Tuesday, October 31, 2017



Hate watching?

Didn’t know anyone would pay to do that.

But my girlfriend was adamant that we had to see SUBURBICAN because it was going to be “so awful.”

So we saw it.

And it was “so awful.”

There was no chemistry between Julianne Moore and Matt Damon.

Julianne generally has chemistry with any onscreen love interest (including Annette Benning) so I found that surprising.

It made me think and I can’t recall him having chemistry with anyone on screen.

Am I forgetting something?

In the Jason Borne flicks, he’s not really supposed to be connecting so that was fine.  (In the first one, he has that fumbling thing with the actress and she made it look real.)

As for his acting?

He’s not bad.  My girlfriend was laughing at the film because she found it so bad.  (She wasn’t the only one in the theater laughing at the film.)

I don’t think it was Matt’s acting as much as it was either the script or the direction.

The film needed a certain zany frame to really work.  I don’t know if it’s the direction or the script but something fell flat.

Matt was trying and if Tim Burton was the director, this could have been another ED WOOD.

Julianne succeeded a little better than Matt because she has those eyes.  Her eyes are her most expressive feature and she used them to indicate a lot.

They tried hard.

But it’s a bad film.

George Clooney’s the director and maybe it’s all his fault.

But I blame the script.  Yes, Clooney does let some scenes linger and it would be sharper and probably funnier if he cut sooner.

I didn’t pay attention to the opening credits but did catch the end scrawl.

And then I realized it was a lot more Clooney’s fault than I was admitting to.

He and another guy wrote the script with the Cohen brothers.

At which point, I realized the bad film was bad because of Clooney.

And it is bad.

It is really bad.  And hate watching is the only way this film can sale tickets.

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

Monday, October 30, 2017.

Fake news?

You mean like this:

Iraqi army won the title of the best army in the world! Alsumaria News: The British military magazine Jeans has named the the "best army in the world" of 2017, while Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi won the award of the best military commander.

YES2IRAQ might need to rethink their claims.  There's no "Jeans."  Possibly they mean JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY?

At any rate, no such praise has been published in the print edition of JANE'S nor has it been published online.  And if ALSUMARIA truly presented the claims, it did so in a live broadcast and not in a story it filed at its website -- which makes no sense at all.

But if the Iraqi military had to pretend on genuine praise, they'd be waiting forever.

Iraq can't defend itself.

Even now, it cannot defend itself.

A US-led coalition scrambled ISIS.  Did it defeat it?  Nope because that's not how you defeat terrorism.  But they scrambled ISIS.

To pretend that the Iraqi military is competent let alone praiseworthy requires serious delusion.

There's so much pretending going on.

In last night's "Looks like a victory for Massoud Barzani despite the pack mentality of the press," we noted that the resignation of KRG President Barzani on Sunday came at the perfect time for his legacy.  He stood up to all foreign powers and honored the Kurdish people by holding a referendum -- in which over 92% of the voters declared that they did not want to be a part of Iraq.

Barzani is now a folk hero.

The press can't see that?  Or it refuses to admit it?

We knew that our failure to address the disputed territories and conflicting Kurdish-Arab claims to places like Kirkuk was dangerous. When I was back working in Iraq again from 2008 to 2010, Ambassador Ryan Crocker predicted in a senior staff meeting that our leaving the Kirkuk issue unresolved “would destroy Iraq.” Distracted by each new crisis du jour, we never mounted a sustained, determined effort to bring Erbil and Baghdad together to resolve the smoldering problem of the disputed territories.

