Monday, April 18, 2022

Weekend Box Office (Sandra's fans turn out)

Before we get to the weekend box office, remember what I explained in "Weekend box office" last Monday.  From THENUMBERS.COM:


1 N Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Warner Bros. $42,151,256   4,208   $10,017 $42,151,256 1
2 (1) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Paramount Pi… $29,304,395 -59% 4,258 +24 $6,882 $118,916,783 2
3 (3) The Lost City Paramount Pi… $6,222,777 -31% 3,430 -367 $1,814 $78,298,536 4
4 (6) Everything Everywhere All At Once A24 $6,187,118 +2% 2,220 +970 $2,787 $17,696,059 4
5 N Father Stu Sony Pictures $5,402,642   2,705   $1,997 $7,729,739 1
6 (2) Morbius Sony Pictures $4,730,148 -54% 3,462 -806 $1,366 $65,148,279 3
7 (4) Ambulance Universal $4,067,245 -53% 3,412 n/c $1,192 $15,676,285 2
8 (5) The Batman Warner Bros. $3,767,652 -42% 2,535 -719 $1,486 $365,002,773 7
9 N K.G.F: Chapter 2 Viva Enterta… $2,875,000   510   $5,637 $2,875,000 1
10 (7) Uncharted Sony Pictures $1,191,034 -55% 1,311 -1,007 $908 $145,006,589 9


$68 million was the total the weekend before last for THE LOST CITY.  Now, it's at $78 million.  And still going.  It's surpassed my prediction.  As I said last week, Sandra has a huge fan base and they turn out but they spread it out, some avoid opening weekend.  Also worth noting is that the $10 million from last week?  Four of it was from Monday through Thursday.  Again, her fans turn out.  That's why theater owners love her.


Her films have legs.  I'm not sure about SONICE THE HEDGEHOG 2 -- it had a 59% drop in ticket sales.  It's a hit, it's over $100 million.  But I wonder how long it will stay in the top five with that kind of a drop off?  I really enjoyed this film (and I loved Sandra's movie as well) but it doesn't appear to have legs.  This coming weekend should clarify things.  MORBIUS looks like it will be at number nine by the last week of the month (not this weekend, the one after).


This Friday has two films that should make the top five.  Nicholas Cage's THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT and there's Nicole Kidman's THE NORTHERN.  It'll be interesting to see what hangs and what flops.


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


Monday, April 18, 2022.  Turkey invades Kurdistan again,  Joe Biden remains a joke on the world stage, simpletons can't handle a real discussion regarding Russia, and much more.



Joe Biden was supposed to restore honor to the White House.  How a man who groped women, assaulted Tara Reade and whose son Hunter was corrupt would do that was anyone's guess.  But it gets worse.



Last week, Autralia's SKY TV reported on how Joe's being mocked around the world -- a popular news video, it already has a half-million views.


You know what has more views?  This SKY TV video focusing just on Saudi Arabia mocking Joe.



That video has over 5 million views.  Yes, Joe's stupidity has gone viral.  


Last week, the boob felt desperate in his efforts to rally support for his war of choice on Russia so he used the term genocide.  Joseph Scalice (WSWS) observes:


On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden declared that Russia was engaged in genocide in Ukraine. The allegation tossed off by Biden is a lie, but it is more than this. It is a political provocation consciously aimed at whipping up a public hysteria to legitimize a massive escalation of the war, including the full-scale, open participation by the United States.

Genocide is a word stamped with profound historical content. There is no graver charge that can be leveled. 

[. . .]

The last thirty years have witnessed the uninterrupted crimes of US empire in the Middle East and Central Asia. Hospitals and villages were deliberately bombed. Cities were reduced to rubble. Economic sanctions starved hundreds of thousands of children to death, and drone strikes killed them at play. Once proud civilizations are haunted ruins, picked bare by the dogs of war.

The only plausible defense that Bush, Obama and Trump could mount if they were charged with genocide, is that while they did launch and conduct wars of aggression that killed over a million Iraqis and hundreds of thousands of Afghans, they saw the deaths of men, women and children as a useful means to an end, and not as the end in itself. Their actions are undeniably genocidal.

Biden stands at the head of this blood-soaked power and accuses Russia of genocide. The charges deliberately mangle and distort both the contemporary facts and the historically established legal definition.

Biden points to specific events—corpses in the streets of Mariupol, the bombing of a train station—which may be war crimes, but which require investigation. Neither the precise details nor the perpetrator have yet been established. No evidence whatsoever has been presented that Putin is intent upon eradicating the Ukrainian people.

