31 thoughts on “Open Thread – Brown Pundits”

  1. I have been on travel over last week, and missed the whole Elizabeth Warren dust-up. Is Graham Coop’s plot saying six generations from her, she has a high probability that she has a Cherokee or mixed ancestor? and things like 1/512 and 1/1024 are not relevant?

  2. I have always been intrigued by the “Tafkiri” phenomena in Islam. To a smaller extent the Pope too had the power to excommunicate anyone. In Hindu-dom too you have selective examples like Gandhi’s son. Is there any book which goes into this specific part of the ideology ?

    1. I don’t know if this is exactly what you’re talking about, but Jan Assmann, German Egyptologist, has written a bunch of books talking about parts of this. One is “The Price of Monotheism.”

      Basically, it talks about how Abrahamic religions are unique in that it creates a distinction between “true” religion (monotheism) and “false” religion (polytheism). And once you make this distinction, what’s considered “true” religion gets smaller and what’s “false” religion gets bigger. So you have Sunnis and Shias against Ahmadis, then Sunnis against Shias, then Barelvis, Deobandis, and Salafis against each other, etc

  3. Saurav, how can anyone be excommunicated in Hinduism (and her ten darshanas)? There is no scriptural basis for it. The very opposite.

    People are free to do almost anything. They can even pray to demons and ally with demons and promote immoral amoral values. They can make a propaganda play about it. This too is protected in Natya Shastra and many other places in the scriptures. Free association is protected.

    Specific orders can remove a person from their order. That is also part of free association. Is this what you consider excommunication?

    Varnas are suppose to be meritocratic systems of competence, capacity, the qualities of someone’s subconscious and someones’ desires. As a result, Varnas remove people who are not qualified to be in their Varna. Many Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas have been removed from their Varna.

    There are also examples of people being promoted to Brahmin varna who were not born into it.

    But this is not Takfir.

    In the east there is a saying:
    “tell me your company, and I will tell you who you are”
    Good company is heavily valued. As a result many avoid the company of anyone they think might not be good company. Is this what you mean by excommunication?

    The concepts of Takfiri and Catholic excommunication are Abrahamic without any parallels in the ten darshanas of Sanathana Dharma, Sikhism, Bon or Taoism to the best of my knowledge.

    Gandhi and his son had a falling out. This is what freedom and free association means in practice. This was not excommunication.

    1. My mistake , i felt i read somewhere that he was “thrown out” of Hinduism, looks like he converted to Islam.

      1. “..looks like he converted to Islam.”

        Yes, he did. And then came back to Hinduism. Apparently he was ready for Islam, but Islam just wasn’t ready for him. Even a formidable religion like Islam couldn’t bear the weight of his personality. 🙂 (He was a hopeless drunkard). I believe he was quietly persuaded by Muslims to leave Islam alone; and some sympathetic Hindu religious figures facilitated his conversion back to Hinduism.

        I highly recommend the book “Gandhiji’s Lost Jewel: Harilal Gandhi”, and movie “Gandhi, My Father” to any one interested in the tragic story of Harilal.

  4. Vijay, Razib wrote about it at his other blog. But I remain confused.

    I read that she had one native american ancestor between 6 and 10 generations ago. Is this accurate? What is the probability that she had one american ancestor:
    —6 generations ago?
    —7 generations ago?
    —8 generations ago?
    —9 generations ago?
    —10 generations ago?

    Would it be accurate to say that her percentage of native American DNA ”
    = [(prob of 6 generations ago)* 1/64] +[(prob of 7 generations ago)* 1/128] + [(prob of 8 generations ago)* 1/256] + [(prob of 9 generations ago)* 1/512] + [(prob of 10 generations ago)* 1/1024]

    Or is a better estimate possible?

    Is it accurate to say that the weighted percentage expected value of her native American DNA is less than 1%? Or is this inaccurate?

  5. “Everything what you wanted to know about your ancestors but you were afraid to ask.”
    The link bellow points on PDF downloadable document, which is a scientific article but not strictly and formally written and easy for reading. The author is a Russian geneticist from Harvard, Anatoliy Klesov, who almost 10 years ago explained who Aryans were, where they come from, what means Indo-European, etc. Although is the topic about R1a1 genetics, it is not only for Razib to read (you will see that I was not joking about his origin). He also explains why Aryans went to India – as a result of the catastrophic volcano activity on Mediterranean island Santorini (much bigger than Krakatoa, 60 cubic km of ashes) which created a mini ice age in Europe. I was there 10 years ago (some say that Atlántida was there), the ground under volcano lake is still hot, you need special shoes to walk. I did mention some of these things in the past.

    Personally, I would suggest to read the page where is the footnote 10 and to see for e.g. the Aryan Ancestral Homeland map. I think that this text will be interested reading for people from SA, some of to find out about their ancestral homeland. Cheers.

  6. Mention of Razib and comparison between Bangaladesh and Pakistan.
    I once speculated on Razib Khan’s blog that Bangladesh might be the country that makes the least world headlines per capita.

    Unfortunately, not even Khan (Razib, that is) wrote much about it, despite being Bangladeshi himself.

    From the comments
    Bangladesh has supposedly also been successful in suppressing “open defecation”. Supposedly what they did was to use media to brainwash women int believing “open defecation” is disgusting (which it is), who then henpecked the men into also not shitting outside anymore.

    Meanwhile in India peasants use government-built toilets for storage.

    1. Again from the same above article a comment
      Furthermore, India’s advanced export basket is on account for a cardinal first-order mistake it committed in the 40s and 50s. Unlike China, it did not build out a large primary and secondary school system first, instead it heavily invested in IITs and IIMs and other prestige instituions. In large part because it was elite Brahims who set policy and they were thinking mostly of their own progeny.The result was that the Indian space program was far ahead of China’s, but the Chinese built a much stronger industrial base and have since easily surpassed India’s space program.

      “secondary school system first, instead it heavily invested in IITs and IIMs and other prestige instituions.”; Opinion please

        1. Saurav,

          RAW proposes and RAW disposes.

          I for one (and many others) would be happy to see the last of these donkeys, the current President and PM.

          India and the West thought they had nice puppet in Sillysena. He would make a nice puppet if he had half a brain.

          The country is patiently (when SLankans are not kicking up a a fuss, not a good sign) awaiting election is 2020.

      1. “secondary school system first, instead it heavily invested in IITs and IIMs and other prestige instituions.”

        This is a fair criticism to an extent.
        One reason is that education was a state subject till 1972 and most of the states in India were very poor for a long time. Southern states like TN did focus on it (along with general social welfare) but they have a huge debt burden now.
        There wasn’t enough private capital to bear the burden.

        The general university system has faced a lot of neglect as well.

        It’s created a tiny class of highly qualified people and a large pool of barely employable ones.

        Things are getting better now as private money is entering at all levels, though still hamstrung by stupid government policies (RTE, UGC etc.)

        This map showing global enrolment for a popular online machine learning course is instructive. Lots of people from India because most can’t get quality education locally.


      2. This is the kind of statement that Karlins of the world make without a preliminary understanding of how countries work.

        India is a union of states about 3 million square km. Bangladesh is a unitary country of about 100 K sqkm. In India, the centre cannot make the states do their bidding as the states and the centre are ruled by different people. Primary and secondary education are state subjects; selected colleges of tertiary education are central subjects. The central government, I believe, runs 10-12 engineering colleges, one or two medical college. In contrast, states operate some 80,000 schools, thousands of colleges, and polytechnics.

        In India, each state performs differently. Kerala has had 100% literacy and a major exporter of educated labor. Then there is a variation in educational performance at school level all the way down to Bihar where some 30-40% of the children were educated. By the 1980s, teriary education was privatized in some but not all states of India, meaning that tertiary education was not in competition with primary and secondary. The issue is the quality of primary education. Related there is an issue of unbridled population growth in poorer states that had the worst penetration of education.

        Now let us come to Bangladesh. Contrary to the spin of the authors, the state survives on low cost labor. Tamilnadu (and Srilanka) used to produce the same garments for export, but economic growth in TN has made garment making noncompetitive. I cannot speak for Srilanka.

        The issues of export basket and in general, the exports of India, have not been attributed to the quality of education. The available labor force even skilled, is huge. The issue was that the centre missed the huge wave that swelled up by 1972-1977 and waited until 1991, and even then did liberalization in broken steps and half-assed measures. Even now, the country suffers from control from the centre; literally, the policy decisions that the centre took are the opposite of China and Malaysia, etc; there, the centre let states into the open market of the world in steps; first, Penang and parts of Kuala Lampur and Johore entered; in china, the area adjacent to Hong Kong and Shnghai entered the world economy. If the southern and the western states had been allowed to enter the world economy in the 70s and 80s, then we could have understood what the world wants from us. As an employee of a famous EPC trying to build a gas cracker in 1980s I remembered the problems that the centre would limit dollar spending by the year, and limit import of special components like control systems and titanium tube because the government felt that was not needed by a poor country. What you (or Karlin) is suggesting is that the same philosophy be applied to the entire country. Only what was needed for primary school was ok, but no advanced work please!

        Bangladesh is not India, and there is no one size fits all.

        1. Vijay,
          I once speculated on Razib Khan’s blog that Bangladesh might be the country that makes the least world headlines per capita.
          Unfortunately, not even Khan (Razib, that is) wrote much about it, despite being Bangladeshi himself.

          The first line in italics was from Karlin. The reason I posted it was because it mentioned Razib. The other were from the comments and was curious as to opinion by Indians.

          Before I answer some points you mention, some of my views
          a) I am not a big fan GDP numbers, median income or other measures of equality are better in my opinion.

          b) Self sufficiency (food) at a family level i.e. each family has a land to support basic necessities. Industry after that while keeping the homestead intact is fine. If you have ever visited Camden, NJ or the road parallel to the St Lawrence seaway you would understand where I am coming from.

          Kerala has had 100% literacy and a major exporter of educated labor
          he state survives on low cost labor. Tamilnadu (and Srilanka) used to produce the same garments for export, but economic growth in TN has made garment making noncompetitive.

          Cant comment about Kerala. In SL our biggest FX earnings are from labor in the mid east (ME). 70% or so is just house maids, not illiterate just need capital to get ahead. In the late 70’s it was not just lower middle class, some socially upper middle class too went into the ME. One I know personally and funded the son to to be a Pilot, now a senior Pilot in a national airline.

          Its all about “National Pride”, are our women getting “fucked” in every sense of the word by outsiders for bigger money, than “we” at home can offer and abuse.

          Personally, I happy for most. They come back build a house and one of the goals is a tiled bathroom and children to get educated.

          Something I have said often, the War was fought on the backs of our women.

          FX from housemaids to buy arms by the South/Sinhalese.
          Suicide Bombers and Cannon fodder for the LTTE.

          After I left (see below my drinking buddy and nephew, Carmen Liyanage) was burnt by the Army. On mothers side (Tamil/Sinhalese) cousins who lived in Jaffna/Batii were put in prison and tortured.

          My nephew and drinking buddy Carmen Liyanage at my sisters home coming

          Vijay, I left SL in 1988. Before the JVP 89 hit the fan. Before that I have had a bayonet at my forehead, put into lockup as a terrorist suspect. The reason I got a break was a because I was a broke and “kind of homeless” by choice. A friend from the streets (still a friend) who left on a ship in the late 70’s and by then a US citizen asked me to apply again (using my old GRE’s) . Got motivated and sent applications 3 to my pal and 3 to my cousin. Woods Hole, Scripps not accepted. Georgia Tech and Texas A&M no Teaching Assistantship (TA) first year. Rhode Island and Stony Brook accepted with TA.

          1. I was responding to

            “secondary school system first, instead it heavily invested in IITs and IIMs and other prestige instituions.”; Opinion please”

            As someone else commented, easier for the centre to invest in IITs because secondary school system belongs to states, districts and Panchayats.

            The other point is that IIT and engineering colleges also contribute to engineering companies, and there are considerable engineering exports. Just that China outcompeted, and the government waited too long to liberalize and improve the private sector.

            Again, India is not Bangladesh and Srilanka; just closing down the IITs and starting a lot of secondary schools is not a solution. In TAmilnadu, we have a situation where thousands of schools are not used to capacity because the total fertility and CBR declined; colleges are not filled up because students are not applying.

      3. Unlike China, it did not build out a large primary and secondary school system first, instead it heavily invested in IITs and IIMs and other prestige instituions. In large part because it was elite Brahmins who set policy and they were thinking mostly of their own progeny.

        I wholeheartedly agree with the part about this having been a mistake. Most of our societal problems can be attributed to the fact that we are a very uneducated society. Our kids just don’t learn about the modern world, the various possibilities it holds for them, and about 21st century civic values; so what they are left with are knowledge and skills passed on to them by their (equally uneducated) parents and relatives. So most of us live a fairly primitive life, and when we have to deal with modernity, we play it by ear, or by instinct.

        Where I disagree is in the motivation mentioned above. But I shouldn’t be too surprised. Internet commentary is never complete without a conspiracy theory or two thrown in.

        The explanation for the focus on building IITs as opposed to quality primary and secondary schools is rather mundane.

        First, these initiatives came from the central government, which then had, and still has, very little control over what goes on at local levels. They basically have to leave mass schooling to local authorities, who are far more likely to be held captive by local (feudal) interests. It is much easier to mobilize the resources to set up 5 IITs as opposed to 500,000 primary schools. (This is also why we have a pretty competent space program even while we cannot build decent sewage or electricity infrastucture.)

        Secondly, socialism (Fabian or more radical varieties) was all the rage at the time. That economies, especially those in developing countries, had to be centrally planned was a no-brainer. (Even the bastion of the free market, the United States, had gone in that direction under the Roosevelt administration.) What does a poor country with virtually no homegrown experts in engineering and various forms of administration need? Why, schools to train such experts who can then command institutions, build infrastructure, and plan economic growth. Thus it was that institutions like IITs were treated as national imperatives, and funds were allocated for them.

        I’m sure there are other reasons, but these are what cropped in my mind now. It’s always possible that Brahminical callousness had something to do with this state of affairs, but let’s rule out other possibilities first.

        1. Karlin is also a neo-Nazi, so everything he says should, at best, be taken with a grain of salt.

      1. They also don’t have to spend all that money on defense, given that they are OK with their neighbor.

        1. Bangladesh gets a lot of help from China, India, America, Japan and EU. Bangladesh is also an American/Indian/Chinese protectorate. Bangladesh benefits greatly from trade (of goods, services, capital, FDI) and R&D collaboration with America, India, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and EU.

          If the Islamic reform movement were further along, Bangladesh would be doing much better still.

          Several prominent Hinduttva leaders (such as Sadguru) have publicly mused India assuming responsibility for developing Bangladesh.

      2. Just today i read that South Korea has rejected asylum request from Yemenis. We under estimate how homeogeneoustiy Helps . And overplay the whole diversity is a Strength trope

    2. Bangladesh has very impressive health outcomes–better than Pakistan’s– despite being the less developed part of the country prior to 71.

    3. Supposedly what they did was to use media to brainwash women int believing “open defecation” is disgusting (which it is), who then henpecked the men into also not shitting outside anymore.

      Yep, shame is an underrated force in social reform, especially in our self-esteem-steeped modern era. In India, politicians try to outdo themselves in boosting the ego of their respective factions rather than point out their failings. I thought Modi with his Swachh Bharat slogan was going to go down the latter route but nothing much seems to have come of that.

      I’ve also heard from Indians who visit Sri Lanka that it’s a lot cleaner than India. Is that a recent thing or has that been the case historically, in your view?

  7. In Australia is now a bit prestigious to have some heritage from indigenous Australians (or, at least some convict from the First Fleet 7-8 generations ago). Similarly, Elisabeth ‘Pocahontas’ is proud to have less than 0.1% of indigenous American DNA, also from 7-8 generations ago.

    Both cases are laughable matter for some BP readers (and 100+ millions of Hindustanians) who can claim hundreds times bigger heritage percentage after 160 generations from indigenous Europeans.

  8. Most recent Insight podcast really great! Content insightful and fascinating as always, well presented. And, FWIW, uptalking sure seemed minimized. Thanks, cousin and keep up the good work!

  9. Why Nikki Haley is great:

    But then Haley got serious. Very serious. What she said next seemed directly aimed at President Trump’s increasingly alarmist rhetoric about Democrats being the party of “crime” or opponents of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh being “evil.”

    The Post’s John Wagner wrote up her remarks:

    In our toxic political environment, I’ve heard some people in both parties describe their opponents as enemies or evil. In America, our political opponents are not evil. In South Sudan, where rape is routinely used as a weapon of war — that is evil. In Syria, where the dictator uses chemical weapons to murder innocent children — that is evil. In North Korea, where American student Otto Warmbier was tortured to death — that was evil.

    In the last two years, I’ve seen true evil. We have some serious political differences here at home. But our opponents are not evil. They’re just our opponents.

    Forget anonymous New York Times op-eds from within the administration. Haley and these outgoing officials are putting their names to criticism of the president, sometimes while they still had their jobs.

    Rex Tillerson: Don’t be like Trump. That, writes The Fix’s Aaron Blake, is what it sounded like Trump’s former secretary of state, who was fired by tweet — and apparently found out while using the toilet — seemed to say in his final speech to State Department employees. “This can be a very mean-spirited town. But you don’t have to choose to participate in that. Each of us get to choose the person we want to be, and the way we want to be treated, and the way we will treat others.”

    H.R. McMaster: Trump’s former national security adviser also criticized the president as he was on his way out. In his last public remarks before leaving, McMaster appeared to directly confront Trump’s approach to Russia, saying: “Some nations have looked the other way in the face of these threats. Russia brazenly and implausibly denies its actions, and we have failed to impose sufficient costs.”

    It did not seem like a coincidence that, just hours earlier, Trump had said, “Nobody is tougher on Russia than I am.”

    David Shulkin: “It should not be this hard to serve your country.” That was the parting shot Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin left Washington with. He wrote that in a New York Times op-ed hours after he was fired by Trump on Twitter, and he also gave an interview to NPR. Rarely has an outgoing administration official been so vocal.

    His criticism was twofold, and it focused less on Trump than on the people hired to serve Trump’s interests at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin said that they were maneuvering to privatize VA over his objections and that they overplayed what critics and the inspector general at VA called an ethically questionable trip with his wife to Europe to try to fire him.

    “I was not allowed to put up an official statement or to even respond to this by the White House,” he told NPR. “ … I think this was really just being used in a political context to try to make sure that I wasn’t as effective as a leader moving forward.”

    Then-Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin in March. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
    Gary Cohn: Trump’s former top economic adviser left relatively quietly, resigning in the spring after reports he was going to suddenly quit last summer when Trump said “both sides” were to blame for deadly white-supremacist attacks in Charlottesville.

    But Cohn has been haunting the president ever since on economic policy. At a Washington Post Live event in June, he candidly said he thinks Trump’s tariffs could undermine the benefits of Republicans’ tax bill. He also made it clear he didn’t agree with Trump’s intent to focus on trade deficits with other countries. (“I have always said a trade deficit doesn’t matter.”) Just this week he told CNBC, Trump shouldn’t be criticizing the Federal Reserve, which is an independent agency.

    Gary Cohn, former head of the National Economic Council, during a Washington Post Live event in June. (Kristoffer Tripplaar for The Washington Post)
    Donald McGahn: The White House counsel just left his job Wednesday, so he hasn’t had much time to talk publicly about his experience at the nexus of Trump’s efforts to undermine the independent Russia investigation into election interference. But he’s done a whole lot of private chatting that could be much more damaging to the president. The New York Times reported McGahn spent at least 30 hours talking to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators about the various ways Trump tried to end the investigation, including whether he tried to obstruct justice.

    Omarosa Manigault Newman: Perhaps no one has left the White House in such a storm as Manigault Newman. A former “Apprentice” candidate, she was hired to help improve Trump’s relations with African Americans. She was fired in December and was out with a book by August calling Trump a racist, misogynist and bigot. Then she went on a week-long media blitz releasing tapes of her secret recordings with White House aides, fueling paranoia in the White House of what she might have — and, perhaps most damaging — who else might be recording whom.

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