Responding to Author Tara Ross of Save Our States on Rhode Island And The National Popular Vote Plan

Political author Tara Ross of the organization Save Our States recently wrote a column urging Rhode Island Lawmakers to reject the National Popular Vote Initiative. However, Ms. Ross’ article is based on the faulty premise that the Plan “could lead to the effective elimination of the Electoral College.”

The National Popular Vote Plan is an interstate compact, whereby participating states agree to allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the National Popular Vote, as opposed to the candidate who secures the most votes in their state. The compact would take effect when enough states (constituting the requisite 270 electoral votes required to win the Presidential election) agree to participate. Currently 8 states and the District of Columbia, constituting 132 Electoral votes, have ratified the compact.

Despite Tara Ross’ assertion to the contrary, the Electoral College will still exist under the Plan. On the Monday following the second Wednesday in December after the Presidential election is held, electors representing each state and the District of Columbia will still cast their Presidential ballots. On January 6, the Vice President will declare the winner to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. This is the process done now, and this is what will be done after the National Popular Vote Plan has been adopted by enough states to take effect.

What the Plan will eliminate is the winner-take-all regime currently employed in 48 states. Because the winner-take-all system has been with us for such a long time, some mistakenly interchange it with the Electoral College. The nation’s Founding Fathers did not design or even envisage the electoral system with a winner-take-all voting process. In fact, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia of 1787, there was a deadlock as to how the President should be chosen. There were proposals for a direct election of the President, to have the U.S. Congress select the President, and to let the State Legislatures choose the President. Failing to come to an agreement, the conventioneers agreed to grant the states plenary authority to chose their electors.

Article ll, Section 1, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution states: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.” In 1789, the year of the first Presidential election, voters of only five states were permitted to mark ballots for Presidential electors. The other states granted the power of voting for Presidential electors to the state legislatures. In fact, New York did not even appoint electors because their legislature was stalemated over the issue.

States have changed their method of awarding electoral votes over time. In fact, Massachusetts has altered its method 11 times. Maine in 1969 and Nebraska in 1992 supplanted the winner-take-all system with the Congressional Allocation Method.

The winner-take-all approach of awarding electors was a scheme devised by partisan parochial interests to maximize their political advantage. It was not the grand design of the Founding Fathers. In fact, there is no mention at all of the winner-take-all system in the Federalist Papers and no mention of it at the Constitutional Convention.

Ms. Ross also argues that the National Popular Vote Plan would not amplify Rhode Island’s voice in presidential elections. This argument is very hard to fathom. Currently, the Ocean State garners absolutely no attention from Presidential nominees because of its allegiance to the Democratic Party. In fact, believe it or not, the last Presidential nominee to visit the state was Richard M. Nixon in 1960. The only reason Nixon visited the states was because of his campaign promise to visit all 50 states.

Under the National Popular Vote Plan, every single vote throughout the nation will be in play. No voter will be ignored because of his or her disadvantageous geopolitical residence. Presidential campaigns will have one goal: to muster as many votes as possible. Under the current status quo, there is no electoral incentive for a candidate to pay any attention at all to Rhode Island’s commercial fishermen, to its manufacturing industry, or the state’s Agricultural output.

Under the National Popular Vote Plan, Presidential candidates will have causes belie to address these Rhode Island-centered issues. They will have an electoral incentive to open campaign offices in Rhode Island, send surrogates to address Rhode Islanders, and cultivate, consolidate and galvanize their political bases. Candidates would spend their campaign war chests not just within the 15 or so showdown states, but would likely spend money throughout the nation, including in Rhode Island.

Finally, Ross tries to make the argument that Rhode Island should not take the advice of a group founded and headquartered in the nation’s largest state, California. Would the situation be any different if the National Popular Vote headquarters were in Delaware or Utah of Vermont? The National Popular Vote Plan has a cavalcade of bipartisan supporters in all 50 states. That being said, California and Rhode Island have an important and common interest in supporting the Plan. Both states are currently relegated to the electoral sidelines, and Candidates have no electoral incentive to address issues specifically pertaining to these two states. In fact, both large and small states will benefit from the implementation of the Plan. In the last Presidential election, the three largest states were used merely as ATM machines for candidates, while New Hampshire was the only state of the 13 smallest states to even receive campaign visits from the candidates. The Granite States was the only competitive state in the bunch.

In summary, the National Popular Vote Plan does not eliminate the Electoral College and is the best way to give Rhode Islanders a voice at the Presidential table. This is not some revolutionary radical concept. A vote cast in Jamestown, Rhode Island would simply be commensurate with a vote cast in Jamestown, Virginia. Presidential candidates would seek every vote, and every vote would count.

Does Your Vote Count? Maybe Not

Under the current winner-take-all electoral scheme, millions of votes across the nation are not being counted in the official national tally. In the 2008 Presidential election, Republican nominee John McCain received more than five million votes in the state of California. Despite this achievement, all 55 electors in California cast their vote for Democrat Barack Obama. This inequity occurred solely because California uses the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, meaning that despite how close the popular vote may be, the winning candidate takes home “all” the electoral votes of that particular state. Similarly, more than 3.5 million Texans marked ballots for Barack Obama, yet because John McCain won the state, those 3.5 million votes were disregarded. Again, because Texas also uses the winner-take-all system of electoral voting, the winning candidate, John McCain, was able to take home “all” of Texas’ 33 electoral votes. This all-to-common outcome disenfranchises voters from “safe states” (non-battlefield states) and discourages them from going to the polls. They know that their votes are not likely to even be figured in the final national tally.

In addition, non-major party candidates who appeal mainly to just one region of the country can take full advantage of the winner-take-all system. Their vote totals are magnified in the Electoral College. In 1948, Strom Thurmond, the nominee of the States Rights Democratic Party, captured just 2.4% of the national vote, yet he received 39 electoral votes from four southern states. This scenario repeated itself in 1968 when American Independence Party nominee George Wallace, who won just 13.5% of the national vote, won 46 electoral votes because he managed to win five southern states.

Alternatively, those who vote for centrist Independent candidates who appeal to a more widespread cross-section of constituencies and garner votes from all regions of the nation, have seen their votes completely nullified by the Electoral College. In 1980, Independent Presidential candidate John B. Anderson garnered 6.6% of the national vote, yet the over 5.7 million people who voted for him were not counted in the final tally because he failed to win a single state.

This scenario was experienced on a larger scale in 1992, when Independent Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot mustered a very respectable 18.9% of the vote. Despite the fact that nearly one in five American voters cast their vote for Perot, Perot received “0” votes in the Electoral College. In this situation, the votes of nearly twenty million Americans were totally disregarded at the conclusion of the electoral process.

Under the National Popular Vote Initiative, the vote of the diary farmer from Cambridge, Wisconsin would be equal to the vote of the College Professor from Cambridge, Massachusetts. The vote of the steel worker from East Chicago, Indiana would be no more important than the vote of the locomotive engineer from Chicago, Illinois. The vote of the Fire Fighter from Columbus, Mississippi would be commensurate with the vote of the Systems Analyst from Columbus, Ohio. Strom Thurmond in 1948, 2.4%

Pakistan And America at Crossroads

Pakistan and America have been having multi-dimensional strategic relations since 60 years. Presently Pakistan showed up in America’s war against terrorism but is accused of playing a double game. Almost 35000 Pakistani innocent people laid their lives in this war and it infected the country’s economy deep into the roots by halting numerous business activities and investment opportunities.

After the Raymond Davis issue both the countries are in hot atmosphere ever. Pakistan is in deep trouble as it has to equate internal pressure as well as external pressure which drag it always to either side. The reason is that there is an ideological difference in the nation as few elites like America and war on terrorism whereas masses are anti-American and hold a favorable view of Osama. So in this prevailing atmosphere, Pakistani Govt. finds great difficulty to manage the conflict between revolutionary waves of Americanism and anti-Americanism in the country. Sometimes the internal pressure for Pakistani government surges too high to meet American demands which is taken as insincerity. On the other hand America is having its Ghazi base in Pakistan near Tarbela Dam and attacking the Balochi people through unmanned drones justifying these attacks as high value targets which is unacceptable to the nation and is taken as an attack on national sovereignty of Pakistan.

Now when America attacked Osama’s den in Abottabad without sharing information with Pakistan, the ties went more fragile as the whole world media is interpreting the scene as inefficiency of Pakistani security agencies and that it’s a safe heaven for terrorists. America is of the view that Pakistan has been playing double game since the beginning of war and that if Pakistan were sincere, this war could have been finished a long time ago. So they diplomatically answer this Pakistani question of trust deficit as the operational security instead of distrust which implies that there is a sort of extradition agreement between the two countries. Both the nations and officials are on hot bed at the moment and America is considered as quite ambitious to access the strategic nuclear assets of the country which has been answered by Senator John Kerry in a polite “No apprehension for nuclear plant” . There is also a view of Black water conspiracy theory in the Pakistani nation that CIA is involved in terrorism existence and promotion both physically and virtually.

At the end ties between both the countries are soured these days and American officials are frequently visiting the country to review and consolidate their terms with Pakistan. Nevertheless America added fuel to fire as now it is looking forward to some political settlements with Afghan Taliban thinking staying close with the bad guys will help to catch bad guys .This will go again in the disfavor of Pakistan as the war will go inconsequential after a long struggle accompanied with plenty of sacrifices. It will lead to further anti-American sentiments in the nation and defame of the ruling party.

It seems from the several incidents that two countries are having cold war because both are good opportunists whenever time comes. Now America wants to know if Pakistan is still committed to continue war against terrorism or not. This is actually an indirect question to know Pakistan’s response towards the American calls after all the wounds. Pakistan should answer in affirmation as it is the need of the hour. Pakistan is facing a total crisis situation due to inefficient and insensitive government and without support of a super power getting out of it will become inevitable. On the other side Americans must not disregard all the efforts and sacrifices Pakistan has made to prove its commitments and dedication towards the mutual goal of terrorism elimination. The CIA officials and their offices in the country without proper visas, drone attacks and the not shared attack of Navy SEAL are the manifestations of honoring commitments.

Read about the America’s new question

Read about COAS Kiyani ‘s answer

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's interview on NDTV, 25th April 2009

25th April 2009

Barkha Dutt : Priyanka I know you’ve been asked the question of whether you will join politics a million times. So I’m not going to ask that question. The question I’m going to ask instead is, we know you’ve said you don’t want to be in politics, but you’ve never told us why you don’t want to be in politics?

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: Frankly, I’m not sure I’ve figured out why myself. But I’m very clear I don’t want to be in politics, I’m very happy living my life the way I am. I think there are certain aspects of politics which I’m just not suited to.

Barkha Dutt: You’re saying that from experience, from having seen a lot of it?

PG: Yes, from having seen a lot of it. I mean, there was a time when I was a kid, when I was about 16-17 where I thought this is absolutely what I want to do with my life.

Barkha Dutt: Really, you were excited by it?

PG: Yes, but I think I wasn’t very clear about my own identity.

Barkha Dutt: When was that moment that you knew for sure, that you would never be in this profession?

PG: In 1999. Because in that election it was a question in my mind, whether I would want to stand for elections or not. So I did some thinking, and I realised that I didn’t.

Barkha Dutt: And since you identify it as such a definitive moment, what was that moment for you?

PG: Actually I went for Vipasana meditation. I was so troubled by the fact that I didn’t know my mind, so I just disappeared and went for 10 days of meditation, so that I better know what my own mind is, rather than what other people want of me.

Barkha Dutt: Did something happen in 1999 that made you take such a definitive decision?

PG: No it’s just introspection that happened.

Barkha Dutt: OK, now the assumption from afar is that Priyanka Gandhi does not want to be in politics because right now she is devoting all her time to her family, to her kids. So then the next question becomes, when the children grow up — maybe then — will her decision change?

PG: This question for me has existed since I was 14 years old. When I first came to campaign here, even, these things were said about me — that I would be suited to politics, and that I looked like my grandmother and I am like my grandmother. And I have to say that I think, because you are asking me, what really was the definitive thing; I think it was a growing up thing, rather than an epiphany.

Barkha Dutt: It wasn’t a specific event?

PG: I grew into myself. Earlier my own identity was a bit confused, because I did idealise my grandmother, I grew up in a household where she was the head and she was an extremely powerful woman. Not only politically powerful, but she was a powerful human being to be around. So being a little girl and seeing this woman who was strong and stood for so much, it did have an effect on me. So I think my own identity was confused until a certain point and when I discovered that- ‘Hey, Priyanka is actually this’- then I realised that this is not for me.

Barkha Dutt: As simple as that?

PG: It wasn’t simple, I can tell you.

Barkha Dutt: It was a deep conflict at one point?

PG: Of course.

Barkha Dutt: I liked what you have often said that life is too complex to ever use a word like never and the media took that to mean — maybe tomorrow, maybe when the kids grow up. But you seem to suggest that in a moment of internal resolution you’ve settled this question once and for all, is that correct?

PG: I think so, yes. And when I said — one should never say never in life — I really meant in life, I didn’t mean in politics. I meant in life, because as you grow up, you realise that there are a lot of things that you’re very rigid about when you’re younger — you think, this will never happen to me, I will never do this and I could never be like that. And as you grow up, you become a mother and everyday you’re faced with something new and you have to respond to that thing. And you realise that your responses change as you grow up, so you can’t just be absolutely rigid black and white and say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to things. That’s what I meant.

Barkha Dutt: But, what is the definition of being or not being in politics? Because you may never contest an election, but from what I understand, you are in politics, you’re a political person. For example, it’s quite well known that when the family takes decisions, you’re part of those decisions and sometimes they are political decisions. So, would you at least say that you’re in politics to that extent that politics is in your blood, it’s in your DNA, its part of your life?

PG: Yes, to that extent, absolutely. I belong to a family where most members of the family are in politics, they have been, I’ve grown up in that atmosphere. I mean I’ve grown up in an atmosphere where at the dining table you discussed big political issues. Right from when you were a kid. So obviously to that extent I am. And whenever my help is required by mother, by my brother, for small things generally, not big things, like I wrote all my mother’s speeches in her first campaign.

Barkha Dutt: And now?

PG: No, no, now I don’t.

Barkha Dutt: Never?

PG: Very rarely. If I’m passing by and I see something’s being written then my advice is asked for, but otherwise very rarely.

Barkha Dutt: But do you prep her sometimes for a press conference or an interview or something?

PG: No.

Barkha Dutt: She’s also much more comfortable in a sense?

PG: Absolutely, completely comfortable, doesn’t require any tutoring, prepping, nothing. And she’s comfortable being herself, now. Because she was very shy, so that was hard in beginning.

Barkha Dutt: You say that, and I was going to ask you that, that in a sense you’re always described as the more gregarious person. As a person who’ll sit down here under a tree with me and talk freely. Whereas both your mother and Rahul are seen as much more reticent, more withdrawn, more shy. Would that be correct?

PG: My mother is shy. Rahul is … I’m much more a recluse than Rahul is.

Barkha Dutt: Really?

PG: Yes.

Barkha Dutt: It doesn’t come across that way at all…

PG: Personally I’m a complete recluse. I’m OK in this situation and I sort of think that I’m doing a job here, I’m doing my duty here and this is part of the job that I’m doing. So I look at it that way. But it’s not an extroversion.

Barkha Dutt: So actually you’re more fiercely private while able to…

PG: I’m a recluse.

Barkha Dutt: A recluse?

PG: Yes, I’m almost a recluse.

Barkha Dutt: You don’t like people?

PG: No it’s not that I don’t like people, I like people, but I spend most of my time on my own.

Barkha Dutt: So this perception that Priyanka is a gregarious person and Rahul is a shy person is a media construct? PG: No, I think perhaps the difference between me, Rahul and my mother is that I’m very much more open about my personal stuff in that sense. I can sit and you know somebody will ask me something very personal and I’ll just say it, which Rahul and my mother are more reserved about.

Barkha Dutt: But you were talking about watching your mother change and evolve, you used that word. How have you seen the change in her over the years?

PG: Well, in the beginning as I said, first of all, she wanted to have nothing to do with politics. And people ask why did she enter politics and all, and it was in one simple sentence she said that – I can’t look at these photos in this room if I don’t do this, which were the photographs of my father, my grandmother. Because she felt that this was her duty and that is what she really felt. So she really did it out of a sense of duty and she went completely against her grain to do this duty. She was shy, it was hard for her, public speaking was very difficult for her and both of us had to really be there for moral support, for everything. And now she’s completely on her own. She’s comfortable… so that’s the evolution.

Barkha Dutt: And do you feel proud of that?

PG: I’m extremely proud of my mother, I can’t tell you how much. If there’s one woman I admire in the world, it’s my mother. Because I’ve seen what it’s taken for her to do it. And when I say I wouldn’t do it out of a sense of duty, it’s that I wouldn’t have that courage to go completely against my grain because I felt it was my duty to some ideal or to my family.

Barkha Dutt: Even though you’ve seen your own mother do it?

PG: Absolutely. Because deep down somewhere, as a woman, as a mother, deep down somewhere, I feel that she has gone against her grain in a sense. I mean, of course, the fact that duty was such a powerful pull, also means that is part of her, that is also who she is, that duty is a powerful pull for her. So that is very much who she is, but deep down I see my mother as retiring in a forest cottage in the hills, reading, gardening, she loves that stuff. So as a daughter sometime I feel, why not? Why couldn’t she allow herself that?

Barkha Dutt: You think that will happen one day?

PG: I hope so. I’m building a little cottage in Shimla, hopefully she’ll use it.

Barkha Dutt: And hopefully you’ll use it too. But Priyanka, you said that you won’t have that courage, but she made that choice in very very extenuating circumstances, God forbid those extenuating circumstances are in front of you, you’re really too philosophical to know what you would do and what you wouldn’t do…

PG: I don’t know what I would do if I were faced with particular circumstances, but I think it would be very hard for me to be convinced that, for example, the party needed me, or something like that. I would rather do something like that out of my internal feeling, something that moves within me.

Barkha Dutt: One of the things you’ve said in interviews is that it’s a mistake to say that you’re like your grandmother, you’re actually much more like your dad…

PG: It’s true…

Barkha Dutt: Although everybody sort of prototypes you as — she has the walk of her grandmother, she drapes her sari in that way, but you don’t think you’re like that?

PG: I have a huge problem saying no, I couldn’t say no to you, I couldn’t say no to a thousand others, I have a problem saying no, my grandmother would say it like this (snaps her fingers).

Barkha Dutt: But beyond that, that’s just one difference, although it’s a fundamental difference, I take that point. But you see yourself more like your father? PG: Definitely, I see myself more like my father.

Barkha Dutt: In what way?

PG: Well, my grandmother was a different personality. She was… I think my father was gentler… not to say that my grandmother wasn’t gentle in her own way. But my father was gentler, and I really think that I’m gentler than she was.

Barkha Dutt: So whose taken after your grandmother in the family?

PG: My brother.

Barkha Dutt: Less gentle, tougher?

PG: My brother was absolutely, let me tell you, her favourite and the idealizing granddaughter would be kind of marginalized for the favourite grandson.

Barkha Dutt: Did that feel bad at that time?

PG: (smiling) Little bit…

Barkha Dutt: Little bit, yes…

PG: But she had this bond with him. And she taught him and she spent a lot of time with him, talking to him. Even the morning that she passed away. And I think that Rahul has imbibed a lot of that and his thinking is in many ways is a lot like my father, because he is a visionary like that. He’s an institution builder like my father was, but it’s a good mix. Because his understanding of politics is really very good. Much better than he is given credit for. And that I think comes from my grandmother.

Barkha Dutt: And you think he’s also tougher?

PG: He’s definitely tougher…

Barkha Dutt: And more able to maybe take an unemotional decision?

PG: He will not suffer fools. He’s tougher. Definitely.

Barkha Dutt: I want to share a little story with you, which reminded me of you. We were doing this television programme on Qasab, the terrorist who has been caught in Mumbai, and one of the relatives who had lost his wife, Shantanu Saikia, in that horrible moment, was telling me how his son, who’s only 12, wanted to go and meet this man. And he said you know, we’ve decided as a family that we’re not going to carry anger any more. We’ve decided that we want to not follow this trial. We want to maybe even forgive this man and I have a child who wants to meet this man. And immediately, though in a very different context, it reminded me of you and your visit to Nalini in jail and I actually said that to Shantanu, and I said that Priyanka was so much older and so many years had passed. I wanted to ask you, how many years did you live with thinking that maybe you wanted to meet her — feeling before it actually happened?

PG: Not very long actually. Maybe, a year and a half or so. In the beginning when my father was killed, I didn’t realise it, but I was furious. I was absolutely furious inside. I was furious not with particular individuals who killed him, but I was furious with the whole world.

Barkha Dutt: When did you learn to recognise that rage?

PG: It was a very slow process. It was realising that you’re angry. I think the whole thing about this whole business of forgiveness is really, at some level, we all consider ourselves victims. Maybe it can be a case of someone being nasty to us, or someone would have done something like kill someone we love, which is a bigger thing and then we consider ourselves victims. But the minute you realise that you’re not a victim and that the other person is as much victim of that same circumstance as you, then you can’t put yourself in a position where you are anyone to forgive someone else. Because your victimhood has disappeared. And to me, people ask about non-violence, I think true non-violence is the absence of victimhood. The sense that somebody else is doing harm to you. Whatever is happening to you is happening because of your own circumstances, you are creating a lot of that suffering. And anybody else who does something overtly, like kill somebody you love, or hurts you, beats you, that is also an action that is happening because of their suffering.

Barkha Dutt: Did that meeting (with Nalini) help purge the anger? Or was the anger already gone before?

PG: No I was already not angry. The anger, I think, didn’t last that long. Because when you’re younger, you feel angry and you don’t understand things. But as you grow up, the anger passes and of course there’s been a lot of time, its been 17 years. That meeting, for me — the big learning that came from that meeting was exactly this, that I was still, though I was not angry any more, I did not hate her, and I wanted to meet her, I was still thinking that I was somebody who could forgive her for something she had done. And then I met her and I realised — what am I talking about?

Barkha Dutt: Because there are no victims?

PG: I mean, here is a woman who’s gone through as much if not more than me. And whatever she’s done…

Barkha Dutt: You honestly feel that?

PG: Of course, honestly, of course.

Barkha Dutt: Your mother, even before this happened, commuted her death sentence to life because otherwise her child would have been an orphan. Where does that spirit come from?

PG: Because you’ve been through it. You’ve been through it. Something has happened to you that has made you feel awful. Something has happened that has crushed you inside. So how can you want that to happen to someone else? An innocent child, what has that child got to do with anything?

Barkha Dutt: When you hear the whole politicised debate around the LTTE that’s taking place in these elections. I know that previously you said that you didn’t really want to get into it, but as a concept — when you see the very strong Tamil nationalism in Tamil Nadu, coming from all parties, including DMK. Does that make you feel uncomfortable, does it make you just withdraw or are you able to take those opinions also head on?

PG: I think for me there’s a clear separation. First of all, I completely admire the Tamil people. I really do. They’re intelligent, they are great workers. That’s one people that I really admire. So I understand that feeling, I understand the Tamil nationalism, I understand their cause. I don’t agree with their method, because fundamentally as a human being I don’t agree with the method. I don’t agree with killing people for anything. But I make a very clear separation between the political and the personal. I completely understand that as a nation you cannot condone the killing of an Ex-Prime Minister. But I also understand a nation cannot react as Priyanka, daughter of Rajiv reacts. That is my own personal reaction.

Barkha Dutt: You’re able to separate that?

PG: Absolutely. It’s a complete separation in my mind.

Barkha Dutt: But when you hear a political ally maybe being soft on Prabhakaran, along with many other parties in Tamil Nadu, he’s not the only one, you’re able to make that separation of political and personal?

PG: Absolutely, and when its political, it’s very clear, it’s very clear that he’s making a political choice, so why should I bear that as a grudge against him.

Barkha Dutt: And you wouldn’t bring the personal loss of your father to that political equation?

PG: Not at all.

Barkha Dutt: So you’re not disturbed when you hear these kind of comments?

PG: Not at all.

Barkha Dutt: That’s pretty amazing. I did want to ask you, you spoke about how your mother was a reluctant participant in politics and I remember I had just done this one brief interview with her, where she had spoken about something that she said quite often, how she never wanted her husband, your father to get into politics and she was always scared that something would happen to him. Now, you’ve seen what happened with your grandmother, you’ve seen what happened with your father. Do you feel scared for your brother, do you feel scared for your mother, do you feel scared for yourself?

PG: No, I don’t. I don’t feel scared for them at all. But I did have this one moment of terror in 2004 when I peeped into her office and I saw this bunch of, you know, Lalu ji and everybody surrounding her and saying that you have to be Prime Minister, I had this one moment of complete terror. And I burst out crying.

Barkha Dutt: You did?

PG: Yes, and I didn’t realise that I was afraid. And I burst out crying. I ran to my brother, I was like — she’s going to die — and, I realized — hey, you know, you think you’re not scared, but you are scared of losing someone else you love. So I won’t be very macho and say that it’s never crossed my mind, but I think that since then, I mean on a day-to-day basis, no. I realise that this is part of her duty. Like now I know there are threats on her, there are threats on Rahul, but I would never say to them — don’t go out, be in the car, don’t do this, don’t do that. I wouldn’t, because I know that they’re doing their job, it’s part of their duty and if they lose their life doing so, then, we must accept it.

Barkha Dutt: Do people misunderstand how clear she always was, your mother, that she did not want to be Prime Minister?

PG: I think so, yes. She was clear way before the election. Rahul and I would have these discussions with her where we would say — why don’t you just say so now?. But she didn’t and because it came about after the elections, I think the idea went around that perhaps her decision was because of external pressures, rather than her own clarity. But she was very clear from before.

Barkha Dutt: And you and Rahul never wanted her to be PM?

PG: No, we didn’t.

Barkha Dutt: But, there is a sort of acceptance that one day, if politics goes a certain way, Rahul will be Prime Minister, or could be, I won’t say will be.

PG: It’s quite possible, yes.

Barkha Dutt: It’s quite possible. Is the family comfortable with that? In terms of the background of reluctant participation?

PG: I think so, yes. Provided that he works hard towards it, provided that he goes through the grind and provided that he deserves it.

Barkha Dutt: Is there anything you’d like to see different him as a politician, not as a brother, since you said you can separate the two…

PG: No, I think one thing that I admire about my brother that he has this ability to be focused on what he wants to do. So people will say, you know- You should be a Minister, you should be part of government, you should learn how it works- they’ll give all the best reasons for it. But he will say — no, I’m in charge of the Youth Congress, I think that democracy is important, I think it’s the most important thing right now for political parties in India and I’m going to focus on that — and he does it. And he does it regardless of what anybody thinks of him. I mean, remember the UP election, where he was berated and in the press and everything was piled onto him. But he just went ahead with what he thought was right and, the other thing that I think is great about him as a politician is he’s very good with… he doesn’t have this thing that he absolutely has to succeed every time and he’s very good with things in which perhaps maybe in the short term he won’t succeed but he can see that there is a long term success. He will work through that short term failure.

Barkha Dutt: Like the decision for the Congress to go it alone in many states right now?

PG: Yes, and I think that’s so important for a politician, to be able to sacrifice the now, for the future.

Barkha Dutt: What about the charges of dynastic inheritance?

PG: I don’t buy that. Because, you know, I would buy it if there weren’t elections every 5 years where we were elected by people. People ask me here, in Amethi, how come you’re getting elected every time? It’s certainly not just because he’s a Gandhi. It is because that name and that family stands for something that has been done here, people have seen work. People have seen commitment, people have seen honesty and therefore they support. So I don’t buy that.

Barkha Dutt: It’s been an unpleasant campaign in some ways. Your cousin, Varun, is filing his nominations this week, did that make you upset, that whole controversy beyond the political because it was a member of the family? In sense, I mean in a broader sense, although maybe you all don’t really talk anymore…

PG: No, I haven’t actually met him since, I think since the day he turned 18.

Barkha Dutt: That’s a long time…

PG: And before that on my wedding. So it’s just sporadic in all these years. But I don’t want to make too many comments about Varun, he’s after all a cousin and I’ve said what I had to say. On principle I think it was wrong. And that did upset, me, my brother, all of us, in the way that you think that every member of this family stands for something, not just because it’s a title, or it’s a thing.. its something that we really believe. It is something we’ve justified many things with. Like the death of our own father, as children, we justified that this was for our country because he believed in something. Maybe it was a childish thing, so we’ve lived by these things. Therefore to see a member of our family who somehow is not being able to abide by those same principles is painful.

Barkha Dutt: Now you personally- when you hear yourself described as a natural at politics- does that feel good? Have you made your peace with the kind of public gaze there is on you, your children who were here, Robert, have you made your peace with that?

PG: Yes, I think I’ve made my peace with it. And I think when you talked about my conflict, one of the big things of my conflict because I knew that it came naturally to me. So the confusion was, is this really who I am? Or who am I?

Barkha Dutt: So you knew you were good at it, basically?

PG: I know, I’m not a fool. I know I’m comfortable with people; its not an effort for me to talk in front of people or to say what I think or to connect to them, its not an effort at all. But does that mean I want to be in politics? No.

Barkha Dutt: And yet your kids were here as part of the whole campaign?

PG: Because I think its very important for my kids know this world as well and I think sometimes its misunderstood, it seems like I’m trying to thrust them into something, but it’s not that at all. As children, they must be used to the fact that their family is involved in this thing. They’ll see crowds. I don’t want them to suddenly grow up, when they’re 14-15 be intimidated or to suddenly think that they are great shakes because people are running around them. I want them to be used to it, so unless I do it at this age, bring them into this situation where people are all around us, and it’s a normal thing, rather than it being something that they suddenly hits them at 15 and they think that they are the cats whiskers because they have a few people calling them great and wonderful.

Barkha Dutt: I can’t let you go without asking you, how is your Hindi so proficient? I have so many friends who ask me that all the time?

PG: To be very honest with you, full credit for my Hindi goes to Mrs. Teji Bacchan.

Barkha Dutt: Really?

PG: Yes. Because when I was a kid I spent a lot of time with her. And she started giving me Bacchan ji’s poetry to read, which I loved. So I read all his books, then she gave me other books to read- ‘Godaan’ by Premchand and all. So she really got me interested in Hindi literature. Its because that I read so much, that my Hindi is good.

Barkha Dutt: And can you read Hindi today, can you read it comfortably like you did then?

PG: Yes, yes of course. I still do.

Barkha Dutt: Thanks so much for your time And all the best.

A Cinema And a Boy

The Jenin in the Palestinian West Bank was full of the wars and gunfire. Some extremists live here, so this place is the hothouse of terrorism. And it is the source of the human bombers, because almost half of the suicide bombers are come from here. So Jenin is famous for the cradle of suicide bomber.

On day in 2005, a Palestinian boy walked in the street with a gun. He did not know that in just the past minutes ago this street suffered from the riot. Someone threw the stones to the Israeli soldiers. When the jeep of Israeli soldiers driven forward, they saw the boy with a gun. After a serious shot, the boy lied down in the pool of the blood. After that the Israeli soldiers discovered that gun just a toy. The boy was sent to the hospital immediately, unluckily, the boy finally died after two days. But the attitude of the boy’s father made all the people surprised. He decided to donate the organs of his son to the people in Israeli. The heart, kidney, liver and two pulmonary were transplanted to the six Israeli people. The only requirement to the father was that he could see the people who accepted his son’s organs whether they were health or not. he said that” when I see them, I can feel that my son still alive.”

The Israeli Prime Minister was moved by the action of that father, so he invited the father to his office and accepted his apology. A film maker was moved about this story too, so he took this story to play a film. This film was published in the world and got many prizes. But for the father, there was still pity in his mind. He hoped that film could show in the local place what his son was shot. He wanted to tell the children: the life not just has the blood and confliction, but also has the forgiveness. The only cinema was closed in 1983; there was no cinema in the areas of Jenin anymore. So the father decided to establish a cinema. In order to achieve this goal, he tried his best to search help from the local people. At the end, the cinema had been built.

Poverty is Killing The Energy of Millions of People: Rahul Gandhi

18 nov 2009

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi while interacting with students at Vijayawada(Andhra Pradesh) talked in length on the burning issues of the day. He shared his thought on the issues of reservation for the poor students, poverty and attack on Indian students in Australia. Students were very happy to interact with the young leader and they were willing to talk to him for sometime more. One of the students said, “I am very elated today because every one of us standing here got an opportunity to interact with such a famous personality Rahul Gandhi and it would have been nice if he could interact for sometime more. There were some questions on reservation and poverty prevailing in Indian system and there were also some questions about colleges run by politicians and demanding huge fees. We asked him about the future of poor students who want to study and have lots of caliber. There were many more questions which we could not ask due to lack of time. He answered all the questions very coolly and beautifully that’s why we wanted to interact with him for sometime more. Talking on the problem of poverty in our country, Congress General Secretary said that it is causing huge loss to the nation. “There are millions of people who could give much more to the country but due to poverty they are not able to do so,” he said. He also put his views on global warming. He said, “In the last 100 years or more, industrial development has mostly taken place either in Europe or in United State. But now, when India and China are trying to industrialize their nation they are saying that it is causing global warming.” Students were very enthusiastic while interacting with the young leader. Another student said,” He is a right person for becoming the prime minister of this country. He answered in very cool manner and he seems a very experienced person and we expect him as prime minister in future. He talked in an interactive style and talked on burning issues of India.” While Congress General Secretary requested all present to not to consider him as future Prime Minster. He said, “Dr Manmohan Singh is very capable person and is doing his job well.” Replying to a question on terrorism he said that the country is dealing with the issue in accordance with the law. He further said that corruption is a big problem for the future politics of India. A girl among the students said, “We expected from him the same answer and we are happy that he gave us the same answer. We are very happy to have interaction with him”. Congress General Secretary talked on the availability of seats in the colleges and the number of colleges in the country. He also spoke on the cooperation between industry and educational institutions. Students viewed Congress General Secretary having all the qualities of a future prime minister. “He has the quality to lead the country but still as he is only in his 30s; in future he has the good quality and capabilities to lead the nation.

“There is only one big issue in India and that issue is prevailing poverty in our country. If we have to wage a war, it must be against poverty,” stressed Congress general secretary.

Americans in Iraq Played a Failure of The War

In the war in Iraq after 7 years of U.S. forces in Iraq, UGG Classic Argyle Knit half of the last batch of combat forces withdraw 18 to Kuwait. Combat troops from Iraq, the U.S. will also after the people went about 56000 Iraq, implementation of the related tasks. Thereafter, the Iraq strategy will turn from “wu”, “wen”, its mission in Iraq by diplomatic mission to combat missions. By 2010 (August 19, the war in Iraq, U.S. review) what is the winner or a loser, is undoubtedly the latter rather than the former. The Iraq war is a war of nameless start. To the other country, total war should have a legitimate reason. For example, a homeland security threats, encroached on its territory, damaged its interests, etc. Initially, the United States launched the war in Iraq is the only reason for manufacturing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Since March 20, 2003 u.s.-led forces bombing and the invasion of Iraq, and in April 9 into Baghdad overturned saddam hussein, U.S. everywhere, but didn’t find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq on October 2 U.S. survey group report concluded that Iraq is not made weapons of mass destruction. Later, again say saddam hussein and al-qaeda, and by the cia report shall be denied. So, the United States launched the war in Iraq, except American don’t like anti-american saddam hussein and his flesh will be destroyed, playing a game 2 is no reason of war, a war is unjust. Such a war played seven years, and still explosion and hurried out ceaselessly, the U.S. is the return is helpless, also self-evident. To pay a huge price war in Iraq. On August 2, the relevant departments and the media announced the Iraq war cost data: 7073 close to $4413 toll, resulting in the U.S. hostility 31897 injury, resulting in the U.S. hostility 39944 injured, the U.S. government employees, who killed civilians killed 1487 reporter (including the other countries outside America) 142 people. These Numbers, not including the U.S. Allies in Iraq as digital battlefield casualties, also not include the troops in Afghanistan battlefield casualties of digital and wars. U.S. public opinion thinks generally, discount ugg boots the bush era is America’s biggest anti-terrorism policy mistakes, the Iraq war is a war that American financial and military and intelligence resources, has long been directly affect the local defense and terror and increasingly worse situation terror. Therefore, barack Obama, immediately after taking cash election promise, and puts forward a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq, quicken the pace, from Iraq from Iraq terror will be transferred to Afghanistan. Obviously, the war in Iraq continues to drag, only hostility is for a long time, U.S. cannot achieve final victory. Make the Iraqi people into the abyss of suffering. As the war in Iraq, petroleum exporting countries, is a very rich country. Despite the autocratic rule of saddam hussein, but most people’s lives or happiness. But a protracted war, Iraq. Iraq war about 102 million refugees, increased to about 155 million, About 50 million people emigrate before, now about 155 people. War, in addition to saddam hussein’s troops and militants in the U.S. military killed in battle against intruders, etc, are the terrorists to civilian bombings every day. According to the institute of higher international issues in Geneva on June 11, by 2010, the Iraq war in Iraq as far as the battle of deaths in Iraq about up 39000, According to wikipedia and some news, Iraqi civilians to disclose the number about 60 million deaths, A British company’s newest statistical results showed that the death toll reached 120 million. Bring a humanitarian catastrophe, apparently not U.S. war is the winner. The United States as the world’s only superpower today, economic and military strength in quite a long time, is any country cannot transcend, but the poor soldiers have never redeem wu victory on real significance, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and so. Today, the United States in China, building C form, frequently in the east China sea, pack up yellow, nanhai, trying to curb China’s war, but the rapid rise of China has not used today, America’s plot of China to nightfall black Therefore, we advise American policymakers in handling sino-u.s. Relations, or magnifying glass and wen “r, dou two hurt” warning.

Young Hope Of India 'rahul' Turns 40

With Congress General secretary turning 40 on 19th June 2010 , the future of Indian politics turns 40.

What makes Rahul even more younger are his ideas for the future politics, Education system, developmental schemes, Unity and of course the fact that he is still a bachelor.

Rahul Gandhi became the youngest member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to enter active politics when he contested and won a seat in the lower house of the Parliament of India in 2004.

The name Rahul Gandhi has become synonymous with the new face of Indian politics; a young brand of highly motivated and influential politicians, aiming to highlight India’s position as a global frontrunner.

To mark the occasion of his 40th birthday, the state unit of the Congress will take out padyatras or marches in every district of Uttar Pradesh Saturday and also organise blood donation camps to mark the birthday of party general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

The NSUI and the Youth Congress activists have organized several programmes to celebrate Rahul’s birthday throughout the country.

Today Rahul Gandhi inspires not only common youth(by the way he doesn’t believe in the concept of Common man/Uncommon man) , but also the young actors like Ranbir Kapoor who say that Rahul’s mannerisms help him to prepare for his role and also that Rahul Gandhi has been a change in the sense that earlier no body could imagine having a politician moving around freely leaving his Z security behind.

Other praises �

Preity Zinta Young leaders like Rahul Gandhi reflect the sentiments and thought process of our generation! More power to you, Rahul! There was a time when we had leaders like Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose to look up to. Who do we have now? Who will inspire us in these times?

Farah Khan Ali Kudos to Rahul Gandhi for saying India is for Indians. Time we unite without looking at our differences.

Sophie Choudhry Rahul Gandhi says: I am interested in one concept � that India belongs to Indians and every part of India belongs to every Indian! Well said! We need unity!

Obama says be the change you want to see.Rahul Gandhi says we just need the says ‘we have millions of Obama sitting here in India, just requires channeling’.

Address To The International Community From Hunger Strikers In Ukraine

Dear All,

We would like to draw your attention to the fact of unprecedented violation of lawful procedures in Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) that took place during the recent votings for the notorious language bill # 9073 on July 3rd and bill # 9634 on July 4th. To be precise, both bills have been approved by approximately 248 votes while only some 74 deputies were physically present in the session hall (please see the video that evidences this fact).

Besides, an obligatory requirement to procedures of adoption has not been met, notably – 30 days period for examination, hearings and pre-approval in specialized Parliament committees were failed to be followed.

On the very next day, a couple of other not less controversial bills have been approved in the same manner, for instance the bill # 9634, which effectively denies access for the journalists to the information on public purchases, civic activists and non-governmental organizations. Due to loss of transparency of this kind of transactions, an amount of budget funds that can be misused (or, in other words, stolen from public) is estimated at UAH250 billions in one single year.

As a sign of protest (officially – only against the languages bill), opposition leaders have entered into a hunger strike.

As you may have already learned, the bill on languages did not entered into force due to the acting Speaker’s refusal to sign it; on 6th of July the Speaker has pleaded for dismissal, the Parliament session has been closed for summer vacations till 4th of September, thus having put the process of further legitimation of this bill to a halt. Prompted by this fact, the official opposition has quit hunger strike and “celebrated a victory” on 07th July 2012.

However, it seems to be too early to celebrate, as the ruling Party of Regions has already found possible solution to this – the Constitutional Court has been quickly summoned to technically approve the amendment to the procedures of the elections of the Speaker by the Parliament (number of required votes has been decreased from 300 to 226, and the voting mode has been changed from anonymous, in person voting to the conventional voting with electronic cards), so, the situation with that particular bill is uncertain. But what is more important, the Speaker of Parliament is becoming easier to replace and hence more susceptive to the outside pressure and, as a result, much more less independent from the President and the government.

Appreciate Our Troops on This Holiday Season

We are entering the holiday season in this country. This season is a very special time for Americans. Shopping has already started and the stores are playing their Christmas music to get us in the buying mood. “No greater gift can a man give than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This gift was given to mankind in the form of the only begotton son of God coming down to earth and dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our being seperated from God and to make a way for us to be reconnected to him. Because of this gift we can enjoy the benefit of eternal life, or an eternal connection with God. Now there are others who have given all. Their deaths do not spiritually reconnect us but we do owe them a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices that they have made for us. Some gave all but all gave some. The first thing that we need to remember and celebrate this holiday season is the price that Jesus Christ paid for us on the cross. We also need to remember that we have the freedom to enjoy our gifts, and freedom here in the natural realm largely because of the sacrifices that our fighting men and women have made for us.

Remember that when you are sitting in front of your fireplace warming your feet and eating a turkey sandwich that there are troops right now sitting out in sub zero weather somewhere in Korea or the Middle East observing the area for enemy intruders and any other strange activity. There are troops sitting in foxholes manning machine guns who can’t turn on a light or light a fire because the light would give their position away. There are troops going through rehearsals to thwart the attack which intelligence has predicted will come in a certain way. They will rehearse every possible way that they can anticipate the attack will come. They will go through they motions time and time again. Some of our troops will get to eat turkey dinners over the holidays but some of them will eat MRE’s as usual and many of them won’t get any food at all on Thanksgiving or Christmas. They may get something when they get back to the base camp but it won’t be anything like what you will be eating at home. You had better believe that. Our troops in Korea are probably on full alert right now because of the high tensions in the area. The war might come at any time they don’t know but they must remain vigilant. They won’t be caught off guard but they will look past this holiday season and hope that they will be home with their loved ones the next season.

They don’t like the fact that they are where they are but they will do their jobs to the best of their abilities and hope for better times. War doesn’t stop just because the weather is freezing cold or wet and muddy. You just deal with the wet cold weather and drive on. Our troops who are stationed in non Christian countries can’t freely practice their religious beliefs because the host nations may be offended. They will be punished by the military if they do because the US esteems politics more important that serving God. Many of our troops will miss many holiday seasons with their families because of deployments but they won’t hesitate to do what they have to do. So when you are enjoying this holiday season you need to thank our military for the sacrifices that they have made for you. Riceland Enterprises