Saturday, July 24, 2021

Lies don't help anyone

 A week ago, I made a comment in a snapshot about the " idiots."  It's lead to some confusion in a few e-mails to the public account (  Are we not anti-war?  That's the most common question that's popped up.  Actually, I prefer pro-peace to anti-anything.  But I wasn't referring to an anti-war position in that comment, I was referring to the idiots at ANTIWAR.COM.  They have a lot of idiots.  Not everyone there is an idiot but they do have a lot of idiots -- do you prefer liars? -- at that website.  

Other e-mails went on about how we're all on the same side?

Oh, no, we're not.

I'm on the side of the truth.  

If you're covering Iraq, don't lie about it.  You're not on my side if you're lying.  You may think lying will help end the war but that's not going to happen.  All your lies do is cheapen whatever position you hold.

ANTIWAR.COM has done an awful job covering events in Iraq.  As we've noted before, on the 18th anniversary of the Iraq War, they didn't even have a heading for Iraq on their home page. (Refer to "Et tu, ANTIWAR.COM?" if you missed this omission in real time.)  And the fools who cover it -- I'm not referring to Margaret Griffis as a fool -- she does a body count, that's all she does -- I'm referring to their 'experts' who tell us what happened in Iraq.  

So this week, July 22, a perfect example popped up.  David DeCamp wrote:

Earlier this week, Kadhimi said he wants continued support from the US but that “combat troops” must leave. The Iraqi leader has been under pressure to get US forces to leave since he came into office in May 2020. In January 2020, Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously to expel US forces after Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in Baghdad by a US drone strike.

Unanimously.  Let's use that link which goes to Jason Ditz's original mis-report which included:

In a 170-0 vote during Sunday’s emergency session, Iraq’s parliament voted in favor of a five-point plan to require the Iraqi government to oust all foreign troops from the country, and withdraw the 2014 request for assistance against ISIS, a group which largely does not exist in Iraq.

The session was called after the Thursday night US airstrike against Baghdad International Airport, which killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as well as high ranking Iraqi government official Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The parliamentary resolution made clear that they view this as a gross violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

The resolution now goes on to be signed by the Iraqi prime minister, in this case Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who resigned in November but has yet to be replaced. Abdul-Mahdi was responsible for much of the language of the resolution, and his signature seems a foregone conclusion.

The 170-0 vote was a result of many smaller factions, including the Kurds, not showing up to the session. The Shi’ites clearly had more than enough MPs for a majority vote, and were the ones most affected by the US attack. 

Did it go to Adel?

No.  It never did.  It was a resolution and not a bill.  So it was never sent to Adel and never required his signature.

Ditzy, as we so often refer to Jason Ditz, never has the basic background he needs when scanning through wire reports.  "Smaller factions, including the Kurds"?  

170 were present.  How big is the Parliament?

Something Ditzy never informs anyone of and probably didn't know.  If he did know, then he's a liar and not an idiot because including the fact would undercut his argument.

The bill passed by 52%.  52% of the members showed up.  The rest boycotted.  There are 325 members of Parliament.  

It'd be great if the liars at ANTIWAR.COM would stop lying.  They're not helping the issue.  They are confusing people who do care about Iraq and then run around repeating falsehood based upon the 'reporting' of Ditzy and others. 

Here's how we covered it in real time:

THE NATIONAL explains that what the Parliament voted on yesterday was a resolution and not a law, a "non-binding resolution" which will not go to the Cabinet.  They explain of Parliament's actions on Sunday, "The session was boycotted by nearly half of all Iraqis parliamentarians and led by caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, a man who had resigned from his position last month. He was largely discredited among Iraqi youth for overseeing a ruthless crackdown that took the lives of hundreds of unarmed protesters - many of whom died at the hands of pro-Iranian militias represented in parliament."

It's non-binding.  It's also true that US troops could remain in Kuwait and, yes, Iraq.  How? 

Well the Kurds didn't attend the session on Sunday (nor did most Sunnis) and the Kurds are semi-autonomous.  When thug Nouri was prime minister and trying to arrest Vice President  Tareq al-Hashemi as part of his purge of all Sunnis, where did Tareq go?  The KRG.  And he stayed there for months before leaving Iraq.  And there was nothing Baghdad could do about it but bluster and scream.

So the US could keep US troops in Iraq via the KRG if they had to ("had to" meaning they were truly kicked out -- which at this point they haven't been).  Baghdad would issue threats and probably cut off monies.  The US government would probably be willing to pay monies of its own to keep US troops in Iraq.  The US government could also send US troops to Turkey -- don't forget there's already a CIA compound near the border Turkey shares with Iraq, Bully Boy Bush negotiated that during his second term. 

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That ’90s Show: Ready to Turn Back Time?


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Saturday, July 24, 2021

As an Indian kid in the 1990s growing up on a monster diet of American pop culture, my sense of secondhand nostalgia is eclectic, and immense. Our high schools didn’t provide personal lockers, but thanks to Hollywood teen movies, I’d often imagine having one of my own, pinned with posters of the idols of my adolescence (hello, Liam Gallagher!). For the most part, I had easy access to the cultural zeitgeist that continues to spawn “Only ’90s Kids Will Remember” memes — although TV shows and music from the era often took till the mid-2000s to reach my part of the world! 

My after-school hours too were dominated by the “predictions” of cootie catchers, or the goofy delight of lacing my tongue with crackling Pop Rocks. And sartorially, I’ve tried both XL flannel shirts and ribbon chokers to discover if I’d rather be a Tai or a Cher from Clueless (definitely a Tai!). So on days when #adulting is a spectacular fail, I put on my ’90s playlist and take a trip down memory lane. Here are some quintessential ’90s recommendations!

Sohini Das Gupta, Reporter

binge me baby one more time: TV reruns

1. ‘The X-Files’

Before there was Fringe or The MentalistThe X-Files (1993) reigned supreme. For the lovers of half-humorous heebie-jeebies and some seriously savvy lead actors, nothing compares to the dynamism of FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating extraterrestrial mysteries through nine seasons and two revivals. I’m no Scully (read: skeptic), but between conspiracies involving aliens and the deep state, the show did demand some suspension of disbelief. Those same elements, however, gained a massive cult following. Early-internet paranoia, sci-fi nerdiness, glib dialogue and a sizzling cerebral romance between investigating partners — this ’90s television touchstone is high on rewatchability. Perfect for a quirky weekend.

2. ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

Speaking of super-fly ’90s supernatural shows (not you, Sabrina), we have to mention Buffy the Vampire Slayer. High school dramas tend toward the angst of young love. But you can count on a little something extra — like vampires, werewolves, demonic hyenas and a giant praying mantis — when you head back to Sunnydale. Seemingly disparate teen fantasies come together in this 1997 winner that has aged curiously well. Revisit the fictional Californian town and watch new-girl Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) literally slay. It’s also fun to observe a young Seth Rogen and Alyson Hannigan after watching them grow up and diversify. Not to mention there’s a whole wad of ’90s fashion and vocabulary to be retrieved along the way. Bitten hard by the Buffy bug? There’s a world of tie-in projects to be enjoyed: comics, books, movies and even video games.

3. ‘Sex and the City’

You can quote Carrie, but I’ll keep my soft spot for Miranda. Back in the day, few groups of female friends could resist debating who was who in the groundbreaking 1998 series about four 30-something women and their adventures in New York City. I couldn’t help but wonder what all the scandal was about, and watched the risqué show secretly rather than risking my parents’ wrath. Quotable quips, revolutionary fashion, lessons in love, friendship and feminism made the show a favorite and gave the SATC movies their dependable success. Soon out is the Samantha-less controversial rebootAnd Just Like That… . In the meantime, treat yourself to some weekend TLC with a series marathon. Want to go Big? Sip on a Cosmo while you’re at it.

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just hangin’: throw a socially distanced ’90s meet

1. Hot Pockets, Cold Creamsicle

For kids eyeing an unscheduled bite, these quick-turnaround frozen snacks were a pocketful of sunshine. When I say sunshine, I really mean the cheddary warmth of something that “cooks” in just two minutes and comes in a mad array of flavors. Share the ’90s staple with a close set of (vaccinated) friends at your pandemic-friendly hang sesh, where “hand sanitizer” and “hot pocket” are the only passwords. While it’s tempting to go the ready-made route – it is, after all, a weekend – check out these easy-peasy homemade recipes and avoid the misadventure of dubious store-bought flavors like beef taco. For dessert, there’s no dearth of decade-appropriate inspiration, from innocent Dunkaroos to boozy adult Capri Suns. But for a total throwback to sumptuous ’90s summers, turn to the simple joy of an orange creamsicle. 

2. Be Your Own Fashion Police

Who says you can’t ditch tight, plaid miniskirts and crop tops and still doff your bucket hat to ’90s fashion? Unless you want to jazz it up at home, in which case, go right ahead. Put on some comfy dungarees and a pair of hardy Doc Martens instead. Are you one to wear your hair up? Your stash of forgotten scrunchies and claw clips would love to do that for you, just like they did all those years ago. Bust out a baggy tie-dye tee, perhaps with a heart pattern to amp up the emo, and slip into capri pants and slides to be utterly binge-ready. If you’re feeling fancy, there is always the instant cool of flared jeans and oversized hoop earrings.

3. Party Like It’s 1999

What else can you do to really amp up that retro flavor at a relatively no-fuss gathering? Dutch braid your friend’s hair while not missing a word to “No Scrubs, ” the TLC anthem. After all, the ’90s were goofy times. Or if you like, take your noughties selfies — but in a DIY photo booth. Then gather round to trade spooky stories à la Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990and Goosebumps (1995). The former is churning out decidedly darker revivals these days. Finally, tickle yourself silly with the sweetest sleepover scene in the history of sleepover scenes, from the 1994 kid comedy The Little Rascals or, alternatively, enjoy the young Will Smith’s antics on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I wouldn’t push it as far as a friendship bracelet, but with all these fun throwbacks, you probably won’t need one.

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three ways to time-travel: a sensory way back

1. For Your Eyes Only: ‘Matilda’

“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” It’s funny how years into adulthood, we often seek the same assurances we did as children. Or that authors like Roald Dahl, and a sweet character like Miss Honey, can still mean so much and remind us that we are, indeed, not alone. Published in 1988, it was one of the last books Dahl wrote before his death in 1990, and has remained a favorite ever since, while Quentin Blake’s accompanying illustrations are still a treat for any age. 1996 also saw its screen adaptation, with Mara Wilson (who, by the way, grew up to be a writer) playing the precocious, bright-eyed lead. On those dreary weekday mornings when you don’t want to get out of bed but need a coffee, adults too could use a little telekinesis. 

2. Smells Like … Play-Doh and Lip Smackers

To be sure, I am not suggesting you sit around sniffing putty from the ’90s. Although if you were so inclined, Hasbro has come up with a range of adult Play-Doh, in scents like Mom Jeans (clean denim), Lord of the Lawn (freshly mown grass), and get this — Overpriced Latte (coffee that you might now rethink). If you ever doubted the therapeutic powers of kneading, rolling and fiddling with colored clay, maybe this Play-Doh summer beach will change your mind. Smells can unlock the deepest recesses of our brains, so those ubiquitous piña colada or pink lemonade-flavored Lip Smackers lip balms might just jog some blush-worthy high school memories. 

3. Hear, Hear: Bittersweet Symphony

It’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve spent a substantial part of my adult life searching for people who find Richard Ashcroft as attractive as I do. Brooding, British, with sunken cheeks and a voice of stoic resignation – does the world not see what I do? Of course, it’s possible that I wholly associate The Verve’s vocalist with the chart-dominating music video of a man strolling down the sidewalk in a hypnotic daze as the world passes him by. “Bittersweet Symphony, ” for many, is the song that sums up multiple cinematic moments in the decade (remember Cruel Intentions?), possibly stirring up their own existentialism. If there’s anything more compelling than the trippy video, it’s the song itself. 

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buying your way to ’90s heaven

1. Dye Another Day

You ain’t dressed for a ’90s revival unless you have some manner of denim on you. Or tie-dye, for that matter. I’m talking those oversize jackets that immediately up your street cred … or the bold and unapologetic rainbow tees of yore. But what if you could have them both? Channel your inner cool cat in this gorgeous denim jacket, dip-dyed in a celestial burst of blue and purple, guaranteed to look dope on just about anyone.

2. Gimme More

Finish what you started with this tie-dye scrunchie (with a long tail scarf) that looks like it was plucked from the ocean. I know, I know: Carrie Bradshaw banished scrunchies from every self-respecting New Yorker’s wardrobe. But the once less-than-cool hair accessory has made a comeback in recent years, sneaking its way into celebrity do’s — from Gigi Hadid to Jason Momoa. If it’s good enough for the blindingly beautiful Jason Loane of Baywatch, it’s good enough for you.

3. Loud, Louder, Loudest

With so many old-new recommendations for ’90s music and shows, you’ll definitely want a speaker that won’t give up mid-marathon. Blast all the Alanis Morrisette or Snoop Dogg you want or watch back-to-back episodes of Friends with this JBL Pulse 4, waterproof portable speaker, all the jazzier for its light show and sound feature.

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