Kate Andersen Brower chronicles relationships, laden with anecdotes, between the past living presidents in her book, “The Team of Five. – The President’s Club in the Age of Trump” (George H W Bush passed away after her book was published).According to Brower, there are nine unwritten rules that every past president should adhere to. Those rules are 1 Honor a shared history. 2.Respect the office and one another 3. Avoid criticizing the sitting president at all costs. 4.Don’t be too proud to ask for help. 5. Unite in tragedy. 6. Come together for celebrations. 7.Treasure the most perfect house in the United States. 8. Give back.9. Family comes first
The most intriguing part of the book, in my opinion, is the unprecedented friendships between Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. The former first lady Barbara Bush even called them “the odd couple.” The next most interesting relationship, as described in this book, is between George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also developed a loving relationship in large part because of George H W. Bush. George W Bush’s transfer of power to Obama is considered the smoothest in the history of the presidential transition. In all, Bush 41 and Bush 43 are the only presidents mentioned in this book who followed the unwritten rules mentioned above.
Brower, a CNN contributor is especially harsh on Trump. She writes, “Trump once desperately wanted to earn the approval of his predecessors. He has since disparaged all the former living presidents and seems unconcerned that he will be an outcast from the President’s Club.”
Brower also tells amusing stories about the First Ladies and their relationship with each other. She describes Laura Bush as the most amicable among the First Ladies. She observes that Michelle Obama and George W Bush have become the best of friends. Hillary Clinton and Pat Nixon had to face the most onerous task of supporting their husbands despite their (husbands’) follies.All the former presidents have difficulties adjusting to civilian life after being the most important person in the world. Jimmy Carter didn’t have enough money to repair his farmhouse in Georgia. He repaired his house with his own hands to save money. Ultimately, he wrote novels to sustain himself and his farm. Other recent presidents have become extremely rich by writing memoirs and by charging huge amounts for their speeches. Bill Clinton charges between $250,000 to a million dollars per appearance, so do George W Bush and Barack Obama.
If you are not in the mood for critical reading, “Team of Five” is my recommendation to you. It’s a perfect book to bring along on vacation as a pastime. -Reviewed by Musafir
There are different ways to terrorize the populace. One way is taking up arms against a section of the citizens another is to use one’s power and influence to shut their voices off. The far-left has been using the latter tactic for decades. However, this has become very apparent and open now.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal on February 22, 2021, two Democratic Members of Congress, Anna G. Eshoo and Jerry McNerney sent a letter to Mr. John T. Stankey, CEO AT&T, Inc asking him, “Are you planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN on U-verse, DirecTV, and AT&T TV both now and beyond any contract renewal date? If so, why?” If that is not intimidating and dangerous to a free society then what could that be? Another incident cited in The Wall Street Journal was Amazon’s purge of Ryan Anderson’s book, “When Harry Became Sally” because the book criticizes recent progressive ideas about gender-change procedures in children.
Folks in such positions of authority are displaying gunslinger attitudes to vent their political or societal expressions, thereby fueling dangerous passions. The left-leaning social media platforms are more powerful and dangerous than our agenda-driven Senators and Members of Congress in Washington. Consider this, Twitter in 2020 averaged around 6,000 tweets per second, 500 million per day, and an estimated 200 billion tweets in the full year! Twitter banned the sitting President of the United States with 88 million followers for his provocative remarks. Other prominent conservatives who were banned are Alex Jones, Dan Bongino (conservative political commentator), Sydney Powell (pro-Trump lawyer), Ben Garrison (conservative cartoonist), Kangana Ranaut (conservative Indian actress), The Daily Citizen (fundamentalist Christian newspaper), Jim Hoft (editor of a conservative news site), Wayne Allyn Root (conservative activist) and many many more. No such actions were ever taken to punish provocateurs of the radical left. What about Twitter’s stated objective of ‘a free and global conversation?’ What about the First Amendment – the freedom of speech?
