Tweet Me Right
Twenty-eight years ago. Nothing’s changed. Carlin: “I got this moron thing I like to do. It’s called thinking. And I’m not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions.”
Assassinate a foreign leader because he was planning to do something bad (allegedly). Wait, isn’t this the administration whose anti-impeachment hole card is that they didn’t actually go through with the bad action they were planning to do regarding Ukraine? Oh, and since when does president Trump believe what our intelligence agencies are telling him? Now, suddenly?
So, assassinate a foreign leader. Threaten to do more if Iran retaliates, including bombing cultural sites. We’re asked by Iraq, a country with a democratically elected government, to leave the country and our response is, We’ll think about it. So now we’re occupying a nation against its wishes. Meanwhile, we begin our football games with flags that are as long and wide as a football field as a not-so-subtle message to every American watching that YOU BETTER F***ING BE WITH THE PROGRAM.
It took less than 20 years after 9/11, but congratulations, Osama: America is now the bad guy. Even a level-headed American can see that.
I’ll have a lot more on this in the coming days and you may very well decide not to visit this site for awhile. Or again. That’s cool. But I won’t attempt to write comprehensively on this—it’s too much—but rather to offer a tiny buffet of nuggets and observations each day.
For instance…I found it curious that on the day Soleimani was killed, every cable news outlet described him as “evil” and that the world is safer now that he is gone. I don’t know much about him. But it seems his job was to kill American soldiers, just as it would probably be our generals’ jobs to kill soldiers who started occupying this part of the planet. It’s funny to me how Americans are brainwashed into thinking that any country that doesn’t fall in lock-step with what America’s best interests are is somehow evil.
Soleimani was doing his job. He probably wouldn’t be doing that job if American soldiers were not occupying the Middle East. And why are we? Oil. “Stabilize the region”is simply a euphemism. We don’t give a sh*t, at least our leaders don’t, about human rights in that part of the world. If we did we’d crack down on Saudi Arabia, which if you don’t recall is the country where all the 9/11 hijackers come from and also still beheads people and treats women as if it’s 1020. It’s not about making the world a better or safer place. It’s about oil and a very strategically water way known as the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, whose one shore is Iran.
What made Soleimani evil? That he killed people? That’s what soldiers fighting wars do. That he killed people through “terrorism,” which is just another way of saying that he fought unconventionally, which is exactly what this country did when it was gaining independence from Great Britain because when the opposing side has far greater firepower this becomes your strategy. It’s the same reason Navy runs the triple-option or Mike Leach the spread offense.
War is war. The objective is to win. If you’re offended that someone isn’t being a gentleman about it, that’s probably because you’ve never had the misfortune of being severely outmanned and out-armed. It’s a tragedy all the American lives that were lost in Iraq and anywhere else in the Middle East due to Soleimani. It’s not less a tragedy or crime that Dick Cheney manufactured a phony excuse to go to war there in the first place and then profited immeasurably from it. Looking for a war criminal? Begin with Dick Cheney.
This morning on CNBC: Directly following an interview with Richard Engel from Baghdad, CNBC ran a seemingly unrelated graphic noting that 21 BILLION barrels of crude oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz each day, a full one-fifth of the world’s oil supply. Wow. You think those two things have anything to do with one another?
Finally, here are some Twitter threads you might want to read in full. (I only have the first tweet from each thread here) came across them on Sunday.
—By the way, the spark that seemed to light this fire was the death of a U.S. military contractor two days after Christmas. Kind of strange that his name has yet to be released. Also kind of strange that we have such profundity of “military contractors” all over the place (two of them were killed in Kenya on Sunday by a terrorist attack). Military contractors are often ex-U.S. military guys who are paid by private enterprise to go in and do military-type jobs for two to three times the price they were getting back when they were in the service. And who’s paying them? The company they work for. And where is that company getting the money? From its government contracts. That is, you and I are paying ex-military dudes exponentially more than they earned as U.S. soldiers to do jobs that are sort of outside the purview of military regulations.
It’s like having a police force but then also hiring a vigilante group of ex-cops who are paid far more than your actual cops and don’t actually have to answer to anyone. If you’re thinking, JW, that sounds f***ed up well guess what? It is.
–Someone tweeted and I agree: Are you really ready to take the word of a guy who spent three years saying that President Obama was born in Kenya about anything, much less that Soleimani was planning an attack? If there’s one thing everyone should know about Donald Trump by now it’s that his word is garbage. So why believe him now?
–There is one hopeful thought in all of this mess: Nancy Pelosi still has yet to send the Articles of Impeachment over to the Senate. The evidence has always been overwhelming against Trump and more comes out against him regarding Ukraine almost daily. The Senate has always had the evidence they need to impeach Trump, but its Republican majority has not had the will.
But what if the threat of a war with Iran turns so many (more) Americans off to Trump? And so many more GOP voters? Sure, Trump will always have his evangelical waiting’-on-that-apocalypse fringe base, and the dumbass base, but what if enough Senators realize, Hey, this guy is truly dangerous. He’s going to get a lot of people killed needlessly (even more than Cheney did). So this is their “Get Out Of Trump Free” card. Just vote to impeach him.
Ricky, Don’t Lose That Venom
If this was Ricky Gervais‘ final time hosting the Golden Globes, the bombastic Brit went out with a bang. Stay until the end. The man is fearless.
Brady Breeze >> Brady, Brees
Less than a week into the new decade and you can feel the generational tectonic shift in the NFL as both forty-something legends, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, lost in the wild card round AT HOME. Brees and Brady are the NFL’s all-time leaders in passing touchdowns AND passing yardage (Brees is No. 1 on both lists, Brady No. 2), both are in their early forties and both are probably never going to return to the Super Bowl. At least not with their current franchises.
Will either quarterback retire? Will either go play elsewhere, a la twilight Joe Montana? We’ll see. I don’t think Tom is ready to hang up his cleats, but I’m not sure the Pats want to stick with him another year. Would he play for another franchise? Was his final pass for the Pats a pick-six?
The Lakers Are For Real
It’s not that white-dude-with-a-headband dunked on this play. It’s the way LeBron and AD celebrated by leaping with him as he did so. The Lakers are a happy, frisky bunch who just won their fifth straight and have the NBA’s second-best record.
A Correction: 1985
When I undertake the yearly movie list each day, I begin by Googling “Best Films of _____” to remind myself of what was out there each year. Occasionally, I’ll remember some film that shows up on none of the lists that come up, usually through dumb luck.
Well, last week I overlooked a film from 1985 that may be my favorite film from any year, for purely personal reasons. I’d never claim that Fandango, starring Kevin Costner, Judd Nelson and Jason Robards (the last of whom is true Hollywood royalty: his father was Jason Robards and his mother Lauren Bacall) is a classic. But if you’ve ever had a film that seemed to reach out and speak to you, you know what I’m talking about. This was Fandango for me. I’ll tell you why.
I watched Fandango over at my big brother’s apartment in the summer of 1986. It must have been on HBO, one year after its release. Now, if you’ve not seen the movie, it’s about five college buddies from SMU who have just graduated from SMU in the spring of 1970. They’re all about to go their separate ways but Costner, the charismatic leader of this quintet who’ve dubbed themselves The Groovers, persuades his buddies to go “visit Dom.”
It’s a road trip down to the border of Mexico. It’s a reckoning. It’s five young men who are about to exit the extended childhood that can be college and enter the real world. And that means, at least for two of them, Vietnam. But the beauty of the film is its subtlety and its wackiness. Fandango has a sense of humor about it and a quirkiness that is peculiar and almost proprietary to anyone who’s had that college dorm bonding experience. The bonding and laughter I experienced with my college friends was something I’ve never come close to replicating before or since. It was unique. And Fandango captured that sensibility.
And also, let’s give credit where it’s due, the soundtrack, including Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and a few Pat Metheny tunes, just fit so damn well.
Anyway, I watched this in the summer of ’86. By that time I was two years through college and here’s what I knew: my grades were going to be good enough to get me into medical school. But I just wasn’t sure that’s who I wanted to be. Watching this film I felt like Philip (Judd Nelson’s repressed character) but I yearned to be more like Gardner Barnes (Costner’s character). I’m loathe to admit that a Kevin Costner film helped to alter my path in life—not to mention making a hilariously unwise career decision from a financial standpoint—but it may just be true.
The climactic scene of the film involves a hastily thrown-together wedding that could’ve been a Marx Brothers bit. It’s funny but then suddenly it becomes very poignant with Pat Metheny’s beautiful and haunting “It’s For You” as background music. No scene gets to me more and for the number of years that I was lucky enough to travel the country covering college football and experiencing those wondrous environments and college towns and games, I always felt as if I were Gardner Barnes setting up that wedding on the fly: How had I gone from an overly studious and anxiety-addled pre-med to a Sports Illustrated college football writer in a few short years? I felt so damn lucky.
Anyway, if you have a movie that means as much to you as this one does to me, lucky you. So let’s amend the record and put this as my top film from 1985. Here’s to life and to the privileges of youth.
Five Films: 1987
- Broadcast News: What happens when you get a brilliantly written screenplay and a few perfectly cast actors together? This, from someone who has worked in sports television, is the most accurate portrayal of TV news I can imagine. It’s also a heartbreaking love triangle in which the two who are ideal for one another can’t work cuz she has eyes for the hotter guy. This just in: It’s one of the world’s oldest stories. A classic 2. The Princess Bride: What? You think this should be ranked first? As you wish. 3. Fatal Attraction/Wall Street: Michael Douglas owned this year so we put both of his films in. 4. Moonstruck: A wolf without a claw. Who knew that putting Cher and Nicholas Cage together in a film about a family in Brooklyn Heights could work so well? 5. Raising Arizona: “I’ll get that child back or else my name isn’t Nathan T. Arizona!” “Y’ate sand?” “We ate sand.” Come to think of it, Nicholas Cage had a pretty good year as well.
Yes, I put Baby in a corner. Would have liked to have included Dirty Dancing as well as The Untouchables, Full Metal Jacket, Good Morning, Vietnam, No Way Out and The Last Emperor. We’ve honestly never seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles , Adventures In Babysitting, Lethal Weapon or Predator. Really.