Nothing that has happened in Ukraine can be measured on the genocidal scale established by the Nazis and the United States and other imperialist powers. Biden’s accusation trivializes the Holocaust and does violence to history.

Biden’s accusations of genocide are not the rhetorical overreach of moral indignation. They are the deliberate and reckless escalation of conflict in service to the interests of US imperialism and they target Washington’s enemies.


Andre Damon (WSWS) notes:


Biden’s accusation that Russia is engaging in genocide is aimed at poisoning public opinion and galvanizing popular hatred of Russia. It was a transparent pretext for the White House’s announcement, just one day later, that the United States would send attack helicopters and hundreds of armored vehicles to Ukraine in the largest escalation of US military involvement in the war to date.

The weapons being shipped to Ukraine include 300 “kamikaze drones” known as “Switchblades,” 300 armored vehicles, and 11 Mi-17 helicopters, as well as land mines, radar, thousands of anti-tank weapons and nuclear protective equipment.

Announcing the action, the Pentagon declared, “The United States has now committed more than $3.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.” This includes $2.6 billion within the past six weeks.

On Wednesday, White House press spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked, “Is it the US policy that genocide has been committed in Ukraine, or was that the president’s personal beliefs?” To this Psaki replied, “Our objective now is evidenced by the enormous package of military assistance that we put out today.”

This exchange is revealing precisely because it stands reality so neatly on its head. According to the statements from the White House, the unprecedented funneling of arms to Ukraine is a testament to how strongly the US believes Russia is committing “genocide.”

The reality is the exact opposite: The accusations against Russia are the lying justification for a policy of military escalation. First, the war plans were laid down, then the accusations were made to justify them.

The message being sent to the Russian government is that, as with similar “genocide” allegations made against Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, the United States is targeting it for war and regime change.


Jen's just a dirty whore now.  She's off to cable 'news' which will embrace her because whores are what you get on cable 'news.'  She's just a soul-less creature mouthing words she knows are false but she doesn't care that her words have real world impact and peopl will die because of them.  She's the perfect fit for cable 'news.'

Not only is the US government trying to police the conversation in their push for war, so are certain celebrities.  Sean Penn is just a nut case and always has been.  Alec Baldwin is making an ass of himself and will hopefully come to his senses.  If not, by all mean, Alec, grab a gun and run into battle.  Saddest of all isn the out of work actor who has positioned himself as a savior of women but who himself has been said to be using that as a front to cover his own sex trafficking involvement.


Robert Scheer (SCHEER POST, link is audio and transcript) spoke with professor Michael Brennan whose learning how narrow the lines of debate have become.  Excerpt:


RS: Hello, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guests. In this case it’s Michael Brenner, who is a professor of international affairs emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, a fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS Johns Hopkins; he’s written a number of important studies, books, academic articles; he’s taught at every place from Stanford to Harvard to MIT and what have you.

But the reason I wanted to talk to Professor Brenner is that he’s been caught in the crosshairs of trying to have a debate about what’s going on in the Ukraine, and the NATO response, the Russian invasion and what have you. And to my mind, I read, I was reading his blog; I found it very interesting. And then he suddenly said, I’m giving up; you cannot have an intelligent discussion. And his description of what’s going on reminded me of the famous Lillian Hellman description of the McCarthy period as “scoundrel times,” which was the title of her book.

So, Professor Brenner, tell us what buzzsaw you ran into when you dared question, as far as I can see, you dared do what you’ve done all your academic life: you raised some serious questions about a foreign policy matter. And then, I don’t know what, you got hit on the head a whole bunch of times. So could you describe it?

MB: Yes, it came only partially as a surprise. I’ve been writing these commentaries and distributing them to a personal list of roughly 5,000 for more than a decade. Some of those persons are abroad, most are in the U.S.; they’re all educated people who’ve been involved one way or another with international affairs, including quite a number who have had experience in and around government or journalism or the world of punditry.

What happened on this occasion was that I had expressed highly skeptical views about what I believe is the fictional storyline and account of what has been happening in Ukraine, back over the past year and most pointedly in regard to the acute crisis that has arisen with the Russian invasion and attack on Ukraine. I received not only an unusually large number of critical replies, but it was the nature of them that was deeply dismaying.

One, many—most of them came from people whom I did know, whom I knew as level-headed, sober minds, engaged and well informed on foreign policy issues and international matters generally. Second, they were highly personalized, and I had rarely been the object of that sort of criticism or attack—sort of ad hominem remarks questioning my patriotism; had I been paid by, you know, by Putin; my motivations, my sanity, et cetera, et cetera.

Third was the extremity of the content of these hostile messages. And the last characteristic, which really stunned me, was that these people bought into—hook, line and sinker—every aspect of the sort of fictional story that has been propagated by the administration, accepted and swallowed whole by the media and our political-intellectual class, which includes many academics and the entire galaxy of Washington think tanks.

And that’s a reinforced impression that had been growing for some time, that this was not just—that to be a critic and a skeptic was not just to engage in a dialogue [unclear], but to place one’s views and one’s thoughts and send them into a void, in effect. A void, because the discourse as it has crystalized is not only uniform in a way, but it is in so many respects senseless, lacking any kind of inner logic, whether you agree with the premises and the formally stated objectives or not.

In effect, this was an intellectual and political nihilism. And one cannot make any contribution to endeavor to correct that simply by conventional means. So I felt for the first time that I was no part of this world, and of course this is also a reflection of trends and attitudes that have become rather pervasive in the country at large, sort of over time. And so beyond simply sort of disagreeing with what the consensus is, I had become totally alienated [unclear] and decided there was no point to it, to going on distributing these things, even though I continue to follow events, think about them, and send some shorter commentaries to close friends. That’s essentially it, Robert.

RS: OK, but let me just say, first of all, I want to thank you for what you did. Because it turned me on to a whole different way of looking at what happened to Ukraine—the history, reminding us of what had happened for the previous decade, not just the expansion of NATO but the whole question of the change in government that the U.S. was involved with previously. And the whole, you know, the relation of the two powers.

And the irony here is that actually we’re back in the worst moments of the Cold War, but at least in the Cold War we were willing to negotiate with people who were very serious, ideological at least, or enemies, and had some coherence in that respect. And you know, Nixon did have his kitchen debate with Khrushchev, and we did have arms control with the old Soviet Union; Nixon himself went to China and negotiated with Mao Zedong; there was no illusion that these were wonderful people, but they were people you had to do business with. Suddenly Putin is now put in a Hitler category even worse than Stalin or Mao, and you can’t talk.

And I do want to disagree with one thing you’ve done: your retirement from this. You’re only about, what, a mere 80 years old; you’re a kid compared to me. But I remember when Bertrand Russell, one of the great intellectuals that we’ve had in our history, or Western history, dared to criticize the U.S. on Vietnam. He and Jean Paul Sartre, and actually raised the prospect that we had committed war crimes in Vietnam.

And the New York Times denounced Bertrand Russell, and they actually said he’d become senile. I went all the way to Wales when I was editing Ramparts magazine to interview Bertrand Russell—which I did, and I spent some lovely time with him. He certainly was frail at the age of 94, but he was incredibly coherent in defense of his position; he had been a very strong anti-communist all of his life, and now he was saying, wait a minute, we’re getting this war wrong.


Now Noam Chomsky has upset the apple cart by discussing some realities as REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT discusses below.



Meanwhile Glenn Greenwald notes:


If one wishes to be exposed to news, information or perspective that contravenes the prevailing US/NATO view on the war in Ukraine, a rigorous search is required. And there is no guarantee that search will succeed. That is because the state/corporate censorship regime that has been imposed in the West with regard to this war is stunningly aggressive, rapid and comprehensive.

On a virtually daily basis, any off-key news agency, independent platform or individual citizen is liable to be banished from the internet. In early March, barely a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the twenty-seven nation European Union — citing “disinformation” and “public order and security” — officially banned the Russian state-news outlets RT and Sputnik from being heard anywhere in Europe. In what Reuters called “an unprecedented move,” all television and online platforms were barred by force of law from airing content from those two outlets. Even prior to that censorship order from the state, Facebook and Google were already banning those outlets, and Twitter immediately announced they would as well, in compliance with the new EU law.

But what was “unprecedented” just six weeks ago has now become commonplace, even normalized. Any platform devoted to offering inconvenient-to-NATO news or alternative perspectives is guaranteed a very short lifespan. Less than two weeks after the EU’s decree, Google announced that it was voluntarily banning all Russian-affiliated media worldwide, meaning Americans and all other non-Europeans were now blocked from viewing those channels on YouTube if they wished to. As so often happens with Big Tech censorship, much of the pressure on Google to more aggressively censor content about the war in Ukraine came from its own workforce: “Workers across Google had been urging YouTube to take additional punitive measures against Russian channels.”

So prolific and fast-moving is this censorship regime that it is virtually impossible to count how many platforms, agencies and individuals have been banished for the crime of expressing views deemed “pro-Russian.” On Tuesday, Twitter, with no explanation as usual, suddenly banned one of the most informative, reliable and careful dissident accounts, named “Russians With Attitude.” Created in late 2020 by two English-speaking Russians, the account exploded in popularity since the start of the war, from roughly 20,000 followers before the invasion to more than 125,000 followers at the time Twitter banned it. An accompanying podcast with the same name also exploded in popularity and, at least as of now, can still be heard on Patreon.


On censorship, let's turn to Scott Ritter.




Scott Ritter is a pedophile.  He's one busted three times.  He's one sent to prison.  At his trial, the court expert testified that therapy had not helped him.


After he went off to prison, we didn't have to note him here anymore and, other than a loud conversation with Arianna Huffington, I really didn't speak of him.  That conversation was my advocating for a warning label at HUFFINGTON POST when they featured his columns.  She wouldn't go along with it but HUFFY would use it later for political enemies.


The next time we mentioned Pig Boy Scott Ritter after his conviction was when we explained why we we were not highlighting CONSORTIUM NEWS.  I'd wanted to support Nat in his effort to keep his father's outlet alive.  But then Joe Lauria, editor-in-chief of CONSORTIUM, does a video with Ritter and Joe lies.


JOE LIES.  As Lili Taylor sang in SAY SOMETHING.


When news of Scott Ritter's second arrest leaked out, Scott began lying about it and would continue that lie until 2009.  He would lie that this wasn't what it seemed, it was a frame up by the Bush administration because he was speaking out against the war.  When he was arrested in 2009, Barack Obama was president.  


Now it was never a lie, the second arrest, the first arrest.  But he put out that lie.


And there was Joe lying all these years later about how Scott Ritter was removed from corporate media because he spoke out and because lies were told about him.


No.


And I'm not going to trust whores.


Robert Parry was a nice person.  But he did lie.  At the end, he realied he hadn't helped anyone with those lies, but he did lie.  He lied in his coverage about Barack.  He lied and he identified with Barack so he justified the lies.  Outlets shouldn't identify with the powerful.  In one of his last e-mails to me, he pointed out that I had said ("over and over") here (yes, I can be redundant) that we didn't need to protect Barack, he had the Secret Service for that.  I said we needed to tell the truth and stop running interference for Barack.  Robert wrote specifically about the various figures that he felt hemmed his site in and kept them from doing the job that they should have.


(E-mail exchanges between Robert Parry and Ava myself started in 2005 and was noted many times -- starting with an addition to the bottom of this 2005 piece.)


Robert made a mistake.  A serious one but he realized it.  And he agreed that the war against Russia began under Barack -- I'd noted that war was starting up in the weeks before Ed Snowden ended up in Russia.  Robert took part in the pushback against the lies about Russia and deserves praise for that.  His work over the decades deserves lots of praise.


But I don't support Joe Lauria.  I don't support liars.  Scott Ritter was pulled from corporate media.  And let's be clear that it wasn't because of Iraq.  Scott's a Republican -- or was.  They were always allowed to speak in corporate media about disagreeing regarding the war.  It was the left that was either ignored or savaged.  


Scott was kicked out of corporate media because they learned of his second arrest.


I didn't object when Joe Lauria was publishing CONSORTIUM.  I objected when Joe lied.  


"Breaking Down Ukraine Jimmy Dore, Sean Stone, Scott Ritter & Lara Logan to talk all things Ukraine."  I posted that CONVO COUCH video on March 23rd.  And I captioned it, "Scott Ritter was convicted of and served time for attempting to have sex with a minor. That arrest was his third such arrest for that crime."

In the March 1st "Iraq snapshot," we noted:

"A really great guest.  Someone who knows what war is.  Who has been in war."  Oh, Scott knows much more than that, Dan.  Why be so modest?


Dan Cohen, maybe the first thing to do is to get honest with your viewers?


Scott Ritter has been arrested multiple times for attempting to have sex with underage girls.  When Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House,, the claim was that this was all political and it was Republicans going after Scott.  Then he got arrested after Barack Obama was president.  And this time, he wasn't given a plea deal or a slap on the wrist.  This time, he went on trial and was convicted for his actions.  He's a registered sex criminal.


And you're not telling people that, Dan?


And Alan youre off on Tucker Carlson when your own outlet is promoting Scott without noting that he's a sex offender?


Is Scott such an important voice and analyst that we need him in public disccusion?  I'm not seeing it.  But I can be wrong.


We've included the video.  We've also included reality: That he's been arrested multiple times for attempting to engage in sex with underage girls.  That he was convicted of that -- and cried in court as he admitted he did it -- and was sentenced and sent to prison for it.


Apparently, MINT NEWS PRESS doesn't give two s**ts about the safety of young girls.


Big surprise -- that's sarcasm.  There's nothing at their website that indicates that they value women.  They're like so many 'left' sites in the '00s who don't get caught in 'idnetity politics' -- their excuse for ignoring the rights of women and girls and for ingoring racism.  


Alan's  a good writer.  But he looks like a hypocrite as he goes after Tucker Carlson while his own site promotes Scott Ritter.


They don't warn anyone.  And any 14 year old girl that Scott targets next who knows of Scott from MINT PRESS NEWS -- and only from MINT PRESS NEWS -- just knows that he's someone to be 'trusted' per MPN.  


Long ago I made the proposal that Scott Ritter should come with a warning lable.  Arianna took that over to her own site and then tried to apply it to Republicans running for office.  


This was not about political differences between myself and Scott Ritter.  This is about him being a convicted sex offender who has a history of attempting to have sex with underage girls.  I have no idea why his wife stayed with him.  I don't care, honestly.  But even before the conviction, we told the truth about Scott.  We did that because a CNN friend -- who was against the Iraq War, by the way -- warned me.  I was told that there were two arrests.  Unlike Sy Hersh, we told the truth and walked away.  


I don't like him.  I don't like anyone who tries to prey on children.  


Does he have anything of value to add to the discussion.  I'm not hearing it in the video above.  Maybe you are.  But we noted what he was convicted of and we provided the needed public warning.


MPN hasn't.  


Before he was arrested the last time (and convicted) we called out a number of outlets for promoting Scott and acting irresponsible.  It is irresponsible to promote him without nting what he is -- someone convicted of attempting to prey on children.  


I don't see anything I've done as attempting to censor Scott Ritter.  I have asked that the lies stop.  I have asked that a convicted felon be identified as such (as opposed to as "a great guy") when outlets bring him on.  I do see a world of difference.  I get it that others do not.


We live in a time of stupidity.  A simple debate can't take place as Michael Brenner points out.  And certain parties think rules don't apply.  Fiorella Isabel, if you bring on a convicted felon who preys on girls and you don't disclose that to your audience, you're not just setting other girls up to be victimized, you're not being honest with your audience.


And some will find out the truth.  When they do, they may wonder why you, Richard Medhurst and others weren't honest?  You had to lie to them.  They'll then question what else you told them, what else did you lie about?  If you're not able to admit that your guest was convicted in a court of law and served time in prison, that's your first hint that this isn't a guest you should have on.  The conviction is not in dispute.  The prison time is not in dispute.  Yet you refuse to identify your guest properly.


In Iraq, Turkey is again bombing the Kurdistan and has again sent ground troops in.  I won't hold my breath waiting for YOUTUBE jawboners to find that topic, it's eluded them for years now.


ANF NEWS reports:

The Christian Peacemaker Teams – Iraqi Kurdistan called for an immediate end to the Turkish attacks on southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq).

The CPT- Iraqi Kurdistan statement on the latest wave of Turkish attacks on South Kurdistan reads:

“Last night, Turkey launched a new military operation called Claw-Lock operation in Avashin, Zap and Matina areas in the Amedy district, of Duhok province, in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Prior to launching the Claw-Lock operation, the Turkish air force bombed Shiladze, Deraluk and Kani Mase and surrounding villages almost 50 times. Also, dozens of Turkish soldiers were deployed from helicopters to the mountain ranges in the Nerwa-Rekan area.

The CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan team calls for Turkey to immediately stop the bombardments and to not endanger civilian lives in Iraqi Kurdistan anymore.”

MEDYA NEWS notes:


Protests were held against the latest incursions by the Turkish military into Iraqi Kurdistan, by groups in European cities on Sunday night following initial reports by Kurdish news outlets.

Demonstrations were staged in Marseilles in France, and in Stuttgart and Dusseldorf in Germany.

The protestors chanted slogans like, ‘Dictator Erdo─čan’, ‘International Solidarity’, ‘Solidarity with Kurdistan’, and ‘Terrorist Erdogan’.

Further demonstrations are planned for Monday upon a call for solidarity action by the The Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress in Europe (KCDK-E) in the following locations in GermanySwitzerland and France:

ALAHAD TV notes:

A member of the Shiite framework, Ali Al-Fatlawi, for Al-Ahad: Turkey's continued violation of Iraqi sovereignty shows the prostration of Baghdad and the submission of Kurdistan before Ankara. #Iraq
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The following sites updated:




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