I have a lot of favorite actors and actresses. They include Halle Berry, Al Pacino, Jamie Lee Curtis, Goldie Hawn, Dustin Hoffman, Denzel Washington, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Diane Keaton, Eddie Murphy, Thandiwe Newton, Robert Downie Jr., Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Hillary Swank, Diana Ross, Jeff Bridges, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Edward Norton, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Angelina Jolie, Gene Hackman, Laurence Fishburne, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone . . .
I love a lot of them. But my favorite is always going to be Michelle Pfeiffer who I think is really and tragically underrated. No offense to Geena Davis, but Geena didn't deserve the Oscar for THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST -- a movie that's forgotten today. Michelle should have received the Oscar for her performance in DANGEROUS LIASONS. Michelle was nominated a few times more but she has never won and that is outrageous to me.
Here she is on THE ACTOR'S STUDIO.
And these are my favorite Michelle films in order.
10) A THOUSAND ACRES
9) THE RUSSIA HOUSE
8) MARRIED TO THE MOB
7) THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK
4) DANGEROUS LIASONS
3) THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS
2) FRENCH EXIT
1) BATMAN RETURNS
That was a very tough list to make. I love INTO THE NIGHT and she's brilliant in SWEET LIBERTY, WOLF, WHAT LIES BENEATH (and, honestly, I forgot about that until right now and am too lazy to redo my top ten but that's a strong contender for the top ten), I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN, STARDUST, THE FAMILY, DANGEROUS MINDS, DARK SHADOWS, MOTHER, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and CHERI. And I almost forgot THE AGE OF INNOCENCE and LOVE FIELD.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, September 1, 2022. How bad are things in Iraq and how badly has Joe Biden bungled it? Judith Miller feels safe returning to the topic of Iraq. Judith. Miller.
Mustafa serves Moqtada.
If you're going to analyze what took place and do it honestly, you need to note what Iraqis have been noting for weeks now -- when the Shi'ite youth peacefully worked for change, the Iraqis forces mowed them down and Mustafa did nothing. You need to contrast that -- as Arabic social media has -- with how he's responded to Moqtada's cult. But if you're really going to analyze what took place and do it honestly, you go to someone like Mohammed Tawfeeq who has long covered Iraq for CNN and not two nobodies like Adam and Abbas who don't cover Iraq. 'Oh, they cover the Middle East!' They haven't covered Iraq. They lack the knowledge base and they lack the experience. By contrast, not only is Mohammed someone with years of experience covering Iraq, he also hails from Iraq. You've got expertise, experience and a triple Emmy winner in Mohammed but you ignore assigning this to him? Maybe Adam and Abbas can be WARNER BROS DISCOVERY's next cuts because they are clearly useless and not up to the job.
On the media. I'm going to strongly critique CNN and others -- probably ALJAZEERA in a moment -- but outlets like BREAKING POINTS WITH KRYSTAL AND SAAGAR and DEMOCRACY NOW! that are picking up the story right now? I'm not expecting much from them and, honestly, I'm just glad to see some Iraq coverage from outlets that usually ignore the country and the ongoing war.
But these other outlets that do cover it some? I'm not giving them a pass for presenting garbage to the western news consumer.
Turning to a different aspect, Jeff Schogol (TASK AND PURPOSE) notes:
Roughly 2,500 U.S. service members are currently in Iraq as the country’s political paralysis has erupted into the most serious outbreak of violence in years.
[. . . ]
So far, no additional troops have been requested to increase security at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, said Army Lt. Col. David Eastburn, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.
Air sirens went off at the US Embassy this week. But the US State Dept says the embassy's not going to be evacuated. Kuwait and Bahrain are calling for their citizens to leave Iraq. For over a month now, Congress has been sending letters to President Joe Biden telling him that more attention needs to be given to Iraq and Joe has just ignored it. October 10th, Iraq held elections. All these months later, still no president declared, still no prime minister. And Joe's done nothing. Let's note this:
As David Schenker, a former Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East under former President Trump wrote a week ago, senior State Department and National Security Council officials visited Iraq only twice in the nearly nine months between the national election last October and the most recent outbreak of violence this week.
Do you get how bad Joe's doing? I don't think you do. Maybe this will help though, the admonishment above? Coming from Judith Miller. Yes, that Judith Miller. Joe's doing such a bad job that Judith can return to the topic of Iraq despite her record of pre-war coverage.
