Monday, January 24, 2022

Weekend box office

From THENUMBERS.COM, here's the weekend box office totals:

1 (2) Spider-Man: No Way Home Sony Pict… $14,005,614 -30% 3,705 -220 $3,780 $720,891,602 6
2 (1) Scream Paramount… $12,213,638 -59% 3,666 +2 $3,332 $51,161,567 2
3 (3) Sing 2 Universal $5,751,920 -28% 3,434 -147 $1,675 $128,453,550 5
4 N Redeeming Love Universal $3,530,180   1,903   $1,855 $3,530,180 1
5 (5) The King’s Man 20th Cent… $1,783,179 -20% 2,315 -195 $770 $31,514,193 5
6 (4) The 355 Universal $1,599,815 -30% 2,609 -536 $613 $11,080,825 3
7 (6) American Underdog: Th… Lionsgate $1,177,357 -25% 2,164 -348 $544 $23,085,105 5
8 N The King’s Daughter Gravitas … $750,000   2,170   $346 $750,000 1
9 (8) West Side Story 20th Cent… $715,559 -23% 1,280 -180 $559 $35,069,054 7
10 (9) Licorice Pizza United Ar… $659,953 -25% 772 n/c $855 $10,762,601 9

Two weeks late, my point about the pandemic and no big winners except SPIDER-MAN prove true.

I also think it's hilarious (and wonderful) that SCREAM has made more money in two weeks than that awful WEST SIDE STORY in seven weeks.

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

 Monday, January 24, 2022.  News from the high court in england for Julian Assange, a serious look at the actual election events and results in Iraq (and their meanings) and much more.

Starting with news of Julian Assange.  Julian is the journalist US President Joe Biden continues to persecute.  Reporters Without Borders notes this morning:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcomes the High Court’s decision to allow Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange to appeal to the Supreme Court, seeking review of his extradition case, but limited to one narrow ground. The Supreme Court will be asked to consider matters related to the US government’s provision of diplomatic assurances regarding Assange’s treatment if extradited.

On 24 January, the High Court granted Julian Assange the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, seeking review of the decision that could allow for his extradition to the US. Assange’s legal team now has 14 days to file an application with the Supreme Court, which could take several months to decide whether it will accept the case for review. 

If accepted, the Supreme Court would consider matters related to the US government’s provision of diplomatic assurances regarding Assange’s treatment, which were filed only prior to the appeal stage of proceedings, meaning the assurances were not scrutinised in the evidentiary portion of the extradition hearing. The High Court granted permission for Assange to file an application on this ground due to the lateness of the US government’s provision of these diplomatic assurances.

“We welcome the High Court’s decision to allow Julian Assange the right to appeal his extradition case to the Supreme Court. This case will have enormous implications for journalism and press freedom around the world, and could be hugely precedent-setting. It deserves consideration by the highest court in the land. We very much hope that the Supreme Court will indeed accept the case for review,” said RSF’s Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent, who was present in court for the hearing.

This decision follows the High Court’s ruling of 10 December 2021 by the same judges, overturning the District Judge’s decision of 4 January 2021 barring extradition on mental health grounds. The High Court had ruled in favour of the US government’s appeal, on the basis of the diplomatic assurances provided regarding Assange’s treatment if extradited.

RSF believes that Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism, as Wikileaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked classified documents in 2010 informed extensive public interest reporting around the world, exposing war crimes and human rights violations that have never been prosecuted. If he faces trial in the US, Assange would not be able to argue a public interest defence, as the Espionage Act lacks such a provision. Assange’s prosecution would set a dangerous precedent that would have lasting implications for journalism and press freedom around the world.

RSF is also gravely concerned by the state of Assange’s mental and physical health, which remain at great risk in conditions of prolonged detention in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison – risks that would be severely exacerbated if the US succeeds in securing his extradition. In December it was revealed that he had suffered a mini-stroke in prison during the appellate hearing, and in January it was reported that Covid infections were again on the rise in Belmarsh prison.

The UK and US are respectively ranked 33rd and 44th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

BBC NEWS adds:

Stella Moris, Mr Assange's fiancee and mother of his two young sons, claimed the High Court ruling as a victory but said "we are far from achieving justice in this case". 

Speaking outside the court, she said: "Let's not forget that every time we win, as long as this case isn't dropped, as long as Julian isn't freed, Julian continues to suffer.

"For almost three years he has been in Belmarsh prison and he is suffering profoundly."

She added: "Our fight goes on and we will fight this until Julian is free." 

Kate Feldman (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) notes, "Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted in the U.S."

Turning to Iraq, ABNA notes, : "Iraqi sources reported that a logistics convoy of the US terrorist army was targeted in Babil province, central Iraq."  They also note that there were two attacks reported on US convoys yesterday. Violence has not ended in Iraq.  Joe Biden's assurances to the side, US troops remain in harms way.

Let's pick up from last night:

In other news, Dilan Sirwn (RUDAW) reports:

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) on Sunday voted on Barham Salih as the party’s only candidate for the Iraqi presidency, claiming that the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) nomination of a candidate is against “Kurdish unity”.

In a statement posted by the PUK’s co-chair Bafel Talabani on Facebook following an hours long meeting of the party's leadership council, the party announced its complete endorsement for the current Iraqi president to run a second term. 

The statement added that the council believed that “the KDP has taken steps independently and made agreements with some political parties without any regards to the will of Kurdish parties and Kurdish unity.”

The sense of entitlement from the failing and faltering PUK really needs to be put in check.  The PUK has been a fading political party since they staged photos of fat ass Jalal Talabani sitting at a table and 'conversing' when, in fact, fat ass suffered a stroke and should have been removed from office because he couldn't speak.  The Talabani's thirst for power was more important to them than the Iraqi people.  It was more important to them that they held onto power than that Iraq had a functioning president.  Since then, the PUK has done poorly in one election after another -- aided in their elecrtoral disasters by idiotic decisions to stand with the US government and not the Kurdish people.  2021 saw, no surprise, the KDP get more votes than the PUK.  The KDP got 31 seats in the new parliament, the PUK got 17.  

In what world does that qualify them to hold the presidency.  They are losers and they are a fading party.  Did Bafel Talabani leave the US long enough to partiicipate in a leadership meeting in Kurdistan?  Oh, how fortunate that Bafel was able to drop by Kurdistan.

We'll talk more about the losers of the PUK tomorrow and how they tanked others.

Gorran.  "Change."  Started with CIA money near the end of Nouri al-Maliki's first term as prime minister of Iraq, Goran was a political party in the Kurdistan that insisted it spoke for the hopes and dreams of the Kurdish people -- on the CIA dime, you understand.  And it slowly amassed support.  To the point that it replaced the failing PUK as the second most popular political party in the Kurdistan.  (Most popular was KDP.)  

And then, mid 2017, the party's leader Nawshirwan Mustafa passed away.  He was replaced by Omar Said Ali.  And today?

Rorran does't exist -- not int he Parliament.

The laughable 'movement' was generated from outside of the Kurdistan (again, by the CIA) and its erratic and problematic history with regards to its leaders is too complicated to go into -- it includes arrest warrants and it includes targeting and assassinating Kurdish Communists -- all that before the CIA provides CIA see money -- and possibly why the CIA provided seed money.

But the decision that doomed the political party?  

When you are slowly and surely pulling ahead of the Talabani-dominated PUK, what do you do?  A smart political party draws the lines even sharper between themselves and the PUK -- empahsizing, for example, that they are the political party for the Kurds not dominated by a single tribe.  Though the CIA could fork over money (US taxdollars, not the CIA's own money), they couldn't hand out wisdom (and maybe they have none to share in the first place).  

So Gorran decided, going into the 2021 election, that the thing to do was to . . . partner with the PUK.

That's right.  Partner with the losing party, the one that they were replacing previously.

The end result?

The death of Gorran.  They have no seat in the Parliament.  Not one.  

329 seats in the Parliament.  And Gorran doesn't hold a single one.

Many are saying that the political party is over.  And maybe they are.  For most political parties, this would be it.  But Gorran was funded by the CIA before and may be again.  

For now, corruption and mismanagement have resulted in the end of Gorran.  

Yoking themselves to the losing PUK only elevated the PUK while pummeling Gorran.

Let's move over to tubby Moqtada al-Sadr, the caftan clad media darling.  While Goran lost US tax dollars since the CIA elected not to fund them this go round, Moqtada got US tax dollars.

US tax dollars for what?  For his years of leading attacks on US troops?  For his killing of US troops?


They wanted Moqtada to endorse the elections.

The western media had lied that Moqtada wasn't particiapting.

He was particpating, the people from his party and his bloc had filed their papers and began posting campaign material.  Electoral dedlines meant they couldn't play -- the way the press did.  But Moqtada was withholding his endorsement of the elections.  In August, after being paid off by the US State Dept, Moqtada endorsed the elections.  

The 'radical' cleric is just another money grubbign whore.  

And because he had the backing of the US State Dept (Joe Biden spitting on the families of the fallen, thanks, Joe), he had the backing of the US media which lied repeatedly for him.

Moqtada, to read what passed for reproting from US and western outlets, was a winner.  He was so popular.  He was this, he was that.

He's a loser.

In 2010, Joe Biden, as Vcie President and as the person tasked by Barack Obama with oversight of Iraq, negotiated The Erbil Agreement.  That legal contract ended the eight month political stalemate and gave Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister by overruling the vote of the Iraqi people.  Nouri lost in 2010 and, as US Gen Ray Odierno had predicted, refused to step down.  Although the US initially insisted it would back the winner, that was soon tossed aside as Samantha Power and other idiots got their way.  

A few insitutitons, the Crisis Group to name but one -- a group that the US press has strangely stepped away from promoting, have noted that the trunout was awful.  35% or so of eligible voters turned out. What few want to talk about is the slow erosion each cycle since 2010.  Those of us who believed you backed the winner of the election and stood with the Iraqi people, we warned, back in 2010, that overturning the votes would harm support for and belief in the process.  And you can look at the cycles and you can see that we were right.

Moqtada's party didn't win but his bloc did.  And that win is what the press refuses to explore.  First off, gerry mandering has arrived in Iraq.  And the US State Dept tutored Moqtada on how to work it.  New districtes were created for the October 10th election and Moqtada studied the newly drawn districts and was advised on how to use these new boundaries.  You can be sure that other blocs and parties will pay more attention the boundaries next time.  

The other news?  While Moqtada's bloc has the largest number of seats in the Parliament, his bloc actually got less votes than in the last national election.  Again, he learned how gerrymandered districts could be used.  He did not see an increase in popular support, he saw a huge decrease in popular support.

ALmost four months after the election, we aren't the ones who should be explaing this -- or, in our case, again explaining this.  

Violence in Iraq has put a temporary hold on those automatic pieces of 500 or so words about 'groovy Moqtada.'  But there was never a reasonf or them to begin with.  

There was a need for truth.  There was a need for true analysis.  The western press failed.  

The only thing more idiotic than what passed for election coverage and analysis in the press would be the 'violence is back' in Iraq stories.  Such as this one.  Violence never left Iraq.  Just because you chose to ignore it doesn't mean it ceased to take place.  And ISIS never left Iraq.  It was never vanquished.  

We rejected that nonsense in real time. Losing Mosul was not the end of ISIS.  

In other news, ASHAR AL-AWSAT notes a new rumor:

A vague report about the formation of a new military force in Iraq that is loyal to parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi has sparked fierce debate among Sunnis in the country.

The report, which was widely circulated on social media, said the "Desert Phantoms" was formed of Iraqis from the western provinces. They have been trained by American forces and were carefully selected based on their political loyalty to Halbousi's Taqaddum coalition.

The report claimed the force has been tasked with protecting the headquarters of Sunni parties and blocs in Baghdad from attacks that they have recently come under. The force is seeking to deploy in Baghdad to protect party and political headquarters.

The following sites updated:

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