If we look at what our journalists have been writing about Iran, we can see a distinction between what we might call the ‘mainstream’ on one side and certain elements of the ‘left’ on the other. The distinction I want to make here is about the displeasure over the Iranian election and the subsequent discord in the streets. The mainstream argues that the displeasure and discord arose independently out of the population’s inherent desires for democracy in their country. The skeptical ‘left’ argues that the displeasure and discord has been created, funded, and stoked by American spooks in order to bring about ‘regime change.’
The United States under G. Bush spent a lot of time, energy, and tax dollars threatening Iran with either sanctions, military strikes, or ‘regime change.’ The recent election has been contested within Iran both before the balloting, and afterward when there developed skepticism about the truthfulness of the balloting results.
There was the first thought, on the part of both Iranians who were on the side of the challengers, and outside observers, that the election was stolen. Somehow the big winner got there by fraudulent means.
There soon developed skepticism about that story. The thought was, maybe the Iranian people actually did vote in unexpected numbers for the incumbent, in such a way that made the expectant and heartened supporters of the challengers disappointed and thereafter skeptical. One support for this skepticism of the skepticism was the fact that there have been stories suggesting that spooks working for the United States have been working within Iran to bring about what they call ‘regime change.’ The details of these efforts were never specified, however, undermining the legitimacy of elections, and therefore the credibility of the Iranian government, would seem to fit within the range of possible strategies. The United States and their spooks have overthrown the government of Iran before in similar ways.
There is a continuing debate about what actually went on with the Iranian election. Did the incumbent really steal the election. Do the people now rioting in the streets of Iranian cities have a just complaint about their government? Did the spooks working hard to change the ‘regime’ in Iran set this situation up. Did they grease palms? Are they now manipulating the information we are getting about Iran? Is this upheaval in Iran part of an American plan to bring about ‘regime change’ so that some other more manipulable government takes over in Iran?
My own thought, up to this point, has been that the spooks are manipulating the situation and the information as part of an American plan to change the Iranian ‘regime.’ It’s a situation like where a vulture sits waiting for its victim to become too weak, isolated out in the desert, to protect itself any more. Maybe the vulture swoops down and pecks out the poor victim’s eyes to help its demise along. This is the United states waiting for Iran to be too weak or dead to protect itself any more.
But, there is another question about whether the situation in Iran reflects some significant conflict within the country. There is the question whether the theocracy of Iran, much like the religiously oriented governments anywhere, allow for their people to be free enough. Maybe there are a huge number of people who have legitimate complaints about being run by Islamic religious leaders but aren’t strong enough politically to protect themselves. Perhaps in Iran, the rule by the majority has been suppressing the freedoms of a large minority?
Why is there such a push within Iran, and in other places around the world, places such as Cuba, Venezuela, Latin America in general, China, Russia, and Europe, to enforce some kind of top down control of their population? Why is there no real interest in democracy?
When we look at many of the people who have been looking at the United States we hear them ask the same question. Why is there no real interest in democracy in the United States? Why do we find so much emphasis on authoritarian control?
The situation in Iran raises these questions. I think I just don’t know enough about what’s going on in Iran to say whether my Vulture scenario is true, or how one should understand the Iranian theocracy and its relationship to its own people.
I want here to put together some commentary by others who have been thinking about these issues,
More and different voices go on from this discussion by Escobar.
The housing crisis is a simple thing, people involved in the financing of home ownership decided they had limited ways of making ‘big’ money. One of their strategies, to make more than small change, was to entice people who had very little into borrowing or going a little bit more into debt, involving obligations they may not have been able to pay back very easily. These predators then would lie about the riskiness of those loans as they ‘securitized’ them and sold them off to other equally gullible corporations.
It’s a scam.
Grit TV had one discussion of how some citizen advocates have been trying to take these scammers to court.
As a catastrophist I spend time thinking about what might go wrong. Well, if we get into a war we will be tempted to spend more on guns than butter and the people at home will suffer. Well, if we spend more on both, then we will ruin our economy. We will become so indebted no one will lend to us, and we won’t be able to pay our bills. Well, if we don’t make anything that people want to buy, then eventually we’ll run out of money in the bank, and we’ll have to go begging. Etc, etc, etc.
Chris Hedges is a catastrophist, too. He has some evidence, though, that the bad shit that he sees possibly happening is actually happening. There will be a meeting. At the meeting there will be people, not our friends, who have been accepting our dollars in exchange for their own goods. Hedges tells us the people at this meeting believe that our money isn’t any good anymore. We don’t make anything ourselves that anyone wants to buy. The only thing that backs up the dollar any more is our promise that we’ll be able to pay them back. …tap…tap, tap, tap …Well, they don’t see us getting our act together, so they are planning to somehow stop taking all these dollars that aren’t worth anything.
The problem for them is that if in time the dollar is worth a great deal less, then their exchange of goods for dollars will not have made them anything. So, they want to be careful not to make the load of dollars they all have now worthless before they would be able to get rid of it all. But, they want to get to a position where they are no longer burdened by this situation. They want to be done with us.
