Iran-Contra Part 1: Nicaragua

Hey everyone this is Colin from Salt of the Streets and welcome to my first audio blog post. This will be the first of a multi part series on the political controversy known as Iran-Contra.

For as much as I would like to cover this topic from start to finish in one sitting, as a big fan of history I believe proper context must be given to historical events to truly understand them. With a topic like this which led to one of, if not the biggest, political controversies our nation has even experienced context is paramount to understanding the full story. So I invite you to check out my series about the Iran-Contra affair. A story that spans the globe from the deserts of the middle east to the jungles of central America. CIA covert missions, gorilla warfare, hostages, White House scandal and even a little treason.

So without further adieu, welcome to: Part one of Iran-Contra: Nicaragua.

Lets travel back in time. The year is 1979 and President Jimmy Carter is in the White House, though not for much longer. The multi decade long Cold War is entering a new era, but the United States government is still very concerned and determined to stop the spread of communism across the world.

Down in Central America, nestled between Honduras and Costa Rica lyes the small country of Nicaragua. It’s leader, a US backed dictator named Anastasio Somoza DeBayle is in trouble. As head of the National Guard, he had essentially become the de facto ruler of the country since 1967 after the death of his older brother. But his grasp on power is slipping, and very life is in danger. He is about to become the last of the Somoza family to be President, ending a family dynasty of power dating back to 1936, when his father had first risen to power, with thanks to the US Marine Corp by the way.

His county has been embroiled in deeply violent civil war since the early 1960’s when the Nicaraguan Revolution first began. The Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (F.S.L.N.) known in English as the Sandinista National Liberation Front have grown in strength and number to the point that a governmental overthrow is coming, it’s now just a matter of time.

As far as the United States is concerned, the FSLN were becoming a massive problem. If you’re looking at this situation with contemporary glasses, you may be thinking that the US government would be on-board with helping a peoples revolution to overthrow a nepotist dictatorship like the Somoza’s, but keep in mind that the Somoza family only came to power due to US military involvement in Nicaragua a decade or so earlier.

The real problem the US had with the rise of the FSLN was the fact that they were primarily supported by communist governments such as Cuba, Panama and Venezuela. But of course the strings traced all the way back to Moscow, the proverbial queen bee of Communism. On July 17th 1979 it happened, Somoza stepped down and escaped into exile essentially handing over the reigns of power to the FSLN who began to inject communism and socialism into the county.

Now we introduce the Counter Revolutionists, better known as the Contras. The Contras were actually built up of a great number of various anti-Sandinista rebel groups, the largest of those being the Nicaraguan Democratic Force. Overtime these various rebel group began to merge, ultimately they would from into a group known as the Nicaraguan Resistance, though this didn’t happen until 1987.

In 1980 a man by the name of Ronald Reagan had become President. Reagan was a staunch anti-communist and his administration saw the formation of these loosely grouped bands of anti-Sandinista rebels as an asset and wished to forge a relationship with them. Anti-Sandinista meant Anti-Communist after all, and fighting Communism was one of, if not the greatest foreign policy concern at the time.

There was a problem that the Reagan administration faced when allying with the Contras though. While fighting the Nicaraguan government, they allegedly committed a large number of blatant violations of human rights, carrying out more than 1300 attacks that would be classified today as acts of terror. This is something the Reagan administration downplayed as much as possible, but this is how the contras fought, and there was no amount of downplaying the administration could do to make that fact go away.

From the beginning of there relationship with the US, the contras received the vast majority of there support directly from the United States Government, something they grew to depend on as time went on. That is of course until the all mighty power of the United States Congress put there own foot down with the passing of the Boland Amendment between 1982 & 1984, which essentially stopped governmental assistance to the contras in it’s tracks. But this wouldn’t stop the Reagan administration from fighting back against the spread of the communism. As they saw it, communism was still the greatest threat to American safety and Democracy, and they’d stop at next to nothing to rid the world of it’s cancerous spread.

How’d they do it?

You’ll have to wait for Iran-Contra part two, when we tackle to Iran side of Iran Contra, which comes out January 10th 2019, right here on saltofthestreets.com.

Until then, as always you can find us @saltofthestreets on both instagram and facebook.

Or you can find Don and I directly:

I am @Bigbirdoffie in both the instagrams and twitter machine

Don is @saltofthestreet on twitter and @alpaca_donavan on instagram

Together we are Salt of the Streets and we’re here to bridge that gap between people and information.

“12 Rules For Life” Series, Part 9

Here we are. I missed last week of the podcast to take a week with Jordyn before the baby gets here. It was great. Instead of a standard cast, Offie did an interview with his boss that I have yet to listen to, but I think ties in with the rule I read this week which is “Assume that the person you are listening to knows something that you don’t”. All of the rules in Dr. Peterson’s book could benefit the majority of the population, but this one I think in particular.

I think that may be a problem with A LOT of people. I know that for a long time and even sometimes now, it is for me. It’s something you can put on a lot of kids my age that came out of college somewhere and think that they know more or better than everyone else around them. Everyone hates people like that. It’s near impossible to have a real conversation with people like that, so that’s one reason right off the top that you may want to adopt this rule into your life.

I also see this rule kind of in two parts. One is exactly what the rule says, that you should assume you can learn something from everyone you talk to, but the second is slightly deeper and has to do with the WAY that people communicate. Part of this chapter is breaking down several different kinds of conversations that people have depending on their intent or what they look to gain from the conversation itself. Other than just being informative on how the mind works, this section reminded me of the all too common practice of not listening to what people are saying, but simply waiting for your turn to talk.

That is something we all do and it’s always wrong. It doesn’t seem that there is anything right about that if you are trying to have a productive and useful conversation. It’s rude to the person you are talking to and kind of wastes the time they took even talking. It deprives you of the possibility of really enjoying their story or possibly learning something useful, and it also shows that you CAN’T have a conversation and don’t listen which may stop that person from wanting to talk to you in the future and in turn hinders your ability to learn things from them in the future. That could be a bridge you don’t want to burn and you did it by just being a crappy listener.

Without having ever been to college outside of running start, I was one of those annoying college kids that everyone hates. At the risk of sounding like a douche, I am pretty smart. I’m no genius but I can hold my own. When I was younger and in school I was getting feedback on my schoolwork and having a really easy time with things like reading and writing and it partially fed to an ego in those realms. At 16 I was taking my first college classes in running start and decided I knew better than my first English Professor.

I was never into writing outlines; in school we were taught a three phase writing process of outline, rough draft, final draft, and at a certain point I stopped doing the outline. I was skilled enough that I didn’t need it in public school and could still write a great paper. The same was true for the papers I was assigned in running start both that we were to use the 3 phase writing process and I didn’t need all 3 to get an A. I was told that to get full credit I needed to do an outline and instead of just doing the outline as instructed because that was part of the assignment, I took lower grades on all of my papers in that class to try and prove some kind of point.

After receiving 5 B’s instead of A’s I still convinced myself I was getting the upper hand because my papers were good enough for an A but just wasn’t getting them. Obviously no level of arguing swayed my grades because I was told plainly that in order for me to receive full credit I would have to do an outline, but I didn’t listen. And that teacher knew something I didn’t, that it’s better to take the time and get the grade then die on a hill you don’t care about. I never started writing the outlines. It took until my job at Benik that I learned sometimes things just are how they are, and its not worth questioning but DEFINITELY  worth listening when someone tells you that. I talked about that with Dave and Colin when we talked about learning the idea of “trusting the wheel”.’

The second part I see of this is, like I said, more of a surface take but similar to the first one. If you assume the person you are talking to has nothing to offer you or isn’t going to say something you don’t know, you rob yourself of the opportunity to learn from that person and can make yourself look stupid at the same time. I remember one of the big political conversations Colin and I had in the beginning was after the congressional baseball shooting in June of 2017.

Colin and I have also discussed gun policy on the cast before and this conversation was similar, but slightly more heated. Coming from the right Colin defended gun rights to the end and coming from the left, all I could talk about was some kind of control over guns. I have NEVER been a person who doesn’t want citizens to have access to guns, but in our adolescent political stage Colin assumed that is what I meant when I was referring to gun control. Because I was wound up (imagine that), I came at Colin pretty twisted about having assumed that about me.

He had lots of good reasons to assume that I wanted to ban guns, I used to carry much more radical views about the government. But since we stopped listening to each other a few minutes into the conversation (again I think understandably) we stopped ourselves from being able to learn anything from one another, even where the other actually stood. That’s the reason it took us three or four tries at that SAME conversation for it to be productive and for us to not only understand each others point of view but to expand our own and consider other options.

I think, as I said before, that this is a problem a lot of people have, and that’s why it was so easy at the time and understandable to me now for us to close each other off, but to continue talking. So many people are having conversations just to make noise with their face and try and spread the knowledge they may or may not actually have. They don’t want to challenge their own ideas and the ideas of others, which is supposed to be the point of a civil discourse.

You have to have your ideas challenged to solidify your arguments against the holes people are able to poke in them. Not listening to what people have to say and not allowing your ideas to be challenged sets you into a path of perpetually seeking support for your own ideas, which is what leads people into believing a single person over a group of verified and vetted reporters. It’s what leads people into parroting ideas they can’t even explain and trying to blame other peoples for their problems and build walls to keep them out. There are probably dozens if not hundreds of qualities that the perfect person would have, but I am certain that being an incredible listener would be one. Talking is a vital part of life, but listening even more so, and when you are carrying out a conversation you should allow that person to challenge your ideas and in turn help you grow. You should always assume that the person you are listening to knows something that you don’t.

 

-Donavan Phillips

Episode 44 is up!

Don is off this week, taking a little R&R before he kicks into full-time fatherhood mode, so we’re bringing you something a little different this week. This is the pilot episode of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. An interview show that focuses on local members of the community. Primarily focused on getting to know the members of your community and the roles they play in it.

This week’s episode is Joseph Micheal O’Conner, a licensed public land surveyor, also known as a PLS. Don’t know what a surveyor is, or what they do? You’ve come to the right place. It was a great time sitting down with him, he’s a very fun and interesting guy. So please, enjoy this pilot episode of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and let us know what you think.

As always all our podcast episodes post at Soundcloud but can be found anywhere else you like to receive your podcasts. The full length video will be found on our Salt of the Streets YouTube page. This video will post tomorrow Tuesday 18th of December 2018.

Please let us know what you think of the episode either right here in the comments OR on any of our social medias:

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Music in this episode comes courtesy of bensound.com

Rain Check & Something New

Written by: Colin Offenbacker

During last weeks discussion on George H. W. Bush we brought up the political scandal known as Iran-Contra, and I announced I’d be writing a blog post on it. Well…this week’s post will not be on Iran-Contra, though it will come during my next round just after Christmas. Don’t worry though, the wait will be worth it.

With Don being out this week to prepare for the arrival of the newest member of the Salt of the Streets family, I’ve been hard at work on some new content for you all. In the spirit of Don’s interview with Mackrayz from The Upper Left, I will be conducting an interview with an amazing individual from the local community! Someone near and dear to both my professional and personal life. I’m really excited to reveal not only an incredibly interesting, knowledgeable and hilarious local individual but we’ll also be sheding some light on a little known profession in the trades, one that may be in jeopardy of slipping away.

In keeping with the origins of the Salt of the Streets, this first pilot episode of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” will focus on getting to the true nature of real, everyday people in the community. We’ll cover everything from who they are, what they do, why they do it, why it’s important for you to learn about it and more.

