Tiger

Sometimes back there was roadside billboards and T.V. advertisements announcing that there are “only” 1411 tigers left in India (See Report Page 12 Table ES.1). This was as per 2008 Tiger Census report. We can speculate or wait for the January 2010 Tiger census release to check if their numbers have gone up or down. Any which way, by Natural Laws of Breeding, Tigers are doomed unless miraculously revived. The MVP (Minimum Viable Population) for Tigers to breed well is 300 (See Report). Statistics shows, Tiger count in all Habitats are close to dismal.

In 2005, it was announced, quite abruptly, that Tigers of Sariska National Park has disappeared. It jolted the Government, no doubt, but they all went back to snooze mode. In 2010, everyone seems to have woken up suddenly to realize that we must do something to save the Tigers. Now, why this sudden motivation? Why should the thrust suddenly shift from poaching to preservation? Is the situation really very bad? Or, is the government preparing us for some bad news?

It may be so. Earlier, the Tigers were counted by “Pug Mark” method. In the January 2010 census, our wild-life department has gone high-tech. This time they use the “camera-trapping” and “DNA” technique to count the numbers.(See Report) Is it that most of the Camera Shots turned out blank? Or, have they counted “Fake” pug-marks all these years.

Historically and culturally, we have never loved or respected the Tigers. So, we will never miss the beast.  We see old pictures of our Maharajas standing over the corpses of Tigers grinning like they have done a jolly good job. It’s like a barber getting photographed alongside film stars. Our Maharajah’s too enjoyed this vicarious bask. The animal is exploited to project pride and bravado. There is envy than awe in our attitude towards Tigers.

Politically too, we have not spared the animal. We have played the game with the Game, so to say. Prior to independence, whenever the King or Queen or Governors visited this country, we honored them with a “Hunt”. Suddenly there would be a spurt of “Man Eating” Tigers in the country. Big news was spread and the “Raj” stepped in to save the gentry. Our servile nature won against the pride.

It is also significant that in the palaces of Kings or Maharajas, the walls of their huge chambers are invariably adorned with heads of animals. The floor may be “Carpeted” with skin of the “Man Eating” Tiger and its head would be snarling from the walls above. Desensitized tourists fail to notice other taxidermist’s trophies like deer, Gazelle, Black-buck etc. Where they “Man Eaters” too? Only “Tigers”, significantly, were killed due to “Old age-wounded-man eating-tendencies”. Other “grass eaters” were killed for fun. Are we fools to agree or we just string along!

In the light of all these aspects which conveys our native ignorance, the sudden “Tiger Awareness” in this country raises doubts. Who is orchestrating this exercise? What could be the hidden agenda? Who will benefit from this “campaign” besides the Tiger?

The politics which we had played against the Tigers are now shifted to target Indigenous Inhabitants. Earlier we tagged the Tigers – “Man Eaters” as a reason to kill them, now we tag humans as “Tiger-Killers” in order to drive them away from their land. It is not “Man-Animal” conflict but “Man-Man” Conflict. The Tigers are only “mute” sufferers.

When media, politics and some personalities walk in unison, try to “spot-the-agenda”. Media-Management exists and big money is paid. As per incredibleindia.org, Ministry of Tourism Website, Eco-Tourism is considered the “fastest growing market” with 11.4% of consumer spending. “Not a market to be taken lightly”.(See report

In Annual Report 2009-10, the Ministry of Tourism has noted that, Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism increased from Rs. 15,064 crore in 2002 to Rs. 54,960 crore in 2009. The growth rate in earnings in 2009 vis-à-vis 2008 was 8.3 per cent (See Report  Page 7 Table 4). 

In Table 15 of India Statistics, India got only 0.58% of the Annual Global Tourism Percentage (See Report Page 18 Table 15). This means, our share is less than 1% yet this begets huge income. There is a immense scope of development in this area. We have just woken up!

O.K. this is not an exercise in Economics. The figures are quoted from the Government’s own sites to stress and show – Why there is enormous pressure on the Forest Land. There are more vested interests than tigers in our jungles. In there quest to infest further, they are now targeting the indigenous dwellers. Hence the News – “Poison Tigers Hidden Villagers”! We have to ask ourselves – Who is hiding behind who?

And, if profiteers find their way, can the government be far behind. They all have a whale to fry. There will be a scam “Tiger-Gate” unearthing in the near future. As for now, the Center has sanctioned some 104 Crores to relocate Ranthambore Villagers (See Report). Recently NDTV raised 4.86 Crores. One conservationist proudly noted that – 4.86 crores is enough to raise 35 Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) to cover “all Tiger Reserves across the country” (See Report). Just imagine, less then 5 Crores to cover ” 28 Tiger Reserves in 17 states, covering an area of 37761 sq. km.” (See Report Page 3 Part 1.2)  I get a hunch that this Rapid Response Teams are basically “Real Estate Watchmens” more intent to shoo the inhabitants than to protect the tigers.

Now, it’s not that the Government does not know. In the Tiger Task Force report presented to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2005 (around the time when Sariska Tigers Disappeared), it is noted that “current approach of guns, guards and fences is simply not the solution” (See Report). I believe NDTV never saw this report. Or, they along with Bachchans, Priyanka Chopras and other politicians etc., are “hand-in-forest”. They eye “Loins Shares” of “Tiger Territories”.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, clearly says that all critical tiger habitats are ‘inviolate’—out of bounds for human use (See Report Page 9 Part 4.9). Yet most of the national Parks are filled to the brim with small or big hotels. With the rise of Eco-tourism, more of “eco-friendly” and “exotic” Shacks and 7-Star “Huts” will appear. In the Project Tiger report on Ranthambhore. “Rs 22 crore is the annual turnover of the top 21 hotels near the park” (See Report).

This proves we have residence for everyone except the Tigers. In fact, animal-less world (or India) is even better. I bet nothing is going to happen (See Article). Tigers and other animals can occupy the “National Geographic” space. Redefined – A species is said to be extinct if it doesn’t have camera footage. Pug-Marks are out, fossils are in!

But we have to “show” that we care. I suggest we re-locate the Tigers to Serengeti, Masai-Mara or Amazon. Or auction the animals to some rich animal lovers of the west who can provide land and food for there upkeep. We can retain some in our zoos – just to show our kids “what is it all about” when they read this poem – 

The Tiger – a poem by William Blake:-

Tiger Tiger. burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye.
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Mind Reading the God

Religion is opium of the people – said Karl Marks, the writer and the “seed” of communism. There are more wars and holocaust pertaining to religion than any other we are aware of. There were wars to establish religions or wars to maintain it and more wars to propagate it. All religions are linked with some bloodletting. More blood runs in the “Religious Rivers” than the “Arteries of Humanity”. There was a time when humans were sacrificed in the name of Religion. Then the rules changed and animals had to bear the brunt. These days’ mankind and animals both suffer. It seems it requires Water for Humans and Blood for Religions to thrive.

I wonder if wars were at all in the minds of those who “Conceptualised the Thoughts” in the first place. Actually, those words of wisdom were coined when some atrocious wars were still raging. The idea was for peace than to fuel the war. It was to show mercy than be a brute. The intention was towards sanity than madness. But, unfortunately, their wisdom merged with the adjacent wantonness and became a kind of “pushmi-pullyu“.

But did our wise fathers really expect this state of affairs? What could have been the real thrust behind their thoughts? How did they derive their wisdom? How did their environment influence their thinking? Did they have any laboratory where they distilled those thoughts which later captivated mankind? If new thoughts are needed today, what would be the most likely places from where it would emerge?

It is significant to note that the Protagonists of Great Religions or rather “Thoughts” were all Herdsmen. Jesus reared sheep and goats and Krishna was a cowboy. There growing years were spent in midst of bovine cattle. Their “9 to 5” job was as routine and mundane as it is today. But during the course of their work, they did something which separated them from other herdsmen of the community. Though they had a tranquil job in midst of disturbed environment, still they made themselves responsible to bring about a change. Probably, they found similarity between their own livestock “chewing their cud” and the general population getting chewed by their rulers. 

I am supposing, what these Great Masters would unlearn while they were on their job as herdsmen. What did the lives of sheep, goats and cows stimulate in them, that they were able to carve out a radical thought which still survives to this day? So, for a while, I will put myself into their Great “Sandals”, and try to decipher what “thought elements” a “nine-to-fiver” herdsman can collect from his milch animals.

Dispassionate Observer

The Great Thought Leaders must have been Dispassionate Observers. This is required for discounting. Any observations give rise to Opinions. And those opinions are coloured by prejudices from that society. Suppose, if there is an Observation which is tagged with any contemporary vocabulary, then that is not a solution. It’s just gives rise to a synonym. For the quest of the New one has to first recognise and put behind, the used and the old. Passion is a by-product of your context. A dispassionate observation discounts, one by one, all passions arising out of the observations. To put it crudely, the thought of sex should exist before the birth of a child. Similarly, the thought of the “New” should exist before the birth of that “Novelty”.

 Compassionate and Protective

The Great Leaders would never consider their beasts to be a burden. Since their chief educators were their livestock, they considered themselves responsible to lead and protect. Hence, the philosophies they developed where more attuned for the weakest. There was no “cut-the-rope-on-the-straggler” mind-set. While leading the livestock to the pastures and back, the Leader took most care and accompanied the weakest and the slowest. To give the weak the strength to protect themselves, they implemented close networking which formed the communal spirit. They knew “prey animals” will exist to cause harm. So, the powerless should support each other through safety in numbers. They established rules with some “checks and balances” to plug-in the loopholes. But they never insured against the “Certain”. They demarcated the “cause and effect” from the inevitability of natural causes.

Overarching Approach

Though the Leaders must have carried a Staff but it was more a pole of assistance for them than a weapon. If an animal got strayed from the path, the Leader would have re-aligned its path by himself moving in an arch which gave sufficient indications to the animal to fall back within a perimeter. There would be no abrupt imposition. They would supervise their herd and just made sufficient movements to get their message across. So they developed rules, laws, and jurisdictions etc. which were never oppressive or intrusive. It never encroached into daily lives of people.

 Sharing

The Leader would always strive to get the best pastures for their herd. When the herd returns to their sheds and the days’ work is done, the Leaders “Thoughts” are never done. He needed to plan ahead for the next day. He would consort with his fellow herdsmen to locate the best pastures and exchange his knowledge. He would not be selfish for his herd but wish the same for all herds, irrespective of the owners. The thoughts developed here was all-encompassing. Remember, they lived in the times of “Mine and Me Alone”. They knew this attitude resulted in strife and competition which was “cut-throat” literally. They had realized that to Share resources and knowledge was the Best Deal for all.

 Communication

Our Great Leaders were actually masters in communications. You would wonder, how they communicated with those “dumb” animals. The animals can be termed as timid but never “dumb”. “Dumb” would means, not matching up to someone’s clever tricks. The Masters knew that tricksters have a short life-span and would one day meet their match. Their intention was to “Give Voice” to the “Mute”, not “Give Speech”. Hence the tasks which communicated goodwill like helpful services, donations were encouraged. We think that those Great Masters gave lot of speeches. They did not. Establishing intention is important before any action. Hence, they stood and made their point. The real work started after that. They understood that Great “Thoughts” cannot be established by shrieking like a Demagogue. Communication of Love through “non-verbal” means was the cornerstone of their Operating Policy.

 Co-existence

The very act of being a Herdsman would have brought forth the idea of adjustment. The Herds and the shed could be owned but not the pastures. They were free natural resources. Hence, when the Leaders roamed from pastures to pastures, they would have realised some poignant fact – that they will have to meet other herdsman, that they will have their own ways and habits and that they might not speak the same language or they might not keep the same set of beasts. Suppose if one herdsman has a set of sheep and another a crowd of buffaloes, then size of their egos should not balloon equivalent to the size of their beast. They developed the understanding that it’s just different animals but the same herdsmen. 

So, I chose six aspects. I know it’s not so simple. The Religious Leader were first pioneers and developed thoughts within great complexity. It’s difficult to appreciate their thought structures. And I have not even touched on the criticisms. Just imagine a politics or a power threatened by a mere herdsman. We, today, cannot even fathom the enormity of their enterprise. Whatever I have written are just some humble thoughts on “what line of thought they might have taken”. 

All our inventions and discoveries are not yet done and all our books not yet written. And all our thoughts are not yet “thought-out”. There are still more to come. Probably our next “Great Thought” is going to come out from a “Cubicle”, because that’s where the modern herdsman has shifted. Whosoever it is, it’s going be someone from our midst. And this time we will SMS and MMS the hell out of him. I wonder how the modern crucifix would look like!

Bluffs, Truths and Audiotapes

There is a wonderful book “The Making of the President, 1960” by Theodore White. This book narrates three things primarily. One, that how United States elects a President, and two, how and what did John F. Kennedy do to become the President of the United States and three, that your initial observations are not necessarily true. 

The book, a very interesting novel, captures the “randomnosity” of the electoral processes. It aptly depicts the fratricidal wars within parties to win the nomination. It also speaks about the “Foyer Politics” where the candidates and his group “unscrupulously” “Lobby” in the Hotel to gather support. The writer is successful in bringing out the “movements” in democratic processes. The book also portrays that the arena of politics is not a “gentleman’s game”. You can be good. You can have all the knowledge and resources. But if you cannot muster the “right pulleys”, you are incompetent. The higher the post, the longer and more emphatic should be your chain of influence. That’s the truth about democracy.

We have, I believe, a horrendously mistaken belief that we have to correct the system. It’s like every one has to jump into action and fight elections or be involved in some elective bodies etc. We all believe that we have to roll our sleeves and jump in the cesspool. If we continue with this belief that, in politics, “We have to do it” then we will miss the point by a millennium.

Actually, we don’t have to correct any political system. System Correction is Management Prerogative. It lies within the organization. Hence outside the domain of suffrage. Correction is always within the zone of influence. The Prime Minister controls the whole nation through a very limited “Bells and Push-buttons”. Hence, viewed from our side, we too have to control the political eco-system through our own limited controls. We should not expect sweeping powers. We just have one vote. And that should be powerful enough. Now, how many of us vote?

But Governments don’t tumble by solitary votings. A vote signifies an Opinion. When sentiments and speculations fuel that “one” opinion, that point of application of force is bound to move. Thus, Opinions are important. But what happens when your are led to a certain doctored believes.

We have to get aware. Then people who want to get elected (there will be always such people) will then play on our new awareness. You can see this in your daily lives. The moment you are informed or acquainted, the games change. The “cheatings” are then kicked up by few notches. 

My aim of writing this post is two folds. First is to keep a record for myself. Second, to express what I comprehended as artificial reporting and people making quick judgment-calls. In conversations and in recent Theater Arts too, Kalmadi has become a synonym for corruption. So from now on, we have a new mascot till we get another one, probably for a decade or half. It would be a sorry state, if we still have the same muck.

Muck is inevitable but why not have some new better muck. For example, all developed country has quite developed mishmash. But that does not impinge on the quality of life for the people. They don’t fight starvation but obesity is there new disease. Why not get the same for us here! Or, do we still see God in Poverty. We should prefer delusion due to diabetes than from hunger.

There is a reason why we are still in the age of “Bijli-Paani-Sarak” (Electricity, Water, Roads). It’s not that our Politics has solved “Roti-Kapra-Makaan” (Bread, clothes, house). They are simply scared to repeat these words. Many regions have become aware of this and they call this political bluff. 

Also, there are many places where loan-sharks victimize the public. In Bihar, after a level, there is abject poverty. It’s not that the land is in-fertile or rivers choose to flood only that state in particular. The state suffers from basic lack of awareness. The moment they get aware, politics will cling around the new growth. Politics needs a prop. Change the Prop and that will change Politics.

But, educated as we all are, we were stumped. Our lack of awareness did us in. For a population who refuses to stand in a proper “queue” or obey traffic lights, we supinely submitted to our media. The Opinion Makers made a fool of us. Like, in the game of Hide-and-Seek, a fool is always a seeker. The “Hiders” – The Media – always gets to the “Home Base”.  

Just before the Common Wealth Games and also after it, I sensed “Jugular” nature of the Media. They were following some pattern which did not fit the prevalent probabilities. I raised (to myself) several questions. Why is the Media not targeting the right persons? Why is the media incessantly targeting one person and also for the wrong reasons? When Delhiites are stuck in Traffic Jams, why is Kalmadi forced into the picture? When the Prime Minister ordered a probe on New Delhi Urban Development, why did the media suddenly took flights to London and start airing scams on Kalmadi with AM Films as the backdrop? 

I heard Burkha Dutt and other media “Stars” raise questions way off the target, and the Public devoured their drivel. The synchronous orchestrations pointed towards a subterfuge. My wonder would have continued. But the “Radia Tapes” put the truth out in the open. The Media Opinion Makers turned out to be just “Agents”.

We all watch News, isn’t it? We all form our opinions from there, isn’t it? Then we cast aspersions wrongly on people, isn’t it. But then again, we let it pass and say – “its politics”, hence not our “cup of tea”. Isn’t it!

It is not Politics, actually. It’s just Pattern. The scenario is very close to those Logical Reasoning questions which we all solved in our exams. Even if things are wildly abstract, it should fit in somewhere. The critical thinking which we all use to pass our exams, the same, or even less, is required to catch the amiss here.  

I am reasserting my opinion. Lobbying is not bad. It happens. It should be accepted. Our failure is that, when the media goes “berserk”, inevitably we fail to ask ourselves – “For who are they doing this? We should be Critical but we all choose to Capitulate. The media provocation should evoke an opposite, if not equal, reaction from us.

But we have reasons to agree what our media shows us. Let’s see how.

Suppose, you are standing on a crowded railway platform and you have missed a few over-crowded trains. You are waiting hopefully for the next. On the beams above, there is a big screen playing out the News. Obviously, sound is the discount. But the screen shows faces of people tagged with “Corruption”,” arrested” “CBI” etc. In the environment where you are, this Media-Onslaught will definitely evoke ill-feelings. Imagine similar settings elsewhere too. Like coming back from your work, couple of hours in Jams and then switching on T.V. to see that sewage. Then, of-course, those opinions then sinks inside you along with your “drinks and dinner”.

We feel short-changed hence we take a short cut to opinions. Our feelings are understandable but not valid. It will stop us from not going to the polls next time. O.K., Don’t go to vote. But at least have an attitude that does not allow the shit to stick onto you. The moment they know that it’s not working, they will give up.

I am embedding a few links; the video is on You Tube. Please use your head-phones and listen in to those people. What they do and who they serve behind the scene? Just listen. What is astonishing is Vir Sangvi taking dictation from Radia on what should be the subject matter of his next article. Barkha Dutt did not surprise me. She is a true Congresss Agent. Best is Ratan Tata, not saying much or doing much. Just listening and asking information, no judgments. That’s Tata Power.

There are ample reasons to believe that the tapes are authentic. Barkha Dutt and Vir Sangvi have both come on camera saying sorry. Ratan Tata had filed a case to stop its distribution. I find this an interesting case study.

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Barkha Dutt Nira Radia All Tapes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIgOItvvsS8

Vir Sanghvi and Nira Radia Exposed Tape Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIw7IfGYWEk&feature=related

Vir Sanghvi and Nira Radia Exposed Tape Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljLoovK9SQU&feature=related

Rajdeep Sardesai N’ Nira Radia Nexus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktuWeDb3dXI&feature=related

Ratan Tata and Nira Radia Conversation – 2G Spectrum – Part 1 of 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTZgm2XnztA&feature=related

Ratan Tata and Nira Radia Conversation – 2G Spectrum – Part 2 of 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8IcPso2G0o&feature=related

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Here are collections of my articles on the subject of – Media.

Kalmadi- Fix-it for Dixit!

The Media

Suresh Kalmadi and the CWG BOO!

Media Trap!

Raja, Radia, Media!

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Raja, Radia, Media!

There is always this “Three”. It can do with “Two”. Or “Four”! But “Two” is a bit solitary and “Four” can be a Crowd. “Three” has an uncanny “Symmetry”. The third always holds a promise of Judas. An unstable equilibrium holds the promise of a game. That’s why there is this “Holy Trinity”. But often, the “Trinity” need not be that “Holy”. Well, some (wise man) said – Two is Horn, Three is Horny.

Starting an article with “two” and “three” could be unnerving but it’s far from being mathematical. Whenever and where ever there are Groups, there will be Games. Hence, my belief is that, instead of sermonizing on our environment, we should view it compassionately. It’s because, what we see is Us. Have you seen children play cricket, football or any games? Better the game more is the noise! Casting aspersions on our parliament is passé. There will never be a solution. Actually, there are no problems. There is only a good game – A Game of Threes.

Let’s play a Game.

O.K., let’s first demarcate our operating premises. We have to access people based on criteria set by us. Let’s assume it’s time for their promotion and we have to sign their “Performance Appraisal”. Now wait. “Signing” an appraisal and “Taking” an appraisal are two completely different things. If you are working in any “Silo” organization, you would know that you can beat Federer in “Outstanding” ratings in appraisals, but would still find yourself lolling in the hierarchical desert. Why? Because, the one who takes your appraisal is a “nincompoop”. Matters is “He” “Who” signs your Appraisal!

So, here, you act as if you are signing someone’s appraisal.

That means, none of the protagonists are in front of you. Either you are consorting with your “smoking group” standing somewhere in the back alley filth or you are in monologue with your own prejudices fighting to take sides. Your environment supports your wisdom. You utter names which are rapidly assaulted by vile gossips or your innate bias. But Consensus settles on the kick-ass. Always!

So, the first appraisal is of Mr A. Raja. You read his major achievements of the year and you are impressed. Then you go through his major constraints and difficulties and you cannot help but sympathise. Raja has just one KRA, and that would put the economy of some state governments to shame. His achievements have been “Outstanding”. He did what he was nominated to do. Few would match his potential. He even ignored the Prime Minister to get his way. Some drown in ripples. Raja took refreshing shower in a Tsunami.

I know what you are thinking now. Also I know what you are doing “figuratively”. You are bathing with “Mother Dairy”. You shake your head like a Dog dusting his dirty furs. Your cleansing act demonstrates your helplessness. How could you be left high and dry? It’s not that you had it bad. It’s that, someone had it so very good.

Despite all Raja has done, he will be denied his promotion. Even though someone tick-marked him “Outstanding”, your comments are grim. Simply, you want him OUT.

Next is Ms Radia. My goodness- What a S.M.A.R.T. women! Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic but (Un) Timely. She learnt – One could compromise on specifics but never on time. Raja and Radia has both aptly and amply demonstrated that if anything is appropriately measured (money), it can be realistically attained. But Time and Tide waits for no man. And it overwhelms women! Anyway, she did a fantastic job. She handled the businesses of India’s two greatest tycoons and got them success. I, actually, salute that Lady. I would like to gift her with a Titan Watch – Better Time next time.

She could handle businesses of two tycoons and make one a minister. Dangerous lady, it seems. We love intermediaries doing our job. We have Pundits to call our God, brokers to get a house, lawyers to win us justice etc. But we detest “Lobbyist”. To us “To lobby” is bad. And “To Lobby and Win” is worse. So we appraise her as a Failure.

Finally, the Media! The fourth estate expose has worked wonders these days. The way they attack a personality, he is left like “Naked David without a Stone”. The Goliath – The Scribe – is like a huge all-encompassing octopus suddenly descending on the unfortunate and sucking the victim down to birthday suite. We get enthralled not by the “Expose” but by the “Exposed”.

In the Radia Tapes, most of the people caught lobbing and hobnobbing were from the media. Famous people like Barkha Dutt and Vir Sangvi and many more. These days they come on T.V giving apologetic answers. Raja and Radia both had success criteria which they fulfilled. But can you claim the same for the Media. What are their success criteria? Well, they were good spoil-sport till their own sports were check-mated by their own undoing.

Yet, they all have ready answers. You don’t work for media if you cannot play greasy games and then escape clean. Watched closely, the media does nothing but “Swap Hats”. The first “HAT” is always theirs. After a few “Hands of Game”, everyone loses track of the “HAT”. Finally the media created and freely distributed “HAT” will be attributed to some unfortunate. Grease-Hit, soiled and smelling, the condemned then turns contagious and defiles anyone who he chooses. But no game is unending. The media knows that their “HAT” is subject to half-life. They quickly tailor and market another…..and the game continues.

The media is apprised as PASS.