Monday, June 26, 2017

Tubelight

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Love for movies has been life time for me.  On Friday (6-24-2017) I saw Salman Khan’s new movie Tube light.  For some unexplained reason, our bathroom lights were flickering right after I watched the movie.  This movie just like any other movie, is just fine with me.  It has a bit more melodrama (taking you back to a couple of generations of emotions) and has a big cast including Om Puri, Salman Khan and his brother along with a good support cast and thrown in for good measure of Indo-Chinese conflict and melodrama with a couple of Chinese actors.  The movie itself is simple is limited to a small village on the foothills of the Himalayas.  The backdrop is wonderful and picturesque.

The movie critics have panned the movie.  The box office has not been as magical as Salman Khan’s last few movies.  This should not come as a surprise to anyone as the movie itself is not a regular masala movie but focuses on a boy/man who is developmentally challenged and his convictions of innocence.  The movie depicts India’s small and diverse communities.  It captures the nuances of different people, and certainly the brotherhood.  I thought the movie was just fine and really did not have any issue with the central theme of a man with development disabilities, his love for his brother and affinity to people around him, and mainly to truth.  It is a predictable and something we have watched a thousand times.  Being critical of this movie and panning its story is a derivative of making the hero a normal and mentally challenged person, and moving Salman Khan away from his onscreen persona.  The point of making Indian sensibilities a focus got lost in criticizing the movie.

India has always been and continues to be a nation full of stereotyping.  Indians brand people based on language, color, religion and abilities.  All movies make constant references to human beings, and most times use it as humor.  Indians have a (nick) name for everyone and everything and using a stereotypical reference is a common place.  No one in India (Indians) have a qualm about referring someone as “Tube Light” without any hint of apology or irony.  In all cases people are referred to as how people feel in identifying each other.

I still remember being referred to as a “Madrasi” when I went to study in Utter Pradesh.  I don’t think anything has changed in all these years.  Our mindset remains the same.  Indians have an uncanny ability to come up with a reference to every individual and the way we use nick names is engrained in our psychology.  Sometimes it is hurtful but the references are innocent.  If you remove Salman from the movie Tube Light, his character is a common reference to anyone with developmental challenges, and panning this movie is because of how we got used to seeing him onscreen.

While I searched for the origins of sarcasm, it has been a part of human behavior.  We simply add references and stereotypes to everything and everyone.  India with its diversity has a great dose of such sarcasm built into its system.  It is such a widespread practice, Indians simply accept it as a normality.

While I am not an expert of movie reviews and the psychology of movies goers, this movie is commendable because of Salman Khan, and his shedding his macho image.  It might not deliver the mega blockbusters of his previous movies, but depicts the Indian societies behavior towards its own in both developmental issues and regional intolerance.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Newton’s Third Law

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Trump always said if some hits you hit them back harder.  Although I start writing about Newton’s Third Law (for every action there is equal and opposite reaction), Trump has 70 years of life’s experience in hitting back at anyone who questions or differs with him.  He is from New York and a real estate developer, and is an old man with life’s experience of hard knocks and hitting back, and more so rebuilding (building and rebuilding) again and again.  No one must like him or dislike him for who he is, as he is the president of the United Sates, and people put him there.  To complain, to keep trying to make him something he is not or doesn’t want to do, is impractical, especially given that he is the most powerful man on earth, leading the USA.

Only referring to previous presidential behavior as presidential is history, and much has changed with each presidency and its time and place.  From Washington to Obama, times are very different in between each president’s time in office.  We certainly are a part of the world that has become more accessible and more violent with each given time and opportunity.

Trump is the 45th president of the USA.  Only 44 men have been in the place he is today, and people supported the election.  He won fair and square according to the US Constitution.  He is not from a political lineage and has no policy experience, nor he was ever surrounded with policy makers.  Trump is not a man of patience and politics.  He simply decides and tries to throw that thought on to the public.  His impatience with political maneuvering and conscious building is non-existent.  He is only supported by the Republican party which was unsure of his words and policies before he got elected, and a clear majority of them are still not sure of the same even after his election, but they support the party’s platform that Trump represents.

Trump doesn’t really care.  He strikes back, and furious about things that doesn’t suit him or his plans.  He has an added burden of his family in the political and business mix.  He loves to say what he feels (always served his purpose), he loves to keep his family around (he always did) and he is impulsive in his actions and words.  The added platform for him is the social media, which he uses constantly to communicate unfiltered comments.  For the president and a man of 70 years, it is impossible to start to be someone different.  Both his age and his position are not something, that someone can provide presidential guidance.  There is no such thing as presidential and Trump is the president and what he is doing in the office is presidential.

America First, is the main verse in every presidential manifesto.  Trump makes it his stump.  Which is a worthy political choice for any politician running for public office.  Each of the presidents implement and find ways to place the nation first, and if we remove the political rhetoric, there is no doubt that all the 44 presidents prior to Trump were all nation first, and people first.  When the nation (or perhaps the world) starts to understand what we have is a president who reacts differently to what the world (anyone) responds to him, then his actions will be accepted as presidential.  We are after all a nation that works on laws.  If we continue to see the president react to each action that (he may or may not like) then just get used to it, as in his time in office, that is what presidential exactly means.


Newton’s Third law:
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Only One Place Called Home

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

In you have lived in the Chicago area for about 20 years, you notice the changes to the weather.  Winter is no longer 4 to 5 months long with snow, clod and blowing wind, where you must bundle up before venturing out.  There were Aprils where snow was still around.

