Thursday, July 7, 2022

The $100 million box office club

Nine films this year have already crossed the $100 million mark in ticket sales in North America? TOP GUN, obviously. DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS is another (see Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Good taste is the reason viewers ran from MS. MARVEL"). THE BATMAN and JURRASIC WORLD DOMINION. That's four. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and UNCHARTED get us to six. MINIONS THE RISE OF GRU did it in one weekend. Then you have LIGHTYEAR. And the only film with a woman in the lead THE LOST CITY.

Yes, Laura Dern and other women appear (as props) in JURRASSIC. Wanda is the villain of the Dr. Strange film -- when finally revealed. But I don't consider Jack Nicholson the star of BATMAN (even though he's amazing and the best Joke we've ever had). Sandra's the only lead -- no Catwoman is not a co-lead. She's probably in 45 minutes of the 2 hour plus film.

Hopefully, at the end of the year, the $100 million club will include other films with female leads.

I don't have a lot of hope for the Julia Roberts and George Clooney pair up. I'd love for Julia to have a hit. But George Clooney as the co-star? Michelle Pfeiffer was able to have chemistry with him. I think he's become chemistry free with each film since ONE FINE DAY. He barks. He ages poorly with his bad plastic surgery but he doesn't shine like a star, does he?

At least it's not Will Ferrell. Poor Reese Witherspoon is getting stuck with him. Or Owen Wilson who's never been a star and it's past time people woke up to that reality. (Will has been a star. But he is not good in romantic comedies -- THE HOUSE, BEWITCHED, etc.) Matt Damon is like Owen Wilson with talent (meaning he can act but he stars in so many bombs for a reason -- people don't like him.) Brad Pitt? He's gotten so tired and ugly, he's practically Ellen Barkin's twin (see Rebecca's ""). You know the joke from FAMILY GUY about how God left the iron on too long on one side of Ellen's face? That's the way Brad looks now.

George Clooney just has too much baggage. The bad plastic surgery makes him look like a female from certain angles. He's gotten so rigid as an actor. And he's so personally annoying


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


Thursday, July 7, 2022.  Celebrities misuse the trust people place in them to sell war, the Democrats are backing right-wing, extremist Republican campaigns, Iraq is now facing four health crisis, and much more.

Andre Damon (WSWS) has an important and blistering piece which opens:

On the basis of lies, propaganda and subterfuge, the United States and its imperialist allies in Europe have launched and are escalating a war with Russia that threatens to trigger a nuclear third world war.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions have been displaced. The economic consequences of the war, including soaring inflation and fuel and food shortages all over the world, have been catastrophic for working people.

The US-led war against Russia is unfolding as a monumental conspiracy against the populations of the world. It has been organized behind the backs of the people and is being presented to the public as a fait accompli.

Not one of the crisis-ridden and despised governments leading the war effort, whether that of Biden, Johnson, Scholz or Macron, campaigned on the basis of starting a new world war. In the torrent of propaganda aiming to demonize Russia, the public has never been provided with a serious explanation as to its causes, aims and implications.

The war is justified with lies, because its aims are indefensible. If Biden were to give an honest speech explaining US involvement, this is what he might say:

My fellow Americans,

As president of the United States, I think it is my responsibility to provide you with an honest explanation as to what I meant when I said that the United States was determined to continue its intervention in the Ukraine war for “as long as it takes.”

First, let me explain the background to this decision.

In 2014, the Obama administration, of which I was the vice president and point man for Ukraine affairs, funded and organized a coup in Ukraine. Our aim was the removal of a government deemed too friendly to Russia. We carried out this coup by allying with and funding far-right paramilitary forces.

In response to the coup, Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia. Separatist, Russian-speaking enclaves in the eastern Donbas region sought to secede from the government in Kiev.

While we claimed to accept the Minsk agreements aiming to broker a ceasefire in the war in the Donbas, we were working behind the scenes to arm Ukraine with billions of dollars in weapons, all the while encouraging it to seek to regain the Donbas and Crimea by military means.

In March 2021, we urged Ukraine to codify the reconquest of these territories, and three months later we signed a strategic partnership document, pledging the US to “support Ukraine’s effort to counter armed aggression.”

During the last eight years, we have massively armed and trained the Ukrainian military, utilizing fascist forces as its backbone, with the aim of provoking a war between NATO and Russia. Our efforts succeeded in February 2022.

Our aims in instigating this war are as follows:

1. In 1991, the United States proclaimed that the end of the Soviet Union would herald in a “new world order” of US global hegemony. We see Russia as an obstacle to the domination of the Eurasian landmass, which we believe is key to establishing this hegemony.

2. China is on track to eclipse the US economy in size within 10 years. We seek to contain the rise of China by economic and ultimately military means, but dominating Russia is the first step in a war against China.

3. Russia sits atop the world’s largest deposits of hydrocarbons, rare earths, metals and other key minerals, valued at $75 trillion, to which US corporations want access in order to dominate the world market.

4. Finally, in the name of the war effort, we seek to suppress domestic political opposition, criminalizing strikes and social protests in the name of the “national interest.”

I know that many of you are concerned that a war against the country in possession of the world’s second-largest nuclear arsenal may provoke a strategic nuclear exchange in which many of you will die. This is true. To use an old phrase from Dr. Strangelove, “I’m not going to say we won’t get our hair mussed.” But the achievement of the goals outlined above are certainly worth the lives of 50–100 million of you.

Such a declaration of the war aims of the United States and NATO would instantly trigger mass protests in the streets.

For this reason, all public discussion of the war has consisted entirely of pro-war propaganda. In a desperate effort to create popular support for the war, the US and European media has for months conducted a systematic campaign designed to make their populations hate Russia. Any facts or opinions that contradict the pro-war narrative have been labeled as Russian propaganda, and those who question the war are labeled all but treasonous.

And do not forget that today's Democratic Party can't sell anything on its own.  Remember all the celebrities Hillary Clinton had to tug on stage in that pathetic 2016 campaign?  So we've had the little trollop who, like any good heroin addict, doesn't believe in bathing, then the Grammys felt the need to salute the war and of course Sean Penn took a time out from yet another veiled homophobia fit to promote the war and Bono and the Edge took the stage in Ukraine with a man throwing racist hand signals throughout their performance, Jane Fonda bringing War Propaganda into a really bad NETFLIX comedy so-so (it wasn't special enough to be called a special) and then there's Cher:

Why Ukraine’s Important 2 [USA]. Putin’s despot, trump Hero,& If Given Chance Putin Will Devour Sovereign Countries, Till He Resurrects USSR. This Will Leave Europe, Small & unprotected. Russia, China, Saudis Want 2 Bring [USA] 2 Its Knees,& C Perfect opportunity. They C Hate, Division, Weakness.


Cher, no offense, but I didn't pay for my own college education to turn my mind over to a high school drop out who thinks she can handle history and national security.  Truth, you can't handle either.  It takes more than watching CSPAN, dear. to have an education.  

Your Tweet is evidence of your stupidity and of your own hatred as you try to make others hate other countries.  And your concern over how big or small Europe is (honestly, Cher, I think it will be the same amount of miles) makes you come off like a size queen.

It's not a good look on you.

Go back to singing your insipid cover of "Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe" to whore for politicians because apparently that's how you're going out.  And I honestly thought you'd reached the most embarrassing moment of your life during the UK promotion of BURLESQUE when the tape you use to pull your facial skin back so everyone will say "She looks so young!" came loose in front of the photographers.  Sorry, love you, but I still laugh at that to this day.  

So we need to remember that a lot of dumb people came in on this, encouraged to use their platforms, and that a lot of the knew better or should have.  But they were part of selling war and bringing us to this point.

Idiots like Cher who think, "OOOH, I'VE GOT A THOUGHT TO SHARE" and do so while the rest of us think, "She does know about the nukes still in Russia, doesn't she?" "Nukes," responds Cher, "He was Speaker of the House in the 90s!!!"

Idiots who have free speech rights but don't have anything in their brains to share.

And they never speak beyond their bubble.  

But this war hysteria that's been drummed up with a lot of stupidity and a refusal to have a real discussion has brought us to this point and this is a point that we worked decades to avoid in the past.  Oh well, at least I wasn't an idiot visiting Russia and dropping to the floor in my hotel suite because I didn't understand what a parade was so I therefore screamed the end was coming.  (Don't worry, she reads this and she knows who she is.)

The world is being destroyed and it's not Putin.  I have never defended him and I never will.  I'm not Cher trying to find a way to sing songs about politicians -- who're nothing but whores who screw you on the way in and screw you on the way out.  

The Russian people have been demonized by the press and you have to do that to recreate The Cold War.  The baby boom generation -- not Jane Fonda, she's too old, she's before the Baby Boom -- was often confused about how the hatred was so intense by the time they were teenagers.  It was intense because it was stoked.  And you need more than just the government.  You need idiots like Robert Taylor in the entertainment world who will whore their own names to sell war.

Hint to Cher and other celebs whose career depends upon the LGBTQ, even being a closet case (and rather beautiful in his early adult years) hasn't allowed Robert Taylor to become 'immortal.'  Hugely popular in his day, he's now forgotten.  That's what happens to the rotten.

But you get a bandwagon going to preach hate and you do it over and over and within ten years it's so ingrained people wonder: How did this even start?

Joe Biden is no one's friend.  Let's note Elaine:

In "It is all bad news for Joe Biden," Ruth covered how Joe Biden's lies were biting him in the ass.  He swore to the American people he never spoke to his son Hunter about Hunter's business dealings (unethical schemes that traded on his dad's name).  Never.  Ever.  Last month, a 2018 voice mail emerged where Joe called Hunter and told him THE NEW YORK TIMES article had been watered down and Hunter came out fine.  Ruth noted that the issue was raised in a White House press briefing on Tuesday.  This is from Jonathan Turley:

Doocy asked the obvious question now that we have an actual audiotape of the President: “Why is there a voicemail of the president talking to his son about his overseas business dealings if the president has said he’s never spoken to his son about his overseas business dealings?”

Despite clearly contradicting the President, Jean-Pierre declared “Well, first I’ll say that what the president said stands. So if he — that’s what the president said, that is what stands.” Such an absurd response is only possible when you know that most of the media will go along with the evasion.

Doocy followed up “He’s leaving a voicemail about a New York Times article concerning Hunter Biden’s business dealings and he says, ‘I think you’re clear.” How is that not him talking to his son about his overseas business dealings?”

Jean-Pierre then dismissed further questions, saying “We’re not, from this podium — I’m not going to talk about alleged materials from the laptop.”  When pressed again, she said  “I am not going to talk about alleged materials from the laptop. Peter, I refer you to his son’s representatives.”

She repeated that position with Wegmann who appeared the only other journalist even remotely interested in whether the President lied repeatedly about an influence peddling scheme run by his son.

Notably, neither reporter was looking for a response from Hunter or their representative. The tape captured President Biden’s voice not Hunter’s voice. Indeed, Hunter previously contradicted his own father and said that he did discuss dealings with his father.

There is no plausible reason why the President would not be willing to answer a question about his own statement captured on audiotape. He is not denying that it is his voice, which appears obvious. He simply will not answer a question about whether he lied during the campaign and repeatedly as president.

Whores propped up Joe Biden.  They ran interference for him, they dismissed real stories that should have been explored.  Tara Reade was assaulted by him.   The press attacked Tara and they did so with help from Joe's friends at TIMES UP.  Joe Biden is corrupt.  Not just Hunter acting alone but acting to profit Joe who knew this and who went along with the schemes.  They lied and covered for him.

At some point though, even the idiots like Cher have to take accountability for themselves.  The Steele Dossier was a fake, commissioned by Hillary and promoted by her -- even Barack was warned that she was going to use to try to deflect from the then-ongoing criminal investigation the Justice Dept was conducting on her.  

They can't get honest about that.  They can't get honest that Hillary is the one who elevated Donald Trump in the media because that's who she wanted to run against and that's who she knew she could beat.  Just like she knew Bill Clinton loved her and would never cheat on her.  Well not again. Okay, two times but not more.  Okay, three times but that's really it. Okay, four times --

Hillary's why Donald Trump became president.  She elevated him because she wanted to run against him.  But she didn't want to get her fat ass into the battled ground states like Wisconsin and she lost.  She also of course cheated to get the 2016 nomination.  So with all that and so much more, America doesn't need her tales of dedication to ROE V WADE (the decision she turned on in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 election).

And we're back to WSWS.  But to set up the next news, grasp that we feel our country is polarized and we feel it is going in the wrong direction (on the left, we feel this way).  And whose fault is that?  The Republicans said they were going to overturn ROE, they've said it basically my entire lifetime.  I'm not surprised.  I am surprised that the Democrats who said they'd defend it didn't defend it.  I am surprised that Nancy Pelosi thinks she can fundraise off ROE's demise and pretend to be our abortion friend in Washington when it was just last month that she was backing a House candidate in Texas who was opposed to Roe -- a man -- over a woman who supported abortion rights.  But now she thinks she can tap into anger to tap into wallets.  Again, all whores.  Screw you on the way in, screw you on the way out.

But if the country is becoming more extreme, it's because of people like Hillary Clinton.  These whores used to run the easiest campaigns that just tried to peel off a few votes from the other side.  Now they're too lazy even for that.  I mean, it was appalling that they didn't care about bringing non-voters back into the fold by actually offering meaningful actions.  But now they want to run against the worst of the worst in the lazy fat ass Hillary Clinton manner: He's so awful, they'll have to vote for me!!!!

Kristina Betinis (WSWS) reports:

Based on electoral considerations of a completely cynical character, the Democratic Party is putting substantial sums of campaign money toward the promotion of right-wing extremist candidates in Republican primaries, on the presumption they will be easier to beat in the general election this November.

The strategy reveals the political bankruptcy and light-minded recklessness of the Democratic Party. They are unable to offer policies and a political record that would actually attract support from the vast majority of voters, working class and middle class. So they aim to make their Republican opponents even more obnoxious, by promoting Republican primary candidates with the most reactionary and repugnant views.

Democratic campaign funds and wealthy individuals have embraced this cynical strategy in a series of primaries in May and June, culminating in the June 28 primaries in Illinois and Colorado, where the Democrats intervened in virtually all the competitive Republican contests, with mixed success. All the Democratic-backed ultra-right candidates lost in Colorado, but all of them won in Illinois.

The Illinois Republican primaries resulted in the nomination of right-wing extremist State Senator Darren Bailey for governor and ultra-right lawyer Thomas DeVore for attorney general. Bailey, an open racist and semi-fascist, supports an initiative that would separate the city of Chicago, which he refers to as a “hellhole,” from the rest of the state of Illinois. DeVore came to prominence opposing COVID-19 mitigations and vaccines, filing lawsuits against statewide and Chicago masking policies and vaccine mandates, defending the “freedom” of parents to send their children maskless to school in the midst of a deadly pandemic. He is also Bailey’s lawyer.

Bailey promotes Trump’s lie of a “stolen election,” opposes abortion rights and masking, and spreads vaccine misinformation from his Facebook campaign page. One of his key campaign workers is Lawrence Ligas, long-time Illinois Republican activist and January 6 coup participant. Ligas was arrested and charged for his actions in the course of occupying the Capitol, after which Bailey’s campaign was forced to issue a perfunctory statement about supporting the law.

Bailey and Representative Mary Miller, a white supremacist and admirer of Adolf Hitler, both enjoyed Donald Trump’s support at a Quincy, Illinois event the weekend before the June 28 primary. The two Democratic incumbents, billionaire Governor J. B. Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul, would be favored against any Republican opponents, including these two semi-fascists. But Pritzker was leaving nothing to chance, pumping an estimated $36 million into the Bailey and DeVore campaigns, routed through the Democratic Governors’ Association (DGA).

If this isn't appalling to you, I'm going to assume that you're one of those stupid people who tapes the skin of your face back and puts on a wig to hide the tape.  I mean, seriously, Cher, if you're skin is so loose that you need to tape it back, you don't think pulling it back with that tape isn't going to make it worse?  Or are you just going to eventually cover yourself head to toe in tape and do so every waking moment of the day?  

Maybe someone who works that hard to run from looking like they really do is someone we don't need to take political advice from?  (A point we already established with that idiotic, ahisotrical and uninformed Tweet she provided that we noted earlier.)


Or we could just look to Iraq where US troops remain on the ground.  All this time later.  And where the country that the US government destroyed continues to suffer.  It suffers so much that even those attempting to detail the suffering can't get it right.


At least 13 people have been infected with Cholera in Iraq as the COVID-19 outbreak slows down. Authorities claim that northern Kurdistan is the epicenter of the problem.

Kurdistan’s district health chief, Sabah Hawrami, stated that Sulaimaniyah had 10 cholera cases, which were confirmed.

Well, no, 13 2as the number some time ago and, no, COVID has not slowed down.  Things move to quickly in Iraq.

On COVID, IANS reports today:

Iraq is witnessing a noticeable rebound in the Covid-19 infections as the country's Health Ministry reported 4,819 new cases, the highest daily hike since February 8.

The newly registered cases raised the nationwide caseload to 2,369,272, while the death toll from the virus rose by two to 25,249, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by the ministry.

The Iraqi health authority warned recently against a new wave of Covid-19 infections, citing high vaccine hesitancy and lack of public attention to preventive measures.

And this morning THE MEDIA LINE also notes the increase in COVID and we'll quote their section on cholera:

Health authorities in Baghdad also say Iraq is experiencing a cholera outbreak. The Health Ministry reported 39 new cases of cholera, in addition to 169 previously reported cases, bringing the total infections in the current outbreak, which began on June 19, to 208. The ministry urged citizens to follow health and hygiene instructions and drink only sterilized water.

And IRAQI NEWS notes:

The Iraqi Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that Iraq is facing four different epidemics at the same time, in addition to possible emergence of cases infected with monkeypox in the country.

The spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Saif Al-Badr, made it clear that Iraq entered the fifth wave of the Coronavirus epidemic as the number of infections exceeded 4800 as of Wednesday.

Badr also elaborated that the ministry recorded 39 new cases infected with cholera on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to more than 200, including at least two deaths in Kirkuk and Baghdad.

Additionally, Badr indicated that the Iraqi health authorities are facing the spread of two other epidemics which are rabies and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. The Congo fever led to two deaths so far.

In 2015, Iraq witnessed the largest epidemic wave of cholera outbreaks, concentrated in Baghdad and Babylon in the southern part of the country, causing about 1,809 confirmed infections and 65 deaths.

THE PBS NEWSHOUR had an important report on Iraq yesterday.  We'll try to note it on Friday.  But let's note rumors that the political stalemate may finally be coming to an end.  October 10th, Iraq held elections.  There's still not been anyone named prime minister or president.  Last night, STRATFOR published:

What Happened: Iraq's ruling Shiite Coordination Framework will nominate former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the country's premiership, despite disagreement within the coalition, Al Mirbad reported July 5. Rivals like Hadi al-Amiri of the Shiite Badr Organization have voiced opposition to al-Maliki's nomination.
Why It Matters: Al-Maliki's nomination likely will be highly divisive considering the ongoing political standoff Iraq is experiencing, and it could exacerbate negative social conditions that led to violent protests in 2019. Additionally, the approach of summer promises to worsen the hardships of rolling blackouts and dilapidated water infrastructure, which will further increase the risk of protests.

They're saying it doesn't make it so.  But it does appear the Coordination Framework is about to make an announcement shortly (as we noted earlier this week, that's what the pressure on the Kurds to figure out one nominee for the presidency is about). 

The following sites updated:

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