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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,154

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Iran, Stubborn History and a Toast to the Future

From left: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Federica Mogherini,
the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, arrive before issuing a joint statement on the
nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2, 2015. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool via The New York Times)

Iran, Stubborn History and a Toast to the Future
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Saturday 04 April 2015

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

-- John Adams

On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran. The students, supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian Revolution which had recently deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, took 52 hostages and held them for 444 days. President Jimmy Carter labored mightily to secure the release of the hostages, but to no avail. Due in no small part to the hostage crisis, and to an attempted rescue mission that ended in humiliating fashion in April of 1980, President Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan in that year's presidential election.

The hostages were released minutes after President Reagan was sworn into office. It is widely believed that Reagan associates - most notably former president George H.W. Bush and former CIA Director William Casey - entered into secret negotiations with Iran to delay the release of the hostages until after the election, so as to give the Reagan campaign a cudgel with which to beat President Carter. Such was the genesis of the term "October Surprise." The parties allegedly involved have consistently denied this claim.

Whatever the truth may be regarding the manner in which the release of the hostages was secured, the truth remains: The Iran Revolution happened, the Shah fell and fled, Khomeini rose, the US Embassy was sacked, the hostages were taken and subsequently freed, and since that time the United States and Iran have been in a de-facto state of war. After the hostages were home and President Reagan was installed, sanctions were levied against Iran - against its currency, its weapons program, and most notably its nuclear program - which have shattered its economy.

On Thursday, it was announced that the United States and Iran have agreed in principle on a deal to curtail Iran's nuclear program. In return, the ruinous sanctions that have been undermining the Iranian economy for decades would be repealed. It was reported by The Guardian and several other news outlets that, upon announcement of the deal in Tehran, spontaneous celebrations broke out, car horns blared, and people danced in the streets.

Good stuff all around, and very hopeful ... but it does beg the question: How did we get here? Why have the US and Iran been blood enemies for so long? Why are we supposed to hate and fear them, and why are they supposed to hate and fear us? Exactly what the Hell happened?

The answer lies almost 65 years in the past. Remember when George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of that pack of neo-cons gobbled up an ocean of TV time bloviating about "bringing democracy to the Middle East" in order to justify stealing Iraq's oil while delivering a massive taxpayer-funded payday to the "Defense" industry? As it turns out, back in 1951, democracy came to the Middle East organically, all by itself, and we broke it across our knee because it didn't suit our plans.

Mohammad Mosaddegh was the scion of a prominent Iranian family, schooled in leadership from birth, and educated in law in both Paris and Switzerland. After being democratically-elected Prime Minister in 1951, Mosaddegh sought to institute a number of secular progressive reforms: rent control, social security, greater rights and freedoms for citizens, and so forth.

Most importantly, however, Mosaddegh nationalized Iran's oil industry, which to that point had been controlled by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, now known as British Petroleum. "With the oil revenues," said Mosaddegh in June of 1951, "we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence. The Iranian state prefers to take over the production of petroleum itself. The company should do nothing else but return its property to the rightful owners."

In short, Mosaddegh wanted to use his nation's oil revenues - which, to that point, had flowed almost exclusively to the West - to improve infrastructure and education, and to shepherd his people into the 20th century with gusto. The West, however, would have no part of it. Very swiftly the wheels began turning, and a plot called Operation Ajax to overthrow Mosaddegh, hatched by British Intelligence and the CIA, was put in motion. After a period of violence and chaos, the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh was overthrown in August of 1953. He died in 1967.


The violently repressive behavior of Iran's government - towards women, the LGBTQ community, and others - is monstrous. The government's support for international terrorism is equally unconscionable. This is not up for debate. However, it is a government of our deliberate creation, baked in an oven of deceit, treachery and greed for more than sixty years.

The people of Iran are not their government; the roofs of Tehran are peppered with covert satellite dishes, through which people pull in ex-pat broadcasts from outside the country that lampoon the mullahs, the Ayatollah, and the Iranian leadership in general. These are, by far and away, the most popular shows in the country. The people are not represented by the leadership, and perhaps with this agreement, the true beginnings of change have been unleashed.

This deal - this loosening of the ice that chokes US-Iran relations - is a glimpse of the future. A nation that would have been our democratic ally has been our sworn enemy for decades, thanks to the mendacity of a few powerful people who take pleasure, and profit, from playing chess with other people's lives. This must change, and perhaps that change has finally begun.

Here's to the future.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30025-iran-stubborn-history-and-a-toast-to-the-future

Fuck you, you fucking fuck.

Karl Rove Won't Apologize To Veteran For The Iraq War

Your soul is a vat of pus.

Your mind is a void where decency has no purchase.

You are lower than whale shit at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

When you die, I will spend a week ingesting nothing but asparagus and Gatorade, and will cut my way through all foes even at the cost of my life for the privilege of standing over your grave to piss with gleeful vigor upon your headstone.

You suck so hard you bend the light.

The nation will be two generations crawling out from under your pestiferous fingerprint, if the oceans don't devour us first.

From the very elemental well of my person, I say at the clarion top of my voice:

Fuck you, you fucking fuck.

Congratulations, Mr. President

This Iran deal ain't no used car. This is a shiny new Caddy straight off the production floor, redolent with that new-car smell, and a joy to behold.

THIS is what I voted for.

This is history.

Well done, sir, and thank you.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Declares Himself a Vegesexual

Linda having a girl's night out on the town. (AP-Derpy McFlerpinderp)

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Declares Himself a Vegesexual

AP -- In a move that sent shockwaves through the entire US conservative community, Indiana Governor Mike Pence abruptly resigned his office and left the state. In a hastily-assembled press conference, Pence revealed that he was a vegesexual, and has been in a long-term relationship with a cabbage named Linda.

"The truth is this: I love Linda," said Pence. "I want to grow old with Linda and have little cabbages with her. I will be with Linda until she wilts."

The news sent the Religious Right into an all-out meltdown. Glenn Beck demanded that all cabbages everywhere be put to the torch and the sword. "This is what happens," proclaimed Sean Hannity, "when you teach biology in these communist public schools." Pat Robertson, when asked to comment, said, "Purple twelve mailman butter nerf nerf nerf because sideways box chopsticks six elf airplane shoe. Jesus."

Repeated calls to Linda were not returned. Her former co-worker, Bob the cabbage, described Linda as "a pretty basic cabbage, hard-working, dedicated, green," and said Linda's love for the former Indiana governor is impossible to miss. "Whenever Mike walks into the room," said Bob, "Linda just blooms."

The rest: http://www.notreal/satire/dumbhumor.duh

Two years ago today...

...this happened to my life.

...making me the greatest April Fool of all time.

Suggestion regarding alerts

This has kinda been bugging me for a while.

You get the Jury Service notice. You agree to participate, and the "offending" post appears...but you don't get to see the alerter's argument until you click "Leave It Alone" or "Hide It."

This may just be me, but context is key, and there are a lot of very smart people here. I have, many times, read an "offending" post and made a judgment, only to click through, read the alerter's argument and have my mind changed by what they had to say.

Point: Right now, the "offending" post only has the "This post is rude, disruptive, etc." boilerplate text. Granted, it's not some Herculean task to click through to where you can find the alerter's argument and then click back if the argument changed your mind...but I really do think that if someone takes the time to alert on a post and give an argument for that alert, the argument should be the hood ornament, the first thing you see after the "offending" post.

JMHO. Thanks for listening.

"I'm changing my name to Nevada Jones"

For the Win.


My daughter.

Apropos of nothing in particular.

And everything.

Stigmatizing depression

It is becoming clear that the pilot who apparently deliberately crashed the Germanwings flight suffered from severe depression. Just a quick, quiet note of reminder that this must not become an excuse to stigmatize people who deal with this malady. Don't do it yourselves, and if you see/hear someone doing it, very gently correct them. Blaming "depression," thus putting all who deal with depression under suspicion, is a shortcut to thinking. Don't indulge it.


William Rivers Pitt | To Know the Darkness and the Light

Jesus is dead, hooray! A somewhat sideways take on Easter...

OK, not to make a bad joke, but GOD DAMN IT, can someone please explain to me why the death of Jesus Christ was a bad thing?

I like to keep the TV on in the other room while I'm working, and I've heard this commercial for a show called "Killing Jesus" three or four times today - turns out it's a Bill O'Reilly thing - replete with dark and dramatic doom music, which keeps reminding me of all those "The Jews killed Jesus!" pogroms over the centuries...and I'm just like, "What the actual fuck?"

Forget about whether Jesus actually existed - and if he did, he was in all likelihood a socialist Jewish carpenter who couldn't afford shoes - and focus on the According-To-Hoyle gospel narrative.

The dude was sent to Earth by God FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF BEING MARTYRED. That was the mission. That was the point of the exercise: to die in agony so as to relieve the rest of us of our sins. I've spent ten trillion hours in Catholic churches listening to, reading and reciting the incantations: he came to die for our sins. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE PRAY TO HIM.

It was, basically, a suicide mission...and yet Christians cascading through the ages, right up to this present day, treat the death of Jesus as some kind of massive tragedy, and I just don't get it. Logic dictates that his death should be celebrated, as that death devoured the sins of the world...but noooooo...these bucketheads have to become martyrs in the name of the martyr.

Good Friday to Easter is this solemn run of days when Christians lament the death of Jesus and then celebrate his resurrection (OMG ZOMBIE RUN YOU GUYS). If the death of Jesus was THE REASON HE SHOWED UP TO BEGIN WITH, Good Friday should be like the Fourth of July. HE DID IT, FUCK YEAH, WE'RE ALL SAVED! and Easter should be even better: HE GOT AWAY WITH IT HOLY SHIT HE CAN FLY TOO! It's like finding out Batman is still alive right before he saves Gotham. Epic shit.

But nope. They killed him, those bastards. The death of Jesus was, according to the story, totally God's plan and the reason for his very existence. His death was absolutely necessary, but let's all get verklempt about the fact that he died, because we don't like to brain here.

The Pope is considered infallible because God is considered infallible. My thinking? God left an awful lot of stupid lying around, along with tornadoes and shit. Seems pretty fallible to me. Creation is a Marx Brothers skit in the main.
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