Sunday, February 27, 2011

Natalie Portman

"Of course, trashing Ballet Dancing for great Film Making is the problem of Aronofsky; it is not of Natalie Portman. With gusto and guilt free mind, she has rendered a superlative performance; quite possibly all the way to Oscar."

--
Black Swan Review

And today she indeed reaches to that pinnacle. Well deserved recognition by the Academy even though with every passing day the movie looks more and more ordinary.

India’s Opportunity to help Post-Mubarak Egypt

If these reports are to be believed, India has a golden chance to help contribute to democratic future of Egypt. With inability of USA to get its house in order whenever it comes to basics of democracy like impartial elections with influence free vote counting; India is leagues ahead of USA. Americans are bogged down with their misplaced sense of ‘rights’ - whether it is right to information or right to carry guns. No wonder rest of the world looks to India to help here. When India’s arch competition China is deeply worried about non-democratic setup, any opportunity to brandish democratic tradition of India is a gift India needs to fulfill. In practice, Turkey and India are in unique position to help newly democratic countries of Middle East.

Cricket World Cup 2011 - Home turf, no advantage

That is what it reveals in defeat of Lanka in Colombo by Pakistan and failure of India to contain England. English win would have been quite a big upset, but English Team made the point of putting India on notice. In a way Zaheer Khan saved India from the defeat considering how well England were cruising earlier. As some comments have indicated, bowler Zaheer Khan is the real key to India’s progress in this world cup than batsmen. Meanwhile shower of runs continue - you are talking 550 to over 600 runs in one day in 100 overs; hence need of bowlers who can contain this deluge of runs.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

American Labor

Looks like Labor in America is trying to regroup and fight back this uphill battle. Political discourse in USA is totally skewed against Labor. Public Sector Employees and few industrial unions in private sector are the only strong labor voices left in America. Organized Labor is no more than 13% of workforce in America and proposals put forward by folks like Wisconsin Governor are aiming to break the back of this remaining organized labor.

As Ezra has argued, this is all about power grab. America is embracing the notion that ‘it is not ok to default big banks but it is ok to default union commitments’. Given all this noxious environment, no wonder common American public sees this struggle as nothing but preserving ‘last vocal voice’ for common people. When GOP is completely beholden to ‘senseless spending cut ideology and messiah of progressives - Barack Obama - is no match to the vitriolic of Right’; there is literally no one to make honest efforts to preserve the cause of down trodden Americans. In that sense our Democracy hardly works. No doubt, Organized Labor has a task on their hand where it does not become the bloated burden to taxes paid by unemployed or underemployed. But as is the case in Wisconsin, Organized Labor is accepting its fair share of sacrifice and is also showing signs of modifying it’s methods. On that background Walker looks like a jerk simply hell bend to bring more misery to everyone.

(Below are the snaps I took today at Labor Protest Rally in front of San Francisco City Hall at noon. I think the crowd was small at less than 500.)





Thursday, February 24, 2011

Continued Conservative Hypocrisy

Actually Jonathan Chait is too charitable when he points out ‘argumentative somersaults’ of Conservatives when they are forced to face the commonsensical approach of continued Government Spending on tomorrow’s growth drivers. Conservatives want to oppose Obama Financial Reforms (Frank-Dodd Law) because it hampers ‘free market’ for Goldman Sachs. No wonder then Conservatives fall on their faces when the same Goldman Sachs bank says that GOP cuts in budget are going to result in slower economic growth.

Practically with GOP’s senseless budget cuts while undermining true causes of budget deficit - medical entitlements and medical costs - America does not need any more enemies to pull her down. GOP is doing that job fabulously. Oh ya, Karl Rove never hesitated in questioning ‘integrity and commitments of Democrats for America’s national security’. Then why should GOP be spared for America’s economic security; especially when GOP is truly taking America in the direction of ruin and downfall?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011: So much for the vaunted English bowling

When a Dutchman scores a scintillating century against England, we know that English Team is in trouble. So much for bowling out Australia so many times during last Summer Christmas down under. Anyways Playing Test Cricket in Australia and playing One Day World Cup in the Sub-Continent is like apples and oranges.

But then Raj in Hindustan was never easy for the Gora (White in Marathi) Sahib....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Libya and Global Unrest

It appears Gadhafi’s son is setting the stage for a ‘brutal attack’ by forces loyal to him and his father to slaughter defected military forces in Benghazi along with protesters. Already 200 or more people have been killed in that second largest Libyan city and there are questions whether it can be even labeled as ‘genocide’ - it has been so brutal and ugly. But with this talk of ‘civil war’, Libyan rulers are now going full throttle. This is indeed a fearful and apocalyptic moment.

UNSC is unlikely to do anything here. Obama Administration would not even bother to spend it’s limited political capital to bring UNSC in this mess because there is 800 pound Gorilla in the room which is already threatened and on defense - China.

Considering the proximity of Europe and its stake in the stability of Maghreb countries, I suspect European involvement may be more logical or needed. If Turkey can be involved that will be good to avoid impeding bloodshed. Will European Public go to streets to force their reluctant governments to take a side? And what would European help do? Bringing ‘communication link’ to Benghazi could be one valuable help. But if defected Libyan unit and people of Benghazi put a viable resistance to Gadhafi regime; will Europe / NATO resort to ‘material support’ to this defected faction? Humanitarian and medical aid would sure help. But one thing is however clear that without UNSC backing (and that is almost sure not to come because of Chinese Veto); no explicit military help is likely to materialize. Whatever West has to do, it will have to do without that backing and possibly through NATO structure.

On the other hand, if more military units currently loyal to Gadhafi start deserting Gadhafi and as reported resistance in the capital city Tripoli starts gathering steam; Gadhafi will go the same way his neighbors Ben Ali and Mubarak went. If no side quickly attains the critical mass, we are talking possible shock to Oil Market considering how critical Libyan oil exports are. Besides Saudis are going to be even more nervous and as many have speculated, may not be that sympathetic to Western Oil consumers in coming days. (Doing a somersault to China camp may be suddenly an attractive proposition to the Saudi Regime.)

All this means, we are in a middle of some ‘unprecedented times’ in Global Politics - kind of equivalent to when Soviet Union and East Block collapsed some twenty years back. Potentially it can be more consequential. This is also the first time people of Globe are reacting as ‘global citizen’. Revolution in one country inspiring resistance movements in other countries happens all the time in history. What is noteworthy now is it is happening so much in ‘real time’. The pace is stunning fast.

China is the ‘wild card’ here. I cannot imagine consequences of another ‘Tiananmen Square’. When China is able to pull around so much ‘weight’ in Global Financial System; the premise of Global Recovery is stable China. If there appears cracks in any manner coupled with another of Oil Shock; you are talking ‘game changing’ scenarios. In any such scenario, all nations of the world are going to suffer.

America is unlikely to remain immune from it’s own convulsions. Not only Wisconsin protesters are going to take a leaf out of all that is happening around the world, may be saner heads in GOP will start realizing that in the end all of their current scorched earth strategy of opposing anything Obama and eating ‘seeds of future’ with ideological excess would not be so election winning in the end.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011: Monsoon (of Runs) is early

Looks like that is what this Cricket World Cup in the Subcontinent is going to look like. You are talking about 650 runs in one day in 100 overs. Get used to it, that it how India is very likely to notch it’s second World Cup. Sehwag and number of other Indian batsmen are waiting in wings for their multiple one day centuries. Well, not that one has to pity these bowlers considering millions they would rake in IPL. Hey, bowlers in this World Cup in the Subcontinent are the ‘gladiators’ of modern times – willingly risking suffering for the ultimate freedom offered by money. Nothing wrong, it is a form of Cricket.

Regardless of whether India comes up to its billing or not, folks who are most happy in India at present are PM Dr. Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. What better antidote is there than a world cup in the subcontinent which will divert the attention of voters from the Corruption Raj? By the time India finds the world cup 2011 winner; it will be already time to ‘long for real Monsoon’ of 2011. One more year is gone. That is how you rule in the Subcontinent.

Wisconsin to show the way

Either way Wisconsin is going to be a trail blazer. One just wishes weather was different in Wisconsin so as more protesters would come together taking heart from Middle East protests. Yah, time has come for American Public to learn a thing or two from those brave protesters in Egypt and Middle East. Our Politicians have gone ‘rogue’ and have become totally beholden to ideological madness.

I am not fond of Labor Unions and generally shun those. I also see merit in GOP Governor of Wisconsin asking for Public Employees to share more of their pension and medical benefits. That is right for the state. Ideally, Public Sector Employee compensation should be linked to how well a local economy does. Linking it to only ‘inflation’ creates lots of issues, especially in a global economy when inflation does not follow a traditional path. But from here to jump to effectively nullify the basic right of workers to unionize and collective bargaining is a jump too far. The country which shows maniac reverence to other rights like gun possession; should be so much on war path to kill other rights; that does not make sense. But then America has not been making sense for a while now. (I know right of gun possession is enshrined in Constitution, though that is debatable since it depends on your interpretation, whereas right to unionize is not in Constitution.)

Progressives all over America need to realize that once Wisconsin Public Employee protest is nullified, there is no looking back. All other GOP Governors would simply ‘crush’ the whole class of Public Employees all over USA whether are not they are the true culprit of state financial crisis and that will be the end of it. Though Obama is talking right things about this protest, it is doubtful whether rest of the Democratic Party and Progressive Political Forces are realizing the need of coming together to stop this madness under the name of ‘fiscal austerity’.

Possibility of ‘human rights’ succeeding in tougher environments like Egypt and Middle East is better than supposedly beacon of freedom in USA. Hardly anything is going well for America and Americans continue to be on the wrong path led by their misguided politicians.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dramatic Obama Failure on Budget

The question is if there is any merit in what Robert Greenstein says while supporting Obama:


“...had the budget included a large array of specific proposals for longer-term deficit reduction — ranging from increased taxes to changes in Social Security — that likely would have made it harder, not easier, for the Administration and Congress to eventually reach bipartisan agreement on those matters. Specific presidential proposals would have invited immediate attacks from lawmakers across the political spectrum and almost certainly led to pledges by scores or hundreds of members of Congress never to agree to them. That, in turn, would have made it harder for negotiators to reach agreement on large, longer-term deficit-reduction measures. A goal at this point should be to keep policymakers from taking various specific proposals off the table before negotiations even commence.

That problem occurs even in normal political times. But, these are not normal political times. The atmosphere is far more toxic, and the tendency to launch immediate incendiary attacks on specific deficit-reduction proposals for political gain far greater, than in the past when successful bipartisan negotiations took place.”



Or is Andrew Sullivan right here when he says:


“In this budget, in his refusal to do anything concrete to tackle the looming entitlement debt, in his failure to address the generational injustice, in his blithe indifference to the increasing danger of default, he has betrayed those of us who took him to be a serious president prepared to put the good of the country before his short term political interests. Like his State of the Union, this budget is good short term politics but such a massive pile of fiscal bullshit it makes it perfectly clear that Obama is kicking this vital issue down the road.

To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: he just screwed you over. He thinks you're fools. Either the US will go into default because of Obama's cowardice, or you will be paying far far more for far far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America's fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.”




May be smart heads in White House are pursuing some strategy in this madness. May be Obama is simply setting the apocalyptic context for a grand bargain with Congress. Or may be Obama ‘does not get it’.

Today, it is hard to believe Greenstein. One hopes he is right, but one suspects we are unlikely to be so lucky and Andrew’s indictment would come true. Also what is surprising is how easily a smart mind like Obama is conceding the political high ground to Mitch Daniels. I wonder if Daniels indeed decides to run for Presidency in 2012; large swath of Americans would simply fall for him - this country is so desperately yearning for a straight talk on our fiscal predicament and some serious leadership. It is amazing how Obama is remaining blind slighted for this most potent political challenge.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ECB Head Issue

Looks like people are reluctant to come forward to server on ECB. My guess is across the pond people are realizing that Bernanke QE2 plan indeed may work and hence ‘hard-line position’ on inflation seems entering into minority. Besides, political realities of cobbling together co-ordinated position on European easing is also not easy for Merkel. Large population of Germany is not ready to walk along the Bernanke plan.

It is interesting to watch how things will develop. No doubt Euro and European Economic System have walked ‘back’ from the dreaded ‘brink’ so far. As usual when ‘news’ get moved from the front page (because it was all about Egypt and Arab revolutions); shorting a currency or bond becomes that much harder. But Europe wide larger co-ordination as well as help from ECB; all that is just in works and not complete. In absence of that, it is difficult to see how Europe will navigate through this difficult year.

Egypt

Speaker Boehner may decided to give a pass to Obama White House when he says US handled Egypt crisis as best as it could, the reality is White House found itself behind the curve. Intelligence failure - no doubt about that, but White House’s international political antennas turned out to not function so well too. Basically, the political judgment about how deep rooted Egyptian anger was and how difficult it is to execute bloody suppression in today’s Internet context, especially when Egyptian Military is dependent on American Aid; White House missed that. The price to be paid is - for long time to come Egyptian Democratic Leaders will be wary of Obama Administration.

Essentially the chasm got revealed between what Obama spoke at Cairo Speech in June 2009 and how he reacted when the time came to ‘walk the talk’. Clearly the task going forward for Obama Administration would be to continue to pressure Egyptian Military to stick to its good word and good work so far. Beyond that hopefully helping Egypt get its Economy on track and get its democratic set up right (which China for sure cannot do); would be what Obama Administration need to do. As many observers say, Egypt’s hard part has only started now. Since half revolutions die hard, it will be incumbent upon Obama Administration and Western Powers to direct Egypt’s evolution on a peaceful path.

Question is how would Obama Administration ‘prod’ other Middle East Arab regimes to reform politically in light of Egyptian Revolution. Unless they do that, we are looking at possibly permanent curtailment of America’s steady and constructive influence in Middle East. Decades back Suez Canal Crisis pushed British Empire into History permanently. Otherwise America is looking at the same spectre in Middle East. Tomorrow’s potential Super Power China does not carry the baggage of Middle East. Since America inherited the mantle of leadership of free world of Western Hemisphere, it has got entangled in this quagmire. Obama promised some good start with a sensible Cairo Speech initiative following through Iraq commitments perfectly. But it has fumbled for this Egyptian curve ball. Task is to recover from here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One of the best decisions

Affable Robert Gibbs at his last Press briefing:

Reflecting on his time in the administration, Gibbs recalled being in talks about whether to bail out the auto industry, a move seen at the time as risky. “I think it will go down as one of the best decisions we made,” he said.


I totally agree.

I have been a harsh critic (to be the best of my individual abilities) of Obama Administration for so many things. But other day I was talking with my wife about failed Obama Administration policy for home owners and mortgages; I said but they (Obama Administration) succeed in the auto bail.

Indeed Obama Administration took the risk there, made a gutsy call keeping in mind welfare of auto workers (at times at the cost of bond holders and Capitalists) and came out with flying colors.

(I have been unable to comment on obviously great developments in Egypt due to some professional responsibilities, but hope to catch up soon.)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Continued Failure

We know it is all going to fall on ‘deaf ears of GOP politicians’ when Bernanke points out the dangers of ditching longer term deficit plans while putting current budget on the chopping block. As someone said, ‘when survival of current GOP political strategy is dependent on locating inflation in economic news, what incentive do they have in heeding to Bernanke views?’

Not that Obama is any better here. He is like a teenager who is in love for the first time - with American Corporations and Businesses. It is all ‘code business pink’ in his eyes. He does not have any time for showing any leadership in containing longer term fiscal shortfall.

Essentially Americans are going to get literally duped by this continued failures of American Politicians and GOP in particular. The way they are managing America’s finances; it is like waiting for Godot.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Receding Middle East Peace

Now that Mubarak has avoided his own ouster and President Obama has prevailed in no dramatic or sudden changes in Egyptian regime; things are becoming bit clearer now. (In remaining days Mubarak would not give a damn to Obama Administration is a collateral damage with which Obama Administration would have to live with is a different matter. That is what happens when you are half hearted in your policy, looser on both sides.) In Egypt two scenarios are obvious - either Suleiman led process of political reform, with intense & continued international pressure, results in a new Egyptian regime sometime in the latter part of this year or Mubarak gets emboldened by his success in refuting this challenge to his regime and resorts to his old tricks which inflame public protests back. One thing is very clear though, Egyptian People are unlikely to tolerate more such non-sense and they also know that they can organize and force the change (given that they came so close this time to topple a 30 year regime).

Obama Administration followed the policy of ‘muddled message’ in order to hold on to Mubarak regime for a while rather than throwing America’s lot with protesters and gaining credibility driven leverage on any future Egyptian government. Leaving aside the question of policy at the Egyptian end of Middle East riddle, another important question is what would or should happen at the Israeli end of the riddle as far as American Foreign Policy goes. The old American hand on Middle East - Aaron Miller - has incisively laid out what would happen next. He has correctly argued that ‘cacophony of vibrant Egyptian Democracy’ means constant Public attention to Arab-Israeli conflict in contentious manner. Add to it deteriorating security environment around Israel - emboldened Hezbollah in Lebanon, canny regime of Assad in Syria which gets to be free of Harari muder charge, Hamas waiting in Gaza to ignite next battle at a short notice, unrest in Jordon and the big menace of Iran with its nukes. I believe Miller makes a right call here when he says, given this inflamed environment around Israel (along with its own misguided and harmful policies like settlement); Israel is unlikely to engage in any serious Peace talk. Basically, he points futility of proposing any fast tracked peace while Israel’s baser fears are so aroused. He is calling the bluff of Tom Friedman argument of accentuated peace process on the back drop of Arab unrest. What Friedman calls for may be all desired, but Miller says that it is not going to happen unless of course Israelis themselves are talking about such renewed resolution.

All this means, until years on Arab world is settled and calmer; Israel would not engage in any final peace negotiations; at least those will not be feasible or ending in a permanent solution. That means prospects of a well defined and all agreed Palestinian State along with Israel with fixed boundaries are dim. We are talking here potentially a big gap or no progress period for few years to come, at least that is the conclusion of Miller’s OpEd.

However, as time passes by; situation in Israel is steadily, and at times rapidly, coalescing around an apartheid like situation due to increasing Arab population inside the Jewish Israeli state. Whatever population growth is happening on Jewish side, it is among ultra orthodox, settlement aggressive, recent immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe who all are increasing their presence in Israeli Military taking it on a more jingoistic path. All this is going to take Israel more towards a tinder box like situation with every passing year.

So on the backdrop of inflamed internal political convulsions as well as inflamed external political discourse, the danger of ‘mishap’ or ‘hot rhetoric’ resulting into gun shots or rocket attacks is real and strong. According to Aaron Miller line of thinking I guess to help avoid such trench warfare and patiently work on calming Arab political systems while keeping formal peace process on back burner at times; that seems to be the implication / prescription for American Foreign Policy.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Obama Again Bends for Jewish Elite Pressure

There is no other way than to understand this as one more capitulation by Barack Obama to elite Jewish opinion. To back Suleiman is to back another thug to replace the original thug - Mubarak.

Israeli Elite has exposed its most racists and selfish side by prizing stability of Israel (via Egypt peace treaty) over freedom and democracy for common Egyptians. Israel would not mind continued oppression of Egyptian people by Mubarak so long as Mubarak is not troubling Israel. That is the problem with modern Israel - they would never resist to point the moral failures of Europe & America in Holocaust (which were all real); but would not like to be measured by the same moral standards in their own regional policies. This is as if Jews by virtue of suffering Holocaust have attained rights to crush same basic human rights of others in its neighborhood.

Hillary Clinton, being from New York which is the core power seat of Jewish influence in American Politics (apart from Florida), is party to this non-sense by Israeli Elite. And now Barack Obama has joined the party by backing what Hillary is proposing. It is all very disgusting and shameful episode of Obama Presidency so far. All in all both Hillary and Obama have failed miserably in this 3.00 AM call.

It is true that there is clear and real danger of future Egyptian Government reneging on Israeli Peace Treaty. As a result it cannot end anything apart from total instability, chaos and eventually catastrophic war in Middle East. For this to avoid, realists are saying what is wrong in backing Mubarak even if he is bad for Egyptian people? Yup, what was wrong in dealing with Hitler assuming it would bring peace even when he had already started to gulp Jews? Did it bring peace to Europe and World?

Let Egyptian People understand the value of Israeli Peace Treaty. Unless and until common Egyptian person understands the utility, benefit and value of that treaty; there is no go. What rest of the world needs to do is, to put in place a system so that this common Egyptian person’s political sentiments are ‘faithfully’ reflected in democratically elected / mandated future Egyptian government. Mubarak, Suleiman and all those thugs need to go is a precondition for this change.

There is a reason why common Egyptian People will value peace with Israel. The current protest is mainly driven by corrupt, economically stagnant and inflationary long regime of Mubarak. People basically want to see his back so as they want to bring new leaders who would help them in getting jobs and stable prices. In other words, it is the economic plight of Egyptians along with yearning for genuine political freedom which is driving this protest. There are no signs that this protest is for giving a mandate to new Egyptian rulers to break the framework of peace with Israel.

No doubt, the danger is there that Muslim Brotherhood would hijack this protest as the mandate for breaking peace with Israel as and when Brotherhood gets into power. But this is no different than the danger (and actual reality) of Avigdor Lieberman hijacking peace agenda of Israel and essentially make any peace deal with Arabs impossible. This is no different than when Bush regarded his presidential mandate for global war on terrorism meaning to plunge America into needless Iraq war. Just like world lives with dangers of Israeli and American democracies, Israel would also have to live with the dangers of vagaries in genuine Egyptian Democracy.

Now Obama Administration would argue that its political opponents would not spare it if chaos in Egypt results in national security challenges to America and American People. Again, this is a legitimate concern and Administration can argue that that is the reason it is prizing stability over a quick and dramatic change. But one has to ask Administration - did Mubarak regime stability avoided Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mohamed Atta? So whom are you fooling here?

The fact is American political leaders, including Obama, Hillary and Republicans, do not want to undertake the politically important task of educating Americans about where their security lies. It does not lie in ‘propping dictators’. America has been spared after 9/11 not because Mubarak regime or Saudi regime has been backed by America; neither because it started Iraq or Afghanistan war. It is because of simple, commonsensical domestic security measures and substantial co-operation and intelligence sharing with other nations of the world. To argue that we need stability in Egypt because otherwise it will be a threat to America is to hide the political & leadership failure in going away from the disastrous formulation of global war on terrorism of Bush-Rove type. Barack Obama was supposed to take us away from that, but he is failing here miserably and it simply smells capitulation to elite, misguided Jewish influence.

No one is asking for election right now in Egypt. Protesters in Cairo are asking to remove Mubarak and his thugs. For example, Mohamed ElBaradei can be an interim figure head of Egypt until issues of constitution correction and political system changes are worked out. That would give time to put in place internationally monitored genuine and authentic election mechanism, while all along Egyptian Military being kept outside and essentially working as the custodian of Egypt Nation. This is all doable and clearly executable. For that you do not need to bow to cynical and utterly exploitative policies in toeing the line of Suleiman. One expected creativity and competence from Hillary for America’s Foreign Policy. It is unmitigated failure on her part and total inability of Obama to show steady strategic thinking. What we have got is ‘flip-flop’ in Administration’s policies towards Egypt and in the end continued degradation of America’s contribution towards stability in the world as well as to security of Americans.

Friday, February 04, 2011

American Politicians Failing to Rise

“In the next three or five years China will move aggressively to increase its private consumption and reduce its surplus saving,”

“The U.S. talks the talk, but there is actually no shred of evidence whatsoever that America is going to reduce its budget deficit over that same period.”


“If we don’t move to address our deficit before China addresses its surplus then we are going to be facing some pretty significant external funding constraints,”


“That would lead to a significant downward pressure on the dollar and/or higher long-term U.S. interest rates.”


-- Stephen Roach, in an
interview in Olso

In his prepared speech, Mr. Bernanke said the United States could not rely on economic growth to solve its long-term fiscal problems, emphasizing that the country would have to cut spending, raise taxes or both.


--
NYT on Bernanke Speech

Meanwhile, all that GOP could muster the courage for was some measly $32B cuts.

Growth may not absolve America from the predicament of addressing medium term to long term fiscal shortfall. But cutting investment funding which can grow economy while ‘kicking the can further’ and being irresponsible in sustaining little steps of controlling Medical costs; is a sure recipe for the disaster.

The ‘dog and pony’ show of State of Union address was all fine, but like a spoiled politician President Obama only talked about ‘new investments’ without explaining any serious proposals to address medium term to longer term fiscal shortfall. It may be politically an astute move on part of President in not talking the dire fiscal situation; but that is not leadership.