Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Three Pillars, Draft 2

The Democratic Party needs a new vision, a winning vision, a vision for the 21st century, a vision to take back the Congress, and then the White House. A vision to make it the natural party in power.

You have to be able to say it in one word, in one phrase, in one sentence. There has to be this core vision. Companies call it the mission statement. A political party also needs it, as does the Democratic Party. Democrats have to present themselves as progressives. I would like to propose there are these three broad pillars to progressive thinking. One, democracy. Two, the market. And three, social progress. Together we call them the three pillars.


Democracy is about moving towards the ideal of one person one vote, in America, all over the world, and also as a principle in international relations. If you get rid of the electoral college idiocy and start having direct elections for president, if you divide the country into 100 constituencies of roughly equal population for the 100 seats in the US Senate, if you seriously do campaign finance reform, if you can get major voter registration drives, if you can get out the vote, if you can fight today's attempts at disenfranchisements, if you can turn DC into a state, if you can go back to the ideal of no taxation without representation so as to give all tax paying immigrants the right to vote. If you can run grassroots campaigns. If you can wisely and transparently spend the big money raised from many small contributors. Or ultimately end up with publicly financed campaigns. All that would be great on the domestic scene.

As for the global scene, it is only through a total global spread of democracy that the progressives can earn real gains. We have to envision a world where every country is a democracy. And that spread has to be non-violent for the most part. Indigenous movements that get global support. Iraq has 27 million people, and Nepal has 27 million people. We have to spread democracy like in Nepal not like in Iraq. Nepal's April Revolution has major lessons for the Democratic Party in the US. Imagine a California where all shops are closed, all private and government offices are closed, there's no traffic on the roads, and more than a quarter of the people are out in the streets for 19 days. A complete shutdown. That is what happened in Nepal. It was magic.

The only way to win the Long War, also known as the War on Terror, is to spread democracy in all Arab countries. And Nepal has set an example there. We have to move towards rule of law within nations and rule of law between nations. Immigration spreads democracy and prosperity across the world like no formal tool of US power could hope to do. Immigration is not something to be stopped, but something to be managed.

Market globalization is going ahead full speed. Trying to stop it is a disservice, not to say not possible. The right thing to do is to engineer a political globalization. If the market is electricity, democracy is magnetism. Together they make for beautiful electromagnetism.


As for the market, corporations can go astray, they can go corrupt in parts. But overall I go with the Fortune magazine characterization that corporations are one of the greatest human inventions ever. It is important to counter corporate abuse, but it is even more important to "get it" when it comes to corporations. Market mechanisms can be harnessed to solve many of society's problems.

Economics is like physics: you ignore it at your own peril. Progressives can not afford to be economic illiterates. Money compares to words and mathematical symbols among the greatest tools for human communication ever. The progressive has to be market friendly while at the same time staying on guard to market and corporate excesses. Heck, the progressive can help engineer democratization within corporations. I think a great way to melt glass walls and ceilings would be to introduce lot of numbers for the hiring, firing and promotion processes within corporations. Let there be numerial, quantified measures to how well individuals do within corporations. Glass walls and ceilings are a major drag on productivity.

Progressives need to be dreaming up the corporations of tomorrow, to create the jobs of tomorrow, not blanket demonizing those corporations that exist today. When you blanket demonize corporations, you end up disengaging, and you lose the tools to right the few wrongs of the corporations. But overall corporations are great stuff. The progressives also have to think of market solutions to many problems, so that the public sector solutions to some remaining problems stay focused and well managed. There is also a need to spread credit in all income brackets, so that people in all income brackets can hope to start and sustain and grow businesses. And for the lowest income brackets, the concept of micro credit has to be widely applied. Credit without collateral at decent income rates.

But the most important topic on the market front is how to turn America into an information age economy. I think the concept of free, wireless broadband provided by the private sector is at the core of the idea. Textbooks should also be online and free, supported by ads. More wealth was created during the industrial than in the agricultural age. Similarly more wealth will be created in the information age than has been the case in the industrial age. Education has to be lifelong, and health care has to be universal. In an information economy, human capital occupies center stage, that's why. Human capital, physical capital, financial capital.

Social Progress

Social progress issues might be the trickiest, but to me personally, they are the most important. People who can dazzle you with their acumen of grassroots political organizing tend to be callous when it comes to the mechanics of social progress. Too often we see it in black and white and dismiss those who disagree with our positions, instead of seeing ouselves as the vanguard of social progress who need to educate the rest by going to their level, and then bringing them along. Instead of demonizing the homophobes, perhaps part of our efforts should go into understanding their mental mechanisms to see what change might be possible. This is not a call to not focus on political victory. Most people will not change their minds: they simply will have to be defeated. But we need to be more sophisticated, and not let our enlightened stance on social issues scuttle the rest of our common sense approach to mainstream governance issues. This is a call to be compassionate progressives. And we have to transform the whole pro choice talk into something much larger, a talk on gender relations in general. And we have to take race and gender relations together. Those two have much in common.

So, in short, there are three pillars to progressive power: democracy, the market and social progress. And we have to move along by building a winning coalition, a governing coalition. We have to become the natural party of power that makes the best of globalization and the internet to lead America into the information age and to spread democracy and prosperity across the planet.

Core Vision: Three Pillars For The Democratic Party

The Three Pillars

On The Web

Independent Progressive Politics Network
Liberal & Progressive Politics & Perspectives
US Progressive Politics > Magazines in the Yahoo! Directory
Progressive Politics watch
Common Dreams | News & Views
Can Blogs Revolutionize Progressive Politics? -- In These Times
Rockridge Institute - Latest Additions
Beyond Mainstream - alternative news, progressive politics ...
Webactive : Home
BlueOregon: progressive politics, news, and commentary for Oregon

The Democratic Party
Home - The California Democratic Party
Texas Democratic Party
Liberal Democrats : Liberal Democrats: Crime is a liberal issue
The Ohio Democratic Party
NDP | The New Democratic Party of Canada
The Democratic Party
Arizona Democratic Party
Florida Democratic Party
Welcome to the Massachusetts Democratic Party

Canadian federal election, 2006 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
United States Senate election, 2006 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2006 Elections
Fiji Divided Along Race in May 2006 Elections -
Election Projection - 2006 Edition
California Secretary of State - Elections & Voter Information ...
ABC News: Poll: Issues Favor Dems in 2006 Elections
Election 2006
Daly Thoughts » 2006 Elections
NPR : US Politics Focus on 2006 Elections
2006 elections pose challenge for GOP - Nation/Politics - The ...
GOP embraces local issues for 2006 elections - Nation/Politics ... -- News: Election 2006
2006 US Senate Races - Modern Vertebrate - Chicago, Illinois
Guide to the 2006 Elections in Chicago, Illinois and across the ...
Swing State Project: 2006 Elections - Senate Archives
Green Party - Real Progress
Information for Election 2006 / Alabama Secretary of State
Voting - 2006 Elections - US Embassy Dublin, Ireland
NPR : Democrats Struggle to Focus on 2006 Elections


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Monday, May 29, 2006

Immigration, Duh

18 Days Of April Revolution: Victory
Democracy Spreading Mechanism
The Demosphere Manifesto
5 Steps To Democracy

Immigration is what America is all about. Immigration makes sense. Immigration is not something you try to stop, it is something you manage.

A great idea would be to issue diversity visas to a few hundred thousand people in every country that is not yet a democracy. They will buy their own plane tickets. And they will work some of the low paying jobs in the American economy like crazy. And you have to help them to get organized and stay organized. They could become the vanguard for the democracy movements in their respective countries. And America did not spend in terms of defense or foreign policy the entire time. They could also be sources of economic and social reforms in their respective countries. They could end up the primary source of Foreign Direct Investment in their respective countries. You want the pie to grow in America. You want the pie to grow in the other countries. And immigration does it big time.

But instead the tax cut and spend conservatives would like to spend money on fences, spend money on wars that are supposed to spread democracy. The anti immigration sentiment is largely based on irrational xenophobia. It is cultural conservatism. It shoots for the lowest possible denominator. Otherwise immigration makes American sense. It makes economic sense. It makes political sense. It just makes a bundle of sense. Those who oppose immigration on ideological grounds defy logic.

Spreading democracy is America's number one foreign policy goal, always has been. All big wars America has fought have been about spreading democracy. World War II, the Cold War.

This is the era of globalization and the internet. Immigration has taken a whole new meaning today. People all over the world just have become more migratory.

The immigrants spread democracy and prosperity across the world like no formal tool of US power ever could. That is why.

Immigrant Power
May 1 Immigrants Rally: Great American Boycott With Jesse Jackson 3
May 1 Immigrants Rally: Great American Boycott With Jesse Jackson 2
May 1 Immigrants Rally: Great American Boycott With Jesse Jackson
Immigration Makes Economy Sense, Democracy, Justice, Family Sense
Bill Frist's Ancestors Came From The Moon
"I've Been To Europe Once, And That's Enough"

Google Video: President Bush Impersonation - 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner
Google Video: Colbert Roasts President Bush - 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner

In The News

Minister to study Canadian immigration system Expatica, Netherlands
Verdonk's catch phrase 'coined by far right' Expatica
Wash. GOP Issues Resolution on Immigration Washington Post, United States
State GOP toughens stance on immigration The Olympian
Tough stance on immigration Seattle Times
State GOP opposes citizenship for illegal immigrants' children Seattle Post Intelligencer
An immigration victory
International Herald Tribune, France
Citizenship clause may doom bill on immigration Houston Chronicle
US Immigration Bill: Stage set for showdown in Congress
Immigration policy divides GOP Monsters and
Immigration Bill Hailed as "Critical First Step"
Zenit News Agency, Italy
Try again rather than pass a flawed immigration bill
IT industry lauds US Senate nod to immigration Bill Hindu Business Line
Salazar: Support Senate immigration reform Monsters and
The immigration rollover policy
Cayman Net News, Cayman Islands
Rules Collide With Reality in the Immigration Debate
New York Times, United States
Americans' search for answers on immigration must begin with the ... Houston Chronicle
US irresistible for Mexicans Los Angeles Daily News
Mexico campaigns on immigration issue
United Press International
Fox thanks Bush for immigration efforts Chicago Tribune
Not Everyone Happy with Mexican President's US Visit The Common Voice
Mexico to sustain easy flow over border World Peace Herald
LA mayor opposes English provision of immigration bill
San Jose Mercury News, USA
Mayor Opposes Immigration Bill’s English Provision CBS 2
LA Mayor Dislikes English Edict Los Angeles Times
LA mayor criticizes Senate on English provision Boston Globe
Illegal immigration opponents rally in Vegas, plot strategy
Illegal immigration opponents rally in Vegas, plot strategy Las Vegas Sun
Activists fighting illegal immigration meeting in Las Vegas KVBC
Illegal immigration opponents rally in Vegas, plot strategy
Illegal immigration opponents rally in Vegas, plot strategy Las Vegas Sun
Activists fighting illegal immigration meeting in Las Vegas KVBC
Immigration Rights Protest In Butler County
Immigrants' rights groups decry sheriff's detentions Akron Beacon Journal
Immigrant detentions irk some Cincinnati Enquirer
Program identifies illegal immigrants booked into jails Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
For immigration reform, consider law of nature
Indianapolis Star, United States
Immigration bill far from settled
Buffalo News, United States
Will House Republicans Kill the Bush Immigration Plan? WEBCommentary
Make or break on immigration Washington Times
Spotlight's on Bush on immigration Newsday
Immigration debate reveals rift, FL
Both sides on immigration need to be taken seriously Houston Chronicle
Race sparks border debate Dickson Herald
Immigration: The Point of Debate
Global Services, NY
Locals discuss immigration Times Herald-Record
Immigration crackdown would hurt farmers, Farm Bureau says
Battle Creek Enquirer, MI
Immigration crackdown may threaten state's farms Lansing State Journal
Immigration Forum applauds Senate immigration bill Arab American News
Legal immigrants feel shunned
Growers fear worst in immigration reform debate
Charlotte Observer, NC
Farmers voice concerns on immigration reform Contra Costa Times
US Not Alone In Dealing With Wave of Immigration
CBS2 Chicago, IL
Senate-House Bill -- Will it Stop Illegal Immigration?
Opinion Editorials, VA
Pastor, Conference speaker, Professor, Talk Show Host, and ...
Europe promise Spain to sort out immigration crisis in Canary ...
Pravda, Russia
Europe pledges to help Spain with immigration crisis in Canary ... San Diego Union Tribune
Nine EU countries agree joint patrols for African coast Monsters and
Election may hinge on immigration
Miami Herald, FL
Immigration debate impacts Mexican race Seattle Post Intelligencer
US immigration debate could be a factor in Mexican campaign
Mexican presidential hopeful sidesteps US immigration reform Brownsville Herald
Eight countries join Spain to stem illegal immigration tide
Think Spain, Spain
Immigration problems -- I'm confused
The News Journal, DE
Highlights of the immigration and border security bill passed by ... Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
AUSTRALIA: Immigration Defends Offshore Processing
Pacific Magazine, HI
Carwash Centres Targeted In Immigration Raid
Bru Direct, Brunei Darussalam
A defining moment on immigration
Town Hall, DC
Immigration's cost
Patriot-News, PA
Sikhs and Immigration Reform
SikhSangat News, Canada
Lansing Latinos Speak Out on Immigration Bills in Congress


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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Race, A Few Different Angles

I Got No Race

Among Nepalis, I am Indian. Among Indians, I am Nepali. I am not Chinese. I am not Arab, although some people think otherwise. The day 9/11 happened, I was in this small town in Kentucky. The locals called the cops on me! I am not black, not white, not Hispanic. So for me to say race is the number one issue in my personal life is more like saying race is a rather huge social reality, and I notice it.

But then white is no country, white is no culture, white is no religion. White is no language. White is an artificial construct. That is where blac comes in.

Desis who hit the glass walls and ceilings on Wall Street want to get into activism on the police brutality issue in Queens. Identity never goes away.

Pan American Desi Caucus: Brown Is Beautiful
Your Many Identities

Even so it is not a blac, white issue. There are progressive whites, and there are internalized racism blac folks. And there are people in the so called progressive camp who are anti Bush alright, but they do want to be making their racist comments. Shun them. They do need that space to nurse their sick hearts.

Race As Work

For a political worker, it is just another issue. The rich details can feel fascinating. It does not take much to realize the goal is to expand the social space. As in, it is not one group versus another really, or how do you explain the self hate! It is more like both groups struggle with the same group identity. Race can feel like Physics 201 to many people, all that homework they are reluctant to do.

The Race Jujutsu

Some blac folks waste time thinking world history and national politics when they encounter a racist comment. It might be more effective to localize the hurt, see it is coming from one isolated person, and realize every person is at the receiving end of one or more ism, and to give back just as good.

Big World, Small World

Video blogging can make feel like feeding the search engines cuts through the fog. It can be put in the same category as shaking hands. The internet is a powerful medium for its democratizing element.

One example. Girija Koirala became Prime Minister of Nepal after the April Revolution. Google his name. The first two results are my blog.

I think there is a lesson right there for all the component ethnic groups in the blac community. The internet has to be the backbone of the organizing effort. All the internal fermentations have to be kept transparent. That is empowering. Let the other side know all that we are thinking, discussing, going through. It is good marketing. Collaboration also becomes easier, it becomes easier to build coalitions.

Video Blogging For 2006, 2008

"I am working to launch an online talk show, pay per view." That has been my standard reply when I work the political events in town. I prefer to reach my target audiences online because there are no geographical boundaries. I have to feel global. Otherwise there is a feeling of disconnect.

Also that way my message is broader, and it is about Democratic victory as well as blac empowerment.

Plus, I smell money!

The Personal, The Political

The FBI's attacks on Martin Luther King's marriage is the more famous example of institutional racism disrespecting the private life of someone fighting racism. Less talked about are things like the impact of racism on things like family breakdowns in general. Some of it is about self hate, some about dimmer economic prospects, some about frustrated ambitions, some about overt racial attacks.

Ethnic Complexities

When you look at the ethnic grievances in a country like Nepal, race in America can feel like a piece of cake sometimes. But that is hardly an excuse to put up with racism.

Personal Responsibility

Race is a larger, social reality, it is a macro issue, and hence a collective challenge. But it still can be tackled through a stronger exercise of personal responsibility. Infighting among the ethnic "warlords" can complicate things a little starting out, but they usually come around to it.

Cultural Diversity

Racism is the ugly cousin of cultural diversity. Diversity is beautiful. Listen to world music. Look at all those festivals, different kinds of food, the clothes people wear, the languages they speak, their religions.

The progressive challenge is to expand the public space so as to suggest there really is room for everybody.

On The Web

Race Relations - Exploring Group Relations and the Dynamics of Race
Online NewsHour -- Race Relations Reports
Perspectives on Race Relations -- US Dept. of State
Institute of Race Relations news network - Race
Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
SAGE Race Relations Abstracts
Race During the Great Depression
Race Relations Day - 21 March 2005
How the Blues Affected Race Relations in the United States Books: Sociology / Race Relations : General, America ...
Fisk University Race Relations Institute
Open Directory - Society: Issues: Race-Ethnic-Religious Relations
Race Relations
Welcome to the Commission for Racial Equality
Race relations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Committee on Campus Race Relations
Cultures & Community, Issues and Causes, Race Relations,
US Commission on Civil Rights - Publications
South African Institute of Race Relations
Race Relations: 14 to 18 years
Issues and Causes > Race and Racism in the Yahoo! Directory
On Race Relations
The Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003
Center for Race Relations
Race Relations - For Faith & Family
Eberron Under the Glass -- Race Relations and Prejudice
The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
SSRN-Race Relations and Modern Church-State Relations by Thomas Berg
Matters of Race: Bridging the Divide In Greater Cincinnati
Lesson Plan no. 39 | Wartime and Race Relations |
Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust
Race Relations Progress Report
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations - Home
The Race Relations Act :: Columns :: "Crash," the movie vs. race relations ...
IRR: HomeBeats: Struggles for Racial Justice CDROM
Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Civil Rights and Race Relations
Home Office | Race relations
FrontPage :: Race Relations at Bucknell by Kyle McNeel
Race Relations


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Thursday, May 25, 2006

DPACNY: The Empire Strikes Back

Okay, that is one complicated name even as an acronym, but there you go. There is an Alert email from the DFNYC supremo Tracey Denton in my inbox. Bernadette Evangelist, one of the power women at DFNYC looks like has launched an organization. Democratic Progressive Action Caucus Of New York. Quite a name that.

I have had quite a few mood swings with DFNYC as an organization. For the longest time I did not understand why the DFNYC was not jumping onto the Nepal bandwagon, but then I got to meet Howard Dean the other evening (Dean, DFNYC, Daily Kos, Justin, Brooklyn, Nepal) and he casually mentioned Sentaor Patrick Leahy in passing, and Leahy has been the top voice on Nepal in the US Congress, and there was a hint Dean and Leahy must have discussed Nepal more than once.

I mean, you have to be a Nepal democracy activist to feel the impact of how much Leahy has meant to us. You've got to remember, the April Revolution surprised us just like it surprised the world. We did not see it coming. Of course we are all happy now, the democrats are in power, and all that. But before that was months and months of darkness. For months after the February 1, 2005 coup, we did not understand why the people were not riled up enough to come out into the streets. We were asking the same question in October 2005. And then there were some impressive rallies in November and December. Then things went dud for the next few months, and we were worried. And even when it started in April, the repression was so vicious, we were scared the movement might get snuffed out, even though we kept pushing. And I was reacting to the whole thing physically. Like on day three, I was exhausted. I had spent the night at a friend's place, a fellow activist, something very unusual for me to do. I had overslept. I had company to keep. But only a few hours after waking up, I was physically drained. I was so surprised. I knew too many details of the ground situation in Kathmandu. I was reading news non stop. I was seeing photos. I was seeing video clips that I myself had arranged to be uploaded for the online audience, for the longest time the only way the diaspora was able to see the street happenings in Nepal. So easy to do, but only one person was doing it. I set it up first for the December 2, 2005 rally in Kathmandu. At that point we were so down and out, any sign of life on the street was going to get some more action at this end. I was having a hard time raising money at this end among the Nepalis. I figured video clips would help. But the video blogger Umesh Shrestha has worked largely autonomously. We have collaborated, but he has been independent.

Now all that looks and feels easy. Memory can play tricks on you. There have been months of loneliness, feelings of desperation. And that is where Patrick Leahy comes in. Leahy would give a statement here, and the next thing you know the king's army would feel the need to respond with a defensive press conference. Patrick Leahy's moral support has meant the world to the Nepal democracy movement when there were few flickers of hope.

I guess I mean to say in a roundabout way DFNYC can take some credit on Nepal. Leahy, Dean, DFNYC. We are all part of the same democracy ecosystem.

Nepal Needs To Be Hitting The World Headlines: Write To The Media (January 8)

And there is me being a refugee into New York City. I am here because of the push factors in Kentucky and Indiana. I am allergic to racist comments like Bill Clinton is allergic to pollen grains. It is not a political issue, it is a health issue. I get headaches. The politics of it is step two. The biology comes first, and I am not in control.

I think this is a relevant point in the progressive circles I roam in. Race is the number one issue in my personal life. If you feel uneasy discussing race, we are not going to get close. I also have a professional interest in race. Think of me as a police officer in a high crimes division who has to use his gun once in a while. Only I use words, not bullets. I do it for a living. If my work offends you, we can't get close.

And if you make a mild racist comment in ignorance, I should have the option to point it out. And you should apologize. Otherwise we don't get along.

And there is the privacy issue, the personal space issue. Politics is not hobby, it is work. When I show up at a political event in town, I am working. And I have to have a certain sense of detachment to get fully engaged, to stay productive. Me showing up at political events is like Amitabh Bachchan showing up at his movie sets. (Amitabh Bachchan, Bill Clinton) I am working. A comrade might or might not be a friend. Not everyone I meet at political events is a comrade, although I like the idea of getting on a first name basis with as many people as possible. Comrades are people who collaborate politically. And if you are a guy who is maybe a comrade, you are not a member of my private life, real or imagined, and that is never going to change. I find it offensive when some guy sidles up to pontificate on private matters. Some people think if they can invade your privacy, that means you are closer to each other. Does not work that way. Where you don't belong, you don't belong. And there are times when I am just experiencing an event. The individuals just add up to the composite.

Tracey Denton Of DFNYC

I think the world of Tracey Denton's political presence. You can't learn what she has, you can't educate yourself and become it. Either you have it, or you don't. She has it. On the downside, she is so positive, and optimistic, and creative and capable, that she sometimes misses the dark side of human nature. Conservatives say people are inherently evil. There is some truth to that. Optimism is great, but you have to know when you get hit. Otherwise you don't hit back, and you lessen your effectiveness. That is where the rubber meets the road in politics: in your instict to hit back when you get hit, and at times to hit proactively. Politics is a contact sport.

When I first came to the city, I landed at DFNYC, as a Deaniac. The progressive air was such a relief from the suffocation I had felt in Kentucky and Indiana. I was just thankful for the freshness, although there were a few downturns months later, like over winter. And the glass wall, glass ceiling thing is true in the city.

I did not see into the positive too much. What if it evaporates, I thought. And the action was in Nepal anyways. To be honest, I felt a certain attraction towards Tracey. But I thought I am broke and in Brooklyn, but she is a high flying Times Square lawyer, and I saw her boyfriend the first time I met her, a nice guy that I don't really know since I have never talked to, although he asked a great question at the Brooklyn event, the one about the US signing for the International Criminal Court: I am all for it. Politically I could give pound for pound. But I just went with the flow. But right before she left for Holland, I said it. I told her I liked her. On the phone she lectured me. As in, it sometimes happens in the activism circles. You are nice, and you get misunderstood. But then there was meeting her the following day at a few different events, and there were parts of not so clear, I thought.

And there was Nepal.

But then right before she came back after six months in Europe I wrote this to make things easy: Justin Krebs. Okay so you are like Justin Krebs, only you are a woman. Take it easy. But there have been moments when I am like, if you like me, blink your left eye, on the other hand, if I make you feel uneasy and you maybe want me out of your face, blink your right eye, and let's get it done and over with.

I think there are religious differences. I am a Buddhist. In Buddhism we have the body and the mind. The concept of soul does not exist. So there is no soulmate.

I grew up in a culture of arranged marriages. I gave up on that model a long time ago, long before I came to America. And in America 99.9% of the people stick to the racial boundaries. So that part is pretty arranged itself. What I think of relationships is in the zone of Sharper/Accenuated/ Heightened Individualism. But a relationship first and foremost is a private thing between two individuals.

A relationship is a painting that two people decide to work on together, a meeting of minds. And it is not sexist. In the sexist model, the man takes the lead. If the man does not take the lead, it never happens.

I am broker than I was when I moved into the city. But I am flying high mentally after the April Revolution. And I feel like I am only a few months away from making some big bucks.

I have been seeing Kenya Washington. I met her at a Spitzer event briefly. (Eliot Spitzer, Aliza Fatima) But we did not start going out right away. I am seeing her next on Friday.

Race, my non traditional career, and my "model" of a relationship can get in the way when they do. But, heck, I am in the city. I am alive.


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Monday, May 22, 2006


I was just lazing around. I had a lot of catching up to do with email. The weekend had been rather hectic with Nepal work, event after event after event, including a full day conference on Saturday. (Janajati Sammelan At The New School) And I ended up on the DFNYC page to look up details on the next LinkUp. Curtis Chin in the Bay Area from Dean 2004 has gotten in touch recently. He was the dynamo behind Asian Pacific Americans For Dean. Now he is trying to revive the group, and was working the contacts in the city as well. I was trying to suggest let's take over the East Village LinkUp of DFNYC for an Asian Plus LinkUp. Why not use existing infrastructure? And there I noticed Murderball. The gory name caught my attention. The event was in two hours. That further added to the adrenaline rush. And then as I was catching up on my email, there I saw an email from Justin Krebs urging to go to the same event.

Justin had just earned a few points with me over the weekend. He had sold me a $20 ticket to a Laughing Liberally event on Thursday at the Drinking Liberally event. One part of me was like, this Harvard educated, Hillary former intern, American capitalist, white male dude, he just fleeced me for some free beer. But Friday was my first time at any Laughing Liberally event, and I am so glad I went. It was just awesome.

Liberally Tipsy
Justin Krebs

I have not quite figured out the Empire Liberally yet, but there is Drinking Liberally, Laughing Liberally, Screening Liberally, and there might be more. And today I found out about some DNNYC, and I wonder if that is part of the DFNYC empire. You never know.

NYC might be a big city, but if you start going to the progressive events, you do bump into some people again and again. As they say, there is actually more room at the top.

I made my $10 payment online through PayPal, took a shower, and headed off. The day had begun. I was ready to soak it all in.

I met Lawrence Carter-Long. He is with DNNYC. He got described to me as "brilliant." We had some soul talk. I talked the whole ISMs spectrum. I said, race concerns me personally. But I am a political person. I would be doing politics even if there were no poverty, no racism, no sexism, no nothing. For me it is the craft, the game of it. But when you put the two together, it is not rocket science to see you got to win, and you do that by hitting the 51% mark. And so people like me who are pissed off about racism and people like you - he is white, male - pissed off about ablism, need to forge a working coalition. He could not agree more. I wanted to do a high five with him after the movie. He did a low five.

The movie was well done. But I kept expecting a feature film, for some reason. It is a documentary. There is music alright. And there are some rough scenes. Not exactly violence, but when they fall off the murder chairs, you are like, is that person's head okay! And sex talk. There were the usual giggles in the room. Sex is universal, it is in the mind. Everybody thinks it. Everybody finds it mysterious. And hence the giggle.

Some of the guys in the movie claimed women dig them because they are in the chair. As in, the chair makes them hotter. I think it is the coalition thing. I mean, we do live on a supremely sexist planet. So people at the receiving end of sexism gravitate towards those at the receiving end of ablism. Or maybe it is the sex. Perhaps both.

One thing I kept thinking was, these are all white, male, rich, or rich enough folks in the movie. There has to be a trade. If you want me enlightened on the ablism issue, where do you stand on the poverty that affects four billion people? I do want to ask that. Poverty is just like racism and sexism and ablism, a political, social condition.

Because the coalition thing does not always work. A gay guy might be a racist. A black guy might be homophobic. A white woman might be both.

And there is always the individual. Each person is unique. That is much of the social interaction. But then the collective identities are also important. When you first see someone, you don't see Robert, you see a black guy. When you see a woman, you see a woman first. And maybe also later, and ever after.

There is softball when people try not to be racist. They are open to dialogue. And there is hardball when people very much intend to be racist. That is their worldview, and that is the only world they know how to live in. And don't unsettle the dust.

For the movie I situated myself in front of one of the three screens, right across the high rise bar table, between one man, and a woman. I was so into the movie, so enjoying the jokes, laughing so hard, the guy later left and I got to sit. He left for some other part of the room. If I had realized when it happened, I might have tried to stop him. To be polite. Offered to laugh less hard.

After the movie was over, Lawrence talked, and one other guy in a wheelchair, an actor. Soccer came on TV. I watched some soccer during some of the second talk. Murderball got some action, but nothing quite beats soccer. Reminds me, I got to figure out a way to watch the World Cup this summer. Since I don't own a TV, it has to be online, or at some neighborhood bar. Life is going to be organized around the games.

Thursday Drinking Liberally is celebrating its third anniversary. I quizzed Justin just before he left, "Will there be room?"

"Come early," he said.

I spent some time towards the end with Keith Cavill and Matthew Castelluccio. Both are in the chair. That was before they got whisked away for a private dinner with the organizers. And I walked my thin shirt over to the train. Thin, chequered, blue, patches of white. Bright. Fluffy. Summery.

On The Web

Murderball - Coming to DVD November 29th 2005
Murderball - Coming to DVD Noverber 29th 2005
Murderball (2005)
Apple - Trailers - Murderball
Murderball Murderball (2005): DVD - 78th Annual Academy Awards - Best Documentary Feature
Netflix: Rent Murderball on DVD - Free Trial
Murderball - Movie Info - Yahoo! Movies


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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dean, DFNYC, Daily Kos, Justin, Brooklyn, Nepal

My Americana blog has taken a back seat to my Nepal blog for a while now, and that is not about to change soon, but I figured I jot down a few lines. I got to meet Howard Dean earlier today at the DFNYC Mixer. Technically speaking, yesterday, since this is past midnight. Also the Daily Kos and the MyDD guys.


I showed up in an all jeans outfit. That was not planned. I just did not have the time to change. These Manhattan hideouts, there is this unspoken dress code. Not that I care two whits, but I don't dislike pants. The only thing I dislike is the tie.

There was quite a lot of talk on Nepal. I don't own a TV set. And I don't subscribe to the New York Times. So I don't really have a firsthand feel for how big Nepal really became in April, but it seems quite big. I mean, I know. But I did not watch it all myself. I knew Nepal had hit the headlines, but I did not see them myself.

My personal involvement is a curiosity. I think there is a tendency among people who know me to exaggerate my personal involvement. But then I also know of groups that err in the other direction. But whatever it has been has been transparent. And it is true I have been the only Nepali in America doing full time Nepal work for almost a year now.

But David Walker at Playboy magazine had a story waiting from me. This was a few months back. David offered to make space for an article on Nepal in Playboy since he is a senior person there, like he knows Hugh Heffner. I forwarded the email to someone I knew who I asked to forward to who I consider the top columnist in Nepal. I never heard from them. Later I learned the whole thing had become a big joke at the other end. People did not realize Playboy also does serious articles. I shared the story with David today.

Lewis Cohen made a point to meet me and say, "Hello Paramendra. Nice to meet you." He wants to be quoted only in those terms. So now I guess I will have to report on his tone of delivery, things like that. Once he got quoted in terms of men's room talk, and that is when the blogosphere hit him front and center. So he acts careful these days, or he acts like he acts careful these days.

And Howard Dean showed. He had dropped by after having been at a fundraiser. This was not announced. I got goose bumps.

"Governor, Iraq is 27 million people, and Nepal is 27 million people. We need to spread democracy like in Nepal, not like in Iraq," I said after Cohen introduced me to him. ("Got to meet this guy!")

Cobb To Leahy
Leahy Amendment Says No Arms To Nepal
Leahy, Lion
Senator Patrick Leahy
Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat, Vermont
Senator Leahy To US Congress On Nepal

Listening to him speak to others, watch him work the room, then make his small speech, the Dean 2004 feeling came to me all over again. He is not running in 2008, and he said as much today. When Hillary (Hillary 2008) becomes president in 2008, we are all going to be very thankful to the DNC Chair. Before Howard Dean came along, the Democratic Party had no infrastructure. One way to put it would be, the party did not exist.

I was so glad to learn Dean has been crisscrossing the planet. This was a revelation to me. He said he was trying to build a coalition of center left parties. Now that is really something. I myself feel and act like a global citizen. I am in New York City, but I have been intimately involved with Nepal. There is no pretending there's no globalization, there is no internet.

If you think Nepal was really something in April, give that country one more year. The revolution has not ended, it has only shifted from the streets to the parliament. Wait until the constituent assembly elections go full swing.


I met her at the Mixer. She has an amazing story. Her father was Afghan, a Masters in Economics. Her mother white. She told me stories of her father's experiences in racism. Like this one instance, he got accepted for a job after much trial and error, and he showed up with his white wife, and the company said they had made an error, that they never had hired him. They did not like him showing up with a white wife.

Her daughter is African American.

She herself has been pursuing a lawsuit against the city for firing her for her disability. For eight years now. She lives in Queens. She is on Social Security and Disability.

Apparently she is a Deaniac. She relayed to me stories of when "this room used to be full of people." She met and talked to Dean.

Somebody's got to pitch in.

Bill Batson

I met him at the Brooklyn event. He is running for something major.

He came to meet Dean. He showed him news clips of the recent surge of arsons in the city.


By now I am familiar with quite a few progressive groups in town, and I have started my own, Hamro Nepal, which has been hailed in the blogosphere as the "world's first digital democracy organization."

But I do give it that DFNYC is special. Not least because of the Dean 2004 alumn status. The group does have a unique culture to it, although not all members are as progressive as the image might suggest. Kind of like New York City.

The alum thing gives it a casual air.

But I expect to be selective in terms of my involvement. I am just interested in a few select events, with DFNYC and a few others. I can't see me a worker bee for one of the local candidates, DFNYC's specialty. And I have never had any interest in DFNYC event planning. I am too busy with Nepal, I am too focused on national politics.

But an astronomer is not superior to atomic physicists. It is specialty, not superiority.


NYC is quite a racially charged city. It is a progressive city, true, but it is racially charged. It is charged in many other ways as well. But it sure is racially charged.

Race is important to me personally. It also fascinates me. And it is a big issue. And nobody knows race like the black community. To me the black community has an attraction that way.

Anyone who hopes to tackle health care in America is going to have to delve into race. Race is richer in details.

But I look at race like a doctor might look at cancer. The most productive ways involve much detachment. The approach almost gets clinical. That is quite a tackle for such a culturally, emotionally charged issue.

Race And Me

I was in my 20s when I came to America. When I think race, I am thinking world politics, I am thinking India, China. I am thinking world history. I am thinking dot com. I am thinking money. I am thinking online entrepreneurship. So my perspective is slightly different from, say, that of African Americans. It involves empires. It involves free, wireless broadband. It involves the individual. So I do meet people who have lost their power, but not their attitude.

Verbal Martial Arts

Once in a while you will bump into some white male who has to make his racist remark. And they are usually only one sentence away from getting blown out of the water. You got to watch Bruce Lee movies to make sense of the concept I am getting at here.

Usually the white male who is prone to making a racist comment is also likely to try to show the white woman her place in the scheme of things. But that is not an automatic recipe for a race gender coalition. Race cuts across gender lines just like gender cuts across race lines.

Daily Kos

The Daily Kos and the MyDD guys were in town. Justin Krebs hosted them along with Simon Rosenberg. Kos is really something. He speaks four letter words like he were a rap artist. He is quite young. He is hilarious.

I went to the Kos event right before I went to the Mixer. It was quite an experience.

The Democratic Party is still searching for a vision, for a leader, Kos said. He said the Democratic Party is still searching for its Reagan.

I am not a leader, he said.

Liberally Tipsy
Justin Krebs

Hillary 2008 And Me

I expect to be very involved. But Hillary is simply going to have to watch me pay per view, a cent a minute. I invented the idea. It will be politics in a whole different dimension. And I expect to get rich doing it. I have a healthy feeling about money.

Brooklyn Event

DFNYC did an event in Brooklyn last Thursday. That was one of its best events ever. It being in Brooklyn was a big part of it. I was able to ride my car to the venue. Never have been able to do that before to any DFNYC event.

It was at a church. There was a lot of space. There was no beer, no dim light, no background noise. Candidates for three different seats showed.

Hakeem Jeffries who I have got to know through Leila Noor was there. He gave a suave presentation, I thought.

He was the first person in the NYC political circles I have met to call me up and talk up Nepal when Nepal heated up. I am thankful. I hope to contribute to his campaign.


Immigration, Democracy

I might have found my pet issue in American politics. It is the immigration issue. I think I could feel almost as passionate about immigration in America as democracy in Nepal.

Immigrant Power
Immigration Makes Economy Sense, Democracy, Justice, Family Sense
Bill Frist's Ancestors Came From The Moon

The First Major Revolution Of The 21st Century Happened In Nepal


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