Sunday, November 27, 2016

On the lighter side-Movies-Kubo and the two Strings (2016) - Animated

A young boy has to find a suit of armor in order to defeat his enemies. I enjoyed it. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Mechanic Resurrection (2016)-Jason Statham, Jessica Alba

The Mechanic is back in this action packed movie in which he has to rescue his love who has been kidnapped by his enemy. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Hell or high water (2016)-Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges

Two brothers rob banks in Texas in order to save their ranch. Highly enjoyable. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-War Dogs (2016)-Jonah Hill

Based on a true story about two guys who go head over heels when they are awarded a pentagon contract to arm allies in Afghanistan. Interesting and enjoyable movie. Recommended

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Traffic Woes

I hate traffic and I am sure lots of people do that but it becomes very frustrating that when you leave early from your house by car, you see that you are not the only one but there are thousands other driving at the same time. And no matter how early I try to leave for my office I am already stuck in traffic. The reasons can be slow drivers, some accident in a far off road which chokes the traffic way back, some construction going on that block some parts of the road or a car or a bus may have broken down. There can be some instances where certain heavy vehicles are not allowed to enter but they do enter and lo and behold the traffic comes to a standstill. I love to drive and I drive to the office every day but that is not the only form of transportation that I use. I have to be at a parking lot near the train station that takes me to New York and from there I walk to my office. As I said that I love to drive but I would rather drive for hours on a desolate road then to endure 15 minutes of horrendous traffic and even when I reach my destination station, I don’t know if the trains will be on time or there are some issues with the train schedule. It just seems to me that every day there are more and more cars on the same road that you have to share and it is just started to get on my nerves as traffic is getting worse and worse every day. I don’t see any hope for traffic to become smoother since it is the same time people have to reach their workplace that I have to reach and every mode of transportation has its own set of what if problems that may crop up on you. I just wish I would start working from home rather than drive myself crazy and waste a lot of my time stuck in traffic being very unproductive.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The European Defense Dilemma

With the rise of the Republican to the Presidency of the U.S. there will be growing demand on the European countries to increase their defense budget. I may disagree on many things that the new U.S. administration may be implementing but I believe on this one I agree with them that Europe should not completely rely on the United States to complete foot their defense bill also. European governments have enjoyed a relative prosperity by outsourcing their defense budgets to the U.S. by not spending enough but it is their responsibility also to see that their countries are adequately protected by sharing in the burden of defense. The European Union is big enough that they can spend enough money to spend on defense equipment and prepare their population to chip in with the money. I know the U.S. will continue to provide defense on the larger scale but the majority of their defense funds would have to come from within Europe. With the threat of major terrorists attacks rising in Europe than in the U.S., Europeans would be forced to spend more money on defense since the U.S. cannot be everywhere and Europe being always suspicious of U.S. spying on their citizens would have to get their own home grown defense in order to meet the rising challenges of attacks. Europe is more vulnerable since their society is more geared towards privacy of their citizens and suspicious of other countries has led them to not share intelligence on continent wide scale. The U.S. should send a clear message to Europe that if they want the U.S. to help them in their defense, Europeans would have to open their wallets wider.

The Supposedly Great Expectations of the U.S. Elections 2016-2

But can the President-Elect do the impossible and bring hopes to millions of white Americans who have been left out by the waves of globalization and somewhat unfair competition from foreign companies who can get far more profit while not playing by the rules. By rules I mean giving fair wages (read: First world wages) and taking care of the environment while manufacturing goods. I don’t think he would be able to achieve much of what he was preaching because it is not a simple matter of black and white. Many things come into play including the fact that the wages for third world countries would not go up meaning goods will be produce cheaply overseas and in the course of manufacturing the poor countries would look the other way when it comes to environmental and human rights. And it is also the fault of the developed world manufacturers who are ever in search for the cheapest location in terms of raw materials and labor and almost nonexistent regulations that is also contributing to the job losses that we witness in the U.S. The silent majority who could not say things because it was deemed to be politically incorrect found a voice in a person who spoke what the common people dare not to speak in public for fear of offending the sensitivities of people around them. So the great expectations that the President-Elect has spawned will have to translate into actions but with so many competing interests involved in the promises that he has made, I don’t see how he will be able to please everybody who has voted for him. So folks prepare yourself for a bumpy ride for the next four years.

