Tuesday, June 29, 2021


I'm diabetic and not at all happy about it. As if the pandemic wasn't bad enough try going through it newly diagnosed with diabetes -- forget what you once considered comfort food. I had an e-mail that I shared with Betty so be sure to check out her site tonight because she's going to respond as well. I'm taking five things I've changed or added to my intake to improve my blood sugar?

1) Skinless chicken.

I'm lazy and not in the mood to spend a lot of time cooking. I've given up KFC -- which I love -- and all fried chicken. As diabetics, we're supposed to eat skinless chicken. If I didn't buy it with the skin off, I probably wouldn't take the time to remove it. So that's one thing, I only buy skinless chicken for the house and, if I'm eating out or with take out, it's skinless chicken if it's chicken.

2) I'm eating more vegetables at each meal.

On that see step three.

3) I'm using the plate method.

That's where you use your plate to measure your food. I used a nine inch dinner plate. 1/4 of it goes to protein -- whatever meat that I'm eating., and one-fourth goes to something plant based that's protein or something with carbs -- say a potato or corn. The other half of the plate, the whole side, goes to non-starchy vegetables like broccoli or squash or black beans or garbanzo beans. That's easier for me than counting points or counting carbs.

4) I now drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day.

A friend who has been managing her diabetes for over 25 years saw me at the break room at work one day and got me a cup of ice water. She explained that sometimes her medication changes, she might need a stronger dose of insulin, they might take her off metformin, etc. But that the best thing you can do is drink plenty of water. I've found that to be true. It can help you dump excess glucose in your urine.

On that, this may get gross, so you've been warned. I had a glucose test or something as a little kid. I'd split my forehead falling at my grandfather's garage. I was climbing through the third row of tires -- the top shelf of tires, and doing so with two uncles watching and encouraging me -- I was four. Some tires started to fall and I did with them. I hit my head on a car that was in the bay for a repair and had to go to the emergency room and get stiches. They told me, my uncles, that they were made with cat guts but they weren't. I did get a chocolate malt because they told me if I didn't cry they'd get me a malt. They kept their word.

But a week or so later, to check for head damage, I went somewhere. I remember a tech and she made me drink this substance that she called glucose and it was thick and gross and clear-to-white and I had to do it twice because the first test didn't work. I'd seen RETURN TO WITCH MOUNTAIN and I was convinced that I must have powers like Tony & Tia and that's why I was being tested. So she hooks up some things to my forehead and scalp that measure something and she leaves after I'm disconnected to go somewhere else for a minute. I'm walking around -- not supposed to be -- and there are these big computer servers and empty desks and I'm convinced this is the government trying to grab me like Tony & Tia get targeted.

That was thrown in because we need some entertainment talk before we get into the gross.

If you're a guy and you have diabetes and you are dumping glucose in your urine -- First, congratulations. That's a good thing and good for you. You want it out of the body and out of the blood sugar.

Here's the bad. It's going to form a white line right at the top of the water in the toilet bowl within a week if you're dumping a lot in your urine -- I dump a lot. I didn't know what was going on. You'll want to scrub that and if you put it off, it's going to turn black. If you're not good at regularly scrubbing, you can get Tidy Bowl tablets and put them in the tank. They tend to knock it out.

5) I am really increasing the beans.

To slow sugar from being absorbed into my system, I'm eating a lot more beans to get even more fiber in my diet. Also more carrots. But the beans include lentils. Ruth was kind enough to come over and spend several hours showing me ways to prepare dried lentils. To make them on the stove with onions and a clove of garlic, to make them in a soup, etc. So on Friday and Saturday, I consumer a lot of lentils. My girlfriend probably has two bowls and I eat all the rest -- that's from one bag of dried lentils.

So those are five things I'm doing. I'm also trying to watch my stress which makes my blood sugar spike but that's a tale for another post -- not tomorrow. We'll go back to entertainment tomorrow.

And so those who drop by for entertainment, let me go back to Tony & Tia.

I never wanted a purse in my life but I was envious as hell of that little clutch thing that Tia had. It hid the map to their home. I thought that was so cool. And I thought that they were both cool in ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN. But in RETURN FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN? Tia was clearly the only cool one. Even before Bette Davis and Christopher Lee kidnap Tony and turn him into a mental slave, he's just not cool. Tia and the gang of misfits that she teams up with are cool and they are the best part of the film. I think Bette Davis adds menace but, as an adult, I'm disappointed that Christopher Lee doesn't provide more.

I loved both films as a kid and they were the first DISNEY films I bought on DVD. I don't have them on BLU RAY though. I believe I've steamed them both on DISNEY+.


Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, June 29, 2021.  We're again addressing the airstrikes on Iraq. 

What a load of nonsense.  I'm referring to two articles about US President Joe Biden bombing Syria and Iraq.  We covered the bombing of Iraq yesterday.  I am opposed to the bombing but noted that legally Joe wasn't on shaky ground.  (I'm not covering the bombing of Syria which I believe has no legal covering.)  I read the two opinions calling out Joe's actions on supposed legal grounds hoping there was a strong argument there.

There's no argument being made.  You can't make an argument if you don't pay attention.  I'm not focused on Syria.  I wouldn't pretend to think I could offer any reasoned legal opinion on Syria by brushing up over a day or two.  By the same token, lazy asses who weigh in without knowing what's been going on in Iraq -- skimming a few articles does not tell you what's going on -- are idiots.

Before we go further, let me note Iraqis on social media.  If you visited Arabic media in the last 24 hours, you would see a number of people pleased with the strikes.  That's only surprising if you weren't aware that a group of Iraqis -- probably small, but they are vocal -- have been calling for airstrikes on the militias for some time.

The militias are in competition with one another.  The militias as an umbrella are not popular with most Iraqis.  If you count all the people supporting any of the various militias it would probably come to somewhere between 35% to 40% of the Iraqi people -- that's a guess.  But that's counting people who support the Flintstone militia because it's their tribe (there is no Flintstone militia, FYI).  They support the one representing them but they don't support the rest.  They are in competition.

And not only are the militias in competition, Iraqis want their own country.  They don't want to be a satellite or a colony of the United States or Iran or anywhere else.  And Iran and Iraq have been at war in the not so long ago past and probably will be in the future.  They have many flare ups -- often involving the military -- over things like borders and access to waterways and to water itself.  

Iraq and Iran are neighbors and, like many neighbors, they quarrel from time to time.  I'm not seeing even that basic awareness in the two 'expert; opinions being served up.

At NBC, Hayes Brown flaunts his stupidity as he insists that Joe Biden's actions had "weak" justification.  He then wants to cite domestic law.  He's incredibly stupid.

In the most basic manner, he's an idiot.  

If you and I are debating an issue, the smartest thing I can do is haul it over to an area I have expertise in.  So if we're debating malts at Burger King and I'm some sort of dairy expert, I'm going to be arguing about the milk product in it, not the straw or the cup.  

Hayes Brown is supposed to be an expert in international relations (he studied it, I've never seen any indication that he actually grasps it -- meaning he can repeat and cite but he can't analyze of provide even a basic framework -- he's a regurgitator and I would've destroyed him in a classroom the moment he opened up is uneducated mouth to pontificate in that annoying manner he has).  Hayes isn't even smart enough to make the argument in the arena he's studied -- that's how stupid he is.

Domestic law?

It's not Brown's area.  And it shows.  He cites this and he cites that.  And it's all bull.  

There are written laws -- and Hayes cites several -- and there is what is done with them.  You can call that custom, if you want, but that's more of a generic meaning of the term "custom law."  At any rate, Congress has provided no oversight.  

Does it have the check on the Executive Branch?  It does. It's also supposed to be the only body of the federal government that can declare war.  But it has shirked that responsibility for years.  Could it assert that authority now?

It could try but do you really see a Democratic Congress going after a president who is also a Democrat?  More to the point, find the member of Congress who defended Tara Reid when she made her allegations of assault against Joe Biden.  They couldn't even speak out in defense of her or argue she deserved the benefit of the doubt.  They were either silent or, like Nancy Pelosi, they were attacking her. 

And now you think they're going to go after him on something which, if properly pursued, could lead to a hearing on impeachment?

No one has time for Hayes' masturbation fantasies.

He wants you to know that there are limits to self-defense.  Yes, there are.  But to determine whether or not Joe exceeded that defense, you need to know the facts.

Though the militias have issued one statement after another threatening harm to US troops -- and claimed some of the attacks since the start of 2020 -- Hayes seems unaware of that or what that means.  If you are being attacked and someone is publicly threatening you, that's a threat.  You have a right to self-defense.

Self-defense does not just mean that you can defend yourself when bullets are fired at you.  

The Iraq War is illegal and always has been..  That doesn't change the fact that the US troops currently in Iraq are in Iraq because the prime minister wants them there.  He's had many opportunities to kick them out and hasn't done so.  

As the head of the host country, he has obligations as well -- and that is international law.  But, Hayes, international law and international relations aren't the same thing, are they?  One's specific and the other, the one you claim expertise in, is a little more 'general studies,' right?  Well we pay for the mistakes we make when choosing the easy road in our education.

There also needs to be awareness that Mustafa al-Kadhimi is legally in charge of the militias.  They were made part of the Iraqi military.

After that, you need to be aware of what's been taking place in Iraq: The militias are out of control and do not respect the chain of command.

