Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Will Smith is no longer a movie star

DEADLINE is having a fit.

Will Smith's new film COLLATERAL BEAUTY tanked.

They're convinced it's due to the critics.

Will used to carry hit films.

He can't anymore.

That's got nothing to do with critics.

Set Tom Cruise aside and the life of a movie star is short.

Julia Roberts and Will Smith had a good run.  Both now struggle to deliver a hit.

They used to say the streak was seven years and that after that, if you hung through the bad streak, you'd be back in seven years.

Maybe Will will be back.

But right now he's worn out his welcome.

Again, it happens.  Ask Burt Reynolds.  Ask Bette Davis from the grave.  Ask Cher. 

They insist that the film was popular with those who went and saw it.

Here's a thought: Maybe those people liked the film.

That doesn't mean everyone will.

Or that it has widespread appeal.

Here's DEADLINE describing the film:

Collateral Beauty follows a New York ad exec played by Will Smith, who loses his daughter and gets into a funk. He begins to write letters to Death, Time and Love. The peers at his office hire actors to portray these people in an effort to show that Smith’s character has gone off the rails. In sum, his peers vie to steal the company away from him. Through it all, Smith’s character has some heart-to-heart conversations with Death, Time and Love.

Who the hell would want to see that?

I don't want to.

Maybe if it was a Woody Allen comedy.

But Will Smith trying to act again?

He can't act.

He had fame as a movie star playing in vehicles -- not films.

Now when a movie is about Will 'acting,' it sends audiences running.

DEADLINE writes:

This weekend, Will Smith saw a career-low opening at the box office with Warner Bros./New Line/Village Roadshow’s holiday melodrama Collateral Beautywhich debuted to $7M at 3,028 theaters.

That's on Will Smith.

He's way too familiar, dull and overexposed.

That's on Will Smith, he chose another sucky film to star in.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, December 21, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US media continues its silence on Hoshyar Zebari, Ayad Allawi works diplomacy, and much more.

Let's start with fake news.

Liars across America are concerned with 'fake news.'

The Shrill Hillary contingent will always lie so let's not even factor them in.

But the ones who consider themselves journalists?

Let's pretend they have ethics for a moment and can recognize their own hypocrisy.

Hoshyar Zebari is no longer the Finance Minister of Iraq.  Since 2006, he's been the Foreign Minister of Iraq and/or the Women's Minister, etc.

Now he is not in the Cabinet.

Unfortunately lost our appeal to Iraqi Federal Court 6 by 3 votes. Now I am a private citizen after 13 years working for the new Iraq

He Tweeted that yesterday and we noted it yesterday.

Why are we bringing it up again?

Other than Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister from 2006 to 2014), no Iraqi politician got more US press attention than Zebari.  And he visited the US more than any other Iraqi politician.

Newspapers and networks and magazines in the US treated him as a sage, a fount of wisdom.

And yet where are the stories about him today?

He was sacked in September, yes.

But other than UPI, no US outlet covered that.

THE FINANCIAL TIMES OF LONDON, for example, is not a US outlet -- nor is REUTERS or AFP or RUDAW, to cite but a few that did cover the story.

He was fired in September and you could give various US news outlets a break by saying, "Oh, it's Iraq, things change often.  Zebari says he's appealing so they're just waiting for the verdict on his appeal."

And that might have been true.

If Zebari had won his appeal, the US press might have suddenly covered the story yesterday.

But they've ignored it.

Why was he removed from office?

Corruption is the reason the Parliament gave.  (Zebari has maintained he was removed as part of a plot by Nouri al-Maliki to discredit Hayder al-Abadi's government and stage a coup that would allow Nouri to become prime minister yet again.)

Supposedly, corruption is a topic the US press is interested in.

They certainly sang hoseanas for Hayder when he announced he was addressing corruption and for Nouri when he, years earlier, announced he would end corruption in less than 200 days.

Those were big stories in the US press.

But now their hero Zebari has been removed from office due to charges of corruption.

And they're silent.

Fake news?

Try their ignoring the ugly stories/truths about the man they spent years propping up and promoting.

I don't think you can get any more fake than that.

As usual, it's the corporate media in the US that traffics in fake news.

Moving to an update, in Monday's snapshot, we noted:

Reporters Without Borders notes at the top of their webiste:

Since January 2016 :

Here, we call it 75 journalists.

Somehow, they end up with 74 journalists killed this year and they note in (PDF format warning) "ROUND-UP 2016 of journalists killed worldwide:"

A total of 74 journalists were murdered or killed in connection with their work in 2016, compared with 101 last year.  This significant fall is due in part to the fact that more and more journalists are fleeing countries that have become too dangerous: not only Syria, Iraq, and Libya, but also Yemen, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Burundi, which have now also become, to varying degrees, news and information black holes where impunity reigns.

The five deadliest countries were Syria (19 killed), Afghanistan (10 killed), Mexico (9 killed), Iraq (7 killed) and Yemen (5 killed).

Actually, Iraq was a lot more deadly.  And it's new numbers put it behind Syria and ahead of Afghanistan making it the second most deadly country for journalists.


