"Show Me How to Live'"-Audioslave

I play music with my college friend and drummer Adrian. Here is us playing “Show Me How to Live” by Audioslave. We would love to add a singer and bassist, but for now it’s just guitar and drums. If you want to sing or play bass with us or know someone who would, contact me.

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Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Exciting News! Launching a new doc series! Watch this interview with Jason Rezaian!

I'm launching a new weekly documentary series on Verizon Media with my awesome friend Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani (someone for whom I have nothing but the most effusive of praise) and a team of excellent producers whose names you don't know but who deserve praise. It's currently available on the Yahoo app in Roku and on the HuffPost website.

One of our first one-on-one interviews is with the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian, who spent 544 days in an Iranian prison and experienced Islamic justice. He wrote about it in his new book 'Prisoner'.

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Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

"Ashokan Farewell" on classical guitar

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Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Happy Yalda Night!

Happy Yalda Night!

Mitra Persian Sun Goddess of Iran Ancient Wall Carving.jpg

Yalda celebrates the winter solstice, as the days become longer and the nights shorter in the northern hemisphere. In that sense, it spiritually celebrates the rebirth of the Sun Goddess Mithra (wall carving photo left). A deeply rooted ceremony, the annual observation of the winter solstice by Iranians and others signifies that man has known for thousands of years that THE SUN birthed all plant and animal life on our planet. Moreover, ancient Iranians' ability to accurately predict the solstice and to know key moments on the solar calendar is directly related to mankind's survival, prosperity, ability to plan for the future, and ability to conceive of time. Yalda is so old that it even predates Zoroastrianism-- Iran's religion prior to the Arab invasion and largely forced conversions to Islam-- and is really a Mithraic holiday that would soon be adopted by Zoroastrians.

Shab-e Yalda-2015_TurmericSaffron.jpg

While Iran's Zoroastrian faith placed the greatest emphasis on fire and light, traditional reverence for light was and remains common and extends well beyond the Iranian plateau. Jesus Christ, of course, is referred to as "the Light of the World", and the Scandinavian festival of St. Lucia similarly symbolizes bringing the "Light of Christianity" into the world. (Those interested in learning more about the deep religious influence Zoroastrian Iran had on the Holy Roman Empire should look up the Cult of Mithras)

Sometimes, it is difficult to conceive of a pre-modern, pre-industrial and pre-agricultural world and all its challenges to human survival. Cultivating a monumentalist relationship to history rooted in one's own heritage and longstanding annual rituals like Yalda is one way to spiritually surpass time and space and reconnect with previous epochs, in this case, one in which light was so rare and crucial as to be worshipped.

Regardless of humanity's divergent cultures and mutually-exclusive religious traditions, there is a common source of energy that binds us all to a shared past and a shared imaginative and interstellar future. While there are some 6,500 distinct languages with their own words for 'light', there is only ONE SUN that birthed us all. Happy Yalda!

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Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Cyrus the Great

I took this background photo at Persepolis (تخت جمشید) in 2015. I added scan lines, wave distortion, grain, Gaussian blur, an S-curve, and a 64% opacity pink fill.

The quote was recorded in A Dictionary of Thoughts, Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern (pg. 259)

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Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind” and the NFL Kneeling Protests

Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind” and the NFL Kneeling Protests

I met social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt at a Thanksgiving party and, after striking up a conversation, he gave me a signed copy of his book "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion."

I was going to write one long book review, but I realized it's way too much to review his takes on religion, evolution, morality, the emergence of civilized societies, and contemporary politics in one piece. Instead, I decided I would write a series of distinct short essays in response.

I applied Haidt's moral matrix to the NFL kneeling protests and #BlackLivesMatter. "Simply put, if you were in a hypothetical encounter with a police officer and could choose your race for the next half hour, which race would you choose to be?"

If I got anything wrong, feel free to leave an unhinged, ad hominem attack in the comments.

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Swamp Watch: Google and Lapdog Professors

Swamp Watch: Google and Lapdog Professors

Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook are, in some ways, more powerful than our federal government. The tech giants decide what information we see - and what we don't. Their decisions can close down whole industries. For many years, they stuck to sunny California. But today they're a huge presence in the Washington swamp, spending millions to make sure legislation goes their way, providing a lucrative revolving door between industry and government. And they're even secretly funding lapdog professors to make their arguments for them.

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Swamp Watch: The United Nations

Swamp Watch: The United Nations

The annual UN General Assembly starts in New York this Tuesday, with President Trump scheduled to speak that morning.The UN is a sprawling international bureaucracy with endless different bodies and agencies. Its executive arm, the Secretariat, has a five and a half billion dollar budget... 22 percent of which is funded by you, the U.S. taxpayer. So, where exactly is your money going?

The United Nations is tonight's Swamp Watch.

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Swamp Watch SPECIAL!

Swamp Watch SPECIAL!

Given Swamp Watch's measurable popularity, Fox decided to run a Swamp Watch Special on Sunday. We aired a montage of Swamp Watch clips and interviews with the indispensable Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel, former lobbyist and convicted felon turned anti-corruption activist Jack Abramoff, Representatives Mike Gallagher and Ro Khanna, and New America senior fellow Lee Drutman.

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'Swamp Watch' mentioned in the New York Times!

In a profile piece about anchor Steve Hilton and our new show The Next Revolution, the New York Times gave a shout out to Swamp Watch, the weekly segment I research, write, and produce.

Last year, during his book tour for “More Human,” Mr. Hilton began appearing on Fox News programs to talk about Brexit and what it meant for the chances of Mr. Trump, then a candidate. After the election, Fox News offered Mr. Hilton a program. He and the network soon worked out a structure for the program with segments like “Swamp Watch” and “Decadent DC.”

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Swamp Watch: Eric Holder and White Collar Crime

Swamp Watch: Eric Holder and White Collar Crime

An insular club of elite lawyers have corrupted our justice system. Eric Holder and his friends move between the Department of Justice and white collar criminal defense firms like Covington & Burling. They’re the reason why bank executives who admit to committing crimes still get to avoid prison. And they’re the subject of this installment of Swamp Watch.

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Swamp Watch: Export-Import Bank

Swamp Watch: Export-Import Bank

Some of the swampiest parts of Washington operate in the dark. The little-known Export-Import Bank is our official export credit agency, helping foreign buyers of American manufactured goods with sweetheart deals. It's also a hub of corporate welfare and a burden on the taxpayer. The bank benefits huge corporations and harms the taxpayer through subsidized loans at below-market interest rates.

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