Puppet MastersS


Italy: Berlusconi causes outrage with suggestion to rename party 'Go Pussy'

© Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty ImagesDisgusting
Italian prime minister's quip in response to his party's flagging fortunes brings condemnation from all quarters

Italian opposition politicians have been joined by a leading Catholic publication and even government MPs in expressing outrage after Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi joked he was thinking of renaming his political party Forza Gnocca, which translates as Go Pussy.

The criticism came as Berlusconi, whose political career is widely considered to be on the wane, was accused of parking an old friend in a safe job after a former pet food executive was nominated as the new head of the Venice Biennale, Italy's foremost art and architecture exhibition.

Responding to the slide in the polls of his Freedom People party caused by the financial crisis and his sex scandals, Berlusconi reportedly told MPs he had commissioned surveys to find a new name for the party, which started life in 1993 as Forza Italia, or Go Italy.

"Some of polls say the best choice would be Forza Gnocca," he joked, according to the Italian daily La Stampa.


Occupy Wall Street and the Democratic Party

Transport Union workers at Occupy Wall Street
As the Occupy Wall Street protest enters its fourth week, it confronts increasingly sharp political pressures and choices that center on the question of the Democratic Party.

On Thursday, both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made statements meant to project sympathy for the protesters. Obama, at a White House press conference, declared that they "are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works." In virtually the same breath he defended his support for the TARP bailout of the banks.

At a forum in Washington, Biden asserted that the protests have "a lot in common with the Tea Party." He continued: "The Tea Party started, why? TARP. They thought it was unfair."

Biden's reference to the Tea Party was by no means offhand. As a number of statements by Democratic strategists and newspaper columns by figures around the Democrats indicate, there is a desire within the party to exploit the protests for its own purposes, much in the way the Republicans have utilized the Tea Party.


Flashback Madsen: Diplomat pedophilia is widespread

Wayne Madsen, investigative journalist, says that the recent arrest of 3 American men in Vietnam for engaging in sex with children is only the tip of the iceberg.


Germany, France agree on Europe bank bailout

© Agence France Presse/Getty ImagesGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel says she and French President Nicolas Sarkozy "are determined to do the necessary to ensure the recapitalization of Europe's banks."
Berlin - The leaders of Germany and France, the eurozone's two biggest economies, say they have reached agreement on strengthening Europe's shaky banking sector.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she and French President Nicolas Sarkozy "are determined to do the necessary to ensure the recapitalization of Europe's banks."

Merkel spoke after talks with Sarkozy at Berlin's chancellery Sunday aimed at forging an agreement ahead of a summit of the European Union's 27 leaders later this month.

Sarkozy said it was "not the moment" to go into the agreement's details but said that the French-German accord "is total.

© UnknownSort of sums it up?


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Eye 1

FBI to Launch Nationwide Facial Recognition Service

© Unknown
The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov.

The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI's existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings.

Often law enforcement authorities will "have a photo of a person and for whatever reason they just don't know who it is [but they know] this is clearly the missing link to our case," said Nick Megna, a unit chief at the FBI's criminal justice information services division. The new facial recognition service can help provide that missing link by retrieving a list of mug shots ranked in order of similarity to the features of the subject in the photo.

Today, an agent would have to already know the name of an individual to pull up the suspect's mug shot from among the 10 million shots stored in the bureau's existing Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Using the new Next-Generation Identification system that is under development, law enforcement analysts will be able to upload a photo of an unknown person; choose a desired number of results from two to 50 mug shots; and, within 15 minutes, receive identified mugs to inspect for potential matches. Users typically will request 20 candidates, Megna said. The service does not provide a direct match.


Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen

© European Pressphoto AgencyAnwar al-Awlaki, a militant cleric who was an American citizen, was killed in Yemen.
The Obama administration's secret legal memorandum that opened the door to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Muslim cleric hiding in Yemen, found that it would be lawful only if it were not feasible to take him alive, according to people who have read the document.

The memo, written last year, followed months of extensive interagency deliberations and offers a glimpse into the legal debate that led to one of the most significant decisions made by President Obama - to move ahead with the killing of an American citizen without a trial.

The secret document provided the justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war, according to people familiar with the analysis. The memo, however, was narrowly drawn to the specifics of Mr. Awlaki's case and did not establish a broad new legal doctrine to permit the targeted killing of any Americans believed to pose a terrorist threat.

The Obama administration has refused to acknowledge or discuss its role in the drone strike that killed Mr. Awlaki last month and that technically remains a covert operation. The government has also resisted growing calls that it provide a detailed public explanation of why officials deemed it lawful to kill an American citizen, setting a precedent that scholars, rights activists and others say has raised concerns about the rule of law and civil liberties.

Bad Guys

Russia's Medvedev Echoes Stalin in Party Exhortation

© Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty ImagesDmitry Medvedev
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev dipped into Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's lexicon to tell the ruling United Russia party on Saturday that it should not take success for granted in a December parliamentary election.

Medvedev, a critic of Stalin's deadly excesses, was trying to encourage United Russia to work hard to win seats in the State Duma, the lower parliament house, amid flagging popular support from Russians tired of its entrenched position.

"It is important for a party not to feel superior," Medvedev told United Russia activists in the southern city of Krasnodar. "As soon as one feels superior, you get what the classic called 'dizzy with success.'"

In an article titled "Dizzy with Success" in the Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda in 1930, Stalin criticized party officials for perceived errors in implementing his agricultural collectivization campaign.

Black Cat

In France, far right capitalises on euro crisis

Marine LePen, leader of the Front Nationale in France.
Amneville, a town in the Moselle region of northeastern France, does not look like a fault-line in the euro zone. The smell of grilled chicken wafts over the marketplace on a recent Saturday morning, the CD vendor plays German oom-pah music, and the sky behind the ochre clock tower is a steely blue.

Yet the single currency is a target for an unusual politician canvassing stallholders and shoppers in this town near the German border.

Fabien Engelmann, a 32-year old municipal plumber with tight-cropped hair, was an activist with France's leading trade union and a Trotskyist for many years. Later he joined the far-left "New Anticapitalist Party". This year he switched party again, but not on a leftist ticket.

He joined France's famed far-right National Front, and he was not the only one.

This year, five trade unionists have joined the minority party that made its name with the anti-immigrant rhetoric of its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Since January, Le Pen's daughter Marine has been in charge of the party, and Engelmann says she is a magnet.

Eye 2

Israeli agents operate in Argentina

A strange episode took place this week in Buenos Aires. A huge radio tower that housed three FM stations collapsed on an area belonging to Argentina's Security Ministry for, still, uncertain reasons.

A local TV news channel, that is also the owner of two of those FM stations, broadcasted a video where two allegedly Israeli citizens were identified holding a cell phone conversation in Hebrew and talking about a clandestine antenna, which they refer to as "our antenna".

While these two men were allowed into the national government's facilities, the images show how an official vehicle of the government of Buenos Aires was turned back because the place had been sealed off.

Political analyst Adrian Salbuchi explains that the video allows assuming that Israeli intelligence agents are operating in this country.

Could this be then analyzed as a sign of controlling Zionist Interests in Argentina? According to Mr. Salbuchi, Israel organizations have enormous advantage in Argentine politics, media and lifestyles, which could have tracked back to the times of the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl.