Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Tonight, EMPIRE returned with new episodes (or will return if you're in Pacific time zone).

It was a strong opening.

Demi Moore as Lucious' therapist/nurse, whatever.

She's great.

She gives Cookie a real challenge.

And, like Cookie, I'm convinced that Demi (Miss Connie) has designs on Lucious.

He lost a leg in last season's bombing.

He also can't remember who he is and is going by the name Dwight.

Demi says he has to be introduced to his past slowly.

Hakim of course can't do that because he's such a jerk.  A nice dinner goes all wrong because of Hakim and Jamal called him out.

Andre is trying to act all innocent but he and his crew paid off a guy to stay quiet and then the guy got shot -- which apparently was the plan all along, to silence him with death.

Queen Latifah had a pointless moment on the show.

She did not need to be on the show.  Her character from STAR shows up to ask Lucious a favor.

It was pointless and it did not work as a scene -- I've never seen Queen Latifah so wooden.

Maybe she didn't want to do the cross-over?

Phylicia Rashad's still on plotting the demise of the Lyons.

She's blackmailing Hakim.

She's going to tell Cookie -- and show her pictures of them -- if Hakim doesn't do her bidding.  She knows Cookie will see his actions -- which he did to get his son back -- as traitorous and treason.

Anika comes back next episode.  She's apparently in prison.

I don't remember that.

Is it for killing Dre's wife?

I'll have to go back and rewatch the season finale.

Oh, Demi wore Anika's dress to Lucious big Empire event.  Cookie made a comment. 

It was a real tight episode and I really loved it.

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2017. Chaos and violence continue, after the KRG's successful referendum on Monday threats swirl, Iraq says it's shutting down flights to the KRG, Nouri al-Maliki foams at the mouth like a mad dog, and much more.

This what Maliki and most Iraqi leaders think about the Kurdish referendum.


Nouri al-Maliki: We must take all measures, cutting off all ties and communication with the Kurdish Region, cutting off all roads, blocking all import and export through Kurdistan, banning any company from investment in Kurdistan, blocking air traffic, blocking all border crossings.  Whoever does not listen to good words and legal methods must be treated with force.

Thus spake Thug Nouri.

Former prime minister, forever thug, Nouri al-Maliki.

Nouri who refused to abide by the Constitution of Iraq, the rule of law, codes of humanity, or even the will of the people.

Nouri was put in place by the administration of Bully Boy Bush.

No one disputes that in e-mails today.

Maybe because we scooped everyone on Nouri's paranoia and how the CIA assessment of Nouri's paranoia is what got him the job -- it was thought that he would be the most easy to manipulate since he saw plots everywhere.

And a few years later, WIKILEAKS published the State Dept cables and, sure enough, Nouri's paranoia was a topic.

But when we say here that President Barack Obama also put Nouri in place and that Barack then put Hayder al-Abadi in place, we get drive-bys refusing to believe that.

Quickly, March 7, 2010, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Who won?  Ayad Allawi and Iraqiya.

From 2010, Arwa Damon (CNN -- link is video), "Now the Iraqiya list won the highest number of seats following those inconclusive March elections. It is headed by former prime minister Ayad Allawi, it's cross-sectarian and it also received the backing of most of Iraq's Sunni Arabs."

What happened?

Nouri al-Maliki refused to step down (as US Gen Ray Odierno had predicted ahead of the elections).  He brought the Iraqi government to a standstill (this is popularly known as the "political stalemate"). Months later, THE GUARDIAN's editorial board noted (in August of 2010), "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality."

The political stalemate would last eight months.  The Erbil Agreement would end them -- by going around the results.  The US brokered the agreement.  In exchange for the other sides allowing Nouri to have a second term as prime minister, Nouri would agree to various things that the other political blocs wanted.

They were idiots.  In his first term, Nouri had already demonstrated he could not be trusted.

November 10, 2010, The Erbil Agreement was signed.  The next day, Parliament finally met. The US didn't just broker the agreement (tossing aside election results), Barack made promises to ensure it was implemented. From the November 11, 2010 snapshot:

Today the KRG website announces:

Baghdad, Iraq ( - Iraq's political leaders yesterday agreed to hold the parliamentary session as scheduled on Thursday and to name an individual for the post of Speaker of the the parliament (Council of Representatives). The Speaker post will go to the Al-Iraqiya bloc, which is headed by former prime minister Ayad Allawi.
During the meeting, which was attended by the leaders of all the winning blocs at President Masoud Barzani's Baghdad headquarters, agreement was reached on two other points: to create a council for strategic policy and to address issues regarding national reconciliation.
President Barzani, who sponsored the three days' round of meetings, stated that today's agreement was a big achievement for Iraqis. He expressed optimism that the next government will be formed soon and that it will be inclusive and representative of all of Iraq's communities.
Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports one hiccup in the process today involved Ayad Allawi who US President Barack Obama phoned asking/pleading that he accept the deal because "his rejection of post would be a vote of no confidence". Ben Lando, Sam Dagher and Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) confirm the phone call via two sources and state Allawi will take the post -- newly created -- of chair of the National Council On Higher Policy: "Mr. Obama, in his phone call to Mr. Allawi on Thursday, promised to throw U.S. weight behind the process and guarantee that the council would retain meaningful and legal power, according to the two officials with knowledge of the phone call."  
That was November 11, 2010.  Then?  November 12, 2010, Barack made a statement on Iraq earlier today in Seoul, Korea:
Before I discuss the G20, I want to briefly comment on the agreement in Iraq that's taken place on the framework for a new government.  There's still challenges to overcome, but all indications are that the government will be representative, inclusive, and reflect the will of the Iraqi people who cast their ballots in the last election. This agreement marks another milestone in the history of modern Iraq.  Once again, Iraqis are showing their determination to unify Iraq and build its future and that those impulses are far stronger than those who want Iraq to descend into sectarian war and terror. For the last several months, the United States has worked closely with our Iraqi partners to promote a broad-based government -- one whose leaders share a commitment to serving all Iraqis as equal citizens.  Now, Iraq's leaders must finish the job of forming their government so that they can meet the challenges that a diverse coalition will inevitably face.  And going forward, we will support the Iraqi people as they strengthen their democracy, resolve political disputes, resettle those displaced by war, and build ties of commerce and cooperation with the United States, the region and the world.

Barack never again acknowledged the power-sharing agreement (The Erbil Agreement).  Nouri used The Erbil Agreement to get a second term, then stalled saying he would need time to implement it, then had his spokesperson declare it illegal, and then he refused to implement it.  Barack did and said nothing despite personal promises made.

When Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians attempted to do a no-confidence vote in Parliament in 2012, the US government again intervened (specifically, bribes and pressure were offered and put on the then-president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani who would invent a reason not to follow the Constitution and call for the vote).

That is the shortest version of how Barack overruled the Iraqi people and the 2010 vote to give Nouri a second term.

Robert Ford was a US diplomat in the 80s, the 90s, the 00s and the 10s (he retired in 2014).  Over the weekend, he weighed in on the Kurdish referendum held last Monday.  In his column for ASHARQ AL-AWSAT, he wrote:

In 2010 Vice President Joe Biden urged Barzani to support Maliki’s second mandate as prime minister. Washington pledged to help ensure respect for the Constitution and a power-sharing deal between Maliki, the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs. This agreement of 19 points included solving article 140 procedures and also was supposed to define how the council of ministers reaches its decisions with the prime minister as required by the Constitution (article 85 still not implemented). Maliki violated major elements of that deal and the violations of human rights and democratic procedures helped ISIS grow. The Americans were silent in 2012 and 2013 and only put serious pressure on Maliki after ISIS began its march in the spring of 2014. And in 2014 again Washington helped create a deal between Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdish leadership for power-sharing in order to win Kurdish votes for Prime Minister Abadi. And again the deal was broken; article 85 still isn’t implemented. And the council of representatives with its Shia Islamist majority last week tried to fire the governor of Kirkuk even though the constitution does not give them this authority.

Yes, the US-government -- Barack Obama -- picked Nouri for a second term and then picked Hayder al-Abadi after Nouri's violence against the Iraqi people became too much.

Let's offer one example.  And note that Barack refused to publicly comment on this.

The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

53 people dead -- including 8 children.  Killed for the 'crime' of a sit-in.

And where was Barack?

He never said a word publicly.

There was never even a condemnation from the State Dept publicly.

They offered a 'both sides' narrative -- the kind that got Donald Trump criticized not that long ago.

One side was peaceful protesters.

The other was armed thugs.

Members of Parliament had asked for days to be let in to speak with the protesters but Nouri wouldn't allow that.

He would send in thugs to kill these people.

Most of the western press ignored what took place -- over 50 people killed by their own government -- a government the US installed and backed and supplied the weapons.  BRussells Tribunal carried a translation of one activist who was an eye-witness to what went down:


I am Thamer Hussein Mousa from the village of Mansuriya in the district of Hawija. I am disabled. My left arm was amputated from the shoulder and my left leg amputated from the hip, my right leg is paralyzed due to a sciatic nerve injury, and I have lost sight in my left eye.
I have five daughters and one son. My son’s name is Mohammed Thamer. I am no different to any other Iraqi citizen. I love what is good for my people and would like to see an end to the injustice in my country.

When we heard about the peaceful protests in Al-Hawija, taking place at ‘dignity and honor square’, I began attending with my son to reclaim our usurped rights. We attended the protests every day, but last Friday the area of protest was besieged before my son and I could leave; just like all the other protestors there.

Food and drink were forbidden to be brought into the area….

On the day of the massacre (Tuesday 23 April 2013) we were caught by surprise when Al-Maliki forces started to raid the area. They began by spraying boiling water on the protestors, followed by heavy helicopter shelling. My little son stood beside me. We were both injured due to the shelling.

My son, who stood next to my wheelchair, refused to leave me alone. He told me that he was afraid and that we needed to get out of the area. We tried to leave. My son pushed my wheelchair and all around us, people were falling to the ground.

Shortly after that, two men dressed in military uniforms approached us. One of them spoke to us in Persian; therefore we didn’t understand what he said. His partner then translated. It was nothing but insults and curses. He then asked me “Handicapped, what do you want?” I did not reply. Finally I said to him, “Kill me, but please spare my son”. My son interrupted me and said, “No, kill me but spare my father”. Again I told him “Please, spare my son. His mother is waiting for him and I am just a tired, disabled man. Kill me, but please leave my son”. The man replied “No, I will kill your son first and then you. This will serve you as a lesson.” He then took my son and killed him right in front of my eyes. He fired bullets into his chest and then fired more rounds. I can’t recall anything after that. I lost consciousness and only woke up in the hospital, where I underwent surgery as my intestines were hanging out of my body as a result of the shot.

After all of what has happened to me and my little son – my only son, the son who I was waiting for to grow up so he could help me – after all that, I was surprised to hear Ali Ghaidan (Lieutenant General, Commander of all Iraqi Army Ground Forces) saying on television, “We killed terrorists” and displaying a list of names, among them my name: Thamer Hussein Mousa.

I ask you by the name of God, I appeal to everyone who has a shred of humanity. Is it reasonable to label me a terrorist while I am in this situation, with this arm, and with this paralyzed leg and a blind eye?

I ask you by the name of God, is it reasonable to label me a terrorist? I appeal to all civil society and human rights organizations, the League of Arab States and the Conference of Islamic States to consider my situation; all alone with my five baby daughters, with no one to support us but God. I was waiting for my son to grow up and he was killed in this horrifying way.

I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.


So, yes, the Iraqi government has been installed by the US.

And Nouri is a thug who is calling for violence because that's what thugs do.

This morning, Bethan McKernan (INDEPENDENT) reports:

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has demanded that the Kurdish authorities in the north of the country "cancel" the outcome of this week's independence referendum.

In a speech to parliament on Wednesday, Mr Abadi reiterated his order that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) must give up control of its international airports by Friday, or face a ban on international flights into the Kurdish region. Kurdish forces must also withdraw from disputed areas currently under KRG control such as Kirkuk, he added.

THE DAILY SABAH adds, "Iraq will suspend all foreign flights to and from airports operated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) starting Friday, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (IraqCAA) said Wednesday. The statement comes after the KRG refused to surrender authority of airports to the central government in Baghdad."

Isn't the US government supposed to be protecting Kurdish skies under the policy implemented by then-president George H.W. Bush?

Journalist Rebecca Collard Tweets:

Just received warning my flight is cancelled after Iraq promised to close Kurds' airports.

Turning to some of the reported violence, the US Defense Dept announced yesterday:

Strikes in Iraq
In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted 10 strikes consisting of 21 engagements against ISIS targets:
-- Near Qaim, a strike destroyed an ISIS headquarters.
-- Near Beiji, two strikes suppressed two ISIS fighting positions.
-- Near Huwijah, three strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed four weapons caches, three fighting positions, two vehicles, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, a command-and-control node, a staging area, a supply depot and an IED factory.
-- Near Qayyarah, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.
-- Near Rawah, two strikes destroyed an ISIS headquarters and a VBIED.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.

And ALJAZEERA reports, "ISIL fighters have killed at least seven Iraqi soldiers and wounded 16 others in a series of attacks in the country's Anbar province, security sources said. "

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

New content at THIRD:

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Tim Allen starred in LAST MAN STANDING -- which was ABC's second highest rated scripted program at the time ABC announced it was axed.


I never believed ABC.

They axed the show because Tim's character was a conservative.

It was all political.

Tim Allen seems to think so too.


ABC canceled the series in early May after six seasons. ABC network president Channing Dungey said in May that the "ownership structure" of the series played a factor in the network pulling the plug and that Allen's conservative views had nothing to do with it. 
Allen, who played conservative Mike Baxter, the father of three girls, told Macdonald he didn't buy it. 
"I always wanted Last Man Standing to be like [All in the Family's] Archie Bunker," Allen said. "Archie Bunker pushed boundaries, but Carroll O'Connor was not that guy at all. I am a version of that guy. But there is nothing more dangerous, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative character. He is mitigated on the show by a family of women who had a difference of opinions, but [Mike Baxter] was a likeable guy and a principled guy about work and ethics and all this stuff, I think." 
The show hailed from an outside studio, 20th Century Fox Television, which made it expensive for ABC to license. But Allen said it was a hit and could have been used to help other shows, such as the upcoming Roseanne reboot, which is also a multicam. (In its final season, Last Man Standingaveraged a 1.7 rating in the adults 18-49 demo and 8.3 million viewers.)
"I have no idea why they did what they did," Allen said of the network. "You couldn't have handled this worse."
He continued, "Second biggest show, [ABC] hadn't won a Friday night in 15 years. They put us out to pasture on Friday and we won Friday. Big night for us. Big night for them. I would have put Roseanne after us. Use us just to launch shows, if nothing else."


That would have been so smart.

But it would have been smart to renew your second highest rated show.

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2017.  The day after the historic vote in northern Iraq.

Yesterday, a historic referendum was held in northern Iraq.  Results above from RUDAW, the official results will be released later-- some day two to three days but Susannah George (AP) reports the results are expected this evening.  .

RUDAW explained the referendum as follows:

More than five million people are eligible to vote when the people of Kurdistan head to the polls on Monday, September 25, to decide whether they want to leave or stay with Iraq.

With an estimated global population of between 30 and 40 million, the Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups without a state. Under the post-WWI Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, Kurdish lands were divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

Kurds in all four parts of what is known as Greater Kurdistan have faced persecution, discrimination, and genocide, and have fought at times for greater rights, autonomy, and independence.

In Iraq, Kurds make up 17 to 20 percent of the total population. In the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, Kurds have had a semi-autonomous government since a no-fly zone was established over their lands in 1991 after the first Gulf War.

The new Iraqi constitution that came into effect in 2005, after the US-led invasion of 2003, recognized the Kurdistan Region as a federal region with its own legislature and armed forces, the Peshmerga. Both Erbil and Baghdad have accused the other of violating the constitution.

The September 25 referendum will take place in Kurdistan of Iraq only, not neighbouring countries.

It's worth noting that this vote was put together in about three months.  It's also worth noting that provincial elections were supposed to have taken place throughout Iraq earlier this year, then pushed back to September, then pushed back to next year.

  • Voters in Zakho can not wait until morning. They already started to build lines.

    Kurdish Authorities Set to Declare 'Yes' on Independence, Despite Iran and Turkey Threatening War

    Replying to 
    Iraqi Kurds are voting in an independence referendum today, amid rising tensions and international opposition

    Turnout high as Iraqi Kurds defy threats to hold independence vote

    At least one area appears to have voted "no."

    "No to referendum in Alqush" a town of 100% christian population this morning, Nineveh plain, Iraq. They want to stay part of Iraq

    While the US White House opposed the vote, at least two members of the US Congress applauded it.

    Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel issued the following:

    Engel Statement on Kurdish Independence Referendum

    WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:
    “For decades, the Kurdish people have endured campaign after campaign of atrocities, so it’s no wonder that they seek self-determination to protect themselves in the future.
    “The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has played an important role in hosting nearly two million refugees from Iraq and Syria.   Kurdish participation in the Global Coalition against ISIL has been critical to weakening the group and will be vital to our shared goal of ISIL’s final defeat.  Now, with ISIL’s demise in sight, the Kurdish people face additional threats from Shia militias seeking to exacerbate sectarian and ethnic tensions.
    “I firmly believe in the Kurdish right to self-determination.
    “With so many urgent issues at hand, including ISIL’s final defeat, the return of displaced people, a recovering economy, and political complications in the KRG, I urge Kurdish leaders to use the mandate created by this referendum to address these important issues.
    “Now that the Kurdish independence referendum has concluded, I urge all parties in the region to find a way forward that will build a strong home for the Kurdish people.  The Constitution of Iraq recognizes the administrative role of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the Central Government in Baghdad must continue to honor its commitments to the Kurdish people and the KRG.”

    And US House Rep Trent Franks' office issued this:

    September 25, 2017
    Press Release

    Washington, D.C. – The Iraqi Kurds vote in a referendum today for independence from Baghdad. Congressman Trent Franks has been a long-time proponent of the Kurdish people. He has previously proposed an amendment to the defense authorization bill to directly arm the Kurds who are fighting ISIS, and he has been one of the key figures promoting Kurdish nationalism on Capitol Hill. As the votes are cast today, Rep. Trent Franks released the following statement:

    “Baghdad has failed to secure Kurdish rights and effectively protect the Kurdish people from members of the Islamic State and other violent forces, and as any nation in our international community has the right to self-determination, especially if that people faces existential threats, I feel the United States is obligated to support their bid for independence – if it is in our national interest. After all, when America sought its independence as a sovereign nation, we were supported by sympathetic world leaders. It is now time for the Kurdish people to receive the same blessing.

    “Thank God for the Kurds – they have delivered countless groups and individuals from the hands of ISIS. Without their armed defense of northern territory, and the protection of over 2 million refugees, the medieval horrors of ISIS could have been much more widespread. During the darkest days of the Iraq War, Kurdistan remained a sanctuary of order in the midst of sectarian chaos.

    “If the Kurds can show through their actions that their key ally is the United States of America, and they are neither an ally with the Islamist Sunni regime in Turkey nor an ally of the Islamist Shia regime in Iran, the United States will always gladly support them.

    “While the Obama administration dithered and fought efforts to arm and support the Kurds, the Trump administration has the opportunity to stand with a noble people in their time of need. A free and independent Kurdistan can represent hope for peace in the Middle East.

    “Even as I stand with the Kurds, I must add I encourage them to support the self-determination of other groups in the region, such as the Christians of the Nineveh Plain, the Yezidis of Shengal, and the Turkmen of Tal-Afar.  The Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriac Christians and their coreligionists may soon face a similar decision, and I encourage the Kurds to respect their decision regarding the Nineveh Plain.”


    While some were happy regarding the vote, others were less so and threats and intimidation also took place.

    BREAKING: Turkey's Erdogan denounces Iraqi Kurds' vote, says Turkish army is at Iraqi border, ready to take "necessary steps."

    Erdogan just threatened to invade Kurdistan...

    Iran closes border with Iraqi Kurdistan: foreign ministry

    Erdogan says his country is considering all options ranging from military intervention to economic sanctions against Iraq’s Kurdish region

    Iraq's army and Turkish forces conduct joint military drills after divisive Kurdish referendum

    As the Iraqi military joined with Turkey to intimidate the KRG, this Tweet probably summed up the absurdity best.

    Kind of funny that Iraqi army ran away in the face of in Mosul, but flexing muscles against Kurdish people for holding a referendum.

    In other news, Monday saw mass executions carried out by the Iraqi government.  In response, Amnesty International issued the following:

    Responding to the news that at least 42 people were executed in Iraq today on “terrorism” charges, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International said:
    “Today’s mass execution is a shocking display of the Iraqi authorities’ resort to the death penalty to try to show they are responding to security threats.
    “There can be no doubt that individuals who carry out deadly attacks against the civilian population should face justice, but the Iraqi authorities need to recognize that carrying out executions is not the answer and  will not make the country or its people safer.
    the Iraqi authorities need to recognize that carrying out executions is not the answer and will not make the country or its people safer

    Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International
    “The Iraqi authorities have a deplorable track record when it comes to use of the death penalty. In many cases previously people have been put to death after deeply unfair trials and in some cases after being tortured to ‘confess’.
    “The death penalty is an irreversible and reprehensible punishment that should not be used in any circumstances and there is no evidence to show that it deters crime more than any other means of punishment.”

    The following community sites - plus Jody Watley, BLACK AGENDA REPORT, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS, Tavis Smiley and Cindy Sheehan -- updated:

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