Inside Mumbai, Was Early Warning Wasted?

Sunil, a resident of Mumbai, has agreed to become a free foreign correspondent for The Lunch Counter. I will be posting whatever updates he may send regarding the current terrorist and security situation in Mumbai. In the interest of full disclosure, Sunil is not a journalist. Neither am I for that matter. I worked with Sunil for seven years in New Jersey in the 90’s. He is a professional person who works in the financial and international shipping industries. His report follows.

Mumbai, Nov. 30, 2008

Well its over in one sense, but the fear in the common man remains. The roads are still comparatively empty as are theaters and cinema halls. Most movies released on Friday had dismal openings. People just don’t seem to be in the mood to indulge in anything entertaining and understandably so.

Also most people we meet seem to think that the actual body count is much more, probably closer to 2000 people, but official figures being quoted are much lower, because of the fear that higher figures would in fact provide motivation to the very wrong people.

There is a combined sense of anger even in the most timmidest common man and the hope that something will be done to stop the training camps and the flow of funds. There is an absolute disbelief as to how they could just walk/sail in to the city carrying so many arms and ammunition and it wasn’t noticed. Well in a sense it was, but heed wasn’t paid.

Listen to this. We have a friend staying around the area where the terrorists had put up and apparently they used to buy chicken from the same source. The terrorists used to ask for LIVE chicken EVERY DAY saying they would kill the chicken themselves. The vendor obviously found something fishy about it so informed a local corporator who informed the local police station, but the question asked by the police officer was what complaint do I write? That there are some people who want to kill chicken?

Not to deride or ridicule anybody in my country right now but just a statement to the effect that change has to come from the top. Apparently the boats were spotted by local fishermen and a letter was sent by their organisation but again no heed was paid.

Writing this mail to you on Sunday evening, when i would normally be out for a movie and dinner.
your foreign correspondent

It seems that Mumbai, India has just had a ‘9/11’ experience of their own. The main difference being, on 9/12 we knew who the perpetrators were and what their motives were. In Mumbai, all that is still unfolding. Even though the casualty count is not as high, the mood of the public is pretty much the same as it was here after 9/11. And no one thinks it is over. As as result of these attacks, India’s equivalent of our Homeland Security cabinet member has resigned.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who has become highly unpopular during a long series of terror attacks across India, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who accepted it, according to the president’s office.

Let’s hope that authorities will pay closer attention to citizens that report unusual behavior like Sunil mentioned. Like Americans have been told over and over, and for good reason, I’m sure the people of India will be similarly advised to keep your eyes open for suspicious behavior. What you see could be instrumental in foiling another attack. In this case, the citizens seem to have done their part, but someone higher up dropped the ball.

President Bush has offered help from the United States. Hopefully that will include cooperation in helping India develop security measures similar to what the Patriot Act has given us, if they’re not there already. The people of India need to also have the confidence that their leadership will leave no stone unturned in getting those responsible and in preventing future attacks. That is one part of Bush’s legacy that, for political reasons he gets no credit for, yet is so well deserved. The terrorists have been on defense ever since he took the fight to them.

It all remains to be seen, by Americans and Indians, just what kind of coordination and cooperation the new Obama administration will provide in that respect. Especially since Obama had run on discontinuing the Patriot Act. All that will depend on whether his skin is tough enough to withstand the heat that will come from his far-left supporters that expect him to abolish the Patriot Act and cancel the War On Terror.

related links: India security chief resigns after Mumbai attacks| Bush, Obama condemn Mumbai attacks, U.S. offers help | Specific intel warnings were ignored

Singapore, Making Fairness Doctrine Proponents Jealous

Oh if they could just have their way, which is to silence ‘free’ speech that they don’t like, Democrats in Washington could always try what the city-state of Singapore is doing. In Singapore, if the shoe fits, and you report that the shoe fits, that is tantamount to defamation. And because the WSJ had reported on cases in Singapore’s legal system before, and been sued for doing so, they are now being charged with contempt.

From Singapore’s Law Ministry, Justice Tay Young Kwang interprets it this way . . .

“Words sometimes mean more than what they appear to say on the surface,” he writes, going on to interpret the words as contemptuous because they had an “inherent tendency” to “scandalise the court.” The fine he levied, S$25,000 ($16,500), is the largest ever meted out for such an offense. Justice Tay expressed the hope that it will deter “future transgressions.”

To Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, are you taking notes on this? As for the Journal . . .

Let us begin with an apology to our readers in Asia. Unless they are online, they will not see this editorial. For legal reasons, we are refraining from publishing it in The Wall Street Journal Asia, which circulates in Singapore.
We’ll pay the fine. We’ll also continue to express our views about politics, the courts and other subjects that we think our readers should know about. And we’ll let readers decide what to make of the judiciary in Singapore.

link: Singapore Strikes Again

A Glimpse From Inside Mumbai

Was checking up on some friends that live in Mumbai yesterday. Thankfully, they are safe. At least for now. The fact that the situation is still not over is unsettling. But not near as unsettling here as it is to my friends who are there. Sunil (and wife Sheila) writes . . .

Hii Ross!! So good to hear from you. My family and me are all safe, thank god as all this was more localised in South Mumbai and we stay in Central Mumbai. Good thing it wasnt on saturday as Sheila and me were wining and dining there on last saturday. i write this on Friday afternoon my time and its still not over. i feel that for once the people of Mumbai who are normally very resilient are very very shaken.

Praying for your safety and that of your countrymen. That and that the Islamofascist bastards get the justice they deserve.

2009 Mummers Parade On TV

Chicago’s superstation WGN will be airing the last two hours of the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. In a brief statement from the station, a nice fellow named George said . . .

We’ll air the last two hours of WPHL’s coverage on Saturday, January 3 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

This will be good. It will solve the problems they encountered last year when they had a four-hour block of time set for the parade. It was WPHL’s camera coverage last year as well. But the problem was caused by a two hour rain delay of the parade, consequently, the two hours they showed ended before the best part of the parade, the string bands, came by. It was a bad case of paradeus-interruptus!

So on New Years day, for those of us out of the Philadelphia television market area, we can watch the games and other parades, and can catch the best of the Mummers Parade on Saturday. I’m down with that.

link: WPHL TV 17

Presidential Leadership, A Quiz

Here are two visions of presidential leadership. One is a top-down approach. The other is more of a collaborative approach. Let’s play pin the leadership on the candidate.

  1. But I understand where the — the vision for change comes from first and foremost. It comes from ME. That’s my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure then that my team is implementing it.
  2. I am going to surround myself with the brightest and the best advisers from all over the country. With competing ideas on how to solve our nations problems. And together we will come up with solutions to our nations problems.
Enter Number 1 2
Barack Obama
John McCain

It would seem that a number 1 man would not need advisers, but yes-men and/or pit bulls around him. A man that knows where he’s going and how to get there. Quite a contrast with a number 2 man, who would more or less govern by committee. That’s why you might be surprised to learn that one of these two men are actually both. Hint: If you are not surprised then you probably voted for President-elect Barack Obama.

Type 1 Obama was borne out of criticism that he has surrounded himself with Clinton administration operatives and what we have is a Clinton third term, only without the sex. Apparently not worried that he totally dissed democrats outside of the Clinton administration by wrongly assuming that there isn’t any talent out there. Just one way that inexperience on the national stage manifests itself. And type 2 Obama was borne out of what he ran his campaign on, CHANGE. He was the one that would bring in disparate groups of advisers and wise men, to get all sides of an issue, then give an informed decision.

If we’ve learned nothing else about Barack Obama, it is that he is an expert at being able to be on all sides of every issue and get away with it.

related link: Obama’s Rich Revelation

Mike Huckabee Comes To Pensacola Friday Nov 28

Former Arkansas Gov. and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be coming to Pensacola Friday night. Huckabee is a supporter, a passionate supporter, of the Fair Tax. It will be for a book signing of his new book ‘Do the right thing.’

Even if you’re not interested in his book, but you support the Fair Tax, how about showing up (you know the media will be there) to thank Gov. Huckabee for making the Fair Tax part of his campaign platform as well as his continued support of it.

He will be at the Barnes & Noble on Airport Boulevard between 8-9pm. If you can’t make it, you can get the book here.

This will be his last stop of a five city trip on Friday.


Charles Rangel (D-NY), Should Step Down

Black activist Bishop Council Nedd II, a member of Project 21’s national advisory council, is calling for Rep. Rangel (D-NY) to step down from his position as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee until the House Ethics committee completes its investigation. Nedd said . . .

It’s galling that the head of the committee in charge of levying taxes has either a profound ignorance of tax law or a disinterest in adhering to the laws he wants others to follow.

In your wildest imagination, do you think that if Rangel was a Republican that he would still be Chairman, if not still in the House itself? It isn’t going to happen, but wouldn’t it be cute to see a reporter ask Rangel how many homes he has? Oh, and whether he is paying the proper taxes on them? The double standard is more than a little obvious.

link: Black Activist Calls for Rangel’s Ouster from Congressional Leadership

aSide Order

Stop Obama, Pelosi in Georgia

The 2008 Election isn’t quite over. A few senate seats are still out there. Al Franken is trying very hard, and succeeding, to steal his election win in Minnesota over Norm Coleman. And the Georgia runoff election is another one. I think Republicans have already lost a filibuster proof senate, even if Saxby Chambliss and Norm Coleman end up winning their seats because of the several RINOs in the Senate already. Nevertheless, here is what is at stake and what we can expect in the next four years. This ad is being run in Georgia. December 2 is the runoff election date.

Want to help? You can by going to the National Republican Trust PAC to help get this ad out in Georgia.

United Nations Lowers To The Occasion

Why is it no surprise that the IAEA, the supposed nuclear watchdog of the United Nations (aka Useless Nations) is taking the side of two countries China and Russia, over the United States, its allies, and most of Europe, when it comes to providing nuclear technology to Syria before an IAEA investigation into Syria’s nuclear arms ambitions is complete?

The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief clashed with some Western nations on Monday over their bid to block aid for a planned Syrian nuclear power plant, saying U.S. intelligence pointing to secret Syrian atomic work was unproven.

Diplomats at a 35-nation meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency governors said Washington, major European Union nations and other Western allies favored shelving the project while Syria was under IAEA investigation over the U.S. reports.

New testicle eating champion crowned

And for the ‘you gotta be kidding’ category, try this.

Yes it's what you think they are. And yes they're biting them. And, yes again, they're from New Zealand.

The Fair Tax, Economic Recovery

The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality, and, through companion legislation, the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

Do yourself a favor and get educated on The Fair Tax. The Fair Tax is the result of $22 million worth of research by credible economists from around the country whose task was to come up with another way to fund the operations of the country. The task was qualified to the extent that the result would be ‘revenue neutral.’ That is to say the system must be able to generate as much money as the government is currently generating with the current system through federal withholding and payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, alternative minimum tax, estate and gift tax, and capital gains tax, all of which would be replaced by the Fair Tax. And from that point as the economy grows, so grows the treasury. It is a pro-growth, as opposed to punitive growth, taxing system.

Consequences paramount to converting to the Fair Tax system are three-fold.

First, your individual take-home pay increases dramatically. Without the federal withholding and payroll taxes being deducted from your pay, you get all your pay in every paycheck. This alone is the biggest stimulus to your personal economy as well as our national economy. And it doesn’t put the nation further into debt in the process. Because the taxing revenue is generated by consumption, the tax base includes everyone who buys anything new, not just the working people in America. ‘Everyone’ includes citizens and non-citizens including illegals, foreign diplomats and tourists. And because it is a sales tax, the so-called underground economies are no longer exempt from contributing. Everyone will contribute to funding the government and our Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs.

Secondly, it takes the ‘tax hammer’ away from politicians who use it to control every aspect of our lives and business and industry in the United States. It transfers the power from Washington politicians directly back to you. It is this stripping of power from the political class that generates the most objection from the political class, and the most outrageous criticism and unfair demagoguery, of the Fair Tax. Under the Fair Tax, our politicians will be left with nothing to do except their job of governing and living within their means, just like you and I have to do. And since filing of your personal income taxes will cease, April 15th becomes just another day to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

While it is still fresh in your memory, take a look back at the presidential campaign and the amount of press and attention that was given to taxation by both candidates. Besides energy, the other topic was ‘my tax plan is better than your tax plan.’ And polarizing political tactics like class envy and class warfare became all too prominent. Absent tax laws to talk about, the voters would have learned more about the candidates and ‘the real issues.’

Third, but certainly not last, the change to the Fair Tax alone would bring back foreign-held capital, estimated at between $10 to $15 trillion, that economists predict will flow into the US economy with enactment of the FairTax. That is trillions of dollars of business that has fled this country because of its taxing system, the second highest in the world. As an added bonus, companies looking to do business in the United States that have not yet come here, would have the incentive to come here. The job creation and wealth creation associated with it will spur the economy more than any tax-and-spending Democrat or Republican in Washington could dream of.

related links: