Wednesday, May 29, 2024

X-MEN and Rebecca Romijin

Check out CINEMABLEND for Jerry O'Connell dressed up as his wife's X-MEN character.  Rebecca Romijin was incredible as Mystique.  We were watching X-MEN THE LAST STAND over the weekend.  It's the one where Mystique pretends to have been captured to get information for Magneto.  They end up putting her in a prison on wheels.  Eric (Magneto) and others arrive to free her but one of the guards tries to shoot Eric with the drug that removes mutant powers.  To save him, Mystique jumps in front and takes the shot.  She's powerless and can no longer shape shift.  Eric says something like it's a shame because she was so beautiful.  She begs him to take her with him but he says she's a human now and leaves her.

Rebecca Romijin nailed that role.  I never bought Jennifer Lawrence in the role.  She was a simp.  Her Mystique was pathetic and weak.  Rebecca may not have an Oscar but she played the hell out of that role.

She was so good in the role, in fact, that maybe that's not her husband dressed up as Mystique.  Maybe that's her and she shape-shifted into him!!! (I am joking about that.  But not about how great she was in the role.)

I don't hate Jennifer Lawrence, by the way, I just think she was wrong for the role.  Maybe because she has an Oscar, she felt she had to add all of this stuff to the character?  All that got added was baggage.

My disappointment with the X-MEN movies made after the original cast is gone?  How little Storm often matters.  Storm was huge when I was a kid.  My cousin Marcia would play Storm and I'd usually play Cyclops -- because sunglasses were an easy 'costume' to come across.  My grandfather had a hammock in the back yard.  And it got frayed so it had to be taken down.  Marcia called it immediately and she's tie one end loop to one wrist and another to the other and pretend she was Storm.  :D  I wonder if she remembers that?  We had three cousins we'd play with and they'd be Mr. X, Beast and Wolverine. 


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


Wednesday, May 29, 2024.  US President Joe Biden apparently can't find his conscious or his spine amidst his forever shifting red line.

Why is Joe Biden struggling in the polls currently?  Because he's so damn pathetic.  The world is still recoiling from the Israeli government attacking a refugee camp in Rafah on Sunday -- a camp where Gazans were told to go for safety.  Yet Chantal Da Silva (NBC NEWS) reportsChantal Da Silva (NBC NEWS) reports Joe Biden's okay with the attack:

As Israeli forces pushed deeper into Rafah just days after an airstrike sparked a major fire that killed dozens of Palestinians, the White House said that its ally had not crossed the Biden administration's "red line."

Israeli tanks were seen entering central Rafah for the first time Tuesday, as global condemnation mounted over the deaths in a crowded tent camp for displaced civilians and as U.S. aid deliveries to Gaza by sea were suspended after damage to its temporary pier.

But National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a briefing that the United States was not turning a "blind eye" to Israel’s operations in the southern Gaza city, from which around 1 million Palestinians have fled in recent weeks.

He said the Biden administration did not believe Israel's actions in Rafah so far represented a "major ground operation" that would violate President Joe Biden's warnings and trigger a change in U.S. policy including the threatened halt to weapons shipments.

This is an outrage and it's an embarrassment. Joe refuses to stand up and show the leadership that people are begging him to show.  Michel Moushabeck (TRUTHOUT) observes:

Israel’s Rafah massacre has been widely condemned as a grave violation of international law, but there has been no clear criticism or outrage from the White House. As the Biden administration emphasizes the deaths of Hamas leaders and utters the same words we’ve become accustomed to hearing over the past eight months — that the U.S. urges Israel to protect civilians and minimize civilian casualties — its statements have become a farce. The inaction on the part of the Biden administration and the continued flow of weapons to the Israeli state as it carries out such massacres in front of the eyes of the entire world — and in defiance of the ICJ ruling — show the extent of the U.S.’s complicity and participation in the Gaza genocide.

Need more embarrassments?   Let's drop back to Saturday:

As the people of Gaza have faced the threat of food shortages and now food shortages in the last month -- now actual food shortage -- the answer was supposed to be Joe Biden's pier to nowhere.  Yet despite him announcing it in his State of the Union presidential address, they took their sweet ass time building it and getting it up and running, didn't they?

So it's finally up and?  Emma Bowman (NPR) reports:

Four U.S. Army vessels supporting the humanitarian floating pier mission in Gaza became unmoored by rough seas, military officials said.

Two vessels are now anchored on a Gaza beach near the pier, U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Saturday. The other two are beached further north, on the coast of Israel near Ashkelon.

Yes, the rescue effort is . . . in need of rescue,  Cue up Stevie Wonder's "Love's In Need Of Love Today."  ALJAZEERA adds:

The construction of the $320m floating pier was completed in mid-May to provide aid to the Gaza Strip.

The pier has been criticised as a complicated and costly alternative that tries to deflect attention from demanding a much simpler solution – for Israel to fully open all land crossings to Gaza and to secure aid trucks going in.

But in March, US President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union that the pier would “receive large shipments carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelter”, a move largely seen as an attempt to appease his Democratic Party’s base as he runs for re-election in November.

"Experts say the pier is difficult to operate in rough seas," reports THE NATIONAL.  Zein Khali  (ANADULA AGENCY) notes, "The US army in mid-May announced it finished constructing a temporary floating pier off the coast of Gaza Strip meant to provide much needed aid to the blockaded enclave."  AL MAYADEEN adds, "The US floating pier in the Mediterranean Sea has faced significant challenges since its creation on May 15, questioning its efficiency in alleviating the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Palestinian enclave."

That was Saturday.  The pier to nowhere is already back in the news.  This morning, Bernd Debusmann Jr, (BBC News) reports, "A temporary pier built by the US military to deliver aid to Gaza has been damaged by heavy seas and will take at least a week to be repaired, according to US officials." Oren Lieberman and Natasha Bertrand (CNN) add:

The pier was “damaged and sections of the pier need rebuilding and repairing,” Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said on Tuesday. The pier will be removed from its location on the Gaza coast over the next 48 hours and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where US Central Command will carry out repairs, Singh said. The repairs will take more than a week, further delaying the effort to get the maritime corridor fully operating.

Earlier, four US officials told CNN the pier broke apart in heavy seas.

Part of the pier, which consists of a narrow causeway to drive aid into Gaza and a wider parking area to drop off supplies transported by ship, disconnected on Sunday, the officials said. The parking area will have to be reconnected to the causeway before the pier can be used again.     

Where's the leadership, Joe?

Apparently, those who could lead have all instead left due to Joe's inability to stand up to genocide.  Hala Rharrit, Tariq Habash, Anelle Sheline, Josh Paul, Harrison Mann and Lily Greenberg Call are some of the figures  who have left the administration over Gaza.  Add Stacy Gilbert to the growing list.  MEHR reports:

Senior US State official Stacy Gilbert resigned Tuesday. She told colleagues that the State Department was wrong to conclude Israel had not obstructed aid to Gaza.

A career State Department official involved in the Biden administration’s contentious debates over Israel’s conduct in Gaza resigned this week, citing disagreements with a recently published US government report that claimed that Israel was not impeding humanitarian assistance to Gaza, two officials told The Washington Post.

Former State Department official Josh Paul, who was the first official to resign over Biden's Gaza policy, posted on LinkedIn about Gilbert, "On the day when the White House announced that the latest atrocity in Rafah did not cross its red line, this resignation demonstrates that the Biden Administration will do anything to avoid the truth."

"This is not just a story of bureaucratic complicity or ineptitude — there are people signing off on arms transfers, people drafting arms transfer approval memos, people turning a blind eye," he continued. People "who could be speaking up, people who have an awesome responsibility to do good, and a lifelong commitment to human rights — whose choice is to let the bureaucracy function as though it were business as usual."

Let's drop back to yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!  for more on the Sunday assault that somehow doesn't cross Joe Biden's red line.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Gaza, where health officials say at least 46 people were killed and more than 110 injured across Gaza in the last 24 hours, as Israel continues to bomb Rafah after its forces on Sunday night bombed yet another tent camp in the southern city that was housing displaced Palestinians in an area that had been declared a safe zone. Officials say many of the bodies were charred after the Israeli attack caused a fire that tore through the camp. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday called the Rafah strikes a “tragic mistake” and vowed to investigate amidst global outrage.

The attack came just two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately stop its assault on Rafah. Meanwhile, Palestinians continue to flee Rafah amidst ongoing Israeli attacks.

DISPLACED PALESTINIAN 1: [translated] We don’t know where we’re going. We woke up at 6:00 in the morning — at 5:30 in the morning from the shelling and rockets. We are going. God knows, in our situation, we don’t have tents, and we don’t have anything. We have children with us. We have more people to transport. My aunt and my mother-in-law, they are under the shelling, and I will go and get them. There is no transportation. There is nothing. In terms of means of life, this is what we woke up to at 5:30 in the morning.

DISPLACED PALESTINIAN 2: [translated] I don’t know. I’m just walking in the street. I don’t know where to come or go. They say that we should go somewhere safe. There is nowhere safe. There is no area that is safe. Where should we go? Let the Arab world look at us now. Let the Arabs look at us and see what is happening to us. God is my suffice and the best disposer of my affairs. This is not a life. This is not a life. This is not a life. We are sick. I don’t know what to say. We are walking, but we cannot walk or come or go.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go to Rafah, in Gaza. We’re joined by independent journalist Shrouq Aila. She lived in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza before October 7th, had been studying English at Islamic University in Gaza.

We welcome you, Shrouq, to Democracy Now! If you can talk about what you understand happened on Sunday night —


AMY GOODMAN: — with the attack on the camp that was designated by Israel as a safe zone, the Israeli bombing that took out the lives of 45 people as it hit some kind of oil tank and the fire ripped through the camp?

SHROUQ AILA: OK. So, on Friday, when the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately halt its offense in Rafah city — Rafah city is a city that is full of over 1 million displaced people who came through the Gaza Strip. This is according to the Israeli army, who issued that the Rafah area is a safe area and considered as a designed humanitarian area. So, over 1 million sought refuge at this city. And after the order of the ICJ, Israel is unlikely comply with the order and responded with more attacks in the area and expanding its military operation in Rafah city.

And two days ago, it happened when they launched at least two rockets on a displacement camp that is quite close to the UNRWA logistic log, which is a base, refers to UNRWA, and people gathered around this space, considering it, you know, as a green area, a safe area. And after the bombing, the area is basically full of tents for displaced people, and the fire set on because of — you know, the tents are basically made of nylon fabrics and wood, and this severely affected in having more fire, and which caused the death toll raised until 45, and almost plus 200 got injured.

And yesterday, the past night, since the midnight ’til the 6 a.m., the Israeli army shelled and attacked the Rafah city once again heavily. And the sounds of the explosion in Rafah were totally heard and clearly in the middle area of the Gaza Strip. And they expanded the operations more in the area, which caused in three hospitals to be out of the service: the Indonesian Hospital and the Emirati Hospital and also Kuwaiti Hospital. So, because of the attack in the past night, three hospitals went out of service.

And also, lots of people are being now in streets, unable to recognize where to go, especially because of the fuel crisis. This fuel crisis, like, happened because of the closure of the borders, because of the Rafah invasion. So, we really have a crisis in transportations. The fees of the transportations is quite high. The people are unable to afford it. So some of the people decided to stay and not to leave, because they are unable to afford the transportations to move for other areas, and while others decided to just walk in the streets to reach somewhere else, but not Rafah, and while others, they managed to leave the area.

And basically, the situation is totally catastrophic. Because of the last night, almost five, so far, got killed, and lots of injuries, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. And people are in a total despair. Like, despite these dire conditions, they are unable to know where shall they go. Especially like Rafah, the so-called safe area, is not safe area anymore. And tents are a threat and not safe areas for displaced people. So, people now are trying just to move to the middle area of the Gaza Strip or to Khan Younis city. Khan Younis city, in the past three, four months, it suffered from very heavy bombardment in the area, that led in almost total destruction in the entire city. So, now people are establishing their tents on the rubbles of the houses. So, it’s not the issue of the buildings now or the issue of having a place to stay, but it is about just moving your tent from so-called safe area to so-called safe area. And people are in a total mess and despair because of this.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Shrouq, I wanted to ask you — Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has called the strike a tragic error and that Israel is investigating, but he keeps defending what he calls the precise use of weapons by Israel and continues to insist that the assault on Rafah will continue. What’s your response?

SHROUQ AILA: I’m not sure if I got your question correctly because of the connections. But in terms of the Israelis doing investigations on the attacks, like, sometimes, you know, it just happened, and investigations will not pay off whatever rights to get back, especially after having lots of casualties and also lefting people in the streets and in a total catastrophic and dire conditions to seek for other shelters and other places to stay in.

AMY GOODMAN: Shrouq Aila, I’m wondering also — we’re about to go to the International —

SHROUQ AILA: But mostly, like, [inaudible] something, mostly in the recent attack on the displacement tents, camp tents —

AMY GOODMAN: — Court of Justice in The Hague, and we wanted to get your response. We’re about to go to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, but we wanted to get your response, people’s response on the ground in Gaza, to the International Court of Justice ruling that Israel had to stop the — stop the assault on Gaza and Rafah immediately.

SHROUQ AILA: All right. So, when it comes to such attacks, basically, we can see that the casualties and the losses that we are having are basically kids and women, like mostly civilians. And, you know, the area — like, let me say, when it comes to attacking tents, you know, it’s such a soft area that can get easily destroyed by wind or by heavy rain. But launching rockets in this area for a military reason, it basically causes a catastrophe in the area.

And you can add for this that people now are sinking and harrowing in the fear that there is no safe place, you know, that they are just lost, that they are unable to recognize where they shall go and if this decision of moving is such a good decision, or they are going to killed with the sequences, with the consequences of not moving around for other places. So, let me say, there is no safe area, and there is no protection, and there is no so-called green areas or safety area that people can go and seek refugee at.

AMY GOODMAN: Shrouq Aila, I want to thank you so much for being with us, independent journalist and producer in Rafah, Gaza, formerly lived in the Jabaliya camp in northern Gaza, studied English at Islamic University there.

When we come back, the continued Rafah attack and the bombing that led to at least 45 people being killed in Rafah, in a safe zone, came just two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately stop its assault on Rafah. We’ll go to The Hague for an update. Stay with us.

  As humanitarians and world leaders condemn an Israel Defense Forces bombing and resulting fire in a Rafah "safe zone" that killed 45 people and wounded hundreds more, the Israeli military on Tuesday killed at least 21 more at another refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

"Four tank shells hit a cluster of tents in Al-Mawasi, a coastal area that Israel had advised civilians in Rafah to move to for safety," Reutersreported, citing health officials in the Hamas-governed Palestinian enclave. "At least 12 of the dead were women."

Gaza-based journalist Hind Khoudary said on social media Tuesday: "I have a live hit on Al Jazeera in a bit and all I'm thinking about is how I will report on this massacre again. My heart is pounding so fast. My [fingers] are shaking. I want to cry."

According to Agence France-Presse, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters on Tuesday that "I don't know about this incident. We are putting this incident under investigation, and we will update you in advance."

Hagari also addressed a probe into the Rafah attack—which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a "tragic mistake"—during a Tuesday press briefing, saying that "on Sunday night, we eliminated senior Hamas terrorists in a targeted strike on a compound used by Hamas" and "due to unforeseen circumstances, a fire ignited tragically taking the lives of Gazan civilians nearby."

"Contrary to reports, we conducted the strike outside the area that we designated as a humanitarian area and called civilians to evacuate to. Our strike was over a kilometer-and-a-half away from the Al-Mawasi humanitarian area. What we call the safer zone," Hagari said. "Our munition alone could not have ignited a fire of this size... We are looking into all possibilities including the option that weapons stored in a compound next to our target, which we did not know of, may have ignited as a result of the strike."

The IDF's claims about the Sunday massacre have not quelled outrage around the world—including from U.S. lawmakers urging President Joe Biden to suspend weapons and diplomatic support for Israel's war, which has killed over 36,000 Palestinians, injured another 81,000, and left thousands more missing and believed dead beneath the rubble, according to Gaza health officials.

Palestinians who have so far survived the Israeli assault on Gaza for more than seven months are struggling to find food, water, shelter, and medical care. The IDF has destroyed civilian infrastructure—including homes, hospitals, schools, and mosques—across the enclave and severely restricted the delivery of humanitarian aid.

"Day after day, massacre after massacre, and the Biden administration continues to ship the bombs to the far-right, openly genocidal Israeli government that it uses to slaughter Palestinian children, women, medical personnel, journalists, international aid workers, and the sick and elderly, and continues to shield Israel from international accountability," Council on American-Islamic Relations national executive director Nihad Awad said Tuesday.

"This genocidal brutality, which is being exposed daily by piles of charred and dismembered Palestinian civilians, must stop," Awad added. "Sadly, because of President Biden's insistence on sending more bombs to enable Netanyahu's war crimes in Rafah, this is now as much an American genocide as it is an Israeli genocide."

The world watches stunned as the horrors continue.  Ismaeel Naar (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Speaking at the Arab Media Forum, Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE President, said the Palestinian issue has been preoccupying all leaders and people of the Arab world since October and that “violence against civilians has taken brutal and inhuman dimensions”.

“I’ve been to Gaza and witnessed the scale of overcrowding. Israel has been using this method of displacing families repeatedly, only to attack them in designated safe zones,” he said.

“We have a firm belief in the justice of the Palestinian cause, which we absorbed from our upbringing and from our Arab conscience,” Dr Gargash told the audience at the Arab Media Forum, stressing that the “heinous attack in Gaza and Rafah cannot be overlooked by the world”.

“But the problem is the current Israeli government and the far right extremists have worked on existing imbalances,” Dr Gargash said on the ongoing efforts towards a two-state solution following the Oslo Accords.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 236 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, "At least 36,171 Palestinians have been killed and 81,420 injured in Israel's offensive on Gaza since October 7, Gaza's Health Ministry said on Wednesday.  In the past 24 hours, 75 people were killed and 284 injured, the ministry said."  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."

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