The Cataloony Language Enforcement Squad is out on the loose again. Seems that five years ago they passed the Linguistic Policy Law, and that law came into effect at the beginning of the year. It obligates private business establishments to put all signs in Catalan, whether inside or outside the store, including the signs above the doors, all posted signs for products on sale, signs indicating the bathrooms, and restaurant menus. It will be permitted to use other languages in addition to Catalan, but Catalan will be required as the minimum. From now on, new businesses will have to observe this law, or they won't get a license to open. Also, the Generalitat, the Catalan government, has a program of subsidizing small businesses with a sum of between €3000 and €6000 to renovate their establishments. (I'd be in favor of this if it were guaranteed low-interest loans given by savings banks for mom-and-pop shops, say employing three people or fewer with less than €100,000 gross per year. Or something like that.) More than 1000 of these subsidies were given out last year, and to receive one from now on you will have to conform to the Linguistic Policy Law. And who's going to enforce this? Uh, we dunno, the municipal cops. And don't the municipal cops have anything better to do, like, say, give out parking tickets or harass people who look foreign? Besides, how many dumbass municipal cops can read Catalan anyway? (Real cops are the National Police and the Guardia Civil. Municipal cops here are overpaid glorified traffic wardens who mostly drink carajillos and watch TV in bars.)
The following is one reason why I hate squatters. Judge Baltasar Garzón has indicted Laura Riera, a nice Catalan young girl from a middle-class Terrassa family who is in her young twenties, for murder. Riera, who worked in the Terrassa City Hall, passed information about possible victims to the ETA. She put the finger on Francisco Cano, a PP City Councilman in Viladecavalls, who was murdered on December 14, 2000; Fernando García Jodra, already convicted for two ETA murders (those of Socialist politician and useful idiot Ernest Lluch and Barcelona municipal cop--poor bastard--Juan Miguel Gervilla, who accidentally interrupted an ETA squad on their way to kill radio host Luis del Olmo) blew Cano up in his car with a bomb under the front seat of his van.
So what's the connection with the squatters? Riera was hanging around with the Terrassa squatter crowd and one of them, Zigor Larredonda, had connections with the ETA. Riera passed her information (Cano's license number) to Larredonda, who passed it on to García Jodra, the hitman. The exalted atmosphere that exists in the squats, which is plainly visible in the violent graffiti they paint on every wall in town, the gang fights they get into with the local skinheads, and the unpunished vandalism and destruction that the squatters get away with infected Riera. A constant diet of "Smash capitalism," "Gora ETA," "You fascists are the real terrorists", "Police=Murderers", "Die Aznar", "ETA Kill Them All", romantic stories about Che and Durruti and Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin at the Finland Station, Big Lie bullshit put about by irresponsible leftist partisans, and youthful stupidity combined to make this "just like you and me" girl from next door into a murderer. I blame the squatters.
You may remember that this blog was one of the few that was openly skeptical about Pim Fortuyn and whether he signified anything in the grand scheme of things, even before he was murdered. Fortuyn's party will be wiped out in the upcoming Dutch election, and was more a symptom than a cause of feeling against immigration in Holland.
The Bush Administration wants to know what happened to some 30,000 warheads and several tons of anthrax, VX nerve gas, sarin, and other chemical and biological weapons that Saddam is known to have had in his possession. It does not believe Saddam when he says "Who, me?" It is therefore going to kick the crap out of Iraq sometime very soon. We're sending the Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt to the area. That ought to take a couple of weeks. We sort of hope the war starts on February 8, because that's the anniversary of our blog. We'd love to have a big story for that day; we just hope as few people as possible, especially on our side, get killed.
According to a Vangua story, some twenty German intellectuals led by the indefatigable idiotarian Günter Grass and including Christa Wolf--wasn't she the "official author" of the old East Germany? Wasn't she a spy for the Stasi who reported on her acquaintances? Or do I have the completely wrong person?--and a bunch of other people whom I have never heard of before and have no desire to hear of again have signed a petition saying that Bush is a big poophead.
Rafael Poch, official Vanguardia geopolitical conspiracy theory reporter and mouthpiece for the Russians, is plumping a Russian trial balloon that would "denuclearize the Korean peninsula". The North Koreans would give up their nukes and the Americans would pull their nukes out of South Korea. Russia would just love that. It's not gonna happen, so you can quit playing with yourself, Mr. Poch. First, does the US really have nukes in South Korea? I will google this and report back later. Second, we're not the ones threatened by a nuclear North Korea. That's Vladivostok, Peking, Seoul, and Tokyo, not us, though of course we do have tens of thousands of troops there who must be considered. Third, North Korea is sword-rattling because they're weak, not strong. This is not the time to make concessions of any kind that would artificially lengthen the life of the rapidly dying North Korean regime. Fourth, though the consequences of losing the bet would be so catastrophic that it cannot realistically be placed, I bet the North Koreans really don't have nukes. If they do have one or two, I bet they can't rely on their delivery systems. Fifth, if we bend over now and become a North Korean butt-boy again like we were under Clinton, the rest of the world will take note and behave accordingly, figuring that if we put out for Kim we'll put out for them. I think the most appropriate metaphor for the world is a maximum-security prison; you'd better be ready to fight because you sure don't want to be turned out.
Jimmy Carter is attempting to mediate in Venezuela. May God help the Venezuelan people. We Americans wish you Venezuelans no ill will and wholeheartedly apologize for Mr. Peanut's actions, nay, mere presence, mere existence. Iberian Notes would like to point out that you have the sovereign right to deport him and suggests respectfully that you do so.