Thursday, September 29, 2016


By no means is the following any kind of endorsement for Hillary Clinton, but...

In his first debate with Hillary, Donald Trump offered Americans and the world a lot of food for thought in respect to his candidacy and the entire system of capitalism. At one point in the debate, Hillary suggested that Donald has not released his tax records because they reveal that he did not pay any taxes or even give any money to charity. Donald effectively admitted that Hillary was right by responding with: "That makes me smart."

Leaving aside any criminal aspects of tax evasion, it seems that Donald does not understand that the president is a role model. So what would happen if the entire population of the USA were to be as selfishly smart as Donald? Obviously, no one would pay taxes. And if no one pays taxes, then Donald's federal government would have no money to pay off any debt or implement any social, economic, political, or military program, including Donald's secret plan to defeat ISIS and his not-so-secret plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico (unless, of course, Mexico actually does pay for that wall... in advance). Pretty soon, the US would look worse than any Third-World country. And that's how Donald would make America great again. What Donald has not yet admitted (but implicitly and repeatedly demonstrates) is that he wants to make America great only for his personal business interests.

So here we have tremendous insight into not just what sort of president Donald would be but also what sort of principles capitalism promotes. Can anyone believe that Donald would not exploit his power for the primary purpose of extending his personal wealth? According to Donald's avowed standards, failure to do so would not be smart.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Saint or sinner

Around 1977, I lived for almost a year in Kolkata. Several times I visited Mother Teresa's flagship project, her home for the dying in Kalighat, Nirmal Hriday. Each time I went, I was appalled by what I saw. Clearly, almost none of the many millions of dollars that were raised for that project actually went into the project. (Apparently, almost all of the money was passed along to the Pope.)

Conditions at Nirmal Hriday were primitive. And, despite the name of the project ("pure heart"), the treatment of patients was so heartless and substandard that the place should have been shut down by the government. But, of course, that never happened. Jyoti Basu (the communist and atheist Chief Minister of West Bengal) and Mother Teresa (the Catholic nun) were friends. They pretended to have a common love for the poor, each basking in the other's popularity.

That same year, I also met personally with Teresa. I formally requested her support for nothing more than a high-level and independent investigation into the alleged poisoning of Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar by a prison doctor. She flatly refused to endorse that.

So what I can say about Mother Teresa is this. Despite her religious guise – and possibly because of her religious dogma – Teresa was a very worldly person. If she was a saint, then she was the first saint who never opposed - who always propped up and who was in turn propped up by - any sundry governmental or religious authority.