"Q Well, Mr. President, you've known Mr. Prodi for a long time, and you've known Mr. Berlusconi -- you've known both of them. And how would you assess the personal relationship that you had with Mr. Prodi and with Mr. Berlusconi? Is there a difference how comfortable would you feel with one or the other?
THE PRESIDENT: I feel very comfortable with both. The first thing that's important is I feel comfortable with the people of Italy. We've got very close ties.
And let me just take a step back. What's interesting about our country is that we've got -- we've had close ties with a lot of countries. My ranch was settled by Germans.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. There's a huge number of Italian Americans. A lot of Russian Americans. You know, Norm Mineta in my Cabinet is a Japanese American. In other words, so when you talk about relations with an American President, you've got to understand that there's a -- at least I have, I know my predecessors have, connections, close connections with people who have fond -- either fond memories and/or great pride in their motherland."
* palast on demnow on mexico elections here:
"Two million are expected to arrive in Mexico City this weekend to demand a recount. They say it's not over. The fat lady hasn't sung, not until all ballots are counted, vote by vote."
* wapo oped:
"The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results of fair and free elections held early this year. It is the explosive follow-up to a five-month campaign of economic and diplomatic warfare directed by the United States and Israel. The stated intention of that strategy was to force the average Palestinian to "reconsider" her vote when faced with deepening hardship; its failure was predictable, and the new overt military aggression and collective punishment are its logical fulfillment. The "kidnapped" Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job scheduled months ago.
As I inspect the ruins of our infrastructure -- the largess of donor nations and international efforts all turned to rubble once more by F-16s and American-made missiles -- my thoughts again turn to the minds of Americans. What do they think of this?
Surely the American people grow weary of this folly, after 50 years and $160 billion in taxpayer support for Israel's war-making capacity -- its "defense." Some Americans, I believe, must be asking themselves if all this blood and treasure could not have bought more tangible results for Palestine if only U.S. policies had been predicated from the start on historical truth, equity and justice.
However, we do not want to live on international welfare and American handouts. We want what Americans enjoy -- democratic rights, economic sovereignty and justice. We thought our pride in conducting the fairest elections in the Arab world might resonate with the United States and its citizens. Instead, our new government was met from the very beginning by acts of explicit, declared sabotage by the White House. Now this aggression continues against 3.9 million civilians living in the world's largest prison camps. America's complacency in the face of these war crimes is, as usual, embedded in the coded rhetorical green light: "Israel has a right to defend itself." Was Israel defending itself when it killed eight family members on a Gaza beach last month or three members of the Hajjaj family on Saturday, among them 6-year-old Rawan? I refuse to believe that such inhumanity sits well with the American public."