Sunday, October 02, 2022

BROS is the best film of 2022

I'm several margaritas to the wind -- you have been warned.  We went out tonight -- Maggie, Dak Ho, Toni, Sumner and I -- and saw BROS and then went out for Mexican.  Had the best tortilla soup -- and so-so enchiladas -- as well as several house margaritas.  

Now I'm home and going to quickly recommend BROS to you.

I can't imagine you don't know what the movie's about.  Most who read here are members of THE COMMON ILLS community and C.I.'s posted, what, 50 or more videos over the last few days promoting BROS?

But in case you don't know, Billy Eichner is a comedian -- DIFFICULT PEOPLE (which I loved), PARKS & RECREATION (pretty much loved it), stand up, Billy On The Street, etc.  He's a very funny guy.  He stars in the film and co-wrote it.  He plays Bobby.

Bobby is a podcaster.  Bobby is gay.  Bobby is an expert on history and a social critic.  He grasps that gays are repeatedly erased throughout history.  He knows this is no more an accident than all the straight actors that keep getting cast to play gay characters in films.  

Please note, LOVE SIMON's actors like horse-faced Jennifer Garner tried to sell the film as though it were BLACK PANTHER.  BP had encouraged children to see this first MARVEL film -- if you overlook the Blade series -- starring an African-American actor.  What Jenny from the Garner didn't seem to grasp is LOVE SIMON didn't have a gay actor in the lead -- it had a straight one.  It's not the same thing.  And MARVEL wouldn't have pretended it was so why did so many let them get away with it.  Ava and C.I. didn't.  And they also called out LOVE VICTOR -- noting that if the point of the film was that it's okay to be gay, that point needed to be made by casting gay actor as Simon or Victor.

Oh! Oh! Oh!  C.I.'s a female Bobby!!!!!  So is Ava!!!!!  

They have spent how many years online addressing these issues?  I just got that.  That's making me laugh.

But so Bobby's also on the board of an LGBTQ museum.  And they're trying to open and they need money.

Bobby meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) at a club. Aaron is shirtless -- and no complaints for me on that.  Bobby insults him.  Aaron insults Bobby.  It's their flirtation.  But is there anything more?

And then as they get close, suddenly Aaron stops communicating.  Bobby texts him over and over.  He's really losing it.  And this is when a guest star shows up in the film.

Debra Messing is hilarious.  She plays herself.  She's said something on Twitter, I forget what (I think comparing herself to Viola Davis) and it creates a backlash so she needs to do something to get back in good graces with her fans.  She can donate to the museum!!!

She shows up for a tour.  Bobby is about to show her around.  But then he starts talking about Aaron.  Why is he ghosting Bobby?  What does this mean?  What's going on with him?

Debra half-listens before exploding that every gay man in the world now thinks she's Grace Adler on WILL AND GRACE.  It was just a role.  She won an Emmy for her acting -- she even beat Sarah Jessica Parker.  (I'm so buzzed and drunk that I typed Sarah Michelle Geller and had to go back and correct that.)

She is furious.  

You know who doesn't do this?  Lesbians.  Because they have their s**t together, Debra tells him.

So he's blown the big money donation.

But he and Aaron do smooth things out.  And on a trip to Provincetown (Harvey Fierstein runs the B&B they stay at), he makes a pitch to an obnoxious billionaire and it goes bust but Aaron -- who is a probate attorney -- steps in and secures the donation.

So things are great for the rest of the trip and they're in love and it's time for the family meet.

Ava and C.I. are probably not going to laugh about my comparing them to Bobby (it's meant with love) because of what happens next.  He meets Aaron's family and he's supposed to be ''chill'' per Aaron.  That's told to him ahead of time.

But he does an LGBTQ tour of NYC for Aaron's family and then Aaron tells him to be less intense and Bobby can't.  So when Aaron's mother states that her second graders are too young to learn about gay people, a big back and forth starts between her and Bobby that leads to Bobby revealing that Aaron is very unhappy with his life and Aaron telling Bobby to shut up.

Aaron's never been honest with his family.  He has been honest with Bobby.  He did law because that's what was expected of him and he hates it.  When he tells Bobby his deepest secret it seems so mild but it's so real because our deepest secrets are mild to others.  

For Aaron, it's that he wants to make chocolate.  He didn't think he could share it -- and he's lied before about it.  When his brother caught him making chocolate once, Aaron insisted he was doing it for a girl he liked.  

He never could tell his family because it seemed too gay to him.  And he's gay but he doesn't want to be 'too gay.'

And sometimes Bobby -- whose confidence he loves and admires -- is "too gay."

That's because Bobby's being true to himself.  He's not too gay.  But Aaron's not being true to himself.

They have a big break and I'll let you be surprised how they work their way back together, but they do.

It has a happy ending and it's a great film that I'm still laughing at as I review things in my head.

