Tuesday, July 22, 2014

France: Business First

As expected reports are reaching that after all, Europe will not be able to put any meaningful deterrence to Putin's Russia. Case in point is French sale and delivery of helicopter carrier to Russia. Given events of last week, supplying more sophisticated weapons to Russia defies common sense. But that is exactly what seems to be happening when across the political spectrum, French Political class seems to back delivery of weapons to Russia. It is typical of France to 'kill entrepreneurship' by 70% taxes and then to come back to hold some paltry employment by selling weapons to rogue states - wow, that is some Socialism!

Rather than joining hands for a forceful united European response, nations in Europe are bickering and blaming each other. Each nation is resorting to centuries old tradition of pursuing their own respective corrosive financial interests with Russia while undermining European Unity. America and the world cannot do war with Putin's Russia which is armed to teeth with nukes (same as America). The only chance rest of the world has in forcing Russia to change its policy and behavior is economic sanctions which need two things to work:
- united approach and
- patience for long term.

What Europe is saying is due to their 'short term concerns'; no effective way is available to force alter Russian activities. 

Substantial European history can be read as how Europeans tolerated 'trouble makers' when they should not have in the first place and then how those 'trouble makers' go on rampage to create global havoc. Russian President Putin is precisely fulfilling that role of the trouble maker and once again Europe is failing to demonstrate an effective, resolute response.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shooting Down Malaysian Airliner

As usual with a caveat that we do not have full details here and opinions expressed are subject to change based on new details. My first impressions are:

- Russian President Putin might not have obviously ordered this attack, but his actions have made it possible. Without the active encouragement to militants in Ukraine and supply of capable weapons, this tragedy would not have happened. Killing of innocent third party people without any provocation - essentially that will be construed as the act of Terrorism or even worse, the act of War. Putin's devil mind is all exposed here - he may not be able to control the tiger he is trying to ride in encouraging militants in Ukraine.

- Pakistani intelligence service ISI supported terrorists to disturb India, but in the end ISI cannot ride the tiger. May be the same things are at play here.

- Regardless of to what an extent culpability of Putin gets established, politically he is on defense. Who wants to be associated with a strong man who mindlessly encourages militant activities to destroy whatever global order we have today?

- Will Obama Critic learn the lesson that 'handing weapons' to resistance forces (Syria) is no joke because any time these weapons land up doing this type of carnage, people inevitably turn on the supplier of those weapons. President Obama's reluctance to provide weapons to various 'resistance forces' all across the globe now looks lot more prudent and valid. (Oh, don't expect Republican to stop criticizing Obama...they will find new reasons.)

- Hillary Clinton was right on dot when she called out Europeans to stop being 'chicken' here and stand up to shenanigans of Putin (is the most powerful lady in the world - Chancellor Merkel - listening?) Very rarely Europe has seen such an open aggressive posture by a dictator after Adolph Hitler. If Europe does not wake up from the bribes of dependencies on "Russian Gas and access to Russian Market" we are potentially talking same mistakes as like in pre-WWII times when Europe tolerated aggression of Hitler. That did not end well, for sure Putin is exhibiting all signs of intransigence of that caliber in these acts.

- Ideally what needs to happen is International Co-operation hunts down those who shot the plane, those are tried in Ukranian court, punished accordingly and weapon supplier of these 'plane shooters' (quite possibly Putin's Russia) compensate families of victims.

- What would happen though? Putin and Russia will deny any culpability in this affair despite mounting evidence, Europeans will make right noises but may not rise to the occasion in opposing Putin's Russia and the world may get even more rudder shock in days to come.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Germany - The Known Super Lord of Soccer Planet

Though Argentina played well, German's were clearly the deserved Team to lift the Cup. They played solid, fluid and good soccer through out the tournament. It is unlikely that anyone in the world except Argentinians will be upset with this result. Argentina should not be so upset though. They played very well in the tournament and even in the final with their performance, they should hold their heads high. 

