Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Weekend box office

Via THENUMBERS.COM, here's the weekend top ten:

1 N Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Warner Bros. $26,326,462   3,804   $6,921 $26,326,462 1
2 N The Garfield Movie Sony Pictures $24,006,629   4,035   $5,950 $24,006,629 1
3 (1) IF Paramount Pi… $16,145,804 -52% 4,068 +27 $3,969 $58,712,596 2
4 (2) Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes 20th Century… $13,390,143 -47% 3,550 -525 $3,772 $122,839,395 3
5 (4) The Fall Guy Universal $5,973,215 -28% 2,955 -890 $2,021 $72,264,600 4
6 (3) The Strangers: Chapter 1 Lionsgate $5,581,170 -53% 2,856 n/c $1,954 $21,315,158 2
7 N Sight Angel Studios $2,795,447   2,100   $1,331 $2,795,447 1
8 (5) Challengers Amazon MGM S… $1,414,625 -51% 1,089 -849 $1,299 $46,509,385 5
9 (6) Back to Black Focus Features $1,087,345 -62% 2,013 +3 $540 $4,986,365 2
10 (-) Babes Neon $1,059,661 +550% 590 +578 $1,796 $1,287,460 2


First, my girlfriend hates the Mad Max movies.  Hates.  I had no idea this was even released until I pulled up the top ten.  I didn't see any advertising -- not her fault -- and she didn't bother to tell me about it.  That part is her fault because when I saw the top ten for the weekend, I said, "Hey a new Mad Max came out?"  She said, "Yeah, I knew.  You know I hate those movies."  :D


She may have done me a favor.  Just reading the basic plot at WIKIPEDIA nearly put me to sleep.  And, sorry, Chris Hemsworth may be Thor in a lot of movies but he's not anyone I would pay to see act.  Tom Hardy, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill, yes.  Chris?  No.  I'm getting tired of all the Chrises these days: Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, etc.

So the movie bombed.


Nobody better lie and try to sweeten it up.  When THE FALL GUY opened at the start of the month with a higher box office than this film, people trashed it as a bomb.  This did even less business.


Next up.  In "KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES," I noted  that film had some good visuals but there was nothing in the script or on the screen worth paying for.  We can consider it a bomb too.  It fell to number four in week three and only made $13 million.  It's made $122 million in ticket sales.  We should put an "only" in the previous sentence.  Despite various publications and outlets acting as though it were the second coming -- if not of Jesus Christ, then at least of TOP GUN MAVERICK -- It'll be lucky to clear $150 million.  By contrast, GODZILLA X KONG -- which fell out of the top ten over the weekend -- has raked in $195 million in domestic ticket sales.  APES won't make it anywhere near there.

 I'm looking at June's release schedule and not seeing anything that excites me.  If there's a good movie there, they've done a very poor job getting the word out.  I'll probably see the latest BAD BOYS.  Can't stand Will Smith but Martin Lawrence will probably be enough to get me to buy a ticket.  That said, I haven't seen a trailer for the film. 


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


Tuesday, May 28, 2024.  Another horrific act carried out by the Israeli government in Gaza but the pushback is so strong accountability might finally emerge.

The Israeli government's slaughter of Gaza gets worse every day and that's certainly true of actions over the weekend. 

That's a report from THE GUARDIAN of protests taking place today.  

If you thought the actions of the Israeli government couldn't get more outrageous, you were wrong as one action on Sunday demonstrated.  MINT noted, "An Israeli airstrike on Sunday hit a refugee camp for displaced people in Gaza killing at least 35 people, mostly women and children, and injuring dozens more, CNN reported citing Palestinian Ministry of Health."  That's disgusting.   Neri Zilber (FINANCIAL TIMES OF LONDON) observes that the Israeli government attempted to insist they struck a terrorist camp.  They might have stuck with that were it not for footage and witnesses and some press pushback.  Holly Evans, Namita Singh and Bel Trew (INDEPENDENT) report:

The charity ActionAid said its activists witnessed the attack, which it described as an “inhumane and barbaric act”. “We are outraged and heartbroken by the recent attacks in west Rafah, where Israeli fighter jets launched eight missiles at makeshift shelters housing internally displaced persons (IDPs) next to UNRWA warehouses stocking vital aid,” the charity said in a statement.

“These shelters were supposed to be safe havens for innocent civilians, yet they became targets of brutal violence. Children, women, and men are being burned alive under their tents and shelters.”

People staying at the camp described the “terrifying” scenes as the strike unfolded.

Eklas, 27, who is originally from north Gaza, said: “People died from the fire. People did not know where to run. The fire broke out in the tents. The bodies were burned. I wanted to flee from Rafah to Khan Yunis, but I did not have the money for transportation.

“It terrified us all, more than one explosion shook the place. We do not know whether to leave the camp now or whether to stay. We couldn’t sleep last night due to fear, horror, and anxiety.”

Doha Madani (NBC NEWS) quotes the Red Crescent Society stating, "It is important to note that this location was designated by the Israeli occupation as a humanitarian area, and citizens were coerced into evacuating to it."  Citing the UK's Action Aid,  ABC NEWS reveals, "The death toll in the IDF airstrike that hit western Rafa Sunday night has risen to at least 50 individuals, including civilians."  CNN adds:

Gaza's Health Ministry said those killed and wounded in the strike were mostly women and children. Video obtained by CNN shows tent-like structures on fire. The Palestinian Authority presidency urged the international community to intervene immediately. Hamas described the attack as a "massacre" and said it holds the US administration and President Joe Biden personally accountable. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) expressed horror following the airstrike, saying it "shows once again that nowhere is safe."  

Australia's ABC NEWS reminds, "The strike came two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to end its military offensive in Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's population had sought shelter before Israel's recent incursion. Tens of thousands of people remain in the area while many others have fled."  And it comes as Amnesty International is asking for probes of other recent strikes.   THE NATIONAL reports:

Amnesty International has urged the International Criminal Court to investigate as war crimes three recent Israeli strikes that killed 44 Palestinian civilians, including 32 children.

Last week, the prosecutor of the ICC, Karim Khan, applied for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top Hamas leaders on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Amnesty said three Israeli strikes one on Al Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza, on April 16 and two on Rafah, in southern Gaza, on April 19 and 20 are "further evidence of a broader pattern of war crimes" committed by the Israeli military in Gaza.

"The cases documented here illustrate a clear pattern of attacks over the past seven months in which the Israeli military has flouted international law, killing Palestinian civilians with total impunity and displaying a callous disregard for human lives," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, senior director at Amnesty.

  International rights groups and leaders who for months have demanded a cease-fire in Gaza expressed renewed horror as images emerged from Israel's Sunday bombing of a tent camp that had been set up by forcibly displaced Palestinians in Rafah, with women and children making up the majority of the 45 people who were reportedly killed in the attack.

Emergency workers toldNBC News that the death toll was likely to rise, as many people had been trapped in the encampment as it was engulfed in flames.

NBC reported that the strike took place less than a mile away from a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical facility, where at least 180 injured people arrived on Sunday.

"We are horrified by this deadly event, which shows once again that nowhere is safe," said MSF on social media.

Muhammad Al-Mughir, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Civil Defense, told NBC that the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood that was attacked had been designated a "humanitarian area" in Rafah, from which more than 800,000 people have been forcibly displaced this month as Israel has launched a ground invasion. More than 1 million people have been forced to flee to Rafah since October, when Israel began its siege in Gaza.

The bombing came two days after the International Court of Justice issued its latest order to Israel regarding its assault on Gaza, telling the government that it "must immediately halt its military offensive or any other action in the Rafah governorate" and that the ICJ was not convinced by Israel's claims that it was taking steps to protect civilians. 

Daniel Hurst (GUARDIAN) reports that Doctors Without Borders is demanding action:
The global president of Médecins Sans Frontières has urged Australia to impose sanctions on the Israeli government, saying he has “run out of words” to describe the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and the collapse of the health system.

Dr Christos Christou is due to meet the Australian foreign minister, Penny Wong, on Wednesday to request “immediate, concrete actions to hold Israel to account” for its conduct during the war.

“Australia must apply appropriate sanctions on Israel, as it would to any other global state that refuses to comply with UN security council resolutions,” Christou told the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.

 Christou said Israel was conducting an “indiscriminate and disproportionate military campaign” and “pursuing a policy of deliberate deprivation, only allowing a trickle of food and water to enter Gaza”.

Let's take a pause here for a moment.  Doctors Without Borders is calling for action from the Australian government.  Hmm.  I'm not a citizen of Australia.  But if I were and I was Tweeting multiple times a day, you can be sure that would be all over my feed and you can be sure I'd be writing about it and calling out my government of Australia.  I call out the US government all the time.  I've called out White House occupant Bully Boy Bush and presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden here and never did so in a weak manner.  

That's why you need to avoid fake asses like Caitlin Johnstone.  So strong, so vocal . . . when it comes to US or UK leaders.  But she doesn't live in either.  She lives in Australia, she's a citizen there.  Excuse me, she's a coward there.  She's failed to her own government accountable over and over.  She didn't trash them for their refusal to stand up to the UK over Julian Assange.  She never holds them accountable because she's a scared, little coward.

That's a big story, Doctors Without Borders taking that stand.  But Caitlin's in hiding yet again.  Oh, she's still Tweeting.  Useless garbage.

And trying to round up votes for Donald Trump.

That's right:

The thing about claiming Trump would be worse on Gaza is that you don't even know that's true. It's a completely baseless and unfalsifiable assertion. Biden's adamant refusal to put up any resistance at all to Israeli insanity is such a drastic deviation from the norm for US presidents that it's entirely possible replacing him with almost anyone would be an improvement.

We don't link to trash.  And she'll claim that she's being misunderstood and there's more to her words.  

Yes, if you click "more" you can read more.  Why you would I don't know.  But she needs to just sit her tired ass down and lefties in the US need to stop promoting her.  She's not our ally.  Do you grasp that yet, Heidi Boghosian?  Stop pimping this piece of trash.

If you did click "more" you'll find her writing of how people don't know that Trump would be worse for Gaza.

That's so sad.  She's physically repulsive, she's a coward and, it turns out, she's also stupid.  I don't have time to spoonfeed the willfully ignorant so I'll just note one example that demonstrates she's yet again talking out of her ass: December 5, 2017.  Go see what Donald did that day and then play the game of pretense that Caitlin wants to play.  Only a fool, only a damn fool, would go along with her nonsense.  

She's not left.  She's not a friend of the left.  She is promoting false equivalencies and doing what the corporate media did in the leadup to the 2016 election: Normalizing Donald Trump.  It's time for US lefties to stop promoting her.

Back to Gaza.  As the truth was repeated more and more, the Israeli government moved over to the claim that it was a mistake.  Doha Madani and Chantal Da Silva (NBC NEWS) explain:

The strike drew condemnation from world leaders just days after the United Nations' top court ordered Israel to halt its offensive on the southern Gaza city, where more than a million people had sought refuge.

In an address to the Knesset on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike “a tragic incident," his office said, clarifying comments made in Hebrew that could be translated in English as either “a tragic mishap” or “a tragic mistake.”

“We are investigating the case and will draw conclusions, because this is our policy," he said. 

Another investigation where the government investigates its own actions?  We've seen this before repeatedly since October 7th and know how this ends.   As the Israeli government attempts to pretend it's nothing unusual, others don't rush to agree.  BBC's Paul Adams,Matt Murphy report:

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday, at Algeria's request, to discuss the Rafah strike.

In a statement on Monday, UN secretary general António Guterres said the strike had "killed scores of innocent civilians who were only seeking shelter from this deadly conflict".

"There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop," he said

We have said repeatedly that no place is safe in Gaza. Not shelters. Not hospitals. Not the so-called humanitarian zones. 

We have also warned that a military operation in Rafah would lead to a slaughter. 

We’ve seen the consequences in last night’s utterly unacceptable attack. 

Whether the attack was a war crime or a “tragic mistake,” for the people of Gaza, there is no debate. What happened last night was the latest – and possibly most cruel – abomination. 

To call it “a mistake” is a message that means nothing for those killed, those grieving, and those trying to save lives.

It was not a mistake.  It was a miscalculation on the part of the Israeli government which thought it could get away with it.  Of course, it would think that, it's gotten away with so much in the last months.  But times are changing.  CNN notes:

A growing list of countries, world leaders and aid agencies have now condemned the strike, saying "there is no safe space in Gaza."

Here are some of the international reactions:

  • "Horror must stop": UN chief Antònio Guterres issued a blistering condemnation. "There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop," he said. The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the strike on Tuesday, according to a UN diplomat.
  • "Abomination": UN relief chief Martin Griffiths criticized Netanyahu's response to the attack. "Whether the attack was a war crime or a 'tragic error' for the people of Gaza, there is no debate. What happened last night was the latest – and possibly most cruel – abomination," Griffiths said.
  • "Unbearable": French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "outraged" by the strikes and called for a ceasefire. Germany described the "images of charred bodies, including children, from the airstrike" as "unbearable." The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Israel must implement the ICJ ruling. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the strike a "massacre" and said his country “will do everything” in its power to hold Israeli officials accountable.
  • "Heartbreaking": A US National Security Council spokesperson said the strike was “heartbreaking," adding that the United States was “actively engaging” with officials in Israel to determine what happened. The spokesperson also said "Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians."
  • "Complete disregard for the lives of civilians": Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) strongly denounced the strike and called for an "immediate and sustained ceasefire" in Gaza. MSF said the airstrike on the camp "shows the complete disregard for the lives of civilians." MSF nurse activity manager Gaia Giletta said from Gaza that "we are shocked by the continuous attacks on civilians, and we have no words to describe the horror of what we've seen here."
  • "Hell on earth": “The images from last night are a testament to how Rafah has turned into hell on earth," said Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The scenes from Rafah last night are harrowing, Lazzarini said, and some victims “were reportedly burnt to death."
  • Strike could hinder hostage talks: Qatar said Israel’s strike on the Rafah camp could “hinder” negotiations aiming for the release of hostages and reaching a ceasefire in Gaza. The Qatari foreign ministry said the strike is a “serious violation of international laws” and expressed concern that it “would complicate the ongoing mediation efforts.”
MINT notes reactions as well:

The attack triggered a global outrage against Israel. A US National Security Council spokesperson said Israel "must take every precaution possible to protect civilians".

Egypt condemned the "targeting of defenceless civilians", calling it part of "a systematic policy aimed at widening the scope of death and destruction in the Gaza Strip to make it uninhabitable".

Jordan accused Israel of "ongoing war crimes", Saudi Arabia condemned "the continued massacres", and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed "to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable".

Qatar condemned a "dangerous violation of international law" and voiced "concern that the bombing will complicate ongoing mediation efforts" towards a truce.

Everyone waits to see what Joe Biden's reaction will be.  He has looked the other way for months while turning over billions of US tax dollars to the Israeli government.  He has looked the other way while arming the Israeli government.  He has invoked supposed "red lines" that never have any actual meaning.  He is losing support among the youth, among African-Americans and among Arab Americans and the November presidential election looms.  Is he going to do the right thing or continue to support and take part in a genocide?

This latest atrocity has the Biden administration’s fingerprints all over it. The IDF’s onslaught on Rafah has proceeded over the past three weeks after the White House gave it the green light. Just two weeks before Israel attacked Rafah, Biden signed a supplementary military assistance bill passed with bipartisan support that included $26 billion in funding for Israel.

Biden has asserted that Israel is doing “all it can to ensure civilian protection,” while National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan insisted that the IDF’s assault has “not involved major military operations into the heart of dense urban areas.” This line has been maintained even as over 800,000 people have fled the city. Likewise, administration officials continue to claim that killing civilians in Rafah is a “red line,” even as the IDF does this every day with impunity.

The Biden administration’s lying claims that no “major” operations are taking place in Rafah and that it opposes killing civilians are no more credible than Netanyahu’s attempt to present the bombing of the refugee camp in comments Monday as a “tragic mistake.” The fact of the matter is that as horrific as Sunday’s massacre was, it is part of a pattern of the systematic targeting of defenceless civilians by the IDF.

From the bombardment of the al-Ahli hospital killing upwards of 500 people, to the storming of the al-Shifa hospital, and the destruction of Khan Younis, millions of workers and young people know all too well the brutality of Netanyahu’s regime and what it is capable of with imperialist backing.

The imperialist governments in the United States and Germany, Israel’s two most important weapons’ suppliers, reiterated their backing for the Zionist regime after Sunday’s massacre. Adopting the Israeli government’s propaganda wholesale, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said, “Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we all understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists, who are responsible for attacks on Israeli civilians.”

Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr has renewed his calls for the US embassy in Baghdad to be closed after an Israeli strike killed dozens of civilians in a camp in Gaza.

In a post on X, Mr Al Sadr condemned the attack and Washington's "shameless" support for the "genocide" he charged was under way in Gaza.

"I reiterate my demand to expel [the US ambassador] and close the embassy through diplomatic means without bloodshed," he said.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 235 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 notes, "Gaza death toll reaches 36,096, with 81,136 wounded."  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:


On bodies trapped under rubble, ALJAZEERA notes this morning:

We’re talking about a three-storey building that housed not only residents but also dozens of other displaced Palestinians in Rafah that made it to Nuseirat three days ago.

I met the neighbours. I met the family. I met one of the relatives of people still trapped under the rubble earlier today. They were telling me heartbreaking things.

Imagine escaping the air strikes in Rafah, looking for a safe space but being killed after three days of evacuating – not only being killed but being trapped where the Civil Defence teams do not have any equipment to remove or pull these people from under the rubble.

I saw Civil Defence teams doing their best to pull people from under the rubble. They were digging with their bare hands, with very basic tools. This was not the first time we have seen this scene. We have been seeing this for more than seven months now.

Unfortunately, it may come to a point where the Civil Defence teams will give up on this house because there are more people being targeted every single hour across the Gaza Strip.

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."

Lastly,  CNN notes, "Norway, Spain and Ireland will formally recognize a Palestinian state from today — a move that will bolster the global Palestinian cause but has further strained relations between Europe and Israel."

The following sites updated:

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