In what was meant to be a trust-building gesture of goodwill, German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially handed over to the United States a 500-year-old map that was the first such document to use the word “America”. Unfortunately, the map, completed by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller in 1507, was also the first such document to use the words “home of the warmongering American earth rapists and cultureless capitalistic and puritan bourgeois Yankee imperialists”, although written in much smaller writing, or course, in red ink, and barely noticeable down there in the bottom left corner. No, over there. More to the left.

Before the handover ceremony, the map, discovered recently in a rusty old Persil wash detergent can by a group of graffiti spray artists “working” their way through the Berlin bunker system, had been thoroughly examined by various world-class cartographers and given the thumb’s up in the authenticity department. No one had bothered to check to see if the thing was genuine or not, however. And that so many experts could so easily have overlooked such offending language in this day and age remains a complete mystery, too.

Merkel was in Washington meeting with George W. Bush to sign a new transatlantic economic partnership pact when the éclat took place. The pact is designed to boost trade and investment between the United States and the European Union, harmonizing regulatory standards, cutting red tape and generally boring the crap out of anybody who has to spend more than five minutes listening to or reading this stuff.

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