The book is expertly divided into eight (8) sections making it easy to follow and comprehend. Given the limited knowledge I had about Obamacare prior to reading Josh Blackman’s book I found section I-IV most useful for my purposes, as these sections gave an excellent overview of both legal and political issues related to Obamacare.
The first section “The Promise of Obamacare” discusses the birth of the bill and the legal issues that plagued it almost immediately. Part II “Conscience and Contraception” is probably one of the most interesting chapters with a focus on the controversial issues of abortion, contraception and the initial rejection of Obamacare by pro-life democrats.
Part III “shutdowns discusses Obama’s difficulty with the implementation of Obamacare and the problems surround the HealthCare.gov. website, while Part IV focuses on the time period between October 1st 2013 and December 30ths 2013 with a deeper look at the technical difficulties surrounding HealthCare.gov including the fact that only six (6) people were able to register on the first day that the website was launched.
As a criminal defence lawyer and a human rights advocate for me the most fascinating aspect of “Unraveled” was the deliberation surrounding the freedom of religion debate including the case law that was reviewed in detail and helped shed light on the issue as a whole.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Obamacare, even those with very limited knowledge, as Josh Blackman has managed to write a book that is both detailed, comprehensive and at the same time easy to follow and understand.
I was provided with a copy of this book for the purpose of review.
While the story is historic with a focus on slavery some of the themes in the book are just as relevant today as they were during the time of slavery. In “One Cowrie Shell” two African tribes the Youruba and Dahomey are constantly battling each other, capturing prisoners and selling the prisoners to slave traders in return for cowrie shell’s and tools. While both tribes keep on fighting neither one has any idea when and why the fighting started and why it continues.
Unfortunately this theme is still very much relevant in today’s world where we see sects within countries destroying each other without gaining anything from the destruction, and various countries especially in the Middle East and Africa waging war against each other while those who are responsible for creating and selling weaponry benefit and profit from the destruction.
While I really enjoyed the story and the different themes in this book I found the writing itself can be improved, as there was a lot of repetition throughout the entire book. The constant repetition gave the book a simplistic style making it more appropriate for a younger audience. I would love to see a more polished and well edited version of this book, as the story itself is captivating and well worth the read.
I was provided with a review copy of this book for review purposes.
I recently had the pleasure of writing an op-ed on Women's Human Rights and Pro-Democracy movement in Iran for the "American Military News"
Please see the op-ed below with the original link on the American Military Website.
“Female Chess Players threaten boycott after being told to wear hijab at the World Championship in Iran.”, “Iranian women defy Supreme Leader’s Fatwa against bicycling.” These are the news stories we have become accustomed to reading about women in Iran, the attempts by the Islamic Regime to repress women’s rights, and the fight of brave Iranian women against the Islamic tyranny in Iran.
Living in secular democracies may sometimes cause us to take for granted some of our most basic rights including the right to choose one’s own clothing, the right to choose what subjects to study, the right to choose a career path, the right to choose when and where to travel and the right to choose our partners and the type of relationship we would like to have.
Unfortunately in many Islamic countries, including Iran, women don’t have any of these basic rights that we enjoy in secular and democratic countries.
As young women grow up in Iran they are told that they have to cover themselves and wear the “Islamic Hejab” which is prescribed by law. From the very beginning this very basic right to choose what to wear is taken away from young women and lack of compliance often leads to arrests, imprisonment, and flogging.
Young women are not allowed to wear makeup or nail polish. They are not allowed to travel without the permission of their male guardian. Women are not allowed to enter relationships outside of marriage. Any relationship outside of marriage will lead to arrests, lashing, and even stoning. The barbaric act of stoning is still carried out by the Islamic Regime in Iran. Same sex relationships are also outlawed and a woman that chooses to enter into a same sex relationship can be flogged or even stoned.
In November of 2012 the Islamic Regime passed a new law banning women from entering 77 different degree programs from English Literature to Biology to mining engineering. This was part of Islamic Regime’s efforts to push women back in to the home instead of allowing women to be productive members of society. Fortunately this plan was not successful, Iranian women continue to attend university in large numbers and work outside of the home regularly.
Family Law in Iran is also stacked against women due to the oppressive nature of Sharia Law. Under Sharia law men can legally have up to four (4) permanent, and many temporary, wives and men are generally awarded the custody of their children after divorce. In 2013 the Islamic Regime approved a new law which allows men to marry their step children who are 13 years or older, essentially legalizing pedophilia.
While things might appear bleak for women in Iran, there is a bright light: the strength and determination of Iranian women to tirelessly fight for their rights. While women face systematic and widespread persecution by the Islamic Regime, they still manage to be in the forefront of the pro-democracy and human rights movements in Iran. In 2015 as part of the “Stealthy Freedom Movement” Iranian women took to social media to post pictures of themselves without the mandatory hejab, creating a major uproar not only within social media but internationally.
Most recently after the Fatwa of Ali Khamenei banning Iranian women from riding bikes, women took to social media once again posting pictures of themselves writing their bikes, clearly and openly defying this oppressive fatwa.
One of the things that has been significantly lacking in the past 35 years is the lack of support from women in democratic countries for women in Iran, however that seems to be changing significantly as women worldwide start to realize that violations of the rights of women in one country can affect the rights of women worldwide.
The most recent example of this is female chess players being told they must compete at next year’s world championship (which is being hosted in Iran) wearing the hijab. World’s top female chess players have reacted with horror to being forced to wear the mandatory hijab and have threatened to boycott the tournament. With strong international pressure from women worldwide I am hopeful that the Islamic Regime will be forced to take a step back, and every step back for the Islamic Regime is a step forward for the Iranian Women and the women’s rights movement in Iran!
Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian Pro-Democracy activist. She is the author of the shiro-khorshid-forever blog (www.shiro-khorshid-forever.blogspot.com) which focuses on the pro-democracy movement and Regime Change in Iran.She regularly speaks at conferences, has appeared on television and radio programs and her writing has been published by publications such as National Post, Toronto Star & Ottawa Citizen. She can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org
آزادی دکتر هما هودفر شهروند ایرانی کانادا از زندان های رژیم جمهوری اسلامی خبر مسرت بخشی بود، اما نباید فراموش کرد که هم اکنون هزاران زندانی سیاسی دیگر در بند رژیم اسلامی اسیرند و سعید ملک پور شهروند ایرانی کانادایی یکی دیگر از این زندانیان می باشد.
به عنوان یک فعال دموکراسی برای ایران ما می توانیم و باید نقش مهمی در تحت فشار گذاشتن رژیم جمهوری اسلامی داشته و رژیم را وادار کنیم که به خاطر نقض سیستماتیک حقوق بشر پاسخگو باشد. و اطمینان داشته باشیم صدای آنهایی که حقوق اولیه شان پایمال شده است را هم در کانادا و هم در سراسر جهان شنیده شده است.
نکته قابل اهمیتی که بایستی به آن اشاره کرد، این است که نقض سیستماتیک حقوق بشر در ایران، شامل دستگیری و زندانی مخالفان سیاسی یا آنهایی که به چشم مخالف سیاسی دیده می شوند، نشانگر معضلی بزرگتر در سیستم هست که گویای این است که دیکتاتوری اسلامی هیچ احترامی برای حقوق شهروندان خود ندارد. به عنوان شهروند ایرانی- کانادایی که ممکن است به کیس هایی مثل، دکتر هما هودفر و سعید ملک پور بیشتر بپردازیم نباید سرکوب زنان، معلمان، روزنامه نگاران، کارگران، دانشجویان، و مخالفان سیاسی رژیم را از یاد ببریم و هوشیارانه باید صدای آنها باشیم.
همچنین می بایستی دقت کنیم که پاره ای اوقات رژیم اسلامی احتمالا از افرادی مثل دکتر هودفر برای پیشبرد اهداف سیاسی خود استفاده می کند و در این مورد معین برای رابطه احتمالی دیپلماتیک مجدد با کانادا و بازگشایی احتمالی سفارت رژیم اوتاوا!
به عنوان جامعه ایرانی- کانادایی وظیفه ماست که نه تنها برای آزادی زندانیان سیاسی کمپین به راه بیاندازیم، بلکه برای یک ایرانِ سکولار- دموکراتیک بکوشیم. یکی از مهمترین وظایفی که ما می توانیم انجام دهیم ارتباط با دولت کانادا و آگاه کردن آنها از وضعیت زندانیان سیاسی می باشد و می توانیم از آنها در خواست کنیم که فشارِ سیاسی روی جمهوری اسلامی بگذارند. می بایست با نمایندگانِ خود در پارلمان و با مقامات دولتی که به حقوق بشر یا امور خارجه مربوط می شوند یا در این زمینه ها فعال هستند، ارتباط برقرار کنیم. مایه تاسف است که دولت لیبرال مایل به همکاری با جمهوری اسلامی می باشد و در نظر گرفته که به طور جدی برای بازگشایی سفارت جمهوری اسلامی تلاش کند. با این کار آنها چراغ سبز نشان می دهند که نقض حقوق بشر توسط جمهوری اسلامی در جامعه جهانی برایشان قابل تحمل است.
به خاطر این موضوع بسیار مهم است که ما، جامعه ایرانی کانادایی با نمایندگان خود ارتباط برقرار کنیم و آنها را در جریان نگرانی خود نسبت به وضعیت حقوق بشر و معضلات سیاسی قرار دهیم. همان قدر که مهم است نمایندگان خود را از وضعیت نابسامان حقوق بشر در ایران مطلع کنیم، می بایستی اذهان عمومی را نیز با نوشتن مقالات به زبان انگلیسی و با فعالیت گسترده در شبکه های اجتماعی مثل فیسبوک و توییتر، آگاه سازیم، تا بتوانیم با مردم کانادا ارتباط برقرار کنیم.
برای این کار ما نیاز داریم که با رسانه های چاپی، رادیو و تلویزیون کانادایی تماس برقرار کنیم تا بتوانیم پیام مان را در سطح گسترده به مردم کانادا برسانیم. هر فردی می تواند تغییری در جامعه به وجود بیاورد و این مستلزم برداشتن قدم هایی هر چند کوچک برای رساندن صدای بی صدایانی باشد که تحت سلطه جمهوری اسلامی هستند.
وکیل ایرانی- کانادایی، وبلاگ نویس و کنشگر خواهان دموکراسی و مخالف جمهوری اسلامی
Please see the original article here
مسئولیت و راهکارهای جامعه ایرانی کانادایی در پیوند با نقض حقوق بشر در ایران
As well it is no secret that China is one of the worst human rights violators in the world with the highest rate of execution per capita in the world. There is serious concern surrounding China’s judicial process including rule of law and due process. The Chinese Government systematically arrests, imprisons and tortures peaceful Falun Gong practitioners and there is credible evidence that China may be killing Falun Gong practitioners in prison, and selling their organs for profit!
China is also known for its execution of non-political prisoners including those accused of “economic crimes”. Agreeing to an Extradition Treaty with China will put Canada in the position of sending people back to face torture and even execution which goes against Canada’s obligations not to extradite people who would be facing the death penalty.
Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the possible Extradition Treaty is that Prime Minister is doing it for economic gain only. Canada will not gain anything from an extradition treaty as China’s extradition law does not allow anyone of Chinese nationality to be extradited to a foreign country. Canada is only considering the extradition treaty in order to gain more favorable terms around Canola Imports!
If Justin Trudeau is willing to send people to their death for favorable terms surrounding Canola Import what is to stop him from agreeing to have an extradition treaty with a dictatorship like Iran for economic gain, and endanger the lives of Iranian Canadians like myself who are considered to be “criminals” by the Regime in Iran for our political activities against the dictatorship?
Today it’s Canada China, tomorrow it might be Canada Iran or Canada Saudi Arabia or any other dictatorship in the world. We need to speak up now to make sure human lives are not traded for economic gain at least in Canada.
Canada must not Restore Diplomatic Ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran and has a Duty to Canadians not to re-open their Embassy in Ottawa0 comments - published on Wednesday, September 14, 2016
The Honourable Justin Trudeau-Prime Minister of Canada:
The Honourable Stéphane Dion- Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Re: Canada must not Restore Diplomatic Ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran and has a Duty to Canadians not to re-open their Embassy in Ottawa When Canada decided to cut diplomatic ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran four years ago, many Iranian Canadians rejoiced that the Islamic Regime’s Embassy in Ottawa also known as the “House of Terror” would finally be shut down.
At the time many in the Iranian Canadian Community referred to the Embassy as the “House of Terror” because the Embassy served as an operation headquarters for attempts to spy on Canadians and manipulate public policy and opinion. It identified and intimidated pro-democracy activists, with particular regard to Iranian Canadian dissidents whose families in Iran may have been vulnerable. Along with front organizations Embassy personnel penetrated our universities and some “students” boasting embassy connections warned campus democracy activists not to get out of line.
On the eve of the four (4) year anniversary of Canada breaking diplomatic ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran, the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) created a petition asking the Canadian Government to re-establish ties with the Islamic Regime in Iran and to re-open the embassy.
It is important to note that ICC does not represent the Iranian Canadian Community as a whole, but only a small numbers of Iranians most of them currently based in Toronto. It is further important to note that while a fraction of our community may support the re-opening of the Islamic Regime Embassy in Ottawa, there is a large number of us who vehemently oppose it!
There is great concern among our community about Islamic Regime’s systematic human rights violations against women, students, journalists, workers, teachers, religious and ethnic minorities and political dissidents in Iran. We watch in horror as Islamic Regime continues to have one of the highest rates of executions in the world. We are horrified to watch our brothers and sisters as they are arrested, arbitrarily detained and tortured for peacefully protesting or standing up for their rights.
We are also extremely concerned about the health and well being of Iranian Canadians currently detained by the Islamic Regime in Iran, including Saeed Malekpour and Homa Hoodfar. As you are well aware Mr. Malekpour has been detained for over eight (8) years, while Ms. Hoodfar was arrested in June of this year and there are serious concerns with regards to her health.
Lastly as opponents of the Islamic Regime in Iran, and activists who campaigned for years for Canada to cut diplomatic ties with the Regime and shut down its embassy, we have serious concerns about the re-opening of the “House of Terror” and the effects that might have on our safety and safety of our families and friends in Iran, as well as our ability to peacefully oppose the Islamic Regime.
We are urging the Canadian Government to continue to take a strong stand against Iran’s human rights violations, and take into account the safety and security of Iranian Canadians living in Canada. We urge Canada not to re-engage with Islamic Regime at a time when the Regime is holding Iranian Canadians hostage and brutalizing its own people.
It’s crucial for Canada to take a strong stand and make it clear to the Islamic Regime that torture, rape, public executions and hostage taking of dual citizens will not be rewarded by renewal of diplomatic relations and the re-opening of the Islamic Regime’s Embassy.
Sayeh Hassan, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Blogger and Pro-Democracy Activist
Mahmood Ahmadi, Women’s Rights, Children’s Rights and Worker’s Rights Activist
Radio Payam Canada
Mansoureh Nasserchian, Activist, freelancer
Shabnam Assadollahi, Human Rights Activist, Freelance journalist, Former Radio Producer and Host
Homa Arjomand, Coordinator of the International Campaign Against Sharia Court In Canada
Avideh Motmaen Far, political activist, journalist
Yad Mahmodi, Secretariat of the international Committee Against Execution
Iraj Rezaei, Council of Iranian Refugees and Immigrants in Toronto
Soheila Dalvand, Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI), Canada branch
David Aram, Iranian, Canadian labour Solidarity, Canada
One of my favorite quotes from the book was “underinvestment in the military and overinvestment in global cooperation has left America with more international challenges but fewer capabilities to meet them.” Singh is referring to both threats posed by an “exploding Middle East” as well as “existential threats on the USSR’s scale”. I found myself agreeing with most of Singh’s analysis and reasoning, and found them to be soundly based on objective facts and statistics.
As an Iranian-Canadian pro-democracy activist for me some of the most interesting parts of the book dealt with Iran and how Obama chose to deal with Iran’s nuclear threat. The author discusses in length the Iran nuclear agreement signed in 2015 and makes the analogy “despite the administration offering less an olive branch than entire forest for a nuclear accord.” I certainly agree with the analysis that Obama not only made huge concessions in order to have Iran sign the nuclear agreement (without Iran making similar concessions), Obama also chose to turn a blind eye to Iran’s systematic human rights violations, and gave the Islamic dictatorship the green light to carry on with arresting, torturing and murdering its citizen.
I found a lot of data and statistics in this book to be stirring, in that they show how fluid politics can be and how issues that are not significant during one election campaign may become crucial during the next campaign.
Robert Singh also took some time to give an overview of the history behind both the Republican and Democratic Party and their historic stand on foreign policy, which put the current election campaign and the rise of the two current Presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton into perspective.
I really enjoyed reading this book and found it easy to digest. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in U.S. politics and foreign policy.
I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purpose of review.
Hard To Believe is about 56 minutes long and very engaging from the beginning to the end. It gives a great overview of the persecution of Falun Gong practice which is a peaceful spiritual practice that focuses on truth and compassion. The Chinese Government considers Falun Gong a cult and started the crackdown on its practitioners in 1999.
According to Hard To Believe there are between half a million to one million Falun Gong Practitioners in prison at any given time in China. The documentary discusses the mandatory blood and eye tests and organ examinations directed at Falun Gong practitioners. We hear from Enver Tohti, a former Chinese surgeon who was told to remove the organs of a live prisoner who had just been shot to be executed. The shot had not killed the prisoner, however Tohti was told not to worry about anesthesia and remove the organs as soon as possible.
We also hear from former political prisoners who were imprisoned and tortured, but also subjected to cornea tests, extensive blood tests and organ examinations.
David Matas a Canadian human rights lawyer who has done extensive research on this issue and has tried to shed light on the brutal practice of organ transplant in China tells us how the organs of Falun Gong practitioners are ideal because of their healthy life styles, and the Chinese Government sells these organs for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One of the tragedies we learn about in this documentary is the silence of the main stream media, which essentially amounts to giving China the green light to keep on murdering prisoners of conscience to sell their organs for a profit.
After watching this documentary you come to realize it is NOT hard to believe, and it is happening, and it’s time for the international community to stand up and condemn organ harvesting in China. I highly recommend this documentary to any human rights activist or organization who is interested in the human rights situation in China. I encourage you to visit their website at http://www.hardtobelievemovie.com/ and learn how to help.
I was provided with a free copy of this documentary for review purposes.
This book touches on so many subjects relevant to today, including philosophy, economy, politics, war and religion and it forces the reader to take a deeper look and develop a new understanding for each of these subjects.
One of the most fascinating themes within this book is the concept of Have’s v. Have Not’s and how a small but a powerful group is able to manipulate the larger group in upholding the status-quo.
The author WH WiseCarver does a brilliant job of developing memorable characters, some like Mickslaw who we love to hate, and others like Danzig a proud, dignified Captain who refuses to compromise his principles even under the most difficult circumstance.
“Resurrection an American Journey” is not an easy beach read, but it’s clever, fast paced and will make you pause and question the status quo. A very rewarding read I recommend to anyone who is not afraid to dig deep, and find new meaning within older concepts.
I was provided with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Roozbeh Farahanipour the Best Candidate for United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation on human rights in Iran0 comments - published on Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Mr. Farahanipour is a well known pro-democracy and human rights activist who founded and became the Chairman of the Marze Por Gohar resistance movement as well as founding the National Society of Journalists in Iran. As an outspoken Islamic Regime opponent he was imprisoned by the Regime three times the final time being in 1999 and was forced to escape from Iran. In 2000 Mr. Farahanipour received political asylum in the United States where he continues his lifelong passion of advocating for human rights and democracy in Iran.
Since his arrival in the United States, Mr. Farahanipour has demonstrated his dedication to civic engagement by becoming involved with the Westwood Village Rotary Club. As the International Chair of the Club he has worked to build connections with other members of the worldwide organization in an effort to mobilize resources for the purpose of advancing international understanding of good will and peace.
In the past 15 years Mr. Farahanipour has continued his activism by advising government officials both in Washington D.C. and California, and has spoken in countless universities across the United States. He has also received numerous Certificates of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles, the California State Assembly, the California State Senate and the United States House of Representatives.
The untimely removal of Mr. Ahmed Shaheed has been welcomed by high officials in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as reported by numerous media sources in that country. Mr. Shaheed has issued numerous reports about systematic human rights violations in Iran, focusing international attention on the persecution of women, children, ethnic and religious minorities as well as political opposition.
The Islamic Regime in Iran now seeks to have someone appointed who will not be critical of Regime’s brutal and systematic human rights violations in order to allow them to continue ruling through fear and oppression. It is crucial for the United Nations to take a strong stand and make it clear that they are committed to upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The United Nations aims to uphold and protect the rights and freedoms listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through various measures including multilateral treaties, courts and tribunals and Roozbeh Farahanipour’s leadership and expertise qualify him as an excellent candidate for appointment as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran.
Andrew Updegrove does a brilliant job of creating likeable characters one can relate to, while weaving a gripping story with constant twists and turns you never see coming. The story moves at a very fast pace, but it’s easy to follow, enjoyable and impossible to put down.
This is one the best and most entertaining books I have read this year, and I would highly recommend it not only to “cyber geeks” and anyone interested in cyber security issues, but also to anyone with any interest in politics, elections, or anyone who is simply looking to read a fun yet technically accurate book with unforgettable characters you can’t stop thinking about long after you have finished the novel.
I loved how Andrew Updegrove was able to make such a technical subject so fun and entertaining, and can’t wait for “Frank’s” next adventure!
I was provided with a copy of this novel for review.
The author Jeffrey Crowther gives the reader an in depth insider view of the lengthy and difficult process of developing a sustainable justice system in the Uruzgar Region of Afghanistan.
In my opinion one of the most fascinating aspects of this book is the detailed discussion about the opium trade in Afghanistan and its role and integration within the Justice System. It appears everyone of consequence in Afghanistan has a hand in the opium trade and controlling the opium trade brings power, prestige and money, all things necessary when developing a sustainable justice system in a country with verity of cultural tribes competing for power.
I also enjoyed reading about the integration of Rule of Law, Sharia and the Afghan culture in the development of the Justice system.
What I would have enjoyed reading about a bit further would have been any role played by the Afghan women within the justice system, sadly the lack of this discussion may have more to do with the fact tha twomen currently have very little if any role within the Afghan Justice system.
Overall an informative must read for anyone interested in the human rights issues in the Middle East especially with a special interest in Afghanistan.