IMRAN's In My Humble Opinion

From Imran Anwar http://imran.tv http://flickr.com/ImranAnwar

Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

Osama On Obama. What’s Different Behind Latest Tape?

Posted by imrananwar on September 21, 2009

Osama On Obama. What’s Different Behind Latest Tape?

Osama Bin Laden’s latest tape talks about Barack Obama but the tone is different from before. Imran Anwar’s short but insightful analysis helps you understand what it means.

© IMRAN 2009
Web: www.imran.com
Blog: www.imran.com/media/blog/
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Tags: IMRAN, ImranAnwar, Video, Opinion, Commentary, Politics, Terrorism, Taliban, AlQaeda, Pakistan, America, Obama, Bush, Afghanistan, OsamaBinLaden

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Posted in 2009, AlQaeda, America, Bush, Imran, ImranAnwar, Islam, Muslims, Obama, Pakistan, Politics, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Send More US Troops Into Afghanistan?

Posted by imrananwar on September 15, 2009

Imran Anwar (IMRAN.TV / http://www.imran.com/media/blog/ ) raises very serious questions about the current situation in Afghanistan. Are more US troops the answer? If not, what is? Listen for the answer.

Technorati Tags: IMRAN, “Imran Anwar”, ImranAnwar, TV, Commentary , Afghanistan, America, Politics, War , Terrorism, AlQaeda, Taliban, Pakistan, Economy, Bernanke, Bush, Rumsfeld, Iraq , Vietnam

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© IMRAN 2009
Web: www.imran.com
Blog: www.imran.com/media/blog/
Pictures: www.flickr.com/photos/imrananwar/sets/
Follow Me: www.twitter.com/imrananwar
FaceBook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582866154
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/imran

Posted in 2009, Afghanistan, AlQaeda, America, Bush, Economy, Imran, Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, ImranAnwar, Iraq, Pakistan, Rumsfeld, Taliban, Terrorism, War | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Which Country Threat To Neighbors, Unstable, Terrible To Women?

Posted by imrananwar on April 12, 2009

The cell-phone video of three “brave” strong males holding down and ravaging a young northern-area woman (who may be Pakistani or Afghani) with a public flogging was shameful by any standards of decency, morality or humanity.

Even more shameful was the timing of the video’s release. It was apparently leaked not to call attention to a serious crime, and dozens of atrocities like it that are committed by spineless, dishonorable, Taliban every day, but to complicate Pakistan’s nearly complete peace deal in Swat.

The Internet communities like Twitter are, for lack of a better word, atwitter (!) with this particular video being used as an example of what must be happening to every woman in every part of Pakistan.

Don’t get me wrong. The scourge of the Taliban, the cancer of AlQaeda and the repulsive puss-filled sore of Pakistani-killing terrorists brazenly attacking people in Pakistan are serious threats to every Muslim, every Pakistani. But they are, in many cases, byproducts of other fundamental problems that need to be solved by Pakistan and Muslims.

For example, a history of letting some parts of Pakistan being somewhat exempt from the laws of modern Pakistan may have seemed like ceding power and control to local warlords and ancient tribal traditions. But, in many cases, there were also arrangements in place that suited older governments of Pakistan.

They found it easier to buy the peace with a warlord or Maliks or Emirs of the region, even at the cost of not giving the local populace there a vote or a voice in its own destiny.

Even the money given to areas where natural resources were found, and consumed nationwide, the “royalties” did not go to benefit the people of the area, but to enrich the tribal leaders, who became even stronger and more vile forces, somewhat like Stone Age Godfathers even without the semblance of a competition or law above them.

They ensured that murder, rape and other heinous crimes remained their tools of administering their subservient population. Ensuring lack of education, lack of basic facilities, even medical care for the poor was another way to keep a population barely surviving and not daring to speak up, or even knowing that speaking up was an option.

That is why, though I went to school with many scions of such “wadera” or “tribal chief” families sons, I did not shed a tear when a certain Nawab, who was as much an enemy of Pakistan as of his own people, was wiped out by General Musharaff (in one of the few good things he did as Chief Dictator Officer in Pakistan).

My hope was that many of the tribal leaders’ kids going to school with me at Aitchison College, Lahore in Pakistan, would one day go and become the new chiefs of their tribes and maybe change things.

I guess power, especially generations old almost godlike power, has its own power to corrupt. Many of my friends went on to have professional careers but I did not see or hear of any of them being the power of change I had hoped they would.

Thus, it is easy to see why the international media, the global community, including God-fearing, law-abiding, everyday Pakistanis, being horrified and angry at the crimes being committed by the sewer rat Taliban fanatics. It is easy to see why decent people around the world, especially on the Internet, would distribute the story to everyone who would hear.

But what gets my riled up is the way the tragic story is used not to influence positive change or to discuss the reasons such groups exist. There is no talk of the role of the United States in creating yesterday’s mujahideen (today’s Taliban).

Ignored is the double standard of Washington in making speeches about democracy but always secretly praying for, and playing for, a powerful but controllable dictator in Muslim countries.

The worst examples include the repulsive and thankfully long dead General Zia and moderately pleasant but still Constitution-raping General Musharaff in Pakistan or the Arab thug Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

The most disgusting to me personally is the concept of all American administrations supporting a monarchy in Saudi Arabia, where Islam brought the earliest concept of people deciding who would rule them after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) passed away.

During this time, the fact is that online communities like Twitter have a flood of messages screaming that the sky is falling in Pakistan. They are crying hoarse about how Pakistan is on the verge of a breakdown.

They are maligning Pakistan as if every young or old woman in Pakistan is beaten at the smallest excuse and the rest of the country applauds. They feel Pakistan is a threat to its neighbors.

If you ask a loaded question, “Which Country Is A Danger To Its Neighbors, Is Unstable And On The Verge Of Breakdown, And Is Terrible To Women?” I am sure Pakistan is what most of them would quickly jump to answer.

The triple irony is that just today’s news shows three of America’s stalwart, and supposedly stable, allies are the worst examples of what Pakistan is accused of being.

The vile Zionist state of nuclear-armed Israel continues to show it has no desire for peace, with its own Foreign Minister blowing off agreements they had made with the American governments in recent years for a two-state solution to the Occupation of Palestine. They treat their Palestinian occupied territory slaves, men and women, worse than the worst Pakistani tribal crook chieftain treats his subjugated poor serfs. And they have an unstable coalition government increasingly run by right-wing fanatics.

Saudi Arabia, where the thankfully gone George W. Bush could not get enough of kissing, and lip-synching policies with the equally hypocritical and un-Islamic Saudi monarch, (and where President Barack Hussein Obama was also bowing in deference) is in the news. How they mistreat women and have no civil rights for migrant workers is not even news.

The latest repulsive news from Saudi Arabia was that a man gave his 8-year old daughter to be married to a 47-year old man to settle a debt. I repeat, to settle a DEBT. In the year 2009 AD the Arab Muslims are literally selling daughters to settle business debts. I wonder whom they would sell to settle a mortgage loan.

