Monday, November 28, 2016

Modified or Tughluq

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

It has been a couple of years since BJP and Modi took over the governance of India from INC.  As with most NRI population, I too voiced great opportunism with the election of Modi to lead India.  Not withstanding his managerial abilities, his public persona, his pronouncements, his attitude, his work ethic, and whole lot of qualities and mostly his stance on cleaning-up India’s entrenched political and bureaucratic looting, was all in his favor.  I wrote many times that Modi did not need money for himself (I still strongly believe this) and thus makes him the best candidate to root out corruption.

Modi constantly spoke against corruption and black money in Indian political and commercial system.  The country is 100% dependent on baksheesh.  Everyone has a handout to do anything.  From very simple thing to complicated decisions are based on paying for the services, and Modi rallying against this was perhaps the most politically attractive rallying cry against the incumbent government, and rightfully so.  I fully supported the initiative to root out and stop public and political corruption.  Even our temples encouraged the people who gave money get preferential viewing of the good lord.  Once again Modi had no one at his side, and his family and friends were kept away from his circle of governance, thus eliminating the need for graft.

Since 2014, the initiatives with the international agencies, aligning with receptive governments with constant emphasis on rooting out the black money have certainly yielded results.  Public might not see the daily activity, but Modi’s government have been proactive to find and expose the unaccounted money, and bring some semblance of accountability to international hoarders.  It is unlikely that we can catch everyone in the world and expose or make them account for hoarding the money overseas, as many options are available to legally hold money overseas.  However Modi’s government has been putting pressure and getting people to fess up.  The most glaring of the ineffectiveness can be identified with at least a couple of individual instances, where the Indian government has not been able to bring the British to send back Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi, who are both enjoying their time in the UK.  But there is steady progress with the Panama papers and Swiss and other off shore havens exposing the hoarders.

Within India, many steps have been taken to allow people to declare their horded assets, and also ill gotten assets by declaring and paying appropriate income tax.  The initial opportunity was simple and straight forward, there were no questions asked, just declare everything and pay taxes, and that’s it.  You had a clean slate.  There were clear guidelines and various schemes announced so that people did not nee to fear the authorities, simply show the money and pay the tax.  This also yielded some fairly large declarations of wealth, which again added to the international pressure to bring back the black money.  Modi’s government took various steps, prior to the latest November 8, 2016 demonetization of 500 and 1000 Rupee notes.

We could see further measures to get majority of the economy into a transactional process rather than hording, and Modi might still have a lot of measures that might be forthcoming.

But the problem with India is that the whole national wealth could be vastly under reported simply because of historical way of life in India.  Indians hold wealth in land, property, gold and silver and immovable assets, while many hold cash as the transactional way of life.  Banking, credit, debit, ATM, internet commerce and many of the last 20 years of global commercial developments while being introduced and accepted in India, the country still has its holdings outside of the banking/commercial systems.  So, while the looters and hoarders might use cash only as the way to stash their ill gotten wealth, 99% of Indians who are genuine keep their assets and cash the way they are used to, and are not guilty of any financial crimes.

The demonetization certainly added to the woes of ill gotten wealth.  People destroying, dumping, burning and simply throwing their money away are a reflection of ill gotten wealth and disregard for how it was acquired.  These guys could have simply given the money to temples and charities instead of destroying the money, even better they could have simply given the ill gotten money to army or other government organizations without destroying, but again looters really don’t think about anything positive.

While we applaud Modi’s continuous initiatives to curb corruption, the value of the way of life of Indian society and how 99% plus of Indians have their set ways of life.  Why do I, a tax payer and a law abiding citizen have to wait for hours to get my money, and also why do I have to even exchange or identify the money that I already accounted for?  Why not find the looters and tax dodgers, with ways and means available to the intelligence agencies?  Is the government playing ignorance about who is looting or are they simply still holding out for contributions?

The inconvenience to the public could have been avoided with many measures, but the intent is being widely accepted.  For NRI, this is simply a most difficult process, but again the government is allowing measures to make amends to legitimate currency holders.  What amounts to a managed society is limiting someone to a certain amount of money that can be cashed or help, as this is not the way economies should work, and democracies should flourish.  If I choose to only deal with cash, I should be able to, and the government should no tell me how much to spend or keep with me.  If I am a law abiding and tax paying citizen, then it is my choice on how I conduct my life and business.  As long as Modi and the government doesn’t reach into personal life of Indians who don’t need help with how to live it, they can and should keep finding ways to curb corruption.  But let the common man be just that; a law abiding common man.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What If?

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Donald Trump winning the presidential election in 2016 was in line with the US Populations current frame of mind.  If you look at 70's thru 2000’s there was little issues of race and religion, people were into globalization, mobility, technology and telecommunications, and definitely the Internet added the elimination of distance between people.

First, personally I really don’t like confrontation.  I really don’t like public display of acrimony and strife.  Especially after a certain age, people should respect each other, and if they don’t just keep quiet.  I really did not like the tome of the 2016 US presidential elections.  The election cycle was simply distasteful and disrespectful to the entire viewing and listening population.  I am glad the election is over, and also the general disbelief that Trump is going to be our next president.

Hillary Clinton’s defeat was not unprecedented.  But certainly Trump winning the Electoral College was a definite surprise to him and his team, and also to the rest of the population and pundits.  It should not have been to anyone as the common knowledge of the populations feelings on race relations.  No matter what anyone says, race and color remain in the fore front of how Americans deal with each other.  In this year there is no abundance of wealth or job creation as in the Regan thru Clinton eras, its hard times with little opportunity for the nation.  Race always is the easiest emotion to bring out the camaraderie for electorates.  Trump certainly knew the hot button issues to get enough people to listen to him, and Hillary did not play to the galleries.  The reality is that rhetoric to wake the racial issue is quite simple and quite effective.  Trump did not need to do much except sow the seeds of doubt about his opponents, the administration, Washington and almost all the rest of the world.  I doubt if he try to cast doubts on everyone on earth to make his point, and if you are the audience listening, there must be at least a small section that was listening to how their particular group was being let down/abused/ignored and whatever choice of words that was of absurdly pitted against them.  If you pick and choose the individual group, race, religion, country, and whatever that separates people (which is not noticeable or of importance until someone keeps reminding you of how you are getting screwed daily) and if you keep repeating the same negative and outrageous utterances, you will at least create a doubt.  Trump also might be using his real estate acumen of constant pitting and negotiation techniques with general public, and we did not know how he was manipulating our thoughts simply by raising issues that did not exist and thongs that have been dormant for more than a generation.  For anyone who opposed him or spoke against Trump, there was something that he could find that suited his purpose for getting elected.  No one stood a chance for countering, as his range of attacks was not just unusual but simply was not a part of standard politics.  Sixteen months is a long time to run for the office, but from a tactical perspective Trump could find enough people’s inner insecurities that are not a daily worry, to become a worry.  Trump instigated the decades of intolerance that was dormant in today’s world, and just enough of the population was willing to listen and believe that there was more than just man and women.

Now that Trump is going to be the next President, we should heed to President Obama’s directive.  Let’s not assume the worst as the country simply will not work on one person’s whims, and we actually should not forecast the worst, but give Trump a chance.  In reality there is no such thing as “Utopia”, and democrats and republicans have a 100% different view of the world.

What if Trump does all of what he said he will do in the election cycle?  All of his talking points some appeal to the republicans and some to the democrats.  Everyone says Trump is not a conventional politician, but he has said things that are offensive to all and appealing to all.  It’s 50/50.  Essentially meaning half of the population likes or dislikes every single thing he has said, and that’s just about the way electorate has behaved.  It is conceivable Trump is smart enough to realize that he can get what he said by simply throwing it back at the country, and achieve his political agenda.

The What if? Scenario is not impossible.  As from his “Building The Wall” to “Make America Great Again” to everything else requires a simple majority to move forward, or the Presidential pen in case if he gets resistance.  I would let him do everything he said he would do for Americans, and as at least 50% of us agree on everything he propagated, there is a possibility of seeing things that were said u Trump get implemented.  There is really no What if?  Trump simply pitted us against each other, and said everything that everyone wanted to say and could not.  If we ignore the hypocrisy and look into the foreseeable future Trump promises what everyone wants, and they will get what they deserve.  Each time the other 50% will complain, but nothing will be gained by companioning as only 50% will listen.  In reality Trump might just do what he said, as there is enough support fro every so called radical idea he has pitched, and enough people who believe that this is not a perfect state of the union.

Monday, November 14, 2016

It Would Have Been Kryptonite For Anyone Else

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Last Tuesday’s US Presidential election and Donald Trump acquiring the majority of the Electoral College needed to be elected President, was nothing but a fascinating political drama perhaps will be studied by political scientists and pundits for generations to come.  I have to admit that Trump’s victory was surprising and quite quick towards the unfolding evening, and probably fooled everyone on the planet.  The only thing that was clear was the racial and economic divide in states that constantly voted democratic, and in 2016 simply either did not care for what the democrats represented or simply did not vote, or even so split on racial lines.  It is easy to be a Monday morning quarter back, as we already know what happened.  Hillary although won the majority of the votes, fell short with the Electoral College.  Hillary Clinton still has a lot to offer to all the people of the USA with her long service to the communities and her fight to the finish to the presidency.  Simply, fell short just by a little, and could not garner a little more voter interest to go and VOTE.

It is simply amazing that Trump is the president elect.  After everything he said about his own party, Washington, women, immigrants and just about everything on earth, he still won.  Anyone else in his shoes would have faced what superman did with Kryptonite.  Again, every vote counts and every mind counts, and in Trump’s case and point the old adage of the “Ugly American”, once again came up the win.  For those who worked in business development before the time of the Mobile and Internet, the term ugly American in very familiar, and in 2015/2016 Trump has been true to this, and the Americans in enough number seems to like it.

In the astonishing result of 2016 election, Clinton did not do anything wrong, but two things that really cost her;

-         FBI announcing that they had more emails from her closest associate Huma Abedon’s estranged husband.  That was her Kryptonite.  It was probably the most damaging event just before a few days of the election, and perhaps the worst thing thrown in any democratic election on earth, ever.  People are not discussing much this action by Tomey, but the history books will show that this was the single biggest factor for the first women to lose the presidency in the last week of the election.

-         The smaller contributor to the Clinton loss is to underestimate the UGLY AMERICAN phenomenon that Trump has harbored all thru the campaign.  It is very appealing to Americans (who are really a few generational old immigrants) of their superiority over the rest of the world.  It is true as a nation America is a great democracy, but it is because of the fabric of the entire population, not one group or the other.  Hillary Clinton nor the Democratic Party never appreciated the hidden psychology of the Americans, and never could speak, act, behave and do what Trump did.  They were too civil to even come close to Trump.

Hillary lost, and was gracious in her defeat.  Once again a trait that is not of an Ugly American and Bill was also very gracious, along with much of the democratic leadership.  It was unexpected in 2016, but it is what it is.  There is nothing a human being can do with individual prejudices, as they are there and there is nothing that will stop them from coming out when in private.

Trump doesn’t really have a tall order to govern.  His four years can be like the Senior Bush or can extend to eight like the Junior Bush.  All he has to do is become a republican and he will survive his presidency.  But again its Donald Trump, and he can really build the wall (this should be an easy construction project with his back ground), crap on NATO, ban Muslim immigration, make huge tax cuts and balloon the deficit, declare bankruptcy, and whatever he has said in getting elected.  Many of these things can be done with executive orders and Trump only listens to Trump.  It might not be all that bad to put America First.  God bless America.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Is it the End of the Season of Acrimony?
Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Whosoever is the winner of the 2016 Presidential election should not simply let go of the campaign rhetoric.  The winner should go on to establish their individual and unique credentials worthy of the American people’s confidence in electing to the highest office of the nation.  The winner should make every effort to address the negativity that came from the opponent to minute detail and let people know the truth behind each acquisition.  It is not to suggest look for revenge or getting even, but setting record straight.  For once, when such an acrimonious election ends, it also needs closure.  Closure only comes with closing the obvious and obnoxious accusations of the acrimonious campaign.

Clinton and/or Trump should save exchanging niceties of election night and focus on the people of the nation, and also one each other to bring a closure to what was said for 16 months or more of campaigning.  There is no need to call and offer any kind of consolation or acceptance with an after election phone call, but get to the bottom of each of the accusation that has been thrown at each other, and what was promised in the long electoral process.  Do what you said to get elected, and make sure whatever was thrown at you is responded in kind.  When the next election comes and same thing happens the, next president will have a precedent to make sure that SOS is not the way to run a nation like the USA.

Democracy and freedom of speech are being really tested to the extreme in 2016.  With each presidential election, the acquisitions mostly unsubstantiated have become the norm, and nothing of substance except negativity is coming from spending billions of dollars.  The republicans started out with a large scale invasion of candidates, and somehow Trump engineered his way as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.  There was nothing conventional with the Republicans primary process and Trump emerged as the last man standing to represent them.

Enough has been said and written about his style, mostly self proclaimed on how Trump got to be the Republican nominee, and amazingly how he continues to keep being close in the polls as we come to the last day before the 2016 elections.  Luckily tomorrow is 11/8/2016, Election Day.

For a fairly wealthy Trump, who is a man of his own style, behavior and speech?  Unfortunately for the American public, we have to listen to the gloating, and constantly.

Hillary Clinton has been in politics and public eye, just about all her adult life.  (I like Bill Clinton our past president and her husband).  Hillary is no saint, and not much can be done in covering anything that she has been involved with.  The major bone of contention in this election cycle has been her use of a private email server to conduct government business.  Hillary could have simply admitted to using it and accept the political outcry with an apology.  Being what she is and her history with politics and experiences with life, she waffled for a while and now her turn to defend the email server, and a tough election.  If the email business was not an issue in this election, Hillary would be in a non-contest in this election.

Now that the election is coming to an end, and we will have a winner declared tomorrow (11/8/2016), the winning candidate should make every effort to remove the stigma of the election immediately.  To start with take every allegation that were made and either disprove it or defend it.  The resolutions to the allegations made in the election cycle will put to bed the dirt, and also will make the next set of candidates be more aware of making same acrimony a part of the elections.

The two things the winner should do immediately;

-         Completely defend any acquisitions made by the opponent.  Highlight the inaccuracies/inappropriate and present appropriate response to put each such issue to rest to the public.

-          Find responsible positions to the opponent’s inaccuracies, promises, innuendos and all personal attacks and respond to each of them in kind.  Disprove the allegations with facts and responsible counters.

After all the new president of the USA doesn’t need a lot of time or resources to counter anything that is not accurate.  (Remember the Obama birth certificate issue?).  This was also started by Trump.  The opponents accusations should be dealt with a response befitting the allegations, and also establish a precedent for future elections and candidates that you simply can’t keep throwing dirt at someone who is going to be the leader of the free world.

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.   It ...