The summit of the G-8 countries -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, with China, India, Brazil and other countries invited as observers -- was supposed to have as its agenda energy security, infectious diseases and education.Band of geniuses? Even in sarcasm, Simpson speaks too highly of that particular department. But I digress. Here's more.
All of those subjects are of fundamental interest to the populations of the countries whose leaders met in St. Petersburg. "Energy security" for Americans means knowing that the price of gas is not going to be pushed up further by the soaring price of oil, like the record-high $78 a barrel. "Infectious diseases" means bird flu, still flying our direction, with the U.S. government no doubt as well prepared for it as it was for Hurricane Katrina. The name of the Department of Homeland Security becomes increasingly ironic by the day as that band of geniuses busies itself with such matters as suspending from work cafeteria ladies in federal buildings Downtown. "Education" is that collection of knowledge and skills that keeps our jobs from being outsourced to Bangalore. [emphasis added]
Administration spokespersons continued to promise that Mr. Bush was going to take advantage of his summit-related meetings with Mr. Putin to rattle his cage on democracy in Russia. The irony was that the very flaws Mr. Bush sees in Mr. Putin -- increasing the arbitrary power of the presidency, disregard of the constitution, pushing the legislature to the margins, undercutting the power of the courts and seeking to weaken the media -- are precisely the points of criticism Mr. Bush hears about himself from his own opposition.Good one. Anything more ridiculous than George Bush lecturing another world leader on "increasing the arbitrary power of the presidency" or "disregard of the constitution"?
Completing the verbal rout of Mr. Bush at St. Petersburg, someone left a microphone turned on while he chatted at lunch Monday with other leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In what sounded like teen-speak, including an obscenity and an inaccurate suggestion that Syria, rather than Iran, is Hezbollah's principal international supporter, Mr. Bush made it clear that he was eager to see the summit end so he could go home.Well, it'll be August soon - Another 28-day vacation is at hand and there's brush to clear in Crawford!