Lastly, the mother of all daughter-selling countries, Thailand, a favorite destination for child-porn seekers and pedophiles from Europe and America, not only continues to peddle its wares, and its daughters, it is also now in a state of emergency, in addition to political unrest in various regions around it.

Let’s be fair. All these nations also have insurgencies of one kind or another. It is time that America sends in the drones. But this time let’s send them to bomb civilian areas in Tel Aviv, Jeddah and Bangkok and deal with the far worse crimes against humanity committed by those three American allies every day.

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can respond to his live comments on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

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Posted in 2009, Afghanistan, AlQaeda, America, Barack Obama, Bush, Danger, Democracy, Dictator, Dictatorship, George Bush, Hypocrisy, Immigrants, Imran, Imran Anwar, Islam, Israel, Jihad, Kashmir, Marriage, Muhammad, Mujahideen, Musharaff, Muslims, Obama, Pakistan, Palestine, Prophet, Taliban, Terrorism, Twitter, USA, Washington, Zia, Zionists | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

IMRAN Economic Recovery Plan – Do You Need Help In This Economy? – “Help Us Help US”

Posted by imrananwar on January 8, 2009

Are things looking bad in this economy? Who’s bailing you out? Could you use $25,000 right about now?

Here is a working plan that will save us and the US.

Financial deregulation started under the Clinton era and, through the terrible mismanagement under George W. Bush, the economy melted. Now TRILLIONS of Dollars were given away by Bush to bailout industries that put you, me and our entire economy at risk. Even failing carmakers are getting Billions. Are you getting a dime?

Obama has good ideas but they are not enough to do anything for you, for us, for the US in the immediate situation. We need help NOW.

Here is the IMRAN Economic Recovery Plan.

It provides a specific way to trigger an economic recovery within 90 days. Ninety Days, not 9 months or 9 years.

Imran Anwar ( http://imran.com/media/blog/ ) explains the plan and the specifics on how it would work. Using a simple example with numbers, he shows how much money you would get, how you can spend it to stabilize your situation and help the economy. Finally, he explains how the government gets the money back – so we are not all paying trillions in higher taxes for money that makes bankers and other failed executives even richer at our expense while we lose homes, jobs, cars and our future.

This plan ensures legal American residents, citizens and taxpayers are bailed out. They can spend money on American businesses, so more Americans can be hired and the American government can get tax revenues again to ensure a stronger future for AMERICANS.

Would $25,000 to $30,000 help you today? If you want to get help, do something. Take action. It’s easy.

Please tell everyone you know about this ERP (Economic Recovery Plan).

Please share on FaceBook, MySpace, your blog, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon… call in on radio shows, email TV programs and hosts that you like. Write letters to editors.

If you don’t take action, no one will bail you out but you will be paying for years for money given away to bankers, oil companies, automakers and other sleazy businesses. It’s your choice. Watch now and please rate it positively so others can hear the idea and support it. Help Us Help US!

Tags: Economy, Recovery, Bailout, Banks, Banking, Taxes, Tax, Bush, Clinton, Obama, Money, Borrow, Buy, Shopping, IMRAN, “Imran Anwar”, ImranAnwar, IMRAN.TV, “Economic Recovery Plan”, HelpUsHelpUS

Posted in America, Automakers, Automobiles, Bailout, Bank, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush, Business, Citibank, Clinton, Congress, Consumers, Credit, Credit Cards, Democrats, Deregulation, Detroit, Economic Recovery, Economy, Entrepreneur, Future, George Bush, Globalization, Imran, Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, In My Humble Opinion, Innovation, Loan, Merchants, Obama, Opportunity, Republicans, Rescue, Socialism, Strategy, Treasury, USA, Video, Washington, Wealth | Leave a Comment »

CLICK! 40 Years Of Photography – FLASH! A Lifetime Of Memories

Posted by imrananwar on January 6, 2009

CLICK! My 40 Years Of Photography

By Imran Anwar

I wrote the following words on December20, 2008 to celebrate nearly four decades of photography and to salute my father for setting me on this hobby, and many other great paths. I am sure readers will recognize some of the items and gadgets I mention in this trip down photographic memory lane; no pun intended.

My Father gave me a camera when I was 6 years old. It was a small 35mm film camera, made in Japan. It was a time when cameras were expensive, and processing film even more so. At that time I had to start with simple black and white films. I had to use pocket money in Karachito develop photos taken with that camera as I grew up in Karachi, and attended St. Paul’s English High School in Saddar.

In four decades I sure have come a long way. From that startup Japanese camera to today’s amazing Nikon D300 DSLR that I received on my 46th birthday, a lot has happened.

Forty years of life, 40 years of photography, a lifetime of memories.

I hope to see and capture a lot more, God willing, and to share with my family and friends the many unforgettable sights I have seen.

So, as I said, I started with a nice little Japanese camera my dad gave me as a kid going to Karachi. He also had the confidence in me to let me use his more expensive and also more breakable camera, a really reliable Argus (that still works!).

From his passion for photography and traveling to new places with us, he and I captured our memories and our lives as I grew up in Pakistan.

After my O’ Levels exams I moved to Aitchison College, in Lahore. By then I “borrowed” (ahemmm…. somewhat permanently!) the camera Abu had started using. It was a truly awesome (for it’s time) Yashica Electro35 camera.

That camera was amazing in its own right – telling over and underexposure by its orange and red LEDs! A “Wow” back then is something even 10 years old kids expect to see in cell phone camera these days! The amazing progress of technology and photography does not cease to amaze me even today

I then found myself studying (well, that is a liberal use of the word!) for an Electrical Engineering (Electronics) degree.

Unfortunately, some of my work from the late 1970s to mid-1980s is lost forever, turned to ashes when USA and ReaganBush Sr. backed Taliban type right-wing fundamentalists ransacked and burnt my stuff in my hostel room at Lahore’s University of Engineering & Technology. (Ironic how similar people are now called terrorists, back then they were “mujahideen” supporters of Zia and the US policy of promoting Islamic fundamentalism against the Soviet Union).

The Yashica Electro 35 was stolen and not recovered. Even terror(ist)s know how to use a camera.

The typewriter I used to get published in the then popular newspaper The Pakistan Times was also stolen but later returned. Terrorist supporters, even the jeans-wearing ones in Mumtaz Hall who hung out with the hot babes of UET didn’t need no stinkin’ typewriter. Why use words when you can use guns, I guess?

Anyway, even before I finished my engineering studies, I was invited to, and was thrilled to join the owners of Jang Group‘s (especially the brilliant owner and publisher of MAG Weekly as well as Jang and News, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman) team in Lahore.

Even though I came on to write a youth page, within a few days I was privileged to become Business Manager, and also started writing weekly articles in MAG Weekly in Karachi. I would rush them to my then colleague, later friend, and now a fond memory, the late Wahab Siddiqui who was Editor of MAG.

Since I drove around in Lahore a lot, I also started carrying a portable camera in my car and took ‘slice of life’ photos called PIC(K) OF THE WEEK with a caption that made people think about the ironies, absurdities and tragedies of life we see everyday and just drive on by.

My late mother, Mrs. Nargis Anwar, had always taught me to be sensitive to those moments of life’s drama that unfold around us every day. My father taught me how to capture them on film. I still hope to “some day soon” put together some of my tongue in cheek articles (a dangerous thing to do under then dictator General Zia) and photos with captions from back then into a book. Yes, one day

But, life has it’s own plans. After a few years of working at Jang, I picked and packed my proverbial bags and came to America; exactly 20 years ago (January 1989 to be precise). I was fortunate to come to America on a scholarship to get an MBA at Columbia University in New York City.

My parents came to visit me a few months later (Abu had to go for some higher studies on a fellowship of some sort). When he went off for studies (somewhere in Utah I believe) my mother and I went around town (Manhattan) from my Columbia University apartment. Our favorite visit together was to the top of the World Trade Center in New York. It was one of the best times of my life spent with my mother, whom I lost just 2 years after her return to Pakistan at around age 50.

When we were in New York, my then current model camera stopped working so I was saving up for the camera I badly wanted. She wanted to buy it for me but my dream camera at that time, the MinoltaMaxxum 7000i, was too expensive for me to let her buy for me in 1989. Maybe I should have – as I could have captured many more memories of my parents’ only trip to America together.

I did buy it a few years later and took some stunning pictures – of beautiful places, gorgeous faces – during my Manhattan years.

I loved taking these photos especially when I was living a blessed life at The Monterey (on the Upper East Side of Manhattan overlooking one of North America’s largest and very beautiful mosques) and when visiting loved ones in Washington, DC and friends in California.

Life, time, lifetime friendships, captured in memories in the heart and on film.

(continued…)


FLASH! A Lifetime Of Memories In A Blink

By Imran Anwar

In last week’s article I mentioned how I came into photography, thanks to my father inspiring me in every way a father can inspire his son.

He loved photography, and got me a camera at age 6. I mentioned how I progressed from a small, simple 35mm camera in the late 1960’sto one of my favorite film cameras in the late 1980’s.

The 1990’s brought along a new revolution. Along with the 35mm film Minolta Maxxum 7000i, I became one of the earliest users of digital cameras when the first Apple QuickTakedigital camera came out. I even have some of its pictures on my web site, at IMRAN.COM .

I later upgraded to the next Apple model and I still have it as a memento. It seems so ancient now! It’s part of my Apple collection of Mac IIfx, ColorOne scanner, StyleWriter and LaserWriter printing equipment that still reminds me of my love affair with Apple and its technologies. Maybe I will give it to a museum some day (if I don’t end up having to sell everything to survive this economic downturn, that is!!).

Not much later 2 Megapixel cameras were coming out so I invested in, and loved, a Minolta DimageX 2MP. My flickr photo-sharing page ( flickr.com/imrananwar) has some taken with that camera. That camera was unfortunately lost but it was impressive both technologically (a marvel in how it “double-turned” light rays to provide an actual optical zoom lens without having a lens protrude from the camera body!) and color quality.

During the next few years I got the 5MP NikonCoolpix E5700, which took some of the amazing Palm Beach and Singer Island, Florida, photos you see on my flickr pages. You should take a look, too. Some of these have been enjoyed by more than three thousand people!

I still use it with an amazing panorama EyeSee 360 lens.

(Ooops, typed too soon, that beautiful camera and specialized lens were shattered a shortly after my writing these lines, when the Nikon strap slipped out of the hook, sending the camera and the lens sliding to hit the road and smash into little pieces! Note to readers, never assume that cameras and other things connected by straps will not slide off. Always check the straps regularly).

Hundreds of panoramic images of Europe, United States and other places are still to be processed and put online. I hope to do soon, so my family and friends can view them and feel like they were right there in the room or city or museum right beside me. It helps me bring the joy of going to the most remote places in the world and knowing I can share the experience with my father, and my loving family and friends.

For portability, and to get back to taking “slice of life” photographs as I used to take in Pakistan for MAG Weekly, I had also added another Nikon to the mix. I replaced the lost Minolta Dimage X with a Nikon S6 (slightly larger than the S1/S5 but WiFi built-in for ease of transferring to the Apple MacBook Pro laptop).

But for real SLR photography with changeable lenses I was in a quandary.

I did not know whether to move from Minolta (my Maxxum 7000i film and Dimage X digital) to another Minolta, their newest DSLR, or complete the migration to Nikon by adding another Nikon like the D60, to accompany the E5700. (As my photographer readers will know, it is not as simple as just picking up a Sony or Panasonic DVD player. Selecting cameras is almost as much a matter of taste and preference as wanting to be a Mac user).

Minolta made it easier by selling out their camera business to Sony. For a while I even found the Sony AlphaA700 a better deal than Nikon (you may have seen an old review I wrote) but I did not make the jump to Sony. I refused to indulge Sony’s choice of forcing us to buy expensive Memory Stick and not regular SD Secure Digital cards that are so great and cheaply available

Anyway, on the photography front, though I did not get the Sony Alpha DSLR, nor did I move to the Nikon DSLR ship right away. I found the Nikon D40 and D60 not enough of an advance to make the jump.

And, then, on my return from my recent trip to visit my father, I finally did. I had decided on the Nikon DSLR D30012.3 MP camera when it came out and I got it as one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received from a loved one.

I invested in some additional lenses and flash, etc. and I love it. Sheer magic and take a look at flickr.com/imrananwar. That page has just some of the photos to prove the magic. Some have already won awards, been used in calendars and traveling road shows by companies here and 2 will be used as “INSPIRATION” posters by another company.

Check them out and leave comments. I hope to be back in Pakistan soon and put it to use on photos of my family and beloved homeland of Pakistan. I have also selected some photographs to make a printed coffee table book for my father to see and show his friends the amazing magic I was able to capture from a gift he gave his son 40 years ago.

So, there you have it.

My 40 years journey in photography so far. It was started by my father’s gift of a camera. It developed from my mother’s gift of telling us never to miss any moment of the beauty in the world around us – before it is too late.

I try to do that, every day, in my own way, by living and capturing that incredible journey, for myself, and, I hope, online, for you and others. The photographs of that journey are online and on my computers, now and in my mind for as long as I live.

Forever? I hope so. The Internet and my “Live, Forever” project (at neternity.org ) give us a chance to leave coming generations a permanent record of our having seen the amazing world I saw, we saw, with our eyes. I hope our visions are seen, for an Eternity, if you do the same.

I emailed the first draft of this tribute and article to my father by email. He had just arrived back in Lahore from a trip. I spoke to him late on the afternoon of December 20, 2008, and had a wonderful conversation with him on the phone.

A few hours after my salute, Mr. Anwar-ud-Din, beloved father to my siblings and me, passed away from unexpected cardiac arrest early on December 21, 2008. ILWIR.

