Monday, July 21, 2008
Overall, 21% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 72% disapprove, and 7% are undecided.The real wonder is how anyone could be "undecided." Are these the "independent, moderate swing voters" who may make the final presidential decision, assuming Diebold & various other Republican agencies stay out of it? (A big assumption there.)
BLITZER: If they say the United States should leave, what would the U.S. do? RICE: Well we are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. But I think you will find that the Iraqis recognize that they need and want a partner. What we have to recognize is that we have achieved an enormous amount over the last year, really since the surge, a lot. Violence is down, the Iraqi political system is beginning to function. You have Sunni leaders coming back into the government. And I think we would be foolish and they would be foolish to put at risk those gains by too rapid a decline in the American forces there.(Bold face ours.) Did you hear that? Just when did the Iraqi government "invite" some 140,000 United Snakes forces & another 180,000 contractors into Iraq? Really, when? Is there an engraved invitation that Secretary Rice could show the American people, to explain just what the fuck we're doing there? Seems to us that one Saddam Hussein was the "government" when we first went there. Did he invite us? "Invitation of the Iraqi government," our ample ass! Not to mention that the "gains" made are mostly a function of bribing tribal leaders not to shoot at U. S. forces, & the completion of various ethnic cleansing projects by both Sunnis & Shiites, which will only result in further conflict along the "aspirational time horizon." Gackk!! Corporate weasel-speak from Standard Oil Director Rice. And from the Chief Nitwit himself:
"And they have no disregard for human life."—Describing the brutality of Afghan fighters, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2008Does he ever even listen to himself? All of these fucking people, from Bush & Cheney down to the merest spokesmodel for this administration of evil clowns can't be impeached, hauled off in chains & waterboarded or strung up until their shoulders are dislocated or burned w/ Zippos™ soon enough for us. Six mos. until Bush & the rest of them are sad unfortunate history. We can only hope that some part of the U. S. economy, or This Great Nation of Ours™ itself are still standing when that glorious day arrives.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Two practical jokers are behind bars for setting their passed-out drinking buddy's crotch ablaze while boozing in Grover Beach. Matthew Craig Pillers and Jack Brent Nicholas Keiffer pleaded no contest to a felony great bodily injury charge. Elliot Tuleja was passed out when the men poured cologne on the man's groin and set him on fire on Jan. 18. Tuleja had second-degree burns on his testicles.Our point is that we highly doubt that poor passed-out Elliot sustained burned "testicles." Chances are it was his scrotum which was burned. Think about it. In order to have rec'd. burns on his actual gonads, his scrotum would have to have been burned away, wouldn't it? What ever happened to simple "tea-bagging" as far as homoerotic behavior between straight male friends?
"Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances."And:
"I cannot and I will not vote for Sen. John McCain as a matter of conscience," [he] said. "But what a sad and melancholy decision this is for me and many other conservatives. Should John McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime." [H]e definitely would not vote for Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, "based on their virulently anti-family policy positions." "If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life," he said. "These decisions are my personal views and do not represent the organization with which I'm affiliated," he concluded. "They do reflect, however, my deeply held convictions about the institution of the family, about moral and spiritual beliefs and about the welfare of our country."Couldn't possibly be the person who said the following, could it?
"... While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might."Or could it? You never know, do you?
Dobson and other evangelical leaders unimpressed by McCain increasingly are taking a lesser-of-two-evils approach to the 2008 race. Dobson and his guest, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler, spend most of the pretaped Focus on the Family radio program criticizing Democratic candidate Barack Obama, getting to McCain at the very end. [...] "There's nothing dishonorable in a person rethinking his or her positions, especially in a constantly changing political context," Dobson said in a statement to the AP. "Barack Obama contradicts and threatens everything I believe about the institution of the family and what is best for the nation. His radical positions on life, marriage and national security force me to reevaluate the candidacy of our only other choice, John [Sidney] McCain [III]." [...] Of his new position, Dobson said in the statement to the AP, "If that is a flip-flop, then so be it."Fine & dandy, Jimbo, but let's not hear any "he's a flip-flopper" crap about Sen. Obama from you or anyone who takes your endorsement, now that we know we're in a "constantly changing political context."
Dobson is considered a powerful voice in conservative evangelical Christianity; his radio broadcast reaches 1.5 million U.S. listeners daily. Critics argue his influence is waning, pointing to a younger generation of leaders pushing to broaden the movement's agenda.Place your rodent device here & click to see one of the "younger generation of leaders." Oh, wait. It's Jim's rad SK8er son, Ryan, who hasn't posted on his hip website since January. Must be busy broadening his agenda. Or polishing his skateboard, if you know what we mean.
I had fun at "glow" but as for "art" it was...meh. I continue to be amused at "artists" discovering basic stage lighting techniques for the first time.But, yeah, but, it's, like, "ART." Like. And now, having visited Doves Today to copy & paste the URL, & discovered "g's" item, we refer you there for fuller coverage of "glow," w/ photographs.
(Can it be over soon enough?)
In 1841, the British humour magazine Punch was first published.
(We like to think of ourself as carrying on the tradition. We also like to imagine ourself w/ huge leather bat-wings, among other fantasies. Is Punch still published?)
Good news from the past: Ninety yrs. ago (1918) Czar Nicolas II & his parasitic family received their due justice, execution-style, from the Bolsheviks.
Seventy yrs. ago (1938) Douglas Corrigan, claiming to be headed for Calif., flew to Ireland, thus entering history as "Wrong Way Corrigan." It is suspected that he knew what he was doing all along.
In 1944, two ammunition ships exploded in Port Chicago, CA.
Sixty yrs. ago, in 1948, South Carolina Governor Sen. Strom Thurmond was endorsed by a cracker convention in Birmingham, Ala., because that asswipe Truman was going to let "niggers" serve w/ white people in the Armed Services, among other complaints.
(We just wish some Republicans opposed to Grumpy Grampy McCain would do the same thing. It's not too late.)
In 1955: Disneyland© opened, eventually ruining the carnival business, replacing the fun w/ sterilized, controlled theme park crap for middle Americans.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Today's Cheesecake: Mrs. Peel, who hits the big Seven-Zero today.Per Wikipedia she is officially Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, & there is indeed nothing like a dame. Voyeurs in general, & male humanoids who reached puberty in the mid-'60s especially, may click here for further photos. Thank you Google™.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
It is a nice shot, though, and apparently taken from another bldg., probably the soon-to-be world's tallest, which is doubtless being erected as we type.
You might want to click to Mr. M's site, as he cropped it rather well, & it's bigger; the above version is from the original flickr™ spot.
Asked when U.S. forces would leave Iraq, he responded, "As soon as possible, as far as we're concerned."be anything like the U. S. response to Iran?
"We hope the Iranian people understand that their leaders need to make a choice between cooperation, which would bring benefits to all, and confrontation, which can only lead to further isolation," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement after talks in Geneva between Iran and the European Union as well as a U.S. envoy.We can only hope that Americans understand the same about our leaders, especially as we are alleged to have an actual choice in the election of said leaders, unlike Iran, where a council of religious douchebags decide who will be allowed to run for office &...What? Corporate & media interests, yes...Two parties, & not a State Quarter's difference between the two...(Value of party difference inflated since George Wallace's time.)...Generally foolish & ignorant electorate, umm-hmm...You're right, forget we said anything. We're screwed too. Like, totally, man.
The leather tuck'n'roll jobs for these birds must not be done on the cheap in TJ.
At $400 million apiece, the helicopters far exceed a prime example McCain uses on the campaign trail to rail against congressional pork-barrel spending, a $230 million "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska. The British have bought the same base model helicopter for $57 million each.$343 million per for "amenities?" Yikes!! In true defense procurement style, the price of the new fleet has almost doubled, just in the three yrs. since the contract was awarded.
Originally carrying a hefty price tag at $6.1 billion, the fleet of 28 helicopters being built to fly the next president is now projected to cost $11.2 billion.As The Editor here is of one-quarter wop-a-dago descent, the following ethnic insult is approved by the Just Another Blog™ Ethnic Insult Committee. The helicopters are not even American-made, but come from an Italian firm, via an "American" defense giant. Does the phrase "Fix It Again, Tony (as in 'FIAT')" come to mind?
In 2005, the Pentagon awarded the contract, itself a subject of controversy. Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft, which had always supplied helicopters for the president, was beaten in the bidding process by Lockheed Martin. The Maryland-based firm proposed a variation of a European helicopter built by Agusta-Westland.This provided another opportunity for Sen. McCain to flip his flop, apparently in mid-sentence.
Congress and the Pentagon are already reviewing the program to determine how to cope with the contract growth. In an audit, the Government Accountability Office has also raised concerns about the helicopter's weight and its new rotor system.
McCain labeled the contract growth a "scandal" before asking to revise his assessment "in a more polite way." He said the program is part of "an out-of-control procurement system that has to be fixed."Give you a good idea of the presumed Republican nominee's judgement? Crap on a crutch. Do we need this kind of off-the-cuff foolishness in foreign policy statements?
If anyone gives a flying whatever at a rolling you name it about our most recent encounter w/ Marine One, you may increase your boredom quotient here.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Israel will almost surely attack Iran’s nuclear sites in the next four to seven months — and the leaders in Washington and even Tehran should hope that the attack will be successful enough to cause at least a significant delay in the Iranian production schedule, if not complete destruction, of that country’s nuclear program. Because if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war — either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb.The author sees only one problem w/ this.
The problem is that Israel’s military capacities are far smaller than America’s and, given the distances involved, the fact that the Iranian sites are widely dispersed and underground, and Israel’s inadequate intelligence, it is unlikely that the Israeli conventional forces, even if allowed the use of Jordanian and Iraqi airspace (and perhaps, pending American approval, even Iraqi air strips) can destroy or perhaps significantly delay the Iranian nuclear project.We're glad that it only takes American approval for bases in the sovereign democratic nation of Iraq to be used by Israel. We've really shown them about democracy. Mr. Positive concludes:
Thus an Israeli nuclear strike to prevent the Iranians from taking the final steps toward getting the bomb is probable. The alternative is letting Tehran have its bomb. In either case, a Middle Eastern nuclear holocaust would be in the cards.We think he really wants the United Snakes to do Israel's work for them, since the IDF may not be able to reduce as much of Iran as necessary to rubble, while he's sure the U. S. can handle the job. The Contract on America We're not so sure that can be done, as there may not be any American forces left to attack anyone, what w/ their being electrocuted left & right by shoddy KBR work.
And while the Pentagon has previously reported that 13 Americans have been electrocuted in Iraq, many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis. Electrical problems were the most urgent noncombat safety hazard for soldiers in Iraq, according to an Army survey issued in February 2007. It noted “a safety threat theaterwide created by the poor-quality electrical fixtures procured and installed, sometimes incorrectly, thus resulting in a significant number of fires.” The Army report said KBR, the Houston-based company that is responsible for providing basic services for American troops in Iraq, including housing, did its own study and found a “systemic problem” with electrical work.Whatever happened to the Army Corps of Engineers? Or to combat engineers, who could build bridges (that worked) under enemy fire? What happened to the "Greatest Generation," who did the job w/o expecting a no-bid contract based on campaign contributions to the Republican Party? Just when did it become necessary that the defense of This Great Nation Of Ours™ turn a huge profit for everyone except those doing the fighting? (Who will, of course, if they return at all, after a few more tours in Afghanistan, get further screwed by the underfunded VA on return to our shores.)
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The premises: 1. The number of potential terrorist targets is essentially infinite. 2. The probability that any individual target will be attacked is essentially zero. 3. If one potential target happens to enjoy a degree of protection, the agile terrorist usually can readily move on to another one. 4. Most targets are "vulnerable" in that it is not very difficult to damage them, but invulnerable in that they can be rebuilt in fairly short order and at tolerable expense. 5. It is essentially impossible to make a very wide variety of potential terrorist targets invulnerable except by completely closing them down. The policy implications: 1. Any protective policy should be compared to a "null case": do nothing, and use the money saved to rebuild and to compensate any victims. 2. Abandon any effort to imagine a terrorist target list. 3. Consider negative effects of protection measures: not only direct cost, but inconvenience, enhancement of fear, negative economic impacts, reduction of liberties. 4. Consider the opportunity costs, the tradeoffs, of protection measures.Remember when Yankee pig-dogs were considered common-sense pragmatists, not scared little babies who want mommy to keep them from dying? Talk about your "nanny-state."
At best, we'll withdraw most of our troops from Iraq within two years and redeploy many in Afghanistan, but that would still be a far cry from the 400,000 troops the outgoing commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan thinks are really needed. (Bye-bye, Iraq quagmire, hello, Afghanistan quagmire!) At worst, we'll need to maintain a massive troop presence in two countries at once (All Quagmire, All the Time). And no U.S. military strategy will succeed if it's not accompanied by a regional political and diplomatic strategy: Stabilizing Afghanistan is inextricably linked to diffusing Pakistan's political crises as well. Doing this adequately will take resources and patient, sustained attention.In other words, the United Snakes is screwed, whether Sen. McCain cheats his way into office or the wishes of the people, as opposed to those of the Electoral College (or Stupreme Court) are honored & Sen. Obama takes office. As mentioned just yesterday, trouble is up in the 'Stan, along w/ the death toll. A re-run of the late '80s & early '90s may be about to occur, w/ a slight difference: The U. S. of A., already in an economic meltdown, gets itself bogged down in Afghanistan. (Note this well: Once America is perceived as losing, the paid-to-fight warlords will be knocking each other over to be first to get back in the good graces of the Taliban.) Russia (formerly the Soviet Union, still a bunch of fascist mystics) enriched by a sudden jump in oil & gas prices, may just decide to "help" the Taliban/AQ forces. And the U. S. may collapse under the weight of 400,000 quagmired troops (Of course, it will take five yrs. or so for all the forces needed to get there, once someone realizes we're underpersoned to begin w/. One thing America doesn't do is learn from history, even last wk.'s.) just as the Soviet Union eventually did. Couldn't happen to a nicer, or more deserving empire.
On Wednesday, O'Reilly said he had withheld the N-word remark because "I'm not in the business of creating some kind of controversy that's not relevant to the general subject -- one civil rights leader disparaging another over policy. As for how the N-word comment got out, O'Reilly said "some weasel leaked it to the Internet."You got it. To Mr. O'Reilly, Sen. Obama is not the presumptive presidential candidate of the majority party. He's "another civil rights leader." Which should make Sen. McCain an ex-POW involved in banking fraud. And wasn't it probably a "Fox," rather than a "weasel," who leaked it? P. S.: Should the Times be capitalizing the "n" in "N-word?" What's the style book say?
Mrs. Bozell was born into a Catholic family whose fortune originated in Central and South American oil fields. [...] With James R. Whelan, she was the co-author of "Catastrophe in the Caribbean: The Failure of America's Human Rights Policy in Central America" (1984).Oh, you can just bet your sweet ass that someone whose Catholic family fortune came from stealing the natural resources of South & Central America had a sincere interest in "human rights" for the indigenous peoples of the area. One other notable event in the old bat's life was her attempted use of violence against one exercising her right to free speech.
Mrs. Bozell was less public than many in her family, but in March 1971 she attracted press attention with an attempted physical confrontation with radical feminist Ti-Grace Atkinson at a Catholic University forum. Before an audience of 800, Atkinson said the Virgin Mary was more "used" than if she had participated in a sexual conception.
"I can't let her say that," Mrs. Bozell yelled, as she ran toward Atkinson and tried to slap her. Her hand struck a microphone.
Afterward, Mrs. Bozell told The Washington Post: "If it comes down to violence for social protest, I do believe in it if there's adequate provocation. I went in there, heard blasphemy and acted."
There may indeed be a gawd, if Patty couldn't even whack Ti-Grace but hit a mic instead. Hope it hurt. And while we here at Just Another Blog™ do our best to offend anyone w/ religious sensibilities, we're not sure if "blasphemy" can even be committed by someone who's not a member of the offended religious institution. In other words, self-righteous jerks, why not let your gawd punish or slap the "offender" in your hoped-for afterlife, rather than attempting to take your gawd's justice into your own filthy original sin-stained hands?
Ah yes, the "traditional" church. And we'll note on the way out the originality of name-giving among these clowns. Of course, when you're ruining the planet by over-populating it w/brain-dead drones, you must run out of names pretty quickly.
She married L. Brent Bozell Jr., a National Review editor with whom she launched Triumph in 1966. The magazine lasted nearly a decade and, as the second-in-command editor, Mrs. Bozell helped shape its voice against legalized abortion and in favor of the traditional church in response to Vatican II reforms.
Among her 10 children was L. Brent Bozell III, who began the conservative Media Research Center watchdog group.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Afghanistan (not the "central front in the war on terror," though perhaps it should be) is quite another story. Although some Iraqi/Palestinian style tactics have been adopted by Talibanis (suicide bombings not really part of the action there before the subjugation of Iraq, even during the Soviet occupation) there is definitely a battlefield there. Afghanistan is one of the few nations in all of Afrika & Asia that's never been successfully colonized by Euro-imperialists, & they didn't keep the Anglos & Slavs out by guerrilla tactics alone. They fought the old fashioned way, standing up & shooting. Granted, the terrain is ultra rugged, the locals know it like the backs of their hands, supplying invaders is difficult, & there've been plenty of ambushes & trickery.
Today, even w/ logistics not as difficult as in previous centuries thanks to the Wright Bros. & Sikorsky, things still aren't going as well as hoped. Here's the follow-up to the "Nine Americans Killed in Attack on Afghan Base" story you may have heard Monday.
Omar Sami, spokesman for the Nuristan provincial governor, said American and Afghan soldiers left the base Tuesday.Yep, the surge worked (Not! And it took Brainiac Bush about five yrs. to figure out how many troops should have been there originally.) but despite Hitch's statement
U.S. troops abandoned a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan where militants killed nine of their comrades this week, officials said Wednesday, in another sign of the struggle facing foreign and Afghan security forces strung out along the mountainous border.
The violence is another indication of the growing strength of the Taliban-led insurgency, especially in Afghanistan's east, where the outpost near the village of Wanat was breached by militants on Sunday. Nine Americans were killed in the deadliest incident for U.S. forces in three years.
On Tuesday, the insurgents drove out the handful of police left behind to defend government offices in the village, but 50 more officers were deployed Wednesday and soon regained control, senior provincial police official Ghoolam Farouq said.
I dare say the word of that [his imaginary "battlefield defeat"] would have spread to Afghanistan fast enough and, indeed, to other places where the enemy operates. Bear this in mind next time you hear any easy talk about "the hunt for the real enemy" or any loose babble that suggests that we can only confront our foes in one place at a timethe "insolent" (his word) Afghans have continued to attack, & apparently w/ some effect.
Elsewhere in the frontier region, NATO launched artillery and helicopter strikes in Pakistan after coming under insurgent rocket fire, officials said.
The retreat from the eastern outpost will be considered a victory by the insurgents, and comes after a spate of security setbacks for President Hamid Karzai's government, including a spectacular Taliban jail break in the southern Kandahar province in June that freed about 900 inmates, and a spike in attacks alongside the border with Pakistan.
In response, Karzai has stepped up his rhetoric against neighboring Pakistan, whose lawless tribal areas adjacent to Afghanistan serve as sanctuaries for al-Qaida and other militants.
The security experts here at Just Another Blog™ are not worried that United Snakes forces will actually do anything about Pakistani aid & comfort to the "insurgent forces," as they point out that Pakistan has nuclear weapons, & therefore the paper tiger Americans will not dare make any serious moves, but will continue artillery strikes & aerial bombardment from safety, like the cowards they are.
Karzai blames the attacks — including suicide bombings and cross-border raids — on Pakistan's intelligence service, alleging they are behind the insurgency in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies the charge saying Karzai is trying to create "an artificial crisis" to deflect attention from his own failings.
The accusations have pitched relations between these key U.S. allies to their lowest point since [the] U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
If any one was worried that U. S. forces would be taking on Pakistan as well as Iran before Election or Inauguration Day, relax. However, our security staff does fear that in exchange for Bush taking more mangos off their hands, the Indian gov't. may be persuaded to jump ugly w/ the Pakistani intelligence services.
The White House has now revealed the full extent of the historic agreement reached with India.Please excuse the mischievous conflation. We're working on reducing it. Step One: Admit you have a problem.
In return for American help with its civilian nuclear programme, India will export mangos to the US.
So that is uranium and plutonium for India and exotic fruits for America.
Of course, I am mischievously conflating two separate agreements, but it is not hard to see how the Indians feel they have got the better part of the bargain.
There may be a backlash against markets at the moment," acknowledged Kevin A. Hassett, economic studies director at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and an advisor to presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain. "But the backlash doesn't seem to be informed by any alternative view of how the world works."Doublespeak or triplespeak? "Informed by," is a phrase that always makes us chuckle. And just what "alternative view" of how the "world works" does this AEI clown expect? As far as we know here, the world rotates on an axis tilted 23° from the plane of the ecliptic, while revolving around the sun in an elliptical orbit. Not to mention lunar effects on our little cosmic golfball. Maybe Mr. McCain Advisor is suggesting that there's no way other than the glories of the free market for the house of financial cards to work to the advantage of AEI's funders, but we challenge him to show us any place on the face of this soon to be hotter globe where the unfettered forces of entrepreneurial, "risk-taking" greed have functioned well. Besides the amazing success stories of Russia & China, of course. People in the middle of the road are reminded that their chances of being run over are doubled by standing in the middle of the road.
"Nobody in this country really believes in unfettered free markets, and nobody really believes in socialism," said UC Davis historian Eric Rauchway, but economic crises of the past have produced constituencies favoring the reining in of markets and regulation of the economy -- constituencies that ultimately grew large enough to produce change.Yes, we mean you, Historian Rauchway. Get to one shoulder or the other.
Americans entered the new century convinced that "we had a new economy built on services and information technology that would let us win globally," said Harvard economist Robert Z. Lawrence." The whole premise of globalization in the year 2000 was that it worked well for us and the other developed countries but that the developing countries would need help," Lawrence said. Today, virtually all those optimistic assumptions have been turned on their heads. "We've seen unprecedented growth in the developing countries, while the developed countries are being led into a slowdown by the United States," Lawrence said. "We've found out that instead of services and information technology, it's all about oil and other commodities" that are not the nation's strong suit.Services & infotech. Waiting tables (soon to be outsourced to robots controlled by night-shift workers in Bukina Faso) & crummy movies & crappy music for 'tweens, that are free to all once the first peer-to-peer sharer buys one copy & puts it up on the web. Why have we paid any attention to any of the experts?
An investor who put a dollar in a broad market index fund early in this decade not only would have made no money by today but would have lost a little of his initial amount. That's a far cry from the 1990s, when people told pollsters that they expected to make 15% annual gains indefinitely.Golly, it's just too damn bad we couldn't get all the Social Security money in the markets sooner, isn't it? H. Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound" is more of a swirling sound, as our excessive way of life flushes down the toilet.
David J. Lynch, USA TODAYSo this is what a day of reckoning feels like.
Already down 23% from its October high, the Dow Jones industrial average touches a two-year low. The Labor Department says wholesale prices are rising at their fastest pace since Ronald Reagan's first year in the White House. Embattled automaker and American icon General Motors suspends its dividend to stockholders. The last time that happened? 1922.[...]
If it wasn't clear before Tuesday, it is now: This is no ordinary economic crisis, and it won't be over anytime soon. In fact, problems are multiplying. A year ago, the financial virus seemed confined to subprime mortgages, loans given to those with less-than-perfect credit. Now, much of the banking system appears rickety, and the U.S. economy has slowed to a crawl. But thanks to robust demand from still-growing countries such as China, the prices of commodities from oil to food have soared — hitting Americans from the gas pump to the grocery checkout.
"There's no hope of an early recovery at this point," says economist Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University. "The best-case scenario is we have a long but mild recession — and that's the best-case scenario."
Worst-case scenario: long, painful death from starvation or from a medical condition that can't be treated w/o money.
The Ninny-in-Chief attempted to, as used to be said, "jawbone" the whole mess. As usual, he appears not to have a clue.
A day after reports of losses by regional banks, causing some depositors to pull their money out, Mr. Bush held an unscheduled news conference at which he felt compelled to remind Americans that their deposits were insured up to $100,000.
“My hope is that people take a deep breath and realize that their deposits are protected by our government,” the president said. He added that economic growth “was not the growth we’d like” but expressed confidence that the country would overcome “a time of uncertainty.” The nation’s troubled financial system is “basically sound,” he added.
[...]But concerns that consumer banking could succumb to the ills of the credit crisis clearly rattled official Washington, as Mr. Bush’s citation of the federal government’s insurance of bank deposits made clear.
“The bottom line is this: We’re going through a tough time,” Mr. Bush said. “But our economy’s continued growing, consumers are spending, businesses are investing, exports continue increasing and American productivity remains strong.”
Mr. Bush, at his news conference, also sought to demonstrate that he understood the hardships of Americans. “It’s been a difficult time for many American families who are coping with declining housing values and high gasoline prices.”
When asked about his statement in February that he had not heard forecasts that gasoline prices could reach $4 a gallon, Mr. Bush interrupted and replied, “Aware of it now.”
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
A tip of the Bouffant chapeau to David Horsey, of the Seattle P-I.
Her doctors and officials at the women's prison in Corona made the request in March because of her deteriorating health. Atkins also has had her left leg amputated and is paralyzed on her right side, her husband and attorney, James Whitehouse, told a parole hearing.Doesn't seem too likely she'll be stabbing any more pregnant starlets to death in a vain attempt to start a race war, nonetheless
Whitehouse had argued that his wife was so debilitated that she could not even sit up in bed and told the parole board there was no longer a reason to keep her incarcerated.
It's the principle of the thing. 'Oh, the victims' families!! Oh, what kind of message will this send? Oh, we can't spend any more money on schools or fighting wildfires. We have to keep threats to society locked up!! Oh, oh."
Corrections Department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Atkins' medical treatment and paying for prison guards to watch over her has cost state taxpayers more than $1.4 million since March.
The corrections department no longer would pay for Atkins' medical care or be required to guard her around the clock if she is released to her husband.
P. S.: Please don't encourage this sort of thing by visiting the address at the bottom of the billboard.
Many of the al-Qaida forces—most notably the horrific but now deceased Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—made their way to Iraq in the first place only after being forcibly evicted from Afghanistan. Thus, if one did not want to be confronting Bin Laden fans in Mesopotamia, it was surely a mistake to invade Afghanistan rather than Iraq.Click on the link provided by Slate itself in the above paragraph, & try to decide where al-Zarqawi was before appearing in Iraq. We could add that we heard absolutely zip from the Bush-Cheney myth machine about an infestation of jihadis in Iraq in those 18 mos. between the assault on Afghanistan (Oct. 2001) & the attack on Iraq (Mar. 2003). Wonder where Sahib Hitchens got this idea. Parenthetical aside: Had Bush, after the infamous "OK, you've covered your ass"/"Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U. S." Presidential Daily Briefing of 6 August 2001, had the fucking brains to call the SecDef & JCS & advise them to locate Bin Laden & get a JSOPS group ready to take out or capture Osama the moment anything else suspicious happened, OBL might be dead or imprisoned at this very moment, as well as thousands (if there were that many) of other Mad Muslim Mofos, who would not have gotten to Iraq or anywhere else. If U. S. intelligence & military forces had been warned or ready, 11 Sept. 2001 might never have happened, & at worst the attack on Afghanistan would have taken place on 12 or 13 Sept. 2001 (depending on the Int'l. Date Line & whatnot) instead of the month we gave Bin Laden & his boys during which to hide out really well. Reason 2:
Indeed, the commander of the anti-Taliban forces is usually not even an American. Yet it is in these circumstances that more American casualties—and not just American ones—are being experienced than are being suffered in Iraq. If this is so, the reason cannot simply be that our resources are being deployed elsewhere.Not really understanding this one either, Mr. Hitchens. Do you have a less simple reason? No? Well, if resources are being deployed elsewhere, there are fewer resources to fight those causing the casualties, so they're on the loose, all over the place, as the NATO forces aren't adequate to bottle them up. Didn't they all run to Iraq anyway? You know, because "we" had to fight "them" "there" so "we" wouldn't have to fight "them" "here." Also: No matter who the commander of the "anti-Taliban forces" is, the majority of the combatants are American service people, & you can bet that little or nothing is done w/o Yankee approval/suggestion. Last & least of Hitchens' points:
Many of the most successful drives against the Taliban have been conducted by American forces redeployed from Iraq, in particular from Anbar province. But these military victories are the result of counterinsurgent tactics and strategies that were learned in Iraq and that have been applied triumphantly in Afghanistan.So, it was necessary to invade Iraq 18 mos. after invading Afghanistan in order to learn how to be counterinsurgents? Why couldn't the U. S. have waited until it got its counterinsurgent shit together in Afghanistan & then invaded Iraq? By that time someone might have noticed that Iraq had no WMD, & the whole mess might have been avoided. Not to trivialize the deaths of untold Iraqis, the fleeing to Syria &tc. of millions of the educated middle-class Iraqis most needed to get that mythical, mystical "democracy" going, and the loss of 4,000+ American lives, & billions upon billions of dollars, leading to a greater economic slowdown than occurred post 11 Sept. 2001. Seriously, Bush-Cheney have done greater damage to This Great Nation of Ours™ than the attacks of 11 Sept. 2001. Then the pickled prick gets into serious "Let's Have A War" territory.
I happen to disagree, but just for an experiment, let us imagine that some regime did exist or did arise that posed such a combination of threats. (Actually, so feverish is my imagination that I can even think of one whose name also begins with I.)Tell us, please, Mr. Hitchens, which country is that? And your evidence for this combination of threats comes from...? (We can only hope different sources than the paranoids all over the U. S. & Western Europe who were absolutely sure of Iraq's perfidity in trying to defend itself before all – or any – of the facts were in or the inspections were finished. Even if nothing much can be trumped up against the ayatollahs, there's another good target available, implies Xtopher.
The continued and, indeed, increasing insolence of the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies is the consequence of one thing and one thing only. These theocratic terrorists know that they have a reliable backer in the higher echelons of the Pakistani state and of its military-intelligence complex and that while this relationship persists, they are assured of a hinterland across the border and a regular supply of arms and recruits.Oooh, they're so insolent!! Oooh, they talk back!! The horror. Thought ol' Hitch was supposed to be a writer of some sort, not a mere Limey understater.
So, the question for Sen. Barack Obama and his glib supporters is this: Would they solve this problem by removing the American forces from Iraq and putting the thereby-enhanced contingent there to patrol a frontier where one of our main "allies" is continually engaged in stabbing them in the back? (At one point last year, Obama himself appeared to accept the illogic of his own position and spoke hotly of the possibility of following the Taliban onto Pakistani soil. We haven't heard much of that lately. Did he mean to say that, come to think of it, we had enough troops to occupy three countries instead of the stipulated and solitary one? Or would he just exchange Iraq for Pakistan? At least we do know for sure that Pakistan has nuclear weapons acquired mainly by piracy and is the host and patron of the Taliban and al-Qaida.)Glib supporters? Glib? The pot accuses the tea kettle of warmth!! Glib? Try this passage for "glib."
Another consideration obtrudes itself. If it is true, as yesterday's three-decker front-page headline in the New York Times had it, that "U.S. Considering Stepping Up Pace of Iraq Pullout/ Fall in Violence Cited/ More Troops Could Be Freed for Operations in Afghanistan," then this can only be because al-Qaida in Iraq has been subjected to a battlefield defeat at our hands—a military defeat accompanied by a political humiliation in which its fanatics have been angrily repudiated by the very people they falsely claimed to be fighting for. If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement, the situation would be the precise reverse: The Iraqi people would now be excruciatingly tyrannized by the gloating sadists of al-Qaida, who could further boast of having inflicted a battlefield defeat on the United States."Battlefield defeat?" In asymmetical warfare? There is no battlefield, just ambushes & security sweeps. "If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement," then wouldn't the Iraqis themselves have "angrily repudiated" whomever the fuck AQI is? Or weren't they capable of angry repudiation unless hiding behind Uncle Sam's skirt? (In which a case why should we be propping them up?) What's the real likelihood of the 60% Shia population of Iraq being "excruciatingly tyrannized by gloating sadists" (You can take the boy out of England, but you can't take the English out of the boy.) of the Sunni persuasion after they were so recently relieved of Sunni occupation by our noble & glorious troops? (And a lot of indiscriminate aerial warfare.) Has any one shown Mr. Hitchens the actual U. S. military statistics on what portion of attacks on occupation troops (That's us, Yankee pig-dogs. We're the occupiers. Doesn't sound pretty, does it?) were by AQI & how many by Shias wanting a country free of all oppressors?
I dare say the word of that [his imaginary "battlefield defeat"] would have spread to Afghanistan fast enough and, indeed, to other places where the enemy operates. Bear this in mind next time you hear any easy talk about "the hunt for the real enemy" or any loose babble that suggests that we can only confront our foes in one place at a time.So, the recent increase in casualties in Afghanistan is not linked to the "battlefield defeat" that would have been suffered had U. S. forces left Iraq, it just, uh, like, happened? And "three" (countries) is italicized in the "glib supporters" paragraph, as if that would just be too many to handle, but the big conclusion is a pseudo-Churchillian plea to fight "them" everywhere. And just what are we to do w/ Pakistan? If we stay bogged down in Iraq long enough, will that convince the "higher echelons of the Pakistani state and of its military-intelligence complex" to stop helping Bin Laden & the Taliban? St. Nick on a Stick, Hitch, please try to apply the same logic or whatever it was that brought you to atheism to other issues. We'll grant you that Islam is the scummiest (partly because it's the youngest) of the three "Abrahamic" religions, but let's not go overboard here. Next thing you'll be taking a shower w/ James Dobson to show him who's boss, & how not to be gay.
Indeed, we'll lift a graphic lifted from elsewhere by FMM Founding Editor brad just to add to the horror (Older Folks: Click to enlarge, for legibility)& provide a little variety to the somber black background here.
Other coming attractions: The Santa Monica-Based Homeless Toothless Four-Eyed Communist Bloggers Smoking Nicotine & Drinking Caffeine Association. (A long-term project.)
Monday, July 14, 2008
Le Quatorze Juillet
Vive La France!! Chauvinistic chickenshit Americans (you know the type: most of them) will blather about this & that, but the French were the first nation collectively to overthrow their royalty & nobility, put the heads of their heads of state where they belonged (far from their bodies) and keep the fucking royals out (except for Louis Napoleon XIV, or whoever the head cheese of the Second Empire or whatever the fuck it was called was). (We might mention the English, but Just Another Blog™ was playing hooky or something that day, and we do know they pretty much pussied out & went back to monarchy almost as soon as they could.)
At this point no doubt some of you "patriots" are whining: "Oh, but 'Murka did that first, blah, blah, blah." Wrong, dipshits. The colonials merely threw out the parts they didn't like of an occupying power, much as the Iraqi people are attempting now with, irony of ironies, the occupying power being these United States.
Therefore, Just Another Blog™ urges all its fellow citizens to get down to the prisons, free all the prisoners, and separate the heads of the upper classes from the bodies of the upper classes! Now! The French did it 219 years ago today, & Just Another Blog™ hears their health system is even better than the Canadians'. What do we have to lose? Go ahead, we'll be right behind you, just gotta get the pitchfork & some more hand grenades.
Allez-Vous Faire Enculer, Espèces des Cons!!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
One factor in the consideration is the pressing need for additional American troops in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and other fighters have intensified their insurgency and inflicted a growing number of casualties on Afghans and American-led forces there.What a surprise. Take your eye off the proverbial ball for just a few yrs., & WHACK!! it's concussion time.
More American and allied troops died in Afghanistan than in Iraq in May and June, a trend that has continued this month.
Course, a mighty, manly bunch of compensating pindicks never know where troops may be needed.
The desire to move more quickly reflects the view of many in the Pentagon who want to ease the strain on the military but also to free more troops for Afghanistan and potentially other missions.Any guesses where those "potentially other missions" may be?
This couldn't possibly be a political move, to influence the upcoming presidential election, could it? After all, should His Imperial Majesty King George approve these plans & troop levels in Iraq go down to about 130,000, it'll be as if the war is over & all the boys & girls have come home, won't it?
And Afghanistan, well, we won't really have to start fighting there until next spring. It's only been almost seven yrs. since we jumped ugly w/ them, so that should be over by, say, 2020. Although it's not clear that we have any interest in imposing democracy there. Indeed, as we don't seem to be looking for Bin Laden any longer, one might wonder just why...Oh, oil & gas pipelines, sorry. We forget sometimes.
We used to see Henry stomping his way down to the Food House, looking surly in his "look at my tats" wife-beater & Bermuda shorts. At least we never had to see him live in a Speedo.
And while we're wallowing in music & nostalgia, here's where ex-cohabitant Mike/Mick will be rocking it next Fri. Look at the price, it's like 1984 all over again!!
The failure of months of negotiations over the more detailed accord -- blamed on both the Iraqi refusal to accept U.S. terms and the complexity of the task -- deals a blow to the Bush administration's plans to leave in place a formal military architecture in Iraq that could last for years.Whew. That was close.
[A]cknowledged one U.S. official close to the negotiations[,] Iraqi political leaders "are all telling us the same thing. They need something like this in there. . . . Iraqis want to know that foreign troops are not going to be here forever." [...] Maliki, who last week publicly insisted on a withdrawal timeline, wants to frame the agreement as outlining the terms for "Americans leaving Iraq" rather than the conditions under which they will stay, said the U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because U.S.-Iraqi negotiations are ongoing. The idea, he said, is to "take the heat off [Maliki] a little bit, to rebrand the thing and counter the narrative that he's negotiating for a permanent military presence in Iraq."Oh, please, you moronic bastards, stop w/ the advertising/PR talk, the "rebranding," the "narratives" & so on. Would it be possible to deal for once in reality? It's already been well proven that none of you can "make your own reality" or whatever the anonymous Bushite said so many yrs. ago. Everyone's on to you now. What Constitution?
[United Snakes] [l]awmakers have also objected to Bush's insistence that a status-of-forces agreement -- and a separate strategic framework outlining broad economic, political and security cooperation -- can be enacted with his signature alone and does not require congressional approval.We imagine White House mouthpiece Perino saying, "It's not a treaty, it's a 'status-of-forces agreement.' Don't you understand the difference?" in her best "Words are what we mean them to mean" style.
How to bring democracy to the Middle East: Avoid it whenever possible, both there & here.
According to U.S. officials, Maliki also hopes that a temporary protocol would circumvent the full parliamentary review and two-thirds vote he has promised for a status-of-forces agreement. "He is trying to figure out, just as we did, how you can set up an agreement between the two and have it be legally binding," one official said, "but not go through the legislative body."
In May, Iraqi and foreign media published U.S. negotiators' demands that one administration official now describes as "frankly unrealistic," including unilateral control over U.S. combat and detainee operations, immunity for U.S. personnel from Iraqi prosecution, and control over Iraqi airspace. Additional accounts outlined a list of 58 separate military installations that would remain under U.S. control.That's not five, that's not eight, it's 58!
Bush subsequently instructed U.S. negotiators to "be more flexible and open-minded," one official said.Ah yes, "stay the course" George advises his flunkies how to do things. Irony or hypocrisy? We report, you decide. Or, you sit there w/ your jaw dropped to your knees & your mind numbed.
We had the misfortune of tuning in to KABC Talk-Radio 790 too early for the Dodger game yesterday (They lost – again– so we doubt we'll be climbing on their bandwagon any time this yr.) & were treated to Ms. B. using the death of Tony Snow to whine about AIDS being cured or something, & how anyone in this modern age could die of cancer, as Mr. Snow did. Of course, to Ms. B., AIDS is a "behavior caused" disease (no mention of smoking, air pollution, having to work in a polluted workplace or anything of the like causing cancer). You know, we were appeasing the homos by "curing" AIDS, which was all their fault in the first place &, apparently, ignoring cancer. Nor does it occur to her that cancer is not an immuno-suppressive disease, it's many different kinds of disease, & blah blah blah...Yes, she went on about unsafe sex & needles & so on, though not actually calling for the execution of sodomites. Christ on a cracker!!
Her other lovely line, before we had to change the channel in mental self-defense: Barack Obama is a "Marxist; Jimmy Carter with a tan." Stop it you fucking RW morons!! Just fucking stop it!! You want to see Marxists, wait'll Just Another Blog's™ editorial staff is running the country!! Marxist. Hmpf. If Obama's a "Marxist," then McCain's two & a half Nazis. Actually, don't stop it. Keep crying wolf, right wingers. We don't care any more. Your party's over, in all senses of the word.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
So, Mendel, thanks for ruining This Great Nation of Ours™ by paving the way for an almost infinite selection of mind-numbing crap.
Mr. Berle was also rumored to be hung like a horse. And a half.
UPDATE (12 July 2008 @ 1623 PDT): Berle of course shared the initials "M. B." w/ the editor here, the Milton Bradley game co., Milton Bradley, the Texas Ranger (baseball player, not lawman) & Mercedes Benz. He was also said to have been at least part of the inspiration for another Great American, Bugs Bunny©™. Dig the head shot below. What do you think?
Antidepressants raise ulcer risk Taking an antidepressant may increase the odds of developing an ulcer, although the overall risk remains small, according to a report published Tuesday in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The study of 1,321 people with gastrointestinal bleeding found that such drugs as Eli Lilly's Prozac, Forest Laboratories' Celexa and Lexapro, GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil, Pfizer's Zoloft, and Wyeth's Effexor could trigger gastrointestinal bleeding in one of every 2,000 patients. The risk increased to 1 in 250 patients when aspirin or pain drugs also were taken, according to the report. The medicines interfere with platelets, a critical part of the body's normal clotting process, researchers said. Drugs that suppress the production of acid in the stomach -- Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium and Protonix -- may avert bleeding for those most vulnerable and should be considered, researchers said.Other possible/potential side-effects of our regimen: Drug #1 (Taken daily.): Delayed ejaculation in males; Decreased sexual desire; Unusual, painful & prolonged erection; Nausea; Difficulty falling asleep; Diarrhea; Dry mouth. And watch out for: The emergence of anxiety, panic attack, confusion, irritability, worsening of depression, and suicidal ideas. This is supposed to help? Drug #2 (For insomnia & anxiety, doesn't do anything for anxiety, but makes one take a nap two or three hrs. after using.): Drowsiness; Dizziness; Visual disturbances; Unusual tiredness or weakness; Loss of bladder control; Constipation; Vomiting; Diarrhea; Nausea. What a drug! Can cause constipation or diarrhea. That's some full-spectrum action. And now you know why we're so cranky & irritable. Up yours, jerks!!
It comes down to NFL trivia Presidential candidate John McCain apparently isn't one for trivial pursuit. On Friday, Morning Briefing reported that McCain told a Pittsburgh television station that he had named members of the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line in 1967 when he was a POW in Vietnam and captors asked for the names of his squadron mates. However, in McCain's autobiography, he wrote that it was members of the Green Bay Packers that he named. A campaign spokesperson called it a memory lapse.Call it what you will, we call it lying. Perhaps he changes it for each community he visits. And, as indicated below, the Steelers' best known defensive line (The Steel Curtain) didn't happen until the 1970s.
Trivia time McCain would have to have been quite a Steelers fan to name their 1967 defensive line. They were 4-9-1, and it isn't that easy to name even the coach of that team. Can you?Quite a fan, we'll just fucking bet.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Russia not being too much higher on the lack-of-political-violence scale than Zimbabwe, that's no surprise. The freedom-loving peoples of the Peoples Republic of China didn't offer an excuse either. (Or simply weren't quoted by the AP. This media criticism or whatever the fug we're up to here is very difficult.)
UNITED NATIONS - Russia and China vetoed proposed sanctions on Zimbabwe Friday, rejecting U.S. efforts to step up punitive measures against its authoritarian regime linked to a rash of violence surrounding a disputed presidential election. [...]
Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said sanctions would have taken the U.N. beyond its mandate to deal with threats to international peace and security.
A few interesting points we'd like to emphasize follow.
On Christmas Eve 1969, while she was driving alone in Philadelphia, Carol McCain's car skidded and struck a utility pole. Thrown into the snow, she broke both legs, an arm and her pelvis. She was operated on a dozen times, and in the treatment she lost about 5 inches in height.Nice fellow, huh? Who was she then, an alien pod person? One can only wonder if McCain was the man that Carol married.
After John McCain was released in March 1973 and returned to the U.S., he told friends that Carol was not the woman he had married.
[Melinda] Fitzwater [a cousin of McCain's] recalled visiting the family on Thanksgivings, and McCain seemed content barbecuing a turkey on his outdoor grill near Jacksonville, Fla.Excuse us, but what the hell kind of crap is this? Barbecuing a turkey on an outdoor grill? Just this a. m. we heard a sound clip of "Bay" Buchanan (Pat's equally Catho-fascist sister) whining about Sen. Obama not respecting or understanding or something "our cultural traditions" or crap like that. And yet John Sidney McCain III is allowed to grill his turkey on a fucking barbeque? Beyond belief. Where is the stuffing? What would grandma say, if we hadn't shipped her to the old folks' home?
But two years later, while on a trip as a Navy liaison with the Senate, McCain spied Hensley at the Honolulu reception. In a recent television interview with Jay Leno on the "Tonight Show," Cindy McCain joked about how the Navy captain had pursued her. "He kind of chased me around . . . the hors d'oeuvre table," she said. "I was trying to get something to eat and I thought, 'This guy's kind of weird.' I was kind of trying to get away from him."Why we'll never understand women: He's got 18 yrs. on her, he's married, he's "kind of weird," & before you know it, they're flying all over the country to be w/ each other. Not to be more sexist than we already are; maybe it's just heiresses (of whom we have even less knowledge than we do of ordinary women – not that any woman is merely "ordinary," of course) that we'll never understand.
John McCain was 42; she was 24. During the next nine months, he would fly to Arizona or she would come to the Washington area, where McCain and Carol had a home.
Carol McCain later told friends, including Reynolds and Fitzwater, that she did not know he was seeing anyone else.
Carol McCain was distraught at being blindsided by her husband's intention to end their marriage, said her friends in the Reagan circle.Two points w/ this one. If Carol McCain was so distraught, blindsided, etc., we can only wonder why she never agrees to interviews on the whole miserable subject. This may give a hint:
"They [the Reagans] weren't happy with him," Fitzwater said. Carol McCain "was this little, frail person. . . . She was brokenhearted."
She [Carol McCain] has two sons from an earlier marriage: Andy, a vice president at Cindy McCain's beer distributorship, and Doug, a commercial airline pilot.When J. Sidney married Carol, he adopted Hensley V-P Andy. We wondered a bit when first reading that Andy had a job w/ Cinderella's outfit, yet wasn't even Sid's biological offspring, but our cynical mind came to the realization that if Carol wants her son to hold on to his job, she'd best keep her trap shut. (WARNING! CHEAP SHOT FOLLOWS: And we hope that Doug is a better pilot than his adoptive father.)
And one more cheap shot: That's Carol McCain on the left, above. We understand she lost five inches after the hideous accident, but where do they get "Carol McCain 'was this little, frail person. . . ?'" Huh? Looks pretty healthy to us.
The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."
He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.
Hey, speaking of Berlusconi (as we were in the item just below):
Ha ha. The Bush White House accusing anything else of being known for gummint corruption & vice. And did they get their WMD info about Iraq by lifting it from the Interwebs w/o reading it? Seriously, how much longer can this go on?
Mr Bush also faced criticism at the summit after Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, was described in the White House press pack given to journalists as one of the "most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice".
The White House apologised for what it called "sloppy work" and said an official had simply lifted the characterisation from the internet without reading it.
The Italian government knew it was courting criticism when it began rounding up and fingerprinting the oft-targeted minority known formally as the Roma. But the proclamation from Europe's chief elected body was an especially embarrassing blow to the 2-month-old right-wing administration of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Italy immediately said it would ignore the resolution. "Our aim is to put an end to the disgrace of nomad camps," said Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, member of a small xenophobic party that is part of the ruling coalition. He was referring to the ramshackle settlements around major Italian cities where thousands of Gypsy families live.One good way to "put an end to the disgrace" would be to build or provide housing for these poor fuckers, who've been on the receiving end of scapegoating, discrimination, projection, displacement & every other pop psychological term we can come up w/ for hundreds of yrs. in Europe. Oh, not to mention that the Nazis offed hundreds of thousands of them, putting them right behind the Jewish people on the final solution list. (We think. Look it up yourself if you give a shit, which you of course don't.) That's what gives us the nerve to violate Godwin's Law. And note that the Interior Minister is a member of a "small xenophobic party." Not unlike one-time Yankee Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, who as a Babtiss was quite the xenophobe himself.
After several high-profile crimes blamed on Gypsies, the new government launched a crackdown on the itinerant population, sending police to round up individuals and raze their huts and homes. Scores of Gypsies and other foreigners were expelled. Vigilantes burned some camps.Reminds us of, oh, Burma/Myanmar, & some of those African countries where the problem of refugees &/or poverty is solved by burning out the refugees/poor. See? Problem solved. How interesting that a "xenophobe" who doubtless has a few choice things to say about Africans & Asians would adopt similar solutions. Also a "solution:"
A proposed package of tough security measures could remove children from the camps while expelling their parents from the country.WTF? Those of you w/ a passing acquaintance w/ the anti-American history taught at our liberally biased universities may remember similar programs right here in the United Snakes. Except there wasn't as much expelling of parents as plain old fashioned massacring. Details, details.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who until recently served as the EU justice commissioner, criticized the European motion as unfounded and politically motivated. Fingerprinting "does not target ethnic groups and is not inspired by racism but by the elementary need to identify anyone who does not have a valid document," he said.Ah, Europe..."May ve see your paperzzz, pleasse?"
In a letter this week to EU officials, a Rom advocacy group protested the crackdown, alleging that Italy had become a police state that is depriving residents of constitutional guarantees. Rom families, says the human rights group EveryOne, "are subject to every kind of pressure and intimidation until they give up protesting or turning to the legal system."Democracy & freedom: Just so, y'know, 20th century. Let's put it all behind us & move on.