ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘trump

Why so much attrition in the White House?

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AR-170729920.jpgI am not writing this from a partisan point of view and must be read in that spirit. There have been too many resignations and replacements in current White House administration. Lot has been attributed to President Trump and his reality show mindset. I beg to differ.

In light of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson getting replaced today, let’s try and assess the situation. As per reports Tillerson and Trump didn’t agree on Iran deal. While Trumps’ position on the deal is well known, Tillerson had an opposite view. Similar was the case with handling North Korea. And herein lies the real reason.

Most of the people who have left the White House or have been let go, they differed with President on matters about which Presidents position was widely known. And these people while accepting the job very well knew the policies that Trump campaigned for. Either they misled the President when they accepted the job on their own position or they remained quiet. Or President never asked them clearly.

Maybe they thought Trump will be a typical politician who will throw the campaign promises under the bus once elected.

Maybe it’s the President’s credibility issue. His appointees see him as an opportunist who didn’t mean what he campaigned for. And that they can impose their own ideologies.

With time President Trump will get smart and will appoint people who believe in him and his agenda (Good/Bad/Ugly). Sooner done the better. For so much upheaval does not augur well for the leader of the First World.

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Written by arpitgarg

March 14, 2018 at 4:25 am

Posted in Political

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Obama and Trump: Implementing each others agenda

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obama_trump.jpgFirst African-American President of United States, Barack Obama, will vacate office in Jan and Billionaire Donald Trump will take office. It is well documented that they are opposites when it comes to their electoral agenda. What I want to touch upon is something that is not discussed too often.

Democrats promote higher Govt. spending and immigrant reforms, while Republicans represent smaller Govt. and less immigration. But the problem is when you support certain position too openly, you get push-back. Obama faced a lot of resistance when it came to implementing his agenda. At the end, he couldn’t achieve what he wanted to in terms of medicare and public spending. What he achieved was deporting more immigrants than George Bush did. In the end he was able to implement the agenda of Republican Party more successfully than of his own Party.

I have similar prediction for Trump. At the end of his tenure, he might be able to do more on medicare and public spending than tightening immigration. He would be successful in implementing Democrats agenda more than Republicans. Begs the question why?

When you implement opposition’s agenda, you get their support. Your own party supports you anyways. But while implementing your own agenda, you don’t get opposition support. Hence the result.

Instead of shaping policy by legislation and bureaucracy, US Presidents most potent weapon has been appointing Supreme Court Justices. That is what guides the agenda and that is what defines the policy.

Written by arpitgarg

December 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Political

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Media bias and why it is bad

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media_bias.jpgIndia had its first brush with power of media with Jessica Lal murder case. Govt. and Courts buckled under media pressure. Public supported the campaign whole heartedly. The case had all the ingredients of a pot boiler made for television. It garnered TRP’s and served justice. A win-win.

Media backed Anna Hazare who shook the roots of Indian politics and gave us Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal’s anti-political diatribe was tailor made for claps and whistles. People lapped it up (at least those who could afford cable television), resulting in a resounding win.

Last half decade or so Arnab Goswami took media activism to another level, equalling US journalists. In US, journalism is too bi-partisan. Two major political parties reflecting two differing ideologies have their own propagandist media apparatus. Last decade or so has given India the same. Media, which used to be a stronghold of Congress, got rivals in BJP. Today the field looks evenly distributed.

But the bias in media has turned out to be bad for society. To be true, it’s not just the bias, but the biased people earning millions and prospering is what irks common man more. It’s not mere coincidence that oldest and largest democracies are headed today by individuals who rode the anti-media wave. Modi called media news-traders, his people called them presstitutes. Trump has called media all sorts of names.

6-8 years back, in India, media was this promising child with high credibility. Currently, it’s credibility is as bad as that of US media. Biased towards one side or the other.

Earlier media used to shape the politicians and politics worldwide. Nowadays politicians shape opinions about media. Ironical isn’t it? In India it would be a first in modern times that PM and Govt has more credibility than media. And it’s scary. I’ll tell you why.

Media is one branch which has the power to keep the legislative in check. It talks directly with public and informs them if executive is doing anything wrong. And public does the rest in the next election. The loss of credibility of media will hit this balance hard. With corporatization of media, the problem is bound to get much worse. Media bias is the new form of crony capitalism and quid pro quo. Scratch my bacl and get favorable coverage.

