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Monthly Archives: June 2023

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Federal charges against Trump? Many Americans still rally to his side!

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“If you want to get to President Trump, you are going to have to go through me, and you are going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me,” said Kari Lake, an ardent defender of Trump. “And I’m going to tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA.”

The violent rhetoric of the former Republican candidate for governor of Arizona following the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump clearly indicates a dangerous political atmosphere in the coming weeks in the United States .

The political universe is now precariously poised with ‘gun’ and ‘artificial intelligence” likely to make a serious impact on the future of the nation and its citizens.

Trump has survived two impeachments and one indictment earlier on April 4 and that seems to have emboldened his allies and supporters to believe that the federal charges would hardly dent his standing with his base or damage his status as a frontrunner in the GOP primary.

It’s surprising how Trump’s 2024 GOP opponents have rushed to his defence. Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida, has come out in support of the former President saying what he called the “weaponization of federal law enforcement.” Former vice president Mike Pence had clammed up after reporters had asked about the ‘indictment’ in New Hampshire.

“Trump’s base of support believes that the DOJ (Department of Justice) is corrupt so they will stick with Trump regardless of the specific charges,” veteran New Hampshire-based Republican strategist Mike Dennehy had said shortly after the indictment was unsealed on Friday.

Vivek Ramaswamy, the biotech executive who has polled in the single digits in the GOP primary, and who is unlikely to be the next president, has defended Trump. “It would be much easier for me to win this election if Trump weren’t in the race, but I stand for principles over politics. I commit to pardon Trump promptly on January 20, 2025 and to restore the rule of law in our country,” Vivek said.

Trump meanwhile has alerted the public on social media attacking the Department of Justice calling the indictment “THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OFF ALL TIME.”

His eldest son’s fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle, has posted a photo of the former President on Instagram with the words, “Retribution Is Coming,” in all capital letters.

Political violence experts have warned that Trump supporters might go into the offensive and attack opponents and institutions with fury especially when elected officials like Dennehy and DeSantis had made those remarks. They have also added even if aggressive language by high-profile individuals does not directly end in physical harm, it creates an atmosphere in which the idea of violence becomes more accepted, especially if such rhetoric is left unchecked.

We still remember how the pro-Trump mob that had attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021, had assembled in Washington DC in part following a post on Twitter from Trump weeks earlier, promising that it would be “wild.”

Trump’s belligerent supporters will without doubt take the help of the AI technology to prove their points across and make the former President appear ‘innocent’ and a ‘victim of conspiracy’. Social media platforms will be awash with false and incorrect information in support of the tainted former President in the coming weeks.

One can well imagine the impact and consequence of artificial intelligence and ‘fake news’!

Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter and FB guys, are you listening?

Cartoons by Suparno Chaudhuri

Latest development:

The former President, true to his self, defended his case and pleaded not guilty at a Miami court on Tuesday with a litany of lies while his die-hard supporters rallied to his side shouting slogans “We want trump”. 

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Zimbabwe world’s most ‘miserable’ country, Switzerland ‘least’

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Thomas Hardy might have resigned to pessimism when he had said: “Happiness is but an occasional episode in a general drama of pain.” However, modern-day economists have been making painstaking efforts to find out what causes ‘misery’ and ‘unhappiness’.

According to the US economist Steve H. Hanke’s Annual Misery Index (HAMI), Zimbabwe is the most ‘miserable’ country in the world. HAMI ranks 157 nations from ‘most’ to ‘least’ miserable.

Hanke, professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, had been the advisor to several world leaders, such as Ronald Reagan, Suharto of Indonesia, and the President of Bulgaria.

“The surefire way to mitigate the misery is through economic growth. Comparing countries’ metrics can tell us a lot about where in the world people are sad or happy,” said Hanke.

Zimbabwe has snagged the first-place slot with inflation — or, “economic mismanagement,” as the contributing factor to residents’ unhappiness. According to the index, Zimbabwe experienced a skyrocketing inflation rate of 243.8 per cent in 2022. Venezuela has the second highest misery index score of any country on the planet.

Switzerland has emerged as the ‘least miserable country’ in the world. “It’s hard to beat a democracy in which most major decisions can, if enough of the electorate insists, be put to a popular vote,” said Hanke.

The second-happiest country is Kuwait, followed by Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Niger, Thailand, Togo and Malta.

The US is among the least miserable countries with a rank of 134.

India has ranked 103rd. The country has fared better than countries like Brazil (rank 27), Pakistan (rank 35), Nepal (rank 63) and Sweden (rank 88).

Australia ranks 116 (Misery index 20.107% with unemployment being the major contributing factor). New Zealand’s ranking stands at 104.

While Finland has ranked 109th, it has historically reigned as the “world’s happiest country.”

The rankings are calculated using the sum of inflation, unemployment (multiplied by two), bank-lending rates, minus the annual percentage change in real gross domestic per capita.

Arthur Okun, a renowned economist who had served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during President Lyndon B.Johnson’s tenure (1963-1969), had developed the original ‘misery index’ for the US in the 1970s. His objective was to find a way to measure the overall well-being of the Americans. Okun believed that unemployment and inflation rate were the most important factors that affected people’s lives.

Later, Harvard Professor Robert Barro created what he had dubbed as the Barrow Misery Index (BMI) in 1999. He had modified the index by adding bank’s lending rate of interest. However, Prof Hanke had amended Barro’s version of the ‘misery index’ by replacing the output gap with the growth rate of real GDP per capita and replacing the 30-year government bond yield with lending rates. After all, higher lending rates mean more expensive credit, and more borrowers’ misery.

Prof Hanke’s latest misery index doubles the unemployment rate and the data is created on that basis.

One reason for Switzerland’s ranking, Prof Hanke says, is the Swiss debt brakeThe debt brake has worked like a charm for the country. Unlike most countries, Switzerland’s debt-to-GDP ratio has been on a downward trend in the last two decades, since it has enshrined its debt brake into its constitution in a 2002 national referendum.

The misery index of Zimbabwe counts 414.7 due to high inflation. The major challenge faced by the country is due to its government ZANU-PF. Prof Hanke states in his blog: “Indeed, ZANU-PF operates more like a political mafia than a political party. Its policies have resulted in massive misery.”He has been tracking Zimbabwe’s economy since 2008 when Robert Mugabe was President.

Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Argentina, Yemen, Ukraine, Cuba, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Angola, Tonga, and Ghana comprise the 15 most miserable countries in the world, according to HAMI.


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