Thursday, January 29, 2004

Y'all might be interested in this here article from Newsweek; it's the cover story of the European edition. The main story is on Jose Maria Aznar's excellent economic record as Prime Minister, and I couldn't have said it better. I genuinely think Aznar is the finest statesman alive; he's straightforward, honest, firm, disciplined, and, above all, conservative and competent.

Be sure to click on the link to "The Barcelona Model", which talks about our lovely city, and it really is lovely. The irony here is that Barcelona has been run by the Socialists ever since democracy was installed back in 1978, yet Newsweek finds it as praiseworthy as Aznar's conservative record. I can't deny that the Socialists have done a lot for Barcelona over the years. I think maybe more conservative parties would have done better, but you can't deny that people's standard of living, both economic and "social", has risen during the Socialist local regime. Note that the article is rather optimistic about the future of the Forum. I am much less sanguine.

Here's some more anti-American Nazi propaganda. Readers are again invited to note similarities between the ideas in this screed and the insults thrown at the United States by sophisticated people in Brussels and Vienna.

Baghdad Bob Fisk has been awarded the Godo Prize for Journalism by La Vanguardia. (The newspaper is owned by the wealthy Godo family; they're counts or earls or something like that.) The prize-winning article was the one he wrote about the alleged sacking of the museum in Baghdad. Now, that article has been completely discredited. There was simply no major looting of that museum. A few pieces disappeared and most of them were recovered. That's it. End of story.

So you wonder: What the hell are these people thinking? Fisk's article is just plain wrong and its wrongness has been repeatedly demonstrated. Do they know nothing beyond what their own national press produces? (Note: Fisk's articles appear regularly in the Vanguardia, with a circulation of over 200,000, more than twice as much as the Independent gets. Probably more people read him in Spanish than in English.) Or do they just not care? My guess is both. Despite their protestations, most Europeans know as little as most Americans do about what passes outside their own country.

In case you're interested, the five-man jury which awarded the prize included editor Alfredo Abian, whose pieces we have taken apart many times here at Iberian Notes, and Josep Maria Casasus, the less-than-useless ombudsman who claims that Iberian Notes, HispaLibertas, and Kaleboel are in the pay of the US government. (I only wish we were.)

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