Did you know?

Just as American journalists are giddily proclaiming the end of Reagan conservatism, EU leaders along with the IMF chief, are preaching Reaganomics as a cure for the financial crisis.

IMF chief via Australia’s the Age: “It’s time for co-ordination. I welcome the emphasis on fiscal stimulus, which I believe is now essential to restore global growth,” he said after the summit. When asked which countries should implement the tax cuts, he said: “Everywhere.”

Even the wildly leftist British newspaper the Guardian is promoting tax cuts. One of their most recent editorials, “Tax Cuts are Needed and Fast,” advocates targeted cuts directed at middle and lower income workers.

Italy hopes to have tax relief in place by year’s end. And today, European business leaders meeting in Istanbul announced the need for lower taxes and interest rate cuts, not bailouts.

Via La Repubblica…An Italian Senator and the Libyan Foreign Minister, Abdurrahman Shalgam, confirmed a long standing rumor, one I was completely unaware of: Back in ’06, The Craxi government in Italy warned Libyan President Qaddafi of an imminent U.S. attack.

Indeed Bettino Craxi, then chairman of the Council urged its diplomatic adviser Antonio Badini to warn the Libyan ambassador to Italy, that today is the foreign minister of Qaddafi. In fact this morning Shalgam confirmed the story: “Craxi sent a friend to tell me to be careful, 14 or April 15 there will be a U.S. raid against Libya.” The Libyan minister added that it was thanks to this warning that the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was saved. Craxi informed Libya “two days before the aggression, perhaps 11 or 12 told us to be careful and that Italy would not have permission to use the sea and the sky” to the Americans to conduct the raid.

For traditionalist Catholics in Italy, this next story published in la Repubblica must have raised a few eyebrows. Then again, European newspapers and periodicals have devoted significant coverage to America’s religious fervor and its affect on culture and society. So Italians likely aren’t surprised at the mention.

UPPER MARLBORO (Maryland) – The first commandment of First Baptist Church of Glenarden is “not want the stuff that you can not pay in cash.” Jenkins, the pastor, repeats continuously: “You must not become slaves of the debts and creditors, says the Bible” and parts with quotes of chapters and verses. In American economic crisis, which shows itself especially in difficulties to pay the installments of loans, credit cards, cars or health insurance, religion is playing an increasing role.

The new “Satan” is credit cards, which give the illusion of a wealth which they in reality do not have, and to free themselves from dependence to First Baptist Church have made the gesture more blatant and flagrant. Four Sundays ago at the end of the function of ten in the morning, after a sermon dedicated to their freedom from debt, the Reverend Jenkins called to the altar a group of faithful who held in his hand their credit cards and together have cut between jubilation and song of the faithful.

In a country that loves the theatre and this dramatic gesture, he told the first page in the Washington Post, he immediately made the rounds of television putting the First Baptist Church in the spotlight and making it the symbol of Churches effort to combat a ‘ other religion, that of consumerism and expenditure out of control.

Living in Europe allowed me to understand: although Americans believe their country to be fundamentally racist,  the real bigotry lies elsewhere. Regarding racism, bigotry and prejudice, the United States must be considered the most evolved. On a recent visit to the States, a German MP with a broken foot refused the wheelchair provided by the consulate. Translated from Der Spiegel:

Social Democrat Kruger, Potsdam-West is his local club, thought to help. Before the tour of the city he instructed the Consul General: “We need a negro, which pushes the wheelchair.”

Yes, that is the translation. I found the article in English as well. From The Local, an English site devoted to German news:

Because Widmann-Mauz had broken her foot before the trip, the parliamentarians had demanded a wheelchair for her, but the consulate apparently provided one that wasn’t acceptable to the MPs. Because she couldn’t move around on her own, Krüger reportedly said: “We need a negro who can push the wheelchair.”

Nice.

Now just imagine if that were an American politician.

From the Telegraph, Al Qaeda in Iraq alienated Iraqis by banning women from:

buying suggestively-shaped vegetables, according to one tribal leader in the western province of Anbar.

Sheikh Hameed al-Hayyes, a Sunni elder, told Reuters: “They even killed female goats because their private parts were not covered and their tails were pointed upward, which they said was haram.

“They regarded the cucumber as male and tomato as female. Women were not allowed to buy cucumbers, only men.”

Champion Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini blamed US TV, in part, for her poor performance in the 400m freestyle. Olympic schedules are arranged to accommodate an American audience which forced Pellegrini to race for gold in the morning, throwing off her routine. From Italy’s Corriere della Sera:

Revenue from the rich television contracts to the public for swimming counts more, namely the U.S., which creates many victims. One of these is Federica Pellegrini, who in the battery of 400 sl, in the afternoon, had established the primacy new Olympic entering with the best time in the final. Yet Federica, forced to race in the morning, gave a disappointing performance, for her and the Italian fans. Only fifth in a specialty where she had aimed for gold.

Reproductions of Nazi warnings surrounding the Warsaw ghetto have appeared on T-shirts for sale in the nineteenth arrondissment of Paris. After lodging a formal complaint, the President of The National Office of Vigilance against anti-Semitism gives an interview to Le Figaro.

Just what did the shirts say?

They bore inscriptions in German “Juden eintritt die in parkanlagen verboten” and Polish “Zydom wstep do parku wzbronionyio,” which means “Enter the park prohibited the Jews,” a reproduction of a warning near a Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland in 1940.

And another gem:

We were indeed also alerted on Tag anti-Semitic present last week near St Paul, in Paris, marked “Jew = thief.”

On the motive:

We do not know. The sale of clothing in the nineteenth is even more troubling that in this district, Jews frequently complain of being victims of gangs of anti-Semitic offenders.. But we do not know if it is linked.

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