It has become a standard phrase for long-time residents in the area to say, “I don’t miss the snow and wintry weather”.  The mid-west might have missed the year (several years) in having snow cover for four or five months, but it does impact the rest of the seasons.  Hot weather in May and not a white Christmas or New Year.  It is strange.

Our four seasons have their own charm, seasonality and importance.  One season leads to the other, people, farming, life-style, everything moderate each-other and life is in full cycle, all four seasons.  Each season with its own charm and importance and reason, keeping with the cycle of life.  Weather was predictable and life revolved around the seasons.

Landing in Chicago from India, you had to appreciate the seasons.  I always loved all the weather.  I look forward to each season, and have always been happy to see them change in front of your eyes.  The rain, snow, humidity (little), hot and wintry weather, and whatever mother nature decides in-between, was just fine.  You just dressed for the weather and moved on.  I believe in my whole driving career there was only one day was lost to a snow day and that too after I drive to work, I had to turn back and go home as there was no way to get into the parking lot.  The company was closed after I drove 25 miles from home to get to work; closed because of snow day.

Those of us who live here adjust quickly to the changes to the weather.  You can tune into new radio 780, and every hour you get ten weather updates, and many at times it does change quickly.

In the beginning of my time in the USA, I thought it was scam by the department stores, to change the seasons to sell their seasonal wear, and this happened constantly so I really believed that there was something sinister with weather and seasonal sales advertisements.

Once you appreciated the weather and the seasonality, you begin to enjoy the changes.  I still do, as well as my children.  There is not enough praise for the glory of mother nature and the beauty of earth.  The good earth.

In the last few years we no longer experience the four seasons in their full glory.  You could be democrat, republican or independent, or not eligible, you all know that there is something different with the weather.  It’s not just us in the mid-west, but the entire world is experiencing the unpredictable weather pattern.  With the irregular weather, we are also experiencing the consequences of unpredictable seasons.  It’s simply can’t be called severe weather, but it’s not natural and seasonal weather.

Don’t blame the politicians, or businesses or polluters.  Each of them are supported by the entire population.  We buy things that pollute the environment and make the businesses rich while they pollute, we give money to politicians who never keep their promises and we trash at every opportunity we get.  We also complain about the inclement weather.  We don’t want to think of the future.  It is east to consume and trash.  It is easy to blame someone else.  It is easy to exhaust the resources.  It is easy to eliminate millions of species.  It is easy to pollute the Earth and beyond.  We are smart and knowledgeable, we simply don’t care.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Grading Modi

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

It is summer in India and it is also the time when students receive their grades.  In India, the toppers in school and colleges get a lot of very good coverage (outside of opportunities).  It is also about 3 years into BJP controlled government in India under Modi’s leadership.  It is an opportune time to grade him.

BJP under Modi’s leadership has renewed nationalism and has displayed better ability to deal with internal and external issues.  It has been a clear observation of the press that Modi is not interested in money or personal benefits.  He has no one to leave it to.  Modi’s family has always stayed far away from his political life and personal life (if he has any personal life?).  Outside of his minimum visits with his very elderly mother, Modi really doesn’t have family around him, nor any personal obligations.

Modi has never shown interest in any personal benefits from his office.  While little is kept secret about Modi and his political life either while he was the CM of Gujarat and now as the PM of India.  His actions and his history are obvious and predictable.

Modi has examples of office bearers before him in Shastri, Rao and Vajpayee.  Men who did not belong to the Nehru/Gandhi family.  All men of extraordinary intellect and great devotion to the nation and its people.  They served India with great distinction, character and wisdom.  Although Modi is in a different era, as with these great men the stigma of scandal and graft has stayed away from him as it did with the great men who occupied the same office.  Modi doesn’t need money (it is a fact that he has very little to his name and needs very little), and he doesn’t have a large coterie of hanger’s on and family that invariably ends up doing something to squander the political power.

India with its 1.3 billion people today is very different when Shastri, Rao or Vajpayee were in power.  Modi is in the internet and mobile and instant connectivity world.  Modi is personally aware of the power of the connected world and is also very well versed in using the digital and social media.  His regular program Man Ki Baat reaches out to hundreds of millions of people.

Indian politicians used “Garibi Hataoo” since before the independence from the British in 1947, and today it still is a rallying cry.  Modi is a master in catering to the underprivileged of India, and he has an excellent outreach to the poor as his upbringing as a child identifies with the poor.  His initiatives on cleanliness, toilets in every home, educating the girl child, women empowerment, small business and farmers loans and banking, communications, and the ever-popular eradication of black money are all pushed hard by Modi himself and his party’s volunteers across the nation.  All these initiatives are of importance to the Indians and are a path for nation’s introspection.  They are needed and everyone benefits from them, and they can be done.  Modi started off as a man with public persona of a superman internationally, but his agenda has always remained India first.  At the end of three years, Modi has not deviated from his party’s agenda.  To do everything that caters to everyone in a nation of 1.3 billion people is a super human task, but Modi does focus on a path to national development which is all inclusive and aligns with his party.  Modi does this well.

It is fascinating to see Modi in public both as BJP worker and a nation’s leader.    He is a master in working on his party’s and the nations initiatives.  With constant public and media scrutiny he has not displayed anything different with both his public and private persona.  It remains the same.

