ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘USA

What happened was unfortunate, But Why demonize US?

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india_us.jpgIt’s a matter of sadness that an Indian techie was shot dead in Kansas US, but what I have been seeing of late is a lesson in morality being taught to America by the whole world. Frankly I don’t understand why? First of all the countries which are teaching it, should look at their own minority rights history before pointing fingers.

What is not being highlighted in media is the outpouring of support across US for the techie and his family. Americans have donated whole heartedly for the families’ welfare fund. As I see, American people has been more than welcoming to the immigrants from this side of the world, more than any other country. And what we are doing after a few unfortunate incidents is to demonize them.

For our country where even today, dowry killing and honor killings are rampant, it’s quite rich to preach. Preach to a country which has always welcomed immigrants from all parts of the world.

I would suggest Indian immigrants in US, instead of sending money back to India and buying properties left right and center here, invest in the future of country of your work. Come together and create employments there. Don’t alienate the people there by secluding yourself. Embrace the culture and the society.

Most important of all, consider yourself one of them.

Written by arpitgarg

March 4, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Posted in General/Society

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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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Donald Trump: Why pollsters got it wrong

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poll_wrong.jpgPolling (just like risk calculation in businesses) is as much a mathematical calculation as it is an art. You need to have the sense that few have to get it right. In last 10 years or so, it has become more of mathematical model than anytime before. Just like the 2007-09 financial crisis which brought to fore risk calculation model errors, similarly the current election result has brought to notice the polling model errors.

Trump campaign used to attack polls as fake and political hit jobs regularly. For my analysis I want to assume the intentions behind polls were pure. So why did they get it so wrong, barring a couple of polls (which can be owed to chance). I believe the polls had severe model errors, which didn’t took into account a lot of factors.

Just like 2007-09 when polls failed to take into account correlation risk across geographies, the polls failed to take into account the anger among the electorate. Also Trump was a new phenomenon, who was not someone one would like to say one likes, but was bang on message and policies. That created shy voters who did not admit to pollsters they were voting for Trump.

Polls also failed to take into account the contempt the main stream media had for Trump. So much so that anyone saying he/she supported Trump was bashed not just on social media but by mainstream media pundits too for being a bigot. I remember one of the Kardashians had to roll back on her comment of voting for Trump after the backlash. Would she have voted for Clinton? I very much doubt so. When bashing of a candidate becomes an acceptable thing and anyone supporting him is touted as a bad person by responsible people in media, it becomes difficult for one to admit the support anymore.

The anger, the shyness gave rise to the errors in legacy polling methods.

What polls also failed to take into account was the contempt for the media. Gallup poll which has tracked trust in media for last 40 years or so, found the trust to be the lowest in 2016. Two-thirds don’t trust media. And that same distrusting media was out to get Trump in full force. Media distrust fueled Trump support.

All these factors have to be modeled into polling methodology in future. The change election with a flawed candidate with an appealing message, the anger in the populace, the creation of shy voters and the bias in the media were few of the factors that broke the polls this year.

Hope the pollsters learn from these errors and evolve for better.

Written by arpitgarg

November 9, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Media, Political

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Why US Elections make me sad: And no it’s not about Trump

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money_politics.jpegElections in world’s oldest democracy and the leader of the free world should have been about all that is good about Democracy. It should have been a showcase to world which can influence non-Democracies to become one. However I am afraid to say US elections make me sad. I’ll tell you why.

The debate should have been about the candidates, the policies, what they can do or not. However I see the media discourse about who is raising how much money. Money, which should have been abhorrent when associated with a candidate, is being considered a virtue. The liberal media is celebrating the candidate who gets more money out of the wealthy donors, the Oligarchs.

Consider the headline on CNN, “Clinton burying Trump: $42 million to $1.3 million”. It reeks of a feeling that a candidate with more money is more virtuous. And this makes me real sad. It feels the real purpose of democracy has gone lost. Each person, rich or poor, was to have equal say. However a donation by rich, which is then used to influence other voters, makes the voice skewed. Rich has more voice even in elections. I am sure if Trump had raised more money, the headlines would have been is his favor. It’s not just CNN, its all media. In fact it’s a general sense.

Whole concept of democracy has become a sham. In the world’s largest democracy, India, it is even a bigger sham. Billions of dollars of black money is spent during General elections. It’s akin to buying votes.

So much money in politics and its naked celebration by media makes me sick. Makes me wonder, where did it all go wrong?

Written by arpitgarg

July 16, 2016 at 7:47 pm

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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Why media got Trump prediction wrong?

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trump_media.jpgSince Trump started topping polls and started winning primaries, media pundits are having a hard time explaining why they got predictions so wrong. It’s not an easy thing to introspect about ones failures. Most in media are passing through the same phase. They are blaming Trump voters, calling them angry, bigots and every name under the sun. Few have admitted they were wrong in their analysis. Still they are not ready to admit as to why they went wrong. Let me do it for them.

They were wrong as they were not impartial. They were wrong as they analyzed from studios. They were wrong as they were disconnected from public. They were wrong as their fat paychecks plugged their ears from the pain of the common man. They were wrong as they had a secure job, nice house and were paid for by those in power. They were wrong as the media houses they worked for and swore allegiance to, are owned by same elites who own politicians via campaign funds. More importantly they were wrong as they reported what they wanted to be true, not what was indeed true.

When polls started coming late last year, many in media knew that Trump had a solid chance. But they wrote otherwise. They wrote what they wished to be true. They wished Trump was not the nominee. Had they done unbiased analysis, they would have known the Truth, which was so evident.

Most of the Pundits are paid for by big business houses. Anything coming out of their mouths is thus tainted. They never say what they feel, they say what pays. Hence the disconnect.

Whether Trump will be a good nominee or a bad nominee, only time will tell. But to have said that he had no chance just coz they wanted him not to be a nominee, is where media went wrong. It’s time for biasness in media to go away or else people will force the exiting media to go away.

Written by arpitgarg

May 1, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Study in US: A new Reality

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I was talking to few of my friends who are pursuing Phd from US or have applied this year. The number of calls has become less with surprising number of rejects coming in. The situation seems grim.

Let me explain a bit. Every year Indian students apply for MS (Masters)/Phd in foreign universities (prominently US). Seats are offered to select students, often with scholarships. In case of IIT students, mostly, entire tuition fees is remitted. They are also paid stipend based on TA (Teaching Assistant) and RA (Research Assistant) work they do.

Due to the recession in recent times, universities have to cope up with reduced federal and private funding. They are no longer able to support large number of scholarship students. Coupled with the new protectionist approach of US, immigrant students feel no longer welcome, the way they were some time back.

Students need to submit a SOP (Statement Of Purpose) letter along with their admission form. They explain their education, expertise, research preference and the need for scholarship. I have seen a number of SOP’s and the end paragraph is full of blatant begs. “Coming from a poor country…I don’t have means to sustain the education fees…I am from an underdeveloped part of the world”, and more such lines.

For those who might consider me a skeptic, I want to stress that its not like a one way street. Universities also get to choose brilliant students who do research work ample times more than the money invested in. There is another side to it too. A bit harsh though.

The funda of scholarships was based on uplifting the poor. India was always perceived as full of talent. “The students don’t have money but they are brilliant, let’s help them and our research will prosper in return.” During last 25 years or so we have seen some path breaking work done by Indians in the US.

Past 5-10 years or so have seen an unparalleled growth in India. A new kind of generation has arrived which takes a new sense of pride in its country. No ruing the administration but striving towards change. This generation is Globally aware. Studying in US or going to London for a holiday is no longer the ultimate dream. The quantum of this generation is less but the impact is huge. This generation has IPL, the multi billion dollar cricket league, it stands up against racism in Australia, it voices against Ganesha on Chappals.

Here comes the catch. We no longer consider ourselves inferior. We have bred an arrogance on the likes of US, UK and Aus. Still we continue with the same set of SOP’s. How long can this work?

Lets see from the point of view of US citizens. They see Mumbai. They see Indians standing up for themselves. It is difficult for their Govt to explain spending money on students from such  a rapidly growing economy. There is also a lesser moral satisfaction to this philanthropic deed. Would be logical if they moved to poorer countries of Africa. Indians are also waking up to this new reality. I have seen a lot of people now applying for MS/Phd procuring bank loans.

Growth is restrained by this logical tool. The more you grow, the lesser is the growth rate, coz the competition is higher at the top, where the charity stops.

IPL: Who said what, The truth

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PC: Our Government is too afraid to give go ahead to IPL. Internal security, well it’s a thing of the past. Terrorist attack during IPL can cost us elections. I have been playing this cat and mouse to irritate the organizers. But these guys are too good for that and have been coming up with one schedule after another. Like I care.

Jaitley: Had we been at the Centre, we too would have done the same. But why let this opportunity to nail Congress go away.

Shashank Manohar: We have long been the pawn between the Centre and the State. We know that Govt won’t give the permission. We don’t want to waste any more time. We have a task in hand to make money. Let us concentrate on that.

Lalit Modi: I haven’t slept for over a month now. My hair look scary. My eyes look scary. My only wish was to be the strongest man in Cricket. That I am. Now to sustain that I want IPL to happen. I just wish it happens in India coz here the costs are low and I can make more money.

Security Forces: We don’t have modern equipments. We don’t have necessary man power. We don’t have guns. We don’t have ammunition. We haven’t received any credible intelligence report for long. We know we would be blamed if anything happens. Yet we are ready to give it our best. Last time when we went to save Taj, we were surprised the Durbaan didn’t stop us at the gate. I remember once going there with my family. The Durbaan didn’t let us in, sensing that we don’t have enough money. When would we be paid well, to be able to dine at Taj not die at Taj.

CPI-CPM: Blame govt, blame BJP, blame media, blame USA, blame pakistan, blame blame blame…blam blam blam…bla bla bla.

Rahul Gandhi: IPL should happen in India. It is a matter of national prestige.
Sonia Gandhi: Hush…hush.  When will this child grow up. I am just fed up of him.

Manmohan Singh: I am coming straight from the operation theatre. I haven’t asked Soniyaji what to speak. Soniaji, Soniaji. Where is Soniaji?

Narendra Modi: Make me PM if you want IPL in India. If there would be no Indian Premier League (IPL), I promise you we won’t let Pakistan Premier League (PPL) to take place ever. I have decided to launch my own IPL team, Rama: The Saviours.

Pakistan: Welcome to the family. After such a long time, we stand united.

Common Man: Wow what a month. News channels kept me entertained.

Why fear when Obama is here

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Obama! Obama! Obama! This man has been all over for a good two years now. Be it television, news papers or just the talk round the corner. It seems as if no one has anything better to do. Obama keeps a Hanuman with him, Obama lived in Pakistan, Obama has a brother in Africa. Obama this, Obama that. I am simply fed up.

Our national news channels have portrayed Obama as the savior of mankind. As if he is not just the President of United States but of the entire world. Everyone loves Obama talk, his vision, his speech and his charisma. Obama is being seen as once and for all solution to the problems of one and all. So much so that a kid in my locality is quite sure of getting good marks in exams this year now that Obama is the President of US. My colleagues at office, who till now were weary of the financial depression, are looking up. Its like, “Why fear when Obama is here”.

A news channel went as far as comparing Dhoni with Obama. Apparently they both share a desire to win, flamboyancy and a never say die attitude. It went further to comment that both Dhoni and Obama looked similar when in white clothes. It looks as if everyone is enjoying his own bit of Obama. There was a discussion that the “New Leader”, predicted by Nostradamus, has arrived in the name of Obama. I have had it from this Nostradamus guy. Every year the book fattens. Can somebody please decipher what he predicted earlier than when it actually happens?

I sincerely hope, now that he has become the President, he would be busier in running the nation and we would be spared, him all the time on television. I read his book, “The Audacity of Hope”. Regardless of my being fed up with his face, I really liked the guy. I mean it really require some guts to joke about the rhyming of one’s name with Osama. He himself writes that people considered his political career all but over when the two planes crashed into the twin towers. Let me add something to all the hoopla surrounding Obama. I really admired the honesty in his writings, just like the one which was found in My Experiments with Truth and one which seemed missing in the recent writings from senior political leaders.

Written by arpitgarg

January 22, 2009 at 11:49 am

Bush Shoed: Why does nobody care?

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The President of the world’s strongest democracy; the leader of the free world; one who could demolish the whole world. I am talking about none other than George Bush. Amidst the election campaign and following elections in US, it struck me how politically irrelevant Bush has become today. He has become a bit dormant of late. Gone are the animated speeches, war on terror talks and all those gimmicks. Republicans might have forced him to become mellow, keeping anti-Bush sentiments in mind.

His irrelevancy became all more relevant when an Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at him. I mean come on; a President being thrown a shoe at should/would have evoked sharp feelings among the people. I don’t see much of such reactions, at least neither in the news nor on the blogosphere. Americans seem to have moved on. For them Obama is their man Friday.

What struck me is the fallibility of human being. Some 6 years ago, who would have thought that anyone, leave alone a Muslim would be able to throw a shoe at the President of USA. I read in an article that throwing a shoe is the ultimate insult in the Arab world. Was this anger and insult against President of USA or George Bush? Would Obama also be subjected to the similar treat? Let’s wait and watch. A person, however powerful he may be, has a particular shelf life. This is the biggest strength of nature against us humans. Everyone die one day. Bush era is over in US, so much so that people don’t even care anymore if he is shoed at. At least, not much. As for rest of the world and also liberals among the United States, we can surmise the reaction as, “Usne kaam toh Joote khane waala hi kiya tha”.

Written by arpitgarg

December 16, 2008 at 9:39 am

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