The 2 x 2 Model in Islam

This Blog is being written. It is not yet complete.

Ayan Hirshi Ali, Somali-born Muslim, who now has left the faith and become an atheist, and reformist, has called for reforms in Islam. The Somali-born Hirsi Ali is a compelling and polarizing figure. Now an atheist, she has attacked core tenets of conservative Islam and the morality of the Prophet Muhammed. Her latest book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, calls for, among other things, the West to end its “appeasement” of Islamists and their claims that Islam is a religion of peace. She discussed three things prominently in her book Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.

  1. Three Borad groups of followers of Islam
  2. The appeacement of Islam by the West or the East –
  3. The indoctrination into radicalization: Preaching, preparing and cultivating the minds of young people.”

She talks about three types of Muslim followers, the Madina Muslims, The Mecca Muslims and the Reformist. I prefer to reclassify her tags into braodly three categories.

Atheist Muslims
Mild and Modest Muslims
The Moderates
The Severe or Radical Muslims

The Radical Category:

A central distinguishing aspects being their faith on the Sharia and Hadith. On a linear scale, I can call it as those who believe in absolute stickler to Sharia and Hidath, and want to impose Sharia and Hidath irrespective of the means, can be called as radicals.

Those who believe, in practicing their faith but not imposing their faith on the others, can be called Moderates and the reformist are those who think out of changing Islam, accept the blame for being called Islamophobia and want o change Islam from within.

In my view, these are fundamental tags, because not every Muslim is a radical, but how best to identify a Muslim radical. For me, the names, Madina, Mecca, or Reformist have lesser significance but the characteristics have more to identify. According to Hirsi Ali, Madina Muslims are the most fundamentalists and radicals, violent and non-violent, who at a minimum want to live under sharia law, which dictates moral, economic, military and social behavior. If someone is preaching sharia law and hadith, they definitely fall under this category. Deobandi and Lucknowi Muslims fall under this category. Jamaat-e-Islami, Hizb ut-Tahrir,

The Moderate Meccas Muslims, quietly and peacefully practice basic Islamic doctrine: pray five times a day, love your neighbor and your children. I know several of the Mecca Muslims, they are truly God fearing and never want to harm or think of harm, always prefer to leave the others for themselves and respect the identity of other (faith).

The last one are the reformist. Ahmadias, Madhavis (and Zikris), Mutazili, Qadariyyah, and the Hizmet, Sufism etc. fall under the last category.

Those preaching sharia law.

“You should be looking out for the sprouting of mosques and Islamic centres. You should be looking out for the establishment of Islamic schools and anything that costs money,” she said via a video link from Boston. “Countries like Saudi Arabia and the oil-wealthy Gulf countries that have absolutely everything that money can buy, yet many of them choose, for their philanthropy, radical Islamic goals, institutions, activities, jihad.

Scale back Xi! (In Picture)

Xi’s ultimate ambition of having China dominate the World, itself is disdain to the ultimate ‘Character and Values’ embedded in Chinese Culture. Xi has to take cognizance of the four traditional Chinese values of “courtesy, righteousness, honesty and shame” to influence his actions and behavior. Xi, it is time to scale back and stick to basics and ignore your self ambitions of becoming a generation leader. That may sound nemesis for a great country like China. (Word count 400; reading time 2-3 minutes). You will love the cartoon caricatures from various cited sources.

I talked about Glutted Economy in one of my blogs few weeks back.

Now we have clear signs of defaults with state run enterprises in China. To me, if China is not printing currency, it is bound to be a castle build from cards. The entire pack will cone down if it decouples with the global economy.

For generations now, we have learnt that businessman avoid confrontations and open war. China is a business economy, they cannot and should not entertain confrontation.

However, every leader has an ambition to grow beyond and Xi Jinping too wants to be the greatest leader that China ever produced, even beyond Mao.

In his stride to be the greatest, he is making mistake of opening multiple ambitious fronts, gleefully ignoring that it takes generations to transform a country.

If i were Xi, I would only focus on the technology vision and usher in that great vision. I would specifically avoid confrontations and that too with 26 neighbors or countries at the same time.

Understandable, these are rhetoric’s but that too consumes resources, efforts and time. Understandable those are distractions for internal citizenry but despite, at what cost?

