Homily: Why Are Iranians Protesting? (plus Tweets)

Once again the tweets of the US president expose how unfit he is for high public office. His “mine is bigger than yours” tweet (see below) to Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, is schoolyard stuff.

The thing is, there were actually tweets President Trump got right yesterday. He did three in support of the protestors in Iran. But even then there were childish digs at Obama, including one that got the facts wrong. (I’ve just reproduced the good one below.) He thus made sure those who oppose him didn’t need to mention what he got  right.

The far left is saying it’s better not to mention Iran. Back in 2009, during Iran’s Green Revolution, President Obama kept out of things. I remember reading a book by one of the leaders of that protest at the time, and he said it was better for the US to keep out of it too. I think that was a good call. The protestors were protesting an election and for the US to step in that time would have had the appearance of both political interference and colonialism.

This time though, it’s a different story. The revolution is much more a grass roots effort. It has no leaders and has spread organically throughout the country. It also has slightly different goals. It’s much more about principles  – principles that are core values in Western democracy. That is, freedom of expression, freedom to protest, and freedom from corruption. Therefore, expressing support is the right thing to do.

So Trump right to support the protestors, despite what the far-left reflexively say. He must be careful not to go much beyond tweets though. If he is seen as trying to intervene in any way, he will undermine the efforts of the protestors. It is important for their integrity that they be seen as independent from Western influence. Frankly, Trump joining in on the side of the protestors will taint their efforts.

Another reason for the US to stay out is it’s their sanctions that are one of the main reasons the moderate President Rouhani is having difficulty reforming the country. (The other big reason is the conservative clerics.) So the US is championing a protest that is the result of problems they caused is not a good look.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, complete with a coterie of well-covered women, finally spoke out yesterday. He blames it all on the country’s “enemies.” He didn’t specify who that was, but he’s referring to Saudi Arabia. Iran and Saudi Arabia are, of course, in a proxy war in Yemen at the moment. What he should do is announce he will sit down with Rouhani and negotiate a reduction in financial support for religion.

President Rouhani has done some good since taking over the country. One of the things he has done is to make government expenditure more transparent. He wants to spend more on things like infrastructure, but the clerics, especially the conservative ones, want no reduction in the billions they get from government. Opening up the books means that the people now know just how much the clerics are getting, and with unemployment as high as 60% in some areas, they’re not happy.

To a slightly lesser extent, the people are also unhappy with how much the war in Yemen is costing. However, many see that as necessary expenditure. Standing up to the regional dominance of Saudi Arabia is still important to them.

How these protests will play out is anyone’s guess. I certainly don’t feel up to predicting what will happen. In the meantime, people have died and many more are suffering, so I hope a peaceful resolution can be found soon.

This video is almost eleven minutes long, but includes a pretty good discussion of the issues.


Really Big Stuff Tweets!

Why isn’t this big news?
(Via Ann German.)



Political Tweets

We now know Mitch McConnell is officially “disturbed.” This is an official gif!!!
(Via Ann German.)


This is one of the responses!


There’s a lot that could he added to the lower pic, including abortion.


I wonder if right-wing media will be trumpeting this? Or complaining about left-wing media reporting this?


This is a problem too. As always, the extremists take control when times get tough. That’s what happened to the Republicans. However, it has to be said that some things that are called “far left” in the US are normal elsewhere, like universal healthcare and paid maternity leave.

Mueller Time Tweets

Now what’s happening?!
(Via Ann German.)


Pre-Mueller Time Tweets

Remember the ads?


(Via Ann German.)


Human Rights Tweets

You may have seen images of a young girl in videos of the protests in Iran who tied her white hijab to a stick in protest. (You can see it at Why Evolution is True.) She has apparently disappeared. These women won’t let her be forgotten.



Another brave woman in Iran.


Religion Tweets

Just sayin’.

Sports Tweets

Very cool!


History Tweets

Politics done right.
(Via Ann German.)


This is very cool!
(Via Ann German.)


Art Tweets



Scenic Tweets

Some lovely old buildings in the capital of Latvia.


Paleontology Tweets

A new lineage of Native Americans found.


Creepy-Crawlies Tweets

My new name for the Insect Tweets section, since I include stuff like spiders that aren’t insects, and I don’t know enough to class all the different creatures. Here’s a gorgeous one to start with.


Growing up! (Yes, I know they’re different critters.)


Other Animals Tweets

Very interesting update from Slimbridge this month. Lots of birds and otters!


Yes, Linda Calhoun, kids are cute. Even if they do grow into smelly billy goats. 🙂
(Via Ann German.)


Don’t mess with the bear!
(Via Ann German.)


It’s gorgeous! (As long as you’re in a safe place!)
(Via Ann German.)


Bird Tweets

Great pic!
(Via Ann German.)


Penguins are cool. Literally.


Dog Tweets

Beautiful dogs!


Poor doggie! I’m glad she’s safe now!


Oh dear …


Good man.

Cat Tweets

What a brilliant pic!
(Via Ann German.)


Nervous kitty …


Nothing happening here. Move along. It want’s to be licked. Really.


This cat has its staff well trained!!!


Cats are best for dogs too.


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18 Responses to “Homily: Why Are Iranians Protesting? (plus Tweets)”

  1. j.a.m. says:

    No, the Justice Dept., including the FBI, is not some kind of “independent”, extra-constitutional entity. It is answerable to the elected chief executive, who establishes policy and priorities for the executive branch.* The LACK of independence is otherwise known as ACCOUNTABILITY, and THAT is essential to our liberty. The check on the chief executive belongs to the other branches of government — NOT to some murky “deep state” within his own administration. THAT would be a grave threat to our liberty.

    (*President Kennedy installed his own ruthless little brother as attorney general to be sure the Justice Dept. was under his thumb. The Clintons installed Hillary’s law partner crony “Webb” Hubbell as asst. attorney general for similar reasons. Unlike Hillary, however, he actually was held to account for his crimes and went to prison.)

    • GreenPoisonFrog says:

      While the Department of Justice and its organs do report to the chief executive, when their investigations lead them into the Executive Branch of government, they must be seen as independent which is what Comey is talking about. Otherwise, it looks like obstruction. If the Department of Justice is not free to investigate on their own terms potential violations or crimes, regardless of where they lead, then no accountability is possible.

      Robert Kennedy’s stint as AG lead to the “nepotism” rules where you couldn’t nominate relatives to certain positions which is why Jared Kouchner and Ivanka Trump are unpaid advisors instead of holding official positions.

      Hubbell was convicted of overbilling his clients through the law firm that he was working for which was the same one that Hillary Clinton worked for. He went to jail for that.

      Ken Starr, the special prosecutor during the Clinton years, was convinced that Hubbell knew stuff on the Clintons so he pressured him into an eventual immunity deal. After he provided documents, which did not lead back to the Clintons as far as I can tell, Starr indicted him anyway, using documents and testimony given during the immunity proceedings. The US Supreme Court eventually found by an 8-1 vote that Starr had violated Hubbell’s fifth amendment rights and voided the indictments.

      Notice that all of this occurred while the chief executive and his friends and family were being investigated and played out without massive criticism of the FBI who were just doing their jobs. In addition, while there was plenty of whining about all this, The whole thing was allowed to play out by the administration being investigated.

      I think it is also important to note two things. One is that those people who think the current investigation will wrap up soon should remember that Starr was investigating from August of 1994 to June of 1998, almost four years. The other thing is that what kicked off the investigation was Whitewater (amusingly enough a real estate deal) and the original story was broken by the “FAILIING” NY Times in March of 1992, before Clinton was elected the first time. An independent press is our most sacred watch dog for democracy.

    • Yes, the president sets priorities etc. But he is not allowed to ignore the constitution any more than the FBI is. There must be proper oversight. However, the FBI does have to be independent too. And remember, the FBI began their investigation into Trump BEFORE he became president because they had evidence from multiple sources that he and/or his campaign may be working illegally with the Russians. They can’t just stop that investigation because he becomes president. It got more serious because Trump appeared to try and shut that investigation down by firing Comey.

      Surely you don’t believe in the “Deep State” myth? Career civil servants are vitally important to the running of government, whoever is in charge. No proper democracy can do without them. This ridiculous attempt to label them “Deep State” smacks of desperation. I suggest that if that’s where your thinking is going, you’d be better off watching Alex Jones than reading what I write.

      • j.a.m. says:

        I generally eschew conspiracy theories — at least the dull ones, like “collusion”. These days the most hyperactive conspiracy theorists are the members of the sore loser community. Comey’s ill-considered tweet sounds like a dog whistle to deep state conspirators, if there are any. But I concede it’s probably just carelessly worded. At any rate, incidents of insubordination have been credibly reported at various agencies, and that ought to be troubling regardless of one’s political affiliation. (Just imagine if the shoe were on the other foot.)

        That being said, I wouldn’t agree that it’s vitally important to have a bunch of entrenched career busybodies. We need to reform, modernize and shrink the federal civil service, get rid of the unions, and hold our elected legislators accountable for legislating — not passing the buck to slap-happy regulators.

        • Have you ever worked in a government department? You clearly have no idea how they work. I have, though in NZ of course. The Department of Labour (Employment section) and the Ministry of Agriculture. Whatever government was in power set policy and we operated accordingly. Not everything changes when there is a new or different policy and experience and continuity are important. Also, providing advice to government about how their ideas will work alongside policies already in place is important.

          It is also important to tell a government if what they want to do is illegal, unworkable etc. That is not some imaginary Deep State at work. That’s just doing our job.

          I also worked for the Waikato District Health Board for over ten years, which is similar to a government department.

          I don’t know about the US, but these days most government departments have far lower overheads than private companies the same size, and are very efficient and effective. The staff mostly do a good job.

          As for unions, where do you think workers would be today without them? Virtually all terms and conditions that workers have is because of collective bargaining, putting them on a fairer footing with employers. If you want to go back to the pay and working conditions of 150 years ago, be my guest, and don’t moan when you die of overwork or worse at 50.

  2. Linda Calhoun says:

    Yeah, yeah, Heather, they don’t all grow up to be “stinky billy goats”.

    First of all, some of them are does. And, those kids in the video are Pygmies, so in places where they are meat, they never grow up at all, and in places like the US, where they are pets, most of the males are wethered.

    And, the bucks only stink during breeding season.

    L (Your friendly neighborhood pedant)

    PS: I’m only three weeks away from kidding season. If I have time, maybe we can get some pix of real goats, not Pygmies.

  3. Mark R. says:

    Great tweets from those brave Iranian women. “Be men, join us. I as a woman will stand in front and protect you.” Priceless. Men who would subjugate women are indeed cowardly. Using religion as the principal tool in said subjugation is just another glaring example of how religion is a corruptible and immoral agent.

    Those LinkedIn photos were a nice addition…don’t know if you’ve posted any of those before.

    “Creepy-Crawly” tweets is a great heading for this category (one of my favorites here). The heading also covers Myriapoda like centipedes and millipedes and other arthropods like crustaceans.

    I heard about the new 11,500 year old DNA findings in Alaska. I was wondering if there would be a WEIT post about it…I’m sure readers have emailed PCC(E) the link. Though he’s probably too busy right now to bother.

    Re. Atheists and possession. I think religious people who believe in possession think Atheists are already possessed. I for one nurture my inner demon almost every day at WEIT and HH. LOL!

    • Thanks for your kind comments. 🙂

      Jerry’s on the plane back to Chicago as I write. Here’s hoping O’Hare is in a fit state for him to land! Then there’s the mission of getting from there back home. I bet he won’t be doing it the way he went from home to the airport when he left, which was via bus, train, and involved a fair bit of walking! The weather has changed a bit since he left!

      Anyway, I hope he does something on th DNA findings too, as I find this stuff fascinating.

      • GreenPoisonFrog says:

        Jerry will be fine at O’Hare. It’s just cold here (5 F) or what, -13C or something.

        • Thanks for that. I said in one of my most recent emails to him that I assumed O’Hare was used to dealing with this kind of weather, but he didn’t reply to that part of our conversation.

          But -13 C! I don’t think I’ve ever been in weather than cold in my life!

    • nicky says:

      Somehow I have this feeling it is not going to end well in Iran. Fundamentalists, even when a minority, have this knack of succeeding in imposing their rules.
      There is an interesting reference to an article by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in the discussion on Quillette about that.
      A real quandary.

      • I haven’t read the link yet, but I’d agree. It’s always a problem when moral authority is ceded to (especially conservative) religion. People are made to feel guilty, and even to be risking their admission to the afterlife, if they don’t support religious authorities, even when it’s clear they’re corrupt. It’s one of the reasons it’s so important for people to realize that morality doesn’t come from religion. That’s a difficult leap when you’ve been taught otherwise from earliest childhood, and even harder when there are few voices explaining the truth.

        • j.a.m. says:

          Whether morality “comes from religion” depends entirely on what one means by “religion”. Absent that context, statements about “religion” are rather meaningless.

  4. nicky says:

    These 11.500 year old native Americans in Beringia apparently -according to the genetics- split off before the 2 lineages of extant Amerindians split. It is nearly certain the extant Amerindians populated the continent at least 16 to 14.000 years ago (well before the Clovis people.) So it follows that the split of this newly discovered group must have been quite a bit earlier than that, something like 20.000 years BCE, possibly even still in Siberia.
    There are several arguments that lead us to think many of those early humans were ‘coast huggers’. I think there is a huge amount of archaeology to be done on the now submerged continental shelves (which contain the ‘coasts’ during ice ages), and I do not just mean Beringia. Underwater archaeology is a daunting mission. Who said there are no more challenges?

    • They’ve recently made some amazing discoveries underwater between England and the Continent of settlements flooded when Britain was cut off. Such discoveries await us in Beringia.

      • nicky says:

        Well, I was thinking of the Indian Ocean rim, and the Pacific rim, of course. But I think about anywhere we will discover interesting finds on the shelves.
        There have been several cold, and warmer, spells between the ‘hot’ Eemian (about 120.000 y ago) and present. That is the period that modern humans left Africa. The earliest one, during the Eemian, into the Levant, does not appear to have been ‘successful’ (the Neanderthals, during colder periods, are more recent there). The Out Of Africa of ‘moderns’ around 90.000 years ago was probably the real deal, during a small glacial maximum. Probably via the ‘southern’ route , (the ‘Bab el Mandeb’ aka ‘Gate of Grief’, Southern Red Sea) from what is now Djibouti to Yemen.

        • Yeah, I bet there’s an enormous amount of archaeology underwater running along the coastlines from the time when humans were spreading themselves around the globe. It won’t be long before we have the technology to work the sites too. There’s exciting stuff ahead!

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