Monday, April 22, 2024

Weekend box office

Via THENUMBERS.COM, here's the weekend box office.

1 (1) Civil War A24 $11,127,753 -56% 3,929 +91 $2,832 $44,884,414 2
2 N Abigail Universal $10,297,110   3,384   $3,043 $10,297,110 1
3 (2) Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Warner Bros. $9,570,463 -38% 3,658 -189 $2,616 $171,731,973 4
4 N The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare Lionsgate $8,913,698   2,845   $3,133 $8,913,698 1
5 N Spy x Family Code: White Crunchyroll $4,824,993   2,009   $2,402 $4,824,993 1
6 (4) Kung Fu Panda 4 Universal $4,691,765 -15% 2,955 -149 $1,588 $180,074,240 7
7 (3) Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Sony Pictures $4,451,743 -23% 3,109 -241 $1,432 $102,966,013 5
8 (5) Dune: Part Two Warner Bros. $2,947,767 -32% 2,014 -387 $1,464 $276,640,680 8
9 (6) Monkey Man Universal $2,288,370 -44% 2,641 -396 $866 $21,763,160 3
10 (7) The First Omen 20th Century… $1,790,326 -53% 2,430 -945 $737 $17,855,364 3


Wow.  CIVIL WAR got a second week at number one.  For what's considered an adult movie, it's doing really well.  $44 million domestically so far.  ABIGAIL only did $10 million.  If they'd made clear that Abigail was a vampire, I think the film would have done better.  Instead, the trailer was trying to be clever and had you wondering what she was?  Was it the M3GAN?  It doesn't usually work when you try to trick an audience with a trailer.

DUNE PART 2 has fallen to number eight.  And GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE has fallen to number seven and is over $20 million short of what Melissa McCarthy's GHOSTBUSTERS film made in 2016.

This weekend, there should be some shake ups in the top ten.  There are like eight films coming out -- not all in wide release.  I want to see Toni Collette's horror film HEREDITARY.  Gabriel Byrne's in it too.  Haven't seen him in anything in a bit.   But the next really big film will probably be two Fridays from now -- THE FALL GUY.  Yeah, it looks cheesy as hell by Ryan Gossling and Emily Blunt appear to have chemistry and my girlfriend is dying to see it.



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

 

Monday, Arpil 22, 2024.  The death toll in Gaza passes 34,000, a mass grave is discovered, protests continue on Columbia University's campus and spreads to other American campuses, Joe Biden mischaracterizes and lies about the protesters, and much more.


Today The Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Columbia University continues into week two.  From Friday's DEMOCRACY NOW!


AMY GOODMAN:  Here in New York, riot police moved in on a peaceful student protest encampment, arresting at least 108 people at Columbia. Columbia University President Minouche Shafik called the NYPD to clear the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on the campus’s South Lawn, where Columbia and Barnard students had set up one day earlier to demand university leadership divest from Israel. New York Police Chief John Chell said Shafik identified the demonstration as a “clear and present danger,” but that officers found the students to peaceful and cooperative. Shafik warned all students participating in the encampment would be suspended. At least three suspensions of Barnard students were confirmed Thursday before the arrests, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Congressmember Ilhan Omar.

Thursday’s showdown with the NYPD was the largest arrest on the Columbia campus since 1968, when police arrested over 700 students protesting the school’s ties to the Vietnam War and its plans to expand in Harlem by building a gymnasium there.

Following the arrests yesterday, students gathered on the campus throughout the night as large protests continued and are ongoing. Students got support from many Columbia faculty online and a visit in person from Union Theological Seminary professor Cornel West, just nearby, who is also a 2024 presidential candidate. Democracy Now! spoke to professor West after he climbed a fence to visit with the encamped protesters.

CORNEL WEST: Well, you know, in light of our stand in deep solidarity with our precious Palestinian brothers and sisters who are undergoing vicious genocide, wrestling with apartheid conditions for so long and still being ethnically cleansed, we want the world to know that their suffering does not have the last word. There is resilience, and there’s a willingness to fight.

And Columbia president ought to be shame on herself that she cannot zero in on an actual genocide taking place before our very eyes, and be concerned about a potential and possible call for genocide of Jews. Nobody here is calling for the genocide of Jews. Nobody is here calling for annihilation. We’re calling for the end of an actual genocide and the end of an actual annihilation.

How sad that Columbia University could teach so many courses on the canonical texts of Western civilization and can’t listen to Diderot or Karl Marx. They can’t listen to a Martin Luther King Jr. They can’t listen to a Muriel Rukeyser. Most importantly, they can’t listen to the cries of our precious Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

So, I’m in deep solidarity with these students. They represent the best, not just of Columbia, not just of the American empire, but the human spirit, fighting in the face of domination and occupation and subjugation, and doing it with tremendous determination.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s presidential candidate and Union Theological Seminary professor Cornel West speaking to Democracy Now! at Columbia University in the midst of the protest. Special thanks to Hana Elias. President Shafik called in the New York police a day after she testified in the U.S. Congress.


Over the weekend, Sarah Huddleston and Shea Vance (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) reported:

 

As the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” entered its fourth day on Saturday, dozens of protesters prepared for the University’s second admitted students weekend of the semester by establishing a “People’s University Student Fair” and an “alternative tour” committee.

The encampment remained on South Lawn two days after University President Minouche Shafik ordered a massive police sweep of the demonstration during which the New York Police Department arrested 108 individuals. All individuals had been released from custody as of late Thursday evening.
Spirits remained high on South Lawn throughout the day as protesters intermittently repeated chants like “Minouche Shafik, you’re a clown, we demand that you step down,” and “Say it out, say it clear, liberation is here” while waving small Palestinian flags. Students lounged on the lawn on top of blue tarps, chatting among each other or working on laptops. Toward the north end of the lawn, food and blankets lay in protected piles.


As the action continued over the weekend, so did the increase in support for it.  Chimen Keys and Surina Venkat (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) report:


 Over 50 people congregated on Sunday in front of the 115th Street and Broadway entrance to “stand with students and a liberated Palestine” following three protests that drew around 150 people outside of Columbia’s campus along Broadway on Saturday.


Coordinated by People’s Forum NYC, New York City chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement, PAL-Awda NY, and ANSWER Coalition, the protest coincides with the fifth day of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

Protests led by community members began on Friday after University President Minouche Shafik authorized the New York Police Department to sweep the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” resulting in the arrests of over 100 students.

Sunday’s protests followed the Within Our Lifetime’s “Flood Columbia for Gaza” protest, Uptown for Palestine’s “March Against Displacement,” and the “Stand with the Students” demonstration that took place on Saturday.


While people supported it, officials did not.  Instead, officialdom attacked the students. From high offices, they attacked them verbally. Jesse Thomas and Daniel de Vries (WSWS) explain:


Amid a mass mobilization of New York City riot cops and surveillance teams, Democratic Mayor Eric Adams, a former cop, attacked pro-Palestinian protestors on Sunday, issuing a statement that ominously warned:

We will not be a city of lawlessness, and those professional agitators seeking to seize the ongoing conflict in the Middle East to sow chaos and division will not succeed.

President Joe Biden added his voice to the increasingly strident, bipartisan attack on the right to protest against war and mass murder, based on the lie that the campuses have become centers of antisemitism. Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s chief arms supplier and accomplice, issued a statement on Sunday saying:

Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews. This blatant antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous — and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country.

In their statements, Democratic officials falsely implied that pro-Palestinian demonstrators were instigating violence. Meanwhile, the Democrats joined with Republican fascists in the House of Representatives to pass a series of bipartisan bills providing $95 billion to continue funding the US/NATO war against Russia in Ukraine, increase the supply of weapons for Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and step up preparations for war against China. 

The statements of Biden and Adams make clear that the attack on students at Columbia is not simply a matter of overreach by a university administration, but part of a coordinated political attack aimed at criminalizing and suppressing opposition to the policies of US imperialism. 

Last week’s arrest of over 100 Columbia and Barnard students who were carrying out a peaceful encampment to protest the Gaza genocide marked a major escalation in the assault on democratic rights not only in New York, but across the country and internationally.

University President Minouche “Nemat” Shafik first suspended the students and then called the NYPD to remove them for supposedly “trespassing.” Students have reported being held by the police in zip ties for over seven hours.


Protesting a genocide is not attacking Jewish people.  Netanyahu, who is Jewish, is carrying out the murders but a protest against him is not a protest against Jewish people.  Nor is charging him with corruption -- as the Israeli government has done -- charging Jews around the world with corruption.  It's a distinction that's easy to make unless you're just interested in lying and using your lie to silence the truth. 


ALJAZEERA reports:


The public opinion poll by Israel’s Yediot Ahronoth media outlet and The Institute for Freedom and Responsibility of Reichman University suggests 85 percent of Israelis have little or no trust in their government.

About 64 percent of Israelis believe their country faces an existential threat, and 65 percent have not been sleeping well since the outbreak of the war, it said.

At least 73 percent of Israelis have grown anxious in the past six months.


So what's the White House response to that?  To have Joe Biden attack the Israeli people for 'anti-semetic' sentiment that he sees in the polling results?  Where does the nonsense end?


As the White House, US President Joe Biden and the mayor of New York attacked the student activists,  support spread across other campuses.  Saturday, ALJAZEERA reported:


Students at three prestigious universities in and near the US city of Boston have set up protest camps, demanding that their institutions cut off ties with Israel, according to campaigners.

The universities are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Emerson and Tufts, the National Students for Justice in Palestine said.

The moves came after students at the Columbia University in New York  launched a Gaza Solidarity Encampment at their campus. That protest is now in its fifth day. Some 100 students were arrested there on Friday.




As the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Columbia enters its fifth day, students at over a dozen universities across the country—and the globe—have begun protesting in solidarity with the encampment after 108 affiliates were arrested on campus by the New York Police Department on Thursday.

Protests ranged from walkouts to marches to encampments in solidarity with the Columbia efforts, garnering anywhere from 50 to hundreds of protesters. At Yale University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students started encampments in solidarity with the Columbia “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

In a Friday evening Instagram post, the national chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine called on all chapters to follow Columbia SJP’s lead and pressure their administrations to divest from Israel.

“Our universities have chosen profit and reputation over the lives of the people of Palestine and the will of their students,” the national SJP chapter wrote in the post. “President Minouche Shafik’s cowardly testimony to Congress heralds an unfortunate shift: university administrators have capitulated to the pressure of the Zionist lobby and allied Right Wing, selling out the Student Movement for Palestinian liberation to save face in the eye of the state.”

“In the footsteps of our comrades at … Columbia SJP, we call on all SJPs across the nation to seize the university and force the administration to divest, for the people of Gaza!” the post continues.

Carrie Zaremba, a member of the national SJP chapter, said that the support from other universities across the country is “absolutely unprecedented.”

This morning, Alysha Palumbo (NBC's 10BOSTON) reports:


A large group of students were gathered Monday in an encampment that blocked Boylston Place alley on Emerson's campus. They're part of the non-affiliated student organization "Students for Justice in Palestine."

Boston police were also on site, but they say there have been no arrests at this time.

There were also student encampments at MIT and Tufts as well. These protests began at 7 p.m. Sunday and continued throughout the night.

These students say this is an act of solidarity with 100 pro-Palestinian protestors arrested at Columbia University in New York last week.


And Boston's WCBA filed this video report.



In other news, THE INDEPENDENT notes this morning:


Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to fight any impending US sanction on the Israeli military amid a slump in bilateral ties following the Israeli military onslaught in the Gaza Strip.

President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to sanction a unit of the Israeli military after a ProPublica investigation claimed that the State Department sat for months on evidence of serious human rights abuses

The investigation published on Wednesday revealed that an internal State Department investigation had, months ago, identified several Israeli police and military units facing credible accusations of violating human rights, including allegations of torture.

Meanwhile, an Al Jazeera has reported bodies being recovered from a mass grave inside the Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza’s Khan Younis.

“In the hospital courtyard, civil defence members and paramedics have retrieved 180 bodies buried in this mass grave by the Israeli military. The bodies include elderly women, children and young men,” the outlet reported, quoting its reporter and Palestinian emergency services from Khan Younis. 


Olivia Rosane (COMMON DREAMS) adds:


  Palestinian civil defense discovered hundreds of bodies buried by Israeli forces in a mass grave inside the complex of Khan Younis' Nasser Medical Complex on Saturday.

Rescue workers said they had removed at least 200 bodies as of 12:00 pm local time on Sunday, and they estimated that at least another 200 remained, Middle East Eye reported.

"We found corpses without heads, bodies without skins, and some had their organs stolen," the director-general of the Government Media Office said in a statement shared by Quds News Network.

"Following the mass graves at Al-Shifa hospital, it looks like Israel is a voracious death machine turning hospitals in Gaza into graveyards."

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from Khan Younis on April 7. While they occupied the city, they stormed the Nasser Medical Complex in February, arresting several doctors, damaging the structure with shelling, and rendering it unable to function as a hospital.

Al Jazeera reporter Hani Mahmoud said the bodies found in the Nasser grave included children, young men, and older women. Rescues said that some of the bodies they found had been buried with their hands tied behind their backs, according to Middle East Eye.  

 

On Saturday, the death toll in Gaza passed the 3400 mark.  Earlier this month, the assault passed the six month mark.  There appears to be no end in sight.  And the answer from the White House?  Attack US college students.  


And that helps how?

  
Sunday, Mohammad Jahjouh and Samy Magdy (AP) reported, "Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza city of Rafah overnight killed 22 people, including 18 children, health officials said Sunday, as the United States was on track to approve billions of dollars of additional military aid to Israel, its close ally."  18 children killed.  And the White House pretends this is about October 7th?  It's about eradicating the Palestinians, it is a genocide.  Saturday, the Israeli government killed an ambulance driver.  THE NATIONAL noted::

The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has called for humanitarian and medical workers to be protected after a volunteer paramedic was killed in the occupied West Bank on Saturday.

Mohammed Allah Musa was the 18th member of the Palestine Red Crescent to be killed since the war began in October. 

"How many more?" asked Jagan Chapagain, secretary general of the IRFC.

"I cannot stress this enough: Humanitarian and healthcare workers must be respected and protected. It is a moral and legal obligation."



The rate of attacks per month on healthcare in Gaza since the beginning of the war has been higher than in any other recent conflict globally, standing at an average of 73 attacks each month, according to new analysis by Save the Children.   

There have so far been at least 435 attacks on health facilities or personnel across Gaza in six months of conflict between 7 October 2023 and early April 2024 – equivalent to 73 attacks per month of war, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  This number exceeds the number of attacks per month in all other war-torn countries since 2018, including Ukraine who have the second highest number at 67 attacks per month, and the Democratic Republic of Congo with an average of 11 attacks per month.  

Attacks on healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory haven’t been limited to Gaza, with 369 attacks also reported in the occupied West Bank in the last six months. These include 302 obstructions to health access, and the use of force within health facilities.  

 

The WHO classifies an attack on health care as any instance of violence against or any obstructions that interfere with delivery or access to, health services during emergencies, including psychological threats and intimidation of patients and workers. 

Six months of constant bombardment, siege and obstruction of aid deliveries have annihilated the health system in Gaza. Only 11 hospitals out of 36 are partially functioning and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reported that some 350,000 people suffering from chronic diseases in Gaza are unable to access vital medicines, supplies, and services.  

Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit are currently assisting children through a field hospital recently established by a partner in Rafah that offers primary health care to over 200 people a day, 40% of them children.  

 

The corpses pile up but Joe Biden's answer is attack college students.  


Gaza remains under assault. Day 199 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE NATIONAL reports, "The death toll in Israel's war on Gaza rose to 34,151 on Monday afternoon after 54 people were killed in the previous 24 hours. About 104 others were wounded, taking the total number of injured to 77,084, according to the latest update from the enclave's health ministry.Intense air strikes and shelling were reported across Gaza overnight, particularly in central and southern areas."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

 



April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."
 

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

And ALJAZEERA reports:


“We believe that the response has been fully disproportionate and has also been, in our view, a breach of humanitarian law in terms of the destruction of Gaza and also in terms of the killing of civilians, innocent men, women and children,” Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin says.

“The population of Gaza has been collectively punished because of the activities of Hamas, that’s not acceptable,” he said ahead of a EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

Martin said Ireland and Spain are calling for a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which is based on trade relations with Israel.

Ministers will discuss a proposed Gaza peace plan, the recognition of a Palestinian state, and humanitarian aid issues, he added.


Let's wind down with this:


Shellenberger and Musk are working hand in hand, and I’m sure their goal is to be players in the US elections, and that’s why they have joined the international far right. Obviously they have chosen Brazil because it is also an important player in the international far right. They have taken advantage of all this discourse about regulating social media, which Musk obviously opposes. But I think their immediate goal is to attack the established powers in Brazil.

Our far right was completely isolated, because its main leader is Bolsonaro and he couldn’t lead, because he was cornered: the criminal investigations against him for crimes that have been proven, thanks to very robust investigations by the Federal Police. He was powerless, because the whole coup plot has been uncovered by the Federal Police. He really tried to implement a coup d’├ętat, together with military leaders, and there were direct actions, like the attack on the Federal Police headquarters the day Lula arrived in Brasilia to sign documents in preparation for his inauguration.

This attack was very serious, but some people seem to have already forgotten it. I was there. I personally witnessed a car full of jerry cans filled with gasoline parked in front of a gas station, and later jerry cans full of gasoline were found in the hotel where Lula was staying. There was an attempted bombing in Brasilia airport on Christmas, which only failed to explode because the detonator didn’t work. Then we had the attack on January 8, which was also very serious.

So at the moment when were were managing to finally hold the main leaders of this attempted coup accountable, Elon Musk and Michael Shellenberger came onto the scene to attack the institutions that are prosecuting them, to usurp their power so they can’t convict them anymore. That was clearly their short-term goal, and in the long run, Elon Musk obviously wants to be a player in the international far right, and interfere in elections around the world, especially in the US.

 

That's Estela Aranha speaking to Brian Mier (FAIR) about the lies that are The Twitter Files.



Kat's "Kat's Korner: The tortured lyrics (not poetry) of Taylor Swift" went up Sunday.  The following sites updated:





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