My first shock laugh: When he and Aaron are sitting down and Bobby says he's going to go ahead and go.  And the camera pulls back and Aaron's got two men at his crotch (this isn't X-rated for those who are prudes, everything's edited carefully).  Aaron is in a thruple and Bobby had said he didn't want to join him on but after a jump cut, turns out that's what he did because he was so attracted to Aaron.

Anyway, great film. 

Now I'm going to bed.  Pray for me tomorrow that my hangover is not as bad as I'm expecting it to be.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:" 

Friday, September 30, 2022.   Terrorist, the catch all excuse for violence.

Yesterday, the State Dept's Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel conducted a telephone press briefing and we'll note this:

QUESTION: Thank you. Hi, Vedant. Thank you for taking my question. I have a question about Iran as well but not the sanctions. Regarding the possible fatalities in Iraqi Kurdistan due to the Iranian missile attacks, do you have any updates – have there – do you know of any Americans having been among those killed? Because we have gotten information on at least one individual, U.S. citizen. And also the second part of my question, yesterday, the Iranian president said that the demonstrations are part of a U.S. plot. Did the Biden administration ask the people to go out on the streets and demonstrate? Thank you.

MR PATEL: Thanks, Guita. First and foremost as it relates to the attacks, I want to reiterate that we condemn Iran’s violations of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. And the genesis of your question – we can confirm that a U.S. citizen was killed as a result of a rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan region yesterday, but due to privacy considerations I don’t have any further comments to provide.

And on your piece about the protests – these protests are not at all about the United States. This is about the Iranian Government and its efforts to cut or disrupt access to the internet, its efforts to crack down on peaceful protestors, its efforts to infringe on basic human rights. That’s what these protests are about. It is not about the United States.

The government of Iran claims it was attacking terrorists.  From PRESS TV:

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force has defended the latest ballistic missile and drone strikes against terrorist bases in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, stating that operations will continue until all anti-Iran separatist and terrorist outfits holed up in the rugged mountainous area lay down their arms and surrender.

 “In the wake of an uptick in the seditious acts of separatist and terrorist groups stationed in Iraq’s northern region (of Kurdistan), the proven role and involvement of some terrorist and separatist outfits in the recent riots that have gripped some Iranian towns and cities, the discovery and neutralization a major sabotage plot hatched by Komala terrorist group against Iran's nuclear facilities, and disregard of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials for calls demanding the destruction of the terrorists’ bases, the IRGC Ground Force identified their command centers and headquarters, which were also instigating and supporting recent wicked acts, and heavily bombarded them in a decisive and retaliatory response,” it announced in a statement.

And, of course, the government of Turkey always claims it is targeting terrorists in Iraq.  IANS notes:

Turkish forces have destroyed 16 targets of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.

The operation destroyed caves, bunkers, shelters and command posts of the PKK, a Kurdish militant political organisation which is outlawed by Ankara, in the Asos Mountain region of Iraq on Tuesday, the Minister told reporters on Thursday.

The targets were hit by airstrikes of the Turkish Air Force, Xinhua news agency quoted local media reports as saying.

Turkey respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty rights of all its neighbours, especially Iraq and Syria, Akar noted.

'Syrians are our brothers, Iraqis are our brothers. There is no problem with that. Our problem is terrorists. We are after terrorists. This struggle will continue until the last terrorist is eliminated,' he said.

And, don't forget, US troops are in Iraq and went there in the first place because of 'terrorism' (the US government and media falsely linked Iraq to 9/11 and the US government also falsely claimed Iraq had WMDs).

Yesterday was the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste:

BAGHDAD – On the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) call for action to address food loss and adopt sustainable food waste management in Iraq.

IDAFLW aims to raise awareness about food loss, waste issues and possible solutions, to promote global efforts and collective actions toward meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3 that aims at halving per capita global food waste at retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses by 2030.

We call upon the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to establish develop national targets and strategies in line with SDG 12.3. We also call on the government to encouraging supply chain collaboration with the aim to reduce food waste during production, processing and storage stages as well as support innovative behavioral changes to shift and reduce consumer food waste norms.

To reduce food waste in Iraq, efforts must be made to encourage improved behavioral practices among food providers and consumers, as well as increased investments in intra-regional trade and the modernization of food supply chains.

Globally, while more than 820 million people go to bed hungry each night, FAO estimates that one-third of global food production – estimated at 1.3 billion tons of food – is annually lost or wasted along the supply chain, amounting to a financial loss of about US$ 1 trillion annually. The food produced but never eaten would be enough to feed two billion people[RN1] . That’s more than twice the number of people on the verge of famine across the globe. 

Food production has environmental and monetary costs and has become increasingly difficult in the current climatic condition with an ever-increasing population is very difficult. Food waste and food loss drains valuable resources such as water, land, energy, labour and capital especially in the region; one of the world’s most affected by water scarcity.