Whatsapp, facebook and youtube channels have come up as alternate media. They berate main stream media just like I have been doing through this post. Some like the_young_turks have got a huge following and along with that subscription money. It was nice initially but as the current US election showed they too became biased and carried out their own propaganda.

It’s very important for media to curb political leanings. If media persons want to be political activists, it’s their right but they should quit the profession first. If they can’t curb this inherent bias, they should not go on air. Rise of fascism is preceded by a biased media!

Written by arpitgarg

November 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm

The Era of Right Wing Populists

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trump_modi.jpgSometime back I called the current decade as the decade of right wing, across the globe. From Japan to India to US. But I would like to add a bit to my stance. It’s the era of right wing populists. Normally right wing politicians are known for fiscal control and anti-populism. The current crop of leaders from Abe to Modi to Trump are from right wing parties but the leaders themselves are populists. This mix of right wing and populism has lefts and liberals in a lurch.

What is to come in future is something to be seen, but I see some good at present. They are beyond the classical mold of right or left. Their parties are right but they themselves have no clear ideologies. They all like claps from the audience, hence populists. They shed the hardline approach of their parties and tread a middle path.

What this has done is broken the barriers. For long politicians in democracies has reaped benefits of a divided electorate. Liberals and Conservatives in US, Nationalists and Seculars in India. Political class likes to keep the people divided in these artificial silos. This fight helps them get elected over and ove. Due to this the Gandhi dynasty in India has prospered and so did Bush/Clinton dynasties in the West.

Modi and Trump, controversial figures in themselves have made people realize this division and how political class has benefitted from it. Don’t get me wrong, in destroying these old barriers, they have created their own. Hindus/Muslims in India to Black/Whites in US. We will have to wait and watch how it evolves.

Next question is, how does the right wing populism pan out. These leaders, since hard liners are able to take decisions which liberal/secular Govt. would never have taken. Currency ban in India to potential poll promises of Trump. In a sense right wing populists are able to take tough decisions. And it’s the decisiveness that people cherishes in them. In itself these leaders are tainted. But in toto they do what none dares.

As with other things, the effects of this right wing populist wave will be evident 10-15 years down the line. Maybe good, maybe bad. Currently we are in a transition era which comes once in a lifetime.

Written by arpitgarg

November 25, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Political

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Cruz v/s Bernie: Who helped Whom

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us_elections.jpgMy last week’s analysis of Ted Cruz’s speech would be incomplete without mentioning Bernie’s speech at DNC. Bernie Sanders has been one politician who has got a lot of love from a lot of people. In college campuses across US, he is a like a human cult. It was a change in American people who have been perceived around the world as capitalists. A socialist getting so much support in US showed the world that socialism as a phenomenon still packs a punch or two.

Quick to the comparison between the stance taken by Bernie and Cruz and it’s ramifications to the party nominee’s chances coming November. Ted Cruz was jeered off the stage and was regarded by overwhelming Republicans as selfish person preparing for his own 2020 bid. When he suggested ‘vote your conscience’, which had undertones of helping Hillary to win, it enraged Republicans, who have nothing but hatred for Hillary. His action solidified support behind Trump, who was the last man standing against Hillary Clinton. It looked like other elite Republicans were not repugnant to Hillary becoming President. This consolidated Republican base around Trump. Some suggest that this might even solidify anti-Hillary base around him. We know it includes pro-Bernie crowd.

Now to Bernie Sanders. Honorable man that he is, he decided to keep his pledge and support Hilary Clinton even when it became evident that Democratic Party worked in tandem with Hillary to rig the race. Chaos on convention floor suggested that his followers haven’t taken to this idea. They feel it’s a sellout. Supporting her without showing a ‘pinch of salt’ has been a setback to the young people who have been part of heated debates as to why Hillary is bad and Bernie is good. All those people are left as sitting ducks.

It seems Ted Cruz rejection was a better idea than Bernie’e endorsement. Maybe Bernie’s rejection would have helped Hillary as it would have solidified anti-Trump base behind her. For it to have happened Bernie should have come out as a bad and selfish person. However he came out as a weak leader who is too tired to fight and who is ready to abandon the ship.

Difference lies in the supporters. Cruz and Trump had two things in common. First they both wanted to defeat Hillary. Second they both were anti-establishment. Now that Cruz looks ‘not opposed’ to Hillary to keep his hope for 2020 bid intact, it’s easy for his supporters to move to Trump since Trump is also anti-establishment and is the only person who wants to defeat Hillary.

On the other hand Bernie and Hillary supporters were opposites. One were anti-establishment, other were pro-establishment. It’s right they both hated Trump, but Bernie hasn’t done a Cruz to give his supporters a reason to support Hillary. By endorsing Hillary so wholeheartedly, he has in fact endorsed the power of Big Money. It’s like a win for the establishment, what he fought against.

This has lost him a lot of fans just like Cruz lost a lot of his supporters. But the difference is Cruz people solidified against another anti-establishment Trump. It doesn’t seem to be happening for pro-establishment Hillary.

Written by arpitgarg

July 27, 2016 at 3:18 am

Posted in Political

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Britain’s moment of Trump(h)

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trump_britain.jpgBritain has voted for exiting the European Union putting to rest months of uncertainty and leading the global economy towards unchartered territory.

A lot was said as to how bad Brexit would be for UK economy and UK political standing. People campaigning for Leave were termed racists, xenophobic and what not. Still people decided to leave. Just as we did not ask when Trump won Republican Primary, we are still not asking the right questions. I see a lot of analysts and pundits calling it a dark day and a bug loss for humanity. Seriously? People of a nation determining their future, if that is a black day, then something wrong with the analysis.

Those who wanted to Remain and a huge number of them, have to introspect why they lost. No point blaming the other side. Why was it that people chose to leave? To understand that well off ones have to come out of their palaces. This includes media pundits. Stop demonizing the poor’s as racists. These people want jobs, security. Why call them xenophobic?

How I read this outcome is, majority of population have been left behind. Majority of population has not benefitted from European Union. A lot of them have benefitted and it is evident from 52-48 split. But the majority has been left behind and ignored. When they raise voices, they were called bad names. Hence they took matter to the ballot.

Same happened in case of Trump. He invigorated the silent majority. People who have been left far behind. People who were at the fag end of economic spectrum. People who have gained nothing for decades. I felt bad when Trump voters were demonized as racists in the similar way. Pundits could have called Trump a racist, but calling the voters names was outright wrong.

Now is the time for course correction. Its up to the 48% people now. Do they want to take 52% along towards prosperity or not? Further alienation and subjugation might lead to much worse consequences. I am not much too happy with Brexit myself. But will be happy if this is taken as a sign to stop taking the bourgeois for granted.

Written by arpitgarg

June 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm

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Hillary vs Obama

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hillary_obama.jpgNow that it is evident that Hillary and Trump will clash off this Nov to be the leader of the free world, the analysis have started. With #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary doing rounds and un-favorability ratings of both candidates huge, this is going to be an election beyond compare. Today I want to concentrate on Hillary. Let’s try and see how 2008 and 2016 are different for Democrats.

Just like 2016, 2008 too was an uprising against the status quo. Higher unemployment, never ending wars and crippled economy motivated voters to choose an outsider. While Obama was the disruptor, McCain represented the continuum.

Coming to the 2008 Democrat primaries, initially the super delegates were with the Hillary, just like this time. Obama channeled the young voters and forced the party to toe the line. Eventually his 4% margin in primaries forced super delegates to jump the ship.

This time round the youth is with Bernie. Hillary has benefitted with initial momentum and lack of early awareness about Bernie. As months have passed more and more people have come to know Bernie and things have changed for him. However Hillary has been supported by African Americans and Latinos big time. But the main problem is youth. They are not with Hillary.

This is what makes 2008 different from 2016. Last time young voters propelled Obama and party fell in line. This time party has propelled Hillary and it wants young voters to fall in line. I am not trying to take away anything from the lead Clinton has across other voter categories. It’s just that youth represent the future of any movement. Also youth are the ones which resulted in huge voter turnout in 2008. Going by Democrat primaries, there is a question mark over quantum of Democrat voter participation in Nov 2016.

While Trump is plagued with issues of his own making, Hillary is plagued with the magic of Bernie. How the General Election pans out is anybody’s guess. One thing is clear, Hillary is no Obama.

Written by arpitgarg

May 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Political

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