Thursday, December 1, 2016

Again on EMPIRE

EMPIRE needs to get it together.

They are running on Taraji P. Henson.

Taraji's a great actress -- and her scenes with the woman playing her sister Carol were solid -- but she can't carry a B storyline with A level time.

I also didn't need the flashbacks with young actresses playing Cookie and Carol.

And Hakim.

Can they just kill Hakim off?

He's never been of any interest.

He just wastes everyone's time and is just a little scowling punk.


I like Dre but he's really not making any sense.

I don't mean his character, I mean his storyline.

It's a lousy season for storylines.

That includes Cookie's new boyfriend.

Things that pull them away from the core -- Cookie, Jamal and Lucious -- tear the show down.

They really need to get back to the core.

Taraji was great but the storyline sucks.

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

Thursday, December 1, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the death toll mounts, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL fluffs Hayder al-Abadi, and much more.

Starting in the United Kingdom,  Jessica Elgot and Heather Stweart (GUARDIAN) report:

Labour MPs turned out in force on Wednesday to help defeat a parliamentary motion calling for Tony Blair to be held to account for allegedly misleading parliament over the Iraq war by 439 votes to 70, after a sometimes angry debate.
The motion, tabled by the Scottish National party’s foreign affairs spokesman, Alex Salmond, was backed by MPs from six other parties, and called for parliamentary committees to investigate and take appropriate action against the former prime minister.

Some reaction on Twitter:

Millions of people know that Tony Blair deceived Parliament and the country about Iraq, MPs as usual think they know better.

Any decent person knows Tony Blair and his devotees did wrong with Iraq. Labour MPs needs to stop defending the indefensible.

Here's the damning evidence from leading academic based on that makes the case that Blair misled on

And there's a larger message as well.

Defending Blair over Iraq is not going to persuade exLabour voters to return to the fold. Today's vote greatly harms their election chances

Labour has fallen from power and lost repeatedly.

The Iraq War is not forgotten.

As we've been documenting since months before Gordon Brown was toppled, voters want Labour to distance themselves from Tony Blair.  (Rebecca even wrote about her being consulted on that as a personal favor.)

They won't pull the trigger already and they continue to suffer.

They can try to wait this out and might be successful but they could easily return to power immediately if they would disown Tony Blair.

That has US implications as well.

In 2008, after admitting that the Iraq War was a "mistake" (finally admitting), Hillary Clinton (War Hawk supporter of the Iraq War) still lost the Democratic Party primary to Barack Obama who campaigned for the presidential nomination by (falsely) insisting he was always against the Iraq War.

But somehow, in 2016, idiots thought this would be forgotten.

Despite the fact that Libya proved just how War Hawk she really was.

Despite the reality that she can never be wrong in her mind so she took to adding to her 'mistake' claim that her mistake was trusting Bully Boy Bush would put the right number of troops on the ground.

So she walked back her 2008 'mistake' to insist that it wasn't a mistake to support the illegal war on the grounds of WMD that were not there, it was just a mistake for her to think that Bully Boy Bush would put X number of troops on the ground.

Whether Donald Trump was against the Iraq War before it started or months or years later, the reality for many Americans was that Hillary wasn't really against the Iraq War despite her dubbing it a 'mistake' -- that yet again, she'd say anything to get what she wanted.

New topic: What the hell are they smoking at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL -- can't be pot -- marijuana doesn't lead to psychotic delusions.

Yaroslav Trofinmov writes (apparently after swallowing Hayder al-Abadi's seed):

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi seemed on the ropes just a few months ago. Protesters stormed and sacked his office in Baghdad’s Green Zone amid talk of a revolution. Parliament fired his top ministers. It appeared only a matter of time before the British-educated engineer would be ousted too.

All this now seems a distant memory. Donning black military fatigues instead of his usual ill-fitting suits, Mr. Abadi has managed to harness the long-awaited campaign to free Mosul from Islamic State, reinventing himself as a victorious war leader. 

This is exactly why the MSM can't lecture or hector others about 'fake news.'

They can't even tell the truth.

Let's forget the growing anger in the Sunni community for just a moment.

Among the Shi'ites alone?

The Popular Mobilization Forces are publicly mocking Hayder on social media.

Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the State Of Law coalition -- has denounced Hayder repeatedly -- in Iraq and in Iran -- and Nouri wants back in as prime minister.

Ammar al-Hakim is said to see it as his destiny to become prime minister and to 'heal Iraq.'

His followers, he's the leader of the  Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, make clear that Hayder needs to go.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, former prime minister, has publicly groused about Hayder repeatedly.

Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has made clear to his followers that the protests are about to start back up.

