Saturday, January 03, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, January 3, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, 3 Sunni clerics are assassinated and the White House is silent, 3 Sunni children are part of 20 civilians killed in Falluja and the White House is silent, Barack wants US troops to train the League of Righteous and America is silent, and much more.

Nickolay Mladenov has declared, "The Iraqi ordinary citizen continues to suffer from violence and terrorism.  2014 has seen the highest number of causalities since the violence in 2006 - 2007."

Nickolay Mladenov is United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special envoy to Iraq.  The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq counts at least 12,282 deaths and 23,126 people left injured.  This doesn't include Anbar which means the numbers are significantly higher since Anbar is the scene of much violence.

Not including Anbar not only reduces the number of dead and wounded, it also allows people to pose and pretend.

'Oh, that awful Islamic State! Killing innocent civilians!'

You mean like the Iraqi government does?

Alsumaria reports 20 civilians were killed in Falluja yesterday -- including 3 children -- and another twenty left injured.

Who killed and wounded those people?

The Iraqi military.

They've been bombing residential neighborhoods in Falluja since January.  It's a War Crime.

Nickolay Mladenov has made one statement opposing it -- it's now a year that it's been going on, that the Iraqi government has been killing Iraqi civilians.

And Nickolay thinks one statement takes care of it?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has never said one word.

Not one word.

Does he really think he represent the best of the world's aspirations by staying silent about a government killing civilians?


That's not the century.

That's the number of civilian corpses Falluja General Hospital has received since the fall of victims of these attacks.

1900 is the number the western press won't tell you.

1900 is the number of innocents whose lives didn't matter to the Iraqi government and whose deaths clearly do not matter to the world press, to the White House or to the United Nations.

At what point does the world insist that the Iraqi government stop killing Iraqi civilians?

If you're wondering that's why the UN doesn't include Anbar in their death tolls -- they don't want to confront the reality that people are being killed -- so many are being killed -- by the Iraqi government.

It's not because they can't 'verify' the deaths.  They can verify deaths in Anbar as easily as they can anywhere else in Iraq -- in fact, they can verify them in Anbar a great deal easier than they can in Nineveh Province (especially Mosul).

They chose not to include Anbar and have done so because they don't want to 'embarrass' the Iraqi government.

Never forget that: The UN which proclaims "it's your world" bends over backwards to avoid documenting the deaths in Anbar because they don't want to 'embarrass' the Iraqi government.

And the White House just doesn't give a damn about Sunnis.

Doubt it?

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reported Friday about an attack in Basra Thursday night which left 3 Sunni clerics dead.  The State Dept said nothing.

No statement was issued.


Not even a damn tweet.

Three religious leaders are assassinated and two more are injured and the White House is silent -- Joe Biden's Twitter feed had time yesterday for Brazil, the State Dept had time for North Korea, the State Dept's Brett McGurk had time to trumpet bombings and other non-State Dept issues -- everyone's silent.

They'll issue a statement on the Shi'ites at the drop of hat.

But the Sunni community -- and it's noticed in Iraq -- can be attacked, can be savaged and the from the White House on down, the administration just doesn't give a damn.

And that's clear by the White House's refusal to call out the bombing of residential neighborhoods in Iraq.  These are legally defined War Crimes -- recognized as such by the US government.  And it is incumbent upon the White House to call them out.

These War Crimes?  They also legally mean the White House cannot arm the Iraqi government -- not when it's killing Iraqi civilians.  And this isn't in doubt, it's been going on since January of 2014.  It is documented, it is established.

Again, the White House silence is noted by Sunnis in Iraq.

Of the assassination,  AFP notes that "the Iraqi Islamic Party, one of the main Sunni political parties, said the attack was carried out by 'criminal militias,' an apparent reference to Shiite fighters Baghdad has turned to for support in its battle against IS."  And, of course, these Shi'ite militias forces would have been part of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's tour of Basra on December 31st and clearly could have stayed the next day to take part in the assassinations.  The Iraqi military that the US wants to train first needs to be purged of all criminal militia elements -- including those who, of course, kidnapped and killed US troops -- for those who missed it, Barack Obama released some of those in 2009 as a deal to get the League of Righteous to release the 1 living British hostage and the corpses of the other British hostages -- but remember, Barack insists that he doesn't make deals with terrorists.  The League of Righteous has been very clear that a deal was made -- very clear to the Iraqi press.

We're going to do a lengthy sidebar right now on the League, National Iraqi News Agency reports the League's Qais al-Khazail declared Tuesday that the United States and Israel were conspiring to destroy Iraq.

And that's who Barack's sending US troops to train.

The League is also known as Assaib al-Haq.  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported in September of 2013 that thug Nouri al-Malliki, then the prime minister of Iraq, had brought the Shi'ite militias under his wing -- providing them with military uniforms and weapons:

In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.

Again, this is the military that Barack wants US troops to train.  Grasp that.

If you're not getting how disgusting this is, let's drop back to the June 9th snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

No one ever did.  Barack was never held accountable for it.

But grasp that US troops are being expected to advise and train those who targeted and killed them but those who are running around Iraq telling the press that the US is conspiring with Israel to destroy Iraq.

Let's go back to the assassination of the 3 clerics.  Alsumaria notes that Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri has called Friday for a serious investigation, for accountability and for prosecution over these assassinations (two more clerics were left injured in the attack).  And, no surprise, he's not satisfied with leaving the investigation to the Ministry of the Interior and wants Parliament to form an investigative committee as well.

For Friday's violence, Alsumaria notes an Abu Ghraib roadside bombing has left 1 person dead and four more injured, a Hussein roadside bombing has left seven people injured, and a Mahmudiya sticky bombing left two people injured. All Iraq News notes that the corpses of 3 police members were discovered dumped in Tikrit,  AFP reports that the Islamic State kidnapped "a total of 170 men were taken from the villages of Al-Shajara and Gharib in Kirkuk province, after two ISIS flags were burned in the area, an account confirmed by other officials from the province."

