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Iraq War veteran shares how military service to his country prompted him to give up on Fox News

Let me preface this post by saying that I am not a regular Fox News watcher. The handful of times I've tried to watch it, I haven't been able to stomach it for long. I don't watch televised news much anyway, but the blatant biases and sensationalist tone of Fox News is a huge turnoff for me.

It's not for a sizable percentage of Americans, though. There are more than a few people who believe Fox News when it says it's "fair and balanced." There are folks who believe Fox News when they tell them that "mainstream media" is hopelessly biased toward "the liberal left" and therefore can't be trusted like they can.

I wrote a whole article once about venturing over to Fox News's Facebook page to expose myself to different perspectives and coming away endlessly frustrated by the amount of verifiable falsehoods Fox News followers were perpetuating—a sad reality that only confirmed my belief that Fox News erodes people's ability to discern what is actually true.

But don't take my word for it. Take one of their analysts who quit the network and called it a "propaganda machine." Or take this veteran on Reddit who shared how they used to be an avid Fox News watcher until their tour in Iraq gave them a wake-up call.

In a Reddit thread about a Fox News segment discussing Fox News' coverage of Michelle Obama's DNC convention speech, user BabyMFBear wrote:


"My personal thoughts on Fox News:

Following 9/11, I found myself glued to Fox News. It was, after all, 'America's news network,' and included a 'no-spin zone' to ensure we were getting the real story. The reporting was 'fair and balanced,' and it was up to the viewer to come to conclusions based on 'we report; you decide.'

The hosts proudly wore their American flags on their lapels, and they taunted the French for not supporting our call to arms, and I cheered as we established the 'Coalition of the Willing' as we trounced Iraq, and started kicking Taliban ass in Afghanistan.

Then I got to Iraq, and my attitude changed. The Iraqis I worked with were normal, every day people. They were friendly and inviting. Aside from the language and cultural differences, they were no different than myself.

And then I met Colin Powell when he addressed everyone in the compound and, in not so many words, told us he appreciated our service but this mission was in error.

His exact words were 'You may hear a lot of things about the mission here in Iraq, but just know I am grateful for all of you who answered the call on behalf of your nation.'

That was quite a profound moment, not only for my time in service, but for my entire outlook on information, politics, and life in general.

Were Iraqi's better off without Saddam? Most likely. Looking back, that wasn't our problem to solve.

We have more weapons of mass destruction than nearly every other country combined, with the most advanced delivery systems available.

Could you imagine another country bombing us because our President isn't a good person with nuke release authority? Could you imagine being blown back into the Stone Age over it?

We are just living our lives, in total disagreement, in an intense atmosphere, but could you sit by peacefully while getting obliterated by a foreign country over it?

I'd be making homemade bombs to protect my family. I would want those invaders out of my country, even if it was because they and I both agree in our views of the U.S. President. That goes out the window when foreign troops are at my door.

Fox News helped sell a lie. Fox News put on theatrics, and pumped me up for war.

Two years later, I was covering a high-level NATO Security Conference. A 4-star Dutch general made the opening remarks about 'a war of necessity (Afghanistan)' and a 'war of choice (Iraq).'

I served in an unnecessary war. I am proud of my service to the Iraqi government. I was there to help. I am happy my next two deployments were in support of combat operations in Afghanistan.

Fox News sells theatrics. They sell hyperbole. That network's agenda is to serve the defense industry and military industrial complex.

Fox News has convinced people that someone like me hates America.

Fox News has convinced people that someone like me doesn't belong here.

Fox News has convinced people my views are unAmerican.

I'd be the first person to lead a charge against a foreign invasion.

Fox News has people convinced I'm the enemy.

Turn off Fox News. I'm pleading with you."

Comments have poured in, thanking the poster not only for their service, but for sharing their experience of breaking up with Fox News. Many of us have friends and relatives who are hopelessly glued to that station, constantly being fed the propaganda they're peddling, distrustful of award-winning journalism yet somehow trusting of Tucker Carlson.

Others shared similar stories of having once been Fox News fans but then recognizing it for what it was:

"I remember being a young man, watching Fox News after 9/11. It was shiny, entertaining, engrossing.

But I knew something was off about it. I didn't really know what Jingoism was, but I was sensing that this was most definitely some kind of propaganda.

I really do see the appeal and why it captures so many."Antnee83


"Brother, U.S. Army Signal Corp. Vet here, and I have to say a big Thanks, to you for being able to share your experience. I have also tried to share my experience from the perspective of a Signal Solder that is saturated with intel. as part of the job, and to witness the active misinformation campaigns that are used by the FOX propaganda outlets and how they were coordinated from the inside out, not to mention outside interference from hostile nations using 3rd wave warfare tactics against the U.S." – UrzasPunchline


"Iraq Vet here as well and the same for my wife (2004-2005) coming home I was a different person than when I went and not just for the obvious "going to war" reasons, but for the reasons you laid out above. If someone bombed my county to the Stone Age I'd be out there fighting them too, they're just supposed to lay down and let us run over them?!

I think there are a lot of Vets just like us but there are plenty of trump supporters too. I just hope this year is a wake up and the crazy things he's doing now will wake ppl up. I do know many trump supporters that say they can't vote for Biden and won't... but they also can't vote for trump so they'll stay home. That's good enough for me."Lathus01


I'd be making homemade bombs to protect my family

"Yep. Formerly in intelligence, and spent 2 years in Baghdad doing it. Lots of other intelligence people would refer to insurgents as "terrorists", and it always felt so wrong. They aren't terrorists, they are doing exactly what I would be doing if someone invaded my country and my city, and if you wouldn't you can't call yourself a patriot. Those people were basically fighting an army from the future and they STILL fought. Now THAT is bravery and patriotism."TalentKeyh0le


"Great post brother. I too was in the same boat as you. Born and raised in conservative catholic household and watched much of the same hyperbolic "America is great at kicking ass" propaganda generated by Fox News.

I too served in Iraq and in a very much "enemy" facing role where I spoke to these men we were holding indefinitely as enemy combatants and there were some long conversations I had with them where things sometimes didn't sit right, honestly.

I've had many years to realize what I was a part of, not necessarily regret, but certainly had to come to terms with things I did against men who were probably acting exactly as I would have in opposite roles.

I love this country and I love its people and still appreciate the time getting to serve it, but Jesus if I don't worry every day about what may be needed to save it's soul and that of all its citizens."TheRealAJ58


The original poster thanked people for the responses, saying "I hope what I've said here empowers other vets to speak out, and know they are not alone."

They also wrote of veteran suicides and the role false information plays:

"The number of veteran suicides is not hyperbole. Reconciliation is sometimes not possible without self-destructive behaviors. Some just cannot bring themselves to face their actions, and I cannot place blame on them. I place the blame on those who manipulate our youth into believing false realities."

I'm not saying we don't need a military. I fully believe in having national defense as a priority- right now more than at any other time since WWII.

We just need a military that is willing to defend our citizens, and not an away-team "bringing the fight to an enemy" under false pretenses.

Again, thank you. I'm now drained and emotional - in a good way.

I wish nothing but the best for all of us."

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Pop Culture

TikTok star's surprising method for finding good Chinese food is blowing people's minds

Yelp can be a helpful tool for scoping out food joints, but maybe not in the way you think.

Photo by Debbie Tea on Unsplash

Different cultures view service differently.

Content creator Freddy Wong has a brilliantly easy way to find authentic Chinese food.

As he reveals in a mega viral video that’s racked up 9.4 million views on TikTok and 7.7 million views on Twitter, the trick (assuming you live in a major metropolitan area) is to “go on Yelp and look for restaurants with 3.5 stars, and exactly 3.5 stars." Not 3. Not 4. 3.5.

He then backs up his argument with some pretty undeniable photo evidence.

First, he pulls up an image of a Yelp page from P.F. Chang’s. With only 2.5 stars, one can tell the food is “obviously bad.” Alternatively, Din Tai Fung—a globally recognized Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant—has four stars.

Sounds good right? Wrong. In this case, “too many stars” means that “too many white people like it,” indicating that the restaurant is being judged on service rather than food quality. According to Wong, if “the service is too good, the food is not as good as it could be.”

He then pulls up the Yelp page for a couple of local Chinese restaurants, both of which have 3.5 stars. The waiters at these establishments might “not pay attention to you,” he admits, adding that they might even be “rude.” But, Wong attests, “it’s going to taste better.”

@rocketjump

Why I only go to Chinese restaurants with 3.5 star ratings

♬ original sound - RocketJump

"The dumplings here are better [than Din Tai Fung's]. I've been here," he says of the 3.5 star Shanghai Dumpling House. Considering his Twitter profile boasts a “James Beard Award winning KBBQ Gourmand'' title, it seems like he knows what he’s talking about.

So, why is this 3.5 rule the “sweet spot”? As Wong explains, it all comes down to different “cultural expectations.”

“In Asia, they’re not as proactive. They’re not going to come up to you, they’re not going to just proactively give you refills, you need to flag down the waiter,” he says, noting the different interpretations of service.

"People on Yelp are insufferable,” he continues, arguing that “they're dinging all these restaurants because the service is bad,” but the food is so good that it balances out the bad service. Hence, a 3.5-star rating. His reasoning is arguably sound—people do often give absurdly scathing reviews that in no way accurately reflect a restaurant’s food quality.

“A good Yelp review doesn’t mean it’s a good restaurant — it simply means the restaurant is good at doing things that won’t hurt their online rating,” Wong said in an interview with Today, adding that “highly rated Yelp restaurants are often those with counter service and limited menus, minimizing potential negative interaction with staff.”

He also added the caveat, “I don’t have anything against those places, but I think people who only eat at the ‘highest rated’ restaurants on online review sites are only eating at the most boring restaurants.”

A ton of people in the comments seem to back Wong’s theory.

best chinese food

100% accurate, some say

TikTok

Plus, the theory seems to not be limited to just Chinese restaurants, further implying that maybe there’s more of a cultural misunderstanding, rather than any real lack of quality.

thai food near me

No drink refills but the food is fire.

TikTok

yelp reviews, yelp

2.8 is the new 5

TikTok

One of the gifts that our modern world provides is the opportunity to truly experience and appreciate other cultures. Since food is easily one of the most accessible (and enjoyable) ways to do that, perhaps we should prioritize seeking authenticity, rather than rely on a flawed and superficial rating system.

As Wong told Today, “I hope it encourages people to go out and eat more food from not only Chinese restaurants, but restaurants representing the whole world of cultural cuisines.”

Education

How a 3,800-year-old stone tablet helped create modern legal systems

'Innocent until proven guilty' isn't that new of a concept.

Kind of looks like the Matrix code...

The modern justice system is certainly not without its flaws, however most can agree that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is one that (when not abused) stands as the foundation of what fair due process looks like. This principle, it turns out, isn’t so modern at all. It can actually be traced all the way back to nearly 3,800 years ago.

historyLady Justice, the image of impartial fairness. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

English barrister Sir William Garrow is known for coining the "innocent until proven guilty" phrase between the 18th and 19th century, after insisting that evidence be provided by accusers and thoroughly tested in court. But this notion, as radical as it seemed at the time, can, in fact, be credited to an ancient Babylonian king who ruled Mesopotamia.

During his reign from 1792 to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi left behind a legacy of accomplishments as a ruler and a diplomat. His most influential contribution was a series of 282 laws and regulations that were painstakingly compiled after he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws, then adapted or eliminated them in order to create a universal system.

Those laws were inscribed on a large, seven-foot stone monument, and they were known as the Code of Hammurabi.

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popular

Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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