Saturday, March 4, 2017

Let not the Elephants and Donkeys Deceive You Anymore

The world is no longer the same after Margaret Thatcher, who had totally decimated the progressive politics single handedly. She had deregulated financial sector, broken the back of the labor unions, and privatized state-owned companies. Thatcher's popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, and she only survived because of her victory in the 1982 Falklands War. However, by the time she was forced to resign in 1990 she had forever changed the political landscape of modern era.

In the United States, Ronald Reagan borrowed from Thatcher’s book and implemented similar policies to kill the people oriented politics, and the United States politics too changed. Reagan had broken the unions and reduced their membership so much that they were no longer the countervailing power against the Wall Street big banks and the military industrial complex. To counter the reduction of funding from the unions, Bill Clinton approached the financial sector in the Wall Street and the trial lawyers, and the Democratic Party changed forever. The left politics was destroyed.

Yet, more than two decades later, vast number of low information professional people still try to explain politics in terms of left and right politics, and talk in terms of swinging pendulum. The fact is the progressive politics is dead since the time of Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party is equally beholden to the big money, varying only in degrees. Today the Republican Party, which was the real progressive party at the time of its inception, has become totally bound to the corporate America, and the one racist Democratic Party has become the second fiddle to the same master. Today’s politics is between extreme right and right, the left is dead.

Bill Clinton was a Republican disguised as a progressive, and so was Barrack Obama. The unprecedented outrage of the GOP against both of them was simply a ploy by the crook politicians to deceive common mass, and give the semblance of democracy.

Consider the Presidency of Bill Clinton. He signed on to NAFTA, the Tele Communication Act, Welfare Reform, dismantling of Glass-Steagal Act, among other anti-people measures. Each of these was passed with more Republican votes than Democratic, as the rank and file Democratic Party members were still pro-people.

Remember Ross Perot? Despite being a business man he had warned America against the NAFTA. He had made a sucking sound to demonstrate how jobs would be sucked out of America, and he was so right. So my Bill-loving friends consider once more – was Bill Clinton a stupid man not to understand implication of his fore-mentioned policies? Or, was he was wrong on each of those? Obviously, he cannot be both, so chose one.

Barrack Obama followed the foot steps of Bill Clinton, and carried on where George W Bush had left. He presided over the biggest financial missteps since 1929, and his action only benefited the very people who brought that financial ruin. Not a singe Wall Street executive went to jail, yet, millions of homeowners lost their homes. Obama came with the promise of stopping wars, notwithstanding, he not only sent more troops to Afghanistan, and he invaded Libya, and encouraged Saudi Arabia to destroy Yemen. He create ACA with so much loopholes that Insurance companies drove trucks through it and gave opportunity to the Republicans to destroy all so-called entitlement programs.

Wake up Americans, understand the new political games. Do not hold on to your age-old views of left-right division of politics. Understand your own rights and help yourself to get what you deserve. You have the ultimate power to change your fate, but only when you understand the game and stand for your rights. Be active, join the grassroots movement, and take over the party offices. Start at the local level, drive the bums out. You have the power. You can do it.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Palace Coup Has Succeeded, For Now

After eight years of destruction of the progressive movement Barrack Obama is still at it. Barrack who on his own admission on a Spanish language channel, is a Republican in ideology, has delivered Donald Trump the US Presidency. It was expected that he would move out of the national politics, yet, he is becoming more active under the disguise that he would be the countervailing weight for President Donald Trump.

Today, the Democratic Party has lost about 1,000 elected posts counting the White House to Congress and the 50 statehouses, directly as the result of Wall Street appeasing by Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama, clearly a nadir of their political history in the last century, yet, they lost the opportunity of reforming them in the just concluded DNC chairman race yesterday.

Originally the DNC election was supposed to be held at the beginning of the year. After the defeat of “corrupt” Hillary by the most unqualified man in the race of American Presidential election, it was time for a wholesale reform of the Democratic Party. The liberal wing of the Party led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had thrown their weight behind Keith Ellison for the DNC Chairman position, and he was a sure shoo-in. But the Corporate Democrats began conspiring and the postponed the election to buy time. They fell upon Obama to lead their cause and Obama picked his own Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

After the debacle of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose nefarious intervention killed Bernie Sanders’ cause and tilted the Democratic Party’s nomination to the most unelectable person, Hillary Clinton the situation was too hot to handle by the corporate Democrats, and they needed time to go behind and buy off the DNC members with big money politics. So the election was deferred to the last Saturday of February.

So the job is now at the hand of Obama’s Labor Secretary, Tom Perez, to rebuild the party that is at its lowest point since the era of the1920s. The ban was first implemented by president-elect Barrack Obama in 2008, but had been dropped last year by the corrupt erstwhile party chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Ellison supported the reinstatement of the ban and envisaged to have fundraising model in the mold of Bernie’s small-dollar campaign. Perez never committed to reinstating the contribution ban.

Bob Mulholland of California argued strongly against the ban leading to the casting of the votes. His point was that the corporate opposition to oust North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory was proof that corporations aren't all evil as they are cast out to be. Jessica Sell Chambers was equally passionate in her opposition commenting, “I belong to the party of the people and the last time I checked corporations aren't people.”

Yet, big money finally own, thanks to Obama and the other conservative Dems. To avoid the immediate bloodbath, on his election to the chair Tom proposed Ellison as his deputy, and Keith did accept the position. The question is for how long the battle will be avoided?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Second Gilded Age

For a great number of people life is a continuous struggle in the USA, working multiple jobs, spending long hours at the workplace, and yet no sign of upward mobility. Things look so bleak that there seems to be no future, however, this is not the first time the helplessness has prevailed over this country. Actually, we are now at the second gilded age. The first was at the turn of the nineteenth century, it was the time of the robber barons, when Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt reigned supreme.

“What do I care for the law”? Vanderbilt had quipped, “Hain’t I got the power?” Indeed, 48 of the 73 men holding cabinet posts between 1868 and 1896 either lobbied for the rail road, worked for them, presided over their boards, or, had relatives connected to that business. Things were actually even worse than today. In 1873, the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, Edward G. Ryan warned the graduating class of the state university, “The question will arise, and arise in your day, … which shall rule—wealth, or man; which shall lead—money or intellect; who shall fill public stations—educated and patriotic men, or the feudal serfs of corporate capital?”

Speaking in 1890, populist reformer, Mary Lease declared, “Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but Government of Wall Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street.” Ohio Republican Senator John Sherman pushed his colleagues to act against the corporate power and was instrumental in getting the Sherman’s Antitrust Act passed in the Senate by 52 to 1 vote on July 2nd, 1890.

Initially Antitrust law was used against organized labor, but since President Teddy Roosevelt things started changing. The Republican president used the act against Harriman’s giant conglomerate Northern Securities Company that controlled transportation sector in the Northwest. President William Howard Taft, another Republican stalwart broke up Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company in 1911. The gigantic Bell System, AT&T was broken up under President Roland Reagan.

It is a tragedy that today’s Republican Party has become a corporate poodle breaking away from the tradition of their great leaders, and the Democratic Party serves as the poor second fiddle to the same master! Truly speaking the GOP started changing in the 1920s when increasingly the party began depending on the dole out from the corporations. Even after the great depression of 1929, the Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt encouraged cooperation between businesses, until he appointed Thurman Arnold in charge of the antitrust division of the Justice Department in 1938.

We are now at the peak of the second gilded edge, where power has been totally concentrated at the hand of the new robber barons. The situation is probably much worse now since the rich has nearly total control of the Media, thanks to Bill Clinton. The only ray of hope is coming from the internet where the playing field is nearly even. The young educated mass is increasingly becoming alert and conscious of their situation. Will they be able to bring a new revolution to restore the people power? Will they be able to bring the freedom of the little people back?

The youth say, yes. I say, I hope.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The United States is a Failed Democracy

What is a failed democracy?

When a handful rich groups of people set the rules to enhance the wealth of comparatively few at the top, while a vast majority of people remain in poverty and financially unsecured, and the bottom of the society feel totally helpless to change their lot then it can be said that the democratic system has failed in that society. The rich wield sufficient power and have resources to control the politicians, regulatory heads, and the judicial system to ensure that the “free market” works for them.

The US is controlled by the Military-Industrial complex for the benefit of the very rich. The two political parties, Republican and Democratic, both serve the same master. There is a slight difference between the two parties, while the Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate America, the tool of the rich; the Democratic Party is the 2nd fiddle to them only to create the impression of sham democracy. There are handful leaders in the Democratic Party who are still fighting for the poor, but they can be counted in one hand.

It would naturally follow that poor would elect the Democrats who are marginally better for the interest of the vast majority, however, through the control of the overwhelming media the Republicans are able to deceive the people and poison their mind against the Democratic Party. The relentless air waves in the United States create multiple wages to deceive and divide people. In addition, the Republican Party uses voter Suppression, Gerrymandering, and other illegal means to win elections and keep their control. Today the Republican Party has a total grid lock on Power with the control of Presidency, Senate, House, Governorship, and the soon to be majority again in the Supreme Court.

We should not blame the mass for this situation. Hillary Clinton had famously called the Republican voters “deplorable.” Nevertheless, it is the subsequent Democratic Presidents who are responsible for this situation today. The Democratic icon Bill Clinton was the first modern President who campaigned as a progressive leader but ruled as a Republican. Among his greatest crime against people were signing of the Telecommunication Act, dismantling of Glass-Steagall Act, signing of Trade agreement NAFTA, Welfare Reform etc.

If Bill Clinton was incidental in harming interest of the poor, his Democratic successor Barrack Obama was no better. Obama presided over the 2007-8 depression which was caused by the biggest financial irregularity by the big banks and the Wall Street investment farms, yet his Justice Department did not prosecute a single Wall Street official. He provided huge subsidy to the big banks while allowed millions of people to lose their houses because of their inability to pay their mortgages.

Barrack Obama campaigned with the promise to stop wars but once elected he sent more troops to Afghanistan, started new wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. He created an Affordable Care Act, only to serve the interest of the big insurance company. He had control of both the Senate and the house, yet, he declared he would not support a single payer option even before any negotiation started.

With the election of Donald Trump the rich had acquired total control of political machinery and the situation looks very bleak. They did not waste any time in proclaiming removal of regulations that keep the rich from totally going berserk, and started signing executive orders one after another. The Democratic leadership is appeasing the Republicans. Only a handful rebels from the Democratic Party are still fighting for the common people against all odds. Nevertheless, the future does not look promising, at least, not in the near future.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Shall American Muslims be Naturally Aligned with the Republican Party?

A statement is oft-repeated in pseudo intellectual discussions - in the United States the Muslims find their natural allies among the Republicans since both share conservative values. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Pseudo conservatism
Today’s Republicans do not practice conservatism; they routinely use that word to deceive unsuspecting masses. Mere attaching label of conservatism doesn’t make one conservative if it is not followed by action. Conservatism is a philosophy that urges one to conserve nature, tradition, values and culture. Modern Republicans are totally at odd with these principles. In practice, they don’t even pay lip service to preserving nature, anymore. They want to give free reign to industries to pollute. They want to disband EPA and do away with all regulations. They want to promote extreme right wing values totally in opposition to the core Christian teachings. Just last week the GOP House members met and conspired to abolish the independent ethics committee, so that no charge could be brought against them for unethical behavior. So much for principles! 

Environment and Community
GOP is the only political party in the developed world that does not believe in climate change. They have made it their sole objective to serve at the feet of the oligarchs in violation of all morals and scruples. Greed is their driving force and deception is their tool. They have no concern for the greater good of the community. Self-promotion and ‘profit making at any cost’ is their mantra.

Muslims on the other hand have community service ingrained in their religious diktat. Their religion encourages them to offer obligatory Friday prayer in a mosque. Purpose of this is to strengthen communal harmony, and extend bonding between members. After the prayer they are encouraged to mingle with their neighbors, find out if there are poor and needy among them, and then help those. 

The word ‘prayer’ is found 90 times in Quran; in most instances the word ‘prayer’ is accompanied by the word ‘charity’ in the same breadth, 71 times in total – such is the importance on charity the holy book reposes. A  Muslim’s duty to God is never complete unless the person practices generous charity; it is one of the fundamental pillars of his religion. Service to humanity and preservation of nature is his basic duty. 

Prophet Mohammad led by example, he was the supreme leader and had unbound power to control the wealth of his nation, yet, he lived practically a pauper. In life there were days when he remained hungry because he had given his last piece of bread away. In death he left practically no possession. 

Republican politicians (count 70% Democrats in the same bracket) live to usurp wealth of the middle class and other low income people at any cost; they want to take away the safety nets for the lowest of the lows. They dodge taxes, cut tax rates for the richest at every opportunity. They preach pulling oneself by one’s bootstraps, and then take the bootstraps away. They want to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP (food stamp) programs. They strive continually to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. This type of behavior is against the essential teachings of Islam. 

Prophet Mohammed had said – if needed one should travel to faraway China for learning (China was a distant land from Arabia in the 7th century). Following his instruction the Muslims invested in public education and ruled the world of science for the next few centuries. The Republicans on the other hand want to remove all government support for education; the GOP stalwart Reagan began defunding education and now it has reached its peak where the basic public education system has been weakened so much that the Asian countries lead in that field. 

Social values
Muslims erroneously think the Republicans’ religious stand on right to life, gay rights, transgender, and other minority folks make them conservative. They fail to understand that it’s the facade the Republicans hide under; there is no dearth of people among them who are practicing gays, or lesbians, and sex offenders. It is sad that great numbers of Muslim are misled by their spectacle, and lack the ability to dig deeper and examine the reality. 

Matthew 25 sums up the teaching of the New Testament: 

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,  naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’…

…He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ “

This teaching is shared by Islam as well, and a true Muslim must use this principle as his yard-stick and be guided by it.