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Time to get Cozy, Bear Life as a Russian Vassal State

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Can you grin and bear it?

The debate about whether Russia is running the Pervert Orangutan White House Reality Show Zoo along with the entire Gutless Orwellian Party (GOP) from top to tail is entirely moot.  It’s over.  Done.  The takeover is complete.  There’s nothing to debate, for anyone with half the IQ of a fancy bear.  Which apparently is not too many of us.  Our dumb, misinformed, and uneducated asses have been ripe for a rapacious takeover for a while now, and the descent towards authoritarianism shockingly took as long as 242 years before we exchanged the Tory Loyalists of King George III for the Trump #MAGAts of Comrade Putin I.  And if we are to be the least bit honest with ourselves, the only real questions ever were whether Russia or China took us over first, and how long that would take- for all that needed doing was easily exploiting above all our glaring inability to protect ourselves in the cyber arena.  Because, you know, we isn’t don’t be so good at math and computer stuff, and stuff, or even English, and we sure as hell wouldn’t allow enough Asian immigrants into the country in time to save ourselves.  Thanks, decades of retrograde anti-immigrant GOP!  Enjoy your gulags of borscht, #MAGAts.

We are at least fortunate that the suspense is finally over.  The answers to the takeover race questions are: Winner/2016/Russia.  It’s all because to most Americans, science, technology engineering, & math (STEM) are as foreign a concept as shitting into a latrine hole in the ground in the sticks of Djibouti while pirates stand around and watch.  We are inured to the realities of the outside world, foolishly thinking that an excessive, clumsy, and creaky 20th century military machine of nukes, ships, tanks, jets, drones, helos, and broken toy soldiers were going to forever protect us when foreign countries’ bad hombres actively lurk in our social media, emails, power grids, military systems, corporate servers, and political party infrastructure in a dystopian tentacle porn equivalent of ass rape.  America is super well prepared to fight the next great war using 1973 technology, and decimate all comers!  Thanks so much, GOP!  Gracias for the trillions of dollars in debt-exploding defense spending, eroding our privacy and freedom, bogging us down in Afghanistan and surrounding countries into year 17 with no mission, no plan, and no end in sight.  All the while remaining highly vulnerable to penetration by hostile countries and terrorists while screaming about Muslims.  Because, America!

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2016 was the Best of Times, and the Worst of Times

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Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

For revelers in India, the United States, and elsewhere in the world, I don’t want to make this retrospective look at 2016 too long.  I figured a few key thoughts in bullet points would suffice.  And then, carry on with your champagne!  Party like it’s the last time you’ll party, ever!

  • The United States is not only in decline, but in accelerating decline.  The real danger to Americans is not any external threat, but how much Americans hate one another.  This hatred is being openly exploited.  The new enemy is the enemy within.  Facts are rarely agreed upon any more.  This has made it exceedingly easy for external threats to damage the United States with minimal effort.  Then they sit back and laugh without firing a single shot.
  • 2016 was the best year ever in US-India government to government relations.  This relationship will only improve in 2017 regardless of the changes to be made under a new US administration.
  • We are heading closer toward the new world order of three fighters left in the ring: the United States, China, and India.  Europe has folded and is no longer in the game.  The United States is now the aging boxer who has gotten hit in the head one too many times (Rocky) who will hopefully train the young dark-skinned prodigy India (Creed) for the coming bouts of the future with another, stronger up-and-coming boxer named China.  Leadership of the mid-21st century world is now at stake.
  • India’s biggest 2016 paradigm-shifting event, demonetization happened on the same day as the 2016 US election, November 8.  DeMo is unquestionably an unmitigated and cruel short-term disaster, though this aggressive and authoritarian move may prove to have some benefits in the long-term, especially on the forced transition toward a cashless economy, and a steady increase in tax receipts.  Time should tell.
  • Despite the angry nationalistic tendencies sweeping across practically every white-majority country in the world with a vengeance, power is fast devolving from the nation-state to the city-state.  This massive devolution of power from national capitals towards cities such as Shanghai, Mumbai, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Rio, San Francisco, and New York means that there is still hope for peace, inclusion, and climate change reversal on this earth despite bumbling national governments.

