Sunday, May 19, 2019

India's Untouchables

I studied the "untouchables" in college. They're now call "Dalits," but not much has changed, apparently, and voters are fed-up with campaign promises.

At LAT, "India’s lower-caste Dalits, who helped elect Modi, now threaten to oust him":

In 2014, Mukesh Kumar, like much of India’s underclass, had pinned his hopes on Narendra Modi, who became prime minister after his party won elections in a landslide.

Today, Kumar regrets voting for him.

“In five years there should have been so much progress, but nothing has changed,” said Kumar, 26, a municipal sanitation worker who earns about $200 per month sweeping the streets of Varanasi, one of the holiest cities in Hinduism.

“Modi is only building roads,” he said. “What about those of us who are cleaning those roads? We are right where we were, dying in the heat of the sun, burning on the streets.”

Kumar belongs to the Dalit community, formerly known as the “untouchables,” the lowest level of India’s ancient caste hierarchy — and in the last election an important part of the historic victory by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Though the party, known by its initials BJP, was traditionally seen as catering to upper-caste Hindus and the business elite, it won 40 of the 84 parliamentary seats reserved for Dalits, primarily on Modi’s promises of economic development for all.

Now as Modi seeks a second five-year term in multi-stage national elections whose results are expected Thursday, Dalits are once again expected to play a crucial role.

But here in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, many Dalit voters say Modi has failed to keep his economic pledges, while others point to growing caste-based violence and a perception that Modi’s government has diluted some legal protections for Dalits.

“In 2014 and through the early part of Modi’s tenure, the BJP was trying to use more inclusive language, saying that Modi cuts across all castes and communities,” said Neelanjan Sircar, a senior visiting fellow at the Center for Policy Research, a New Delhi think tank. “That has significantly shifted, and in the last couple of years there has been noticeable caste polarization.”

India’s constitution in 1950 outlawed caste-based discrimination and enshrined affirmative action for Dalits. But the country’s 200 million Dalits are still often denied access to basic rights such as public water sources and in some areas are still banned from marrying into higher castes or even sharing food with them.

Many are confined to the most menial jobs, such as cleaning sewers by hand, a practice euphemistically called manual scavenging.

In cities and villages, Dalits are often shunted into separate enclaves like the 1,000-person shantytown where Kumar lives, in the Ravindrapuri neighborhood of Varanasi, which runs alongside a newly paved road with recently installed LED street lamps.

The residents of the shanties say Varanasi’s progress has not made it to their doorsteps. They complain of a paucity of jobs, stagnant income, rising prices and a lack of water.

One day recently, just outside the labyrinth of tightly packed, one-room brick homes, five hogs feasted on rotting garbage that had spilled onto the side of the road. A statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Dalit author of India’s constitution, stood a few hundred feet away just outside Ravindrapuri.

In 2014, Modi ran for Parliament from Varanasi, a nod to his Hindu values, and won by a large margin. Soon afterward, he established an office down the road in Ravindrapuri and embarked on ambitious plans to clean the city and the banks of the Ganges River, boost tourism and build new roads.

A partnership with the Japanese government was meant to transform Varanasi into a high-tech “smart city” in the image of Kyoto. Little of that has materialized.

Though Modi is still expected to win comfortably in Varanasi — which votes on Sunday, the last stage of the election — some analysts see his party losing ground in Uttar Pradesh. The state holds 80 of the 543 seats in India’s Parliament, 71 of which the party won in 2014.

Dalits account for roughly one-fifth of the voters in the state, and surveys by the independent Center for the Study of Developing Societies showed Dalit support for the BJP falling from 31% in January 2018 to 22% in May 2018, the most recent month for which figures were available.

The suicides of two Dalit university students in 2016 and 2017 made national headlines...
Still more.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Rebecca's Traister's Fury

She's got a new book out called Good and Mad, and she's sure personifying it.

Not a nice woman. On Twitter:

Clown Show: Bill de Blasio Officially Launches 2020 Presidential Bid

There's now 23 Democrats in the presidential primary field. Running for president is a grift at this point.

At the N.Y. Post, "Bill de Blasio officially launches 2020 presidential campaign."

Glenn Reynolds, The Social Media Upheaval

It's out May 28th, at Amazon, Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit), The Social Media Upheaval.

Noah Rothman, Unjust


At Amazon, Noah Rothman, Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America.

The Case for Israel Has to Be Made Over and Over (Because of the Left's Incessant Demonization)

From Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for Prager University:

San Diego Hash Oil Labs

Jennifer Delacruz reports, for ABC News 10 San Diego:

Black Woman Facing Murder Charge for Pushing Elderly Man Off Las Vegas Bus (VIDEO)

The old guy asked her to be more respectful, and the black bitch murdered him, pushed him right off the bus. Damn!

At ABC News:

Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down

The movie's been at Showtime on rotation this month, plus I watched it on Netflix as well.

So I decided to finally pick up and read the copy I bought back in 2002 after seeing the movie in theaters. It's gripping. I haven't put it down this week.

At Amazon, Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War.

Amazing Woman

Nude, she's taking care of herself in bed.

Plus, gif featuring a hot busty blonde.

Battleground Pennsylvania

At the Los Angeles Times, "Trump and Biden, potential 2020 rivals, both head to Pennsylvania, a key battleground":

President Trump and Joe Biden have twin obsessions: with each other and with the state of Pennsylvania.

Like iron filings to a magnet, both will be drawn in the coming days to Pennsylvania, which was key to Trump’s victory in 2016 and would be central to almost any scenario for a Democratic victory in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Their trips — Biden on Saturday, Trump on Monday — elevate an emerging rivalry that has them locked in a wrestler’s grip long before Democrats even choose a nominee.

Trump, fearing Biden poses the most serious threat in industrial states like Pennsylvania, is trying to diminish him with a barrage of tweets and derisive comments. Biden welcomes the attention and sees it as validating his central argument to Democratic voters: that he’s the candidate best equipped to beat Trump.

Together they are paying little attention to the 22 other Democrats running for the party’s presidential nomination, acting as if the starting gun has already been fired on the general election.

Their Pennsylvania itineraries are emblematic of their competing political strategies. Trump, aiming to energize the white working-class voters who brought him to victory, plans to hold a rally in rural Lycoming County in the central part of the state, which went for Trump by nearly 45 percentage points in 2016.

Biden, hoping to make up for his party’s 2016 shortfall among black and working-class voters, will hold his first large-scale 2020 campaign rally in Philadelphia, a bastion of black Democratic strength. Biden’s first campaign event was a union-heavy affair in Pittsburgh three weeks ago, when he threw down the glove before the president.

“If I’m going to be able to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it’s going to happen here,” he said.

Trump’s visit, during which he is slated to campaign for a GOP candidate in a special election who looks to be a shoo-in, comes at a perilous time politically. Public surveys show Biden leading the president in this crucial battleground. The latest Quinnipiac University poll in Pennsylvania found Biden out-polls Trump 53% to 42%, with especially wide margins among independent voters and women.

The Trump team’s own polling shows him trailing in the state.

That’s a far cry from his stunning 2016 victory in Pennsylvania, which, along with narrow wins in Wisconsin and Michigan, demolished Democrats’ “blue wall” of support across the industrial heartland. Not since 1988 had a Republican presidential nominee carried Pennsylvania or Michigan. Wisconsin hadn’t voted for a Republican nominee since 1984.

But Trump’s margin of victory in Pennsylvania was only about 44,000 votes out of about 6 million cast.

Ever since that upset, warning signs for the GOP have been flashing in Pennsylvania. In special elections in 2017, Democrats flipped some long-held GOP local offices, and Democrat Conor Lamb, a centrist, won a House seat in the heart of Trump country. The 2018 midterm election was a statewide blowout as Democrats won the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races by double-digit margins.

Moving to get a grip on the situation, the Trump political team a few weeks ago traveled to Harrisburg, Pa., for a meeting with Republican National Committee and state GOP officials to address concerns over party infrastructure, organizational readiness and their string of losses, according to two officials with knowledge of the meeting.

The Trump campaign officials — including David Urban, who oversaw Trump’s 2016 operation in Pennsylvania, and Trump 2020 political directors Bill Stepien and Chris Carr — “came to make it clear that they’ll be running the show,” one attendee said.

Trump’s hope for holding on to the state depends heavily on galvanizing Trump voters who may not have turned out in 2018...
Still more.