An Outsider’s View–22,POST-ELECTION THOUGHTS OF A NATURALIZED CITIZEN
Posted on November 11th, 2012

 Shelton A. Gunaratne

 The 2012 federal elections clearly showed that the American electorate has chosen the Middle Path (the Buddhist principle of madhyama pratipada) between the extremes of capitalism (yang)) and socialism (yin) as the preferred way to solve the monumental economic and social problems of the country.

 American voters re-elected Democratic President Obama, the Middle Path protagonist, with a massive 332 electoral votes compared to the 206 for Mitt Romney, his abrasive Republican antagonist. However, the popular vote for president indicated that the country was closely divided between Democrats (50.5 percent for Obama) and Republicans (47.9 percent for Romney)

The Center for Responsive Politics has estimated that the Democrats and the Republicans together spent some $ 6 billion on their respective political campaigns, an all-time record.

The federal election expenditure per person was estimated to be about $18. Thus, the lust (tanha) for power propelled by the law of the fish (matsya nyaya) has added fuel to the suffering (dukkha) reflected in the country’s national debt of $16.3 trillion. 

As a naturalized citizen, I cannot but wonder how this country could tolerate such a huge expenditure on political advertising completely oblivious to the magnitude of its national debt. 

As the Fiscal Times put it:

The campaign funds could cover 4 billion AA batteries for displaced Hurricane victims, 858 million six-packs of Budweiser, and pay for the entire population of Texas to go skydiving.

 Much of this campaign expenditure went into funding the more than 1 million presidential TV ads put on air between June 1 and Oct. 29.  The unlimited “dark money” raised by the super PACs  (political action committees) from millionaires and billionaires, who did not have to reveal their names, benefitted the Republicans. Not to be outdone, the Democracy Alliance of the liberal rich including George Soros pumped more than $10 million into pro-Obama super PACs.  The claim that small contributions financed Obama’s campaign was only partially true.

Two U.S. federal court rulings in 2010 determined that under the First Amendment no limitations could be imposed on super PACs because that would mean a denial of “freedom of expression.”

How the justices could equate unlimited and unattributed campaign expenditure with the First Amendment rights baffled me. I am puzzled by this cynical interpretation of the First Amendment to vitiate our democracy as “a hypocrisy” of government of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich.

Fortunately, the Trojan horse called the tea party, the troglodytes who formed the extreme right wing of the GOP, failed to create such “a hypocrisy” for another four years.  Their dictum was that  “free enterprise” with no or minimum government interference would solve all the problems the nation faced.  They alienated the poor whites, the immigrants, the single mothers, the racial/social minorities, the young and the old.

In 2012, roughly three of every 10 voters nationwide were minorities. African-Americans chose Obama by 93 percent, Latinos by 71 percent, and Asian Americans, the nation’s fastest-growing minority, by 73 percent. In their racial approach, today’s GOP has more similarities with Jacksonian Democrats than with Lincolnian Republicans.

The Republicans have invariably gone backwards into a party dominated by abrasive middle-aged white males who want to return to the good old days of the founding fathers, who subjugated the native population of this land and made this country a materialistic haven.

For the increasing numbers of immigrants from non-Western countries, the white founders of America do not mean much nor the primacy of the old constitution the founders created.  The new immigrants want to embrace democracy and cultural diversity, not “a hypocrisy” and cultural assimilation.

Although some degree of assimilation is inevitable and desirable, the new immigrants prefer diversity within unity. Considering the projected demographics of the country, Americans have no alternative but to opt for the Middle Path. The tea party is over.        

     *Gunaratne is the author of an autobiographic trilogy””‚one book titled Village Life in the Forties: Memories of a Lankan Expatriate (iUniverse, 2012); and two volumes titled From Village Boy to Global Citizen (Xlibris, 2012).

7 Responses to “An Outsider’s View–22,POST-ELECTION THOUGHTS OF A NATURALIZED CITIZEN”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    What struck me the most about the 2012 US Presidential Elections, was how DOWNRIGHT WRONG the pollsters were.

    Republican prognosticators like Carl Rove, George Wills, Newt Gingrich predicted a Romney win by at lest 6 percentage points in popular votes and 300 electoral votes. They fooled themselves with their own bias.

    Democratic pollster predicted a small win, with Obama squeaking through only by few percentage points in popular vote.

    Only ONE young man using novel mathematical algorithms to statistically analyze ALL available polls predicted a substantial win for Obama.

    As we now know, ONLY his predictions were borne out: Obama won the popular vote by over 6 percentage points, and 332 electoral votes in comparison to Romney’s tally of 206.

    The US voters should now ponder how they can hold these blind pontifical prognosticators of election results responsible for their flawed predictions.

    It seems to me, as a keen wit once quipped, that “Bookies are Morally Superior to Pundits as Predictors of the Future: Bookies have to pay for their mistakes, while Political Pundits escape scot-free!”

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lanka now wants to clip wings of provincial councils

    By P K Balachandran
    NewIndianExpress.com
    November 12, 2012

    The Sri Lankan Government would ask the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), which is to be set up to draft a new devolution package, to ‘drastically’ prune the powers of the Provincial Councils (PCs), a source close to the regime told Express here on Sunday.

    The government would not go to the extent of abolishing the PCs, which were set up at New Delhi’s instance following the India-Sri Lanka Accord of July 1987, but it was bent on pruning the powers of the PCs drastically to rid them of features which abridged the powers of the national parliament and the directly elected Executive President, the source said.

    The 13th Amendment and the Provincial Councils (PC) Act of 1987 had placed several constraints on parliament’s ability to make laws on subjects devolved to the provinces.

    They also curbed the powers of the provincial Governor who was supposedly an agent of the Centre. The Sri Lankan Centre was not given the powers that the Indian Centre had vis-a-vis the States to curb separatism and misrule. The Sri Lankan Centre’s hands were tied by prohibitions and the cumbersome procedure of passing laws with a two-thirds majority and, in some cases, through a referendum.

    The source said the government was afraid that a Tamil-dominated Northern Province ruled by the “separatist” Tamil National Alliance (TNA) might spin out of control and make unacceptable demands on the Centre. The fear that India and Tamil Nadu might collude with TNA to destabilise Sri Lanka again (as they did in the 1980s) was very much there, he added.

    The source said that the Rajapaksa government was keen on having the Provincial Councils Act amended before the Northern Provincial elections scheduled for late 2013. To enable this, the PSC would be constituted soon, whether or not the Tamil National Alliance joined it, the source added.

    The Mahinda Rajapaksa government has a two-thirds majority in parliament needed to amend the constitution. And, as Basil Rajapaksa, the powerful Economic Development Minister in Lanka, has said the government is ready for a referendum too.

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Democracy in USA is a dictatorship of the elite. USA is not a democracy because it is money that talks during elections and not the people. The results of each election are the expression of the voice of money and not the voice of the people.

    Peru’s constitution prohibits an outgoing president from seeking a second consecutive mandate. In Guatemala, not only can an outgoing president not seek re-election to the same post, no one from that person’s family can aspire to the top job either. Rwanda is the only country in the world that has 56 per cent female parliamentarians. In the 2007 CIA index, four of the world’s best-governed countries are African. That the top prize goes to Equatorial Guinea whose public debt represents only 1.14 per cent of GDP.

    The USA alone, has a staggering debt of $US14,000 billion, France, Great Britain and Italy each have a US$2,000 billion public deficit compared to less than US$400 billion in public debt for 46 African countries combined.

    US economy is in a deep hole and US shouldn’t dig any more. Reckless money printing known as “Quantitative Easing” and economical stimulus packages introduced in the aftermath of the Credit Crunch, has made very little impact on the growth of US economy. Current US economical growth is not adequate enough to create jobs and to get an economy back on track. Now the banks are under enormous pressure to lend more money but reckless lending by banks got US into this mess in the first place. The economical problems in Greece, Spain and Italy are very precarious. The bailout phenomenon is not working in Greece which is on the brink of defaulting on its debt. It is impossible for the EU to bailout Italy which is the third largest economy in Europe.

    At the end of WWII, an agreement was reached at the Bretton Woods Conference which pegged the value of gold at US$35 per ounce and that became the international standard against which currency was measured. But in 1971, US President Richard Nixon took the US$ off the gold standard after he and others realized that the USA no longer had enough gold to buy back every dollar that foreign governments were handing in.

    In 1973, US President Richard Nixon and his new Secretary of State, German born Henry Kissinger asked King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to accept only the US$ in payment for oil, and to buy US Treasury bonds, notes and bills with their excess profits, so that USA can continue spending money and not pay it back. In return, the USA pledged to protect Saudi Arabian oil fields from seizure by USSR and other nations including Iraq and Iran.

    The 1973 Arab-Israeli War upset this agreement, and the Great Oil Embargo of 1974 was the result. By 1975 the Great Oil Embargo was over and all members of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) accepted to sell their oil only in US$. The US$ now became the reserve currency of the world. Every country needed US$ to buy oil. Ever since the US$ has been the most important global monetary instrument, and only the US can print them. However, there were problems with this arrangement not least of all that the US$ was effectively worthless than before it reneged on the gold-standard. But more importantly because it was the world’s reserve currency, everybody was saving their surpluses in US$. The OPEC oil sales supported the US$ and also allowed the USA access to exchange risk free oil.

    Since it is the USA that prints the US$, they control the flow of oil. Period. When oil is denominated in US$ through US state action and the US$ is the only fiat currency for trading in oil, an argument can be made that the USA essentially owns the world’s oil for free. Now over $1.3 trillion of newly printed US$ by US Federal Reserve is flooding into international commodity markets each year.

    So long as almost three quarter of world trade is done in US$, the US$ is the currency which central banks accumulate as reserves. But central banks, whether China or Japan or Brazil or Russia, do not simply stack US$ in their vaults. Currencies have one advantage over gold. A central bank can use it to buy the state bonds of the issuer, the USA. Most countries around the world are forced to control trade deficits or face currency collapse. Not the USA. This is because of the US$ reserve currency role. And the underpinning of the reserve role is the petrodollar. Every nation needs to get US$ to import oil, some more than others. This means their trade targets US$ countries.

    Because oil is an essential commodity for every nation, the Petrodollar system, which exists to the present, demands the buildup of huge trade surpluses in order to accumulate US$ surpluses. This is the case for every country but one — the USA which controls the US$ and prints it at will or fiat. Because today the majority of all international trade is done in US$, countries must go abroad to get the means of payment they cannot themselves issue. The entire global trade structure today works around this dynamic, from Russia to China, from Brazil to South Korea and Japan. Everyone aims to maximize US$ surpluses from their export trade.

    The Petrodollar system nearly broke down during the US President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter’s presidential tenure , mainly due to double digit inflation of the US$. US President Ronald Reagan removed all controls on oil and fuel prices and all restrictions on oil drilling to restore the stability of the US$. Oil flooded the market, prices fell, and petrodollars became more valuable. These were some of the most prosperous years that the US had. But the danger remained, because the US continued to spend more US$ than it earned.

    The reality is that the value of the US$ is determined by the fact that oil is sold in US$. If the denomination changes to another currency, such as the euro, many countries would sell US$and cause the banks to shift their reserves, as they would no longer need US$ to buy oil. This would thus weaken the US$ relative to the euro. The USA propagates war to protect its oil supplies, but even more importantly, to safeguard the strength of the US$. The fundamental underlying motive of the US in the Iraq war, even more than the control of the oil itself, is an attempt to preserve the US$ as the leading oil trading currency. The fear of the consequences of a weaker US$, particularly higher oil prices is seen as underlying and explaining many aspects of the US foreign policy, including the Iraq and Libyan War.

    Until November 2000, no OPEC country dared violate the US$ price rule. So long as the US$ was the strongest currency, there was little reason to as well. But November 2000 was when France and other EU members finally convinced Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to defy the USA by selling Iraq’s oil-for-food not in US$, ‘the enemy currency’ as Saddam Hussein named it, but only in euros. Few months before the US moved into Iraq to take down Saddam Hussein, Iraq had made the move to accept Euros instead of US$ for oil, and this became a threat to the global dominance of the US$ as the reserve currency, and its dominion as the petrodollar. The euros were on deposit in a special UN account of the leading French bank, BNP Paribas. This Iraq move to defy the US$ in favor of the euro, in itself, was insignificant. Yet, if it were to spread, especially at a point the US$ was already weakening, it could create a panic selloff of US$ by foreign central banks and OPEC oil producers.

    In the months before the latest Iraq war, hints in this direction were heard from Russia, Iran, Indonesia and even Venezuela. An Iranian OPEC official, Javad Yarjani, delivered a detailed analysis of how OPEC at some future point might sell its oil to the EU for euros not US$. He spoke in April, 2002 in Oviedo Spain at the invitation of the EU. All indications are that the Iraq war was seized on as the easiest way to deliver a deadly pre-emptive warning to OPEC and others, not to flirt with abandoning the Petro-dollar system in favor of one based on the euro. The Iraq move was a declaration of war against the US$. As soon as it was clear that the UK and the US had taken Iraq, a great sigh of relief was heard in the UK Banks.

    First Iraq and then Libya decided to challenge the petrodollar system and stop selling all their oil for US$, shortly before each country was attacked. The cost of war is not nearly as big as it is made out to be. The cost of not going to war would be horrendous for the US unless there were another way of protecting the US$’s world trade dominance. The US pays for the wars by printing US$ it is going to war to protect.

    After considerable delay, Iran opened an oil bourse which does not accept US$. Many people fear that the move will give added reason for the USA to overthrow the Iranian regime as a means to close the bourse and revert Iran’s oil transaction currency to US$. In 2006 Venezuela indicated support of Iran’s decision to offer global oil trade in euro. In 2011 Russia begins selling its oil to China in rubles

    Muammar Qaddafi made a similarly bold move: he initiated a movement to refuse the US$ and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar. Muammar Qaddafi suggested establishing a united African continent, with its 200 million people using this single currency. The initiative was viewed negatively by the USA and the European Union (EU), with French president Nicolas Sarkozy calling Libya a threat to the financial security of mankind; but Muammar Qaddafi continued his push for the creation of a united Africa.

    Muammar Gaddafi’s recent proposal to introduce a gold dinar for Africa revives the notion of an Islamic gold dinar floated in 2003 by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, as well as by some Islamist movements. The notion, which contravenes IMF rules and is designed to bypass them, has had trouble getting started. But today Iran, China, Russia, and India are stocking more and more gold rather than US$.

    If Muammar Qaddafi were to succeed in creating an African Union backed by Libya’s currency and gold reserves, France, still the predominant economic power in most of its former Central African colonies, would be the chief loser. The plans to spark the Benghazi rebellion were initiated by French intelligence services in November 2010.

    In February 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has called for a new world currency that would challenge the dominance of the US$ and protect against future financial instability.

    Accepting Chinese yuans for oil, Iran and Venzuela have constantly been threatened by the US. If euros, yens, yuans or rubles were generally accepted for oil, the US$ would quickly become irrelevant and worthless paper.This petro dollar arrangement is enforced by the U.S. military.

    On Aug 18 2011, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announces a plan to pull Gold reserves from US and European Banks .Venezuela reportedly has the largest oil reserves in the world. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been a strong proponent for tighter Latin America integration – which is a move away from the power of the US banking cartels.

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez formed oil export agreements with Cuba, directly bypassing the Petrodollar System. Cuba was among those countries that were later added to the “Axis of Evil” by the USA.

  4. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    The main reason why Romney lost was his campaign slogans
    “Our top priority is to make Obama a one term president.”
    “We aren’t going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
    “Women who use birth control are sluts.”
    “Women don’t get pregnant from ‘legitimate’ rape.”
    “We are going to lower everyone’s tax rates by 20%, but still collect the same amount of money, increase military spending and lower the deficit.”

  5. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    China and Russia know where the USA is headed in its relations towards them. USA will never voluntarily give up the delusion about itself as “master of the universe”.
    Obama already is about to pick Susan Rice (US Ambassador to UN) to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of the State. if Hillary Clinton was a “war hawk” — then Susan Rice is much more so …
    George Bush “merely” opened the current and foreseeable US “war on the planet forever” — Torture, renditions, spying, militarism galore, Obama expands them
    Susan Rice notoriously known for “undiplomatically” “reprimanding” Russia and China months ago for Refusing to join in the “regime change” in Syria calling Russia and China “evil” for doing so while she was glaring in her own inability to hide her fury in the UN because “BLOOD LUST” of her and her Zionist puppets’ in Washington can’t get “support” from Russia or China.
    Obama has already repeatedly signaled to China and Russia – THEY are to be OBEDIENT to the USA or else”.
    In spite of the fact – unknown or unacknowledged perhaps to most of the US citizens, including their leaders — that the MOST IMPORTANT leadership “changes” or “continuities” in the past 2 years – are those in RUSSIA bringing back Vladimir Putin — and CHINA with its new and highly competent “seven-member” politburo ruling council.
    China’s communist party decides its selections — the fact remains that members of the politburo ruling council are the result of decades of “tests” from their original grass-roots level positions to “provincial regions” posts — to repeatedly prove they handled their assignments properly — in economics, social science, public administration, law, etc. In short — HIGHLY competent members of the politburo ruling council — next to whom — the leaders of the USA are cartoon characters by comparison. Members of politburo ruling council will NOT be intimidated by the USA …not by a long shot.

  6. Dham Says:

    Recent handling of the corruption scandal of CP high rank member is a proof of CP politburo robustness. USA leaders on the other hand are “jokers” compared to them. They are simply actors.

  7. Dham Says:

    Even the Lankans living in USA become addicts of “freedom” which no one USA has. They all go blind to world affairs become dumbos enslaved by Zionist media which govern the world information flow.
    How many “patriots” listen to RT instead of CNN, BBC ,Reuter ?

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