I like Tom Hanks but he makes too many films. That means he ends up in a few films that are so-so. I mean crap. He also makes films that he likes that I might not be interested in. But when he makes a film I'm interested in, he usually delivers.
A MAN CALLED OTTO delivers for me. It's a strong experience. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you sad. It's a real journey. Otto is a man who's just tired. He's tired of everything. His wife has died. He's lost everything. And he's tired. And he's ready to end it. And then he finds a reason to hang in a little longer. That's the easiest way to explain the movie.
It's really good and he's fantastic in it. Did it get released in time for Oscar consideration? I know he's already got two but this is an Oscar worthy performance.
Otto interacts in the film with people who need him which goes to the reality that we never know who needs us or how we can impact other people. It's a film you'll want to see and then go get something to eat to explore and discuss it.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot"
Friday, January 20, 2023. Celebrations in Iraq and around the world as The Arabian Gulf Cup concludes with the Lions of Mesopotamia claiming victory.
Yesterday, the Arabian Gulf Cup wrapped up after Iraq went up against Oman.
The 25th Gulf Cup tournament’s best player title went to rising Iraqi football star Ibrahim Bayesh Al-Kaabi. In the championship game, Bayesh scored an important goal for Iraq in the 24th minute, giving them the lead going into halftime.
Bayesh, who was just 16 years old when he signed with the Zakho club, was born on May 1st, 2000 in Baghdad, Iraq. In his one season of play at Zakho club, he scored two goals. He relocated to Naft Al-Wasat during the 2017 season, then in 2018 he left to join the Air Force from Al-Zawra.
With a total of three goals scored, Iraqi forward Aymen Hussein was named the tournament’s top scorer. Against Yemen, the football star scored twice, and against Qatar, he scored once. Currently, Hussein is a striker with Al-Markhiya in the Qatar Stars League.
Iraqi midfielder Amjad Atwan was awarded Player of the Match for the Gulf Cup final. The Iraqi footballer was crucial throughout the game and scored Iraq’s second goal during the match’s overtime in the 116th minute. Atwan may be used as a defensive midfielder or central midfielder, presently plays at Al-Shamal in the Qatar Stars League.
THE KALEEJ TIMES notes, "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, congratulated Iraq on winning the Gulf Cup. The leader said in a tweet: "The joy of Iraq today, after long patience and waiting, and the peoples and hearts rejoiced with it.. Today we are all Iraqis in joy.. We are all Iraqis today in victory." And fans from outside Iraq were ecstatic as well. THE MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS reports:
There was traffic chaos in south Manchester on Thursday night (January 19) as crowds stormed Wilmslow Road. Supporters waved the flag of Iraq in the air in a seeming celebration to the country's national football team being crowned Gulf Cup champions after defeating Oman.
Buses and cars became gridlocked along the packed-out curry mile, in Rusholme, from around 7pm. Video footage showed large numbers of people gathering and filming on their mobile phones.
Officers from Greater Manchester Police were also on the scene to help manage the crowds, as cars honked their horns and crowds cheered in what appeared to be elation at the victory.
And in Michigan . . .
+ More than 70 inmates in Texas are on a hunger strike, protesting solitary confinement in the state’s prison system, which has locked more than 500 people in isolation cells for longer than a decade.
+ New York City taxpayers are on pace to pay $820 million in just overtime for NYPD this year, which is enough to house all 14,000 homeless families in NYC and pay several years of rent for 7,000 families out of work and facing eviction.
+ Our friend Arun Gupta has written a detailed piece exposing the cozy relationship between the Proud Boys and the Portland (Oregon) Police: “Since 2017, police have allowed the Pacific Northwest city to serve as a proving ground for fascists like the Proud Boys. They received legal impunity and even police support with few attempts to stop it. The far-right used political violence to network with white nationalists, militias, and other extremists, raise their image nationally, gain recruits, and build capacity.”
+ Cops in Louisiana coerced a woman into working as an informant after her drug arrest. Then failed to protect her, as she was raped twice while undercover. “She was an addict and we just used her as an informant like we’ve done a million times before,” said retired Lt. Mark Parker, who oversaw the operation. “We’ve always done it this way. Looking back, it’s easy to say, ‘What if?’”
+ As California moves to dismantle its death row, Louisiana is using to the former death row block at the infamous Angola prison to incarcerate juveniles. One of the imprisoned kids said: “It is very depressing to be here knowing this is the former death row. When the lights go out at night, I think I see shadows going past.”
+ The city of Pittsburgh passed an ordinance banning officers from stopping drivers for certain minor offenses. The Pittsburgh Police chief has decided to ignore the ordinance, claiming that the rules deflated “officer morale.”
+ After learning that she’d repeatedly been denied jobs because background checks showed she had a criminal record (she didn’t), Julie Hudson, a black 31-year-old Ph. D. student, visited a Philadelphia police station to try and clear things up. She was promptly arrested and taken into custody after being mistaken for a suspect with the same name.
Wrongful imprisonment goes on around the world -- and despite huge outcries. There is a global movement to free Julian Assange from wrongful imprisonment.
Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist." Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian. WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs. And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own. For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs. Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:
A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat
The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.
The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.
But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.
Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.
Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.
Today, DEMOCRACY NOW! has a special broadcast:
On Jan. 20, Democracy Now! will live-stream the Belmarsh Tribunal from Washington, D.C. The event will feature expert testimony from journalists, whistleblowers, lawyers, publishers and parliamentarians on assaults to press freedom and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Watch here live at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 20.
Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Srecko Horvat, the co-founder of DiEM25, will chair the tribunal, which is being organized by Progressive International and the Wau Holland Foundation.
Members of the tribunal include:
Stella Assange, partner of Julian Assange and member of his defense team
Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower
Noam Chomsky, linguist and activist
Jeremy Corbyn, member of U.K. Parliament and founder of the Peace and Justice Project
Chip Gibbons, policy director of Defending Rights & Dissent
Kevin Gosztola, managing editor of Shadowproof
Margaret Kunstler, civil rights attorney
Stefania Maurizi, investigative journalist, Il Fatto Quotidiano
Jesselyn Radack, national security and human rights attorney
Ben Wizner, lead attorney at ACLU of Edward Snowden
Renata Ávila, human rights lawyer, technology and society expert
Jeffrey Sterling, lawyer and former CIA employee
Steven Donziger, human rights attorney
Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief, WikiLeaks
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editorial director and publisher, The Nation
Selay Ghaffar, spokesperson, Solidarity Party of Afghanistan
Betty Medsger, investigative reporter
The following sites updated: