'scandal' season premiere

the real scandal is how bad 'scandal' is.

this is how they return?

all this time to write and create a big kick off to the last season of the show and this is how they roll?

as marcia pointed out, if it weren't for the sex and fighting and then break up of olivia and jake, the whole episode would have sucked.

yeah, they broke up.  in their fights, they were at opposite sides of a cia agent and jake went to president mellie behind liv's back.

so she told him he forgot she (olivia) was the boss and that they're no longer having sex.

then she went out on a date with a fresh faced twink who looks about 20 years younger than she is.

he can't be but she looks bad this year - it's partly the way they're making up her eyes.

and it was a lot like 'will & grace' on the same night where will had a cute 23 year-old interested in him and jack had a 20 year-old tell him he was not into 'daddies.'

'will & grace' was hilarious.

and it's what i'm watching on thursday nights.  i'll catch 'scandal' the next day.

'will & grace' is hilarious and alive.

'scandal' is dead.

it needs to get its sorry ass together.

quinn, huck, abby and what's his name are running the former opa and they're so damn boring.

that's the writing, that's not the actors.

that's the writing.

it's sorry as f**k.

and don't get me started on mellie who acts like a barbie doll.

without a brain?

barbie doll's have empty heads - there are no brains.

again, that's not the actress' fault, it's the sorry writing.

this may have been the worst episode of the show ever - and after the 2 previous seasons, that's really saying something.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, October 6, 2017.  The Iraq War is not ending and that was clear in a Congressional hearing this week.

"I remain concerned that without significant post-conflict planning and resourcing we will find ourselves and Iraqi condemned to fighting the same battles so many have already given their lives for in the past," declared US House Rep Seth Moulton earlier this week.

He was speaking Tuesday afternoon at a House Armed Services Subommittee hearing.  The Subcommittee is the Oversight and Investigations and Moulton is the Ranking Member and an Iraq War veteran.

The hearing was regarding a post-ISIS world.

Or that's what it was supposed to be.

It was actually a hearing about forever war.

US House Rep Seth Moulton: At its core, what troubles Iraq are fundamentally political questions.  Just as I disagreed with the Obama administration I am again concerned that this new administration is not significantly prioritizing such underlying political dynamics.

The first panel featured two-time Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, Marc Lynch (of George Washington University -- and also famous for his blogging and his analysis -- the latter frequently at FOREIGN POLICY) and Kenneth Pollack who's finally left Brookings and stopped pretending he was a centrist.  In fact, Pollack's move to the right-wing American Enterprise Institute may qualify as the only significant movement taking place during the 14 years of the ongoing Iraq War.

14 years.

And still no end in sight.

And yet people seem willing to accept this as normal.

14 years and where do things stand today?

US House Rep Seth Moulton: First and foremost, I'm concerned that Iraqi security forces may be woefully unprepared to provide security to Iraqi civilians and ensure displaced persons can return to their homes without attack or fear of retribution.  Experts I have heard from here in Washington and in Iraq have expressed worries of insufficient hold forces and police compounded by the beleaguered state of Iraqi military units reeling from the toil of the brutal counter-ISIS campaign. Without sufficient local security arrangements, we cannot expect for Iraq to be stabilized, for civilians to return to normalcy and for communities to be defended against the emergence of a "ISIS 2.0" or other militant groups. Moreover, without capable and professional security forces, we risk seeing a repeat of the same sectarian tensions leading to Sunni embitterment that provided fertile ground for the growth of ISIS in the first place. Beyond the provisioning of civilian security, key gaps and problems remain to be addressed -- such as acute food insecurity, insufficient access to healthcare, destroyed infrastructure, degraded public services and utility, newly inflamed grievances among local communities and insufficient plans for government arrangements in many areas.

14 years, millions of lives lost and billions of dollars spent and that counts as progress?

That is what the world has to show for the Iraq War?

Let's note this exchange.

US House Rep Seth Moulton:  Why is it worth the United States effort to put in 10,000 troops even if their effort is mainly political?  Why is it worth the effort of the State Dept resources and aid and development resources to build up the Iraqi state?  We've been there a long time and many Americans are asking why don't we just pull out and go home? And Ambassador Crocker, you referred to this a little bit in your introduction, but just explain to the American people why this investment is worthwhile and why now is the right time to make it?  Ambassador Crocker, you're welcome to start. Thank you.

Ambassador Ryan Crocker:  Uh, thank you, Congressman Moulton.  What-what we are seeing in the region, potentially in Iraq, is not just the overthrow of regimes but the collapse of states. And, sadly, when states collapse, other forces will fill the void. Uhm, as we have seen.  I would, uh, call it a failure of governance throughout the region.  Modern Middle East is about 100 years old and that time, that chronic failure of governance, has led to crisis after crisis  and I would argue has brought the region to the point it's at today -- which is deeply dangerous not only for the region but for the world  including ourselves.  So there is a fundamental choice here -- either we continue as we've been doing -- in which case I think you are going to see Islamic State 2.0 -- as the Islamic State was al Qaeda in Iraq 2.0.  That is not in our interest -- anymore than watching Afghanistan spiral down in the 90s -- again, the rise of the Taliban and 9-11.   Congressman, I have heard much in my career about a failure of intelligence leading to this or that -- there's some truth in it. But it's not the whole truth.  I call it a failure of imagination -- that we cannot imagine how bad things can get -- we couldn't imagine that -- 

That's enough from him.

Does Ryan Crocker ever admit reality?

Tuesday, I sat through a hearing of Ryan Crocker insisting the US must remain in Iraq.

Excuse me, Tuesday, I again sat through a hearing of Ryan Crocker insisting the US must remain in Iraq.

Why are we listening to recommendations from Ryan Crocker?

After all this time, why are we still listening?

It was a flashback to a week in April of 2008 when The Crocker and Petraeus Variety Hour took place and we had to attend hearing after hearing in the House and Senate as Crocker and David Petraeus sold failure as 'success' and insisted the US had to remain in Iraq.  It was a week when 20 US service members were announced dead in Iraq -- not that the media ever made that connection.  They were too busy falling at the feet of Croker and Petraeus (especially the latter).

Fake news?

Oh, please, they've been peddling it for years, decades.

And they peddled it that week and repeatedly distorted and denied reality.

For example, Crocker was repeatedly setting "forth a vision, to use his words, of our relationship with Iraq" (his words, as Joe Biden would point out).

Yet on April 10, 2008, this man supposedly arguing a vision (continued war was all he was arguing for), was asked by US House Rep Ellen Tauscher about withdrawal from Iraq because, as she noted, "we will have a new president on January 20" 2009 and Crocker responded, the man there to present the vision of Iraq's future, "That's looking fairly far into the future, uh ,and I've, uh, learned to keep my timelines short when it uh comes to do with things in Iraq."

No, he hadn't.

He was arguing for endless war.

And he's still doing that.

And, no offense, but Lynch, Pollack and Crocker have all been wrong -- infamously wrong -- on Iraq.  Why the hell are they still being invited as alleged experts?

They may have skills when it comes to analysis -- Lynch and Crocker have both shown skill there -- but that doesn't translate into forecasting.  They've made recommendations that have repeatedly been faulty.

And yet there they were again.

The most important hearing during the week of The Crocker and Petraeus Variety Hour was the one that neither 'celebrity' attended.  It took place April 10, 2008 and was chaired by then-Senator Joe Biden:

Biden spoke of how US Ambassador Ryan Crocker told the committee on Tuesday that this was about setting "forth a vision, to use his words, of our relationship with Iraq" but "one of the problems . . . is the vision this administrations shares for Iraq is not shared by two of the thee" current candidates for president in the Democratic and Republican Parties -- referring to Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Biden noted that those appearing before Congress keep stating that the agreements "aren't binding to us but, in Iraq, they think we mean it . . . because otherwise we wouldn't be having this kind of discussion."  Biden noted the "internal threat" aspect being proposed and how these requires the US "to support the Iraqi government in its battle with all 'outlaw groups' -- that's a pretty expansive commitment."  He noted that it requires the US "to take sides in Iraq's civil war" and that "there is no Iraqi government that we know of that will be in place a year from now -- half the government has walked out." 

