by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Wag The Dog II: Mar-A-Lago Boogaloo

The White House, without authorization from Congress, has assassinated Qasem Soleimani. He was basically the No. 2 dude in Iran behind the Supreme Leader, the dude who directed all acts of war, terrorism, foreign policy skulduggery behind the scenes.

The rationale—that Soleimani was directing imminent attacks against U.S. troops and/or civilians in Iraq—has only been true for, oh, about the past 17 years. So why now? And what’s the plan going forward besides tweeting?

And why did Eric Trump tweet “Bout to open a big ol’ can of whoopass” and #DontMessWithTheBest on New Year’s Eve, two days before the strike occurred? Did he know about this 48 hours before anyone in Congress, most of whom learned by Twitter, did?

Anyway, Soleimani is dead. He was a bad, bad man, particularly where U.S. interests are concerned. But of course, this is the beginning, not the end. I think we can all use our imaginations and consider what array of responses Iran might use, what targets (human and cyber and geographic) they might go after in response.

But it’s also an opportunity for Donald Trump to deflect from the impeachment process. To perhaps declare martial law. To behave like a tough guy. Has he thought three steps down the road? No. Trump plays checkers, not chess.

Stay tuned. The “Toots” (2020s) just got interesting, a whole two days in.

One last thing: Isn’t it a little funny that the U.S.’ rationale for killing this man is that he was “in the planning stages of attacking U.S. interests” yet this same administration uses as its defense in the Ukraine impeachment case that it never actually accomplished what it is accused of setting out to do?

Jones’ing To Be Fired

After yet another 8-8 season with all that talent, Jason Garrett was fired by the Dallas Cowboys (four days and like, three meetings with Jerry Jones after the Cowboys’ last game, a meaningless blowout of the Washington Redskins). We were curious why the ESPN crawl and the SportsCenter promos and even kept repeating the same stock phrase: “Cowboys To Move On” from Jason Garrett.

When you’re being spun as a fan, it’s important to be aware of that fact. Someone in Dallas (J.J.) wields a lot of power with the ESPN folks (and uses Ed Werder as his conduit?) and as long as ESPN was going to break this story, maybe they had to agree to word it Jerry’s way? Just a conspiracy theory, but then again this is an event that took place in Dallas, the epicenter of conspiracy theories, so the judges will allow it.

Just a reminder that with a ton of talent and two games apiece versus the Redskins and the Giants, plus games against the Dolphins and Jets, the Cowboys were unable to win enough games to make the playoffs. Incredible.

Bring on the “Urban Cowboy?” heds. And wouldn’t it be something if Coach Meyer had yet another chance to under-use Ezekiel Elliott?

Five Films: 1986

  1. Platoon: Finally, a good six years into the decade, a film that is both popular and critically praised. A movie movie. Oliver Stone’s semi-autobiographical tale about a privileged kid who volunteered to serve in Vietnam and barely made it out alive felt, at the time, like a very, very accurate account of what it was like without all of Apocalypse Now‘s Heart of Darkness varnish. Sergeant Barnes: “I AM reality.” 2. Hoosiers: Seeing this film as a college student in Indiana, it felt as if someone had made the love letter to the state that I was feeling inside. Gene Hackman probably never quite knew how much this film would blow up as he was filming it. Credit writer/director Angelo Pizzo for not going overboard with the maudlin, for understanding small-town Indiana, for some wonderful cinematography, for a thrilling score to accompany those action scenes, and for just the right amount of comic relief…in the form of Dennis Hopper. And wouldn’t you know a kid named Steve Alford would lead the Indiana Hoosiers to the NCAA title that year? 3. Stand By Me: For as much credit as Rob Reiner gets, he still does not get enough. In the 1980s he made This Is Spinal Tap, this, The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally. Not bad, Meathead. Not bad. River Phoenix embodies precocious. Could’ve been the next Brando. 4. Top Gun: I mean, yeah, so manipulative and formulaic (it’s All The Right Moves at a Navy flight school) and so, so closeted (“I’m on YOUR tail!”) but it delivers and the dog-fight scenes are incredible. And that’s Meg Ryan before she was really, really big. Tom Cruise has still never won an Oscar. Incredible. Still get a chuckle seeing topless dudes in jeans playing volleyball. 5. Hannah And Her Sisters: So many films could’ve landed in this final spot, so let’s recognize ones we loved here— Blue Velvet, Something Wild, Back To School and Pretty In Pink. We’ve never been a fan of Ferris Bueller because as, I believe it was Gene Siskel pointed out, if you look at this film through the lens of “Ferris is just an incredibly narcissistic and self-serving ass,” you may see it differently and, oh, by the way, that is the correct lens. We’ve always wanted to see Mission and hope someday that we will. As for this film, it’s a sign of Woody Allen’s maturation (as a film maker…don’t Soon-Yi me; I know). This and Crimes and Misdemeanors are almost impossible to tell apart from one another, but they’re both dark and also funny.

