Monday, November 03, 2008

The perils of the Kalpataru

First read this from Paul Krugman:
Most of the post-election discussion will presumably be about what the Democrats should and will do with their mandate. But let me ask a different question that will also be important for the nation’s future: What will defeat do to the Republicans?(...) the Republican rump, the party that’s left after the election, will be the party that attends Sarah Palin’s rallies, where crowds chant “Vote McCain, not Hussein!” It will be the party of Saxby Chambliss, the senator from Georgia, who, observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that “the other folks are voting.” (...) Also, the Republican base already seems to be gearing up to regard defeat not as a verdict on conservative policies, but as the result of an evil conspiracy. A recent Democracy Corps poll found that Republicans, by a margin of more than two to one, believe that Mr. McCain is losing “because the mainstream media is biased” rather than “because Americans are tired of George Bush.” .(...) the G.O.P.’s long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries, seems likely to accelerate as a result of the impending defeat.

And then this from Hindu mythology:
There was once a man chopping wood in the forest. He was splitting the wood, stacking it in piles etc. "It's very exhausting work," he thought. So he sat under on particularly nice tree, and he thought to himself, "I just wish all this wood would chop itself." So suddenly all the trees chopped themselves and stacked themselves up very nicely. "What is this?" he thought. "I just wished that it would happen, and it happened." So then he looked up at the tree he was under, and he realized that it was a kalpataru tree. "This is wonderful! Now I desire a beautiful woman." Poof! The most beautiful woman appeared to him. "Now I desire a beautiful palace to live in, I desire so many servants, an opulent feast.." On and on he went for many hours, and every single thing appeared because he was sitting under a desire tree. But then he thought, "The sun is going down, it's getting dark now. I know what's going to happen. Because this is a jungle, a tiger's going to appear and that tiger's going to eat me." So lo and behold, because he thought it, and he was sitting under a desire tree, a tiger appeared and gobbled him up.
MORAL: Vancha kalpataru 'bhyas ca. A devotee is a desire tree, so we have to be very careful what we desire.
David Seaton's News Links

  • The Republican Party, which is one half of America's two party system, running with its last heavyweight moderate, loses big and moves farther to the right.
  • Thanks to Bush, the economic and international situation are so deteriorated that the Democrats, despite a huge majority and no opposition worthy of the name to blame their troubles on, prove impotent in the face of it all and fail miserably.
  • Mass unemployment, "stagdeflation" and humiliation in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Latin America have become the exclusive property of the Democrats, who Bush has left holding the bag.
  • Totally purged of moderates, the Republicans, in their most reactionary form, return to power, first in midterm and finally in 2012.
Let's look at another paragraph from Krugman's column:
Larry Sabato, the election forecaster, predicts that seven Senate seats currently held by Republicans will go Democratic on Tuesday. According to the liberal-conservative rankings of the political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, five of the soon-to-be-gone senators are more moderate than the median Republican senator — so the rump, the G.O.P. caucus that remains, will have shifted further to the right. The same thing seems set to happen in the House.
With people like that and Colin Powell gone, what sort of Republican Party will be waiting in the wings when the Democrats take full possession of Bush's disaster? Or, better yet, who would you prefer to leave the job of reconstructing the Republican Party to -- and you can be sure that it will be reconstructed somehow -- to John McCain or Sarah Palin?

Think it over before answering. DS


Vizsla said...

David, you need to chill out *now*. Regardless of anything else, either McCain or Obama will be elected, and beyond voting, everything else is out of your control (assuming you actually vote via absentee).

I realize that for whatever reasons you are approaching melt-down at the thought of Obama elected as US President, but you need to styop now and get a hold of yourself. When you're not in the throes of some awful vision, your analyses and insights are wonderful. As of now, though, you appear to be competing with Bedlam to see which mind is in greater disrepair.

Perhaps a strict regimen of one good-sized Atavan tablet every four hours for the next three weeks may do the trick. In the meantime, I'll wait for the more reasoned Seaton to reappear.......

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Most countries with parliamentary governments, in the sorry state the USA is in would have ty to get some sort of "grand coalition" in place.
What I'm afraid we are seeing now is the suicide of the Republicans followed by the suicide of the Democrats

Decidere said...


McCain did enough bowing at the altar of Jerry Falwell to get his religious right kneepads. The Republicans need a long hard Dark Night of the Soul, even the so-called moderates. I don't mind if they spend 40 years out in the wilderness. Obama will do okay even if he likely won't be the best or the most progressive. It looks like he's latched on hard to the Clintons' outstretched hands, and it's looking more and more like the famous 3rd term without the Clintons in the White House. (Would he be proclaimed the first black Clinton?). In any case, the deal's done, and your snarky comments regarding Granny were obviously a bit unjustified. So perhaps chill, get dosed on sangria or absinthe and it'll all be better in a couple of days.

InformedReader said...


I apologize for the long post but have a few thoughts that need to be let out.

People can live out their lives in a utopia of their creation decoupled from the reality. Most of those people are now voting for Obama and want to believe that they did the right thing and don't have to care much about what the administration does in the next four years as he is 'one' of them as they see it.

The trouble with Obama is that he is a 'nonstick' politician. Nothing (no policy position) sticks to him as he has no clearly articulated position on most issues. Moreover, the worst thing that comes out of this election is that he has no clear mandate on any of the important policy decisions. He waffled his way through the election on issues and when the time comes, the Right wing, centrist democrats and the so called mainstream media will drag him down if he tries to implement any meaningful policy.

I will just mention a couple of examples. Take healthcare, his plan would not work if coverage is not mandated (Source: Paul Krugman). Yet, he explicitly campaigned against that (Hillary's position) in the primaries. So he wouldn't have a mandate to really get this done.

On Afghanistan, he promotes this kind of infantile belief that it is the good war, whatever that really means.
In a recent interview on MSNBC, he also claimed:
“The most important thing we’re going to have to do with respect to Afghanistan is actually deal with Pakistan. And we’ve got to work with the newly elected Government there (Pakistan) in a coherent way that says, terrorism is now a threat to you. Extremism is a threat to you. We should — try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they (Pakistan) can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants”.

This position is just incredible, if he thinks that he can intrude into Indo-Pak discussions about Kashmir. India has historically been against such intervention and Pakistan, whose population is very anti-American now wouldn't welcome any American intervention in that affair. If he escalates the war in Afghanistan disregarding the Soviet experience there, he would be repeating history.

Disclaimer: I'm an Indian and hence deeply conscious of the Kashmiri conflict.

RC said...

The mutually activated D and R suicides sounds lovely to me, David. Why be upset?

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Dear Informed,
Wonderful post!
You've given me a whole new angle on American blunders in South Asia.