"Just understand my frustration," Biden explained.  "We want to normalize a government that really doesn't exist."  

And Crocker's still advocating to normalize a government that really doesn't exist.

Crocker claimed Tuesday:

Modern Middle East is about 100 years old and that time, that chronic failure of governance, has led to crisis after crisis  and I would argue has brought the region to the point it's at today -- which is deeply dangerous not only for the region but for the world  including ourselves.

If the crises have been deeply dangerous for the region and the world, maybe the UK and the US should have butted out long ago because it is the wars they have started in the Middle East for the last 100 years that has led to chronic failure.

Crocker can't admit that.  He can't even admit that a 14 year war -- an ongoing war -- that has nothing to brag about is the very definition of a failure.

KURDISTAN 24 reports:

Former Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki is thus far the sole nominee to the chairmanship of the Shia National Alliance bloc in the Iraqi Parliament, according to an Iraqi lawmaker.
Huda Sajjad, a lawmaker from Maliki's faction within the State of Law coalition, told local Iraqi news outlets on Tuesday that the current Vice-President of Iraq is the only candidate nominated as next chairman of the Shia National Alliance. 
[. . .]
Maliki was the Iraqi Premier from 2006 until Sep. 2014. He is known as a close ally of Iran.
He has repeatedly been criticized for being involved in widespread corruption, his failed policies, and contributing to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in mid-2014.

Nouri wants a third term as prime minister.

Even though a reading of the Iraqi Constitution argues that's not legal.

He wants that even though he once swore he'd never seek it (but then went on to seek it in 2014 but was overruled by Barack Obama).

And now thug Nouri plots his return.

And he may return.

Hayder al-Abadi, the current prime minister, is just Nouri-lite.  (Though Lynch painted him as ineffectual but a good person in the hearing, the reality is that al-Abadi persecutes the Sunnis in the same way Nouri did.)

Hayder sews divisions daily.

One example for today, Jalal Talabani, a two-term president of Iraq, passed away.  Today was his funeral.

How shameful! Iraq’s Prime Minister fails to show up to the funeral of the former Iraqi President and much-loved Mam Jalal.

The funeral of the former Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is held at the Grand Mosque of Sulaymaniyah FOLLOW LIVE:

Even something as basic as attending a funeral becomes a schism because of Hayder.

Going back to Tuesday's hearing one more time.

US House Rep Seth Moulton:  I cannot tell you how painful it is as an Iraq War veteran to see us fighting and re-fighting the same battles we fought and for which so many of our friends gave their lives.  At this rate, my children will be fighting these very same battles. We must hear from this administration how this time will be different, how this time you will ensure a political resolution so that the US military doesn't have to keep coming back and cleaning up the mess every time Iraqi politics falls apart. 

Saturday, there's a protest in NYC:

NYC: Join the Rally to Resist War & Racism at Home & Abroad | October 7, 1pm | Herald Square More info:
U.S. out of everywhere!
Join us in NYC, Saturday, 10/7. Protest U.S. state aggressions at home and abroad. . . .
Here's what BAP's been up to this week. Please RT!

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

  • iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq


    because david brock & co. are so damn stupid

    eric boehlert?

    is that david brock's idiot?

    i know david brock has a lot of idiots.

    well the idiot made a big to do last week about hillary being number one and beating bill o'reilly.

    because they're stupid like that - the fools that work for david brock.

    i made my money in p.r.

    when i read that stupid tweet by stupid eric, i thought 2 things.

    1) a book list is not a marathon. 

    2) you stupid idiot, you are motivating every bill o'reilly fan to go out and buy his book next week so that he can make it to number 1.

    and that's what happened.

    exactly what happened.

    it may also be that hillary's book doesn't have legs.

    i have heard from friends that there were strategic buys in certain markets.

    but they blew their chance at two weeks in a row the minute eric blowhard did that stupid tweet.

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    Wednesday, October 4, 2017.  A US service member is killed in Iraq on Sunday and so many ignore it -- media, the state's governor, the city's mayor, etc.

    Stupidity on CNN.  10,000 ads supposedly on FACEBOOK in 2015 and 2016 [*supposedly purchased by Russia*].  Supposedly.  The network invites Senator Richard Blumenthal on.  He's asked about the alleged ads which supposedly targeted Michigan and Wisconsin.


    "They had to have some kind of highly sophisticated and technical advice."

    Is Blumenthal as stupid as Hillary Clinton?


    Did anyone need expert advice to know Wisconsin would be in play?

    Have they not read Matthew Rothschild's hysterical Tweets and efforts over the last years?

    Scott Walker, a Republican, was elected governor of Wisconsin in 2010 and again in 2014.  He also survived the 2012 recall effort Rothschild and others led.  That tells you the state is up for grabs.

    Need more?

    In 2013, Ava and I noted:

    We were also struck by the nonsense Rothschild and Welsh offered regarding Wisconsin.  At one point, Rothschild insisted, "Well it was devastating when he [Walker] won the recall I've got to say because we had a million people sign signatures to get him out of office, all we needed was about 400,000 more people to vote against him and he'd have been out of office."

    Facts are needed for an honest debate.  400,000 votes were not needed.  Walker received 1,335,585 votes while Tom Barrett received 1,164,480 votes.  171,106  was the amount of additional votes needed to defeat Walker.  Does Rothschild struggle with basic addition and subtraction?  That would explain a great deal.

    (For any wondering, 939,266 registered voters did not vote in the recall.  Had Rothschild and company worked harder, they wouldn't have had to pull from Walker's support, only motivate 1/4 of the registered non-voters to vote and vote for Barrett.  All figures from the Government Accountability Board of the State of Wisconsin.)

    Rothschild clearly struggles with other realities.  Despite the (small) ongoing protests against Walker, his approval rate was 48% with 46% disapproval.  Rothschild may want to portray Walker as hugely out of step with Wisconsin but the polling does not suggest that's the opinion of the state's citizens.

    That doesn't mean Walker's good or great.  It does mean that despite running off national readers with their near exclusive focus on Wisconsin, The Progressive has failed to communicate effectively to the people of Wisconsin on what they see as Walker's faults.

    That is the portrait of a a swing state.

    In fairness to Richard Blumenthal, he doesn't know s**t about Wisconsin.  (He represents Connecticut.) But Hillary and her campaign should have.

    If, IF!, FACEBOOK ads were bought to influence Wisconsin, no expertise was needed, just a basic grasp of the facts.

    Here are a few more facts:  CNN isn't just promoting allegations, it's promoting an agenda.

    You got the 'reporter' who did nothing but repeat what Democrat Adam Schiff told him.  No fact check, no alternative opinion.  Then they brought on Democrat Richard Blumnethal.  Both men promoted the still not proven allegations that Russia influenced the election.  Two segments, no skepticism, the very definition of Fake News.

    We'll stop there on CNN except to note that Howard Kurtz looked like a media critic and Brian Stelter looks like a child molester.  In TV, looks matter.  And on CNN, they matter when it comes to women but any ugly piece of s**t man can get hired.  Oh, let's note one more point, Chris Cuomo needs to stop picking fights with guests on air and needs to stop cutting them off.  He's far too emotional and hysteria-prone to be on TV.  (He's also aged out of his limited looks.)

    Let's stay with the trash that is Brian Stelter.

    As noted in yesterday's snapshot, he can use Iraq as a political football on his Twitter feed -- can and did -- but he still hasn't Tweeted about the US service member who died in Iraq Sunday.  He hasn't even reTweeted Jake Tapper's Tweet.

    Pentagon IDs US soldier killed by IED Sunday in iraq: Spc. Alexander W. Missildine, 20, of Tyler, Texas. RIP

    Stelter is an idiot and an embarrassment.

    Army Spc. Alexander W. Missildine, killed in Iraq bomb blast Sunday, was just starting first deployment:

    Honoring the memory of a fallen 10th Mountain Division Soldier. Specialist Alexander W. Missildine, killed Sunday, October 1, 2017 in Iraq

    Alex Horton and Dan Lamothe (WASHINGTON POST) report:

    Troops learn early on to call peers by their last name. But for Pfc. Gabrielle Babbitt, she was drawn to a fellow soldier she just calls Alex, the guy with a “silly” Texas accent.

    She met Spec. Alexander W. Missildine while training in summer 2015, with her coming from Fairport Harbor, Ohio, and he from Tyler in East Texas. Both were learning to become Army truck drivers.
    [. . .]
    “I told him, ‘You have to promise me you’ll come back.’ I had a feeling something was wrong, because normally he’d send a message throughout the day just to say hi,” said Babbitt, also 20, “and I didn’t hear from him at all.”

    KLTV is the local ABC affiliate in Tyler, Texas.

    Remembering a fallen East Texas soldier
    KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

    And this is from KLTV Doug Murray's text report:

    "Towards the end of high school, we would talk about that transition of graduating and getting to real life," former Robert E. Lee High School Band Director Robert Castillo said. "He was really excited about serving his country."
    [. . .]
    "I knew him when he was an 8th grader at Hubbard," Castillo said. "He took care of me, he took care of the band and he had pride in helping others."
    Outside Missildine's mother's home there are yellow ribbons affixed to the mailbox and tree. His mother, Robin Goodwin, says the family does not wish to offer any official statement in relation to his death, but expresses thanks for the condolences pouring in.

    KXAN notes:

    Tyler ISD released the following statement on Spc. Missildine’s passing:
    “Tyler ISD is saddened to learn of the passing Spc. Alexander Missildine, a 2015 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School. The District joins the Tyler community in thanking him for his service to our country. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time of loss.”

    Good for the school district.

    How sad for the governor, Greg Abbott, that he can Tweet about carnivals but can't Tweet (or release an official statement) on the fallen.

    I usually note governor's statements.  If a member of Congress notes a death and I'm aware of it, I try to note that as well.

    Martin Heines.  Do you have no ethics?

    The fallen is from your city.

    You've got a Twitter feed and you should have already issued a proclamation.


    I don't usually mention mayors.

    I'm making an exception for Martin.

    I met him in 1992 while helping the Clinton campaign.  (I believe it was with Ron Brown -- it was one day 25 years ago so that could be wrong -- I remember he was proud of a new home he'd built for himself and how he'd only put in a microwave, no stove or oven.)   I'm going to call him out here.  This is your city.  You've been elected mayor at least twice.  Get off your candy ass, step up to the plate and issue a statement on Alexander Missildine.

    At some point, maybe someone can tell America when US troops get to leave Iraq?

    Because the answer as of now is "never."

    The US government -- regardless of who the Oval Office occupant is -- wants "stability."  Which means they want someone who does their bidding.  Bully Boy Bush installed Nouri al-Maliki.  Barack re-installed him.  Then Barack installed Hayder al-Abadi who remains prime minister.

    These two men have not brought 'stability' and probably can't.

    They're not Iraqis.

    They're cowards.

    They both fled Iraq decades ago and only returned after the US-led invasion.

    No one wants to be governed by an outsider.

    Add in that the outsider is picked by a foreign government.

    The US government's 'plan' appears to be that they can exhaust the Iraqi people.

    Thus far, it hasn't happened.

    Which is why US troops remain in Iraq propping up the government that the Iraqi people do not support.

    More reality?

    Unbelievable! U.S. Votes Against U.N. Ban On Death Penalty For Homosexuality Joining Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Iraq

    The U.S. just voted against a U.N. resolution that would ban the death penalty for gay consensual sex. No words.

    US joins Saudi Arabia and Iraq in voting against UN resolution condemning the death penalty for gay sex

    Maher Chmaytelli (REUTERS) notes:

    Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region announced on Tuesday it was calling presidential and parliamentary elections for Nov. 1 as the Kurdish leadership moved to capitalize on a referendum that delivered huge support for independence.
    The central government in Baghdad imposed further punitive measures in retaliation for the independence vote last month by slapping sanctions on Kurdish banks and halting foreign currency transfers to the Kurdish region.  

    We're going to wind down and I'm going to note there are two hearings -- one I've already attended and one I'm attending today -- that I'm planning to cover in this week's snapshots.  (That's for me to try to make sure I do it.)

    The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT, the ACLU and Tavis Smiley -- updated:

  • iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq