Heavenly Light

Heavenly Light
Read to see the light

Monday, December 31, 2007

Awesome vs. Awesome: Reznor vs. Cash

Ok, the ultimate showdowns are about to begin...I am starting a new series, intermittent with Travel Stories, politics and bullshit, a new feature, Awesome vs. Awesome, where basically its awesomeness at its finest pitted against more awaesomeness...thus, for example for our first one, we will put two musical geniuses head to head in a battle to the semi tragic and slightly dramatic fake deaths....

Johnny Cash, "Hurt" vs Trent Reznor and NIN's remake of, "Hurt"


(please note that above link is necessary to click to watch the video on youtube.com because it has been requested to be not relinquished for embedablness....for bloggers such as myself who only want to inspire and make dopeness easier to debate!!!


Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails

My opinion,,,,as much as I love Trent Reznor and people named Trent who have more musical genius that anyone in recent fake your death, or shoot yourself in the face with a shotgun, rockstars...Johnny Cash takes my flourless chocolate cake full of broken thoughts that I might be able to repair someday...its just a matter of time...

Peace love and Rock n Roll



So there were some blogs that I always wanted to write, but for some reason or another, never got around to do doing it...Maybe its because I was without a laptop for so long...maybe its becuase I was lazy or maybe it was because I simply wanted to keep my thoughts to myself and not post them for the rest of the world to potentially see, at some time or another...

Which brings me to my main subject...time...

As I mentioned before, the blog I wanted to write was on the day of Daylight savings, on the subject of time...and how arbitrary our society has made it

One day a year we set our clocks backwards one hour, another day we set them ahead one hour, How absurdly constructed does that make the notion of time feel?! If for one day we all simply agree that the world will automatically be one hour ahead of schedule...for what reasons...except for ancient ones like farming...And then to even note further that the whole notion of time is obsolete because some cities, or districts or states do not cooperate in one or the other, for half of the year one living in Colorado may be 4 hours ahead of one living in Brasilia but the other half of the year only 2 hours, where as if they were living in Brasilia for example they would be only having a difference of 2 and three hours respectively because Brasilia only complies with one daylight savings....

In any, thats more or less what I wanted to write on daylight savings...I mean really...one day I can get home at the same time and be late for curfew, but one day out of the year you can simply try to pull the daylight savings card and stay out 2 extra hours beyond curfew...make your mother worried, but then play it off on the stratigic change of the clocks///

Friday, December 21, 2007

Writer Strike

Well I guess I might have caught a bug of the Writer Strike going on. However, not being paid for my writing, I guess it doesnt really make a difference, that must be the true calling of a writer, just to write, or not write...who cares if you are right...or wrong, or left... However, for me, with the moon nearing full again, and a lot of effort put into executing a very new and innovative idea in parties and entertainment, working hard and reflecting on the past year...I hope that I, myself, can take a moment to look back at appreciating everything from my loving family, to wonderful friends, and everyone and anything that inspires, and may it manifest itself into creative and productive ways to really make a change...

Thank you!!!

Happy Holidays?!

Peace, love, passion and compassion....

World Town: A Blank Slate pt. 2


Tomorrow is our big day, a culmination of a years worth of inspiration, parties, meeting people and learning about this world. I have been living with my brother, a DJ and Director of Music for Energy 92.7 responsible for the Mix at 6 and Clubbers Commute. As I moved to San Francisco and quickly got involved within the industry, I found my own methods to justifying reasons to go out every night with with my brother as the Nightlie Ambassador for Leblon Cachaca. Quickly making Caipirinhas and Cahcaca a new fad within the San Francisco nightlife scene our ideas began to flourish on how prominent our influence can be. As two white boys from Boulder CO, well traveled and educated, we never faced very many problems growing up. Growing up in Boulder for some is as good as it gets, a pinnacle of society, to others, its a bubble of non reality that hides the real world. Sons of a family of rebelious liberals, it only makes sense to follow in their footsteps. Growing up on our Grandfather's stories of World War II, piloting planes with his knees over the Philipeans, and endless seemingly non-nonsensical and unbelievable stories about traveling through jungles in Latin America on a three month mission to interview a Colombian drug lords. Joe Bell, my Grandfather, an ever faithful liberal columnist, based out of ever so Republican Orange County, has forever inspired me to follow those instincts, write, and make a difference by being a compassionate kind of person, open to people who society might otherwise seem to outcast. To my uncle David, an English Lit professor who I have only met once. From my mother one of the most passionate and inspirational women I know to my Auntie Patt, a gifted thinker and talented awarding winning Childern's author--driven to overcome and continue to do what she loves, no matter what life brings to our tables.

On the other side of our family exists the same level of inspirational, talented and passionate people. With ancestral Scottish roots wonderfully whisked all they way to ...Wyoming...To My Grandmother who managed to raise three extremely (and I dont use the word "extremly" lightly) liberal children. From my uncle Charlie, born to Mary and Joe Simpson on Christmas day...we always wondered why they never named him Jesus?! Exiled from Wyoming to having founded some of the first community living houses in Boulder CO, he pioneered the peaceful anti-Vietnam activism and hippie movements..To my father whose draft dodging skills were fine tuned by his brother and classmates at Whiteman school in Steamboat CO. His ambitions of being a teacher were cut short when he actually saw the reality of a inner city Denver public school. To my Auntie M (as in Marcia) who boggled my mind with her boggle skills and always gave the coolest gifts at Christmas, we all got our first "Walkmans" in 1988 which may have something to do with our passion for music.

To my fabulous cousins born and raised in the Corona Club.

From my studies in Paraguay which opened my eyes to the world and increased an ever growing desire to experience this world. Going to school in DC, living in Brasil, learning langauges and living with host families. To my host mothers, Norma and Amparo, that were patient with me and saw my desire to really see, understand and partake as a member of their respective families...and to those families that took me in as if I truly was a member of theirs...Just another White Boy from Colorado, a respected member of various families throughout the world...and you and them rest of the World as a respected member of my family.


A lifetime of not very much struggle, but the ability to see struggles around the world, we are all one town, we are World Town...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Investors Needed!!!!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

An Interview with Javed Jabbar, Pakistan's Former Minister of Information

An Interview with Javed Jabbar, Pakistan's Former Minister of Information

The Volatile Mistress


Javed Jabbar served as General Pervez Musharraf's Minister of Information. Here he talks to CounterPuncher Wajahat Ali about Pakistan General Musharraf, the nation's relationship to the United States, and the current State of Emergency.
ALI: What was your initial impression of Musharraf when you were Minister of Information in 1999? Did you believe him, back then, when he said he would make Pakistan a democratic nation?

JABBAR: First of all, I happened to know him from 7 years before joining his cabinet. I had a personal friendship with him. I knew him as a person and thought he had a progressive view of the world. He is strongly in favor of women's right and empowerment. And, at that time, he genuinely wanted to help improve the political value system and political practices so that Pakistan's democratic process could be subject to ethical and more accountable frameworks that had been practiced in recent years.
I shared that vision, and I think he was genuine in that conviction.

ALI: Do you think that same conviction motivated his recent declaration of the State of Emergency, which some claim is essentially a mini Martial Law?
JABBAR: You're taking a giant leap of 7 years. (Chuckles.) First of all this process went through phases. The first year I served with him as advisor on National Affairs and Minister of Information, I saw the process partially implemented but there were signs of variation in those lines of vision and long term objectives I initially shared with him. Which is why in October 2000, I decided to resign from the cabinet.
Over the 7 years from 2000 to 2007, he took several actions which were progressively at variance at where we started out from. First of all, in April 2002, he made the decision to hold a Referendum and assume the office of President for 5 years after that date. Secondly, the manner in which the results of the 2002 elections were not allowed to be accurately reflected was a problem. The results were reflective of fairly free and general elections, because the People's Party of Benazir Bhutto secured the highest number of votes in the party. And it was only after several members of her party deviated from the party leadership's direction and agreed to support Musharraf that his chosen prime ministerial nominee, Mister Zafarullah Jamali, was elected with the barest of margins. He had a one vote majority in the National Assembly ­it came down to a single vote. That's how narrow it was.
Therefore, when people say the October 2002 elections were entirely rigged, I beg to disagree. If it was rigged, then it would be on a much bigger scale, then the People's Party could not have been shown to be the party that owned the highest number of votes. So, a major point of disagreement was how the results of the 2002 election were manipulated or distorted.

Then, between 2002 and 2007, there was the decision to work with elements who were clearly not part of the ethical and the more accountable political value system with which he came into power ­ this had become very apparent. So, my disagreement grew sharper.

ALI: What is an example of that element?
JABBAR: I would not like to name individuals. I do not as a matter of policy make references to specific personalities. Everyone knows who these people and those elements are.

ALI: Ok, fair enough.
JABBAR: Therefore, last year in July 2006, I was involved in part of the process called the Civil Military Dialogue, including several former generals of the Pakistan Army, several former Cabinet Ministers, and leaders of civil society and scholars. We are a group of about 20 people. We decided to address an open public plea to General Musharraf and to the heads of the political parties, because we felt firmly that the post of President and Chief of Army Staff should be held by two separate people. The Presidency is a political position, and we urged the General to retire from the Chief of Army Staff.

Secondly, we called for a truly independent commission and genuine enforcement of accountability and not selective accountability. We also urged political leaders to avoid polarizing the situation and using extreme rhetoric. We also urged the forces of liberalism and tolerance and moderation to unite to fight the threats of extremists and fanatics who use violence.

Unfortunately, our call was ignored by Musharraf. [Musharraf recently stepped down as Chief of the Army, however the State of Emergency has not been lifted.] The results became horrendously evident in 2007 beginning with his very considered action against the Chief Justice in March. It has been a rapid and progressive decline since then.
It has been a progressive deterioriation; however allow me to say that on the other hand his major contribution has been the allocation for deserved seats for women to the extent of 33% [representation] in all local government levels and village levels, which is a revolutionary change. This leaves far behind many other Western countries. Even they don't have this abundance of women's participation at the grassroots level. Equally, he assured that 17 seats are reserved in the provincial and National legislature for women. Now, reserved seats are not the ideal way to improve the participation of women, but in a society where there are so many barriers, it has had a salutary or symbolic effect. Over the coming years it will help to significantly improve women's developments and women rights.

A second major contribution has been the introduction of private and independent television channels and radio stations, with which I was associated and I had written the original law in 1997. But the elected government of Nawaz Sharif had scrapped the law. During my cabinet tenure with Musharraf, it was revived. And finally after I left the cabinet, it was enforced. There has been a dramatic transformation of Pakistan's media landscape from a state monopoly of electronic media to a situation where there are at least 35 television channels and 70 private radio stations.
Tragically, Musharraf's latest acts [The State of Emergency resulting in the sacking of judges, the shutting down of private media outlets, the arrests of activist lawyers and human rights members] have banned or suspended a significant achievement of his own tenure which was fairly unique. Nowhere else in the world was private media so openly and daily critical of a serving Chief of Army Staff. So, these are two major credits. Third, there was a significant improvement in the macro-economic indicators by which the size of the Pakistani economy increased, foreign investment increased, market capitalization increased, and business activity increased. Also, there were vast phenomenal increases in higher education, and also an opening of access to telecommunications for the average citizen.

So, I'll conclude my very long response. I went into detail to give you an idea that while one strongly condemns what has recently happened, one should retain a sense of balance and see what the credits have been. He should have resisted from the steps he had taken, because those progressive elements that resulted from the measures that I have just listed, have now being alienated. On the one hand, he is already fighting irrational indoctrinated fanatics, and now those who are progressive in their approach, those who are liberal and tolerant, even they have become alienated. It is a very dire situation to end up alienating both extremes.

ALI: I wanted to ask specifically then what is your take on his current State of Emergency, and what are the potential blowbacks resulting from it?
JJ: First of all, the consequences will be extremely negative in the long term for Pakistani's institutional development and cohesion. It has been a terrible blow to the process to strengthening the independence and autonomy of institutions: the media, the judiciary, the checks and balances. The second consequence will be a degree of introspection in the media itself. Sometimes, not always, but sometime private media have used new freedoms in a somewhat unbridled, if not excessive, way. All freedoms should be subject to some sense of moderation. To show for example during live telecasts the killing and willful gratuitous violence is, on one hand, reporting what you are seeing, but on the other hand it is inciting people to revenge or apathy or insensitivity. On the long term basis, more important, the General should make distinctions between what suits his interests and what is in the country's interests. For example, while The Supreme Court was listening to a case that dealt directly with his eligibility, there was no basis for him to take this action [Declaring a State of Emergency that sacked all the judges who were following the Constitution and ruling against his wishes]. As far as the threat from terrorists, the State of Emergency may arbitrarily give more powers to government, but this is not an effective response. The cure, the attempted cure, was from the same disease.

ALI: Many say this might be the last throng of his power. If there is a power vacuum as a result of his actions, who will fill it up? Bhutto? The military? The extremists? This is a main concern for America.

JJ: We must go to history and realize that Pakistan's constitution offers many rational options and ways to respond to a power vacuum. On the 17th of August 1988 when Zia died in an air crash [General Zia al Haq was Pakistan's military dictator from 1977 to 1988] , immediately thereafter as per the constitution, the Chairman of the Senate took over as President of the Country and as per the Constitution, elections were held within 3 months in November. I fervently wished that Musharraf remains alive and well, but if there is any change in the status of who remains President or Army Chief, then we should look to the Constitutional process. I am absolutely confident that the people of Pakistan are capable of producing alternatives. Some of them might not be ideal, but eventually we are capable of producing the appropriate alternatives.

ALI: What are the motivations of the U.S. in dealing with Musharraf and Bhutto right now? Many, in U.S. at least, are suspicious of Pakistan's motives, and many in Pakistan of course believe Musharraf is merely a tool of the U.S. So, how does this relationship play in the current geo-political climate, specifically between U.S., Musharaff, and Bhutto.

JJ: Yes, on the face of it there is the interest of the U.S. to align themselves with elements whom they think are in tune with their ideals and values. This is a superficial reading. Yes, certainly, Musharraf and Bhutto represent those parts and citizens of Pakistan that abhor violence, that are against extremism and fanaticism. Equally, however, the degree to which Pakistan has collaborated and cooperated with the U.S. has clearly alienated the people in Pakistan who have these same liberal values. There is a need to assert Pakistani autonomy and identity, and it has been done to be fair. Even while collaborating with the U.S., it is unfair to call Musharraf a complete tool of U.S. Policy because on Nuclear Proliferation charges, he has not allowed A.Q. Khan [The Pakistani scientist known as the "Father of Pakistan's Nuclear Program" alleged to have sold nuclear secrets and information to neighboring countries] to be interviewed by either the IAEA or by representatives of the U.S. Government. He has very clearly said "No." So, Pakistan is not just putty in the hands of the U.S. government. No Pakistani will simply say, "yes, sir" to whatever the State Department or U.S. Government wants.

ALI: How real is the threat of extremism, specifically Pro-Taliban parties taking control of Pakistan?

JJ: The threat is very real. Second, the threat emanates from a small, microscopic number of people. It does not represent the overwhelming nature of the Pakistani people whose nature is peaceful and hospitable. Third, we have to guard against the ease with which a small minority can derail a whole process whether through violence or through political power. Fourth, one indicator is the religious parties in Pakistan, who not always are the violent ones since there are many non-violent religious parties as well. In the only province in the federation where they had unqualified power in the past 5 years in the NWFP [The North West Frontier Province of Pakistan known for feudalism, tribalism and religious conservatism] , in the October 2002 elections the religious alliances gained only a small part of the vote, because only 34% of the electorate in the NWFP casted votes. Out of the 34%, the religious alliance got only 15-20% of the votes.

So, 80% of the province which is supposed to have dominance of religious forces didn't even bother to express their allegiance to the religious parties! But, the threat from extremism is real and it is real like anywhere else in the world. It needs to be combated vigorously without qualification on several fronts.

ALI: Last question - What are the key steps for Pakistan to gain some proactive grounds towards a functional democracy? Is there hope?

JJ: The best step would be the restoration of the Constitution without any dilution of it democratic, political nature. Number two, a distinctive and clear separation between the civil political process and the ole of military. Number three, a genuinely independent and powerful election commission with complete executive authority at the grassroots level to ensure truly authentic elections. Finally, number four, maturity and strength from the leadership of the political parties to cooperate and prevent the situation from further deterioration.

Wajahat Ali is a playwright, essayist, humorist, and J.D. whose work, "The Domestic Crusaders ," (www.domesticcrusaders.com) is the first major play about Muslim Americans living in a post 9-11 America. He can be reached at wajahatmali@gmail.com

Monday, December 03, 2007

TImbland, Apologize

I woke up with this song stuck in my head...the video is kinda cool with the burning flowers and other symbolic imagery...I finally had the chance to play it very load on our home stereo...its worth if if you can blast it and rock out!

Peace and love