Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shirtless Obama......

Note that Obama is not the first President to be photographed without a shirt on. Others were Ford, Clinton, and Reagan. Obama thought seems to be in the best shape of the 3, but also is the youngest at the time.

Pakistan...a failed Nation

Of all the major countries of the world it is only Pakistan that appears to be faced with insurmountable problems. Although put together as the predominately Muslim regions of British India it did not have ethnic-cultural coherence in addition to religious coherence. The northern and northwestern portion of Pakistan is Pushtun and closer ethnically to southern Afghanistan than to the west Punjab region or the Sindh region. There have been major mistakes in policy starting from the very beginning with the formation of the country with two wings separated by 1600 miles of Indian territory and incompatible linguistic and cultural differences. The blighted policy choices continued with an early adoption of socialism as the political economic goal for Pakistan. The history of Pakistan has seen re-occurrent military takeovers of the government, making Pakistan a highly unstable country.
Pakistan is unfortunately, not a country with an army; it is an army with a country.
On November 3, 2007 Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf declared a state emergency across Pakistan, imposed martial law, and suspended that nation's Constitution. In the capital of Islamabad, soldiers forcibly entered the Supreme Court, surrounded judges' homes, put opposition leaders under house arrest, and began rounding up thousands of peaceful political activists and politicians. On Monday, November 5th, thousands of lawyers took to the streets to protest the illegal imposition of martial law in their country. Musharraf's response was to have hundreds of these peaceful lawyers violently dragged through the streets and arrested. In the last two days alone, an estimated minimum of 3,500 people have been forcibly incarcerated as political prisoners.

For those Pakistan watchers who are familiar with the tragic history of this artificially created state, this latest crackdown on democracy and freedom by a governing Islamist elite that has imposed dictatorship on its citizens for most of its 60 years of existence, comes as no surprise.

Originally constituting the western provinces of India, Pakistan's artificial establishment came about on August 14, 1947 as an Islamic bulwark against what the British feared would be an eventually powerful and prosperous Hindu India that could in the future possibly rival its own colonial interests. Previous to 1947, there was never an historical political entity known as "Pakistan" (indeed, the very term "Pakistan" itself was coined from an acronym of Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan). In the last 60 years, Pakistan has instigated three major wars and one minor war against its democratic neighbor of India. Pakistan is a country that has been riddled since its manufacture with a unsettling history of perennial dictatorships, martial law, political and religious repression, persecution of minorities, horrendous ethnic strife, state-sponsored terrorism, and an irreparably failed economy deceptively propped up by the infusion of multi-billions of U.S. tax- payers' dollars.

To the tremendous bewilderment of many, the Bush administration has insisted upon making Pakistan a key ally in the war on terror despite the fact that Pakistan has always been itself one of the most insidiously unremitting state sponsors of terrorism in the world. It was the infamous ISI secret intelligence agency of Pakistan that founded and supported the Taliban in its initial take over of Afghanistan and in its ruthless reign until its final overthrow at the hands of the U.S. military. Pakistan has harbored Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda minions in its northwestern frontier territory for the last five years, and refuses to allow U.S. military personnel into the area to capture him. Pakistan has waged a proxy terrorist war against the Hindu civilian population of Kashmir for decades, making hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus refugees in their own country and devastating a region of India that at one time was one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth. By the sheer weight of the sum total of its destructive terrorist actions over the years, Pakistan has brazenly shown the world that it not only deserves to be placed squarely within the so-called Axis of Evil formulated by President Bush in 2002 – but that it belongs in the prime spot of prominence in that notorious list!

By every measure of what constitutes a successful nation-state, Pakistan has shown the world since its inception that it is incapable of meeting even the minimal standards of surviving as a viable unified political-social entity.

Pakistan is an artificial political construct in which several diverse and historically rival ethnic groups were arbitrarily forced together into what was supposed to become an Islamic melting pot. Rather, Pakistan has been faced with calls for independence by many of these various ethnic groups, which has in turn led to decades of brutal oppression by the central authorities against ethnic activists. Like Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Pakistan is destined to be
rent asunder by these contrasting ethnic interests in the very near future. Pakistan's 165 million long-suffering people would be significantly better off if this natural process of political devolution were allowed to occur.

Rather than continuing to support the notion of an impossible to salvage central state, Pakistan should be allowed to naturally devolve into the several smaller states historically comprising the territorial demarcations of its multiple ethnic divisions. Rather than a failed Pakistani state, there should be four independent states of Balochistan, Afghania (the present "North-West Frontier Province" that constitutes the traditional home of the Pashtun
people), Punjab, and Sindh, with "Azad" Kashmir reverting back to India.

Nothing less than the naturally occuring disintegration of the present-day Pakistan will ensure the political stability of the region, the assurance of the human and civil rights of the people of Pakistan, and the irradication of the world's most unstable and dangerous terrorist state. The latest crippling blow to democracy in a long history of such blows must be enough to starkly persuade us that it is time to move on from the failed "Pakistan" experiment.
An interesting change in the Failed States Index (published by The Fund for Peace) is #9 Pakistan. Pakistan was at #13 in 2007, from a quick analysis of the index it is clear that a huge economic downturn is the main reason for Pakistan’s move to a premier position amongst the Top 10 failed states. There are no surprises in the top 10 for 2008 as they are the usual suspects…as a matter of fact the top 10 have remained pretty much the same since 2006…Haiti left the Top 10 in 2007 and Guinea got pushed out simply because of Pakistan’s horrible year.
Here’s the Top 10 (No surprises here!):
1. Somalia
2. Sudan
3. Zimbabwe
4. Chad
5. Iraq
6. D.R. Congo
7. Afghanistan
8. Cote d’Ivoire
9. Pakistan
10. Central African Republic

By the way…give it up for Scandinavia because Sweden, Finland, and Norway are the bottom three nations on the index, making them the ‘least failing’ nations in the world.
These are the twelve indicators The Fund for Peace uses to rank nations into the Failed States Index:
Social Indicators
• I-1. Mounting Demographic Pressures
• I-2. Massive Movement of Refugees or Internally Displaced Persons creating Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
• I-3. Legacy of Vengeance-Seeking Group Grievance or Group Paranoia
• I-4. Chronic and Sustained Human Flight
Economic Indicators
• I-5. Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines
• I-6. Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline
Political Indicators
• I-7. Criminalization and/or Delegitimization of the State
• I-8. Progressive Deterioration of Public Services
• I-9. Suspension or Arbitrary Application of the Rule of Law and Widespread
Violation of Human Rights
• I-10. Security Apparatus Operates as a “State Within a State”
• I-11. Rise of Factionalized Elites
• I-12. Intervention of Other States or External Political Actors

Friday, December 12, 2008

Beautiful Eyes

Monday, December 1, 2008

World Clock