I have a whole new show all written up but between family stuff and, well, more family stuff, I haven’t been able to find a time to actually record and edit it here in Tennessee. Tomorrow, though, I’m on a plane, and I’ll be into Guadalajara and back to my desk by 5am EST on Friday.
This is my last news show (until Rob and I go up as December’s), and my last get-out-of-jail-free card, so expect real new content to be coming at you every week (and, after this Monday, when I’ve got a wedding, every Monday) for the foreseeable future.
It’s going to be so good to be back, folks. I hope you’re pumped for it too.
In the meantime, this is the best news piece I’ve put together, I’m pretty sure, and well worth hearing.
As per the show, here’s the chart from the Economic Policy Institute that really clinches the issue:
It’s explained in the show, but the tortured titling here comes from that I promised the last Iran show this week, and in what’s to me the most important sense, I delivered. It’s written, recorded, edited, all that. It’s just not up on the site. WordPress and my podcasting plugin don’t play too hot with massive files, and if I hadn’t cut this up, it’d be closing on 4 hours and much too large. So today we’ve got part one and a week from now we’ll have part two, with the show I did with Rob last Thursday after that and then who knows.
Down to business. We don’t have a whole lot of new characters to break in this show, if you can believe that, and the couple I ought to bring up will have a bigger showing next week, and I’ll leave them til then. But there’s still a war on, and what we need for that are maps.
Here we’ve got the map that I used the most in the production of this episode. All the important details are there. The relative size of our two combatants, with the full expanse of Iran revealed for once. You’ve got Turkey up in the northwest, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the USSR bordering Iran, with some idea of the politics and tensions that will grow up there as the Soviets invade Afghanistan in the 1980s. You’ve got the other Arab Gulf States nestled up against Iraq, the country they’ll be so doggedly supplying and aiding through the long eight years of this war. And you’ve got the Zagros Mountains, something that helps to explain at least in part why Saddam had such a hard time advancing beyond those little pink areas.
This one’s number twelve, and while we’re not done with Iran yet, number thirteen, Iran VIII and the very last Iran show, come hell or high water, is gonna be here in three weeks or less.
I get into it a bit in the show, but time’s going to be tight over the next ten months or so, and how much I spend with which thing I do is going to depend in part on what I’m getting paid to do each. That sounds pretty mercenary, and it is, but that’s the way things are shaking out right now—law school’s a lock for next August and it looks like I’m going to be taking on a part-time writing job, on top of this thing and the freelancing.
In any case, if you’re on Patreon, I can’t ask you to do more. And if you haven’t got a spare $5 a month, I’m in that boat too, and I get it. But Patreon grows when the audience grows, and everybody but everybody can help out with that. Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr (I don’t really use Tumblr). Rate the show: iTunes, Pocket Casts, Stitcher.
We’re talking this time about the revolution in earnest, the revolution in power, the period of jostling and consolidation that would see the debate over and the formation of the new Iranian state.
Well, we got together yesterday and sat down to talk about his new essay and video series, Everybody’s Lying About Islam, along with Iran and Mexico and a whole host of other stuff.
This turned out real well, and we’re thinking about doing some more collaborations real soon.
And for everybody who didn’t hear this live or get to participate in the pretty active livechat, if you’ve got any questions or comments you want to let us know about or have us address, leave them here or on the SFD Facebook page or on the video on YouTube itself.
If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”
CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate. Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums.
That’s 14 million more people uninsured than right now, and the number would kick up into the mid-20-millions by 2020 when the Medicaid expansion runs out.
Of course, the administration’s not sure whether it trusts the CBO:
The new bill, the AHCA, debuted to excoriating reviews from pretty much all sides. The American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, and much more important for Republicans, the American Association of Retired People, or AARP, came out against NoCare.
Why? Well, it wrecks some of the best (and depending on your perspective, only good) parts of ObamaCare.
In order to widen the risk pool and lower the cost of insurance generally, ObamaCare forced all Americans to either pay an ongoing series of income-scaled fines or purchase health insurance. Young, healthy people who might otherwise have gone uninsured would then purchase insurance and subsidize old, unhealthy people. In order to reduce the financial burden for those young people, the original ACA also provided generous tax credits for people making between 100 and 400% of the federal poverty line, which is $11,770-$47,080 for a single person and $24,250-$97,000 for a family of four.
Here’s Ezra Klein explaining that risk pool and ‘death spirals’.
Failing that, they scheduled more cabinet confirmation hearings in less time than ever before, hoping to railroad a slate of candidates who are, with little exaggeration, bent on destroying their respective departments. Late last month, North Carolina Republicans, having lost the governorship, used the end of their lame duck session to divest the executive of its powers and invest them, in effect, in the Republican Party, leading the Electoral Integrity Project to categorize the state as having “deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.” Not only that, but:
North Carolina does so poorly on the measures of legal framework and voter registration, that on those indicators we rank alongside Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to the integrity of the voting district boundaries no country has ever received as low a score as the 7/100 North Carolina received. North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.
And since then, was either five months or five years ago, this past January, God, some other stuff has happened: the President’s hired both his son in law and his daughter to be the right and left hand people of his administration; he’s taken advantage of a year-long stall on the part of the Republicans and installed a conservative justice in Merrick Garland’s seat; he’s put two different avowed white supremacists in office in Gorka and Steve Bannon and a much more effective, subtler one in Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Virtually every member of the Administration has lied to the Congress or the Senate about conniving with the Russians, he’s fired FBI director James Comey, while Comey was investigating him and then told Lester Holt that that’s why he fired him.
Well, so I took the autumn off to take the LSAT and apply to law school and it seems like things took a turn for the worse while I was away. It’s too late to stop that last election, and we’ve got things like Swing Left, the Wall of US, Indivisible, WolfPAC, and the Justice Democrats working on the next one. So it feels like the role of a podcast and a blog that catalogue our backfiring efforts to make the world safe for democracy abroad might be to chart the way that our methodology and its effects are now coming home to roost.
I want the series to fall somewhere between Doug Muder’s Weekly Sift, which is a weekly roundup and blog post with clear-eyed, compassionate and brilliant analysis and Paul Slansky’s The Clothes Have No Emperor, which is a brutal, day-by-day account of the scandals, corruption, and rank incompetence of the Reagan Administration quoted directly from the news. Like Muder, I’m going to pair the weekly news post with a piece on the blog, and they’ll go up on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays or however it falls.
This first edition is going to be much longer and at the same time much less comprehensive than the norm—I’m going to breeze through the last four months or so, and I’ll both have too many words and be leaving too many out.
Up at the top there is General Efraín Ríos Montt, found guilty of genocide, hanging out with Ronald Reagan, who once said that the Guatemalan government had gotten a “bad rap” from the liberal press.
Reagan went on to give the man tens of million dollars in arms.
Here we’ve got what’s basically the letterhead of the EGP, the Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres, or the Guerrilla Army of the Poor. Their actual emblem is up at the top left, Che Guevara’s Korda Photograph in high relief with EGP down at the bottom.
It’s not easy to see from college campuses in the US, but actual revolutionaries also revered Ernesto. Especially appropriate since Che participated in the Agrarian Reform in the 1950s, and it was the US coup in 1954 that convinced him that the only way forward against imperial powers like the US was armed revolutionary action.
This is the emblem of the Organización del Pueblo en Armas, or the Organization of the People in Arms. I’m no expert in Guatemalan culture, but if its mythology is anything like Mexico’s, the volcano is a deeply national and deeply indigenous symbol of power and strength.
So the podcast has been out for about twelve weeks now, and I’ve gotten a couple of scattered comments and responses on two different subjects that I think, in the end, come to the same thing.
And I think they’re valid and I think they’re important.
So I’m going to talk about them.
The first suggestion is that I ought to make an effort, in the podcast, to avoid offending listeners who might come from somewhere further to the right on the political spectrum. And the second is that I ought to be getting more into why all this happened, why the government of the United States was somehow invested in these terrible goings-on in Guatemala. It’ll take a while for my responses to come back around and meet each other, but bear with me.
In response to the first thing, I guess I’d ask a question. Is it that the show is partisan? Or could it be that listeners are coming to the show with a pre-existing and implicitly partisan complaint?
Because the only way that the show could immediately turn you off is if you were under the impression that the US could do literally no wrong.
I could try to emphasize at the beginning of every episode that Democratic presidents were just as culpable as Republican ones or vice-versa, but that would put the show in the “fairness” business, and it’s not in the fairness business. It’s in the history business.
Hey everybody, and welcome to the fourth episode of Safe for Democracy, the podcast about the foreign policy disasters of the United States in the 20th century.
This is the third part of a series exploring the violent aftermath of the US-backed coup against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954.
If you’re just now coming to the podcast, it’d probably be best to start with episode one, which tackles the coup, and then come through the Aftermath in order. But if that’s not your game, fair enough, start right here.
Last time we had a brief respite, tackling Liberation Theology, social Catholicism, jungle collectives, and the spirit of indigenous pride that had Mayas all over Guatemala taking to the streets and demanding their fundamental right to life and to culture.
We left off with General Kjell Eugenio Laugerud García in the Presidential Palace, and his relative leniency, after the murderous regime of the Butcher of Zacapa, Colonel Arana Osorio, was allowing Guatemalan civil society to flourish for the first time in decades.
That interstitial period is about to end, though, with the fraudulent election of General Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia, who will take a less generous view of what he sees as traitorous elements in the country.
La violencia and tierra arrasada are still one episode away, so we’ve got three more weeks to worry yet, but we won’t get all the way through this one unscathed either.
This time around, it’s earthquakes, committees of campesino unity, massacre in Panzos, and the helping hand of Ronald Reagan, as always, making war to make the world safe for democracy.