Be sure to read it. It's a great column. I've never agreed with David Axelrod about anything. Since I do for once, let me note this:
Unless some better explanation surfaces, here’s the lesson of this weird turn in the Smollett case: You can contrive a hate crime, make it a national news, get caught and-if you are a well-connected celebrity-get off for $10K and have your record expunged and files sealed.
I agree that is the lesson. He is hideous. And to lie like he did yesterday and to say he was innocent. The deal he made said he was guilty. That's why he got 'off' for community service and for giving up $10,000.
He is a liar, he is a criminal. I have no respect for him, not at all. If he had gone to court, I would have more respect for him. If he had said yesterday, "I did it and I'm sorry," I could have forgiven him.
But he had a chance to do something and he chose to lie again. His lies started this and he'll apparently never change.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Last week's tragedy in Iraq left at least 120 dead. What will the next tragedy be? It's a question worth asking considering the government refused to follow the policies in place that should have prevented the ferry from even being on the water last week. It's a question worth asking as Basra faces rising water.
Large agricultural areas have drowned in Basra south of Iraq due to the floods .
Flooding? In the city where clean water is something the government's unable/unwilling to provide.
That was among the reasons that protests started in Basra last July. Over 100,000 (official Iraqi government figure) were hospitalized for drinking the water.
Half of all households in #Iraq are at risk from drinking contaminated water. In spite of the attention that last year's protests and illnesses in Basra brought to the problem, it seems that weak governance is impeding efforts to address it.
The western press may not be talking about it but others are and this is a known in Iraq -- a known that is not being addressed. The government remains non-responsive to the people.
When it is a misfortune and when is it an injustice?
Political theorist Judith N, Shklar grappled with that issue in THE FACES OF INJUSTICE. She noted:
When is a disaster a misfortune and when is it an injustice? . . . If the dreadful event is caused by the external forces of nature, it's a misfortune and we must resign ourselves to our suffering. Should, however, some ill-intentioned agent, human or supernatural, have brought it about, then it is an injustice and we may express indignation and outrage.
Grasp that any misfortune that arises in Basra due to the flooding will not be a misfortune, it will be an injustice. There has been more than enough time to address this. The government continues to ignore it.
The government doesn't do much of anything, do they? They sacked the governor of Nineveh Province over the ferry disaster. Or 'sacked' him.
Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:
Alissa J. Rubin and Falih Hassan (NEW YORK TIMES) report:
In a rare show of deference to the anger of Mosul citizens over government abuses, the Iraqi Parliament on Sunday voted overwhelmingly to remove the province’s governor, citing accusations of corruption, self-dealing and negligence.
Although Mosul citizens had pleaded with the central government to remove the governor for more than two years, it was only after a ferry disaster brought angry citizens into the street that senior political figures decided to act.
They note that Nuafal Hammadi "had held the job since 2015." They fail to note how the previous governor departed or that this was not the first government effort to remove Hammadi.
December 28, 2017, KURDISTAN 24 reported:
So they actually sacked him in 2017 and he refused to step down? Interesting. You don't suppose he might respond in a similar way today, do you?
So he is again refusing to step down.
Hmm . . .
Oh, they're going to arrest him. Like they did Atheel al-Nujaifi?
If you just asked "who?," then you may be a member of the western press. Atheel was governor of Nineveh. He was sacked. (Replaced with the current governor who refuses to be fired.) And then? Well he's Sunni. So the Shi'ite-based government issued an arrest warrant for him like they do for so many Sunni officials (most infamously with Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- Atheel, by the way, is the brother of another Sunni Vice President of Iraq, Osama al-Nujaifi). He was arrested when? Never. All these years later, never.
Arrest warrants are little more than threats in Iraq. For years, the puppet government, at the request of the US government, held one on Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr. The warrant is probably sill around today but it has no legal standing at this point and everyone's long ago grasped that arresting Moqtada would result in rioting and unrest.
Will the arrest warrant be executed on the current I-am-staying governor?
History would indicate "no." However, don't put the Magic 8 Ball down just yet. Adil Abdul-Mahdi isn't have much luck with anything these days, is he?
Like US President Donald Trump, Mahdi likes to pretend that ISIS is over in Iraq. Even though this week saw an attack using suicide bombers (three). It's not over and what it might morph into next is even scarier.
He likes to pretend he can govern. But he still does not have a full Cabinet. More to the point, the security posts of Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior remain vacant. What happened the last time they were vacant? Oh, right, ISIS rose and seized Mosul. He was supposed to have a full Cabinet by the end of October. He did not. He promised it would take place in the next month. Don't know about you, but my calendar shows November to be the next month after October. Then he said it would be in the new year. April is a week away and the posts are still vacant.
He's failed to address corruption. He's failed to address the protests of the people in Basra or anywhere else.
A big for-show arrest might boost his image. So don't rule out an arrest completely.
Let's wind down with this from Burn Pits 360:
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