This blog will chronicle my comments and other critical articles, cartoons and videos. Time has come for us to put America first and Party 2nd. This page will have the good, bad and ugly of Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians alike, but will always offer pluralistic solutions effective June 8, 2012

Sunday, October 25, 2020

A tale of three demagogues – and why Modi is the most dangerous to his country

It is a good analysis by Ramachandra Guha 

Ramachandra Guha: A tale of three demagogues – and why Modi is the most dangerous to his country

All demagogues are bad for democracy, but some are worse than others.

Courtesy of

Four years ago, as the last American presidential elections were being held, I was asked to chair a talk in Bengaluru by Strobe Talbott. At that time the head of the well-known Washington think-tank, the Brookings Institution, Talbott had previously served as deputy secretary of state in the administration of President Bill Clinton. In that capacity, he had played a crucial role in tilting America’s policy away from its traditional bias in favour of Pakistan towards a position more congenial to the interests of India.

The talk of Strobe Talbott’s that I was scheduled to chair was to be held in the third week of November 2016. By then the presidential elections would be over. Hillary Clinton was the favourite to win. In the event she lost and, instead of coming to Bengaluru in a mood of jubilant anticipation, Talbott arrived looking (and feeling) utterly crushed. In our conversation before the talk he spoke bitterly about the fact that a pathological liar had befooled the American electorate. I agreed with Talbott that Donald Trump had told a lot of lies during his campaign. But, I said, he did utter, again and again, two words that were true. These were “Crooked Hillary”.

Donald Trump had portrayed Hillary Clinton as the quintessential Washington insider, her past record replete with instances of networks used and abused, favours given and received. Four years later the situation is very different. It is now Trump who looks corrupt and compromised, as well as inefficient and incompetent. His gross mishandling of the pandemic has exposed his administrative weaknesses, while the evasiveness about his tax returns has cast doubt on his integrity as well.

His abusive and misogynist ways have alienated a large number of women who voted for him in 2016. By just appearing to be a plain, decent man, one who will listen to the experts rather than foist his own nutty views on public policy, Joe Biden is (at the time of writing) the clear front runner in the race to be the next president of the United States of America.

A vain demagogue

Democracies are meant to be governed in a collegial and collaborative manner. Donald Trump, however, is a vain demagogue, interested only in publicity and self-promotion. To be sure, there have been charismatic American presidents before, who presented themselves as larger than their office. They have included such figures as John F Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt in the 20th century, and Andrew Jackson in the 19th century. Yet none of them remotely approached Trump in their self-love.

If Trump has not done more damage than he has, that is largely due to the resilience and inner strength of American institutions. The media, the universities, the defence establishment, the scientific community have by and large maintained their integrity. They have all pushed back, albeit with varying degrees of success, against his attempts to control and manipulate them to fulfil his own personal agenda. If Trump were to be defeated by Biden next month, then these institutions will all play a vital role in rebuilding America, in helping it heal the wounds within as well as in constructively reasserting its role in the world.

Narendra Modi and Donald Trump in Ahmedabad in February. Credit: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

Like the world’s richest democracy, the world’s oldest democracy, the United Kingdom, is also governed by a self-obsessed demagogue. Boris Johnson’s path to power was not dissimilar to Trump’s. Within his own party, he was seen as a dashing alternative to the dull, staid figure of Theresa May. The Conservatives won the general elections of 2019 in part because of the wit and intelligence of their leader and because his rival, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party, was seen by many voters as a dogmatic (as well as humourless) socialist absolutely unfit to run the government.

Compared to Donald Trump, Boris Johnson is perhaps more maverick than malign, an ambitious opportunist rather than a proto-racist with autocratic tendencies. It took the last year of Trump’s term for his weaknesses to be exposed; whereas the turning of the public mood away from Johnson has come rather sooner. His attitude towards the pandemic and the Brexit endgame has shown him to be more an incompetent bungler than a fascist-in-the-making.

Meanwhile, Labour, having dumped Corbyn for a leader with greater intelligence and administrative ability, has also weakened the prime minister’s case. An increasing number of British voters now see Keir Starmer in more favourable terms than they ever saw Jeremy Corbyn. Within his own Conservative Party, there are those who say that the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is more fit for the office of prime minister than Johnson himself.

Degraded by not destroyed

The next general election in Britain is three-and-a-half years away. Johnson being defenestrated by his party even before then remains a distinct possibility. But, as with Trump, whenever he goes, the damage he has done will be undone by the institutions he has degraded but not destroyed – such as the Parliament, the courts and, not least, the media. Indeed, for all his faults and fraudulent behaviour, history may judge that it was David Cameron who, by calling for a referendum on Brexit when one was not needed, hurt the UK far more than Johnson.

Since 2016, the world’s richest democracy has been sought to be run into the ground by a demagogue. Meanwhile, the world’s oldest democracy is also currently misgoverned by a demagogue. So we come, finally and inevitably, to the world’s largest and most populous democracy, our own. Narendra Modi came to power two-and-a-half years before Trump; and a full five years before Johnson. He, too, is a demagogue, a politician who thinks he is bigger than his party and his government, and who will not shrink from using deceit and falsehood in order to consolidate his power.

There are some ways in which Modi is similar to Trump and Johnson, but there may be more ways in which he is different. For one thing, he has been a full-time politician for far longer than they, with much greater experience of how to manipulate public institutions to serve his own purposes. Second, he is far more committed to his ideology than Trump and Johnson are to theirs. He lives and embodies Hindu majoritarianism in a much fuller (and hence more dangerous) manner than Trump lives white supremacy or Johnson embodies xenophobic Little Englandism. Third, in the enactment and fulfilment of his ideological dream, Modi has as his instrument the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, whose organisational strength and capacity for resource mobilisation far exceeds any right-wing organisation in the US or the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson and Narenda Modi in 2017. Credit: @PMOIndia

There is a final reason why Modi is more dangerous to the interests of his country than Trump and Johnson are to theirs. This is that the institutions of Indian democracy are so much weaker. Trump cannot command the Federal Bureau of Investigation to do his bidding, whereas Modi can direct our tax authorities and investigative agencies to do his. Sections of our judiciary seem to have lost their nerve; large sections of our media have certainly lost their spine. They are unwilling, or unable, to keep the prime minister in check, to hold him accountable for his errors and his excesses.

In his desire to extend his lease on power, Narendra Modi is also much luckier than either Donald Trump or Boris Johnson. His luck lies in the unchanging nature of his Opposition. Trump will certainly find it far more difficult to defeat Joe Biden than he did Hillary Clinton. Keir Starmer is a more credible challenger to Johnson than Jeremy Corbyn ever was.

On the other hand, despite suffering two humiliating defeats in the general elections of 2014 and 2019, despite the burden of nepotism and inexperience that he carries, and despite even his failure to retain the family pocket borough of Amethi, Rahul Gandhi is still being presented by the Congress as the prime ministerial alternative to Narendra Modi in 2024.

All demagogues are bad for democracy, but some demagogues are worse than others. If Donald Trump loses next month, America may recover relatively soon from his depredations. Great Britain was shrinking into itself even before Boris Johnson became prime minister; his impact on the history of his country will turn out to be relatively negligible. However, the destruction that Narendra Modi can wreak, indeed has already wreaked, on Indian democracy is immense. It will take decades to repair.

Ramachandra Guha is the author most recently of Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World.

This article first appeared in The Telegraph.

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Friday, October 23, 2020

Presidential Debate Biden V Trump

 Debate night Thursday, October 22, 2020


Disclosure: I am not a Republican or a Democrat, I am an Independent voter.

I would say, the debate was good.
Trump was worked up, Joe was calm.
Trump was a good attack dog.

Trump interrupted so many times.
Joe should have shot him “Man, learn to listen, and follow the rules.”
Kristen did not control Trump! She should have asked him to shut up.
Finally, she got some control of about 15 minutes before closing.

Biden was weak in responding to the question, why did you not do it (criminal reforms).

Trump said 3 Million people would have been dead, he saved so many lives
Biden should have shot him, why don’t you say 330 Million Americans were saved?

Biden was good, when he said, “we are learning to die with it” when Trump said, “We are learning to live with it.”

Biden – I am the president for the United States, and not for Red or Blue States
Trump knew about the pandemic in January but did not tell the truth to the Americans.

Trump said, he has paid tens of millions in Taxes
Biden missed the opportunity to repeat to present the Tax returns

Trump lied that the FBI had the Taxes
Kristen did not question him, nor did Biden

Trump had some positive points about race relations over Biden
Trump said he is reuniting children – really for 3+years?

Joe was good on the oil industry in Delaware

Trump said he will present the taxes – really? BS for four years now  Kristen should have asked Trump; would you say the same thing tomorrow?

Joe had the best closing statement, Trump bungled up.

Mike Ghouse

Zakaria - I was wrong that Trump would lose in 2016. I’m doubling down in 2020.

 This is a bold piece by Fareed Zakaria. we will share both Republican and Democrat-leaning posts here.  Mike Ghouse

Courtesy of Washington Post 

Oct. 22, 2020, at 6:25 p.m. EDT
Add to list

In 2016, I was one of those people who didn’t think Donald Trump could win the presidency. Like many, I studied the polls and believed they showed a comfortable margin voting against him. I thought people would see through him. He was just too weird, too vulgar, utterly ignorant about most policy issues, and pathologically incapable of telling the truth, even about trivial things. During the 2016 campaign, for example, he claimed that he had met Vladimir Putin, something that was easy to disprove.

But I think what convinced me most that Trump would lose was that I believed in a different America. Trump had catapulted himself onto the political stage with birtherism — a shameless effort to exploit White prejudice against the first Black president, Barack Obama. Trump announced his campaign for the White House by making slurs against Mexicans. He proposed a “total and complete shutdown” of the nation’s borders to all Muslims from anywhere in the world. Throughout the campaign, his rhetoric toward foreigners and minorities was insulting.

I didn’t believe Americans would go for this. I arrived in the United States in 1982, in the midst of a deep recession, as a brown-skinned student on a scholarship with a strange name, no money and no contacts. I found a country that welcomed me with open arms. I still remember being stunned at how friendly and genuinely warm people were to me. I had been more aware of being Muslim in India than I was in America.

Perhaps I lived a sheltered life in New England college towns and New York City, but I saw very little of Trump’s brand of naked racism. I knew that it existed, of course, had read about it in books and newspapers, seen it on television and in movies, but I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of the phenomenon. So I placed less weight on the evidence for Trump’s victory than I should have. I simply couldn’t believe someone with his racially charged worldview could win over the nation.

And here’s the thing: I still don’t. First, many Americans voted for Trump despite his race-baiting, not because of it. But more important, a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump and have for almost his entire presidency. His average approval rating throughout his term is the lowest of any president since we started counting. As the New York Times’s Nate Cohn has said, Trump’s luck was that he ran against the second-most unpopular presidential candidate in modern American history (after him). Because of the electoral college and small margins in three states, he was able to capture the White House.

There are parts of Trump’s coalition who are anxious about the country’s future — and their own place in it — and are thus susceptible to the snake oil being peddled by a clever salesman. The United States is changing. If you consider the core of Trump’s support — Whites without a college degree — you see that they are shrinking as a share of the adult population. If you take the core of Joe Biden’s support — Whites with a college degree and minorities — they are growing in even greater measure. The New York Times analyzed the data and found that in Florida, the core Trump voting bloc of non-college-educated Whites has fallen by 359,000 since 2016, while the Biden coalition has grown by 1,579,000 people. In Pennsylvania, Trump’s base shrank by 431,000, while Biden’s grew by 449,000.

If Biden wins, his challenge will be to make all Americans understand that the country has always been a grand experiment, an attempt to create the first universal nation. Today, living up to that ideal means embracing all kinds of people — Black and White, native-born and immigrant, gay and straight, and many more. It’s a messy process, and it can seem disruptive and disorderly. It sometimes gets bogged down in squabbles over terminology and political correctness. But it is all part of a noble effort to ensure that everyone in this country finally feels they are included in the American Dream. Ever since the nation’s birth, it has gradually expanded the idea of liberty and democracy, making America great by surging forward into the future rather than lapsing back into nostalgia for the past.

Meanwhile, I will take my chances and once again predict that Trump will lose this election. Humbled as I am after these four years, I would still rather bet on — and believe in — the best in America.

Read more:

Fareed Zakaria writes a foreign affairs column for The Post. He is also the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS and a contributing editor for the Atlantic. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Biden Finally Gets it

The article is at

 "Now, he is launching direct appeals to working-class whites, particularly those who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but shifted to Trump in 2016. “A lot of white working-class Democrats thought we forgot them and didn’t pay attention,” Biden told reporters during a visit to Pennsylvania this month. “I want them to know . . . I get it. I get their sense of being left behind.”

Indeed, Hillary's biggest mistake was that - she did not appeal to the white voters. 

I wrote a speech for Hillary Clinton, here it is,  "I am committed to restoring justice to my fellow Americans who lost their jobs in manufacturing, to fellow Americans who live on farms, to fellow Americans who do not have an education or technical skills, to men and women who are plumbers, electricians, repairmen, drivers, janitors, and small business owners, and taking care of them is a priority of my administration. We will restore our glory days, and in the end, no American will be left out. " 

Here is the link for the full speech

Mike Ghouse

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A record number of Indian Americans look to expand influence in US administration

 By Dr. Frank Islam 

Courtesy - South Asia Monitor 

The Indian American community has propelled its way to relevance in American politics over the past two decades. The representation of the community has increased at every level with each election cycle, writes Frank F. Islam for South Asia Monitor

Much of the focus of the US election coverage in the Indian and Indian American media has been about how both presidential nominees, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, have been courting Indian American voters. A less written about the fact is there are dozens of Indian American candidates in this election cycle running for federal, state, and local offices.

If Joe Biden defeats President Trump in November, Senator Kamala Harris will be leaving the Senate to serve as the Vice President of the United States.

Indian Americans a rising political force

But that will probably not end the Indian American representation in the US Senate next January. 

Democrat Sara Gideon, who is half Indian American, like Harris, has an excellent chance of ousting incumbent Senator Susan Collins in Maine. Gideon, Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, currently leads Collins, one of the most endangered GOP (Grand Old Party) senators by 6.5 percentage points in RealClearPolitics average of polls.


Gideon is not the only Indian American on the ballot for US Senate this November. Republican Rik Mehta, a biotech entrepreneur, and lawyer, is taking on Senator Cory Booker in New Jersey. Mehta is a heavy underdog against Booker, a popular senator, and former presidential candidate.  His candidacy, however, indicates the rising importance of Indian Americans in the electoral process.

In the US Congress, four Indian American members are seeking re-election - Representatives Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi - they are expected to retain their seats. 

Two Democrats, Sri Kulkarni in Texas and Hiral Tipirneni, in Arizona, are in tight congressional races, each vying to become the first Indian American to get elected from their respective state.

Kulkarni, a former US diplomat, is running for the 22nd congressional district in Texas, which is an open seat in suburban Houston. Two years ago, he narrowly lost the district to the Republican incumbent, who is retiring from the House at the end of this year. 

Tipirneni, a medical doctor, is similarly engaged in a competitive race in Arizona’s 6th district. Like Kulkarni, she made an unsuccessful run two years ago. 

According to the Cook Political Report, an independent group that rates various races, both districts are toss-ups.  This means that they are highly competitive contests in which any candidate can win.

Rise of Indian Americans in public offices

For further proof of the coming of age of the Indian American community in electoral politics, one doesn’t need to go beyond Tipirneni’s district. The candidate the Mumbai-born doctor defeated to win her party’s nomination was also an Indian American, Anita Malik. 


At the state level, more than half a dozen Indian American state lawmakers across the country are seeking re-election. 

They include - New York Sen. Kevin Thomas, Washington State Sen. Manka Dhingra, North Carolina Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, Vermont Sen. Kesha Ram, Washington State Rep. Vandana Slatter, Kentucky Rep. Nima Kulkarni, Michigan Rep. Padma Kuppa and Arizona Rep. Amish Shah. All these legislators are Democrats.

In Ohio, Republican Niraj Antani, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014, at the age of 23, is running for the state senate, and is expected to win.

Additionally, more than half a dozen Indian Americans are seeking positions in various statehouses. Some of them, such as Jeremy Cooney, a candidate for the New York state senate, are veterans of previous races. Others are newcomers gunning for state legislatures for the first time.  They include young and highly accomplished candidates like Rupande Mehta (New Jersey Senate), Nikil Saval (Pennsylvania Senate), and Jenifer Rajkumar (New York House). 

Indian Americans are not just running for state and federal legislative offices.  From coast to coast, they are also making beelines for various state and local executive offices, ranging from state agencies and county positions to mayoral offices and school boards. 

For example, Duke University professor and the former US President Barack Obama's economic advisor Ronnie Chatterji is running for treasurer in North Carolina. And, in Virginia, Republican Puneet Ahluwalia just announced his candidacy for the lieutenant governor.

The Indian American community has propelled its way to relevance in American politics over the past two decades. The representation of the community has increased at every level with each election cycle. The substantial number of Indian American candidates who are on the ballot this year is proof of progress that has been made. 

Shaping US politics and policies

Why does it matter that a much larger number of Indian Americans are holding and seeking political offices? What is its significance?

It is significant because in democratic society participation and representation in the political process matters.  It matters enormously in terms of the shaping and structuring of policies and programs and how they are implemented.

The Indian American community is one of the more recent immigrant groups in the United States. It is also one of the fastest-growing communities. It is important for the community to participate in the political process and make sure its voices are heard.

Politicians make the decisions on a myriad number of issues such as war and peace at the national level to resource allocation for education and infrastructure maintenance and development at the local level.  Therefore, it is important to be at the table where decisions are made. As the old saying goes, “If you are not at the table, you will be on the menu.”

Indian Americans need to be at the table not just for Indian Americans but for the future of America. 


They need to be at that table to contribute to the strengthening of American democracy.  They need to be at that table to contribute to the forming of a “more perfect union” which will have seats at the table for all regardless of race, religion, or country of origin.

(The writer is an entrepreneur, civic and thought leader based in Washington DC. The views expressed are personal)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Trump doctrine on foreign policy - ‘We’re America, Bitch’

Trump is worried sick with his misdeeds, the only support he has is his base, and all the statements he makes are to keep that loyalty. He does not care about America or his base, he is seeking his own sanity and self-balancing acts.

Thanks to Jeffrey Goldbert and the Atlantic, you can read the re

Mike Ghouse

Abstracts from the article

"But what is mainly interesting about “We’re America, Bitch” is its delusional quality. Donald Trump is pursuing policies that undermine the Western alliance, empower Russia and China, and demoralize freedom-seeking people around the world. The United States could be made weaker—perhaps permanently—by the implementation of the Trump Doctrine."

"The second-best self-description of the Trump Doctrine I heard was this, from a senior national-security official: “Permanent destabilization creates American advantage.” The official who described this to me said Trump believes that keeping allies and adversaries alike perpetually off-balance necessarily benefits the United States, which is still the most powerful country on Earth. When I noted that America’s adversaries seem far less destabilized by Trump than do America’s allies, this official argued for strategic patience. “They’ll see over time that it doesn’t pay to argue with us.”

The third-best encapsulation of the Trump Doctrine, as outlined by a senior administration official over lunch a few weeks ago, is this: “No Friends, No Enemies.” This official explained that he was not describing a variant of the realpolitik notion that the U.S. has only shifting alliances, not permanent friends. Trump, this official said, doesn’t believe that the U.S. should be part of any alliance at all. “We have to explain to him that countries that have worked with us together in the past expect a level of loyalty from us, but he doesn’t believe that this should factor into the equation,” the official said.  

Thanks to Jeffrey Goldberg and the Atlantic, you can read the full article at

A Senior White House Official Defines the Trump Doctrine: ‘We’re America, Bitch’

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Muslim Republican for Congress from California - Omar Qudrat

As the immigrants integrate with the society and become one with it, then, it will be hard to distinguish between the born and new Americans. They will display the same characteristics ranging from extreme right to moderate and to the left as traditional Republicans and Democrats.

Here is an example of one immigrant, a Muslim going to the extreme in supporting Trump's tactics. They gain support from those who have to hate someone or the other, they create an imaginary enemy and fight against it, and there are enough people to fall for that. 

Here is Omar Qudrat, as reported by WND, World News Daily, another right-wing website in the likes of Breitbart.

Continued at

Mike Ghouse 

Republican congressional candidate Omar Qudrat
Republican congressional candidate Omar Qudrat
A Muslim running for Congress in California said he backs President Trump’s policies on immigration and terrorism and condemns groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations because they pose a threat to the nation’s security.
Omar Qudrat, who is running in the 52nd congressional district in the San Diego area, told Breitbart News Tonight that “radical Islamic terrorism is a real threat to our nation,” pointing to a “multi-component effort to try to undermine and destroy the United States and its allies.”
“That includes organizations that hold themselves out as advocacy groups,” Qudrat said, referring to CAIR.
CAIR, founded by Muslim Brotherhood operatives, was named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas-funding operation, and the Arab Gulf state United Arab Emirates declared it a terrorist organization.

Qudrat told the Breitbart radio show he opposes groups “that try to use our own laws against ourselves, and weaponize our Constitution against itself.”
“I am against Shariah law,” he said, referring to Islamic law and its supremacist political prescriptions. “It is unconstitutional, period. It has no place in the United States. It has no place anywhere in the world.”
Qudrat, along with several other Republican candidates, is running against incumbent Democrat Scott Peters. The Cook Partisan Voting Index sees the Democrats holding a six-point advantage in the race. Qudrat has been endorsed by the San Diego County GOP and several incumbent Republican members of Congress.

He told Breitbart he favors Trump’s wall and his policy of suspending immigration from countries where residents can’t be properly vetted for terrorism.