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

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

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

Israel Celebrates New Year With Palestinian Genocide, Before Obama Takes Office

Israel’s blockades and targeted killings were Hamas’ excuse to shoot rockets into Israel.

Maybe 5 Israelis killed in 2 years. Israel has killed nearly 1000 Palestinians in just a few days, mostly civilians and many children.

Who’s responsible, and what needs to be done?

Strong opinions. Responses welcome whether you agree or disagree.

Playing Games With The Future

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

Playing The Blame Game

The historic election of president-elect Barack Obama is complete. Jockeying has begun for positions in the new Cabinet and the new administration – which will take oath of office in early 2009. Democrats who have worked hard for Obama’s success are lining up.

On the Republican side, the blame game continues on who was responsible for the disastrous showing of the Republican Party in the recent elections. Not only did a relative newcomer to politics, but an African-American on top of that, manage to beat a far more established political rival John McCain, Democrats also increased their significant majority in Congress and now even the Senate. It’s going to be a difficult 2-4 years for the Republicans.

While the Republicans are still licking their wounds, they are still not an agreement on whether the defeated vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was an asset or a serious liability.

There are some who admit that Sarah Palin was a terrible selection. Even the unofficial mouthpiece of the Republican Party, and the ultra-right-wing as well as neo-con movements of the United States, Fox News Channel, had one of its reporters rattling off a litany of Sarah Palin weaknesses.

Of course this was done after the election. This included apparently amazing, and downright scary, facts like the candidate for vice president of the United States, one heartbeat away from the presidency if the physically challenged John McCain was to die while in office, could not name the three countries that make up North America! Canada is to the North of us Americans, and Mexico is to the South. She did not know that! She did not know that Africa is a continent and not a country. The list goes on.

What is even more shocking than such an apparent moron being a major political party’s candidate is that some people still do not seem to have learned a lesson from this defeat. It appears that some part of the Republican Party still does not get it. There are people who are already positioning Palin for a presidential run in 2012. They seem to think that extreme right-wing ultraconservative bible thumping hockey mom small town Christian mentality is what America needs. Heaven forbid!

These people are quite clear in their thinking that she was a great candidate who was simply defeated because the media did not like her. Blaming the media is nothing new, as we know in all countries. Most parties and candidates do it, especially if they are falling behind or defeated.

However, even as a writer who worked for a newspaper (Jang Group & MAG Weekly) in Pakistan that was constantly attacked by the left and right asking for greater coverage than the other side, I find the Republican Party’s blaming the media laughable.

I am all for being fair and balanced, for real, unlike just as a dumb slogan, and giving equal coverage to all parties – especially at the start of the race.

The media’s job is not to be a mouthpiece of either party, nor should it try to influence people in one way or the other, when the choice is between two equally strong candidates.

But, it is ridiculous to assume that the media should be giving equal coverage, or writing equal number of "positive stories" if one candidate is running an awesome campaign and the other just cannot seem to get his foot out of his mouth.

Another amazing thing that is happening now, post-election, is that the same Sarah Palin who was unavailable to do any interviews, or take any press conferences except with carefully chosen friendly journalists, is now all over the media.

One of my favourite TV anchors is Campbell Brown over at CNN. She is bright, beautiful and bold. That is why it is great to see her run a show called "No Bias No Bull". In a recent episode I loved it when she declared that during the elections they could not get Sarah Palin to speak to them and now, post-election, Palin does not ever seem to "shut up!"

Suddenly the same Republican Party that was attacking the media elite, while not making its candidates available to speak to them, is actively courting the media.

John McCain made his first TV appearance after losing the election on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno". To his credit McCain has been a gentleman in defeat. He has been gracious and even funny. He told Jay Leno that after losing the election he has been sleeping like a baby. He sleeps for two hours, wakes up crying and goes back to sleep.

In the meantime Sarah Palin, who was calling Barack Obama a socialist, is now gushing with praise and kind words for him and his family. The same man that she was trying to label a terrorist-friend is one she is suggesting should be selecting opponent republicans to be members of his Cabinet. Nice try.

Only time will tell if the Republican Party will continue down this destructive path of courting the ultra-right-wing, fundamentalist Christian, extreme elements of American society.

I, for one, am hoping that the American public and the American media will continue to keep an eye on what and how the Democrats do in the next two years. If it looks like they are foolishly squandering the historic opportunity that American voters gave them, it would be an opportunity for the Republican Party to find its footing, and its place in history again. But that cannot be done just by playing the blame-the-media game.

As a member of the media, I also feel it is our responsibility, to now report accurately, fairly and with an eye to the future. America, and the world, stand together on the brink of disaster but with great and bright future days still within sight. It is up to us to work together to make that brighter future a reality.

[Continued…]

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

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

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

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