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Does the Pope squirt Ink?

May 15, 2009

Recalling a visit to the Auschwitz death camp, Pope Benedict XVI wound up a sometimes fraught and often politically charged trip to Israel and the West Bank on Friday with a call for peace and a plea that the Holocaust — “that appalling chapter in history” — must “never be forgotten or denied.”

But, as he has since he arrived from Jordan on Monday on his first trip to the Holy Land as pope, he avoided evoking his German nationality and his personal history in Nazi Germany as some Israelis had demanded. Rather, he blamed the Holocaust on “a godless regime.”

The pope has sought to walk a narrow line between the tripwires of Middle East politics, addressing the concerns of Israelis and of Palestinians. As he left, he spoke in a farewell statement from Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport of the separation barrier that Israel has built to fence itself off from Palestinian areas, saying it was “one of the saddest sights for me during my visit to these lands.”

He added: “No friend can fail to weep at the suffering and loss of life that both peoples have endured over the last six decades. Allow me to make this appeal to all the people of these lands: No more bloodshed! No more fighting! No more terrorism! No more war! Instead let us break the vicious circle of violence.”

yah, yah, yah. Nice thoughts there Bennydick. It would help if your institution under your leadership would stop oppressing the masses with dictates of insane social policies regarding birth control and diverse sexuality. Fuck off with your papal squirts. You are no peacemaker, nor is your church.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    May 15, 2009 7:13 am

    In other news, not exactly a surprise, but still disgusting:

    Two U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission employees are under investigation by federal criminal authorities for allegedly using insider information to trade stocks, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

    A report by the SEC’s internal watchdog alleges that the two SEC lawyers traded in stock of a large financial services company despite being told by another SEC employee of ongoing investigations of that company, CBS News reported.

    The SEC inspector general report said one SEC attorney under investigation works in the Office of the SEC’s Chief Counsel and has access to a tremendous amount of nonpublic information, CBS News said.

    What do you wanna bet that the “large financial services” company was GoldmanSux? ;)

    Just looked this up, here’s the story from CBS, who broke it: SEC Attorneys Probed For Insider Trading

    Accusations against the two lawyers – a man and a woman whose names have not been released – are detailed in a report by the SEC inspector general obtained exclusively by CBS News.

    The report, based on a review and analysis of “more than two years of e-mail and brokerage records,” puts increased pressure on a commission that has come under fire lately for failing to detect the $60 billion Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi scheme, and turning a blind eye to the Wall Street financial crisis.

    The report alleges both the male attorney and female attorney – who works in the enforcement division – “traded in the stock of a large financial services company” despite being told by another SEC employee of ongoing “investigations of that company.” The report calls this is a direct violation of SEC rules.

    In another possible violation, the male attorney was found to have sent e-mails from his SEC account to his brother and sister-in-law “recommending particular stocks.” The attorney’s stock portfolio was estimated at one point to be valued at $200,000.

    As for the female attorney, the report states that “two months before an investigation of a large health care company was opened” she “sold all of her shares of stock in the company.” And “two days before an inquiry was opened” by a colleague who “occupies the office next to her” the female attorney sold stock in an oil company. Investigators say the female attorney traded stocks 247 times between January 2006 and January 2008. At one point her stock portfolio was valued as high as $170,000.


    As it now stands, there’s no telling how many other employees are not reporting their trades because the SEC has no compliance system in place to monitor the trades of their employees. In fact, the two attorneys under investigation say that no one at the SEC had ever before questioned their reported securities holdings or transactions in the decades they have worked at the commission.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 15, 2009 8:02 am

      Not really too surprising unfortunately. Instead of using the inside info to prosecute the Wall Street charlatans, they keep their mouths shut and use it to line their own pockets. I wouldn’t bet one dime against you that the “large financial services” company was GoldmanSux.

      But these guys are still small potatos compared to the systemic abuse from the higher ups. Something tells me these two will be made an example of, we’ll get the “few bad apples” story, and be told everything is OK now.

      • Stemella permalink*
        May 15, 2009 9:32 am

        And guess what, the photos were released yesterday in Australia according to this Telegraph article: New ‘prisoner abuse’ photographs emerge despite US bid to block publication

        Obama blew a chance to do the right thing.

        • Stemella permalink*
          May 15, 2009 9:42 am

          Ooops I posted this in the wrong place. Sometimes this blog format messes with my mind, man.

          Must get more coffee….

          (by the way, I looked at the photos linked to this story and had seen them all before. They were all from Abu Ghraib.) Apparently there are 2000 of them though. )

          • cometman permalink*
            May 15, 2009 10:01 am

            I just ran across the same story at CommonDreams. I guess we won’t know unless they actually release the photos, but I was under the impression that this latest batch isn’t just from Abu Ghraib and is proof that torture was far more systemic than the few bad apples they’ve tried to claim so far.

  2. cometman permalink*
    May 15, 2009 7:56 am

    Nice find with the pic today! Popey McChange really bugs me. He’s got a lot of nerve urging people not to forget while at the same time trying to make excuses for his participation in the Hitler Youth. It would be one thing to claim he just got caught up in the history of the period without realizing what was happening if he actually seemed like a humble tolerant and caring person but I just don’t get that from the guy.

    So I’m going to go ahead and post my favorite popey video again because it makes me laugh every time I see it.

    • Stemella permalink*
      May 15, 2009 8:05 am

      Popey McChange!!! Hahahahahah! So Gay. He really is. He’s sooooooooooooo gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

      The pic of him gazing lovingly at that tower of power candle is too good! hee hee

      • triv33 permalink
        May 15, 2009 5:07 pm

        This is not a feel-good Pope. I’m a recovering Catholic, went to parochial elementary school. They used to send us out to “sell Pagan Babies.” What it we did was sell coupons to raise money for Catholic Charities, if you sold twenty-five of them, you got to name a “Pagan Baby.” I shit you not.

        • Stemella permalink*
          May 16, 2009 8:41 am

          That’s just weird! haha

          Ratzinger is definitely not a feel good kind of guy. When I see him I am reminded of an evil grandpa from the Munsters. ;)

          • triv33 permalink
            May 16, 2009 8:54 am

            I believe he had much to do with pedophile priest shuffling…therefore he had the goods on so many in the church they had no choice but to make him Pope. Look at him…who would elect that guy Pope without being blackmailed into it?

        • May 20, 2009 1:31 pm

          Soooo, that explains why my kids have such weird names! l0l

  3. Stemella permalink*
    May 15, 2009 8:18 am

    Is President McChangerton aka Status Quo O, having a Sistah Soljah moment? Is he throwing the leftyblogosphere good and hard under his “Going to Wall Street McChangerton” bus? By flippy flopping on the Torture 2.0 photos and by continuing military tribunals at Gitmo, and ya know, not actually closing it, is this the big signal to take one’s HuffintonOrangeBlahhginess and shove it up the poop shoot moment?

    That’s what this article suggests: Is Obama Picking A Fight With His Left?

    Bill Buckley would have been pleased. One day after the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy warned that a decision to release photographs of detainee abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration would “imperil our nation and its defenders,” President Obama took his advice.

    The president said he believed that the consequence of releasing the photos would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and needlessly endanger U.S. troops. “Moreover,” he added, “I fear the publication of these photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse.”

    Unlike Bill Clinton, whose relationship with the military got off to a famously bad start over how to treat gays in the military, Obama’s not moving faster than his generals. What’s more, the decision not to release the photos is likely to prove popular with the Pentagon as well as conservatives (even if the latter are not wont to praise the move in public.) Earlier, Fox News reported that Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, forcefully argued against the release and convinced Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who passed his concerns along to the president.


    What with Israel’s new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, soon headed to the White House for what promises to be a frank meeting, Obama already has enough on his foreign policy plate for the time being. So why pick a fight with the base of his party at this time-first with the photos, and soon perhaps over the military commissions? David Ignatius of the Washington Post may have come up with the best line of all when he suggested this may be part of “Sister Souljah moment.”

    Interesting times in Washington.

    It will be interesting to see the reaction from those who care how O perceives them. Let there be no doubt if what that last paragraph implies is true. This is the Rahm Emmanuel Presidency. We’re fucked and screwed.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 15, 2009 8:37 am

      The more worried they get about the release of these photos, the more damning I suspect they are. Check out this article from William Rivers Pitt who suggests that the photos they are reluctant to release me be the same or similar to the ones described by Seymour Hersch a few years back and the reason Cheney is all over the place defending torture is because he is scared that the worst may come out. Supposedly these photos show Iraqi boys being raped in prison in front of women.

      Finally, I believe he [Cheney] was scared of going to prison.

      But why? The American public has been aware of our use of torture for some time now. The Obama administration has made it all too clear that they have strong reservations about prosecuting the architects of the Bush administration’s torture policy, and that any meaningful actions along those lines are highly unlikely to be taken.

      Why, then?

      It is because Cheney knew, when he began his media assault, that the worst of the horrors inflicted upon detainees at his specific command are not yet widely known. If the real stuff comes into full public light, he feared the general outrage will be so furious and all-encompassing that the Obama administration will have no choice but to reverse itself and seek prosecutions of those Bush-era officials who specifically demanded those barbaric acts be inflicted upon prisoners.

      This is not about waterboarding, as gruesome as that practice is. It is not about putting prisoners in confined spaces, or about pushing them, or slapping them, or putting bugs on them or demeaning them and their religious faith.

      It is about this, from July of 2004:

      After Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon’s custody more horrific than anything made public so far. “If these are released to the public, obviously it’s going to make matters worse,” Rumsfeld said. Since then, The Washington Post has disclosed some new details and images of abuse at the prison. But if Seymour Hersh is right, it all gets much worse. Hersh gave a speech last week to the ACLU making the charge that children were sodomized in front of women in the prison, and the Pentagon has tape of it.

      Hersh: “Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”

      Absolutely disgusting. We can’t have gay translators in the military, but if there’s some sadistic fuck who can be used to torture people, well that’s keeping us safe from terrorists. It could turn out the photos aren’t as bad as Hersch suggests and I’m not sure if he actually had access to them or was just told about them by somebody else. But based on what we already seen from Abu Ghraib and what the government has already admitted to, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they are that bad. These are some sick sick people – those who ordered the behavior, those who committed it, and those who continue to try and cover it up.

      • Stemella permalink*
        May 15, 2009 9:01 am

        I remember both reading and seeing Hersh speak about the images not yet seen. If I remember correctly that batch was seen by members of the Senate at least. What is important about this second batch aside from the legal imperative as determined by the FOIA and courts, is that they show how truly widespread the abuse was, that is wasn’t just a few bad apples in Abu Ghraib. It shows that the sickness has been systemic as ordered from the Office of the Vice Pres. They will come out eventually. Obama is throwing a lot of credibility out the window on this one and he’s on the wrong side. Just as he was on FISA.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    May 15, 2009 9:24 am

    The Treasury has agreed to give millions of Tarpage to several Insurance Companies. (I posted about this late yesterday).

    The Treasury yesterday granted preliminary approval for some of the nation’s largest insurance companies to receive capital infusions under the government’s Troubled Assets Relief Program, Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said.

    Recipients are Hartford, Prudential, Allstate, Ameriprise, Lincoln National and Principal Financial Group, he said. The insurers notified yesterday are among hundreds of financial institutions in the pipeline “that are being reviewed and funded as appropriate on a rolling basis,” Williams said.

    Today, a trucking company, YRC Worldwide Inc.

    one of the nation’s largest trucking companies, will seek $1 billion in federal bailout money to help relieve pension obligations, the chief executive said Thursday.

    The move comes as the trucking giant struggles to shore up its finances. The company’s ability to weather the recession will have significant implications for the trucking industry and large customers across the country.

    Chief Executive William Zollars said the company will seek the money to help cover the cost of its estimated $2 billion pension obligation over the next four years. Under a complicated system that Mr. Zollars labeled unfair, roughly half of YRC’s contributions to a multi-employer union pension fund cover the costs of retirees who never worked for the Overland Park, Kan., company.

  5. cometman permalink*
    May 15, 2009 9:31 am

    Can somebody explain to me exactly how the republicans criticizing Pelosi over what she knew regarding torture in any way makes them look better? Here a link where Eye of newt and toe of frog wool of bat and tongue of dog Gingrich gets all apoplectic about Pelosi.

    I think Pelosi is an equivocating two faced liar on this issue (and many others too) but does her complicity in these events somehow let all the Congressional republicans who were also in on this as well as those in the Bush administration who ordered it off the hook? Wouldn’t an investigation into Pelosi also uncover all the republicans who knew we were torturing but tried to keep it secret? Not sure what angle they are going for here, but maybe it’s just sheer stupidity. Wouldn’t be the first time republicans tried that tactic.

  6. Stemella permalink*
    May 15, 2009 9:40 am

    I think it’s that “if you repeat the lie enough times they’ll believe it” technique so often effectively employed by Goebbels and Rove. Maybe Newtron thinks if he says Pelosi’s name enough times people will think she was the one who authorized the torture. Actually I think it is like the playground taunt of a typical bully who has been busted, “She did it too!” “That little girl stood there and watched me beat the shit out of that other kid while we tied a gag around her mouth and she didn’t bite through the gag so we thought she was a cheerleader” or some such shit.

    • cometman permalink*
      May 15, 2009 9:58 am

      It wouldn’t be the first time the public lapped up a heaping helping of stupid if that is his angle.

      The problem for Pelosi is she doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. Here’s a McClatchy article whwre again she tries to claim she was “misled”.

      The controversy has rattled Pelosi. She read a lengthy statement Thursday outlining her actions, and her news conference featured only one question that wasn’t about the intelligence controversy.

      The speaker recalled that she was told in 2002 that Justice Department opinions had concluded that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques was legal. “The only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed,” Pelosi said.

      So OK, maybe they did tell her they weren’t waterboarding anybody yet. But they quite clearly told her they were using “enhanced interrogation techniques” and that those techniques were legal because Bush’s people said so. Did she think to ask what those other techniques might be? Did she just take Bush’s word for it that they were legal on his say so? She can pretend all she wants that she was “misled” but she isn’t mentally incapacitated and she obviously gave the wink and the nod when told about this. Only a complete moron would fail to realize what was being discussed and was being claimed as legal. If everybody else can figure out they were talking about fucking torture, why couldn’t Nancy?

      And then there’s this:

      Pelosi said that she’d signed an oath not to disclose classified information, and suggested Thursday that speaking out wouldn’t have made much difference anyway.

      “This is their policy,” she said of the Bush administration. “This is what they conceived. This is what they developed. This is what they implemented. This is what they denied was happening.

      “And now they’re trying to say, ‘Don’t put the spotlight on us; we told the Congress.’ Well, they didn’t tell us everything that they were doing. And the fact is that anything we would say doesn’t matter anyway.”

      WTF? Does she really think people will buy that? So first she didn’t know, but even if she had known bringing it to light wouldn’t have made any difference? Sounds like somebody who doth protest a bit too much to me. And she’s basically admitting when she says she couldn’t have made a difference that there is no Rule of Law for certain people in this country.

      These people really piss me off.

      • Stemella permalink*
        May 15, 2009 11:05 am

        Yeah, she’s afraid to admit her complicity, and her weasel political nature, something we’ve known about all these wastoids in Congress. The way the story is being so heavily played on TeeVee though makes me think it’s another wag the tale manufactured gnus piece to distract from something else. Or perhaps some are trying to punish for the Jane Harman – AIPAC connection. All I know is that it all stinks. And it is sucking up oxygen, distracting the MSM from focusing on the actual torturers in Chief: Don Rumsfeld and Dickwad Cheney and their associated puppets and lackeys.

        • cometman permalink*
          May 15, 2009 11:52 am

          Your last sentence is about the only thing that makes sense – a deliberate distraction. Same thing the republicans are doing with the MN senate race; they know Coleman lost but they are dragging it out so there is one less Dem able to vote in the Senate, not that one more would make all that much difference when a good part of the Dems in the Senate lean republican already.

  7. cometman permalink*
    May 15, 2009 12:03 pm

    More stupid from Congress. Looks like Hoyer and Cantor forgot to delete AIPACs name from the letter they sent around for others to sign pledging support for Israel.

    GOP House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) circulated a letter to colleagues this week urging President Obama to support Israel when moving forward with any Israeli peace process.

    Trouble is, they forgot to delete the name of the lobbying group involved in the letter from the document.

    Attached to the email message they circulated when seeking signatures from other members of Congress was the document, titled, “AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf.”

    AIPAC stands for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a powerful bipartisan pro-Israel lobbying group. Recently, the group found itself in the news over allegations that two former staff members were involved in espionage — though the Justice Department recently dropped the case against them and no wrongdoing was alleged against the group itself.

    The file name flub was discovered by The Washington Post’s Al Kamen in his “In the Loop” Column Friday.

    I’m sure that even this won’t keep Israel’s defenders from claiming there is no Israel lobby and if there is they really don’t have much influence.


    • Stemella permalink*
      May 15, 2009 1:33 pm

      Just another area where there is no change to believe in. The Lobbyists are still thick as thieves, including the neo-con enabling AIPAC. They don’t even try anymore to hide their seedy relationships. Sad.

  8. Stemella permalink*
    May 15, 2009 1:44 pm

    Check this out:
    Thought Police II: Media Airbrushing (Including Removal of Article With Negative Comments on TARP)

    which discusses how articles critical of TARP are being yanked, in particular this story posted at Tyler Durden’s: Mark Patterson: “It’s A Sham. The Banks Are Insolvent”

    The chairman of $7 billion distressed Private Equity firm and TARP beneficiary MatlinPatterson calls a spade a spade and in the process exposes the entire Geithner plan for the complete sham that it is. His comments before the Qatar Global Investment Forum were captured by the Daily Telegraph’s Evans-Pritchard earlier, and Zero Hedge republishes the piece in its entirety as it presents every nuance of our predicament with masterful simplicity.

    This is too convoluted to describe. Look at the links. It confirms what we’ve been thinking about Geithner’s sham bam thank you maam.

    And here is a more recent post from today: Daily Telegraph Removes Mark Patterson Interview

    • cometman permalink*
      May 15, 2009 3:51 pm

      I think you meant to use this article from naked capitalism in your first link above. And yeah the whole scenario sounds pretty convoluted. Did you see the letter Patterson wrote about having the article retracted? What he says in that letter isn’t just some small quibble with how he was represented, it’s a 180 degree turnaround from what he was saying in the article. Sounds like somebody in the bankster crowd saw the article and gave Patterson a call and helped him get his mind right.

      • Stemella permalink*
        May 16, 2009 8:52 am

        Thanks, I changed it (comment correctionability is a handy feature). It definitely seems Patterson was given notice. I don’t see any more recent updates on that story. That Tyler Durden is a posting fiend!

        • cometman permalink*
          May 16, 2009 10:10 am

          Just went back and read through some other stuff at nakedcapitalism where I found this article about whether the system is still rigged, which led to this post about the Bilderberg group at the author’s own blog. I don’t know what the Bilderberg people are up to, but they are definitely up to something. If these types of secret meetings among elites aren’t a conspiracy, then I don’t know what is.

          But along the lines of conspiracies, who knows which of the banksters will be there but I’m sure some will be in attendance. Now what has already gone on with this crowd is pretty much by definition a conspiracy – they meet behind closed doors in secret to make decisions and those who are affected by those decisions have no say in the matter. Last I checked the CEO of GoldmanSux wasn’t an elected official but he and other Goldies seem to be calling a lot of shots these days. Now I guess what we little people are supposed to believe is that these decisios are being made for our own good – that if the world financial system were to collapse we’d be seeing war, famine, pestilence and death within days or something.

          However it strikes me that maybe the reason they engage in these conspiracies among oligarchs is not because the world would collapse, but because it wouldn’t. And then people would realize what useless parasites they all are. Sure, there would probably be a slowdown in cheap crap from China getting to WalMarts, but I think we’d survive. We don’t need management to get things done. If management destroys a business like they have with the automakers, that doesn’t mean we can’t make cars. The factory is still there amd so are people who are willing to work. IIRC it was in Argentina a few years ago where some factories were shuttered due to globalization and finding cheaper labor, but the workers went back in and started making things anyway and found that since they didn’t have to pay management anymore, they did OK for themselves. I remember reading about the general strike in Seattle in the early 20th century where everything got shut down. But people kept the essentials going anyway and made sure food and life’s other necessities were available and there was not widespread panic and want. It started becoming clear to people that they could do pretty well without the management class. I found this link at the first site I lined to and it is an account from those involved in the strike. An excerpt:

          In Seattle itself the tension before the General Strike is difficult to describe. Business men took out riot insurance on their warehouses and purchased guns. The press appealed to the strikers not to ruin their home city. Later they changed their tone and became more threatening, appealing to the strikers to state “which flag they were under,” and if under the American flag, to put down Bolshevism in their midst.

          Many opponents of organized labor hoped to see the Labor Movement of Seattle broken by the attempt to handle a General Strike, and many old-timers in the labor Movement feared that this would indeed happen.

          Meantime the people of the city laid in supplies for a long siege. Grocery stores sold enormous quantities of goods. Hardware stores ransacked their storehouses for discarded supplies of lamps of the sort used by last summer’s resorters in beach camps, and sold them out at a substantial advance in price. A few of the wealthy families were reported in the press as having moved to Portland, to be out of the “upheaval.”

          And yet, when the strike occurred, never had there been less outward turmoil in the city of Seattle. Ordinary police-court arrests sank below normal. Quiet reigned throughout the city. Even the ordinary meetings of radical groups were voluntarily suspended lest they give an opportunity to some one to start trouble. In short, as a reporter from a nearby town declared “while the authorities prepared for riots, labor organized for peace and order.” And peace and order obtained.

          That is what I think the oligarchs of the world fear most – that there will be peace and order without them.

          • Stemella permalink*
            May 16, 2009 11:37 am

            The oligarchs are leeches of the worst kind. There would be peace and order without them and those of the management class, precisely. Your mention of general strikes reminds me of a great Charlie Rose show I watched this morning (wrote a longer piece including it over at FSZ). The interview/discussion is with Naomi Klein and William Greider. Greider suggests that if Obama’s economic plan fails then there will likely be the kinds of mass strikes we say in the past with a resulting new political system. Now there’s change I can hope in! It’s a really good interview. Here’s the link

          • Stemella permalink*
            May 16, 2009 11:52 am

            And speaking of Bilderberg, held yesterday in Athens!,

            a brief report from the WSJ

            Greek media, apparently tipped off, were abuzz over the reasons behind the heightened security at the hotel: a gathering of the Bilderberg Group, a secretive annual rendezvous of top politicians and business leaders.

            “At the Club of the Strong,” said a headline in Greek daily Eleftheros Typos. “Bilderberg: The first violins of capitalism,” wrote the Eleftherotypia paper.

            Founded half a century ago, the group has no widely known headquarters. No accord is announced at the end of its meetings. And no one is supposed to divulge their presence.

            Still, many do let it be known subtly, and past attendees are said to have included Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher.

            This time, one confirmed guest is Greek Prime Minster Kostas Karamanlis. “As you know, there are a lot of dignitaries in Athens, and this is a courtesy on behalf of the prime minister,” said Chris Valtadoros, his communications adviser.

            Others scheduled to attend, according to those in the know, include European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and World Bank President Robert Zoellick. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg is expected to attend, as well as Domenico Siniscalco, vice chairman of Morgan Stanley Europe and a former Italian finance minister, and John Elkann, vice chairman of Italian car maker Fiat.

            The managers of world capitalism aren’t always popular, which is one reason the Group of Seven leaders now meet in out-the-way resorts that are hard for protestors to reach. In Greece, a small nationalist political party, “Laos,” planned to demonstrate Saturday outside the hotel.

            The public was kept away from the hotel doors. As the same security guard explained later: “The hotel is closed until Monday. … There’s a big wedding.”

            and from the Guardian and here the next day a very entertaining take from someone who got hauled off for trying to take pictures

            So – to make sense of it. I’m going to begin here: with the face of the first Bilderberg delgate I saw in the flesh. I was trying, lamely, to get a snap of some delegates as they swooshed through Vougliameni in their mirrored limos with their plainclothes motorcycle outriders and police escorts. And one of them had their window open. I was so excited I forgot to bring the camera to my face and took a photo of the hubcap. What I saw I won’t forget. It was a 40-something man with his head thrown back, laughing and laughing, the perfect photograph that only my retina will ever see.

            And you know what: no wonder he was happy. It must be WAY COOL to be sirened through Greek streets in the back of bulletproof limo on your way to the COOLEST party in the world. You’ve been invited by the coolest of the cool kids to hang out for the weekend. Your cool cousin’s über-cool older brother and his way cool friends have got a keg of beer and a pool in the yard, and their parents are away and you think Jessica might be going. THIS IS THE BEST PARTY EVER! Turn on the sirens! We’re coming through! Woohoo!

            And your life is already pretty cool. You already own a newspaper or head a thinktank, or you’re the UK secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, or you run Fiat, or you’re chairman of the Federal Reserve or Queen of the Netherlands, or president of Shell Oil. You run stuff. You have big ideas. You’re in control, and control is fun.

            Bilderberg is all about control. It’s about “what shall we do next?” We run lots of stuff already, how about we run some more? How about we make it easier to run stuff? More efficient. Efficiency is good. It would be so much easier with a single bank, a single currency, a single market, a single government. How about a single army? That would be pretty cool. We wouldn’t have any wars then. This prawn cocktail is GOOD. How about a single way of thinking? How about a controlled internet?

            How about not.

            I am so unbelievably backteeth sick of power being flexed by the few. I’ve had it flexed in my face for three days, and it’s up my nose like a wasp. I don’t care whether the Bilderberg Group is planning to save the world or shove it in a blender and drink the juice, I don’t think politics should be done like this. This might be a facile point, but if they were organising a charity snooker league, they could do it upstairs at Starbucks. If they were trying to cure cancer they could do it with the lights on. Innocent thoughts can be minuted.

            Or maybe they’re simply swingers. Maybe that’s why the curtains are drawn. Imagine chucking your key in the tub and pulling out Ken Clarke. Sorry Timothy Geithner, that’s the cost of doing business.

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