These actions have since raised further questions about biases, double-standards, and lack of accountability. The following tweet from Antifa was acceptable to Twitter:@ANTIFA_US “Tonight’s the night, Comrades,” with a brown raised fist emoji and “Tonight we say ‘F— The City’ and we move into the residential areas… the white hoods…. and we take what’s ours …”Here is a statement by Representative Maxine Waters: “Already, you have members of your Cabinet that have been booed out of restaurants, who have protesters taking up at their house who sang, ‘No peace, no sleep. No peace, no sleep.’… so let’s stay the course. Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere …” To clarify, I am neither a rightist nor a leftist, but I feel that any provocation coming from either group is equally dangerous to our democratic system.
That reminds me of a fable I read in my childhood: A frog came out of a well and invited a snake to come inside the well where the snake could eat other frogs. They both became friends. After eating up all the frogs in the well, the snake wanted to eat his friend. The frog reminded him of their friendship. Thereupon the snake remarked, “You are a fool and a fool cannot be my friend.”
Moral of the story: recognize the present and imminent danger now so that we do not repent later.
It has been more than a week since I wrote any featured article. Usually, I write at least one new post every week. I have been following this routine for years. Suddenly, I just didn’t feel like writing anything. Then I realized something before giving up. I needed to use some grit. My mind suggested to me that I’d feel good if I wrote something. That way, I’d accomplish something. I got reminded of my favorite Waldo Emerson’s quote, “The reward of a thing well done is having done it.”
I feel that life needs a reality check. It is easy to fall prey to our wanton desires. It needs firmness of character to get over dormancy resulting from frustration. In fact, life is certainly getting better day by day. We don’t have to hunt for food nor do we have to build our own hut. One of our biggest inconveniences today is, probably, forgetting the phone charger. Sorry, I went back to the Neolithic age. Someone posted a list of interesting inconveniences on WhatsApp that our generation faced while growing up. We took rides in bull carts; studied under kerosine lanterns; chatted through snail mail and grew up without TV, air-conditioner, heater, and personal computers. How could I forget all that? Isn’t life good now?
So, what should we do the next time we feel like giving up? We may slow down for a while but must show up. “Showing up is half the battle.” The best of all, according to the Hindu tenet, “You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions” (The Bhagwat Gita, Chapter 2, verse:47).
Dusty decided to play a low-stake game with his friends and neighbors about Mr. and Mrs. Disaster’s hopeless marriage. The expectation was that they’d (the Disasters) walk to the divorce court in less than a month. Most of Dusty’s friends betted against their marriage. Only a few betted otherwise. They called this a “Short Squeeze.”It was obvious that things were not that great in the Disaster household. the shouts coming from their apartment could be heard by other dwellers too. Screams like, “You stupid! You again squeezed the toothpaste in the middle. How many times should I remind you that it should be squeezed at the bottom? Stupid! Stupid!! Stupid!!!”The other day, the neighbors heard Mrs. Disaster yelling: “Why are you wearing a sweater in the middle of summer?”Mr. Disaster: “Oh, that’s right, because you’re living in an igloo. Any hotter than 60 degrees and you complain ‘it’s so sweaty’. Shape up or shut up!”Mrs. Disaster: “Stupid! Stupid!! Stupid!!!Over the past year, all the apartment dwellers were confined to their homes due to COVID-19 and were utterly bored. Abetting on the Disasters was a good way for them to spend their time and money. To cut a long story short, they formed this new betting group and called themselves “Short,” just for fun. Some sarcastically called them “Hedge Fund Managers’”Most of the Shots betted for the Disasters’ separation or divorce as it was very obvious that their marriage was about to end. Suddenly, an outsider entered the fray. He wagered that the Disasters would keep their marriage. The Shorts named him “Robin Hood.” Robin Hood planned to borrow the fund from “Shorts” for his bet with a promise that he’d return their money once the bet was settled. The “Shorts” gladly lent money to Robin Hood as it was obvious to them that the latter was going to lose big. They called Robin Hood’s move a “squeeze.” This brought even more players into the game. The pot ultimately grew to more than a million dollars.At the end of the month, the Shorts were shocked to know that the Disasters were going on another honeymoon instead of going to the divorce court. Robin Hood walked away with everybody’s money. People kept on wondering who was Robin Hood? They think that he was an agent of the Disasters. They had formed an alliance to mulct the “Shorts” of their money and ruin the big guys. Was that just a rumor or was that true? Wanna bet?
Traditionally, the U.S. TV news channels do not cover any good news about India, nevertheless, it is very important to be aware of what’s happening in the world’s largest democracy.
The first and foremost story is India launching the world’s largest vaccination campaign. India kicked off its nationwide vaccination drive this month (January 2021) and it plans to immunize 300 million people this winter. India, UK and USA are the first countries to develop COVID vaccines indigenously. India’s Bharat Biotech (a pharmaceutical company) developed and produced Covaxin, a treatment for COVId-19 in January 2021. Other than developing and producing Covaxin, India is also the hub for manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK and distributed in India as Covishield. The Serum Institute of India (manufacturer of Covishield) plans to manufacture and distribute at least 1 billion Covishield doses worldwide in the near future.
What makes India a global leader is that besides vaccinating its own people, it is giving away millions of vaccines to its neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. As I am writing this article, India has begun shipping Covid-19 vaccines to Brazil, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Here are a few excerpts on this topic:
“Since Wednesday, the Indian government has sent free doses to Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives — more than 3.2 million in total. Donations to Mauritius, Myanmar, and Seychelles are set to follow. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are next on the list.” (Washington Post).
“India is a vaccine powerhouse: it makes 60% of the world’s vaccines and is home to half a dozen major manufacturers.” (BBC).
On another topic, India took a major step regarding clean energy. This too was completely ignored by U.S. news channels. Mr. Modi, the prime minister of India inaugurated the world’s largest solar and wind energy park in the Gujarat state of India near the Indo-Pak border with a capacity of 30,000 megawatts (MW). Just to understand the magnitude of energy production, the top 8 power generating plants in the U.S have a combined capacity of producing 32,000 megawatts of electricity. India’s energy park will be spread over 281 square miles which is equivalent to the areas of metro Philadelphia and Atlanta rolled in one.
Another news that was absent from the U.S. sources relates to bullet train initiatives started by India last week. India announced the construction of an ambitious high-speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad connecting with other major industrial towns such as Surat. The train will be similar to the Tokaido-Shinkansen high-speed line in Japan. The proposed railway line will go through sea tunnels and elevated tracks. Five more such corridors are planned to connect other metropolitan areas of India.
Despite all those significant events happening in India, the only news about India was covered by CBS television network last week that reported, “A fire broke out Thursday afternoon in a building still under construction on the 100-acre site in the southwest city of Pune.”
This is nothing new. The TV news channels have always ignored India. There are reasons why the Western media only covers violence, poverty and social discontent, and other half-truths about India. The first and foremost reason is hatred towards Hinduism. India is still a majority Hindu country. Hinduism is a non-Abrahamic religion; thus, the Hindus are considered pagans. The Christian missionaries and Muslim fundamentalists want to transform India into a Christian and Muslim majority country.
They want to project India as the land of elephants, naked fakirs, and snake charmers where people are routinely butchered and women raped. Ironically, most of these negative articles are written by Indian journalists who are hired by Western media to give their reporting an authentic look. These western-educated journalists often write negative columns and reports on behalf of western media. Let me expose some of them here. They are Vindu Goel of The New York Times, Vibhuti Agarwal and Rajesh Roy of The Wall Street Journal, Aatish Taseer of Time (Magazine) and Naga Munchetty of BBC to name a few. They all start with confirmation bias which is starting with false premises and then reaching a conclusion about those premises.
Another reason to portray India in a negative light is jealousy. The West wants to ensure that any ruling government anywhere outside the west looks as weak as possible. Alternatively, they want to prevent the rise of any developing country that can challenge their superiority. During the insurrection on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC, the U.S. media kept on repeating that the U.S.A was the only country that believed in a peaceful transfer of power. They undermined India there also.
The negativity about India has increased since Mr. Modi’s party, BJP assumed power in India. The Modi government and the BJP are staunch nationalists. This is terrifying to the west because they feel that the BJP could easily position itself against western political and economic interests. This is why Reuters, BBC, NYT, WAPO, CNN, etc. routinely attack the ruling government and act as a front for the opposition parties. This is why the once inept nobodies like Arundhati Roy, John Dayal, Kancha Ilaiah, and Farid Zakaria have become celebrities in the western world. This is why Kashmir isn’t on the Indian map on western news channels. This is why Hinduism is portrayed as primitive and violent. This is why women are viewed unsafe in India. This is why the “Make in India” scheme is repeatedly undermined.
The story of Donald Trump will reverberate in the annals of history for centuries. This is the kind of stuff that classics are made of. There will be movies made, dramas and novels written and folklores created bearing his name for dubious reasons. I just finished reading an article by Eliot Cohen in The Atlantic where he compared Trump with Henry III and I quote, “Trump does elicit torrid metaphors, and in this case, some of those gloating observers (in concealed or open fashion, to their particular taste) seem to have in mind something like Act V, Scene iii of Richard III, in which the villainous king, before the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, is visited by the ghosts of those he has murdered. One by one, they make disobliging remarks such as “Let me sit heavy on thy soul tomorrow” and “Tomorrow in the battle think on me, and fall thy edgeless sword,” and, simply, “Despair and die.” The equivalent, one supposes, would be the ghosts of John McCain, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and John Lewis giving the president a bad night of it during a fevered sleep.”
I won’t go to that extreme, but Mr. Trump’s provocation and defense of an insurgent crowd, who ransacked the Capitol building, threatened our elected lawmakers, and, in the process, caused the deaths of five U.S. citizens are inexcusable and criminal. In a democracy, the executive branch can disagree with the legislature and veto their bills, but waging a war against them? That’s tribal. The whole incident made a mockery of our democratic system and tarnished our lustrous image. Someone called me and said,” I feel ashamed to call myself an American.” True, we all felt demeaned.
What was Trump thinking? I am tempted to draw a comparison of Trump with King Lear (a Shakespearean tragedy). King Lear being fond of flattery, divided his kingdom among his unfaithful daughters, Goneril and Regan disowning his sincere and loving daughter, Cordelia. Later, his first two daughters betrayed King Lear driving him to insanity.
Trump is not used to losing. As a matter of fact, he tends to scorn those who lose including Mitt Romney and John McCain. The November loss threw him in King Lear’s state of mind, angry, resentful, and betrayed. He falsely believes that he won the election and the victory was unjustifiably taken from him and given to Mr. Biden.Trump and his base also feel obscured and obliterated by liberal media and far-left who totally ignored his successes which included unprecedented recognition of Israel by five Arab countries, American withdrawal from wasteful wars in Afghanistan and Syria, criminal reform and record funding for black colleges, pre-COVID economy, elimination of ISIS, operation Warp Speed to develop Corona vaccine, to name a few. If you watched CNBC, CNN or read The New York Times, you’d not know any of the above facts. You’d be living in an entirely different universe.
All said and done, there is no justification for the way Trump reacted to his critics in the past and to his own loss in November 2020. He has confirmed his critics’ assumption that he is unfit to hold the highest job in the nation. His behavior undermines his successes. Lear’s madness was tragic but ultimately unimportant because he was by then powerless. So is Trump.
As the course’s title indicates, this class is intended to be easy. This course is a gateway to learning higher level Internet coding in the future. By the end of this course, the learners will know enough to create web pages from scrap. WebGraf (the company that designed this course) guarantees this.
This class teaches two Internet related languages:
The designer of this training course, Anil Shrivastava says, “When I took classes in HTML5 and CSS3, I found it difficult to comprehend the topics because they were front heavy. I had to struggle understanding the syntax and programming structure. In this course you will start creating the web page from very start and will learn the syntax and coding as you progress. In the end, the learners will have a nice template with a complete understanding of HTML5 and CSS3 languages.”
This course can be accessed by simply clicking on http://www.WebGraf.org then going to each lesson towards the top of the screen
My wife and I celebrated New Year Eve 2020 alone for the first time since we got married. There were no parties, no overabundance of haute cuisine nor any presence of euphoric cheers to welcome 2021. It was just a sigh of relief to realize that 2020 was leaving us like a long-suffering elderly relative.
In the year 2020, we learned to live with the inconveniences brought upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most importantly, we learned to appreciate minimalism for the first time and many of us started liking it.
Suddenly we started living our lives consciously, purchase wisely, and live responsibly. We started feeling the impact of minimalism on the environment with pleasant surprises. For many of us, intellectual possessions became more important than material possessions. “Minimalism means living with things we really need. It means removing anything that distracts us from living with intentionality and freedom,” I read somewhere.
The unemployment in the U.S. picked at 14.7% in 2020. People were forced to live with less and realize that living with less wasn’t a bad thing, after all. Before the pandemic hit us, we were victims of “keeping up with the Joneses.” While my goal here is in no way to blame anyone for their one-upmanship mentality, we lived among people who indulged in excesses. We were a part of the rat race wanting to have it all. We were intoxicated and were overconsuming to add to America’s debt. It’s undeniable that our achieving of the “American Dream” was an expensive one.
Then came COVID confinement. We started experimenting with clothes we already had instead of buying new ones. Knowing that the financial future was unsecured suggested us to consider minimalism as a lifestyle. Consuming in the previous amounts merely made no more sense to us. Lockdown weeks and months showed to us that comfortable living required only a few essentials, only a few things that satisfied vision and taste, and nothing extra and unnecessary. Such indulgence as continuous shopping became unavailable, and the focus of minds had to turn to other sources of contentment.
Minimalism made us distinguish between things that distracted us from what’s important to us. In the midst of the COVID 19 crisis, we were somewhat forced to revisit our true priorities which were health and family. This aspect of minimalism reconnected us with our family like never before contributing to our happiness and to those around us.
Minimalism should not be mistaken for asceticism which is the practice of extreme denial and unnecessary rigor. It is the mindset of eliminating clutter that starts following the genuine voice of the heart, rather than many voices that insist on the necessity to possess more.
A Promised Land is a chronicle of events in Barack Obama’s life’s journey, so far, in a historic perspective. A promised Land is full of reflections, anecdotes and honest opinions about almost everyone Obama encountered in his political life.Obama admits that he was perplexed on the first day of his presidency as he had to learn what to do in his new job. He was faced with the gargantuan task of saving the U.S. economy. Eventually, he succeeded in stabilizing the global financial system, saving the U.S. auto industry and stopping the meltdown of housing crisis through “Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP. I personally benefited from everything mentioned above and am thankful to Mr. Obama for his initiatives. It was all accomplished through his perseverance, organizational skills and choosing right advisors.Obama takes the readers along with him everywhere he goes including the far corners of the world- his own home where he interacts with his wife, Michelle Obama and two children, to the White House, to his cabinet meetings and beyond.Obama talks candidly about his relationship with Jeremiah Wright, a controversial African-American religious leader and how the media misrepresented their relationship.He also talks at length about Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. He mentions the frustration that Hillary Clinton experienced losing to Obama, a junior senator from Illinois. At the same time, he also realizes that Hillary is a smart and ambitious woman “who had chafed under the constraints of their times.”Surprisingly, he doesn’t talk about Trump until towards the end of the book where he writes, “For most of my first two years in office, Trump was apparently complimentary of my presidency, telling Bloomberg that ‘overall I believe he’s done a very good job’; but maybe because I didn’t watch much television, I found it hard to take him too seriously.”Obama also mentions his perception of Indian politics and its leaders. He mentions this about Manmohan Singh, “he had been India’s finance minister in the 1990s, managing to lift millions of people from poverty. For the duration of his tenure as prime minister, I would find Singh to be wise, thoughtful, and scrupulously honest.He mentions an interesting anecdote about the king of Saudi Arabia, “He (the king) explained that he had twelve wives.” Obama then asked, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, Your Majesty, but how do you keep up with twelve wives?”Obama honestly reflects his frustration with partisan politics and how that greatly impeded passage of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obama Care. Another topic dealt in detail is Osama bin Laden’s killing.All in all, A Promised Land is a good read about our contemporary history and lessons learned from the events.-Reviewed by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’
Just about a year ago, no one was even aware of Coronavirus and Dr. Ouchy’s existence. Now both are in our face all the time. I knew Ouchy ever since he was a cranky teenage-weakling always looking for attention that he never could get.
Now he is everywhere all the time frightening us with his stern warnings. Suddenly, he became a fixture on all the national channels guiding our karmas and determining their consequences. He gets upset when people don’t pay attention to what he says. Dr. Ouchy hates people checking their cell phones while he talks. He wants everyone to drop what they are doing and listen to him attentively.
Mothers now discipline their kids by saying, “Behave otherwise Dr. Ouchy will take you away.” Even my dog is afraid of him. He stops barking when Dr. Ouchy appears on TV. He has been driving everyone a little bit nutso.
Dr. Ouchy knew that his day will come. There is always the pandemic of the century and this time it came in the form of Coronavirus. Now he tells us daily how many people will die and keeps revising the forecast upwards.
My wife is a great fan of Dr. Ouchy. She forces me to eat unappetizing stuffs and watches my behavior like a hawk. Just the other night while I was mixing vermouth in sweet martini, she stopped me and asked, “Have you asked Dr. Ouchy how much vermouth you should be adding to your drink?”
“No! But how can I ask him that? “
“Well, he is on TV all the time and loves taking calls from viewers like you. You can just dial the station and ask or you may send him an email. I am pretty sure, he’d answer,” she replied.
Finally, I got Dr. Ouchy’s attention and asked him, “Why are you doing this to us?”
“It’s been a little lonely for me all my life,” Dr. Ouchy said, “Finally, now it’s my time kiddo!.”
All the dictators of the world love Dr. Ouchy. There is a rumor that Iranian government wants to make him the Ayatollah of all diseases. Putin wants to make him the Czar of all pandemics. India wants to make him the Maharaja of all plagues. Hearing these rumors, the United States just declared him a national treasure, thus he cannot be acquired by any other country.
Online school syllabi are being revised all over America to add the following passages
“Who invented the cure for Coronavirus?”
“Who do you trust next to Jesus Christ?”
“Why do you trust Dr. Ouchy so much?”
“Because God can’t help us since He is in quarantine.”
Dr. Ouchy became an overnight sex symbol. A grimace and a face-palm were all it took Dr Ouchy to get this honor. He is now in the collective conscience of every woman in America. Brad Pitt is rumored to play Dr. Ouchy in the upcoming bio-pic.
A tweet from @OuchyFan says, “Dr. Ouchy is the total package, intelligent. kind, handsome, sexy, so good looking oh my god.”
“It’s bizarre, frankly, all of a sudden I’ll be saying things and have people listening to what I just said. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Thanks to the virus, I am making up for the lost time,” Dr. Ouchy remarked on his newly-found fame.