THE ABSENT

THE ABSENT
THE ABSENT - out now!

CRIPPLED HEARTS

CRIPPLED HEARTS
Out Now - For sale on Amazon and other onlne book sellers

SOLIDARITY WITH THE FLESH EATING MOSAIC AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju

SOLIDARITY WITH THE FLESH EATING MOSAIC AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju
Out Now

THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT NINNY AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju

THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT NINNY AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju
My first book of poetry available through Amazon and other online booksellers www.rajbooks.com

Friday, May 31, 2013

IT'S TIME FOR ERIC HOLDER TO GO



Eric Holder is not John Mitchell breaking the law with abandon nor is he Janet Reno who allowed rules of engagement that led to the deaths of many innocent people at Waco nor is he Alberto Gonzalez who signed off on torture.

What Eric Holder is, quite frankly, is incompetent and ineffectual.  He has reached a point (perhaps he was always at this point) where he can no longer do his job.  He is the living embodiment of the Peter Principle – he has reached his dream position which also happens to be the job he cannot do properly and he is now stuck there.

One area he has shown a fervor for is in enforcing the Patriot Act, taking a very wide latitude on what exact powers this gives him.
  
Some problems with Eric Holder….

1.) Said banks were too big to prosecute

2.) helped negotiate a weakened mortgage settlement for those victimized by predatory banks and home loan companies

3.) Backpedaled on closing Gitmo and civilian trials for detainees

4.) Signed off on the legality of drone strikes which are not surgical at all and kill innocent people further isolating America from civilization

5.) Clamped down on whistleblowers, those revealing illegal and criminal action in government

6.) Clamped down on medicinal marijuana as hard as the previous Republican administration and has continued the mistaken war on drugs.

7.) Signed off on warrants for wiretaps and e-mail searches on journalists

The last one is important because it now appears he may have committed perjury as he first denied knowledge of this.  Perjury, by itself, is a good enough reason for Eric Holder to go.

I haven’t mentioned Fast and Furious because like Benghazi I consider it a bogus scandal, something that occurred at a local level and the appropriate heads have already rolled.  However, when combined with all his other scandals, it doesn’t look good.

I look at Holder as he testifies on Capitol Hill his head in his hands, a miserable tired expression on his face, his voice slow and whiny as he tries to answer back Republicans seeking to score political points and I just don’t see him as the man for the job anymore (if he ever was).

Janet Reno firmly refused to take blames she was responsible for and hung on for all eight years of the Clinton administration.  Holder doesn’t have that force of will nor assuredness. He is a showhorse only with no real accomplishments kind of like his boss, the president, but without his boss’s deft touch with journalists and in public speaking.  They say President Obama might not want to fire him because it would be hard to fill the spot with someone Republicans wouldn’t filibuster.  That is hardly a good reason.

 If you can’t help, get out of the way.  Eric Holder needs to get out of the way and resign as Attorney General of the United States so someone with principles and leaderships skill can come in and do something about the very really problems facing the US Justice system and how it behaves in combat as well.




 

Friday, May 17, 2013

LATEST LITERARY CARE PACKAGE (AND READING LIST)



The latest literary CARE package coming to me courtesy of my father….Will review once read.

THE GOLDEN SPUR by Dawn Powell
THE LIAR by Thomas Savage
CHARLEY SMITH’S GIRL by Helen Bevington
A CHILDHOOD: BIOGRAPHY OF A PLACE by Harry Crews
SCAR LOVER by Harry Crews
MY FELLOW DEVILS by LP Hartley


Monday, May 13, 2013

THE PROBLEMS WITH 09/11 LIBERALISM



Recently, in a conversation with Salman Rushdie on his show EQUAL TIME, Bill Maher defined a term “09/11 Liberal”.

A 09/11 Liberal by his description is someone of a leftist bent perhaps even an atheist who now acknowledges that Islam is different from other religions and poses an existential threat to the West.  Maher mentions Sam Harris, Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens etc, as people who share this mindset.

I of course believe this is all bullshit and here’s why….

First off, the liberal part of  09/11 Liberal is a questionable term for these folks.  Maher has stated he supported the Vietnam War and civilian casualties and crimes against humanity never seem to bother him when it’s US allies and Israel doing the killing.  He believes in American exceptionalism and along with Harris is a big supporter of Israel.  His liberalism stops at the border.  Harris is a phony atheist who hides his bigotry against Islam behind this shield (as Maher is doing now).  Hitchens supported the Iraq War and Rushdie, despite his protestations at a recent PEN event, did support the Iraq War before it started coming out against it only after the war had started.  The coddling of ridiculous Islamophobe nuts like Aayan Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders, and Irshad Manji only undercuts their credibility more.

I should say once again for the record that I am an Atheist but I hate all religions equally.  To single out Islam separately is to reveal something about your world view that ties one to Neo Cons, imperialists, tea bagging knuckleheads, and Zionists.

The 09/11 liberal’s mindset has two main faults 1.) It is based on faulty assumptions that border on the pathologically paranoid about the uniform nature of Muslims 2.) They are divorced from history.

There are roughly 1.62 billion Muslims in the world according to Wikipedia.  Muslims that fit the profile Maher and others are talking about, those that embrace the ultraviolent backwards looking fundamentalist Wahabbi faith are a tiny percentage of that.  Even if you assume everyone in Saudi Arabia is a terrorist that is less than %1 of the world’s Muslim population.  Heck, if you assume every Arab in the Middle East and as well as Muslims in North Africa is a terrorist that’s still only 19.9% of the world’s population of Muslims. 

What about the rest of the world? Indonesia is 12.7%. Pakistan is 11%. India 10.9%. Bangladesh 9.2% Iran 4.6% Uzbekistan is 1.7% China is 1.4%.  2.7% of the World’s Muslims live in Europe.  Malaysia, where I live, has 1.1% of the world Muslim population.

My point here is that the idea Islam is an amphorous global conspiracy like the Borg from Star Trek is just not backed up by reality.  No, Islam does not have denominations but it does mold itself to local practices in the countries where it is practiced in a way that Christianity (which went along the last few hundred with the sense of biological and cultural superiority created by colonialism) does not.  Islam in Malaysia, for example, is mostly laid back and infused with local animist belief while Islam in the Middle East has taken on many of the elements of violent tribal culture (which came before Islam).

To argue that a relatively tiny percentage of the world’s Muslims define their faith is illogical.  All people who live in Hollywood are drug addicted perverts I know this because I read some of them are in the newspaper.

There are places where Muslims are fighting wars of liberation.  These wars would be going on even if those fighting for freedom practiced a different faith.  The situation of the Palestinians (Christians as well as Muslims), The Chechens in Russia, and the Uyghurs in China are valid struggles and I support all of them in their battles for their own states and freedom.

In addition, as I have noted many times on this blog, I don’t support Israel at all, the last bastion of colonialism, a give away by The West they had no right to give, The Zionist is the true creator of modern day terrorism as he was the first in this ongoing conflict not to make the separation between non-combatant and combatant.

My second point about ignoring history – The other day I saw Bill Maher have his ass handed to him by Glenn Greenwald, best journalist working together,    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYG7GR13DnU
 The way the ignorant stand-up comedian Maher tries to disassemble here is almost uncomfortable to watch.  Of course, US colonial history backing dictatorships influences events now.  The situation in Iran (as Greenwald points out) is a direct result of the US intervening in the 50’s and the CIA getting rid of the democratically elected government of Mosaddegh.  We are still doing this today.  Yemen has a dictatorship which the USA supports.  When a movement similar to Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia came into being there, the CIA helped the Yemeni government destroy it.  In many places (such as Syria), fundamentalist Islam has taken on the role of resistance but it doesn’t make the cause any less right.

My general feeling is global terrorism inspired by extremist Islam is an anomaly of history like Nazism and will vanish soon enough.  Only its disappearance will not be caused by war but rather by information and education, opportunities for women and the Internet.  Allowing it to usurp the mantle of representative for those fighting for freedom and survival is to prolong and strengthen it.  However, in many places, they are the only game in town as the CIA has been complicit in wiping out resistance movements with more of a leftist or socialist bent.   

Islam never went through a reformation but it is a younger religion than Christianity.  Once it goes through that it will be less harsh and brutal and sexist and controlling.

The bigger problem has been and will continue to be imperialism either in a bipolar world (where there are two or more world powers) or a unipolar world (like we have now) where only one country rules.  This makes international law subjects to the whims of those who run the world rather than being an objective standard.  This has been true with America and once America’s time at the top is done and China takes over, I have no illusions about them either.   

Some further writings by me on similar topics





RESTAURANT REVIEW - TANDOORI GRILL



Took my wife to the Tandoori Grill in the Greentown section of Ipoh yesterday for her birthday.  Good Indian food is so cheap and plentiful in Malaysia that the idea of going to a relatively expensive sit down restaurant for the same seems a bit silly.

However, the food at the Tandoori Grill is so awesome, the spices so perfectly balanced, the meat so tender, and the flavors of the various sauces so powerfully pleasing that it is a completely different world from the normal Indian food dining experience.

We ordered mutton chukka (which is a delicious spicy sizzling dish), perhaps the best chicken tikka I have ever had which was so tender it could be cut with a spoon, a yogurt raita that undercurrent perfectly the spiciness of the chukka, and, as an appetizer, fried cauliflower which by itself was bland but came with dark red chili sauce that really delivered a punch.  My wife had a mango lassi and I had a mixed berry lassi which were both sweet but not overwhelmingly so.

The portions of the food were huge and we had to doggy bag some of the mutton.   

In addition a few other things I liked about the Tandoori Grill – The price was rm86 for everything and that to me for this level of dining experience seemed more than fair.  The service was excellent with waiters who really seem to know what they are doing rather than the usual useless Malaysian idiots who stand around and until you signal them.  The ambiance of the place is fantastic.  It’s a genuinely beautiful room and makes one feel they are dining out in luxury.

Also as it was Mother’s Day too and they gave my wife a free slice of carrot cake which was a nice gesture for all the ladies – even those that aren’t moms.

From Monday to Friday they have a buffet for rm28 which is not available on weekends.  My experience with buffets at Indian restaurants has always been good and I look forward to going back and trying that on a weekday.

   




A FEW THOUGHTS ON BLOC PARTY



Listening to Bloc Party’s latest album FOUR.  It came out in 2012 but I’m only just now hearing it because I’d been scared off the band after their horrible third album INTIMACY.

When Bloc Party first appeared with their excellent debut SILENT ALARM and a classic post punk Gang of Four/Wire influence as filtered through Brit pop, they seemed destined for greatness.  If anything, their second album A WEEKEND IN THE CITY was even more commercial although it didn’t seem to have as much inspired raw energy as the debut.

They then hit a wall with INTIMACY.  While musically they fell in with a number of disheartening musical clich├ęs (such as the repeated line at the start of “Mercury”), lyrically frontman Kele switched from tales of modern day anxiety to uninteresting minor takes on his romantic life.  He continued this theme into his solo album THE BOXER albeit with more enthusiasm and better musical arrangements but without Russell Lissack’s splintery delayed guitar effects.

But FOUR I’m happy to say is a complete return to the sound of the first two records with the addition of especially soaring, searing choruses.  All parts of their music, vocals, playing, the songs themselves, show the mark of a band that is now back on track and if anything still getting better.

One thing Bloc Party shares with a number of 2000 British bands such as Maximo Park, Editors, Elbow, Arctic Monkeys, etc. is they’ve never been able to fully capitalize on their awesome debut.  They’ve made good music since but not as consistently. This first album problem might be a subject for another blog post.