Because, when you lose face in Mansarovar, and the four finger, China and especially Xi creates an awkward moment both internally and externally, that is not conducive to the image of a great leader.

To quote Xi Jinping, “ultimately, character and values, and not just talent, ability and popularity, are important determinants of actions and behavior”. Xi may once again have to take cognizance of the four traditional Chinese values of “courtesy, righteousness, honesty and shame”.  Xi, it is time to scale back and stick to basics.


China braces for multiple bond defaults at state-owned enterprises
https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Caixin/China-braces-for-multiple-bond-defaults-at-state-owned-enterprises

https://theaseanpost.com/article/xi-jinpings-grand-vision

https://www.legacyias.com/kailash-mansarovar-yatra-route-from-completed/

Another sprouting fundamentalism

This us exactly how it started in Iran, this is what’s happening in Turkey. Now, we see the incipient signs of radicalism emerging in Indonesia.

Rizieq Shibib, within a few days after returning from Saudi Arabia, initiated radical rallies to cleans the religious bodies (Ulemas), calling it a moral responsibility.

Ayan Hirsi Ali….

Of course, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and President Jokobi, both criticized the mass gatherings. However, the concern is that people like Rizieq become a fountain head for suppressions and eventually erupt as Trumpism, a phenomenon i talked earlier and one that is pervasive across democracies (please visit my blog on Trumpism).

Well, those reared in an environment of secular fabrics, freedom of religion, of ideology and faith, never realize that the practices of Muslim Brotherhood and Madina Muslim are against the preaching of freedom, secularism and self actualization. It is true, for those apostles of freedom, Islam should be offered the same covenant as other religions and ideologies. However, are antithetical to the very foundation of an individual free to attain his intellectual and spiritual journey, what we typically call as freedom.

Indonesian cleric’s mass rallies anger Jokowi amid COVID crisis
https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Indonesian-cleric-s-mass-rallies-anger-Jokowi-amid-COVID-crisis

School Closure and Kids Infectivity?

Excerpts:

Are my kids susceptible?

Now that COVID has started raging once again across the US, it is very possible that the schools in your area may decide to close or remain open. Select states may choose to keep the schools open, whereas others may decide to close. Is there any data to support the spread of disease with the schools opting to remain open?

It is important to understand if the Kids are infectious? Are they likely to be an asymptomatic carrier? Are they more susceptible? Do they have enough antibody response? A map of the US with states mandated school closure is provided in this blog. (Word count 795, reading time 3-4 minutes).

Are kids “Briefly Infectious”?

Now that some states have mandated the schools to reopen, and though the kids have the option to physically attend or participate remotely, it is important to understand the implications for the family.

3% or 9% Threshold? What’s Right?

NY Mayor Bill D Blasio imposed a 3% moratorium on the case positivity rate to keep the school system open. You may see your state or local officials changing their decision to keep the schools closed if they see a rising number. The debate of 3% or 5% is seemingly not important. These numbers are related to the incidence of test positivity on a daily basis. Presume, you have 100 people visiting for testing, and 9 are positive (9%). Now presume, you have 500 people visiting for testing, and 3 per 100 are positive (3% but a total of 15 cases). Obviously, the absolute number matters most. However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo or Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds has set the state’s closure threshold at 9 percent and 15 percent respectively. Why is the difference?

Hospital Beds influence the policy decision

The absolute numbers posted above make it clear that the more the number of the population infected, the more the number of beds required to treat the population. In fact, if the severity of the cases rises, another parameter that frequently influences the decision is the total number of ICU beds. If the system is inundated, these beds become significantly crunched and so lockdowns are enforced.  

These exact sentiments were communicated by Dr. Celine Gounder, Adviser to President Elect Joe Biden, when she said, “there may come a tipping point where you do need to go back to virtual schooling. But I think the priority is to try to keep schools open as much as possible, and to provide the resources for that to happen”.

Impact of Lockdown

Lockdowns have a significant impact on the daily lives and economic health of a nation or state. It has been observed that Lockdown has rendered a significant portion of working women to discontinue work and focus on the kids. This almost significantly reduces household income and increases stress and unhappiness due to an inability to meet family needs. Across the globe, educational planners are concerned about the pandemic inflicting an indelible harm to the academic development to the kids.

Are kids more susceptible? 