And with that usindiamonitor will leave you to your devices, on that relatively high note.  Happy new year, dear reader.  I would be pleased to see you back here in 2017.

 

 

This is what the Last Gasp of White Male Supremacy Looks Like

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Photo: Gage Skidmore, via Flickr

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

Let’s take a step back in time for just a second to show a little empathy and appreciate what the white American male has gone through, and where he came from.  When the United States started, white males used to own the WHOLE pie.  They owned it all, everything, including all the money, land, and property.  They literally owned other human beings who happened to be darker than them, from cradle to grave, so they could make even more money with less work.

As a white man in those good old days you usually didn’t have to compete against any woman or black person to secure a job or buy a piece of land.  You were just given it by the other white men or could simply steal it from a native.  The women and the slaves and the indentured servants did all of the housework for you too, while tending, perhaps in some frisky combination, to all of your sexual needs.

On top of it all, it felt good to know that God and Manifest Destiny were on your side too.  Let’s admit it: what a great deal!  Not a bad deal if you can get it.  Hell, if I were a white man at the time I would probably have loved my life and wanted to keep things that way forever.  And more to the point, we Americans to this day still worship at the altar of what these white men made for their progeny, for me and you: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Continental Army, the Minutemen, the Boston Tea Party, and the Revolutionary War.  Those white men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and my favorite Benjamin Franklin are considered polymaths and heroes worldwide, and rightly so.

Relative to back then, the allocated proportion of the pie has gotten a whole lot smaller for the American white man, just as it has for white males in South Africa, Britain, and the rest of the world.  White men in fact used to rule over most of Africa, Asia, North America, and South America from their European corporate headquarters, but nowadays Europe is in descent, Russia is a basket case, China and India are knocking on the door of superpower status, women can be CEOs, a Hispanic can sit on the Supreme Court, and a half-black can be POTUS.  This is a zero sum game.  White males get less pie.  Minorities and women get more pie, and their share just keeps growing.  This must be thoroughly emasculating, and I totally understand it.  The backlash was bound to happen.  It was only a matter of time.  That time is now.

As a minority, it’s easy for me to believe that everything is better in America for everybody nowadays thanks to more equality.  To folks like me, Barack Obama is the ultimate embodiment of the promise of what America just could be, the full realization of the dreams of the founders, Abraham Lincoln, the 600,000 Americans who died in the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, Martin Luther King, Jr., and all four of my grandparents in India who admired this country so much.  They were gushingly proud that my mother and father lived here, fully understanding they would hardly ever get to see them from so far away.

It’s gotten gauche to deny the reality of American progress.  And yet, I believe a lot of Americans feel otherwise; they resent that it’s not trendy to lament their current lot as white men losing ground to others slowly and steadily as time goes on; that Black Lives Matter marches in their neighborhood; that no politician truly cares about their perceived victimhood, while the government apparatus ominously benefits women and minorities instead of them.  Robots and foreigners are stealing their jobs, while Mexicans are pouring across the border to rape their daughters.  Having a half-black president was barely digestible; following that up right off with a lecturing woman would be too much insult to take.  It’s just not fair.  These fears are very real, and they are perfectly embodied by one white man.  He promises to be their savior, that most thoroughly American of characters, the con man who each day dines on bowlfuls of gauche, Master Donald Trump.

Whether Donald Trump wins or loses the presidential election itself, his place in the history books has already been cemented, and I even almost admire how this deeply insecure pathological liar has clawed and tweeted his way onto those pages, shamelessly, tirelessly, and without an ounce of self-reflection.  Trump’s foremost legacy will forever be as the face of the last gasp of American white male supremacy.  And it’s too bad that history will not look upon him, or indeed those of us who lived in America through 2016 and let this happen, kindly.  Think of how we today look back on the Vichy regime.  We’ll be listed right next to them in history’s basket of deplorables.

It had to be ugly.  And it sure is.  White male supremacy won’t go down without a fight.  But the joke is on the white man who votes for Donald Trump.  White supremacy is verifiably in its death throes, as America continues to lead in bending the arc of history toward justice, in spite of our true colors.  The young white males of today are far to the LEFT of Hillary.  Trump has no plan, let alone any sort of ability, to reverse the forces of technology, globalization, or progress that are helping foreigners, women and minorities rise toward more equal footing.  To be fair, nobody does.  It’s simply happening.

Ironically, the process can certainly be sped up by Trump’s political participation if white men decide in large enough numbers that they want to keep playing with this shiny new orange object in November.  There will be no border wall built to keep the Mexicans out.  There will never be an America that’s great “again.”  There would simply be an America that blunders around for four years with racial violence, gridlock, war, and trillions of dollars in obliterated equity, while the march of women and minorities would continue apace anyway, because they still have so far to go.  The pendulum would be sure to swing more unforgivably than ever against the white man during this period.

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“Fellas, should we be learning how to write code or something instead?” via Wikipedia

The white supremacist is today, instead of working to advance himself, educate himself, and acquire the requisite skills that will make him more competitive in the new global environment full of opportunity, watching Fox News and waiting for Donald Trump’s teeny little magic wand to make everything better for him.  If Trump loses in November, at least the fantasy of these simple, uninformed people will come to an end for good, and the tandem of Trump and Clinton will have done us all a favor.  If Trump wins, the fairy tale reverie will simply continue until the unfulfillable hopes of the white supremacist are much more cruelly dragged along and dashed into the ground.  The reckoning comes either way.

For all of America’s 240 year history, it was awesome to be a white man.  And it still very much is.  The solution lies in white men coming to recognize that fact.  A calm ocean lifts ALL boats.  The long forward march of progress for the white man on the backs of other human beings can be looked upon with affection by its descendants, and it’s worth remembering, including all the good it’s done for us as Americans.  But today these sentiments belong not in reality but in a museum, right next to where the dinosaur fossils are.

 

 

 

Trump Won Because of Ego (Ironically, not his!)

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor

What a remarkable week in US history.  The great human experiment with democracy in America has arrived at a dangerous moment.  Many people ask me why as an observer of US-India bilateral foreign policy I spend so much time commenting on the sad reality television of domestic US politics.  The reason is elementary.  He or she who arrives in power in America will have profound effects on India’s future.  Meanwhile, India’s own experiment with democracy is at a less mature and more delicate stage, and it is important for Indians to learn the stark lessons to be derived from the litany of poor American decisions: the slave trade, the treatment of Native Americans, the Civil War, Vietnam, Iraq, and yes, Donald Trump in 2016.  In the next episode, we might witness democracy being voted off the island.

In a way Donald Trump has done the United States and the world a favor by perfectly embodying the worst instincts in the United States of America today so that we can work toward dealing with it.  We’re not here to litigate this truth, because we hold it to be self-evident.  Rather, below we will simply break down how we got here politically, because nobody else has successfully done so.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with policy.

Now that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, we’ve begun seeing the predictable expressions of shock, disbelief and horror among liberals and moderates, and badly misguided  analysis of why he won.  Trump fans of course saw this coming from a mile away and explain his victory in bizarre terms, such as “America will vote for Donald Trump because once he’s in office, ISIS won’t even dare to mess with America ever again.”  Yes, nihilistic terrorists will retire their suicide vests out of fear of the furry head and that’s why he’s winning.  Right.

For the record, I too predicted the Trump victory, and even endorsed Donald Trump, in September 2015.  His victory became obvious for one exceedingly simple and elegant reason requiring only three letters: E-G-O.  Shockingly, despite a candidate who is defined by a pathological ego run amok, Trump’s ego is not the one to blame here.  It’s the fault of many others on both the left and the right.

The Republican Party Clown Car, 2016 Edition  It takes a near toxic dosage of self-obsession for ANY person from either party to convincingly tell the world every day for several years that they would be the best possible leader of the free world.  In a watered-down field of 17 deeply flawed Republican candidates, all driven by their own outsize ego tripping, the time was especially ripe for a figure disliked by most of his own party to win the nomination with just a minority of the total votes.  If a party is going to deliberately run a clown car, then it should not be shocked when the biggest clown takes over the wheel.

Let’s look at the results in the first state to vote in the primary, Iowa, courtesy newyorktimes.com.  The Iowa circus is responsible for gifting the world Donald Trump and Ted Cruz as the front-runners for the rest of the GOP primary season despite the highest negative ratings.  This small state, with less than 100,000 votes, started the narrative that this was going to be a Trump vs. Cruz race nationwide.

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Of greater interest is the sheer number of governors, senators, and non-politicians who cannibalized each other before, during, and after Iowa to the point where two guys with only around 25% of the vote each would be anointed the front-runners.  Similar results played out in other states such as New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada: Donald Trump established the lead with much less than 50% of the vote.  Thank you George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Jim Gilmore, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb!, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and everyone else who made sure that the donations, political operatives, volunteers, media airtime, voters, and America’s short attention span were all chopped up into little pieces in the months before and during the primaries.  Thanks for wasting record amounts of money.  Thank you for lathering up the right wing base into a froth over Barack Obama’s birthplace, immigrants, homosexuality, terrorism, China, abortion, and guns for years on end, scaring the crap out of our citizens with your political strategy of “sheep tremble, and here come the votes!” in the prescient words of Rage Against the Machine.

If I were one of the many members of the Republican party establishment wringing my hands right now, I would point to this absurd parade of so-called leaders for putting their own ego above their party, and their own party above their country, and failing all three levels in the process anyway.  Trump would have been eminently beatable if leadership had consolidated its resources behind one or two viable options and a sensible and inclusive platform with fresh ideas early on and strategized to defeat the cancer within their ranks.  That option would have easily won in November too because no party has won 3 White House terms in a row since World War II.  But too many egos got in the way.  And to a man (and woman), every single one of Trump’s opponents, whether they were in the race or were simply acting as halfhearted bystanders like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, fatally underestimated Trump’s hostile takeover of their party throughout this process.

Barack Obama  Just as Obama greatly benefitted as a candidate in 2008 from the failed presidency of George W. Bush, his two botched wars and an epic financial meltdown, so too is Trump benefitting from the Obama administration’s shortcomings.  Although Americans are in far better shape than they were in 2008, the president has failed to communicate the relevant facts and figures to the American people.  Obama has not done a good job of educating citizens about the challenges presented by a changing economy, ISIS, or China, nor has he explained most accomplishments in terms people can understand.  As president, he had a bully pulpit, and a chance to renew Americans’ confidence in themselves, and this effort has been inadequate.   As a result, Americans are even more polarized than they were before he arrived in the White House.  Obama’s ego failed him on this count, because he was under the impression until it was too late that the power of his personality would help heal the rifts that are rendering the American people apart from each other, and cause them to view one another as the enemy.  On both sides, party has become more important than country, and we are reverting back to tribal behaviors based on race, income, or geography.  This was Obama’s biggest failed promise, and even he recognizes that today.

In such an environment, a backlash against all politicians and all government is a natural result.  Obama’s own ego led him to believe that his great successes in office would speak for themselves and he didn’t have to do the hard and, to be fair, perhaps futile work of marketing them to a woefully uninformed and balkanized public.  The result could be as disastrous to Obama personally as it is to the country as a whole: the potential dismantling, brick by brick, of all of the hard work that Obama and his team have done over the last 8 years on domestic and foreign policy, while perhaps watching helplessly on the sidelines as Americans begin to violently riot against each other like in the 1960s, egged on explicitly by one party’s standard-bearer.

Yes, Obama underestimated Trump and did not take steps, especially in 2015 and 2016 that could have neutralized Trump’s rise.  He has been overconfident that Trump wouldn’t win.  He has not been forceful enough about the existential consequences of this race, including during a press conference on Friday when asked about Trump.  He had better start if he doesn’t want to hand the White House keys over to the Donald.

The Media.  The media entertainment complex is the most unforgivable culprit for giving Trump 99% of the political airtime simply because it amuses consumers the most.  In a truly delicious irony, it is the media that would be the foremost victim of a Trump presidency, as we can expect the industry to lose a great amount of freedom, protection, and access to Trump and his cabinet, such as Treasury Secretary Kim Kardashian.

Trump has already encouraged hatred and violence towards journalists on multiple occasions and promised to ban military officials from speaking to the media.  He said TV anchor Megyn Kelly was on the rag.  His campaign manager manhandled a female reporter and the boss defended it.  Trump kicked out a Hispanic journalist from his rally for asking a question.  Supporters routinely beat people up in his name, and he hasn’t even yet held a real position of government authority in his life.  His supporters send death threats to journalists they disagree with.  Just imagine the very real possibilities if Trump had enforcement powers.  Trump would make his hero Vladimir Putin proud; we should not be surprised to see media figures harmed by Trump’s henchmen or even thrown in jail for writing something he doesn’t like.   The warning patterns are out there for all to see.

In order to make a cheap short-term buck, the media has not only failed us, they have put themselves in harm’s way.  Trump has been covered as a serious candidate for fun and games and the reality show audience is entertained, instead of witnessing a proper vetting.  The media has planted the seeds for the erosion of their own freedoms.  The gigantic egos of media figures have blinded them to the delicacy of their own position and the ability to continue practicing their craft at all.  And I’m, um, sort of sensitive to this particular issue.

Next Stop, Ego Train?  All of this is to say, there is plenty of blame to go around up and down the ego train.  With Republican attempts to stop Trump’s constant march forward already a miserable failure in our rearview mirror, the duty to spare the country and the globe from a Trump presidency now falls on the dislikable shoulders of Hillary Clinton.  She is going to need all the help she can get.  Bernie Sanders is grappling mightily with his own ego trip, which has lasted long enough.  This is war.  Hillary underestimated  Obama for much of 2008, Bernie Sanders for much of the Democratic primary, and is doing the same with Trump in 2016.  Surrogates including Obama and others of all political stripes will need to set aside their own agendas and get with the program.  It’s serious now.  This is the election of our lifetimes.

 

 

The Exquisite Bobby Jindal Conundrum

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Gator kinda tastes like chicken, y’all- try it with Shake ‘n Bake

On the face of it, Bobby Jindal embodies an extraordinary story that began unfolding as of last week’s official announcement: Jindal is the first Indian-American in history to mount a serious nationwide campaign for President of the United States of America.  He is a smart Rhodes Scholar who entered politics at a very young age.  Indian-Americans have reached the heights of glory such as national spelling bee championships (over and over again), the Miss America crown, Fortune 500 CEO positions including at Microsoft and Pepsico, State Governorships in South Carolina and Jindal’s own Louisiana, lead roles on television shows such as Quantico, senior administration roles in Washington, and other noteworthy achievements.  The presidency looms as the last mountain left for the community to climb, and there is a now a (dark) dark horse contender in that race for 2016.

All of that being said, Jindal presents an exquisite conundrum for Indians and Indian-Americans.  Despite critical political and financial support from Indian-Americans including many from outside his state and political party, Jindal has repeatedly run away from his Indian heritage.  He changed his name from Piyush, fancying himself as a Bobby after the character he liked to watch on the Brady Bunch as a boy.  He renounced his parents’ Hindu religion, in favor of the Catholicism widely practiced in the bayous of Louisiana.  Jindal’s brand of Christianity is more extreme than most, including an admiration for the exorcism of demons from people as he wrote about witnessing while studying at Oxford.   Read the rest of this entry

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