Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jaitley: New Bankruptcy Laws Should Protect Assets, Not Destroy Them

As Arun Jaitley has explained, India's new insolvency laws must protect the valuation of assets, rather than wastefully letting assets lose value:

How we clean up the inevitable mistakes in an economy is important and as Jaitley says, doing so before business assets devalue to nothing is the point and purpose of an insolvency and bankruptcy system--India's system is getting better by being faster.

NRI Kids Turning into Lefty Street Trash

CNN had a recent feature story on the Antifa movement ("Anti-fascist"), and they showed yet another lost generation embracing street violence as their calling. What caught my attention was some NRI kid they did a profile on:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Quick notes: Competing over Nepal, Ancestry testing...

  • Nepal uses India-China rivalry to fund its railway network: Delhi is funding the reconstruction of the Janakpur line that will allow it to connect to the rest of the subcontinent's expansive rail network. Beijing pledged USD 8.3 billion to build roads and hydropower plants in Nepal, dwarfing India's commitments of USD 317 million.  Feasibility studies are also underway for a Beijing- backed railway connecting Kathmandu to Lhasa in Tibet, cutting straight through the Himalayas at an estimated cost of $8 billion. 

  • China refuses to share hydrological data: China has also blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra river in Tibet as part of the construction of its hydro project, which is causing concern in India.

  • Leaking data: Government asks 21 smartphone makers, most of them Chinese, to share security information. 

  • Defense tech: China's making major progress with its aircraft carrier tech

  • Racial purity: White supremacists have stumbled into a huge issue -- Genetic Ancestry Testing

  • Violation of anti-smoking laws: Govt threatens Philip Morris with ‘punitive action

  • Winning the meeting:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Après Bannon, le Déluge?

Departing Whitehouse strategist/advisor Steve Bannon has given an interview saying the Trump presidency "is over":

Bannon's friends are saying that he's now ready to "go nuclear", unleashing attacks on other Trump advisors and GOP moderates who are insufficiently reform-minded and too entrenched in status quo politics:

“He’s going nuclear,” said another friend. “You have no idea. This is gonna be really fucking bad.”

This could work in India's favor, given that America's status quo politics, including its Deep State, are totally anchored in Atlanticism, giving priority to perpetual confrontation with Russia over real dangers like the twin threats of rising Islamist militancy and Chinese hegemony.

Steve Bannon Out at Whitehouse

Donald Trump has removed Steve Bannon from his role in the Whitehouse administration:

This is too bad - like Flynn, he had an ideological tilt that was very beneficial for India, including a strong tilt against Islamic fundamentalism and Chinese expansionism.

His departure could mean a deepy and possibly fatal wound for the Trump administration, since Bannon was a key favorite among the nationalists who form Trump's base. Bannon had apparently already submitted his resignation on August 7, so his recent leaked remarks to the media were made in the wake of his own departure decision. Breitbart's news site are of course close surrogates of Bannon, so their reaction is likely to be highly critical of Trump.

On the other hand, Bannon will be back to cultivating his media-driven movement again:

India Supplying BrahMos to Vietnam

In a bold move, the Indian govt has decided to sell the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship cruise missile to Vietnam, and the first batch has already been received by them:

BrahMos is a 1-shot-1-kill weapon -- once the missile comes into detection range, the target has less than 6 seconds to react.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bannon Trying to Re-Shape USA's Asia Policy

Trump's policy strategist Steve Bannon is trying to re-shape America's policies towards Asia, as he works to oust those whom he feels represent the status quo:

“I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in,” Bannon told The American Prospect, a liberal magazine, in a candid interview. “I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State.”
At issue in the interview are Bannon’s views toward China—“We’re at economic war with China”—and what he sees as its inadequate help reining in North Korea. (“On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow.” He also said he doesn’t believe there’s a military solution for North Korea.)

“To me,” Bannon said, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, 10 years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.”
Pushing his get-tough-with-China approach is “a fight I fight every day here.” At least part of his strategy, he said, would be to change out staff members at the State Department and Department of Defense, specifically naming one official he planned to remove.

China State Media Lampoons Indians

China's official state news service, Xinhua, has put out a video featuring an ethnic caricature of Indians while discussing the issue of the Doklam dispute:

The video features a Chinese actor in costume mimicking an Indian accent

Stay classy, China. 😒

Meanwhile, Congress mouthpiece Prem Shankar Jha attempts an even worse caricature:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

China Border Threat

Another Chinese border incursion has occurred - this time in Ladakh:

Brahma Chellaney warns that China certainly wants war:

Quick notes: Chinese imports, Beef in cereal...

  • Imports of electronics and IT products from China:  "Many of the devices transmit, or store, data back into Chinese servers, which could pose a security risk. Also, online transactions using many of these devices and platforms can be tracked back to Chinese servers, which can create security issues for the country".

  • Sigh!: India’s exports to China include iron ore, cotton yarn, petroleum products, copper and chemicals, while imports include telecom instruments, electronic components, computer hardware, industrial machinery and chemicals.

  • Hindus offended: Gelatin derived from beef is used in a variety of Kellogg cereal products.

  • White Jesus: Too many Christian pastors are silent on Charlottesville violence

  • Sikhs in America: For more than a century, Sikhs in the U.S. have faced hate and violence.

  • On Hinduism:
    Hinduism gave itself no name, because it set itself no sectarian limits; it claimed no universal adhesion, asserted no sole infallible dogma, set up no single narrow path or gate of salvation; it was less a creed or cult than a continuously enlarging tradition of the God ward endeavor of the human spirit. An immense many-sided and many staged provision for a spiritual self-building and self-finding, it had some right to speak of itself by the only name it knew, the eternal religion, Santana Dharma.

    Now just here is the first baffling difficulty over which the European mind stumbles; for it finds itself unable to make out what Hindu religion is.... How can there be a religion which has no rigid dogmas demanding belief on pain of eternal damnation, no theological postulates, even no fixed theology, no credo, distinguishing it from antagonistic or rival religions? How can there be a religion which has no papal head, no governing ecclesiastic body, no church, chapel or congregational system, no binding religious form of any kind obligatory on all its adherents, no one administration and discipline? For the Hindu priests are mere ceremonial officiants without any ecclesiastical authority or disciplinary powers and the Pundits are mere interpreters of the Shastra, not the law-givers of the religion or its rulers.

    How again can Hinduism be called a religion when it admits all beliefs, allowing even a kind of high-reaching atheism and agnosticism and permits all possible spiritual experiences, all kinds of religious adventures? -- Sri Aurobindo, India's Rebirth

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Quick notes: Border patrol, HCCI engine...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sundar Pichai - Google's Own Manmohan Singh?

In a scathing piece in the New York Times, columnist David Brooks says that Google CEO Sundar Pichai should step down following his firing of an employee for remarks on women during a discussion of why certain groups (eg. women) are less prevalent in the software industry:

"....this episode suggests he should seek a nonleadership position."
Gee, that sort of sums up how exasperated Indians felt with Manmohan Singh.

US Trade Crackdown on China Coming

The Trump admin is about to launch a series of measures against China as part of a trade crackdown on the country, spurred in part by Beijing's lack of effort in bringing its client North Korea to heel:

India should watch and take notes on the effectiveness of US measures against China, given the latter's role as Pakistan's military patron (and now economic patron as well).