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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Scottish Independence


“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons,” said Winston Churchill in 1941, defending his decision to regard Stalin as an ally after Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

If the brutal fanatics of ISIS and their new “Islamic State” in parts of Iraq and Syria were really an existential threat to the United States, then President Barack Obama, using the same logic, would now be treating the governments of Syria and Iran as allies. But he isn’t.

trad.italiana reperibile su Internazionale)

Odiate il fatto che vostra madre vi svegli bruscamente la mattina successiva a una mega serata, magari con sbornia annessa?
Rivisitate l’idea dei Green Day e dite a vostra madre di non svegliarvi fino a che potrete aprire un giornale italiano e leggere un articolo degno di questo nome riguardo tutte le fazioni curde impegnate nella lotta contro l’ISIS.
Sogni d’oro assicurati.

Italia - Lituania (Olimpiadi Atene 2004)

Loro avevano Jasikevicius, Siskauskas, Macijauskas, Lavrinovic, Stombergas, e Zukauskas.

Loro erano i campioni d’Europa in carica e chiunque adorava il loro gioco.

Loro erano… semplicemente perfetti.

Noi avevamo quell’esaurito del Pozz, il Baso dai tiri ignoranti, il grande capitano Jack Galanda, il futuro capitano Teo Soragna, e infine il Bullo e Marconato, che quando regalavano fiumi di assist e rimbalzi in maglia blu, venivano venerati anche fuori Treviso.

Nessuno giocava in NBA, ma tutti amavano la maglia della nazionale più di ogni altra cosa e la indossavano con umiltà e rispetto.

Non apparivamo nelle tv di San Antonio o New York, ma avevamo un cuore e due palle così grandi.

E quando sul finale il Pozz si mise a correre verso la panchina e abbracciò il Baso, tutti i tifosi italiani di basket non avevano più un filo di voce, ma soltanto lacrime di gioia.

Probabilmente la partita di basket più emozionante della mia vita.

E come ogni anno, vale la pena riguardarla dall’inizio alla fine.

Veramente un ottimo pezzo (e non solo perché cita Tucidide).
Da leggere.

"Apocalyptic." "End-of-days strategic vision." "Beyond anything we have ever seen." "An imminent threat to every interest we have." "Beyond just a terrorist group." "We must prepare for everything."

So are they Martians? Alien invaders from Planet X? Destroyer spacecraft from the movie Independence Day?

The word movie is the clue. Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. It only needed Tom Cruise at their press conference to utter the words “Mission impossible”. Who writes this God-awful script? Can’t the US Defence Secretary and his joint chiefs chairman do better than this?

Even the titans of World War Two – Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin – never used this kind of rhetoric when they confronted real-life evil empires.

Churchill talked of Hitler threatening “a new dark age” and Stalin urged the Soviets to destroy the “robber hordes” of Germany. Roosevelt described the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour as “a day which will live in infamy”. Did the victors of the 1939-45 conflict ever use such trashy semantics to define their mortal enemies?

Never. They said what they meant. They would not dream of insulting our common sense by referring to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s crackpot “caliphate” as apocalyptic. Even at his most insane, General Gordon (of Khartoum fame) wanted only to “smash up” the Mahdi – the latter being the 19th century equivalent of Baghdadi – and look what the Mahdi did to Gordon!

The followers of Mohamed Ahmed ibn Abdullah, against orders, chopped off Gordon’s head. Revenge took many forms, including the Battle of Omdurman where the British destroyed the Dervish army of the now-dead Mahdi’s successor.

One of those Britons was Churchill himself, who commented eloquently that “the weapons … and the fanaticism of the Middle Ages were brought by an extraordinary anachronism into dire collision” with modern organisation, adding generously that his opponents were men “of the most desperate valour”.

Those were the days. You could slaughter your cruellest enemies without exaggerating their power or ignoring their courage.

But the art of rhetoric – of exaggerated and artificial language – is intended to deflect reality. At one point, almost unnoticed, a White House official, Ben Rhodes, said that the US would not now be limited by “geographic boundaries” – after Dempsey had told the world that the Iraqi-Syrian border was “non-existent”.

Odd that. It wasn’t non-existent a few months ago when the Assad regime was about to be given the Isis treatment. But now Assad’s lads are chatting – so I hear – to Dempsey’s lads about their mutual apocalyptic-visioned enemy, which has just beheaded an American journalist who (so American officials claimed not long ago) was in an Assad jail.

Long forgotten now is that one of the journalists viciously murdered in Gordon’s 19th-century war against the Mahdi was Frank Power, Khartoum correspondent of The Times who tried to make it through enemy lines down the Nile. He was tricked with his companions into eating with the rebels – who then murdered the lot. They say Power was beheaded. Certainly his severed head is produced in that old Hollywood clunker Khartoum when Gordon (Charlton Heston) meets the Mahdi (Laurence Olivier).

But Obama can relax. He called Isis a “cancer”, but Gordon never met his adversary – that bit of the movie was a hoax – until the Mahdi saw Gordon’s own chopped-off head in a leather bag. Someone should tip off Chuck and Martin on the difference between Hollywood and reality.

Oh yes, and I noticed that Chuck said of the “Islamic State” that it was “as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen.” Sophisticated? Really? And funded by whom, I wonder? If our new enemies have an end-of-days vision, where does the cash come from, Chuck?

ohhhh, thanks Robert.

"After the first child, nobody batted an eye; after the 50th not even a slight tremor was felt in a plane’s wing; after the 100th, they stopped counting; after the 200th, they blamed Hamas. After the 300th child they blamed the parents. After the 400th child, they invented excuses; after (the first) 478 children nobody cares."


"In Gaza we don’t have water and when we have water, we can’t make it ice since the electricity is off most of the time. So my cousin Hafiz, My nephew Khalid and I used remains of a destroyed house to participate in this challenge.. I am not nominating anyone for this challenge but I am asking you all to show solidarity with Palestinians and to participate in this challenge.. Thank you in advance."

- Abu Yazan , a cofounder of Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO)