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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 26 February

by Fran Sun Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:59:04 PM EST

On this date in history:

1815 - Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from Elba

More here and here

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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:00:00 AM EST
Deutsche Welle: Barroso: Time to Act Against Climate Change in Europe

EU Commission President Jose Barroso said Sunday that the 27-member union had to move on taking climate control steps and position itself as the world leader in the fight against further damage to the environment.

In an interview with German tabloid Bild am Sonntag, Barroso said that the upcoming EU summit at the beginning of March would give state leaders an opportunity to take decisive steps regarding "one of the great global challenges of our time.

"We have talked for long enough -- now we must act," said Barroso, who is planning on delivering a key note on climate policy in his home country Portugal on Monday.

He called on members states to come to "clear-cut decisions about the corner stones of our future energy policy as 80 percent of all carbon gas emissions come from energy."

Barroso added that the EU Commission was committed to lower emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

"Citizens want that these goals are really reached and we cannot afford not to reach them," he said.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: Berlin Walks Tightrope in Search of EU Anniversary Text

A spat between London and Luxembourg about the euro has highlighted the problems the German EU presidency faces in devising a celebratory declaration for the 50th anniversary of the bloc's founding treaty next month.

The question of encapsulating the successes of the European Union in a few pages may not seem an overwhelming problem to euroskeptics, but is proving rather tricky for Berlin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country assumed the rotating EU presidency last month, asked the 27 member states to send envoys for bilateral talks at which they put forward all their national suggestions. Those discussions are now over, and no more formal input from the member states is scheduled before a European summit in Brussels on March 8-9 where the EU leaders will discuss the final text over dinner.

Some points already have unanimous backing.

Everyone agrees that the Berlin declaration should be short -- two or three pages -- and an easy read, unburdened by the kind of euro-babble, jargon and diplomatic subtleties that make so much of the EU's output incomprehensible to the layperson.

On top of that, the EU nations have agreed that the declaration should celebrate the peace and prosperity which the Union has helped to construct since the dark days of World War II.

As ever, searching for a consensus

The devil, as ever, is in the details.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker stressed last week that he would like the euro currency to get a mention "as one of the great successes of European construction."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:15:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Obese boy could be taken away from his family

he mother of an eight-year-old boy who may be taken into care tomorrow because of his excessive weight has condemned her local health authority for threatening the drastic measure without offering enough support to deal with her son's weight problem.

Experts fear the only way to prevent Connor McCreaddie, who weighs 14 stones, from developing life-threatening diabetes or heart problems, may be to remove him from his family.

The classification of child obesity as a form of child abuse would mark a watershed in social policy, providing a justification for state intervention.

The boy's mother, Nicola McKeown, who has suffered from depression, said her family would be devastated if Connor was taken away. She accused the authorities in Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne, where she lives in a council home with Connor and his sister, of failing to support her.

Speaking to the Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme, which has been following Connor's case for a month, she said: "I was given a diet sheet when he was five-years-old, stuck to it for a whole year. There was supposed to be a follow-up appointment, nothing. Carried on, stuck with it as long as I could and for the amount he was eating, I felt sorry for him.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Later in that story, the mother is quoted as saying the boy constantly wants to be fed. I wonder if they've looked into Prader-Willi Syndrome. There's also no indication of how this boy is eating when not at home. Parents have huge influence over how kids eat, and the parents here may be overfeeding him, yet either the story is missing information, or the doctors involved aren't looking at every possibility.
by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:48:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
poor kid, i can relate.

at 14 ii was obese too, still have the stretch marks.

the kid is probably

  1. seeking emotional fulfilment through overeating

  2. trying a 'shotgun'' approach, because the food he's being given is empty calories, and he's trying to sub quantity for quality

i wish him luck, and advice from someone who can help.

very painful, destructive, life-wasting, organ-aging loop to be caught in...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 07:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shades of Ken Loach's Ladybird, ladybird.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Incredible. This is state going crazy. Of all solutions they found criminal one. To rob child of his mother and his childhood as normal as can be under circumstances of his life.
Who the hell made these laws to make something like this possible? Where are therapists, support groups, social workers, financial support...Weight watchers and Jenny Craig that are helping celebrities, ha-ha?
State took and is taking too much of our freedom. I am staned where ever they come with something new.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:13:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Classifying child obesity as child abuse might be appropriate, but it is not the parents that are responsible for the abuse.

There is a correlation between income and food quality, and that is not because poor people don't know better, but because cheap food is crap.

Just go to a nice supermarket in a wealthy area and to a run-down one in a poor area. Get "substitutable" products from each of them. Compare the ingredient lists, and the prices.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:20:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Le Pen tempers racism in fifth presidential bid

Moving away from blunt racism, the French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen folded a flavour of save-the-planet evangelism into his rhetoric yesterday as he launched his fifth bid for president.

But M. Le Pen, whose daughter Martine is credited with softening his image, may not be able to run in the 22 April first round. He has not yet secured the 500 endorsements from elected officials that are required before he can stand.

Speaking to 2,500 supporters in Lille, M. Le Pen, 78, for the first time brought environmental issues into his campaign, though the underlying message was still laced with allusions to the ills of immigration and the collusion against him by "the cartel of ministers and ex-ministers who have governed us for 30 years".

In an appeal to the far left, he called on France's "seven million" poor people to "wake up to the global tragedy" caused by "planetary financial capitalism led by a few predators whose only target is double-digit profit in a nation called Money". Departing from his usual anti-foreigner rhetoric, he said: "We shouldn't blame immigrants for these policies. Those who bear the exclusive responsibility are French politicians [of the mainstream parties] who are today represented by the candidates [Ségolène] Royal, [Nicolas] Sarkozy and [François] Bayrou.

"It is they and the parties which have governed France, sometimes alone, sometimes in cohabitation; all of them responsible, all of them guilty," he said at the Palais des Congrès.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:23:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Financial Times: Sarkozy to relinquish interior ministry

Nicolas Sarkozy answered critics of his dual role as France's interior minister and presidential candidate, saying in a TV interview on Sunday that he would leave the government "around the end of March".

Mr Sarkozy's statement followed growing speculation that the UMP party leader would step down by March 23, the date after which the government had asked ministers to stop making official appearances in the run-up to the election.

It also followed weekend polls showing that Ségolène Royal, the Socialist presidential candidate, had closed Mr Sarkozy's lead.

Since declaring himself a candidate at the end of November, Mr Sarkozy has faced pressure both from opponents and advisers to leave a post seen as a distraction from campaigning and a potential conflict of interest.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:34:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is on the front page of the paper, but it is not news (no new date). But as the FT wrtoe a editorial a couple of days ago calling for his resignation, maybe they want to make it look like they influenced him?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 04:46:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Prodi soldiers on with new allies

hree days after dramatically resigning in the wake of a narrow defeat in parliament, Romano Prodi has stiffened his crumbling coalition and received the go-ahead to push on as Prime Minister of Italy.

Following two days of emergency talks with political leaders, culminating in a one-to-one talk with Prodi on Saturday morning, President Giorgio Napolitano refused Prodi's resignation and told him to return to parliament for a confidence vote, which could be held as soon as Wednesday.

Prodi quit last Wednesday after his nine-party coalition was defeated by two Senate votes on a motion backing the government's foreign policy. His return is boosted by new declarations of allegiance from partners and the recruitment of a Catholic centrist senator Marco Follini, a deputy prime minister in the government of Silvio Berlusconi. Asked if he was now sure of a Senate majority, Prodi said: 'I think so, but there will be a debate and we will see.'

Berlusconi attacked Napolitano's statement that 'there was no other concrete alternative' to Prodi, claiming: 'The left will never find the consensus for providing this country with the reforms it needs. The agony is set to continue.'

Prodi has never enjoyed more than a one- or two-seat majority in the upper house and two communist senators angry about Italy's presence in Afghanistan last week denied the government precious votes, contributing to his defeat. The Prime Minister has since signed up his allies to a 12-point plan that includes backing peace-keeping missions and giving him the sole right to speak on behalf of the coalition.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:57:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DutchNews: New government gets down to business

After the pomp and ceremony of Thursday afternoon, the new cabinet (16 full ministers) held its first meeting on Friday. Meanwhile more details have emerged about the exact division of responsibilities within the new government.

The sensitive portfolios containing Dutch Rail (NS) and Schiphol airport will now fall under Christian Democrat transport minister Camiel Eurlings rather than the junior minister, as in the last cabinet.

Eurlings will also have responsibility for what the Telegraaf describes as two `headache' portfolios, the HSL and Betuwe railway projects. Junior transport minister Tineke Huizinga will concentrate on public transport and maritime issues.

ChristenUnie's André Rouvoet, who has the new job of youth and family affairs minister, will operate within several different ministries including justice, education and employment. He will have a budget of €6bn, the state information service RVD said.

Rouvoet and junior education minister Sharon Dijkstra have already announced plans to hold a summit on children's issues later this year.

The title of new integration minister Ella Vogelaar was also changed yesterday. Instead of being minister of integration and urban renewal, she is minister of living, neighbourhoods and integration.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:15:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Update on the Dutch Burqa

DutchNews:Burqa okay on street, says new minister

Women should be allowed to wear burqas in some circumstances, integration minister Ella Vogelaar told TV programme Nova on Thursday night. 'As far as I am concerned it should be possible on the street,' Vogelaar said.

But burqas were not desirable if women were working in public functions or jobs in which human contact was important, Vogelaar said.

The previous government had announced plans to ban the burqa in all public places. The new coalition agreement states that clothing which covers the face may be banned if necessary to maintain public order.

Vogelaar also said she was pleased the new government had decided that overseeing immigration policy and the integration of immigrants should no longer be done by the same person. Rita Verdonk held both functions in the previous cabinet.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:17:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Wilders is, of course, raising a ruckus.

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Blow for beer as biofuels clean out barley

The rapid expansion of biofuel production may be welcome news for environmentalists but for the world's beer drinkers it could be a different story.

Strong demand for biofuel feedstocks such as corn, soyabeans and rapeseed is encouraging farmers to plant these crops instead of grains like barley, driving up prices.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chief executive of Heineken the Dutch brewer, warned last week that the expansion of the biofuel sector was beginning to cause a "structural shift" in European and US agricultural markets.

One consequence, he said, could be a long-term shift upwards in the price of beer. Barley and hops account for about 7-8 per cent of brewing costs.


"In the US, land that was cultivated for growing barley has been given over to corn because of the ethanol demand," said Levin Flake, a grains trade analyst at the US department of agriculture.

Biofuels... how to create more supply crises without solving the initial one... Maybe it it a trick to force us to look at resource use, by making it obvious what unsustainability means...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 06:21:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This might be a cascading failure as the depletion of one resource increases the strain of other resources also at the brink.

What is really interesting is that the first sector to be impacted is agriculture, and not transportation.

So, if peak oil is followed by peak ethanol crops, what comes next?

Expanding intensive crop production cannot be done by using more fossil fuels, since it was peak oil that caused the need for more crps.

My prediction is that ethanol crops will displace animal feed and the next knock-on effect will be on meat production.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 06:28:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, i suspect miilions of people are about to receive a lesson in the difference between, want, need, and what you can pay for..

meat and booze...

luxuries, when your means of getting to a paying job has a thirst of its own!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 07:54:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fresh blast in Kosovo
26 February 2007 | 11:35 | Source: B92, AP
PRIŠTINA -- Explosion damaged several vehicles belonging to OSCE on Monday in Peć, a police official said. No one was hurt.

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=02&dd=26&nav_category=91&a mp;nav_id=39827

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 08:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But vbo, I thought Blair said Kosovo went so well....

I spoke with my friend in Croatia a few months ago and asked how everyone was doing in terms of recovering from the war. She said that people were figuring out that life goes on, that they had to move past the war. I wonder if people in Kosovo will ever be able to do that.

by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 11:55:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
B92 News Politics Diplomacy & IR
ICJ: Serbia not directly responsible
26 February 2007 | 10:31 -> 13:28 | Source: B92, AP
HAGUE -- The Interantional Court of Justice exhonorates Serbia of direct responsibility for genocide during the 1992-95 war.

However, the ICJ ruled that Serbia failed to use its influence with Bosnian Serbs to prevent the genocide of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica.

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=02&dd=26&nav_category=92&a mp;nav_id=39825

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:20:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ack, did they really write exhonorates?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:29:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I did copy/paste and it came like that...
Obviously they meant Exonerate...clear...
B-92 is pro western station as you may imagine. I used to demonstrate on streets of Belgrade against fully armed police to keep them going (it was just radio at the time and now they have TV too). But I do not think that they are fair nowadays ,,,actually I think they are frivoling and I don't appreciate it but that's the only one station I can find in English and that's why I am quoting them all the time...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I used to demonstrate on streets of Belgrade against fully armed police to keep them going"

Thank you. They were a necessary voice and the only one at the time to really show what was happening inside Serbia. I haven't listened to them for a while and am sorry to hear they may not be so good anymore.

by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:03:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are OK in a sense. But they are a little bit "too pro-western" (especially pro EU) and this makes an angle from where they are looking a little bit "out of focus"...let's say so...
In trying very hard not to be "nationalistic" they often look like they work against nation they represent and are part of.
Nationalism is the word that is so ostracized (especially after everything that happened there) but being proud of good things about your nation and working in the interest of that nation in accordance to law is totally legitimate for me. For example I am an Australian now too and all though I am aware of how important are our ties with USA (in every single aspect) I can't just stray my head not to see where USA government is leading Australia at the moment.
Same with Serbia and Europe. Of course Serbia is in Europe, is Europe and should work to become member of EU family...but this can't stop me to criticize EU on every single level. B92 kind of avoid to do that, lately.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 10:18:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:00:34 AM EST
Times Online: US generals `will quit' if Bush orders Iran attack

SOME of America's most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

"There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran," a source with close ties to British intelligence said. "There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible."

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. "All the generals are perfectly clear that they don't have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

"There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the generals resign and are replaced by... people who would approve an attack. Resigning will not help. Better to stay and just refuse to okay an attack, I think. Of course, I'm not a general, don't know how possible that would be.
by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My hope is that they are the tip of the iceberg.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:02:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would like that-- to have layers and layers of military ranks refuse to support an attack would really be something-- but I've learned to be a bit pessimistic.
by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:15:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they have to resign if they're going to refuse an order. While there are moments where a coup or a mutiny sounds better than the current regime in the US, most of the time I think that civilian government is an improvement over military.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:50:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to think so back then with Milosevic....but I am not sure now. Maybe it would at least stop some of the bloodbath and distractions of the scale we are seeing and can expect.
To be honest I can't imagine military coup in USA but then again going on Iran may be irreversible stupidity that  may have greater consequences on worldwide politic  that we can't even see now. Some people may see it. Especially those to be in charge of idiocy.
On the other hand military complex is so feeding it self by those wars that few generals will be replaced without a blink of eye.
If they decide to fake like Israel is doing it on it's own then goodbye  Israel .I don't think Americans are going to defend Israel "to the last American" and that's what is going to be needed to sustain Israel as a state there. Then again if USA goes nuclear how the hell they think that all that nuclear shit is not going to affect Israelis being that close  (not to mention others for whom they simply do not care). It's all so crazy that one can hardly believe that we came to this point to even talk about it seriously at all.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:15:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'm keeping an eye on fiji for this reason.

watching the military commander speak on tv, he seems very grounded and rational.

i think military culture is inherently less corrupt than politics, and i so far have mostly very strong anti-miltary feelings.

but pols are often worse.

proper sophie's choice i pray daily we never have to make again in europe;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 07:58:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All flag promotions must be approved by the (Democratic-controlled) Senate.  If he got a mass resignation, it would be a problem for him.  He couldn't just replace those generals without having to answer for why so many of them quit.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone suggested elsewhere that five is the number of joint chiefs of staff ... that would be way beyond embarrassing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:03:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm, it is indeed.  And the report says "generals and admirals."

From a military perspective, their resignations would be really the only appropriate ones.  That is the level at which the military interacts with its civilian commanders.  The same gesture by lower-ranking generals would be (a) a less powerful political symbol, and (b) perceived within the ranks as divisive and/or potentially endangering the command structure.

But the resignation of the Joint Chiefs would be an exceptionally powerful symbol.  To my knowledge, that option has only been seriously contemplated twice (as explained here), and so the possible repercussions of actually doing it are really just theoretical, but I think it's safe to say that "political earthquake" might describe it.  It is not an act that the Joint Chiefs would undertake outside of the most extreme circumstances.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 04:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia lists over 40 active-duty 4-star generals and admirals. And the Joint Chiefs of Staff are six (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Chair and Vicechair). By the way,
After the 1986 reorganization of the military undertaken by the Goldwater-Nichols Act, the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have operational command of U.S. military forces. Responsibility for conducting military operations goes from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the heads of the Unified Combatant Commands and thus bypasses the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely.

Today, their primary responsibility is to ensure the readiness of their respective military services. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also act in an advisory military capacity for the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. In addition, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acts as the chief military advisor to the President and the Secretary of Defense. In this strictly advisory role, the Joint Chiefs constitute the second-highest deliberatory body for military policy, after the National Security Council, which includes the President and other officials besides the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Which means the chiefs of staff would not have to refuse an order, but they could resign with a statement to the effect that they have told the WH that they can no longer ensure readiness (Bush has broken the military) and the WH has ignored it. Assuming that were the case.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 04:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gah, of course they are.  I always forget about the vice chairman.

Yes, the resignation of the Joint Chiefs would be more symbolic than operationally debilitating, which is another reason why it would be more appropriate than the resignations of the combatant commanders.  Because one of the key roles of the Chiefs is advisory, it would be a sign that the president and secretary of defense were pursing a military course of action against the advice of their top military advisors.  It's hard to coherently argue that you're doing what's militarily necessary when your top military advisors are publicly saying the opposite....

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 05:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they went public on the reason for their resignation, that would create a political problem for Bush.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:40:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: 'Exodus' of Iraq's ancient minorities

raq's minorities, some of the oldest communities in the world, are being driven from the country by a wave of violence against them because they are identified with the occupation and easy targets for kidnappers and death squads. A "huge exodus" is now taking place, according to a report by Minority Rights Group International.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says 30 per cent of the 1.8 million Iraqis who have fled to Jordan, Syria and elsewhere come from the minorities.

The Christians, who have lived in Iraq for 2,000 years, survived the Muslim invasion in the 7th century and the Mongol onslaught in the 13th but are now being eradicated as their churches are bombed and members of their faith hunted down and killed along with other minority faiths.

The report, Assimilation, Exodus, Eradication: Iraq's minority communities since 2003, written by Preti Taneja, says that half of the minority communities in Iraq, once 10 per cent of the total population, have fled. They include Mandaeans, whose main prophet is John the Baptist and Yazidis whose religion is an offshoot of Zoroastrianism and may be 4,000 years old. Other minorities who were persecuted under Saddam Hussein are under attack again. The so-called Faili, or Shia Kurds, who were stripped of their belongings under the old regime and expelled to Iran are now being forced to run again - forced out of Shia areas such as Sadr City because they are Kurds and Sunni cities such as Baquba, because they are Shia.

The small Jewish community, whose members arrived in chains as slaves, has been all but destroyed by persecution and the pervasive suspicion that Jews have collaborated with the US-led invaders.

Christians were tolerated in Iraq under Saddam Hussein whose policies were generally secular, though they became more Islamic in his latter years.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:25:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Bush to warn Pakistan's leader that U.S. aid could be cut

WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush has decided to send an unusually tough message to one of his most important allies, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, warning him that the newly Democratic Congress could cut aid to his country unless his forces became far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with Al Qaeda, senior administration officials say.

The decision came after the White House concluded that Musharraf is failing to live up to commitments he made to Bush during a visit here in September. Musharraf insisted then, both in private and public, that a peace deal he struck with tribal leaders in one of the country's most lawless border areas would not diminish the hunt for the leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban or their training camps.

Now, American intelligence officials have concluded that the terrorist infrastructure is being rebuilt, and that while Pakistan has attacked some camps, its overall effort has flagged.

"He's made a number of assurances over the past few months, but the bottom line is that what they are doing now is not working," one senior administration official who deals often with Southeast Asia issues said late last week. "The message we're sending to him now is that the only thing that matters is results."

Democrats, who took control of Congress last month, have urged the White House to put greater pressure on Pakistan because of statements from American commanders that units based in Pakistan that are linked to the Taliban, Afghanistan's ousted rulers, are increasing their attacks into Afghanistan.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Newsweek: Vets on the Street - Hundreds of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are ending up homeless. How could this happen?

Feb. 24, 2007 - Kevin Felty came back from Iraq in 2003 with nowhere to stay, and not enough money to rent an apartment. He and his wife of four years moved in with his sister in Florida, but the couple quickly overstayed their welcome. Jobless and wrestling with what he later learned was posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Felty suddenly found himself scrambling to find a place for himself and his wife, who was six-months pregnant. They found their way to a shelter for homeless veterans, which supported his wife during her pregnancy and helped Felty get counseling and find a job. A year later, he's finally thinking his future. "I don't want to say this is exactly where I want to be--it's really not," he says. "But it's what I can get at the moment."

Young, alienated and often living on their own for the first time, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans increasingly are coming home to find that they don't have one. Already, nearly 200,000 veterans--many from the Vietnam War--sleep on the streets every night, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. But young warriors just back from the Mideast--estimated around 500 to 1,000--are beginning to struggle with homelessness too. Drinking or using drugs to cope with PTSD, they can lose their job and the support of family and friends, and start a downward spiral to the streets. Their tough military mentality can make them less likely to seek help. Advocates say it can take five to eight years for a veteran to exhaust their financial resources and housing options, so they expect the number to rise exponentially in a few years. "Rather than wait for the tsunami, we should be doing something now," says Cheryl Beversdorf, president of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

The problem is mainly a lack of resources, advocates say. There are only about 15,000 beds available in VA-funded shelters or hospitals nationwide, and nearly every one is taken. In some smaller cities there simply aren't many places for a homeless veteran to go. And as affordable housing units shrink nationwide, veterans living on a disability check of, say, $700 a month, (which means a 50-percent disability rating from the VA),  are hard-pressed to find a place to live. Most shelters require veterans to participate in a rehabilitation program, but a "fair amount" of veterans just go back to the streets once they leave, says Ed Quill, director of external affairs at Volunteers of America, the nonprofit housing group for veterans that helped Felty.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:44:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in May 2003, there was a cartoon of Rumsfeld driving a car with the print "Iraq" on the bonnet. On the back seat, there were several reporters (portrayed as anxious kids - as they do) constantly asking Rumsfeld, to his great agitation, "Is it Vietnam yet?" "It is Vietnam yet?"

This is getting really depressing.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No Shit Holmes!

Take care out there in the great wild south.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 04:10:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Think Progress: Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups

New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the "single most explosive" element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been "pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight" for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to "stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence." Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of "three Sunni jihadist groups" who are "connected to al Qaeda" but "want to take on Hezbollah."

Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: "We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11." Watch it:

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:48:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaaaaaaahhhh! You know, just when I think I've become cynical enough to read something like this without screaming, something comes along to make me scream even louder. No, I take that back. It doesn't shock me. It just makes me feel more numb. I should have expected to eventually read something like this.

What do you want to bet that this story won't make even a tiny little wave here, that it will either be buried by Anna Nicole stories or just not reported any more.

by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:07:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Robert Fisk: 27 July 1880. A date Mr Blair should look up
Those sending British troops to Afghanistan should learn the lessons of the Battle of Maiwand

O ut of the frying pan, into the historical fire. If only our leaders read history. In 1915, the British swept up from Basra, believing that the Iraqis would reward them with flowers and love, only to find themselves surrounded at Kut al-Amara, cut down by Turkish shellfire and cholera. Now we are reinforcing Nato in that tomb of the British Army, Afghanistan.

Hands up any soldiers who know that another of Britain's great military defeats took place in the very sands in which your colleagues are now fighting the Taliban. Yes, the Battle of Maiwand - on 27 July, 1880 - destroyed an entire British brigade, overrun by thousands of armed Afghan tribesmen, some of whom the official enquiry into the disaster would later describe as "Talibs". The Brits had been trying to secure Helmand province. Sound familiar?

Several times already in Helmand, the British have almost been overwhelmed. This has not been officially admitted, but the Ministry of Defence did make a devious allusion to this last year - it was missed by all the defence correspondents - when it announced that British troops in Helmand had been involved in the heaviest combat fighting "since the Korean War". The Afghans talk of one British unit which last year had to call in air strikes, destroying almost the entire village in which they were holding out. Otherwise, they would have been overrun.

General Burrows had no close air support on 27 July, 1880, when he found himself confronting up to 15,000 Afghan fighters at Maiwand, but he had large numbers of Egyptian troops with him and a British force in the city of Kandahar. Already, the British had cruelly suppressed a dissident Afghan army - again, sound familiar? - after the British residency had been sacked and its occupants murdered. Britain's reaction at the time was somewhat different from that followed today. Britain's army was run from imperial India where Lord Lytton, the Viceroy, urged his man in Kabul - General Roberts, later Lord Roberts of Kandahar - to crush the uprising with the utmost brutality. "Every Afghan brought to death, I shall regard as one scoundrel the less in a nest of scoundrelism." Roberts embarked on a reign of terror in Kabul, hanging almost a hundred Afghans.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:51:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And this after radiantly announcing to pull 1500+ troops out of Iraq?????? How unbelievably sleigh.

GaryJ, perhaps you should add the Great Game and its failures to your list of Advanced English History... Then again, perhaps it wouldn't make it.

Did you (or anyone) read Hopkirk's The Great Game, by any chance?

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think my hypothetical students already have a great deal to take in.

A section on great imperial disasters - the two Afghan wars, Gordon at Khartoum and the Battle of Isandlwana perhaps - might present a few problems to modern teachers. In the heyday of the empire they could be presented as part of the heroic price for bringing civilisation to the benighted barbarians even though they did not want it - almost a sacrifice like that of Christ (at least by unstated implication). However we do not think like that nowadays.

As I recall my own schooling all these things were touched on, but not given great weight. Gordon's fate and the ending of suzerainity over the Boer Republics in South Africa (which took place at about the same time) were brought up as the subject matter of the Conservative attack on Gladstone for being soft on imperial questions (which he was because he thought colonies a drain on Britain - not buying into the jingoist belligerence Disraeli encouraged).

The trouble with history is there is so much of it. Coming up with a manageable narrative which covers everything fairly is an almost impossible task.

by Gary J on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:53:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, goody, the Taliban have been around for at least 127 years... [hey, 127 is a prime number!]

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BusinessWeek: How Long Can The U.S. Count On Foreign Funding?

In a speech in 2004, then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said: "It is difficult to imagine that we can continue indefinitely to borrow savings from abroad at a rate equivalent to 5% of U.S. gross domestic product." <...>

The question seemed especially urgent after the Treasury Dept.'s eye-opening report that net inflows of foreign capital into long-term U.S. securities fell to only $15.6 billion in December. It was the skimpiest monthly total in almost five years. <...>

THE SHARP FALLOFF in December capital inflows does not appear to presage any serious trouble, but a drop of that size bears watching in coming months. <...>

The December drop came as the U.S. continues to face a dearth of homegrown savings. That's pressure enough on the U.S. to draw in the capital it needs. But against this already shaky backdrop, two new trends are emerging that add even more weight on U.S. finance and the dollar.

First, there is increasing evidence that foreigners are diversifying their assets away from dollar-denominated securities toward other currencies. <...>

A second new threat is homegrown: Chances of outright protectionist measures, such as tariffs, appear to be rising. The new Democratic Congress shows signs it will be far more activist on issues affecting trade, especially with China and countries that manipulate their currencies to gain a competitive advantage. <...>

Any U.S. action that reduces Chinese imports, however, also will result in less foreign exchange for the Chinese to invest. That could make the Chinese less interested in the auctions of U.S. Treasury securities. China is second only to Japan as the largest holder of U.S. Treasury issues. <...>

The day of reckoning will be at the point when foreigners demand more for their money, either through a weaker dollar, higher interest rates, or both. On the way there, any more reports of waning interest in U.S. securities are likely to attract much more attention in the currency markets, to the detriment of the greenback.

Yes, but everything is cool as long this graph stays above the zero mark, right?

Or not?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:49:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BK - please make this into a diary!!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:11:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yikes.  That is a scary suggestion, as my understanding of the issues is tenuous at best (not that that has stopped me before.)  But I'll see if I can spin one out in some kind of constructive way.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AP: CIA recruited Japanese war criminals

Col. Masanobu Tsuji was a fanatical Japanese militarist and brutal warrior, hunted after World War II for massacres of Chinese civilians and complicity in the Bataan Death March. And then he became a U.S. spy. Newly declassified CIA records, released by the U.S. National Archives and examined by The Associated Press, document more fully than ever how Tsuji and other suspected Japanese war criminals were recruited by U.S. intelligence in the early days of the Cold War. The documents also show how ineffective the effort was, in the CIA's view.

The records, declassified in 2005 and 2006 under an act of Congress in tandem with Nazi war crime-related files, fill in many of the blanks in the previously spotty documentation of the occupation authority's intelligence arm and its involvement with Japanese ultra-nationalists and war criminals, historians say.In addition to Tsuji, who escaped Allied prosecution and was elected to parliament in the 1950s, conspicuous figures in U.S.-funded operations included mob boss and war profiteer Yoshio Kodama, and Takushiro Hattori, former private secretary to Hideki Tojo, the wartime prime minister hanged as a war criminal in 1948.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 04:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:01:48 AM EST
BBC: Three Oscars for Pan's Labyrinth

Guillermo del Toro's fairytale film Pan's Labyrinth has won Oscars for art direction, cinematography and make-up at the Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Alan Arkin was best supporting actor for Little Miss Sunshine, which was also best original screenplay.

Jennifer Hudson earned best supporting actress for Dreamgirls, while Martin Scorsese's The Departed took the awards for adapted screenplay and editing.

Environmental film An Inconvenient Truth was best full-length documentary.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:05:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel Online: "THE LIVES OF OTHERS" - On the Oscar Campaign Trail

German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's film "The Lives of Others" didn't make it to the Berlin International Film Festival last year -- but now it's been nominated for an Oscar.

The wind coming across the East River is bitingly cold. On the other side of the water, the Manhattan skyline glistens in the setting sun like an icy palace. It's one of the coldest days of this year's New York winter.

But German film director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is giving an outdoor interview, shrouded in frosty breath. It looks as if this six-foot-nine-inch giant will turn to ice any moment. Instead, he laughs. And it works: He's making a great impression.

Donnersmarck is hoping to win an Oscar for his melodrama about the East German secret police, "The Lives of Others" ("Das Leben der Anderen"), which is competing in the category "Best Foreign Language Film." The much sought-after awards will be presented in Los Angeles on Feb. 25. Meanwhile, the film is showing in many major US cities, where it now needs to impress the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who make up the jury. Donnersmarck's expectations are climbing.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:08:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It won.

It was a total surprise.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 08:33:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found The Departed a haunting movie - was stuck in my head for days, generally the hallmark of a Great Movie in my book. Also the first movie I was overwhelming appreciative of DiCaprio. Wasn't so haunted by a Hollywood movie since "Magnolia" (not-withstanding Lord of the Rings which was KIWI!).

That's enough chit-chat!

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:21:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This topic just doesn't seem to go away. Interesting the people that are participating:

Patriots Question 911

Senior Military, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, and Government Officials Question the 9/11 Commission Report

Many well known and respected senior U.S. military officers, intelligence services and law enforcement veterans, and government officials have expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report or have made public statements that contradict the Report.  Several even allege government complicity in the terrible acts of 9/11. This website is a collection of their public statements.  It should be made clear that none of these individuals are affiliated with this website.

Listed below are statements by more than 80 of these senior officials. Their collective voices give credibility to the claim that the 9/11 Commission Report is tragically flawed. These individuals cannot be simply dismissed as irresponsible believers in some 9/11 conspiracy theory. Their sincere concern, backed by their decades of service to their country, demonstrate that criticism of the Report is not irresponsible, illogical, nor disloyal, per se. In fact, it can be just the opposite.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:13:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jérôme is going to have a fit!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:27:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would this be banned on DKos?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:46:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BusinessWeek: The Best Way To Give Solar Panels A Boost

If consumers experience a few more consecutive years of more than 10% increases in electricity rates (a good bet if plug-in electric cars are successfully marketed to the public), solar panels will not require a subsidy to be sold. Instead, consumers will be clamoring for them, and investment capital will flow where it belongs in order to supply them.

The alternative is a gradually increasing federal tax on electricity consumption, with funds used to eliminate other pernicious, regressive taxes. This would give consumers an incentive to invest now in solar panels with the knowledge that they will become more valuable as time goes on.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:20:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Gore was a good sport at the Oscars tonight.  First, Ellen DeGeneres was talking about people in the audience and mentioned that they had nominee Jennifer Hudson, who'd been on American Idol.  America had not voted for her and here she was.  Then she pointed out that America had voted for Al Gore and he was there too.  Funny ol' thing, life...

Think Progress has the video of "the announcement"  as well as the transcript.

DICAPRIO: So, Mr. Gore, we've got a big crowd out here tonight and an even bigger one at home. Is there anything you might want to announce?

GORE: I'm just here for the movies.

(...)DICAPRIO: Now, are you sure, are you positive that all this hard work hasn't inspired you to make any other kind of major, major announcement to the world here tonight?

GORE: Well, I do appreciate that, Leo. And i'm kind of surpised at the feelings welling up here actually. You've been very convincing. Even though I honestly had not planned on doing this, I guess with a billion people watching, it's as good as time as any.

Go watch the video to see how it ends!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:59:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a strange, strange site.

I can't watch the video from where I am - but I won't be surprised if they added a zoom-out as well?

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:11:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whooookay... Apparently old, but found out about it this weekend.

IHT:Why did China paint the mountain green?

Associated Press

SHANGHAI -- Villagers in southwestern China are scratching their heads over the county government's decision to paint an entire barren mountainside green.

Workers who began spraying Laoshou mountain last August told villagers they were doing so on orders of the county government but were not told why, media reports said Wednesday.

Some villagers guessed officials of the surrounding Fumin county, whose office building faces the mountain, were trying to change the area's feng shui -- the ancient Chinese belief of harmonizing one's physical environment for maximum health and financial benefit.

Others speculated it was an unusual attempt at "greening" the area in keeping with calls for more attention to environmental protection. Photographs of the mountain showed the exposed rock covered in an artificial green looming over houses against a scrubby background.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My US university campus used to paint any less than perfect patches in the lawn green for the graduation ceremony.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:49:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BusinessWeek: How Green Green-Lighted the TXU Deal

It's a turn of events in a bitter feud between environmentalists and the highly profitable Texas utility giant that no one could have predicted. Until two weeks ago, representatives from the Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) thought they were in for a long, drawn out battle with TXU over its unprecedented $10 billion plan to build 11 coal-fired plants in Texas. The plants would have more than doubled the amount of carbon dioxide the company sends into the atmosphere. Indeed, TXU's plans had turned into a national referendum on coal-generated electricity. City mayors, business and religious leaders, and the state of Oklahoma joined forces with the environmentalists to fight the project.

But instead of fighting, the environmental groups helped to broker a deal with the private equity groups, sharply reducing the number of coal-fired plants to be built in Texas. Given the fierce resistance to TXU's plans, the private equity firms had decided that they would only go ahead with their takeover bid if they had buy-in from environmentalists and could work to turn TXU into a leader on environmental issues. That led to William Reilly, a longtime conservationist-turned-private equity investor at Texas Pacific Group, to reach out to environmental groups and get them involved in working out a deal under the type of deadline more common to boardrooms than environmental meetings.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 06:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
La Vanguardia: Otegi: "El Estado español no tiene que pagar un precio político a ETA ni a nosotros" (25/02/2007)La Vanguardia: Otegi: "The Spanish State need not pay a political price to ETA or to us" (25/02/2007)
Entrevista Arnaldo Otegi, líder de la izquierda abertzaleInterview with Arnaldo Otegi, leader if the abertzale [Basque patriotic] left
El atentado de Barajas truncó el proceso de paz iniciado el 22 de marzo con la declaración de alto el fuego permanente de la organización terrorista ETA. Hubo una enorme desorientación de todos los interlocutores. También en los sectores políticos que han dado cobertura política a los terroristas. Ante una situación política excepcional, La Vanguardia ha optado por entrevistar directamente al portavoz de la izquierda abertzale, Arnaldo Otegi. Lo que viene a continuación es el resumen de una conversación de 90 minutos celebrada el viernes en San Sebastián y en la que Otegi apuesta inequívocamente por mantener el proceso de paz. En la entrevista, Otegi firma dos sentencias que viniendo del portavoz de Batasuna tienen calado político: "El proyecto independentista sólo se puede construir a través de vías pacíficas y democráticas" y "el Estado español no tiene que pagar ningún precio político a ETA ni a nosotros".The Barajas attack cut the peace process initiated last March 22 with the permanent ceasefire declaration by the terrorist organisation ETA. There was great disorientation of all parties, also in the political sectors that have given political cover to the terrorists. Facing an exceptional political situation, La Vanguardia has chosen to interview directly the spokesman of the abertzale left, Arnaldo Otegi. What follows is a summary of the 90-minute conversation held last Friday in San Sebastián and in which Otegui bets inequivocally for maintaining the peace process. In the interview, Otegi subscribes two sentences that have political depth coming from the spokesman of Batasuna: "The independentist project can only be build through peaceful and democratic means" and "the Spanish state need not pay a political price to ETA or to us".
The government says this is a welcome change but Batasuna needs to renounce violence inequivolcally, and the opposition says this is a trap. Same old, same old, except for what Otegi says.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 07:07:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:02:24 AM EST
It's Monday and here the beginning of the three craziest days of the year. That is it begann this morning at 4:00 am - in town all the lights were turned of, except for the laterns and the drums and pipers started playing. Unfortunately it looks like it was raining - but this wont keep them from celebrating.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:53:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good morning, Fran! I hope whatever is happening there will at least be fun.
by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:09:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Friedliche, fröhliche Fasnacht!

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 01:14:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I shouldn't have read any of this page before going to bed. Military dictatorships, Bush funding Sunnis, coming American liquidity crisis...

I'm going to go hide in the mountains.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:10:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some crazy person has a vi like input manager for Mac OS applications. I can use proper keyboard commands to edit comments as I go now.

Mad. But useful, since I have the vi bindings programmed deep into my nerves at this stage!

(This comment will only  be comprehensible to a small number of people. I apologise for that.)

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 11:11:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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