India, its people, and the world has had enough time to access Modi as India’s leader and his governance.  One might not agree with his politics but there should be no disagreement with his intentions.  In a nation that has a massive and growing young population, and its geographic diversity, Modi has done well in 3 years.  He keeps driving his initiatives and keeps a brisk schedule in attending to the nation’s needs, and above all he is scam free.

You must give him a distinction.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Other People’s Power

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Billions of dollars are spent on US presidential elections.  This is just for the president, and untold amounts are spent on congressional and senate elections.  Politics itself is a massive industry (in every election cycle) as advertisers, promotions, travel, hotels, people, industrial and human resources, cars, busses, oil and gas, and everything else in the country is mobilized and paid for by the campaigns.  Although the money is raised by the candidates, it mostly flows back into the economy.  It is well accounted for and well spread out into the nation’s economic system.  Candidates raising money and spending it on bashing each other, is in one way adding to the economic activity.  Although we don’t hear the coverage on economic impact of raising campaign money and spending it.  With each election cycle the campaign spending keeps growing (just like our national debt).

Political action committees and various loop holes in the system allows for raising huge campaign contributions and spending by small group of individuals.  They also yield massive power in directing the economic and political direction of the nation.  Both the democrats and the republicans, as simply politicians, who get elected with the help of massive contributions.  That’s the lead for power, with other people’s money or it really is other people’s power.

Why are people making massive political contributions?  No one gives political contribution just for the love of politics, they do it to influence an economic and political agenda.  The billions spent on political campaigns can be spent on education, health, urban development or any other people related programs, but the political contributions are limitless outweighing the philanthropic or humanitarian causes.  My comments no way ignore the huge contributions made to humanitarian causes, it is just politics command power that comes with winning elections, and money has a major part in winning elections.

In the 2016 USA presidential election Trump did not need anyone’s money.  He started out campaigning that he was going to self-fund himself, which ended up not being the case.  But it was very appealing to have someone run with own money.  The idea was he would not be indebted to other people’s money.  Trump ended up taking in more money than anyone else, and continues to take OPM.  Although we are only in the first few months of Trump’s presidency, he has already started raising money for 2020.

It is a fact that political agenda will follow the money, and put someone in power.  The more money, the more opportunity for power.  There are distinct differences between the priorities of political parties and their ideology, and just about half of the population determines the priorities every four years.  Money that powers the presidency drives the next four-year agenda.  Nothing drives the national agenda other than the very large amounts of money.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Dalmatian Man

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

In my early days of international travel without the mobile, internet and still on road maps and local telephones, I travelled to the old Yugoslavia several times.  When I last visited the Yugoslavia, it was still under Milosevic rule.  I worked the markets in business development for telecommunications, and a beeper was a fancy gadget at that time.  In my many trips to Eastern Europe and travels to lands where I spoke none of the language and many times crisscrossed the world, all I found was support and help to work effortlessly.  Those were the days documenting anything was not as it is today, so only memories of the many wonderful local partners (friends) that remain with me, and their friendship.

I did spend a reasonable amount of time working on Yugoslavia (never got to see a license).  From staying on the Danube in an old fort overlooking Novi Sad, to cross country trip in a Volkswagen from Belgrade to Zagreb, and many wonderful places and people, who remain fresh in my memory.

My travels allowed little time for sightseeing.  Only time to look around was when the local partner made the time to drive around to see the attractions quickly.  In those days, I could not venture out on my own, simply did not have the ability to google as we do today.  You were 100% dependent on the local partners.

One of my trips included a visit to Dalmatian Sea, via Zagreb (now Croatia).  I have purposefully left the names out of the local partners.  The government contact who I was supposed to meet and work with was available only in a weekend.  I was already in Europe and I agreed to spend the weekend, with them working.  I travelled to Zagreb, check into my hotel, and then leave my stuff behind to go to the weekend cottage on the Adriatic Sea.  We briefly spoke of what I was trying to accomplish and working on the deregulation of telecommunications, and then got on a little (single) motorized boat.  Although apprehensive on getting on the ocean on such a small boat, they four of them let me put on a life jacket, and we set off with food for the weekend, and me into unknown.

Luckily for me, the sea was calm.  The four-other people on the boat had never seen or met an Indian person, so they kept me fully occupied with questions, and me responding to each of them.

Check the information on Dalmatian Sea  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalmatia

You could look thru the ocean, may be 100 to 200 feet or more and see the ocean floor, white rocks in the blue of the water.  If I am guessing you could see the ocean so clear, it was amazing.  I even saw some dolphins checking the boat out.  If I was brave I could probably reach out and touch them.  I thought they were either tracking us, or showing us the way to the island where we were heading out.  Our destination was an island rock, which simply showed up in the middle of nowhere, and it was steep up hill.  I had no idea on how we navigated to the right island, as there were many that looked similar, and later when we needed some supplies we headed out on the boat to the general store on another little island, and we got back without getting lost.  All the islands were similar.  White rocky islands popping out of the Adriatic, and you can consider the blue ocean as deep as it could get.  Blue and white rocks.

I was happy to have made the trip.  The family was fantastic after they got over their initial Indian curiosity.  They all spoke English so we shared good vibes, and only minutes into getting to know each other, got to like each other.  It was trip I did not plan, but was glad to have made it.