The show will flow naturally, as all interviews should, but we’ll cover aspects of the interviewee’s life, both professional and personal, their point of view on living and growing up in the bastion of liberty known as the United States of America and of course how they pursue happiness, an endless pursuit we all share.

Don and I will be back together next week for some more standard Salt of the Streets action. Until then look forward this new thing we’re going to test out, it will drop on our normal Salt of the Streets Podcast stream so please just let us know what you think.

See you all again soon.

Episode 43 is LIVE!

On episode 43 of Salt of The Streets podcast Don and Offie cover as much information as they have on the closed door Senate briefing given by CIA Director Gina Haspel about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a deeper look into the positive and negative take aways from the life of George H W Bush, the Miami Miracle is caught on audio with Don’s reaction, discussion about honesty in all its forms, and in the grab bag Paul McCartney draws emotion from a late night host, The White House demands decorum, France rebels against fuel taxes and as always, SPORTS!!

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“12 Rules For Life” Series, Part 8

It’s been like, 18 or so weeks that I’ve been doing this series. I decided to do away with the formality. These blog posts won’t be anywhere as casual as the language on the show so I won’t be saying ‘fuck’ every fifth word, but these ARE blog posts and especially in the spirit of this week I want to be as true to myself as possible.

Rule 8 in Dr. Peterson’s book is ” tell the truth- or, at least, don’t lie”. I love that. I may have said some variant of this before but this rule is one of my favorites, but in the sense that it’s one that I implement the most in my life. This idea is part of what got Offie and I to Salt of The Streets. The search and attempted execution of the truth.

I used to lie ALL the time. For no reason. This is by NO MEANS an excuse but possibly a partial explanation, my sister is 7 years older than me and she STILL lies constantly. Primarily to herself. She was a big influence in my life pretty much through high school and so were all the people she hung out with. Some of those people turned into my brothers, like David who I talk about all the time, and others never taught me a positive thing.

I lied, I cheated, I stole pretty much any time I had the opportunity. For no reason. Not always, but I probably started lying regularly the same time I started smoking pot which was 12-13 years old. Not something I’m proud of, but just a fact of my reality. I started stealing regularly around age 15. From random people mostly but some from family which was the worst part of all. Never money or valuables, just drugs or alcohol or cigarettes. Which doesn’t make it any better, except maybe to me. Once I started to sell drugs to support all of my habits, I started lying to and stealing from anyone I could or had to to make a little extra money or just make myself look better.

One of the points Dr. Peterson makes in this chapter is that all big lies are made of smaller ones, and ever if you only tell small lies they will culminate in a large one. I found that so incredibly true. I remember when my sister and mom discovered I had been stealing weed and cigarettes from them. I had been lying about it for so long, but just little lies every time. Eventually they came together in a lie large enough to sever the relationship I had with my sister and her friends because they were just that. HER friends. They didn’t want to hang out with a kid who was stealing from his family. My mom couldn’t trust anything I had said from the moment she started to suspect someone was taking her stuff, and then questioned everything I said afterward, with good reason.

I also lied about homework and assignments I had done which only culminated in a struggle to graduate. Not being honest with myself when I finished school led me to trying to marry a girl I didn’t love because I was going to join the military and didn’t want to be alone. That’s wrong for so many reasons, including the fact that my lies to myself were about to ruin the life of some girl who barely knew better. Lying is wrong. We all know that. But lying to yourself can be some of the worst lies of all.

That’s something else I took from this chapter is how much Dr. Peterson focuses on lying to yourself, or self deception. People most commonly lie to themselves about what they want to do with their lives – part of that is accepting that sometimes your truth changes. You don’t always know what you want. People, especially kids in college, spend X-amount of dollars going to school for X-amount of years and then if they come out on the back end with a degree in science but end up wanting to be an artist, they have so much invested already in what they thought they wanted that they will lie to try and convince themselves that’s indeed what they want. No one will ever be happy living in self deception.

But part of what Dr. Peterson said in this chapter is that sometimes being honest with yourself is understanding that you are wrong. It is a lie to try and convince yourself that what you have now is better than what you could have. It is a lie to live your life doing something that makes you unhappy. I don’t know if cutting neoprene is what I want to do for the rest of my life, but I know right now that it makes me feel fulfilled. It provides for my family, I have learned an incredibly specific trade, (but a trade none the less) and I get to improve peoples lives everyday.

Until a few weeks ago I thought I might cut neoprene for the rest of my life, which halfway scared me and halfway made me feel secure. I know (or at least feel extremely confident) that I could be employed at this company for the rest of my life. I feel comfortable at this job and seem to be fairly good at it. But nothing makes me feel as happy as seeing someones face light up when I just helped them connect some dots. Nothing makes me more passionate, as my wife likes to call it, than identifying something that reads to me as an injustice to even a small group of people.

It scares me sometimes to think about not working or even about the thought of telling my bosses that I am going to go and do something else after they have invested so much time in me. But, especially after reading this chapter, I understand that even if the place you are feels like it couldn’t get any better, that’s ignorant. Ignorant of the possibilities that await or even the possibility OF possibilities. You have to stay open to the world around you to truly be honest with yourself.

My favorite thing I read in this chapter was about identifying a lie. Dr. Peterson said after a certain amount of time he was able to connect lies he was telling with a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, which I agreed with completely. I have said a thousand times that I follow my stomach. It’s how I run my life and how I decide what is right. Once you identify what it feels or looks like when you lie, you can do your best to avoid it. When I made a conscious decision to stop lying, my life got much much better. I got a series of increasingly improving jobs. I got together with my wife. I met Colin. My wife got pregnant. All of these things would not have come to fruition had I not begun to just be honest.

This is something I advocate to EVERYONE I know. Just be honest. All the time. If someone says something you don’t think is true, say that. Don’t be a dick about it, but say something. If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, consider all options no matter the stigma that you have established around them. Be true to yourself about what matters to you and what doesn’t. Pick the hills you are willing to die on. Pick your battles, but know which ones are really important to you. Live your life the best way you can, the first step to that is the be honest- or, at least, don’t lie.

Podcast Episode 42!

We are 42 episodes in and we couldn’t be anymore excited! Movember ended on Friday and with everyones help Don was able to raise $330! Everyone was an AMAZING help and we are looking forward to next year!

On this episode 42! Don and Offie provide insight into the advances in the Yemen situation, updates around Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen and what this means for the Mueller Probe, and the growing tensions between Russia and the Ukraine, and in the grab bag Don expresses more love/hate for Ben Shapiro, the signing of the USMCA at the G20 Summit, is killing the virtual KKK wrong? Why Don can understand people not liking him, and of course SPORTS!! w/ some updates from last week!

HERE you can find the episode in which we first talked about Michael Cohen

HERE is where you can find the original episode about James Comey

HERE you can find the first episode about Jama Khahsoggi

and HERE you can find the episode where we detailed the Saudis and Yemen.

 

THIS podcast, the ones we listed and ALL of our other can be found directly on our SoundCloud or ANYWHERE else you can get a podcast. The video from the live pre show can be found on our YouTube with the rest of our videos and the full episode video will be up tomorrow afternoon.

We also have hand crafted, artisan made T-shirts now available for purchase. Inquiries can be made through ANY of our social media and you WILL receive a response. Leave us a review wherever you listen to the pod, send us a screenshot and you will get $5 OFF YOUR FIRST T-SHIRT!

If there are ANY topics you want to hear us cover, let us know. If you have any thoughts or feelings about our show that you are holding back or choosing not to express? DON’T. Let us know what you think, WE WANT TO KNOW!