Monday, August 22, 2016

My Support of Donald J Trump

Some of my friends on social media are aghast that I support Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton.  Some of them think I am being a contrarian for the fun of it, some think I have changed for the worse, and others, in a well-intentioned manner, are trying to drill, at least in their minds, some sense into me.

I wrote an earlier post explaining why I support Donald Trump.  I encourage you to read that post before going ahead.

This post is an elaboration of that earlier post.  Also, now that the nominations of both parties have been finalized, it is time to contrast the candidacy of DJT vs HRC.

I will talk about five issues on which I believe DJT and HRC have opposing positions, and why I favor the position of DJT.  In the end, I will make some general remarks, and also outline where I disagree with DJT.

Before continuing, I will clarify that I am a libertarian at heart.  For that reason alone, I find most of the positions of the Republican party, which believes in limits to the power of the federal government and a more decentralized form of governance at the state and local level, to be more true to the libertarian creed.  So, even if we don’t consider the candidates, I have a predisposition toward the Republican party.

Let us talk about some of the central issues of this election:

Immigration: I believe that in a democracy, people who follow laws should be rewarded, and those who break laws should be punished.  I know many fellow immigrants who have followed the legal process and waited for decades to get their right to work and stay in the United States.  I know many heartbreaking stories where spouses and parents have remained apart and patiently followed the process, to finally be together.  For reasons of fairness to these law-abiding people, I am not sympathetic to lax enforcement of existing laws, or the policy of allowing amnesty to those who have fraudulenty or illegally entered this country.  If we disagree with the immigration laws, we should change them.  But to allow flagrant violation of those laws, and to forgive those violations, is injustice and cruelty to the law-abiding people.  Not just that, rampant illegal immigration drives down wages and burdens taxpayers for no fault of their own.  And of course, terrorists can enter the country in the guise of being refugees, as is happening in western Europe.  For all these reasons, I support Donald Trump’s strong position of LEGAL and SAFE immigration versus the unjust and dangerous policies of HRC.

Trade: In today’s globalized world, lower wages in a developing country like India or China have the potential to destabilize markets and wages in a developed country.  The business owners like this globalization, and it does enrich the developing countries to some extent, but it hurts the local and domestic population.  It does lead to cheaper goods, but it leads to lower wages and decimation of local manufacturing and industry.  The global trade deals which HRC supports, and which both DJT and Bernie Sanders oppose, need to be negotiated properly so that the American workers and families can hope for a financially secure and prosperous future.  DJT has gone against even the Republican establishment in insisting that trade must be fair, and not just free.

Defense and Security: I find it absolutely astounding that otherwise peace-loving people cannot see that of the two candidates, DJT is by far the candidate of peace.  The media has relentlessly portrayed him as “dangerous” and “scary” while he has always called for less intervention, more collaboration, more negotiation, a re-thinking of military coalitions from the time of cold war, a criticism of even his own party’s President in going into Iraq, and a repudiation of nation-building and regime changes in other countries.  With similar information, many politicians at that time opposed going into Iraq, while HRC voted in its favor.  HRC was responsible for catastrophic decisions related to Libya, Syria and Iran.  HRC was probably just going along, as I don’t think she had much judgment of her own.  But it is time to focus on America’s domestic issues instead of war-mongering around the world.  For that reason, I support DJT.  And of course, only the Republicans are able to call Islamic terrorism for what it is, while Democrats still have their head in the sand.

Healthcare: Obamacare has been a disaster.  Many previously uninsured have gotten insurance, but a majority of law-abiding paying insurance customers now face much higher premiums and lower choice.  I regard Obamacare as a massive and unjust market intervention which has gone horribly wrong, and cost the country billions of dollars.  It will probably die its own death due to a massive financial burden on the government.  The focus must be on more competition, and lowering the actual cost of healthcare which is currently the highest in US compared to most other countries.  Obamacare is a “health tax” (you pay a tax penalty if you don’t want to get health insurance), and as a libertarian, it is against my ethos.

The Bill of Rights: Republicans don’t want a dilution in the first and second amendments.  While liberals and feminists would like nothing better than to enshrine hate-speech laws and gun-licensing in US.  I regard the bill of rights as the greatest constitutional document in human history.  It limits the power of government to tyrannize its population.  And it has withstood challenges for hundreds of years.   United States is an open society because of the first amendment, and I vehemently oppose anyone who tries to curtail this right.  Left-liberal governments in UK and Germany have limited expression of politically incorrect opinions, and I regard that as a tragedy for Europe.  The second amendment rights, aka gun rights, is a complex subject.  Without going into details, I support the right of private citizens to own and carry guns.  Republicans, and DJT, support the second amendment far more than Democrats and HRC.   And lastly, the due process right is sought to be repealed by third-wave feminists and their ilk.

But apart from these boring policy positions, I see DJT as a more authentic person than HRC.  He is not a career politician and he speaks from the heart.  Sometimes he says stuff which seems like political suicide, and the media never forgives him for it.  But it is undeniable that this aspect of his personality has endeared him to millions of people who have voted for him in the primaries.  His persona may be brash, but I think his character is clean, at least when compared to the political class in this country.

HRC is a thoroughly corrupt (Clinton foundation, DNC, demonizing Bill Clinton’s rape victims), inept (emails, Benghazi, Iran, etc.) and in fact cruel individual who every honest, law-abiding and kind-hearted individual must oppose.

I disagree with DJT on a few issues.  Historically, the republicans have been seen as anti-science with not enough focus on issues like the environment and global warming.  I believe it is possible for Republicans to both friendlier to the domestic industry as well as be more informed about these challenges.  Secondly, I believe Edward Snowden is a national hero, and Republicans (including DJT) regard him as a villain.  If we need surveillance, citizens must vote on it and it must be legally authorized.  Organizations like NSA cannot be allowed to circumvent laws and mock the existing laws.  And thirdly, I don’t think Islamic terrorism can be solved militarily.  It will require careful diplomacy, healing the wounds of the past, and correcting injustices that in many cases the United States itself perpetrated.

Both the parties are not able to articulate the past sins of United States foreign policy, but at least DJT is brave enough to go against his own party in criticizing Iraq war.

I would also like to say that I respect the supporters of Bernie Sanders.  He too was an anti-establishment candidate.  At least he offered a new vision.  I applaud those who supported him.  Hillary Clinton is a status-quo candidate, and supporting her shows an utter failure of imagination.

DJT is not a perfect candidate or a flawless human being, but he is certainly BY FAR preferable to a corrupt, inept and cruel candidate that is Hillary Clinton.

But these words won’t matter to those who have made up their minds.  What will matter is something that many don’t realize.  Hillary Clinton is in bad shape, health-wise.  Her brain is under medication and is not quite stable.  She has understandably tried to avoid any press conference and ad-lib pronouncements.  It is not her “fault”, but it makes her a very, very dangerous choice.  Before November, we will see some alarming symptoms of her ill-health which will turn the course of this election.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

The Golden Era

Man's history is a record of the neural overcoming the genetic.  Good neural patterns get established as "social" patterns.

Man does not live by instinct alone.  And that is the prime reason for his alienation and his feeling that he has been evicted from the Garden of Eden.

The Mind, as contrasted to the Heart, is the fundamental cause of man always feeling like he is not home.

The Heart is predominant in infancy, and that is the only golden era.  In that though there might be pain but there is no suffering, since there is no conflict and contradiction.

There is unity and holism in feeling and instinct.  There is division and opposition in thought.

But man is thought.  Without his brain, man is not more than an animal or an infant.

To rail against thought and the mind in order to achieve lasting bliss is a wish to be back in infancy, to be back in the womb, to be back in Eden, to be back with God.

If the 21st century man thinks that socialized, digital, cosmopolitan life is unnatural, so did the 20th century man think that the industrial, mechanized, time-governed life was unnatural, and so did the men in earlier centuries feel unnatural about science, agriculture, and the written word.

So did the caveman think about living in a cave as against under the sky.  So did the hunter gatherer think about saving for winter instead of living in the "present".

If the modern, nuclear family with a possibility of divorce is felt as unnatural today, so did community life feel unnatural to the wandering tribes, so did monogamy feel unnatural to the hunter, so did long-term cohabitation feel unnatural to the neanderthal, ...

To want to go back to the way one's parents and grandparents lived ("what stability! what a feeling of being rooted!") is understandable, but they too felt un-rooted and alienated throughout life.  Perhaps less so than us, but they were also not home.

The feeling of not being home is the inescapable consequence of having a developed mind.

The mind manipulates nature, that is its essence.  The mind is part of nature, but it is obvious that its learning, training and effectiveness can be developed orders of magnitude faster than evolution in nature.  This difference in velocity of change, and an accelerated subjugation of entropy, is the central distinction between mind and the rest of nature.

Nostalgia is also part of man.  But if you go to your childhood home, the home is there, but you are not a child anymore.  You can connect to your childhood friends, but it is no longer childhood.  You can look wistfully at your toys that your mother and your father gave you, but those toys will not engage you today.

Nostalgia is the awareness of conflict and a wish to go back to feeling whole.

Just like man was an infant, mankind had its infancy when as a species its brain was not developed.

The golden era was millions of years ago.

A feeling of not being truly home was always there, that is why thousands of years ago the Buddha and the other mystics sought their "true" abode, the final resting place.

But in the last hundred years, there is another order of velocity now threatening man.  If the Genetic was honed over millions of years, the Social was developed over centuries, and the Mind is shaped over decades, the pace of change is now annual.  The way of living is being ripped apart every few years.

It's not just that life is governed by norms instead of instincts.  But those "norms" are changing every few years.  That has never happened.

In no other era have humans migrated and traveled so much at such pace and such frequency.  In no other era the essential tools to navigate life have changed every few years.  In no other era has the rate of divorce been so tragically high.  In no other era were psychotropic medicines so heavily prescribed.

Man was already uprooted, now he is being blown around by the hot, unpredictable winds of an arid earth.

The golden era never existed, but the pace of change today is probably more than what as a species we can handle.

The common man has already surrendered his autonomy to the information-global-industrial economy and lives in fear of change.

This stress of constant change is what will finally lead to a global surrender to Artificial Intelligence.

Unable to cope, billions of humans will regress to fast food and mindless entertainment and porn and myriad other addictions while the elites and the "big data" digital infrastructure optimize every consumption pattern, every click, and every last bitcoin of monetization from them.

"... and blew the suffering of ... naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years." (Howl, Allen Ginsberg)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Realm of Peace

The seeker was inspired and enraptured by the teacher's words:
I wonder if that would happen if we saw the whole significance of the problem? We might not live according to the usual pattern, but we would live creatively and happily, with a wholly different out look. Such a state cannot be brought about if we accept the present social pattern as inevitable. But to get back to your point: do ambition, competition and conflict constitute a predestined and inevitable way of life? You evidently assume that they do. 
Since you are maintaining this competitive way of life, your children and your children's children will bread further antagonism, envy and war; neither you nor they will have peace. Having been conditioned to this traditional pattern of existence, you are in turn educating your children to accept it; so the world goes on in this sorrowful way.
The seeker was convinced that living competitively was not a recipe for happiness.  That competition was a form of warfare, and was untenable for a man of peace.  That it was evil.

The seeker decided not to compete as he lived his life.

It was not easy.

The seeker never won an election.  Nor an auction.  The seeker never negotiated the terms of his loans.  He got a house which was facing a sewage pit while others got houses which were facing a pleasant lake.  He wanted to get married and eventually married a woman who couldn't see her own toes.  His children didn't get admission in a good school, which was in demand, and he was content to have them enrolled in the local school full of rowdies and drug users.  When visiting a doctor, he waited the longest while others jumped the queue and pleaded with him to let them see the doctor first.  At the cinema hall he was content to sit in the first row, squinting at the screen.

Such was his life for many years.  And he suffered.  But he was content that at least inwardly he was living the life that he held proper.

But doubts crept into his soul.  He wondered why he kept on suffering.  If his way was the way of peace, why did the Gods not bless him with a pleasant life?  He decided to pay another visit to the charismatic teacher.  As he boarded the aircraft, he realized that he had been allocated a middle seat toward the back of the plane.  To catch his connecting flight, he had to run like a madman but missed it because it was overbooked.  He waited and was put on a late night flight to his destination.

He arrived at the monastery, bleary eyed and exhausted from the journey.  The teacher lived in a mansion in a remote, picturesque valley on a piece of land donated by one of his wealthy followers.

He patiently waited for the teacher to come out.  But there were many other visitors, and they had appointments.  His turn did not come till the evening.

He kept waiting.  But impatience was troubling him today.

Finally he had his chance, and after everybody else had left, the teacher faced him.  He bowed to his ancient teacher, who was resplendently dressed in a white robe and with a heavy voice asked his question, using words that he had chosen carefully and with precision: "If competition is evil, and the world is competitive, where does a man go who does not wish to lead an evil life?"

The teacher looked at him lovingly, with compassion, and simply said:
I have found the answer to all this, not in the world but away from it.
That was all the teacher said.  The teacher then left the visitors' room and retired into his mansion.  The seeker did not understand but stood up to leave.  He was confused and still tired.  His head was aching badly.  As he stood up his phone fell out of his pocket onto the floor.  He picked it up.

The glass screen had shattered, the background image on the phone of the snow-clad mountains was now a blur, but the phone was still alive.  There were five missed calls from his wife.  He cursed loudly for he knew she needed money to pay the rent which had been recently hiked by the landlord due to increased demand in their area.  She needed money: money which he did not have.  Agonized, he suddenly felt a pain in his chest and clutched his heart.

As he dropped to his death, he was finally at peace.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Why I Support Donald J Trump

Support for politicians is rarely because of their policy positions. It is about affinity of temperament, the force of personality and a feeling that the politician is on "my side". It is also usually about who that politician is up against.

I have not been interested in US politics till this year's cycle. I believe this election cycle is a watershed event in the history of the United States because of the widespread appeal of two candidates who are not supported by their parties.

Bernie Sanders (Democrat) and Donald J Trump (Republican) are running for office, and running against the behemoth of political establishment, the avalanche of biased media, and immense money power.

They are the leaders of the new age. Today traditional media is failing to sway people and social media is the new democratic reality. People clearly perceive the corruption inherent in the political process and are making up their own minds about their nominee. This is fearsome to the power fraternity in the country and beyond. The elite want the system to continue to serve them, and democracy is all fine and good as long as the elite get to choose their government.

The elite are unable to control Bernie Sanders and Donald J Trump and their supporters. These two leaders are not yet sold out to special interests and those who want to continue to subjugate the American people as well as the rest of the world.

From an essay titled American Spring:
Throughout history, elites and plutocrats have feared direct democracy. One-person, one-vote logically leads towards mob rule. Socialism. Tribalism. The masses are always “crazier” than the elites. The elites like the status quo, so they pull policy towards the center. It’s the masses that want real change.
YouTube killed TV and Twitter ate the news. Donald’s tweeting from his jet and Bernie’s kickstarter went viral. Software is eating politics and the elites have lost control.
Now we see “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The neatly labeled bundles of “Democrat” and “Republican” are going to get re-assembled by the voters, one vote at a time instead of one dollar at a time.
I like many of the positions taken by DJT and Bernie Sanders, but my admiration for them goes beyond the policy positions. I am enthralled that in the most powerful country on the planet, there is finally a popular uprising against the kleptocracy of power.

And the powers-that-be are in danger of losing their gravy train.  They are not taking this lightly.

The mass media is relentless in its vilification of DJT. All stops are being pulled to have negative headlines about him, to mock him, to provide misleading statistics about him, to portray his supporters as illiterate buffoons who should know better than to support someone who finally is on their side, and to stop him from becoming the Republican nominee or the US President.

I hope and believe Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee in 2016, and go on to become the President of USA.

I am usually on the side of the person who I see being treated unfairly. And from very early in this election cycle, I noticed the brutal media coverage of DJT. I recognized the ideological positions and the financial interests against his candidacy. That was when I decided to be on his side.

I have no affection for social justice warriors, for a media system that is corrupt and sold out for ratings, for third wave feminism, for "black lives matter" and their intolerance for any dialog, for "safe spaces", for welfare without accountability, for the leftist hatred of wealth and success and beauty, for the shrill abuse of men and their imaginary "privilege", for the politically correct discourse in which to talk meaningfully about race or gender or religion is forbidden, and for the slow curtailment of the United States Bill of Rights (which I consider probably the greatest constitutional document in human history).

When I perceived all my ideological opponents railing against a specific candidate, I knew he was my candidate. And his campaign has not disappointed me.

He has taken strong positions against Islamic terrorism, against illegal immigration, against open borders, against the shift of manufacturing and services jobs to outside United States, for protecting the second amendment, and so on. Someone who is a traditional conservative will be glad to support such a candidate.

Apart from his policy positions, what is even more admirable in him is his independence, his freshness and his rejection of the Republican establishment positions even when these puts him at risk of immense criticism. I admire his doctrine of deterrence rather than intervention, his critique of the Iraq war, his wanting to have peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine, his desire to support Planned Parenthood for non-abortion-related activities, his desire to help those who cannot afford healthcare at all, and his skill in deal-making...

By uttering a single sentence during his relentless trap-questioning about abortion, he exposed the hollowness and the hypocrisy of the pro-life movement that equates abortion with murder but refuses to recognize the agency of the mother in this murder. He was forced to issue a clarification, sure, but that just goes to show the intense corruption of the cultural landscape in which even DJT has to pander to hypocrisy or be ruled out as unviable.
From a comment on Dalrock:
Those ‘pro-life’ people who disagree with that statement are not committed to ending abortion- they are committed to having a political issue to either run on or make a living with.
...

I believe that US Presidents can be hobbled if they cannot get the Congress or the Senate to get along with them, and a man who is skilled in negotiation and persuasion will be far more effective than a mere ideologue who cannot compromise and be flexible.

I know many people do not like his persona, but I want them to take a re-look at this man. Many have already decided to support Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, and to them Trump is perhaps unsupportable.  Some of them will support him in the coming months.  Some will support him because they do not want the establishment to win.

But for those who are still undecided, I ask them to consider which candidate will do the best job at protecting America, which candidate will do the best job at shaking things up in Washington DC, which candidate wants the rule of law to be upheld, and which candidate seems to want the government to be run as an efficient business.

Many people have many misconceptions about him.  Those misconceptions have been peddled for months by the mass media. But repeating a lie does not make it true.  For example, that he is a "misogynist", "racist", "fascist", etc. The media likes to portray any insult or criticism of a woman as "sexism" or "misogyny", any criticism of immigration as "racism", and so on. Don't be spoon-fed by the media. The media cannot be trusted. Find out for yourself.

And ask yourself if his coverage in the media is fair and balanced, or does it seem unduly negative and full of abuse toward him.  If you compare the constant barrage of insults hurled at him by the mass media and by other politicians versus his counter-punches, there is no doubt who is being the gentleman in this election cycle.

As an example of dismantling just the misconception of him being a "fascist", read this:
Trump’s policies lean pro-minority:
1. Veterans are disproportionately minorities.
2. Aborted babies are often minorities.
3. Trump wants to avoid people “dying in the streets” with no healthcare, and that benefit is good for minorities.
4. Trump wants to keep Social Security strong, which helps everyone, but mostly people at lower incomes.
5. Trump’s spokesperson is half African-American. Trump’s daughter converted to Judaism. And so on, and so on.
6. Stopping illegal immigration reduces job competition for lower-income families. Some say it also reduces violence to women of all ethnicities.
7. Trump wants citizens to be armed. Hitler didn’t want that.
I could go on. The point is that Trump’s policies are nearly the opposite of Hitler. 
Of course most people will make their decision on emotional grounds.  But that is encouraging to me. Because only one candidate in this election has the skills to persuade emotionally.  Because he is the only candidate who can win voters who are not yet convinced about him.

Wait and watch what happens. You will be surprised.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

On Change

A previous essay on this.

The whole of eastern spirituality is about renouncing any interest in changing outward conditions to achieve happiness.  The focus, instead, is supposed to be on the "inner".

According to spiritualists, to focus on changing the outer is to miss the point.  It is proclaimed that favorable outer conditions can never provide "lasting happiness" (whatever that may be).  That only detachment from the outer can lead to "bliss".

On the other hand, an ideology like communism regards any focus on inner as complete bullshit, and states that only by changing the living conditions and the society can individuals ever hope to evolve.

The dichotomy is straightforward: in the face of unhappiness, should one attempt to change the conditions, or oneself?
What is the relationship between yourself and the misery, the confusion, in and around you? Surely this confusion, this misery, did not come into being by itself. You and I have created it, not a capitalist nor a communist nor a fascist society, but you and I have created it in our relationship with each other. What you are within has been projected without, on to the world; what you are, what you think and what you feel, what you do in your everyday existence, is projected outwardly, and that constitutes the world. If we are miserable, confused, chaotic within, by projection that becomes the world, that becomes society, because the relationship between yourself and myself between myself and another is society - society is the product of our relationship - and if our relationship is confused, egocentric, narrow, limited, national, we project that and bring chaos into the world. (J Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom).
Does the individual create the social conditions, or vice versa?  To have change, should one direct one's efforts outwardly, or inwardly?

...

Both the "individual" and "society" are sets of patterns of thought and behavior.  They influence each other.  An individual born into a society is shaped by it, whether to become conformant or to rebel.  A society made of certain individuals is nothing but the collection of their individual patterns.

If an individual is suffering, in most cases it will be found that his conditions have deteriorated to the point where he can no longer afford to have joy or pleasure.  If those conditions cannot be improved, then the least stressful course is for the man to accept his situation. 

Suffering is easier to endure if one accepts one's fate.  A prisoner on death row might have an easier time if he accepts his punishment and stops praying or pleading for relief.  This ease is squarely that of giving up the desire to change the situation, since that desire is bound to result in frustration.  The suffering of the situation still remains.

This "acceptance" of one's fate is a last resort, when all efforts have failed.  But spiritualists, instead of coming to this resignation after strenuous action, start from this acceptance.

Spiritualists are fond of the hoary but false adage that a problem exists only if you want to solve it.  No, the problem of poverty is still there even if you disregard it, because very soon you will find yourself evicted from your premises and hungry and cold.  The problem of an unhappy spouse is usually because one is not paying attention to the problem.

On the other hand, while the problem will still exist, giving up on solving the problem can lead to a curious sense of relief.  It is akin to filing for bankruptcy because one no longer believes one can discharge one's loans.

A wise individual will look at a situation holistically: he will evaluate his circumstances, and also one's reaction to them.  And he will seek to change the circumstances to the best of his ability, and also improve the way he reacts so that he is not hindered or debilitated by himself.

Spirituality, as a retreat from life, is a philosophy for losers.  And eastern spirituality is all about retreat.  The "karma yoga" described in Bhagwad Gita is not about creating circumstances for happiness, in fact it is the exact reverse: to not worry about the outcome of one's actions.  Even in Sikhism, there is no verse exhorting people to change their circumstances for the better.  A famous verse purporting to ask Sikhs to work hard actually means that after reaching the Lord there is no more work:
ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਉਜਲੇ ਕੇਤੀ ਛੁਟੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥੧॥
The brave face their predicament head-on and try to change the world.  Yes, there will always be suffering.  No change will lead to lasting happiness.  But the very goal of "lasting happiness" is a chimera created by the spiritualists as a rationalization for losers to look down upon those who are engaged in worldly change.

...

To attempt change in one's psyche is admirable but just a start.  To attempt change in one's fortunes is a worthy effort.  A change in society and its structures is a political movement.

A well-rounded individual is engaged in all three.