With the Iraqi military failing in Mosul so spectacularly last year, Parliament is investigating what went wrong. National Iraqi News Agency notes that Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc has stated they are prepared to call Nouri al-Maliki to testify in Parliament if the investigation warrants it.  Nouri is now one of Iraq's three vice presidents.  At the time of the fall of Mosul, he was the prime minister of Iraq.  More recently, Nouri attempted to publicly pin the blame for his failures as commander-in-chief with the fall of Mosul on the Kurds.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Iraq: No Ebola, Sunni clerics assassinated and IBC wants you to forget that they altered a body count on orders from the US government

A frantic e-mail from a drive-by reader insists that I have missed the biggest Iraq story of 2014, the Ebola! The Ebola!

While we never noted that nonsense that popped up at some outlets about 3 days ago, we didn't miss it.  I just don't trust the outlets promoting it or the claims being offered.  Alsumaria, an Iraqi outlet, addresses the Ebola today and the frantic e-mailer might want to calm down.

Alsumaria notes Iraq's Ministry of Health denounced the rumors yesterday and declared there are no known cases of Ebola in Iraq.

I'm not one to blindly believe a ministry (of any country, including the US).

However, the story was part of a wave of smears on the Islamic State (again, there's no need to create lies about the Islamic State, they're actions are outrageous enough and when you lie and your lie explodes it means readers start to doubt the true things about the Islamic State that you actually are reporting), it was weak and weakly sourced, if Ebola was there then WHO would know about it and no one I talked to at WHO believed the 'reports' and, finally, if Iraq has Ebola and the Ministry of Health is lying, that won't take long to prove.  Ebola would quickly spread and the Ministry of Health would not only look like a liar but the Parliament would quickly vote the Minister in charge out of office and a new Minister would be named.  This would not take place over a period of months but move very quickly.

So it's not in the interest of the Ministry of Health to lie about this.  Were this, for example, a claim by the Ministry that no one was suffering from the lack of potable water, I'd be skeptical in part because I know how easy that would be to cover up -- including any deaths from it.

But Ebola is a different issue and the Ministry could not cover it up and it would be a huge story by the end of next week because there would be other outbreaks.

I don't believe we missed that 'report.'

We do miss things all the time.

That isn't one of them.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports an attack in Basra last night left 3 Sunni clerics dead.  Just above, we were noting how some officials lie?  The Ministry of Interior is a place lies fly out of all the time.  It's been that way for eight years now.  So their attempt to pin the attack on the Islamic State?

We're not as gullible as the Associated Press.

As AFP notes that "the Iraqi Islamic Party, one of the main Sunni political parties, said the attack was carried out by 'criminal militias,' an apparent reference to Shiite fighters Baghdad has turned to for support in its battle against IS."  And, of course, these Shi'ite militias forces would have been part of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's tour of Basra on December 31st and clearly could have stayed the next day to take part in the assassinations.  The Iraqi military that the US wants to train first needs to be purged of all criminal militia elements -- including those who, of course, kidnapped and killed US troops -- for those who missed it, Barack Obama released some of those in 2009 as a deal to get the League of Righteous to release the 1 living British hostage and the corpses of the other British hostages -- but remember, Barack insists that he doesn't make deals with terrorists.  (The League of Righteous has been very clear that a deal was made -- very clear to the Iraqi press.)

Alsumaria notes that Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri has called today for a serious investigation, for accountability and for prosecution over these assassinations (two more clerics were left injured in the attack).  And, no surprise, he's not satisfied with leaving the investigation to the Ministry of the Interior and wants Parliament to form an investigative committee as well.

Alsumaria also notes an Abu Ghraib roadside bombing has left 1 person dead and four more injured, a Hussein roadside bombing has left seven people injured, and a Mahmudiya sticky bombing left two people injured.

We're not interested in the crap ass Iraq Body Count which, as we exposed sometime ago, does the bidding of the US State Dept.  For all its failures, we'll go with UNAMI's count when it is released.  But Iraq Body Count altered their count on the orders of the US State Dept. When they did that, we called it out here and dropped them as a reliable source.

After we exposed them, they suffered but, in the new year, there's an effort to promote them again.

Sorry, you don't come back from altering your published numbers on the orders of the US government.

 2014 year-in-review pieces:  Isaiah's "2014 Self-Exposure," Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2014 In Music," Ruth's "Ruth's Radio Report 2014," Martha and Shirley's "2014 in Books (Martha & Shirley)"  Ann and Stan's "2014 in Film (Ann and Stan)" which first went up at their own sites as Ann's "2014 in Films (Ann and Stan)" and Stan's "2014 in film (Ann and Stan)," Third's "2014 Notable Events" and my "2014: The Year of Self-Exposure."

Dennis e-mailed to ask about the timing?  They were supposed to start going up at 11:30 pm my time (PST). I had told Martha and Shirley I'd do the images for their piece.  I had not written my piece yet but the plan was to give an hour to 90 minutes for each piece to be at the top so it could have the spotlight.  (That happened with everything except Isaiah's comic.  Which is why after my piece went up 10 minutes later, I changed the time on Isaiah's comic to make it the top piece.)  At 11:30, I started puking and that continued until four my time.  I then took an hour nap and then started (after working out and showering) on posting the various pieces and writing my own.  Mine is no where what it was intended to be but it is what it is.  My apologies to anyone who was waiting for the pieces to go up, they should have gone up by midnight at the latest.

Cedric and Wally posted this morning, the other community sites posted on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning:

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 Self-Exposure

Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "2014 Self-Exposure."  Barack's move to Break The Government or at least the other two branches.  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

[Note: "2014: The Year of Self-Exposure" is now up and immediately below.  I'm leaving Isaiah's comic as the top entry for today.]


2014: The Year of Self-Exposure

2014 was the year a big butted buffoon was supposed to break the internet but instead a jug-eared jerk beat her out on self-exposure.

Every time you turned around, the Cult of St. Barack seemed to dwindle just a little more.

Blame it on whistle-blower Ed Snowden, if you will.

In May of 2013, Ed's bravery resulted in the American people learning just how much Barack Obama had lied to them and how the illegal spying, begun under Bully Boy Bush, flourished and multiplied under President Barack.

Ed would note, in fact, that he could have done the whistle-blowing in 2008 but thought things might change under Barack.  They did change, but not for the better.

So Ed goes public with the information.

Followed immediately with Ed going public about himself.  After WikiLeaks published some of Chelsea Manning's exposures, the issue -- for the press (including 'brave' McClatchy correspondent Nancy A. Youssef) -- became Chelsea, Ed wanted to avoid that distraction and went public with the fact that he was the whistle-blower and why he was the whistle-blower.

At this point, Barack's pretense was exposed.

He had the Bolivian presidential plane forced down in Austria in what was a true international incident, a complete over reach and a disregard for diplomatic immunity which will come back to hurt the United States.

And that was only the start of it.

Barack and his minions lied and lied again.

They lied to the public.

They lied to the Congress.

Throughout the second half of 2013, they continued lying and, initially, some people believed them.  Even some members of Congress.  That began to fall away as more exposures emerged from Ed's whistle-blowing.

It also underscored yet again how the man who knew Barack best called it right in 2008.

Many have forgotten and few caught on in real time.

In an apparent effort to ensure that no more catch on, Crapapedia has vanished the moment from their "Jeremiah Wright controversy" entry.

The National Press Club appearance was what forced Barack and Michelle to appear on television immediately after and to denounce Wright who  had just offered comments about Barack being a typical politician, "Politicians say what they say and do what they do because of electability."

This went against the campaign theme and lie that Barack was above and beyond politics.

And that's  why Barack went from March 18, 2008 declaring, "I can no more disown him [Wright] than I can disown the Black community," to the pouty Today show appearance with Michelle at his side where Barack whined in response to Wright's charges that he was a typical politician, "If I wanted to be politically expedient I would have distanced myself and denounced him right away, right?  That would have been the easy thing to do -- that would be the standard stock political advice."

That this 'affront' was the key takeaway was made clear by the fact that not only was it in the May 1, 2008 broadcast of the interview on the Today show but that Brian Williams included that quote -- and that was it, they didn't have time to include other aspects of the interview and time to also slime Hillary which, for the record, Andrea Martin did in her 'report' -- on the April 30, 2008 broadcast of NBC Nightly News.

That this was the "affront" was also made clear in the April 28, 2008 speech Barack gave, where he declared, "What became clear to me is that he was presenting a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for, and what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing."

What The Cult of St. Barack could shield the people from in 2008 was no longer concealed by 2014 as Barack was left exposed as dishonest and as craven as any other typical politician.

That's because after exposure comes self-exposure.

Especially for celebrities.

They can't leave it alone, they pick at it like a scar.

I'll name a friend, Diana Ross.

Diana is not a bitch.

But she's been called it and worried it might be true.

So after Mary Wilson's army of ghost writers completed that pack of lies (even the efforts at hypnosis didn't help Mary's memory although -- based on the stories Steve McQueen told me about Mary, I guess there's good reason for her not to want to remember her brief affair with him) and it was published, Diana repeatedly returned to the topic.

Even, in an interview with Barbara Walters (when those interviews actually mattered) answered "That people think I'm a bitch" to the question of what is the biggest misconception.

What Diana should have done, following the release of the book, is declared publicly, "I'm a little surprised Mary thinks so little of me after years of using me as her personal bank, requesting one loan after another.  I never would have loaned her all that money if I'd known she wasn't really a friend."

That's all she needed to say.

That would have put Mary's trashy book of fiction into perspective and also exposed the reality (which Mary is so ashamed of) that for the bulk of her life, Mary couldn't even support herself after the Supremes were over.

Diana wants her own way the way most people do.  I don't see her as a bitch and the only one I know who ever called her that and knew her was Ryan O'Neal but Ryan just slept with her to use her so I don't think I'd vest too much into his opinion.

Currently, Bill Cosby's in crisis mode.

I don't know if the accusations are true or not.

But we're seeing exposure go into self-exposure as Bill can't stop making remarks that go the heart of the accusations and help keep them alive.

Or, for another example, after Bully Boy Bush's eight-year occupation of the White House, it's now largely forgotten that Poppy Bush was once considered the idiot of the family.

(Yes, Bully Boy Bush was so dumb, he managed to steal the title from his father.)

As the press repeatedly noted his gaffes in 1988, he seemed unable to stop providing them with more gaffes.

One of the most infamous ones (now forgotten but, if you need to fact check, see the August 1988 issue of The Progressive for Molly Ivins' "The Word's The Thing") was George H.W. Bush declaring of his years as Vice President during the Reagan administration, "For seven-and-a-half years, I've worked alongside him and I'm proud to be his partner.  We've had triumphs, we've made mistakes, we've had sex."  Which he quickly corrected, "Setbacks.  We've had setbacks."

Again, it took Bully Boy Bush to wipe away America's earlier memory of George H.W. as the dumb Bush.

And Barack might be able to take comfort in that.

Because the lesson is that a fresh scandal can fade a past one.

Sadly for Barack, none of his scandals are "past" scandals.

Instead, they are all ongoing.

And no fresh scandal from someone else can wipe away ongoing ones.

Take the Iraq War.

He ran on it, remember?

He was against the Iraq War.

Before he was for it.

In 2002, speaking to a tiny group -- not even enough to make a "small crowd" -- of employment challenged baby boomers, he was against the impending Iraq War.

Running for the US Senate in 2004, he was for the Iraq War.

In 2008, he would run on wanting to end the Iraq War.

But he didn't want to.

Nouri al-Maliki is a thug.  He was installed as prime minister of Iraq by the Bully Boy Bush administration in 2006 -- in part because a CIA analysis found Nouri to be deeply paranoid and it was thought that this could be used by the US government to easily control him.

His first term was one scandal after another including that he was running secret torture cells.

