Friday, July 12, 2019

Out & About...and Remembering......

  I go to seek a Great Perhaps. François Rabelais
As I reflected upon this admonition (which is an implicit mission of the Daily Outsider), I decided to release this which is also going to be available on StoryCorp Soon--it was a great opportunity to sit back, reflect and be thankful beyond Words...

Please Enjoy!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Out & About w/ #RandomThoughts......




As I have been trying to have some fun, I have also been thinking about our World as I look forward to an active engagement with initiatives for the Daily Outsider especially as the Daily Outsider has been chosen as part of the Google News Initiative as we begin a new chapter.    It was also quite a Day as Celebrations ensured throughout the US in honor of Independence Day--including what President Trump headlines in Washington.   I captured some while at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos:




It was also quite a month in social advocacy and engagement--including my outreach with my local Congressman on Iran.   I wanted to share his response here for reference--It would be nice if there was more substance as I note Onward.....





 Dear Mike,

     Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding escalating tensions between the United States and Iran. As your representative, I need to know what issues affect you in order to serve you best. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
     As you know, tensions between the United States and Iran continue to rise. As a Member of Congress, keeping our country safe is my most important responsibility, but we must have a healthy understanding of the nature of war and its impact on American lives. We must be vigilant and relentless as we confront those who threaten our nation’s security, while wisely using military force as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted. We owe our troops nothing less when their lives could be in harm’s way.
    The administration must consult Congress, as well as our NATO allies, on a new strategy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, protect Israel, and contain Iran’s aggression in the region. In the event that military force becomes necessary, the administration must seek new authority from the American people to wage war by way of Congressional authorization. Anything short of these measures is a reckless endangerment of American lives and national security.
     I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 2354, the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act, which would prohibit the use of funds to engage in military operations in Iran without Congressional authorization, with some exemptions such as in response to an imminent threat. H.R. 2354 has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees for further consideration. Rest assured, as this or similar issues are considered in Congress, I will keep your views in mind. 
     Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about this important issue. Your comments help me better represent the people of the 48th District. Please stay in touch, and if you need any further assistance, do not hesitate to contact me through my website rouda.house.gov or call my Washington, DC office at (202) 225-2415. If you would like to receive periodic updates, follow us on Facebook as well as Twitter.

     Sincerely,
     
     Harley Rouda
     Member of Congress










Thursday, June 27, 2019

#RandomThoughts: On @FreeNazanin, #Iran & Staying Hopeful



 


Yesterday was a day to remember all who were victims of Torture.    The depictions above honored who have been subject to torture.    I have had the honor to be supportive of the case of Nazanin Zargari-Ratcliff who has been held in Iran since 2016 and has been on a hunger strike.   Her husband, Richard, has also been on a hunger strike in front of the Iranian Embassy in London.   What I found so hillarious was a claim made by one of Hassan Rouhani's advisers equating Javad Zarif (subject to sanctions by the United States) to Nelson Mandela--I caught this by an Iranian Analyst and I just laughed:



One great development was an open letter signed by 14 leading opposition figures inside Iran that have called for Khameini to resign and for the Islamic Republic to Go.     4 of them were interviewed by Iran-E-Farda's Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh.    I have been assigned a project by the Daily Outsider Team to translate and provide guidance on both letters and the expressions of support over the ensuing days.

This has also been a very distressing week as the World was witness to another tragic death of a father and a daughter trying to cross the Rio Bravo.     This image broke my heart:



This is why this was so important to remember which MoveOn.Org sent out: 



 Some will say this is a "LIBERAL" thing--but this is an American as it comes because unless one is a Sioux or a Cheyenne or many of the other honored tribes of American Indians, we all came from somewhere.    

As it has been quite a challenging week, I decided to be a bit upbeat to closeout my weekly #RandomThoughts with these thoughts I captured:  









Remaining hopeful ever more....

Thursday, June 20, 2019

#RandomThoughts.....








It has been another busy week as I have continued commitments for the Daily Outsider while I also took some time to work on Community Projects.  It was great to be witness to Community Spirit in Action as Sr. Jorge Olamendi decided to donate his remaining stock of his Family Market as he had to shut it down here in Laguna Niguel to the St. Timothy's Food Pantry Parish.   I had the pleasure to join the effort in helping to be supportive of the pick up and delivery.

As I have been working away, I decided to Headline this edition of "Random Thoughts" with three things : 1) A sense of the true realities in Iran ((that I picked up and released as a contribution to Donate a Photo); 2) How we should value Mother Earth (Courtesy the Environmental Expert & Campaigner Kaveh Madani & 3) The cost of defending rising sea levels in US States over the next thirty years (Courtesy The Guardian).      I am also very excited to take on the project of transforming the Daily Outsider to the next level as the Daily Outsider has been chosen as part of the Google News Initiative--Exciting times!! 

I have also done what I can to be supportive of the campaign by Richard Radcliffe to be supportive of her Spouse that continues to be held hostage by Iran.   I made a point of citing the Prophet Mohammad as I tagged Javad Zarif and Hassan Rouhani--we have to do what is right although I realize they have no power and the only real power resides with Ayatollah Khamieni .   I have also been reading the letter by the 14 Activists and hope to have a transcription of the conversations the authors had with Iran-E-Farda soon for the Daily Outsider  

This morning, though, has seen some disturbing news as a US Drone was shot down by Iran.    I was working away as I saw the coverage and placed a call to Congressman Rouda (My Congressman) to ask that we avoid war if at all possible--it will be a god-send for the regime--and I underscored that this has nothing to do with the fascist subhuman in charge in Iran right now.     As I was working away, I also caught this from two of the great Iranian Performers which is a dream for us all--a time where there is NO war ever and a dream for freedom with lyrics by the great Yaghma Golorouee whom I first got know back in 2015 when he was arrested and Mehdi Fallahti of Voice of America remembered him:


I will do what I can to help realize this dream through the commitments to the Daily Outsider and on-going engagement efforts.


Onward....

 

:


Monday, June 17, 2019

#RandomThoughts As Monday Dawns...

It has been a busy weekend as I was also blessed to be reminded of all that I'm thankful for.    As I was working away, I caught a number of video clips about Iran.    I took comfort in this thought which is small comfort to those who are dealing with personal challenges.     Please enjoy the clips as I look forward to my continued  conversations with the World:




Wednesday, June 12, 2019

#RandomThoughts While Out & About....






Our team at the Daily Outsider has been quite busy this week. As I hope the community enjoys visiting the properties I decided to do a brief drop by w this. I did what I could to help elevate the conversation and hope the Government does its job.

As I joined the Twitter discussions yesterday and underscored how #WeWillNotForget. this was also a joyous time as my Son Graduate from Aliso Niguel High School.    The Daily Outsider Education Property will feature a Notation on what happened in our District--where I have the privilege to serve on the Finance and Facilities advisory Committee.   The Graduation ceremony was attended by Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo City Leaders and it was a joy to be witness to the future as the 718-Strong Class of 2019 walked on the stage as "....The Aliso Niguel High School Wolverine Stadium in Aliso Viejo swirled with teal, white and black graduation gowns and glittering dreams....For the 718 graduating seniors, Thursday, June 6 commemorated a hard-won diploma, a handshake from the principal, and a 
walk offstage and into real life.."  as our Community leaders cheered them on..":


http://cusdinsider.org/718-seniors-graduate-from-aliso-niguel-high-school/

In Spite of all the challenges at hand, I continue to believe and know that the best is yet to come.....

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Out & About with Some brief #RandomThoughts As May 2019 Withers Away.....



It has been quite a challenging month--and that's putting it mildly.     I again decided to be upbeat as I chose this clip with a tribute to Iran by the great Loris Tjeknavorian and wanted to close out the Month with this which I released 6 years ago on my Facebook Wall : 
Winding down the month...a lot to be thankful for all the blessings.....as I look to upcoming challenges, I was reminded of the prayer of St. Francis..and pray that the Almighty grant me such courage....wishing all a wonderful Friday..and for those w/a w-end before them..the best of w-ends 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
- St. Francis of Assisi 

It holds ever so true now!!

Onward to  June....

Monday, May 27, 2019

On This #MemorialDay2019....


I ran across this beautiful song courtesy of the Ekoob Band--Niyaesh means prayer and reflection in Farsi--A solemn song as America remembers and to also underscore a profound sense of thanks for all that I am blessed with...

Saturday, May 25, 2019

On This Memorial Day Week-End: Brief #RandomThoughts

It is Memorial Day Week-End here in the United States--and the official day of Summer.    The Summer Travel Season begins--but this is also a day that America remembers its' fallen through ceremonies that will be held throughout the United States.   

It is a solemn day--yet again I felt being upbeat is absolutely critical as I hereby have the pleasure to feature the Global Happiness Challenge which I initially released over my Twitter Feed and wanted to underscore a need to remember how the art of the possible can be possible--as I saw to all here in the United States:  Happy Memorial Day.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

#RandomThoughts.....



It has been quite a week as our World was witness to potential war and engaged in a Trade War.   I continued to again be upbeat and begin the weekend on a high note in my virtual corner on the eve of the weekend.   The need to be optimistic and upbeat is ever so critical--why I chose him is that he's the same guy who caused a stir in Iran as all kids took the queue and danced to his music which caused a lot of irritation among officials--I was so glad to add to their irritation as I did my small part to help spread the joy and happiness of the kids as they danced away--one of the clips is pinned to my Personal Twitter Feed and I'll have it there for a very very long time!!

Onward to the Week-End!!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Out & About With Brief #RandomThoughts



I decided to open my #RandomThought w/this depiction of the reality in Iran today on how joy and happiness has been trampled upon by the regime in Iran.   It has  also  been quite a week and quite a month already in our World.     The Team at the Daily Outsider decided to celebrate the weekend by releasing a "Virtual Musical Interlude" Throughout the Properties--In that spirit, I decided to release this on one of my favorite films from India-Fidda:


It is the story of a strong, self-confident girl whom in the end finds the love of her life.    It has also been a week that has been, frankly, challenging.    The worrisome developments out of Iran continues to be absolutely distressing    as the currency collapses, the potential threat of War looms which has led to the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln along with rumors of Iranian moves against the United States--including a late breaking development of deploying B-52's to the region.     Over 6 Million People have left Iran--the equivalent of the population of Denmark as there are rumors of a change in leadership from Khameini to his son.      Our team at the Daily Outsider will continue to assess this over the ensuing days and week--but this lifted my spirits:    


I have featured this particular clip on my Twitter Feed and so glad I could contribute to them being "upset"--I will do whatever I can in that regard as I note #WeWillReClaimIran.

One of the highlights of the past number of months was when I joined the Point in Time Survey and It was so great to be witness to it--It was so nice of the team at City Net to have sent this as I reviewed this and it is a pleasure to share:



#THANKFULTHURSDAY

Orange County Network,

We are extremely thankful to have partnered with the County of Orange to fulfill the HUD Point In Time Count requirement via theEveryone Counts OC initiative.

On April 24, 2019, the County of Orange released the results of the 2019 Point In Time count. More than 1,000 volunteers across Orange County counted 6,860 individuals experiencing homelessness. Of those, 2,899 were sheltered while 3,961 were unsheltered. Your efforts helped collect valuable information that the County of Orange will use to ensure resources are distributed to best serve those experiencing homelessness.

We deeply appreciate the opportunity to have played a role in the project and are thankful for all our volunteers and community partners that made this Point in Time count so successful.

Check out the 2019 Point In Time recap video below and the County of Orange’s press release and 2019 Point In Time Summary by clicking here.

With thanks,

City Net
The Orange County Team


This video was filmed at one of 6 deployment centers, the Orange County Community Resources deployment center, and does not visually include all volunteers, service-providing partners and government agencies that were involved. We appreciate everyone's contributions to make the events possible. 


I also decided to finally bit the bullet and write the White House primarily focused on drug pricing--I wonder if I would get a response as I note this acknowledgment:   
May 7, 2019
Thank you for contacting the White House. We are carefully reviewing your message.

President Donald J. Trump believes the strength of our country lies in the spirit of the American people and their willingness to stay informed and get involved. President Trump appreciates you taking the time to reach out.


Sincerely,
The Office of Presidential Correspondence

I captured this courtesy of the great Vala Afshar as I close out these #RandomThoughts for the Week: 







Onward...



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Out & About in the Community On Quite a Month : Brief Thoughts



It has been quite a month of challenges.    For me, the opportunity to be engaged in the Community was the highlight of hope epitomized by joining the Taste of Aliso Niguel that saw some 1700 people attend a fabulous night this past Saturday and as I joined the Blood Drive at Aliso Niguel HIgh School this past Monday.    The need to remain upbeat, optimistic and forward looking is ever so critical.      I elect to remain optimistic as I say May here we come!!

Onward!!



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

On the Prowl w/a "Thought For the Week" On the Question of "Who Am I"?



I had the good fortune to attend a Two-Day Workshop on Digital Story Telling--as in many ways I have been telling a story throughout my Founders' Corner and in support of the Work of the Daily Outsider--it was just a fabulous two days of insights, discourse with some fabulous souls at the Library of the Canyons in Silverado Canyon.      It was an extremely reflective two days--and that's putting it mildly!!

Monday, April 22, 2019

As a New Week Dawns....

It was quite a weekend that began with celebrating Earth Day at the Niguel Botannical Preseve:



I joined the Orange County Boy Scouts as work was done on the Trail To Eagle--it is always a joy to be witness to such selfless commitment to service.     I also worked on projects for the Daily Outsider which I hope all visitors enjoy that will be available throughout the week.     Easter Sunday began, though, with attending Easter Mass and thereafter joining the family for an Easter Brunch.    It was quite a tragic weekend, too, as the bombing in Sri Lanka left over 200 dead--I remain optimistic and upbeat in spite of it all as I say Onward!!!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

On the Eve of Easter Week-End: Some #RandomThoughts

It is Easter Week-End.  For me, it begin with an evening of Service Thursday Night at Aliso Niguel High School as I assisted with staffing the Traffic Safety Workshop and continued on Friday with a morning of service at St. Timothy's Parish before getting back to work working on Projects in support of the Daily Outsider.   I decided to go dark for Easter Week-End as Earth Day 2019 is also celebrated in Laguna Niguel as I close out with these Random Thoughts: 





Happy Easter, Happy Passover and Happy Earth Day!!!


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Out & About w/Brief Mid-Week #RandomThoughts


I have been seeing the reports out of Iran regarding the floods and the numbers are just absolutely horrific--for instance, the headline (although in farsi) reflects as of this clip I picked up some 12,000 Kil (almost 25 thousand miles)--which corresponds to almost 70 percent of the roads in the Country.   What was emblematic was how the Governor of Khuzestan in Southern Iran told off a victim of the floods--and although the Interior Minister ordered the victim to be "consoled", it underscores the total lack of regard shown in the aftermath of this horrific disaster.      

Beyond the horrors of Iran, there are the horrors of the future.   I picked this up from Fortune--and what is so unfortunate and sad is how such is not the focus in the United States as the World is marching on--if only America had a President that understood the magnitutde of the challenge instead of claiming "the Country is full":

Eye on A.I.
Eye on A.I.

APRIL 9, 2019
Chinese tech giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are rapidly improving their artificial intelligence, challenging current U.S. tech leaders like Google and Amazon.
China’s so-called BAT companies, as New York University business professor and futurist Amy Webb calls them in her latest book, The Big Nine, get a big boost from their government’s funding and tech-friendly policies. Government support has helped embed the BAT companies’ technologies across China, in everything from mobile messaging and e-commerce, to digital payments and health care.
In an interview with Fortune, Webb contrasted the relationship between China’s government and that country’s A.I. titans with their U.S counterparts and the Trump Administration. In short, the gap is huge—and it could have profound implications for the U.S. economy.
The White House and Pentagon have “very little understanding of what A.I. actually is and how it actually works,” Webb says, mincing few words. This hamstrings the U.S. government from implementing A.I. policies similar to China’s that are aimed at creating a skilled workforce.
In China, some grade school children are taught A.I.’s fundamentals. In the U.S., well, not so much.
Meanwhile, some U.S. tech workers are at war with their government, exemplified by Google’s employees protesting the search giant’s military contracts that involve A.I. The tensions, Webb says, make it more difficult for the U.S. government to harness the best A.I. technology.
Her remedy is for U.S. tech companies to be more transparent about their government work. The more secretive they are the more they breed distrust.
At the same time, U.S. political leaders like Sen. Elizabeth Warren increasingly criticize the tech industry while accusing them of potential anti-trust violations. It’s a sharp contrast to China, where corporations and government work together, including on luring back U.S. educated Chinese techies to work for Chinese companies.
In China, “nobody is going to be using their political campaigns to point fingers to garner votes,” Webb says.
Eventually, she expects China to ingrain itself more into the economies of other countries, giving its BAT companies greater business access. Italy’s recent decision to participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, intended to spread Chinese infrastructure and products worldwide, foreshadows things to come.
For example, China could encourage developing countries to adopt aspects of its A.I.-powered social credit system, a controversial approach to giving individual citizens the equivalent of Yelp scores that factor into everything from getting loans to being able to travel. It may not be this year or the next year, Webb says, but perhaps 10 years from now, eventually weakening the U.S. government and the influence of U.S. tech companies worldwide.
“I think democracy is at stake—I’m not joking,” Webb says. “I think our way of living is at stake and the future of how we do business globally is at stake.”
Jonathan Vanian
@JonathanVanianjonathan.vanian@fortune.com


Sunday, April 7, 2019

#RandomThoughts While out & about.....

I was witness to Democracy once again as I had the pleasure to serve in the Special Elections.   This update I got was quite exciting about how Voters continue to be empowered through the innovative thinking by our local Registrar of Voters:


It is this along with the continued opportunity stay engaged that sustains my sense of hope--up and including the opportunity I had to serve as Principal for the Day at the John Malcolm School in Laguna Niguel to understand the challenges of our public schools.   But such hope has been tempered by the biblical storms in Iran--that continues right now and how Government continues to fail and fail miserably--the news is just tragic and distressing as Water continues to makes its' way down south.  Some 400,000 people are in the path of the floods and the reporting from the VOA's Radio Farda has been tough to listen to. 

As  I was pleased to see how the International Committee of the Red Cross Red Crescent Society underscored how there was no prohibition against helping.     I released this courtesy of Tavana--sometimes images are worth trillions of tweets and words:


Remaining Hopeful especially as I caught these on how selfless souls are stepping up everywhere throughout the drought areas:

An Army Colonel on his knees deep in Water helping the Elderly get on the Truck to Evacuate 

A Pediatrician Who Volunteered to Serve in the drought stricken area and serve in the Field Hospital




Thursday, April 4, 2019

Out & About w/Brief Thoughts re #IranFloods & Other Thoughts

It is not easy to be really upbeat as I captured scenes from my forays over the Social Grid over the past two weeks as Iran grappled with the floods of biblical Proportions--a danger that still persists: 



Add caption



  I was also so glad to see how the lies by Regime officials was dispelled forcefully by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Society and the State Department in spite of my reservations about their recent pronouncements on the effect of the Sanctions.  One of the leading opposition figures in the United States, Mohsen Sazegara, advised on his daily broadcast that he had paid a personal visit to the State Department and was assured there was on prohibition in this regard.

Iranian Civil Organizations are spearheading a fundraiser--which I had the pleasure to contribute to--as I note this from my Facebook Page--as my son beautifully noted, every little bit helps:

I would just note: #WeWillReClaimIran!!!  

PS-This update is also worth noting from the Center For  Human Rights in Iran that underscores the critical nature of the continued challenge faced in Iran right now:


US, Iran and EU Must All Take Steps to Ensure International Aid Reaches Iran Floods Victims​

US Sanctions and Iranian Mismanagement Preventing Critically Needed Aid
April 4, 2019 –The US and EU should immediately take steps to ensure that Iran receives humanitarian aid to assist disaster relief efforts in the wake of devastating floods that have killed dozens and caused millions of dollars of damage to homes and infrastructure, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today.
Further, the Iranian government must ensure that the aid is effectively and evenly distributed, with full financial transparency.
“While the Iranian people are dealing with the devastation caused by more than two weeks of flash flooding, the authorities in Iran cast blame, the US issues empty declarations of support, and the EU has so far been unable to deliver tangible humanitarian support,” said CHRI’s Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.
“Lives are being lost; it is urgent for all parties to ensure that political disputes do not impede Iranians’ access to full and effective disaster relief,” Ghaemi added.
On April 3, 2019, Ahmad Shojaei, the head of Iran’s state-funded Medical Forensic Organization, reported that 62 people had died so far as a result of flooding that began in Iran on March 19 and has since affected 23 of the country’s 31 provinces.
The hardest-hit provinces are in south and central Iran, including Fars, Isfahan and Lorestan, though provinces in the north including Golestan and Mazandaran were also affected. The governor of Khuzestan Province had declared a state of emergency after flooding swallowed buildings and bridges in his region on March 31.
Disaster relief efforts in the wake of the floods have been hindered on many fronts. While humanitarian trade is permitted under US sanctions, US secondary sanctions affecting international banking transactions have made many banks reluctant to handle even permissible trade with Iran.
On April 2, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “The United States stands ready to assist and contribute to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which would then direct the money through the Iranian Red Crescent for relief.”
But Iranian officials have stated that Iran has been unable to receive aid due to US sanctions.
Yet sanctions are not the only issue affecting Iran. The country’s refusal to comply with international banking standards has resulted in many international banks refusing to handle allowable financial transactions related to Iran.
“For banks, it’s not just about being sanctioned for dealing with Iran,” said Erich Ferrari, an expert on US economic sanctions and export controls. “By working with Iran, they open themselves up to a host of issues and scrutiny. For example, they could be penalized or scrutinized by their regulators for not having sufficient anti-money laundering controls in place.”
The EU set up the Special Purpose Vehicle after the US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal and reinstatement of US sanctions specifically to enable financial transactions for permissible humanitarian trade with Iran. But so far the mechanism has been beset with logistical problems and has not yet become operational.
Meanwhile, the Iranian government has been harshly criticized inside Iran for its mismanagement, in terms of preventative flood measures that should have been instituted, early warnings and notifications as the floods began to hit, and continued disaster relief efforts.
Iran’s refusal so far to adhere to international banking standards has only added to the country’s difficulties and financial isolation.
Call to the US Government:
The US Treasury should publicly and explicitly issue a statement that addresses ambiguities regarding sanctions compliance and fears regarding US penalties. It should emphasize that trade with Iran in humanitarian and essential goods such as foods, medicines and supplies are exempt from sanctions and permissible, and state which unsanctioned banks are permitted to handle such trade.
Call to the Iranian Government:
The authorities in Iran should designate a financial channel to handle transactions that complies with international banking standards, ensure humanitarian aid is distributed effectively and transparently beginning with the regions hardest-hit by the floods, and implement mechanisms to ensure human rights are not violated during relief efforts.
Call to the European Union:
The EU should urgently accelerate the process of implementing its Special Purpose Vehicle, allowing it to assume the role it was designed for, namely, to enable financial transactions for permissible humanitarian trade with Iran.
The quandary facing the Iranian people, who have played no role in Iran’s ongoing political disputes, is reflected in a statement by the head of the International Red Cross: “In many places across the world, the space for impartial humanitarian action is under threat. Human dignity is disregarded, the applicability of the law is questioned, and humanitarian aid is politicized and deliberately hijacked for political gain or the control of populations.”