8 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. “Well, shake it up, baby, now (Shake it up, baby)
    TWIST AND SHOUT (Twist and shout)
    C’mon c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, jdubs, now (Come on, jdubs)
    Come on and work it on out (Work it on out)”

    Really, REALLY?! Ferris Bueller’s Day Off had MAJOR IMPACT & kids still watch & quote from that movie today! And sure, Ferris was full of himself but that dastardly Principal softened that aspect. Plus, what teenager DOESN’T fantasize of having an awesome day like that?!

    Other movie faves of 1986 –

    Aliens – which I actually saw before Alien & while both scared the crap outta me, the world was gifted a kick-ass female action hero & since the advent of cup holders attached to movie seats, I always had at least one free hand to hold over my eyes, so I was ok. 🙂

    Crocodile Dundee – “that’s not a knife, now THIS is a KNIFE”!

    Highlander – Because “there can BE only ONE”.

    The Money Pit – an updated loose version of Mr Blanding Builds his Dream House starring Tom Hanks & Shelley Long. A MUST-SEE for anyone who has bought a house, renovated a house or suffered constant repairs of a house.

    Ruthless People – starred Bette Midler, Danny DeVito, Judge Reinhold, Helen Slater, Anita Morris & an unknown movie newbie Bill Pullman as a very funny dimwit. Another movie where I wasn’t expecting much as I went before I saw any reviews & laughed myself silly throughout.

    And I guess I should mention The Color of Money as it starred new megastar Cruise & old megastar Paul Newman who won an Oscar for the role, but I can barely remember this film!

    And in a non-movie aside, do you remember 3-4 weeks back & you ignored my query if AAPL would reach $300 before the inevitable market correction? The market answered in the affirmative yesterday. At least SOMEBODY answers my questions! 😉

  2. I’m back. Speaking of “money”, I just read the following alarming stats : The median 401-K balances for those Age 50-59 is $60,900. Prettee piss-poor! Well, at least these folks have between 5-19 years to (as instructed to Lucy & Ethel on the chocolate line) “SPEED IT UP A LITTLE!”. Actually, they need to speed it up a lot. BUT, even worse that this group are those Age 60-69, who have a whopping $62,000 in their 401-Ks! WTF?! What were/are those people THINKING?!

    The past couple years I’ve constantly seen headlines for articles about how those in the age groups above now plan to work “at least till 70”. Since the average retirement age in the US for the past 2 decades (at least) has been 62-63, this is a MAJOR shift. However, I doubt it will come to be. Just because one wants to keep working till 70 or beyond doesn’t mean their current or any company wants them. Or that they are physically able. Plus, if you’re 69 & have only $62K in your 401-K, nothing in an IRA or ROTH, will receive no pension & have no other savings, you will run out of years before having enough to retire.

    And this is why I see the woeful lack of savings for Baby Boomers & Generation X as a FAR bigger financial ticking-time bomb ready to take down the economy & not freakin school loans (which despite the wailing you hear/see by a certain age group, is owed by less than half of that group & averages roughly $33K & not six figures).

    And when surviving Boomers hit their 80s & 90s & Assisted Living & nursing homes cost $20k/month (!) or more, Medicaid will go completely broke & either tax rates will have to skyrocket or we will have millions of sick & feeble elderly living on the streets. Maybe that’s the GOP Nazi plan – to kill off the old from exposure/neglect. (If you think I’m joking, I guess you’re new to the comment section. 😉 ).

    So, jdubs – beyond asking the elderly to voluntarily “step into the light”, what do YOU think should be done NOW to prevent the above scenario? Not only do I think retirement saving be mandatory by both employee & employer but there should be national, federally-funded Long-term Care insurance that ALL kick into & ALL qualify. And maximum fees that such care facilities can charge. The clock is ticking.

    On the other hand, maybe we’ll just send all the elderly to live “at the beach” & let climate change take care of it. 😉

    BTW, Happy New Year, jdubs. 🙂

    • This is the most “Ok, Boomer” comment I’ve seen in awhile, Susie B. You take a shot at “a certain age group” and then proceed in proposing a federally-funded LTC insurance that we all get to pay for.

      Why would anyone below the age of, say, 50 want to pay for something that they’ll never get to benefit from? First Social Security, now this? FUN.

      • Ok, whiner.

        It is BULLSHIT that “social security will not be there for” the freakin crybaby Millennials. Just ONE MORE LIE spread by your age groupers, Jacob! And do YOU have 6-figures in school loans? YOU DO NOT! And neither do MOST of your generation, although you wouldn’t know it from the constant whining/crying by the some of your group. And actually read up on Social Security before you just mouth the same lie spread by others. Does our feckless Congress need to do something NOW to ensure SS will not eventually have to cut back some benefits? YES. But “run out of money”? LOL!

        And hey, do YOU want to pay $20k/month for EACH of YOUR parents when/if they need long-term care? If the parents don’t have the money, some states are now coming after the money from their adult kids. FUN.

  3. Ok. Just going to change the subject for a second. I am Canadian so this is an outside view. Also, Canadians did not go into Iraq because we never bought the weapons of mass destruction thing – we like facts. We did however rescue a bunch of Americans from the Iranian embassy when it got stormed in the 70s. Not sure that trick is going to work again.

    So about this Soleimani thing –

    1. WH saying there was an imminent threat. Pentagon saying the attack was to serve as a deterrence to Iran with regard to taking out further attacks in Iraq. Hmmmm… Who to believe? (insert sarcasm)

    2. Other US administrations, both Republican and Democrat, had multiple chances to take out Soleimani and didn’t. Could it be that as bad as he was, they knew where he was, could track him, and also knew that his removal could be a huge antagonizing and destabilizing move for that part of the world?

    3. Does anyone remember Vietnam? Wasn’t there a famous quote about not losing to guys wearing pajamas? Does anyone study history? Learn from previous mistakes?

    4. Soleimani is a very bad dude and yeah, he’s killed or orchestrated the killing of many, many Americans. He was also a general and the second most important guy in the Iranian government. He is an Iranian government official. Assasinating the leadership of sovereign foreign nations is not good. This is in violation of International Law but more importantly has now made it permissible to go after American officials in the same way.

    5. Also, not cool to assasinate this guy in Iraq without their permission or a heads up. Don’t buy the “Iraqis were dancing in the streets.” I think we heard something similar from Trump on 9/11. The truth? Very few were. Like maybe 50. The rest were at home making bombs.

    6. Imminent attacks? Those are not stopped by taking out one guy. And I’d like someone in the WH to define imminent. And define it the way it was defined to Trump.

    7. These guys are not stupid and should not be underestimated. They are ready to lose anyone and have contingency plans and always have a plan A, B, C, D etc. So if there really are “imminent attacks,” taking out the top guy only makes the guys who will execute these “imminent” attacks more determined. And make no mistake, the Iranians have the means, capabilities, and willingness to get to Americans on American soil and they will make plans that we can’t yet imagine.

    8. Iranians will die for their cause, for their beliefs, and will usually take out as many people with them as they can. Virtually impossible to defend against that.

    9. I’m with John. The timing is very convenient. Very.

    10. The US deploying 3,000 troops to the Middle East. Trump withdrew 1,000 troops from Syria, sacrificed the Kurds, who were the foundation of intelligence operations, had fought alongside Americans and sacrificed thousands of their own people. And been promised that the Americans would protect them. Hmmm. What are the chances that the Kurds are organizing a welcome party? And yes, some of those troops being deployed are headed right back from where they were pulled out. So much for getting out of the Middle East.

    11. It appears Eric Trump’s tweet has been deleted. Interesting. Poor Eric! Back in the 2-story, air conditioned and fully catered doghouse with a pool.

    12. Trump and Pompeo are telling everyone that Americans are “safer” tonight because of this strike. Anyone feeling safer?

    13. Trump doesn’t brief the Gang of 8 but does brief Lindsay Graham? And briefed him several days before the attack? And likely his son? Who knows how many waiters and caddies also knew? Doesn’t really line up with imminent and not briefing congress or the Gang of 8.

    14. Did I hear Trump talking about the “great” American Intelligence Services?” Great? I must have misheard.

    Before the rest of the world just thought Americans were nuts for electing Trump. After all he was only mucking around in the US. But now everyone’s (i.e. the rest of the world) greatest fear has been realized. I don’t think there is anyway to underestimate or yet fully understand the seriousness of what Trump did today. It’s going to be bad. Very bad.

    P.S. Apologies for the typos that you will inevitably find!!

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