(Moqtada's the one who stopped the protests -- not Hayder.)

And that's just the Shi'ites.

Let's leave sects for a moment.

The most common them on social media by all Iraqis about Hayder al-Abadi?

How short he is.

How ridiculous his short, fat body looks every time he puts on military clothes.

Now let's zoom in on the Sunnis.

Hayder's back a law which outlawed alcohol -- Sunnis sold alcohol.

And he's pushed for the Parlaiment -- which just did -- to make the Popular Mobilization Forces part of the armed forces legally.  These are Shi'ite militias.

The law is so outrageous that even Moqtada -- a Shi'ite -- is saying that at the very least it needs to be fine tuned.

The western press has largely ignored this for days.

That's changing.

Mainly because of . . .

Landed in for week of consultations on op & longer-term efforts to support 's stabilization after 's defeat.

Yes, things are so bad that, with only about seven weeks left in his presidency, Barack Obama is sending special envoy Brett McGurk back to Iraq.

Stephen Kaplin (REUTERS) reports:

But the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi knows that even if it defeats Islamic State it needs to bring the Shi'ite militias under greater control. Iraqi and Western officials alike say episodes like the one in Balad raise serious questions about Abadi's ability to do that.
The militias came together in 2014 after Islamic State seized a third of the country. Officially, the militias form a government-backed popular fighting force called the Hashid Shaabi, which has been instrumental in protecting Baghdad and pushing back Islamic State.

But the militias have also created headaches for the government. Many of them have ties to Iran and have amassed vast military and political influence. Sunni Iraqis and human rights groups have accused some of them of rights violations, torture and murder.

At AL JAZEERA, Michael Knights argues that the militias should be allowed in the battle of Mosul but then, after the Islamic State is defeated, the militias should be demobilized:

This is why Iraqis need to closely watch Iraq's budgets to make sure the PMF do not get direct control of the resources that can turn them into a permanent anti-democratic, Iranian-controlled power base. This is why it is safest and best to demobilise the PMF into the existing ministry armed units.
If the PMF are allowed to grow out of control, it will be a sad corruption of their heroic stand in 2014 and could become yet another bitter memory for Iraqis. But if demobilisation occurs, the PMF will be proudly remembered as Iraq's "Dunkirk moment".

RUDAW notes:

Although there was no hint in McGurk’s comment that he was in Baghdad to discuss the resolution inducting the Hashd al-Shaabi into the army, the US has been consistent in its opposition to the Iranian-backed force, which has been taking part in the anti-ISIS offensive in Mosul. 

The Pentagon said on Tuesday it has not changed its position regarding the Hashd, which is also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and that it is not providing support to the group in the Mosul campaign.

"We're not providing support to the PMF at this time,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Tuesday. “We're going to continue to provide support to the Iraqi security forces, and that has not changed," he added in response to a comment about some of the forces in the PMF being implicated in the anti-American insurgency that followed the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Asked whether the US position will change once the Iraqi parliament’s resolution is implemented and the Hashd are formally inducted, Cook said he would have that conversation once the move has been carried out.

"We have stated clearly in the past that we will not support those PMF forces.  If there's a change in the structure, that's a determination that the Iraqis will make on their own and we'll have that conversation at a later time.  But at this point, our position has not changed," he said.

The battle to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul continues.

It's day 45.

Today, UNAMI issued the following:

Turning to the US, there was a veterans roundtable yesterday.  We may include it in tomorrow's snapshot -- if not, I'll cover it in the gina & krista round-robin.

Above isSenator Tammy Baldwin and her office issued the following yesterday:

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
   (202) 224 - 6225
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Gus Bilirakis Host Roundtable with Veterans Care Stakeholders and Simcakoski Family
In July, bipartisan VA reforms named after Wisconsin Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski were signed into law by President Obama
“Realizing the Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act” roundtable addresses the opioid crisis and quality pain care for veterans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) led a roundtable dialogue titled “Realizing the Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act” to address the opioid crisis and quality pain care for veterans.
Senator Baldwin and Representative Bilirakis were joined by members of the Simcakoski family, as well as officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), The American Legion, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
The roundtable addressed veterans’ opioid safety and pain management, including the implementation of the Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act that was signed into law in July as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Key stakeholders discussed the VA’s progress in addressing opioid prescribing practices, the critical health care needs of veterans that Congress should focus on in the upcoming year, and how to realize the goals of Jason’s law: meaningful access to high-quality care, including more effective pain management services for our nation’s veterans; improved patient advocacy to give veterans and their families a stronger voice in their care; and enhanced hiring practices at the VA to ensure that the best health care providers are treating our veterans. 
An online version of this release is available here.


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