Recent research points to the Type 1 IFN that offers protection with the innate and adaptive immune response. As we age, the functioning is likely to get compromised and make us vulnerable. That is the reason, kids are less affected, whereas the elderly are more likely affected due to COVID. Second, children, have powerful innate immunity that mounts a severe and rapid response to the viruses, thus not allowing the viruses to gain a foothold, thus sparing them from severe disease. 

Do Children have a less protective response? 

Research from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has demonstrated that the antibodies produced by kids are IgG type whereas, those produced by adults are of several types. The IgG antibodies bind to the S protein, whereas the diverse range of antibodies produced by adults bind to various proteins and help better neutralization of the virus.

The range of antibodies that children produced differed from those of adults. Children primarily made one type of antibody, called IgG, that binds to the spike protein on the surface of the virus. Adults, by contrast, made several types of antibodies that bind to the spike protein and other viral proteins, and these antibodies were more powerful than IgG at neutralizing the virus. Adult COVID-19 cohorts had anti-spike (S) IgG, IgM, and IgA antibodies, as well as anti-nucleocapsid (N) IgG antibodies, while children with and without MIS-C had reduced breadth of anti-SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, predominantly generating IgG antibodies specific for the S protein but not the N protein. 

Are Schools the Superspreaders? 

According to a report from Ney York Times, very little transmission happened in schools. The latest data shows that random testing since October has produced a positivity rate of just 0.17 percent.  Please visit an article cited below from the Journal of Pediatrics, an official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Take-Home Message:

  1. Kids may have better immunity burst to deal with SARS CoV2 but they may not have a complete armamentarium of antibodies to deal with every aspect of the virus.
  2. Kids may be less susceptible to the virus, but that does not rule out a possibility of MIS-C.
  3. Elderly parents at home are susceptible to infections from the kids, even if you presume, the kids are likely to have less probability of the disease. Grandparents and other senior elderly family members should be segregated from the kids to provide adequate protection. 

https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/map-coronavirus-and-school-closures.html

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41590-020-00826-9

Compiled on behalf of COVIDRxExchange, a Nonprofit initiative 

Note: This is not a medical advice or recommendations. Please consult your doctor or local policy planner while making a decision. This is author’s personal Opinion and readers are strictly advised to consult medical professionals. Follow your local official advice and guidelines while trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Visit Vaccine and Drones (https://mymilieu.org/2020/11/16/vaccines-and-drones/) to learn more about the effectiveness of the vaccines.

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2020/10/16/peds.2020-031971.full.pdf.

https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/03/20/when-americas-schools-shut-down-we-all.html

Vaccines, and Drones

Well, you all may be thinking what has drones to do with the vaccines? These seemingly unrelated questions have a connection. Let us visit how.

With Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are over 90% effective. However, that’s the start. The roll out of these vaccines and inoculation logistics are going to be challenging, as the cold chain has to be maintained from development labs until the subject.

Another aspect, we will see rumors flying about these vaccines too, as we saw with the previous vaccines. It is perfectly ok to anticipate few complications and that’s the collateral cost we pay as humanity. Science is perfect but we human are learning to unravel the unfathomable facets of science. Learning and developing perfection is this a scientific endeavor. So the key challenge for us will be safeguarding science from rumors especially when we keep learning the ways of it.

Sputnik and Sinovac

From the onset, I had my reservations on the discoveries which are hidden and lack transparency. I had those with Sputnik and Sinovac. It is perfectly fine to fail in science. It is definitely a no no, to not establish transparency and reproducibility in science. Both Sputnik and Sinovac lacked transparency on the adverse effects and the way those were made. That led to speculations as rife as inserting another retrovirus like elements in the introns of human genome. Not that, I subscribe to that, but that suspicion could not be ruled out because of lack of transparency.

Rumor Mills will Spin Harder

A notable contribution to the rumor mill is not from the uneducated or the scientific novice but from the half baked doctors who make little attempt in investing their time to hone their professional understanding. Another gap area for the perpetuation of the rumor mills are the spiritual and theosophical leaders. Instead of guiding the masses, they indulge in prophesying their ill understanding, and add confusion to the gullible mind. The most important aspect that a common man unknowingly consents is a pseudo pride of some thousand year old proven technology, never realizing that, that was a crude, and unrefined way of treatment.

Can Control drones from 1000 Kilometers

Well once again changing gears, Mitubishi Heavy Industries has developed a technology to control drones from 1000 kilometers. How can that, best be used? Can we control and direct them to peep into deep forest fires and help control those? May be learn more about atmosphere and places we cannot reach like Amazon, or the Tribal areas like Melghat/Dharni? Or use it to intervene into the privacy of other countries. Science has left those decisions to us. We have to tighten those ethos as we make more headway and unravel science.

So it is easy to shoot down drones

Japanese Ministry of Defense has developed technology to shoot down drones. That’s the significant development, not because we will be able to shoot the Chinese drones invading into Ladhak but because we will be able to control intrusions into our space. Our space is our identity, individual, local, state or national and we should have the ability to control our space.

This talks about the ethics of science. Just a progress on discovery in not important. to survive the scientific temper, we have to evolve our consciousness, embrace and naturalize those ethos. Or else, these will fall apart….

Can I Get Severe COVID?

Are you vulnerable to develop a severe COVID-19? How to predict if you are likely to get a mild disease or a severe disease? Since the onset of COVID-19, we know that 80% of those affected are likely to have mild disease, 15% a moderate disease and 5% have severe disease. We never knew why only 5% had a severe disease. Also, we knew that elderly patients had more mortality and male gender was more affected because of the disease.

This fact kept the medical community guessing the cause, until we found out that certain genes have mutations or certain antibodies develop in this high risk patients that counter the protection offered by our innate immune mechanism. At least for now, a piece of puzzle is solved.

This article talks in detail revealed by latest research that help us understand those changes that makes these vulnerable population for a severe disease. You may want to know if you have those intrinsic vulnerability?

Silence of the Genes or their products

Why Some Patients Have Severe COVID? Why More Males dies of COVID and Why the disease is more mortal in elderlies? The genetics underlying severe COVID-19There is a crucial role of type I IFNs that offers protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2. After the initial infection, small amounts of IFNs are induced by the virus that become crucial in offering a protection against severe disease. However, few patients have developed neutralizing auto-Abs against type I IFNs, like inborn errors of type I IFN production. This sways the balance in favor of the virus and results in devastating disease due to absence of innate and adaptive immune responses.

Two pathways in which these genes can be perturbed are –

1) Genetic mutations resulting in deletion or functional compromise of the type I IFNs.
2) Development of antibobodies to type I IFNs. The immune system is complex and involves many genes, including those that encode cytokines known as interferons (IFNs).

Individuals who lack specific IFNs can be more susceptible to infectious diseases. Furthermore, the autoantibody system dampens IFN response to prevent damage from pathogen-induced inflammation. Adaptive autoimmunity impairs innate and intrinsic antiviral immunity.

A crucial role of type I IFNs in protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2. These auto-Abs against type I IFNs were clinically silent until the patients were infected with SARS-CoV-2—a poor inducer of type I IFNs which suggests that the small amounts of IFNs induced by the virus are important for protection against severe disease. At least 10% of patients with life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia have neutralizing auto-Abs against type I IFNs. Two studies now examine the likelihood that genetics affects the risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) through components of this system. Genetics may determine the clinical course of the infection. High titers of neutralizing autoantibodies against type I IFN-α2 and IFN-ω in about 10% of patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. These autoantibodies were not found either in infected people who were asymptomatic or had milder phenotype or in healthy individuals. Together, these studies identify a means by which individuals at highest risk of life-threatening COVID-19 can be identified.

A B cell autoimmune phenocopy of inborn errors of type I IFN immunity accounts for life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia in at least

a) 2.6% of women and
b) 12.5% of men.

Provide an explanation for the excess of men among patients with life-threatening COVID-19 and the increase in risk with age. They also provide a means of identifying individuals at risk of developing life-threatening COVID-19 and ensuring their enrolment in vaccine trials. Finally, they pave the way for prevention and treatment, including plasmapheresis, plasmablast depletion, and recombinant type I IFNs not targeted by the auto-Abs (e.g., IFN-β).2) At least 10% of patients with life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia have neutralizing auto-Abs against type I IFNs. With our accompanying description of patients with inborn errors of type I IFNs and life-threatening COVID-19, this study highlights the crucial role of type I IFNs in protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2.These auto-Abs against type I IFNs were clinically silent until the patients were infected with SARS-CoV-2—a poor inducer of type I IFNs which suggests that the small amounts of IFNs induced by the virus are important for protection against severe disease. The neutralizing auto-Abs against type I IFNs, like inborn errors of type I IFN production, tip the balance in favor of the virus, which results in devastating disease with insufficient, and even perhaps deleterious, innate and adaptive immune responses.

At least for now, a piece of puzzle is solved. We now know that if Type 1 IFN develop auto-antibodies, or have mutations in the genes, or any (gene) silencing ensues, then it is possible, you may have individual vulnerability. The last aspect, silencing of the genes through methylation, though not yet proven may be potentially possible. Let us wait for science to unravel more.

Translational Medicine

What is typically called as translational medicine, it takes time to transfer the technological advances from laboratories to bed side. However, with COVID-19, we have seen a significantly reduced latency from lab to bed side (bed side here means for common use in practice).

Science  23 Oct 2020: Vol. 370, Issue 6515, eabd4585; DOI: 10.1126/science.abd4585

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-age.html

Ethos of Obsolescence

Accepted, nothing is permanent. We all know, the Stonehenge too disappeared over a period of time. Natural course of events, eventually denude and overwhelm all existing structure, living or material. However, planning for quick and early disuse, so that the customer/consumer keep buying repeatedly, reflects lack of ethos. Obsolescence by design is a concern. Obsolescence as a natural phenomenon is acceptable.

Yes, I was reading breaking news delivered right in my inbox. While scrolling down, I realized an advertisement for a petite looking knife that caught my attention. Gorgeous, it truly distracted me, I jumped on to see what the knife was. The description was truly enticing, as I kept scrolling further, more pictures on the angles of the cutting edge popped up. The price, $52 for a single piece. Poor me, I stopped there.

Well, as I reflected, I realized, life is like that. They will never market a whetstone, even a Coticule quarried from Ardennes to hone the knife, but sell us products that will last only a finite period of time. Planned obsolescence is a step further, the product itself is designed to last a certain period of time. China alone is not responsible, almost the entire economy of most manufacturing countries, electronics included, rest on this foundation.

Courtesy – A Fun Fact -https://www.afunfact.com/top-10-interesting-facts-stonehenge/

As a child, I still remember the ceiling fan my father installed at our home. It was manufactured by USHA and it lasted almost 45 years, just once we had to change the coil. I still remember, my friend’s father, bought a refrigerator in 1965 while returning from his fellowship in the US. That refrigerator lasted their family for an almost similar period of time, except for refilling freon. That’s the value add, a true value to your purchase.

Courtesy – India Today https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/stonehenge-facts-330698-2016-07-22

The Culture of Durability

Accepted, nothing is permanent. We all know, the Stonehenge too disappeared over a period of time. Natural course of events, eventually denude and overwhelm all existing structure, living or material. However, planning for quick and early disuse, so that the customer/consumer keep buying repeatedly, reflects lack of ethos. Obsolescence by design is a concern. Obsolescence as a natural phenomenon is acceptable.

That culture of durability is replaced with the ethos of obsolescence. We keep working to drain our hard-earned money buying products that keep giving up on us frequently, never realizing the price is our bait. It is wrong to say, that only China is responsible, even the traders in the local market and those who collect taxes are responsible. To keep spinning their cycle of business, obsolescence is beneficial. However, we are gullible, not to realize that there exist a systemic ignorance and a steady erosion of the value of our money.

Shashank Heda, Dallas, Texas

Trumpism

With the ascent of President Elect Biden’s victorious speech, it seems Trump has conclusively lost the 2020 Presidential election. Trump has lost but the fervor of Trumpism stays alive. While some may be ridiculing and enjoying the loss of Trump, truly speaking, Trump lost but Trumpism has emerged.

It is a narrative that cascades from a heady mix of capitalism and democracy. Trumpism is obvious only in so called Democratic countries. Definitely missing in the despotic, dictatorial, totalitarian regimes, military state and those dominated by radical religious ideology.

Rather than a matter of ridicule, I would like to insist that Trumpism needs a closer look. If you are in politics, governance, policy, strategy or social sciences, understanding Trumpism offers an insight into a largely divisive phenomenon. So, finally, what is Trumpism? (Word count 1100 words, reading time 4-5 minutes).

With the ascent of President Elect Biden’s victorious speech, it seems Trump has conclusively lost the 2020 Presidential election. Many are relieved, several cities are into rapturous happiness. Condemnation, ridicule and disparaging remarks against Trump are now a mainstream for those who supported his loss. However, we have to recognize, Trump has lost but the fervor of Trumpism stays alive, very much bubbling since he has secured over 47.5% votes. While some may be ridiculing and enjoying the loss of Trump, truly speaking, Trump lost but Trumpism has emerged and persisted.

Nick Bryant of BBC wrote, “Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 partly because he was a norm-busting political outsider who was prepared to say what had previously been unsayable. But Donald Trump also lost the presidency in 2020 partly because he was a norm-busting political outsider who was prepared to say what had previously been unsayable”.

Tweetest! President, Mr. Donald Trump

What is Trumpism?

A phenomenon in politics, an expression of anger, resentment and disenchantment, against the mainstream political ideologies by a large swath of population.

Advancing industrialization and technologies, a large swaths of population and their generations were neglected, and left behind, for various reasons. Trumpism is an articulation of the will of these ‘have not’s’, of those lacking education, of advanced skills, opportunities for vertical mobility and a place in this modern evolved society. The after effect of Trumpism are visible – huge and sometimes cataclysmic policy shifts from the ongoing, sensational nationalism, decoupling with globalization and global integration. It is an after effect of boardroom politics, or simply speaking disconnect with the grassroots.

Is Trumpism only in the US?

It would be wrong to construe that Trumpism is a US phenomenon. A similar expression of the common man happened in the UK, Philippines, Turkey, Brazil, etc. In fact, these are very challenging and innovative times, if we see politics and the underlying dynamics with the same old lens; we will be conjured exactly like Nesrine Malik from the Guardian, who see the only rotten part of the US political system. However, as explained earlier, Trumpism as a phenomenon is deep, invigorating, and its encompassing pervasiveness.

We all know, almost a similar phenomenon usurped by Nigel Farage in the UK. He tapped the sentiments of those labor falling behind with the advancement of integration, immigration and the emergence of technology. In a capitalist market, those are the drivers, and unfortunately this system of capitalist leaning democracy is unlikely to provide a succor for the under privileged. However, it is an irony that the capitalist dominated country needs democratic crutches to walk. It is actually, this weird combination that creates an imbalance. Finally, states craft is an art and a science, and keeping all the stakeholders satisfied is a challenging though not difficult task.

Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson (UK), Donald Trump, Bolsonaro (Brazil), Duterte (Phillippines), are the shades of the same chameleon, Trumpism.

https://ips-dc.org/trump-brexit-wheres-the-backlash/ (Credit, Institute of Policy Studies).

Name calling is fine but that does not resolve the problem. What needs to be done is identifying an innovative solution. Any improvement or innovation comes through an understanding, not through ridicule and disgust. If a problem exists, there is an ill understanding of the problem. A root cause analysis will reveal the potential areas for building the architecture and solution for the issues and the processes can be thereafter used to achieve standardization. It demands changing the lens through which we see the situation. Let us change or lens. If we call democracy as our foundation, let us make best efforts in not leaving anyone behind, let us not indulge in board room politics, if only we want to avoid any future Trumps.

What’s the root cause?

Trumpism is a phenomenon occurring in democratic countries, not in autocratic, totalitarian, despotic or dictatorial countries. A few fundamental erroneous things have caused an emergence of Trumpism. A disconnect with the large swathes of masses, left behind as the world advanced in the last 30-50 years, and  a revulsion to the boardroom politics, an ideology, of any political dispensation, that runs from corporate  political offices to people and not vice versa from the grassroots to strategies. The symptoms encompasses a wide spectrum – from illiteracy, lack of skills, lack of opportunities, lack of adoption to scientific fervor, poverty, crude ways of expression and inability to cope up with the rising disparities due to economics, industry (enterprise), or education.

Do we really stop and understand Trumpism or simple scoff it off as a joke and a political aberration? I think, it is a phenomenon that needs a deeper thought, reflection and change in the mainstream engagement model from the political ideologies that dominate the horizon.

India – Rise of BJP/ Shiv Sena/ BSP /  Bahujan Samaj Parties

In India too, Trumpism is prominently seen. Several social sentiments were not sensed by the erstwhile dispensation, specifically the Congress. It was typical boardroom politics ran by the coterie on behalf of the first family and siblings. The earliest signs were the formation of several local outfits. Andhra, Telangana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kashmir, are typical examples. Congress or the ruling elite, degenerated in these states and populism and sensationalism replaced mainstream centrists ideologies. India typically has seen this phenomenon long back since the Congress broke into local clusters, NCP, Rao in Telangana, YSR in Andhra, Mamata in West Bengal, etc. are typical examples. I am sure, digging deeper, we will see a similar pattern emerging in other countries. Thailand is right now, in that spotlight and transition.

These are the different shades of Trumpism in India. The US and India are very different countries. While the US is monolithic, India is very diverse, by ethnicity, culture, language, race and caste (the have not’s). The last is a complex topic that demands a dedicated attention. However, to continue in the T phenomenon, sentiments of common masses were ignored, whereas the resentment grew palpable. Vote bank politics and an independent rise of the identity of the mainstream Hindus self assertion, grew significantly.

Corruption added to the already existing chasm and widened the gap between the Have and Have-Not’s, coupled with the democratization of aspirations, it created a mass sufficient for explosion, like a volcano that spewed magma, to change the political landscape. The tectonic shifts and the intrinsic pressure builds over the years, but it takes a Modi, a Duterte, a Bolsonaro, a Johnson or a Trump to ignite the fire.

Recent political upheavals have also unraveled a distinct sub phenomenon, that the personal idiosyncrasies do not matter, Modi’s 2002 Gujarat riots, Mamata’s tantrums, Mayawati’s dodginess, Pawar’s corruption, Trump’s revulsive personal character, Johnson’s stupidities are examples. People are ready to ignore these fallacies, as long as these leaders are articulating their shrill pent up expression into concrete action. Remember, I emphasized on ‘Shrill’, and these ‘Have-Not’s’ truly cry for shrill expression.

Of note, the leaders of Trumpism have certain characteristics and these leaders, despite their handicaps, yearn and achieve their objectives. With intent, they ignore certain objectives and keep the populist sensationalism; they cater and fire this obnoxious frustration. I will also provide an insight on how Trumpism pervades business and spells downfall. Business is not alone, it pervades nonprofit initiatives as well as most aspects of our social order.

Please visit my next blog to read these pervasive impacts of Trumpism in various aspects, from politics, to business, to nonprofit initiatives to social order.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/08/american-politics-trump-broken-system

https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/10/28/three-new-ways-civil-society-is-protecting-u.s.-election-pub-83063

The Blue Tsunami

Despite the effectiveness of Trump in containing the monstrous China, North Korea and Iran, the ripple effects of the Corona Tsunami kept devastating the economy, ultimately wiping out the gains from the accomplishments from Trump’s work. I do not think, it was his theatrics, or inflammatory speeches or the alienation of the traditional base from the Republican that produced this landslide. It is the Tsunami from the virus and its devastating effects that caused the loss (blog written on Nov 1, 2020), 30 hours before the election countdown).

The Corona Tsunami

Of course, I am not involved in activism but sincerely, as I understand the sentiments, Trump is a solid underdog in this election, just because of the pandemic. It is very unlikely for an incumbent to win especially when 231,000 people have died in the US from COVID-19, a massive, fast, difficult to stop, global and deadly ailment. Every household has a deeply moving story. Every home is connected with several people, even if we rationalize with them to vote for Trump, barring some outliers, they are unlikely to change their mind and vote for Trump. The economic devastation and the recession has only added to the suffering. True to Tsunami’s nature, several ripples of Coronavirus pandemic kept radiating until it ravaged the economy.

How the Ethnicities Lean

I see the Mexican (slightly leaning away), Indian (mostly leaning away), Asian (leaning away), Black (solidly leaning away), Arab (leaning away), and most ethnicities from Europe turning away from Trump. These comprise more than 30% of the voting population. I have a pulse of the college sentiments and the metros. He is unlikely to make a dent in these places. Yes, ladies have not forgotten the ill-treatment (mean language) meted out to them in his discourses (Sorry for reminding but remember, the hand comment, where he will put his hand…). It has still left a disgusting taste.

How the Red States lean

I know, in the red states, the countryside makes a difference and this time around, they too are not there with him, naturally because the pandemic and the recession have inflicted a lot of loss for them. Agriculture income has taken a beating and so is industrial production and fossil fuel. Rustbelt (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) and Sunbelt sentiments are leaning away (Florida and Arizona), so also the sunbelt sentiments. New York and California were never with him and so will be the swing states that are difficult to tilt in his direction.

Good Side – The Indomitable Influence of Trump

Trump is a smart businessman and an effective negotiator, qualities that make him an a very effective leader. Most leaders are unlikely to dive into hotspots, take the risk and negotiate. China, North Korea, and Iran are clear examples. Another staggering example is the alignment between the Sunni’s and the Jews. I don’t think anyone would have mustered enough courage to redefine the Trans Pacific Pact (TPP) or the North Atlantic Free Trade Association (NAFTA). Do you know, recently, Japan and Taiwan have bought defense deals worth 2 billion and 1.8 billion dollars recently. Until now, the US was protecting them. Finally, there is a value coming for providing that protection. Beyond the borders of the nation, he has done phenomenally. I am not sure if he has stitched the fabric internally within the nation. He has pushed the 3 conservatives to the supreme court. These are all long term influences. Unfortunately, people go by the theatrics and indecent talks, despite we have to ignore those and see the substance.

Sunbelt Versus Rustbelt

Sunbelt – Traditionally a forte for the Republicans, it also encompasses, the Bible Belt. Most Southern States starting from Florida (29), Mississippi (6), Alabama (9), Georgia (16), Oklahoma (7), Colorado (9), Texas (38), Arizona (11), New Mexico (5), Arkansas (6), Tennessee (11), Louisiana (8) and California (55) are part of the Sunbelt. Trump has a challenge, his inflammatory behavior alienated most traditional republican vote bank. California has never been

Rust Belt – At its maximum, the rustbelt encompasses a total of 140 electoral college votes. A vestige of the industrial past, that has built the mega cities of China, it consists of the Iowa (6), Indiana (11), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20) and Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Illinois (20), Michigan (16), and some regions of New York (29).

There is a simmering discontent amongst the blue collared workers, who are left with dilapidated factories and denuding economy. What binds and boasts their pride is the liberal nature and accommodativeness. traditionally, never a republican strong hold, this region was neglected by Hillary Clinton in 2016, due to some technical analytical snags resulting in less priority of last minute focus, resulting in a massive advantage to Trump. That mistake was rectified from the onset of this campaign as it forms a cauldron of battleground states.

What Trump Needs to do 30 hours before the election

This is the talk that the campaigners should use while connecting with those who are fence seaters. A frank heart to heart discussion that would change the mind. Not just forward some messages – On Facebook, Twitter, WhatsUp or other Social Media. To make it effective, Social media is not enough, You have to pick up the phone and connect personally. To understand the effectiveness of the messages, you have to ask if they can get more onboarded for the campaign.

Negativity is not enough

People are angry, they have lost their loved ones and their jobs and livelihood. Trump has to be sincere and agree that he understands the pathos. That not every thing was in his control, like a natural disaster is, however, he has to assure them he will do the best. Trump has to a clean up, just not focus on Hunter Biden. He has to veer away from personal probity and focus on delivering on issues of national importance. Personal probity and ethical issues are at the heart of most US campaigns. Disguising or ignoring is not enough. Possibly sharing the tax record may provide that confidence. He has to clarify the taxes – $750 as federal taxes and $188,000 paid in China ( you cannot feign in China). He has to provide a plan to share those with the country. He has to consolidate Iowa (6), Indiana (11), Ohio (18) and try his best for Pennsylvania (20) and Minnesota (10). This is a tall order but the 65 electoral votes will counter ‘Biden Blue Bolt’ from the influence of the blue collared rust belt. The worst nightmare if Trump getting Iowa, Indiana and somehow retain Ohio, totaling 35, a defeat indeed.

What should Biden Do?

Biden has to focus on the swing states. Address micro campaigns to those segments that are are likely to impact the outcome – rustbelt, white collar, white, women, agriculture, etc. In Pennsylvania, Biden has to continue with Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Illinois (20), Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), New York (29), offering 105 seats out of the 140. It is easy but it won’t stop until the last vote is counted.

As a closing comment, all I can say, fate is sealed for this election. I am not sure who will win but one thing for sure, you cannot, but do some futile efforts in sending too many messages.

This is a straight talk, no hold’s barred, no partisan views, that’s the reality. Pardon me for using language, if any. It is the vestige of the Trump era.