Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama meets Berlusconi: I took an oath of gratitude towards United States

Headline of the Day, from the Daily Telegraph: “Nicolas Sarkozy Intervenes in Row over Mother-in-Law’s Septic Tank.” (Because the prefect of the département didn’t implement Sarkozy’s promise that his mother-in-law’s town would get a centralized sewage system at no cost to the residents, Sarkozy fired him.)

Speaking of centralized sewage, Italian Primo Buffone Berlusconi met President Obama at the White House today. To make his guest feel at home, Obama used his hands a lot while he was talking.

Asked about the Iranian elections, Obama said “it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be”. Yes, they just did that very thing, Barack. It’s what happened after that that’s the problem.

He didn’t have any advice for the Iranians about how to deal with the stolen election but did say, “I am deeply troubled by the violence that I’ve been seeing on television... I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we’ve seen on the television over the last few days.” Why do we spend all that money on a State Dept and a Central Intelligence Agency, when all our presidents just watch tv anyway?

SO, LIKE, WAVE OR SOMETHING: He had a word of encouragement for the Iranian people: “And they should know that the world is watching.”

HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT DIGNITY: Berlusconi said, “I took an oath of gratitude towards United States, which gave me freedom and which gave my country dignity after World War II.”

ALSO, MY LEGS LOOK GREAT IN THOSE SHORTS: Obama presented his guest with an unusual gift basket: Berlusconi will be going home with three Guantanamo prisoners. Obama also praised Bermuda: “I have to say, by the way, that Bermuda has done us a great service, as well, on that front, and I’m grateful to them.”

PIZZA? “In addition to liking Prime Minister Berlusconi personally, our peoples like each other and recognize that we have shared interests.”

Asked about Netanyahu’s speech, Obama once again said that it was too early to judge it – “it’s important not to immediately assess the situation based on commentary the day after a speech” – but said that “I’m glad that Prime Minister Netanyahu made the speech” and that “there was positive movement in the Prime Minister’s speech. He acknowledged the need for two states. There were a lot of conditions, and obviously working through the conditions on Israel’s side for security, as well as the Palestinian side for sovereignty and territorial integrity and the capacity to have a functioning, prosperous state, that’s exactly what negotiations are supposed to be about.” Funny, I thought Netanyahu’s speech was about listing all the things that are not open to negotiations.

Obama repeated his opposition to “a continuation of settlements that, in past agreements, have been categorized as illegal”. Also under international law. I guess he forgot about international law. Funny, that.

And he told the Palestinians that “whether it’s the Palestinian Authority or other groups like Hamas that claim to speak for the Palestinians” – possibly they claim that because they won elections of the Palestinians – they need to recognize Israel’s right to exist and ensure “that there’s an end to incitement against Israel.” (Every speech about the Middle East now makes this demand for the suppression of Palestinian speech. It would be nice if someone asked him what specific measures he’s calling for – what newspapers should be banned, which people imprisoned, etc.

Then the cameras were turned off and Berlusconi asked if Obama knew any teenage girls he could introduce him to, the end.

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