Monday, August 27, 2018

Out & About ....

Nazanin Radcliff as she had to say goodbye to her Child after Furlough
Nasrin Soutodeh Goes back on Hunger Strike: An Update from her Husband Reza Khandan 

On the Moral Bankruptcy of the Islamic Republic:  The proliferation of Houses of Prostitution in Mashad catering to Iraqi Tourists 

August 2018 is drifting away into the history books as I am writing this.   The team at the Daily Outsider decided to go dark through Labor Day here in the United States as it finished a Virtual Property-Wide tribute to Senator McCain and as the team gears up for September which will be available later on Monday.    It has also been an extremely challenging week as I captured what I have noted above from my on-going daily forays on Social Media assessing the latest out of Iran.

I begin with Nazanin Zargari-Radcliff.   She was on a trip to Iran to see her parents and introduce her parents to their grand daughter.   She has been on the staff of the Thomson Reuter Foundation and was picked up as she was leaving On Iran on trumped up charges and has been detained ever since.   I have had the pleasure to be supportive adding my voice to agitate for her release.  She's one of a multitude of dual nationals that the Judiciary in Iran has detained--She was all of a sudden given a three day furlough and then again hauled off to Prison.    This is as Nasrin Soutodeh has begun an hunger strike to protest her detention and the continued harrasement by the regime against her family and supporters.    It is just absolutely irritating to be witness to it.

As the regime continues its' repressive moves to stiffle dissent, protests are continuing.    The regime is trying desparate moves including window dressing moves like impeaching the Economy Minister--who has virtually  no power as key levelrs of State Economic Power are controlled by the Supreme Leader.    What I find absolutely abhornet and sickening is how over the 30 years that the Supreme Leader has been in charge, Iran earned over 1 Trillion dollars in Income from Oil Exports.    Yet Iran is absolutely broke.    According to the regime's own statistics, out of the 24 Million Households, some 6.5 Million live in absolute povertry.   12 Million Households only have one breadwinner.   Over 21 Million People are unmarried as they cannot marry due to the dire economic circumstances.   The rate of divorce continues to skyrocket as the regime continues its' misadventures in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq continue.    What I found so sickening is how Larijani, the Majlis Speaker (and one of the richest men in Post-Revolutioanry Iran), said how it was an absolute obligation to help the children of Palestine--as Street Children in Iran work in order to support their families with no end in sight.    It was even more sickening how the 94-year head of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Janati, noted how he cried at the scene of Somali Children--yet he implores people to eat one meal a day and to be patient as to everything is going to be all right.  It was even more horrific as Rouhani, the President, came out and asked people to be patient and to set aside "differences"--as he has presided over a collapse of the currency, inflation continues to skyrocket, laborers are not being paid and the prison rolls continue to expand ever more.   I will not even bother to talk about the comical show put on showcasing the fact that they had produced a new aircraft--which turned out to be a repainted F-5.  This is as the regime gave me Iranian Sovereignty over the Caspian Sea--even though both Rouhani and his Foreign Minister, the Smooth-Talking Used Car Salesman Javad Zarif, denied it as I underscore the simple fact that #WeWillReClaimIran.       

Of all the agony I have been reviewing and assessing, the one that truly sickened me was the third headline as reported by a number of Media--the proliferation of houses of prostitution in Iran's holliest City, Mashad.    From the reporting I reviewed, Iraqi men flock to those cities and frequent such houses.   Mashad is one of the richest cities there is--and  yet such depravity must occur.    The two lowlifes in charges there have no sense of accountability for this as no one does in the regime--BBC Persian's Rana Rahimpour noted this as she underscored her frustration about Mrs. Radcliffs' predicament--what we all share.    This is just one in the latest in underscoring the total lack of moral legitimacy of the Regime that has continued to torment 80 Million Iranians.    It led me to think about and revisit David Brooks' writings to see whether these subhumans in charge in Iran understood even the mere idea of character--which they do not:

Despite all that goes on, there are still rays of hope and sunshine.   One example of it was this young man that created a school in Iran to cater to Street Children--and had to resort to an online fundraising campaign due to no funding from the regime--the regime has funds for useless religious institutions, foreign adventures and yet, nothing for schools.     As I write this, I could not pull up their website--which has led me to believe that somehow the regime has cut them off as the founders' video went viral throughout the Iranian Diaspora--I could not personally figure out how to support him as his fundraising page did not allow for any foreign contributions.

As I close out August, one thing I was quite proud of was the privilege of being supportive of a gathering of Korean War Veterans of the 40th Infantry Division at JFTB-Los Alamitos.    I produced a brief Visual Essay on it which I view as a high note to "book-end" my latest "Out & about":

I will not forget what one of the Veterans told me:   I'll do it all over again--Duty, Honor and courage in action.  If only the subhumans in charge in Iran truly understood these.

Onward to September with all its possibilities....

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Out & About In Our World With #RandomThoughts

I have been working away on commitments at the Daily Outsider as I reflected upon quite a week, quite a month and quite a year.   I decided to feature a talk by one of the leading opponents of the Islamic Republic about the moral bankruptcy of the regime in Iran, Mohsen Kadivar.   I note this especially as I saw reports about Nazanin Zargari, the British-Iranian Expat being granted a three-day release to visit her daughter after two years--I was extremely proud of doing my small part to help make sure the World did not forget about her plight.

I note this because Iran is in a State of Flux exemplified by what I released in my Twitter Feed earlier in the week:

Two Of the Leading Lawyers are Paraded before being Headed to Jail (Courtesy Masih Alinejad) 

Where are the Children? 

Dr.Kadivar's speech in the aftermath of the Green Movement resonates even more today especially as he point-by-point rejected the assertions by the Islamic Republic especially in light of what he specifically noted how Imam Ali, in his letter in his book (No. 53), about how Democracy and human rights should have been at the heart of it and never violate Human Rights.      What I was so disturbed by was how two of the leading Human Rights Lawyers were hauled away in handcuffs and legcuffs in Prison Garbs in front of their families for detention--and as the leading Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Soutodeh continues to be in detention and I saw that her residence was raided in the middle of the night.       Although Dr. Kadivar's speech is in Farsi, the speech is very hard to listen to especially in light of the profound challenges Iranians face right now.       One key yardstick is simply this:  The total collapse of Iran's Currency, the Rial.     I nearly broke down when I listened to his speech on how the Islamic Republic has driven Iran to the ground.   

It was also quite a 48 hours in the United States in the aftermath of the Cohen and Manafort convictions.    The debate continues and the spin continues--but I saw on the Economist that also was extremely problematic--and now as the President just came out and said that if he's impeached, the market will crash & now Giuliani saying that the people will revolt:

 Our cover this week looks at American politics. It is easy to lose perspective amid the twists and turns of the investigations swirling around President Donald Trump. But this week something significant changed. Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former fixer, told a court that during the campaign he was directed by Mr Trump to pay hush money to two women, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election”. Congressional Republicans are now defending someone who would probably be indicted on federal conspiracy charges if he were not in the Oval Office. Should a president be above the law?

As I have been reflecting upon this profound number of weeks, what gave me hope was what I was witness to in my Community yet again as the Kids went back to School:

Despite the profound challenges, I continue to remain hopeful--I have no choice....

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Out & About w/Thoughts .....

It has been quite a week.   For me, it began with one of my focus areas, Iran as the daughter of the leading Iranian Civil Rights Lawyer, Abdulfattah Soltani, died of a heart attack at the age of twenty seven.  He had been in prison for 8 years with no reprieve for parole despite repeated entreaties to the Judiciary in Iran for his release.   Her tragic death was captured so brilliantly in this drawing I captured from the Web over the past week--and as I saw images of his daughter's funeral, it was tough to be witness to it.   Mr. Soltani climbed into his child's grave to promise this to work as hard as ever to bring smiles to the people of Iran in spite of his grief : 

What I also found so remarkable was how he thought about the suffering of the people.  As he was given a reprieve to attend his child's funeral, he was leaving prison and ended up chatting with the families of the recent detainees.  He implored a newspaper writer who was at his residence to pay her respects to say this:  Give voice to the voiceless and make sure that all lawyers take up their cause.   This reporter asked--how come in the midst of all such grief you continue to think about them.   His response was so powerful:  One cannot do anything for those who've gone--but one must do what one can to give voice to the voiceless.

The true depth of the tragedy of Iran today was captured by one of the leading Iranian Experts in the World, Professor Abbas Milani, when he wrote about the level of shame and how the so-called Supreme Leader was such a lowlife--and how her death was on the Regime.   Although one member of Rouhani's Cabinet tweeted condolences, the silence by Rouhani and the so-called Supreme Leader was deafening--and as I was finishing these thoughts, I was reading up on the "so-called" agreement on the Caspian Sea that essentially assured Russia's supreme position in the Caspian Sea: 

Back here in the US, I had the pleasure to be continually supportive of the work of the Daily Outsider as the network achieves a milestone--and I hope what the team has done will be of interest as the milestone approaches on August 15.    It has been quite a journey--and admittedly at times it has been quite a challenging one in many respects--but a journey of service is a humble one ever more.   It truly hit home as I was witness on Friday to community spirit in action which I released to my Facebook Wall Friday.    It is being witness to such selfless acts of purpose and service that continues to give me a sense of courage and hope in spite of the challengnes including what I caught on the aftermath of Charlottesville which our team at the Daily Outsider decide to release on its' milestone week.   I also released it to my monthly Tumblr Corner.

As I was reflecting upon the past two weeks, my mind reflected upon the day I had the privilege to join the USS Stocksdale on its' annual Friends and Family Cruise.    Of all I was privileged to be witness to, what I captured below was especially moving:  

It is this sense of Honor that will sustain a sense of hope always as I close out this "out & about" with this closing thought: 


Saturday, August 4, 2018

On the Prowl w/ #RandomThoughts

@ USS Stocksdale 

It has been an interesting and challenging week and frankly a very challenging year.   But, the need to power on is an absolute fact especially as I had a chance to reflect on it while having the honor to join the USS Stocksdale Family Cruise in my capacity as a member of the City of Laguna Niguel's Military Support Committee.   I produced a Visual Essay of the Images I captured as I hope to write about it soon.

As I was on Cloud 9 on all the blessings in spite of the challenge while on the USS Stocksdale, my mind yet again drifted away to Iran and the predicament of the people.   These brave souls continue their protests as the ordinary faces ((that we've tried to be a voice of here in the Daily Outsider)).  It is heart wrenching as I was seeing reports of babies and body parts for sale so that ordinary folks can put food on their table.   Nader Shah The Great, one of the great Persian Shahs (Kings), anticipated this dark period:

He said that Mullahs (the fascists in charge in Iran) must be executed twice--once for a useless life and for being liars and cheaters.   This is as today is the day the first of the sanctions will hit Iran in the aftermath of the Sanctions as the Rial continues to collapse and corruption continues to be rampant ever more--as it was so tragic how only around 3,000 People seem to be the elite in Iran today.     

The dark clouds over Iran was captured by two of the leading Iranian Singers here:     

The people have arisen--I hope to be able to continue to  do what I can as  I join in the chorus to say #WeWillReClaimIran.