As many as 13 Iraqi journalists were killed and 179 others were attacked across Iraq during 2016, a rights group has revealed in a new report. Most of those killed lost their lives at the hands of [the Islamic State] militants while covering the war in the country, said the Iraqi Journalists’ Rights’ Defence Association.
Apart from physical violence, many journalists have also been threatened by persons unknown for publishing stories about corruption in state institutions. “There is a lack of interest shown by Iraq’s security services in following up such threats and initiating formal investigations,” the report noted.

State institutions are deliberately obscuring and withholding information from various media outlets, it explained. They tend to deal negatively with journalists and correspondents for satellite TV channels.

Grasp that: In Iraq, Iraqi journalists are threatened for reporting on corruption.

Yet Iraq outlets reported on Zebari.

Here in the US where no such threats take place, US reporters just stay silent to avoid admitting that all those puff pieces on Zebari missed the truth.

Still on fake news:

This investigation found MediaMatters wasn't really a media watchdog group but arm of Clinton campaign!

Meanwhile, Maher Chmaytelli and Sandra Maler (REUTERS) report a Tuesday evening bombing of the Koy Sanjak offices of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan left 6 people dead.  BBC NEWS updates the death toll to 7.

REUTERS also notes that the group of Iranian dissidents are blaming agents of the government of Iran for the bombing.

Kurdish politician Mahmoud Othman Tweets:

I strongly condemn the terrorist attack against the in , urge the authorities to find the perpetrators & bring them to justice

Day 65 of the Mosul slog.

In June of 2014, the Islamic State seized the city of Mosul.

65 days ago, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Hayder al-Abadi, finally began an operation to liberate or 'liberate' the city of Mosul.

It's still ongoing.

Stephen Kalin (REUTERS) notes that they've taken yet another pause and are pulling troops in from other angles of the operation.  He doesn't question that.

He doesn't question why they're being pulled or why they're needed.  100,000 fighters deployed (not counting foreign fighters) and that's not enough to decimate ISIS?

Supposedly, they numbered about 30,000 in all of Iraq.  And that was at their height.

That was back before the US was daily boasting of killing X number.

Briefed WH press corps following meeting with and confirm of three more dead leaders in . Replay:

100,000 is not enough?

How many are enough?

A million?

What's the magic number going to be?

Meanwhile, the US Defense Dept announced this morning:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack and fighter aircraft and rocket artillery conducted five strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Huwayjah, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL-held buildings, a tunnel, and a supply cache.

 Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed eight fighting positions, five ISIL-held buildings, two land bridges, a vehicle bomb factory, an artillery system, an anti-air artillery piece and a weapons storage facility; damaged 11 supply routes; and suppressed a mortar team and two ISIL tactical units.

-- Near Tal Afar, a strike destroyed a weapons storage facility.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

I hope I live long enough to see the children of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria wake up to the sound of birds not bombs


But that won't happen without a political solution.

Apparently, the only one doing real work on diplomacy is not the prime minister but the man who should have been in 2010 (but Barack Obama went around the election results and the Iraqi people via The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri a second term even though Nouri lost).

أكدنا على ان المنطقة برمتها بحاجة الى اعادة نظر لترتيب امنها واستقرارها - مع جلالة الملك عبدالله الثاني

Security policies in region must be revised in aim for stability - with HM King Abdullah II

Ayad Allawi, one of the last Iraqi politicians to believe in or work for a political solution.

But how can there be a political solution when there is no future for Iraq.

The corrupt and the greedy have pawned -- if not outright sold -- Iraq's future to yet again line their own pockets.

The IMF and the World Bank came sniffing and Hayder al-Abadi sold Iraq for cash.  (Thug Nouri, there's your issue to ride back into power.)  Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani warned repeatedly against it -- and the Iraqi press covered those warnings, it was just the US press that ignored them -- but Hayder made the deals.

In the US, no pundit disappointed me more in the last 8 years than Norman Solomon who once titled a book WAR MADE EASY before spending the last eight years . . . making war easy.

We'll note him on the topic of the election:

This week began with a mass email from the head of the Democratic National Committee, who declared: “By now, Americans know beyond any reasonable doubt that the Russian government orchestrated a series of cyberattacks on political campaigns and organizations over the past two years and used stolen information to influence the presidential campaign and congressional races.” DNC chair Donna Brazile went on: “The integrity of our elections is too important for Congress to refuse to take these attacks seriously.”
The importance of election integrity had eluded Brazile when she was a regular on CNN, posing as neutral in the Clinton-Sanders battle. “Brazile is not apologizing for leaking CNN debate questions and topics to the Hillary Clinton campaign during the Democratic primary,” the Washington Post reported last month. “Her only regret, it seems, is that she got caught.”
Many big factors affect any presidential race, and the Russian government may have tried to be one of them for the 2016 election – though it’s hardly the slam dunk that agencies like the CIA and U.S. mass media are now claiming. But in any event, this month it has become routine for a lot of progressive organizations and individuals to descend into a dangerous mode of partisan flackery.

First, there is NO evidence that Russia hacked anything -- let alone e-mails.

Second, the old Norman would have been calling for Brazile's resignation.

She fed questions to Hillary.

This is known.

What a slap in the face to the millions who supported Bernie Sanders that this liar is still head of the DNC.

The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

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