On the lighter side-Movies-Sausage Party (2016)-Animated

Super raunchy animated movie about a sausage who tries to discover what is beyond the supermarket doors. Absolutely not for the kids. Recommended with caution

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Supposedly Great Expectations of the U.S. Elections 2016

As I keep on reading what went so radical that with all the pollster and other predictions, Republican won the elections, you have to see no look further than what has happened to the U.S. heartland where the jobs are slowly evaporating to globalization and decent and well paying middle class manufacturing jobs where people were so proud of working their lives and their offspring use to follow them have all but evaporated. The jobs that are coming by are usually the service sector which does not pay as much and the skills you have already acquired all these years does not count as much. This is the kind of folks that are suffering and although they do sympathize with the refugees and other people fleeing war and poverty, it is their own survival that they are concentrated upon and want the government to do the same. These are the white folks who in the rural and dying towns of the Midwest are the angry people who may have not voted in the past so many elections saw in Republican party their supposedly salvation that somehow the new President would stop this job bleeding and bring back jobs. These people don’t want job training at this time of their age but want to work in manufacturing plants where they be proud of their work and raise families. The bar for this new President has been set so high that anything else will be disastrous to the Republican Party. The voters are concerned about their jobs, illegal (and somewhat legal immigration) is the crux of how people have voted in this election.

Moving to Canada?

As the protest continue against the President(elect) which I don’t get it as they are just registering their protect as it is now too late to invalidate the election, some of the people say that they will move to Canada rather than stay in a country whose new President they don’t like. Now this part I fail to comprehend. Why is that every time a new election happens, people who feel a certain way about a candidate say it out loud that they will move to Canada if the election is not to their liking. I don’t hear anybody saying that they will move to the U.S. if election in Canada is not to their liking. I can understand it is a great country with top notch cities but moving to Canada would harm the U.S. in any way or it will help invalidate the election. You choose to live in a democracy and only one candidate wins whether that candidate you like it or not. It is the majority rule democracy not individual rule democracy. If people feel so strongly about leaving the U.S. then it is their right to do so but don’t make it an excuse that if your candidate did not win, you are leaving. It is like every time you fight with your partner or spouse, you don’t right away quit and even in your job, if you don’t like certain days going your way, you don’t just leave without another job lined up or having some plan in place. So NO, moving to Canada is not an option and you should fight what you believe in by working in the system. Let’s see what happens during the next four years and if you don’t want to see then immigrate.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

On the lighter side-Movies-Nine Lives (2016)-Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner

A billionaire finds himself as a cat and gets adopted by his own family. Great actors, average movie. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Star Trek Beyond (2016)-Chris Pine

Further adventures of the USS Enterprises who in their far off journey encounter an enemy that endangers their lives. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Bad Moms (2016)-Mila Kunis

Three overworked moms decide to ditch their responsibilities to have some fun. Funny and raunchy movie. Recommended

The U.S. Election-2016-Analysis

The U.S. has now a new President (elect) and against popular opinion it was not the Democratic nominee who won but the Republican One. Congratulations on a fair and square although a very negative and nasty election. Now the healing starts if it ever would be since the nastiest election ever in my lifetime with racist and sexist remarks going back and forth. But the analysis should not be what was said but what has been achieved. All the polls were saying that the Democrats would win the election easily and even the Congress but in the end the pollsters fail to see that the so called disenfranchised white voters who may not have voted before came out in droves and they gave votes to the candidate whom they believe would be strong enough to lead the country and solve its problems and their problems too. I am still trying to figure out what happened but the news that is coming out is that the Democrats failed to connect to the disenfranchised middle class white folks and failed to capitalize on the Latino and African American votes. They failed to get out to the rural white people and let them know that the Democrats care about them. Even some white folks voted against the Democrats since they did not believe they are credible enough to get a handle of things. Another thing that the Democrats failed to realize is that the vote was as much against the Democrats as it was against the status quo that the Democrats seem to emphasize which is not at all what the voters wanted. The country, Democrats as well as the world is in shock as what happened in this election and there will be soul searching for the next four years. I will be constantly updating the aftermath of this election and what the new President would be doing in terms of running the U.S.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The U.S. Election-2016-6

And then there is the talk about how the U.S. will either withdraw from trade deals and how it will withdraw troops from where they are stationed unless the host countries pay for their stay. It is like upending the status quo without any thought to what kind of peril the host countries will be in. Although I agree to some extent that some of the troops should be brought home but it will take time to implement this as it cannot be possibly done overnight not with the threat of war looming everywhere and especially when Russia is asserting itself on the world stage once again. The other threat is to either withdraw from trade deals or negotiate it imperiling hundreds of thousands of jobs. I don’t know if this will be even feasible to start with. If you are going to withdraw from the trade deals, then it should not automatically be expected that jobs will be created in America in higher numbers as the cost of labor is already very high here in the U.S. Another thing that has come up is that the election will be rigged without any substantial evidence to back it up. How it can be rigged when the majority of the polling booths are manned by White people (the so called core constituents of the Republican Party). Unless you start counting votes by yourself there is no chance that you can prove that the election would be rigged. And the majority of the voting has not even started it. So you are already assuming it is rigged so there is no use to vote because your vote would not count anyway, which is a very dangerous assumption. Well the election is tomorrow and I hope sanity prevails. . Appeal: Your donation of 95 cents will help me maintain this site and bring you latest news and movie reviews. Your contribution will be highly appreciated.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The U.S. Election-2016-5

As I drive through my town I keep seeing this sign called Make America Great Again. I don’t know what it actually means but it is mesmerizing enough that people are falling in love with it, but again nobody dares to question this sign for fear of being called a traitor or other bad words. But my question is what does it mean has anybody for a second thought about what makes America great and at what point in time it was not great and how come now is the time that we should make America Great again. Is it because the first African American President sits in the white house that some people think America is not great or the decline of the American manufacturing that is making people think that if we had a Caucasian President we will reverse all the so called “negative trends” during the past eight years (I am assuming). Do people actually think that they can go magically back to the time when the U.S. was the only Superpower after World War II and actually people were working in manufacturing jobs making decent amount of money, will this ever happen when we are mired in so many conflicts abroad and we are so much in debt (15 trillion and counting not including the obligations we owe due to social security and other mandatory obligations that we have promised our citizens. Is our diversification makes America in decline and will a monogamous population make American Great again. If you talk to people they will have their own version of how to make America great again and will not know at what point in time it was not great so there is no universal time table when America was not great and how will it become great again. Nobody knows this and they are just following it blindly without asking how and why of the specifics.

The U.S. Election-2016-4

Now the big question over immigration. First it was that all Muslims should be banned until the U.S. officials figure out what is going on. Then when there was an outcry, it changed to extreme vetting to make sure that the immigrants (read: Muslims) are in sync with the values of the American people. But what is extreme vetting means? Will they develop some method or questionnaire to gauge that they will allow certain people to enter the U.S.? What if the person answers all the questions “right” will they be still subject to some kind of Polygraph test to make sure they are not lying to get into the U.S. How far the extreme vetting will go in terms of the parents being questioned, meaning if your grand parent or great grandparent was in some kind of legal trouble back home, would that make a factor in denying you a visa or immigration. How are you going to vet the refugees who are fleeing the war? How are you going to find out who is legitimate and who is not, since even people will families tend to become terrorists. And if you ban outright Muslims, how can we be sure that a white person cannot be bribed enough to sneak in to create harm to the U.S. And what about the immigrants who are already here and even people who are ready to take up arms against the government the so called “domestic terrorists” how are we going to deal with them. It is easier to blame immigrants than deal with your own citizens in this case. No specifics here either.

The U.S. Election-2016-3

Let’s Start with Building a wall along the U.S. Mexican border. First it was that Mexico is going to pay for the wall, now we build it and they will reimburse us. There have been no specifics given too how the wall will be built. How tall will the wall be and how wide, who will build the wall, if it is going to be built with Mexican workers or American workers. How will it be patrolled and how many armed men and women would be needed to patrol it day and night. Is there going to be lights on it at night and who is going to foot the bill for all the electricity being used. Are there going to be electric wires on it so that if somebody wants to scale it, they may get a shock and fall to their death? The width of the wall has not been discussed either and if the wall going to get built will there be checkpoint where only legitimate people can cross over, who will manage these checkpoints, the U.S. or the states individually? If the wall is going to be built, there will be some areas which will be privately owned, will the owner be adequately compensated. Will there be a referendum in the states where the wall will be passing through so that they may have a say in it. And then there is the question of the courts getting involved because somebody will sue the government to stop the wall altogether. Since the Congress holds the purse to the finance the wall, will enough members vote on it to give the go ahead and if not, Will the President issue an executive order to build it anyway and then again courts can intervene. These are some of the questions I can think of that have not been asked in the excitement to just build the wall without asking.

The U.S. Election-2016

First of all I want to emphasize this fact that I am neither a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent and I am not even registered to vote (too lazy to get myself registered) but this election has been the most disruptive I have ever seen in my life. Without naming names and you may now know who is the Republican nominee and who is the Democrat one. The mudslinging has been extra heavy this time with the Republican nominee upending everything that has been a status quo for a long time. The Democratic candidate is dodged by revelations that she has been using a private mail server to communicate confidential and non confidential information when she was in the government previously. Whether the charges are proven or not, it has yet to be decided what was so important in the email that it threatened national security. Since the election are few days away but early voting has already begun and people are so disgusted and just pray that this election is over fast enough so that they don’t have to listen to all the attacks and counter attacks going back and forth without ever going through the real issues facing the U.S. I hope I am not late to this party called U.S. election. The Democratic nominee it seems stands for mostly status quo without much change in the way the U.S. conducts its business domestically and internationally and so the people know more or less what is going to happen if she is elected. It is the Republican nominee who seems to go all out for a change that is being seen as disruptive by world leaders and also locally in the U.S.

The U.S. Election-2016-2

The Republic nominee has said things that have energized the mostly white angry people who are not happy with their economic situation and have things brewing inside and now have some channel by the way of the Republic nominee. I know there are many minority supporters of the Republic Candidate but mostly it is a white crowd who are against the Democrats and who want change in the way government has been conducted for a long time, whether they will get their wish is something else we will see if he gets elected. But for now the Republican nominee has said things against women, Mexicans, illegal immigrants, Muslims and sometimes black. Okay if people want to hear that thing, let him say those things but specifically he has said some things that have not been scrutinized enough by the media or his supporters. First of all his is slogan of “Make America Great again” then he has said that he will build a wall along the U.S. Mexican border to keep those illegal aliens out of the country, then he has come up with a very stringent Muslim immigrant where there will be extreme vetting before they are allowed to immigrate to the U.S. The top three are the ones which are mostly said out loud. But he has also come up with trade practices which he will mostly negotiate, pulling troops out of several countries or countries where they are stationed pay for it, and to a lower extend admiring dictators for their strict control of the country so there is minimum disruption to the world order. Although people have already make up their minds how and whom they will vote for but the lack of details of the major points as mentioned above is very surprising. Accordingly I would like to discuss the first three namely the slogan Make America Great again, Building a wall and the Immigration issues.

The Civil war in Syria-2

Then there are the poor civilians who seem to be in no mood to take sides and they having been hard hit in this war are trying to escape to safer countries making their way to Turkey and other western countries and becoming bigger problem in those countries. Europe has been trying to cope with this refugee’s crisis and does not seem to know how to handle them except throw in some racism and tighter immigration quotas to deter future refugees. Curiously even with this conflict, most if not all the Syrian refugees want to cross to Europe rather than go to some Muslim or Arab countries because in their heart they know that Muslim countries have their own problems and the ones who are rich enough to take care of them don’t want them amidst them. It is a sad truth which the Muslim media don’t want to portray but the refugees don’t want to go to Muslims countries because there is less freedom than in the Western world. The West has another problem that they don’t know what would happen if Syrian Regime falls as they have seen Libya and Iraq literally fall apart. Also the dangerous combination of terrorists taking part in the Syrian conflict makes them pause a bit and think hard how to deal with the situation so that they don’t create a terror haven so close to Europe. It is a complete mess which nobody knows how to deal with as the choices in front of them are very limited and none as very pleasant. As the new U.S. election nears and a new U.S. administration is about to install, this conflict would still be raging on as the different interests collide in the great civil war of Syria

The Civil war in Syria

For lack of a better word, this is the title of my article as it is hard to define what is going on in Syria. It seems like what had started as an Arab Spring hit a brick wall in Syria, where the government decided to take a head on against the rebels. I know that Arab Spring also barely touched the rich gulf countries because their government seems to bride the people into submission or the people are not that courageous or care enough for a change as long as their basic necessities are being taken care of. Whatever the reason, Syrian Civil war has been raging now for the last five years and it would have been over if it was not for the Iranian and the Russians supporting the Assad regime. Even more than this the tide was turning against Syrian Regime when Russia decided that they have to save the only government who has been their natural allies for such a long time. Right Syria is a complete mess with the city of Aleppo in the midst of the rebel and government forces offensive. There are Iranian and Russian governments supporting the Syrian regime and the Saudis supporting the rebels but that the rebels are also being halfheartedly supported by the Western powers and then there are the Turks who have their own agenda in Syria. But then due to the whole conflict, the Al Qaeda and ISIS fighters are also fighting each other, the Syrian Regime and some western backed rebels.

The Pakistan-India Conflict on Kashmir

Despite nearly 70 years of independence Pakistan and India have been at each other’s throat lately due to continuing violence in the disputed Valley of Kashmir which is divided into India ruled and Pakistani ruled area. The so called freedom fighters ( as described by Pakistan) and the terrorists (as described by India) are fighting to get Independence from India. Add to this mix that Pakistan is so called morally and religiously supporting the cause of the Kashmiri people by indirectly or directly supporting militant organizations on its soil to be used against India is making South East Asia a dangerous area. Recently the attack on an Indian Military base killing 17 Indian Soldiers have India blaming Pakistani supported militants of staging that attack and again creating tensions in both India and Pakistan. Since I was born, I have been hearing this Kashmir Conflict and I don’t see it getting resolved any time soon or even ever as both the governments know that even letting go of Kashmir of either side will be their downfall and open revolt in both countries. Unless both the countries restrain their selves in the course of tension, nothing is going to get resolved. This thing I can say with certainty that despite being independent for almost seventy years, their animosity has not gone down and they are still fighting a battle with no clear victory in sight especially for Pakistan whose own economy is bleeding profusely while India is flourishing economically despite growing poverty in both countries.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

On the lighter side-Movies-SPL: Kill Zone (2005) - Hong Kong

A retiring copy and his team try to bring in a crime boss in this martial arts police action drama. Dramatic martial arts fight scenes. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Killbillies (2015-Slovenian)

A film crew fights off killer hillbillies in this first horror movie I have seen from Slovenia. Bloody and gory. Recommended for curiosity sake

On the lighter side-Movies-Within (2016)

A recent widowed man moves into a new house with his daughter and wife and encounters intruder staying in the house in this variation of the haunted house theme movies. Okay time killer, nothing special even with the twists. Not Recommended