They regularly call out Mustafa -- he's even been publicly called a "traitor" by a leader of one militia.  

When he had one of them arrested -- finally -- for the many assassinations that they've been carrying out against Iraqi activists, they responded how?

This was weeks ago.  They descended upon Baghdad -- and the 'secure' Green Zone -- making threats against Mustafa, encircling his compound, terrorizing.  

By the same token, they carry out their assassinations in public.  Video camera in a neighborhood?  They seem to delight in carrying out an assassination in front of one.  And they think nothing of hailing a taxi to leave the scene of the crime.  They're not sneaking around.

Often, before carrying out the assassination, they threaten the family for several weeks.  That's what emerges when the families of the person murdered come forward. 

Yet no militia member (leader or drone) has gone to prison.  

At rallies, they openly injure and kill protesters.  In plain sight.  But they haven't been arrested, let alone put in prison.

It's so lawless it might make some long for the days when the Iraqi mafia controlled some of the SOI units.  At least the mafia showed some respect for life.  Some.

Mustafa is prime minister because the previous one failed to deliver on the basics -- protection.  That means ending corruption, that means providing jobs, that means providing basic public service, that means reigning in the militias.  Mustafa has done none of that.

He's been helped by a press outside of Iraq that has been ignorant (most of the western press) or that has been willing to whore for him because they had a relationship with him -- never disclosed in the glowing pieces about what a great job he's doing -- prior to his becoming prime minister.  Mustafa, as a journalist, worked for a large number of outlets who praise him today.

He's not popular within Iraq.  That's why he's been desperately forming alliances.  That's why I think Nouri al-Maliki has a real shot at returning to power.  (Nouri returning to power would be very bad for Iraq based on what he's done in the past.)  Nouri's made some cosmetic changes -- aware that his anti-women positions hurt him, he's now working overtime to get female members of his State of Law in the front of the Iraqi press.  I see no indication that this -- or any of his measures -- are more than window dressing but, as always, I could be wrong and it is possible that his return might be beneficial.  

In the 2010 elections, Nouri couldn't even win a plurality of votes for his group.  Iraqiya beat him.  He was the sitting prime minister and he had done one bribe after another in the lead up to the election and worked overtime to disqualify various candidates that he saw as a threat to him, to prevent them from even running.  And his group still lost to Iraqiya.  (How did he get his second term? Ask Joe Biden about The Erbil Agreement.  Oh, wait, no one ever does.  They let him whine about stolen elections but never press him on how he nullified the votes of the Iraqi people to give Nouri a second term as prime minister that he never won.)

It is not a leap to state that US forces currently in Iraq are in that country at the pleasure and invitation of the prime minister.  Yet he's unable to protect them from the militias which, theoretically and on paper, take their orders from him.  

The situation is much muddier but that's your quick walk through.  And based on the above, even if the US was hauled before the international court next week -- it won't be -- those sitting in judgment would picture themselves in the same situation and have an understanding and sympathy towards the argument of self-defense.

[The argument above wouldn't work for Syria for a number of reasons -- obvious even to me.  They would include that the US operations are opposed by the leader of Syria.]

The other flaunting stupidity is, sadly, Bill Van Auken.  From his nonsense:

Ostensibly, both Monday’s and February’s attacks were carried out in retaliation against attacks on US bases inside Iraq by Iranian-backed Iraqi militias hostile to the nearly two-decade-long American occupation. In February, the Pentagon cited a rocket that was fired at the US base in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital of Erbil. The latest airstrikes were justified as a response to militia attacks using drones against several targets, including a secret CIA facility.

One of the remarkable characteristics of the latest attacks is their failure to elicit any significant response or analysis, much less criticism, from within the US media and political establishment. A US president attacking two countries on the same day, in flagrant violation of international law and with no legal authorization from the US Congress, barely makes the news. Leading Democrats and Republicans both praised the action, with some suggesting that further aggression was in order against Iran.

As Phoebe said on FRIENDS, "Hello, Kettle.   This is Monica.  You're black."

Is there silence, Bill?  Silence about attacks destroying lives?

You mean like the silence -- the ongoing silence -- about what's being done to the Kurds by Turkey?  I saw that one weak ass article by WSWS because it was sent by WSWS to the public e-mail account.  That was about a Kurd in a Turkey.  It didn't change the fact that WSWS remains silent, to this day, on the Turkish War Planes bombing the Kurdistan Region.  On the civilians killed.  On Turkey using a drone to attack a refugee camp.  On Turkey sending in ground forces -- sending them into Iraq. Building military bases in Iraq.  All of this without the public consent of the Iraqi government.  And don't forget how they're now helping to destroy the planet as they 'clear' areas by taking down all of the forests in Northern Iraq -- they might be 'hiding' terrorists -- bad forests.  

Don't talk about silence, Bill, it's not a look that works for you while you're at WSWS.

In fairness to Bill, he's usually an honest broker and it's apparently policy that WSWS not recognize the Kurds and their suffering.  I have no idea why, take it up with WSWS.  My point being, I do get that his hands are tied in what he can write.  But for any of us who've been following WSWS' long silence on the assault on the Kurds, we're not going to take Bill's article seriously as a result.

Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK) offers his thoughts on the bombing:

Beyond the propagandistic justification is the question of legality, though even to call it a question dignifies it beyond what it merits. There is no conceivable Congressional authorization — none, zero — to Biden's dropping of bombs in Syria. Obama's deployment of CIA operatives to Syria and years of the use of force to overthrow Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad never had any Congressional approval of any kind, nor did Trump's bombing of Assad's forces (urged by Hillary Clintonwho wanted more), nor does Biden's bombing campaign in Syria now. It was and is purely lawless, illegal. And the same is true of bombing Iraq. The 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq, which the House just last week voted to repeal, has long since ceased to provide any legal justification for ongoing U.S. troop presence and bombing campaigns in that country.

In its statement justifying the bombing raids, Biden's Pentagon barely even bothered to pretend any of this is legal. It did not cite either the 2002 AUMF for Iraq or the 2001 AUMF authorizing the use of force against those responsible for 9/11 (a category which, manifestly, did not include Iran, Iraq or Syria). Instead, harkening back to the days of John Yoo and Dick Cheney, the Biden Defense Department claimed that “as a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense,” and casually asserted that “as a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq."

Those claims are nothing short of a joke. Nobody seriously believes that Joe Biden has congressional authority to bomb Syria and Iraq, nor to bomb “Iranian-backed” forces of any kind. As The Daily Beast's long-time War on Terror reporter Spencer Ackerman put it on Sunday night, discussions of legality at this point are "parody” because when it comes to the U.S.'s Endless Wars in the name of the War on Terror, “we passed Lawful behind many many years ago. Authorization citations are just pretexts written by lawyers who need to pantomime at lawfulness. The U.S. presence in Syria is blatantly illegal. Such things never stop the U.S.”

That is exactly right. The U.S. government is a lawless entity. It violates the law, including its own Constitution, whenever it wants. The requirement that no wars be fought absent congressional authority is not some ancillary bureaucratic annoyance but was completely central to the design of the country. Article I, Section 8 could not be clearer: “The Congress shall have Power . . . to declare war.” 

Those are his thoughts and the above is the closest he really comes to a legal analysis.

I disagree with him.  I get his point and would've made it myself a decade ago.  Time does move on.  And Congress has done nothing.  If you repeatedly abdicate your power, you no longer have it. 

More to the point, we've allowed the position of 'commander in chief' to grow to such epic proportions that any claim Joe wants to make regarding the US military and its actions overseas can be critiqued, can even be legally challenged but show no real shot at leading to a win in the courts.  Legal analysis requires not just knowledge of the law but also knowledge of the courts and how they rule.  They give presidents a wide swath when it comes to the role of commander in chief.

Glenn's piece is worth reading and I do share his righteous dismay.  But when Congress has abdicated for so long, it would require real effort for them to retake the powers the Constitution grants them.  They don't have the energy or desire to demonstrate a real effort.

Am I cynical?  Jaded?  Probably.  

I'm also tired of nonsense.  

I love Ajamu Baraka but this Tweet is pure nonsense:

Biden administration said it bombed "Iranian" backed forces in Iraq because they threaten U.S. forces. But Iraq government demanded months ago that U.S. take its military forces out of Iraq & U.S. refused. So, if U.S. was not there, U.S. forces would not be threatened - right?

No, the Iraqi government did not demand that.  Some members of the Parliament demanded it -- you didn't have enough members present at the session for a quorum -- and that would be a bit like Ajamu Tweeting that the US government demanded something happen when it was really the GOP minority in Congress.

Reality, they had a teleconference this year about the status of US forces in Iraq.  That teleconference could have resulted in the Iraqi government demanding that US forces leave.  That is not what happened.  They are redefining the relationship.  

So Ajamu's Tweets is just useless and he should probably expand his range of sources.  To many in the US have bought that nonsense because outlets like ANTIWAR.COM have pimped it.

As someone who has spent way too much time on the Iraq War, I would love for the war to be ended and for all US troops to come hom.

But it's lies that keep the US troops there.  And those lies include that the 'Iraqi government' wants US troops out.

I'm also real damn tired of the lies that protect the Iraqi government and celebrate it.  It's not helping the people.  It's failed the people.  Iraq remains a failed state.  The militias target everyone -- including the journalists.  


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