The Watering Hole, Monday, October 31,2016: The Bonfires of Samhein

Two thousand years ago at this time of year, Druids would gather on the Hill of Tlachtga in medieval Ireland to light a bonfire that began a ritual throughout the country. The light would call on other people to light their own bonfires. It was the start of the season of darkness, and people celebrated with dances and feasts around the fires. The fires were to honor Samhein (pronounced sow-in), the god of Darkness and Winter. Many of the rituals associated with the celebration in America of Halloween can be traced back to these Celtic ones. You can learn more about all of these at Smithsonian Magazine.

Personally, I don’t play dress up games. I spend the entire year trying to make people believe I’m somebody I’m not (just like everyone else) that I don’t feel any desire to add a costume to it on one particular day of the year. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just not for me. Then again, I’m kind of anti-social in a lot of ways like that. I don’t go along with what everybody else is doing, often because I see it as silly and pointless, or possibly even dangerous. (Pokemon Go has already gotten some people killed.) I realize it’s just a diversion and people can find them fun, but sometimes they can become too pervasive and counterproductive to a functioning society. Is it really a good idea that young people gather together in public to stare at their phones? But I suppose the rituals of American Halloween aren’t too terrible. It’s just a good idea that people understand them, and how they compare to one’s own beliefs, especially where Religion is concerned.

For example, if you acknowledge the observation of Halloween, then you acknowledge the existence of other gods since this was a celebration of one of them. For many Conservative Christians, this is against their belief in God as the only God. I hesitate to point out to them that this is not correct at all, and even the God they worship said so. His First Commandment was to have no other Gods before Him. That doesn’t mean to deny the existence of other gods, but just not to put any of them ahead of this particular god (on account of his constant problem with the deadly sin of Jealousy.) But since they celebrate the holiday anyway and perform the pagan rituals, it’s just another example of their religious hypocrisy. I just hope there aren’t too many kids dressing up as Donald Trump. It would indicate a generation of kids totally lost to the idea of sense, reason, and logical thinking.

Lastly, I wouldn’t be me without a little nerd joke once in a a while, so…

Why do programmers confuse Halloween and Christmas? Because OCT 31 = DEC 25.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss ancient gods you’ve worshiped, or any other topic you wish.

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 26, 2016: Look Who’s Talking About Trying To Get Away With Lying?

Well, the moment many of us have been waiting for to be over is nearly upon us. The first of the Election 2016 Presidential Debates between a well-qualified, well-experienced woman and an unqualified, inexperienced man-child will be held 9:00 PM EDT tonight at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, NY. (For those unfamiliar with New York, it’s out on what we call, “The Island.”) The format, as determined by the Commission on Presidential Debates, will call for lirpas in the first round. If both survive, battle continues with the Ahn’woon. The moderator for the first debate will be NBC News’ Anchor and Keith Olbermann-sound alike Lester Holt, who took over for the much ridiculed Brian Williams after the latter made claims about his first-hand experiences that could not be verified by other people who were actually there, some whom of also claimed Williams wasn’t. The final straw for Williams came when he boasted he was the first “on the scene” to interview Neil Armstrong as he set foot on the moon. Alert fact-checkers noted Williams was only ten years old at the time, and raised considerable doubt about the possibility the Williams family could afford to send Young Brian to astronaut school. The story was later deemed by the majority of fact-checkers as “Mostly False” and Williams was suspended for six months.

The media’s practically prepared to name Donald Trump the winner tonight if he doesn’t trip on the way out to the podium and mess his adult diapers. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, will be declared to be “hiding something” if she can’t answer questions based on false premises, or adequately (to the Republican side) explain why she hasn’t mitigated their outrage over Benghazi, when the facts and the evidence showed the Republicans did more to kill Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, than Secretary Clinton ever did. She asked Republicans for more funding for security specifically at Benghazi, among other places, and was turned down. There was never any order by her or anyone else to “stand down” and not send a rescue team. Every lie they’ve told about her has been debunked. But since people aren’t convinced by facts (it’s a problem we all have), it’s hard to convince these people that everything they want to do as a result of the Benghazi lies they believe is no longer justifiable. They’ll say to do it anyway because it’s what they want to do to her.

It should come as no surprise that the Trump Campaign is calling for moderators not to be allowed to fact-check the candidates. Newt Gingrich, a Terran-based life form with aspirations of invading and colonizing the Moon, actually defended this by tweeting

Gingrich has defended the theory that the way to a Republican voter’s heart was through the emotional door of his psyche, not the rational, fact-based, reasoning part of his brain.

Former CBS News Anchor Bob Schieffer, a personal friend of the Bush family and a former presidential debate moderator himself, had a suggestion. He said to let the candidates have the first crack at fact-checking in their responses, and if they don’t correct the record then the moderator should before moving on. And this infuriates Conservatives because they don’t believe important decisions should be based on a calm, rational review of the facts of the situation. They feel reaction to a crisis, especially an attack of some kind, should be swift (even if not all the facts are in), decisive (even if decided wrongly, because that honestly doesn’t matter to them), and over-powering (even if excessive). What matters, they’ll tell you, is that it felt like it was the right thing to do. Because that’s how they think you should govern, by doing what feels like the right thing to do, not by doing what actually is the right thing to do. You can expect Trump to Gish Gallop and spew one lie (or false premise, or extreme exaggeration of a technically true point) after another, inundating Clinton with so many false premises, straw man arguments, rambling fragmented sentences, innuendo and meaningless gobbledygook that a coherent yet accurate response will be impossible. And they’ll make a big deal out of the fact that she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, address the question asked of her even though the “question asked of her” was based on the fantasy worldview of someone so frightened by the truth that he’ll stop at nothing to prevent being exposed. Trump is a liar and a con-man, and his entire income structure is based on maintaining a completely false image as a shrewd businessman, unafraid to take on a political system he personally bragged about exploiting. And that’s why he wants no fact-checkers. He won’t be bringing any to the debate.

This is our daily open thread and may also possibly serve as our live-blogging of the debate itself. Come join us.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 30, 2016: Intelligence Briefings Won’t Make Trump Intelligent

Vice President Harry Truman didn’t know anything about the Manhattan Project. He only learned about it after President Franklin Roosevelt’s death and his assumption of the presidency. He decided that his successors should never be put in that same situation and ordered that intelligence briefings be given to both major party candidates in a presidential election. This process has evolved over the years and now includes a watered-down version of what the president is told on a daily basis. It contains no Top Secret information (which is information whose release could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to the nation’s security) but just a general overview of the security threats around the world. They might tell the candidates where ISIS is operating in the world, but they won’t tell them where the leader of ISIS stays each night.

People from both major parties have given reasons why they think the other party’s candidate shouldn’t get any briefing. Republicans say the FBI’s report on the Clinton e-mail server investigation, and Director James Comey’s characterization of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified data as “reckless” should disqualify her from getting any briefing. This is ridiculous because as Secretary of State she was already aware of the kind of information the briefing would present. Senator Harry Reid believes that Donald Trump’s lack of self-control makes him unsuited for handling classified information and that they should give him a fake briefing, with no real intelligence divulged. This has led to a fun hashtag game on the Twitter called #FakeTrumpIntelligenceBriefing. Here is an example:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said both candidates will get the same nonpartisan briefing. After the election, the winner will begin receiving the same intelligence briefing the president gets each morning in order to prepare her (alright, maybe him) for taking office. Ironically, something like the Manhattan Project is not the kind of thing that would be told to presidential candidates. If they wouldn’t even tell the Vice President it existed, why would they reveal it to someone who was going to lose the election and probably never hold any public office?

This is our daily open thread. It contains no classified information.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday March 15, 2016 – The Ides of March

Today is the Republican Party’s last grate (pun intended) day. Big state primaries with voters in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio casting votes. The strategy is to deny Trump the number of delegates needed by having Rubio and Kasich snag favorite son state’s delegates, thus blocking Trump. The pollsters are indicating otherwise, declaring Trump to be leading in all those states. After today you’ll likely see a coalescing around the presumptive nominee by the neo-fascists.

Hillary is also predicted to win all those states, but three are more like Michigan in their composition and Bernie surged from 20 some points behind there to upset all the pollsters including the rather accurate Nate Silver. So for this Ides of March, are there political assassins lurking in the halls?

Open Thread.

Tsipras, Corbyn, Sanders – Can there be a Rise of a new Left?

The choice between left and right in politics amounts to the choice of different brands of laundry detergent. It’s made up from identical ingredients, more or less diluted and smells differently, according to your olfactory preferences. All brands of politics are, however, brought to you by the same people very much like all the different brands of „Tide“ are brought to you by P&G.

In the years following Thatcherism and Reaganomics, most leftist European parties moved to the right and assimilated to the mainstream consensus of neo-liberal economic policies. Witness the move from Labour to New Labour or the German Social Democratic Party’s Agenda 2010.

Austerity and entitlement reform have become well-accepted concepts and the squeeze on the Middle Class is well under way.

The pendulum has moved to the right and has taken what used to be leftist parties with it, thus reducing the influence of the working class and middle class and increasing the influence of the economic elites.

Are we now at a turning point and will the movement be reversed, at least to some degree? Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Saturday September 15, 2012 – Greater Love Hath No Man Than This

It was a week of tragedy. On Tuesday, an al Qaeda-trained unit breached security, overtook the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, his aide (and former Airman) Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. They were honored yesterday in a Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Andrews, AFB, in Maryland. [Full Disclosure: My first assignment out of Tech School was to Andrews, AFB, in 1983. I got to play golf on one of their championship golf courses because Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger decided to cancel his tee time, an hour and a half late.] Recent reports indicate the attack may have been in retaliation for a drone strike that killed the then-Number Two In Al Qaeda, widely agreed to be the most dangerous job in the world. It did not have anything to do with the protests going on in Egypt and Yemen over that stupid anti-Muslim movie trailer for a film that, in all likelihood, given the criminal past of one of the men involved, does not exist. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton made wonderful, poignant remarks in remembrance of the fallen Americans.

President Obama began by quoting Scripture, as Christian men are wont to do, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” It is, even to this Atheist, a beautiful sentiment, and one with which I wholeheartedly agree. As for me, I can think of no more honorable way to die than in an effort to save the life of others. The brave men who died in the service of their country did so knowing their jobs were dangerous ones, and that this could happen, yet they chose to do it anyway. Though much well-deserved credit is given to the armed forces who keep us safe, an insufficient amount of credit is given to the diplomatic corps who work behind the scenes to keep us safe, too. Bad things happen, more often than we would like, and some heads of countries cannot be seen to appear weak in the eyes of their people, and diplomats find a way to satisfy everyone’s interests in the name of Peace. We may not agree with some of their results from time to time, but by and large, if it weren’t for the Department of State, every able-bodied person would have to be prepared to fight in some war over some stupid shit, because we’d have no one to talk sense into those who wish us harm. And their efforts work. And they should be appreciated more. Because sometimes, even they die in the line of duty. And we owe them every measure of respect and devotion we’d give to a fallen soldier in combat. They died for the same noble cause.

UPDATE: Thanks to badmoodman, we now have a video we can post of the entire ceremony at Andrews AFB.

This is, of course, our Open Thread, so feel free to discuss the tragedy leading to four dead Americans which had nothing whatsoever to do with the ignorant, bigoted, fraudulent anti-Islam movie trailer, released on the Internets, or maybe something a little more lighthearted for a Saturday morning, such as cute little kittens:

Dawn broke, Captain Whiskers and his mysterious sidekick—known only as “the Kitten”—had triumphed, the city was safe.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain]

A Culture of Hate

President Bill Clinton gave an outstanding speech at the 2012 Democratic National Committee Convention (DNC). Early on in his speech, he mentioned the hate that some Republicans, particularly the far right, feel towards President Barack Obama and Democrats.

Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats. After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.

According to Merriam Webster, the definition of hate is:

1: a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
b : extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing
2: an object of hatred

Thomas Aquinas equates hatred of another person as a sin. You can hate the actions but not the person.

“Consequently it is lawful to hate the sin in one’s brother, and whatever pertains to the defect of Divine justice, but we cannot hate our brother’s nature and grace without sin. Now it is part of our love for our brother that we hate the fault and the lack of good in him, since desire for another’s good is equivalent to hatred of his evil. Consequently the hatred of one’s brother, if we consider it simply, is always sinful.”

This Wiki link offers different perspectives on hate.

My view on hate is that it is like love, a very personal feeling. Hate can easily be directed towards another’s actions or policies.  To hate someone as a person involves some type of interaction with that person.  With that in mind, the generalized hate that the extremists in the Republican party feel towards Obama is irrational as they have not had a personal interaction with him.  It’s illogical to hate a person that you don’t know.  Examples:

I don’t hate Paul Ryan.  I hate his policies.  I don’t hate Republicans.  I hate what they want to do to America.  I don’t hate the Koch brothers.  I hate their greed.

So what is it about President Barack Obama that makes these extremists hate him personally?  They never met him so they don’t know him and they don’t mention that they hate his policies.  Tea party members and other extremist will say things like, they hate him because he is a socialist or he is a muslim or he is Kenyan etc… .  The key word here is “him”.  They don’t mention his policies.  Instead they focus on Obama personally.  Their personal attacks can only be based on prejudice and their hatred for people that look and act different from them and that is why I say that their hatred is based on a black man holding the title of President of the United States.

That’s my opinion and until someone can provide a convincing argument against it, I am sticking with it.

Defense Spending: Reagan/Bush I vs. Clinton vs. Bush II

My blogging arch nemesis, The New Conservative, used a previous post from my homebase concerning America’s readiness to see military reform focused not on spending more, but on spending better as an excuse to hammer Clinton for failing at the very same task. And while I’m not going to disagree that Clinton could have done more to reform the military, it’s inarguable that Clinton did, in fact, significantly reign in military spending. Here are the relevant numbers:

  • $453 billion – the average annual defense budget for the nine years before Clinton took office.
  • $377 billion – the average annual defense budget during Clinton’s time in office, a 16.7% decrease.
  • $496 billion – the average annual defense budget during Bush’s time in office, a whopping 31% increase not even including the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are largely funded through supplementals not included in the official defense budget.

These numbers are in GDP adjusted dollars to make the comparisons as fair as possible. The raw data for these calculations is available here. If anyone finds trouble with my math, please let me know.

Now, we all know that cutting defense spending is second only to cutting Social Security on the political no-no list. The military industrial complex employs several hundred thousand employees. It frequently helps to prop up the economy. And they are represented by some of the best lobbyists in the business.

But couldn’t we get those same economic results by investing in technology we all know we need? Like a new transportation infrastructure — high speed rail in certain areas, new roads and bridges, a new high-bandwidth internet that reaches deep into even the most rural communities. Why not spend on that? Our military will never be able to protect us from economic threats. And frankly, a bloated military still mired in Cold War thinking is ill-equipped to protect us from terrorist threats. But if we give our citizens access to the best technology, if we invest in green technologies, we could create jobs that don’t require us to build unnecessary implements of death. We could scale back our overseas campaigns, engendering good will. And we can knee-cap the terrorists’ agenda by bringing genuine humanitarian aid and progress to those parts of the world most susceptible to terrorist recruitment. Our foreign policy should be based on stability, preferably in democratic systems, as well as the economic and educational development of the poor and powerless countries strewn throughout the Middle East and Eurasia.

I don’t see why this needs to be a partisan issue. I think both sides should be able to agree that spending just under a half trillion dollars on defense (more if we include Iraq and Afghanistan) is too much by any standard. And of course, the more we spend on military equipment, the more persuaded we are to put it to use, which only escalates the cycle.

Hello from Europe – It’s summer and hot

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Hello from Europe, we finally have the kind of weather I love best. It’s warm with a slight breeze of fresh air, differently from the tropical weather of recent days. Germany will meet Spain on Sunday night for the European Football Championship finals in Vienna, and if Spain plays as they did against Russia (3:0) and Germany as they did against Turkey (3:2), the Germans should consider to save themselves the trouble of even traveling there. I am hoping for an exciting match, never mind the outcome.

Weather is an important clue to the press round-up. There are very bad news indeed for the North Pole, as reported by The Independent:

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

And the next paragraph left me open-mouthed:

If it happens, it raises the prospect of the Arctic nations being able to exploit the valuable oil and mineral deposits below these a bed which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea ice above. (full story here)

After having shamelessly exploited and recklessly burnt up the resources of oil we have already available to the detriment of the planet and future generations and thus caused the kind of crisis reported here, this thought is most cynical.

So much for the weather. There is an election upcoming in the US. Of course, this is again making stories, too.

The Times can’t leave Clinton alone:

Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, wrote out a $4,600 cheque for his vanquished rival, Hillary Clinton, last night as he tried to persuade her major financial backers to switch their support to him. (full story)

They too consider this tidbit news and Cindy McCain saying in a Times interview Diana was her inspiration.

The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky is trying to explain Barack Obama’s shift to the center and concludes:

I’ve always objected to setting up principle as a value that’s oppositional to winning. To me, winning is a principle. It’s the highest principle there is. If you win the election, you can do at least some of the good things that will improve people’s lives in the country and around the world. If you lose it, you can’t do any of them.

People will naturally disagree on which compromises are necessary and which ones aren’t. What people shouldn’t disagree on is that some are. The man’s not running for president of Hyde Park. (read full comment)

I tend to agree with Michael Tomasky. Moreover, Obama’s obviously very political actions are a relief to me. I have voiced the opinion here before that the Obama primary campaign had many hallmarks of a political movement. As a German, aware of her country’s history, I am deeply mistrusting when it comes to political movements. I’d rather have the calculated and thus calculable outcome of a political process. I can live with not getting my way. The kind of trouble mostly ideologically based policies get you into, can be fully viewed by replaying the last eight years of Bush policies.

The Telegraph has an entertaining article, if you care to take part in it. In the UK there is a thing called 11-plus exam. This is and was used to determine access to grammar schools in Britain.  So if you have the time or the boss is not watching, enjoy! The Zoo’s next Friday Math Problem will be coming up today, too.

I hope you’ll all have a good day, stay safe and healthy!

Across the Pond – Hello from Europe

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It is far from easy nowadays to stay true to the vow I made to myself, not to cover Hillary Clinton’s campaign anymore. She is so desperately seeking the limelight that her actions amount to the political equivalent of Britney Spears sans underwear.

Nevermind, there are news outside the Democratic primaries that move European readers.

Britain suffers a string of teenager violence which so far cost 14 lives in London alone this year. The most prominent victim, Rob Knox, an aspiring teenage actor, was stabbed to death in a brawl, according to some while trying to protect his younger brother. The latest victim 17 year old Amar Aslan was found beaten to death in a park in Yorkshire. The bank holiday weekend cost three lives and three people are in critical condition. Of the six, five victims are teenagers. The youngsters held by police in the Aslan case are shockingly young and shockingly callous. They allegedly filmed the attack and shared the video.

More violence, this time military. The Dublin talks on the ban of cluster bombs will most probably result in a treaty to be signed by the United Kingdom. This causes upset among US politicians and NATO officials and attempts to subvert the agreement. The Dublin plans include clauses very similar to the landmines ban and makes US-allied soldiers possible targets for criminal prosecution, if they continue to fight along US military who still uses cluster bombs. The British as others, too, are trying to water down the treaty, to allow storage of cluster bombs in the UK and abolish the “assistance clause”. As they are bragging to be a leader in the cluster bomb ban movement, they may have to bite the bullet and accept the full ban, however. Good thing.

(To come back to where I started from: We all know who has voted against a cluster bomb ban in the US Senate and we know who was President in 1997, when the US walked out on the negotiations for a ban on landmines, when it became clear the bloody treaty would be effective after all. Just sayin’.)

High fuel prices fuel protests in Europe: In London and Cardiff hundreds of lorry drivers protested against the rise in petrol prices. The protests fell victim to its own raison d’être in a way and decided to decentralise the effort: “In Wales, hauliers – who had planned to join the London protest but decided the fuel costs would be excessive – drove around 100 lorries to Cardiff to lobby the Welsh assembly.”

In France there were protests by fishermen. The French clashed with police last week and now continued their protests by blocking the Dover straits. They managed to severely slow down traffic in that heavily used waterway and while they were at it blocked access to a Total oil refinery. The lads are not alone. Portugese and Belgian fishermen are protesting, too.

Have a good day all of you. Stay safe and healthy!

A Post-Bush/Cheney To-Do List

via: OpEdNews
by Rob Kall (executive editor and publisher of OpEdNews)

As soon as Bush slithers out of the Whitehouse, the next president, presumably a Democrat, unless the Dems totally screw up, will have a huge cleanup job.

Hillary and Barack both talk about the mess they’ll need to clean up. It would be useful to put together a list of things to-do, to recover from the Bush-Cheney disaster.

Here’s my shot at it. I’m hoping you’ll help fill it in using the comments.

-Get projections of the impact of continued problems caused by Bush Admin policy and widely report them as soon as possible so the public knows what to expect and who to blame.

-Reach out to leaders who are further left than your inner circle in building your team. Liberals and progressives are a growing portion of the population. If Obama is the winner, then part of his defeat of Hillary will be a repudiation and rejection of the right wing DLC policies she championed.

-Dump all of Bush’s political appointees. Do it immediately, in the first weeks in office. These political hacks, many former directors or lobbyists for industries they are supposed to regulate, have little or no retention value. Fire them all on Day One. Use career employees temporarily, replacing them with qualified appointees as soon as possible. Draw upon leaders who have advocated for stronger regulation.

-Urgently re-evaluate all the most important statistics used to report key numbers the people, businesses, industries and others depend upon. Identify changes in policies for calculating those numbers. Assume that Bush and Cheney have used statistics and revisions of the way things are counted to mislead and lie. Re-calculate them using the older, former formulae and policies to see just how bad the situation is, compared to the lies, distortions and deceptions Bush and company have perpetrated.

-Call for whistleblowers. Declare a period where whistleblowers are safe from repercussions and will be secure in their jobs. Ask them to identify any partisan activities, any policies of hiding or partially reporting important information. Congress should hold hearings on this. Whistleblowers should be offered large rewards for coming forward.

Read entire article.. (Excellent!! Lengthy, but thorough list!)

Clinton again raises the possibility of running with Obama..

via: Raw Story

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday again raised the possibility that she might run with rival Sen. Barack Obama on the same Democratic presidential ticket.

Speaking to voters in Mississippi, where Sen. Barack Obama is expected to do well in next week’s primary, Clinton said, “I’ve had people say, ‘Well I wish I could vote for both of you. Well, that might be possible some day. But first I need your vote on Tuesday.”

There is no way that Hillary Clinton will come out on top with highest amount of votes or delegates, so she is now suggesting the possibility of being on the ticket WITH Obama, though at the same time, she has been doing all she can to weaken him by calling into question his “readiness”, or his “experience”, by comparing him to Ken Starr, and going as far as aligning herself with John McCain in order to make sure she would get the top billing on that ticket.

This is ridiculous. With her recent tactics, why would he want to pick her as a running mate? She is merely trying to embarrass him and force him into an uncomfortable response, trying to take the upper hand and make him look small while trying to make herself look like the better person. She knows he won’t say yes, and she is using that. She needs him a lot more than he needs her. Her ‘gracious’ gesture is utterly false.

At Huffington Post, Gary Hart wrote this:

It will come as a surprise to many people that there are rules in politics. Most of those rules are unwritten and are based on common understandings, acceptable practices, and the best interest of the political party a candidate seeks to lead. One of those rules is this: Do not provide ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party’s nominee. This is a hyper-truth where the presidential contest is concerned.

By saying that only she and John McCain are qualified to lead the country, particularly in times of crisis, Hillary Clinton has broken that rule, severely damaged the Democratic candidate who may well be the party’s nominee, and, perhaps most ominously, revealed the unlimited lengths to which she will go to achieve power. She has essentially said that the Democratic party deserves to lose unless it nominates her.

As a veteran of red telephone ads and “where’s the beef” cleverness, I am keenly aware that sharp elbows get thrown by those trailing in the fourth quarter (and sometimes even earlier). “Politics ain’t beanbag,” is the old slogan. But that does not mean that it must also be rule-or-ruin, me-first-and-only-me, my way or the highway. That is not politics. That is raw, unrestrained ambition for power that cannot accept the will of the voters. Read the rest….

The lengths she is going to weaken or destroy Obama in order to win the nomination are shameful and disgusting. This is all about Hillary. This is not about the ‘good of the Democratic Party’ or the ‘good of our country’. Gary Hart said it best – this is raw, unrestrained ambition for power. These tactics should not be allowed to succeed.

Clinton hints at shared ticket with Obama

via: Raw Story

Hillary Rodham Clinton, fresh off a campaign saving comeback, hinted Wednesday at the possibility of sharing the Democratic presidential ticket with Barack Obama — with her at the top. Obama played down his losses, stressing that he still holds the lead in number of delegates.

Pretty brazen beings she is still the one behind in delegates..

Good Morning from Europe – The Sunday Papers

View from Piz Martenas – Savognin – Switzerland

What’s another week? While “Europeanview” was negotiating the slopes of Swiss Mountains “on two sticks” as our revered resident witch calls it, the world kept turning. For me personally the fun story came out of Germany this week. A tax fraud scandal rocked the Republic and threatens the safe haven for tax-ridden estates, Liechtenstein. And, of course, the Democratic Party’s nomination leads the news again. Kosovo has declared its Independence, much to the dismay of the Serbs and Russia and Pakistan has voted, but not found a government coalition yet.

Germany first. When the boss of Germany’s logistics giant “Deutsche Post” was led from his villa by police on charges of tax fraud, this made headlines, but as it turned out it was the tip of an iceberg. What had happened? The LGT, the Liechtenstein Bank of the principality’s ruling family, decided to join the ranks of 21st century banks and digitalize their bank records. An employee, who was scanning documents in this projects, decided to save the records on a bunch of DVDs and then asked the bank for an allowance for special expenditure which would have included the return of the DVDs to the bank. The bank refused, so this person sent e-mails to the German, British and US authorities, claiming moral scruples in the light of so much blatant tax evasion and reaping in a hefty sum from Germany alone. German Police and State Attorneys are orchestrating a drama in publishing names and facts which will see it’s next round on Tuesday. “The Economist” says:

THE word Schadenfreude was coined for just such occasions.(…) Germany was already in the throes of an argument about pay, equality and whether capitalism is fair. Globalisation and economic reforms have squeezed the wages of ordinary Germans. Yet the pay of Germany’s top managers jumped 17.5% in the 2006-07 financial year, according to Kienbaum, a headhunter. The same class has lately been held responsible for expense-account sex (Volkswagen), systematic bribery (Siemens) and subprime self-abuse (IKB and the state banks of Saxony and Bavaria).

The culprits now have a chance to turn themselves in, which will lower their sentences considerably, or try to sit it out and face the music later. Many may wish they had acted according to the wise words of this commentary in “The Telegraph”.

The US Democratic Primaries are still making headlines in the Sunday Papers. Especially Hillary Clintons woes are being pleasurably reported on, it seems, by “The Times”. The Paper relishes the blunders a campaign, once dubbed a well oiled machinery, made on its way from unavoidable to “on the ropes”.

Clinton has set up a website, http://www.delegatehub.com, outlining a path to the nomination which relies on arm-twisting the super-delegates and seating the “ghost” delegations from Florida and Michigan, states which broke party rules by holding their contests early.

Gerard Baker suggests Hillary Clinton may become toxic in the end, never mind the damage to the Democratic Party.

“The Guardian”, however, concentrates on a relatively new development in the campaigns. The role of the press and their increased scrutiny of Barack Obama.

In the New York Times, two influential columnists weighed in with brutal attacks against Obama. David Brooks called him a ‘trophy messiah’ and Paul Krugman claimed Obama’s campaign was ‘…dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality’. Meanwhile, in the Boston Globe, Obama supporter Margery Eagan expressed her own doubts about her pick. ‘I’m nervous because John McCain says Obama is an “eloquent but empty call for change” and in the wee, wee hours a nagging voice whispers: “Suppose McCain’s right,’ Eagan wrote.

But the Guardian, too, decides:

Such tactics (circumventing campaign finance laws) also cannot hide the fact that the Clinton camp is in deep trouble. Much of the top leadership still remains deeply split over the right tactics in the final days before Texas and Ohio go to the polls.

The Kosovo province of Serbia has unilaterally proclaimed its independence, which turns out to be an inspiration for many separatist movements around the globe, much to the anxiety of the ruling majorities. “Der Spiegel” portrays six European regions with separatist movements.

Pakistan’s elections didn’t bring a clear winner. There will be a civilian coalition government, maybe even without Musharraf, but the Pakistani Taliban have already made clear, that any governmant better stayed clear from getting involved in the tribal areas.

This is what struck “Europeanview” as interesting this morning and there is, of course much more to be found through the links provided. I wish you all a very peaceful, happy and healthy Sunday. Take care! 

In 344 days Bush will retire! But who is going to be President?

You are working on it. And this election year harder than any election year before, you are all doing a fine job in going to the polls. You, the people, will provide an answer to this question in 268 days. Until then, no one knows.

You should need two or more candidates first and this year there will not be a coronation or proclamation, but the lengthy process of choosing a candidate precedes the nomination. Even the Republicans who have McCain and a clear frontrunner, chose to vote for Mike Huckabee in large numbers. They are not happy with McCain and look what they do? Execute their right to chose. How dare they?

Barack Obama’s  winning streak first reduced Mrs Clinton to tears and now her top advisers to outright panic. Prematurely and unnecessarily a compromise candidate Al Gore is being considered. The knight in shining armour to relief the democratic party from the painful process of waiting out a perfectly democratic process of choosing a candidate. There is still time and there are as many as 20 opportunities left for one, either Hillary Clinton of Barack Obama, to prevail. And if the Delegates have to decide at the nomination convention, so be it, it has happened before.

For more European coverage on the primaries and caucuses see:

The Times                  here and here
The Guardian            here and here and here
The Independent      here and here and, how morbid is this?
The Telegraph           here and here and here.

“Europeanview”wishes you all a happy, healthy and peaceful Sunday. If you vote, vote wisely and check our “Fact-Checker” if you’re not sure.

The Debate – European rehash

Be careful what change you wish for. An energetic woman in the White House? The British have their experiences:

This aside, let’s look what Gerard Baker, the “Times’ “ US correspondent who had the pleasure of sitting through both the Republican and the Democratic debates has to say about yesterday evening:

Both candidates had evidently decided that, five days from what could be the dispositive day of the Democratic primary – Super Tuesday – was no time to take a risk.

(…)The most memorable moment was her cleverly rehearsed line that “It did take a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and I think it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush.” It was concise; it was funny (by the low standards of Democratic humour) and it (almost) rebutted one of the strongest arguments against her, that the Clintons represent a dangerous dynastic tendency in American politics.

(…)Obama’s best moment was definitely on the Iraq war. He was effective in countering Hillary’s repeated claim that she will be “ready on day one” to take on the national security burdens of the presidency by saying he was “right on day one” about the war, in opposing it from the outset. Among anti-war Democrats, there’s not much doubt he continues to have the greater credibility.

But in the end Baker finds:

Who knows? My own guess is that the race is now tight enough that it probably won’t be resolved one way or the other next Tuesday but will go on for at least a few more weeks. If that’s the case it means tonight’s long-awaited debate, the much anticipated smackdown that turned into a civil exercise in political gentility, was probably as inconsequential as it was unenlightening.

There is a whole lot of US primaries coverage in British newspapers, “The Guardian” measure momentum in money, and true Obama has reached a record landmark in January, when he raised more than $32 Million“The Independent” has already moved on to Georgia., where Hillary Clinton is seeking to get votes on Obama’s turf. “The Telegraph” looks at Obama’s impact in the political scenery when it comes to Middle America warming to his candidacy. They see Obama as the clear winner.

Lots to read. So pick up a cup of coffee, latte, capuccino or any other of your favourite poison and enjoy yourselves.

Follow the money!

Now that the field is down to two Democratic frontrunners and another two Republicans (someone please tell Huckabee and Paul) it’s time to look at who is trying to buy themselves favours with a new President, if not the whole. You can find extensive information on campaign financing for every candidate if you click on the links provided.

All information is published by opensecrets.org, who are doing a fine job of tracking the money and it’s sources. They share their data to be freely distributed and thus provide an invaluable tool to learn about the background of campaign financing. Please go there and check upon the candidates you are interested in, and if you can spare a dime, donate for their great work.

So, let’s have a look at the money trail and to keep it neutral we start with the pauper in the field:

John McCain is still way behind in financial contributions with a total of $32,124,785. His main contributors are:

Blank Rome LLP $141,100
Citigroup Inc $137,050
Greenberg Traurig LLP $124,987
Merrill Lynch $113,575
Goldman Sachs $88,700
Univision Communications $82,000
IDT Corp $77,150
Bank of New York Mellon $74,000
MGM Mirage $70,400
Irvine Co Apartment Community $68,400
Pinnacle West Capital $64,000
JP Morgan Chase & Co $59,850
Credit Suisse Group $58,950
Bridgewater Assoc $58,300
Cisco Systems $56,600
Lehman Brothers $53,250
Morgan Stanley $50,950
Wachovia Corp $50,850
Blackstone Group $47,950
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu $41,601

Mitt Romney comes in second with contributions amounting to $62,829,069 and the following contributors list:

Goldman Sachs $181,425
Merrill Lynch $147,200
Marriott International $115,000
Bain Capital $112,200
Morgan Stanley $110,050
Bain & Co $103,175
The Villages $96,400
Citigroup Inc $94,150
Compuware Corp $93,800
Huron Consulting Group $91,250
Kirkland & Ellis $89,600
Affiliated Managers Group $77,462
American Financial Group $75,350
PricewaterhouseCoopers $74,200
HIG Capital $71,175
Liberty Mutual Insurance $68,800
JP Morgan Chase & Co $67,450
Credit Suisse Group $66,850
UBS Americas $63,800
Lehman Brothers $60,750

Barack Obama has collected the considerable amount of $80,256,427 and all the well known names appear here, too.

Goldman Sachs $369,078
Lehman Brothers $229,090
National Amusements Inc $220,950
JP Morgan Chase & Co $216,759
Sidley Austin LLP $203,325
Exelon Corp $194,750
Citigroup Inc $180,650
Citadel Investment Group $166,600
Jones Day $158,400
Skadden, Arps et al $150,900
UBS AG $146,150
Time Warner $142,718
Harvard University $141,700
University of California $126,972
Jenner & Block $122,419
Kirkland & Ellis $111,951
UBS Americas $106,680
Morgan Stanley $104,425
WilmerHale $102,360
Credit Suisse Group $92,300

And the winner is: Hillary Clinton with a war chest of $90,935,788 unsurprisingly her donor list matches the who’s who, we have seen above:

DLA Piper $356,100
Goldman Sachs $350,050
Morgan Stanley $323,550
Citigroup Inc $307,350
EMILY’s List $211,642
National Amusements Inc $193,850
JP Morgan Chase & Co $173,350
Kirkland & Ellis $172,000
Skadden, Arps et al $151,460
Greenberg Traurig LLP $150,900
Cablevision Systems $135,113
Merrill Lynch $125,550
Time Warner $124,150
Lehman Brothers $123,450
Bear Stearns $120,580
Patton Boggs $118,400
Ernst & Young $110,650
Blank Rome LLP $105,100
Latham & Watkins $100,950
News Corp $99,350

This is, of course a rough overview and, honestly, I have not yet looked up all the info about all the candidates, there are interests that hide behind the donor’s list. It is an adventure in itself to find out. I’m sending you on the quest to knowledge, the one weapon against populism and lies. And I don’t pretend this makes decision making any easier for you.

Good Morning from Europe – 354 opportunities to impeach!

Good Morning! The GOP Californian Debate has caught the eye of “The Times'” US editor Gerard Baker. And, if an article starts thus:

Another pretty dreadful debate, to be frank. Once again CNN demonstrated how little it really understands the Republican party. Anderson Cooper in particular continues to treat Republicans as some sort of anthropological curiosity, gingerly throwing them silly questions as a zookeeper might throw lumps of rotting meat into a cage full of irritable lions.

it’s made for TheZoo.

Here are the highlights, according to my borrowed European view:

I actually thought the worst moment of the whole debate was McCain’s stupid little snipe about how Romney had done a good job buying and selling companies resulting in some people being laid off. It was the kind of thing that testified both to McCain’s uncontrollable tendency towards nastiness and to the rather troubling attitude he sometimes displays towards business. No-one likes the idea of workers being laid off but it sounds very odd for a self-described conservative and strong supporter of the free market to be expressing doubt about a company’s feeedom to control its labour costs.

(…)

More than a third of the way through (it seems longer) and I don’t think anyone’s earth has moved yet. Tedious doesn’t begin to capture it.

Public Works: Interesting exposition of classical Keynesian stimulus economics by the ever-entertaining Huckabee.

Climate Change: McCain looks and sounds tired. Maybe he’s hoping that if he talks…really…slowly….everybody will just fall asleep and the debate will change nothing.

Read more here: It sounds like you didn’t miss much, when you decided to do something useful instead of watching the debate.

What if McCain prevails and will be nominated in the end? Hard times for the Republican Party ahead. As said in yesterday’s post, the likes of Malkin and Coulter are livid and the Party establishment will work him hard to change some of his positions. To top this off, Republican outsiders Giuliani and Schwarzenegger have endorsed McCain.

Now, the Democratic Party has another set of problems to solve. Sadly, John Edwards has quit the race. Who is going to get his delegates, asks “The Guardian”. And the Times helps us out with a useful list of endorsements for either candidate. “Der Spiegel” provides us with a calculation, why none of the candidates will finally win the nomination on Super Tuesday. Here’s why: Democrats need 2025 delegates for nomination. Hillary Clinton has 232, Barack Obama 158, (Edwards 62). 1678 Delegates will be determined at Super Tuesday. Given that one cadidate takes all Hillary Clinton can get 1910 (1972 if she gets Edwards’), Obama 1836 (1898 Edwards’ included) that’s still not 2025. And, it explains, why Hillary Clinton is so keen on including the Florida delegates despite her signing a party agreement, that the Floridians are out. The calculation for the Republicans looks similar (McCain max. 1178, Romney max. 1155/ 1191 needed). So, prepare for an ongoing battle. Even if you don’t live in a Super Tuesday State, your vote may still make a difference.

And finally, away from the elections. Which branch of the economy is still reaping record profits? Right – Oil

“Europeanview” wishes you all a happy and healthy day. Take care!

Good Morning from Europe – Threehundredandfiftyfive days to go.

Today is a pretty slow news morning. So let’s keep it short and let’s hope no news of the “breaking” variety will bring more desasters to our desks, than what the inhabitants of our world already have to cope with.

European Stock markets are eagerly waiting for the Fed’s decision on interest rates. They fully expect the Fed to go down another 0.5%. Neither the European central Bank, nor the Swiss, nor the British have as yet lowered interest rates. Well, that gives them leeway for the future, if any should be necessary.

Rudy Giuliani, New York’s ex-mayor is just that, an ex-mayor. He is expected to endorse John McCain later today. John McCain more and more looks like the Republican frontrunner. This has the likes of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin foaming at the mouth. It indeed looks like the Republicans are hoping for a change from the Washingtonian establishment in their own way, too.

Florida saw another primary yesterday. The Democratic primaries were worthless, however, because due to a dispute about timing, the National Democratic Party will not invite the Floridian delegates to their National Convention, so their votes won’t count. Hillary Clinton won that primary by 50% to 33% for Barack Obama and 14% for John Edwars. But the delegates won’t be counted, or will they? The Clinton campaign tries to get at least as much spin out of the result as possible. “Europeanview” wonders whether the Floridians will really stay away in September, or if the Clintons will try to make the Party take the decision back, especially if the race remains close after Super Tuesday.

UPDATE: It is as claimed above, the great Huffington Post had an article even yesterday, on the Clinton campaign pushing for the  Florida delegates to be counted.

“Europeanview” wishes you all a happy and  healthy day. Take care!

Hello from Europe – 358 Days of Bush left

The Sunday papers today know but one headline: Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama and Obama.

Wait a minute: Here’s something interesting, a must-read: “The Sunday Times” again covers  the Sibel Edmonds story.

AN investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI employee has claimed.

The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.

The firm, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was a front for Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent. Her public outing two years later in 2003 by White House officials became a cause célèbre.

The State Department official denied the story:

The State Department official said on Friday: “It is impossible to find a strong enough way to deny these allegations which are both false and malicious.”

From the look of it, the allegations are worth a hefty jail sentence, I’d deny it too. The Zoo’s “nwmuse” has posted on this story very early on and you can find more coverage here.

Germany is holding elections in two states today. They are considered a litmus test for the ruling grand coalition in Berlin. Hesse is particularly of interest, because of a dirty campaign by the ruling governor Roland Koch, which appealed mostly to the baser instincts like xenophobia.

Have you ever heard of Jérôme Kerviel? Well he’s the young man who helped the Société Générale to lose $7 Billion. What a villain? Not if you’re French:

 ‘He was your ideal son-in-law,’ said 62-year-old Martine Le Pohon, who remembers Jérôme helping his mother out on Saturdays at Un Monde Imagin’ Hair. ‘And if it turns out that he has stood up to the system to the tune of €5m, well, as far as I am concerned, that makes him even more ideal.’

By the way, President Sarkozy and his minions learned about the  fraud only three days after the bank’s management was aware of it. Sarkozy was livid, for not being informed. Well, maybe taking care of your job instead of your “singer-model-wife-mistress” would help you along in getting taken serious Monsieur Le Président!

And here’s another “conservative” poised to return to power and, in his case most importantly, immunity from prosecution, Silvio Berlusconi.

Did you think businesses are concerned about global climate change? Think again!

And there may still be one day when the world’s weakest are not subject to abuse anymore, but that will still be a long time from today.

This is what struck me a interesting or important in the Sunday Papers. I wish you all a peaceful and happy Sunday. Take care!

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones..

via: Raw Story

On Friday morning’s episode of the Today Show on NBC, host Matt Lauer discussed Monday night’s testy debate between presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL). In particular, he focused on her allegation that Obama had represented Tony Rezko, the indicted Chicago businessman whom she referred to as a “slum lord.”

Lauer then presented Clinton with a photo of Rezko posing between Sen. Clinton as first lady and her husband during his presidency. He asked if she remembered meeting Rezko. (This article has the video).

Clinton is playing dirty, and she’s a hypocrite. I for one have had enough of this kind of stuff.

Downhill ride….

The downturn in the financial markets goes on unabatedly. The Asian stock markets have lost considerably again. The Indian stock exchange decided to halt trading, after the Sensex started the day with another 9.5% dip after having lost 11% yesterday.

“The Times” calculates:

The combined losses of the London, Paris and Frankfurt markets alone amounted to more than $350 billion (£180 billion) — roughly the size of the combined economies of New Zealand, Hungary and Singapore.

And that was yesterday’s losses. In a way that puts the $ 150 Billion programme of the US government into perspective. The futures on the European markets are down again, as well as the numbers for the US major indices. For economic news, see Bloomberg.

The Democratic primary campaigning is getting more heated, with Barack Obama taking on Bill Clinton. At a televised debate in Myrtle Beach S.C. the going got rough:

The race for the Democratic nomination took an ugly turn last night when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama clashed repeatedly during a televised debate that produced the most vicious personal jibes of the campaign so far.

(…)

The third canddate at the debate, John Edwards, was left largely as a bystander. “Are there three people in this debate, not two?” he asked.

In an ABC interview Barack Obama accused Bill Clinton of lying:

“You know the former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling,” Mr Obama said in a breakfast interview with the ABC network, saying Mr Clinton had made statements “not supported by the facts”.

NATO is discussion premptive strikes. Nuclear preemptive strikes are an indispensible part of a working NATO doctrine, a new manifesto claims:

The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the “imminent” spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west’s most senior military officers and strategists.

and

“The risk of further [nuclear] proliferation is imminent and, with it, the danger that nuclear war fighting, albeit limited in scope, might become possible,” the authors argued in the 150-page blueprint for urgent reform of western military strategy and structures. “The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Well, those five “most senior military officers and strategist” had their “most senior moment”, methinks. On the other hand, the timing and the obvious handwriting, cause more than a little concern.

And, finally the trading has started and the stock markets opened lower in Europe today with the London FTSE 100 -3.77% , the Frankfurt DAX -4.63%, the Spanish IBEX –4.83%, the Paris CAC -2.85%.

“Europeanview” wishes you all a good start into your day and remember it’s 363 days to go until someone new will get the chance to fix this mess. Unless someone else puts impeachment back on the table, double quick!

Blogging Bush’s last year in office – 365 days to go

Europe calling with the headlines in the Sunday Papers. So let’s hit it! “The Sunday Times” opens with the caucus primary victories of John McCain and Hillary Clinton. The McCain campaign has an edge now, but Mitt Romney is busily collecting delegates instead of high profile victories. And, please, can someone explain to this to me?

She captured the popular vote by a margin of 51 to 45 per cent over Barack Obama – but, after a racially-charged election, her rival won 13 delegates in Nevada to her 12.

There is news about the Sibel Edmonds case! Remember? This is the courageous lady who is trying to tell you Americans that all is not well at all, when it comes to your nuclear secrets. She has to do this through foreign media, because yours won’t print, nor air what she has to say.

And the FBI still is trying to wriggle out of it:

One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file. (emphasis added)

Stay tuned to this story, it’s worth multiple life sentences for some very high ranking people in Washington. Maybe in a year (see above, 365 days left) things and public reception of this story will change and indictments will be issued. Let’s switch to “The Guardian”. They are reporting extensively on the US election primaries as well here and here and with loads of related stories. There is more on economics to find there, too. Why is going for bio-fuels not a solution? What is fuel poverty? And how to lower taxes the right way. You find “The Independent” covering the elections here and here. On top of that they treat you to the news, that mobile phone use can wreck your sleep. (UPDATE: There seems to be a problem with the Independent website. I leave the links, as the problem surely is temporary, so please try again later, if the links don’t work right now.) “The Telegraph” reports on, surprise, the primaries here and here! The English website of “Der Spiegel” gives you news on the primaries, who’d a thunk it, but a very interesting interview with OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem el-Badri, too. ‘International Oil Companies Are the Real Dinosaurs’, quote:

SPIEGEL: And are you in favor of abandoning the practice of trading in dollars as Venezuela and Iran have demanded?

El-Badri : The euro is currently the world’s strongest currency. A change can be made, but it will take some time. It took many years for the dollar to become a dominant currency in the oil business. But in the future it will not be that difficult to change.

A scan of the other newspaper websites gives us more election coverage, and still more. So enjoy your reading and let us know what we missed in the comments section (as the saying goes). “Europeanview” wishes you a good and restful Sunday. Take care!

Hello from Europe – 366 Days of Bush left

Europa-Jupiter’s moon (pic: NASA)

The economic woes of the US and, let’s face it, Great Britain and Switzerland and all the others, too, make the headlines in Europe today. And the US electoral causcuses/primaries in Nevada and South Carolina. Germany holds elections, too next weekend and mudslinging is not a privilege for US campaigns. Berne, Switzerland, is bracing for anti-WEF protests and an illegal demonstration, which may still grow violent. Hey and Romney won Nevada!

But firsts first:

London’s “Independent” takes on the economic week and finds:

It is hard to recall a week of such concentrated negative economic news. Even if the underlying reality hasn’t so far been that bad, these things tend to become self-fulfilling once business and consumer confidence goes in the way now threatened.

Sounds bleak enough to me. The Swiss Market Index has lost 7.22% this week, Germany’s Xetra DAX 5.17%, London FTSE 5.16%, Paris CAC 5.70%, so yes, it looks like we’re in it together.

“The Times”, however is right on the US elections again and Hillary:

Hillary Clinton spoke yesterday of the pain and embarrassment caused by her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, ten years after the scandal erupted and at the height of a presidential campaign when women will be crucial to her White House hopes.

Is it going to be female bonding again, to secure the votes and lure women voters away from the shining start Barack Obama and his glamorous wife? No tears this time, but isn’t this corny? She’s really counting on a wave of sympathy, because her husband had a little head outside the marriage ten years ago ? She is looking more and more like Bill’s wife to me, not Hillary Rodham.

In three of Germany’s states (Länder) there will be elections soon and the Christian Democrats of chancellor Merkel are going to lose. The governor of the state Hessen Mr Koch has waged a campaing, that first excited and then disgusted the nation. Juvenile delinquency was the issue, what’s more juvenile immigrant’s delinquency. He’s going to lose the elections, according to new polls. But the negative emotions will linger on.

In Switzerland the annual meeting of politicians, economists and celebrities at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, sparks the usual unrest among globalisation sceptics. A demonstration in Berne the Swiss capital was not approved by the police, but took place nevertheless, 200 protesters have been arrested.

There is so much more that needs to be said, the bloodshed in Iraq, that accompanied the Shia holy day of Ashura, and blies the claims that things in Irq have improved. The nonchalance that seems to be the hallmark of British Authorities, when it comes to protecting their citizens data. The accident of American skiier Scott Maccartney in Kitzbuehel, which left him in an artificial coma. But the main interest of today is waiting for the primary and caucus results. So wait we will.

“Europeanview” wishes you all a good afternoon and evening and take care!