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Archive for the ‘Sarah Palin’ Category

Playing The Blame Game

Posted by imrananwar on November 14, 2008

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

Posted in America, Barack Obama, Cabinet, Democrats, Economy, Elections, George Bush, Imran, Imran Anwar, Jang, McCain, Obama, Pakistan, Republicans, Sarah Palin | 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 »

Barafee’s Law: How To Lose Friends & Be Despised By People

Posted by imrananwar on October 6, 2008

Part 1: How To Lose Friends & Be Despised By People

By Imran Anwar

I think it was not too long ago when I had written about the way the American Democratic Party could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, much like Pakistan could find a way to destroy any opportunity to promote itself.

Quite frankly, I was quite aghast at the prospect of the Pakistan People’s Party, cashing in on the death of late Benazir Bhutto, electing Asif Ali Zardari as President of Pakistan. I am not even sure it could be called electing him, as it was more like confirming instructions given to them by the party, and not their own minds and consciences. (Talk about figments of my imagination).

It was my stubborn belief in thinking “I’d rather have a crooked elected leader than a crooked incompetent dictator,” that I continued to cling to, and, sad to say, still do. But, if events of the last few weeks, and most recent days are any indication, Pakistan has provided, and continues to provide, all kinds of reasons to the world to show how bad Democracy can be, in the hands of the wrong people.

I was in Islamabad for the oath-taking of Mr. Zardari. I will not even bore readers with a rehash of the weirdness of the whole event. It was painful to see a person like him take “oath” of office of President, and that too from a “Chief Justice” that by his own previous policies was considered to be not even legal.

Then to have the repulsive, even despicable, behavior of the PPP workers, who were chanting Bhutto and PPP slogans, during the national anthem on that surreal yet historic moment. I know they have no sense, but have they no shame either, is what I thought?

Then to see more PPP jialas and jialis actually phalang-ing the gates to the supposedly most-secure civilian location in the country was too funny even for words.

I recall some American journalists asking me how could it be possible that some totally unidentified, thuggish people claiming to be PPP workers actually climb over the walls to get into an event unhindered, where almost the entire civilian and military top brass were present? All I could do was give a “What can I tell you,” shrug to hide my embarrassment and amazement. I bet AlQaeda was watching that video clip. (The same pathetic and shameless “Party above Pakistan” mentality was displayed by Zardari supporters, in New York, this week).

Anyway, as if that was not enough, for the Government of Pakistan to actually give a seat and joint press conference opportunity to a puppet from next door, Hamid Karzai, who barely rules over his own palace’s dining room, was just one more moment of amazement.

I did tell my friends and listeners that it was not by accident, but by design, that Zardari had Karzai there. The whole idea was to have a distraction, and to find an additional tool, on top of Mr. Zardari’s obvious deflection of EVERY single important question asked of him.

I was still scratching my head wondering if this whole charade of “elections” was worth the country suffering or Benazir being murdered in very mysterious circumstances, as I flew back to New York. (Don’t even get me started on telling you the stories of having flown PIA, the national flag carrier -, OK, OK, if you insist, maybe in a subsequent article in these pages.)

Being an eternal optimist, I decided to ignore all the above observations and give this new government in my original homeland, Pakistan, a chance, to prove me wrong in thinking I was wrong about democracy in Pakistan.

Yes, yes, I know I am using a double negative. But, if I can’t openly disagree with myself, who else can I disagree with! (LOL)

During this time, as you have read my previous columns, my fellow American politicians were not really doing much to make me feel more confident in the kind of democracy that is practiced in my American homeland.

In America I was crying for 8 years at history’s biggest moron, George W. Bush, as President. Pakistan decided to go one up, and elect a President with admitted mental problems.

It was not enough to have to see Bush stealing one election, incompetently watching 9/11 happen, letting Bin Laden continue to roam the wild lands, start a wrong war in Iraq, meltdown the American economy, help oil buddies and Hailburton make Bilion$ in profit with VP Dick Cheney pulling the strings – while melting down America’s global goodwill.

I then had to see Pakistanis elect a man called Mr. Ten Percent to President, riding on the “dupatta­”-tails of his murdered wife, having his shameless supporters dishonor the national anthem at nothing less than the Presidential oath taking.

How much worse could it get, I wondered. After all, Mr. Bush is only in office a few more months. Zardari sahib and his jialas will finally settle down from the indigestion of getting more than they can handle, somewhat like a starving man coming to a dinner buffet at The Village restaurant in Lahore and eating until finally full, or sick.

No, my fellow Americans, especially the Republicans, had to shove the mindless, inane, hypocritical, almost comical, highly-ridiculed Sarah Palin as the VP candidate under 700-year old John McCain. You already read my opinion on her. By the way, I read somewhere that McCain was bottom of his class in his student days (something like #894 out of 899 students) making him even more scarily similar to George Bush.

So, I am thinking, OK, this is not so bad. My Pakistani President only embarrassed me by being elected, actually taking oath, breaking signed agreements he has, going back on his word, mismanaging the relationship with China, and others, and so on. Bush and then McCain-Palin, as candidates, means the Republicans have embarrassed me as an American even more.

Phew, at least things can’t get worse or more embarrassing for Pakistan, I assumed.

I said to myself, “I mean, what else could go wrong?”


Part 2: Welcome To The World Of Barafee’s Law ™

By Imran Anwar

In the previous column, I had been discussing about how my two homelands, America and Pakistan compete to amaze and embarrass me with their politicians. First we had the moronic George W. Bush for President here, TWICE.

Then Pakistanis elected a man called Mr. Ten Percent and having medical records showing mental problems. (Well, at least, as they say, “paagal hai, baywaqoof naheen“, {‘He’s crazy, but he ain’t stupid!’}).

Then the Republicans among my fellow Americans selected John McCain (aged 72 or something) and Sarah Palin (with an IQ of about 72, which is a step up from Bush) as their nominees for elections in 2008. And, I said to myself, “That’s got to be it. How much worse could it get?!”

Darn! Spoke too soon. As if to prove Murphy’s Law applies to politicians and Pakistan’s reputation Mr. Zardari actually showed up in New York.

This led to my version of Murphy’s Law, which I will call Barafee’s Law. This is based on a new recipe for the sweetmeat (Barfee) and ice (Baraf).

My newly announced Barafee’s Law basically states that “If there is any opportunity to embarrass and harm Pakistan’s interests and reputation, our “sweet” politicians (or worse, Presidents), trying to be “cool” will use it to the fullest.”

I had always squirmed seeing how Dictator Musharaff used to “visually undress” well known celebrities, like Angelina Jolie, if they showed up in Islamabad. Mr. Zardari did one better. He made President Dictator Musharaff look like a refined gentleman.

He came to New York, found himself in the same room as the ridiculed and reviled Sarah Palin, and started hitting on her (flirting, pathetically trying to seduce), again, and again, and again.

That is not done, even in a socially liberated (read, very azaad khayal) country like America, where 50% marriages end in divorce, where secret affairs are also common, where dating is a social norm, where the American “conservative” VP candidate Sarah Palin’s own underage daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. There is one thing no one does, at least publicly – and that is to hit on (to try to charm or seduce) a married woman.

Yes, it happens, but it is highly frowned upon.

Doing so publicly is considered nothing less than despicable, and the lowest of lows. It is not to be done, period. It is especially not to be done in public and, especially, especially, especially not as a head of State of an ISLAMIC Republic.

Yes, it is not done especially as a “grieving widower” whose own wife was murdered supposedly by terrorists (or some other conspiracy that can well be imagined after seeing such behavior).

It seems like Mr. Zardari would get along just fine with the notorious American ex-movie-actor football-star thug O. J. Simpson, who got away with killing his wife and who still claims to be “searching for her real killers”!

But, I digress.

I am not perfect. Far from it.

Yes, I am “Happily Single” (see http://happilysingle.net ) and will never claim to be “mukkamal kanwara” like a well known Playboy cricketer of the same name as me did many years ago. I am not a paragon of virtue. I am not without sin. I am most definitely no moral authority. So, believe me, I am not thumping some faux morality Bible on Asif Zardari’s head (skull!).

I am human, and I have said words without thinking in meetings or conferences. I am certain I must have made more than my share of inappropriate remarks (Sorry anyone who was hurt!!)

But, I am also not the President of my country. And, even after making some accidental, or shamelessly deliberate inappropriate comment, and realizing my mistake, I (and almost no one) has gone on to keep making the same remarks embarrassing the speaker and recipient of the Barafee (being cool and being extra ‘sweet’) gift.

Mr. Zardari left no doubt in anyone’s mind that while he was making speeches about working to avenge his wife’s killing by improving Pakistan and its future, in fact, he is nothing more than an out of control aging desi-Playboy who does not have any sense of decorum.

By making his comments to Sarah Palin, in full view of cameras, political operatives, Pakistan-haters, he showed he was not using his head for thinking but had something else in mind. He embarrassed Pakistan, Pakistanis, and the memory of the late Benazir Bhutto. Maybe he was missing her too much. (I am reminded of a Country Music song from some years ago. It was titled “Honey, I Miss You {But My Aim’s Getting Better!}”).

We had always been taught to “Win Friends And Influence People”, by our thoughts and actions, as I had been reading since I was a pre-teen going to St. Paul’s English High School in Saddar, Karachi.

It appeared Mr. Zardari was hell-bent on publicly making a fool of himself and doing maximum harm to Pakistani interests just to get a japhee (hug) from a married woman, who could one day (Khuda na Khasta) become VP or President of the USA.

I am serious. Sarah Palin’s candidacy is a joke but it can be a bigger joke for Pakistan.

Do a Google search for “Tina Fey As Sarah Palin On Saturday Night Live” or use http://tinyurl.com/IMRAN-MAG-TinaFey-SarahPalin to see how she is perceived. This woman herself was the biggest laughing stock in the world – until Mr. Zardari showed up in town, and in her tow, and apparently under her ‘sehr‘ (magic).

We have a serious national crisis in Pakistan, with terrorists intent on destroying the country (and killing its leaders). Obama and McCain both now consider Pakistan, not Afghanistan, the new front in their war on terror. They have their eyes on Pakistan’s nuclear assets, and terrorism statistics. President Zardari is more interested in Sarah Palin’s vital statistics.

She is highly unpopular even among educated and sensible women who supported Hilary Clinton, and there is a good likelihood that McCain-Palin will be an election disaster. But, by making comments about her popularity, Zardari has interjected himself, in a manner destructive to Pakistan, as officially supporting Republican candidates.

It was a lose-lose proposition, and Mr. Zardari not only took it, he played his cards on the same bad bet over and over. If Obama is elected President, his handlers may think Pakistan supported Republicans just because of the Pakistani President having several repeated moments of “tharak”. If McCain-Palin are elected by some remote chance, they will surely not have a high opinion of Pakistan.

With what face can a Pakistani President panting to hug a married VP candidate go to her boss and demand that the US administration not shoot missiles into Pakistan?

All Palin has to do is flash her eye-lids and maybe we will exchange giving them access to all Pakistan’s tactical assets in exchange for a glimpse of her strategic assets.

Is that what our nation’s reputation in the world has come to? Mr. Zardari wrote the book on it… “How to lose friends and be despised by people.”

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

Posted in AlQaeda, America, Asif Zardari, Barack Obama, Barafee's Law, Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Bin Laden, Democrats, Dick Cheney, Elections, Flirting, George Bush, Joe Biden, Murphy's Law, Pakistan, PIA, Playboy, President, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Seduction, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Batman, Putin, Palin & The WoManchurian Candidate – Part 2

Posted by imrananwar on October 3, 2008

Part 2: The Hilarity of Waiting For Happy Endings

By Imran Anwar

Just like any movie that does well. This article is a sequel to the one from last week. If you did not read it, what are you waiting for, read it here first.

Let’s get back to the business of American business being driven out of business, by the perfect storm of perfect storms that partly formed, and partly were created by the Bush administration, that we discussed last week.

Thanks to Bush and Cheney the big oil companies were able to rape and plunder the American consumer for the last full year. They did this by causing prices to be higher than they had ever been. They brought the economic engine of the United States to a standstill.

Just as I had predicted, oil prices that were previously blamed on China and India buying a lot of oil, have suddenly, and miraculously, started dropping. I am, oh, so sure, that this decline in oil prices has nothing to do with the upcoming elections and the dire straits that the Republicans find themselves in.

During this same period, the United States dollar, which is as close to a global currency as there ever was one, has been in freefall. Sure, my fellow Pakistanis are hurting because the Dollar seems to be rising as the Rupee continues to fall against it. But in reality, the Rupee would have been even more significantly lower against the dollar, had the dollar itself not become so weak during the Bush administration.

In most countries a falling currency usually leads to greater exports. However, unfortunately for us Americans, we hardly have anything left to manufacture, so all we can export are Hollywood movies (that soon end up on pirated DVDs), some Boeing aircraft (that I can bet China is reverse engineering as I write this) and maybe some software – (that is not being pirated around the word already).

As a result, high oil prices first ground the American economic engine to a halt. Then, money that was being invested in real estate and the stock market started disappearing as that bubble started to burst.

During this time, due to extremely poor oversight of the banking and mortgage industries, some of the largest, oldest and most respected banks in America were caught with their pants down. Assuming that the good times would continue forever, they had been buying up bad mortgages hand over fist. This was also true of two government backed organizations, nicknamed Fannie and Feddie, that also just went belly up with the US government having to bail them out. Today, AIG, one of the largest insurance companies also got a government bailout. All this time, consumers, and ordinary shareholders are bleeding to poverty and financial death.

As a result, when the consumer cash flow stopped these banks found themselves holding billions and billions of Dollars of worthless paper representing real estate that had lost a huge portion of its value compared to the bubble prices that they purchased at.

Some of these stories may sound familiar to my fellow Pakistani readers, who suffered from stock market and real estate market manipulations, reportedly at the hands of the highest leaders of the previous understanding administration. Congratulations, you are not alone. You have something else in common with Americans. You too were ripped off by your leaders just as Americans were.

It is amazing to see the surreal way my fellow Americans are worried about totally insignificant things. They wonder whether Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama loves his country or not, because his plane does not have an American flag painted on it.

Others are wondering if the talented but increasingly unstable Lindsay Lohan will end back in rehab soon. Yet others are so excited that a new season of TV shows and trash reality TV is going to start soon.

Others are lining up to see the latest Batman or some similar blockbuster movies. Hundreds of thousands of others are busy discussing how good or bad a quarterback Bret Favre will be for the New York Jets. America’s future jetting towards disaster is far from their minds.

Thank God there are shows like Saturday Night Live, whose former star Tina Fey came back to do a skit on Sarah Palin. I encourage you to check out the NBC video of this skit. Or, see if you can watch some great comedy but done by real American media heroes like Jon Stewart with The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, on Comedy Central. They, it seems, are some of the few people calling it as it is, but is anyone listening. Do check them out on Apple’s iTunes Store (where yours truly also offers a free podcast to listen on your iPod or computer) or at http://www.comedycentral.com/ .

And all through this, the neo-con evil manufacturing factory is in full swing – trying to instill and install a medically, and some say mentally, unfit John McCain as president.

It is almost as if they are making a movie called The WoManchurian Candidate. Many concerned and patriotic Americans are wondering if the game plan actually is for McCain-Palin to be elected by hook or by crook and then the neo-cons hope for a quick demise of John McCain.

He is already a very old man with high risk of stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, 6 types of cancer in his past, former chain smoker, who takes Ambien to sleep. The neo-cons are hoping he succumbs to his medical conditions, so that this woman can be remote controlled to literally control the United States, and the world, far better than could have been done under an incompetent and now lame-duck George W. Bush.

I shudder to think of this perfect storm of perfect storms, all eying the United States, and any state that happens to be of strategic importance to the USA, especially Pakistan.

It is a scary thought. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to withdraw cash from what is left of my stock market account, so that I can go with my fellow American friends to watch some football games and movies. I hear a great new funny horror flick called “The WoManchurian Candidate” is being filmed around the country!

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

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Posted in Banking, Barack Obama, Colbert, Dollar, Economy, Imran, Jon Stewart, McCain, Oversight, Pakistan, Palin, Politics, President, Putin, Sarah Palin | 3 Comments »

Sex Appeal, Sax Appeal, American Idol, Idle Americans & The President

Posted by imrananwar on September 12, 2008

It is hard to imagine it was nearly 16 years ago that a brash, bold politician named Bill Clinton put his media-savvy personality, charm, good looks and sax-playing ability to good use on American television.
He showed up on TV as a guest of the now-defunct show with Arsenio Hall. (You remember him as the guy whose face flashes in the hit song “Straight Up (Now Tell Me)” by singer-dancer-choreographer, and now a judge on the hit TV show “American Idol”, the cute bundle of energy, Paula Abdul). Clinton did not do this while running for Mayor of some small town, but as a Presidential candidate of the United States of America.
Political analysts, and pundits, diverged in their views on the move. Some thought it cheapened the Presidency, making Presidential candidates act like actors or musicians hawking their latest books on late night shows of Jay Leno or David Letterman, or showing their tender sides on Oprah Winfrey’s show. Others thought it was a brilliant move. It enabled Clinton to connect with a politically disconnected youth population that was more interested in how high Madonna’s skirt was than in how low global opinion of America was.
In the end, Clinton won. This was partly for his savvy moves, and partly because George H. W Bush (father of the current lame-duck American President George Bush) was a clueless President who oversaw the US economy sliding into recession. (Like father, like son?)
And in the long run, American politics became even more inextricably mixed with show business, and the selling of candidates as products not leaders.
The victory of style over substance was visible all through the current Presidential election campaign now taking place in America. Despite not having too much experience, Barack Obama was able to use his star power and personality, his eloquence and some great ideas, to build a campaign. This has enabled him to overcome even the challenges of being inexperienced, Black and having a Muslim sounding name! He was able to beat out Hilary Clinton (who should possibly have learnt to play Guitar or Saxophone like her husband). Obama made a far more experienced and well-known Senator John McCain have to play catch up throughout the campaign.
But what advantage show-biz type political exposure giveth, so does it taketh away. John McCain’s campaign was in dire straits (some say it still is). But, more than any specific problems, it suffered the worst malaise in the world of politics today – it lacked “interestingness.”
There was just nothing exciting about a Presidential candidate who, despite being a war hero and long term senator, was seventy-something years old, and totally boring.
He had sided with George W. Bush in his disastrous policies on Iraq, and had no clues on how to solve Americans’ other major concern, the failing economy. On top of that he was jumping around from issue to issue.
He was weakly trying to appear relevant in a world driven by the star power of Barack Obama. His old guard Republican money machine, often selling out American interests to oil companies and the military industrial complex was being beaten by Obama’s money and public awareness juggernaut on the Internet. Youth was lacking in McCain and his campaign, while it was central in Obama’s campaign.
To make matters worse, McCain actually tried to cut into Obama’s mass popularity by implying that he was a mindless celebrity. In a now infamous TV commercial, McCain ridiculed Obama by comparing him to blonde bimbos like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton (previously my target of ridicule in another article). The only thing was, the technique backfired.
Paris Hilton (“famous for being famous” and infamous for her interesting “home videos”) was the wrong target to poke fun of. Not only was Paris Hilton’s mother a donor to McCain’s election campaign, to her credit, Paris Hilton played along and turned the tables. Enjoying being the center of attention, she turned that into her own political ad. You can see it on YouTube ridiculing John McCain, his campaign and so-called energy policies.
During all these McCain blunders, Hilary Clinton kept fighting Obama for the Democratic nomination. This time around, though, her very popular husband, Bill Clinton lost his groove, and was not able to swing support in her favor. Maybe it is because he said politically incorrect things while tooting his and his wife’s horn, but he also did not show up on TV to play the saxophone. That may have worked better than some of the things he said. Result: Hilary lost to Obama.
It seemed like a done deal for Obama to beat McCain. To top things off, Obama, whom the Republicans accuse of being inexperienced, chose quite a good candidate for Vice President. Senator Joseph Biden, while even more talkative than me after having four drinks of Pepsi and coffee, has vast foreign policy and Washington experience.
That is when the Obama campaign seems to have lost some momentum. Instead of building on this great candidacy they appear a bit rudderless right now.
There is also the question of race. When someone asked the question “Is America ready for a Black President?” one of my favorite TV personalities in America, John Stewart, reportedly said that before Bush’s election “No one asked if we were ready for a moron President!” But, whether Obama can turn his dynamic rise into a historical election remains to be seen.
That is when John McCain did the dumbest thing in the world – which just may put him into the running again to be President.
After ridiculing Obama for his lack of experience, seeing that Hilary’s loss had upset some women voters and people wanted change – he picked a very inexperienced woman governor of Alaska to become his Vice President.
How poorly selected was this woman, Sarah Palin?
After she was nominated it came to light that, despite the Republican’s often holier-than-thou attitudes and anti-choice agendas, Mrs. Palin’s underage daughter is pregnant. Now the Republicans are trying to sound more “open minded”. Instead of Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend being arrested for the crime of statutory rape, he was sitting front row at the Republican National Convention. What a joke.
But, wait, there’s more! Candidate Sarah Palin’s selected was so poorly vetted, it has now also been found that her husband belonged to some sort of militia or anti-USA organization that wanted Alaska to secede from the USA. Good old Sarah Palin also had used office funds for her personal use. On top of that, she used State funds to hire the lawyer to defend her in the case of that corruption. And we complain about Pakistani politicians!
You would think all these reasons would be enough even for a corrupt Pakistani political party to throw out the candidate in question. But, for the Republicans desperate to breathe new life into a comatose candidate like McCain, she is nothing short of a miracle.
She is not Virgin Mary, but she is their Hail Mary pass at scoring a touchdown this election. Sarah Palin is very attractive, as is McCain’s wife Cindy. This may be an election in which these two women’s looks may well decide the election.
Just like selling a new shampoo, the selling of the Presidential candidate to the American public now requires sex appeal, even more than sax appeal!

Posted in America, Anwar, Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Clinton, Democrats, Election, Hilary Clinton, Imran, McCain, Obama, Paris Hilton, Paula Abdul, Politics, President, Race, Republicans, Sarah Palin | Leave a Comment »

 
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