Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120317

Financial Crisis
»How the ‘Vampire Squid’ Sucked the World Dry: A Damning Indictment of Goldman Sachs
»Washington Post Continues Kaplan Coverup
»Directed History is Not Conspiracy Theory
»For the Time is at Hand
»How I Became a Hate Group
»Property Rights Councils: Adding a Stakeholder to the Soviet Brew
»Stunning Video: GOP Leaders Cheat Ron Paul?
»The Consensus Wants You
»UN is Fleecing US and the EU Carbon Tax
»Canada’s Astro-Turfed Conspiracy in the Making
Europe and the EU
»Angry Turk’s Message for Europe: “We Are Coming”
»Archaeology: Greece: Antikythera Shipwreck on Display
»Clini Claims GMOs Can be Beneficial
»EU Foreign Chief Ready to Meet Monti on India
»France: Opening of “Ethicando”, Italian Social Sector Boutique
»Greece: Gazprom’s VP Talks Natural Gas in Athens
»Hunting: EU Commission: Ultimatum to Malta on Derogations
»Italian Foreign Minister Claims Europe Has Key Global Role
»Italy: Berlusconi Party Senators Irked by Minister’s ‘Disgust’
»Italy: Bossi Blasted for Suggesting Monti’s Life in Danger
»Italy: Ruby’s Partner in Court for Child Pornography
»Remains of Dark Ages Princess Found in Field in Cambridge
»UK: The Doctor Who Broke Up Families: Psychiatrist Who Damned Hundreds as ‘Unfit Parents’ Faces Gmc Probe
»Vatican: Pope Speaks Out Against Gay Marriage
»Kosovo: Pristina Representation, First Disputes on EU Deal
North Africa
»Terzi in Algeria: Preserving Hostage Life Absolute Priority
Israel and the Palestinians
»Greek Jew Translates Odyssey Into Dialect
Middle East
»Saudi Arabia: 70% of Filipino Domestic Workers Suffer Physical and Psychological Violence
»Syria: Lebanon “Dissociated” So as Not to be Drawn in
South Asia
»Afghanistan Massacre by U.S. Sergeant Reveals Epidemic of Psychiatric Drugging of Soldiers
»Diplomatic Efforts Continue for Italian Marines in India
»Indonesia: West Java: Gun Attack on Protestant Church, Attackers Arrested
»The Blood Price of Afghanistan
»US Suspect in Afghan Shootings Identified
»Africans in Switzerland Find a Common Voice
»Racism on the Rise in Italy, Says a Report to Parliament
»Switzerland: Muslims Advise Fellow Believers How to Integrate
»Private Space Pioneer Elon Musk Counters Neil Armstrong, Critics on ‘60 Minutes’

Financial Crisis

How the ‘Vampire Squid’ Sucked the World Dry: A Damning Indictment of Goldman Sachs

After Greg Smith’s scathing indictment of Goldman Sachs, it is important to remember that the firm never has been — and never will be — a charitable organisation. The investment bank has always been in business to make money … as much as it possibly can in any given year.

In the course of writing a book about Goldman, I spoke with many employees whose experiences mirrored those of Greg Smith. They testified to the punishing work hours, the culture of total devotion to the firm and the complete sacrifice of their personal lives in the pursuit of making money.

One former Goldman banker told me: ‘The people who are going to be successful at Goldman are the folks that are willing to just sacrifice all. All. Everything. To the greater glory.’

Another observed of the prevailing culture: ‘It was the firm, firm, firm, firm, firm, the firm, it’s the firm.’

Goldman take only the brightest and the best. Academic success is not enough. Each job applicant is thoroughly investigated by the ‘reputational risk department’ — this is an Orwellian mix of former CIA operatives and private investigators.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Washington Post Continues Kaplan Coverup

Another story in The Washington Post, under the title of “Student loans seen as potential ‘next debt bomb’ for U.S. economy,” continues the paper’s practice of ignoring how a Post subsidiary is contributing to the problem.

The student “debt bomb” is a real problem. The Post article is based on a report entitled, “The Student Loan ‘Debt Bomb:’ America’s Next Mortgage-Style Economic Crisis?,” which was published by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and examines the fallout from higher tuition, higher interest rates and a bad job market for graduates. Total outstanding student loans exceeded $1 trillion for the first time last year, it says. But it is not just a problem stemming from practices at state-funded or public colleges and universities.


But the Weiss piece notes that the profits have come at a cost of putting many students into deep debt with degrees that don’t translate into good jobs. Weiss documents how the Post, including Chairman Donald E. Graham, lobbied to water down federal regulations which would have cleaned up the way the company does business and protected students from rip-offs.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Directed History is Not Conspiracy Theory

Directed history isn’t a conspiracy theory, because for the past couple of generations, the superelite have had members or supporting fellow travelers who were not hiding. They haven’t been shouting their plans from the roof of Congress, of course. Nor will you see them on Fox News, much less MSNBC (although it isn’t impossible). Those either believing that something was going on behind the scenes, and sometimes those actually working towards a global regime, have written down their thoughts: sometimes in books, sometimes in articles, and sometimes in speeches. Some of their writings aren’t about specific plans, but provide dead giveaways where their priorities lies. Trust me: it isn’t with We the People.

It is true that hardly anyone reads their words. This is a side effect: for well over a hundred years now their footsoldiers have been laying waste to education in this country. This started when Horace Mann went to Prussia in the 1840s and persuaded the State of Massachusetts to assist him in founding a school system based on Prussian instead of American principles. According to the latter, the individual belongs to himself and to his God. According to the former, he belongs to the state. Very slowly, public education was transformed to produce, instead of an independent and critically thinking people prepared for life in a free society, graduates who would obey government edicts, service monopolistic corporations (whether as employees or consumers), and not question authority. And attendance was made compulsory.


Toynbee wrote these words in the wake of the frustrating diminishing influence of the League of Nations. He spoke of the kind of institution the superelite wanted and concluded:

“In the world as it is today, this institution can hardly be a universal Church. It is more likely to be something like a League of Nations. I will not prophesy. I will merely repeat that we are at present working, discreetly but with all our might, to wrest this mysterious political force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states of our world. And all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands… “ (“The Trend of International Affairs Since the War,” International Affairs, November 1931, p. 809; emphases mine).


What is even more interesting, in light of mainland China’s economic surge during the NAFTA / GATT / WTO era, is Rockefeller’s praise, long ago, of the “social experiment” begun by Chairman Mao. He wrote:

“One is immediately impressed by the sense of national harmony… Whatever the price of the Chinese Revolution it has obviously succeeded not only in more efficient and dedicated administration, but also in fostering high morale and community purpose. General social and economic progress is no less impressive… The enormous social advances of China have benefited greatly from the singleness of ideology and purpose… The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao’s leadership is one of the most important and successful in history (New York Times, August 10, 1973).

The “price” of the Chinese Revolution to which Rockefeller refers was, of course, the mass slaughter of over 40 million Chinese people—we may never obtain an exact body count.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

For the Time is at Hand

As discussed in Part I of “For the Time Is at Hand,” America is on the verge of becoming a government-controlled socialistic/fascist nation, unless some leaders who actually love America are elected and appointed to political offices. Seven examples related to this trend toward socialism/fascism were discussed. Now, let’s consider some other ways that the government has attemped to turn America into a socialistic/fascist nation. The next five are as follows:…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

How I Became a Hate Group

Southern Poverty Law Center had listed, “Sultan Knish a blog by Daniel Greenfield” as one of their Active Anti-Muslim Hate Groups.

When I went to sleep last night, little did I know that while outside sirens competed with car alarms in the symphony that is New York City, I had already been declared a hate group.

Being declared a hate group wasn’t in my plans for the day, but, like winning the lottery, it seems to be one of those things that happens when you least expect it. Except that as the little bald man in front of the bodega tells you, you have to play to win, but you don’t even have to buy a ticket to be declared an official hate group.

My first response on finding out that I was now a hate group was to look around to see where everyone else was. A hate group needs the group part and one man and a cat don’t seem to be enough. Even when the cat is a well known bigot who hates mice, birds, car alarms that go off in the middle of the night, the plumber, and sudden noises.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Property Rights Councils: Adding a Stakeholder to the Soviet Brew

Recently, several have called for the municipal creation of Property Rights Councils (PRC). The argument is that government officials need input for this “special interest.” Paul Coble of Wake County, North Carolina argued for the establishment of a property right council there because he says, “I cannot rely on the Commissioners being prepared or equipped with constitutional knowledge.”

You mean to say that people are elected to office not understanding their oaths of office to the Constitution! Who is voting for these people? Perhaps that is where the problem lies. Benjamin Franklin told us in 1787: “You have a republic if you can keep it.” We have not kept it. Children are not taught that America is a republic. Most adults think America is a democracy.

The American republic is the only nation in history where natural law prevails and civil law is subordinate. The American republic is the only nation ever founded on the idea that individual man has a natural right to live a life of his own. Accordingly, every person possesses unalienable rights including the right to life, liberty and the use and enjoyment of their private property. Under the American republican form of government, emulated by all state constitutions, the scope of government is intended to be very limited so to conform to the ideal set out by our founders.

A property rights council does not exist in the operation of the American republic. The creation of such boards means the fall of the republic. As a youth I learned that “councils” were soviets. So that begs the question: What is a Soviet? Soviets operate to achieve predetermined solutions that are made behind the scenes. If 100 communities created property right councils we would have substantially more than 100 definitions of what private property is.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Stunning Video: GOP Leaders Cheat Ron Paul?

Video of a Georgia county GOP convention this past weekend has presidential candidate Ron Paul supporters incensed, contending they now have proof local Republican leaders have cheated their candidate out of delegates.

The Athens-Clarke County GOP met on Saturday, March 10, to vote — among other things — on delegates to represent the county at district convention, from there to attend the state and national conventions.

But shocking video shows the meeting’s chair pushing through a list of pre-selected delegates over the objections of the convention and promptly declaring the meeting closed, a startling turn of events that took exactly 21 seconds.

Ron Paul backers, who made up a majority of the seated precinct delegates and had hoped to nominate their own choices for district convention, were stunned.

By their count, also captured on video, more than 20 of the 30-some delegates present had voted no to the slate of delegates offered, yet Athens GOP Chairman Matt Brewster first declared, “The ‘ayes’ have it,” then ignored loud calls for a vote count, before quickly concluding, “There is no other business to discuss; the convention is now closed.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Consensus Wants You

The consensus wants you. All of you. If it cannot have you, it will have your children or your grand-children.

While terms like “The Marketplace of Ideas” are still tossed about occasionally like confetti out of a tenth story window, they mean about as much as the soiled mass of tape that everyone has stepped on by the time the parade is over. The age of ideas, when issues might actually be debated, instead of answered immediately with talking points derived from an inflexible ideology whose only two poles are outrage and guilt, ended some time ago.

Today we live in the age of consensus. The cultural elites no longer debate opposing points of view, they dismiss them as racist or ignorant, ridiculing not only the argument, but the arguer and the very premise that there can even be an argument.

The “marketplace of ideas” is replaced with “I’m offended that we’re even having this discussion” or “Only ignorant people believe that.” These alternating poses of victimhood and superiority make it illegal or pointless to even discuss the subject and leave every issue settled by consensus. Scientific debates end before they have begun. Political debates exist only to allow candidates to affirm the consensus or castigate them for standing outside the consensus. Personal exchanges of views either reflect the consensus or become perilous and illegal.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UN is Fleecing US and the EU Carbon Tax

Politicians in America and the current administration are fleecing the American public with their Green Environmentalist Agenda 21 driven by the United Nations and its bureaucrats.

The EU charges a carbon emissions fee, an “extra terrestrial tax.” This is viewed by non-European governments as an attack on sovereignty. China’s airlines have refused to comply. “Some non-European airlines may have to choose whether to obey the law of their land or that of Europe.” Companies refusing to comply would be fined and denied the right to land in the 27 countries that are members of EU.

The European Court of Justice has already rejected the legal basis of a challenge raised in London by North American airlines. Carriers have until April 30 to calculate their damaging annual emissions and to buy polluting rights for 2012. Delta Airlines has already added a surcharge to passenger tickets. The scalping of the developing world continues. Each flight will cost us an additional $32 of a round-trip long-distance ticket. The financial gains are substantial for the bureaucrats since 655 million people flew to Europe last year.

The United Nations is pushing for a global deal through its International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It does not matter that global warming has been debunked, the EU and UN coffers must be replenished by hapless developed world citizens and the wealth must be spread to developing nations in the name of “social justice.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Canada’s Astro-Turfed Conspiracy in the Making

Canadian Liberal Message: Straight from Boston, USA

Socialist newly-minted Liberal Bob Rae, just like President Barack Obama, is a radical in public office.

In taking over leadership of Canada’s Liberal Party last year, Rae, Ontario’s first (and mercifully, last) openly Socialist premier, inherited big time Obama campaign help from former Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

Up to 2011, Ignatieff was being groomed for Canadian prime ministership by former Obama adviser Larry Summers. Ignatieff has even stronger ties to Samantha Power, wife of Czar Cass Sunstein who had Obama’s ear for taking America to war in Libya. Rebuffed by voters in Canada’s May 2, 2011 election, Ignatieff was the first candidate for prime minister to run with campaign help from members of the Obama campaign.

In fact, according to CP24, Ignatieff is “good friends” with Samantha Power, a senior adviser to Obama during his presidential campaign, a member of his transition team and now a member of the National Security Council.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Angry Turk’s Message for Europe: “We Are Coming”

by Soeren Kern

“Whether or not you want us in the European Union, our influence in Europe is growing. We are more numerous. We are younger. We are stronger.”

A second-generation Muslim immigrant in Austria has authored a provocative new book in which he argues that Europe’s future is Turkish, whether Europeans like it or not.

The book’s short, sharp and confrontational title says it all: “We are Coming.”

The thesis is: “Regardless of whether or not you [Europeans] like us [Turks], whether or not you integrate us, whether or not you want us in the European Union, our influence in Europe is growing. We are more numerous. We are younger. We are more ambitious. Our economy is growing faster. We are stronger.”

The author, a 25-year-old Austrian-Turk named Inan Türkmen, says his objective in writing the book is to change the terms of the debate about Muslim immigration in Europe…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Archaeology: Greece: Antikythera Shipwreck on Display

Famous, mysterious “mechanism” among finds

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, MARCH 6 — Over a century after the wreckage of Antikythera was found by chance (as often happens in the field of archaeology), the archaeological finds brought to light will be showcased together in the exhibition “The Antikythera Shipwreck: the ship — the treasures — the Mechanism” organised by Greece’s National Archaeological Museum. The show will be inaugurated on April 5 and will remain open until the end of April 2013. It boasts 378 finds, including sculptures, clay and bronze vases, coins, jewels, fragments of the ship, and, of course, the famous Antikythera Mechanism, considered the oldest computer ever made. “The oldest example of technology surviving to the present day, which entirely changes our knowledge about ancient Greek technology,” the British physicist and mathematician Derek De Solla Price said in speaking about this mysterious object, of which he is its first scholar. Among the finds to be exhibited in the show are also dishes, jugs and amphorae with an acute base for the transporting of the water, oil, wine and dry food necessary for lengthy journeys.

Among the sculptures will be a life-size (1.93 metres high) statue of Hermes thought to be from the first century B.C., on which erosion from its lengthy stay under water is visible. The statue was likely to have been made by artists from the Polyclitus school, such as Cleon, Alypos and Polyclitus III. The bronze original has been dated at around 360-350 B.C. The director of the National Archaeological Museum, Nikos Kaltsas, speaking to the weekly To Vima on the ship’s load, said that the ship had been carrying “decorations for the villa of a wealthy Roman or objects intended to be sold. This is shown by the refined taste of those who had ordered them, or by their potential buyers. It would also mark the first known trade in art works, a phenomenon which was later to reach vast proportions in Western civilisation.” The marble sculpture surfacing in the Antikythera wreckage can be divided into four categories on the basis of their style: the first includes copies of sculptures or variants on important works from classical antiquity. The second are classical creations combining elements and compositions from different periods, enriched with the features of Hellenic art. The third includes works intensely reminiscent of creations from the early and middle Hellenic period, and the fourth original creations from the late Hellenic one.

The wreckage was found by chance by a group of sponge fishermen who, due to rough seas, were forced to stop on the island of Antikythera, in the southern Peloponnese, to await the return of better weather conditions. It was on Good Tuesday of the Easter holiday period in 1900 when one of the group, named Ilias Lykopantis, dived into the water in search of sponges. About 50 metres down, the man found himself before a wreckage with its load scattered around it. The ship had gone down between 50 and 60 B.C. .. The first finds were brought to the surface between 1900 and 1901, and all the others at a much later date (1976) with the help of the French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s oceanographic ship Calypso.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Clini Claims GMOs Can be Beneficial

Environment minister wants researchers and producers to be involved: “I share concerns but it’s time for serious reflection”

ROME — Corrado Clini, minister for the environment, what is going on in Brussels regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Are you arguing in the EU? “For the first time in Brussels, cracks are beginning to show in the group of member countries that have always been against GMOs regardless”.


“A number of countries, including Italy, Spain, Sweden and Hungary, have welcomed the proposal of the Danish EU presidency that the European Union should grant authorisations to GMOs while individual member countries should be able to ban them on their territories”.

What does this mean? Is Italy about to open the door to GMOs?

“Not open as such but…”

But what?”

“I say that serious reflection involving research and farm producers should get under way in Italy over the role of genetic engineering and some of the possible applications of GMOs”.

What do you mean?…

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

EU Foreign Chief Ready to Meet Monti on India

Tensions continue between Rome and New Delhi

(ANSA) — Rome, March 9 — European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said Friday that she was “always available” for a meeting with Italian Premier Mario Monti to discuss the ongoing situation with two Italian marines arrested and incarcerated in southern India.

On Tuesday, Italian MEPs called on European Union representatives for bipartisan support and to “stand next to Italy”.

Following the request, Ashton said Wednesday that the EU was moving to “find a satisfactory solution” and to assist with diplomatic exchanges between Rome and New Delhi.

The two Italian marines, sent to prison on Monday, are accused of killing two Indian fishermen as they were guarding an Italian merchant ship from pirate attacks in the middle of last month.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

France: Opening of “Ethicando”, Italian Social Sector Boutique

Shop offers products from mafia-owned land, from inmates

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — Items in the window of a small boutique with a pink sign a few yards from the Canal Saint-Martin, in one of the liveliest and most colourful areas of Paris, include a number of small bagel-shaped biscuits (“taralli”) made with cereals grown on land confiscated from the Mafia, t-shirts made in jail by detainees at the Roman prison of Rebibbia, “soft evasions” cooked by prisoners in Siracusa under the guidance of the Arcolaio cooperative. This is “Ethicando”, the first shop in France dedicated entirely to products from Italian social sector companies, which has opened in the city in the last few days. “The social impact of these initiatives grows with the rise in sales of the products, given that no-one is getting public subsidy,” the founders, Ludovica Guerrieri and Caterina Avanza, tell ANSA. “By giving them a shop window beyond their borders, we want to help the schemes to go forward and to show that you really can do something to change difficult situations”.

The commercial side is only a small part of the scheme. “Our idea is that another world exists. There are companies in Italy doing wonderful things, that believe that people can change, places can change and that oppose the logic of resignation which is so prevalent in our country today”. The message is so strong that it even finds space on the shop’s walls, summarised in a crystal clear slogan: “Those who cannot see another world are blind”.

On a spring evening unseasonably mild for Paris in March, dozens of people came to greet the opening of the shop, with an “aperitivo” inspired by the film “I cento passi” (One Hundred Steps), and also a Sicilian PGI label dedicated to the late activist Peppino Impastato. On the menu were bruschettas and “antimafia tomato paste”, made with cherry tomatoes grown in fields seized from criminal clans. “Obviously we hope that Italians in Paris will support us, but above all we want to speak to the French people, to tell them about the fight against the mafia and to show them what we have, these other forms of Italian excellence,” the creators say. The shop’s products are indeed rigidly selected. “We have very strict selection criteria, because the shop is completely self-financed, but also because we are convinced that it can be both social and high quality”.

Ethicando, though, is not only a shop. The aim is to make it a place for encounters, information and debate, with the organisation of events, book presentations and conferences. “We have done similar things in the past, for example on the memorial day for mafia victims, on April 4 last year, but we rented out rooms. Now we have our own space, we have a calling to organise events here”. Not least, they add, because the idea of using land seized from the mafia, in a country where the law promoting its use for social purposes remains some way off, is a lot easier when people can see the results of the process at first hand.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Gazprom’s VP Talks Natural Gas in Athens

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 29 — Russia reiterated its interest in energy developments in Greece with the visit of Gazprom’s vice president, Alexander Medvedev, to Athens on Tuesday as reported by daily Kathimerini. In the context of the prospective transmission of natural gas through Greece and the planned privatization of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and gas grid operator (DESFA), Medvedev met with Energy Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou in the presence of DEPA’s chief executive officer, Haris Sachinis, and Prometheus Gas President Dimitris Kopelouzos. The ministry stated that the discussion centered on the issues of the country’s supply of natural gas and the privatization program the government has announced in the energy sector. In a statement Medvedev referred to the increased demand by Greece during this winter period and the delivery of additional quantities by Gazprom. The meeting was arranged as soon as the BP consortium that will transmit Azeri natural gas to Europe ruled out the use of the planned Turkey-Greece-Italy — ITGI — pipeline.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Hunting: EU Commission: Ultimatum to Malta on Derogations

La Valletta has two months to implement relevant legislation

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, FEBRUARY 27 — The EU Commission has asked Malta to improve the protection of birds that pass over its islands in the autumn. Since Malta joined the EU in 2004 it has allowed the autumn trapping of four species of birds protected by EU laws: the Turtle Dove, Quail, Golden Plover and Song Thrush.

The Commission is sending a reasoned opinion to ask Malta to correctly implement the relevant bird protection legislation. If Malta fails to reply within two months, the Commission may refer the case to the EU Court of Justice. In Europe, most wild birds are protected under the Birds Directive, and trapping with large-scale or non-selective methods of capture such as nets is generally prohibited and may only be legally practised under a derogation from the Directive. Such exceptions may only be granted if there is no viable alternative, if the Member State respects the strict conditions and requirements laid down in Article 9 of the Directive, and if it can prove to the Commission it has done so. The Commission holds that Malta failed to submit sufficient evidence to prove that its trapping derogations respected all the necessary conditions of the Directive and in particular, the rules relating to: ensuring only small numbers of birds are captured, selective targeting of the species concerned by the derogation and strict supervision of trapping conditions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italian Foreign Minister Claims Europe Has Key Global Role

(AGI) Bergamo- “Europe is not spiraling downwards- in fact it can still play a crucial role on the global political stage.” Today, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Maria Terzi made a statement to that effect during his speech on the “USA, EU and Emerging Countries: New Economic Balances” made at the launch of Bergamo University Academic Year. The minister stressed that “Europe can influence the international debate and contribute to resolving complex problems such as climate change and food insecurity. It can also promote fundamental rights in the world — especially those of the most vulnerable groups, such as children, women and religious minorities.” . .

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Party Senators Irked by Minister’s ‘Disgust’

Push for no-confidence motion against Riccardi

(ANSA) — Rome, March 8 — A group of Senators in ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party is calling for a no-confidence motion against Cooperation Minister Andrea Riccardi after he said “this politics is disgusting” when the PdL called off a summit with Premier Mario Monti.

Senate whip Maurizio Gasparri is among those trying to “calm down” the 46 Senators, whose move represents the first real rift with the Monti government, PdL sources said.

The PdL refused to go to the summit with parties supporting Monti because possible reforms to the justice system and the RAI public broadcasting corporation were on the agenda.

The PdL said these were politically sensitive issues beyond the remit of Monti’s economically focussed executive. photo: Riccardi

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Bossi Blasted for Suggesting Monti’s Life in Danger

‘The north will take him out’ said former minister

(ANSA) — Rome, March 6 — Firebrand Northern League leader Umberto Bossi has come under a hail of criticism for suggesting Premier Mario Monti risks being murdered.

“Monti’s life is at risk, the north will take him out,” the former minister said late on Monday.

Bossi’s populist, rightwing party, which wants greater autonomy for wealthier northern regions, is staunchly opposed to former European commissioner Monti’s emergency government of non-political technocrats.

Most of the mainstream parties support Monti, including the People of Freedom party of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who Bossi was allied with until the media magnate’s government collapsed last year because of the financial crisis.

“Umberto Bossi is clearly unable to respond for his actions. This is a sign of a clear psychiatric imbalance,” said Francesco Boccia of the main centre-left Democratic Party.

Massimo Donadi, the whip of the smaller centre-left Italy of Values party which is not supporting Monti’s government, said Bossi “speaks like a terrorist”.

“The verbal violence of the League’s leader has now reached dangerous heights,” added Donadi, demanding that Bossi’s party come out against words “that incite violence”.

Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said that “you instigate subversion in this way”.

House Speaker Gianfranco Fini, the leader of the small centrist Future and Freedom party, said Bossi’s comments did not fall within the sphere of “political analysis”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Ruby’s Partner in Court for Child Pornography

El Mahroug makes first appearance with baby

(ANSA) — Genoa, March 9 — The young woman former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly paying to have sex with before she turned 18 was in court Friday with her partner and former nightclub-owner who is accused of child pornography. Luca Risso allegedly hired Karima El Mahroug, a minor at the time, to perform as an erotic dancer at his Genoa disco. “I went out dancing just like a lot of other girls. It’s an absurd accusation,” said El Mahroug, known as Ruby, who attended a preliminary hearing. It was the former Moroccan belly dancer’s first public appearance with her baby born almost three months ago.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Remains of Dark Ages Princess Found in Field in Cambridge

The remains of a mysterious Anglo-Saxon princess, who died thirteen and a half centuries ago, have been found in a field three miles south of Cambridge.

Aged just 16 when she died, and buried lying on a special high status funerary bed, she was laid to rest with a small solid gold, garnet encrusted, Christian cross upon her chest.

Her exact identity is as yet a complete mystery. However, it’s likely that she was a member of one of the newly Christianized Anglo-Saxon royal families of the period.

She was buried fully clothed, her bronze and iron chatelaine (belt hook) and purse, still attached to her leather belt.

A clue to the circumstances of her death is the presence of three other individuals buried in separate graves alongside her (two women aged around 20 and one other slightly older individual of indeterminate sex, but conceivably female). It’s likely that they died at the same time — probably from some sort of epidemic. Significantly, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions that England was devastated by the plague in 664 AD (around the very time that the archaeological evidence also suggests they died).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: The Doctor Who Broke Up Families: Psychiatrist Who Damned Hundreds as ‘Unfit Parents’ Faces Gmc Probe

A leading psychiatrist faces extraordinary claims he deliberately misdiagnosed parents with mental disorders — decisions which meant their children were taken away from them.

Dr George Hibbert faces being struck off over his conclusions that hundreds had ‘personality disorders’ after assessing them at his private family centre.

He was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by social services for the reports which tore children from their parents — many of them young mothers.

He is now being investigated over shocking suggestions he distorted the assessments to fit the view of social services.

In one case, he is alleged to have wrongly diagnosed a ‘caring’ new mother — named only as Miss A — with bipolar disorder because her local authority wanted the baby adopted.


Earlier this week, a study for the Family Justice Council revealed how life-changing decisions about the care of children are routinely being made on the basis of flawed evidence. A fifth of ‘experts’ who advise the family courts are unqualified.

Dr Hibbert charged local authorities £6,000 a week for every family in his care and £210 an hour just to read documents such as medical records.

By 2007 his company, Assessment in Care, was making a profit of around £460,000 a year from his lucrative arrangement with social services.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Vatican: Pope Speaks Out Against Gay Marriage

Issue ‘a question of justice’ says Benedict XVI

(ANSA) — Vatican City, March 9 — Pope Benedict XVI spoke out against same-sex marriage Friday, calling the Church’s stance a “question of justice”. Before an audience of American bishops, the pontiff chided those who “consider gender to be irrelevant to the definition of marriage”. He called on listeners to stand up to “the powerful cultural and political movements aimed at altering the legal definition of marriage”. According to the pope, marriage between a man and woman “relates to the preservation of the welfare of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Kosovo: Pristina Representation, First Disputes on EU Deal

Kosovo and Serbia delegations walk out of conferences

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE — The first disputes surrounding Kosovo’s representation at regional meetings, which was agreed in Brussels recently as part of talks between Belgrade and Pristina, have been registered in two different conferences today. The B92 television station reported that a Kosovan delegation walked out of a conference in Belgrade, the first of its kind, on cooperation of civil society in the Western Balkans and in Turkey, amid disagreement with some of the details of the agreement reached in Brussels. On the basis of the deal, Pristina’s representatives can take part in regional meetings and forums using a card reading “Kosovo” with the addition of an asterisk, which refers to a note below. The note says that “Kosovo” in no way alludes to Kosovo’s status and that the term is in line with the UN Security Council’s resolution 1244 and with the opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Representatives from the EU and the United Kingdom, who were attending the conference in Belgrade, attempted in vain to convince the Kosovan delegation to stay.

The Beta agency reports that the Serbian delegation attending another regional conference in Sarajevo walked out in protest at the way in which the Brussels deal on Kosovo’s representation has been implemented. Serbia’s Foreign Minister, who was quoted by B92, said that Belgrade’s representatives had left the meeting in the Bosnian capital because Kosovo was not represented with the agreed footnote below the “Kosovo” label .

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Terzi in Algeria: Preserving Hostage Life Absolute Priority

Foreign Minister, Italy is against payment of ransom

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, 15 MARCH — “Our absolute priority it to preserve the life, the security and the well-being of the hostages”, the Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has stressed today in Algiers during a meeting with his Algerian counterpart Mourad Medelci. The two ministers talked about the two Italian hostages, Rossella Urru and Maria Sandra Mariani, who were kidnapped in 2011 in south Algeria.

“Italy is completely against paying ransoms (for the release of hostages, Editor’s note). We stated this in the past and we still believe it and upholding it at the international level”, Terzi underlined after his meeting with Medelci.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Greek Jew Translates Odyssey Into Dialect

His modern-day Odyssey via Thessaloniki and Auschwitz

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, MARCH 9 — After labouring at it for four long years, an Israeli from Thessaloniki, Moshe Ha-Elyion (87), has completed his translation of Homer’s Odyssey into Jewish Ladino (Judezmo) dialect: a derivative of Castilian from the 15 th Century, that was widely spoken among Jews in the Balkans and which has now almost disappeared.

Literary critic Avner Peretz, has told Haaretz that Ha-Elyion’s undertaking represents “one of the high points in 500 years of history” of this dialect and his work stands alongside the translation of the Bible into the dialect, which was completed in the 19 th century.

The newspaper notes that Mr Ha-Elyon himself resembles a modern-day Ulysses: having survived 21 months in Auschwitz thanks to food smuggled to him by a Christian inmate in exchange for Greek lessons. After the war, Moshe attempted to reach Palestine (then under mandate) and was imprisoned by the British. He was injured in Israel’s war of independence (1948-49) before going on complete a brilliant military career.

Now Ha-Elyion will embark upon a translation of the Iliad, although well aware that very few people will ever read his work.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Saudi Arabia: 70% of Filipino Domestic Workers Suffer Physical and Psychological Violence

Revealed by research of the Committee on Overseas Workers Welfare. The cases of rape suffered by Filipino young people are on the agenda. To avoid an increase in wages, the government of Riyadh bans unskilled workers from the Philippines and Indonesia.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) — Underpaid, exploited and often abused by their employers, Filipino domestic workers are one of the groups most at risk in Arabian countries, especially Saudi Arabia. A study published by the Committee on Workers Overseas Welfare, says that 70% of workers employed as caregivers or without a specific work qualification suffers continous physical and psychological harassment. Despite repeated calls by human rights organizations and associations in defense of immigrants, to date the Philippine government can only defend the rights of skilled workers: engineers, doctors, nurses. They are the most requested by the Saudi labor market and also the ones who have registered contracts, because employees in national hospitals, research centers or large companies. The unskilled workers who arrive in the Arabian country have no guarantee of employment, wages or protection.

With more than 10 million workers worldwide, the Philippines is the third country in the world for the number of emigrants after China and India. In 2008, over 600 thousand Filipinos have chosen to travel to the Middle East in spite of continued incidents of exploitation. For Christians, it also comes to the persecution. Mainly women are suffering: the cases of rape are commonplace and often those who suffer can not sue because their documents are seized by the employer.

Lorraine is a young 27 year old Filipina who arrived in Saudi Arabia in early 2010 to work as a domestic worker for a family of Jeddah. She said that the violence began just days after her arrival at the airport. “When my boss came to pick me — she says — he tried to touch me at once to see if I was available. In the first weeks I constantly suffered his advances which became more insistent every time I refused.” In nine months of employment Lorraine was raped five times.

She said that in addition to the sexual violence she suffered all kinds of abuse: “I worked 20 hours a day without a break. The wife of my boss insulted me and beat me because I did not understand Arabic, and did not do her bidding. My lunch was a piece of bread and leftovers from the plates of the family. “ After months of harassment on December 30, 2010, the young woman got in touch with the staff of the Philippines Overseas Labour Office (POLO), who reported the case to the police. After months of investigation the authorities arrested her employer. To date, the girl is hosted by POLO and must remain in Saudi Arabia until the case against the perpetrator is concluded.

In recent years, POLO and the Philippine embassy in Riyadh have collected hundreds of testimonies of young women and men tortured and abused in the workplace. The cases also involve important companies. On February 24, 89 Filipino employees of the Swayaeh cosmetics Company, launched an appeal to President Aquino to ask to be repatriated as soon as possible. In recent years they have been abused, left hungry, unpaid for over 5 months. In October, to quell a factory protest the owners called the police armed with shotguns to force workers to work.

Similar cases are seen by Indonesian employees. The relations between the two countries broke down after the decapitation of Ruyati Binti Satubi Saruna, a Indonesian migrant of 54 years, sentenced to death for murder. The Saudi authorities prosecuted the woman and sentenced her on 18 June 2011 without any consultation with the Indonesian government.

Since November 3, the government of Manila and Jakarta have been trying to reach an agreement with the Saudi Ministry of Labour to ensure migrant workers a minimum wage and protection from physical and psychological violence. Riyadh has so far responded to these requests by closing its borders to the unskilled. In recent days, the Saudi Minister for Labor has defined the demand for an increase in wages and greater protection of workers illogical, stressing that his office has already contacted the governments of other countries that have no such pretensions.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Syria: Lebanon “Dissociated” So as Not to be Drawn in

Beirut fears contagion may reignite tensions never assuaged

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, MARCH 15 — The government in Beirut, unconcerned with the psychological implications, has used the term “dissociation” to explain its stance on the Syrian crisis, which could reignite tensions that were never fully assuaged in Lebanon, from where Syrian troops finally withdrew in 2005 after 29 years of occupation.

“Any sane person should be concerned by the repercussions of the Syrian crisis for Lebanon,” the country’s President, Michel Suleiman, warned today, in an interview with the Beirut newspaper Daily Star. “The best thing would be to put out the fire, but if we are not able to do so, we should at least try not to fan the flames,” he explained. This reasoning is behind Lebanon’s decision to vote against the removal of Damascus from the Arab League in November last year. Along with Yemen, Lebanon was the only country to vote against the motion.

Some flames, which have been enough to stir the memory of the terrible 15 years of civil war and political and religious conflict in the country (1975-1990) were ignited last month in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, close to the Syrian border. Here, militias consisting of supporters of the Damascus regime from the Alawite community — the same branch of Shia Islam to which President Assad belongs — clashed for days with opposition Sunni partisans, leaving a number of people dead and injured. To anyone visiting Tripoli today, the city appears to be an outpost of the Syrian opposition, with anti-regime flags, military deserters being treated in hospital and humanitarian aid and even a few cases of automatic rifles and rocket launchers being ferried to the border.

Faced with such an example, the Lebanese President has said that he is against the setting up of Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, where at least 7,000 Syrians have already arrive, with several thousand more set to follow. The concern, said Suleiman, is that the camps could become bases for co-ordinated military action against the Damascus regime.

The daily controversy stirred up by Lebanese politicians has hardly restored calm. Leading the pro-Syrian front is the Shi’ite organisation Hezbollah, which is part of the government of the Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, which last year took over from the executive of Saad Hariri, a Sunni with a hostile stance towards Damascus. Hezbollah, which has not given up its military wing despite two resolutions from the UN Security Council demanding its disarmament, is accused by the Syrian opposition of assisting the regime’s crackdown, as is its great protector, Iran. The movement’s leader, Sayeed Hassan Nasrallah, however, has denied this and today went as far as stating that he “condemns the massacres committed in Syria”, adding that he hoped for a “political solution”.

Hariri, meanwhile, says that the Lebanese people have a “ political and moral obligation” to side with the Syrian opposition against “a regime in the death throes”. But divisions also run deep in Christian circles. Michel Aoun, whose Free Patriotic Movement (CPL) is part of the government, remains allied with Damascus. Samir Geagea, from the Lebanese Forces (FL), which is in opposition, has accused Aoun of “defending the regime more than Assad”.

But while opinions differ, “all sides agree on the need to avoid Lebanon being sucked back into the crisis,” according to the Italian Foreign Ministry’s envoy for the Middle East, Maurizio Massari, who visited Beirut a few days ago. “This policy has so far been ably applied and co-incides with the interests of the international community,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan Massacre by U.S. Sergeant Reveals Epidemic of Psychiatric Drugging of Soldiers

(NaturalNews) The recent massacre of 16 civilians in Afghanistan by a rampaging U.S. military sergeant has something in common with nearly every school shooting in the USA — something the mainstream media typically refuses to report: These shooters frequently have a history of psychiatric drug “treatment” by psychiatrists.

Psychiatric drugs are now being routinely used across the U.S. military, where violent suicides have skyrocketed to levels never before seen in human history. 18 veterans commit suicide every day, says this NaturalNews article reprinted on CCHR


In the military today, soldiers who suffer TBIs — Traumatic Brain Injuries — routinely receive treatment with mind-altering psychiatric drugs. As reported in WIRED (

In an interview with ABC News on Monday, an unnamed source claimed that the sergeant suffered a TBI sometime in a past deployment, either by “hitting his head on the hatch of a vehicle or in a car accident.” A subsequent story from Reuters reported that the TBI occurred as recently as 2010. The alleged shooter is said to have later undergone TBI-specific treatment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, before being cleared for duty and then redeployed. He also reportedly passed typical behavioral health assessments during his enlistment.

TBI’s are known as the “signature wounds” of soldiers in the Middle East, reports WIRED, where an astonishing 200,000 soldiers have already been diagnosed with the condition. They are routinely treated with psychiatric drugs that have known side effects of promoting violence.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Diplomatic Efforts Continue for Italian Marines in India

Foreign undersecretary back to Rome Wednesday

(ANSA) — Trivandrum, March 12 — Diplomatic efforts are continuing on all fronts to resolve the case of two Italian marines being held for allegedly murdering two Indian fishermen while defending an Italian oil tanker, said Foreign Undersecretary Staffan de Mistura on Monday.

De Mistura met with the regional minister from Kerala, Oomen Chandy, on Monday to discuss developments and the possible impact next Saturday’s elections in the southern Indian state could have on the situation.

De Mistura, a longtime trouble-shooting diplomat assisting with liaison between Rome and New Delhi, will arrive in Rome on Wednesday for meetings with Italian government officials and will be temporarily substituted in India by the Italian Ambassador to New Delhi, Giacomo Sanfelice, in his absence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: West Java: Gun Attack on Protestant Church, Attackers Arrested

The two men, in their 30s, fired on the place of worship with air rifles. Police will not disclose their identity. Investigation into motive of the act. In their getaway vehicle, a luxury minivan, map of Gki Church and other “important” objectives in the country found.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — The two alleged perpetrators of the attack on a Protestant church in Indramayu — city of West Java, about 120 km east of Jakarta — late morning yesterday were arrested within a few hours of the attack in Bandung. So far the police have not released the identities of two men known only by their initials who are in their 30s. One of the accused, according to leaked information from the investigations, is a native of Bandung, while the place of origin of his accomplice has not yet been ascertained.

Sitompul Martin, West Java police spokesman, confirmed the arrest, adding that investigators are looking into the motive behind the attack. Local sources confirm that they saw the pair of men wandering around noon yesterday near the main building of the Protestant church Gereja Kristen Indonesia (Gki, better known as Yasmin Church), the two opened fire, apparently using air guns loaded with lead bullets.

A part of the church windows were destroyed, but the complex did not suffer other serious damage. It seems that the authors of the attack were driving a luxury VW Caravelle minivan that only wealthy people can buy.

The church of Indramayu Gki overlooks the main street of the city, connecting the capital Jakarta with all the towns on the eastern island of Java. Investigators have seized some documents from the vehicle used for the attack, which include among others a map of the place of Christian worship, and some “important” targets located in different cities on the archipelago.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, religious freedom is protected by the state, but there are attacks against Christian targets or violations to the free practice of religion. The most famous case in recent months regards the faithful of the Yasmin Church in Bogor, the center of a bitter feud with the local mayor who — despite a Supreme Court ruling — refuses to grant freedom of worship (cf. . AsiaNews 13/03/2012 Yasmin Church members stage peaceful protest in front of Yudhoyono’s residence).

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

The Blood Price of Afghanistan

The alleged attack on Afghans by an American soldier in Kandahar, where 91 soldiers have been murdered last year alone, is already receiving the full outrage treatment. Any outrage over the deaths of those 91 soldiers in the province will be completely absent.

There will be no mention of how many of them died because the Obama Administration decided that the lives of Afghan civilians counted for more than the lives of soldiers. No talk of what it is like to walk past houses with gunmen dressed in civilian clothing inside and if you are fired at from those houses, your orders are to retreat.

Air strikes are for days gone by. The American soldier in the ISAF is expected to patrol and retreat, to smile and reach out to Afghans while they shoot him in the back. After risking his life to hold back the Taliban, he is expected to take it calmly when his government announces that it is trying to cut a deal with the Taliban. As he waits out the final months until withdrawal, seeing his friends lose their limbs and their lives, knowing that the enemy has won, that he has been betrayed and is being kept senselessly on the front line for no objective except the diplomatic position of a government that hates him, that is taking away his health care, his equipment and his job; how does he feel?

The Panjwai district, where the shootings happened, is the cradle of the Taliban. Smiling civilians plant IED’s and children serve as lookouts. Obama’s Surge pushed hard into Panjwai and the Taliban pushed back. American soldiers were caught in the middle, dying for a handful of dusty towns where the inhabitants took their presents and shook hands with them, and then shot at them from cover.

The Montreal Gazette tells us that Belanday, one of the villages where the shootings took place, was a model village. What it omits is that Belanday was a key Taliban base, the houses were used for IED factories and it served as a transit route on the way to Kandahar City. The model village concept was supposed to change all that, but it didn’t change the sympathies of the local population.

All of that doesn’t matter though. The feelings of the men and women sent into the heart of the beast don’t matter. Only the eternally tender sensibilities of Muslims do. When Muslims kill us because we disposed of Korans that they marked up, we are at fault. When we kill them we are also at fault. This is the modern Catch 22 of the military which requires officers who have only one skill, sensitivity to Muslim feelings, and soldiers who die to keep the peace among their killers.

The life of an American soldier is worth less than a Muslim’s feelings. Under Islamic Sharia law, the blood price for a non-Muslim was only a third that of a Muslim. At Islam’s homicidal Wal-Mart, you could kill three Christians for the price of a Muslim. And we have cut prices even further by placing the feelings of a Muslim above the life of a non-Muslim.

When American soldiers die to protect Muslim feelings, denied air support and the right to defend themselves so as not to outrage the IED planting populace, there is no outrage from the mass media organs of outrage who take the liberal bumper sticker about always being outraged by their attention deficit disorder to heart. But when Muslims die, then the outrage machine grinds to life and begins making blood sausage out of any members of the military unfortunately enough to caught in the crossfire between CNN, CBS and FOX.

This is yet another opportunity for the Apologizer-in-Chief to apologize. By the time American soldiers leave hellholes like Kandahar behind, he may have racked up nearly as many apologies as the bodies of American sons and daughters, not to their parents naturally, but to the parents of their killers.

These days Obama hates the military more than ever for inconveniencing him by urinating on Taliban corpses, burning Korans and carrying out night raids. His only consolation is that if enough of them from key states die at the hands of the “moderate” Taliban, that the Muslim Brotherhood is negotiating with on his behalf, it might be enough to swing a key state in a close election. And if the soldiers get their revenge by urinating on dead Taliban, he gets his revenge urinating on live soldiers.

The soldiers, those who survive, can expect no parades, they can expect to have their health care benefits cut at the urging of the Soros run Center for American Progress and they can expect to be hounded by the media and Hollywood, which is already doing its best to turn the veteran of Kandahar or Fallujah into the new Vietnam veteran. They can watch on television as the Taliban sweep back into Kabul, firing assault rifles into the air, taking back every inch of the ground that they fought to defend for the ungrateful Afghans and D.C. drones. And they can watch some of the Afghans who have received visas, bring over large families and set up shop smuggling cigarettes and engaging in wire fraud, while receiving hefty government benefits, while they look for work.

All this will go unmentioned until much later when it will show up in occasional novels and fictionalized histories of the conflict. And those will be buried beneath the latest bit of ethnic literature from the Muslim world consumed by Oprah book club members and New York Times reviewers alike that teaches what a deep reserve of spirituality can be found in lovely places like Kandahar.

For now the outrage machine grinds on. The Taliban have sworn to take revenge, as if they weren’t already launching attacks as often as possible. As if there is any outrage at all involved in a region where it is a worse thing to burn a book than murder a little girl. For the faithful students of Allah, shooting a bunch of people is hardly worth a yawn. It shows a lack of imagination.

Bullets aren’t enough to satisfy the cruelty and sadism of a Taliban fighter for the Islamic Emirate which gloried in scenes such as these. “We would beat them with staves soaked in water — like a knife cutting through meat — until the room ran with their blood or their spines snapped. Then we would leave them with no food or water in rooms filled with insects until they died.”

That probably won’t make it into the next Oprah book club bestseller, but we can rest easy knowing that even when all the troops are back home, some of the perpetrators of these acts, will be here in America as we bring a sizable bit of Afghanistan home with us, just as we brought a sizable bit of Iraq with us. And all those little Kandahars and little Mogadishus and little Gazas will insure that the next time we need to fight the Taliban, we will only have to go as far as Minneapolis or Paterson.

On the way out, Obama will show up quickly, shake a few hands, sign some autographs and tell the troops they did good. No one will be allowed to ask him what they did, besides bleed and patrol a barren murderous land for a decade, just long enough to give a few girls in Kabul some hope, and then hand the country back over to the Taliban and return home with our dead?

What did we really do in Afghanistan? We killed some tribesmen, dug some wells and handed out a lot of money to other tribesmen in the hopes that they wouldn’t kill us. We learned some new languages, took a lot of dramatic photos and buried some loved ones…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

US Suspect in Afghan Shootings Identified

On Friday, a senior U.S. defense official said Bales was drinking in the hours before the attack on Afghan villagers, violating a U.S. military order banning alcohol in war zones. The official discussed the matter on condition of anonymity because charges have not yet been filed.

[Note from Egghead: I thought that the ‘reason’ that we let 18 year olds drink alcohol is that those 18 year olds might be drafted to war? The reasoning for lowering the drinking age from 21 years old to 18 years old was that 18 year olds should be allowed to drink if 18 year olds may be made to fight. But now, no alcohol is allowed in war zones? Wait, where are the war zones? Oh yeah, the war zones are Muslim countries under Sharia Law! Sharia Law forbids alcohol! Let’s everyone sing to the tune from the Sound of Music: ‘How do you spell a problem like Sharia?’]

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]


Africans in Switzerland Find a Common Voice

Some fled from a country torn by war. Others were following the dream of a better future: a job, a home, a family. At the end of 2011 there were 60,658 Africans resident in Switzerland, not counting dual citizens or asylum seekers without refugee status. Most of them are Eritreans (8,377), Moroccans (7,270), Tunisians (6,489), Congolese (4,707) and Cameroonians (4,068).

With the exception of South Sudan, which has been independent only since July 2011, all 54 states of the world’s second-most populous continent are represented. Together they represent about 3.5 per cent of the foreign resident population here.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Racism on the Rise in Italy, Says a Report to Parliament

Eastern Europeans hit hardest

(ANSA) — Rome, March 8 — Racism is on the rise in Italy, especially in the media and on the Internet, said a report by the National Office against Racial Discrimination (UNAR) presented to Parliament on Thursday.

One out of four victims of racially-motivated discrimination in Italy comes from Eastern European countries and the Balkans, the report said. North Africans are the targets of 16.6% of discriminatory acts and Latin Americans 13.8%, it said.

In February, a Council of Europe report on racism and xenophobia said that the situation in Italy has worsened over the last five years and criticised the country for fostering a climate of “intolerance,” especially regarding Roma (Gypsies), immigrants and Muslims.

Italian soccer has also been dogged by racism in recent years.

On Monday, Lazio were fined 20,000 euros by Serie A’s sporting judge after their fans directed racist abuse at Brazilian defender Juan during Sunday’s derby in the capital.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Muslims Advise Fellow Believers How to Integrate

A group of Swiss Muslims has published recommendations for integration in response to a nationwide vote which banned the construction of minarets in Switzerland. The 2009 initiative to ban construction of minarets was accepted by more than 57 per cent of voters but was heavily criticised by international human rights organisations.

The Grouping of Swiss Muslims said its recommendations were not only for the attention of federal, cantonal and communal authorities, political parties, the media and business, but “in a large part, for Muslims”. “Muslims must make more of an effort, but society also needs to open their arms,” one of the group members, Khaldoun Dia-Eddine, told reporters. The group was set up a day after the vote as an informal think tank, but does not claim to be representative of all Muslims in Switzerland.

Amongst their recommendations, Muslims are called upon to develop artistic, cultural, scientific and sports projects around the theme of integration. Federal authorities, for their part, are called on to create an observatory of legal experts to document cases of discrimination with a view to modifying the law.

Muslims are also urged to invite community and cantonal authorities to local mosques during significantly religious events such as Ramadan. The recommendations are published in two brochures — one in German, French and Italian, the other in English and Arabic.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Private Space Pioneer Elon Musk Counters Neil Armstrong, Critics on ‘60 Minutes’

Elon Musk made history in 2010 when his company, SpaceX, became the first to launch a privately built space capsule into orbit and return it safely to Earth. But now, the millionaire-turned-space pioneer has an even loftier goal: to be the first entrepreneur to put an astronaut in orbit.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]