Category Archives: Random

LOVE RULES THE DAY!

Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings

By

WASHINGTON — In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.

The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions. But in clearing the  way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.

The decisions will only intensify the fast-moving debate over same-sex marriage, and the clash in the Supreme Court reflected the one around the nation. In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion striking down the federal law in a stately tone that indicated he was delivering a civil rights landmark. After he finished, he sat stonily, looking straight ahead, while Justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a cutting dissent.

Read more » The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/us/politics/supreme-court-gay-marriage.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

“I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” – Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source – Guardian

A former CIA technical worker has been identified by the UK’s Guardian newspaper as the source of leaks about US surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden, 29, is described by the paper as an ex-CIA technical assistant, currently employed by defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

The Guardian said his identity was being revealed at his own request.

The recent revelations are that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data.

The Guardian quotes Mr Snowden as saying he flew to Hong Kong on 20 May, where he holed himself up in a hotel. He told the paper: “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.

Asked what he thought would happen to him, he replied: “Nothing good.” He said he had gone to Hong Kong because of its “strong tradition of free speech”.

Continue reading “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” – Edward Snowden

Christian Church opens doors to Muslims

By Divya Talwar, BBC

St John’s Episcopal Church has opened its doors to Muslims for Friday prayers

On a bitterly cold and snowing afternoon in Aberdeen, the doors of St John’s Episcopal Church are open to hundreds of Muslim worshippers, arriving for daily prayers.

The familiar sounds of Christian hymns have been replaced with Islamic prayer in the chapel this Friday lunchtime and the church priest with the imam from the neighbouring mosque.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-21953899

Holding Onto Life

By Rev. Lou Kavar Ph.D.

The emotions caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting them, particularly during a meditation class. I had no realization this was something about which I felt so deeply. I sat with forty or fifty others in the Buddhist meditation hall. The leader guided us in meditation to consider the ways we are attached to things that bring us suffering. As he spoke, we were reminded of ways that people value wealth and possessions, power and influence, or position and reputation. As he went through the list, I thought about the ways I value having nice things and receiving respect from others. He reminded us that all things we’re attached to will pass from our lives. One day, they will all be gone. If our happiness is based on them, what becomes of our happiness?

That’s when an overwhelming sadness welled up within me. Tears began to stream down my face. My emotional response had nothing to do with my worldly possessions, accomplishments, or the esteem of others. Instead, the awareness came to me that one day I would lose what I valued so much: my relationship with a spouse, my companion and friend.

The truth is that I’m not much bothered by my own death. I recognize that life has been very good to me. But for ten years, I’ve shared my life with another. I simply don’t want it to ever end. Recognizing that I am the older person, I know that I am likely to die first. The thought of leaving my beloved and not seeing life continue to unfold was simply overwhelming.

During the break between sessions, I spoke with one of the other participants. She noticed I had a strong reaction to the meditation. As I tried to put words around my experience, she said that she too was struck by her mortality – even though the leader never drew us to consider that our lives would end.

Over the last few days I’ve sat with these feelings. I’ve tried to understand them, particularly in light of the Buddhist teaching of impermanence. It’s a simple lesson found in other great spiritual traditions. Every thing is always in a state of flux. Every thing that exists is changing. What is today will be different tomorrow. When we try to hold onto what is now, we are only left with frustration because it will change. That’s the nature of the lives we lead.

Continue reading Holding Onto Life

PAKISTAN – The poeple have spoken!

When you ask “why are the majority of Muslims silent against terrorism? Look at the masses voting in Pakistan today despite Taliban bombs going off at polling booths.” So many women and youth out there at the booths. Women who stood for their right to vote against armed, masked men. Despite all the threats the turnout has been awesome. Awesome job Pakistan!! The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is reporting that estimated 50% – 60% voter turnout across the country. The huge voter turnout was a kind of truimph of modern, secular democracy over and defeat of medieval-o-Fascism represented by barbaric Talibans and Jihadists. Second, success of a single mainstream party to obtain a near majority seats of the Federal Parliament would be good for the political stability of the country. Let no analyst, expert or pundit say there’s no hope for democracy in Pakistan. The people have spoken!

Courtesy: Adopted from Social Media (Pk e-geoups + Facebook + Twitter + DailyMotion)

Canadian dollar falls after highest job losses since recession 4 years ago

Canadian Dollar Tumbles After Unexpected March Employment Loss

By Ari Altstedter

The Canadian dollar fell in its biggest decline in nine months against its U.S. peer after the nation unexpectedly lost jobs last month by the most since the last recession four years ago.

The currency declined against 13 of its 16 major peers as Canada had 54,500 fewer jobs in March, compared with the 6,500 gain predicted in the median estimate of a Bloomberg survey of 24 economists. The nation’s jobless rate increased to 7.2 percent from 7 percent. The U.S. added 88,000 jobs in March, versus estimates of a 190,000 gain. The Bank of Canada’s March 6 policy statement called for the economy to “pick up through 2013” on its way to 2 percent annual growth.

“Huge miss on both numbers, but particularly the Canadian number after many months of surprisingly strong employment data, we’ve finally seen some give back, so pretty swift reaction for the Canadian dollar,” said Blake Jespersen, managing director of foreign exchange at Bank of Montreal, by phone from Toronto. “There’s a lot more room for this to run, I think this is just the beginning of what could be a series of weaker employment numbers in Canada.”

The loonie, as the Canadian dollar is known for the image of the C$1 coin, fell 0.5 percent to C$1.0176 at 5 p.m. in Toronto. Earlier, it fell 1.1 percent to C$1.0236 per U.S. dollar, the largest drop since June 28. One loonie buys 98.27 U.S. cents.

Bonds Gain

Canada’s benchmark 10-year government bonds rose, with yields falling four basis points or 0.04 percentage point to 1.75 percent, touching the lowest level since Dec. 11. The 1.5 percent security maturing in June 2023 rose 36 cents to C$97.68.

Crude oil, the country’s biggest export, fell 0.3 percent to $93.02 per barrel in New York, after touching its lowest point since March 7. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks fell 0.4 percent.

Canada’s jobs figures brings the labor market more in line with other parts of the economy, where output growth slowed to a 0.6 percent annualized pace in the fourth quarter and inflation has lagged the central bank’s 2 percent target since May. Last month’s figures mean Canada posted a net loss of 25,700 jobs in the first three months of the year.

’Ugly Across’

“It was ugly across the board, there wasn’t one redeeming feature for the Canadian employment report,” said Mark Frey, chief market strategist at Cambridge Mercantile Group, a corporate currency broker, by phone from Victoria British Columbia. “When you look at the overall employment figures for Q1 in Canada, you’re seeing a pretty bleak outlook that has turned almost on a dime from the last five months of 2012.”

A separate report showed Canada recorded its 11th straight merchandise trade deficit in February, the longest streak in at least 25 years, with the shortfall unexpectedly widening as exports of metals declined.

The deficit of C$1.02 billion ($1 billion) followed a January figure that was revised to C$746 million from C$237 million, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the string would end with a C$100 million surplus, based on the median of 21 forecasts.

“Obviously disappointment on both sides of the border,” said David Tulk, chief macro strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)’s TD Securities unit by phone from Toronto. “The labor market is sort of catching up to the wider economic backdrop that we’ve always argued is still quite subdued, so this helps a little bit.” ….

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-05/canadian-dollar-extends-loss-after-unexpected-march-jobs-decline.html

One bride for five brothers

Grooms’ sex-rota in one-room shack

By EMILY NASH

A YOUNG mum told last night how she has five husbands — who are all BROTHERS. Rajo Verma, 21, lives in a one-room shack with all five, sleeping with a different one each night on a rota. The housewife has no idea which one is the father of her toddler son. She said: “Initially it felt a bit awkward. But I don’t favour one over the other.” Husband Guddu, 21 — the first to make her his bride — insisted: “We all have sex with her but I’m not jealous. We’re one big happy family.” The couple got hitched in an arranged Hindu marriage four years ago and he remains her only official spouse.

But the custom in their village is she had to take as husbands his brothers Bajju, 32, Sant Ram, 28, Gopal, 26, and Dinesh — who married her last year when he turned 18.

Eldest brother Bajju said: “I consider her my wife and sleep with her like my brothers.” Rajo cooks, cleans and looks after 18-month-old Jay while her hubbies go out to work in Dehradun, northern India.

She said of the ancient tradition, called polyandry: “My mother was also married to three brothers so when I got wed I knew I had to accept all of them as my husbands.

Continue reading One bride for five brothers

Capitalism Becomes Questionable – by Richard D. Wolff

The depth and length of the global crisis are now clear to millions. In the sixth year since it started in late 2007, no end is in sight. Unemployment rates are now less than halfway back from their recession peak to where they were in 2007. Over 20 million are without work, millions more limited to part-time work, millions have been foreclosed out of their homes. Those who retain jobs suffer declining real wages, fewer benefits, reduced job security, and more work. This year of “austerity” began with an increase in the payroll tax rate for over 150 million wage-and-salary earners from 4.2 to 6.2 per cent (a 48% increase from 2012) — a far more significant tax event than the trivial — but wildly hyped — increase of taxes on those earning over $450,000 annually from 35 to 39.6 per cent (a 13% increase from 2012). Austerity deepens as Republicans and Democrats negotiate merely details of their agreements to cut government spending on social programs helping working people.

Between the crisis and today’s austerity policies lie the bailouts — a bought government’s program to aid mega-finance and other large corporations with unlimited funds unmatched by anything comparable for the mass of working people and smaller businesses. The bailouts worked for them, for the large corporations who secured them for themselves. For that reason, “recovery” blessed them while it bypassed everyone else. Now austerity policies shift onto the general population major portions of the costs of the crisis and the bailouts. The situation is so bad and US government complicity with capitalists at the people’s expense so exposed that the capitalist system is becoming questionable. Criticism challenges the last half-century’s treatment of capitalism as the absolutely best possible economic system, beyond any need for discussion or debate, justifiably implanted around the world by military force, etc.

First of all, this deep and long crisis undermines decades of confident assurances and predictions that another deep capitalist depression was no longer likely or even possible. Capitalism’s inherent instability overwhelmed and thus proved the futility of efforts to prevent its crises. Moreover, both conventional and extraordinary monetary and fiscal policies failed repeatedly to bring Europe, Japan, and the US out of the crisis. Central banks, international agencies, and national executives charged with economic responsibilities have, since 2007, spoken with assurance and met often, posed for media photos, puffed and threatened, made a few last-minute, stop-gap agreements, resolved to meet again and do more at the next meeting. However, the crisis continued for most people. In many places it has gotten much worse. All this challenges glib notions that capitalism’s highest authorities have the system “under control.”

Implicitly, at first, millions of people began to question whether capitalism does still “deliver the goods” as its defenders so long insisted. In the US, declining economic conditions for parents coupled with rising school debts and declining job prospects for their children suggest rather that capitalism “delivers the bads.” The widening inequalities of wealth and income that contributed to the crisis have in turn been further aggravated by it.

Continue reading Capitalism Becomes Questionable – by Richard D. Wolff

PAKISTAN IS A SLEEPING ECONOMIC GIANT THAT’S READY TO WAKE UP! – An Australian’s REBUTTAL to TIME Magazine’s story on Karachi, Sindh

By Tony Lazaro

The Editor, Time Magazine

Dear Editor,

I recently returned from a charitable trip to Pakistan, whereby I visited both Karachi and Islamabad. I spoke with several universities, key businesses, prominent business leaders and several religious people from all generations…

On the day I returned to the office, someone had placed your magazine (January 16, 2012), on my desk. I read with interest your article on Karachi and the city in doom. For a person to have just returned from the very same place that your magazine described was somewhat bizarre, so I read with great detail your writer (Andrew Marshall’s) account.

Let me begin by saying that I often flick through your magazine and find the articles of great interest, but on this particular day and this particular article, I found certain comments to be both one sided and indeed very negative. I say that because I saw a different Pakistan to what was portrayed in your article. I do not and will not comment on the political or religious problems that the country faces, but I will go so far as to say that not everything is as bad as the image that your magazine paints.

Sure there are deaths in the cities. Please show me a city in the world, that is free from political fighting and unrest. Sure there are differences in the political party opinions. Please show me a country in the world where the political parties agree. Sure the innocent are suffering. Please show me a country in the world where wealth and power is equal and the innocent don’t suffer. Sure corruption is in Pakistan. Please show me a country in the world that is corruption free.

My list could go on, but my point is that Pakistan does have problems…but so does every other country in the world in some way or another. However, in the case of ALL other nations, there are often good things to report and the media goes out of its way to promote these good things across the globe, whenever possible. The ridiculous amount of shootings in the USA are balanced off by the success of Google, Microsoft and Apple. The financial dilemmas of Greece are lost in the marketing of the Greek Islands as a holiday destination of choice. The child slave industry of India, is brushed under the carpet in favour of the nation’s growth in the global software boom. What I am trying to say, is that someone needs to look further into Pakistan and see that there are millions of great stories to write about, which would portray the country in a different light, to that what is being portrayed by your article.

When I was in Pakistan, I visited a towel manufacturing company (Alkaram Towels). They produced some $60million in export in 2011 and are aiming at $85million in 2012. A substantial increase in sales…in a recession I would remind you. The company was started by the current Chairman, Mr. Mehtab Chawla, at the tender age of nine, after his father passed away. Today the very man employs 3000 staff. Now that’s a story.

I visited universities of NED, Hamdard, Karachi, Szabist and NUST. The students are unbelievably intelligent. They spend their spare time developing APPS for android and apple. They are involved in cutting edge technology and no one in the world knows this. Why not send a reporter to Pakistan to look into this. Why not research good things in this nation, rather than just the bad things. At NUST (National Institution for Science and Technology – Islamabad)) there were 38,000 applications for medicine. There are only 83 seats for the medicine course on offer. The competition is unbelievable. In short it pushes the best to be even better. But the world doesn’t know this. Why ? Because no one wants to report on it, or no one knows about it…or both !!

Continue reading PAKISTAN IS A SLEEPING ECONOMIC GIANT THAT’S READY TO WAKE UP! – An Australian’s REBUTTAL to TIME Magazine’s story on Karachi, Sindh

Culture, Corruption and the Hereafter

Pervez Hoodbhoy

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Some readers, whose intelligence I respect, took my last op-ed to be dismissive of corruption as a cause of Pakistan’s social decay. I apologise for having failed to express myself adequately: I certainly do not dispute that Pakistan is reaping the terrible consequences of wholesale corruption. Corruption, by definition, expropriates that which rightfully belongs to others. By doing so, it hurts the poor more than the rich, lowers productivity, creates mistrust of authority, breaks down the social contract and leads towards ungovernability. We all know that the average Pakistani is frustrated and that he encounters corruption while reporting a crime, seeking justice in a traffic accident, getting an electricity or gas connection, securing admission to school for children, or getting a business contract signed. We have kunda mafias, tanker mafias, and mafias of all shapes and forms that raise the collective blood pressure.

So, instead of emphasising corruption, why did I choose to identify the principal problems of Pakistan as a) unbridled population growth; b) terrorism; and c) slowness of cultural modernisation? (Please wait until I define modernity; it doesn’t mean consumerism or rock music!).

My plea: corruption is a symptom of some social disease, but there are very many different kinds of such diseases. To borrow a medical analogy: high fever could come from typhoid, pneumonia, measles, flu and a hundred other diseases. They can all make you hot and sick, but no genuine doctor specifically targets ‘fever’. Buying the wares of roadside hakeems who advertise anti-fever brews is worse than useless. It is equally useless to target corruption without understanding its origins.

Continue reading Culture, Corruption and the Hereafter

Miss a Traffic Ticket, Go to Jail? The Return of Debtor Prison (Hard Times, USA)

Thought debtor prison ended in the 18th century? Think again.

Editor’s note: America has a long history of treating the poor like criminals, from legislation banning the transportation of poor people across state lines to anti-vagrancy laws that could land you in jail if you didn’t have a job or a home. We’ve come to rely on the criminal justice system to deal with the poor, even as more and more Americans fall into poverty. The following is part of a series that looks at the diverse ways poverty is criminalized in America, such as laws targeting the homeless, the surveillance of welfare recipients, the re-emergence of debtor’s prisons, and extreme policing tactics like stop-and-frisk.

Kawana Young, a single mother of two kids, was arrested in Michigan after failing to pay money she owed as a result of minor traffic offenses. She was recently laid off from her job, and could not pay the fees she owed because she couldn’t find another source of employment. So a judge sentenced her to three days in jail. In addition, Young was charged additional fees for being booked and for room and board for a place she did not want to be. In total, she has been jailed five times for being unable to pay her debts.

“It doesn’t make sense to jail people when they can’t pay because they definitely can’t pay while they’re in jail,” said Young.

Continue reading Miss a Traffic Ticket, Go to Jail? The Return of Debtor Prison (Hard Times, USA)

A four-day week for the good of the country?

Should people be off on Fridays?

By Vanessa Barford

The Gambia has shortened the work week, making Friday a day of rest. Is this the perfect pattern for a working week?

In the tiny African nation of The Gambia, public sector workers will now clock in at 8am and clock out at 6pm, Monday to Thursday. They’ll still do a 40-hour week but have the luxury of Friday off.

President Jammeh wants the extra rest day to “allow Gambians to devote more time to prayers, social activities and agriculture”.

In the dark days of the 19th Century, many workers in industrialised nations considered themselves lucky if they got Sunday off. The achievement of a 40-hour week with Saturday and Sunday off for many was a major landmark for the labour movement.

But some have tried to go further. In 2008, about 17,000 government officials in the US state of Utah started working four 10-hour days in a bid to cut costs. ….

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21242782

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

Veteran who found his way circles back to help others

By Petula Dvorak

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets. For 30 years, Gerard Thomas was one of them.

A paranoid schizophrenic, Thomas took a long time to get back indoors after serving in a stateside military hospital during the Vietnam War.

In and out of prison, mental institutions and straitjackets for decades, sleeping on park benches, in doorways or in the woods, Thomas was living proof of the holes in our social safety net.

He kept looking for help, he said, but like many veterans of that war, all he heard was “No.”

“Back then, people didn’t understand how damaged we were,” said Thomas, 62, who now devotes his life to helping homeless veterans.

Continue reading Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

‘Thank you, my dear Pakistan’ – By: PROF. JETHA NAND RAHI

MOST of the times we read and talk all the stuff that is against our sweet homeland. Here, I tell you a true story that is to thank Pakistan.

I was born in a very poor family in 1952 in Mirpurkhas district. My maternal uncles were educated up to the final class (i.e., equal to Class VII).

That inspired my mother to send me to school. At my village, ‘Dengan Bhurgri’, the birthplace of Raees Ghulam Muhammad Khan Bhurgri (the first graduate of Sindh), I studied up to Class VI. The great and selfess teachers taught very well. I studied from Class VI to Class X at Tando Jam Muhammad.

To earn for my studies, I started working when I was in Class V. The first wage was 25 paisa for a half day. It increased to Rs15, Rs50, Rs125 and finally to Rs200 a month in 1975.

Domestic circumstances compelled me to marry at the age of 20. I could not continue my engineering classes after HSC (Pre – Engineering) because of financial constraints. I did many odd jobs — at a restaurant, a fruit shop, a paan – bedi shop, a shoe shop, a cotton factory, a flour mill and at a trading company.

In January 1975 I took a bold step of quitting the job that meant losing Rs200 a month and sought admission in M.A. English literature at the University of Sindh. It all became possible because of Mr Fayaz Ahmad — my best friend — who gave me Rs200 a month for two years. His salary was only 350 and he was married too.

I studied 14 hours a day at the university hostel because there was no room for any sluggishness. I did my MA and got second position.

The great Principal, the late Capatin Shukuruddin, and the late Prof. Tariq Mustafa Khan selected me for the post of lecture in English in 1977 on merit.

I taught English at Cadet College, Petaro, for 35 years, and retired as Vice Principal this year.

The boy who earned Rs25 a day in 1962 was receiving Rs133,000 a month in 2012. Now, I am receiving a pension of Rs55,000 a month.

My head bows down to God Almighty, all the time.

Thank you, my dear Pakistan. Thank you, Cadet College, Petaro. Thanks to all those who helped me, especially Mr Fayaz and my late mother.

The moral of the story is: never be without hope, never be discouraged. Just keep working hard with a total faith. Time does not remain the same. Stop talking and writing against Pakistan.

We have, recently, been declared the 16th happiest country in the world while India is 32nd and the US is 105th.

We do have our problems but it is we who have to rise above the self and steer the ship out of the troubled waters to the island of safety, happiness and prosperity. Just keep the faith. Things have changed for the better — you must try further to make more good changes to make Pakistan great and strong.

Continue reading ‘Thank you, my dear Pakistan’ – By: PROF. JETHA NAND RAHI

The Costs of Capitalism’s Crisis: Who Will Pay?

Economics Professor Richard Wolff details the problems of capitalism and urges our recognizing its obsolescence and replacing it with institutions that truly serve the people.

Talk at Church of All Souls in New York City, January 24, 2012. Camera, audio: Joe Friendly.

Read more » YouTube

The Truth About Islam

There was once a time when muslims were just another demographic in a vast and varied world. Those days have taken on the sepia tinge of memory. The global consciousness is now saturated with daily headlines and images of righteous muslim indignation. This is the new normal.

Stuck on replay

After the senseless murders of the US embassy staff in Libya, protests erupted worldwide. Each day brought new scenes of mob violence and destruction. The story is as tired as an over-used soap-opera plotline; someone “insults” Islam or it’s prophet, muslims go on a destructive rampage while the rest of the world rubbernecks.

Continue reading The Truth About Islam

“Why is their ghairat always linked to women?”

By:

They do not have a word for ‘ghairat’ in English,” said Khadim. He paused, looked at his audience and asked: “Do you know why?”

Without waiting for a response, he added: “Because they do not have ‘ghairat’ in the West.” His remarks, as he had expected, pleased this audience of South Asian Muslims, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.  “Not true,” said Farhan, one of the few liberals in the crowd. “They do have a word for ‘ghairat,’ honour.”

“Incorrect,” declared Khadim, “honour is a very light word. It does not have the intensity of ‘ghairat.’”

Many in the audience understood this ‘intensity’ well. They had grown-up daughters. And every time their daughters went out, in jeans or shalwar-kameez, they felt this intensity. The intensity increases, if the jeans are a bit too tight or the headscarves do not cover the head properly.

Continue reading “Why is their ghairat always linked to women?”

Rot at the top in America?

Are these the words of the all powerful …

By Omar

Rajiv Chandrashekaran’s new book (which I have not yet read, but have seen some excerpts and discussions on TV) seems to confirm that higher management levels of the US government are indeed seriously broken.

Breaking my recent moratorium on comments about subjects that I do not know very well, I will take this opportunity to burnish my Cassandra credentials. I have been saying for years that Amrika bahadur’s blundering effort in Afghanistan (especially above the military unit level…where the US army is second to none) are overflowing with so much fraud, chicanery and incompetence that if the American taxpayers knew about it even they would be shocked. Whatever the accuracy of various claims and whatever the bias introduced by Chandrashekaran’s liberal education or Washington Post insider status, the book does remind us that America is not really the evil superpower of Jihadi (or Hindutvadi for that matter) myth. Its a superpower closer to what William Burroughs may have imagined. Small men doing petty things and scared of being overshadowed or outfoxed by other small men..and wasting taxpayer money like there is no tomorrow.

Of course, to avoid any accidental identification with the Tariq Ali brigade, I would add that I am very well aware of the fact that the small men running Russia are ten times more thuggish, the ones in China are 8 times more corrupt and the ones in Pakistan, well, better left unsaid. ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Via – Twitter

The Future of History – By Francis Fukuyama

Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class?

Stagnating wages and growing inequality will soon threaten the stability of con­temporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood. What is needed is a new populist ideology that offers a realistic path to healthy middle-class societies and robust democracies.

Something strange is going on in the world today. The global financial crisis that began in 2008 and the ongoing crisis of the euro are both products of the model of lightly regulated financial capitalism that emerged over the past three decades. Yet despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of left-wing American populism in response. It is conceivable that the Occupy Wall Street movement will gain traction, but the most dynamic recent populist movement to date has been the right-wing Tea Party, whose main target is the regulatory state that seeks to protect ordinary people from financial speculators. Something similar is true in Europe as well, where the left is anemic and right-wing populist parties are on the move.

There are several reasons for this lack of left-wing mobilization, but chief among them is a failure in the realm of ideas. For the past generation, the ideological high ground on economic issues has been held by a libertarian right. The left has not been able to make a plausible case for an agenda other than a return to an unaffordable form of old-fashioned social democracy. This absence of a plausible progressive counter­narrative is unhealthy, because competition is good for intellectual ­debate just as it is for economic activity. And serious intellectual debate is urgently needed, since the current form of globalized capitalism is eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests.

THE DEMOCRATIC WAVE

Social forces and conditions do not simply “determine” ideologies, as Karl Marx once maintained, but ideas do not become powerful unless they speak to the concerns of large numbers of ordinary people. Liberal democracy is the default ideology around much of the world today in part because it responds to and is facilitated by certain socioeconomic structures. Changes in those structures may have ideological consequences, just as ideological changes may have socioeconomic consequences

Read more »Foreign Affairs

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136782/francis-fukuyama/the-future-of-history

Americans do it due to stress, Muslims due to hate!

Discussing the Motives of the Afghan Shooter

by Glenn Greenwald

Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivated U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to allegedly kill 16 Afghans, including 9 children: he was drunk, he was experiencing financial stress, he was passed over for a promotion, he had a traumatic brain injury, he had marital problems, he suffered from the stresses of four tours of duty, he “saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre,” etc.

Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivates Muslims to kill Americans: they are primitive, fanatically religious, hateful Terrorists.

Continue reading Americans do it due to stress, Muslims due to hate!

Quotes from Holy Quran and Bhagavad Gita

Quotes from Holy Quran

Respect of other civilizations and beliefs;

“O ye who believe! Let not any nation laugh at another nation: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former) – (Quran 49:11)

“….take not life which Allah has made sacred” (Quran, chapter 6, verse 151)

“Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and transgression” – Quran 5:2

Quotes from Bhagavad Gita

“There is neither this world nor the world beyond nor happiness for the one who doubts.” – Bhagavad Gita

Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.” – Bhagavad Gita

Source – internet

The United States of Prisons

21st-Century Slaves: How Corporations Exploit Prison Labor

In the eyes of the corporation, inmate labor is a brilliant strategy in the eternal quest to maximize profit.

By Rania Khalek

There is one group of American workers so disenfranchised that corporations are able to get away with paying them wages that rival those of third-world sweatshops. These laborers have been legally stripped of their political, economic and social rights and ultimately relegated to second-class citizens. They are banned from unionizing, violently silenced from speaking out and forced to work for little to no wages. This marginalization renders them practically invisible, as they are kept hidden from society with no available recourse to improve their circumstances or change their plight.

They are the 2.3 million American prisoners locked behind bars where we cannot see or hear them. And they are modern-day slaves of the 21st century.

Incarceration Nation

It’s no secret that America imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation in history. With just 5 percent of the world’s population, the US currently holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. “In 2008, over 2.3 million Americans were in prison or jail, with one of every 48 working-age men behind bars,” according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research(CEPR). That doesn’t include the tens of thousands of detained undocumented immigrants facing deportation, prisoners awaiting sentencing, or juveniles caught up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Perhaps it’s reassuring to some that the US still holds the number one title in at least one arena, but needless to say the hyper-incarceration plaguing America has had a damaging effect on society at large.

The CEPR study observes that US prison rates are not just excessive in comparison to the rest of the world, they are also “substantially higher than our own longstanding history.” The study finds that incarceration rates between 1880 and 1970 ranged from about “100 to 200 prisoners per 100,000 people.” After 1980, the inmate population “began to grow much more rapidly than the overall population and the rate climbed from “about 220 in 1980 to 458 in 1990, 683 in 2000, and 753 in 2008.”

The costs of this incarceration industry are far from evenly distributed, with the impact of excessive incarceration falling predominantly on African-American communities. Although black people make up just 13 percent of the overall population, they account for 40 percent of US prisoners. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), black males are incarcerated at a rate “more than 6.5 times that of white males and 2.5 that of Hispanic males and “black females are incarcerated at approximately three times the rate of white females and twice that of Hispanic females.”

Michelle Alexander points out in her book The New Jim Crow that more black men “are in prison or jail, on probation or on parole than were enslaved in 1850.” Higher rates of black drug arrests do not reflect higher rates of black drug offenses. In fact, whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales at roughly comparable rates. ….

Read more » AlterNet

Social Psychosis and Collective Sanity – By Winslow Myers

We know from the sad experience of Nazi Germany or Khmer Rouge Cambodia that it is possible for whole nations to become mentally ill, with horrendous consequences. At the time, however, the Nazis or the Khmers had no idea that they were deeply out of touch with the reality that all people are equally worthy of respect and care.

The population of the earth recently surpassed 7 billion. As we move further into the condition of global villagehood, it becomes more important than ever to assess our shared mental health. Collectively we can less and less afford the distortions that afflict the psyches of individual persons, such as denial, regression into infantile rage, fantasy ideation, or blind projection outward onto “enemies” of our unresolved inner tensions. Everyone is aware of the potential horror, for example, of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of someone not in the clearest of minds. …

Read more » COMMON DREAMS

Study: Wealthy Stockbrokers More Dangerous Than Psychopaths

By David Sirota

The findings are a reminder of why now — more than ever — we must refuse to succumb to political apathy and laissez-faire demagoguery.

Like most people living through this jarring age of economic turbulence and political dysfunction, you can probably recall a moment in the last few months when you thought to yourself that our lawmakers and corporate leaders are all crazy. And not just run-of-the-mill crazy, ….

Read more → AlterNet

Permanent revolution

by John Reiman

There will be no breaking the power of the “feudals” in Pakistan, no equality for women in Afghanistan, no establishment of stable democracy in Egypt, no resolving the tribal conflicts in Africa, and no salvation for the 15 million children who die of hunger every year on the basis of capitalism

As they did in the 1950s, once again, the winds of revolution are sweeping the former colonial world. This time, however, these winds are mixed with those of counter-revolution also, and this complication is partly a result of the failure of the previous period to resolve the problems in that part of the world. ….

Read more → ViewPoint

The Bitches!

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

This is a reply to J. Sahib who keeps calling American women “bitches”. On the beach, we saw these two teenagers wearing shirts; one shirt said bitch no.1, and the other one said bitch #2, we found it hilarious.

It is extremely difficult to understand for a Pakistani man that what kind of self confidence an American (Western) woman has and why.

Europe and America is heaven for women. Myself and my daughter are blessed to be American women.

No one would force us to do anything here. We are free to choose our way of life for ourselves. We do not have to date if we do not want to but if we wanted, no one can stop us. We can wear whatever we want, we can go inside the water (ocean etc) and men do not stand in line staring at us making us feel uncomfortable. No one will force us to go to a bar, we would only go if we wanted to. But no one can kill us here for going to a bar.

We can drive in USA and jog on a street with out being harassed. If our husbands ever hit us, it only takes police to get here in 5 minutes or less. And trust me, they do put a stop to domestic violence, and it works for poor women too. In Pakistan only rich and influential families can protect their daughters from domestic violence.

We can make our own decisions. every single one. Something as simple as if we want to go to a library. I was 25 when internet became a hit in Pakistan. I had just finished my medical school, while my younger brother, 22, was still in medical school. I joined a computer school to learn how to use a computer properly. My brother came to pick me up and saw that there was a video game shop in front of the computer school and about 25 boys were standing there. Although both myself and my brother had studied in co-education all our lives, boys at a video game shops were considered ghunds/lafangas by my brother. So, he decided that since there is a game shop there, I am not allowed to go learn computer. This is what I wanted most at that point in my life; learn how to use a computer.

No matter what a big fight I put up, I was not allowed to go to that computer school again. Society makes it difficult for your brothers. Brothers make it difficult for each others sisters by staring and teasing each others sisters.

Here in USA, we make our own decision. Call us bitches if you want, just know what we have, your women can only dream of. Or perhaps they can not even dream of it, they do not know what it is.

Courtesy: → Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, August 19, 2011.

Death by 140 characters

– The great equaliser: death by 140 characters – Dr Mohammad Taqi

….. The said televangelist, speaking on his current television show, has since impugned the authenticity of the video and has claimed that the clip had been fabricated by way of editing and dubbing to malign him by other channels and jealous people. Maybe so. Moreover, in biometrics, voice authentication is already an established tool, along the lines of fingerprinting, available to forensic scientists to confirm identity.

The video was removed from YouTube due to a copyrights claim. But before that many users of contemporary media had reportedly downloaded it already. The new balance of power is apparently still lost on the media honchos giving space and airtime to hypocrisy, lies and slanted truths. Death by a thousand cuts has decimated superpowers. If they do not heed the audience, death by 140 characters (on Twitter) is the equaliser that could seal the fate of the traditional media dinosaurs running the show.

To read complete article → Daily Times

Bastards: theirs vs. ours!?

By: Shazia Nawaz

This is a response to ….sahib’s (— e-list) mails on bastards in USA and is a reply to his argument that all American should get paternity test done.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with having a child out of wedlock. There is nothing immoral about it. If you people do not understand it, it does not make it wrong. It’s a woman’s choice.

My co-worker just gave birth to her third love child. She likes children and does not want marriage. I asked another co worker who is 32 now and had a child at age of 16, that if she regrets having a child at age of 16, she said abruptly, ” no Dr. Nawaz, I do not regret MY CHILD.

Why so much stress on USA immorality?

Many Pakistani men openly confess that majority of them cheat on their wives. Some say 80 percent of Pakistani men cheat on their wives. (only God knows truth about Pakistani society), so whenever there is sex, there is a baby.

If you accept that 80 percent Pakistani men cheat on their wives (I hope not) then 80 percent Pakistani women give birth to illegitimate children? no ???

These men are cheating with someone but then of course I only know what I know. And I know two young Pakistani women, both say all their prayers regularly and fast in holy Ramadan, both are my age, both got pregnant with children of other men. Both told me because they thought I could help them abort the babies by prescribing a pill.

One girl’s husband has had vasectomy. So, she could not explain the pregnancy and wanted abortion. Other one could pass this child as her husbands if the guy she had an affair with was not black. I could not help either of them. Liability is a huge issue in USA. I would not prescribe meds like that. Both had to go to abortion centers to get abortion. Both are not my patients and do not live in my town (so not doing confidentiality violation) now, in Pakistan its very easy to pass a child as your husbands. I do not know how many, but I m sure countless women do that.

There was a woman on Geo Tv the other day, that video is on YouTube, she told camera how her father in law raped her for years and of course she complained now when he ran away with her money and jewelry. Only God knows how many children of this woman’s are his father in law’s. Watch the video here till the end.

My friend who works at Jinnah hospital tells me that countless women get pregnant by their brother in laws and are not married and come for abortion.

Let’s not flash morality that does not exist. If our men brag about their affairs, they also have to remember that an affair always produces a child.

To me, love child of a single woman is not a bad thing and does not reflect ” bad character”. Bad character is lying, deceiving, and harming others.

A love child of a married man or woman indicate deception to someone, and this is why falls under the category of immorality that way.

About the writer – Shazia Nawaz MBBS, MD. (Allama Iqbal medical college , Lahore, Session 1998). Practicing medicine in USA now. A blogger, a vlogger, a columnist, a You Tube talk show host, married to a wonderful man, mother of a beautiful 11 year old daughter. Wants justice and equality for all.

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, August 15, 2011.