Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Weekend box office

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

1 N Minions: The Rise of Gru Universal $107,010,140   4,391   $24,370 $107,010,140 1
2 (2) Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pi… $25,887,192 -13% 3,843 -105 $6,736 $564,362,559 6
3 (1) Elvis Warner Bros. $18,450,000 -41% 3,932 +26 $4,692 $66,770,011 2
4 (3) Jurassic World: Dominion Universal $16,368,380 -39% 3,801 -432 $4,306 $332,533,315 4
5 (4) The Black Phone Universal $12,245,265 -48% 3,156 +6 $3,880 $47,409,590 2
6 (5) Lightyear Walt Disney $6,451,931 -64% 3,800 -455 $1,698 $105,240,594 3
7 N Mr. Malcolm’s List Bleecker Street $810,742   1,384   $586 $810,742 1
8 (8) Everything Everywhere All At Once A24 $551,974 +5% 607 +83 $909 $67,015,157 15
9 (6) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Walt Disney $412,752 -77% 590 -1,265 $700 $410,564,101 9
10 (7) Jugjugg Jeeyo Moviegoers E… $320,000 -47% 150 -168 $2,133 $1,540,000 2

Nobody's seeing LIGHTYEAR, it's a bomb.  In one weekend, the Minions movie made more than LIGHTYEAR has made in three weekends.  

They said LIGHTYEAR did poorly due to the pandemic and that families weren't going to the movies -- then explain the box office for MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU.  It's a huge hit.  People turned out for it.

TOP GUN continues to print money.  There's not a lot besides that.  ELVIS?  Doesn't appear to have legs.  I guess we'll see for sure next weekend but I don't think it's going to make a lot of money in the remaining weeks.  It'll probably end up with $96 million but could squeak to $100 million if everything fell in its favor.

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2022.  The US government takes no holiday in Joe Biden's persecution of Julian Assange, Iraq faces more disasters -- some from nature, some from corruption -- and look who may be returning as prime minister -- the name the western press banned themselves from using for months and months.

The US government may have taken a day off yesterday for the July 4th holiday but it continued to persecute Julian Assange.  The persecution is so ingrained and accepted at this point that no one ever asks at a White House press briefing why US President Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian?  They can't ask it at a presidential press conference because (a) Joe can't really handle those and (b) the rare times he takes a question or two from the press, it's been decided ahead of time who he will call on and what they will ask.

When you put a senile and elderly man in the White House, you have to go to great lengths to make the people think he can function.  

Jonathan P Baird writes the editors of THE CONCORD MONITOR:

I believe the hatred and anger stirred up has confused the public’s view about what is at stake in Assange’s legal case. The government is turning investigative journalism into a criminal act. Assange, through Wikileaks, published classified documents in 2010. He didn’t leak them, Chelsea Manning did that.

Wikileaks published hundreds of thousands of documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The documents revealed the U.S. had killed hundreds of innocent civilians in these wars. Wikileaks released the infamous Collateral Murder video which showed 2007 footage of U.S. soldiers gleefully murdering a crowd of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists. The Iraq war logs also showed over 66,000 Iraqi civilians were murdered by Iraqi forces.

In addition, the documents exposed the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Over 150 innocent Afghans and Pakistanis were held for years without charges. Prisoners included an 89-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy. The files revealed the government was holding prisoners to try and extract intelligence. The government relied heavily on evidence obtained from people who had been tortured, including at black sites. The files showed that many of those being held at Guantanamo weren’t considered dangerous.

Without Wikileaks, none of this information would have been made public. Knowing your government is conducting state torture at black sites and at Guantanamo is not some minor detail. So far, U.S. authorities have been unable to name one person who could have been shown to have died as a result of these disclosures.

We'll note this Tweet.

Publishing the truth is NOT a crime. FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW

Thomas Scripps (WSWS) notes:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appealed to the High Court against his extradition order. Home Secretary Priti Patel signed off on his removal to the United States on June 17.

Such an appeal would likely begin to address the real issues of democratic rights at stake in the more than a decade long persecution of Assange, which the US government and British courts have largely contrived to exclude from proceedings thus far. His wife Stella Moris told ABC radio last month that the appeal would include evidence of CIA assassination plots, including plans to poison Assange while claiming asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Writing for The Scotsman, legal scholar Dr Paul Arnell of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen explained that this stage of the case could examine “whether his right to freedom of expression is sufficiently important to bar his extradition, and whether the US request for him was motivated for reasons of his political opinions.”

In a parallel case in Spain Assange’s lawyers are pursuing company UC Global, which provided security at the Ecuadorian Embassy, for spying on Assange and his associates on behalf of US intelligence. Last month, judge Santiago Pedraz sought to summon former CIA director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in connection with kidnap and assassination plots against the WikiLeaks founder revealed by Yahoo last September.

The British state’s complicity in this ongoing manhunt was highlighted by Pompeo’s visit to the UK last week. Patel tweeted a photo of them together with the caption, “Delighted to host my friend, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Home Office.”

As the world watches, old man Joe looks more and more insane.  Meanwhile, TELESUR reports:

On Monday, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated his willingness to discuss Julian Assange's case with U.S. President Joe Biden during his meeting scheduled for next week in Washington.

During his morning daily news briefing, the Mexican President announced that he was willing to provide asylum to Julian Assange; at the time, he criticized that "the big press" has kept silent in the face of the case of the founder of WikiLeaks.

"If he is brought to the U.S. and given the maximum sentence, [sentenced to] death in prison, a campaign should be launched to dismantle the Statue of Liberty in New York that was gifted by the French because it will no longer be a symbol of freedom," explained Lopez Obrador.

"Julian Assange is the best journalist of our time in the world and he has been treated very unfairly, worse than a criminal. This is a shame for the world," said the Mexican President, calling for the accusations to be lifted. He recalled that "humanity must prevail."

So Lopez Obrador is going to try to discuss the issue of Julian with Joe?  I hope he's bringing flash cards and maybe sock puppets.

Turning to Iraq . . . 

Despite holding elections October 10th, Iraq still has no president, still has no prime minister.  And ISIS is getting restless.  Over the weekend, REPUBLIC WORLD reported:

Two people were killed while four others were wounded on Saturday after Daesh militants attacked northern and central Iraq. According to security sources, the first attack took place in Nineveh Governate, which borders Syria, where one soldier was killed and two civilians were wounded after a roadside bomb exploded. The blast, which Iraqi security officials believe was planted by the IS, exploded near an Iranian security unit outside a village on the outskirts of Tal Afar. 

Speaking to Xinhua on condition of anonymity, a source said that the attack took place when the country’s law enforcers were hunting down IS terrorists in the area. Meanwhile, a similar explosion occurred in the Salah al-Din governorate, where at least one civilian was killed and two others were wounded. The roadside bomb was planted by IS terrorists and exploded near the village of Tarmiyah, some 30 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad. 

And when the Iraqi people aren't suffering from ISIS, they're suffering from government failures.  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports:

A chlorine gas leak at a water purification plant in southern Iraq injured at least 300 people, officials said Monday.

The incident happened Sunday night when the potentially fatal gas leaked from a container in the plant in the district of Qal'at Sukkar north of the southern city of Nasiriyah.

Hundreds of people suffering severe respiratory distress from exposure to the chlorine were taken to a nearby hospital, said Abbas Jaber, Dhi Qar province's deputy governor.

Ahmed Maher (THE NATIONAL) provides this context:

Dhi Qar province has faced regular anti-government protests over the past three years, as has been the case with several other cities and towns in Iraq's south.

Protesters have sought to topple the entire political establishment in the country amid anger at endemic corruption, high unemployment and poor public services.

The demonstrations have been the bloodiest since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

An operation by security services killed at least 700 people and wounded thousands in the first six months since the protests began in October 2019, according to independent and international rights groups.

The unrest led to the resignation of the government of Adel Abdul Mahdi, prime minister at the time.

The Dhi Qar chlorine leak comes seven days after a fatal chlorine gas incident at the main Red Sea port of Aqaba in neighbouring Jordan, which killed 13 people and injured more than 250.

And they're also dealing with a cholera outbreak, COVID 19 and Congo Fever as well as climate change and the constant dust storms.  CALIFORNIA 18 reports:

In the streets of Baghdad, Iraq more and more masks are seen, but this trend has nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic -- not even in the most acute part of the crisis was its use generalized -- but with another enemy: the dust that is in suspension and that does not let breathe. Although sandstorms have always existed here, they are becoming more frequent and unbearable.

This is well known to Milad Mitti, a food delivery person from the capital of the Arab country who is well equipped to deal with the phenomenon. Wearing goggles “for dust” and a scarf that also covers his mouth so he can breathe, he goes out into the street so as not to lose another day of work due to the sandstorms in Iraq.

No government, all this time later.  As the country drifts along without leadership, hot spots keep developing.  Now it's Basra.  RUDAW reports:

Tensions between two tribes in the southern Iraqi province of Basra on Friday led security forces to use drones to stop the fighting, with the quarrels first surfacing three years ago.

Tensions between the tribes of Albu Hamdan and al-Batut sparked clashes that lasted for more than five hours in the town of Garma, as the two tribes fought over concerns of debt.

"We have closed our shops since 4 pm yesterday because of the bullets of the Hamdan and Batut tribes coming at us," witness Uday Shareef told Rudaw's Halkawt Aziz, describing the situation as "hell."

"We live in hell, not in a country or Iraq," Shareef said.

Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports a new development:

The Coordination Framework on Monday called on Kurdish parties to agree on a single candidate for the post of Iraq’s presidency, stressing the importance of stabilizing the political process and forming a “harmonious” government.

The Coordination Framework, pro-Iran Shiite parliamentary faction, discussed the latest developments in Iraq’s political scene during its regular meeting, which was attended by the head of the political parties within the faction.

“Leaders of the [Coordination] Framework called on the Kurdish forces to unify their efforts and work on settling a candidate for the presidency of the [Iraqi] republic,” read a statement from the Shiite faction following the meeting.

According to a long-standing customary agreement, the presidency lies with the Kurds and the position has been held by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) since 2005. 

Up to last month, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) held a strong position in challenging the PUK for the position, but a sudden withdrawal by the parliament’s largest Shiite bloc led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on June 12, rendered the KDP’s claim to the presidency difficult without the backing of their strong Shiite ally.


To be clear, the Kurds are not the reason that Iraq hasn't been able to form a government.  But if the Framework is calling on them to decide on one candidate, that indicates that the Framework doesn't need to buy anymore time, that they have decided who will be prime minister and they are prepared to move forward.

Who could it be?

Mohammed Salih Tweeted yesterday:

If Maliki, the man under whose nose ISIL occuppied large swaths of the country and the man during whose reign nearly $1 trillion went missing, becomes the PM again, you can count on Iraq entering a darker era.

Over at ANTIWAR.COM, Jason Ditz writes:

All but inevitable since the resignation of Moqtada al-Sadr’s coalition from parliament, the State of Law has announced its own candidate for Iraqi PM. As expected, it is Nouri al-Maliki.

Holding the position from 2006 to 2014, Maliki is the longest-seated premier of the US occupation of Iraq. A former Dawa Party figure popular with Iran, Maliki was a controversial leader throughout his last tenure.

Navigating through constant political division, Maliki was positioned as a compromise candidate protecting a status quo which, by 2014, fewer and fewer voters were looking to defend anymore.

It's a tough post for Jason Ditzy.  He's all up in Moqtada and needs to believe that Moqtada a saint -- one who killed US troops, of course -- and that Nouri -- and only Nouri -- is corrupt.  

Nouri's corrupt.  Nouri's a thug.  Guess what, Ditzy, nobody reading here in the last 12 months is gasping.  Because we've noted these things and we've noted that Nouri was a major player.  While you copied corporate media and spent 12 months ignoring Nouri because that is what the US State Dept wanted to happen, we were honest.  We talked about it ahead of the election and we talked about it after.  And when the roadblocks started coming up for Moqtada we noted who was tossing them out -- Nouri -- and what year he'd used the same antics before.  But you still couldn't type Nouri back then.  

Is Nouri about to become prime minister again.  It appears possible.  And maybe Ditzy and everybody else needs to go back and explain why their coverage was so wrong and failed to factor Nouri in, ignoring him month after month.

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