Monday, September 30, 2019

Imran Khan Is Back Home

The Biggest Reason For Lifting The Curfew In Kashmir

The Government Of India did what it did on Article 370, but the people of Kashmir have a right to challenge that decision and take it all the way to the Supreme Court. Maybe the Supreme Court will side with the Government of India, maybe it will not. We can not know beforehand. But there is no avoiding that route. You can not wish the Supreme Court away. You can not wish the judicial process away.

The curfew should be lifted. And the people of Kashmir should be told loud and clear, if they disagree with the decision, their best option is to take the issue to the Supreme Court of India, and to that end, they should organize peaceful gatherings in indoor locations and marshall their arguments after deliberations and discussions. That peaceful political process has to be encouraged to the hilt.

The curfew is inhumane. It is not the democratic way. And it needs to be lifted immediately. It has been two months already. That is two months too long.

Of course, all politicians, all intellectuals in Kashmir who have been put under house arrests if not outright taken to jail should be release immediately. Maybe they would like to give the Delhi government a wait and watch mode. Or maybe they disagree and they would like to go to the Supreme Court. That judicial process should be encouraged to the hilt. That might not be enough. But that might be one way to make the situation less explosive.

For me it is not about how I feel about Article 370. For me it is about how the people of Kashmir feel about Article 370.

I would be utterly surprised if there are no street protests after the curfew is lifted. But peaceful protests should be encouraged. And the judicial option has to be encouraged. Those who disagree with the decision need to see there is a political way to oppose it.

By now the curfew has become a major issue of its own. And the longer the curfew lasts, greater the ammunition for those who could never side with the Indian government.

Police impose restrictions in Indian Kashmir after Pakistan PM's speech In an address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Khan warned of a bloodbath once India lifts its restrictions in Kashmir, which have been in force since it revoked the region’s decades-old autonomy in August and detained thousands of people. ...... Soon after the speech, hundreds of Kashmiris came out of their homes, shouting slogans in support of Khan late on Friday night and calling for the independence of Kashmir....... Both countries rule parts of Kashmir while claiming it in full...... The troops also blocked access to the main business center of Srinagar with razor wire..... Two Indian officials said six militants and one Indian soldier had been killed in two separate incidents in the state ........ Though New Delhi has eased some of the movement curbs, no prominent detainees have been freed and mobile and internet connections remain suspended......... While warning of the consequences of lifting what he described as an “inhuman curfew,” Pakistani premier Khan demanded India do so and free all detainees....... Khan addressed the United Nations a day after the senior U.S. diplomat for South Asia called for a lowering of rhetoric between India and Pakistan, while saying that Washington hoped to see rapid action by India to lift restrictions it has imposed in Kashmir and the release of detainees there.

The Importance Of Being Kind

Why Kindness Is the Key to Improved Well-being Can kindness, love and a strong sense of community actually make you healthier and happier? Research says that it does. ........ A 1978 study looking at the link between high cholesterol and heart health in rabbits determined that kindness made the difference between a healthy heart and a heart attack. ......... Most of us, when we think about health, we think about diet, exercise, sleep, the occasional trip to the doctor. But it’s really quite striking because there are decades of evidence that show that, in fact, probably

the biggest contributor to our health is our relationships

......... while quality medical care is absolutely critical, access to it probably only accounts for about 10% to 20% of our health........ Genes definitely play a role, but what was so shocking to me is that they’re not as fixed as you think. Lifestyle is important, but again it comes back to our relationships. ........ Do you think most people make this association between good health and positive emotions?........ I would say absolutely not, and I think that’s the thing. ............. the strongest predictor of a man’s death from heart disease isn’t cholesterol or blood pressure. It’s his job. Or her job. ........ It’s easy to get sidetracked with the razzle-dazzle of biomedicine........ there are really low-cost interventions that are community based that can have huge impacts on people’s health down the road. .........

we really need to be gentle on new moms and families.

....... The hug you give your child or your spouse when you walk out the door makes a difference, and not only with them. ......

loving actions actually change our physiology

....... They looked around and realized what was different about that one group is that there was a researcher that wasn’t just giving the rabbits kibbles. She was actually picking them up. She was petting them. She was talking to them. She was giving them love and kindness......... Loneliness kind of comes in two flavors. It’s the number of connections you have, and then it’s also how connected you feel to others. ........

loneliness is as significant a health risk as well-established factors, such as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, heavy alcohol use, even high blood pressure and obesity.

....... “When did you last call a good friend? When did you meet someone for dinner or coffee?” ........ being married is health-protective if it’s a happy marriage........ healthy, positive relationships and marriages can reduce pain if the relationship is strong........

being kind is a practice, and it’s hard.

It involves having to learn to navigate conflict, and conflict comes up many, many times a day. Part of it is also recognizing it’s a practice and then building our skillset, because we have to be doing a better job of this. ........ for every one life saved by biomedicine, it seems as though education saves eight....... not finishing high school is the equivalent of a lifetime of smoking........ having a life purpose, feeling optimistic — all those things actually can prolong telomeres, can help us live longer and help us live better even when illnesses do come........

Spending time in nature boosts the immune system. People in hospitals who are exposed to a garden recover a day faster.

They require less pain management, less intervention from staff........... these microaggressions, these things that happen over time. ....... these tiny little events that happen during the day, but they have a cumulative health effect........ death by a thousand paper cuts....... “Well, maybe I have some assumptions and actions that I’m not even aware that I’m doing.”........ “You can probably toss out your human [resources] manual and just rewrite it as, ‘Be kind.'”......... it comes down to kindness.......

People who work in health care are at high, high [risk] of burnout, and I think part of it is because we’re aware that we’re not addressing this. It feels overwhelming to put that responsibility just on the health care system alone. This is really all of us. It’s treating each other with dignity and learning to navigate conflict in a way that’s about supporting people and not tearing them down.

................. We need to be kind to people in our schools, in our workplaces ...... When you’re driving on the road, be kind.

MBS Is Right About The Possible War

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War With Iran: Super Bad Idea For All Parties Concerned

MBS is right to say there is only a political solution. And I point my finger towards Yemen. The humanitarian crisis in that country is atrocious. There is no military solution in Yemen. There is only a political solution.

There is no military solution with Iran. There is only a political solution.

Masa Son (who by all accounts is a genius) talked MBS into putting I don't know if it is 50 or 100 billion dollars into his Vision Fund. Masa put a big chunk of that into Uber and WeWork. Looks like both are bombing. Masa is not a monarch. He has a stellar record as an investor. But the thing is, if Imran Khan had started smoking at the peak of his cricket career, how long do you think he might have been a great player?

This MBS-Masa story is one to learn from.

Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country that became wealthy very rapidly when oil was discovered. And Saudi leaders have been talking about diversifying the economy for decades now. But that has not come to be. Now Saudi Arabia is under immense time pressure. Not delivering on diversification is no longer an option. It has at most a decade to do so. The rightful clean energy push in the world and the exponential progress being made by clean energy technology is good news for humanity, and it need not be bad news for Saudi Arabia.

I think if MBS were to draw a roadmap to becoming a constitutional monarch in something like five years, that would be the most powerful decision taken by any Saudi king. Become a constitutional monarch, and create a bicameral legislature.

It gets said about MBS he is a millennial who has already come to power. Pete Buttigieg in the US is older than MBS (I think) and Pete is considered almost too young.

It is not a question of individual IQ or individual ability. It is about the political structure that might best deliver. And Saudi Arabia has a 10-year window to diversify or face decline.

The best exercise of power is restraint. I am critical of some of MBS' misadventures in Yemen. He must become cognizant of the human suffering there. What Yemen needs is a political process.

Digital technology can enhance a ruler's powers. But it is not about having more power. It is about exercising power right. It is about being just and fair. I was watching a video yesterday about some elements of the Saudi regime misusing Twitter to clamp down on even basic expressions. I did not feel good about it.

Some of what MBS has said about technology and the economy does sound visionary. But unless the political process is right, you do run the danger of ending up with white elephants. When you surround yourself with yes men, you could walk naked and no one will bother to tell you because they are too afraid.

Recently I have been listening to some of what Imran Khan has been saying about the early days of Islam, the state that Prophet Muhammad created.

MBS does accept Israel's right to exist. That apparently is a major milestone. And women being able to drive in Saudi Arabia has been a long time coming. But the best political move MBS could make is choose to become a constitutional monarch. I don't see any hint of that. But that is my thought.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Videos: India, Kashmir, Imran Khan, Saudi Arabia

Hong Kong Protests Need Political Leadership

At it happened: more than 100 arrests after march descends into violence and chaos on Hong Kong Island Online group Stand With Hong Kong has called on people to march on Sunday. It said people in at least 72 cities in more than 20 countries would demonstrate against totalitarianism over the weekend, in support of Hong Kong. .......

Having political leadership does not mean a top-down arrangement. It could mean two million Hong Kongers rapidly joining one political party or another and those parties holding internal elections to create leaders at all levels, from local to central. It definitely means party members getting together, discussing issues in person, and voting. It means the parties coming together to form a coalition. The party leaders could be the members of a council that oversees the movement with active near real-time feedback and negotiates with the authorities from Hong Kong to Beijing, and puts out periodic statements as necessary, not only externally but also internally. For example, it is important to say, let's not engage in violence and vandalism. That takes away our moral authority.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Hong Kong: The Protest Looking For A Safe Landing?

