Crazy Is The New Normal – Global Uncertainty & (Seemingly) Unstoppable Economies & Stock Markets – IMRAN™

Are we all being set up for a new shock crash, which will again make the rich richer and the middle class poorer?

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We live in surreal times. I read this business news item on LinkedIn, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink: Global Economy Strong Despite Political Dysfunction.”

In a normal world political uncertainty always threatens the global economy, consumer confidence, and stock markets.

Now it seems either some invisible hand is at work in keeping markets rising or people have assumed that Crazy is the new Normal in politics, at least for the foreseeable future.

Are we all being set up for a new shock crash, which will again make the rich richer and the middle class poorer?

What do you think?

 

© 2017 IMRAN™

Send More US Troops Into Afghanistan?

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.

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© IMRAN 2009
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The Good News About The Bad News In Pakistan

Imran Anwar explains why the bad news from Pakistan is actually showing the good news that is happening.

An old adage is that bad news sells. But there comes a stage in societies and countries, as well as the minds of news-readers and TV-viewers, when they just get sick of bad news.

I think it is no exaggeration to say that Pakistanis in general have gotten used to bad news, negative publicity, adverse editorial opinion and just general anti-Pakistan sentiment every day, everywhere, from New Delhi to New York.

That is why it was such a happy occasion to see the current Administration of Pakistan, opposition leaders, the military as well as the Chief Justice of Pakistan doing their part to literally bring Pakistan back from the brink of total chaos.

The reinstatement of the Chief Justice, as well as other political institutions and Punjab government, were also much awaited good news for Pakistanis. You could feel and hear the actual sense both of pride and hope in the eyes and voices of Pakistanis of all walks of life, from Karachi to California.

Obviously this was not detracting critics of Pakistan, as well as Indians and their lobbyists, in addition to Pakistan-bashers in general from continuing their attacks on Pakistan.

It even seems that American Administration officials, in particular the military men responsible for Afghanistan and Pakistan, also have a vested interest in giving the impression of an unstable Pakistan almost on the verge of total collapse.

I don’t know if that would be to give them the excuses to continue with their missile strikes or for some other nefarious purpose. Or just to make themselves look like heroes when things get better in 6-12 months.

One can understand their fear, that nuclear-armed Pakistan, with internal strife, daily terror attacks, especially with a perceived internal support for the Taliban among certain government agencies, could become a nuclear nightmare for the United States. But, their own pronouncements have the risk of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

However, their pseudo-intellectual analysis of Pakistan being on the verge of collapsing as a country within six months is hardly the way to go about expecting positive change in Pakistan, or Pakistanis attitudes towards America and its representatives here. Nor is it helping bring about economic prosperity, or at least stability, when that is most needed to ensure a prosperous future for Pakistan and Pakistanis.

Keep in mind that any criticism of Pakistan also has a multiplication factor of actions by the Taliban as well as Al Qaeda, which seems to have made parts of Pakistan their head office. Throw in the general fear, mistrust and perhaps even sheer hatred for the concept of militant Islam and Muslims, and you can see why Pakistan gets perceived even worse by Western media, politicians and the public in general.

Sadly, it is supposedly our fellow “Muslims”, whether they are brainwashed or willing hell-bound murderers, who take away the brief moments of joy and good news that Pakistanis begin to enjoy.

To make matters worse they kill and maim innocent people, destroy families and malign, damage and even insult Islam by carrying out the most despicable, dastardly and disgusting acts of horror. They blow themselves up in mosques, even in funeral processions, where the only thoughts most people have in their mind at that time are of God and of the day when we all have to return to Him.

I believe that the word suicide bomber is totally insufficient to describe these forces of Evil, these representatives of Satan, these worshippers of Lucifer, these children of Shaitan.

I believe we Pakistanis, and Muslims, as well as the media have to start calling them by their real name. they are not “jihadis“. They are not suicide bombers. They should be referred to as “jahanummi qaatil kuffar” – because that is what they are – hell-bound murderer infidels.

And, we need scholars of Islam, religious leaders and decent Imams and Ulema to give fatwas against every jahanummi qaatil kuffar who carries out such attacks.

Let the ones following them know that they will not go to heaven with 72 virgins waiting for them. Let them hear they will go to hell, with the entire Ummah spitting on their names and dead bodies with 7200 curses lashing their souls for eternity.

The recent events and terror attacks in the last few days have left no doubt in my mind that these are the worst enemies of Islam and Pakistan. And the sooner Muslims and Pakistanis unite t exterminate these vermin, the better off Islam, Muslims, Pakistan and the world will be.

From their actions aiming to kill worshippers in a house of God, to the shameless, spineless, disgusting torture and whipping or public flogging of a young woman (regardless of whether the video was made recently or months ago), they show themselves to be the animals that they are.

They are even worse than the pagan Arabs that our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made it his mission in life to try to first show the light of true Islam and later to defeat in battle. Fighting these true enemies of Islam is true Jihad.

How shameful that these people, whom even the Quresh tribe of pagan Arabia would spit upon, are the ones claiming to do what they do in the name of God, religion and Islam.

But like many Pakistanis, and many Americans, who believe that the future is always going to be bright, I refuse to give in and give up hope. Even in these terrible, and dark, days I see good news.

I felt proud to be part of the Pakistani media, both through the pages of the magazine and newspaper chain that carry my outspoken opinions, to my own blog and new media, as well as the TV channels that I also appear on. Each one of them went above and beyond to expose the evil, dastardly, cowardly, woman-flogging Taliban for the vile scum that they are.

I am proud of my fellow Pakistanis, here in Pakistan or living abroad, doing their bit to spread the word of this heinous crime – using every tool available to them, from e-mail to Twitter, FaceBook, etc.

I felt pride in the Chief Justice of Pakistan taking notice of this grave injustice and jumping into action. I am even appreciative of usually spineless, two-faced, politicians who spoke up against this cruelty.

In all these things I feel Pakistan and Pakistanis have turned yet another positive corner. I see this as yet another positive sign. I see even more light at the end of the tunnel than before.

I see a nation not falling apart in six months. I see a newly rejuvenated nation. I see Pakistan coming together closer, more united, with greater faith and higher discipline than ever before.

I see a new willingness in the psyche of formerly apathetic Pakistanis finally starting to speak up. Much that I would like to take credit for having written the article asking people not to be silent anymore, in reality my recent article was written knowing in my heart of hearts how great a future we all want for Pakistan.

I know in my heart, mind, body and soul exactly what greatness lies within the hearts, minds and souls of my fellow Muslims and Pakistani people.

Pakistanis taking a stand, and speaking against the evil-doers and the bad news, is the good news, even the best news, we have heard all year.

==
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

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Continue reading “The Good News About The Bad News In Pakistan”

Hoping For Good Luck, On Friday The 13th

This has been quite an eventful week in New York. The previous few weeks of economic decline, bad financial news, increasing unemployment numbers and other news of global distress had been pushing the New York Stock Exchange consistently and constantly lower and lower.

Things were so bad that people would have preferred a return of the stress-filled yo-yo stock market days, where one at least had a 50-50 chance of making or losing money!

From a high of almost 13,000 the NYSE reached 6500 and there was talk of it even heading lower. There were fears that it might even fall below 6000 before all is said and done.

This decline continued while the flood of bad news also continued unabated. The only silver lining one could see around these ominous dark clouds was that most companies were choosing to do greater layoffs than they need and reducing costs as much as they can.

Even though each job lost is something that can mean the destruction of dreams of a family, sadly, for big businesses it is all a numbers game. Companies generally prefer to dish out all their bad news in one lump rather than dish it out piecemeal. It is generally easier to recover from a massive jolt and negative dip in stock prices over a few weeks or months. It is harder to get over the malaise that can cripple a company’s stock price if the bad news, no matter how small, just keeps coming every few weeks.

What’s that suggests to me, and keep in mind that I’m no financial adviser, is that most companies may be gearing up to have better than expected results at the end of the March quarter. Or, at least results that are less terrible than the market anticipates. Either one of these could potentially mean a rise in stock prices in April.

Even before the end of the quarter, a few pieces of good news have come out. One of them was that Citibank has been profitable for the last two months. This is the giant global behemoth that is one of those banks considered too large to be allowed to fail. This news came shortly after the bank’s stock was trading at as low as one Dollar per share, a far cry from nearly $60 per share it used to be.

Anybody who bought those shares at the ridiculously low price of one Dollar literally made a profit of 35% in one day, as investors suddenly found their greed outweighing their fear.

Financial company stocks in general benefited from this uptick in the stock market. Most major stocks have been rising consistently for the last few days, though I expect some drops as profit-taking starts again.

Even though it is far too early to claim that the market will not plumb new lows, but more than likely, one year from now economists and other so-called experts will analyse and say that the recovery had begun at an anaemic but measurable rate in these weeks.

President Barack Obama and his team have had most of their focus on the American economy – as well as the global recession that still imperils the world. But in the meantime other serious matters of the world continue to demand attention.

As is consistent with Pakistan and its self-destructive ways, once again American media and Pakistan bashers have gotten ample opportunity to raise the specter of Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists – should the country spill further into anarchy.

The recent blatant and brazen terrorist attacks in the metropolitan city of Lahore, the despicable attempts to kill the Sri Lankan Cricket team and the evil murder of police officers and innocent bystanders there showed how almost no part of Pakistan is safe. This was an attack obviously not carried out by Taleban type thugs but by some well-organised but equally evil professionally trained gang of killers.

The Taleban continue to remain in the news, especially Pakistan ceding control of Swat and other regions to what are perceived as extremist groups. American drone and missile strikes continue to kill Pakistanis, innocent or otherwise, with disturbing regularity. India continues to rattle its sabers in the guise of demanding justice for the Mumbai attacks. In other words, there is no possible threat, internal or external, military, economic, political or social that Pakistan does not face.

Yet our shameless, spineless, gutless, clueless and witless politicians continue to fight over who sits at the head of the table – while this ship of state is rapidly sinking. Unlike even the Titanic, Pakistan is like a ship whose captain has been aiming it at every single iceberg he can see. On top of that, the ship has been torpedoed from behind. Its own crew is setting fire to cabins and furniture while others are busy looting what they can.

It is no wonder therefore that foreign powers, including America, find that the only way to control Pakistan, even to keep it from self-destructing, is to manage it not as friends but as masters. And, Pakistani politicians are quite OK with that.

From politicians, I want to shift to lawyers. Every country in the world has its share of lawyer jokes. For the last one year, and once again this month, it happens to be Pakistan’s lawyers and barristers, who have taken up the challenge to restore democracy and justice.

A profession that relies not on regular salaries but on almost daily work in the courthouse has once again stepped up, at great cost to its self, economically, professionally, personally. Today I must salute the lawyers and other professionals of Pakistan, not just for bringing down one dictator, but for ensuring that Pakistanis as a nation see that they can choose and control what the government can or cannot do when an elected person tries to act as a dictator.

Will democracy rule or will Pakistan sink into the abyss of chaos and anarchy?

The fact that things have come to this stage in itself is a tragedy. For the first time in more than 60 years we had an opportunity to establish state institutions. This was a historic opportunity because so many forces lined up in a once in a century series of events. The sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto, the professionalism of General Kayani, the sensibility of some political leaders and the great courage of Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry and fellow judges. Rarely had so many forces lined up to restore true democracy to Pakistan. And, sadly, rarely have historic opportunities of such greatness been grasped in Pakistan.

As I am writing these lines in New York – on this 13th of March – I am hoping for some good luck for Pakistan. The only positive news is that some sort of compromise may be in the works in Islamabad. I, like millions of Pakistanis, can only hope and pray for that miracle and some Good Luck, today, on Friday The 13th.


This article was in client publications on Friday the 13th, 2009.

Imran Anwar is a New York 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

The Three Trillion Dollar Question & The Answer Is….

The fact is that the American and the global economy are in a severe recession. The biggest problem is a crisis of confidence. Uncertainty is always known to be the enemy of confidence. I am reminded of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that we were taught in our electrical engineering studies, at the University of Engineering and Technology at Lahore 25 years ago.

The problem with the uncertainty today is that no one seems to know what they are uncertain about. Almost everyone agrees that the economy will eventually recover. Most people can also see the signs, not just here in America, but also abroad. These show some economic activity has begun to take place.

Some of the positive news that has come out in the American media recently has been a decline in the number of homes going into foreclosure. This has come at the same time as higher retail sales figures for the month of January. Of course these numbers may look higher compared to the very dismal sales figures of December 2008. Regardless, it is a positive sign.

However, it seems that at every stage, and at every piece of news, the stock market reacts adversely. My personal suspicion is that most large investors, including players in the stock market, and other influential figures may also be playing an active but insidious role in ensuring volatility in the stock market.

Mind you, I have no actual proof of this. It is merely a hunch. My suspicion is that these people play the stock market not just for regular profit but for nefarious purposes.

The volatility is actually not random but manipulated by certain key investor groups. It is their way of ensuring that people in government, the media as well as the public at large remain uncertain, as well as demanding of a bigger and bigger stimulus package, that is likely to benefit fewer and fewer people.

In other words, the more volatility they show in the market, the more they can get people to panic. The more that happens, or the more things appear uncertain, the greater the likelihood of being able to force the government to spend billions of dollars more, mostly on pork barrel spending or bailouts of crooked bankers.

There are several other positive signs. The price of oil continues to remain low. President Baraka Hussein Obama, with the support of his Democratic majority in Congress, has succeeded in passing a massive stimulus package. This stimulus package as it is called is nearly $800 billion worth of mostly government spending.

This package has come on top of nearly $2 trillion being pumped into American banks. In other words almost $3 trillion is getting spent on restarting the American economy. But is it going to be enough? That is the massive historical question.

My personal feeling is still ambivalence towards these amounts being spent.

I am highly opposed to the massive money poured into banks that did not lend money to consumers. Some of these shameless perpetrators of corporate malfeasance, and gross negligence and incompetence, went on to give themselves billions of dollars in bonuses. One yearns for the days of public hanging of vile characters like that.

Similarly, the money being spent on big government projects are not the answer for short-term solutions that we need to jumpstart the economy really quickly. For example, many projects will take months, if not years, to actually get rolling. Many approval processes and similar formalities will insure other delays. That means any hiring or new jobs that come from these projects may take years to come into the economy.

As a matter of fact, if the economy recovers on its own, especially with the private sector leading the way, it is even possible that by the time these government projects come online most of the capable talent will already be in private service. That means either less experienced or less capable people will end up running those projects. That increases the likelihood of failure and wasted money.

For months I have been proposing an alternate economic recovery plan. My proposal was based not on spending $3 trillion but one trillion.

My proposal is very simple. I suggest that the government set aside $1 trillion and create a state run bank. This bank would issue a short-term limited use credit card. On average the $1 trillion would be given out as a $10,000 credit card to 100 million American households. The range of credit available on these cards would be $5000-$25,000 (hence the average of about $10,000 per household).

The credit cards would be issued with a very simple set of rules. They would only be given to people who are legal residents, or citizens, and who had paid taxes in the last three years. They would not have filed bankruptcy during that period. People would have between 30 and 90 days to use up the entire limit on their credit card. That means “use it or lose it” would be the rule.

This would ensure that one trillion American dollars would jump right back into the economy within 30-90 days. People would be allowed to buy anything legal at any American merchant who accepts these credit cards. These credit cards could even be used to buy an American automobile, if people wanted to. That way American consumers money would be going to American automakers to help them recover – but without it being a no strings attached bailout, as was previously being asked for.

This credit card would not be a giveaway. The entire money borrowed by the consumers would have to be repaid in full, with interest, to the government. However, instead of 15-25% interest rates that most banks charge on credit cards, if they were even issuing new credit, people would be able to pay in this credit card loan back to the government at a nominal interest rate of about 5%.

Even at this 5% rate consumers would be saving a ton of money in interest payments. At the same time even the government would be making a lot more money in interest income than it has been getting from literally giving away taxpayer money to banks at nearly 0%.

Instead of the government trying to set up the infrastructure for doing this, I would have MasterCard, Visa and American Express compete for the business of merchant processing. The condition would be that they would not charge the typical 3-5% transaction fee to merchants but 0.5%
In exchange merchants would have to pass that in savings to consumers. It would still be a win-win-win for everybody.

The credit card companies would still get to process hundreds of millions of new transactions – without having to do any marketing. Merchants would be ensured of immediate new cash coming in through these transactions – without additional cost. Consumers would benefit from the lower costs being passed on to them – without having to wait for expensive credit lines from sleazy banks.

People would have the choice of paying this credit card in monthly statement payments, just like any other credit card. In addition they could also make payments to this credit card loan by adding some of the amount due to the annual taxes that they pay.

Within five years most of the money will be recovered in full, with interest. $1 trillion will immediately go into the US economy to jumpstart it. Many consumers will be able to buy things that they are unable to afford for lack of credit right now. Thousands of merchants will be able to stay in business with the influx of cash. States will benefit from sales tax revenues starting up again. Manufacturers will be able to keep factories running and people employed. Above all, the solution benefits every American, at every level of education and economic strata, not just a few.

I believe my $1 trillion answer is the solution to the $3 trillion question. What do you think?

IMRAN.TV: (Urdu) “What’s Next In Pakistan-India, Palestine-Israel Issues & Obama Administration?”

Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, New York, Local video feed clip of Pakistani TV channel’s question:

Q. What is the situation in America and what comes next for India-Pakistan, Israel-Palestine and other issues under the Obama administration?

What is your opinion?

Category: News & Politics

IMRAN.TV: (Urdu) “What Are People’s Expectations From Obama?”

Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, New York, Local video feed clip of Urdu TV channel’s question:

Q. What are people’s expectations of President Barack Hussein Obama?

What is your opinion?

Category: News & Politics