Monday, February 27, 2023

Weekend box office

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

1 (1) Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Walt Disney $31,964,803 -70% 4,345 n/c $7,357 $167,079,387 2
2 N Cocaine Bear Universal $23,260,790   3,534   $6,582 $23,260,790 1
3 N Jesus Revolution Lionsgate $15,802,615   2,475   $6,385 $15,802,615 1
4 (2) Avatar: The Way of Water 20th Century… $4,860,257 -26% 2,495 -180 $1,948 $665,544,119 11
5 (4) Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Universal $4,119,260 -23% 2,840 -172 $1,450 $173,430,325 10
6 (3) Magic Mike’s Last Dance Warner Bros. $2,856,601 -47% 2,918 -116 $979 $23,136,191 3
7 (6) 80 for Brady Paramount Pi… $1,901,409 -49% 2,397 -722 $793 $36,518,690 4
8 (5) Knock at the Cabin Universal $1,870,895 -53% 2,115 -486 $885 $33,904,100 4
9 (9) Missing Sony Pictures $1,018,812 -42% 1,006 -510 $1,013 $31,427,739 6
10 (10) A Man Called Otto Sony Pictures $851,568 -47% 1,118 -607 $762 $62,283,028 9


Despite all the hand wringing, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP QUANTUMANIA remained the number one film over the weekend.  "Only $34 million!" some whined.  Take the win, it's number one.  Domestically, it's at over $170 million, globally it's at $363 million.  And, remember, this isn't the film's last weekend.  It will continue to play in theaters.  This reminds me a lot of how they went after AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER.  That film, remember, is now the third biggest moneymaker of all time, having surpassed TITANIC.

I'm not saying the new Ant-Man will do that kind of business but I am saying that it's way to early to call time of death.

Second place COCAINE BEAR?  Bad fiction.  Just like JESUS REVOLUTION.  It's all about everything but reality.  Kelsey Grammar says he's not going to hide his Christianity.  Could he hide his lies?  The film is lies.  Lonnie ends up, in real life, dead from AIDs and he ends up kicked out by the Jesus freaks when they find out he's gay and sleeping with men.  Grammar has hopefully soured everyone on his ridiculous FRAISER reboot. 

Was this a White revolution by the way?  The first ten actors getting billing are all White.  Didn't realize the Jesus of JESUS REVOLUTION had a problem with skin color.


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


Mondday, February 27, 2023.  Is the CIA targeting supporters of Julian Assange, Iraqis take to the streets of Baghdad to register their opinion on proposed changes, attacks on the LGBTQ+ community continues in the US, and much more.

In a feature article published last Thursday, the well-known German daily Der Spiegel pointedly asked whether the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was “hunting” associates and supporters of Julian Assange. 

The persecuted WikiLeaks publisher remains in Britain’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison while the UK authorities seek to facilitate his extradition to the US. There, Assange faces 175 years’ imprisonment for exposing the war crimes committed by American imperialism and its allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Over recent years, a wealth of material has been published laying bare the scope of the US campaign against Assange and its gross illegality. In October 2021, Yahoo! News issued an article, based on the statements of 30 former and current US officials. It asserted that the CIA and the Trump administration had plotted to kidnap or assassinate Assange while he was an internationally-recognised political refugee in Ecuador’s London embassy.

There are well-documented allegations that UC Global, the security company contracted by the Ecuadorian authorities to provide security to the embassy, was secretly collaborating with the US authorities. UC Global whistleblowers have attested to this, and the unlawful surveillance material, including videos of Assange’s privileged discussions with his lawyers, has been publicly released.

The Der Spiegel article provides additional information. It paints a picture of a global dragnet established by the US government and its agencies to target not only Assange, but also his collaborators. Much of the material is anecdotal, but the standing of those providing it, together with the context of established US state operations against WikiLeaks, makes for a persuasive case.

Summarising the material it collected, Der Spiegel writes: “At one point, a lawyer in London lost her laptop; at another, a journalist researching Assange’s case had medical data stolen. The office of Assange’s Spanish defence lawyers was broken into in a bizarre way. In Ecuador, a Swedish software developer has been held in the country for nearly four years on flimsy grounds. Elsewhere, Assange supporters who prefer to remain anonymous reported similar spooky incidents.

“That they are connected cannot be proven. Nor has it been possible to determine the authors beyond doubt in any case so far. It could be a matter of coincidences. ‘But who is to believe that?’ asks Assange’s lawyer Aitor Martínez, who is certain that it is a concerted campaign by U.S. authorities, whose often dubious methods WikiLeaks has exposed quite a few times. ‘It’s a vendetta against Julian Assange,’ says the Spaniard. And the focus is not only on companions and family members of Assange, but also on lawyers and journalists, who by law should be particularly protected from wiretapping.”

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.

PRESSENZA notes the following action for Julian:

Hobart 4 Assange and Melbourne for Assange Australia are hosting rallies for Julian Assange and are proposing a Global Day of Action on March 19th , the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

On the 19th March 2003 the USA led an illegal military invasion of Iraq based on its own fabricated secret intelligence that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction and working with terrorists. This invasion proceeded despite at least 6 to 11 million people turning out in at least 650 cities around the world to protest the United States’ push to invade Iraq in the largest anti-war protests the world has ever seen.

No WMDs or evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime were ever found and Iraq is still living with the catastrophic consequences of this invasion, which led to the violent deaths of at least 1 million Iraqi citizens, ongoing destabilisation and the rise of new terrorist organisations armed with US weapons and military training.

Seven years later Wikileaks, with documents provided by Chelsea Manning, exposed the true face of the Iraq war and hard evidence of US war crimes, including the infamous “collateral murder” video.

Instead of prosecuting those responsible for the crimes the USA is politically persecuting and torturing the messenger, Julian Assange.

The great truth teller of the Iraq war must not be let to die in jail! We cannot let this date to be forgotten.

Let us come together again, like many of us did 20 years ago, to denounce the US regime wars and to demand Julian’s freedom now!

Please register your action on or by emailing details of your action to to share and add to any other global lists you can find.

It can be something small, like a vigil, or hang some banners off a bridge, or project a message onto a wall and also ad action in Internet.

Many peace groups are planning actions on March 19th. Let us link the anti-war protest to the demand for freedom for Julian Assange!

In October last year, the Iraqi parliament approved a new government with a mandate to jump-start political reforms. Among its priorities is the amendment of Iraq’s problematic constitution.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani made the first step in this process by appointing Hassan al-Yasseri as his constitutional adviser. Meanwhile, the parliament has announced that it will form a constitutional revision committee.

This will not be the first time that Iraq attempts to reform its constitution since it entered into force in 2005. Constitutional revision committees were formed in 2009 and 2019, but both of those efforts petered out, mainly as a result of a failure to build momentum.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Baghdad on Monday to denounce a draft elections law that would increase the size of the country's electoral districts, potentially undermining independent candidates.
The current legislation, under which the 2021 election was held, breaks up each of the country's 18 provinces into several electoral districts. The law, which was a key demand of mass anti-government protests that kicked off in late 2019, was seen as giving independent candidates a better chance at winning.
Last week, Parliament debated the draft, which would return Iraq to having one electoral district per governorate. Independent lawmakers who objected to the proposal, walked out of the session, which ended early due to losing its quorum.

The Parliament is set to discuss the proposed law again on Monday but lawmakers were not expected to vote on the proposal.

The return to a single district per province is backed by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Iran-backed parties that forms the majority bloc in the current parliament, and which brought Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to power last year.

That action took place today.  More actions are expected.  CRISIS 24 reports:

Activists from the National Consciousness Movement plan to demonstrate near the Green Zone in central Baghdad Feb. 27. The purpose of the action is to denounce a perceived attempt from the Parliament to return to previous election laws. Security forces have reportedly closed Al-Jumhuriya Bridge and Karrada Maryam Street in preparation for the protest.

Increased security and localized transport disruptions are likely near the impacted area Feb. 27. Clashes between police and protesters cannot be ruled out, particularly if demonstrators are overly disruptive or if they ignore police orders to disperse.

Activism takes place in the US as well.  For example, Julia Sandor (WKYT) reports:

Walkouts were held at two Lexington high schools Friday morning.

Hundreds of students walked out of Lafayette, Dunbar and Danville high schools to protest “anti-LGBTQ legislation.”

At Lafayette, the student-organized rally was described as quick but powerful. There were many cheers and flags waving in the air and posters were held high.

One of the main bills discussed at the event was Senate Bill 150, which has been sent to the House by the Senate.

Right now, students say there are nine anti-trans, or LGBTQ, bills filed in the legislature.

Many student speakers say school is their safe space. Students say they want their voices to be heard and their hope is for senators and representatives to make a change.


They deny that any such attacks exist by pretending that LGBTQ youth don’t exist–while simultaneously sexualizing their innocent existence.

Kentucky Senate Bill 150 and House Bills 173, 177, and 470 are four of over 350 anti-trans or anti-LGBTQ bills filed in 2023.

They all target children’s lives, especially HB 470.

One Kentucky bill wouldn’t just ban trans youth from using the safest bathroom–it could ban any shared bathroom, given it defines “community standard of dress” by birth certificate. 

How is it not an attack to segregate children like criminals?

That bill would ban “discussing” orientation or identity tied to gender in K-12. Discussion is “talking about with.” A kid referencing his moms, being a flower girl for her two uncles, or being a boy who likes pink will be silenced. A teenager talking about life–being bullied, left out, having a crush–will be silenced by teachers at the threat of government punishment. 

Last year, three in five trans youth considered and one in five LGBTQ students attempted suicide. 

It’s not because they’re trans. We know why: 94% of LGBTQ youth say recent politics harms their mental health, and just one accepting adult reduces suicide risk by half. 

Re-read that last line.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: The re-release of Diana Ross' SURRENDER" went up yesterday.  The following sites updated:

No comments: