Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 02 Oct 2023
The World for People who Think

Society's Child

Penis Pump

Silvio Berlusconi Says He's Not Worried About Standing Trial

Silvio Berlusconi
© Ettore Ferrari/EPA
Silvio Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his office to cover up the offence.
Despite newspaper claims that Karima el-Mahroug told the Italian prime minister she was a minor, he remains unruffled

Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has brushed aside his indictment on vice charges saying he was untroubled by the prospect of standing trial. In his first public comment since a judge committed him for trial on 6 April, he said: "For love of country I won't talk about it. Suffice to say that I am not in the slightest bit worried."

The prime minister, who was speaking at a press conference in Rome, cut short further questions on the affair saying: "We're here to deal with the economy after all."

Earlier, an Italian newspaper alleged Berlusconi was aware Karima el-Mahroug, the girl he allegedly paid for sex, was underage, according to a statement she reportedly made to prosecutors.

The centre-left daily La Repubblica has published an extract from el-Mahroug's alleged evidence, in which the Moroccan runaway said that when she first met Berlusconi she told him she was a 24-year-old Egyptian. But on a subsequent visit, in March 2010: "I told him the truth: I was a minor and I had no papers."

She said that at their first meeting, and before any relationship between them, the prime minister gave her €50,000 (£42,000).

Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing.

Bizarro Earth

Why Government Cannot Be Reformed

"It is the reformer who is anxious for the reform, and not society,

from which he should expect nothing better than opposition,

abhorrence and mortal persecution" Mahatma Gandhi

© unknown

As long as you do not live under a rock, you know that the Federal Government prances along on its merry way of central control, no matter who is in office. The traits of arrogance and aloofness are a prerequisite to retain your employment. This pattern of myopic understanding of the precepts of federalism, separation of powers or the nature of a public servant is the primary aptitude of the professional political class. Whether a lowly intern, a career civil employee, a chairman of a Congressional committee or the head of bureaucratic agency; the steamroller of public destruction buries common citizens under the weight of oppressive dictates.

Even if you ignore the politics, you cannot dismiss the debt. The foremost threat to any remote possibility of reform is a burden that is beyond repayment. Most have seen the national debt ticker of the $14 plus trillion owed. That amount is a mere drop in the bucket of the total obligations owed because of past federal government promises. The U.S. Government Consolidated Financial Report (CFR) has a CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO THE 2010 FINANCIAL REPORT OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. The $76 Trillion debt applies just for Federal Government obligations. Add on top of this amount all the States, Metropolitan and local and school bond debts.

Black Cat

White House demands justice for CBS correspondent Lara Logan as she recovers at home from Egypt sex assault horror

Attack: CBS News correspondent Lara Logan pictured shortly before she was assaulted in Tahrir Square, Cairo, while reporting there. There is no suggestion any of the men pictured were involved in the attack
The White House today demanded that the Egyptian government round up and bring to justice the thugs who brutalized CBS foreign correspondent Lara Logan.

Senior members of the White House say they are expecting a full investigation into the prolonged beating and sexual assault of the reporter by the 200-strong mob last week in Cairo.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said: 'We believe that those responsible for these acts need to be held accountable,' while a State Department spokeswoman said the United States expects a 'full investigation and accountability for anyone involved in violence during the demonstrations.'

Yesterday a concerned President Obama phoned the 60 Minutes reporter to pass on his concerns.

A friend said Mr Obama asked the 39-year-old about her condition and expressed his concern over what she had to go through.

In New York, a spokeswoman for the Egyptian Mission decried the attack and said the turmoil-wrecked Arab state would investigate all attacks on journalists covering demonstrations before and after the fall of Hosni Mubarak last Friday, calling the attack on Miss Logan 'unacceptable and shameful'.

Alarm Clock

Weapons of Mass Disruption

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Here's a book recommendation for this Egyptian moment. Get your hands on Jonathan Schell's The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People. You won't find a word about the events of the last few weeks. Little wonder, since it was published in 2003, at the height of American hubris over the use of force in Iraq, and just happened to be about eight years ahead of its time. Nonetheless, its look at the history of violence in the context of the great nonviolent uprisings of the twentieth century remains eye-opening and, better yet, Schell got it right. The Obama administration should have ditched all its intelligence and read his book!

And by the way, keep in mind that if you use a TomDispatch link or book-cover image to go to Amazon and buy this book or anything else whatsoever, TD gets a modest cut of your purchase. It's a fine way to contribute regularly to this site at no extra cost to you. Tom]

Here's the truth of it: You don't need an $80-billion-plus budget and a morass of 17 intelligence agencies to look at the world and draw a few intelligent conclusions. Nor do you need $80 billion-plus and that same set of agencies to be caught off-guard by developments on our sometimes amazing planet.

Last Thursday, Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, assured a House Intelligence panel that he had "received reports" that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was likely leavin' town on the next train for Yuma. When that didn't happen, the Agency clarified the situation. Those "reports" hadn't, in fact, been secret intelligence updates, but "news accounts." In other words, billions of bucks later, Panetta was undoubtedly watching Al Jazeera (or the equivalent) just like the rest of us peasants.

After 30 years as Washington's eyes and ears in Cairo, it turns out that the CIA didn't have an insider's clue about Mubarak's psychology. No wonder our fabulous "community" of intelligence analysts and operatives was napping when history came calling. And maybe it's fortunate for us that the future can't be bought, that no matter how much money a declining superpower puts on the barrelhead, it's as likely to be surprised as any of us; in fact, deeply entrenched in the stalest of Washington thinking, our intelligence agencies may have been even more surprised than most of us by what the future had in store. In our startlingly brain-dead American world, that realization in itself should have felt like a breath of fresh air as one startling Egyptian event after another unfolded.


CBS News Reporter Sexually Assaulted by Gang in Cairo?

© US Army Lieutenant Colonel S. Bliechwehl
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan on duty in Iraq.
"I've got an 8 pound Bass hanging on the wall that, if he could talk, would tell you what happens when you swallow anything that is presented without checking it out really well first, and this story smells like he would after about three days in the sun !"

I was talking to a friend of mine as I scanned the international news websites starting with Matt Drudge, when the headline blared out the news . As soon as I saw it, I immediately said, I bet it's Lara Logan!.. No I didn't have special powers, or inside info, but I do have a good memory.

I remembered the 'scuttlebutt' during the Iraq war and Afghanistan recounting her interesting habit of attempting to break the monotony over there by 'boinking' several soldiers and other contract employees sometimes in the back of pickup trucks and hummers. This practice was widely known by those who could get her anything she was in need of. (transportation to the front, permission to travel to certain destinations, information she could use, etc.) That's why I said I bet its Lara Logan. It just didn't smell right. (No pun intended) but back to the story.

Full Story Here

Arrow Down

Sean Penn sees Haiti relief shortfalls

© Associated Press
U.S. actor Sean Penn attends a news conference about the Haiti fund raising gala in Vienna, Austria.
Vienna - Hollywood star Sean Penn is suggesting that efforts to help Haiti recover from last year's devastating earthquake are being hampered by a lack of cooperation and communication between aid groups.

The two-time Oscar winner co-founded the Jenkins-Penn Haiti Relief Organization in the wake of the Jan. 12, 2010, disaster and has personally taken part in projects on the Caribbean island.

Penn told reporters in the Austrian capital Tuesday that "there's far too much duplication, far too little communication" between organizations and that there are "competing cultures in the international relief world."

He also said Haitians were still experiencing "enormous trauma" and that he's approached every day by people who, first and foremost, want jobs.


Egyptian military calls for damaging strikes and protests to end

© AFP/Getty
Protesters celebrate the fall of Hosni Mubarak
The Egyptian military yesterday reinforced its efforts to try to return the country to normal by demanding an end to strikes and protests while holding out the prospect of an accelerated agenda on political reform.

There were indications from the military and Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik that liberalising amendments to the constitution would be drafted in time to put them to a national referendum in two months, while the civilian cabinet would be reshuffled to bring in opposition politicians.

But the ruling Higher Military Council issued a stern warning on state television that demonstrations and a wave of labour unrest over pay and conditions were damaging security and the economy, adding: "Noble Egyptians see that these strikes, at this delicate time, lead to negative results."


Iran protests see reinvigorated activists take to the streets in thousands

Riot police and basiji militia use teargas on protesters, with reports that one demonstrator was killed in clashes

© Associated Press
An anti-government protest in Tehran, Iran.
Thousands of defiant protesters in Iran's capital have clashed with security officials as they marched in a banned rally. One person was reported killed, with dozens injured and many more arrested.

Supporters of the Green movement appeared in scattered groups in various locations in central Tehran and other big cities in what was seen as the Iranian opposition's first attempt in more than a year to hold street protests against the government.

The riot police and government-sponsored plainclothes basiji militia used teargas, wielded batons and opened fire to disperse protesters who chanted "death to the dictator", a reference to both Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Witnesses told the Guardian that despite a heavy security presence, small groups of people succeeded in gathering in main squares leading to Azadi ("freedom") Square - a chosen focal point.

HRANA, a human rights website, reported that one protester was killed and three injured when riot police opened fire at protesters near Tohid Square in Tehran. The website also said that at least 250 protesters have been arrested. Opposition websites also reported significant gatherings in the cities of Shiraz, Isfahan, Rasht, Mashhad and Kermanshah.


Dogs 'share their owners' emotions'

© Alamy
The bond between dogs and their owners may be deeper than we thought Photo:

The bond between dogs and their owners may be deeper than we thought, according to research that suggests the pets may share their owners' emotions.

When the animals are confronted with a human displaying strong feelings, they themselves produce a similar emotional response, the researchers found.

The discovery could cast light on how dogs' pack behaviour has been translated into the modern world.

Biomedical scientist Dr Karine Silva, of the University of Porto, says that dogs even possess certain human-like social skills that chimpanzees, our closest relatives, do not.


US: Protestors swell to 25,000 at Wisconsin capital

Yesterday, on the third day of protests against Wisconsin's anti-union legislation, an estimated 25,000 protesters swarmed the capital building.

This video is from the Associated Press, broadcast February 17, 2011.