But in 2010, when he lost the election to Ayad Allawi, the White House let him bring Iraq to a stand-still as, for eight months, he refused to step down as prime minister.  And then the White House brokered a contract (The Erbil Agreement) that dispensed with the voters, the votes and democracy to give Nouri a second term.

As we spent years explaining, that was done because Barack wanted to keep US troops in Iraq beyond the 2008 SOFA agreement the Bully Boy Bush administration negotiated with Nouri (which gave the US permission to keep troops in Iraq in 2009, 2010 and 2011).

Again, we spent years telling you that keeping US troops in Iraq beyond 2011 was why Barack insisted Nouri get a second term.

In 2014, the press finally caught up with us.

But to be fair, we weren't the only ones telling the truth.  Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor reported in their book The Endgame that US Vice President Joe Biden insisted in October 2010 -- mere weeks before The Erbil Agreement -- had declared that Nouri would agree to extending US forces in Iraq beyond 2011 and that Joe was so sure he would "bet you my vice presidency Maliki will extend the SOFA."

That book came out ahead of the 2012 debates.

Strangely, it was greeted with silence as Ava and I noted in "TV: Media continued fail."

Ed Snowden exposing Barack in 2013 allowed the media -- The New Yorker, for just one example -- to finally 'discover' the book in 2014.

But no one -- except Peter Feaver -- wanted to note the book in 2012.  Certainly not after Barack lied in a 2012 debate.  As Glenn Kessler (Washington Post) pointed out,  "Romney’s right -- Obama did try to get a status of forces agreement, but could not get an agreement with the government of Iraq. So now he stresses the fact that he has removed all troops from Iraq, while knocking Romney for supporting what he originally had hoped to achieve."

Barack repeatedly lied.

And slowly, Americans can admit that.

In June, Barack began publicly sending US troops into Iraq and did so under the promise that they would not be in combat.

A promise.

From Mr. Pretty Lies.

December 9th, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State John Kerry: On the issue of combat operations, I know that this is hotly debated, with passionate and persuasive arguments on both sides. The President has been clear that his policy is that U.S. military forces will not be deployed to conduct ground combat operations against ISIL. That will be the responsibility of local forces because that is what our local partners and allies want, what is best for preserving our Coalition and, most importantly, what is in the best interest of the United States . 

Wasn't that a relief?

Mr. Pretty Lies plans to keep a promise - - at last.

But . . .

Secretary of State John Kerry: However, while we certainly believe this is the soundest policy, and while the president has been clear he's open to clarifications on the use of U.S. combat troops to be outlined in an AUMF, that does not mean we should pre-emptively bind the hands of the commander in chief oo  or our commanders in the field -- in responding to scenarios and contingencies that are impossible to foresee. 

Was a promise made to the American people or not?

Is Barack to keep his promise?

An AUMF that refused to allow for combat troops wouldn't tie anyone's hands.

It could easily be passed.

It would require that if Barack wants to break his promise -- which he apparently is open to doing -- he would then have to go back to Congress for a second approval.

But if a promise is a promise and if Barack can be trusted, why does he need an AUMF which allows for US combat troops?

This is the sort of self-exposure which will become more and more clear in 2015.

Membership in The Cult of St. Barack is dwindling.  And the press has little reason to continue to whore for Barack.  They whored for Bully Boy Bush for years.  When it was no longer in their interests to do so, they dropped him.

The press has begun to drop the adoration of Barack as well.

Just this week, Julie Pace and Nancy Benac (AP) pointed out, "The Yes-We-Can man is entering a twilight of maybes [. . .]"

It's not a plot to 'take him down' -- it's just, as Ava and I pointed out the day after the November 2012 election -- the natural process.

Possibly Barack could have avoided it.

The press carried Barack's water much longer than they did any other president or Oval Office occupant.

But Ed Snowden changed the landscape.

If you doubt it, think of how Ed's illegal spying revelations went over in Europe.

Not very well at all.

And that may have impacted the European Court of Justice Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston siding with US War Resister Andre Shepherd in November.

Another positive sign?  An unwillingness to remain silent while temple whores in The Cult of St. Barack continue to lie.  Take Margaret Kimberley's "Freedom Rider: Cuba in the American Imagination" (Black Agenda Report):

Even supposedly serious thinkers succumbed and revealed more about their own fantasies than any insight about Cuba. Liberal pundit David Corn could only think of his stereotypes in a startling missive posted on twitter. “Cuba's a swell place to visit. Beaches, rum, baseball, music. It'll be great for more USers to visit-& that could counter repression there.” If there were a prize awarded for truly stupid twitter posts, Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin should win with these words, “Obama spoke with Raul Castro yesterday. The ice is melting. Mojitos for all!”
It is difficult to know where to begin in analyzing such nonsense. It isn’t clear what Corn means by repression, but surely the presence of Americans having fun has never made people safe anywhere in the world. As for Benjamin, anyone whose response to a foreign policy decision includes references to a cocktail should be ignored now and forever. 

Yeah, it's going to be hard for the whores in the next few years.

2014 ended with The Nation featuring an article -- a fact-challenged one -- noting The New Republic carrying water for the powerful -- as if The Nation has done anything else since 2009.  (Other big fact challenge?  Slamming The New Republic for it's KGB ties when, in fact, The Nation has their own problems including entertaining a Soviet Agent who was later executed for being a spy -- entertaining him and raising money for him.)

Where does Katrina vanden Heuvel think she goes next with her propaganda website?

It was one thing, in the early '00s to pose as brave lefties who called out Bill Clinton when, reality, not so much from The Nation when Bill was president.  But in the early '00s, you could get away with it.

Now The Nation has all so many articles online.

Propping up Barack.  Carrying water for him.

As more and more Americans turn against the hugely unpopular ObamaCare, it's going to be really hard for The Nation to lie that they stood up to the increased corporatization of health care.  It's going to be hard for them to pretend they were pushing for single-payer.

So much will be hard for them to pretend.

Where do they go?

These temple whores after Barack terms out of office?

They've destroyed their credibility and now are in the self-exposure phase themselves.

All of which means 2015 should make for  a very, very interesting year.

And, of course, there are the years beyond and there's the scandal no one wants to talk about.

No, not Benghazi.

In photograph after photograph, Susan Rice is shown at a distance, in the shadows.

Is she the administration's Iago?

Or is it just another sign of the sexism in Barack's administration.

Long after Barack's out of the White House and Anita Dunn decides to (again) tell the truth (with no retraction or fear this go round), the rank sexism will be an issue that Barack can't silence, finesse or control.

Barack's recent golfing game got him in trouble.(and should -- as Gary Chartier notes at Information Clearing House) but his sexism is so common place that people don't even bother to point out it's yet another golf game with men.

It's as though the LPGA is the only four letter term Barack's unfamiliar with.

Or take his winter pleasure reading list.  As Rebecca pointed out, there are six authors.  All six are men.

I'm sorry, did I nod out and wake up in 1640?  Has Aphra Behn and all the professional female writers that followed her not yet emerged?

Again, none of these actions are hidden.

They're out in the open and Barack, in 2014, was exposing himself repeatedly.


Other year-in-reviews:

2013: The Year of Exposure

2012: The Year of Avoidance

2011: The Year of the Slow Reveal

  • 2010: The Year of Enough
  • 2009: The Year of Living Sickly
  • 2008: The Year of Living Hormonally
  • 2007: The Year of Living Useless
  • 2006: The Year of Living Dumbly

  • Other 2014 year-in-review pieces:  Isaiah's "2014 Self-Exposure," Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2014 In Music," Ruth's "Ruth's Radio Report 2014," Martha and Shirley's "2014 in Books (Martha & Shirley)" and Ann and Stan's "2014 in Film (Ann and Stan)" which first went up at their own sites as Ann's "2014 in Films (Ann and Stan)" and Stan's "2014 in film (Ann and Stan),"

    Kat's Korner: 2014 In Music

    Kat: What a year for music.

    And what a rebound.

    Last year was so bad that my top ten was a top six.

    There weren't even ten albums worth singling out.

    2014 has brought a plethora of choice offerings.

    So many, in fact, that any in my top nine could have been number one.

    I spent three weeks listening to all ten albums and debating who went where.  It was neither easy nor consistent.  Each day produced different rankings.

    1) Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Gold (tie) and Chrissie Hynde's Stockholm.

    24 Karat Gold continues Stevie's artistic rebirth.

    1994's Street Angel remains the nadir of her solo career.  In retrospect, with the exception of "Docklands," the songs on that album were often solid, they were just poorly arranged and sequenced and, ultimately,, lackluster.

    2001's Trouble in Shangri-La kicked off a resurgence that's been one high point after another and includes not only the studio album In Your Dreams but also the live album The Soundstage Sessions.

    And now comes 24 Karat Gold, an artistic high point for anyone.  "The Dealer," "Mabel Normand," "Blue Water," "Lady," "Cathouse Blues," "She Loves Him Still" and "Hard Advice" are among the best songs she's ever written -- and this is a songwriter whose body of work already included "Sara," "Edge of Seventeen," "Stand Back," "Landslide," "Gold Dust Woman," "Dreams," "Nightbird," "Gypsy," "If Anyone Falls In Love," "Crystal," "Beauty & the Beast," "Leather & Lace," "Rooms on Fire,"  "Sisters of the Moon," "I Can't Wait," "Secret Love," "Silver Springs,"  "Beautiful Child," "Paper Doll," "Say You Will" and "I Don't Want To Know."

    This is the Stevie Nicks album every Stevie fan needs to have in their home.

    Stockholm's the rock album U2 wishes they had released.  Instead, even giving it away for free via iTunes, U2 couldn't, in fact, give the album away.

    If Stockholm had half the promotion bloated and bombastic Bono received, the whole country would be singing along with "Dark Sunglasses," "You or No One," "Like In the Movies" and so much more.  As it is, this album's going to be a slow grower, akin to Dusty Springfield's classic Dusty In Memphis.  In 20 years, the world will marvel at how a musical treasure wasn't immediately and universally embraced.

    As the head of Pretenders, Chrissie's been part of classic albums in the past (Learning To Crawl, The Isle of View and Packed! among them) but Stokholm is still a huge revelation and a reminder of just how many 'artists' release filler that neither makes you think nor makes your ass shake.

    3) Prince's Art Official Age.

    Leave it to Prince to show up this fall with not one but two albums.  Art Official Age and Plectrunemlectrum were both outstanding. (The latter made it to number 12 on my 20.)  From the start, though, Art Official Age was the one that spoke the most to me.

    It pretty much picked up a strand from every album he ever released while tying it up and bouncing it around the room in a manner that created a wholly unique sound which reminded Prince remains the most vital artist who dominated 80s radio.  Back in the summer of 1984, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and others battled it out for top honor.  Tina's stopped recording and is missed while Bruce continues recording despite the fact that no one's interested in buying his tired and dull recordings. If High Hopes made clear that Bruce had nothing left to say, Art Official Age makes clear that Prince not only remains vital but his best work may still be ahead of him.

    4) Tori AmosUnrepentant Geraldines.

    Has Tori ever made a bad album?

    She's made a few challenging ones.  Boys for Pele, for example, took about fourteen months for me to get into.  I loved "In The Springtime of His Voodoo" but the rest of the album escaped me for months and months.  Today, she's one of the last real artists.  She can stand with earlier greats like Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd and others.

    This go round, she's offered a stripped down sound that sets off her gorgeous vocals to tremendous effect and allows her explorations to be immediately appreciated.  This stands with Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink, Scarlet's Walk and Night of Hunters as one of her all time classics.  "Wild Way" is simply the best studio track she's ever recorded.  And, unlike so many of her 'poltical' peers (Bruce The Twinkie Springsteen, for example), Tori actually can (and does) comment on the world around her.

    5) Neil Young's Storytones.

    Sometimes an album speaks to us in a way it doesn't to others.  That's how I felt about Storytone.  It's perfection but every time I read a review I'm hearing skip the tracks for this album and just enjoy the stripped down version of the same songs on the deluxe version.

    I didn't -- and don't -- get it.

    But one thing that made me really happy was all the e-mails that came in after my review went up, people saying that they preferred the album Neil intended as well.

    It's really something special.

    I do get it.

    Neil's a singer-songwriter.  He's got a huge number of fans -- many of which just want him to do Zuma over and over.

    Just the fact that he refuses to that is something to give him credit for.  That he's made this expansive, big canvas recording that haunts and thrills and that a large number of people would prefer to ignore it to rush over to the same songs basically demo-ed is really sad.

    6) Aretha Franklin's Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics.

    The new album is Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics was a stunning one which yet again reminded everyone that Aretha gets respect not because she asks for it but because everything she does demands it.

    For years here, I've noted how 'feminists' like Judy Collins do one album after another celebrating men -- Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, John Lennon, Paul McCartney -- while doing nothing to uplift or applaud women.

    Leave it to Lady Soul, the Queen, to rectify the void with an album celebrating the work of women.  Specifically, she's celebrating Adele, Diana Ross, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Gloria Gaynor, Barbra Streisand, Dinah Washington and others.

    And she's engaged and having fun making it a real celebration -- and the finest album she's done since A Rose Is Still A Rose.

    7) The Afghan Whigs' Do To The Beast.


    With Kurt Cobain's death, alternative rock suffered a huge blow.  While Tori Amos, one of the genre's true artists. explored the the world as a woman, few were around to offer the same artistic take from the male point of view.  Eddie V brought Pearlm Jam down not with is hogcalling vocals but with his on the nose attempts to provide suggestions and his inability to write a song about anything.  Henry Rollins explored something -- who knew what?, the mind of a serial killer?  or just a poser? -- and Billy ruined Smashing Pumpkins to the point that what remained should have been Bitchy Boys.  The sole exception was Greg Dulli.

    The group's singer and chief songwriter charted new territory and was a true explorer.  But, let's not kid, he needed the band.  Twilight Singers and other follow up acts were always interesting but it was the work of the Afghan Whigs that kept us listening and hoping.  And now the group -- all but one -- came back to rock out and demonstrate yet again that they were true originals.

    8) Ben Harper and Ellen Harper's Childhood Home.

    How cool is Ben Harper?

    He does an album with his mother and it's a classic.

    As Bruce Springsteen's become the old geezer you wish would just go home, Ben's stepped forward to become the rocker who leads the pack.

    And how cool is Ellen Harper?

    Not just because she raised Ben, but there is that.  But mainly, how cool is she that she's able to hold her own on this album -- recording with one of our rock greats, she holds her own.

    To hear this album is to fall in love with it.  If you made it through 2014 without hearing it, you did yourself a disservice.

    9) Cloud Nothings' Here and Nowhere Else.

    One of the great surprises of the year was the band's Here and Nowhere Else -- a hard hitting roller coaster that has you screaming through the final track ("I'm Not Part Of Me").  Along with "Pattern Walks" and "No Thoughts," "I'm Not Part Of Me" is one of the must-listen-to tracks of the album.

    10) La Sera's Hour of the Dawn.

    This is one of those albums I never could wrap myself around in terms of a review.  It's a great album, a solid listen and probably what we'll be hearing from rock for the next five years as everyone copies Katy Goodman and company.  If there's any justice at all, at least 10% of the copycats to come will give credit to La Sera and this album.

    Click here for my 2004 music piece, here for 2005, 2006 in music, 2007 in music, here for 2008, here for my 2009 piece, here for my look at the decade, here for my 2010 piecehere for my 2011 piece,  here for my 2012 piece and here for my 2013 piece.

    Ruth's Radio Report 2014

    Ruth:  At one point this year, after a radio show had been on the air for months, there was a promo passing as a column, a promo for a new radio program on KPFK.

    a radio

    KPFK is part of Pacifica Radio -- supposed public radio.

    And Pacifica has serious issues regarding their lack of diversity.

    So the new host they gave air time to  was . . . Ralph Nader.

    This is how you bring in new and young listeners?

    The bad promotion insisted that this show is needed to air important voices that you would not hear otherwise like Jim Hightower and . . .

    The list only got worse.

    Jim Hightower?

    Is there a ban on him at Pacifica Radio that I am unaware of?


    So what we were being told was that Ralph Nader would host another generic, by-the-numbers Pacifica Radio program that would sound like pretty much every other Pacifica Radio program already on the air.

    That is what he has delivered.

    Call it "consistency," if you want to be generous.

    The only thing I have learned from listening to hours of the program?

    Mr. Nader is at least partially deaf.

    I have no idea why he has not addressed this publicly.

    But it does explain why he shouts over and over.

    He's not shouting out of excitement.

    There is no excitement on his dull show.

    An hour a week in which he covers everything every other Pacifica Radio program covers.

    In the same way.

    The sameness may be what finally kills Pacifica.

    Since June, Mr. Nader has twice 'addressed' Iraq.

    (Out of respect for Tomas Young and his family, I am following the community standard of not addressing the nonsense.  His death was noted.  We have been very kind, community wide, and avoided calling out those who tried to use him in March of 2013 to make a political statement.  They know who they were and they should be ashamed of themselves.)

    Back in June, as U.S. President Barack Obama was sending U.S. 'advisors' into Iraq, Mr. Nader took to the airwaves to slam . . .

    Neocons who helped start the illegal war back in 2002 and 2003.

    Thanks Bad Grandpa for another tale about the old days which allows you to avoid the ugly realities of today.

    Of course, it was not neocons alone nor was it Republicans alone.

    But that was Mr. Nader's focus and I guess when you are a worthless person in the twilight of your years, you try to pass that off as bravery.

    You do not call out Mr. Obama.

    You do not insist that these 'advisors' should not be going into Iraq.

    You just peddle your ass like a cheap whore and then feign shock that no one wanted to buy your tired wares.

    More recently, Mr. Nader had an especially absurd and ridiculous segment where he and Public Citzen's Lori Wallach whined about how voices against war are shut out of the mainstream media.

    Oh, there is a new topic!

    That was sarcasm.

    The topic had meaning from 2001 through 2007 as a multitude of voices were shut out.

    But today?

    You are going to bring on peace 'activist' Jane Fonda to what?

    To describe how she would have sex with Mr. Obama?

    She really is becoming a sad old tart, let us all be frank.

    She needed to cool her jets long ago.

    Instead, she blogs about building a shrine to herself and connecting with her six-year-old self.

    I guess she will do anything to avoid facing the reality of the world today which includes all the wars Mr. Obama carries out.

    Someone needs to tell Ms. Fonda that she is pathetic and no one thinks her 78-year-old ass is getting any no matter how much she pretends in one dirty TV interview after another.

    It is amazing what she will talk about -- orgasms, etc. -- on TV while avoiding the Iraq War despite declaring in January of 2007 at the D.C. rally that she had been silent too long and would not be silent anymore.

    Jane be shocking
    Jane be a bore
    Jane take off your clothes once more

    That was a Mad magazine parody of Jane Fonda back in her Barbarella days.  One wonders why she thinks she is giving her life meaning today as she acts like a sex pot?

    In fairness, she is far from the only alleged peace 'activist' who is silent.

    In fact, they pretty much all are.

    So it was hilarious to listen to Mr. Nader and Ms. Wallach fret and fuss over how "antiwar" voices were being shut out of the conversation.

    They are not being shut out, they are shutting themselves out at this point.

    And that, too, is typical of today's Pacifica Radio which would not know antiwar if it slapped it in the face.

    It will never get over the disgrace of Aimee Allison and her justification of The Drone War which she posted on YouTube.  Nor will it get over Ms. Allison calling for book burning on Pacifica airwaves (she wanted the issue of The New Yorker featuring a parody of the Obamas burned).  Pacifica, for those who have forgotten, is supposed to be the home of free speech.

    Mr. Obama himself never strikes me as being as outlandish and idiotic as his temple whores in the Cult of St. Barack. (Ava and C.I. coined the term "the Cult of St. Barack" back during the primaries and how apt that term has been.)  That does not mean I cheer him on.  It just means that a War Hawk like Mr. Obama still manages to come off far more sane than the ridiculous sell-outs who put him ahead of their beliefs and principles.

    Six years of nonsense.

    Into that environment Ralph Nader Radio Hour could have been a welcome and needed show.

    But for that to happen, he would have to take on the powerful and the power structure.

    Mr. Nader lacks the inclination and the spine to do so today.

    So his show is another Feminine Mystique show.

    Betty Friedan.

    Were she alive today, she would have a great deal more to write about.

    "The problem without a name" would now have to include leftists who now support war and War Hawks and War Crimes, who are silent as the Iraq War continues (the one Mr. Obama was supposed to end, remember?), as the illegal spying continues, as everything Bully Boy Bush did continues.

    Mr. Nader does a weekly hour of worthless chatter.

    And, sadly, that is true of pretty much everything Pacifica now offers.


    Ruth also covered radio in 201320122011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, .

    2014 in Books (Martha & Shirley)

    2014 was a mixed bag for books.

    Like the community members voting in our annual poll, we really wanted to love the book about Ed Snowden but love turned to mere like with an author who seems to forget he is not the star of the book.  Outside of memoirs, there were very few non-fiction books that spoke us in '14.

    What did stand out was truth telling.

    Whether hard hitting political, funny or just odd (recounting competitions to see who could go the longest without bathing, for example), sharing truths tended to matter.

    A lot.

    And let's especially praise our own favorite book (which we voted number one, by the way, on our ballots) which told of how a 'feminist' actress didn't support another actress during her first directing job but instead worked to ensure that the film wouldn't air.

    Maybe that 'feminist' (read on through our list, you'll know who we're talking about soon enough if you don't already) should go back to her '90s 'feminism' she espoused in a cover story for McCall's where she explained that, at a certain age, a woman had to choose between her face or her ass (the 'feminist' was explaining she was putting on pounds to puff out the lines on her face).

    1) Censored 2015: Inspiring We The People by Project Censored. Mickey Huff, Andy Lee Orth and Khalil Bendib (tie) Joan River's Diary of a Mad Diva.  Truth tellers ruled in 2014.

    The first title listed?  Elaine and Isaiah reviewed it for the gina & krista roundrobin, giving it a rave and community members clearly agreed making Project Censored annual examination of the year's least covered stories the top book of 2014.

    The second is by the late comedian Joan Rivers. Well let her speak for herself.  From the book:

    August 19
    Dear Diary:

    Performed at a women's show and it went surprisingly well.  Lena Dunham spoke about how difficult it is to be a woman in our business and claims she, and she alone, has broken through for women.  In the audience Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Barbara Walter, Diane Sawyer, Mary Tyler Moore and Sarah Jessica Parker all started to cry because according to fatso, they didn't count.  I do want to give her credit however -- Lena was the first fat girl naked on television and she changed the way America looks at their TV sets.  They now do it with their hands over their eyes.

    Amen, Joan, amen.


    [Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Duty."]

    3) Robert Gates' Duty and Leon Panetta's Worthy Fights.

    As the late Joan Rivers might put it, how much of a bitch is Barack?

    Seriously.  Not one but two Secretaries of Defense dish on Obama?

    Even Shannen Doherty had to wait two decades before  co-worker Jason Priestley called her out in print.

    5) Jason Priestley's A Memoir.

    Who knew so many people were missing the 90s?  Or that Jason and Brad Pitt thought 'fun' was seeing who could go the longest without bathing?  Read the book.

    6) Anjelica Huston followed up A Story Told Lately with this year's Watch Me, Third noted the memoir in mid-November.  It's a fascinating read, written with true style.  And good for Huston for noting (and naming) the certain actress who just published a book pretending to care about issues like rape and who can't stop congratulating herself for her work with girls in Atlanta or insisting she's a feminist who -- honest to God this time! -- won't get used by men again! -- but who, when with Ted Turner, couldn't even support a fellow actress directing a film which told a story all too common for too many women, one of rape. Ted didn't want to air it on his cable chain and flabby upper arm candy Jane Fonda gave him the perfect out by trashing Huston's film as well thereby proving not all bastards are of Carolina.

    7) Octavia E. Butler's Unexpected Stories.

    In Polly's Brew, Marcia called this the most important work of science fiction for all of 2014.

    Are you really going to argue with Marcia?

    8) Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman.

    She still hasn't gotten her own movie, but at least Wonder Woman was the subject of this fascinating book.

    9) Diane Keaton's Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty.

    No, it wasn't.

    It was delightful.

    And charming.

    We think we may like this book even more than Diane's previous memoir Then Again.

    10) Glenn Greenwald's No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State.

    A little more focus on whistle-blower Ed Snowden and a little less of Glenn singing "How Great Thou Art" while staring in the mirror would have let this book rank much higher on our list.  Silly Woodward and Bernstein putting Nixon and Watergate at the forefront of All The President's Men when they could have instead followed Glenn's lead and made themselves the main characters.


    Martha and  Shirley have also done the year in books for 201320122011, 20102009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

    2014 in Film (Ann and Stan)

    This is Ann's "2014 in Films (Ann and Stan)" and Stan's "2014 in film (Ann and Stan),"

    Ann and Stan here doing our annual look at movies.  This is our list of the top ten films that you could download, stream or purchase.  Purchase on BluRay or DVD.  Not on videotape.

    But a trip to a music store reminded us that vinyl exists now as a collectible leaving us to wonder whether somewhere in the country there's a purist group pining for the return of VHS or even Betamax?

    Hopefully not, but you never know.

    What we do know is that these are ten highly satisfying and enjoyable films.

    1) "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

    Pretty can be nice but it doesn't mean blockbuster as "Twilight" beefcake is learning the hard way.  But Chris Evans is more than a pretty face and he proves it again in the year's best film.  A superhero caper, this isn't.  It's a film that explores our world today.  Strong applause is earned by Anthony Mackie and Emily VanCamp for their roles, to be sure.  But if anyone rivals Evans in this film, it's Scarlett Johansson who makes Black Widow come alive in a way she hasn't in the Iron Man films or even in "The Avengers."   Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo should be directing every Marvel film -- that includes the X-Men.  The return of Bryan Singer should have made "X-Men: Days of Future Past" a great film.  Instead, it's a huge disappointment and the only one who doesn't have to be embarrassed is Hugh Jackman.  Chris Evans' film works because women are extras.  By contrast, each X-Men film these days tends to find women reduced to doing less and less.  The sexism reeks.  And how sad that Singer brought such meaning and relevance to the first two X-Men films now seems to be executing lame retreads while the Russos steal his thunder.

    2)  "Malificent."

    One of the year's biggest blockbuster hits -- and the biggest live action summer hit that wasn't a sequel -- really made it solely on Angelina Jolie.  She was repeatedly so much better than the material and it's a real shame Disney can't hire quality writers.  But she and basic plot pull you in despite the frequent soggy moments.

    3) "The Other Woman."

    Cameron Diaz had the distinction of being the best thing in two awful movies ("Annie" and "Sex Tape") but she also had the distinction of appearing in one of the best comedies of the year.  Since "How To Marry A Millionaire," a holy trinity of women has meant solid laughs -- see Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton pairing up for "9 to 5" and Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler teaming up for "First Wives Club"). Cameron, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton continued the hilarity. So far, no teaming of three women has resulted in a sequel or a re-pairing in another film.  We'd love to see Cameron, Leslie and Kate break that rule.

    4) "22 Jump Street"

    Grab on whatever you grab onto, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return in this hilarious sequel that says Seth Rogan and James Franco, you're silly together but Jonah and Channing are bust a gut hilarious.

    5) "Begin Again"

    In a better world, this little film that should would have been the little film that could.  It pack a powerful punch and frequently surprises you while always entertaining you.  Why do they make movies?  "Begin Again" answers that question with charm and suspense.  This was probably the best film that most Americans missed in 2014.

    6)  "Under The Skin"

    This sci fi film is a visual delight and director Jonathan Glazer's been hailed as a new Hitchcock and a new Kurbrick.  But what really makes it work is Scarlett Johansson as the alien.  Scarlett could have had three films on our list had "Lucy" already been released (it comes out on DVD in January).

    7)  "Ride Along"

    Ice Cube thought "Ride Along" was going to be his film.  And he even got top billing.  But even that couldn't conceal the fact that Kevin Hart walked away with the film.  And left you laughing despite the fact that the script was little more than a rip-off an episode of "Friends."  Whether he'll make strong future choices or not remains to be seen but this movie made Kevin Hart a break out star.

    8) "Thor: The Dark World"

    Honestly, there is no superhero we'd rather ignore in a comic book.  That said, Thor has been the basis for two outstanding films.  The first one was one of the most layered solo superhero movies (we rank the first two X-Men as the best group superhero films) but the second one took it to a whole nother level.  Forget the genre, this film was amazing all on its own terms.

    9) "Let's Be Cops."

    If there's any happy ending to the cancellation of the classic sitcom "Happy Endings," it's that it allowed Damon Wayans Jr. to return to the role he played in the "New Girl" pilot which allowed him to reteam with Jake Johnson.  The two have a chemistry on the show that goes beyond the rest of the cast and "Let's Be Cops" mines that chemistry to create a buddy-fake-cop movie that works like nothing has since the 80s.

    10) "Fading Gigolo"

    John Turturro didn't just direct, write and act in this comedy classic, he also put together an excellent cast and Sofia Vergara especially deserves strong praise for her performance which shows a side that "Modern Family" never has.  Vergara, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber and, especially, Woody Allen help make this film a comedy gem.