It is the businessman Donald Trump’s White House.
It is the millionaire Donald Trump’s White House.
It is the playboyish Donald Trump’s White House.
It is the White House of a US president who is termed outright liar by many.
It is the White House of a president who was controversial even before his White House days, who began his White House stay with controversies, and who is getting neck deep in controversies – all of his own making.
It is the White House of a president which doesn’t care for norms, even if it is about belying the centuries old established ethical standards of the US polity – like promoting family interests, nepotism and scoring business goals.
It is the White House of a president who believes in taking along his coterie. They may be businesspersons or his friends. Qualification and expertise to hold the office is not necessary. Even if it about advising the United States President, unarguably the most powerful (and hence the most responsible, we suppose) person on earth. But Donald Trump, so far by his acts, indicates us that he is going to disappoint us.
The latest controversial move by him is to appoint his daughter as his official adviser. The official announcement was done today. Before that, she already had an office in the White House.
She is adviser to the President Donald Trump.
Her husband is senior adviser to the President Donald Trump.
They both are unpaid advisers.
But even Donald Trump has said that he will not take his salary he is entitled to. He has said that he will work round the clock, without offs. He has said he will reach to the last person in the US, bringing jobs and welfare unlike any of his predecessors. He invented a term #MAGA (Make America Great Again).
#MAGA was his pet line during the pre-election campaign and even then when his government was inaugurated on January 20, 2017 with historically low approval ratings, just two months after his stunning victory on November 8, 2016.
It is sounding a hollow phase now. Trump’s continued trips to his mansion Mar-a-Lago on officials trips, costing taxpayers millions or his golf course timeouts are self-explanatory.
And like many of Donald Trump ministers, her daughter and son-in-law has no experience of public life and political office.
So the reason is fiascos like Trump’s both versions of travel bans which failed miserably or failed grand promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare (by Trumpcare) or adopting an eerie silence on the Mexican wall or withdrawing the US from the global leadership or cutting down on programmes of social welfare while increasing the defense budget. Trump has completed just two months in the White House but his list of controversies and failures is getting so long that not even the US, but the whole world may have to regret later.
That strange thought came suddenly
Crying out silently in the wilderness
Where leaves had stopped speaking
And the dew had a unseasonal dryness
And asked if I was ready for that
But what was that it didn’t tell
Was it something I was just thinking
Or an impression from days in past
The oddity of the thought pushed me
To revisit that me who was once here
Speaking in tones that so enthused
Like it was one of those thrills
That you spend your lifetime to have
There were lanes bright and closed
And the corridors of ringing bliss
It was a life that bathed me daily
That freshness initiated my days
With a clarity the morning dew spoke
And it would remain there
But I cannot say what happened
On a day when it didn’t speak
And lived a strange silence afterwards
I knew a retrospection was not there
But my introspection told me to do so
I was hurt, and so that person in me
But we both understood each other
Life had some plans and it went on
I don’t know if that part of me had his
But as years faded away from us
We learnt to get along to the extent
That we didn’t discuss about that
But this strange thought is pushing me
To introspect again for a retrospection
I don’t know if I would go for it
But at the moment, I am stuck with it
What it is in life that you so care for
Wasn’t it the day’s reckoning
To make amends with your conscience
Something refined, something sublime
It was a moment to go thoughtless
But why couldn’t you go beyond
There is a sky which has its own limits
And it was eager to get along with you
Sharing its pious abode of togetherness
It was an invitation that cared for you
It is that you still don’t want to go out
But how long will you remain like this
Absorbed in your moments as you go
You had to come here and speak up
What did you think about the black line
That you saw between you and beyond
You need to answer yourself
You don’t believed in the day of reckoning
But why can’t you go with the day’s reckoning?
2008 US presidential nominee from the Republican Party and influential US senator John McCain had, in December 2016, termed the Russian interference though cyber attacks in the 2016 US presidential election an act of war. Then it did not echo much. Also, John McCain, who is chairman of US Senate Armed Services Committee, has had a long running feud with Donald Trump.
But after the recent hearing of the House Intelligence Committee where the FBI Director James Comey testified that the FBI was indeed investigating the Russian meddling in the US polls and if some members of the Trump campaign team were having Russian connections, many Democratic senators, have started voicing their opinions against the Russian belligerence. And they think the Russian interference was an ‘act of war’.
It was the first public admission by the FBI into the ongoing probe that the FBI director termed ‘unusual’, as the FBI doesn’t confirm or deny that it is investigating a matter unless it is highly ‘unusual’. Here the FBI believed the situation was so serious and in public interest was at stake, as Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee.
After Comey’s admission, the issue has become central to the Democratic Party’s narrative to target US President Donald Trump. “I think this attack that we’ve experienced is a form of war, a form of war on our fundamental democratic principles”, charged Bonnie Watson Coleman, Democrat from New Jersey, during a recent security committee hearing.
Her words were echoed by Democratic Party senator from California Jackie Speier who said during the same hearing where Comey was testifying that ‘he actually thought that their (Russian) engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare and he thought that’s why the American people should be concerned about it’.
Another Democratic senator for California, Eric Swalwell, who had launched a separate section on his official website to detail Donald Trump’s officials connection with Russia, said, “I see this as an opportunity for everyone on this committee, Republicans and Democrats, to not look in the rearview window but to look forward and do everything we can to make sure that our country never again allows a foreign adversary to attack us”, as quoted by The Hill, a newspaper and website with wide following. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is currently probing Russian meddling matter and Swalwell is one of its members.
In January, the US democrats had written a letter to the US Congress to demand an independent, bipartisan commission, with equal representation of Democrats and Republicans, to probe the allegations but the House Speaker Paul Ryan rejected such calls.
US intelligence agencies believe that Vladimir Putin did order the Kremlin to interfere in the US presidential polls and the charge that it was done in order to hurt the prospects of the US Democrats and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, gained momentum after thousands of Hillary Clinton emails were leaked by Russian hackers, a revelation confirmed by the CIA. The fact that Donald Trump has always been soft on Russia and Vladimir Putin and he would often talks of new alignments with Russia during his campaign days, further bolstered the feeling.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security advisor, had to resign after it was found that he had lied on his Russian connection. Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions, who had a controversial ascent to head the Trump administration’s legal team, had to recuse himself from the investigations into the Russian meddling after it was revealed that he was also in touch with the Russian Ambassador in the US during Trump’s campaign days.
After the humiliating setback in the US presidential polls, the US Democrats have got multiple opportunities to target Trump. Trump entered the White House with historically low approval ratings. His controversial travel ban targeting some Muslim majority nations has seen strong disapproval even from some Republicans and has been stayed by the US courts. Most recently, his favourite campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, fizzled out this week when his party could not arrange numbers in a house dominated by the Republicans.
Add to it are the controversies like his official weekend visits to his private mansion Mar-a-Lago that cost US taxpayers millions or his over a dozen visits to Golf Courses when he had promised that he would not take off days. Wrapping it with a grand narrative of its conventional rival Russia, attacking the US, with unconventional tools like cyber wars, that hurt the sovereign interests of the country but benefit the Trump camp, serves the purpose of showing Trump and Republicans in a questionable light. These all together create a perfect recipe for the Democratic Party to bounce back from its low confidence levels some months back.
That might be the case if we go by the increasing number of such assessments in the official Chinese media like this one, an assessment published in China’s Global Times, one of the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. Published in Global Times’ opinion section ‘Insider Eye’, the article argues that like the western countries have successfully done, it is now time for China to leverage huge Indian talent pool to fuel its global competitiveness and presents point by point support to base its narrative.
The article is written by S. Ramakrishna Velamuri, a professor at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. CEIBS is one of the Ivy League B schools globally. This assessment by an Indian origin professor who did his MBA from Spain and PhD from America is important because it is not the first article on the subject in the official Chinese media and because it is published in one of the main official newspapers of China where nothing can go on pages without approval from the higher ups in the Chinese government.
The article says even if China produces largest number of engineers and science graduates in the world, its forte traditionally has been in hardware. Making it complimentary to the huge pool of software professionals in India will give the Chinese economy the edge it needs to succeed in the times when we are heading to Industry 4.0, an era of smart factories that work on seamless integration of hardware with software. The industrial future is automation, driven by the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems.
The article argues that with superior English language skills, “Indian software engineers are more accustomed to developing solutions for global markets, whereas Chinese engineers have been more focused on their domestic market”.
Also, Indian population is youngest in the world. The median age in India is 10 years lower than China. The article argues that as knowledge-intensive industries hire fresh graduates and groom them further, tapping into the Indian talent pool will provide a sustained supply base in the foreseeable future. That will be a boon for a rapidly aging China which is projected to have maximum number of over 65 people in the world.
And to cap it all is India’s cost competitiveness, as the article writes that ‘Indian talent is significantly cheaper than the Chinese talent’.
The article says China is rapidly becoming an innovation-driven economy from being the global manufacturing base and was ranked 25th on the Global Innovation Index 2016. In upper middle income countries, the country was ranked first. India has emerged as the R&D hub for multinational companies. The articles says India has around 1200 R&D centres including 42% of the top 500 R&D spenders in the world which employ over 3,00,000 professionals and the count is only going up. So, India has what China needs.
Last month too, an article in Global Times had written that by not attracting Indian talent, China had made a mistake. Written by a Global Times reporter of Chinese origin, that assessment was more direct in accepting that “talent pool in China was not large and flexible enough to meet demand for the rapid expansion of innovation capability’. The article wrote, “China cannot afford to risk a decline in its attractiveness for high-tech investors and attracting high-tech talent from India could be one of China’s options for maintaining its innovation ability”.
Questions that life so habitually throws
That sometimes they get that overdose
To the extent that it becomes so gloomy
Instead of a simple row with life
Questions, sometimes, embrace thorns
When it had to be a rose, even if verbose
Questions, sometimes, lose their repose,
And, at times, repulse to a listless state
Questions, sometimes, lose their weaving
Any why! Only in order to get apposed
Questions, sometimes, bring us together
But at times, they also send us afar
Questions, sometimes, push us to the altar
When we seem to be lost in a war within
Questions, sometimes, they leave their scars
Visible even in a future where past sucks
Questions, sometimes, split you
Ready with a scimitar, to mutilate you
Questions, sometimes, bring some thoughts
That you find you are totally at odds with
Questions, sometimes, create complexes
To simply get you confused in their maze
Questions, sometimes, ask like a fanatic
As to, why don’t you follow this zealot
Questions, sometimes, behave like an abbot
Who is ready to wait till infinity for his godot
Questions, sometimes, question their space
But a void is all that covers their face
One of the greatest scientists, nature’s laws and human civilization have ever seen, Albert Einstein, had once said that ‘God does not play dice’. Einstein was not a religious person and his observation was about the laws of nature.
One of the best minds of our times, Stephen Hawking, wrote an elaborate piece titled ‘Does God Play Dice?’ on similar lines.
Both of them were opining about scientific determinism, about how laws of nature play out in the universe, and how chaos is a certain part of it.
Mathematician Ian Stewart wrote a book ‘Does God Play Dice? The New Mathematics of Chaos’ that was published in 1989. The book is about chaos theory, about a pattern in randomness that no one sees or senses, that science cannot explain. But simple to complex, events happen. What seems unrelated may very well effect a change where it was never expected. Things are governed by chaos and chaos is governed by quantum mechanics. But what quantum mechanics is governed by?
By uncertainty? By scientific determinism of chaos? By a pattern in uncertainty and chaos that no one can see?
Or in the words of Stephen Hawking, who writes in his ageless classic, that “God doesn’t intervene, to break the laws of Science”.
That is about the philosophy of science. But even the philosophy of life, or your existence here, follows a similar path.
That “God doesn’t intervene, to break the laws of life”.
‘Does God play dice’ is a question that we all come across in our lives. When we ask such questions and when we look for answers, we tend to move to the philosophical realms, questioning our existence, questioning the way life has been, and sometimes questioning even God.
The philosophy of life which every life develops to deal with chaos in his or her life!
Here I am not talking about philosophy as a discourse or discipline but it has more to do with the philosophical underpinnings of existence and identity where philosophy becomes an ironical necessity, a necessity as we interpret and we become so habituated with it – to the extent that it becomes an inherent part of us – motivating us, or propelling us, or forcing us to move ahead or along with life.
If we turn to the ‘philosophy of Puritanism, the ‘dicing’ proposition loses its relevance. If we turn to the philosophy incarnation of the day as preached by the so-called intellectuals and self-made God-reincarnations or even by the academicians, it becomes misleading enough to veer us to the brink of a conscience crisis.
When we are asked to ‘accept everything as it comes’ and ‘whatever that happens is for good’ and when we start believing in such propositions, not debating what good it brings to us and if there was any good at all in whatever that happened, we start losing our individuality, slipping into the conscience crisis. We don’t realize it or we are forced not to realize it – in the name of being practical. Chaos starts dismantling us.
We all follow some values in life which we justify anyhow and we are right in doing so but to go beyond, we need to turn to pragmatism of conscience and that only can lead us to a fine blend of ‘the ways we go across to deal with the ‘prompts and hurdles’ of life’ and the ‘optimized scale of conscience, the philosophical element’, so as to fix the ‘dice’ in a poise on the scale of thinking in a way that can achieve a swing state tending to get back to the root of one’s existence whenever it gets disturbed.
And this balance, this ‘philosophy of necessity’ cannot be defined, cannot be measured, and cannot be practiced uniformly. It is subjective and can only be attained and attuned by individual life preferences and circumstances, if one tends to balance the moments in the line of practical and philosophical inputs and practical outcomes.
If philosophy is essentially a way to look back at and understand life gone so far, the ‘philosophy of necessity’ leads us to question us and take decisions that not only support the material-self of our present day lives, our daily lives, destabilized by chaos, but also gives us the much needed spiritual base. Chaos tries to set a pattern in our lives and tries to make us accustomed to that.
We all have this spiritual base, to deal with chaos, but we lack the practicality of getting along with it, limiting us to mostly rituals and temples and shrine visits, and so excluding it out of our daily lives. If spirituality is akin to exploring the deeper of ‘you’, connecting you to your ‘self’ and hence to the ‘light’, it has to be a part of your everyday moments.
We need to realize the ‘necessity of philosophy’ to base our decisions on pragmatism and conscience. And no one can teach it. We are the teachers and we are the learners and so either we make it or we don’t. We are in life’s playground. We are in chaos’ playground. Balancing ‘philosophy’ and ‘necessity’ is a difficult proposition. But it does happen.
And how? No one knows. Laws of life play along. Laws of science play along. Where Gods don’t need to play dice.
The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.
Previous US President Barack Obama had signed the Affordable Healthcare Act or Obamacare on March 23, 2010. Then it was termed as the most important healthcare legislation in the US since Medicare, the national health insurance plan of the US for senior citizens, was launched in 1965.
Down the line seven years, his predecessor, the current US President Donald Trump is trying all to get Obamacare repealed and replaced with his American Healthcare Act or Trumpcare. It was one of his major campaign promises. The house vote on Trumpcare is likely to be held on March 23, 2017.
But even many Republican senators feel Trumpcare is not comprehensive enough to meet those campaign promises and amendments are needed. Intense parleys are taking place but so far a consensus has not emerged. Estimates say Trumpcare is expected to leave 24 million Americans without insurance by 2016. Obamacare would have these Americans covered. But it may be even worse. A New York Times report says, quoting an analysis, the number of uninsured may be as high as 32 million more Americans by 2026.
The US media is replete with reports on pros and cons of Obamacare, like tax burdens, deductibles, coverage, freedom to choose insures and so on and how and if a Trumpcare can take care of it because as it is an issue that is going to define the Trump presidency as it had defined Obama’s.
Though the Republican Party, along with Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, is presenting Trumpcare as a panacea that will take care of every American’s healthcare needs and Obamacare as a vestige of law that is detrimental enough to be replaced as soon as possible, its own house is not in order.
The house vote on Trumpcare is expected on Thursday, but going by a latest CNN report, the Republicans still have no clear numbers to get Obamacare repealed and Trumpcare passed even if less than 24 hours are left for Trumpcare to go to vote. If Trumpcare fails to pass through a Republican majority house, it will be serious setback for Trump and will further complicate his days ahead. He is already facing serious charges on his Russia connections and the probe has reached to the White House. Then there are other controversial issues like his wiretap claims without evidence or his controversial travel ban, issues for which he is being slammed everywhere.
Trumpcare which the expert have been doubting about from the beginning may end up like another Trump rhetoric which does nothing except stirring up society and market with his uncontrolled flow of tweets. Once the dust settles down, it only gives more energy to anti-Trump voices or in this case to the US pharmaceutical and insurance companies that, after going down because of a hostile Trump tweet, bounce back and even rally on stock exchanges, a CNN Money report says.
Trump, during the campaign phase of the US presidential polls, and even after his election, had raised hopes of a healthcare act to replace Obamacare that would guarantee ‘universal healthcare’. In an interview before his government’s inaugural on January 20, 2017, he said ‘we are going to have insurance for everybody’, a Washington Post copy says.
Going by that scale, anything less would be like betraying those hopes. But a universal healthcare was always an impossible concept because it would be so unwieldy, so expansive and so therefore so expensive, that it was not never in the Republican Party’s plans for a healthcare act to replace Obamacare. The Washington Post op-ed, headlined ‘Donald Trump may have just destroyed the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare’ wrote, “Donald Trump emphatically promised universal health coverage. That’s an absolutely gigantic promise, and it’s one that Republicans have no intention of keeping”.
Sometimes, you feel empty from within
Sometimes, you need to feel lost
Sometimes, it is a journey to nowhere
Sometimes, words just don’t add up
Sometimes, you just need it to be like this
When you fail to speak to even your soul
Life has been brutalized by expectations
‘What was there yesterday’ is not over
Yet ‘what will be there tomorrow’ begins
Life has become a maze of equations
Of burdening relations, of forced lies
You don’t know when you stopped caring
For a life that you had begun together
You could not realize when it slipped out
Like a borrowed identity, like a fake living
That life became a stranger in your chores
You got habituated to what you despised
Words used to be your friends in a past
But they sound like quirky existences now
Sometimes, they flow, like a yesterday
But their friction hounds every other day
Asking questions you don’t want to answer
But the truth is you need to answer them
It is not that you don’t realize this
But swept over by expectations of a life
That you never thought would be yours
You find those spaces of sanity choked
You meet your estranged life and soul
And fail to read your past and present
In a mad rush to meet expectations
When you can’t connect with words
Where you can’t correlated with journey
When your identity looks like a stranger
Where your life stops making any sense
In moments, when pain becomes unbearable
You cry for an honest introspection
You long for a clean slate, again, from within
And you madly try to make sense of words
On a journey that you did not choose
In moments like these, you try to feel lost
In a desperate effort to speak to your soul
To make sense of where it all began
To see if you can still heal your existence