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Outsider Views - Never Losing Hope

 
: Ever So Challenging.....
It has been a challenging 24 hours around the World. UK is approaching a moment of decision on Scotland. France is in the midst of a political upheavel as Francois Hollande is at 13% approval rating (just as bad as the US Congress). What happens in Scotland matters as it will determine what happens to another powerhouse of Europe that is trying to dig itself out of the deep hole it is in: Spain with Catalonia vying for independence.

In the meantime, Paris has seen the World coming together yet again for another Conference--this time on dealing with the thugs of Islamic State. It was of concern as splits have developed in the coalition with the current Iraqi Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaffri, noting how Iran's exclusion was not helpful. Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed US overtures as "empty" as he had a brief interview on Iranian State Television as he left the hospital after prostate surgery. As this latest was being prepared, reports came out of #Afghanistan on another bombing near the Supreme Court Building in the heart of Kabul. No where is safe in Afghanistan--and if anyone had any doubts of the parallels to Vietnam, this should be another proof. In the meantime, Abdullah Abdullah is refusing to abiding by the expected poll results--because he is losing.


Moving on with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa) are also in the midst of challenging times. Although China's Alibaba is taking the World by storm with the expected IPO offering, the broader Chinese economy is proving to be challenging due to soft economic demand. This is in addition to what China has done with de facto Martial Live in the restive Muslim Regions. Russia is facing stiff sanctions due to its' misadventure in Ukraine. India is trying to deal with the aftermath of devastating floods as it also deals with challenging political realities as Congress seems to be coming back from the dead. Brazil is approaching decision day with President Rousseff facing a very stiff challenge from Marina Silva. South Africa is also dealing with corruption allegations with President Zuma and Julius Malema. It is tragic that Julius Malema has made it to Parliament--One wonders what would #Madiba say to that.


America is also faced with the mid-terms and the handicappers are telling the World that the Republicans will sweep the elections Rob Portman, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Vice-Chair was saying that they were "looking good" as he met with the Christian Science Monitor . But America is also gearing up for another war--which may forestall the expected defense cuts. Jockeying for 2016 is also ever so evident as Hillary Clinton went ot Iowa, Bobby Jindal came out with yet another position paper (this time on Energy with apparently total reliance on Oil) and others continue onward. We hope to have comments on it soon on the channels of the "outsiders" network.

But in the midst of the political wrangling and President Obama's low job rating, some seem to want to "rise above the crowd". It is ever so gratifying to see voices of sanity (albeit in a humorous way) hold such insanity that seems to have prevailed over the past thirteen years:



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On Our World: Notations For the Week-End

September 14th 2014 01:08
: On #Iran, #Iraq, #Gaza, #Syria & Other Thoughts


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization had its' summit this past week. In addition to the founding members, it included observer nations such as Iran and India along with Afghanistan. The Leaders posed for a Team Picture here (Source: The President of Iran's Website).

Beyond all the talking and posturing going on, war goes on with no apparent end in sight. It was horrific as the World Media reported on the latest beheading of a hostage in the hands of the thugs of the Islamic State. This is as the United States continues its' coailition building efforts to combat the thugs of the Islamic State--even though the most crucial player, Iran, is being excluded as the United States continues its' efforts. Iran, though, has not helped its' case with its' continued support for Assad. On that, Secretary Kerry is absolutely correct.

The website Counterpunch has published a damning indictment of the policies that have led to the current menace facing the World today. . Although the letter by the US House Speaker to the new Iraqi Prime Minister was welcome, it still does not address the underlying challenges and a long term vision necessary to overcome it all.

Iran's Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Khameini, had prostate surgery. It was quite striking to observe how the Islamic Republic's P/R machine spearheaded by Khameini's Chief of State underscore how all was well. The entire Political leadership came out to the hospital to see him--along with a string of other personalities (including leading members of academia and sports) who paid their respects. Iran's Supreme Guide is appointed for life--and speculation is rife over who will succeed him. The Farsi Service of the Voice of America discussed this in a very insightful program a few days ago:



Although the program is in Farsi, the deliberations were frankly frightening. Although he seems to be looking well, what is clear is that it was a serious enough health issue as noted in this program. It shows that there is no succession plan per se--and a reaffirmation of how Khameini became Supreme Guide in large measure due to the moves by Rafsanjani is ever so disturbing. Although the speculations over his successor (including folks like the head of the Judiciary Larijani and others), uncertainty will not serve Iran well right now as Iran continues to deal with profound economic, security and foreign policy challenges. Although there is a Constitution Mechanism in place, it seems as if Khameini is not willing to transition it over to the Council that is called for.

The Syrian Regime, in the meantime, continues to kill, maim and destroy as it portrays this image of fighting terror around the World as ever so brilliantly depicted by our man KAL of the Economist of London: :



As Syria and Iraq burn, Gaza seems to be quiet. However, as Hamas is quiet and as the Israeli Prime Minister continues its' Public Relations effort, the reality on the ground as reported by Omar Robert Harris on the London Review of Books is an eye opener. The 26 instance he reports is noted below:

1. Annexed another 1500 acres of West Bank land
2. Seized $56 million of PA tax revenue
3. Not lifted the illegal blockade (as required by the ceasefire)
4. Broken the ceasefire by firing at fishermen on four separate occasions
6. Killed a 22-year-old, Issa al Qatari, a week before his wedding
7. Killed 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot with a rubber bullet to the head
8. Tortured a prisoner to the point of hospitalisation
9. Refused 13 members of the European Parliament entry into Gaza
10. Detained at least 127 people across the West Bank, including a seven-year-old boy in Hebron and two children, aged seven and eight, taken from the courtyard of their house in Silwad – and tear-gassed their mother
11. Continued to hold 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in prison
12. Continued to hold 500 prisoners in administrative detention without charge or trial
13. Destroyed Bedouin homes in Khan al Ahmar, near Jerusalem, leaving 14 people homeless, and unveiled a plan to forcibly move thousands of Bedouin away from Jerusalem into two purpose-built townships
14. Destroyed a dairy factory in Hebron whose profits supported an orphanage
15. Destroyed a family home in Silwan, making five children homeless
16. Destroyed a house in Jerusalem where aid supplies en route to Gaza were being stored
17. Destroyed a well near Hebron
18. Set fire to an olive grove near Hebron
19. Raided a health centre and a nursery school in Nablus, causing extensive damage
20. Destroyed a swathe of farmland in Rafah by driving tanks over it
21. Ordered the dismantling of a small monument in Jerusalem to Mohamed Abu Khdeir, murdered in July by an Israeli lynch mob
22. Continued building a vast tunnel network under Jerusalem
23. Stormed the al Aqsa mosque compound with a group of far right settlers
24. Assisted hundreds of settlers in storming Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
25. Prevented students from entering al Quds University, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at those who tried to go in
26. Earned unknown millions on reconstruction materials for Gaza, where 100,000 people need their destroyed homes rebuilt. The total bill is estimated at $7.8 billion

The World seems to be As the World continues to be witness to the horrors of war, Pope Francis decried the de facto start of World War III. Yet again, he underscored a true reality that all must pay attention to--there is no escape of this. What is clear is whether the World will think about Columbus' admonition:



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Now that #POTUS has spoken....

September 12th 2014 04:20
: The aftermath....
#POTUS (which is twitter speak for President of the United States) has spoken. He outlined the 4-step strategy he plans to pursue to eradicate the ISIS/ISIL cancer which has befallen Iraq & Syria.

What has been sobering to assess is the most recent assessment by the US CIA on the actual strength of ISIS/ISIL. They have tripled the estimated strength of them--as they are acting like an Army as Saddam's Former Vice President seems to be running the show behind the scenes


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On Our World: Brief Thoughts

September 11th 2014 06:08
: Keeping Hope Alive


The past 24 hours have been quite interesting to observe. All must take a moment of pause to remember all that is beautiful about life. It was ever so as a column by the President of Chapman University noted in a recent column for the Orange County Register about how "thankfully we have plenty to stick around for". This is as the 13th Anniversary of 9/11 in the United States is at hand and as Chile is on high alert as the 41st Anniversary of the Coup that brougt Pinochet to power is also at hand


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: History Being Made Before Our Eyes....
It is the eve of another speech by President Obama on Iraq. This is as ISIS continues to wreck havoc on Iraq and Syria with no near end in sight.

US Officials (including President Obama) have said that it will take at least three years to get this thugs defeated. This is a continuation of the so-called perfect storm" that was noted in a classified memo for Colin Powell when he directed the memo to be prepared. The memo is still classified. The current "Perfect Storm" is chronicled by one of the most perceptive analysts of The MIddle East Today, The Wilson Center's Robin Wright in her New Yorker Article noted here for reference.
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: Wow is the only Word...
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View of the Week: Being "Trailblazers"

September 7th 2014 05:55
: The essence of living :-)
In his daily outreach, Jonathan Luckwood Huie shared some insights that all must take into account to never be afraid no matter what the odds are. This came home especially to me--A lesson to be remembered by all:

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinions;
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On the Prowl : Thoughts 4 the W-End

September 6th 2014 03:06
: Remembering :-)
As we here @ Outsiders began a week-end of assessment, we received word that Alibaba, the Giant of China's E Commerce Engine, is priced at $ 60-$80. Jack Ma, the brains behind Alibaba, is ever so the definition of Success as we hope all enjoy this "Thought 4 the Week":


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View of the Week: Voices From Palestine

September 2nd 2014 07:07
: Will The World Listen?
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: What is the end game for #Khan?
The capital of Pakistan is in total chaos. NDTV is broadcasting live images of the on-going clashes in the Capital's Red Zone (where Government Institutions are located) as Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri lead protests calling for Nawaz Sharif to resign. They broke through barricades to enter Parliament Grounds.

The Chief of Army Staff in Pakistan tried to mediate--to no avail. From the reports coming out of Pakistan, Imran Khan had six demands. Five of the demands were met. However, the final demand--the resignation of Nawaz Sharif--will not happen. Although a new report just came out noting that Sharif has again reached out to the protesters, it clearly appears that Imran Khan is settling for nothing less than Nawaz Sharif's head and his brother Shahbaz--the Punjab Chief Minister. One of the Pakistani analysts noted that no one is a winner


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