Monday, February 05, 2018

Justin bombs

I hope you didn’t suffer through the Super Bowl half-time show but, if you did, please read Ty’s “Ty's Corner: Justin, you're White” which really gets into the problem of having Mr. Cultural Appropriation whose had so few hits do a half-time show.
You need a lot of hits as Ty points out.  Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Beyonce and Bruno Miles are good examples.  But somebody who just releases an album every four years . . . No, not going to cut it.  Justy also tried to open with his new track “Filthy” which already bombed – number nine for the first single of your heavily promoted album is bombing.  It’s like Tiffany following up her first album with theone that crashed and burned.
It was a monument to underachievement. Quite literally the most-viewed concert of the year, the Super Bowl show can easily mint iconic moments—whether joyfully tacky or politically potent—as seen in Katy Perry’s dazed shark, Beyoncé’s “X” formation, Prince’s phallic silhouette, and, yes, Janet Jackson’s starburst boob. Even the less controversial parts of the better halftimes used blockbuster set design and choreography to awaken America from its nachos coma. But Timberlake, unconscionably, squandered the platform. The highlights, as they were, included that one song from Trolls, the angering of Prince nation, and a selfie.
Starting under the stadium stands on a small stage with a small crowd, Timberlake telegraphed that his show would be a more intimate, looser affair than usual. Fair enough. But the effect was that, right from the beginning, the focus was not on him but on all the audience members holding their phones up (those phones would, bafflingly, turn out to introduce the show’s one big motif). You couldn’t even hum along: The audio presented a garbled version of “Filthy,” the already garbled single from his extremely garbled new album, Man of the Woods. It was the night’s last taste of that album—a good call, but also a tellingly safe one (by all means, sell us on “Flannel”!).
From there, Timberlake sauntered from spot to spot in the stadium like someone blowing through video-game levels with the “easy” setting turned on. He hit his marks, it seemed, but often faded in with his entourage of paid admirers. What’s even worth noting? The way he showily ended “Rock Your Body” right before the “have you naked” line associated with the 2004 Super Bowl scandal that he declined to riff on, atone for, or at the very least stylishly disregard? The fact that he botched two of his smoothest and best songs, “My Love” and “Cry Me a River,” by turning them into choppy rock rehearsals? The resemblance between the visualizations on his bandstands and ’90s Windows screensavers?


It was just awful.

I would love to know what he thought he was going to accomplish because he couldn’t have done worse if he’d planned to bomb.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, February 5, 2018.  Another drawdown but still no withdrawal, IPS ignores reality to pin the blame on the toxic nature of Iraq's environment on ISIS (IPS will apparently always provide cover for the US government) and much more.

Here are 3 things you should know this morning: - Some U.S. forces are reportedly being redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan - Wall Street begins trading after the worst week in 2 years - "Super Sick Monday?" Researchers predict 14 million Americans will call in sick today


Susannah George and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) report the drawdown has been observed by western contractors and they get some confirmation from unnamed Iraqis. This is a drawdown -- not a withdrawal.

How big is the drawdown? No one knows for sure at this point.

And don't forget that Fort Drum is readying a deployment to Iraq.

Oh, wait.  They're there as reported Saturday by THE WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES:

Soldiers from the 925th Contracting Battalion formally marked the beginning of their deployment to Iraq during a ceremony on Friday.
The soldiers will be the Regional Contracting Center and provide contracting support to enhance and sustain building partner capacity operations that enable efforts to counter ISIS and increase regional stability.
[. . .]
This is in addition to the approximately 500 soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division headquarters who will also deploy to Iraq this year.

A drawdown, not a withdrawal, is currently taking place.

There's not been a withdrawal since this phase of the Iraq War started in March of 2003 (Ted Koppel warned at the end of 2011 but so few wanted to listen).

For a year, I sent Marines to Iraq and Afghanistan sometimes I was the last stateside Marine they saw before leaving for a warzone. I remember people I knew from CLC-21 and I was the first person they saw, and they hugged me. Why the F**K are we still there? Iraq to Afghanistan

A very good question.

Will Higginbotham (IPS) has a story -- story being the operative term -- about Iraq:

In Iraq, thirty years of armed conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people, wounded countless more, displaced millions and laid cities and towns to waste.
Amongst all of this death and destruction, there is an often-overlooked victim whose harm has far reaching consequences: The environment.
Whilst Iraq’s environment has suffered from degradation due to conflict for decades, in recent years it has been exacerbated due to the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
“Wherever ISIS has been there has been huge environmental destruction and with that have come potentially major health threats to the public,” says Wim Zwijnenburg, a lead researcher at the dutch not-for profit, PAX.
Over the past two years, PAX has used public satellite images, social media and first-hand field research to track the environmental damage and the subsequent risk to public health in the northern parts of Iraq.

It was that burning of oil, for example, that caused the environmental destruction -- not the bombs dropped on, say Mosul, right?

"Right" as Nipsey Russell says in WILDCATS.

It has nothing to do with oil and the US 'experts' who've decided that no damage to the local ecology is too great, right?

In 2007, Luke Mitchell reported for HARPER'S about how the smell of oil was all over Rumaila nd making observations like the following:

I was making that same journey from well to terminal, and yet in all my time in Iraq I would see the oil itself only once. This was in a particularly empty patch of desert, beyond even the lonely cinder-block houses and the rock-throwing kids. We had sped past dry concrete canals and abandoned oil drums and rocket-charred tanks, past mile upon mile of flat dirt and rust, and then we found ourselves driving between a series of mirror-black ponds. These pools crept along both sides of the highway, and through the scratchy ballistic glass of our SUV it was hard to tell at first if the liquid within was oil or water. There were no ripples, though—the pools were thick—and the hot asphalt smell was strong enough that it had become a taste. Sam said the oil came from leaky pipes, that there is no EPA watching over Rumaila. “You have to give the devil his due here,” he said, meaning Iraq. “On a good day, they export 60,000 to 70,000 barrels an hour. If 500 barrels of crude spill on the ground here, what is that? Not more than a half minute of export.”
[. . .]
We wandered further into the maze of pipes, and Sam paused in front of another tank. This was a desalting unit. Sam said the groundwater in Rumaila is so salty and alkaline that if you put it in your mouth you would gag and probably throw up.

But the problem is the actions of ISIS?

Seven months since Mosul was recaptured from IS, the stench of death still wafts from nearly every rubble-filled corner in the Old City, amid a government tussle over how to collect the bodies of militants and civilians still rotting in the streets:

Civilians left rotting in the streets all these weeks later but it's ISIS?

When it comes to Iraq, IPS broke with reality during the years Barack Obama was in the White House.  Even reaching with both hands now, it can't seem to find its way back.

The problem remains that no one cared about anything but getting their hands on Iraq's oil.  When the looting took place in the early days of the war, what was Donald Rumsfeld's henny penny crack?

They never cared.

And they didn't care enough about the population to protect them.

ISIS is a terrorist group.

But it wasn't ISIS using White Phosphorus in Iraq -- it was the United States government.

Depleted uranium?  That wasn't ISIS either.

Iraq became a toxic place and that's why the rate of birth defects increased so significantly -- as did the rates of cancer.

But here's IPS distorting reality yet again.

Fiona Apple's "Oh Well" (first appears on EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE.

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