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Archive for June, 2009

The Appalachian Trail Hiker

mark sanford

The Appalachian Trail Hiker.

“ And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self.”  What on earth is he talking about?

I am not writing about Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, because he is important nor a man of substance. I am scribbling, because, he is a hypocrite. What I despise from hypocrites is their “ hollier than thou” attitudes and, their harsh judgments towards others.

Governor Sanford who was the head of the Republican Governors’ Association was one of the icons of the Republican party who claim to have a monopoly on “family values”. He recently was even talked about as one of the Republican presidential candidates in 2012. His rejection of Obama’s stimulus money earmarked for South Carolina, had also made him as one of the stars of rightist Republicans who have absolutely no clue for the economic recovery of the United States.

As far as I am concerned, Mark Sanford was not interested in the stimulus package for the citizens of South Carolina, as he was quiet involved in stimulating a package in Argentina. Thank God, for some saner minds prevailing in South Carolina. Governor Sanford’s shenanigan of trying to block economic help to citizens of South Carolina was over rode by the state’s Supreme Court and legislature.

So, after watching Governor Sanford’s sorry excuse for a press conference, I am amazed at the fact that American citizens are represented by such politicians. A politician who can’t even complete one thought before jumping in to the next utter nonsense. With such people in leadership position, should there be any wonder why we Americans find our country in such a serious mess?

Watching this sad mumbling to the media by Governor Sanford, I am puzzled with one question. Is this the best the citizens of South Carolina can have as their governor?

Mekonen Haddis

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Iranian Elections

Iranian Elections.

I am wondering why, a lot of people all of a sudden are concerned with the presidential election in Iran has been free and fair. As long as presidential candidates in Iran are vetted by unelected religious leaders, who have a total monopoly of power to handpick anyone they deem is fit to govern Iran, then, the freedom and fairness issue becomes irrelevant. In a democratic election, the focus should be on independent institutions that are guarantors of free and fair elections.

Issue I

What could be logically deduced from the above comment, is the fact that the ideological differences between the two main presidential candidates, the incumbent mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his rival Mir Hossein Mousavi is not clear. After all, not only that both are approved candidates of the clerics, but also, and most importantly, their views towards the state of Israel and their stand on the right of Iran to pursue a peaceful nuclear technology is identical. Therefore, in terms of United States’ foreign policy interests in Iran, it makes little difference as to who is the president in Iran. Unless, some policy makers believe that it is easier to negotiate with one who is said to be a “reformist” (Mousavi), as opposed to a “hardliner” (Ahmadinejad).

Issue II

President Obama’s conundrum in Iran is a result of historical baggage he has inherited,

  • The overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh.
  • The installing of Shah Reza Pahlavi on the throne, and propping him for decades through his dictatorial rule.
  • President Bush’s “ Regime Change” policy, which made the Iranian Civil Society suspect, and the regime more hardliner.

Issue III

Obama’s choices.

Throughout his foreign policy pronouncements, the president seems to clearly understand the limits of U.S. power. If this assessment is correct, the U.S. would limit its expectations to what would be reachable goals. Therefore, Obama’s administration should prepare itself to deal with whoever is installed as the president of Iran. The Iranian presidential campaign was very active and supporters came out in droves to vote. Narrowly focusing on electoral politics only, that is good for democracy. What the Iranian people should focus on, are the building of independent institutions that actually would guarantee democracy in Iran. The process is long and arduous. It would only come to fruition by the continuous struggle of the Iranian people. Outside interference not only be unhelpful for democracy in Iran, but it would also strengthen the hands of the hardliners.

Mekonen Haddis

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U.S Unemployment Curse Continues.

Unemployment Rate:

2009 Jan     7.6
2009 Feb    8.1
2009 Mar   8.5
2009 Apr   8.9
2009 May  9.4

Commenting on the employment figures for May, 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. “ The unemployment rate continued to rise, increasing from 8.9 to 9.4 percent. Steep job losses continued in manufacturing. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 7.0 million.”

In spite of the unemployment rate edging up to a twenty five year high, some economic experts seem to be encouraged that employers only got rid of 345,000 people from their payroll. At the least, I am pleased to hear vice president Biden as saying, “lower job rate loss is not our goal. Less bad, is not how we are going to measure success.”

It has been my belief for some time now, among other reasons, that deregulation of the U.S. economy coupled with the economy focusing on finance , while shying away from manufacturing are the root causes for the dire situation the U.S. finds itself in at the moment.

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What is totally unfathomable about the U.S. economy, is the disconnect between the rallying of the stock market and the millions of Americans loosing their jobs. It is as if we are looking at economies of two different countries. Dare I ask, how on earth is it possible that the unemployment figure has no impact on the Dow Jones?

I am afraid Obama’s rhetoric is not matched by performance, when it comes to regulation of the economy and making an impact on the ever rising unemployment figure. Understanding that a very high percentage of all domestic economic activity is a result of consumer spending, then, the focus should be to immediately find ways to create employment.

By its own admission, the White House says America’s employment picture is worse than what Obama administration had anticipated just a few months ago.  I only hope, president Obama and his advisors have come up with solutions that match the gravity of the problem.

Mekonen Haddis

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The Oppressed Mind

mickey edit 2

I have frequently been asked what I wish for my students,

Well, I wish they would become socially conscious citizens,

Who would not measure their success,

On the millions they might make

Or life of luxury,

But, on the contributions they might offer to society.

The Oppressed Mind

A mind that is oppressed,

always wishing to be liberated,

with creative ideas to be shared,

but, always forced to be afraid,

highly controlled, options limited,

only dark choices to be faced,

an icy mountain to be climbed,

in case of a slip, with no chances to be saved.

A deep ocean shark infested,

the chance of dying totally guaranteed,

a suicide mission with failure assured,

a fight with an elephant only to be trampled,

to play with a hungry lion, until it is time to be devoured,

unproductive desert full of sand,

a locust infested farm land,

still thinking but, as good as dead,

is a mind that is oppressed,

always wishing to be liberated,

but always forced to be afraid.

Mekonen Haddis

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