The problem for us is that, well, our elites have sucked pretty much all they can out of the economy. They want to leave us holding the bag, so to speak. But, they can’t do this without making it obvious that they have done so as a criminal enterprise. They have to somehow keep the rest of the world lending money to us so that we can buy their stuff. It’s only in this way that they can continue to suck the profits out of the system right up until they pull their fangs out of our necks and walk away.
There’s been some dispute about the recent election in Iran. The contest had seemed to some outside observers to be going toward the challenger. Yet, the balloting was said to favor the incumbent by a wide margin. The rioting in the streets is supposedly inspired by the challenger’s supporters who feel, we are told, that the election was stolen.
I want to show that people are recommending that we now ‘wait and see’ what will happen to Iran after their recent election. Then, I’ll point out that there are reasons why the ‘wait and see’ recommendation may just be a way of furthering a malicious strategy of ‘regime change’ in Iran. The way to see that we cannot just ‘wait and see’ is suggested by a story written by Isaac Asimov, The Gentle Vultures.
One of the claims Russo makes is that the Bankers have promoted a ‘socialist’ form of government, even though they may not admit it or tout it as one. That is, the idea that the money system should be controlled from above is supposed to be one of the main ideas of Marx and Engels. I wondered about this. If true, that would undermine any leftist’s commitment to whatever they thought was good about Marx’s argument. At least, if Marx lead to the ‘one world totalitarian government’ as Russo and Jones argued, then maybe Marx should be resisted.
I’ve been concerned that Obama has continued to fight the war in Iraq, and even expand the war in Afghanistan. He does this because he believes in the importance and value of an American Empire. He thinks, I believe, that wars are essentially good ways of settling questions. Part of his thinking there is that, well, there aren’t any good alternatives. I am concerned also that he believes in torture, and lawless incarceration, and the spying on people, whether they are American citizens or people of other countries. He sees no value in past agreements that it’s a good thing to run societies by laws instead of by personal whims. Obama has no interest in abolitionism, meaning, I believe, that he’s a house slave of the sort that supports the masters, i.e., the corporations, but who is willing to argue that the field slaves need new shoes and an hours break every few days so that the plantation as a whole will be more profitable. He has no interest in opposing slavery.
Basically, Obama is the candidate of the one party with two wings that has control over the country we call America. He is now being kept in power, not because he has been supporting policies that we find all that beneficial to the ‘common good,’ but because the alternatives are seemingly so gruesome. The Republicans are so irrational. The terrorists will get us if we don’t support Obama. We will have economic collapse if we don’t do as Obama tells us we should do.
I have a question about what kind of opposition we should have to Obama, and what about Obama’s policies should we support. I’ve thought the central problem that we face is the problems we face because of our deeply held commitments to, well, for one thing, our own survival at the expense of everything else, and, secondly, our insistence that the only way to accomplish our first goal is to be thugs, to use force, and to not shrink away from relying on its allies violence, stealth, and deceit.
But, there are other assessments of where we are and what is important to work on. Thom Hartman has a radio talk show based in Portland, Oregon and broadcast nationally. It’s a good program in that he brings on guests and gets them to talk about their analyses of what’s going on. It isn’t all about Hartmann. Because he does that, I think we can learn some things from listening to his show.
Anyway, he was interviewed on the ‘Real News Network,’ here,
From what I’ve read so far, Mr. Burgess alleges that the leaders of Britain got together in private to organize their efforts to get Britain into the European Union. This is the ‘conspiracy’ part of it. The act of becoming a part of this union itself is supposed, by Mr. Burgess, to constitute an act of treason and involve various other acts, including sedition.
Is there any way in which the people of the United States who have worked so hard in its wars and provided so much support to its corporations in their efforts to win over market share in the world, will be able to get the basic services granted to the citizens of most of the rest of the civilized world? This is a question we can ask presently. We are going to ‘reform’ what we have once again, in an effort to provide health care to those who have none and to make American corporations profitable again on the world’s market.
Maybe it won’t happen. Shamus Cooke argues that Obama surely isn’t leading us in that direction. Here’s his argument,
As the animal kingdom proves daily, it’s extremely difficult to build consensus between predator and prey. The national debate over healthcare contains a similarly unbridgeable gap, this time along class lines.
Open Left has an interesting discussion beginning on the question of how we can maintain a middle class when middle class jobs have disappeared. Here’s some of the dilemma as Amy Traub sees it,
“…As Robert Reich points out in the Financial Times, "middle-class jobs that do not need a college degree are disappearing." In the 1950s, high-wage GM was the nation's largest employer and it supported car dealerships and parts suppliers many of which also provided a middle-class standard of living. Today, the biggest employer is low-wage, meager benefit Wal-Mart, squeezing its supply chain to provide similarly inadequate jobs. As GM and other islands of blue-collar prosperity succumb to the economic tide, we are left with a model that does not support a mass middle class.
Yet it is unacceptable to give up on the idea of job stability, health coverage, retirement security and wages that can support a family for the majority of Americans. So, after the dramatic retrenchment of the American auto industry, how do millions of Americans get to the middle class? And what policies can we pursue to help them get there?