MORBIUS? We saw it Saturday afternoon. I'd wanted to see it but didn't think my girlfriend would be interested We were out shopping for new sheets and when we got done, we were passing the movies and she suggested we see it.
I really liked it. If it has a fault, I'd say certain scenes could have been slower and better scored. They had a lot of weight to them but they weren't treated as carefully as they should have been.
Jared Leto and his brother have a rare blood disease. Trying to find a cure, Jared eventually turns to bats and what he is able to harness, with himself as a test case, turns him into a vampire.
That's the basic plot. I really did like it.
Now I want to drop back to last year. Vie THENUMBERS.COM, here are the ten biggest money making films in the US for last year:
Top Grossing Movies of 2021
|1||Spider-Man: No Way Home||Dec 17, 2021||Sony Pictures||Action||$613,600,664||66,913,921|
|2||Shang-Chi and the Legend of…||Sep 3, 2021||Walt Disney||Action||$224,543,292||24,486,728|
|3||Venom: Let There be Carnage||Oct 1, 2021||Sony Pictures||Action||$212,609,036||23,185,282|
|4||Black Widow||Jul 9, 2021||Walt Disney||Action||$183,651,655||20,027,443|
|5||F9: The Fast Saga||Jun 25, 2021||Universal||Action||$173,005,945||18,866,515|
|6||Eternals||Nov 5, 2021||Walt Disney||Action||$164,694,432||17,960,134|
|7||No Time to Die||Oct 8, 2021||United Artists||Action||$160,772,007||17,532,388|
|8||A Quiet Place: Part II||May 28, 2021||Paramount Pictures||Horror||$160,215,764||17,471,730|
|9||Ghostbusters: Afterlife||Nov 19, 2021||Sony Pictures||Comedy||$122,378,960||13,345,579|
|10||Free Guy||Aug 13, 2021||20th Century Studios||Action||$121,626,598||13,263,533|
Last year, I called out the media over and over for two films that came around the same time. One they praised through the roof and treated as a hit, the other they slammed and told you week after week that it was a box office disaster.
Do you remember that?
The one they attacked? ETERNALS, the sixth bigget money maker in the US.
The one they celebrated? DUNE, didn't even make the top ten.
If you look worldwide, you'll see ETERNALS beat DUNE there too -- $402 million to DUNE's $399 million.
Now I'm not complaining about reviews. I'm talking about the way the press portrayed the films in reporting. Even after I'd noted that DUNE was a flop and would be lucky to squeak to $100 million domestically, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, DEADLINE and VARIETY were still priasing DUNE as a hit while slamming ETERNALS as a failure -- at the box office. I'm not talking about critical reviews, I'm referring to reporting on ticket sales. DUNE, if you look at the numbers, barely made back it's shooting budget when you combine its domestic and overseas gross.
Don't be an idiot and think the studio got $399 million. C.I. has been educating people if they'd pay attention. Overseas sales are rarely even 50% of the overseas box office for the US studios. In DUNE's case, it got 27% of the overseas box office. It made $270 million overseas. That's approximately $78 million. And you have to add more prints and more advertising costs for the studio for overseas.
So when you ad in the cost of prints and advertising (domestic and overseas), DUNE was lucky if it broke even.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, April 1, 2022. Lies and censorship are tools of war.
Starting with a video.
FACEBOOK is censoring that video. WSWS reports:
Facebook’s censorship of the video “No Third World War! Against the Ukraine war, NATO aggression and German rearmament!” by the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) has provoked strong condemnation by workers and young people. Under the hashtag #StopCensoringSocialism, supporters have opposed this act of political censorship. Under conditions where the threat of a nuclear world war between NATO and Russia is extremely great, they are speaking out against the silencing of anti-war voices.
A video statement by SGP Chairman Christoph Vandreier—which explains the political motives behind the deletion of the original video and highlights its importance in the fight against war—received more than 1,200 views and dozens of “likes” on Tiktok within a few hours. The video was also widely distributed on Instagram. “This censorship is not only directed against us, but against the mass opposition to a world war,” says Vandreier. The socialist anti-war perspective of the SGP “is to be banned and censored in the midst of deafening war propaganda for a third world war.”
Through the World Socialist Web Site and the SGP’s Twitter and other social media accounts, we received protest statements and solidarity messages, some of which we report here. We call on all readers to post their own statements under #StopCensoringSocialism and #DefendSGP and to stand up against censorship and the threat of a third world war.
So much has to be censored and so much has to be disappeared for governments to get their way. If you can't fool the people, you can't launch endless wars -- wars that steal from the pubic treasury and ensure that the needs of the people will not be met. Andre Damon (WSWS) observes:
With the proxy war between US/NATO and Russia over Ukraine now in its second month, the social consequences of the conflict are coming into sharper focus.
All over the world, governments are massively increasing military spending. The German government has tripled its military budget with the aim of making the German army the largest in Europe. France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Australia are all implementing or planning major increases in expenditures on war.
However, nowhere is this process clearer than in the United States, the center of world imperialism. On Monday, the White House announced the largest US military budget in American history, focused overwhelmingly on preparations to fight a war with Russia and China.
The budget proposes spending $813 billion on the US military, up from $782 billion in 2022. When the costs of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the cost of debt from previous defense spending is added in, the figure rises to over $1 trillion. And that is not to mention the hundreds of billions spent on federal, state, and local police forces and the United States’ intelligence apparatus.
The US spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined. Writing in Newsweek, Lindsay Koshgarian of the Institute for Policy Studies noted, “The U.S. alone already spends 12 times more on its military than Russia. When combined with Europe’s biggest military spenders, the U.S. and its allies on the continent outspend Russia by at least 15 to 1.”
We can't have Medicare For All in the US. We can't have debt fogiveness. We can't even address homelessness. Grasp that what passes for the evening news fails to address the homeless crisis. Every broadcast should deal with that reality but instead they ignore it and condone it. Their silence makes it seem normal. There is no excuse for the United States to have a homelss population and yet, rather than address that, hundreds of billions of dollars are going each year to war and war making.
The homeless population is only going to increase. But we can't address that reality. And, in fact, inflation has been pooh-pahhed and dismissed. We stood alone in calling out the nonsense offered on the Democratic-lite site that the COVID checks were "raises.' That those tiny checks made for an increase in wages. And we've watched supposed economists who love to play populist and pretend to be 'progressive' go out of their way over the last six months to normalize the outages that are taking place, to dimsiss them, to minimize them. At the end of the day, they have revealed themselves to not be on the side of the people -- the ones they depend upon to have a career because corpoarte media is not airing these whores -- but on the side of the elected Democratic power strugture and they are apologist for that structure. Patrick Martin (WSWS) points out:
The rising cost of living will force the average American household to spend $5,200 more a year just to buy the same goods and services as last year, according to a report released Thursday by Bloomberg Economics. This comes to an average of $433 a month robbed from the pockets of workers and their families, under conditions where 60 percent of the US population cannot afford an unexpected expense of $500.
. This staggering fact demonstrates the human cost of the rise in the rate of inflation, which hit a 40-year record of 7.9 percent in December. The rate of increase in the Consumer Price Index slipped slightly to 7.5 percent in January and 6.4 percent in February, but it is still well above the forecast of both the Federal Reserve and the Biden administration.
The core inflation rate, not counting food and energy prices, which fluctuate more from month to month, stood at 6 percent in January and 5.4 percent in February, according to figures released by the federal Department of Commerce Thursday. This means that regardless of efforts by the Biden administration to manipulate temporarily the price of gasoline at the pump, the reduction in the living standards of the working class will continue.
Bloomberg Economics—part of the publishing empire of billionaire Michael Bloomberg—pointed out the benefits for capitalist employers of the inflation “tax” on workers. “Accelerated depletion of savings will increase the urgency for those staying on the sidelines to join the labor force, and the resulting increase in labor supply will likely dampen wage growth,” the authors of the report said.
Patrick Martin is a journalist. That's not an attack. My point is that Patrick Martin can address reality while whores like Dean Baker can't (this week's latest from dean Baker was more whoring distortions insisted "the economy has bounced back" -- again, Dean Baker's not making a living via the corporate media. He's a cheap whore who lies for the Democratic Party and hopes they'll keep him afloat for tricking voters. Robert Reich was always a known whore. People are just starting to catch on with regards to Dean Baker.
On this week's BLACK AGENDA RADIO, Margaret Kimberley spoke with Gerald Horne who pointed out the following:
But certainly this food crisis has to be taken seriously. It has to be taken seriously in the first place in the United States of America. You have millions of people who exist on food stamps, millions of people who are food insecure, You have prices going through the roof not only because of the eastern European crisis but also because of pre-existing supply chain glitches that has ships lined up as if it's the Long Island Expressway.off the coast of Los Angels' Long Beach trying to deliver goods but apparently unable to do so. So the hunger question in this country will be exacerbated certainly by this crisis. That's not to mention what will happen overseas. Already, in Egypt, you see rumblings with regard to the point that a significant percentage of the bread that is the stuff of life in Cairo comes from the agricultural fields of Ukraine and Russia. That is problematic as we speak and so therefore it can lead to disruption in Egypt. And so this crisis? Obviously, the planners in the State Dept did not think through everything that went in to making a deicison to heighten tensions with Moscow and Russia on the Ukraine border.
But, by all means, continue to depend on Dean Baker because he's billed as our 'friend.' He's not. He's a con artist and a whore. These are life and death matters and clowns are an extravagance that the people just can't afford.
Reailty can be found with ELETRONIC INTIFADA.
The government of Ukraine had to be white-washed or they wouldn't have been able to do their marketing blitz passed off as news in order to sell war to a people.
As soon as the Biden Administration took power, the plan to escalate the situation in Ukraine was executed — a plan that included a clear understanding of the nature of forces behind the newly elected presidential front man for the right-wing Ukrainian oligarchs and U.S. forces that engineered his election. The Biden Administration also understood that the most effective military forces in Ukraine were grouped around and/or associated with various ultra-right and neo-Nazi elements. But who cared when the commitment to “full spectrum dominance” and interests of U.S. finance and corporate transnational capital are driving U.S. policy in Ukraine?
We, the colonized, the working class, the oppressed, must be as cold-blooded and sober in our analysis and actions. Look at how they lied to the public on the existence of ultra-right forces in Ukraine and the nature of that corrupt regime. We will not lie to the people, but we have to separate ourselves from the propaganda when attempting to understand the world.
The U.S. press loudly proclaiming that there was no neo-Nazi influence in Ukraine even though it was common knowledge in the United States and Europe for years that there was always a problem with the extremist nationalist elements in that country. Because of that, the line taken by the U.S. state and the capitalist press after the U.S. engineered coup in 2014 with the extreme right and neo-Nazi forces at the center of the action, was that while those forces’ presence in the street actions was never disputed, the line was that their political significance in the government was minimal.
That line was taken because the historical record was replete with references to the role of the ultra-right in Ukrainian politics since world-war II. And that not only did Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and literal neo-Nazis end up in the new post-coup government in 2014, but the press, human rights organizations, the governments of Europe, and the U.S. were aware of the nature of those forces
That is what made the new line by the liberal corporate press that there was not an issue with the extreme right in Ukraine so bizarre. Apparently, to buttress their drive to war, the new narrative required that the Ukrainian state be represented as the innocent victim of the mad Vladimir Putin, and the presence of ultra-right forces, including neo-Nazis, as a figment of his imagination.
Yet, there is always a method to the madness, in this case the real madness of U.S. imperialism.
To sell lies to the people, you have to censor the truth -- thereby explaining US President Joe Biden's continued persecution of Julian Assange for the 'crime' of journalism. Also explaining the disappearance of Chris Hedges from YOUTUBE. At SCHEERPOST, Chris notes:
The entire archive of On Contact, the Emmy-nominated show I hosted for six years for RT America and RT International, has been disappeared from YouTube. Gone is the interview with Nathaniel Philbrick on his book about George Washington. Gone is the discussion with Kai Bird on his biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Gone is my exploration with Professor Sam Slote from Trinity College Dublin of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Gone is the show with Benjamin Moser on his biography of Susan Sontag. Gone is the show with Stephen Kinzer on his book on John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles. Gone are the interviews with the social critics Cornel West, Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Gerald Horne, Wendy Brown, Paul Street, Gabriel Rockwell, Naomi Wolff and Slavoj Zizek. Gone are the interviews with the novelists Russell Banks and Salar Abdoh. Gone is the interview with Kevin Sharp, a former federal judge, on the case of Leonard Peltier. Gone are the interviews with economists David Harvey and Richard Wolff. Gone are the interviews with the combat veterans and West Point graduates Danny Sjursen and Eric Edstrom about our wars in the Middle East. Gone are the discussions with the journalists Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi. Gone are the voices of those who are being persecuted and marginalized, including the human rights attorney Steven Donziger and the political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. None of the shows I did on mass incarceration, where I interviewed those released from our prisons, are any longer on YouTube. Gone are the shows with the cartoonists Joe Sacco and Dwayne Booth. Melted into thin air, leaving not a rack behind.
I received no inquiry or notice from YouTube. I vanished. In totalitarian systems you exist, then you don’t. I suppose this was done in the name of censoring Russian propaganda, although I have a hard time seeing how a detailed discussion of “Ulysses” or the biographies of Susan Sontag and J. Robert Oppenheimer had any connection in the eyes of the most obtuse censors in Silicon Valley with Vladimir Putin. Indeed, there is not one show that dealt with Russia. I was on RT because, as a vocal critic of US imperialism, militarism, the corporate control of the two ruling parties, and especially because I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, I was blacklisted. I was on RT for the same reason the dissident Vaclav Havel, who I knew, was on Voice of America during the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. It was that or not be heard. Havel had no more love for the policies of Washington than I have for those of Moscow.
Are we a more informed and better society because of this wholesale censorship? Is this a world we want to inhabit where those who know everything about us and about whom we know nothing can instantly erase us? If this happens to me, it can happen to you, to any critic anywhere who challenges the dominant narrative. And that is where we are headed as the ruling elites refuse to respond to the disenfranchisement and suffering of the working class, opting not for social and political change or the curbing of the rapacious power and obscene wealth of our oligarchic rulers, but instead imposing iron control over information, as if that will solve the mounting social unrest and vast political and social divides.
As reported previously by the World Socialist Web Site, the Russian state-funded cable news network RT America was shut down in the US on March 3 and all 120 of its employees were laid off at offices located in New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Miami.
Although the management of the news channel said the network had experienced “unforeseen business-interruption events,” the abrupt shutdown of RT America was no doubt part of the anti-Russian offensive mounted by corporate media outlets and governments aligned with the US and NATO in the proxy war being fought in Ukraine against the regime in Moscow.
Among the RT America programs terminated were several popular left-wing and anti-war TV shows including Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp and On Contact with Chris Hedges. These programs were specifically targeted for censorship because they adopted an anti-war standpoint that was opposed to the narrative developed by the ruling political establishment in the US and Europe.
This campaign to silence voices critical of the role of imperialism in provoking the war in Ukraine has been extended to the removal of video content from YouTube, podcasts from Spotify and other censorship measures by the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter.
There's another way to censor. Drop coverage. You know, the way the same US corpoarte media that sold the Iraq War by spewing endless lies now avoids covering the results of their actions.
The big news out of Iraq today? TRT reports:
A powerful Iraqi Shia cleric has decided to step back for the next 40 days and give his Iran-backed rivals the chance to form the country's next government.
The surprising decision on Thursday by Muqtada al Sadr comes against the backdrop of a persisting political deadlock in Iraq, five months after general elections.
Sadr's offer came in a tweet, in which he also called on his followers not to interfere "neither positively not negatively" as his rivals form the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Iran-backed Shia parties, try to cobble together a cabinet.
This translates into a nod to Sadr's rivals to pursue the cleric's Kurdish and Sunni allies in possible negotiations. There was no immediate response from the Coordination Framework to Sadr's offer.
When they're not lying, they're selling State Dept talking points -- regardless of whether or not they're factual. No one in their right mind who knew Iraq's recent history would have expected Moqtada al-Sadr to be a 'kingmaker' who was going to pull together a government following the election. But three failed attempts now since the October 10th election and we're still not seeing the corporate press admit to the fact that they got it wrong. They got it wrong because they parotted the US State Dept -- the same State Dept that paid (bribed) Moqtada back in August -- but they looked the other way on that too.
The following sites updated: