHOWDOWN BETWEEN COUNTRIES
The Russian government filed a lawsuit against Ukraine over a $3 billion debt last Wednesday, setting the stage for another showdown between the unfriendly neighbors, Reuters . Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the suit was filed at London’s High Court, where he expects the hearing to be open and transparent.
“The lawsuit was filed after repeated unsuccessful attempts to encourage Ukraine to [engage in] a constructive dialogue on debt restructuring,” Siluanov said, according to Reuters.
If you haven't seen "Winter On Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom" please do. It's very impressive.
PS: Was up in NYC over the weekend – museum and gallery hopping, for the most part. Saw “Kinkyboots” – finally – and loved it. But I was not able to keep up my daily posts. Please forgive me. Or not. I’ll be fine!