Monday, April 26, 2010


Arizona's recent passage of Immigration Law is not only contentious but possibly even unconstitutional, as only the Federal Government has power over immigration matters. However, that is for the courts to decide and it will not be surprising if constitutional petitions head the Supreme Court way in not too distant a future. The Supreme Court may have leanings in a certain direction, but when it comes to interpreting the constitution, the Justices are at their best.

Being a border state, Arizona no doubt has an illegal immigration problem. But, this law may be less to do with that and more to do with tempting President Obama and Democrats to bring about an immigration bill in a haste.

Republicans are still recovering from their failure to block the the Health care bill. They also know that Financial Reform Bill is likely to pass, so they cannot present President Obama victory after victory heading into mid term elections in 2010. An immigration bill before the US House of Representatives and the US Senate is sure to stir passions and anger against a Federal Government providing a route to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

With a strong opposition to such a move in the South and much more so in the border states plus the ire of nearly 10% Americans without jobs, it could create quite a strong anti-immigration lobby in the country, possibly far larger than all of the Latino votes combined. It could prove to be a costly and a high risk strategy for an Administration to bring an immigration bill before the Congress in an election year. Perhaps this is what the Republicans are hoping for. The Arizona Immigration Law could be a bait for President Obama and the Democrats. However, going by President Obama's strategic style so far, he is far ahead in these things than any Republican or Democrat. So, hopefully, he will weigh all options before initiating an immigration bill.

In the meantime, Arizona law could prove to be a good kicking opportunity for the Administration. They could take it to the Supreme Court, hopefully win and garner Latino support without alienating the white voters.

Arizona is already beginning to face the music as more and more people and corporations are planning to stay away from the State. American Immigration Lawyers Association has already canceled its convention in Scottsdale. Other organizations and corporations may follow suit. The hotel industry is complaining bitterly as they rely heavily on immigrants for their staff requirements. All this could have serious consequences for Arizona's economy and its tourist industry.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The Republicans made a calculation at the outset of Health Care Bill that if it can defeat the Bill, it can break and defeat Barack Obama. So, instead of actively participating in debate and helping improve the Bill, they adopted scare mongering and negative tactics. However, their calculation backfired and like Hillary Clinton did during the primary campaign, they too under estimated Barack Obama.

Their alliance with the Tea Party movement, which at best can be described a right wing fringe, may have damaged the Republican Party, especially their appeal to independent voters who now form a majority in the US. The blame for this does not rest solely on Michael Steele's shoulders, but on the entire Republican Party and especially the Senators and Congress members. The Republican Party may have shot itself in the foot.

How can a major political party take a position; "Health care in America is the best in the world, so leave it alone" when 50 million people i.e. 15% of country's population has no health care coverage. Apart from scaring many independent voters, Republicans surely have lost the 32 million people, who will now be entitled to health care coverage under the new bill.

US spends 17% of its GDP on health care and still leaves out 50 million of its people. In comparison, Canada spends only 11% of its GDP on health care, with every man woman and child covered. So, where is the money going - to insurance companies I guess? With ten times the population, US should be able to achieve economies of scale and spend no more that 8 or 9% on health care. If it could cut down the spending to 10% of GDP, the savings will be a staggering $994 billion a year reducing the budget deficit from $1.4 trillion to $406 billion.

So, is this the status quo the Republican Party wanted to maintain? And what about the Tea Party crowd, who love to talk about cutting down big Government, don't they get it? Where was the Tea Party movement when George W. Bush was launching illegal war on Iraq, giving tax breaks to the high earners and turning surpluses into deficits? Why did they not come out on the streets then and not protest even louder about Government spending?

Even with the new Bill, it is quite obvious that US health care system is far too expensive and needs substantial improvement. President Obama should quietly set up a team to study Canadian, British and Scandinavian public health care systems and have them devise the best public health care system possible.

It is imperative that a Public Health Care system be introduced in the US as soon as possible.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Each day brings new allegations of sexual abuse of children within the Catholic church and it seems, all roads lead to Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) for his part in the cover up.

The actions of the priest in Wisconsin, Rev Lawrence Murphy who was involved in sexually abusing nearly two hundred boys at a school for the Deaf were outrageous and criminal. Even worse is the fact that a Bishop brought the abuse to the attention Cardinal Ratzinger (Vatican official in charge of disciplining priests at the time), but it appeared the Cardinal looked the other way. The Bishop also requested the Vatican that Rev. Murphy be defrocked, but that too went unheeded. An investigation started years later was also hushed up.

It now appears that nearly sixty boys were subjected to similar abuse in a school for the deaf in Italy and that too was covered up. The legals minds are far better at figuring out culpability, but to a layman like me, having knowledge of a crime and actively covering it up, may itself be a crime.

There is an active debate taking place in the U.K. that Pope Benedict should be arrested upon arrival on his forthcoming visit. Not that, that will happen, but a petition signed by 10,000 people and still gathering momentum is being readied to be handed to the British PM to cancel the invitation to Benedict.

Pope John Paul II worked so hard to build bridges across the world and to other faiths, as a result he was loved equally by Catholics and people of other faiths. Pope Benedict has wasted no time is destroying all that and then some. The best course for Benedict is to abdicate and let someone else take over, who can continue the good work started by John Paul II.