Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Weekend box office

Okay, here's the past weekend box office via THE NUMBERS.COM:

Big takes?

First off, KNIVES OUT is a hit.  It's going to easily reach the 90 million mark domestically.  It's not an expensive movie -- not a lot of special effects.  It is a good movie (I covered it here).

Second off, it's over Tom.  No one wants to see Tom Hanks on the screen.

When you're Tom Hanks, you're paid a huge sum and they pay you that so that every film you make sails past the $150 million mark domestically.

And yet . . . you have to drop back to 2006 for that (THE DA VINCI CODE).

In live action films, he's not delivering.  He did in the 90s, yes.  He was worth what they paid him then.  But starting in the '00s and continuing through this decade (that's over in less than a month), he's failed to deliver over and over.

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

Monday, December 12, 2019.  People continue to express anger over John Aravosis taking a cut of donations to politicians such as Kamala Harris, the Iraqi Parliament accepts the prime minister's resignation, and more.

Starting in the US where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination has a new development: John Aravosis.  No, the noted failure isn't running for the nomination.  He's just made a lot of donors angry when they learned that their donation to, for example, Kamala Harris somehow ended up going to Kamala and John.

Are people aware that John Aravosis has rigged google search results so that "Kamala donate" comes up with his Actblue link first which splits donations 50/50 between him and Kamala Harris ?

Replying to   and

Suz- his real name is John Aravosis

I see plenty of anger; please know that I share it. But I ask you to try to take a breath before you recommend drastic actions, especially against anyone involved *except* the person responsible: John Aravosis.

  • Replying to   and

    I'm just gonna drop this here but John Aravosis is acting suspiciously like Glenn Greenwald.

    John Aravosis needs to return all of the money meant for the campaign.

    Who TF is John Aravosis?🀷🏿‍♂️

    John Aravosis is doing this to all the candidates. It's b.s. and he's using misleading SEO combined with misleading website text to siphon money from the Harris campaign.

    Replying to   and

    Blogger John Aravosis has purchased a Google search ranking to put his 50/50 split donation page prominently among the legit Kamala Harris campaign donation links.

    AMERICAblog (John Aravosis ) scam from the Kamala Harris campaign by rigging google search results so that "Kamala donate" comes up w/ an Actblue link that splits donations between Kamala Harris  his AMERICAblog?

    AMERICAblog (John Aravosis ) scam from the Kamala Harris campaign by rigging google search results so that "Kamala donate" comes up w/ an Actblue link that splits donations between Kamala Harris  his AMERICAblog?

    Time to sue John Aravosis's damn ass for rigging google search results so that "Kamala donate" comes up w/ his Actblue link that splits donations between Kamala Harris  his AMERICAblog.

    Replying to   and

    I'm in. Please make people aware not to use that donation link that's splitting donations between Kamala and John Aravosis

    John Aravosis out here stealing from a black woman. I'm pissed all over again!!

    John appears to think he can say nothing and this will disappear.  John's a con artist.  He's tricked people.  They thought they were donating to, for example, Kamala and he's taken half their donation for himself.  That's theft.

    John appears to think he can be silent and ride this out.

    This is theft.

    And Kamala's campaign could use the cash -- the cash her donors thought they were providing.

    We should also note this:

    I just don’t hate Harris, Warren or even Bernie as much as so much of the twitter left really seems to loathe Pete Buttigieg.

    And I certainly don’t take any of them on with the incessant ferocity shown Pete, even though I prefer him and/or Biden to them.

    It’s just interesting.

    He doesn't hate Kamala as much?  So he hates Kamala, doesn't want her to get the nomination and comes up with a scam that rips off half her donations so they end up in his pocket?  I'd say that's criminal and easy to prove in court.

    From John to the equally creepy Joe Biden.  War Hawk Joe got weird over the weekend.  For most people, that was the nibbling of Jill Biden's fingers.

    Seriously, what is going on with Joe Biden?

    That's something.  But, as we noted Saturday, "Poor Joe.  At a campaign stop today, he was talking about letting children stroke the hairs on his leg and bounce in his lap.  Creepy."

    You can’t make this stuff up... Joe Biden is ready for SNL, not the White House. πŸ˜‚

    Joe Biden: “And the kids used to come up and reach in the pool and rub my leg down so it was straight and then watch the hair come back up again. They’d look at it.”

    Weird flex but okay.


    As difficult as this is to watch, it sends a clear message:

    It’s time for Joe Biden to step away.

    On a side note, I truly believe that if it weren’t for so many Corporate Special Interests heavily invested in his campaign, Joe would‘ve stepped away months ago.

    And then there's Tiny Pete.

    Replying to   and

    “I was basically the Uber for our unit.” Pete Buttigieg

    Uber drivers aren't qualified to be the most powerful person in the world

    Mayor of tiny town that he f'ed up at 29, next promotion most powerful person in the world? 

    What the f**k!  It's nuts

    Norman Solomon (COMMON DREAMS) notes how Tiny Pete gets applauded by the corporate media for his attacks on We The People:

    The Washington Post, owned by one of the world's richest people Jeff Bezos, has routinely spun Medicare for All as some sort of government takeover. In a prominent Nov. 30 news story that largely attributed Warren's recent dip in polls to her positioning on healthcare, the Post matter-of-factly—and falsely—referred to Medicare for All as "government-run healthcare" and "a government-run health plan."
    Such pervasive mass-media reporting smoothed the way for deceptions that have elevated Pete Buttigieg in polls during recent weeks with his deceptive "Medicare for All Who Want It" slogan. That rhetoric springboards from the false premises that Medicare for All would deprive people of meaningful choice and would somehow reduce coverage.
    In late September, with scant media scrutiny, Buttigieg launched an ad campaign against Medicare for All that has continued. Using insurance-industry talking points, he is deliberately confusing the current "choice" of predatory for-profit insurance plans with the genuine full choice of healthcare providers that top-quality Medicare for everyone would offer.

    Mainstream media outlets are ill-positioned to refute such distortions since they're routinely purveying such distortions themselves. Warren's backtracking step on Medicare for All in mid-November was a tribute to media pressure in tandem with attacks from centrist opponents.
    The idea of implementing some form of a substantial "wealth tax" has also been denigrated by many corporate-employed journalists. Countless pundits and political beat reporters have warned that proposals like a wealth tax, from Warren and Sanders, risk dragging Democrats down with voters. The truth is that such proposals are unpopular with the punditocracy and the extremely wealthy—while it’s a very different matter for most voters, who strongly favor a wealth tax.
    On the same day this fall, the New York Times and the Washington Post published stories on Democratic elites' "anxiety" about the presidential election. The Post wrote that Democrats "fret" Warren and Sanders "are too liberal to win a general election." (With disdain, the article made a matter-of-fact reference to "the push for liberal purity.") The Times similarly wrote of "persistent questions about Senator Elizabeth Warren's viability in the general election." Contrary voices were absent in both news stories.
    Assessing those articles, FAIR.org media analyst Julie Hollar pointed out: "The pieces interviewed a number of big donors and centrist party leaders, who fretted about their preferred candidate's struggles and expressed hope for someone more corporate-friendly than Warren to enter the race and challenge her rise."

    Hollar added: "The thinking of powerful people in the Democratic Party is worth writing about. But it's crucial not to just take their claims at face value. . . . What establishment Democrats are really worried about, of course, is their own power in the party, which is threatened by a surging left wing. Don't look to their establishment media counterparts to report on that transparently."

    Turning to Iraq . . .

    In Iraq and around the world, people are rising up to demand accountability and an end to corruption.

    The Iraqi political process should now be free to proceed without interference and a full accounting for those killed by security forces.

    Solidarity with the Iraqi people. ✊🏽

    The activism of the Iraqi people has produced results.  David Clark Scott (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR) notes:

    In Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation was accepted by Parliament Sunday. It was prompted by the deaths of at least 400 people during two months of street protests, similar to the demonstrations that have rocked nations from Latin America to Hong Kong. But the Iraqi government has responded with live ammo as thousands protested Iranian influence, corruption among elites, poor services, lack of jobs, and called for an end to the post-2003 political system. The process for forming a new Iraqi government is unclear, but populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a referendum to choose a prime minister from among five proposed candidates.

    On NPR's WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY, Lulu Garcia-Navarro spoke with Laith Kubba ("independent adviser to outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi").  Excerpt

    GARCIA-NAVARRO: Four hundred people have been killed in these protests. Security forces killed 45 protesters on Thursday in Nasiriyah. It's the blood of the Iraqi people that's being spilled by its own government. Shouldn't this resignation have happened sooner? And why didn't it?

    KUBBA: It should have happened. I was one of many who advised the prime minister not to take responsibility for the killings that took place earlier, bearing in mind there will be follow-up on them and bearing in mind he shouldn't be fully responsible for what happened.

    I think he got signals from many circles, international and local, to stay on and that he can contain the situation. I think they've grossly underestimated the rage that was out there, and they've misread basically what it was all about. It wasn't about small politics and parties seeking more jobs. It was much deeper than that. And I think up until this moment, not all politicians have read the situation as it is emerging now.

    What's next?

    Arwa Ibrahim (ALJAZEERA) reports:

    Legal experts told Al Jazeera the government would assume a caretaker role for 30 days or until the largest bloc in parliament agrees on a new candidate to replace him.
    "Based on the constitution, this resignation includes the whole government - ministers and the deputy prime minister," legal expert Tareq Harb told Al Jazeera.
    "The government has now become a caretaker government, which will only address urgent issues until a new government is elected," he added.
    "The largest political bloc or alliance will have 15 days to nominate a candidate which the president will then assign to form a new government within 30 days," Harb told Al Jazeera. "This new cabinet will then be voted on by parliament, which needs an absolute majority to be voted in."

    The protests continue.  Human Rights Watch issued the following this morning:

    (Beirut) – At least seven people, including a boy of 16, were reported missing since October 7 from or near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where they were participating in ongoing protests in Iraq’s capital, Human Rights Watch said today. Four were still missing as of December 2. The families said they visited police stations and government offices seeking information without success, and the government took no tangible measures to locate their relatives. It is unclear whether government security or armed groups carried out the abductions. In another two cases, security forces arrested and arbitrarily held protest supporters.
    Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi announced he was submitting his resignation as prime minister to parliament on November 29.
    “Whether the government or armed groups are behind the abductions in Baghdad, the government bears the responsibility for keeping people safe from such targeting,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities are failing Iraqi citizens by allowing armed groups to abduct people, and it will be up to the government to take swift action against these abuses.”
    On November 5, 2019, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq reported that it knew of six abductions of protesters or volunteers helping them in Baghdad. The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights began tallying the number of people security forces and unknown elements had abducted and detained during protests on October 1, but stopped its tally on October 31. However, on November 25, the commission said on Facebook that authorities had arrested 93 protesters in Baghdad between November 21 and 24 – 14 of whom they had released – and noted continued reports of kidnappings of activists, journalists, and lawyers by “unknown persons.” On November 21, it said the government should investigate, secure people’s release, and bring those responsible to justice.
    In a November 27 press conference, Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi announced that authorities had released 2,500 people they had arrested since protests began.
    Human Rights Watch was able to get some information about seven abducted people and two people who was arrested. But in nine other cases, families, friends and lawyers of people kidnapped or detained at or after they participated in protests in Baghdad, Karbala and Nasriya, said they were too frightened or worried about the consequences for the detained person to provide details.
    Human Rights Watch reported on the abduction of Saba Farhan Hameed, 36, on November 2, as she was on her way home from providing food, water, and first aid kits to protesters in Tahrir Square. Hameed’s family said she was blindfolded throughout her abduction and released on November 13, but could not provide other details. Human Rights Watch had also documented the abduction of Maytham al-Helo, a Baghdad resident, on October 7, during the first wave of protests. He was released on October 24 and was also unable to provide any details about his abduction.
    The brother of Omar Kadim Kadi’a said on November 26 that Kadi’a had been living in Tahrir Square since a second wave of protests started on October 25. Kadi’a came home on November 20 to take a shower, he said, but then left, and his family has not been able to reach or find him since. His brother said that on November 25, his phone was turned back on, because it suddenly showed that their messages to him had been read, but they called many times and got no answer. He said that Kadi’a’s older brother filed a missing person complaint at a local Baghdad police station but that the police showed little interest and that as far as he knew, did not investigate. Kadi’a was released on November 28, and told Human Rights Watch that Federal Police had arrested him at a checkpoint en route to the protests on November 20 and brought him before a judge on November 21, who told him he was not being charged with anything. The police released him on November 28.
    A man in Baghdad said on October 22 that he had last spoken to his brother Abbas Yaseen Kadim, who was at the Tahrir Square protest, by phone on October 3 at 5 p.m. When the brother tried to call Kadim at 8 p.m., the phone was turned off. The brother went to four police stations seeking information but found out nothing, and police did not offer any assistance in locating him. Kadim is still missing.
    Another man said that a relative, Saif Muhsin Abdul Hameed, had come to Baghdad on October 25 for the protests and was sleeping in a tent with friends at Tahrir Square. He said he spoke to Abdul Hameed at around noon on October 28. Abdul Hameed told him he was on Jumhuriya Bridge, the front line of the protests, but after that, Abdul Hameed's phone was turned off. He said he went to police stations and government offices but was not able to get any information, and police said they did not have enough information to follow up on the case. Abdul Hameed remains missing.
    A relative of Mari Mohammed Harj, a woman from Baghdad, said on November 13 that on October 29, Harj posted a video of herself on Facebook criticizing the prime minister and expressing support for the protesters. The video went viral, her relative said, at which point Facebook users the family did not know started posting accusations that Harj had ties to Saudi Arabia and making death threats against her.
    The relative said she last spoke to Harj, who was at Tahrir Square, at 5 p.m. on November 8, but that when she called at 9 p.m., Harj’s phone was turned off. She said Harj’s father and uncle went to two police stations in Baghdad but got no information. They asked the police to seek cell phone tower data to help figure out where she was and file a missing person report, but did not think the police had investigated. Harj was released on November 12 but could not share details of her abduction with Human Rights Watch.
    The sister of Mustafa Munthir Ali, who was in Tahrir Square every day helping as an ad hoc medic, said he stopped answering her calls at 3 a.m. on November 15. She said she went to Tahrir Square later that morning and could not find Ali at police stations or on any prisoner lists they checked. She said she did not know how to file a missing person claim and the police would not help. Ali managed to call his family on November 17, said his father, who was able to visit him on November 20 in detention in Muthana, an old military base in Baghdad that now houses detention facilities by various government security apparatuses.
    Ali told his father that at midnight on November 14, a man in civilian clothes dragged him from the protest to a group of officers who arrested him, took him to the Baghdad Operations Command office, and beat him. Ali said that on November 16, officers brought him before a judge, who told him that he was not being charged but that the judge could not order his release until “the government resigns or the protests end.” The father said Ali confirmed that other protesters were being held at Muthana. Human Rights Watch was not able to directly verify his account.
    A cousin of Sinan Adil Ibrahim said on November 25 that he spoke on November 21 to Ibrahim, who was at the Tahrir Square protest. He called Ibrahim again at 2 a.m. on November 22 to find that his phone was turned off. The family was afraid to describe steps they have taken to secure his release.
    Hassan Ahmed Hatim, 16, went to the Tahrir Square protest on November 28, and his family has not been able to reach or find him since, his father said. His father went to three police stations but got no information and none offered to file a missing persons claim or any other help.
    According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Iraq has one of the highest number of missing people in the world. The International Commission on Missing Persons, which has been working in partnership with the Iraqi government to help recover and identify the missing, estimates that the number of missing people in Iraq could range from 250,000 to 1 million people. Human Rights Watch published a report documenting enforced disappearances of predominantly Sunni Arabs between 2014 and 2017.
    Iraqi authorities should ensure an independent investigation into all abductions. The authorities should release all protesters who have not been charged with a recognizable criminal offense or anyone detained solely for exercising their right to peaceful assembly and protest. Those responsible for unlawful detention should be investigated and prosecuted, including both state security forces and private individuals.

    “In Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, it is unacceptable for the police to continue to treat these abductions with seeming indifference,” Whitson said. “They should put a stop to them and investigate.”

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