That's Robert Ford writing at THE ATLANTIC this morning in a piece entitled "America Never Understood Iraq: As the Kurdish crisis continues to spiral, a former diplomat laments a history of missed opportunities."  Ford writes:

But Abadi and the Baghdad government—far stronger and with Iranian and American backing—would have none of it, rejecting appeals for dialogue and threatening force. On October 19, the outnumbered Kurds unhappily relinquished Kirkuk and the oilfields without a fight. Again rejecting renewed Kurdish appeals for dialogue, Abadi demanded that Erbil cancel the referendum and turn over its airports and control of its border points. Iraqi forces and the Iran-backed Shia Islamist Popular Mobilization brigades marched into other areas in the disputed territories and the point where Turkey, Syria, and Iraq meet. The Iraqi forces and the peshmerga eventually agreed to a temporary ceasefire on October 28, but there is no resolution in sight for the disputed territories and the future of Iraq’s Kurds.
While Abadi and others in Baghdad condemned the Kurdish vote as illegitimate, there is nothing in the Iraqi constitution that expressly forbade such a non-binding referendum. Moreover, its result merely confirmed what everyone in Iraq already knew: Iraq’s Kurds don’t want to be in Iraq. 
This poses the question of how democratic Iraq could ever be when such a large segment of its population wants out. Oil revenues can help bind Iraq’s Arab and Kurdish communities. The communities are, however, very far apart politically and socially. If Iraq is to find stability, reaching a political solution to integrate Iraqi Kurdistan into broader Iraq seems unavoidable.

Over the weekend, Aziz Weysi Bani weighed in at NEWSWEEK:

Following our vote for independence, Iraqi and regional backlash escalated with closure of our airspace, an end to financial transactions and arrest warrants for our officials. Emboldened by the total lack of international response, Iraq and Iran’s aggression culminated with an invasion of our territory by the Iraqi Army and their Iranian-backed militant counterparts. These militants include terror-designated groups such as Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
These attacks on all fronts, from Sinjar to Kirkuk to Khanaqin, took us by surprise. It was not a complete surprise to the United States, however, which knew the attack was imminent but failed to provide us with a warning or apply adequate pressure to prevent it. Our weakness was partly due to some of our political and military leaders having made a desperate deal with Iran and Iraq, and who retreated their forces without a fight. Had the West provided us with sufficient support, we would not be as susceptible to such lethal manipulation by our common enemies.
When President Donald J. Trump was elected, Kurds were buoyed with new hope. Initially positive signals from his administration prompted babies and businesses to be named after America’s new president.
This support began to wane with President Trump’s opposition to our independence referendum and then turned to outrage when the United States stood by as our lines collapsed under the Iraqi assault. America's policy of not having a policy is all the more confusing, as President Trump only one week ago committed to decertifying the Iran deal and listing the IRGC as a terror organization.

Donald Trump was able to turn his back on the Kurds largely due to the American media.  It's a point Baria Alamuddin (ARAB NEWS) made Sunday as she reflected on her recent trip to the US:

From inside the Washington media bubble it can feel as if the outside world has ceased to exist. The liberal US media appears ill-equipped to handle any news story that doesn’t involve feigning outrage at Donald Trump’s absurd tweets. I wouldn’t want to trivialize the shocking Harvey Weinstein scandal, but is it inopportune to inquire whether anything else is going on in the world?
Americans across the political spectrum appear so consumed with their shattered and polarized national identity that they struggle to pay attention to complex international developments. The White House is obsessed with self-generated crises and own goals, dominated by a president who, if he were suddenly minded to lash out at Tehran and Pyongyang, might struggle to find them on a map.  

Trudy Rubin may have been the only journalist at a daily paper paying attention to what was taking place -- see her October 18th column "Betraying the Kurds plays into Tehran's hands" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER).

In other news, another journalist has been killed in Iraq.

Replying to 
journalist Arkan Sharif leaves behind three children, he was killed in his home in Daquq by Iraqi militiamen.

India's TRIBUNE reports:

A Kurdish video journalist with a channel backing Iraqi Kurdistan's leader Massud Barzani was stabbed to death at his home overnight in disputed Kirkuk province, a security source said on Monday.
Four armed men broke into the home of Arkan Sharif, a 54 -year-old journalist with Kurdistan TV, at 2:30 am (local time) in the Daquq area south of Kirkuk city, the source said.
Sharif, a father of three, was stabbed five times after his family were locked up in another room, the source said.

New content at THIRD:

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

2 most improved TV shows

I wasn't a fan of THE BLACKLIST in season one.

Not even season two.

But season three got me.  Season four was great and this season is already amazing.

For me, Tom's the character that finally grabbed me.  I could identify with him and relate to him in ways that I can't with James Spader's Red.

I like Red.  But he's in a whole other world.  And the FBI agents are semi-likable but not really for me anyone I'd identify with.

Tom's a screw up who means well usually -- I think a lot of us can identify with that.

I really wish BLACKLIST REDEMPTION had lasted because I was really enjoying it and I hope those ends get tied up on THE BLACKLIST now that Tom's back on it.

My second pick for most improved TV show is also an hour long drama.


They really screwed up when Analise wasn't the killer in season one.

And I walked on it.

Then last spring a friend asked me to give it another look.

And Makayla (sp?) really was doing stuff and I liked the guy that they hooked her up with -- he's not 'right' for her but they do fit.

This year, the show's even better.

In fact, it's probably one of my favorites of the year.  Since it kicked off this season, every episode has mattered.

Unlike SCANDAL which doesn't know what it's doing apparently.

I think Analise is so much more interesting this season as well -- having to prove herself after the disasters of last season.  Jimmy Smits is good as her therapist.

But along with Analise, I love Makayla, Connor and Makayla's boyfriend.  I can't think of his name -- and I'm watching as I type. 

But those are my two picks for the two most improved TV shows of this season.

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017.  Look what they've accomplished -- making War Criminal Bully Boy Bush popular.  May they suffer accordingly.

Starting with this:

AFGHANISTAN: 149,000 deaths 700,000 displaced 2.7 million refugees IRAQ: 268,000 deaths 2.9 million displaced 1.9 million refugees

Thank you, Ellen DeGeneres.

When you needed support from the world as you tried to leave your closet, the world responded with love.

You repaid them by bringing on a War Criminal like Bully Boy Bush, by using your talk show to normalize him.  Shame on you.

Iraq is ripped apart but you got to hee-haw and bray like a donkey seated next to Bully Boy Bush.

You shamed yourself.

You disgraced yourself.

And so many others rush to do the same.

The inability of the Democratic Party to draw a line between right and wrong is part of the reason that more and more voters stay away from the polls.

The ongoing Iraq War is a crime.

And those who minimize it or 'set it aside' are accessories to the crime.

Take another selfie, Ellen, and consider it your mugshot.

And get a crowd around you of all the other sorry asses who sell out ethics and beliefs to grind up against War Criminal Bully Boy Bush.

Moving on to another fake ass, THE NEW YORK TIMES, the editorial board recently noticed that the country is engaged in never-ending wars.

Late to the party, as usual, the paper rushed in to advocate for a draft and so much more.  Bill Van Auken (WSWS) called them out:

“The idea that Americans could be inured to war and all its horrors is chilling,” the Times editors bemoan.
Who do they think they’re kidding? Does the newspaper’s editorial page editor James Bennet (a man with the closest ties to the US state, with a brother who is a right-wing Democratic senator from Colorado and a father who was a top State Department official who headed the Agency for International Development (AID), a frequent conduit for CIA operations) think that the Times’ readership is plagued by collective amnesia?
The “newspaper of record” has done everything in its power to “inure” the American public to war and, whenever possible, to conceal from it the real extent of its horrors—at least when the bloodshed is the handiwork of the Pentagon.
The Times editorial board has played a critical role in selling every US war of aggression for the past 25 years. Its most infamous role was played in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, when its senior correspondent Judith Miller conspired with the government to promote and embellish upon the lies about “weapons of mass destruction,” and its ineffable foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman brazenly embraced a “war of choice,” justifying it in the name of democracy, human rights and oil. Once the Times got the war it sought, it systematically obscured its real human costs, which included the estimated loss of a million Iraqi lives.

Rivaling THE TIMES for most brazen, a column in THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER entitled "Iraq may have just turned the corner from chaos to stability."

Another turned corner?

Michael Rubin's the neocon still trying to con the American people.

They conned for so long that all they really have is the over used "turned corner."

The "turned corner" that's always led back to the same place.

You know things are bad in Iraq when the people who cheered the war on from the beginning start insisting "turned corner."

How's that "turned corner" looking in Iraq?

Because I think most of us are seeing chaos and, as Leon Panetta pointed out, looks like it's moving to the brink of civil war.

Top news

Link to headline article

Big KDP commander Waheed Bakozi was killed today near Faysh Khabour north Nineveh (Video of the funeral).

Iraqi PM Abadi heads to Iran. On the agenda: Kurdish separatism and the role of Shia militias in Iraq

Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF are shelling Peshmerga positions from Zummar, North West of Mosul. Now advancing.

STATEMENT: As of 1200hrs, Peshmerga repelled an four-pronged attack by ISF/PMF in NW Mosul. Shelling continues using heavy artillery.

Replying to 
It has destabilized some of the country’s safest areas, displaced over 150,000 individuals and created dangerous security vacuums.
Replying to 
We condemn Iraq’s military aggression in the strongest terms. Intl community must denounce Iraq’s reckless behavior in the last two weeks.
Replying to 
This is a blatant violation of the Iraqi Constitution which forbids the use of the army to settle political disputes.
Replying to 
Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF continue to use U.S. weapons to attack Peshmerga positions, incl Humvees, APCs and Badger vehicles.

A neocon sees another 'turned corner' -- the rest of the world, not so much.

The KRG's envoy to the US Tweeted:

Mr President - Iran-backed militias are attacking peshmerga right now. When will the US say enough?

And US House Rep Trent Franks Tweeted:

It is unconscionable for the United States to continue standing idly by while Iranian proxies in Iraq assault our Kurdish allies.

20-year-old Alex Missildine was killed while serving in Iraq.  Yesterday's snapshot resulted in a few drive-bys insisting that Missildine's body had been returned and that any memorial took place then.

First, I applaud your brave courage and firm insistence that you are always right.  Were you not so sure of yourself, you might try to check something out first.

I didn't lie nor was I wrong.  (I can be wrong and often am, I wasn't this time.)  A memorial service was held for him yesterday at Robert E. Lee high school in Tyler, Texas -- as I stated in the snapshot.

There was no news coverage of it online so I didn't link to any.

How do I know about the memorial?

From East Texas community members, some of whom wrote a piece for HILDA'S MIX this week -- remember what Keesha says, "This is a private conversation in a public sphere" -- what you see at this website, is only one piece of a dialogue between a very large community.

For the drive-bys, this is from Louanna Campbell's piece published today by THE TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH:

As the sun came up over Robert E. Lee High School on Wednesday, senior Karl Hall stood solemnly in the school's courtyard holding a wooden flag case made by one of his classmates. 
He was joined by about 150 students and faculty in the cold morning air as they gathered to honor the service and sacrifice of Army Spc. Alexander Missildine, a 2015 Lee graduate who died earlier this month in the line of duty. 
Jared Cockrum played taps on his trumpet as a detail of U.S. Army soldiers unfurled and folded a flag before Hall, who organized the short student-led memorial service. Hall then placed the flag case on top of the Army memorial wall at the bottom of the school's flag pole. 
"Alex was a friend of mine," Cockrum said. "I met him when I was a freshman. He was my section leader in band. I wanted to show my thanks for his service and his family."

And here is KLTV -- Tyler's ABC affiliate -- reporting on the memorial service:

Memorial service held at Robert E. Lee for alum, Alexander Missildine

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, LATINO USA and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

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