Thursday, February 23, 2017

BIG LITTLE LIES

I'd love to tell you I was heavily anticipating HBO's BIG LITTLE LIES.

But I wasn't.  I wasn't even aware of the show until I read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: HBO finally scores another hit."

It debuted Sunday.  I caught it Monday.

It stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

It's a mystery and it has some comedic elements.

It's a different type of show then what I've seen lately.

And I think that's what I liked most about it, that it wasn't like everything else I've seen.

It did very well in the ratings.

I think it would have done better if there had been more of a push for it.

Again, I didn't even know about it until after I read Ava and C.I.'s review.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the western press continues to lionize (via coverage) an apparent suicide bomber while ignoring the death of a US servicemember in Iraq, The Mosul Slog continues, and much more.


Two foreign deaths this week in Iraq.  A Brit apparently blows himself intentionally and am American dies serving.

Which one did western media glom on?

Which one do you think?

Link to headline article



A strong response from War Criminal Tony Blair?

As we noted yesterday, the British suspect was (a) released from Guantanamo at the urging of the British government and (b) apparently handed one million dollars from the British government.  And Tony's objection?

That press reports are blaming him for both when the million dollars took place after he was out of office.

Again, of the two issues, begging for the release of a prison who allegedly went on to kill himself and others?  That's the one you really don't want to be attached to.

But Tony's always been an idiot.

It's why he gets out of bed each morning, forever convinced that this will be the lucky day the world develops amnesia and forgets his War Crimes.


From the death they can't stop talking about to the one that's barely getting attention . . .





"Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne" died serving in Iraq.  The death was announced Tuesday.

Ware selectmen held a moment of silence to honor Army Pfc. Brian Odiorne, who died in Iraq.
 
 




Jim Russell (MASS LIVE) reports:

Selectmen requested a moment of silence prior to the start of Tuesday night's meeting to honor a soldier and town resident, Army Pfc. Brian Odiorne, who died the previous day while serving in Iraq.
The more than two dozen attending the meeting stood in silence with selectmen.


 Tiffany Chan (WWLP) offers, "Massachusetts Veterans Services Secretary Francisco Urena told 22News at a State House military event, that Odiorne’s loss is especially tough, since he was just 21 years old." The young man is remembered by many.  Antonio Planas (BOSTON HERALD) includes this:

“He was a very kind and loving soul that always put others first. If you were in need, he’d stay and help even if he just met you. He loved being a peacekeeper, and me and his other brother will miss him more than anything,” Kyle North told the Herald in Facebook messages. “He was my hero. ... Men like him are so rare.”


David McKay (WWLP) notes:

Odiorne was well known throughout the area. He was a machine shop student at Pathfinder Regional High School, and he was also on the football team. He graduated in 2014. Whether it be in the hallways at school or out on the football field, he was known as a people pleaser.
Coach Chris Pope said, “He was just “OD” that was his name, I probably didn’t know his name was Brian in four years of knowing him. Everybody liked him…I’m sorry to his family, it’s a real loss.”

McKay also explains, "If you would like to make a donation to the Pathfinder Booster Club in honor of Odiorne, you can send it to Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School at 240 Sykes Street, Palmer, MA 01069, c/o Booster Club."


CNN notes the state's Governor Charlie Baker declared Wednesday that he had spoken with the family,  "I said to them, I’m not calling you as a public official, I’m not calling you as your governor, I’m calling you as a dad to speak to how sorry and sad I am that your son, who committed to serve this country, isn’t coming back."








Day 129 of The Mosul Slog and some are trying to sell it as success.

I guess if US troops openly in combat in Iraq qualifies as wonderful to you, then it's a success.

CBS and AP report, "Iraqi federal police pushed their way into the perimeter of Mosul International Airport on Thursday, taking control of the runway amid fierce exchanges of fire with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants hunkered down in several airport buildings, police officials said."  BBC emphasizes, "Foreign troops from the US-led coalition were with the attacking troops, officials told AP, without specifying their nationality."


Sara Hussein and Jean-Marc Mojon (AFP) report:

Senior US officials this week estimated there were only 2,000 IS fighters defending west Mosul, suggesting the jihadist group had suffered heavy losses in the first four months of the operation.
The US-led coalition, which has provided intensive air support as well as advisers on the ground, said before the Mosul offensive began that 5,000 to 7,000 jihadists were in the city.
AFP reporters saw US forces moving into Al-Buseif on Wednesday in convoys of large military vehicles.
A coalition spokesman acknowledged later that US forces had been shot at and returned fire in the battle for Mosul.
"They have come under fire at different times, they have returned fire at different times, in and around Mosul," Colonel John Dorrian said, declining however to confirm if any US troops had been wounded.



So it's a success.

The Mosul Airport has been seized apparently.

It's an end to all those ISIS direct flights to Miami!!!!

The 750,000 people in western Mosul?

The airport seizure means nothing for them.

But the operation has little concern for civilians since day one.

And as Loveday Morris (WASHINGTON POST) notes, while everyone's watching Mosul, the Islamic State appears to be re-entering old territories.


US troops are in combat in Iraq and no one's pretending otherwise at last.  Richard Sisk (MILITARY TIMES) offers up new possibilities:

U.S. troop increases in Syria and Iraq could be part of the plan for speeding up the campaign against ISIS that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will present to the White House next week, military officials said Wednesday.
Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters traveling with him in the Mideast, "It could be that we take on a larger burden ourselves" in supporting a combined Syrian Arab and Syrian Kurdish force closing on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. "That's an option."


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













  • Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    EMPIRE's lousy season

    Demi Moore is going to be on the finale of EMPIRE this season and be back for some episodes in season four.


    That'll get me to tune in for the finale.

    I think there are three more episodes left (starts back up next month).

    This was the worst season of the show.

    Dre lost his wife and the writers lost interest in him.

    Hakim is an ass and was given way too much time.

    They had Jamal hooked on drugs when we needed him in love.

    Cookie was made to be an idiot.

    Seriously?

    Cookie doesn't know not to stand up at the opera and woop?

    Cookie doesn't know the difference between the opera and Arsenio Hall's show?

    Seriously?

    And there was no reason to bring on Clair  Huxtable.

     

    Phylicia Rashad?


    She was wrong for the show.

    She was wrong for THE COSBY SHOW but that was over 30 years ago.

    It was just a really bad season.

    And the idea that no one would punish Anika for killing Dre's wife?


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


    Wednesday, February 22, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the western media covers one death while largely ignoring another, and much more.


    Another US death in Iraq.  Yesterday, it was announced that "Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne" died in Iraq.


              
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    DATE: February 21, 2017 12:13:25 PM CST

    Death of a Fort Hood Soldier

    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne
    FORT HOOD, Texas -- The Department of Defense announced Feb. 21 the death of a Fort Hood Soldier who died Feb. 20, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne, 21, whose home of record is listed as Ware, Massachusetts, entered active-duty military service in October 2015 as a cannon crewmember.
    He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, since May 2016.
    Odiorne's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Medal. He will be posthumously awarded the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon.
    Circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
    No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigative process.



    For more information contact:
    Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
    (254) 287-9993
    (254) 287-0106
    1001 761st Tank Battalion Ave
    Suite W105
    Fort Hood, TX 76544
    usarmy.hood.imcom-central.list.pao-mr@mail.mil



    Betty observed:



    It's "under investigation."

    Which usually means, "Let's stall until the press loses interest."

    Reality: The press lost interest long ago.

    Another American who should have been somewhere else, not being used to continue the never-ending Iraq War -- a war that his 14 years next month.

    14 years.

    And Barack swore he would end it.

    Liar.

    He's a War Criminal and so is Bully Boy Bush.



    Mike Glenn (HOUSTON CHRONICLE) notes, "Odiorne was originally from Ware, Mass. - about 80 miles west of Boston. He joined the Army in October 2015 and had been at Ford Hood since May 2016."  Anthony Fay and Hayley Crombleholme (WWLP) report, "Since May, Odiorone had been assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas. He entered active-duty service as a cannon crewmember in 2015."




    Honoring PFC Brian P Odiorne, died Feb 20, 2017 in Iraq. Honor him so he is not forgotten.





    Brandon Gray (KCEN) reports on the passing, Samara Abramson (WESTERN MASS NEWS) speaks with those who knes Odiorne:

    Odiorne's loved ones said that he stayed in touch with them even when he was busy.
    "Even if we didn't get to talk until the next day, we'll make sure that we at least keep in touch, like 'Hey, I'm okay, I'm letting you know I'm safe'," [Kelsie] Delisle added.
    Delisle spoke to Odiorne on the phone every night, including Sunday - the night before he died.
    "We'd always tell each other every night, when we hung up, that we missed each other and we loved each other and I'll talk to you tomorrow," Delisle explained.
    That's what they told each other Sunday night, but Delisle found out about her close friend's death Monday morning after reading a post on Facebook.
    "I don't know what to do and I have not stopped crying since then because it feels like I lost a part of me," Delisle said.

    Patrick Johnson (MASS LIVE) notes rememberances of Brian Odiorone on social media including this from Brianna Woodman:


    I can't believe what I'm hearing... I had just received a message from you the other day asking to check up on your grandmother for you every now and then since you can't always talk to her. I promise I will visit her. This is just so surreal. You were such a kind, gentle, caring person who's heart was as big as your smile. Thank you for serving our country, RIP Brian Odiorne, you'll be missed and never forgotten.


    And he notes  Molly Przybyla:

    I lost the most incredible man I have ever met. Brian made me who I am today, he broke me out of my shell, and helped me be more confident and out going and I didn't get the chance to tell him that he is the love of my love, the one I was supposed to end up with. We were supposed to get back together but at least I know how he felt about me, told me he never stoped loving me, and I told him I loved him too. I will never forget him, I will always hold him in my heart forever... and noone can ever replace that he's my soul mate and his family will always be my family. I am so sorry, you guys always where there for me and I love you guys and I love you 




    That's about all from the western press.

    They are noting another death, however.


    Reports: ISIS suicide bomber was ex-Gitmo detainee via


    British Militant Carried Out Suicide Attack in Iraq, ISIS Says






    AP notes, "British news media say a suicide bomber who attacked a military base in Iraq this week was a former Guantanamo Bay detainee freed in 2004 after Britain lobbied for his release."  Guy Faulconbridge and Ali Abdelaty (REUTERS) report:

    Islamic State militants said Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, a British citizen who was originally known as Ronald Fiddler and then cast himself as Jamal Udeen al-Harith, detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army base southwest of Mosul this week.
    The militants also published a photograph of the smiling bomber surrounded by wires in the seat of what appeared to be the car in which he blew himself up.

    The Islamic State statements could not be independently verified by Reuters but three Western security sources said it was highly likely that Britani was the bomber and now dead.


    Jane Onyanga-Omara (USA TODAY) adds, "Harith, 50, traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, in 2014, raising fears that the money given to him had been passed on to ISIS. He was known to fellow militants as Abu-Zakariya al-Britani."  That same report notes that War Criminal Tony Blair is offended by these reports.

    He insists that the government he led did not pay the man one million dollars . . . Blair only secured the man's release in 2004.

    Really?

    Of the two, I think I'd go with the payment.  Would you rather be known as the one who demanded the release of a killer or the one who paid him compensation?

    Tony Blair's never been smart -- few petty criminals are.

    Day 128 of The Mosul Slog.

    Maybe Tony Blair can take pride in that too?


    The World Health Organization notes:


    • 1.2 -1.5 MILLION PEOPLE AFFECTED
    • 152,448 # DISPLACED FROM MOSUL
    • 2.7 MILLION PEOPLE IN NEED OF HEALTH SERVICES
    • 462,922 PEOPLE REACHED
    • 3,972 # INJURED



    And to think, Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi had over two years to plan this operation.



    The following community sites update:











  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    TIMELESS and the propaganda of THE WHITE HELMETS

    I'm not an addict for NBC's TIMELESS but I do think it deserves a second season.

    DEADLINE notes it's on the bubble and that it could be brought back but moved to Friday nights.

    I would watch it on a Friday -- I'd even watch it live on a Saturday.

    The show has really gotten better and more involving as it has gone along.

    Now let's move to documentaries and so-called documentaries.

    Rick Sterling (DISSIDENT VOICE) notes:

    The netflix movie “The White Helmets” may win an Oscar in the “short documentary” category at the Academy Awards on Sunday February 26.  It will not be a surprise, despite the fact that the group is a fraud and the movie is a contrived infomercial.
    The White Helmets are a “feel good” story like a Disney hero movie: 90% myth and fabrication. Most of what is claimed about the Syrian rescue group is untrue. They are not primarily Syrian; the group was initiated by British military contractor James LeMesurier and has been heavily funded (about $100 million) by the USA, UK and other governments. They are not volunteers; they are paid. This is confirmed in the Al Jazeera video which shows some White Helmet “volunteers’ talking about going on strike if they don’t get paid soon. Most of the heavy funding goes to the marketing which is run by “The Syria Campaign” based in New York. The manager is an Irish America woman Anna Nolan who has never been to Syria. As an example of its deception, “The Syria Campaign” website features video showing children dancing and playing soccer implying they are part of the opposition demand for a “free and peaceful” Syria . But the video images are taken from a 2010 BBC documentary about education in Syria under the Baath government.
    When eastern Aleppo was finally freed from the armed militants, it was discovered that the White Helmets headquarters were alongside the headquarters of the Al Qaeda Syrian militant group. Civilians from east Aleppo reported that the White Helmets primarily responded when the militants were attacked. Soon after departing Aleppo in government supplied buses (!) the White Helmets showed up in the mountains above Damascus where they allied with terrorist groups in poisoning then shutting off the water source for five million people in Damascus.


    This is the group that idiots like Alyssa Milano applaud.

    Idiots like that should just Tweet about kittens and rainbows because they don't know a damn thing.

    (Milano's noted at the start of the snapshot below.)


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


    Tuesday, February 21, 2017.  Illusions fall away.

    Let's start with useless.


    Those that tell me not to tweet politics because I'm an uninformed celebrity are the same people that voted for... an uninformed celebrity.
     
     




    Actually, no.

    Alyssa, I'm telling you not to Tweet politics.  And I didn't vote for Donald Trump.

    I'm telling you it because you have (a) a herd mentality and (b) you are so woefully uninformed.

    Calling you "ignorant" would be generous.

    You've never done the work required.  And, Alyssa, I know you.

    You have every right to Tweet about anything you want -- we all can weigh in.

    But for your own image, I'd urge you to find something else to Tweet about.

    You're a misguided and misinformed stooge whose Tweets are reactionary and back up war while you're not even aware of it.


    From a professional point of view, it's not smart to take money from Atkins and to offer Tweets that insult a good portion of the American people but your people have already told you that.  (Atkins is also considering parting ways with you at the end of your current arangement.)  They hired you to popularize their product.  That's why a lot of us don't do advertising -- it's whoring.

    But you wanted to keep you name out in front of your public -- such as it is -- and so you agreed.  But you're not living up to the bargain, are you?

    However, my concern is your deep stupidity and lack of curiosity which leads you to accept simplistic pronouncements that encourage violence and war.

    Simplistic pronouncements.

    I was having a debate with a friend last night on the phone that turned into an argument.

    She's an actress who can't stop her nonsense Tweets about Donald Trump being evil and the Democrats being salvation.

    Is Donald Trump evil?

    He may or may not be.  Time will tell.

    Are Democrats the salvation?

    No.

    And she was raised in a Socialist family.

    And we both used to listen to Gore Vidal go on (constantly) about the boiled frog.

    Gore was right.

    The Democrats are not the answer.

    Could they be?

    Maybe if they were pushed.

    Susan Sarandon's pushing them.  Which is why hacks like Debra Messing get so angry.

    Everyone should be pushing them.

    No, you don't have a right to our votes.

    You earn them.

    And if the Democratic Party wants our votes, it damn well better try to earn those votes.

    The country doesn't need pretty words, it needs action.

    It needs jobs.

    Real jobs.

    If all your money goes to rent and food, you're not making a living and we need to stop kidding otherwise.

    Alyssa, my friend and I live very fortunate lives.

    We need to be aware that many others are not so fortunate.

    These are the people the Democratic Party has abandoned -- a party that can't even publicly mention the poor, a party that should have declared one of their so-called wars on the issue of the homeless long ago.  If 10% of what's been spent on the 'war on drugs' in any year was spent on addressing the homeless, the people would be better off.

    The Democratic Party has joined the corporations in fleecing the American people.

    That's not going to turn out any votes.

    And Alyssa and others can tell themselves they're so damn superior to Trump or whomever because they say the right things but words don't keep a roof over your head or food on your table (unless you're a paid writer).

    The Democrats need to be pressed to earn votes.

    They don't need to be defended.

    They have lined their pockets with corporate donations.  Nancy Pelosi is a lousy leader but gets to hold on (for now) because she brings in so much corporate cash to each election cycle.

    The party's entirely about greed.

    I doubt that will change.

    But you can pressure them to make concessions to We The People.

    And you don't do that by castigating Susan Sarandon.

    You do that by saying more people are going to walk -- like Susan -- if you don't start addressing the basic needs, the reason political parties exist, which is jobs.  You're going to keep losing if you can't defend the safety net -- which needs to be increased, not gutted.

    Alyssa's very good at fingering pointing at others.  She's just not very good at introspection  -- true of far too many.


    From Danny Haiphong's "Trump's Foreign Policy: Continuity or Break?" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT):


    Some on the left political spectrum in the US are suspicious of Trump's foreign policy, and for good reason. US imperialism's war agenda is non-negotiable. Trump's status as a billionaire champion of American (white) exceptionalism does not necessarily breed confidence in Trump’s rhetorical gestures to scale back key points in US foreign policy. His Administration should be resisted at every turn for current and future war provocations against Iran and China. His Administration should be held accountable for the deaths of thirty people in Yemen during the late January Commando raid just as Obama's Administration should have been held accountable for killing thousands of people in Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan by drone strike over the course of eight years. 
    But the anti-war movement died the day Obama was elected, leaving the contradictions that were brought to the fore throughout the Presidential electoral cycle unaddressed. One does not have to support Trump or refrain from struggle against the GOP to recognize that Trump's rhetorical gestures against regime change in the Middle East and Russia came from somewhere. These statements are the product of a rapidly changing world. In this world, the US can no longer call itself the only most influential or dominant global power. Russia's geopolitical significance, China's unprecedented economic growth, and the stagnation of the US economy have forever changed the international order of things.


    How's that Iraq War that Saint Barack didn't end going?

    W.J. Hennigan and Nabih Bulos (LOS ANGELES TIMES) report:

    U.S. military advisors are now fighting alongside Iraqi forces near the front lines against Islamic State, a sign of President Trump's willingness to grant more latitude to American commanders than they've had since Iraq’s ground war against the militants was launched more than two years ago.
    The Trump administration has not yet granted new authorities, but has loosened the reins for U.S. generals running the war, allowing hundreds of U.S. troops to join advancing Iraqi forces as they embark on their most complex mission to date: liberating Mosul, their second largest city. 



    Thank you, Cult of St. Barack.

    When he sent US troops in back in 2012, you said nothing.

    Let me spoon feed you:


    There's the fact that Barack sent a brigade of Special-Ops in during the fall of 2012. Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." 


    That was reported right before the 2012 presidential debates.

    But no one 'moderator' brought it up.

    And in 2014, when Barack sent in 'advisors' and 'trainers,' people were only slightly more vocal.

    Where were you, Alyssa?

    This didn't happen overnight.

    And those of us who have been covering it have long noted that US troops have been in combat from day one.

    As the then-Secretary of Defense noted, dropping bombs from planes is also combat.

    And the US government had bombed Iraq daily since August 2014.

    Again, where have you been?

    Off with The Cult of St. Barack?





    Hands off the man, flim flam man
    His mind is up his sleeve and his talk is make believe
    Oh, Lord, the man's a fraud, 
    He's a flim flam man
    He's so cage, he's a flim flam man
    Hands off the man, flim flam man
    He's the one in the Trojan horse making out like he's Santa Claus



    "Hands Off The Man" (also known as "The Flim Flam Man") was written by Laura Nyro and she performed it on her debut album MORE THAN A NEW DISCOVERY (now known as THE FIRST SONGS).  It was covered by many including Peggy Lipton.


    Peggy covered many of Laura's songs (they were friends from before Peggy did THE MOD SQUAD) and let's note "Stoney End" because no one did a better cover of that than Peggy.





    "Now I don't believe I want to see the morning" -- indeed.


    Of the US troops fighting in Iraq, Dan Lamothe (WASHINGTON POST) notes:


    Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said that the advisers, numbering about 450, are “operating closer and deeper into Iraqi formations” as a new assault on western Mosul gets underway. U.S. commanders made the adjustment during the fight for the eastern side of the city, which began in October and ended last month, and the deployment has continued with the attempt, beginning Sunday, to capture western Mosul, Townsend said.

    It marks the first time the U.S. military has acknowledged how close American service members are to the front lines as it assists what Townsend characterized as a force of more than 40,000 Iraqi police officers and soldiers fighting to retake Mosul. The battle for the western half of the northern Iraqi city is likely to stretch for months in urban neighborhoods where up to 1,000 militants are believed to be entrenched, U.S. military officials said.


    It's day 127 of The Mosul Slog, the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul from the Islamic State -- the operation that only began in October (despite the Islamic State seizing Mosul in June of 2014).


    Only 180 more days, the Defense Dept has insisted.  Apparently they have based that judgment on the fact that deploying US troops into combat (officially) can accomplish that.  (Of course, they've been wrong before.


    Making official what's been happening all along may be one of the reason for US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis' trip to Baghdad.





    That's him yesterday, meeting with Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi.



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