April 2014
« Mar    

From “Chomsky’s right: The New York Times’ latest big lie”

“More misleading half-truths from a paper too cowed by power and myth to tell the truth about U. S. foreign policy,” by Patrick L. Smith.


(via NR)

Nadezhda Popov, famed World War II woman bomber pilot, dies at 91

From the obituary in The Economist:

When she was 19 or 20, she “could turn her aircraft over and dive full-throttle through raking German searchlights, swerving and dancing, acting as a decoy for a second plane that would glide in silently behind her to drop its payload of bombs. That done, the second plane would act as decoy while she glided in to drop bombs herself. She made 852 such sorties in the second world war as a pilot in the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, later named the 46th Guards in honour of its courage.”

Obituary in the New York Times at

Narendra Modi’s repugnant analogy

Brinda Karat writes: “In defence of the insulting and repugnant ‘kutte ka bachcha’ analogy he used when asked in an interview about the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat, Narendra Modi tweeted ‘In our culture every form of life is valued and worshipped.’ Except, he could have added, if you are a Muslim or a Christian.”

(Note: Brinda Karat quoted the term kutte ka bachcha, the exact words used by Modi, throughout in her manuscript; the term was changed to “puppy” when published.)

Borowitz again

U. S. seemingly unaware of irony in accusing Snowden of spying:

From the barricades in Istanbul

The Istanbul protests represent a defence of a secular Turkey and of the historical achievements of the women’s and general democratic movements in Turkey over the twentieth century, which are now under threat from a neo-liberal, pro-Islamist regime.

On women’s participation in the Istanbul protests: “One of the truly remarkable aspects of the recent protests in Istanbul and around the country has been the level of participation and visibility of women… Easily half the crowd at any given protest that I’ve seen has been female.”

There “are very real and very serious threats to female autonomy in Turkey, where women…have long been a prominent and liberated part of society.”

For the report, and photographs and posters, follow the link below. In addition to the photographs of the Woman in Red and the Woman in Blue, note the photograph of the injured Reuters photographer Osman Orsal, who took the photographs of Ceyda Sungur.

A gallery of 188 photographs of the protests on Huffington Post (scroll down):

Assange Statement on the First Day of the Manning Trial

“Private First Class Bradley Edward Manning is being tried in a sequestered room at Fort Meade, Maryland, for the alleged crime of telling the truth. The court martial of the most prominent political prisoner in modern US history has now, finally, begun.”

(via Parvathi Menon)

Hugo Chavez (1954-2013): Tributes (2)

From Cuba: “Chavez is Cuban, too!” “A true son of Fidel”:

President Santos on Chavez’s contribution to peace between Colombia and Venezuela:

More from the Caribbean:–Holness-pay-tribute-to-Chavez

CPI(M) tribute:

pdf iconcpim-tribute.pdf

Hugo Chavez (1954-2013): Tributes

A first list of reactions and tributes, mainly from Latin America and the Caribbean, quickly compiled:

Brazilian President Dilma Roussef: “All Latin Americans are saddened by the death of President Hugo Chávez”:

Caribbean leaders “devastated”:

Evo Morales “shattered”:

“Argentinean President Cristina Fernández declared a three-day mourning…Some Argentinean ministers exclaimed, ‘Until victory!’ once they were informed about his death”:

Lula: “Chavez fought for a fairer world”:

From the English edition of Granma:

Jimmy Carter “praised Chávez’s efforts to ‘create new forms of integration’ in Latin America and the Caribbean, noting that during his 14-year tenure Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half and a more effective participation in political and economic life was facilitated to millions”:

The Venezuelan people react:

From the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States:

Some others:

Modern Times: The Exploitation of Amazon’s Work Force

An excellent, deeply disturbing piece by Sarah O’Connor in the Financial Times about the future of the labour process and workplace under contemporary capitalism.

“If you could slice the world in half right here, you could read the history of this town called Rugeley in the layers. Below the ground are the shafts and tunnels of the coal mine that fed the power station and was once the local economy’s beating heart. Above the ground are the trolleys and computers of Amazon, the global online retailer that has taken its place.”

Inside the factory, “hundreds of people in orange vests are pushing trolleys around a space the size of nine football pitches, glancing down at the screens of their handheld satnav computers for directions on where to walk next and what to pick up when they get there. They do not dawdle – the devices in their hands are also measuring their productivity in real time. They might each walk between seven and 15 miles (11 to 24 km) today.

One new Rugeley worker “lost almost half a stone in his first three shifts. ‘You’re sort of like a robot, but in human form,’ said the Amazon manager. ‘It’s human automation, if you like.’”

The basic wage is only 0.10 pounds above the legal minimum wage of 6.19 pounds per hour.



Qamar Azad Hashmi, 1926-2013


Photograph of Qamar Azad Hashmi as red volunteer, Jama Masjid, Delhi, 1989

(courtesy: Sudhanva Deshpande)







India’s “cleanest and poorest” (and best) Chief Minister

When Manik Sarkar filed his nomination this year for election from Dhanpur constituency in Tripura, he had Rs.1080 cash in hand and his bank balance was Rs.9720. He had inherited a tin-shed home of 432 sq. ft from his deceased mother Anjali Sarkar; its market value was Rs. 2,20,000.

The PTI report appears in different national newspapers: see, for instance,



Tripura has also, with justice, been described as India’s “best-governed State.” See Prakash Karat’s characterisation here:

or here

Historical fiction: recommendations from Hilary Mantel

Advice from the two-time Booker Prize winner, taken from a masterclass organized by the Royal Society in 2010:

India’s Labour Market in the 2000s

Jayan Jose Thomas in the Economic and Political Weekly:

While the growth of gross domestic product in every sub-sector of the Indian economy accelerated during the second half of the 2000s, employment growth in most sectors other than construction decelerated.

“Manufacturing employment in the country fell and employment growth slowed down in most constituents of the services sector. The new jobs generated were predominantly in rural construction. The slow progress in the diversification of India’s employment structure has led to large-scale withdrawal of women from the labour force, with the number of women thus ‘missing’ being as large as the population of Brazil.”

pdf iconIndias_Labour_Market_during_the_2000s.pdf

The Lists of Books

“Best books” of 2012:

The Guardian’s two pages of category-wise lists:

The “100 Notable” list from the New York Times

Michiko Kakutani’s top 10:

Janet Maslin’s top 10:

The Financial Times, though you will have to scroll through a lot of books of interest to capitalists and their lackeys and the very rich before getting to Fiction and Fiction in Translation:

Goal of the Year?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s bicycle kick from 25 meters, his fourth goal in the Sweden vs England friendly on November 14, 2012 – Steven Gerrard calls it “the best goal I’ve ever seen.”

Note: don’t stop watching after 15 seconds; replays from different angles are shown after the 37–second mark.

The clip is at