Overall the Cup was a success for FIFA and Brazil as the host did step up and handled the responsibility very well.

FIFA gets one more solid 'footage' in its cherished history books of global joy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Let True Brazilian Catharsis Begin

Let me be frank - I wished for Brazilian team to lose and I am delighted that the nation got the exact medicine the doctor ordered. Why?

- To start with, the Brazilian team played extremely poor on two occasions - against a talented team like Chile and then again another solid team Columbia. Against Columbia, the Brazilian team was especially vicious and way too much physical, not worthy of a champion. What all that showed is the current Brazilian team has been more of 'gas' than real talent, real skills and real team. They were simply not there. 

- So to pretend otherwise and to project the aura of invincibility was a way to play on emotions of Brazilian common people. That bubble needed to be burst since Brazilian Football has descended to faking injuries, expressing extravagant emotions on field and in general being more dramatic than warranted on playground. Brazil forgot that people do not watch soccer for Histrionics, but watch soccer for skill, athleticism and sportsmanship.

- As a nation Brazil'a leaders committed the nation to USSR and China model: to proclaim the political superiority, to garner political advantage; deploy sports. When any nation tries to tie the manifest destiny of that nation to successful organization of a global competition and winning that; that nation is essentially trying to take its own people on a ride. We all know when Empires try to entertain and divert their citizens' attention by organizing Gladiator Games, those Empires do not end well. President Lula (my favorite and I still respect for what he did to eradicate Brazilian poverty) displayed hubris when he decided vindication of his achievements was in spending Billions to conduct World Cup and Olympics back to back. He let Brazil to participate in the 'con game' of IOCs and FIFAs of the world who want to spend Billions of tax payer dollars as a tool of political rulers in diverting attention of subjects from the pressing needs and items. That is what has been wrong with Brazil's love affair with Soccer and World Cup extravaganza (thought Brazil did a marvelous job in staging fantastic football through out the competition).

With this humiliation by Germans in Semifinal, hopefully, Brazilians in general will start asking tough questions - why the Soccer Party has been prolonged so long by the rulers, elites and haves of that country? Is it to hide what 'excesses of socialism' inflicting on that country? Why is it that a common Brazilian should look her redemption in bunch of players winning a 90 minutes game and not in actual and concrete improvements in her life?

President Lula had his time, his politics worked then and helped lot of Brazilians in many respects. For President Dilma Rousseff to continue on that path without showing any 'out of box' thinking for changing circumstances was simply ineptitude. (Snubbing an American President for run-of-the-mill-espionage can only take you so far.) We have no idea whether Brazilians would embrace this reality by removing Dilma. But what Brazil can do is to look at life beyond Soccer. And that will be the best legacy of this loss for Brazil

Sunday, July 06, 2014

America at 238th Birthday

No doubt America faces some serious challenges. Nation's birthday is an appropriate time to go over some of these challenges:

- The fiscal situation may be under control and Obama Administration can rightfully claim that it would leave finances of Federal Government in much better shape than what the administration inherited. But long term sustainability of Federal Government finances is still an issue. Long term financial pressures put by Social Security and Medicare are still not addressed, especially starting 2020 onward. True that ObamaCare would help control growth of Medicare and help overall reduce our health expenditure. But still serious reforms are needed in these two entitlement programs if our finances are not to be swamped.

- Substantial number of Americans think that 'government is the problem' and instead of trying to improve governance and government agencies; too many powerful folks in America are busy 'starving the beast'

- Across the board, income and asset inequality is increasing with larger and larger share of wealth creation accruing to super rich.

- Our economic interests are trenchantly misaligned with  what we need to stop global warming: substantial constituency is vested in growth of Carbon based energy sources; namely oil, coal and natural gas sources.

- Fixing our immigration system so as those who might have come illegally in this country but over the years have contributed enough, can claim citizenship. Also we want a system in a place so that neither hoards of kids get lured to our penetrable borders nor we discourage the exact kind of talent this country needs to nurture for its future. 

- Our electioneering rules have been so twisted that Big Money is completely distorting 'will of people' when it comes to representation. Corporations are 'indeed people' with more than one 'vote' in American system!

- The burden of being Global Cop and paying for peace and order all over is becoming unbearable for America. American People are unwilling for any sacrifices in this area whereas Politicians and policy elites are yet to catch up fully with the voter fatigue for such adventures.

- Finally many historical vagaries which leave our Political System unrepresentative in so many ways still remain unresolved: tiny states having same number of senators as huge states like California, House Majority going to a party which actually has less votes than minority, we can have a president who would have lesser votes than his lost rival and Supreme Court justices lording over American life indefinitely while every other government office is term limited.

Question is which one of these challenges American Politics is capable of addressing.

When our Entitlement Program would start biting Federal Finances I think Republicans will be able to 'cut' down it drastically. It would unfairly burden poorer Americans; well, exactly that will be all 'the motivation' for Republicans! That is what their History has been since Reagan and in recent years rise of Paul Ryan, who is even more viciously after poor, confirms GOP ability to use a machete. True, Paul Ryan and his gang in GOP is after welfare spending and is for protecting Entitlement Programs of recent retirees (dominantly older White Americans who are one of the prime constituencies for today's GOP). But the point is, GOP will by hook or crook, cut down entitlement and welfare expenses when needed. The damage will be to poorer people. With no regard whatsoever to increasing inequality, more importantly increasing inequality of opportunity; it is given that as and when American State would go after balancing its finances, it will almost exclusively make American poor to pay more. The misplaced faith in 'trickle down economic policy' and 'rich as job creators' prevents this country in opening up opportunities for poor as well as cushion the blows of economic hardship. America needs investment in physical and social capital, at times clearly by deficit spending, but we are unable and unwilling to take it and that will continue to leave us vulnerable for 'pitch fork'.

President Obama also understands how the unfinished business of regulating Too Big to Fail Banks leave us exposed to 'bubbles and market distortions' even after Frank-Dodd. Those distortions, rich favoring tax policies and CEO Worshiping culture are reasons for continued inequality in this country. But so long as Republicans are 'enthralled by tax cuts for rich and unfettered trickle down economics'; there is less chance for America to stop this 'downward spiral of Capitalism' peacefully, democratically.

Add to that business interests of likes of Koch Brothers fully aligned with Carbon based energy sources. Substantial wealth and employment in states like Texas and Oklahoma come from Carbon based energy sources. No wonder these forces deny 'man made global warming'. Unless and until our politics is ready to take on such conflicts head on, our Politics will not resolve issues we need it to resolve. Add to that Supreme Court allowed Koch Brothers of this country to influence or buy elections as they please. What hope we are supposed to have then that we could tackle the impeding Global Warming through democratic means? President Obama might have done what is possible for him via EPA ruling. But he will be gone in 2 years or so and the question is what would our politics do to address global warming there after? Looks like not much.

One of the most disheartening part of this country's politics is, the very people for whom the politics is lot consequential remain apathetic in many ways. Agreed, that is the failure of leadership in general. But Barack Obama did arose people twice - Americans voted him more with the view of going away from Bush and stopping 'damage and misery' promised by Mitt Romney when he talked '47% of this country are on dole'. Probably that might happen again - America will yet again coalesce behind Hillary, but that will be more because they will be in horror for the 'damage' Senator Cruz, Senator Paul or other Republicans aspirants are promising on poor in the name of 'correcting our ship and encouraging growth'. That is not good. We need positive agenda which will address our problems head-on and not some kind of surrender to ideology, nor voting to the candidate while 'holding our nose' because the other guy (it is always a guy with Republicans) is so nasty.

