Old Man Yells at Cloud: March 26th
We have to talk about Iran.
A fascinating characteristic of the American political system is that every candidate or representative involved must hold the Correct Opinion on US foreign policy. Whether you are running for the US Senate or your local neighborhood dog-catcher, you must hold the Right Position on the American Empire. Then, you must constantly articulate the aforementioned opinion, loudly and persistently.
One particularly egregious example of this rule was seen this week, when Republican congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina introduced a bill titled the Iran Human Rights and Accountability Act to the House of Representatives. According to Al Monitor, the bill aims to empower the US government to “investigate alleged human rights abuses committed by the Islamic Republic.” The bill further requires that a report be issued on “wealth obtained via corruption by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei”, among other alleged concerns. To add the cherry on top of this irony cake, Wilson had deliberately timed it such that the bill was introduced on the eve of Iranian New Year, or Nowruz.
Wilson, the ostensible author of this bill, represents the 2nd congressional district of South Carolina, an area that includes around 722,000 people. You wouldn’t be blamed for assuming that Wilson is responsible for writing policies to alleviate the immediate problems of his constituency. Of course, there is no shortage of such problems. South Carolina has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country. Over 16% of the state’s population live below poverty, compared to a national average of 14%, and 80% of South Carolina’s counties are at or above the national average for evictions. Barnwell, one of three counties in Wilson’s district, has an astounding poverty rate of 26.2%.
In addition to these chronic problems, South Carolina has been ranked as one of the worst states in the country with respect to COVID-19 vaccine administration. According to the CDC, South Carolina has administered 36,698 doses per 100,000 residents. Over 10% of the population have no medical insurance. By all metrics, South Carolina is facing an abundance of acute and chronic problems that require immediate political attention.
So, what is Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina doing? He wants to punish Iran for perceived human rights abuses. In fact, I say Wilson is the ostensible author of this bill only because it appears that he has strong links to the Iranian opposition group and alleged psychotic cult the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran, or Mujaheddin-e-Khalq.
The MeK are Washington DC’s favorite anti-Islamic Republic group. Based in DC, the group has ample amounts of cash and no qualms about making it rain, so to speak. As a result, they hold bipartisan support among the Acela corridor, including Wilson. In 2018, Wilson delivered a speech during a Nowruz event hosted by MeK. Also at the event was then Democrat minority leader Nancy Pelosi. I would not be entirely shocked if the bill itself was written by the MeK and placed on Wilson’s desk to sign.
Beyond the immediate amusement, this entire episode reflects the complete dysfunction of the US state. In a country where the vast majority of people live in crippling debt amidst crumbling infrastructure and worse jobs paying less and less while a rapacious elite are looting every last crumb of wealth dry, the only remaining function of government is to manage the empire. Put simply, your political representatives can’t feed, shelter, clothe, medically treat, or educate you, but they sure as hell can investigate and sanction human rights abusers halfway across the globe. “Ask not what your country can do for you,” someone once said, because if you are an American, your country can do fuck all for you, but hey, those F-35s sure are cool aren’t they?