Going back to my main look at the Dalmatian Man.  While we were going into our weekend place on the island, I was observing guys with fishing poles on just about everywhere, and when we went out to get the groceries from the nearby island’s general store, same thing again.  Guys happily sitting and fishing.  I asked my host, what’s going on and why the men happily fishing?

The answer was they simply fished for making lunch or dinner, and they came back again when they needed.  No pressure of work, no pressure of travel or no worries about anything in general.  Probably looking at my face which displayed wondering about the Dalmatian Man, the question to me was why are you doing what you do; work all the time, travel all the time, worry about the world and what’s happening, and everything that I did to live my life.  My answer was simple so that I could work hard and provide for my family, and relax.

With a grin my host asked, what do you think these guys are doing?

Many years after this experience in the Dalmatian Sea, and the wonderful Croatian Family and their hospitality, the whole life revolves around feeding a little stomach and having a roof.  There was very little effort on the happy people of the Dalmatian Sea, who were happy just to be where they were, and there I was running around and chasing the work that did not even exist.  I have often wondered, and I continue to wonder why?

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Commitment and Results

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

For more than 10 years I have been blogging with time off when I really got sick.  Much of my weekly columns revolve around AP, India and the USA.  Some politics, some personal stories but I try not to get promotional.  I used to write movie reviews when the south Indian movie watching was still in its infancy, and getting a few hundred people to the theater was a big undertaking.  There was no email internet and programmed advertising was not existent.  Sticking posters, flyers and calling with some email was the only way to reach out to the audiences.  We did write reviews right after the first show, and was never sure if the reviews were very effective, but clocking into 2017 the movies are promoted in every medium, reaching to every possible regional language.  They are also shown in 100 of screens and in all markers where the target audience is.  Digital copies are delivered on time (rather than massive 16 reels) and location doesn’t matter as digital copies can be delivered in all locations.  The movie making is expensive, advertising and promotions also very expensive, and cost of distribution is only for the elite and rich.  I don’t think I could be a distributor in this market, but I know the scale of the business 10 years later is massive.  This is true for every Indian language movies.

The spring of 2017 has really been an eye opener for even the well-versed moviegoer.  Baahubali 2 The Conclusion is just into its second week in the theaters.  It has amassed over 1,000 crores in about 9 days.  The first part Baahubali 1 The Beginning was a massive hit which made over 650 crores at the box office, but the conclusive version is massive.  A combination of both movies might tough 2,000 crores by the time the theatrical run is complete.  It could be higher.
No matter what you say about the movie, the audience acceptance and the box office reports of a regional language movie is unparalleled.  For 2,000 Crores, you could create a nice sized and very sophisticated town in India.

To go back to my earlier days in blogging and writing, I thought that the regional films and issues we given little importance in the national media.  Irrespective of the importance or success regional news got little press or somehow tied to someone in the north Indian market as a catalyst to the regional success.

Baahubali 1 and 2 had absolutely no contribution from anyone from Bollywood, except someone purchased both the movies at an excellent price and made huge profits on both.  Still, the national media will unabashedly attribute the success to the distributor.  Neither the media nor the guy who bought the movie/s can simply attribute sole success to the movie makers.
The real makers, director, actors and all people involved in the massive success of the movie/s have not just investment money but also 5 years of their life into the success of the enterprise.  Perhaps the movies did not need the help of the national media as the internet does the magic to get out the word on anything good.  The success of the Baahubali enterprise is not just unparalleled for a Telugu movie, but also in the entire Indian movie market.  Not just because of my native language and the treatment that is meted out to the regional enterprises and people, the success of Baahubali is only because of the commitment of the people who made it, and the results are obvious.

When we experienced the success of Baahubali the beginning, we knew the conclusive version of Baahubali will be as successful.  The result is astonishing.  The reception by the national media limiting the box office success and the people who made it happen is also not astonishing.  What is not astonishing is the magnitude of economic success to everyone involved in the franchise.  It will no longer make me wonder about the national coverage of regional success stories, even when they are earth shattering.  What makes me feel emphatic is that the grounded nature of the main characters of this massive business, marketing and profitable venture, which not just made money but also movie goers watch the movie/s in awe.

References:




Monday, May 01, 2017

Showers and Flowers

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

The idiom “April showers bring May flowers”, although meaning that everything happens for a reason (circle of life).  “Good” reason in true sense with the circle of life.  The weather and its seasonality displays the utmost discipline to seasonal reasoning.  If you live around the Chicago area, you will experience the glory of all four seasons; summer, fall, winter and spring.  Year after year, the experience of each season, the dramatic changes to the landscape, people’s dress code. Different smells of each of the changing season every year, and the psychological impact on people in each season.

No one season makes everyone (anyone) happy.  People always have the adage of; too cold, too hot, too windy, too muggy, too much rain, too much snow, and too much of something or the other with the weather.  We seldom have the reference to a perfect day for everyone.  Children have perfect days when on holidays and adults when simply lazing around.  But the psychology of our reaction to weather is always changing, just like the weather itself.

The obvious observation of weather changes and clothing and the businesses and malls gearing for seasonal attractions to bring in the people back to buy again and again.  It is amazing how each family loads up on the same stuff every season, and kept interested in buying same stuff year after year.  The special references to the parts of the nation where the weather is seasonal, and the need to dress for the weather.  Not to forget the cars and automobiles that get winterized and sort of get reintroduced to the warm weather.  What would happen to the snow based business and back to summer, and keep the cycle going.

Seasonal Businesses are quite adept to their part of the year.  Each season and its support services, the quick adopting to the quick changes to the environment is as simple as the seasons themselves.

Simply experiencing the weather and watching the four seasons in full splendor itself is magical.  Although the experience of hot, cold, wind, rain or whatever is bestowed on us daily, it is what it is.  We can’t control the elements.

We have worshipped and memorialized the weather thru out human history.  Hindus worship every element on earth.  The appreciation and acceptance as the weather happens is probably simplest way to live, as there is not much that can be done about what the day brings.

While we enjoy, and experience the seasons, the appreciation can certainly be in form of respect for the nature and conditions around us.  Weather patterns don’t change in short term, they are long lasting and long running.  The trash we throw and the fuel we burn is only about a 100 year in breakneck speed.  We know the history of the world shows long cycles of nature’s behavior, and the last 100 years has been the poorest in the treatment of nature.  We can stop the abuse, and allow the nature to take its natural course.  While millions of species have become extinct because of humans, we can slowly reverse the destruction of nature, and keep the four seasons flourish and allow people to experience forever.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Self-Correction

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

All democracies of the world are managing their budgets in the red (many public corporations are on this list except a very few exceptions) meaning that they are run on a fiscal deficit.  This happens every year (year after year) for the USA government.  The gap between revenues and outlays continues get big/ger (governments keep expanding the limits), the old debt and cost of servicing the debt gets larger, the combination of new debt and debt servicing increasing burdensome on the nation/s.

For those who really care about gap analysis, the rem is self-explanatory.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gap_analysis.  For some reason the democracies are not managed as we expect publicly traded companies, which should not only be socially responsible but also create profits for shareholder equity.  Typically, democracies are being run to cater to vote banks and political ideology of the parties.

The obvious and politically much advertised revenue and spending GAP is discussed as every political party’s nemesis.  Once the election is over, the national debt and deficits are constantly expanded and with political consent.  USA, being the world’s largest economy, world’s largest national budget also has world’s largest national debt and most times on an annual basis a budget deficit.  In 2016, the USA budget was $3.54 Trillion with a GDP of $16.5 Trillion, and the debt burden was $20.1 Trillion.  All are stunning and extraordinary numbers which keep growing, and the debt number is the one that is growing faster than any other positive indicator in the USA economy.

Outside of the national debt/deficit the state and local level budget deficits are also a common feature in the USA.  If a common man adds national, state, local and village level budget deficits, cost of debt handling and the continued expansion of the needs of the citizens, no one can go to sleep.  You will worry, and will not have an uncomplicated way to balance the budgets.  The deficits are mind boggling (and politicians have no problem raising the ceiling every time they want to) to imagine how much money all levels of governments owe, and how they have no issues in raising the debt ceiling and how little effort is made to become balanced budgets.

Our governments keep spending money we don’t have, and they keep expanding the debt.  Irrespective of how you manage money, there must be a way to balance the budgets.  The individual families and the corporations are all required to not only balance their budgets, but also have savings.  Only the government doesn’t have this initiative or intention.  The national interest to be self-funding and self-sufficient is enforced on people who are represented by the government, but don’t want the government to be held to the same standard.  President Trump pronounced that he can not only balance the budget, but also eliminate the entire national deficit in 10 years.  Trump has the experience of complex real estate enterprise and bankruptcies and reassignment of balance sheet.  People have voted him to power, and the wish list should include a balanced budget.  We shall know very quickly when we see his first budget.

The country must spend on military and we must service the debt.  Both line items are the largest contributors to the spending.  The debt servicing is also the largest line item in most of the state and local government balance sheets.  While recognizing that the USA has the largest managed national debt, the country is not alone in the world.  There are less than a handful of nations which have zero budget deficit and zero national debt.  All most all the large democracies continue to rake up the debt.

Politics and debt are like siblings.  They try to foster each other’s growth.  A resolution to force a balanced budget and political populism don’t really work well together.  For generations, political will has never been in place to put the country’s interest first, always all the time political survival is paramount.  Spending borrowed money (a lot of it misspent) has been a powerful political tool for survival.

At some point of time there will be a breaking point.  If unchecked the alternatives can only result in in a default or bankruptcy.  Both these scenarios have been real in the recent past.  We must recognize that a large city like Detroit declared bankruptcy.  It was the last resort to a worst-case scenario in the largest economy on earth, and a major city with the USA.  While declaring bankruptcy wipes out the debts, it creates a long term and negative impact on building a positive future.  No one will want to provide you a credit facility to conduct normal business.  The temporary impact of resetting the balance sheet adversely impacts the normal functioning of the enterprise.  The bankruptcy also creates a massive financial burden on everyone who is involved with the enterprise, individuals and companies will be wiped out because of their losses that stem from the bankruptcy.  Eventually the public and tax payer is the one who gets to take the hit on every decision that forces a bankruptcy. One reset doesn’t reset any positive renewal, rather it gets spread around to everyone, it is simply redirected to many from a few.  Anyone, any government at any level can default and declare bankruptcy, and pass on the poor management to the public.  The overall cost of mismanagement is simply redistributed, rather than managed for efficiencies.