His smile, his love, his words, his sacrifices for us, his very presence in the lives of all that he touched – they are all etched in our hearts and memories for far longer than an eternity, far deeper than any photograph can capture.

May Allah bless him and my mother with a great place close to Him in Heaven.

I thank you, dear reader, for saying a prayer for my parents, and all the great people who have left us and now live forever in our memories. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

(The End)

Posted in 2009, Abu, America, Anwar, Apple, Bush, Cameras, Columbia, Death, Family, Flickr, Florida, Imran, Imran Anwar, Internet, Jang, Karachi, Lahore, Life, Manhattan, Memories, Minolta, Mujahideen, Nargis, neternity, New York, Nikon, Pakistan, Passion, Photography, Reagan, Shakil-ur-Rehman, Sony, Terrorists, Theft, Travel, USA, Washington, Zia | Leave a Comment »

Playing Games With The Future

Posted by imrananwar on November 21, 2008

Part 2: Playing Games With The Future

By Imran Anwar

In the previous column we were analyzing how the Republican Party and defeated politicians play the blame the media game. Even though President-elect Barack Obama has won the election, there are many months before he can even more into the White House. He is busy putting together his team and trying to arrange for a smooth transition from the current administration.

We are looking forward to seeing capable, strong, respected, intelligent and competent people to get lots of Cabinet and administrative positions. In other words, we are expecting from the Obama administration what we did not have in the Bush administration!

In the meantime, lame duck president George W. Bush cannot seem to wipe the glee of his face in that his disastrous presidency is coming to an end. He still does not seem to understand the serious damage he has done to America, Americans, the world and America’s standing in the world. He is just acting as if a juvenile, who had been given the responsibility for managing a dorm for a few weeks, is glad that he can go back to partying and having a good time. Texas ranch, here I come!

His team of incompetent, and sometimes corrupt, officials continues to wreak havoc on the nation and the global economy. Secretary Hank Paulson in particular has been spectacular in his inability, apparent poor judgment and lack of good decision-making. It seems that every time he opens his mouth the stock market will drop 200-500 points. Call that the financial equivalent of Hurricane Katrina, another Bush disaster legacy of rewarding failure and incompetence.

As I have written before, the world faces grave financial crises, which need both liquidity and a return of credit and consumer confidence. Paulson does not seem to know how to provide either one. First he disagreed with the good decisions that were being made by other central bankers around the world. Then he agreed with them and said he would follow them.

Then he announced that the government would use the bailout money from taxpayers to buy bad assets, or bad loans, from banks and financial institutions. In effect, he proposed rewarding poorly managed companies run by greedy and crooked executives, while saddling the taxpayer and the American economy with trillions of dollars in liabilities.

When the market had finally adjusted to this, dumb as it was, idea – he roiled the markets again. He did this, in effect, by saying, oops, that’s not what he was planning to do. He then proposed finding some new way to give the money not to the financial institutions that are melting, and could sink the entire global economy with them, but consumers who have high credit card debt.

As was to be expected, the bank stocks that were starting to stabilize took a massive new beating. The entire stock market dropped precipitously again. Thanks, Hank.

An interesting news item related to this financial crisis is that opinionated, big mouth, gold and daring movie producer Michael Moore (who had done great exposes on Bush, 9/11, the war on terror, the US auto industry, US health-care, etc.) has announced that he will be making another movie.

This time he will follow up to his previous successes with a movie exposing the games and players that made up the current financial mess. Hopefully, he will expose their endgame as being something that America and the world cannot afford to play.

News reports still continue to comment on how major American corporations, financial institutions, and insurance companies that have their hands stretched out asking for taxpayer bailout still continue to shamelessly spend money on unbelievable expenses.

AIG is the worst culprit of them all. There have been documented cases of more than one expensive, unnecessary and in your face lavish events that this company has continued to hold for its executives.

This company is getting some of the biggest handouts in corporate, financial and global history, already exceeding the $100 billion, yet its executives are dining out on $400 steakhouse dinners, staying in two-storey resort bungalows – while having massage and spa treatment instead of attending the so-called necessary conference costing nearly half a million Dollars! I wonder where I can apply for one of these jobs. I love steak, my shoulders are tight and I sure could use some R&R at taxpayer expense.

I have to give credit to my fellow media professional, the respected TV anchor, Lou Dobbs of CNN for not letting go of the story – despite the bold-faced explanations of the AIG CEO on the lame Larry King Show.

There is one story, however, that I do not think anyone is investigating at least now. It would be so great if CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post – all the great American institutions – would spend some resources on investigating, in-depth, the major stock trades that took place during the last few months.

I do not have any proof to level a formal complaint or accusation, yet. But, I have a hunch that all was not as it appeared.

I hope that future historians, investigators, and congressional committees will investigate what I am going to say in more depth. I wonder, no, I ask: Was the stock market being manipulated by M/s Paulson, Bush officials and their cronies? What do you think?

While it seems hard to imagine, I do not put it past the friends of evil genius Karl Rove to let the United States economy fall into a new great depression.

Students of the Great Depression and its causes, including Secretary Paulson, and Karl Rove, know that it can take four years or more for an economy to come back from a giant depression.

That means, conceivably it is possible to sabotage an Obama presidency even before he takes office! They could do this while setting the stage for the economy to still be in bad shape when the Republicans make the next bid for the White House in 2012.

I hope I am wrong, but American politicians have been guilty of far worse crimes, against their own people.

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

Posted in America, Bailout, Barack Obama, Bush, CNN, Crisis, Economy, Finance, Future, George Bush, Imran, Imran Anwar, Movies, Obama, Paulson, Stocks, Treasury | Leave a Comment »

New Day, New Dawn, New Era, A Renewed Nation

Posted by imrananwar on November 5, 2008

There are dark clouds on the horizon, as the damp chill of an early November rain looms over Washington DC. It is unlikely that anyone awake at this dawn hour will see even a single ray of light of sunshine. Yet, Washington, DC, as well as all the United States of America are bathed in a warm glow and bright light. It is the sunshine of a new day, a new dawn, a new era, and a new chapter in the history of a great nation renewed.

To paraphrase a recent advertisement, published by CNN in The New York Times and other reputed newspapers, the United States, as well as the rest of the world, were caught in a magical moment on the night of November 4, 2008, as the US elections came to a close.

The past was leaving, but still threatened to continue into our future. The future beckoned, the hope of a new day, but the dawn had not yet arrived and could still elude us. For a brief moment in time, you, I, the United States, as well as the whole world, were caught in a moment of curiosity, wonder, concern as well as sheer, innocent, daring hope.

Yesterday the nation stood at a crossroads, the brink of expanding disaster or a new beginning. As the election results came in, it became obvious that Hope had won the day. The past was going to be sent far into the past. In that brief period of time, between the end of polling in the United States, Senator McCain conceding defeat and President-elect Barack Hussein Obama giving his victory speech, many amazing things happened which many of us had not expected to see for a long time.