Beyond ideology, it is 'nativism' and simple pandering to White voters of Caucasian descend; that is what is making Republican Party to stick to its neanderthal views about Immigration. And some Republican pundits advise that passing Immigration bill is no good because overwhelming Hispanic vote would still go to Democrats. Unless Republicans get complete thumping in 2016 due to Hispanic votes (and Dems have done their homework of highlighting how exactly GOP, especially in House,  is not supporting any immigration bill); America is unlikely to see any wiser Immigration policy. 

Next about campaign finance: Congress passing laws to restrict campaign finance is one way to reduce corroding influence of Big Money in our elections. But then again those laws need to be palatable to Conservative Majority in Supreme Court. All that means, unless nation's highest court sees lesser ideologue judges or we get a constitutional amendment; we are stuck with the havoc big money plays in our elections. Such a change in Supreme Court and improvements in our electioneering system; those are kinds of changes which look far uncertain at present and till then our Republic will continue to suffer.

Finally for the global cop role, as more and more Americans see the vanity of American Exceptionalism posture, the state will be eventually able to avoid underwriting entire globe's peace and order without compromising our national security. American voters are ahead here. Question is at what point our politicians in Washington DC would get the clue. Till then the danger of America getting embroiled in one more needless conflict overseas is still there.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

World Cup - USA Run Ends

Belgium were simply superior Team today. The score could have been 5-1 or 7-1, only because of the goalie Howard it stayed at 2-1.

But USA should be proud of what they have done so far. We keep trying. Remember Mexico has been eliminated 6 consecutive times in the second round; this time not so fairly as well.

Klinsmann, well done and Team USA we LOVE YOU!

Keep rolling over the years. One defeat does not pull us down - we are Americans!

I would not venture into reading winds of History in a tournament of 30+ days or so. But NYT columnist Roger Cohen is up to something. Facebook had Billion Plus interactions about World Cup midway through the tournament. Billions are watching these enthralling games all over the globe. 

If we humans are to change and get the singular, unitary feeling of belonging and togetherness - I doubt anything is coming anywhere near to FIFA World Cup. The cup has been every bit phenomenal and life long to cherish. Pure bliss so far and for sure to come.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bobby Jindal - A twisted mind

One can understand a political opponent would always try to find faults of a ruler. That is the job of political opposition anyways. But ever since Bobby Jindal gave one rebuttal - that too a failed one - to President Obama's joint address to Congress, he thinks it is his sacred duty to keep criticizing President Obama no matter whether that criticism makes any sense or it is any useful for Americans. Rather than casting himself in the role of President's Political Opponent when nowhere he is politically that adept, despite Obama having never manned a lemonade stand - Bobby Jindal should have focused on his state governance and his competitors in GOP for 2016 Ticket. His approval ratings are poorer than President Obama. "Who can bash President Obama most" - such a political approach can only be effective so long; it is diminishing returns now going forward as Obama Presidency starts winding down.

However, the serious problem is substance of Bobby Jindal's criticism. To start with he waged a war with ObamaCare for years; bashing it all the time without offering any better alternatives. Eventually, like most of the critics of ObamaCare, Bobby Jindal is all wrong. ObamaCare is here to stay and it is making difference in lives of Americans for good. Jindal's ego is too big to undertake any revisions in that department even if in the process few thousand Louisianians would not get adequate medical coverage.

But Jindal's real stupidity is in 'sucking up' to creationism and towing the line of extreme Christian-ism when he claims that Tea Party folks are going to take pitch fork and charge on Washington; all because President Obama is chocking religious freedom! Religious freedom in America allowed Hinud family born Piyush Jindal to convert to Roman Catholicism and here he implies that Obama Administration is creating an environment where such freedoms will not be enjoyed.

Just because Jindal converted to Roman Catholicism does not mean he needs to veer to politics where his arguments essentially sound as 'proselytizing' attempts. One can understand political compulsions in speaking in front of some faith based organization. One can also understand political compulsions in catering to faith based interest groups in Republican Politics. But for that if a politician invents 'suppression' where none exit, it is a jump too far. What a troubled soul Bobby Jindal is! 

But something else might be going on here. Jindal's whole Politics looks like an attempt to cover his original sin - opting for Christian faith for political purposes assuming that the only path in American Politics for a Hindu boy would be to become Christian. It is such a poor judgement about America and America's system which has inspired numerous Democracies all over the world (India included) to keep Religion separate from State and that poor judgement is possibly making Jindal to take an increasingly extreme tone to demonstrate his allegiance to Christian America.

In today's America we have members of Congress who took the oath holding Hindu Scripture Gita instead of Bible. Americans are fine with that. However, in Jindal world, probably he wants all non-Christian Americans to give up their faith and follow his example in converting to Roman Catholicism and further adopt the non-sense of creationism! We all like Pope Francis, but even he would not dare say what 'non-sense' Jindal is spouting. How lowly these politicians can become to curry favors with some interest groups!

Jindal does not articulate a political vision which is inclusive and which would solve our today's problem. He is caught up in his mental game of "to be American means to be Christian" and essentially he is reducing all of his politics to that. (It will be interesting to see how strongman Indian PM Narendra Modi would receive converted Christian like Jindal when Modi himself would address American Congress...). Jindal has been 'cheap intellectually'; complete anti-thesis of most in Indian-American community in USA - the community which essentially earns its living by practicing Science and Engineering, the community which perfectly brings best of Indian tradition of not mixing Religion with State and the community which would abhor the politics of gimmick arguments. In Bobby Jindal's politics; all this great heritage of Indian-American up-bringing is lost completely. Though Jindal was born in this country, one wonders what 'value system' his family environment passed on to him when he displays such despicable political views, attempts to sale politically a fictitious American world view and turns to demagoguery to achieve his political aims. What a twisted mind.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Iraq

"while Biden may have taken a beating repeatedly in recent years for some foreign policy calls he’s made, his judgment on Iraq’s capacity to stay one country now looks almost prescient."


As the news started to come about how Kurds took the opportunity in gobbling Kirkuk and consequently its Oil field while Sunni insurgents assemble their Caliphate on the backs of millions of dollars stolen from Mosul Banks and extortion rackets; it reminded me the then ridiculed Joe Biden plan - to divide Iraq along Sectarian lines. Unless the Sunni Caliphate collapses on its contradictions or Shiite are able to mount a challenge on backs of Iran or Kurds become magnanimous in giving back the Iraqi territory; there is very little chance of assembling back a broken egg into a whole egg - Iraq. In other words, what Biden sensed - undeniable power of sectarian pull making it unable for that country to exist - is quite possibly becoming a reality. 

60 years back Sectarian forces in the South Asian Sub-continent could not stop slaughtering of millions of people and birth of two rival states - India and Pakistan; so we are aware power of sectarian forces in impoverished societies. But then again the important State - India - is getting its act together and has a chance to redeem. So may be the case when Kurds would show the way to rest of the people.....I digress.

***

Democrats are exactly right to lay the blame of disintegrating Iraq at the feet of Iraqi PM Maliki - he destroyed a united country while serving interests of his Shiite masters - in Iraq and Iran. So much for the wisdom of those religious leaders.

For President Obama to withhold any help in achieving 'united Iraq' until major Iraqi political players undertake some serious core adjustments - that is exactly American Leadership needs to insistent upon. It is OK that many Republicans enjoy cheap shots against the Commander-in-Chief at this point, after all 'politics aren't beanbags'.

We all understand dangers of a vicious militant group like ISIL. After all Talibans did not directly declare Jihad against America but still landed harboring OBL who cost us so much. No doubt, to that extent ISIL is dangerous for all Open and Free Societies.

But ISIL has not declared any war against USA, yet. They are all busy trying to found some kind of a state.  (It is extra-ordinary that our Commander-in-Chief has digested precisely these nuances.) Based on all of our understanding of successful Societies and States so far, we know that any attempts to found states on chicanery and extortion would only go so far. Quite possibly all those contradictions and competing fiefdom interests would eventually unravel ISIL. Given all that, the wise course for America is to be patient and wait until ISIL unravels itself (or finishes its war against Bashar al-Assad victoriously). Quite possibly America indeed would need to intervene, but let that be a choice to "complete what is already underway" - process of unwinding ISIL. This means tactically, Administration and American Public simply need to be patient instead of going for any knee-jerk reactions.

***

In the event of ISIL keep prevailing over its enemies, what can America do? Well, there is yet another deal possible - since Shiite Ayatollahs draw a red line at defending Shiite holy sites of Karbala, Najaf and Samarra; what Administration can say to Iranians is that it will help Iraqi Government forces against ISIL in lieu of Iran showing more willingness to adopt the impeding nuclear deal. Apparently that is what elected leadership of Iran is willing to consider as well and that is in longer term interests of this country.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Bring Your Majorities

Ted Cruz whips up his Texas supporters by giving the war cry of "let us whack Washington DC". What he omits telling his supporters is it no good winning the White House unless they bring their own 'majorities' in Senate and House. And that is what is broken with the political system of this country.

In Parliamentary Systems, leaders bring their own majorities. As a result, one way or the other changes in the system are swift and people get a chance of seeing enactment of policies on which elections were fought. These leaders are then hold accountable too since they do not have any room to hide, what with those majorities.

By design and by calcification of American Political System, there is no such clarity in American System. On top of it, Americans have 'sky high expectations' from the White House occupant, especially by Conservatives. Barack Obama famously lost his majorities early in his term and ever since then he has been pilloried all along as a pinata from both sides - Conservatives want White House to continue global interventionist policies of Bush era even when neither Congress or Americans have the appetite to do anything such. As a result we land up in such a contradiction - White House pursues policies which Americans actually want (stay away from the mess outside USA); but because of American's view about what their leader can / should do, they feel Barack Obama is letting them down in holding up American Exceptionalism. True, as a leader it is the job of President Obama to educate Americans that he is essentially doing what they elected him to do. But more than this communication failure on behalf of White House, issue is American ethos is to continue the myth of Super Powers of Oval Office. Wall Street Journal Editorial, Robert Kagan and that brand of Conservatism is all wrapped in some mythological "Morning in America" stunts of one President Ronald Regan and they are simply not ready to go away from it regardless of changed world. (Chinese Economy surpassing American is not a fault of any one White House...) Essentially what these conservatives want is whatever political support left of President Obama (40%+ approval rating), he should burn that to undertake adventures aboard (and in the process come to George Bush levels of approval rating - 18 to 20%). In other words, these Conservatives want President Obama to become politically bankrupt in pursuing their wet bed dreams abroad. Probably in books of these Conservative Pundits, if any approval rating / political capital left for an American President means that President did not try enough adventures! Going politically broke is the only thing acceptable to this lot.

On the other hand, Left loves to ignore absence of working Democratic majorities in Congress and continues to blame White House even if it undertakes right steps. As Jonathan Chait explains, routinely Left wants to hold President Obama responsible for things which are not in his control as far as Environmental Agenda goes and blame him for not doing sufficient. Same for Immigration - blaming President Obama while ignoring dynamics in the Congress (Republicans see little upside in passing any immigration bill since they have concluded that passing of any such reforms would not result GOP getting additional Latino votes).

The way money is raised for elections (essentially candidate does the bull work and party is hardly in the position to influence this money flow), the way candidates are selected / elected through primaries for the general election, off phase election cycles (every two years House, one third Senate and presidential every four years), deep differences in how each state carves out house district as well as primary system (like in California it is possible to have top two candidates from the same party whereas in most other states it is the legacy system); all these contribute to a political power which is simply unable to effect any changes. Add to that deeply entrenched view of Americans that our Founders intended such 'checks and balances' system rather than clear 'power' to a single agent. 

What all this means is for effective legislative agenda enactment - inciting crowds against Washington DC is not sufficient. Unless tomorrow's leaders bring their own majorities, they would have to otherwise settle into Obama model only - all 'ones' and 'twos' and no home runs (even though his last week of 'ones' was not that bad - EPA ruling against carbon emission, freeing an Americans soldier and economy eventually recouping all of jobs lost in the recession).

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Market Forces and Multi-tenancy

One of the core features of contemporary Web based back-end softwares have been ability to support multiple, different set-ups - tenants. SalesForce does that, Amazon does that. Most Business to Business Web / Cloud based Services do that. There is a reason for offering such 'multi-tenancy' on these cloud based software platforms - it is the economies of scale and one single point to roll out new services and features to all your major customers. That is what basic capitalism is - scale.

If someone were to say there are 50 websites each offering a service for a restricted geographical area, it will not be nothing new when only few of these websites remain in business after a while and some of the more able websites start to cater more than one geographical areas. After all web sites can serve folks spread out anywhere in the world; that is Internet. 

These are the basic lessons of 'market forces' in Internet era which are lost on American Politicians completely - both Democrats and Republicans. All these politicians when they crow about 'state ObamaCare exchanges moving to Federal Exchange'; they show the basic lack of how otherwise American Economy works in Internet era. Politicians are never good when it comes to understand Technology or Digital Economy. (Oh well, they can as well excuse themselves by saying "man, I am not a Technologist"....) But hardly there can be any more prominent example of 'flat feet American Politicians' than how they are reacting to the reality of most efficient way of conducting exchanges in one single portal. I guess one would not be surprised by these American Politicians who do not even want to accept the Science of Global Warming (nope, stick up that politically correct Climate Change with you....).

What amazes me is how Democrats are not able to argue 'market forces' reality here - an efficient portal (Federal one) trumps over many state owned inefficient ones. This is what Capitalism is all about - let invisible hand of Market weeds out inefficient endeavors. And talking of which, this would be one of the cruelest revenge on these Republican States who refused to create their own portals: by allowing their state users to use the Federal Portal they basically gave 'those eyeballs' to Obama! Talk about complete stupidity of these Republican Politicians - they all got enamored by Tea Party 'repeal ObamaCare' craziness while the real consumers of ObamaCare in their own State quietly migrated to the Federal portal - to the 'dark side' from Republican point of view. Like California, states like Texas and Florida have the necessary 'scale' to run an independent viable state exchange. But ObamaCare hate prevented these states from venturing into their own state exchanges.

Time and again it is proven that Republican impulse to 'oppose whatever Obama' lands them undercutting their end objectives; in this case stopping a single, centralized health exchange. Now that the ball is dropped from Republicans, what they can do is increase the 'heat' on over zealous Democrats in states like Oregon and Maryland who goofed their own State Exchanges. Hundreds of millions of tax dollars were wasted by these State Governments. IT Projects are notorious to pull off and at best of times even Private Sector fails to pull off such vast IT Projects. But Politicians, especially Democrats, have tendency to undermine complexity of such projects and wading into the area where they had no business to get involved. That is the Conservative case to be made and Republicans have a job on their hands to hold feet of Democrats in states like Oregon and Maryland to the fire.

Meanwhile, having salvaged Federal Exchange Portal and ObamaCare to certain extent, job for Obama Administration is to undertake over haul of how Federal Digital Infrastructure Projects are procured and executed. Any State which acquires this ability to execute these public IT Projects in efficient manner would essentially lay down solid infrastructural foundation in 21st Century. It is to be watched whether Obama Administration rises to this challenge after all.