• pankajcd@gmail.com
  • +91 86209 06088

Category Archives: Political issues

  • -

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

Tags : 

“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”. 

  • -

US and the ‘Cult of the Gun’

Tags : 

A US federal judge in Virginia had ruled last week (May 11) that young adults (under the age 21) cannot be barred from having a handgun. Banning licenced firearms dealers from selling guns to those under the age of 21 is unconstitutional, the judge had said.

According to the  Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 200 mass shootings across the US so far this year. (A mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four or more people are injured or killed. The archive figures include shootings that happen at homes and in public places.) There have been two in Texas early this month – five killed at a home in Cleveland, north of Houston, and eight dead at a shopping mall in Allen, near Dallas.

In each of the last three years, there have been more than 600 mass shootings, almost two a day on average.

Last week, Virginia’s District Judge Robert E Payne had argued in a 71-page filing that federal age regulations in the purchase of handguns violate the Second Amendment. Currently, adults between 18 and 20 can purchase guns through their parents or guardians but are not allowed to buy them from registered dealers themselves in Virginia.

My heart aches when I had read the report. Isn’t the judge a father? Even if he isn’t a father, doesn’t it cross his mind that such ruling will lead to further mindless shooting and loss of innocent lives!

Easy access to firearms has led to senseless shooting and loss of innocent lives over the past three decades. In Las Vegas in 2017, the deadliest attack killed more than 50 people and left 500 wounded.

As many as 48,830 people have died from gun-related injuries in the US during 2021, according to the latest data from  the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That’s nearly an 8% increase from 2020, which was a record-breaking year for firearm deaths.

Every mass shooting in the country has been followed by a familiar political drama: Democrats call for new gun-control measures, such as a ban on assault-style weapons, and point out the US is the only advanced nation in the world where gun violence keeps repeated in such frequency.

Republicans counter that the right to possess firearms is enshrined in the US Constitution and that new gun-control legislation would be counterproductive. Because of the nature of US government, there’re little changes on a national level.

Following the mass shooting in April that had killed six at a school in Nashville, Tennessee, President Joe Biden had said: “We’ve to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart.” But, ‘doing more’ faces a number of serious roadblocks in Congress.

After 20 children and six adults had been killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on December 14, 2012, a majority of the US senators had supported passing legislation requiring expanded background checks for gun purchases. But because of the filibuster – a parliamentary procedure that requires at least 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate to pass most legislation – a simple majority was not enough.

Presidents came and went, but similar tragedies strike again and again, kids get orphaned and cries of heart-broken mothers fill the air.

President Barack Obama though had made sincere efforts to curb the gun violence. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy (December 14, 2012), he had broken down at a press conference on the issue of gun control measures. The President had tried to bypass Congress utilizing his executive powers to outline a series of measures to curb gun violence, through the expansion of background checks. Unfortunately, all his efforts went in vain, thanks to powerful gun lobby and the US constitution.

Although congressional efforts at sweeping gun control were stymied in 2015, gun-control activists made substantive progress in passing new laws at the state level.

In Connecticut, there was overwhelming support for reform from the communities still reeling from the brutality of the Sandy Hook attack. Other Democratic-controlled states – like New York, Maryland and California – have passed their own legislation, closing gun-show loopholes, limiting magazine sizes and prohibiting the sale of certain types of firearms.

A Washington Post data says everyday in the US more than 40 children lose a parent to shooting.

Where are we headed to? Imagine!

A society which is immersed only in corporate-driven consumerism, where only materialism matters and where affluence and luxury are the sine qua non of people’s every day existence, the Virginia judge ruling will surely be greeted with more kudos than disparagement. When will the Americans be able to realize that accruing more and more wealth and enjoying endless other commodities won’t bring happiness in their lives? Well, ‘happiness’ is difficult to pin down, let alone measure.

David G. Myers in his book “The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty” says: “Our becoming much better off over the last four decades has not been accompanied by one iota of increased subjective well-being.”

The US will continue to sacrifice its babies to the altar of guns and this ‘cult of the gun’ will continue unless right-thinking citizens rise to the occasion and take to the streets to bring about changes in the constitution.

Wake up guys! Your ‘single step will make a giant leap’ for your fellow citizens!



  • -

Sunak takes chopper ride for short trip as UK economy gasps for breath

Tags : 

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s helicopter ride from London to Southampton, especially at a time when the country’s economy has been gasping for breath, came in for severe criticism from residents as well as netizens across the country. Sunak took the chopper for a trip to Southampton and back to London that would have taken just over an hour on train.

The incident has once again brought into sharp focus a serious issue whether our leaders are really in touch with everyday concerns, and whether they really bother about common people’s woes.

The UK economy had avoided recession by high inflation and worries about a weak growth outlook, the GDP increased by 0.1% between October and December after a preliminary estimate of no growth, according to official data which showed a boost to households’ finances from state energy bill subsidies but falling investment by businesses.

British economic output remained 0.6% below its level of late 2019, the only G7 economy not to have recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had forecast in January that Britain would be the only Group of Seven major advanced economy to shrink in 2023, in large part because of an inflation rate that remains above 10%.

There are currently more than one million vacancies in the country, about three millions more than before the pandemic, and 21% of the working population is “economically inactive,”  an increase of half a million since 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Amid this gloomy economic scenario, Prime Minister Sunak’s chopper ride to a pharmacy in Southampton to promote healthcare policy has drawn sharp flak from the UK residents.

One of the residents justifiably slammed him as an “unelected billionaire” who used taxpayers’ money for the trip which could have been taken by train. One netizen lambasted the Prime Minister calling him ‘climate criminal’.

Price for a train journey from London to Southampton round trip is 30 pound (Rs3105) while the cost of a VIP chopper ride is 6,000 pound (Rs 6.21 lakh).

Sadly enough, the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murthy, who is well-known for her charity and philanthropy, is using taxpayers’ money while the UK economy is in the doldrums. From a lavish mansion to a spacious sea-facing penthouse, Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy own a couple of luxurious properties in the UK and the US.

The helicopter flight to the port city where he was raised is likely to add to the public perception that Sunak, whose net worth is 730 million pound, is hardly concerned with the problems of the masses.

Let’s take a look at Sweden. In Sweden, former PMs push shopping trolleys and mayors queue for public buses. The country doesn’t offer luxury or privileges to its politicians. Without official cars or private drivers, Swedish ministers and MPs travel in crowded buses and trains, just like ordinary citizens. They don’t have any right to parliamentary immunity; they can be tried like any other person. With no private secretaries at the door, their bare-bones parliamentary offices are as small as eight square metres.

No one in public life earns an obscene multiple-digit salary: the take-home pay of a member of the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) is approximately two times more than what an elementary school teacher earns on average.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte uses cycle to reach his office. He makes the journey by bike as often as possible for sustainable development impact. “I didn’t cycle a lot for 10 years. But for the past two years, I’ve had my own bike again and, when the weather allows, I travel into the office that way,” he had told the World Economic Forum in 2019.

Netherlands lives up to its cyclist-friendly reputation and has the most bicycles per capita of any country in the world.

Well, if we look at the life style of today’s political leaders we notice most of them use expensive cars, wear costly suit or specs and are guarded by a wall of security at the expense of public money.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monogrammed suit has entered the Guinness World Records after his two-piece suit with his full name vertically embroidered on the fabric multiple times to resemble golden pinstripes, was sold at an auction for Rs 4.31 crore in Surat in 2015, making it the most expensive suit ever auctioned. Reports say the suit was worth Rs 10 lakh.

We have seen billionaire politicians like Donald Trump, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to name a few.

It’s not easy to achieve, but simplicity should be a vital goal while serving the public. Remember former Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964-1966) and his simplicity, humility and tolerance? A man of the masses, Shastri-ji was driven by principles only while today’s politicians are driven by lust for power and pelf.

When former interim Prime Minister Gulzarilal Nanda had died in Ahmedabad on January 15, 1998, his family needed just one bag to pack his belongings.

Only time will tell when we’ll be able to get rid of the power-hungry, corrupt and dishonest politicians, who are fleecing common people with false promises, hypocrisy and double-speak.


  • -

Can India afford bullet train?

The government’s ambitious project, bullet train, has kicked up a row. At a time when a majority of Indian population lives below the poverty line and deaths by malnutrition is plenty; when farmers commit suicide in alarming numbers; when the national literacy rate has not yet reached 100 per cent and when the country is plagued by innumerable problems—the dearth of food and safe drinking water, unavailability of basic education for children and appalling health care system, how can ordinary citizens be expected to avail bullet train services? It’s far from feasible.

Read More

  • -

Can terror be tamed with guns?

Following the Paris attacks that claimed 129 lives on 13 November, President Hollande thundered: “France will launch new air strikes on the IS strongholds in Syria…”
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump said the Paris attacks would have been different if people had guns. How ridiculous!
Can terror be tamed with guns?

Read More

Attacks on churches: PM, please speak out

I was deeply pained and would like to express my anguish over the news reports of vandals launching heinous attacks on a Catholic church in south Delhi on February 2. The goons broke open the tabernacle, walked away with the sacred chalice and threw the consecrated hosts (bread) on the floor and defiled the altar.
This was the fifth attack on a church in New Delhi over the past two months. Archdiocese of Delhi expressed shock at the ‘deafening silence’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Read More

Obama-Modi chemistry: Is China watching?

President Barack Obama’s trip to India was rich in symbolism: he is the first US President to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. He is also the first US President who stepped on the soils of India twice during his tenure.
While addressing Delhi University students at Siri Fort auditorium on January 27, President Obama made some interesting comments. Unfortunately, Indian media overlooked the crucial point which should have been highlighted. Leading Indian newspapers focused on the different aspect in his speech!

Read More

Thanks for stopping by.