Of course, I can’t say that in five years later Hong Kong will have free elections suddenly, and that [a member of] the pro-democracy camp can be the leader of Hong Kong. But at least freedom from fear is what we hope for.
--- Joshua Wong, Hong Kong democracy leader

Look at what the most visible face of the movement is saying. The guy is already resigned to the fact that the fifth demand will not be met. And that posture matters.

A Criticism Of The Hong Kong Protestors
I Worry For The Hong Kong Protestors
The Hong Kong Protest Lacks Political Sophistication

Friday, September 27, 2019

I Am Rooting For Imran To Succeed In Pakistan

इमरान ने जनरल असेम्ब्ली में छक्का मारा
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Kashmir: Not Normal Yet
Modi's Big Political Mistake On Article 370 In Kashmir
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Imran Khan On Kashmir
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I am.

Kashmir should have a right to self-determination. But why only Kashmir? Why not Punjab? Why not Sindh? Why not Balochistan? Why not Bihar? Why not Assam?

Scotland has a right to self-determination. It can vote to break away. It can and has organized its own referendum.

But let's face it. The democracies of South Asia have not evolved to that stage. I hope they do someday. But that time is not now.

Imran has plenty of challenges with the Pakistani economy. Kashmir is too big a distraction. But there is no way around it. He can not ignore Kashmir. It is understandable.

इमरान ने जनरल असेम्ब्ली में छक्का मारा

धारा ३७० को हटाना अगर गलत था तो लोग भारतमें सर्वोच्च अदालत को जाएँगे। लेकिन कर्फ्यु जो अभी तक जारी है वो तो बहुत गलत है। ये तो चीन ने जो १० लाख लोगों को डिटेन कर रखा है उससे भी दो कदम आगे चला गया। आप ८० लाख लोगों को खुले जेल में रखे हुवे हैं। ये तो बहुत गलत है।

आप कहते हैं काश्मीर के हित में है ये कदम। तो कश्मीरियों को खुले में आने दिजिए। जश्न मनाने दिजिए। ५०-५० दिन तक कहीँ कर्फ्यु लगाया जाता है?

मैं चाहुँगा इमरान अपना राजनीतिक दबाब बनाए रखे। नहीं तो कर्फ्यु कभी उठेगा ही नहीं।

काश्मीर के लोगों का मानव अधिकार भारतके संविधान में सुरक्षित है। काश्मीर में जो मानव अधिकार हनन है वो भारतके संविधान के विरुद्ध है।

आप अगर अपने देशके भितर मानव अधिकार हनन अगर करते हैं तो वो आतंरिक मामला नहीं रह जाता।

The curfew in Kashmir must be lifted immediately. 

New Beijing Airport

A Criticism Of The Hong Kong Protestors

I attempt a criticism of the Hong Kong protestors because they are fighting for democracy, and it is a democratic act to criticize. I hope this is considered constructive criticism.

First of all, let me make it clear. Mahatma Gandhi said at one point, if it is a choice between protesting injustice violently and nonviolently, I'd prefer you protest nonviolently. But if it is a choice between protesting violently and not protesting at all, I'd prefer you protest. What are a few blocked roads or burnt railings between friends!

But having said that, I'd like to emphasize, if there are even only a few acts of vandalism, a few acts of property damage, a few acts of violence, that shows the movement lacks internal discipline of the highest degree. That internal discipline is what gives you moral authority.

It does not matter what the police do. The Hong Kong police have crossed the line a few times, true. The Hong Kong police protected vigilantes have crossed the line many times, true. But if you respond in kind, you lose some of your moral authority. The right political thing to do is to not react, to maintain internal discipline. And to create and maintain that internal discipline, you need internal political organization, internal dialogue.

"If we burn, you burn" is not a political program. I have been hearing more and more of that lately. That line of thought has to be consciously abandoned. Beijing is trying hard to tell the world, this is like the yellow vest protests in France or the forest fires in California. It will burn and die out on its own.

Unless the Hong Kong protest movement makes the extra effort towards that internal discipline and away from the "if we burn you burn" mantra, the movement might break all records in terms of how long it might last, but it might not see the success it seeks.

That is one thing I have to say about the method.

Another thing is dialogue. The Hong Kong protest movement needs to engage Carrie Lam and Beijing in an intense dialogue. Beijing has put out comment after comment on the protests in the global media. Those comments have gone unanswered. They need to be answered. Every such utterance needs to be answered.

You can not be fighting for democracy and say, Carrie Lam, we don't want to talk to you. Dialogue is basic to democracy.

Why do you want to talk to Carrie Lam?

The top of the five demands has already been met. The final demand, that of a directly elected Chief Executive, and a fully directly elected legislature is most important to me.

But there is room for compromise on some of the other demands. I agree that all protesters who have been detained should be released and their charges dropped. But when you ask for an independent inquiry of the police behavior, one has to ask, to what end? So the police officers might face disciplinary action? The room for compromise is to forgive and be forgiven.

A good outcome of a direct dialogue with Carrie Lam will also be to get her to say that it is simply not in her powers to meet the final demand. It is above her paygrade level. And that is true.

So, she has met one demand. I think she can meet another, that of releasing the 1,000 plus protestors that have been detained. But the protest movement has to be willing to compromise on two others. And the final demand has to be taken to Beijing. How do you do that?

There is a protest path. And there is a dialogue path.

If you only partially shut the city, you might have to do it a long time. But if you shut the city down 100%, the movement might win in a few short weeks. But the risk is those tanks in Shenzen might roll.

The dialogue path is, is Beijing even talking? It is not even at the table. Beijing big, Hong Kong tiny. That is the Beijing thinking. You already have Carrie Lam. That is what they say.

Creating a credible threat to independence might be the only way to get Beijing to budge. That is one thing Beijing does care about. On the other hand, if you can not build that credible threat, you perhaps should be willing to compromise.

Carrie Lam was basically appointed by Beijing. That makes an administrator. I hear a few years ago Beijing offered an arrangement whereby it would offer two candidates and Hong Kongers will get to pick one through direct vote. I wish that is how they elected the president of China every five years. The CCP offered two candidates to the billion-plus Chinese.

A compromise position between what Beijing was willing to give a few years ago and what Hong Kong wants today might be, okay, so Beijing gets to offer two candidates, but Hong Kong will also offer two candidates. There would at first be a primary. And the top two vote-getters will go into the final round. And the four candidates would contest.

Even that Beijing might not go for. But the beauty of being in constant dialogue mode is you force them to take positions. Dialogue is not just sitting across the table, or Xi Jinping giving one of you a call. Dialogue is already happening. Beijing has been issuing statement after statement. The movement has not been responding.

That is a political slam dunk for Beijing.

For example, when Joshua Wong showed up in Berlin, Beijing said, the west can not solve its own problems, how is it going to solve your problems? What did Joshua Wong say in response? Crickets.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

I Worry For The Hong Kong Protestors

Running out of options, Hong Kong protesters dig in Police crackdowns have failed, and protesters have no trust in dialogue with an intransigent administration ....... On June 9, Jason So joined the sea of people stretching from Hong Kong's Victoria Park to its seat of government at Admiralty. On that day, more than a million people took to the streets to protest against a proposed bill allowing criminal suspects to be deported from Hong Kong to the mainland, a law that many saw as emblematic of a wider, creeping erosion of the city's treasured civil liberties.

What the Hong Kong protestors need are (1) political organization, (2) political conversations, (3) political strategy, and (4) elected political leadership. In short, sophistication.

If the goal is to almost shut down the city, mission accomplished. But that is not the goal.

If you just organize more protests, Beijing is simply going to wait you out. Not necessarily because that is their active strategy. But it is possible they really don't know what to make of the protests. Maybe they are deer in the headlights.

All protestors should actively join one political party or another. Those parties should have elected leadership at all levels. The leaders of the party should form a coalition. There is need for internal conversation.

Every effort should me made to engage Carrie Lam and Beijig in dialogue. Unless there is much internal dialogue, that external dialogue is less possible.

This has gone on for long. It can not go on forever.

Videos: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Yang

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

President Pelosi? Trending On Twitter

Dick Morris: Impeachment? Over What? Just to be sure, they are also piling on everything they can think of and have been seeking to dredge up through their congressional subpoenas, all packaged into impeachment resolutions. Trump’s tax returns, his foundation activities, his hotel rentals for public events, and everything else is now fair game and likely to be wrapped into impeachment resolutions. ...... Their actions are not the considered opinions of responsible lawmakers. They are the desperate attempts of incumbent congressmen to avoid losing primary battles against pro-impeachment insurgents. ......

The ghost of Joe Crowley, defeated for re-election by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, prowls the Democratic House cloakrooms and haunts its members.

They are pushing impeachment — on whatever grounds they can find — to avoid and win primary fights....... And I’m sorry, but if President Trump had picked up the phone and called Zelensky and said “I have some military aid that I am holding up from Ukraine and I want you to investigate the Bidens and their activity in your country. If you do that, I will release the aid,” I don’t believe an impeachable offense would have been committed...... In the phone call with Zelensky, Trump did not link aid to investigations, he hinted at it. Even had he said it explicitly, it would not be grounds for impeachment....... Voters who backed Democrats in 2018 elected a grand jury not a legislative chamber....... And, the process will doom Biden’s candidacy leaving only the un-electable Elizabeth Warren in its wake.