Daily Beef: What Debate?

You can tell that CNN needs to retire and let younger people take over. How can you tell? Simple. I needed to time-shift the second Democratic primary debate tonight (07/30/2019) so that I could listen to it while I sort laundry. While I sort laundry, after the Tuesday 7:30-10:30 pm raid that I simply will not miss unless a nuclear blast takes out the power grid and sends us back into the stone age. Then I won’t be able to log onto the game servers anyway, so it won’t matter.

I timeshifted watching/listening to the last one, no problem. Rachel Maddow put the entire debate audio on her podcast stream, I listened to all four hours of it and sorted all the laundry. Two tasks accomplished at the same time.

This week? I go online looking for the audio or video. Can I find it anywhere? No. CNN won’t let anyone post the stream online. They’re trying to figure out how this whole streaming things works. It’s live on the cable! Go watch it! Save it to your DVR! What is it? 1990 still? I’m surprised they remember how to make the television cameras turn on and off. I’m going to have to go to youtube and watch a pirate version (editor’s note, Google is whacking accounts for putting the public feed online) or give up and go to pirate bay and risk my ass on a torrent to be able to watch/listen to the thing without having to have it spoonfed to me by CNN’s nannies.

WTF!?!

I don’t want them to tell me who won or lost. They don’t know. I don’t want them to tell me what the high and low points were. They don’t know. They know how to put on their Depends and which shelf the Ensure is on in the refrigerator, and that’s about all they know. Give it up CNN. Let the young people take over. Go play golf with the Orange Hate-Monkey. You’ll never know how much he cheats because you won’t remember that golf is played with balls and clubs.

…my apologies to old people everywhere. I am one of them. There is a difference between being old and being dangerously out of touch with reality. CNN’s management is in the latter category.


Thursday morning, when everyone who has an interest in the subject has already been spoonfed the take-away that CNN wants them to accept, the video of the debate(s) (It’s still a round-robin not a debate. More like a free-for-all.) is up on CNN’s website. With the first question to Elizabeth Warren, CNN exposes themselves as the servants of big business that they are. At 15:31 in the first video Jake Tapper asks,

Are you with Bernie on raising taxes on middle class Americans to pay for [Medicare for all]?

CNN – NIGHT ONE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATE – 07/30/2019

Editor’s note. Notice the way the video is fubar? (you will on your phone) That ain’t me, that’s CNN not being able to supply a feed properly.

A question framed in that fashion doesn’t even deserve an answer, and Warren essentially refused to answer it. It’s about as misleading a question as “so have you stopped beating your wife?” How do you answer a question like that? You can’t, not without conceding that the battle will be fought on the moderator’s terms and not on the terms of the candidates themselves. As the rest of the first 30:00 minute video plays out, it becomes increasingly clear that the knives are out for the progressives on the stage. As Bernie Sanders rightly noted “you are repeating Republican talking points.”

Skip ahead an hour (ten minutes into video three) and you can hear Tim Ryan, who has been attacking his progressive opponents all night, talk about creating the office of Chief Manufacturing Officer. Just what we need, another bureaucracy that will centrally plan how America makes widgets and where. Anyone who proposes something like this hasn’t got room to criticize anyone for their plans to overhaul other parts of the system.

We make things in America. We are still one of the largest manufacturers on the face of this planet. The fact that the automobile industry is floundering is not because we don’t make things in the US. It is because the US car manufacturers are busy chasing profits instead of making cars that people will buy. It is because the average American simply can’t afford to buy vehicles the way they used to. Because half of America is poor. Let’s talk about that subject. Poverty in America. Let’s talk about the problem at the root of all the other problems. Don’t hold your breath.

There were several areas of agreement. Reparations for slavery was one of them. You want to point to an issue that will hand the election to Trump? That would be one of those issues. I’m not saying reparations are not owed. What I am saying is that racialising the issue of the wealth gap in the US is a surefire way of pitting all the white people against the black people. How about we just admit that poverty is the problem and set out to end poverty as we know it? It’s still more than what we’ve done in the past, but at least that approach will not set half the country against the other half right from the start.

We are fools to saddle our children with debt and then send them out into the world to try to pay all that debt back. This is why student loans are a bad idea. All of the hand waving on the stage won’t change the truth of this one way or the other. How we make sure that education is available and inexpensive to the student is the real question, not whether or not we give people who currently have student loans a free pass. The loans should be forgivable, and in most cases forgiven. But there shouldn’t be student loans in the future. This fact is demonstrable. That they argued about this subject at all baffles me.

What the hell did Marianne Williamson even say in closing? Did any of that make sense? I don’t know what debate everyone else was watching, for my money the clear winners here were Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Mayor Pete looked good and did well, as did Beto. But making Warren and Sanders the targets was the mistake of the other candidates. They look petty and mean, and their repetition of Republican talking points will not do them any favors with a Democratic audience.


CNN – NIGHT TWO DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATE – 07/31/2019

Night two. Is it just me, or did they arrange for Joe Biden to shine all by himself in this, the second night’s round? Kamala Harris seems less coherent this week than she did in the last debate. I was hoping to see her continue to shine as one of the possible alternative front-running candidates. Once again CNN’s agenda that the progressives be the targets is on full display, and Harris is the sole defender of the audacious ideas put forward by the progressive wing on the stage tonight. If she’s not the only defender, CNN would clearly like her to be perceived that way. Again, MSNBC did so much better with their debate. Maybe CNN should have taken notes?

…I’ve gotten all the way to the last thirty minutes of the second night, and I have yet to see a moderator attack any candidate on stage tonight the way that Jake Tapper went after Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Softball questions all the way around through the entire event. The only ones scoring points on Biden were his opponents. That is as it should be in a debate, but why was the first night so different? Joe Biden is clearly the candidate that CNN wants to be the next president. If anything, that is the most important reason not to vote for the man.

In the greatest movie of the 1980s, Streets of Fire, in the climactic scene, Willem Dafoe and Michael Pare fight with sledgehammers.

That’s right, sledgehammers.

Ten minutes. No soundtrack. Just the sound of two large men smashing the shit out of each other with those giant iron mallets. The ring of steel as they block and parry. The thud of metal slamming into flesh. In the end they both drop the hammers and resort to fists and there’s this great moment when Dafoe clenches his hands and screams in absolute rage before charging his opponent — only to get the crap punched right out of him by Pare wielding fists like a pair of canned hams.

Why bring it up?

No reason.

I’m just sitting here brainstorming some ideas for better leadership selection methodologies than this idiotic debate.

Stonekettle Station, July 30
The best image from the 2016 election. There is a 2020 version of this as well.

A.G. Barr Wants Us All to be Party to Murder

Attorney General William Barr directed the Justice Department on Thursday to adopt a new rule for carrying out the death penalty, which would restore executions in the federal system for the first time in 16 years.

NBC

They can’t establish their extermination camps for migrants if they can’t kill people they don’t want around. So they’ll start with murderers and work their way up to various other undesirables. If we let them.

The GOP Cuddles Up To the NSDAP

It’s taken the Orange Hate-Monkey longer than I thought it would, but he’s poised to start murdering people by the dozens soon, with hundreds and thousands following in their footsteps. When the fools (the Conservative on this list was one of them. Unfortunately I cannot locate his detailed plan for how he would eliminate 11 million people on archive.org) talked about the millions of illegal immigrants they wanted to remove from the United States ten years ago, I tried to explain to them the herculean task of extermination that would be required to pull that off. Most people who read the dialog dismissed my predictions as hysterical. I wonder how many of them would laugh now seeing what is going on not only on the border, but inside the US itself as they start rounding up the undesirables.

Trump is mercifully squeamish about doing the actual killing required. It’s lucky for the xenophobic that there are plenty of murderers out there ready to pick up the shovels and get to work bashing in heads. Just don’t torture the old and the young while you are killing them. Kill ’em quick so no one has time to think you were being unnecessarily cruel.

The Trump administration is already using private contractors to hold the asylum seeker overflows at the Southern border. These private contractors and government employees are already killing people in these places and not treating the deaths as murder. The institutionalization of killing is easy to re-establish, especially in places where it never died out. Places like Texas. Texas, the friendly state, the state that kills more inmates than any other, the state where just being poor is looked on as a crime. Half the people here would be willing to take part in the killing themselves, if they were simply given permission to do so.

I’ve been waiting for this. I knew they’d do it sooner or later because, man, there just ain’t nothing Christian Conservatives love more than some death penalty.

Besides, how else will we empty the prisons and the camps?

Stonekettle Station

Facebook comment.

Condemning President Trump

Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people fleeing from religious and political persecution, and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison all emphasized that the Nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families;

Whereas the Declaration of Independence defined America as a covenant based on equality, the unalienable Rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and government by the consent of the people;

Whereas Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional convention, ‘‘When foreigners after looking about for some other Country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours, it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection’’;

Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, ‘‘Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists’’;

Whereas immigration of people from all over the Earth has defined every stage of American history and propelled our social, economic, political, scientific, cultural, artistic and technological progress as a people, and all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African-Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants;

Whereas the commitment to immigration and asylum has been not a partisan cause but a powerful national value that has infused the work of many Presidents;

Whereas American patriotism is defined not by race or ethnicity but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy and by service to our communities and struggle for the common good;

Whereas President John F. Kennedy, whose family came to the United States from Ireland, stated in his 1958 book ‘‘A Nation of Immigrants’’ that ‘‘The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life. We see it in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, in education, even in athletics and entertainment. There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background. Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.’’;

Whereas President Ronald Reagan in his last speech as President conveyed ‘‘An observation about a country which I love’’;

Whereas as President Reagan observed, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors, and it is the Statue of Liberty and its values that give us our great and special place in the world;

Whereas other countries may seek to compete with us, but in one vital area, as ‘‘a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close’’;

Whereas it is the great life force of ‘‘each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America’s triumph shall continue unsurpassed’’ through the 21st century and beyond and is part of the ‘‘magical, intoxicating power of America’’;

Whereas this is ‘‘one of the most important sources of America’s greatness: we lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people — our strength — from every country and every corner of the world, and by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation’’;

Whereas ‘‘thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge’’, always leading the world to the next frontier;

Whereas this openness is vital to our future as a Nation, and ‘‘if we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost’’; and

Whereas President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations;

(2) is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin; and

(3) strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘‘go back’’ to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as ‘‘invaders,’’ and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.

RESOLUTION Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress. via NBC

First heard on the Rachel Maddow Show podcast. See how your representatives voted. I wrote a letter to mine.

Good Night, and Good Luck

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men

Edward R. Murrow

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History contains a portion of this quote in the intro to each episode. I recognized it as being an Edward R. Murrow quote the first time I heard it. It was also featured in a scene in the movie about him titled Good Night, and Good Luck, Murrow’s signature tagline for his broadcasts.

Good Night, And Good Luck (2005) Official Trailer

Edward R. Murrow stared down the last demagogue that held high office. He did it at great cost to himself and his fellow journalists. Where are those people brave enough to stand up to the demagogue currently seated in the chair of the President of the United States? Are we too amused by the circuses to bother with it?

This instrument can teach; it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it’s nothing but wires and lights in a box.

Edward R. Murrow

Lunatics By Any Other Name

(As he storms away) “Have a nice day.”

(Believe it or not, he comes storming back) “WHAT’S THAT? HAVE A NICE DAY? WHO THE F— ARE YOU TO TELL ME TO HAVE A NICE DAY! WHAT IF I TOLD YOU IT’S NOT YOUR F—ING BUSINESS WHAT KIND OF DAY I HAVE?”

“Then, sir, I would tell you to feel free to have the kind of day you seem to prefer.”

Adam Troy Castro

…and this is why I’m not the guy you want canvassing. Or maybe I am. I wouldn’t put up with treatment like this. Call the cops, the guy is a raving lunatic and he’s going to get someone killed. Hopefully he’ll only 
get himself killed, but even then he should be restrained and medicated until we find out what is wrong with him and everyone like him.

This is what we are going to have to do if we want to silence these arrogant assholes. Make them understand, as a group, that we will put them in a rubber room and pipe in elevator music all day long if they don’t cool their shit. Just go all Ministry of Truth on their asses.

Facebook comment on a three year old post that I just saw today. So sue me.

Patriotism?

A willingness to love your country by looking at it clearly.

Heidi Schreck
Stay Tuned with Preet – What Patriotism Means to You (with Heidi Schreck)

What The Constitution Means To Me, nominated for two Tony Awards, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the show is inspired by her time as a fifteen-year-old high school student competing in American Legion speech and debate contests, where she spoke about the meaning of our founding document.

When I listened to last weeks show I contemplated recording myself reading some of I am a Patriot and sending it to Preet, but as usual my absolute terror of speaking in front of a group (even time-delayed speaking) drowned the idea and hid its body in the woods until the submission time had passed. There were still a respectable number of submissions, and the editor of the podcast (who doesn’t appear to be named anywhere) blended them together in a nice tribute that probably took several hours to get right. This episode is well worth the time it takes to listen. Maybe I’ll be able to catch Heidi Scheck’s show when it goes on the road.

National Forensics League?

The National Forensics League is a nationwide organization that gives high school students the opportunity to polish their speaking/acting skills, compete in regulated National tournaments, and be a part of a lifelong organization that promotes solid speaking skills and intelligence. Bruno E. Jacob began to contemplate the foundation of the NFL when asked if there was an honor society for high school debaters. Realizing such a thing did not exist, Jacob drafted a proposal and in 1925 the NFL was born. It is now the oldest and largest honor society for speech and debate high school students. The NFL continues to exude excellence by promoting achievement in debate, speech, and academics. For instance, the NFL awards around $153, 000 in college scholarships every year to help members who otherwise might not be able to afford college.

George Washington on Political Parties

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

George Washington’s Farewell Address

He might as well have named Donald J. Trump, the description fits so well. A hat/tip to Justin Amish and the Washington Post for publishing his opinion piece today. It motivated me to go look up Washington’s farewell address just to verify that was the language in the document.

Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.

Justin Amish

#ImpeachTrump? #ExpelMcConnell!

To: Representative Roger Williams
1708 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-9896
Contact: https://williams.house.gov/contact

To: Senator John Cornyn
517 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2934
Contact: www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact

To: Senator Ted Cruz
127A Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5922
Contact: www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=form&id=16

I’m writing you concerning your dereliction of duty, and what I see as your one chance to save yourselves from the coming storm that is rising against Donald Trump and the Republican party that he has remade in his image. Your one chance to save yourselves from the fate that awaits both him and his accomplices in the high crimes and misdemeanors that he will soon be accused of. His accomplice in the Senate, Mitch McConnell will also be charged, and the Senators are in a position to either be charged with him, or to finally do the right thing by the citizens of the state of Texas whom they claim to represent.

In 2010, Mitch McConnell informed Republican contributors that he intended to not do his job for the next two years in order to make Barack Obama a one term president. When President Obama was reelected in 2012, Mitch McConnell proceeded to not do his job, and to encourage his fellow Senators to not do their jobs, including both of you, for the next four years, for the entire time that Senator Cruz had been in office. As a result of his and your efforts to derail the US government under Barack Obama, the migrant crisis on the Southern border was never adequately addressed. Because of his and your negligence, the opioid epidemic was never addressed at all. Because of his and your negligence, the student debt crisis has continued to spiral into a catastrophe. Because of his and your negligence, thousands and millions of Americans, thousands of Texans, have suffered and died without adequate healthcare. Continue to suffer and die to this very day. Not satisfied to see them suffer and die at the current rates, your caucus in the Senate has attempted to throw more people off of the ACA at the behest of your corporate and wealthy funders. Because of his and your negligence, the impacts of climate change have never been acknowledged and no attempts to offset CO2 emissions have even been begun at the federal level.

I could continue this litany of negligence, disrespect and outright lies on his and your parts, but I would be here all day writing this if I was to attempt to enumerate every single issue that McConnell is derelict in dealing with. His encouragement to you to be derelict in your official duties to serve and protect the constitution of the United States, and through that document the people you represent. I don’t consider any of you to be worth that kind of time. All three of you are generally beneath my notice, past experience being a good educator. I have written to all of you in years past, taking you to task for things you said and did both before and after you entered office. I know you are wholly owned by your corporate donors and wealthy benefactors. I know that none of you care about the suffering of average Texans. I know that none of you care about anything but being re-elected and being able to continue to take sweet campaign contributions from dark money sources. Therein lies the heart of your problem. I will spell this dilemma out for you.

You will lose your next elections. All of you. It’s true, I won’t and never have voted for any of you. So there is no need to try to prove to me that you aren’t the things I describe above. I know that I will get no return correspondence that will address any of the points that I make in this letter. You will dismiss this letter, as you have all the other letters I have sent you, as being from someone who does not represent the majority of Texans. Your current problem is larger than me, larger than Austin where I live, a place on the map that won’t vote for you either.

Austin, a city you Republicans have sought to punish for our unwillingness to support your previous pro-corporate agendas, along with most of the metropolitan areas across the state of Texas. We will not swear allegiance to you and your corporate owners, we see ourselves as citizens of the city we live in, not the state of Texas that our cities are unable to escape the control of. Your governor and the Republican controlled Texas legislature have all shown how much disdain they hold city dwellers in by forcing us to abandon rules that we deemed necessary for city life. Forcing us to abide by the whims of your corporate masters. We do not forget your disregard for our desire to go our own way, make our own rules. But your problem only starts in the cities that will not vote for you.

The average Texan will not support your leadership’s current white supremacist agenda. The targeting of racial and religious minorities. The demands that the US establish a legal preference for the christian religion and its god. These are all contrary to the constitution of the United States and all of the founding documents that have come down to us modified through the ages. It is there in black and white for anyone to discover. The racism that lies at the center of the Confederacy that your schools lie to our children about. The Jim Crow laws that your white supremacist forebears forced the federal government to accept in violation of the spirit of the fourteenth amendment. All of it, there for anyone to stumble across if they simply have the curiosity to go look.

Your problem is that all of Texas can see that you serve Mitch McConnell and Republican corporate funders. You do not serve the state of Texas, the state you were sent to Washington DC to represent. This can be seen in your willingness to watch Texans suffer and die without healthcare, as I mentioned previously. No, you don’t serve Texas; you serve Mitch McConnell, a man who violated his oath of office most recently in 2015 by not at least holding a vote for or against Merrick Garland, an act that was required by law, by the very constitution you swore to uphold. Mitch McConnell who is personally profiting from his wife’s job in the cabinet, also in violation of the constitution. You serve this man, and this man is not worthy of being a member of the Senate.

Mitch McConnell serves Donald Trump. Not the office of the president, an office that has sat essentially vacant since Barack Obama left office three years ago. No, he serves the man Donald Trump, a man who has never obeyed the law, a man who lied when he took his oath of office and even now openly conspires with our enemies in an attempt to retain political power. He serves Donald Trump, a man who is doing his dead level best to start a war with Iran that isn’t necessary. Donald Trump, the man that is starving and killing climate refugees on our Southern border in an attempt to prove that we in the US are even more heartless than the MS-13 gang members that he scares his voting block with. Donald Trump, and through him Mitch McConnell, wants to be more cruel than the gang members that are killing these people in the places they escaped from.

Now, all of this might not be a problem for you if only you could control the press like dictators do in places that Donald Trump loves. Places like Russia and North Korea. But this isn’t one of those poor, information starved places. This is the United States, where anyone can get on the internet almost anywhere and find out what the truth is by simply looking for it. By reading a newspaper or going to a library or just turning on their TV sets. And they are finding out about the things that I describe above. They know of your negligence. They know of your dereliction of duty. They, the majority of Texans who can and will vote, will not be voting for you in 2020 or 2024 because they will have a choice other than you to vote for. You may not be worried about this. You may think you have a fix in that will make sure you appear to win your elections anyway. The people who know what I know? Those people will not be fooled by your chicanery.

You have one chance and one chance only now to save your hides and your good standing, if not your offices. Begin hearings today to have Mitch McConnell removed from the Senate. Join with the leadership of the House of Representatives in their attempts to find out just how much criminality that Donald Trump has conducted under the guise of being president of the United States. Call for impeachment hearings for Donald Trump, a man who was never worthy of the office of the President in the first place based on his own rhetoric and his own lawless business practices. Do these things and we will not be forced to convict you along with your leadership when we finally take power from you again. The choice is yours. The writing is on the wall for anyone to see now. Choose.

Sincerely,

R.A. Steele
Austin, Texas
July 4, 2019

Don’t Bomb Iran

You’re the president? What are you gonna do about Iran?

He misheard me. I said I’m present when he asked how was I? My usual conversational smartassery causes a miscommunication again. But the question was asked and so I proceeded to dwell on the question What would you do about Iran? for the next few hours. My immediate response was to say I’d apologize for saddling them with the Shah, but he didn’t hear me and it wasn’t important enough to belabor the answer to the question that he flippantly asked in response to my smartassed non-answer.

The story of the US’s relationship with the region is a long history of pain and grievance, so the question of what to do is equally long and painful to answer. The nation of Iran was made up out of whole cloth like the country of Iraq was, lines drawn on a map by the colonial powers in an agreement they made to mutually release the region from their direct control following World War one. Before the area we in the West call Iran was under colonial control, the civilization that occupied that space referred to itself as Persia.

Well, that was one of the names that the natives of Iran used. Iran has always been on the road from wherever conquerors came from to wherever they were ultimately going to head next. The natives of the region have always been headstrong, surpassing their occupiers ability to cope with their insistence on going their own way, seperate from the empire they were currently part of, unless that empire was lead by a Persian. That is, until they were almost destroyed by the Mongols. But even the Mongols themselves took up Persian ways after settling in Persia, holding power there until the time we term the modern age. Which is where we modern people meet up with world powers whose names we recognize.

Any attempt on my part to tell a history of Iran and the people of that region will be criticized as being an oversimplification. If the paragraph above doesn’t do justice to the millenia of conflict, discovery and advancement in your eyes, feel free to expand your own knowledge by reading further on the subject. There are links throughout this article for just that reason, feel free to click on them. However, the modern age is where the conflict between the US and Iran originates, so let’s just proceed into the modern era, because this is a single blog article and not a multi-volume history of the region and its peoples.

IranGeoHistory of Iran in 5 minutes (3200 BCE – 2013 CE) – Mar 19, 2013

Tehran is first used as the capital city of Iran/Persia during the Qajar dynasty in the Sublime State of Persia. It was the capital of the Pahlavi dynasty and the Imperial State of Persia. The Pahlavi who founded the dynasty was a member of the Russian military who deposed the Qajar Shah in 1925. The Shah that America and Great Britain put into power, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was a continuation of the Pahlavi dynasty in their eyes. Someone who would continue to allow the removal of Iran’s natural resources by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company if also, conveniently, being the Shah of Iran.

The Resource Curse

To put the Shah into a position where he could do the US and Britain this favor they wanted from him, MI-6 and the CIA toppled the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh had nationalized the oil industry in Iran in an effort to bring control of the country’s national resources back into the hands of the natives of the region. A situation enjoyed by all of the first world countries, but denied to third world countries. He had won leadership of the country of Iran in popular election in 1951. He had been appointed prime minister by the Shah himself. As the wiki article on him notes,

The new administration introduced a wide range of social reforms: unemployment compensation was introduced, factory owners were ordered to pay benefits to sick and injured workers, and peasants were freed from forced labor in their landlords’ estates. In 1952, Mossadegh passed the Land Reform Act which forced landlords to turn over 20% of their revenues to their tenants. These revenues could be placed in a fund to pay for development projects such as public baths, rural housing, and pest control.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

His actions as prime minister seem quite rational, in hindsight. If only he hadn’t pissed off the multinational corporations that really ran his country, he probably would have been celebrated by more than just the people of the region who want the benefits of liberal democracy enjoyed by first world countries. But that isn’t how it worked out. Britain and the US forced him out of office and restored the monarchy of the Shah. Restored the Pahlavi dynasty to Iran, setting up the next twenty-plus years of military rule, with all the terrorism, torture and suffering that the phrase military rule implies.

It was after the people of Iran were denied liberal democracy by a coup carried out by foreign powers that they turned to the Mullahs for leadership. Can you blame them for this, were you in their place? I can’t. But Republicans do blame them, largely because the current Republican party is dominated by fundamentalist/evangelical christians who see Islam as their competitor in the religion markets of the world. They see Iran as the target they want to take down, have seen Iran as their prime target since the Islamic Revolution occurred and Iran once again nationalized their oil production (the real reason that US corporate leaders are pissed) as well as invaded the US embassy and took Americans hostage.

Episode 1/9 for the BBC Radioplay “Fall of the Shah”

“I fear chaos Mr. Yazdi, and if I may say it seems chaos has come again.”

Andrew Sullivan, Iranian Ambassador

We got our people back, but Britain didn’t get back its oil production machinery, so we remain pissed and Britain remains pissed. In the intervening 40 years between the revolution (1979) and now (2019) there has been a lot of water under that bridge of hatred between the US and Iran. There was the Iran/Iraq war that we funded through Saddam Hussein. The one where he gassed parts of Iran as well as his own people who were in rebellion. We paid for a lot of that. There was the shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655, much like the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that Vladimir Putin deems fake news. We did that and then made up stories for how we didn’t do that, just like Putin is doing now. But we killed nearly 300 Iranian citizens on a routine flight.

Then there was the the US invasion of Iraq. An invasion founded on a lie. That invasion opened pandora’s box in the entire Middle Eastern region, creating the opportunity for political change that the populations of a good portion of the region eventually took advantage of. Iran’s Mullahs took advantage of their neighbor’s instability and have created what Washington sees as an Iranian puppet state where there once was a government installed by the second Bush administration. Iran has taken advantage of the chaos that Bush II created, advancing its influence across the region. Influence which its main competitor, Saudi Arabia, sees as a direct threat. Not surprisingly Saudi Arabia seeing Iran as a threat means that their paid stooge, Donald Trump, sees Iran as a threat.

So here we are in 2019. The tit for tat behavior has been going on for decades. The US and Britain want their assets back, the Iranians want to be in control of their own country, and the idiot that the idiot Stormtrumpers put into the office of the presidency is doing his dead-level best to get us into war with Iran. What would I do now, in his place? I’d recapitulate to the agreement that the Obama administration negotiated in good faith. I’d stop antagonizing Iran with sanctions. I’d apologize, officially, for the coup in 1951. I’d apologize for shooting down their civilian airliner in 1988. I’d apologize for helping Saddam Hussein kill hundreds of thousands of their people. I’d try that just for starters, see how far that gets us. Not that I think it’s likely that the Orange Hate-Monkey or his Secretary of War will do any of that. What I wouldn’t do is bomb Iran.

I will never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.

George H.W. Bush

NPR’s Throughline re-released their first episode last week. It reminded me that they had done a primer on the real history of the US and Iran.

Throughline – Four Days In August – July 11, 2019

“The only difference between me and these people is my place of birth, and this is not a big difference.”

Howard Conklin Baskerville

By 1979 Mosaddegh is long dead, but his legacy is not. So while he himself was completely axed by the clerical powers of the time, his narrative, his legacy, became very useful to the regime.

Roya Hakanian

This week Throughline issued a follow-up episode on the subject, one that covers the history between the US and Iran after that initial triumph and betrayal all the way to the present day.

Throughline – Rules of Engagement – July 18, 2019

Iran deserves a real apology for its treatment at the hands of the US government, especially in the here and now of the Orange Hate-Monkey‘s racist/Christianist war on targets of convenience.