On US troops in Iraq (all should be home) we need to note a report from last weekend. Daniel Brown and Azmi Haroun (BUSINESS INSIDER) reported:
In the 76 countries in which the US is currently fighting terrorism, at least three have been incredibly deadly: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
And as the US pullout from Afghanistan nears the one year mark, Brown University's Costs of War Project report details just how deadly they've been. It counts how many people have been killed by the "United States' post-9/11 wars" in these three countries, along with others.
The report accounts for deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan between October 2001 and October 2018, and in Iraq between March 2003 and September 2021.
In October 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan to defeat the al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and 20 years later, on August 30, 2021, the US completed a chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as the Taliban regained full control of the country.
[. . .]
6,951 US military deaths.
Iraq: 4,550 deaths.
Afghanistan: 2,401 deaths.
Pakistan: 0 deaths.
There were also 21 civilian DOD deaths, including six in Afghanistan and 15 in Iraq, the Cost of War report notes.
7,820 US contractor deaths.
Iraq: 3,793 deaths.
Afghanistan: 3,937 deaths.
Pakistan: 90 deaths.
109,154 national military and police deaths.
Iraq: 41,726 deaths.
Afghanistan: 58,596 deaths.
Pakistan: 8,832 deaths.
1,464 Allied troop deaths.
Iraq: 323 deaths.
Afghanistan: 1,141 deaths.
Pakistan: 0 deaths.
244,124 — 266,427 civilians.
Iraq: 182,272 — 204,575 deaths.
Afghanistan: 38,480 deaths.
Pakistan: 23,372 deaths.
109,396 — 114,471 opposition fighters.
Iraq: 34,806 — 39,881 deaths.
Afghanistan: 42,100 deaths.
Pakistan: 32,490 deaths.
362 journalists and media workers.
Iraq: 245 deaths.
Afghanistan: 54 deaths.
Pakistan: 63 deaths.
566 humanitarian and NGO workers.
Iraq: 62 deaths.
Afghanistan: 409 deaths.
Pakistan: 95 deaths.
479,858 — 507,236 total deaths.
Iraq: 267,792 — 295,170 deaths.
Afghanistan: 147,124 deaths.
Pakistan: 64,942 deaths.
Read the full report here.
Read the original article on Business Insider
It's an undercount, to be sure, but it's the most serious attempt at a real count in over a decade.
Anyone worried about an overcount on US troops killed in Iraq and citing DoD figures, should grasp that the US government's count buries troops killed in Iraq after December 2011 under the heading "Operation Inherent Resolve" and which covers deaths in "Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the Mediterranean Sea east of 25 [degrees] longitude, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea."
That lumping is how they and the press get to pretend that the war ended at the end of 2011 -- when in fact, there are 74 more deaths after that.
Back to the media, I am so sick of the one-sided nonsense with regards to Iraq. ALJAZEERA wants to 'explain' what happened. They do so how? By only quoting Moqtada al-Sadr's followers. I'm sick of it. They quote one who wants you to know he does what his leader tells him (how pathetic, shame on anyone taking marching orders from a politician). The fool explains that he occupied the Parliament --
While many western outlets are failing with regards to covering what's going on in Iraq, Jean Shaoul files a strong report for WSWS which includes:
The violence erupted after al-Sadr announced his “final retirement” from politics. Hundreds of his supporters in his Sairoon movement took to the streets and broke through the concrete barriers of the heavily fortified Green Zone, where Iraq’s federal parliament and government buildings, as well as the US and other foreign embassies, are located.
Protests also broke out in Iraq’s southern provinces, where al-Sadr’s supporters burned tires and blocked roads in the oil-rich province of Basra, and hundreds demonstrated outside the governorate building in Missan.
The caretaker government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew, while Iran, which has sought to bring Iraq’s Shiite factions closer together, closed its borders with Iraq, as millions of Iranians prepared to visit Iraq for an annual pilgrimage to Shia sites.
On Monday night, al-Sadr said he was going on hunger strike until the violence and the use of weapons stopped. The next day, in a bid to disassociate himself from the violence, he apologised and called on his followers to leave the Green Zone and the camps where they have been protesting for the last four weeks, prompting many of his supporters to leave.
Al-Sadr’s retirement threat—the fourth this erratic and unprincipled politician has made over the last eight years—and the violence he knew it would unleash are bound up with his determination to take direct control of Iraq’s sectarian-ethnic political system at the expense of his Shia rivals in the Coordination Framework.
While al-Sadr, who comes from a leading Shia clerical family, led the main Shia resistance to the US occupation, he has no progressive answers to the enormous social problems confronting the Iraqi people. Posing as a nationalist opposed to foreign interference in Iraq, he has links to both Washington and Tehran. He has acted as kingmaker in forging ruling coalitions and placed his own supporters in key positions in the cabinet, the state-owned oil company, powerful ministries and local authorities. They take a cut of government contracts to pass on to his organisation, which runs a militia and provides jobs and social welfare for his impoverished supporters in Baghdad’s slums.
Al-Sadr’s announcement of his “final retirement” followed the resignation of the 83-year-old Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, a close associate of al-Sadr’s father and spiritual leader of the Sadrists, who challenged his right to act as the heir of his father, Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, saying, “You cannot lead by their names. In reality you are not a Sadrist even if you are from the family of Sadrists.” Haeri called on his followers to transfer their allegiance to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and “obey” Iran’s supreme leader as “the most worthy and competent [individual] to lead the [Muslim] nation.”
Moqtada's getting desperate. He's losing his hold on the cult. He's stating he's out of politics and he's never going to be an Ayatollah -- hotel management is a general studies degree, Moqtada, it's not a religious honor.
One day before this arbitrary deadline, Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, who enjoys a following from many Sadrists, announced his retirement and, oddly, issued a two-page letter that included a denouncement of Sadr and his supporters, accusing them of dividing the Iraqi people in the name of the Sadr family that has enjoyed long-standing respect in Iraq and beyond. Haeri also recommended that his followers emulate Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei— another gesture that antagonized Sadrist leaders who have protested increased Iranian influence and accused their rivals of being Iranian agents.
The Sadrist response to Haeri’s retirement letter was fierce and Sadr announced his “complete withdrawal” from the public scene, leaving his rivals to face the angry masses—mostly Sadr’s followers.
We'll wind down with this from Margaret Kimberley's latest column for BLACK AGENDA REPORT:
The Biden administration announcement of so-called student loan debt relief does little to alleviate the problem it claims to solve. Forgiving $20,000 for Pell grant holders and $10,000 for all who earn less than $125,000 is questionable for a variety of reasons. It is a midterm election bait and switch that pleases gullible democrats, helps only a minority of borrowers, and is nothing like what candidate Biden proposed during the 2020 campaign.
Americans owe $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. This crisis did not occur by happenstance. Universities did not escape the neoliberal onslaught and are fund raising machines charging astronomical amounts of money for tuition and room and board. Decades of austerity have slashed spending for public institutions. Once so inexpensive that they were practically free, they now offer little respite from crushing debt. There is no way for working people to secure the higher education they’re told they need without ruining themselves financially, and in so doing defeating the purpose of attending college.
Of course college should be free and student loan debt should be forgiven. The issue is of great importance to Black people, who are usually unable to pay very little if any tuition and incur debt from the first day of school. White people are more likely to have assets and family resources they can tap. They may not incur any student loan debt at all unless they attend graduate school.
The rationale for this catastrophe is quite simple. The race to the bottom is an essential part of the corporate drive to keep Americans desperate. The living wage work that is the holy grail for college students is less likely to exist. The international capitalist overlords want the system to be this way, and they have created a system which keeps everyone, including the educated, in a grip of stagnant wages, insecure employment, and a diminishing social safety net.
Senator Joe Biden played a role in creating these terrible conditions. In 2005 he and 17 other democrats joined republicans in voting for the Bankruptcy Act, which made it all but impossible to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy. The Delaware senator was beholden to the consumer credit industry, like all of that state’s elected officials. They were the drivers in ensuring that filing for bankruptcy for any reason would become very difficult and they were always among Biden’s biggest campaign contributors.
Of course Biden knows what people need and want. During his campaign he said , “I propose to forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt-holders earning up to $125,000.” At other times he included Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in this debt forgiveness plan.
It is easy to point out the discrepancy between what he promised and what he now proposes, but the problem is bigger than the laundry list of Biden campaign lies. There is great confusion among Black people about student loan debt relief, what it will really accomplish, and what is actually needed.
The following sites updated: