The Con Artists Prevail

As California heads into its primary, everyone, yes, literally everyone, is talking about how close the race between Hillary & Bernie is. The Nurse’s Union or something of the sort have thrown their weight behind Bernie because they, I quote now from the woman who called herself the representative in Oakland talking about how ‘Nurses have a first hand view of the extent of suffering patients experience & how important universal healthcare is’ and therefore they should vote for Bernie. Somehow implying by default that Hillary’s not interested in everyone having healthcare.

How so many Berniecrats ignore the fact that she wrote the first blueprint for universal healthcare when she was First Lady, not even in elected office. She launched into it with passion & gusto striking fear in the hearts of Republicans.

Bernie’s been in elected office for twenty five years & if he had started his revolution back when he was forty five we would have the ‘Revolution’ he now preaches. It takes three decades for revolutions to evolve and for the dust to settle. When he first started his foray into public office, he sounded sincere about his goals for universal healthcare, free higher education, etc. He lost me when he started to volley blame into Clinton territory taking pages out of the Republican playbook and attributed all the woes ailing America at her doorstep and her vote for the Iraq war. Tragic as that war was & is, Hillary and many others were fed lies that she especially felt perhaps (being former First Lady) that President Bush was feeding them the truth, they’ve pilloried her more for that vote than they’ve made Bush pay!

Of course, since then, it’s been almost like he’s working on behalf of Donald Trump. Even if Hillary loses California on Tuesday it will be a testament to her staying power there are still many hundreds of thousands who voted for her despite the barrage of lies Bernie’s camp has relentlessly spread about her.

The citizens of our country as a whole seem like they are in the mood for con artists and ‘revolutionaries’ and false prophets. It’s exciting to be in the thick of a fight. Hillary’s one mistake was that she never hit back at Sanders for fear of losing his voters. She should have because Bernie’s supporters don’t care about Hillary’s winning in November and she may never get them in her camp anyway, but she could have done herself a lot of good if she had exposed his phoniness and it would have made her seem more authentic and ‘likeable’ because people seem to like graceless fighters!  Bernie’s bent upon inflicting the most damage to Hillary. He is arrogant & entitled enough and is more like some version of David Duke, exhorting his base to hate, sending his troops to storm Hillary rallies and use that space to evangelize his message.

The other con artist in this race, Trump has gotten so much press, it’s probably best not to mention his name one more time. But there is one key difference between Bernie & Trump, Trump is not shy about being seen as a bigot and an opportunist and bragging about it openly. Bernie is far less courageous and therefore sadly, a hypocrite who is conning people into giving him $27 a piece to help feed his fantasy. That’s unconscionable, more so than Trump.

People around the world look to emulate Americans, they look to make it to America by hook or by crook, even people from developed countries in the West, not just the bruised and the battered coming from impoverished countries. There’s a reason why, we don’t need a revolution here nor for that matter do we need to make America great again. America, with its many flaws is still the greatest country on earth, that’s why millions like me have migrated here.




Likeability Gap, March 18, 2016

America was in the throes of it’s presidential election saga when I first came to America in the early nineties. Bill Clinton eventually won that election with Ross Perot acting as spoiler to George H.W.Bush’s second term chances. Despite the three men in the race, in months and years to come, I was transfixed by Hillary Clinton’s (HRC) role as First Lady. Her husband Bill Clinton, probably better aware than anyone else of his wife’s potential, put her in charge of drafting a proposal for universal healthcare, then dubbed ‘Hillarycare’ which recently morphed into Obamacare.  She also went on to champion other significant initiatives which ably engaged her passion and knowledge.
Living then, like most new immigrants in cramped studio quarters with my husband, an infant baby and a five year old all crammed into one bed, afraid to turn on the heat, I wondered if  HRC was mad. Why would anyone subject themselves to criticism of any sort, let alone this ‘walking on coals’ agony if they had the option of sipping a tall drink sitting in a poolside chair, watching the world go by?

Clearly HRC fit that bill of ‘madness.’ She prevailed despite vicious attacks by Republicans who fought vigorously and quashed the proposal from the get go. It is perhaps because a woman’s role in politics parlayed well into television ratings, but neither the press nor the Republicans spared HRC from then on, and we are, to this day, fed the finely spun tale of the Clinton Evils.

Fast forward to the more recent 2016 Democratic Debates, especially the Democratic Primary Debate in Florida on March 9.  Following the March 8 win of the Michigan Primary by 18, 427 votes, Bernie Sanders (BS) came on to the debate stage with cocky insouciance. He flung his finger at Hillary, just as in the previous debate, (although for this forum, the organizers chose to position her to BS’s left,) he nevertheless continued his condescending, blatantly insulting stance, one that he would never assume against a man.  I wondered what the reaction would have been if HRC had wagged her finger at BS! It would surely be amputated by now. It is worrying that not a single news outlet chose to write about it. Of course, HRC fan groups across the nation cried foul and commiserated online against such treatment. Contrary to most opinions that HRC has the press in her pocket, the press has been very silent about these BS gaffes, because they cannot afford to antagonize their bread and butter or is it the jam that the newly found readership is providing? No pun intended, online jam as well as money honey in the coffers.
So, clearly, there is no ‘Bernie Blackout’ in the news, if anything, because of the ‘millennial’ support he’s gotten, news outlets across both party lines have scrambled to say something about BS every day so they could get his legions of thumb happy young people to click on their links and ‘like’ the articles glorifying their rock star. BS got a pass that debate night, (as he did on the previous debate when he made the ‘ghetto’ comment about African Americans,) when he compared illegal immigrant labor to slavery, to the point that the African American lady sitting next to me, ready to enjoy the debate, set her drink down and said, ‘If his understanding of slavery is this flimsy, I’m out of here.’ No, the media hasn’t so much as let that bother them, not even the eminent Michelle Alexander, who took issue with Hillary’s use of the word, ‘super predators,’ a term which was coined by Princeton social scientist John Dilulio. HRC used the term then, just like everyone else in the media and in the political realm had used it, but of course, Alexander singled HRC out for blame. HRC has since apologized for the use of that term but it hasn’t prevented BS and his many Republican friends from using it as a cudgel to clobber her with. The millennials are at least as enamored of their hero as much as BS is with himself! Worth mentioning also is Ben & Jerry’s new ice cream flavor called Bernie’s Yearning, looks like everyone could use millennial buzz.
Karen Tumulty, a veteran Washington Post journalist asked Hillary the question about likability, a word that’s embedded itself into our recent lexicon so much more this election season. I was aghast at the question. How can an adult human, no less a ‘veteran’ journalist, ask anyone such a question, ‘Why don’t people like you?’ let alone in a public forum. It’s like asking someone ‘Why are you ugly?’ What is one supposed to say, ‘Oh, excuse my misaligned teeth, or dig into hereditary ugliness as a factor?’ Likability is just as subjective, it’s like grading poetry. That Hillary chose to answer it by saying it ‘pained’ her to hear that was surely a reprimand, no? It didn’t appear that Tumulty blushed with shame.
One couldn’t help but notice BS’s face gloat at the question, because he, you see, is so likable. He woke up one morning at age 74 or 75 and decided he wanted a revolution. He figured, like Donald Trump, he could use sound bites, nuggets and tidbits that resonate with people who have little time or interest to digest details, people who’ve always been disengaged with the political process, and bring them into the fold, turning them into adoring masses. This lot have taken to him like the children in Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, but while Van Winkle slept through the revolution, BS wants to start one. Yes, BS, after having hibernated in public roles as an Independent, etc. is now all riled up about the ‘unfairness’ that the Democratic core is backing HRC, who has been a Democrat for at least as long as Sanders has been Independent, like the opposite behavior would exemplify fairness somehow.
Despite reassuring delegate math helped by some heartening victories in the recent March 15th Democratic primaries in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina & Missouri (razor thin margins here,) March 22 will be a difficult day for HRC to swallow, the results may put the shine back on the cheeks of BS’s young supporters. HRC and her supporters should resist Caeser’s swagger and heed the seer’s caution about the ‘Ides of March’ to which Julius Caeser replied, ‘The Ides have come’ but doesn’t seem to hear the seer rebut that ‘They have not gone.’ March 22nd is round the corner.

Truth to Power

Despite finding it unbearable to see our opponents claiming victory and making far reaching plans to continue in power for the next decade, it is important to remember the responsibility that half the electorate that did vote for us has placed its trust in us.

Although immediate reactions after the results became available ranged from frantic calls to merge with the BJP or make some such interesting move in order to grab the headlines again, thankfully we resisted. YSRCP realizes that it is accountable to its vast voter base more than to generating media headlines and cannot indulge in any such histrionics.

Of course we have to regroup now and understand the reasons for the loss of YSRCP. Naidu’s never ending manouvering and tap dancing from BJP to Pawan Kalyan to each community he thought would pay him dividends coupled with a generous dose of funding from Ambani & Co, may have won him the election but there is no one who will credit him with scruples.
On the other hand, while there are many who wring their hands in despair that we did so many things wrong, we can only assure them that we will prevail as the only party that spoke ‘truth to power’.

We can allow ourselves to appear stumped and tongue tied from our losses. Perhaps it’s best to remain cautiously silent for a while and allow our thoughts to regroup but we have to remember that no situation is static. This current air of jubilation by the winners will have to pave the way for actual governance. The devil is usually in the details.

We can continue speaking truth to power from the get go. We can continue to highlight that no one has been more steadfast than YSRCP in its cry for a united AP. No one was more clear than YSRCP that Telangana areas need better funding allocation and that YSR’s programs which saw the empowerment of the most neglected in our society would ameliorate the lives of those at the bottom of the pyramid.

A good 48.1% of the electorate will cry for their pound of flesh the minute TDP starts to play foul on them, which may occur sooner than later. The electorate should be constantly reminded that they voted for YSRCP in staggering numbers and also reiterate regularly how slim the margin of victory is.

As with a bereavement, a loss that generated this measure of disappointment will definitely create a void of confidence for a while. However, the mark of true grit and character is something that stands one in good stead with time. Everything gets shoved under the march of time, even our bitterness and tears as well as the wily smiles of the ‘victorious’…
Dubious as TDP’s win may seem if we parse through their machinations carefully, we unearth the many ways they employed to snooker a win. But even this state of winning is not a static affair. They will have to perform or the people will take recourse on their own, turning this on its head, raise their voices through a vote and will speak instead; power to truth.

Confusion and Clarification

Butta Renuka’s reaction following the general election results in AP that gave the TDP a narrow win over YSRCP in Seemandhra, pretty much sums up that of the rest of the party faithful

Primary  reactions were horror and panic, caused predominantly due to the over zealous predictions of a YSRCP sweep; the higher the expectation, the steeper the disappointment type of thing. However knee jerk responses generated from legions of party faithful and believers including calls for YSRCP to ‘merge with BJP’ or take some similarly dramatic action to erase the pain of defeat are hardly surprising.

The tone for this consistency and resolve was set by the leader at the helm of the fledgling party, Y.S.Jagan Mohan Reddy. Defeat is often character building. Y.S.Jagan’s plate has been full with character building incidents since the tragic death of his father in 2009. What instils confidence in the rest of us is his unshakable faith in the power of recovery and his innate reserves of character.

So Butta Renuka’s honest comments to the media to explain herself are not just heart warming but mirror our own initial thoughts. Her confusion matched that of many who felt bereft of hope at the unexpected defeat of YSRCP and the initial bewilderment and hopelessness it engendered. It is a measure of true personal grit and depth to shine through at a time of turmoil and come to grips with one’s real convictions, her response is not just excusable but laudable.

The two percent

With the dust settling in AP it turns out that YSRCP, the fledgling party floated by the son of Dr. YSR, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy lost the elections in AP to TDP with a vote percentage of two points. While in a winner take all democracy, Naidu gets to be Chief Minister, the margin hardly gives him or his followers preening rights.

Naidu cannot ignore the razor thin margins of his victories. If an MP from Nandyal, SPY Reddy decides to ditch YSRCP to join TDP at this stage, the initial reaction is to think, ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’.. Although one has every right to feel outrage at this shoddy display of loyalty and ‘fair weather friend attitude’ that prevails among those that are not supported by a strong moral core, one is tempted to dig deeper to understand the rationale, if there is one. If SPY Reddy’s reasoning that ‘with BJP in power at the Center, he’d like to join TDP’ what stopped him from joining the BJP itself? Was this another of TDP’s cheap tricks of manipulation? Of course they need to start shoring up their votes as they will likely default on several of their wild election promises which may have swung the election their way.

The citizens of the state are watching and the electorate of Nandyal must be thinking, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Please remember that Mr. SPY Reddy.

The reason YSRCP didn’t cross that two percentage point difference was because they stuck to their principles with gumption and resolve. Perhaps the thought did cross Jagan’s mind that there may be a chance of losing.  However it is quite likely it didn’t matter to him to win imperfectly as Naidu did, as to fight perfectly despite the chance of losing, as he did.



Jagan lost this election not because he was outsmarted or outwitted but because he was outfoxed. It’s quite likely he was also outspent.

Great illusions of Jagan’s ‘illegal’ wealth have done the rounds consistently in the media forged by the fertile minds of the yellow gang quite effectively. Some of  Jagan’s supporters had started to believe in the existence of this fictitious mound of ‘ill gotten’ wealth.

Naidu and his supporters scrambled and grasped at every straw they could find to combat Jagan’s popularity. They hitched on to the Modi bandwagon, despite Naidu having stated not so long ago quite unequivocally that Modi ought to be ‘jailed’ for his role in the Gujarat riots.

Modi perhaps had that statement ringing somewhere in his head when he refused to share the stage with Naidu and grudgingly allowed Pawan Kalyan to stand in Naidu’s stead.

Pawan who? you ask? Well, it appears Pawan Kalyan is some sort of actor and just because he is an actor is supposed to have star appeal that Naidu lacks and thereby was recruited to disrupt Jagan’s star power which rivaled that of a movie star.

In a voter base spanning 175 seats, that the election was ‘won’ by about five lakh votes total is gasp worthy. Naidu whimpered past at best.. Although, you wouldn’t think that with all the jabs Jagan and his party are having to endure from the media and the right. Of course Jagan was outfoxed by the calculations of Naidu’s ‘imported gang of advisors.’

It would seem, based on Eenadu’s version of the state of the new state, that Jagan’s party must have done some truly awful things to lose in the election and therefore it was fair game to pillory him by all and sundry. The cries for Jagan’s blood were especially vociferous by those who called for his ‘capture’ ever since the day their nemesis YSR, was tragically killed.

YSR’s death threw a lifeline to Naidu. He crawled out from under a rock and was propped up by the supporting cast of combined media outlets like Eenadu,  ETV, TV9, etc.

It’s more honorable to have lost on the grounds that Jagan did, by not succumbing to the temptation of a ‘farm loan waiver’ that would drain the coffers of the state of any other development plans, even if Naidu finds a way to fulfill that promise, than win the way Naidu did, by hook and by crook, (there is no ‘or’ here, rest assured the guy used both, hook and crook.) It is clear the Boring One used both strategies, he hooked the voters with false messages and deployed any and all crooked means he could muster.

It is learned that Jagan’s advisors also asked him to say he would waive loans, but Jagan countered saying it would be highly irresponsible to make such reckless promises that would mean robbing Peter to pay Paul, effectively enforcing a Sophie’s Choice on the state in the context of social programs. Naidu’s claims were tantamount to ‘buying’ the election. A ‘loan waiver’ is translatable as free cash and should have caught the eye of an attentive Election Commission one would like to think.

If the opposition, in this hour of their surprise victory can only gloat on their win and think to coat Jagan’s loss with added innuendo of insult, only shows that the yellow gang has been at least consistent in its lack of taste and scruples and is as depraved as was expected.

If YSRCP is hurting and shows it, it means they are only human and are subject to human emotions of disappointment and sadness. It is so much better than the soulless humor the right wingers are inflicting on the vanquished.

For now, the joke may be on YSRCP, which may be hurting for those in its party that lost. What would be tragic is if the joke Naidu played, with all his false promises, ended up being on the electorate.