Beacon of Hope - America

Friday, October 31, 2008

With great power comes great responsibility. What does that mean? If I am the principal of my school, am I responsible to stop kids fighting after school hours? If I was a police officer, am I responsible to stop people from committing suicide?

OK, I think I need to explain in length. I have been trying to understand the pattern in the world's event so that I can find a safe place to live and a secure future. I spend few hours a day keeping myself abreast with the happenings in the world. From the Gulf war of 1990 to 9/11 to American invasion of Afghanistan to recent Israel's intrusion of Syrian Air space to Russian adventure in Northern Europe, there is never a day when I sit back and feel a bit secure. If I look at the pattern in the last few decades, most of the incidences have had USA involved directly or indirectly. Does that mean that USA is the cause of all the misery around the globe? Sometimes I feel USA is definitely not clean as it is involved in these incidences. But is it that since USA is involved in these incidences, they don't turn into world war? Since the fall of the great USSR, USA is undoubtedly the Super Power. Have we ever seen any era when there was one super power and it did not result in blood bath? Give Russia the might of USA, give Iran the fire power of USA, give Syria the money and muscle like USA and you can not even imagine the shape of the world. Napoleon's and Hitler's world are definitely not anyone's fancy as a world with one super power.

I do not admire the US style of justice or the way they try to bring things to order. It does not mean I don't support the cause they have in mind. But I am against the absolute responsibility of justice they have. I would rather use more might and firepower. If someone fires a bullet on me, I fire one back. This form of justice or justification is ridiculous. I use my power to respond and that's the way it should be. I would use whatever I can to stop radicalism and get back to my routine life than to engage on low level fight day in and day out.

For that matter, I think USA is the place anyone can go and live since there is no place on this earth where I think we have order. From the beaches of Australia to the Southern state of Thailand to Indian state of Kashmir to Afghan capital to Middle East to Germany to London, I don't feel safe anywhere. And I don't think any nation has the stomach to stand to problems. I feel safe in US since I know this place has an order whatsoever. There is not a sizable Muslim population in this country where people are getting fanatic and are sick. I don't like Western lifestyle but I appreciate their value of anyone's life and lifestyle. A blog is not the right and the most open forum for such a posting but I hope there would be some people who would be critical of my words. If anyone criticizes then I would write more to explain myself more or else I don't think its fun to write more and please myself :)

p/s: * as promised, more pictures from Diwali as below*.

Happy Diwali 2008!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Me and Tarun wishes all our families, friends, reader's and well wishers a very happy, prosperous and safe Diwali. Go easy on the fire-crackers guys ;)

Would post pictures later - it's still early Diwali morning here in the States.

* as promised, more pictures from Diwali as below*.


God bless...

Kiran & Tarun Srivastava

Living in US and watching it too closely and being an outsider gives me that unbiased view of what is happening in this country. The Mayhem at Wall Street and the Lowest level of politics in the history of US is not the cause of the problem but the symptom of the problem. America as a nation, and Americans in general are reaching lower and lower instead of trying to rise out of the mess. This crisis is unlike any other. Most of the earlier crisis resulted in a more resolute and stronger nation but this time we are seeing a weaker nation, weaker Americans and even weaker prospective President. The negative feeling regarding most of the things is indicative of the low confidence Americans have in themselves, their system and their country.

American economy has been on decline since long but borrowing has kept it afloat. More and more borrowing on the part of people and govt has kept the nation consuming like earlier without producing like earlier. One very striking difference that can be seen is between the aging and the young Americans. Aging Americans are hard working, self confident and compassionate where as young Americans are less confident, less hard working, less skilled and born with a sense of entitlement. Ignorance among the young is astounding.

But the biggest erosion is in the moral values. I see an all time low in the moral values of the American society as a whole. Politics has declined. Leaders are corrupt. People are ignorant. This is a recipe for disaster. We are seeing all this unfolding in front of our eyes.

This nation is so divided among the two - democrats and republicans, that they are spending more time in hating each other than debating their views. Both parties are thriving on hate for the other which does not result in any reasonable thought process. I see left wing's absolute wretched attacks against McCain and Palin finding support among people. This is clear indication of the level the politics has gone down. I see a real degradation of the American values everyday.
I hear from people that there are ups and downs of every society and American would rise again but I have my serious doubts about this time. The country has never been so weak financially, militarily, politically and most importantly morally.

Time will tell if American can come back. But I think time would tell how much American can come back as I am confident it can never come back to it's past glory.

We are all feeling the effects of the market crash. Some people have lost a lot in the market in terms of 401K and some have lost their jobs as well. So now that we are all into it together, the most important question is - When is this going to end? And the answer can be found only if we knew exactly what we are into? Some say we are into Recession and some say we are into Depression. For a nation (USA) as a whole, we are certainly in Recession and slipping into Depression every single day. For individuals though, it is extremely personal. When you have lost your job, it actually is Depression. If you are cutting on your expenses, lost in 401K and stocks and worried about job, then it is Recession.

So personally we all know what is happening but as a nation we need to analyze. So now that we surely are into Recession as a nation, what is the benchmark for a Depression? A sustained Recession is classified as Depression. So now from the results and stats, we are into recession since last 6-9 months. If this continues for another 6-9months, we would be in depression. Looking at the financial state, we dont see a bottom right now for the market and economy. I think market is going to stabilize around 5000. My assumptions are based on P/E ratios for DJIA companies and I see that 5000 is still an inflated number. But some logical thinking says that markets reflect futures as well so we can say that 5000 seems reasonable.
Now away from the market, how do we know we are stabilizing our life styles, our expenses. we borrow from future in terms of auto loan, home loan and credit card loan. So now we have borrowed enough from future and we need to go into future with less expenses. So we would see for quite some time, people would cut spending and save some more because of the shaken finances. Result? - A very likely Depression.
The other problem that comes with Depression is that people cut back and dont spend long time after the problem is over. So it is not going to be easy for long long time.

So now that I think we are into Recession and going into Depression, what do we need to do? We need to make sure we prioritise our expenses on monthly basis and expenses on spendings that can be avoided. Make sure you know that 2 gallons of Silk Soyamilk costs 1$ less at Walmart. You know what costs how much and where. So now that we have a long time problem in our front, we need to be careful and judicious in what we are spending. And in the end we need to keep each other informed and entertained by cheaper means - BLOGGING:)

- Tarun

Happy Navratri and Dushera everyone!

My dear Hubby, thanks a lot for covering some post whilst I was away tucked under heaps of books and research. I hope many of you out there indulged in Tarun's view on political and economical situation. I want to hear more on that from you guys. My MBA has bogged me down with quite to do for the last few weeks. This semester is over now, looking forward to my last semester which is just around the corner. So I have many agenda to catch up with before the deadly semester starts ;)

I need to start preparing for Karva Chauth and Diwali which is just around the corner. Gosh, I can't wait for Diwali. It would be the first Diwali in our new home. We need to do lots of shopping and planning. On a personal note, I need to catch up with some friends over tea and coffee, getting in new flower pots and shrubs for my garden and the lists goes on and on.

Hubby has suggested to go for a new website. Our own website, YAY! I would need some domain name and web hosting suggestions. Anyone out there to give us a few tips?

We have not watched enough movies lately. I think the last movie we watched was ... aarr... wait, i can remember...yes i can, come on! yikes! It's been a while since we sat and watched a movie together! Right now I am hooked on Khuda Jaane, from Bachna Ae Haseeno. I love the song!

Life here can be pretty routine and hectic sometimes. I need to catch up on some reading. I love Sophie Kinsella's array of books. They are very amusing, witty and fun to read. It is sort of a way to relax at the end of the day, with a nice book and a cup of bubble tea. Yum! I would read and provide review on the book once it's completed.

I just discovered Tumblr. I think it's a cool medium for short blog on links, photos, videos and many cool features. Check it out, I've created a link on the title bar above labeled WeTumblr.

xoxo

Obama's past is full of 1 Billion of pork, Rezko, Aires, Wright, clinging to guns and religion statement, flip flopping on NAFTA and the list goes on. He is a smart orator but I would vote on a person's character and not on his promises. His actions in past have been not decent and I don't think he is a good choice. An analogy would be with a crook just out of prison who is a good orator and promising all goods for my money when I know his past is full of shady deals. God save America. We are doomed. Believe me, we are doomed. Moreover his wife this year said she has never been proud of American. This is ridiculous. A man is known by the company he keeps. A man can make an impression on what he has done and not on he promises to. We are believing Obama are for his words not his deeds. The age of celebrity endorsements. Why does Hollywood like Obama? For this reason only. In real life they are all failures but in reel life they are all impressive and smart. Obama would run the nation like these stars run their personal life. We are doomed believe me. I am scared to death for the future.

-Tarun

I am not talking about the Romain Empire, I am talking about the American Empire. There is a saying in Sanskrit - 'VinashKaley Vipareet Budhdhi'. It is such a precise statement if you know Sanskrit. It somewhat means that at the time of great calamity, brain stops working. We are at a juncture in history when we can make or break the American Empire. All signs point towards it demise. Lowest levels of personal savings since the Great Depression. Highest level of bankruptcy ever. Highest rate of foreclosure ever.

But all this is reversible. Once Americans cut back on their erratic expenses, we would be good. There is something else which is eroding this country and no one talks about it. What has made America the Super Power at the first place? Its immense human capital. But wait, its not all about the American brain. Its about all the brains from all over the world who grow up living the American Dream and find their home in this land of opportunities. This is called Brain Drain all over the world. But now we are seeing reverse brain drain. People from different parts of the world are leaving for their homes or finding other places. This is resulting in not just American loosing its advantage but other nations catching up faster. No one is talking about that. And on top of it, we are going to add 30 Mil illegals into the system. That is 10% of the workforce. So we are loosing the smartest at an alarming rate and adding the least competent in today's information world at a catastrophic rate.

As we saw the Wall St choking because of bad sentiments in the week, we are seeing choking in the flow of best brains to America. Americans have one of the lowest per capita debt in developed world. But that is changing at an alarming rate. We are adding personal debt and govt debt at a pace never seen before. We are not moving towards doomsday but rather zooming towards it.

The current generation is born with a sense of entitlement. They seem to be out of touch with the realities of the economy. There is no way we would see jobs returning to US. They did not leave because Americans did not want to do it. The jobs went offshore since it made more business sense. Financially and in terms of skills as well. So if we want to bring jobs back, we need to make American salaries lower than Asian and Americans more skilled than Asians. With the level of current Mathematical skills, the second option is not possible. So the only way to bring jobs back is to reduce the salary. So it means yes, we can bring the jobs back but the salaries need to be cut by more than 50% to make it competent for businesses to bring it back. So job loss is permanent. Reverse Brain Drain is going on at a rate faster than Brain Drain has ever been. So loss of skilled people is permanent. Means we are letting skilled people go away, adding more unskilled to the country( illegal immigrants) and we are incompetent. What does all this indicate? That we are heading towards disaster. And what are politicians bothered about? Climate Change.

You know why I wrote this? Because I am soon going to be a part of the reverse brain drain.

- Tarun

First of all, I am neither a Democrat nor Republican. But I wanted to make a point, so thought of posting it here. History proves that people who has military background never fought long battles. They fought short and brutal war. And that's precisely what we need in Iraq. Obama would drag US into either a prolonged war without any exit in sight or would blunder pulling troops out endangering the last few battalions. The death toll in the last few months would exceed the rest of the war. Pulling out prematurely would result in dangerous escalation. It is exactly like aiming a shot at the back of a troop. The option that we have now is to win a brutal and short war. But with Obama, there is no hope of that. He is a weak politician. The best possible way out is Obama's timeline with McCain's strategy. McCain can adapt Obama's timeline. But Obama cannot adapt McCain's strategy. So I would like to see McCain win the election so that we can get out of Iraq ASAP with VICTORY and minimum loss. Obama's plan is too dangerous to think of. No one wants war. But that thought is over. We already are fighting one. So better win it fast and precise. I know this is wishful thinking but American's hatred towards Bush has blinded the people from what could be consequences of another 4 years from now. History would prove that Obama was the worst choice that could have happened to American at it's worst of time.

- Tarun