Where credit is due
From Ahmadinejad to breast cancer
November 23-September 8, 2005
Dear Editor Salam,
Amazing but true: I am taking a break
Amazing but true: I am taking a 10 day break and giving your readers a chance to rest their eyes, take a breath, and relax their minds. If you don't hear from me again for any reason, I apologize to any and all for having either annoyed, offended, ridiculed, insulted, harangued or attacked them (and hope they will forgive me), but all that has been said and done was genuinely motivated by good intentions and the hope of bringing justice to unjust situations.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
You have got to give it to the man (credit that is), Ahmadinejad's campaign against corruption is creating screams of pain (much to my delight) from corners in Iran who long considered themselves immune from both investigation and prosecution for ill-gotten loot and thievery. I would not be surprised if some of the more powerful/influential elements within these gang of theives made an attempt on Ahmadinejad's life to relieve the immense pressure and scrutiny focused on them.
And in the same spirit: yes, my offer to safeguard/invest Iran's oil-windfall (to pre-empt having a handful of crooks and thieves do the same) remains on the table.
Baradar Ahmadinejad, while you are at it...
Baradar Ahmadinejad, while are at it... I would encourage your launching a full investigation into 26 years of theft and corruption at the Bonyad Mostazafan, particularly as it pertains to the affairs of the Sherkat Omran Shahinshahr.
Al Qaida Defined
This may surprise you, but 'Al Qaida' does not mean 'the base'...in fact as I was reading through the Qur'an and its English translation, I came across Sura 4 (al-Nisaa) verse 95 and 96 where the Arabic word 'Al-Qaidoon' is translated as 'distinguished.' Notably, the verse reads: "Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of God with their goods and their persons. God hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than those who sit at home. Unto all (in faith) hath God promised good: but those who strive and fight hath He distinguished above those who sit at home by a special reward. Ranks specially bestowed by Him and forgiveness and mercy. For God is oft forgiving, most merciful."
Ironically this verse is preceded by verse 92 and 93 in the same Sura which both begin: verse 92: "Never should a Believer kill a Believer...", verse 93: "If a man kills a Believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell...".
How Al Qaida reconciles the stern admonitions of Sura 4 verses 92 and 93, with the mass suicide bombings of innocent Iraqi civilians frankly baffles me.
Two Totally Separate Subjects
(1) I was curious if Guive Mirfendereski could write a lengthy thesis on the etymological roots of the following two intriguing phrases used in farsi: "Gondeh Goozi" and "Shasheh Dast Pacheh."
(2) If I haven't fully impoverished you yet, I am adding the following two holdings to the Iranian portfolio: BIDU at $66.60, and PIXR at $49.15. Note: Having said all this, no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Esfahan As A Retirement Haven?
I just got through speaking with a recent visitor (a family friend who is a retired professor from a university in Esfahan), and he mentioned that a couple without children who owned their own residence could live very comfortably on $500 a month in that beautiful city!! If I were the mayor of Esfahan, I would be thinking up all sorts of strategies to get Iranian expatriates to retire in my city and spend their retirement pensions there (the nice thing about retirees is that they don't burden city infrastructure that much: no kids means no need for extra schools, no need to work reduces pressure on streets and traffic, and a stable lifetime foreign currency pension income means no strain on the city's welfare system but much discretionary cash to spend on goods and services generating more sales tax revenues, etc. etc. etc...)
The benefit to expatriate retirees, of course, is the inexpensive cost of living relative to where they currently reside. I would think that a number of programs that a mayor in a city such as Esfahan could pursue to attain the aforementioned objective and attract expatriate retirees might include the creation of a special tax-free status for expatriate retirees, the creation of a first rate world-class medical/health center (which would accept foreign government insurance coverage) to cater to the health concerns of retirees as they get older, and the fostering of a vibrant museum/ cultural/ art/ theatre/ music/ education environment to keep those expatriate retirees distracted and interested
...this just keeps getting better!
A relative of mine recently handed me a "new" map of Esfahan and, lo and behold, I noticed that close to 50 acres of prime land in the heart of Esfahan which my family owns and on which we had intended to build a first rate residential, office, and commercial complex (think a smaller version of Manhattan in Esfahan) has been seized and turned into the Kaveh Bus Depot (Esfahan's main bus terminal)! Right off the intersection of Kaveh St. and what is now Shahid Dr.Mosafa Chamran Blvd. (Interesting side note: when the Lebanese Shia's were being oppressed in Lebanon in the mid-1970's and marhoom Dr. Mostafa Chamran went there to organize them and help them defend themselves, my family helped finance Dr. Chamran's efforts...the intermediary being none other than Mostafa's brother and current Tehran city councilman, Mehdi Chamran.)
Anyways, I think that my point is that I had a significantly higher opinion of Iranians as a people before the Revolution than after the Revolution...I really never thought that regular Iranians could be the thieves and opportunists they showed themselves to be after the Revolution; I also never thought- before the Revolution- that Iranians of a lower social class who were less financially advantaged were less decent or less honest or less worthy, but the Revolution changed my mind about that too. Must be the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde side of Iranian culture/personality that never registered with me.
I was thinking of an appropriate name for a fashion magazine catering to Iran's newest elite, and I came up with: BQ Magazine (for Bonjoli Quarterly.)
A good timing philosophy is: the time to buy is when everyone is selling and the time to sell is when everyone is buying: lets add the following stocks to the Iranian portfolio GM (yes more GM, they benefit when a supplier like Delphi declares bankruptcy because ultimately that supplier emerges with a lower cost basis and can hence provide supplies cheaper, also a good wake-up call to the UAW) at $25.48, MATK at $33.04, RFK at $15.60 (what a steal), TSRA at $28.44 (an old favorite.) Note: no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Out of pocket
Here is an opportunity to help the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan and get a substantial reward (I heard someplace that Ramazan has a special quality to it in that anyone who performs a virtuous deed in this month gets a reward that is multiples of that given for doing a virtuous deed during any regular month, and I also heard someplace else that doing virtuous deeds may wipe-out some of a person's sins...so lets load up!) Since none of the holdings in the Iranian Portfolio have hit or come close to hitting target sales prices, we are going to have to fund this relief/humanitarian effort "out of pocket," so I encourage everyone who can, or according to their means, to help by donating from at least $25 or $50 on up to Islamic Relief (<http://www.irw.org>www.irw.org) with "South Asia Earthquake Relief" noted in the memo section of their check...and to those of us who can't help financially, let us at least pray for those in distress. Might I also add that in our own continent Mexico and Central America have been devastated by killer floods and mudslides, so also keep the victims of those tragedies in yours hearts and thoughts and charity as well.
What is greed and coercion?
I would call one looking for full restitution of violated/seized rights and property, as seeking full justice and being persistent...not as being greedy and coercive. The "greed and coercion" argument is used by those looking to deny full justice and restitution (those who have some "sheesheh khoordeh" and residual wickedness in their "vojood".) The choice of taking less than is properly due is the right of the claimant, not the right of the aggressor.
Is everyone looking to me for a solution?
So, Iran finds itself in a tenuous and dangerous situation, caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, and everyone is looking to me for a solution? How odd, having my own countrymen trash me and my family, then look to me for salvation! Well, my humble suggestion is to buy time and credibility and confidence, and nothing can buy more time and establish greater credibility and confidence in the eyes of the international community than a genuine move towards democracy...the international community truly has no qualms about nuclear power and a democratic Iran.
And the mechanics are very simple: they begin with fresh parliamentary elections FREE of interference from shadow entities with powers vested in parliament and not shadow entities, continue with fresh presidential elections FREE of interference from shadow entities with powers vested in the presidency and not shadow entities, continue with the dismantling of UNELECTED shadow entities, continue with the establishment of an INDEPENDENT and ACCOUNTABLE judiciary, continue with FREEDOM of the press and FREEDOM of expression, RESPECT for human rights, etc. etc. etc. Just to round it out, I think the international community would feel real warm and fuzzy if an open-minded, moderate and democratic person of distinction were at the helm in Iran. This is just plain common sense, no magic, no voodoo, and no crystal ball.
Do I want to be rich?
The question isn't if I want to be rich. What I want is a formal acknowledgement accompanied by a public apology that a grave injustice was committed. Subsequent to which I want assets and property which have lawfully been in my family for generations returned, with proper compensation and reparations for damages incurred. By default that may make me rich or even extremely rich, but so what...since when was it a crime to be rich or for that matter extremely rich? (That is about as stupid as suggesting that it is a crime for someone to be extremely intelligent, beautiful, talented, etc.)
What confounds me, however, is how to get that immense machinery/enterprise back "in gear" and "on its feet" after 26 years of theft and abuse and neglect and mismanagement, to once again serve the larger community by creating jobs, affordable housing, plentiful food, a vehicle for charity, etc. etc. etc.
My wealth and my reputation (like my father's) will be determined by my high level of integrity and by my ability to be of service to my community, not by the girth of my pocketbook.
"Yarooha maneh Irani ro mosadereh kardand-o avareh kardand, haala mirand sineh mizanand-o ashkeh temsah mirizand barayeh Phelestiniha?!?!?!"...How about getting our ******* priorities straight for a change?
Some comments require immediate damage control and penance...so how about sprucing up a nation's recently bruised international image, for example, by doing something commendable...like releasing that honorable writer/reporter/political prisoner: Mr. Akbar Ganji.
Leaky Law Firms
It never ceases to amaze me how much privileged/confidential information leaks from law firms with "chatty" personnel. What is the point in having secure networks if a law firm lacks reliable and trustworthy employees?
GM: What it all boils down to
With GM what it all boils down to is: how do you justify paying the average U.S. GM assembly line worker $57,000 per year plus benefits, when a similar assembly line worker in say China would happily do the same work for $5,700 per year plus benefits, and it costs an average of $2,000 to have a Chinese assembled GM car shipped from China to the U.S.. Approximately 20 million new cars are sold in the U.S. each year of which GM sells 5 million...an average $3,000 manufacturing cost savings on each of those vehicles sold would translate into $15 billion in added profit to GM's annual bottom line- taking GM from the basket case to the trophy case. Can the UAW find an average $3,000 in manufacturing cost savings per vehicle to help keep the U.S. automobile industry from being outsourced to China?
Holakui's Entrancing Radio Program
I have heard that the trauma of the past 26 years- including the repercussions of the Revolution, war, social upheaval, forced migration, etc.- has left upto 20% of the entire Iranian populace with one form or another of mental illness, psychological debilitation, family problems, etc. [as an aside, I would be curious to know how this compares to the normal percentage of mental illness in an "untraumatized" country.] I must say that as a fan of Dr. Holakui's daily afternoon radio therapy program, I am both saddened and overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of issues facing many Iranian immigrants as evidenced by the calls he receives, but am also equally impressed by Dr. Holakui's skill in kindly, patiently and rationally trying to help help his callers overcome those issues.
Please select from one of the choices below:
(A) Abaa amad o Vabaa amad
(B) Abaa amad o Vabaa raft
(C) Abaa raft o Vabaa amad
(D) Abaa raft o Vabaa raft
(E) All of the above
(F) None of the above
(G) I am completely confused
Mr. Kofi Annan: PLEASE FOLLOW UP ON AKBAR GANJI
Didn't UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan request that Akbar Ganji be released (permanantly)? Why is it that in all the countries of the world a personal request from the UN Secretary General is taken seriously, but the gang running Iran always has to do something low, underhanded and "zesht" so that Iran and Iranians all come across as outcasts and outlaws? The authorities agreed to release Ganji, they should honor their word.
Bosnia's Forgotten Orphans
The Iranian portfolio is disposing of ABI at $25.36 (purchased at $20.71), ERTS at $60.23 (purchased at $51.78), and PMTI at $28.95 (purchased at $24.20.) By now the youngest of Bosnia's orphans from Central Europe's shameful genocide of the mid-1990's should be approaching college age, so why don't we put aside 10% of our net gains to help them attend college (its the least we can do for them given that we did absolutely NOTHING while their mothers and fathers were being massacred in front of our very eyes...and don't tell me you haven't heard of Srebernica.) Note: no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Attractive Land Market: Western North Carolina
When one is thinking "land" in today's market they should be thinking about retirement venues for the "baby-boom" generation. Tryon, NC is one of those markets which will appreciate tremendously from this phenomenon. Check-out the area by going to www.tryondailybulletin.com and check-out a unique/rare "Hunting Country" address land opportunity at http://beverly-hanks.com/propertysearch2/searchresults.
Toscana Country Club Website
I want to again encourage our West Coast compatriots to consider buying homes at this stunning development called Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, CA. If for no other reasons, prices in this breath-taking community should double over the course of the next 3-5 years.
Whoever says L.A. has no culture hasn't visited the Getty Museum (or the Norton Simon for that matter, or Huntington Library, or even the Los Angeles County Museum off of Wilshire Blvd.)... the only city which has no culture is a city which has no decent museum to speak of, in my humble opinion.
Taking some profits
The Iranian Portfolio is selling PIXR at $57.03 (purchased at $49.15), and also selling a batch of EBAY at $43.89 (purchased at $36.89.) Just a reminder to consider giving 10% of the net profits to worthy causes. Note: no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
*!@#! telemarketers. I mean how complicated can it be to comprehend that someone who has requested their phone number be placed on the "do not call list", does not want telemarketers calling them?
The Iranian portfolio is all into aromatherapy: we are picking up Yankee Candle Corp (YCC) at $24.37. Note: no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Did you know...
Did you know that the biggest buyers of empty plastic soda/water bottles that we recycle are...yep, carpet mills! If you ever go into a carpet store and look at polyester carpet containing P.E.T. (short for polyethylene terephthalate), know that you are considering purchasing what yesterday was an empty plastic soda/water bottle! Lets continue doing our part by being environmentally conscious and good stewards and keeping up our efforts to recycle and reuse the resources of this planet as efficiently as possible...the earth, the sea, the sky, nature and our kids will thank us for it.
PS: If you have a yard consider planting and nurturing at least one (not terribly water consumptive) tree for each member of your family.
Oops. I stand corrected
So much for my short career as an Arabic linguist: I think I recently mistakenly defined "Al-Qaidoon" (from which I assumed the word Al-Qaeda comes) as "the distinguished", whereas in fact I understand it refers to "those who stay at home." Sorry, but I guess from now on I better just stick to my stitchings, and muse on things I have more familiarity with (or else do a more thorough job of researching something before making a comment on it. :o(
Spreading goodwill and prosperity
Wouldn't it be great if some of those sparsely populated oil producing countries with significant excess amounts of cash (or even the US for that case) would fund hundreds of thousands, or millions of scholarships for poorer countries to send their talented youth to the finest engineering and management schools in the world...this would be something along the lines (though on a much larger scale, of course) of the multitudes of needy people whose education my family (and many like ours) funded out of our private resources during the better times.
Nobody Is Perfect or Egg On My Face
The Iranian portfolio has made a number of boo-boos, the most glaring being an interest in Refco (RFX) which we thought was a "steal" at $15 (it turned out to be a steal allright- but for all the wrong reasons, allegations of fraud on the part of management seems to have driven the company into bankruptcy and the value of the shares have plummeted to next to nothing.) Part of the risk of investing, unfortunately, is that sometimes one runs into thieves, fraudsters and crooks and suffers as a result.
All I can say, and I am not a tax professional so one has to consult a tax professional on this, is that the Iranian portfolio should probably recongnize the loss and offset some of its gains against this loss; furthermore, I anticipate some recovery through the courts and affiliated class action lawsuits but one probably needs to talk to a bankruptcy attorney to be better informed. Had the Iranian portfolio been more shrewd, it should probably have taken a position in Refco's distressed secured bonds in order to have been able to bid for the enterprise through the bankruptcy proceedings, but the Iranian portfolio didn't anticipate Refco being pushed into bankruptcy so swiftly, if at all. Note: Having said all this no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Only for Pakistan...
The Iranian portfolio is selling ECLG at $15.24 (purchased at $11.56), and SYNA at $20.70 (purchased at $15.84.) Just a reminder your readers to consider allocating 10% of the net gains from these transactions to assist earthquake relief efforts in Pakistan. Note: no one should invest in anything without consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
...more for Pakistan
The Iranian portfolio is disposing of TOMO at $18.68 (purchased at $15.14) and BIDU at $71.16 (purchased at $66.60.) Your readers may want to consider giving 10% of their net gains on these transaction to relief efforts focusing on Pakistan's recent devastating earthquake. Note: no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Expensive Residential Carpet
Every once in a while I have to do some commercial self-promotions in my emails to pay the bills (I am sure you understand.) Which is why my company is offering your Southern California customers the following expensive (but fine) residential carpet deal:
Mill: Tuftex of California
Style: "How Sweet It Is." Stainmaster Tactesse 100% BCF Nylon.
Pad: Manufacturer recommended 7/16" 6Lb Rebond.
Price (Includes material, local installation and tax. Excludes extra charges for carpeting stairs and moving furniture and out of area jobs): $6.50 per square foot, or $58.50 per square yard. We accept personal checks, Visa, Mastercard, American Express. Terms: 50% upon signing of proposal and balance upon completion of work. Note: carpet availability depends if the color selected is currently in manufacturer's stock, otherwise delays of between four to six weeks pending carpet manufacture are not uncommon.
Call us at (714) 799-7450 to have an account manager visit you with a sample, and give you a bid. We also offer hardwood, laminate, stone, ceramic tile, and sheet vinyl. We are licensed, bonded and insured.
PS: Please don't waste my time or my staff's time if you want to "chooneh", our prices are high and not flexible, but we do offer good product and great service.
Penny For Your Thoughts
Today we added very speculative natural gas play TERX to the Iranian portfolio at $2.93, but I forgot to also mention that we are going to add OBDP at $.21 (yes a penny stock, but an interesting one tied into the eBay phenomenon and logistics...either eBay or DHL may end up buying this enterprise somewhere down the road.) Talking about roads, the Iranian portfolio continues to find ARDI (@road inc) attractive at these prices-we are hoping for an earnings blow-out when this company reports later this month (driving the short term price up to $8 per share?). Similar hopes for earnings blow-outs rest with RBAK and GTW. GMST continues to be very attractive at these prices both on the fundamentals of improving core business operations and on the possibilty that News Corp. may buy the 59% of the company it doesn't own both for strategic reasons and to average down the price for the 41% it purchased at substantially higher prices. NOTE: having said all this, no one should invest in anything without consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Fuel for our portfolio
I am adding a VERY speculative- yes this is Las Vegas type money one would throw at this stock-and intriguing natural gas play to the Iranian Portfolio: TERX at $2.93 (I am hoping they strike some rich natural gas reserves in the Barnett Shale and the price goes to the moon. Lets cross our fingers and see what happens.) Having said this, no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Ramadan va Rosh Hashana Mobarak
Ramadan and Rosh Hashana Mobarak to their respective adherents.
Well at least thank God for that
Who says the squeaky wheel doesn't get the oil? Following all my online rantings and ravings and after 26 years, the "authorities" finally did an "investigation" and now "acknowledge" that they illegally seized, confiscated and sold substantially all of my family's assets subject to a fraudulent ruling by a criminal judge...now get this: they are challenging the size of my very reasonable demands for reparations and compensation!...I tell you, it seems like getting justice in Iran is like trying to pull a tooth out of someone's mouth: very very difficult!
I have been giving some thought about starting a hedge fund. Aside from the legal requirements of having potential clients meet certain net worth, income, and financial awareness hurdles; I would only engage clients with a MINIMUM of $10 million to invest, and would require 25 clients or alternately $250 million to begin. Annual fees would be 2% of assets under management (excluding trading/custodial/other charges) and 25% of profits. Clients would have to commit their capital for a minimum of 5 years. Note: there are virtually no restrictions and no guarantees when it comes to hedge fund investing so potentially all of a client's capital is subject to risk and loss.
How about some diversity?
How about acknowledging our diversity by naming the next hurricane: Pilar or Carmen or Josephine or Tatiana or Soosan or Leila or....
The Sudanese Model
As international tensions and the prospects of confrontation increase between Tehran and Washington, a likely outcome may very well be the Sudanese model where General Omar Basheer, an Islamist military man but a pragmatist seeking resolution and not an ideologue seeking confrontation, outmaneuvered and replaced Hassan Turabi a relatively inflexible Islamist ideologue who was the architect of the ascendence of the Islamists to power in Sudan. In Iran, it is conceivable that such an individual or group of individuals within the command structure of the Sepah may view the direction the country is taking as unnecessarily reckless, stage a "velvet" coup, and proceed to purge Iran of both ideological and radical elements detrimental to the well being of the country.
Give (Azerbaijan) and Take (the Nukes)
The international community should consider facilitating a peaceful re-unification of Iran and North Azerbaijan in return for significant concessions on Iran's nuclear energy program. Why Azerbaijan (other than the fact that approxiamtely 40% of all Iranians are somehow Azeri, and Azerbaijan was an integral part of Iran for ages before Russia occupied it 150 years ago)? Because (1) its re-unification holds as much/more national significance to Iranians as a independent nuclear energy program (2) it is energy rich and addresses Iran's energy concerns. After all, isn't Iran entitled to receive at least equal to what it is being asked to relinquish?
Exactly what glory was there in an eight year "sacred defense" which ended up killing and maiming hundreds of thousand and millions of Iranians and Iraqis, destroying infrastructure/agriculture/industry, bankrupting and impoverishing two previously wealthy countries, strengthening mutual and common enemies, and establishing a foothold for foreign hegemonic powers?
The Forbes issue of the 400 richest Americans was just issued (and for those inquiring minds: no I wasn't on it as I missed it by 26 years, a rapacious revolution and approximately $899,990,000.) I was thinking, however, that the staff at Forbes would probably do a greater service to society by focusing a parallel issue on the 400 most impoverished families in America to bring into focus the depth of poverty in segments of our society and the wide gaps that exist. Concurrently, I was mulling on the war on terrorism, and it dawned on me that this Middle East oil windfall shouldn't be spent by their short-sighted governments and their foreign patrons on unnecessary weapons and frivolous projects, but rather should be directed to fund factories and farms across poverty stricken swaths of the Muslim world, bringing much needed hope and work to frustrated and resentful men and women.
Confrontation Unproductive: "more carrot less stick."
I am now of the opinion that being further confrontational on both the part of Iran and the U.S. as regards Iran's nuclear program is unproductive, so lets look to "more carrot and less stick." I see the solution for productively resolving this issue in two approaches: (1) significant additional incentives on the part of the United States and Europe to entice Iranian cooperation (2) diminushed Iranian intransigence in allowing substantial international cooperation and involvement, if only for the sake of assuring safe facilities so that Iranian citizens don't become the first victims of radiation poisoning from substandard and unsound batiments and techniques.
I got a chuckle when someone mentioned that someone had mentioned that this year Muslims should engage in "moon-sighting" and not "moon-fighting" to establish a common day for the start of Ramadan (October 5th or thereabouts I am told.)
Someone told me that in the "old days" when merchants in the bazars of Tabriz bought new shoes, they immediately covered them in dust to confuse customers who thought the merchants were charging them too much or vendors who thought the merchants were paying them too little...these merchants definitely confuse me: I mean if you are going to cover your new shoes with dust, why buy new shoes at all?!?!?
Updating Iranian Portfolio
Let us take advantage of some pull-back in pricing and the identification of several good companies to make the following additions to the Iranian Portfolio: ARWR ($3), EBAY ($36.89), GM ($30.78), GTW ($2.72), HOC ($14...note this is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange), NNDS ($37.38...note this is an American Depository Receipt or ADR), PMTI ($24.20), RBAK ($10.69). Having said all this, no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have been so honest that people assume that your are dishonest?...It is quite a dilemma!
I think I know how to stop the Al-Qaida threats and violence
I got to thinking recently how to best address and stop the threats and violence emanating from Al-Qaeda, and I think I have found the answer: given that Al-Qaeda and its supporters claim to follow the strict interpretation of the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (though I very much doubt that the indiscriminate targeting of innocent civilians was the modus operandi of such an honorable and compassionate personality), let us look carefully to the Qur'an and these traditions and see exactly what we are doing or engaged in (in contravention to the Qur'an and these traditions- or at least Al-Qaeda's interpretation of the same-) that has Al-Qaeda and its supporters so enraged and agitated...then let us ask ourselves if these are legitimate/just concerns that we can address to put all this tension, madness and trauma to rest. Am I suggesting that we capitulate? Absolutely not! I am simply seeking a rational, just, negotiated (and ultimately inexpensive) path to disengage from what seems to have become an interminable and very expensive cycle of mutual violence and instability and anger and hate. A parallel might be the Good Friday accords reached between the British government and the IRA to defuse tensions and seek a political solution to the crisis in Northern Ireland. All of which leads to the question of whether Al-Qaeda and its supporters even have a formal negotiating team.
In 1997 Nateq-Nouri quashed the public release of the Majlis' investigation into widespread fraud and theft at the "Bonyads" which control the bulk of Iran's non-governmental economic activity...I challenge Ahmadinejad to make the findings of that report public, and to begin the arrest, prosecution and punishment of the culprits.
Saddest Investment Experience
Did I ever tell you about my saddest investment experience? It wasn't so much the financial loss (which was significant) which hurt me, it was the fact that I was betrayed by the dishonesty of a young (non-Iranian) Muslim man whom I had entrusted with capital when his start-up was struggling, only to be denied the full/proper benefit of my investment when the company flourished. In the span of a couple of years I witnessed (in disbelief) how the illusion of wealth and power and publicity spawned wickedness, greed and arrogance in what had otherwise previously been a decent individual. Not surprisingly, after cheating me, this individual's venture folded. Truly, "nothing good comes of nothing good."
Hunter or the Prey?
I know of people with "holier than thou" attitudes who allow themselves to intrude on others' privacy (for example through spyware and otherwise), in order to make value, morality and judgement calls on their targets. Now you tell me who is more immoral in these cases: the hunter or the prey?
Imagine what Iran could have been/become if in 1979 power transitioned into the hands of law-abiding, refined, educated, democratic and noble Iranians instead of falling into the hands of the riff-raff that it did..."afsoos."
The Iranian portfolio is going Chinese...yes, there is gold yet to be found in the Middle Kingdom (and at relatively reasonable prices): we are adding SOHU at $17.59, SINA at $25.64, and TOMO at $15.14.
NOTE: no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
The Iranian portfolio finds GMST a compelling "buy" at these prices for three reasons: (1) the current valuation of the company seems to be significantly less than just what its portfolio of EXTREMELY valuable patents might command (2) the troubles at its print "TV Guide" property seems to be more than fully priced in the price of the company AND the company is doing something about it to turn around sagging subscriptions (3) News Corp may take full advantage of cheap/easy money and the strong cash flow from other media properties it owns to make a bid and buy up the 59% of GMST it doesn't own (even a $6 a share bid would be a "steal" for GMST.) NOTE: Having said all this, no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Do you remember the word "esalat"? It used to have some weight and meaning at a point in time when people respected other people. How many individuals can you think of today to whom that label would genuinely apply?
Clarifying The Iranian Portfolio "Giving" Theory
I just wanted to clarify a certain issue for your readers with respect to my reminders to "give" 10% of the net gains from my "gratis" stock selections to worthy causes which I might suggest or recommend. If I were a professional hedge fund manager performing the services I am offering free of charge to your viewers, I would be charging clients a minimum of 2% of the assets under management and 10% (and as high as 25%) of the net gains as my annual fee. In return for providing a limited form of these services "free of charge" to your viewers, I am asking your viewers to consider giving what I would have otherwise minimally charged them to causes and organizations that I might suggest or which might appeal to me (Why am I doing this? Maybe this is my way of trying to contribute to humanity, be a positive individual, leave a mark, get some intangible/otherworldly reward, absolve myself of some sins, etc. etc....or a mix of all of these.) Note: I am not a religious scholar and I am not an ethicist, so if your beliefs or creeds or conscience (or lack of any of these) require you to give a percentage of your investment gains to certain organizations and entities and endeavors which might not coincide with the causes I am appealing for, you should consider giving those donations IN ADDITION TO AND SEPARATELY OF what I am asking for.
Thanking all your viewers for appreciating my efforts on their behalf by contributing 10% of their net gains in the Iranian Portfolio to the worthy causes that I am appealing for.
NOTE: NO ONE SHOULD INVEST IN ANYTHING WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING WITH THEIR ATTORNEY, ACCOUNTANT, FINANCIAL ADVISER, ETC.
Though extremely clumsy and poorly executed, the government of Iran's offer to sell 20 million barrels of oil to the United States following Hurricane Katrina to offset any disruptions in oil supplies the catastrophe may have caused for the United States, is a significant signal of a desire on the part of the Iranian government to resume relations with the United States, initially commercial- as indicated by the request to lift trade sanctions- and subsequently diplomatic. To facilitate this process and to remove the possibilities of any potentially tragic misunderstandings, it would be wise for both countries to quickly move towards the re-establishment of diplomatic missions and representatives, at the ambassadorial level, in one another's respective capitals.
Reforming the world by reforming myself
Enough hypocrisy (I am referring to myself)! I am going to make a conscious decision/effort to personally reform the world by changing that which I can control: I am going to try to reform myself (this may sound impossible, but I owe it to myself and the world to at least try)! I am going to try to use my best efforts to be less selfish, less angry, less gluttonous, less greedy, less lustful, less judgemental, less annoying, less superficial, less sinful, less mean, less nosy, less close-minded, less suspicious, less depressive, less self-absorbed, less negative...
In fact, I think I will start immediately by going to the breakfast table today with a smile, and not a scowl, on my face.
And to think if each of us individually did the same what effect we could collectively have on the harmony of the universe!
In response to a viewers comment of what I intend to do if and when the authorities in Iran decide that thieving its citizens' assets is legally and morally wrong, and I (my immediate family) am/are compensated for damages and losses: I have mixed feelings. My heart tells me that what comes from Iran should stay in Iran, and those significant resources should stay there and be productive and helpful to a poor country. My anger tells me that my own people, intentionally and maliciously and without justification, hurt me and my family so I should just take everything, leave and make Iran a distant memory and a bad dream. So right now, the question is premature and I am still undecided. The only issue that I am decided about is that Iran's capital should be relocated to Esfahan, and as part of that move a complete land swap/full compensation deal between the government and myself should be reached.
My thoughts on "Ghesmat"
Before going to my thoughts on "ghesmat", I wanted to adjust the Iranian Portfolio by disposing for $44.40 the batch of SFCC we picked at $35.45 some months ago (as we speak the Iranian Portfolio no longer currently holds any SFCC, but we may pick it up again if it becomes compelling.) Also, the Iranian Portfolio continues to find GMST an attractive "buy" and a good value at current prices. Just a reminder to your viewers to consider giving 10% of their net gain from this sale to continue helping victims of Hurricane Katrina through Islamic Relief www.irw.org or the American Red Cross www.redcross.org or any other reputable humanitarian organization. Note: no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Now on the issue of "ghesmat" or kismet (in English): I have noticed that Iranians fatalistically accept things (or want others to fatalistically accept things) because that is what fate (or God or circumstance or society or whatever) has in store for them. I just have to say that this mentality drives me CRAZY! NO!: fate (or God or circumstance or society or whatever) does NOT accept that someone be the target of deceit, dishonesty, fraud, abuse, oppression, and all sorts of other ills and mischief that humans intentionally wreak on other humans...with the mentality that people (brashly enough sometimes espoused by the perpetrators of the evil themselves) should meekly or resignedly or conveniently attribute it to "ghesmat" about which nothing can (or should) be done. NO SIR/MA'AM! God has sent down prophets and books, and society has created laws, and men and women are taught ethics/morals/manners, and history and experience has taught us lessons, so we don't fall back on "ghesmat" as an excuse for not standing up for our individual and collective rights. Ironically, falling back on "ghesmat" actually perpetuates "ghesmat" and perpetuates the ills and malaise, individually and collectively, that accompany the "ghesmat" mentality.
Iranian Portfolio: Lets Help Hurricane Relief
The Iranian Portfolio is selling BIIB at $42.43 (purchased at $34.51) and IART at $36.85 (purchased at $30.46.) Just a reminder to your viewers to consider giving 10% of their net gains on these transactions to either Islamic Relief www.irw.org or American Red Cross www.redcross.org or any other reputable humanitarian organization to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Note: Having said all this, no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, etc.
Remembering Minoo B.
October is breast cancer awareness month. One of my mother's best friends and one of our favorite adults as a kid was a beautiful woman named Minoo B., a PhD in Physics from one of France's most famous universities and a black-belt in karate and an absolutely wonderful human being who genuinely liked everyone particularly kids. Minoo passed away from breast cancer in 1992 at the age of 49. Please encourage your mothers and daughters and sisters and friends to get their annual mammograms, and work to help for universal implementation of inexpensive screening, particularly in Iran, where breast cancer seems to be taking a larger and larger toll on Iranian women.