“We want to restore democracy there,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week, walking just to the edge of declaring that regime change is the goal. “We think the Iranian people want that same thing.” – Advertisement – At Daily Kos on this date in 2018—What does Secretary of State Pompeo mean by ‘restore democracy’ in Iran? – Advertisement – In 2014 when he was just a Kansas congressman, Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state and one of the most pugnacious ideologues of the neoconservative club, bragged that it would take only “2000 [bombing] sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity.” Last month, he wrote in Foreign Affairs his view of how the reimposition of sanctions are meant to bring Iran to its knees and do Washington’s bidding, or be toppled by a populace disgruntled by a smashed economy. Colin H. Kahl, co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, and a former national security and defense official in the Obama administration, dismantled what he calls Pompeo’s “dangerous delusion” in a subsequent essay in Foreign Affairs. I keep sensing an undercurrent of despair when talking to liberal partisans about the election, a sigh that beating Trump is not enough but all that can be done. Yes, Democrats are only an even-money shot, at best, to flip the Senate. And yes, even if they succeed, Mitch “Grim Reaper” McConnell can obstruct the majority with the filibuster, and it would not be up to the next president, but the 50th senator ideologically, someone like Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema, to agree to change the Senate rules to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for legislation. (There’s always budget reconciliation, but that limited path goes through the same conservaDems.)But this reality does not have to inspire progressive anguish. Anyone telling you that a Democratic victory next November would merely signal four years of endless gridlock hasn’t thought about the possibilities laid out in this issue. And if you doubt the opportunity for strong executive action, let me direct your attention to Donald Trump.MAKE NO MISTAKE: Trump is an autocrat, more than willing to break the law to realize his campaign promises. His invocation of inherent, extreme executive power, egged on chiefly by Attorney General William Barr, is in fact dangerous, as former Representative Brad Miller lays out for us later in this issue. Trump has asserted the right to ignore Congress’s oversight function, reinterpret laws based on his own preferences, hide information from lawmakers and the public, promise pardons before illegal actions take place, appoint acting heads of federal agencies without advice and consent from the Senate, and raise the specter of emergency to follow through on his campaign promises.But in a significant number of cases, Trump’s pathway has sprung from a simple proposition: When Congress gives the executive branch authority, the president, you know, can actually use it.[…]THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READINGWide Awake, by Rebecca Traister. The past four years have birthed a progressive movement so extraordinary it just might survive the forces that threaten its extinction.The Right-Wing Violence Trump Has Encouraged Has Deep Roots in American History, By Dolores Janiewski and Chad Pearson. The far-right violence that Donald Trump has stoked has deep roots in US history. Kicking him from office won’t change that — but it would deal a blow to right-wing vigilantism. The South Has Already Changed, by Adam Harris. Jaime Harrison lost to Lindsey Graham but expanded Democrats’ vision of what’s possible in the Deep South.TOP COMMENTSQUOTATION“In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.” ~~Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (411 BCE)TWEET OF THE DAYxNow seems like a good time to remind Trump appointees that destroying federal records is a crime. And it’ll be easier than you think to prove you did it.— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 4, 2020BLAST FROM THE PAST- Advertisement – Certainly, a truly democratic, socially liberal, non-aggressive Iranian government that puts a high value on human rights would be a welcome change from the brutal one now in charge. While Iran has some of the trappings of democracy, it’s a profoundly constrained one riven by corruption that favors the clerical elite, holds large numbers of political prisoners, engages in torture and other brutality, and has a long record of human rights abuses, one of the targets being gay people. It was obvious from the election protests in 2009 that many Iranians would like to see a different kind of government. For each one of the thousands of protesters who dared confront Iran’s pernicious religious zealots in the street, for every Neda Agha-Soltan murdered by government henchmen, there no doubt were dozens silently cheering them on from home but fearful to join the opposition. They deserve better.As do the Saudis. Yet neither Pompeo nor Trump are making any noises about sanctioning the royal autocracy of that kingdom. It doesn’t take any imagination to figure out why. David E. Sanger at The New York Times reports:
I should probably open this column by stating that I am from Houston, or Clutch City, and have been a Rockets fan my entire life. The team’s recent performance, however, is historic and deserving of praise from more than just Rocket fans.Only eight other teams in the NBA have ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit, as the Rockets did against the Clippers. Furhermore, the Rockets held the home court advantage, but forfeited it in the Game 1 blowout loss to the Clippers. The Rockets won Game 2 at home, but lost Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles. The Rockets won Game 5 in Houston, but the series went back to the Staples Center for a must-win Game 6.The Clippers had a 92-79 lead heading into the fourth quarter. It seemed the Clippers had all but punched their ticket to the Western Conference Finals. James Harden, the runner up for the MVP Award, was on the bench and Dwight Howard was in foul trouble. Josh Smith checked into the game, Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza got hot, and the Rockets came back to win, 119-107 and force a Game 7.The Rockets’ momentum from Game 6 carried into Game 7 and Houston led the entire game. According to ESPN, in their biggest deficit in the third quarter of Game 6, there was a .1 percent chance that the Rockets would come back to win the series. Only eight teams before them had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit, making their series win not only improbable but historic.The MVP runner up will now have to face the reigning MVP Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors, who rarely drop games at home, will have home court advantage in the Western Semifinals. The Rockets will need all of their momentum to take a game in Oakland and win the series.The Warriors are an explosive offensive team accompanied by a top-ranked defense. James Harden will be without Patrick Beverley, who suffered a broken wrist. Brewer, Smith and Ariza will need to repeat their Game 6 performance if the Rockets have any chance of advancing to the Finals. Even if the Rockets route the Warriors, they’ll likely have to face LeBron James and the Cavaliers out of the East.Whether or not Houston can repeat its historic performance will likely be the deciding factor in the Western semifinal series.Reagan Estes is a sophomore majoring in public relations. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Wild Wild Westes,” runs every other Wednesday.