The impact of food waste on the environment is also massive; it is estimated that food loss contributes 6-8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, effectively helping accelerate climate change. Most of the discarded food ends up in landfills, and as it decomposes it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

FAO and WFP renew their commitment to work with both governments to develop and implement “awareness campaigns” and “food banks” to mitigate food waste by collecting unserved food and channeling it to people who need it and complement Iraq’s efforts to end poverty, reduce hunger and improve human health.[RN2]

Combatting hunger effectively, or climate change, or anything requires a functional government.  Iraq still doesn't have one.  

October 10th, elections were held.  Still no president, still no prime minister, still no Cabinet of Ministers.  Ten days away from a full year since the election and still nothing.

Two years earlier, in October 2019, young Iraqis across central and southern Iraq took to the streets to protest. This movement, known as Thawrat Tishreen – Arabic for October Revolution – did not call for the removal of a specific leader or party but instead for revolution against the system. They chanted: ‘We will never back off. No way. Let all parties hear us.’

Since elections only reinforced the toxic political order, its followers refused to vote and instead insisted that protest was the only way to be heard. Iraq’s ruling elite struggled to respond to Thawrat Tishreen. They could no longer convince the electorate that they represented their ethnic, sectarian or other communities, or that they promoted democracy and reform. Nor could they provide economic benefits, namely public sector jobs.

Ideologically and economically bankrupt, Iraq’s elite and the political machinery turned to direct violence to suppress the movement, killing hundreds of protesters and wounding thousands more.

Since then, the system has continued to employ violence to minimize free speech and protest. Someone familiar with this is Ahmed al-Bashir, the prominent Iraqi political satirist. To continue producing his Albasheer Show on television and YouTube, which reaches millions of Iraqis, Bashir lives and works outside Iraq because of threats to his life. ‘In Iraq there is no longer free speech,’ he said at Chatham House’s annual Iraq Initiative conference last year.

Demographic realities and shrinking public authority have exacerbated intra-elite fragmentation. One speaker close to the Sadrist movement has stated that Sadr wants none of the former leaders to be able to participate in elections or government formation.

Sadr’s attempt to form a majority government after his 2021 electoral victory was his solution to the crisis and a bid to regain some ideological power with his base and the wider, disenfranchised population.
Following its failure and this summer’s violence, the Sadrists seem unwilling to play by the rules of the game and form another consensus government.   

In response, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Iraq, has struggled to bring together the elite, including Sadr and Nouri al-Maliki, to reach a consensus government to combat the direct violence. Following the clashes in August, the United Nations
Assistance Mission for Iraq issued a statement that ‘Iraqis cannot be held hostage to an unpredictable and untenable situation.’

However, Iraqis have not only been held hostage to the recent violent clashes, they have been hostages of the political order put in place after 2003, when the US-led coalition worked with returning exiled Iraqi political parties to establish muhasasa. Since then, this ruling elite has acquired its wealth and power through corruption.
Iraq’s political system has proved resistant to both grassroots revolutionary protest and attempts at manipulation by its elite. In their current efforts at stabilization, both Iraqi and international actors are again focusing on a short-term settlement within the elite. Their solution is to limit the direct violence that erupted this summer in the hope that this will lead to change.

But such a settlement will not address the everyday conflict consuming Iraqis. Instead, it will reinforce the status quo and once again ignore the dynamics of structural violence, which will continue to take the larger toll of lives.

Lastly,  Will Lehman is running for president of the United Auto Workers union.  Big Tech is opposing his campaign as evidenced by Twitter's latest move.

On Thursday morning at approximately 11 a.m. Eastern, Twitter locked the account of United Auto Workers presidential candidate and rank-and-file worker Will Lehman. The action against Lehman’s account, which Twitter falsely claimed was implemented in response to violation of its rules, is a flagrant act of censorship and attack on the democratic rights of workers.

The lock on Lehman’s account came without warning, Lehman’s campaign told the WSWS, occurring almost immediately after it tweeted a thread reporting on the support for his campaign among John Deere agricultural equipment workers.

The specific tweet in the thread that Twitter claimed violated its rules stated, “Equality is a central concern of workers, as this young worker at Deere Harvester says:”

The tweet included a short video of a young worker at Deere’s Harvester Works expressing his support for Lehman’s campaign.

In the video, a supporter of Lehman asks the worker, “So what do you think about what Will’s calling for, building a rank-and-movement of workers to put an end to the UAW bureaucracy and fight for what workers need?”

John Deere Harvester worker voices support for UAW presidential candidate Will Lehman

The worker replies, “I think Will’s doing a good job in putting into this. We need someone to step up in the union, to give us the chance to have equal rights, just like the salaried side. I think what Will is doing is good for the future of John Deere Harvester, and I’m right behind you Will.”

The following sites updated: