Saturday, December 28, 2013

Challenges of Delhi AAP Government

The first question is how long the new Delhi government would last since for any sustainable long term change you need a stable government lasting for few years at least. There is a primordial question of existential threat to Delhi CM Kejriwal. He has refused any kind of police protection even though possible physical threats are grave, especially as his government starts unraveling corruption cases in these ‘land and real estate deals’. When vested interests in these industries loose lucrative profits due to non-corrupt ways Kejriwal would bring in, events can turn ugly and reality could resemble a Bollywood movie. It was for a different reason - his foreign policy about Tamils in Sri Lanka - but ultimately Rajiv Gandhi paid the catastrophic price when security lapses were exploited. Few commentators are already requesting Arvind Kejriwal to accept some minimal security. Because in absence of Arvind Kejriwal neither there will be AAP nor AAP's Delhi Government. It is not that there are no other qualified people in the party to take over, but the party simply had not had a chance to grow the organization and project other leaders in the line. Over years that would happen and one of the goals of Delhi AAP Government should be getting next batch of AAP leaders up and running.

The political threat is very obvious and most have been focusing on that – Congress Party is the master of ‘outside support’ technique and they have some storied history behind that. Congress Party has been in politics for too long for not to smell an opportunity about when to pull the rug under AAP and back out their support. However, AAP politics is different than usual in Indian context. Congress Party will not be able remove the support just because AAP Government starts exposing skeletons in the cup-board. Public will simply get that Congress Party could not handle 'the heat' and electorally Congress Party would lose further. In other words political discomfort created because of AAP’s success in fighting corruption cannot be an excuse for Congress Party to pull up on AAP Government. Only when AAP fails in fulfilling its electoral promises or fails to find a way of effective governance while sticking to its 'USP of no corruption' and the only news in Media is about how AAP is washing dirty laundry of past administrations of Shaila Dixit; public would lose the interest and Congress Party would get an opening to remove the outside support.

There is another scenario where Congress Party performs electorally better than expectations and then feels emboldened to strike at AAP. However, as things stand, Congress Party should be happy to cross three digit number winning seats in next Loksabha! It is in such a dire state, so I doubt if this scenario is likely at all.

Good thing is Kejriwal and APP know that they are on ‘borrowed time’. The other effect of that will be AAP will be in ‘hurry’ to make the difference in whatever smaller window it has – time till general election in first half of 2014.  There is a remote possibility that Congress Party may undertake some legal creative thinking with the help of President Pranab Mukherjee – former Congressman – and try to push the general election time past Monsoon. Politically it will be extremely difficult for Congress Party to pull off such a stunt; but given the dire state of Congress Party, some in the party may be tempted to argue for such an extreme path. In any case, all such additional time should generally help AAP to continue to manifest its brand of ‘transparent governance’ and help convince people that such transparent governance does not need to come at the cost of ‘concrete results’.

Delivering concrete results – that is going to be the next challenge to AAP Government. Arvind Kejriwal says his math is realistic when he says 50% electricity price reduction and 700 liters per day per household portable water are doable. At this point Public will accord the benefit of doubt to AAP, but as time passes and if execution becomes spotty; such a failure will be an obvious political opening to Congress and BJP. There is another issue here – even if APP government is able to pull off these promises to Delhi, would it repeat those promises for rest of the country or other urban areas of India? Wiser course for AAP is instead of getting trapped in these hard numbers all across, focus on transparency, overall better governance and overall betterment of common people. It is understandable that in the current situation for the first election faced by AAP, it has to make such bold promises. But earlier AAP adopts 'under promise over deliver', better are chances that it avoids fate like President Obama!

When AAP prepares itself for the general election, demands of that campaign, candidate selection and overall fund raising all within the strict criteria of transparency which AAP has set to itself; all that will be challenging to Kejriwal and the company. The diversion of focus and sharing of bandwidth will take its toll on Delhi  governance too. The larger issue, however, at that point will be articulation of an economic policy for national consumption (AAP has got the political part right – ‘corruption free transparent governance’). That is where AAP will have to answer some hard questions – the economic welfare which it wants to bring to common people can be achieved only if trappings of Socialism are removed. Fruits of transparency are long lasting and wide spread in a free and liberalized economy. That is where a coherent policy formulation is needed. Equitable and transparent distribution of pie is one thing, but the imperative of growing this ‘pie’ for a Billion Plus population of India needs to be addressed head on. So far the politics AAP is waging, it has not required to grapple these complexities. To formulate such a policy means effectively pinning AAP on the policy spectrum of Left to Right and at the point AAP would need to defend that turf since politics of standard Left Right policy prescriptions is well worn out in India as well as globally. Chances are that even rising aspirant India which is enamored today with AAP may not find 'old school socialism policy prescriptions in new avatar' that much attractive. It seems AAP has some serious homework to do here and it is yet to start that in earnest.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Berkeley versus Harvard

"Personally I don't agree with what Maharashtra government has done. I think the government should reconsider its decision. No one should be spared of corruption if we want to change the system."


"This was a decision taken by the full Cabinet of Maharashtra. I will meet by Cabinet colleagues and discuss it. Rahulji has given a suggestion and I respect that,"

-- Honorable Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan

No one disagrees that Rahul Gandhi could have been more polished in correcting a political giant, a clean chief minister of an important state like Maharashtra (just imagine, CM Chavan rules over more people than what Angela Merkel rules in Europe). Rahul was anything but politically smart in these comments.

But, if Rahul Gandhi indeed wants to make true his words that Congress wants to clean the corruption, he has no choice but to express the course correction explicitly as he asked from Maharashtra CM Chavan. Good thing is Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan has the political capital and track record to come clean on all these matters without costing his own credibility. He has nothing to loose, he is one of the 'good guys' Maharashtrians look upon. 

Unless Prithviraj Chavan's of Congress come completely hard on 'corruption' and demand totally transparent governance, Congress party does not stand any chance to withstand the revolution Arvind Kejriwal is starting today in New Delhi

These are good days for Indians if one considers attempts to cleanse Indian Politics.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Yasukuni

Notwithstanding a compassionate and contrary take by one reader to James Fallow's post about Japanese PM Abe's visit to the war shrine (the last reference in the blog post); it is clear that duty of a leader is to 'heal'. Didn't Nelson Mandela's funeral few weeks back teach anything to these Japanese Leaders?

Point is not about Abe scoring an emotional chord with many Japanese. I agree neither my forefathers died in defending against Japanese aggression nor perpetuating some of the most insulting and immoral aggression as conducted by Imperial Army of Japan during WWII; so I won't know what emotions are tied up with a shrine like Yasukuni. But still as a global citizen, I can understand the futility of a Japanese PM stocking emotions of China, Korea and others all along. What was the need to get into this nasty business? What is important - to honor who died in some controversial circumstances about which many other nations have grave reservations or to improve lives of folks 'here and now' all across the region? Or is it because PM Abe's popularity is dipping below 50%, he is resorting to some nasty business? Why now when Abe economics is still showing some promise in reality despite discomfort created to many in Japan? Why is 'patience and fortitude' in such a short supply with these Japanese Leaders? By being 'impatient and short sighted', these Japanese Leaders are creating problems for everyone - themselves, east Asians, their protector America and in essence to the whole world; despite some easing by Japanese to America.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Commentary on Current Indian Politics

(Long form)

As three Indian leaders take center stage for coming general election in 2014 - Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi - one wonders how the rot of Indian political economy can be cleansed by the politics of these three individuals. Clearly it will be a long drawn process and the critical piece of that endeavor will be to form a stable central government in 2014 with a set agenda and ability to execute with competence. Such a stable government needs to have a clear mandate from Indian Public. That does not necessarily mean clear majority in Indian Parliament, though that will be good; but rather well stated pre-election alliances, transparent process of candidate selection and fully disclosed campaign finances. (If 2014 election results in a un-stable minority government, what happens in this 'semi-final' will set the deck for the 'final'.)

As Rahul Gandhi and Congress Party belatedly try to reverse already lost political ground, it will not be sufficient for Rahul Gandhi to declare adherence to a transparent framework of regulations in front of India's 'maker class'; thought all what he said there is correct. The most important things Congress party can undertake to demonstrate it's commitment to a 'corruption free governance' will be:

- Declare that it would consider only those candidates for its Loksabha ticket who have fully disclosed finances (all assets including assets of extended family members - spouse, kids, brothers, sisters, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws and parents of both adults in the household; as well as income sources) and who have filled income-tax properly for at least last five years. Having candidates with lots of money should not be an issue. Goal is to remove 'poverty' and not to disdain wealth - created or inherited. Part of the agenda should be 'ease with wealth'. But the flip side is anyone who has got 'wealth' which needs to be hidden will be automatically reluctant to come forward. Sure, there will be a class of Congress Party aspirants who are convinced that 'protecting their ill gotten wealth' is to secure political coverage by being member of Loksabh - precisely such creatures will be kept aside by open adherence to this 'eligibility criteria' for party candidacy. (It should be given that anyone with pending criminal cases should not be also considered for candidacy.)

- Next is, Congress Party should make all of election campaign fund raising fully transparent. Let each candidate and the party publish on a web site all the donations received - cash or in kind; during the campaign period. This will be an exact reply to AAP which is instituting the most potent process to cleanse out corruption from Indian life - opening up the process of raising cash for elections. It needs to be followed by making public all of election expenses.

- One of the biggest problems for Congress Party or actually any established party in India is how to select party candidates for the general election. In absence of 'primary elections' this problem gets really compounded. Congress Party can attempt to deploy a roughly equivalent informal primary election process by letting each constituent local committee heavily involved in the candidate selection process from the roaster of candidates who fulfill above mentioned first two criteria.

- For non-Congress Party coalition partners, Congress Party should insist to apply the same criteria as it applies to their own candidates. If Congress Party approaches next election as a desperate political party which is attempting to hold the sinking ship by all sorts of expedient political alliances; it will not go anywhere. But on the other hand if it is willing to let go those alliance partners who do not qualify to the 'transparency litmus' tests and approach the coming general election as an appeal to win minds and votes of Indians rather than retaining any entitlement sense; it might have a chance to compete against AAP and BJP. 

The real leadership needed from Congress Party is 'before the election' in setting in motion the process of 'transparency' to instill confidence among Indians that it might be still worth to give a Congress Party / UPA another chance. For this to happen, Congress Party will have to project a new PM candidate since Dr. Singh is exhausted and is clearly not a leader in minds of most Indians today. Current cabinet ministers P. Chidambaran and AK Antony or ex-Infosys boss Nandan Nilekani - all three leaders are fine candidates for the position of PM. Rahul Gandhi is not yet there in terms of being a PM candidate and he himself needs to admit it publicly so that misguided eager party members are forced to shut up rather than create more problems for the party. Rahul Gandhi has a unique position within Congress Party to instrument a dramatic change in politics and that is what he needs to focus on. Governance is not his 'forte' and he is yet to master that. First one needs to get 'politics right / winning elections right' as like Arvind Kejriwal. However, for the governance, Congress Party has a deep bench of qualified candidates to select from. (Figure head leadership of UPA including parliamentary party chairmanship should continue to reside with Sonia Gandhi since she is still the glue which binds UPA and her role of the 'titular head' in carrying legacy of her martyr husband and mother-in-law is not done yet.)

Today, the situation looks all hopeless for Congress Party; but starting from such 'under-dog' position may have its own advantages. For example, Arvind Kejriwal is going to find extremely hard to keep his poll promise of reducing electricity pricing by 50%. It is because without understanding the basic economics here - that most costs have been accounted by coal and electricity generation, electricity prices are already controlled and room for improvement is only about 10 to 20% of end user prices - AAP has fallen for some non-sustainable slogans. The question for AAP is not about making honest efforts and let people know about so that it retains its credibility. The question is ability of AAP to understand 'how modern economies work' and whether it has an aptitude to pull off governance of Billion Plus country. This competence issue is the real opening for Congress. Similarly AAP crosses 'public versus private' line when it insists CAG to undertake 'audit of private businesses'. (Capital market regulatory institutions are expected to keep leash on finances of private business and AAP does not seem to understand that at all. AAP has a streak of 'anti private business' thinking and it will need to curb such misplaced socialistic urges; else Congress and BJP can claim all that political ground for right reasons.) 

I guess AAP showing lack of competence to govern modern economies will be more of a political opening for BJP where the core 'pedal to the medal claim' is about what Narendra Modi achieved in Gujrath. BJP has been always the party of 'traders' and to a large extent party of business people in India. Narendra Modi is simply stoking this base without providing much attention to how would he enlarge the political tent of BJP. With his inglorious past about Muslim killings; Modi has no wherewithal to form a new 'rainbow coalition'. (Congress can still retain / claim that strength.) Nor Modi is laying out comprehensively his agenda for a 'transparent governance' in response to what AAP is bringing to the table. Clearly Modi and BJP are content on 'corruption free PM Candidate' and think that is in itself sufficient for transparency. I doubt Indians would buy that so long as BJP is not equally scrupulous to the whole slate of its candidates across its entire spectrum of political leadership as well as its campaign fund raising.

Finally, BJP seems to be least willing to 'listen' to what Indian people want to say. Modi and his party apparatus are so convinced of having 'keys to what is good for India'; there is least chance of Modi and BJP incorporating any positive feedback and inputs from outside world. (Will he be like Turkish Boss Erdogan when in government?) AAP is by design wanting to 'listen to people' while Rahul Gandhi is 'getting it' what India wants. But BJP seems like 'drinking the cool aid' and believes totally in all its 'hype'. That was the same mistake 'shining India campaign' did for AB Vajpayee's government and seems like BJP might repeat those mistakes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Izzat ka sawal hai

(It is a question of honor...)

Watching the oldest and biggest democracies of this planet at loggerheads on some petty issue, one sees how politics can become counter productive at times. Neither American interests are served well when one of the strongest countries in Asia which can be part of a coalition that is counter weight to ever expanding Chinese sphere of influence; is unhappy with America. Nor Indians are served well when instead of common Indians holding feet of their politician's to fire for corruption and stalled economy; Indian Media creates 'frenzy' about some storm in a tea cup.

One can understand the political need of a developing country like India where centuries old domination by Western and foreign forces is to be overcome in mere decades. Yes, people are bound to be over sensitive when for decades 'miseries' of the country have been blamed on 'cunning Foreigners and exploitative ferengis' (that is India's History education...). But when India and her Media give prominence to a 'cavity search' of an elite Indian women at some 10,000 miles away for her mistakes while forgetting that five cops raped a sixteen year old girl at gunpoint in India; one has to question the moral compass of those who claim to represent over Billion People.

Enough has been said and criticized about extravagant expectations of special treatment by Indian elites. So when this exaggerated sense of entitlement collides with cold realities of beyond borders; their world comes crashing down. (Yup, I have paid my wages and have gone through the same humbling experiences while I settling in USA even though I did not have that much privileged up-bringing in India to start with.) It is all fine for one Devyani Khobragde as an individual that her sense of entitlement crashes to ground. But it is disservice from ruling Congress Party to gin this crisis to paper over its own failures in winning elections because it fails to solve problems of her own people or for BJP to smell one more opportunity to stoke testosterone of its base in the name of patriotism. Even newly minted AAP is like a dear caught in light and unable to think through what is taking place here. Quite possibly AAP can fall for blind and misleading 'nationalistic emotion rousing. I am not sure AAP has the wisdom at this point to realize that 'not joining' the bandwagon is the precise diffrentiator for the party to further consolidate its credibility among common Indians.

Preet Bharara - he could be possibly at the pinnacle of his popularity among Indian Americans. He is one individual who has balls to take on billionaire law breakers from Wall Street. You cannot get any more progressive than Preet even in times of the first black president. He is such a diamond and platinum material politically among Democrats. But....I suspect he could have been more circumspect in this matter like keep prosecuting Khobragade without any of the drama.

Or is it that Bharara concluding such a 'public humiliation' of a diplomat from an over conscious country like India as the only way to highlight flagrant violation of immigration and minimum wage laws in this country? Or is it that 'by taking on one of his own type' he is shoring up his credentials among whites of New York State for a higher office? Politics is such a poisonous profession that one can never underestimate what the desire to higher offices would lead public officials to do.

But the problem with America is not just of possible ambitions of one Preet Bharara. America routinely considers herself that 'shining city on the hill' and expects special treatments to her diplomats like claiming immunity even when her non-diplomat kills native country men in Pakistan. I am not talking about special security America's embassies enjoy in India. That is really reflection of 'poor security' situation in India and not of much high accord to USA diplomats. After all, providing security to foreign diplomats is the 'sole responsibility' of the host nation. You need only 'one sentry' to protect an Indian mission in a USA city while huge barricades to protect American embassy in your capital city; that is all function of prevailing security situation in respective countries. To read into all these security arrangements some kind of hierarchy of 'darbar' - that is the problem of Indians for which no one is responsible for.

What is the solution to this mess then? I could think of 3 components:
- the office which undertook 'cavity search' of Devyani Khobragde to apologize to Indian Government for transgressing sensitivities of a billion plus people;
- Preet Bharara to speed up prosecution of Devyani Khobragade to bring it to a conclusion (of course no games of retrospective immunity; the last bad thing Obama Administration can do is to try to influence Justice Department in this case);
- Obama Admin to pardon Devyani after prosecution succeeds and then let her go with a slap on the wrist (after all we are talking diplomacy here and each case is different).

In the end law of the land must prevail. That is what Barack Obama, John Kerry and Preet Bharara owe to Americans. 

Unsung Hero

“Fed was created to stabilize the financial system in times of panic, and we did that.”

-- Ben Bernanke, Retiring Fed Chairman

Neither Dana Milbank nor me have any chops to pass erudite public media opinions on Economics or Monetary Policy. That is left to Paul Krugman of New York Times or Martin Wolf of Financial Times. Nevertheless I fully agree with Milbank when he says Bernanke deserves more credit than what he has got so far.

Yah, I know Bernanke graced Time magazine cover. But seriously, do we still care about those Person of the Year awards from an extinct print magazine even though I like the current Pope and think he is going in the right direction? Many decades down the line when humanity would look back at our times, it would appreciate the innovation and integrity which Ben Bernanke brought to the monetary policy - never to bend for the prevailing flow of political winds in undertaking what is right and in keep experimenting until we find a solution for what needs to be solved here and now; the recession of 2008 in Bernanke's case. He successfully withstood monetary policy lunatics like Ron Paul and whiz bang kids like Paul Ryan (so what if Ryan got it 'right' with Sen. Pat Murrary in the budget deal? The adult in the room - Sen. Murray - is always expected to bring back a recalcitrant kid back on the line). That is such a colossal feat that quite possibly it dwarfs Obama Presidency so far.

May be that is where the true strength of American Republic lies - from different walks of life, different personalities rise to the occasion in varieties of institutions to serve American People well in difficult times. Seems like the tenure of Fed Chairman Bernanke is one such exemplary case. So thanks Prof. Bernanke, job well done.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mixing Two Things

When Jonathan Bernstein criticizes President Obama and his Administration for effectively playing to 'news cycles' while promising to stay away from such 'media rides' early on; I think he forgets a key point - that conducting Administration so as not to give new avenues of criticism is a valid and prudent way of conducting an electoral office. So long as Obama Administration did not make explicit 'chase' for Media moments or undertook 'harm to nation's interests' while purchasing a favorable treatment in Media; there is much less basis to criticize Obama Administration for its prudence with regards to Media. That is just the other side of 'no drama Obama'. 

But let us keep aside all these 'nice to haves' features. Let us focus on the core failure of President Obama - never to grasp centrality of maneuvering Congress for his domestic agenda nor showing aptitude to read public mood so as to manage political pressure points within the Congress to achieve something. Now, not only Americans have given up on him to achieve anything legislatively; he himself has given upon his tenure to move forward any such credible agenda. 

Immigration is one such serious issue where President Obama can make political life of its opponents extremely uncomfortable. It is to watch next year if indeed he is still ready to play the role and his duty of 'the man in the arena' rather than being content with a 'care taking presidency' and few foreign policy victories instrumented by an old work horse Sec. Kerry. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The war Speaker must win

“they’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals...This is ridiculous!” 

Speaker John Boehner, Washington Post 

Exactly! As Media outlets are salivating for this internecine GOP war in public; this is the exact war this Speaker needs to win. There is no better thing for America than what Rep. Paul Ryan did here - bringing GOP from insanity into the camp of America's problem solvers. 

Looking back it is clear that Sen. Ted Cruz led craziness of government shutdown was the high water mark of Tea Party shenanigans. Hey, many Liberals may be 'wedded' to the success of ObamaCare or rather solving America's problem of uneven health care coverage and high costs; but we are not wedded to one Barack Obama. He will have to work hard for his legacy (just like how Nelson Mandela earned his own legacy). Point is American Politics is finally getting ready to go past Obama Years and there is a large swath of voters who would be amenable to Conservatism which is not nutty - the one which is not anti-women and anti-poor. Speaker and GOP folks like Rep. Ryan are doing exactly right things here - keep working with opposition party to solve America's problems and keep exposing extremists who run amok in the name of Conservatism.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Aam Aadmi Party

Is this the first sign of a revolution in India? Demographics tells us that a country with such a young population would find the message of one Arvind Kejriwal more appealing - that 'let us clean the mess created by Congress'.

More and more common Indians are seeing through the game of Congress - to keep tolerating corruption - and they want to get rid of it. Indira Gandhi famously dismissed 'corruption' as an urban elite phenomenon. Whereas Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi completely miss the point that most Indians are sick and tired of this 'corruption' and they hold Congress as singularly responsible for this state of affairs. We all know many other parties than Congress are responsible for continuing the corruption too; but the lion's share of blame goes to the Congress Party.

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi never had the aptitude or political senses to realize that Indians want to change and Indians are sick and tired of this 'corruption'. All of those MGNREGA and other fancy schemes - we have seen that film too often; that is what most Indians think.

Rahul Gandhi simply does not have the aptitude to 'read' these signals from common Indian folks while Dr. Singh is completely lost; if only appointing a James Bond central banker would solve ails of India. Of course, real world and real economy are not that simple.

If Arvind Kejriwal and his party are able to build on this initial success; one can truly say India has turned the page. This is a momentous occasion to make 'corruption and transparency' as the central electoral issue in India. Arvind Kejriwal has pulled off a giant change here.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Nelson Mandela

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again..."



I think President Obama articulated it aptly. Looking forward to his remarks at the coming state funeral of Mandela.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Can Democrats Save Themselves?

Possibly yes. I am very glad that my beloved Senator from MA, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, had senses to quench the speculation about her Dem nomination in 2016. (That does not mean I support Hillary's nomination blindly. What with folks like Senator Mark Warner, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Governor Jerry Brown? 'Executioners' branding should not be restricted only to GOP front runners like Christie.)

It is all right to run for Senate on the campaign of 'hard left'. There too I would love to see Senator Warren work hard to sort our real issues - like how to empower shareholders and force SEC to recognize full rights of shareholders. Issuing some fancy 'red meat' press releases hardly helps Americans. 

You cannot be the President of this country either as a 'Hard Left' or a 'Tea Party' hack. That is not what we Americans are and it will not be representative of this country. We Americans have enough of adjustment to make in reconciling to the first black president named one Barack Hussein Obama and that should be enough of hard work to us for now. President Obama has been less of an ideologue compared to recently minted New York Mayor and that is good. If Democrats take the path of Hard Left represented by NY Mayor De Blasio and Sen. Warren, Dems will be wiped out electorally.

Democrats cannot forget that just because there is an internecine war going on between GOP Establishment and Tea party, it does not mean Americans want to forget what Ronald Reagan taught us: 'be careful of Government and do not look at Government as our salvation'. It is enough that Obama Administration screwed HealthCare.gov; there is no more appetite with Americans for any more Government Intervention in any manner. Democrats can forget this cardinal lesson only at their peril. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Flying a flag does not make a viable State

It is hard to be a fan of the embattled Spanish PM Rajoy; but one can hardly disagree with him when he called the bluff of SNL Party Chieftain Alex Salmond who is spear heading Scottish Independence.

UK Queen and her predecessors have left disgruntled folks all over the world because of the past British Empire so much as many are instinctively disposed to an independent Scottish Nation; just so as to cut the nose of Queen. But the question to be asked is whether pulling down the queen is any sufficient to make lives of common folks any better.

Fortunately, most subjects of the UK Queen who can organize themselves as viable independent nations, have already done so. But that hardly makes the case of Scottish Independence; despite 600+ plus pages of erudition.

Such an independence is hardly going to make lives of Scottish People any better; especially when Scottish Independence leaders are proposing to retain Sterling Pound as the currency and still claiming to have non-existent monetary freedom. One only has to read Paul Krugman to understand foolhardiness of letting someone else to decide your monetary policy. Greece is a prime example of that - there is no recourse to make you trade-wise competitive nor a mechanism to deflate your debt in real terms assuming it is denominated in your own currency to start with.

If the argument is that Scotland does not have any worthwhile export apart from some Culture artifacts nor do they want to make Sterling Pound denominated Debt (independent Scotland will have to share some part of UK's total debt) more expensive by a weaker currency; that is a different case to be made. Standard economic prescriptions do not lend any weight to this view as well.

Today's world is more inter-dependent and as such tendencies to carve our 'independent nations with a haphazard structure solely on the basis of cultural distinctiveness' are hardly justified. Same seems to be the case with Scotland and there does not seem to be any stronger case to break from UK. May be after all most commoners understand games of these politicians. Just like how Canada learned to live with perennial, but unsuccessful, Quebec Independence Movement; UK might learn to manage Scottish Pride without any actual divisions of the union.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

OBL Moment

When President Obama oversaw the raid in Pakistan to kill Osma Bin Laden, the world froze for a moment.

Obama Presidency has delivered one more such moment in the initial agreement with Iran. That is John Kerry's substantial down payment for his diplomacy run. Well done Kerry - keep quiet, don't talk too much and simply keep on delivering; may be, just may be his ambitious vision might pay at least some tangible dividends to Americans and World at large.

There are knowledgeable critics who are still skeptical for valid reasons. Even after this first agreement, there is a long way before Iran ceases to be a pariah country. There will be reverses and who knows things can still go wrong. But for all these dangers, what this agreement signifies is larger Iranian population and elites have concluded that pursuit of nukes with these sanctions is not worth. That understanding and Ayatollah's willingness to act upon that concretely; all that is needle moving.

More Saudi's and Israeli's make noise about this deal; in a way that bolsters Obama Administration's case for its genuineness in dealing with Iran. In the end, I believe President Obama will be able to calm Israeli nerves as well as Saudi concerns. President Obama has to do that, good thing is it is all doable (unless of course Obama Administration blows it like its HealthCare.gov debacle). But today is the day to congratulate President Obama and Sec. John Kerry and wish them best in continuing the path they are laying down here. Well done. 

Real Moving Parts

Now that most reviews of Xi Jinping's policy pronouncements are in, we have to see where the real money is going. I think PIMCO has got it right - in assessing that for all contradictions of Xi Jinping's policies and still early innings in implementations of the same; Chinese polity and economy is at least getting steered in the right direction.

Crucial question is - would the world absorb two giant currency pools: one American and another future pool of Chinese currency / debt. Granted, today China does not issue much of its Debt globally. But as it starts rationalizing municipal debt market and more seriously implements systematic reforms to honor global title holders of its debts; we are talking some serious supply to the global Debt Market; the one which might compete with American Supply.

I suspect, there is enough disorder and lawlessness in rest of the world to absorb two equally giant guarantee providers of Debt and assets. 

Let London make rest of the England suffer for the quest of bragging rights of global finance center; it will be Beijing though which will be effectively moving parts of global finance in years to come.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What is Obama Presidency then?

Is it going to be like all contemporary second term presidencies? Unable to move the needle and essentially becoming 'care taking presidency'; only reliant on foreign policy issues to deliver some substance?

That seems to be the case so far. Let us cut the chase - what matters is Obama Administration gets HealthCare.org in shape. So far President is 'clueless' and unable to get his act together - no matter how many mea culpas he undertakes or how eloquent his apologies are. American People, rightly so, would only accept results here and President Obama is no where near there.

What is worse, I do not know whether he understands when he utters like:

"one of the things that I do recognize is since I know that the federal government has not been good at this stuff in the past"

President Obama is basically undermining the entire Democratic political agenda and philosophy - that Government can be a good change agent. Knowing problems of Federal Government and still not doing anything to address is worse. Here is a chance for President Obama to leave behind his legacy - crack the whip on Federal Procurement Process and Regulations so that tax payers money is never wasted on folks who 'game' the procurement process rather than 'deliver results'. 

Knowledgeable reporters like Ezra Klein thinks that President Obama knows the 'reality'. But I doubt. Because if he were to be serious here, he would have adopted scorched earth policy: appoint most capable managers in Software Engineering Industry and get that damn thing done. The thing here is all these Web Site and backend Software problems are solvable. Question is whether President shows the willingness to go into all gory details and shows the executive competence.

Absence of that - we are to Bobby Jindal commentary: "...never ran a lemonade stand".

Democrats in Congress, in rather than prodding Obama Administration to acquire the administrative competence; are simply fleeing here. But they do not know what long term damage they are doing to the Democratic project of centrality of State apparatus.

Because, if Democrats run away from ensuring viability of ACA; these very Democrats undermine their future elections; no matter whether it is Hillary or someone else on the ballot. Point is it is high time, Democratic Congress members understand importance of getting ACA right. You fail in that, Democrats would forfeit all their claims of State intervention for good. Essentially Democrat's case of 'government by the people, of the people, for the people" will simply evaporate.

There is still time for Obama Administration to get this ObamaCare thingy right and Democrats in the Congress need to actively work - as needed behind the screen if doing publicly is hard to sustain politically - to ensure this execution. After all Democratic Party having made ACA work, will be in lot better position to contest 2014. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bye Boss

Thank you Sachin Tendulkar. Countless Indians and Cricket fans all over the world, we are all grateful for the joy and feeling of 'being part of united India' you brought to all of us. You will be the role model for Indian youth and sportsmen for generations to come - on the field and off the field. Your 'sterling character', beyond doubt integrity, achievements on the field and dedication to the sport; all are legendary and worthy to emulate for all. So thank you and best wishes.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Iran

I do not believe Iran will be able to prolong any further existing biting sanctions. So it is all right for USA and Western Powers to return from negotiations without any agreement.

Fundamentally, Iran stopping construction of nuclear plants which can produce nuke material is a must. Arak plant construction must stop, that is essential. IAEA inspections are must and there cannot be any ambiguity in terms of Iran not being able to pursue weapons grade nuclear material. All these things are non-negotiable and hence Sec. Kerry is right to claim that 'no deal is better than a bad deal'. 

Iranian President Rouhani will find it harder eventually to continue his credibility without delivering a pact with Western powers since that is a necessary condition for normalizing lives of common Iranians. So overall - hang on, Iranian Ayatollahs will come to terms with restricting their nuke bomb making activities. USA and Western Powers simply have to hold tight. Else in next six months, Israeli attach on Arak and other Iranian nuke sites cannot be ruled out. That will not be any easy for the world economy. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Yesterday's Elections

1. De Blasio's victory in New York was given. But this 'hard Left' turn of Democratic base is worrying. Considering a solid mandate De Blasio has got, it will be difficult for him to avoid enacting at least part of his partisan agenda. When a politician is required to enact such an ideological agenda, the question is will he be a Scott Walker - the Wisconsin Governor who enacted the hard ideological agenda early in the term, fought the opposition and finally prevailed. Or he becomes like Barack Obama where early in his term, he enacted his promise to his base - ObamaCare and there after continued to bleed all over the term; compounded by his administrative incompetence. I am doubtful De Blasio will be able to bring any better Administrative Competence than Obama Administration (whatever it is) or truly competent current Mayor Bloomberg.

I can be wrong, but I doubt De Blasio and his base would have given attention to limits of a city mayor office. Howsoever powerful a mayor is of a rich city like New York, there are going to be enormous constraints to execute any European style Leftist Agenda. Just by winning a city office without much influence at State and National level; you cannot achieve lot. In other words, De Blasio and his base are likely to make the same mistake as like House Tea Party members who think controlling House mean they can fully enact their agenda as they will.

All this means, there lies enormous possibilities for disappointments in De Blasio's tenure. Possibility is how Nancy Pelosi served as Liberal West Coast whipping girl of Conservatives, De Blasio would easily emerge as East Coast Liberalism gone amok. Reality may not develop like that and my fears could be exaggerated; but Conservatives can sure make a caricature of De Blasio as 'return of disastrous Tax and Spend Liberalism' of past.

2. I think McAuliffe winning margin was for sure very thin than what polls predicted earlier. Seems like those polls over-played depth and spread of Blue Votes. But in the end reality is McAuliffe started the uphill battle (his own history and incumbent Republican advantage in Virginia) and won the election. Thin margin is better in a sense that it should put some leash on otherwise easily carried away McAuliffe. He has got some serious opportunity to clear his name by undertaking some sensible 'middle of the road' competent governance.

Other than that, all these tea leaves reading of 'ill portends for Democrats' in the voting patterns and all that; I do not believe there is much to read there; except that pollsters should adjust their voting models to avoid projecting Dem winners so overwhelmingly.

3, About Chris Christie - I fail to read much in his re-election. He is a popular leader so it matters less that he is a Red politician in a Blue State. Apart from name recognition, I doubt this would facilitate anything much for Christie candidacy in coming days.

4. As many have rightly pointed, the real news is the defeat of an extremist Tea Party member in Arkansas House race by a mainstream GOP candidate. That is a first clear sign of Business Community trying to differentiate between Nihilism of Tea Party and business friendly mainstream Republican Party. In trying to push USA over the cliff of Default and shutting down the Federal Government, Tea Party folks have proven their Nihilistic Credentials and slowly Business community is waking up to the task - rank opposition to Democrats does not mean you accept Nihilism of Tea Party. That is a big takeaway here.

There are few who wonder 'better than expected show by Tea Party candidate Cuccinelli' in VA Gov Race will embolden Tea Party rather than veering GOP to moderation. But for every such takeaway, you have the observation of fall of Dean Young. Republicans are going to allow shenanigans of Tea Party at their own peril. If nothing else, so much  divided Republican Party means continued political gains to Democrats despite overall situation being not that favorable.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Wrong Headed Energy Policy of India

Having joined the nuke bomb club one way or the other, India does not have much of an excuse to pursue Nuclear Energy for the sake of nuclear weapons technology (India is not contemporary Iran). India's nuclear weapons abilities are mature already. Given that, pursuing Nuclear Energy power plants has much less justification in India.

Consider a legitimate and timely case against India's fetish about Nuclear Energy as argued by Pankaj Mishra in Bloomberg. There are lot of things which might be going right in Abe's Japan, but "doubling down" on Nuclear Energy does seem to be one of those. Famed Japanese preparedness and discipline were nowhere to be found when the debacle of Fukushima happened. Rather than seeing these failure, for Indian Government to fall for Japanese nuclear reactor is essentially doing disservice to it's own tax payers by diverting precious resources to an ultra-expensive technology as well as to risk lives of common Indians for no apparent reason.

Indian Government is neither able to stop corruption in these mega budget public projects nor able to stop multitude of vested interests which keep pushing India on a wrong path. This love of mega-projects and unsuitable technologies is across the political spectrum. Congress Party has continued its Nuclear Energy Policy for decades despite it costing India fortune with puny results to show while across the board increasing risks of multiple Bhopal Accidents. Meanwhile in BJP, Narendra Modi's atrocious history in dealing with Narmada Dam and related projects sets equally deaf tone for a public policy.

India's power shortage is for real. But rather than opting for public participatory, cheap, decentralized alternative energy options (micro-solar plants and mini wind mill farms for example) and stemming of transmission losses; India continues its disastrous energy policy of centralized plants with uneconomic technology. It is shame that there are no signs of abating this wrong path regardless of who is in power.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Is American Media seeing it through?

"Despite his best efforts, there was no reason to be fooled about Mr. Cuccinelli’s real agenda in 2002. And there’s no reason to be fooled now."


There can be no more devastating indictment of a politician than this one - folks in media are not going to be fooled by a politician's talk.

I think WaPo Editorial Board has nailed it here - those politicians who actively go for "fooling people" to ram through their ideological agenda; Americans would not tolerate any more.

May be, may be; as more and more of American Media sees through designs of these politicians, we all might be better off. After all not all 'talks across the aisle' are futile.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Where is the trans-formative presidency?

It is one of the most common sights to observe in a Valley Company needing to get its act together - new incoming managers would promise to "kick out" outdated Waterfall model of Software Development and would promise to bring in the "agile SCRUM based Spiral Model of Software Development". That was the implicit expectation in Obama Presidency - at least among legions of his "techie supporters" when he raised millions upon millions campaign dollars from them.

"We would have done this for a fraction of the price."


There is no better person than Benioff to appraise and comment on this whole miserable show of Healthcare.gov. Salesforce.com is one of the world's most prominent and ultra-competitive websites pulling off all sorts of "complex workflows" what Healthcare.gov needed to pull off. So he is right on that Obama's Washington failed to take advantage of capabilities, skills and technologies of people like Marc and their Valley Organizations. (It is irrelevant how techie savvy Obama Campaign was....)

The scale of incompetence and sense of missed opportunity is hard to miss here. Commentators are right to point out that the whole reason of Obama Presidency - the government can be a good force to change people's lives  - is thoroughly and completely undermined by President Obama's failure to understand the 'gravity' of the situation. When whole of America is flocking to movies like "Gravity"; change in American People is palpable; it is Obama Administration which has failed to deliver on these hopes of people who have supported him to the hilt through thick and thin.

"Obamacare isn't a political abstraction any longer. Its success doesn't depend on spin or solidarity. What matters for the law -- and for the people who are depending on it -- is how well it actually works. So far, it's not working well at all. If and when that changes, our coverage of the health-care law will change, too."


Do we say then betrayal of Progressive Cause by Obama Presidency? It is hard to escape that conclusion when one of most ardent original ObamaCare supporters like Ezra laments this way. 

May be Obama Administration would be unable to use Agile Software Development process at such a late stage of the project. They may very well be stuck with Waterfall Model for this project. But if and when they complete that (else Obama Presidency with be tatters no doubt); what President Obama needs to do is bring America's Federal Procurement process into the 21st century. It is no brainer that tomorrow's Public Infrastructure will be more and more about Information Infrastructure in Digital and Cloud Computing World. The procurement and execution processes which are devised for Military Industry Complex Era and Public Works Administration of FDR Era are no good. This is all mostly "executive reform" arena where President Obama can make substantial improvements without much tangling with Congress. 

Way back in History pages, those emperors and rulers were eulogized who brought in substantive "administrative reforms". Here is an opportunity for Obama Administration to do similar to drag Federal bureaucratic behemoth to  contemporary times - where failures are acceptable, execution is agile and processes are rescued from the corrosive and detrimental influences of legislation and zero-sum politics. 

President Obama failed to grasp importance of such an administrative competence in first five years of his presidency. It was all about legislative agenda and fiscal grand bargains, unfortunately where he came out empty handed. (History does not care though how hard Obama Administration tried for those goals; results matter.) But if he is focused, he can still achieve some redemption for himself in the remaining three years. Otherwise, Healthcare.gov will prove to be his Katrina moment and along with his Presidency he will bring down the whole Progressive Edifice of "Government for People". Regardless of electoral fortunes of Tea Party, that will be the ultimate victory for Nihilists of this country and President Obama will be singularly responsible for that, he will be remembered as the fateful bookend to what FDR started - how to bring Government to help in people's lives. 

Tea Party wants to drive our capable and passionate public employees from Federal Government. They do want to bring chaos to render spectacular failures of government so that it can exploit political advantage. Job for the Progressive Leader is to 'see through' this game plan and understand the importance of getting ObamaCare right. So far President Obama is late and in the danger of failing miserably. With his legislative agenda in tatters due to obdurate GOP, American People wanting him to go 'completely fetal' when it comes to foreign involvements, his own Intelligence Apparatus destroying foundations of truly Open Global Internet (and there by singularly undermining America's unique advantage in computing); holding on to Administration Competence is the last straw for Obama Administration. He better hold that and deliver something to American People.

Monday, October 21, 2013

It can be done

I know, Obama Administration has never been well-known about 'execution'. We all know Obama Campaign has been all about 'big data' and 'execution'; but never Obama Administration; that is the difference. So all this commotion about 'healthcare.gov' is very much anticipated and no surprise.

If only this President was 'really' focused on the execution like 'laser like precision'.

But then I had expected Nancy Pelosi's resignation from the leadership position when Dem's lost 60+ seats in 2010 election. So Obama male Supporter's like me will have to reconcile to the fact that HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius will continue even if she failed singularly to deliver the most important administrative piece of Obama Administration. Unfortunately, that is what 'gender equality' means in Obama Times. I like Sec. Sebelius and I respect her for all her service to Obama Administration. But that has nothing to do with 'political accountability'. (Come on folks, President Bush had to kick out Donald Rumsfeld after Nancy becoming Speaker in 2006; even he - who Progressives vile most - had the proper sense of political accountability; then why is Obama MIA here? I know kicking out Sebelius in the midst of fire fighting would not achieve anything; but President must hold folks responsible. Else all his 'anger' is useless and no point in blaming 'bloggers' for the same.) I am in all for 'female governance' and love to see ladies bringing some 'sanity' to the town of Washington. But alas, there is no magic wand...just because there are ladies in charge does not mean fundamental results would follow automatically. Just ask Yahoo Board of Directors....

However, President Obama does not need to be so desperate. He needs to be lot more forthright. Because the good news is, all these are 'fixable problems'. Believe me, believe legions of programmers and software professionals. Given time, discipline and complete focus on details - anyone can master a software. I have some experience in that....What is needed is President Obama to bring in right folks, empower them and in the end this all be fixed. Just that it is a race against time in Politics.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

In Times of Obama Presidency

No, it is not necessary you agree with the powerful 'writing' of a world class thinker Andrew Sullivan. The claim to read "Tea Party Activism as another 'avatar' of religious rebellion" - that can be taken neither lightly nor discoursed in one single blog post. But still, there is no other way than to get impressed by the power of thinking and writing of one Andrew here when he says:

"My rule of thumb is pretty simple: whenever you hear a quote about Obamacare, it’s more illuminating to remove the “care” part....

They want their presidents white and their budget balanced now. That balancing it now would tip the whole world into a second depression sounds like elite cant to them.....

This is a religion – but a particularly modern, extreme and unthinking fundamentalist religion. And such a form of religion is the antithesis of the mainline Protestantism that once dominated the Republican party as well, to a lesser extent, the Democratic party.
It also brooks no distinction between religion and politics, seeing them as fused in the same cultural and religious battle."


Andrew Sullivan is partial to President Barack Obama is no secret. Sorry, it may sound 'party popping' statement on the day when President is riding high, all for right causes; but we cannot forget - no matter obduracy of your political opponent and their intransigence; job of a White House occupant is always pull 'together we all Americans'. That is what Abe did even after killing of thousands of American brothers and sisters during Civil War and that is how the founder George Washington showed the road for this great country. 

In not realizing earlier inability of Speaker John Boehner to carry his wright with his caucus, or how GOP has gerrymandered their Congressional districts to produce a crop of total 'hacks', or not to realize earlier the value of carrying his Democratic caucus so united in the service of larger purpose, or not undertaking much of more schmoozing with individual Congress Member; Barack Obama indeed came short there.

But may be, just may be; when he proves that he indeed 'does not need any transplant of any vital male organs', when he keeps on repeating rightly that no one has 'won' when Americans have indeed paid the avoidable price, when he judiciously makes the call to be firm and unyielding but at the same time open for negotiations in what is good for Americans; we might be seeing a new and wiser President. 

For every contemporary Democratic President, it is a 'rite of passage' that they withstand the severe attempt of 'de-legitimization' by shutting down the government. That is when Bill Clinton soared in his presidency to seed his second term victory. Barack Obama, being the first Black President, faced even harsher challenge of 'default'. But now that he has averted it in the second attempt (in the first attempt he had to cave), it should put in some serious foundation for remaining years in the office; regardless of whether those years are of far consequential or little consequential

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Not So Easy

Last week it was given that Senate would broker the deal. Today was supposed to be the culmination point, but Speaker Boehner thought to play again his 'hand' and it came a cropper.

Unless Speaker comes to terms that he is as good as 'zero power leader / speaker' with these shenanigans, unless he is ready to relinquish his position to anyone who wants to don this mantle of thrones - and he says so publicly; there is no governance possible. Path to Leadership goes through relinquishing the formal power. Unless people see your fearlessness, unless they have evaluated that you are not doing all this 'power for the sake of power'; he would not be in the position to 'govern USA'.

Speaker Boehner must answer the question what job of Speaker-ship is important to him - to carry the will of majority of majority or to serve this country by siding with silent 'true majority of America' who do not want this nihilism and governance by crisis after crisis. Until he resolves this tension - neither he will be able to serve this country nor even fulfill expectations of suicidal 'majority of majority' GOP of today.

Unless Speaker Boehner states flatly that he will pass 'right legislation' (in this case Harry Reid - McConnell deal as brokered in Senate) as many times as needed on the back of Democrats whenever he thinks that is what this 'nation needs', America is unlikely to come out of this governance by crisis.

What worse is going to happen? Eric Cantor replacing John Boehner? How all that is going to solve America's immediate legislative challenges? None. What needs to happen - and Boehner and his friends can help here - is to display 'futility of changing the GOP leader'. Only after that any eventual GOP House Leader is going to have a spine to face the 'craziness going on'. 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Squeezing Through

Pretend you are 'negotiating' while actually you are conceding to the President, keep your 'hard public posture' while quietly coming to the table to start negotiations; that all seems to be a way out of this quagmire American political system finds itself.

Considering the 11th hour of our Default, this is one choice to avoid our total destruction. After all as Jennifer Rubin said for a while - domestic politics is not WAR where you completely annihilate the Opposition. It is the same Opposition you have to deal next day. President Obama should be calculating, if only he buys some peace on Domestic front and let resilient American Economy grow by saving it from suicidal politics of Tea Party; he will have the whole globe to make the difference in his second term - trade deals with Pacific Nations and Europe, Iran problem and Arab-Israeli Conflict while prosperity coming to America in old fashioned way (politicians not meddling in between). You name a pressing global problem and President Obama with his lieutenant Kerry have an ample opportunity to pursue diplomacy while continuing the hard edged war on Terrorism.

So as most observers have claimed, we are in for :
- 4 to 6 weeks deal to raise Debt Ceiling,
- that time will be utilized to negotiate a budget mini-deal, as Rep. Ryan calls it, 
- to pass a budget and fund the government to finally open.

Survival is the current extinct. Who benefits, what happens to personalities and what future holds to which political party; there will be time and place to have that 'time pass' conversation. Going away from the compulsive obsessive syndrome of hating ObamaCare at any cost, that may be the immediate side effect of all this. May be not that bad after all, notwithstanding still some 'grand standing' by few Republicans. 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Destruction of USA in Sight

Reading Maureen Dowd's column in NYT, I understood how destruction of USA would look like; but felt it was all hyperbola. But when I read Speaker John Boehner saying this:

"We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase"

it is clear that Default will happen. With Ted Cruz saying "they are winning" and Boehner saying he joined Tea Party to fight united; GOP game plan is clear now. On Gov Shutdown, they will keep passing 'piecemeal' bills funding most of the government except ObamaCare. For Debt Ceiling, again they will start going after 'prioritization technique' i.e. ordering of which items to be paid first as revenue comes in. Again they will 'de-fund' ObamaCare and then start telling to the public that they have done their work for both Debt Ceiling and Budget. That is the route Tea Party wanted to take when it claimed they wanted to 'change the Washington' - slice and dice expenses and re-order how tax collected money is paid. It will be a remarkable revolution to pull off with so little actual political representation in Washington. In the process they would have achieved their other twin goals too - destroy ObamaCare and make Obama Presidency illegitimate. It will be a political loss of colossal proportion for Democrats - despite having White House, Senate majority and more combined actual votes than Republicans for Democratic candidates in House; they would have allowed essentially complete subversion of American Political System. That is not what America was designed for (even through there are some erudite arguments otherwise; those are wrong).

The argument President Obama would have is Republicans are trying to 'negotiate and manage fiscal issues' outside of the established 'budget process' and by thuggery - by not allowing Clean CR bills in House when there are clear votes and filibustering bills in Senate while Democratic majority rendered useless.

Destruction of America, destruction of Republicans as a Political Party - those are all irrelevant to House GOP members. November 2014 election is far away for these folks when clear victory seems possible to them 'now'. Stock Market Crash, world Economy tremors; all those are irrelevant to these folks.

President and Democrats would really have to decide whether they are going to succumb to this outright defeat of representational democracy and be the principle failed political force to allow 'thuggery to rule this land'. They are united today, but that unity can wilt down under the impeding pressure. What they need to tell to American People clearly is that - 

they have already put forward 'budget' which has ways to manage our finances and they are perfectly open for any normal negotiations under that process. With 'Gun to the Head'; that is not the process they want to get involved into because the destruction what GOP is threatening is of 'common wealth and common property' called United States of America. Republicans are equally accountable to that Property and American People as much as Democrats. No one is more patriotic than the other nor no one has any less responsibility

Seems like President and Democrats need to communicate this very clearly and incessantly; otherwise cacophony of marauders will overwhelm and the path of destruction will open.