I see America as strong – perhaps stronger than most nations. But the people seem to be changing, and not for the good. We need to entrench within ourselves and our children and associates those values that helped us become great. We’re either going uphill or going downhill – there is no resting, no plateau, no station to rest. Our government didn’t bring us where we are today, we did. Our government won’t lead us to future success, we will.
One of most pernicious ideologies that hinders a nation’s progress and development is statism. The state is not the answer. That’s why we fought a war with the British. That’s why the establishment of a government was such a contentious affair in the beginning of our history. There were plenty of models to choose from, but few which didn’t include statism as its foundation. The Founding Fathers erected a system of government that not only didn’t enshrine statism but, in fact, tried to prevent it. By going against their mechanisms, we are now turning into a statist nation.
I had lived in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates for so long that when I returned to The United States, I was a statist. I’d wonder why the government isn’t doing this thing or that thing, why it wasn’t solving such-and-such problem or issue. Or I posited that the government is the solution to our ails and woes. After all, in Pakistan, the first question that’s asked when an issue arises is: “What’s the government doing about it?” But I realized that this statism causes more problems than it solves. Rather than relying on the industry and ingeniousness of the people, we were relying on burdensome, cumbersome, inefficient bureaucracy. Each involvement of the government, furthermore, eroded the people’s freedoms, their area of movement and activity, and, indeed, even their will to work, solve, and prevail.
Mark my words – every statist nation is full of dullards, lazy people, unrealistic ideologues, and far from industrious.
I don’t care about communism or socialism. Russia, China, or Iran won’t do us in. If things don’t change, statism will be end of America as a world power.
With my MBA done, I’ll have more time to write so look for posts here thrice weekly!
My friends, I now make a personal appeal to you. A history-making time has arrived, and your help is needed.
After three decades of virtual tyranny, the people of Iran have had enough and want to overthrow the regime and replace it with a new one. This isn’t a revolt of sore losers. The issue is no longer Moussavi not winning the presidency. It’s about the system. It’s about the old guard that has kept Iran suppressed and oppressed for so long. It’s about Khamene’i and Ahmadi-nezhad. More importantly, it’s about replacing the old guard with a new guard.
Granted, the system will still be theocratic. Granted, Rafsanjani (who is rumored will be the new Supreme Leader) isn’t all buddy-buddy with the West. Granted, Iran will not become fully democratic or transparent. But this is a crucial step in the right direction.
Moussavi promises sweeping changes, changes that will make Iran more democratic and transparent. He wants to curtail the authority and interference of the Supreme Leader. He wants to diminish if not eliminate the volunteer Basij (the feared extralegal enforcement forces). He wants to end political suppression. Moussavi wants a new Iran.
But more importantly, the people of Iran want a new Iran.
And they need our help. They don’t need our government’s help; they don’t want our government’s help. They need our help, the help of individuals.
So, what can you do?
1. Blog about the situation. Give them moral support. Encourage them. Embolden them to continue the Green Revolution until it meets its objectives.
2a. Put pressure on CNN, Fox News, Sky News, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and Twitter to do all that it can do to help the Green Revolution. They have already done a lot thanks to intense demand from individuals. If we keep up the pressure, there might be more they can do. The people of Iran need, absolutely need, these media to operate efficiently and reliably in order to orchestrate the Green Revolution. This is truly a revolution via new social media.
2b. Forget pressuring the government. It’s useless. Instead, focus on actions and venues that can make a real difference now. Twitter, Facebook, and Google have more clout and can do more than the US government at this point.
3. Put aside political differences. Focus away from Ubaama’, from the government’s shenanigans, from Democrats’ idiocy. Kossacks, HuffPosters, and even St. Andy of the Sacred Heart Ache have been doing a lot to help the Green Revolution. Let us set aside our differences to tip the balance in favor of the people of Iran. If you blog, blog more about the Green Revolution than anything else. If you’re a Twit (h/t S. Weasel), Tweet about the Green Revolution (use the hashtags #iranelection and #gr88). Mention it in your Facebook postings. Cooperate with all people who support the Green Revolution or who are helping it.
4. Wear green, and be open about why. Change your icons to green. It is such a wonderful sight to open up Twitter and see, as the phrase has been used a number of times in last few days, a Sea of Green. People from all over the world, people from all political thoughts, people from all ethnicities and cultures and religions, are green to support the Green Revolution. If you’re on Twitter, change your timezone and location to Iran. (This is not only to support the Irani revolutionaries but also to confuse Irani government censors who are trying to find Irani Twitterers and arrest them.)
5. Also extremely important is cyber-revolutionary activity. Can you set up a Tor relay? Do it. Can you set up a proxy server that Irani revolutionaries can use? Do it. (E-mail me at muslihoon (at) yahoo (dot) com for how to contact certain people who are central information sources for proxies that Irani revolutionaries can use. Do not publicly post available proxies, as the fascist government is monitoring such announcements to track down revolutionaries and arrest them..) Do you have any other ideas that can help the Irani revolutionaries or hinder the fascist government’s efforts? Share them. (Tip: no DDoS as that affects the Irani revolutionaries as well.)
Thomas Jefferson said: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” This may be the unhappy case with Iran today. But change is needed. And we should do our part.
Every little thing you can do will help the people of Iran. They know the world is watching them. They need to hear our constant voices of support.
This is not only in the national security interests of The United States — the new regime, who is cognizant of all that the American people, along with people around the world, have done to help them succeed, will be less likely to want to blow all of us to Kingdom Come — but is essential as Americans who support democracy and freedom. The people of Iran are yearning to be free. They need our help. Let us, without any hesitation, extend our hand and help them in any way we can.
You can help make the world a better place. You can help be part of a grand effort to make an entire people more free. You can help put the axe to the root of tyranny in Iran. The question is: will you? If you will, let this be your burning passion until the Green Revolution succeeds. We’ve harped on about regime change in Iran for a very long time now. That time has come. Let us not miss this opportunity.
There is a lot going on in Iran.
I am very exhausted, though. I’ve been following the revolution on Twitter for almost two days now. It gets tiring. Haven’t been getting enough sleep. I woke up after a six-hour sleep to more than a thousand text messages on my phone.
Lots of rumors. Let’s see what happens. In any case, it’s a historic event.
More over the next few days. I can’t blog from work, and my time at home is often spend doing homework or other stuff. Hope to find the strength to blog. Although, I also do not want to offend people I admire a lot, which I might because I have quite different views.
What would you like to see on this blog?
More religion? Which one?
More music videos?
More linguistics and languages?
Eil molei rachamim shokhein bam’romim hamtzei m’nuchon’khono al kanfei hash’khino b’maalos k’doshim ut’horos k’zohar horokia mahirim l’nishmas Yochanan ben Adam avinu sheholakh l’olomo. B’gan Eiden t’hei m’nuchoso. Lokhein baal horachamim yastireinu b’seiser k’nofov l’olomim v’yitzror bitzror hachayyim es nishmoso haShem hu nachaloso v’yonuach b’sholom al mishkovo. V’imru: omein. Omein!
God, full of mercy who dwells on high, grant perfect rest on the wings of Thy divine presence in the lofty heights of the holy and the pure who shine in the brightness of the heavens to the soul of [Cranky] son of Adam our father, who has gone to his eternal rest. His resting place shall be in the Garden of Eden. Therefore the Master of Mercy will care for him under the protection of His wings for all time and bind his soul in the bond of everlasting life. God is his inheritance and he will rest in peace. Let us say: Amen. Amen!
The “love” I am talking about is the care and compassion one feels for another person. Nothing romantic – just agape.
The problem is when one cares about another, there are whole new dimensions of worry and inconvenience, inconvenience which is set aside as such for the sake of something greater. It also means doing what must be done, despite one’s desires otherwise. Lots of sacrifice.
And caring for someone isn’t about grand acts. It’s about small, routine acts – pats on the back, expressing joy to see the person, checking in to see how they are doing with family and work, and they make a difference.
Life, for me, was so much simpler and easier when I didn’t have people to care about. One of the drawbacks of being active in the Church – more people to know, love, and care about. Despite all the inconvenience, though, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Keep on loving. It’s hard, but worth it.
I pray that everyone will have a happy, joyous, prosperous, safe, and healthy new year!
I’m up to my neck in stuff to do for work, Church, home, and school. I was going to write a long rant but decided that doing so would waste too much time. I’m too busy to write a rant! Feh.
Sometimes, being diligent and productive and honoring one’s commitments is hard and time-consuming.
Last week, I had an interesting yet troubling experience. I went with Shaw (not his real name) up to Wisconsin. We attended church there. The first speaker was a girl, probably in high school, who spoke about…something. I couldn’t pay attention. I couldn’t feel the Spirit, so I ignored her and tried to catch up on my Book of Mormon reading. But Shaw was paying attention.
At one point, I began paying attention as she was talking about her experiences in various Gospel Doctrines classes in her last ward. (As a Gospel Doctrine teacher, I pay attention, or try to, when people discuss their experiences, so I can improve my ways and understand what others have experienced and need.) She talked about this amazing Gospel Doctrine teacher who taught with the Spirit. Only for the ward to find out that he was living a double life: although married, he was having a long-time affair with another women. She made a statement along the lines of this: “I know we’re all unrighteous, but not that unrighteous.” This really bothered Shaw, and it’s bothered me a lot since then.
Those of us who try very hard to obey the Lord’s commandments, particularly to remain pure and chaste according to our station and situation, sometimes take pride in our righteousness, and end up puffing ourselves up with that pride, assuming ourselves as better than those who have fallen or who are engaging in unrighteous lifestyles.
This is a pernicious evil. I believe that this is a tool used by Satan to distract the faithful of God and to have them begin their journey onto a path that will lead them away from God, for the moment any of us is proud that we are “not that unrighteous,” pride has taken a hold of our hearts, our hearts are thereby filled with a uncharity, and we have begun to stray away from God. We become, in effect, no better than those who are reviled.
For my Latter-day Saint friends: how does this attitude make any different from the Zoramites (for more details, see Alma 31), who prayed with great pride about their being superior to their brethren? Does not such an attitude make us Zoramites indeed, and thus those who have strayed from the Lord’s way?
In “What God Hath Cleansed” in Faith Precedes the Miracle by President Spencer W. Kimball, President Kimball references a passage from scripture. Come, let us read the words of the Lord:
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
For it is written: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilt of all” (James 2:10).
And so it doesn’t matter to what degree another has broken the law. He has broken the law. So have I. I have no grounds upon which to stand in pride before God. Without the sacrifice and grace of Jesus Christ, my faithfulness has no value whatsoever. We all need the Lord and His atoning sacrifice and grace, without which none of us, no matter how righteous, can enter into the presence of God our Heavenly Father. To puff ourselves up, that we are not as unrighteous as another, is to offend yet more against the laws of God. And if we do not repent, we put ourselves in spiritual peril.
We, all the faithful of God, should be full of love for all of God’s children, regardless of how they live. We are all broken, and so we should be thankful to God that He has revealed how, through His Son, we may return back into His presence. All, from the likes of Mother Teresa to the wanton fornicator, need the Lord and His grace and love. We should help others turn away from their sins and walk back to Heavenly Father by reaching out to them in love, and beholding them with love, and loving them with the love with which God loves His children. The Lord ministered to sinners, without excusing or accepting theirs sins, and thus we should do as well. Never, no, never, ought we at any point to feel any pride or satisfaction in that we are not as unrighteous as others, for our own faults condemn us enough, and thus we are no better than another.
The Lord said: “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:24).
I know no better example than my boss, who will spend minutes poring over a bill for less than $20 for our bottled water, ending with muttering, “We need to monitor this guy,” after signing checks for thousands of dollars without a second thought or any examination.
So, I have two difficult classes this term. For one class, our group needs to find an industry (and a specific company therein) to study from a microeconomics perspective. We have only five weeks for the microeconomics part of the course; the next five weeks comprise the macroeconomics part. So five weeks to study an industry and company — while I’m still learning the basics of microeconomics (sarc) oh I’m going to be so much help (/sarc).
Then I have to prepare my Sunday School lesson for this coming Sunday. I had two weeks to do it (this past weekend was Stake Conference, so I didn’t teach class), but characteristically I left it to this week.
And I was originally assigned the last Sunday in November to give a talk during the main meeting at church. The branch presidency moved me up to this week. And my topic isn’t all that easy: not much written on it, else I’d just quote Scriptures and talks and lessons from manuals, and so on. So I have to do actual thinking and study. And for some reason, the branch presidency has high expectations. (Last time I had to give a talk, they put me in the most-time slot, but I didn’t have enough time (someone before me ran way over) so I had to abbreviate my talk, and even then I ran over. Which wasn’t a problem because I had to teach right after, so my class was shorter. )
So in one week I have to:
Prepare the lesson (which I haven’t even started)
Prepare the talk (ditto)
Get the group to agree on an industry
Get the group to agree on a company
Do my microeconomics readings
Do my financial management readings
Complete the online course component of financial management
Fortunately – my silver lining – is that my bosses are leaving the country for most of the week. So I’ll have the opportunity to do schoolwork (and churchwork) during working hours; and I might even sneak in a few trips to the Temple, after chauffeuring Mom around maybe for a day or two.
Yeah, wah wah wah. Poor me. At least I’m busy. I’d rather be busy — and have the opportunity to contribute at Church — than be useless.
On the other hand, there are a number of personal issues that have occupied my mind. The world has always been…interesting. It’s getting interestinger. Fortunately, I think I found someone to help me, in a way, with one of my biggest challenges.
No post until Monday, maybe Tuesday.
Yes, it’s 2:30 am.
Class begins at 8 am.
I have still 2 finals assignments to complete.
Please to shoot me.
If Obama wins, I’m going to start a podcast (since I don’t know how to do radio).
I’m going to raise the volume on “patriotic dissent” against him and the Democrats.
Gas is down.
Stock prices are down.
I just signed up on E-trade to begin doing stocks. (Buy low, sell high, they say!)
An economic downturn isn’t always all that bad.
Oh, and I pointedly don’t watch anything except GSN and Cartoon Network. Politics is giving me a headache.
I asked a blogger I admire for some blogging advice. The blogger said it would be best to keep posts short and frequent rather than long and infrequent.
Sorry…I thought I’d be able to follow the blogger’s advice, but it seems I can’t! So I will try to post shorter posts more frequently, but if they get a little long, I apologize.
Around 8 pm Pakistan Standard Time, a large explosion shook Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The explosion targetted and destroyed the Marriott Hotel.
About 60 people have died (including two US Marines), and hundreds are injured. Casualties are expected to rise as injured people succumb to their injuries and as more bodies are found.
This attack has sent Pakistan into a panic. Now, this is not a new terrorist attack. There have been terrorist attacks going on for some time now, particularly as the Pakistani military has stepped up its campaigns against terrorists and militants. However, the symbolism of this attack is staggering. The Marriott was a very prestigious hotel, and was frequented by foreign officials, foreign reporters (Christiane Amanpour of CNN would broadcast from the roof of the Marriott), foreign visitors, and even well-connected Pakistanis visiting Islamabad. It was supposed to be the most secure hotel. It was also used extensively by government officials for functions, receptions, dinners, and whatnot. That such an attack could be made, practically destroying the entire hotel, has sent confidence in Pakistan plummeting. Even Pakistanis are extremely shocked and upset.
Now, there were terrorist attacks against the Marriott, but none were as massive as what happened on Saturday, September 20, 2008.
In a flashback to September 11, 2001, people were leaping from the top floors of the building to their death when fire made any other form of escape impossible.
There was a personal edge to this for me. My father had left for Pakistan a few days before, going to Islamabad. When he’s at Islamabad, he stays at the Marriott. When I found out about the attack, I began to panic mightily. I called his cell phone, but there was no answer. In fact, I got a message saying the call could not go through. So I called home (I was at school at this time), and Mom picked up. I panickedly asked her what city Dad was in. She said he was in Karachi. I was able to calm down a bit. I then explained to Mom what had happened in Islamabad.
There are many stories going around and, as is the wont for Pakistanis, it’s impossible to tell which are true, which are embellishments, which are crackpot conspiracy theories, and which are deliberate lies for misinformation.
One explanation that seems plausible is that the high-ranking officials of the Pakistani government were going to hold a reception at the Marriott in honor of Asif Ali Zardari’s first address as president. At the last moment, the venue was changed to the Prime Minister’s House. The attack could have been against the government officials expected to be there, who were spared by this last-minute decision.
(As a point of reference, the key buildings of the Pakistani government – the National Assembly, Prime Minister’s House, President’s House, Supreme Court – are walking distance from the Marriott.)
I’m still sifting through various conflicting reports in American and Pakistani media. It’s way too confusing right now. But hopefully we shall see the facts.
Just when I thought Pakistan was making some progress, something like this comes along and throws everything into chaos again.
Update: According to Dawn News (a respected Pakistani newspaper), Marriott representatives said there was no reservation by or for government officials at the Marriott.
Also, a commenter left a comment comprising of a link to a post of his/her alleging that The United States did the attack. The comment was not approved, and no such comment will be approved.
On Saturday, September 6, the end of an era for me came to pass.
For years, if not for more than a decade, I was using insulin pens to inject insulin. Using insulin pens was a far more convenient and discrete way to inject insulin compared to using syringes and vials.
For more information, see this article on insulin pens on Wikipedia.
Now that I am moving to an insulin pump (namely, the OmniPod), I will have no more use for insulin pens as the pump is filled from vials.
I am excited for the changes that are coming up, but it is bittersweet. An entire regimen, which I have used for so long, has come to an end.
The pen is dead. Long live the vial! (Pretty soon, specifically, beginning on Monday, Saturday 15, it will be: Long live the pump!)
This Saturday was a very busy and strange day.
First an outline, then I’ll discuss the coolest part about it.
Leave home to vet to take our dog to get his ears checked out.
Leave vet for home.
Leave home for Augustfest.
Leave Augustfest for the Temple.
Leave the Temple for home.
Leave home for the airport.
Leave the airport for home.
Leave home for Augustfest.
Leave Augustfest for home.
Augustfest was a rock concert (hard rock-ish) in northern IL sponsored by Budweiser and the radio station I listen to the most, 95.1 WIIL Rock.
The bands playing were Stereoside, Black Stone Cherry, Midnight to 12, Alter Bridge, Copper, Filter, Another Black Day, POD, Shinedown, and a few others. For $22, this was a steal.
Now, this is the type of music I listen to regularly. But most people wouldn’t believe it: they don’t see me as a hard rocker. And I had never been to a concert.
I liked POD’s song “Shine With Me”, so I thought I’d go to see them. But my parents were leaving the same day and wanted me to accompany them to the airport. (Later, my brother became busy so I had to drop them.) So I stayed for a short while and then left, with a somewhat heavy heart.
For a number of days before the concern, I had been hearing that Shinedown’s performance was not to be missed. It was said that they did an awesome job. So my reasons for going to Augustfest was to see POD and Shinedown. By the time I had dropped my parents and reached home, I realized that I missed many bands but could still make it for Shinedown if I wanted to pay for another ticket. I thought it’d be worth it, and returned to Augustfest. Turns out, one of the ticket-checking staffers at the entrance had an extra ticket he was trying to get rid of, so he sold it to me for very cheap.
The concert was awesome. I was very nervous. I did not know how it would be like, what I should do, whether I’d fit in. But it was great. It was very laid back. I was actually over-dressed. So I bought a Shinedown shirt (came with free CD) and changed into that.
There was a good variety of people, from kids in diapers to grey-haired old people. (A few unborn kids too.) A number of families – father, mother, kids – were there too. The people were laid back. While the music was playing, lots of people just stood and listened. Lots of people brought lawn chairs: they just sat and listened. Those closest to the stage were more into it: pumping fists, head-banging, and other stuff. So I did not feel out of place at all, standing and nodding to the music.
I think I saw three black people, and three South Asians. The rest were white. But, as usual, I didn’t feel out of place. I wasn’t surprised by this white-ness. Hard rock is considered “white music” but I love it.
Midnight to 12 actually as a drummer who’s Mexican (or Latino in any case). Oh, that reminds me: there were a lot of Latinos in the crowd.
Considering this was in northern IL, which is very red and conservative, the whole stereotype of racist hicks holds no water for me. It was obvious that most people didn’t come from ‘burbs, where there’s lots of diversity, but they were all civil and nice.
Most of the bands I saw were good. Mignight to 12 put on a very good show: each bandmember was animated and performed well. Stereoside was also good. Black Stone Cherry was good too. I wasn’t too fond of Alter Bridge (and that’s when I left).
There was no way I could have seen POD: I had to leave home for the airport at 7, and POD would take the stage at 7:30. No way I could make it. But I returned to see Shinedown. And it seemed that lots of people reached there a little later so as to catch Shinedown, not caring too much about the other bands.
Shinedown’s performance was awesome. They started with “Devour”. As I knew a number of words and the beat was very good, this was a good song: lots of people singing it, lots of movement. The lead singer was surprising very well articulate when he spoke with us. He used proper English, with complex constructions even. And his show was part performance, part motivational exhortations. He got us all very excited and into the music. (I’m listening to their CD right now.) He even let the lead singer of Black Stone Cherry sing part of one song. It was very well worth the drive back to Augustfest, the extra money, and the long drive home (even at 11:30 pm, the highway was extremely congested: bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go the whole route thereon).
One thing the lead singer of Shinedown did that I appreciated is that he asked military members to raise their hands, acknowledged them, thanked them, and dedicated a song to them. The crowd was very vocal in their appreciation for military people by cheering and clapping. Very nice to see.
What was also fun was talking to SHW in church today. SHW is the first counselor in the Elders Quorum presidency. Not a small calling. But he’s into this type of music, so it was nice to talk to someone about the bands and songs, and to hear another person’s views on similar bands and concerts.
Concerts like these are nice. I’ll go to more as they arise. There should be Augustfest next year as well. The radio station I listen to is good about such concerts.
(Thanks to The Hostages for giving me advice on concert-going.)
Musli: blogger, mild-mannered Latter-day Saint, hard rocker.
I had an awesome day at Church on Sunday.
Right after I bore my testimony, another guy got up to the podium. His first words? “Brother [Musli], thou art the man!” I blushed bright red.
While I was looking around, I caught my name on a piece of paper. Next to it was “+2″ under “taught lesson”. In our branch, we’re having a contest to see who gives the most service. This could be for help rendered or some spiritual service. A grade of 1 (nice), 2 (awesome), or 3 (life-changing) is given. So, someone submitted a note for when I taught a lesson. I’m so touched it touched someone that much.
I teach every Sunday in Church. There are usually two teachers, but one was released (and I replaced her) and the other was also released for another calling, leaving me to do it all alone, every week. But I enjoy it. Some lessons are better than others. Preparation, I have noticed, can help. Usually, I let the Spirit decide. To date, not one lesson has gone as I prepared or planned it. The people in my class is awesome. Lots of smart people. I learn so much from them. But it’s wonderful to bring to them insights or knowledge they may not have encountered, and it’s wonderful to bear to them my testimony every week.
After priesthood meeting, the branch president had wandered into the room and approached me directly. He wanted me to set up a tray of bread and two cups of water in his office for sacrament. A brother came later to church and had missed sacrament. I and the Elders Quorum President blessed and passed it. I was the branch president’s go-to guy!
Nothing gives me greater joy than knowing I can serve in the Kingdom of God, albeit in very little ways, in ways that touches people’s hearts. I regularly get feedback on my lessons, that they helped, and I’m glad I can do that.
Don’t know why I’m posting this. Just some insight into what’s going on in my life.
And the best news…on Sunday, August 17, 2008, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ will be visiting our stake. Elder Richard G. Scott will be addressing us. It’s not a stake conference, it’s a special program. It will be so cool!