There is no self-correction of misappropriation.  It should be rather well directed and well managed budget.  Trump can make decision that will force a balanced budget and deficit reduction.  It will never satisfy everyone in the nation to force balanced budgets, but once there is a zero-deficit nation the public will simply see their cost of living become the best in the world, and future safe and secure.  It just needs a bit of political will.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Anger of Convenience

vasureddy@aol.com
Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Today, it is easy to find anyone on the phone or online.  Mobiles, telephones and Internet is just about everywhere, and people (most of them) want to be found.  Once you sign up to something, most people don’t know how to turn off notifications or status updates.  Many of us simply signup and don’t try to limit the access to our information, and many times we simply forget that we have signed-up to something, and we might never need or use.

Although travel has become more accessible and probably affordable, it is still an expensive proposition for most of the world, comparing to access via a phone, mobile or the internet.  Many times, a mobile allows for both voice and video chat (outside of the obnoxious texting).  Today just about anyone can look at the person on the other side, just about the thing that is missing is touch and feel.  It is quite reassuring that we can find anyone, with a few clicks and check-in on their well- being.  This certainly doesn’t disregard the business and professional aspects of communications and the fantastic bridge built by telephone, mobile, computers and the internet, and certainly the massive data sharing and storage available thru Google and Microsoft and many of the IT pioneers.  The idea to help people be in touch, and allow for inexpensive communications is real today, and we must be thankful to the continued innovation in the communications industry.  Outside of the trillions in benefit to the industry and commerce, the billions who are connected have more personal connect today than it was just 30 years ago.  Life today has been envisaged in science fiction, and the advances in telecommunications are limitless and will continue to be only limited by human kinds imagination.  It is fantastic to find anyone, anywhere and anytime.  A personal notation is that for someone who lives in many places and have loved ones in many places, the advanced communications are always a blessing to reach out and find someone from a life that was far from now.

The dream of finding and getting in touch with a loved member of the family, a friend, a colleague, a relative or anyone, that is to reach out to, is a google and click away.  My personal experience has been quite good, as searching and finding someone who you have always remembered buy lost touch is wonderful.  If you are successful in really finding and then reaching out to him/her and connecting and catching-up and remembering the time from the past, and sharing today and hopefully be available and be together from now into the future.  If you are successful with this, it will be simply like you have never been out of touch as in just a few minutes, you no longer are the long-lost souls, but you are just like you never lost touch.  It is a normal phenomenon that ones you love and like, no matter the time, they will remain as such.

Our distance becomes near, although there we can’t touch and feel.  Familiar voices become common and no longer in the past.  What will become a normal and familiar part of life, sometimes will become a matter of convenience, and sometimes a matter of anger management.  If you will agree that it is difficult to say no or disagree with someone you care about.  A normal reaction to any request (even the most mundane ones) is to say yes, or agree.  There is seldom any thought in agreeing on the phone or on the internet, as you want to please everyone on your list, and when in a distance, it is simple to say yes (agree).  But follow-up might be difficult to engage in completion of the commitments for reasons that could be perfectly acceptable.  But what transpires is the difficulty of the distance and relationship, and a perfectly acceptable reason for saying yes and not being able to follow-up, and in the frame of the relationship and time.   Although a life time of investment in a relationship can simply get into a turbulence on a simple matter of convenience (specially thousands of miles away), it does become easy to display anger (specially towards someone you care about) as the distance and medium allow it.  Often being ignored might be the anger of convenience.  We often spend a life time to find someone and the often allow the anger of convenience to ignore the same person.  Irony of the ability to find and communicate.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Easier Tweet Than Done

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Seeing babies gassed to death is not for the faint hearted or hard hearted, it is heart wrenching to see them suffer.  Anyone who sees the little children being gassed should be offended and alarmed.  As always, the war claims the innocent as they are defenseless.  Human history is full of destruction of history and animosity to humanity.  The worst part of killing and destruction is always in the name of something, and that something is religion.  Religion although never preaches violence, the interpretation is always leading to human tragedy.

It is not just the last few years in Syria and Iraq, that had either displaced or killed millions, while erasing the human history and its past glory, but this genocide has been happening way too often.  Just that we have a better record of the atrocities today.  We are more and more behaving as if human life and our history has no value.  We are attack, gas, destroy, bomb, loot, cheat and whatever we should not be doing to each other, we are doing.  Most times we have no response to the atrocities, except sadness.

The USA and its 2016 elections irony is now the thing of the past.  We have a new president in power, along with his party’s congress and senate.  The bruhaha about what the last president did or did not is now history.  The comments and objections tweets by the current president about the last president is also in the archives.  Today and now, along with a new president are a matter of fact.  Syria’s Assad and Russia’s Putin are still doing what they do, and now it is Trump’s watch.  Obama and democrats are no longer in power, but there is no change in the battle field.  Now its Trump’s war and Trump’s Tweet.

The question often repeated throughout our history is “Why would anyone want to commit mass murder on their own people?”.  If we had rulers and subjects this has happened again and again.  In today’s world Syria and Iraq (several other nations) religious fundamentalism, foreign interference, dictatorship, cultural diversity, and constant internal conflict.  All of which adds to unstable societies and difficult common law.  The millions of innocents that have lost their life or being displaced are in the shooting ranges for murder, rape and atrocities in the name of war.  The killing fields are simply day to day activities, and there is no clear path to a stable nation, or there is any identifiable reason for mass murder.  In Syria’s case, it is for sure that Bashar would like to rule the nation the rest of his life (probably pass it on to his children), and the others would like their own Caliphate, with many factions their own independence.  So far all we are being left in Syria is dead people, displaced citizens and ruins of ghost towns.  Once can’t be sure what type of dead kingdom that someone really wants to rule, and what is all the killing going to achieve?

This last week American tax payers probably paid more than a billion dollars to send a few smart bombs, to cause some damage to an airport in Syria.  There was a global support for the Americans acting against atrocities.  The irony is spending a billion in a few hours did not achieve a whole lot of action against Bashar.  The airport runway is open already.

Syrians and their Russian partners deny the gas attack (they always do), while it is obvious to the world.  The incredible denials to obvious and well documents atrocities, and the Russian threats that followed are the SOP of these guys.  The difference between citizens and fundamentalists, has been long been forgotten by the Syrian regime and the Russians, they really don’t care who they kill and what they destroy.  The reality is that between themselves they have destroyed thousands of years of civilization, a full nations population, and no doubt created enough hatred around the world, engaging groups of people to attack their neighbors.

Trump just like his predecessors has inherited the hot seat.  He is the leader of the free world, and has the responsibility to the rule of law.  He can Tweet, but now he is the one who bears the headlines, Tweets.

No president before him, or will after him can just look at what the world is doing.  Yes, Trump’s America First is election worthy, but it is worthy of a nation to make sure that the World and America are tied together, and they will be one nation and one world, in peace and prosperity.  As with all Presidents before him in varying degrees of leading the free world, Trump will also raise to the occasion to the office, will promote democracy and a free world.  It comes with the office.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Russiagate

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Trump will continue to deny and tweet against anything that doesn’t suit him or unfavorable to him.  No one should be surprised as it the way he has been all his 70 years and being the US president should have no impact on his behavior.  We must remember that Trump has been what he is now, and there are no two faces to him.  He is now surrounded with people who are of similar disposition.  His spokesman makes it a daily habit of badgering anyone that has a question.  Trump and anyone remotely associated with him only will question anything that is factual and doesn’t suit them (Trump) and become offensive to anything that comes in their way.

Although Trump’s presidency is in its infancy, each day has been a revelation of something other than governing the nation.  Trump without hesitation carries a full family baggage, real estate baggage, personal baggage and twitter baggage; all of this or any of this would have sunk anyone running for president.  Trump constantly defied the conventional wisdom and is now our 45th President.

CNN and all 24 hour new channels were interesting when they started to cover the world.  The wars and politics happened 24 hours and the they were there covering and commenting.  Most times the commentary was dual sided.  Since and before the 2016 US elections, not just the cable news channels, but also the regular news networks have been having a difficult time explaining to the audience, what they refer to as conventional politics.  After the election, all the channels have been dumbfounded.  The white house and the press (media) are 100% at odds with each other, and coining of the Trump term “alternative facts” has become common.

The scandal of Watergate and the resignation of President Nixon can’t be quickly forgotten.  After more than 40 years after Watergate, the presidential scandal continues to be a classic example of justice catching up to anyone one in the USA, and the American democracy withstanding even the might of the American president.  The USA constantly finds a way to demonstrate the rule of law (sometimes takes time) for all its citizens, including the president, and equally.

At the time of Watergate, there was limited (in today’s terms) communications and information gathering and tracking.  Still the nation got to the bottom of the scandal and fished out the facts, and truth prevailed.  Today we should be sure that there is everything we do under surveillance and being scanned and tracked.  When you are a high-profile politician and/or his followers, and you are dealing with the Russians, you can be assured that every word of your every action will be monitored.

The aggressive posturing and responses by Trump and his associates doesn’t really hamper any investigations.  The agencies will obtain what they need to find (its somewhere in some archives, they just must dig into the information), as in this case we already know that the Russians were involved.  The extent is what will come out in the investigation/s.  It is not just about Trump’s often aggressive and demeaning tweets, but also his associates with alternative facts.

Since Trump’s inauguration on January 20th 2017, the continued acrimony between the press and white house is on full display, and daily continues to get more acrimonious.  Each passing day these actions; revelations and findings have continued to add to the Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election.  Trump and his team bombarding everyone only adds to the intrigue and Trump team’s denial of the facts (mostly twisting words) continue to add to the political drama.

For the watching public, it is excruciating to watch the rudeness the rudeness that comes from the white house.  The blatant display of constant denials and inability to govern is obvious.  We so far don’t know all the facts of the coordination between Trumps and Russians.   One thing is for sure that we will know the facts, as they are out there.  It is for sure as history demonstrates, the facts might not be what we suspect, and lead the nation to something that is entirely unexpected.  It could be as we found in Watergate.  But the truth will come out, and the democracy will survive.  Once again.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Independent America

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Friday, March 24, 2017 was not a day for political surprises.  It was a day full of arm twisting and threats and offers to compromise, but still a day that demonstrated the political independence.  The republican controlled congress could not find enough votes in their own party to pass legislation to repeal and replace affordable care act, what they spitefully refer to as “Obama Care”.  All thru his campaign Trump made Obama Care as the focal point of the previous administration’s failed health care policy.  It has been going on for 7 years that the republicans have been trying with their might to repeal and replace the medical act, and now they have the senate, congress and president all in the republican party, and they don’t have the support of their own party legislators.  Trump kept repeating that he will repeal and replace “Obama Care” on day one, if elected as president.

Ryan had to pull the bill from even going to a floor vote, as he did not have the votes to pass it.  His republican legislators were not all behind what was being touted as the replacement to Obama Care.  After pulling the bill from the floor, he states to the media that there was not enough support within his own party to pass the bill.  He is leading the party that has been touting to repeal and replace for 7 years, and when the time comes there is no support from within.  Some leadership that is clearly lacking the so-called leadership.

As with many immigrant citizens I also lean to the democrats.  No question of deviation on philosophy, but I do support the basic principles of decency and equality.  For some reason the leadership in power seem to have a difficult time in saying something and keeping their policies behind the saying.

Since withdrawing the repeal and replace the medical bill, the republican party lead by Trump, Pence and Ryan have been giving the American public a variety of reasons including a threat to the public that they will let Obama Care blow up and wait for people to come to them to ask to fix it.

As usual Trump keeps his twitter active, and hurls threats and abuses and unsubstantiated allegations.  Ryan and Pence keep justifying Trump, and will find words to place the blame on their own colleagues and democrats.  These three guys have seemed to forgotten that their party won the election and control the congress and the presidency now.  They did not need the opposition, now their own party did not support them.

While Trump is a political novice, Ryan and Pence are career and veteran republican politicians.  Both only endorsed Trump only after he became their party’s chosen candidate for the presidency.  They are not by choice, but by their own choosing Trump’s most ardent supporters.  They keep a brave front when they deal with the policies (and promote) of Trump.  It is sad to see these guys support and keep backing something which is basically against their ideals.  For their entire life, thy supported a party and platform that is quite new to them, and now they continue to force themselves to support what they were fundamentally against all their life, and the greater difficulty is that they were vehemently against Trump and his positions until just a few weeks ago, now they are in the opposite.

There is no political intrigue with what Trump says and what people around him say.  In 5 weeks in office Trump and his team (and his supporters) have said and done what the mainstream calls “alternative facts.”  Calling every action “Unprecedented” and “Un-Presidential” has become a common phrase for the electronic media.

Conventional or unconventional, Trump is an uncommon politician.  Now people surrounding him are all in the hot seat because of what he says, he does, and probably what he has not shown to the world.  It must be in an alternate universe for them surrounding Trump.

The decision by the republicans not supporting the repeal and replace of Obama Care, demonstrates that not just the opposition, but Republicans also are (at least some of them) are independent and have a responsibility to the people who voted for them.  I am no expert of health care and political decision making, but I am sure politicians do realize that people who sent them to Washington will continue to have the power to weather they go back to Washington in two years.

Democracy and America will always be independent in its thinking and in its policies, and the representatives must listen to the people every two years.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hindustan

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

After the BJP won a landslide win in Uttar Pradesh and appointed Yogi Adithyanath as the chief minister there were usual comments from the opposition.  As I continue to follow the politics of India (in fact the world) I was stunned when a veteran INC politician Veerappa Moily made a statement “Biggest Assault on Secularism”. “This is not Hinduism, Hinduism is not India.”.  Moily is a veteran politician and someone who is well versed (I hope and thought) on India, its politics and certainly its history at least from the 1947 Independence.  He after all is one of the veterans of the Congress party that drove the Indian Independence movement.  Moily could have simply googled the internet and get a hit on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan.

My Saturday evening instinct was that even the old men of India, seem to ignore their roots and nation when they come in front of a microphone.  Even the little children of the country (in fact any country) will pay reverence to their nation.  Here was a man who has been a political leader in independent India all his life, but has forgotten that the land is what it is.

For a secular nation, India is by far the most inclusive and tolerant societies on earth.  Granted that it has been looted for centuries thru its eventual and so called independence in 1947, the country still suffers poverty and illiteracy.  More than any other societal evil, India suffers scam and cheating by those in power and in control of the nation’s democracy.  Moily has been a part of the party that spent most of the time being in control of the independent India.  Most importantly he also belongs to the party that worked hard for India’s independence from the British.  He should really know that this the ancestral land of Hindus and it is Hindustan for ages.  There should never have been ignorance as an excuse for Moily, but it was simply his reaction to the failure of his party to govern a nation with respect to its democracy.  India for all its difficulties and social discrepancies, survives as a democracy.  India does vote for its leaders and gives them an opportunity to govern and manage its vast population and resources.  When India sees the incompetence and looting, it certainly sends the culprits to political oblivion.  With each election, India is quite fluid in its definition of democracy and its demands on what the government should do, and the latest election once again demonstrates Indian electorate choosing a party that they believe will meet the needs of the population.

It has become a political fashion for democracies to keep slinging stupid comments once a party is thrown out of power.  Especially a party like INC in India has lost its relevance and its impetus for the nation.  It clings on to a few old men who will keep hurling insulting comments to any outlet they can find, and now starting to insult the nations existence.  They have nothing left to speak of, and the last resort is to raise the communal tensions by delegitimizing the nation and its secularism.

In a nation of 1.3 billion or so people, who by and large live peacefully and when given a chance will vote for the future.  They are all very smart and very wise.  The problems are amply driven by losing political parties in sighting the caste or regional issues, or by neighboring countries promoting terror.  Despite the internal and external meddling, Indians seem to move on and focus on what they need and what their families need.

One of the blessings for the nation is eradicating the incompetence and fighting the terror, although taking time, but eventuality is both bod politics and terror will be dealt with, without the nation losing its secularism.  Just the past 3 years are a great testament to India’s ability to be secular and democratic.  It is time for Moily and all his compatriots to move to a retirement location on the vast coastal area of India and enjoy the sun.