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.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Optimism and Change

vasureddy@aol.com
Vasu Reddy from Chicago

The just concluded state elections in India (primarily in north India) continue to show the belief in the nations optimism.  Modi is a leader who really represents the thinking and beliefs of the nation, and since Modi became the prime minister of India in 2014, he continues to show that the progressive and inclusive agenda for the nation and he will continue to be the change agent for the nation.

Over the last couple years as India’s leader, Modi has stuck to his core principals, that made him the PM of the largest democracy on earth.  I liked to believe what he was saying, and I really liked that this man has no incentive to steal and scam the Indians.  Politically he had no financial aspirations for himself and he doesn’t have anyone (family, children, friends or anyone else) hanging on to him and affiliated to his power to steal from the public coffers.

For everyone watching, Modi might be anything they want to believe, but everyone knows he is a man who doesn’t take money, doesn’t need to take money and doesn’t have anyone around him asking for money, and ultimately whatever he does is in the interest of people and his party.  I choose the party in my narrative as he represents a political party, now which is with perhaps the largest registered political membership on earth.  His ideals and agenda represent his party’s politics, and they are certainly in the best interest of India.

The just concluded election and the astonishing results that put BJP and Modi in political power in the largest state in India along with others, is an excellent grade sheet for Modi.  The practicality of daily life drives the voters to elect and reelect a politician and his party, and there is no better testament to Modi and his governance than the just concluded elections.  Caste, Creed, wealth, education, language, gender and anything that separates the voters all comes to what they see in a leader and how he fulfills to needs of the people.  Modi might not be perfect but he is certainly with the people’s agenda and keeps working towards fulfilling his stump promises.

The recent demonetization simply put almost all of India’s money back into circulation.  There were problems with implementation, but it did bring the black marketers, terrorists, tax cheaters, hoarders and all kinds of unwanted elements to declare or destroy their ill-gotten wealth.  Indians suddenly have an economy (even temporarily) that accounts all its currency.  If this was a suicidal tactic, Modi was more than willing to risk his politics, rather than keep the mismanaged currency in circulation.  The election results show that people agree with him and people don’t mind suffering a little to take the culprits out of the society.  The strategy of demonetization worked, and only voices you hear is politicians who are running against Modi.  Demonetization was a move that was much needed by the country and its people, and only Modi had the political acumen and personal commitment to the nation to do it.  I really think it worked beautifully.

The benefits of IT collections, all currency and accounts accounted and in public and the sudden infusion of cash into the banking system certainly helps the nations cause with nation building, and lowering interest rates.  The nation is already starting to see the benefits of demonetization and elimination of black money, and continued pressure on back markets and terror funding will help the nation with its fiscal management.

While it might still be in the minds of many that Modi could not deliver to everything he said in 2014, we also must be able to better evaluate his management and politics.  He does remain untainted and uninterested in personal benefit.  He does work hard to implement and promote his policies.  India first and Indians first is constant in his stump and actions.  Next three years will continue to see him work hard to deliver, and even if he doesn’t fulfill 100% he is more than compensating with his personal and political agenda to betterment of India and all Indians.  He will be remembered as a man with India first and nothing personal in his agenda.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Wag the Dog Again (and Again)

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

For movie buffs the political drama from 1997 “Wag the dog” is a familiar (popular) movie, which was a production that was made to protect the president from scandal  who was about to face reelection.  It was fantastic cinema which depicted the fabrication of news and how to keep the media from learning about the real scandal and reality.  I really enjoyed the movie (and watched it a couple times after) for the political manipulation and the drama of diversion from real scandal.

For history and political buffs, the early eighties and Nixon and Watergate will continue to be political and personal challenges at the highest level in the US presidency.  There is so much written an depicted about Watergate we will for generations to come will ponder about the mindset of someone who is already powerful and why would they think of anything illegal.  Before any pondering of the powerful mind, it might simply be the insecurities of human beings, and/or thinking that a person in power can be above the law.  Either case, as history recorded the before and aftermath of Watergate, the truth is always going to prevail.  Some twenty years after the movie Wag the Dog (1997) was released, we in 2017 are in Trump presidency.

In less than a few days of Trump in white house, the phrase “alternate facts” was coined by his team.  What else did the public expect than wagging the dog, daily?

Trump is 70 years old, and it is impossible to think that he will get religion at this age.  It is not possible.  He has never been gentle, polite or truthful.  Until he was elected president Trump made up stories on everything he could think of, and peddled them until he was forced to stop spreading them.  Whatever the reason enough of us in the USA voted for him to lead our nation, and thus the reality TV from Washington is now on 24/7/365.

On Friday March 3, 2017, my little girl got off the school bus at 1 41 PM.  It is my normal routine to walk over to the bus stop and walk back to together.  We live less than a block from her bus stop, but that little walk allows me to ask her about school and obviously about her grades, on a daily basis.  On Friday she said there were two kids fighting with each other on the bus and the bus got delayed by a couple of minutes.  As usual I ask her, why?  These kids are somewhere between 8 and 12, and why would they fight in such a short trip from school to home?

The next couple minutes framed my weekly column.  One kid was spreading rumors about another kid, and that’s why they got into a fight and the bus got delayed by a couple of minutes.  These are ten year olds, hardly travel a couple of miles from school, and what could they be rumoring about?  I wondered several times, and my little one said she did not know.  All she knew was that there was a rumor and then the fight.  Nothing about what the rumor was about.  By the time we got home we moved on with our regular stuff and nothing about the rumor and fight.

When I woke up Saturday morning the news was all over Trump tweeting about Obama wire tapping his tower in New York.  He tweets (multiple tweets) that in 2916 election Obama ordered the wire taps on his tower, and he accused Obama on everything under the sun.  What was a contentious election in 2016, which he won, was mainly by him accusing and berating everyone I the world.  Now he is the president and he doesn’t need any help with intelligence, as the USA has the best intelligence teams in the world.

Ii haven’t thought too much about what he is tweeting.  I stopped watching the news and avoid the political coverage, but this was almost comical.  The movie Wag the Dog, and my little girl’s bus story on one kid spreading rumor on the other.

Whatever that followed the tweets is really far from reality, it is reality television.  Just that the grown ups already have been seeing this on a daily basis and we might keep seeing it for another 4 more years.