Americans themselves appeared to close the door on the jingoistic, brutal and bullying faux but failing empire that George W. Bush and his henchmen had tried to build over the last eight years. Americans of all colors, ages, races, religions, ethnicities and backgrounds came out in larger numbers to vote than at any time in the recent history. They also found that they had made a dream come true surprisingly quicker than they themselves had expected.

Dr. Martin Luther King, the black slain civil rights leader, was killed for his preaching equality for whites and blacks. His amazing "I Have A Dream" speech is known to all Americans, and I urge readers of this column to read, or even better, to hear it for themselves. (It is easily available on the Internet). Many Americans can even quote words from that speech. But few had believed it possible that they would see parts of Dr. King’s dream come true in such a real and shining manner.

Americans found their country once again beginning to be the bright beacon of light, hope, equality, justice, greatness and ideals that the rest of the world looks up to. Above all, Americans themselves woke up to realize that from being a good, yet imperfect, country overnight they had matured into a renewed nation, achieving greatness again, surprising themselves and the world in unison.

Let there be no delusions. We have not suddenly achieved some racial-nirvana, some miracle of overnight solutions to eons old human emotions. The results from various states, and parts of the country, including so-called redneck areas, show that despite the massive failure of George W. Bush, and his friends, voting for a black man was still too much for the Bush-supporting people to do.

No society in the world, at least in our lifetimes, can achieve the Utopian ideals of having no racism at all. However, with this vote Americans resoundingly proved that if there is any country in the world that can come close to living up to its own ideals, and the ideals of most human beings, it is the great nation of United States of America.

The country that had a history of slavery, abuse and even murder of black people today elected its president who is not only black, but is the son of a Kenyan immigrant, raised by a single mother, with an extended family of Africans, Christians and Muslims. And they did not install this man by some technical election, or by some narrow margin. They did so in such a resounding manner that there was no doubt left in anyone’s mind. It was clear. America had come back to its rightful place on the world stage – as a nation to be respected, admired, looked up to and – perhaps one day soon – loved again.

The irony is that this next to impossible election of Barack Obama was made possible by the disaster that was George W. Bush. It was hastened by the brink of disaster faced by the United States as well as rest of the world. Yet, the challenges that Barack Obama faces on taking the oath of office will make his getting elected seem like a walk in the park.

One of the interesting elements of United States elections is the significant time period between the results of elections and the new government taking over. In most circumstances it is a good thing – as it allows for a smoother transition from one administration to the next. However, in today’s serious geo-political and socio-economic meltdown situations, Barack Obama faces a new dilemma.

On the one hand he cannot be overly aggressive in pushing for his own policies while lame-duck George W. Bush is still in office. On the other hand, he cannot simply wait for 2 months for the situation to get worse, or the wrong policies or "solutions" from being applied or tested – by an administration already having seen itself rejected to the dustbin of history.

The major challenge that President-elect Barack Obama is sure to face is the issue of unrealistic expectations.

Being able to inspire people to believe that solutions are possible, being able to suggest that change is coming and getting people out to vote are far easier than solving the actual problems in some miraculously short timeframe. On top of that, as can be seen in any country where the party comes back into power after a long time, it’s supporters (jialas), power players and constituents expect to be rewarded for their support. The thing that can save Obama from this problem is the huge turnout in the elections and the very broad range of people who swept him into power. That makes it easier for him to resist the pressure or blackmail tactics of any particular constituent or support group.

An additional challenge that he and his Administration will face is that there are no easy solutions to the problems that are faced by the United States economy, as well as the global economy. Nor is it very easy to get out of the war in Iraq – if that is what people expect to be a short and easy fix to all problems.

Another thing to keep in mind is that one of Obama’s strengths is his ability to think coolly and rationally about issues, analyze the situation, make a decision and communicate his plan. The problem is that it can also lead to analysis paralysis, especially for a relatively young, inexperienced, new leader.

It is possible for Obama to also try to please as many people as he can and end up displeasing a lot more. Even worse, being someone who appears to want to be liked by everybody, it is possible that he may want to tiptoe around some of the tough decisions that need to be made. That, in my humble opinion, would be a disaster.

The biggest strength, the biggest advantage, the biggest opportunity that Obama can leverage is the huge mandate he was given in this landslide victory. It is for this reason that his first 100 days will be far more important in real terms than in the usual symbolic terms that they are looked at for new presidents.

If he’s smart, and a man of action, he will find a strategic way to have Congress, with its Democrat majority further strengthened in this election, influence and force George W. Bush’s outgoing administration to embark on the path that Obama would like to follow. This would enable him to get the ball rolling even before his inauguration, avoid the impression of imposing himself before he assumes office and also save him from any blame that can come about from George Bush and his team still screwing things up.

Another advantage I see is that this clear mandate, given to a visionary leader with the ability to inspire his nation, is just the right shot in the arm needed by the US consumer, business and stock markets.

As I have written in these pages before, there are serious threats to the United States and global economies, but the biggest threat is a crisis of confidence. Obama’s ascension to power is sure to help revive that confidence.

As I write these lines at 5 AM on November 5 in Washington DC, I am confident that, barring any external economic events, an economic resurgence, including a stock market rebound, shall start soon. More credit will start becoming available, thawing the economic freeze that had left Main Street shuddering and Wall Street with pneumonia. I even hope that a recovery and expansion may be on the horizon as happened when the last great American President Bill Clinton came into office replacing another weak economy under another weak Bush.

So, economic recovery will be of paramount importance to Americans and the whole world. The weak economy is what helped Obama get elected, but the biggest challenges before, during and even after an economic recovery will be foreign affairs and undoing the damage done by the Bush Administration.

My advice to President Barack Obama would be to therefore embark on aggressive efforts to resolve the Middle East and Palestinian, as well as the Kashmir issues. I would also encourage him to immediately start dialogue with Iran and other countries that George W. Bush was busy burning un-built bridges with.

But Obama has to do so in a friendly yet firm manner. It is time for America to assume its place as leader of the free world, willing, able and ready to use its power and influence to do good and effect real positive change around the world and achieving things that no past American President had the willingness or courage to do. That is the audacity of my hope for President Barack Obama.

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com

Posted in America, Bill Clinton, Bush, Cabinet, CNN, Congress, Democrats, Elections, George Bush, Imran, Iran, Iraq, Kashmir, McCain, New York Times, Obama, Opportunity, President, Racism, Republicans | Leave a Comment »

America’s Choice: Brink Of Disaster, Verge Of Destiny – Election 2008

Posted by imrananwar on November 3, 2008

Brink Of Disaster, Verge Of Destiny

By Imran Anwar

The United States won victory in World War II, but 50 years later it was the vanquished Germany and Japan that won the economic war. The United States won the Cold War, but even fewer years later it is Communist China, and a Resurgent Russia, that are growing economies and global political players again.

The world today stands on the brink of an economic disaster of historic and global proportions. The United States today stands on the precipice, also on the brink of an economic meltdown but also with a historic opportunity. On November 4 Americans will elect their new president for the next four years. At no time in modern history has this election been of greater importance to the American people, as well as citizens of the world.

The clearly disastrous and mismanaged administration of George W. Bush will also be a factor. Under this most unpopular president in modern history, and the most reviled American leader in the world, America went from being the sole, respected, superpower in a unipolar world to one of the most despised, jingoistic, aggressive, yet weakened and threatened countries in the world.

The choice today that the American voters will make is actually one of historic importance and significance for everybody. The choice American voters will make shall determine whether America continues to pursue the same failed economic, foreign and domestic policies of George W. Bush or embark on a new road to peace and prosperity worldwide.

Americans have to choose between two candidates for our next President.

The Republican Party candidate is Senator John McCain, a man in his 70s, with health issues and a mixed bag of experience, respect, scandal and lack of personal ethics in his past. The Democratic Party candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, is the son of the Kenyan Muslim immigrant, a black male, born and raised in poor circumstances. He also has possibly the worst name any candidate could have to run for election in the United States in a post 9/11 America (with its fear and dislike for Muslims with names like Saddam Hussein and Osama)!

In general it has been seen that any election held during the time of economic crisis, especially one as serious as the current one, will most likely lead to the defeat of the incumbent party. Add to that the unpopularity of the current president and you would almost think the Democrats have it made. However, the unique, and interesting, twist in this election was the breakdown of several historic barriers.

Democrats set the agenda, and the new standard, when their final two candidates were Senator Hillary Clinton, a woman, and Senator Barack Obama, a black man. In effect, the Democrats knew they were going to make history through the first ever nomination of either a woman or a black man to be a major party candidate for president.

The entire Republican field, meanwhile, as usual, was comprised of the same good old white men’s club.

After a bitter, and tough, primary election fight Obama won over Hillary Clinton. A lot of Democrats were hoping for the “dream ticket”, in which Obama and Hillary Clinton would be the presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively. However, the bad blood between the two of them was too much to overcome until recently. Obama made a wise choice anyway – by selecting the experienced and well-liked Senator Joseph Biden to be his running mate as vice president.

On the Republican side, after many ups and downs Senator John McCain prevailed over many smarter and more desirable candidates. He waited to announce his running mate until after Senator Obama had announced his VP. One of the things John McCain likes to claim, and at one time had been, was a maverick. However, in this particular case he chose Sarah Palin, the poorly vetted, little-known governor of a sparsely populated state of Alaska, to be his VP. (She was recently found guilty of ethics violations, her underage daughter is pregnant out of wedlock, her husband belonged to an anti-America organization, but no one seemed to notice!).

In the end, America and American voters have to choose between two men and their running mates.

John McCain was relying on his non-stop support for the Iraq war, and his having been a “war hero”, as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War, as his strengths as a candidate. Running as a Republican candidate, which also espouses Conservative values, he of course would not like people to remember his adulterous background, his dumping his first wife as she was being disfigured by cancer, going on to marry a rich woman who makes her money from a booze distribution business. He wants people to ignore his getting involved with the well-known crook Charles Keating, and helping protect Keating while his fraud brought about a massive financial crisis 20 years ago.

Very few people also seem to remember that McCain was Fourth from the bottom of his class of almost 900 students. He was shot down as an air force pilot not because he was being a hero but because he was just not a good pilot. His poor piloting destroyed at least 4 planes that he was flying! Of course, Americans should honor him for having being a prisoner of war, and a decorated war hero. But, by that token, people should also have elected Senator John Kerry as president in 2004. We know that did not happen.

But the biggest thing, the alignment of external factors beyond John McCain’s control, which may doom his run for the White House ended up being something he had the least knowledge, confidence, and ideas on – the economy.

He was literally giving speeches declaring that the fundamentals of the American economy were sound and everything was fine – on the same day that Lehman Brothers, the large respected bank, collapsed and the economic meltdown began. Even during the three presidential debates with Senator Obama, Senator McCain has had no particular ideas, or proposals, other than a mantra of anti-democratic party rhetoric and trying to label his opponent through words of fear and innuendo.

While all this was happening John McCain was also losing one of his core constituencies, independent and fiscally conservative Democratic leaning voters. He lost them by chasing after and begging for the support of the very same people he had called “agents of intolerance” in his previous attempts at the White House. He went out of his way to cater to the needs, and demands, of the neo-Conservative, fundamentalist, right wing Christian and evangelical groups.

The more radically right he went, the shriller his attacks on Senator Obama became. The final nail in that coffin of the so-called original John McCain came with his selection of Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Initially seen as a breath of fresh air, the young, attractive, confident, well-spoken former beauty queen shook things up – especially in the core base of the Republican Party.

However, in just a few weeks, thanks to mismanagement, to saying the most ridiculous and foolish things during TV interviews, unsuccessfully trying to label her opponents as socialists or communists, she has ensured that she is now showing up in surveys as costing John McCain several percentage points of support among likely voters.

Senator Obama, on the other hand, despite belonging to the usually very disorganized Democratic Party, has run one of the most successful, and best managed campaigns of modern elections. He and his supporters have rewritten the book on fundraising, raising awareness, getting voters involved, staying on message, and exciting the electorate.

Despite coming from humble beginnings, Obama attended the prestigious Columbia and Harvard universities. He has been an excellent orator and came as a breath of fresh air to the American voter. Despite his having much lesser experience in politics, he literally burst on the scene in the 2004 elections, as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention. Most people expected him to one day be a national level candidate, perhaps 12-16 years. However, the historic opportunity came sooner than expected. First he got elected to the Senate and within two years he is within touching distance from the White House.

He has been able to focus on the economy and also on his best-known policy stand, which was his firm opposition to the war in Iraq. With his charisma, his speeches, his ideas, he was able to inspire great supporters and major respected adviser to join him. He was able to excite the electorate like few candidates have since Bill Clinton. He was able to raise money directly from the people, enabling him and his party to spread their message of hope, change, and a new beginning. This was like magic for the masses who were sick of George W. Bush and his policies. His campaign made McCain’s supporting Bush 90% of the time a major issue. In essence, they have made McCain’s candidacy a continuation of the Bush campaign. They have made the election a referendum on Bush – a man so unpopular even his own party candidates for any state or national seat have not invited him to even be in the same city as them!

Will this be a referendum on Bush? Will it be a victory of hope over status quo? Will it be the dawn of a new era or the same old same old?

While we wait for voting to begin, and the results to come in, we have nothing but polls, surveys and interviews with people who have gone for early voting. (Several American states allow people to vote early). By almost all polls it almost appears that the die has been cast. A huge, historic, unprecedented level of early voters has turned out. The vast majority of them are said to be voting for Obama for President. However, as they say, it ain’t done till it’s done.

There are many things that can go wrong during this election.

Polls can be wrong, especially in this case. The reason is that many people may claim that they will vote for the black candidate, but being racist at heart, will actually vote for the white candidate on election day. Another factor can be overconfidence by Obama supporters, who may decide not to go to vote because they will think they have already won the election.

Voting machine errors, especially in the new kinds of electronic machines being used in some states, also have people concerned. Fraud is a real possibility, as has been seen with so-called mis-calibrated voting machines. Even in areas not using electronic voting machines, who can forget the disaster that was Florida voting George W. Bush into power in 2000, because of poorly punched paper ballots. The fear of “hanging chads” still hangs over democratic heads.

In essence, America faces a choice. On the one hand it faces economic ruin and a disastrous war in Iraq continuing for years to come and more of the same by John McCain. On the other hand it faces overcoming its biggest challenges, including a history of slavery and racism. Most analysts and polls suggest that America is ready to make a historic decision. Most expect Obama to become the first black president of the United States and lead this country to a great destiny.

Brink Of Disaster or Verge Of Destiny? Which choice will the American voters make? It will become known to us in 24 hours. Stay tuned.


Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, investor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com

Posted in America, Bush, Clinton, Economy, Elections, Iraq, McCain, Obama, Palin, President, Sarah Palin | Leave a Comment »

Voter, Voter, In The Hall; Who’s The Brightest Star Of All?

Posted by imrananwar on November 1, 2008

I have always found it interesting the way politics and show business have mixed in recent years not just in Pakistan but also in America.

In the good old days, for example, when John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, the tendency was for politicians to have secret affairs with movie stars. Over the years the relationship between movie stars, TV actors, show business personalities and political leaders became more open.

It started with politicians getting married to show business personalities and eventually to movie actors entering politics and running for office.

One would have assumed that developing or so-called Third World countries like Pakistan were more likely to have movie stars, cashing in on their popularity and name recognition, become successful politicians. One would also have assumed that a supposedly more educated country, or society, like the United States would be less likely to allow such cashing in of fame and celebrity, especially at the national leadership level.

So it is interesting and ironic to see that in Pakistan, in general, movie stars, or even renowned celebrities (who also happened to be great people), like cricketer Imran Khan, were not truly able to make a successful transition to politics at the highest level and at the highest office.

Sure, respected and popular people like the late actor Muhammad Ali, did run for seats in parliament. Cricketer Sarfraz Nawaz, with his relationship to a movie star, also made a play for a seat in an Assembly seat.

Maybe there are a few other examples. But I do not recall anyone who was able to make a serious play for the highest office in the land, whether Prime Minister or President of Pakistan.

In the United States, on the other hand, the same forces of celebrity, fame, name and face recognition, as well as hero worship were at work – but surprisingly at a much higher level.

One does not have to see too far back into recent history to see how quickly American politics moved from having a president having an affair with a movie star (like JFK and Marilyn Monroe) to actually electing Ronald Reagan as president of the most powerful nation on earth.

On top of that, the same Ronald Reagan, that many people claimed to despise during his presidency, considering him nothing more than a talking head, all recognize that he ended up being one of the most powerful American presidents ever.

To this day almost every single American candidate for the presidency, especially from the Conservative or Republican side, has always gone above and beyond to prove how much like Ronald Reagan he or she is – even if they themselves had nothing in common with Ronald Reagan, or even having been closer to a movie studio than a visit to Universal Studios theme parks!

This hero worship was also apparent when Arnold Schwarzenegger, also known as The Terminator, was elected "governator" of California. The reason this is important to note is that California is more than just one of 50 states in the United States. Even as a stand-alone economy it would count as the 12th largest country/economy in the world. And Schwarzenegger is still running that state. So, quite clearly it is more than just a temporary bout of celebrity worship that puts and keeps people like him in office in America.

Of course, there are other cases of movie stars dabbling in a political activity, but more as activists than as candidates. Some of them do this even at great personal cost.

After all it is the public that gives them their wealth, fame and career, and the public can take it away. That is why I have such immense respect for showbiz personalities like George Clooney, Sean Penn, and others, like Oliver Stone. They have boldly spoken out against George W. Bush and his idiotic policies which have turned a global superpower like America almost into a Third World country, on the brink of economic ruin.

Who can forget the lovely, and talented, Dixie Chicks, a wonderful trio of singers from Texas, who apologized to the world for the idiotic Bush being from their state and country, USA. They lost Millions of Dollars in record sales for their bold action from the rednecks that used to buy their CDs.

One also has to acknowledge some of these movie stars and even their producers who not only speak their opinions boldly, they even put their money where their mouth is. Oliver Stone‘s latest movie, "W" is a clear attack on Bush and exposing his inner circle of crooks and cronies. I plan to watch that movie after the elections.

Most recent examples of such personal and business risk-taking in movies include the movie Syriana, in which George Clooney exposed the evil so-called foreign policy that the oil companies and Washington use to control regimes in the Middle East.

I am surprised that more Americans, more Pakistanis and more Muslims/Arabs have not seen that movie. If you haven’t I strongly urge you to rent it out on DVD. Your viewing it will not help the producer make his money back, but it will give you a great appreciation for such creative people who risked their personal, financial and career assets on the line for their beliefs and to speak the truth.

Coming back to the topic of politicians and their connection to movie stars or showbiz, by the time you read these lines a new president will already have been elected in the United States.

I wish I could predict right now the words I will be saying on November 4 while covering the US presidential elections for Geo TV and MAG. But one of the interesting things to see will be what role, if any, movie stars’ supporting presidential candidates will have had.

John McCain appears to be on the losing track. But, I do not trust the American masses to look beyond Barack Obama’s race and skin color, as well as Muslim sounding name, to elect him president.

To get more of that so-called redneck vote out in his own support, the Republican’s latest rally brought out Arnold Schwarzenegger to root for John McCain the white candidate.

On the other hand Barack Obama is no slouch in the celebrity endorsement department either. Not only does he have the support of movie stars like Mark Wahlberg, several of the above-mentioned celebrities, Oprah Winfrey, as well as having his own star power – he also has the charisma of Bill Clinton now apparently on his side. That does not even count the increasing number of renowned Republicans like non-movie star but multi-star General Colin Powell endorsing Obama. 

And, in another illustration of how things can go full circle, Bill Clinton’s "boring" vice president, and democratic party candidate in 2000, Al Gore, has gone from being almost the President of the United States to almost being a "movie star" himself  – with his very popular documentary on global warming. As you can imagine, Al Gore is also rooting for Barack Obama.

We will wait and see which candidate’s ideas, personal magnetism, or movie star support wins this election. So we have to ask the "VOTER, VOTER, IN THE HALL; WHO’S THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF ALL?"

We’ll find out on November 4, but stay tuned and follow my coverage on GEO TV November 3-5, 2008, live from Washington, DC!

Imran Anwar is a New York and Miami based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com

Posted in America, Bill Clinton, Bush, Democrats, Elections, George Bush, Imran, McCain, Movies, Obama, Pakistan, Powell, President, Racism, Republicans | Leave a Comment »

Profit From The Meltdown: Part 2: Huge Profit Opportunities In The Coming Recovery

Posted by imrananwar on October 22, 2008

Profit From The Meltdown:

Part 2: Huge Profit Opportunities In The Coming Recovery

By Imran Anwar

In the previous column we discussed why the current economic crisis appears far worse than it actually is. Yes, grave dangers exist if the world’s economies are mismanaged. But, so far, it appears that all major governments understand the global implications and are working together to stave off global ruin.

It is for this reason that I argue this may be the best time in the world to start investing, to take advantage of the huge opportunities and bargains that surround us, before everyone else does. This is especially true of younger generations, young families, and dynamic people who can afford to take a long term view more than someone close to retirement or already retired (unless they have significant amounts available to invest).

I believe the recession, though painful, will be short lived and will end soon into the Presidency of the new American President. This is especially true if history is any indicator. A Bush in the White House always leads this country into war and economic ruin, and his exit always leads to a historic economic recovery and the opportunity to create great wealth. I can hardly wait for Inauguration Day, 2009!

I also believe we will not have a global Great Depression version 2 between now and then.

There are several reasons for this. One is that most of the world governments and nations had learned several lessons from that historic crash of 1929 – which is referred to as The Great Depression. (I am not sure what was so "great" about it). In that particular crash, the then American administration had made many bad moves. That included not responding, not responding in time, then responding in a parochial, inward looking, protectionist way and doing too little too late.

You are not hearing me say that George W. Bush or his team of incompetent henchmen have done anything right. However, because we live in the Internet age, and most of world economies are so tightly intertwined, in general most of the developed world’s governments are working in unison to avoid a global meltdown, even while they recognize a recession is already underway.

How to minimize its damage, and to prevent it from turning into a domino effect – that brings the planet to its knees – is what they are fighting for. Bush and his team, and even Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, showed their cluelessness on the economy. At 9 AM one day McCain was saying the economy was strong. Two hours later he was saying the country (America) was in a grave crisis, as if a sudden earthquake had just taken place.

Then Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paulson said there were specific steps that would be just plain wrong – like the government taking equity stakes in American banks in exchange for large sums of capital. But, when the British, Europeans and Japanese governments did exactly that and saved their economies, literally a day later he was doing the same thing. So much for having any competent person in the White House team! (Maybe Bush can now say, "You’re doing a heckuva job Pauly"?)

But, regardless of how incompetent these people are, fortunately they are not the only ones who have a stake in saving the American economy from imploding.

There are countries with huge amounts of United States dollars stashed away in their banks. This includes countries like China. Even the Chinese Communist government, regardless of how disdainfully it may think of the United States, is smart enough to know that the greatest source of its wealth in recent years has been from manufacturing cheap goods that the American market just cannot get enough of buying.

Also, as few people realize, an American meltdown, of its economy or its currency, will also mean financial ruin for China in several ways. China’s growing working middle class depends on feeding the American consumption beast for it to survive and grow itself.

On top of that, over the least few years, despite participating in a world economy, and benefiting from capitalism and open markets, China has always manipulated its own currency to ensure its goods do not become too expensive to export. As a result, for several years, America has had a huge trade deficit with China, leading, effectively, to America owing China a lot of money.

Now its policy of protecting its own currency is coming back to bite China. That is because China is possibly the biggest non-American holder of huge reserves of Dollars. A crash of the Dollar can effectively wipe out China’s current economic wealth.

America, just like Pakistan right now, is hardly in a position to turn down economic support from any quarter. Sure, it’ll be a shameful and sad day for the United States to go begging to China. The one remaining superpower in both military and economic terms, before George W. Bush came into office, would actually now be dependent on a communist country like China to help save it’s capitalist society!

China, previously the source of cheap socks and itty-bitty cheap plastic toys could be and, I would say also for its own self-interest, has to be America’s economic savior.I also see this as a huge opportunity for Middle Eastern countries, also slush in Dollars and Petro-Dollars, to offer their help but leverage it to increase opportunities for their businesses. But, sadly, I have not seen much strategic exploitation of that of any significance. Sure, we have the occasional deal worth Billions (e.g. when a financially suffering chip-maker AMD has sold off a majority stake to ATIC of Abu Dhabi, an investment arm wholly-owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.

But, I do not see a concerted, strategic and financial effort on the part of Middle-Eastern, or Muslim, investors and entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities as I see Indian and Israeli companies doing. I can imagine us crying in 20 years about how not only do the Jews control Hollywood and the media but then how Indians and Israelis control Silicon Valley.

Yes, I do see that Arabs have started buying up real estate, the one business they understand well here in America (being among the biggest buyers of casinos and other entertainment properties also). But, can they leverage this to help establish a foothold for Arabs and Muslims in things like Venture Capital and other next-generation financial industries? Sadly, it does not appear that is even a goal for them. It seems real estate is already, correctly, being targeted for massive investments but not much else.

It is for this reason that I am quite confident that huge opportunities exist for Pakistani, Middle-Eastern and Muslim investors to benefit, not just from real estate, but also from many other opportunities to buy financial, corporate and technology company assets at bargain prices.

Even though, like everyone else, I took significant hits in the stock market during the last several months, I have actually increased my holdings, especially in stocks of Citibank, as well as Apple. I have also bought stocks of others, like Amazon, Pepsi-Cola, etc. that also got hammered a few days ago. But, the greatest upside I still see in the stock market is in companies like Apple, as well as other battered financial stocks.

Last but not least expensive desirable real estate is going to become even more expensive and more desirable as the market turns around, which is sure to do in the coming days. This will be true especially in the United States when my fellow Americans are smart enough to change the direction this country is headed in. It will happen even sooner if they elect a candidate who is not simply going to continue George W. Bush’s policies of economic disaster. We will find out on November 4.

But, don’t lose sight of the huge opportunity for real estate that exists in other markets too.

Major American institutions have created funds of several Billion Dollars to start buying real estate in countries including India. Thanks to the self-destructive tendencies of my fellow Pakistanis, people hardly consider Pakistan as a safe haven for their money (much less their bodies!), but as real estate investment takes off, there will also be a trickle-down or trickle-sideways (osmosis?) effect on Pakistani real estate prices.

I have been making my best efforts to interest American investors in also including Pakistan in the list of places that they invest in – but so far it has been a losing battle. I am hopeful in the new Administration in America (and some improvement in Pakistan’s war on terrorists) that the USA will feel a greater need to invest in Pakistan. But, similar huge opportunities exist for Pakistanis of means to invest in real estate in the United States and I am seeing that a lot more from clients that I advise on doing business in the USA.

All in all, I am not just hopeful, but certain, that the current recession will be a short one, though not without short-term pain. I am positive that savvy investors are going to start putting their money, and their instincts, to work before everyone else jumps back on the bandwagon. I am working to do that, and hope you will too!


Conclusion.

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