Sunday, July 31, 2005

La Vanguardia is at it again. They've published a special article on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in their Sunday magazine supplement. It contains about fifteen pages on the tragedy of the deaths of 200,000 people, but does not mention, say, the Rape of Nanking or the Bataan death march or the sack of Manila or the attack on Pearl Harbor or the invasions of China, Indochina, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Burma. Here are a few quotes:

Was it absolutely necessary to raze two cities populated mostly by children, women, and old people?

Hiroshima was the headquarters of the Japanese Second Army and about 10,000 of the dead were Japanese soldiers.

The bomb had no military justification; the defeat of Japan was a fact and its unconditional surrender was a question of a few months...The new artefact contained a message of world power...whose real addressee was the Soviet Union...The United States wanted to show that it had the bomb and that it was willing to use it without moral reservations, without limits, without the brake of pity. Why did the United States choose the cruelest option?

In summer 1945, American casualties were about 1000 a day, 7000 a week, 30,000 a month. The sooner the war ended, the fewer Americans would die. The American government's goal was therefore quite obviously to end the war as soon as possible, not "in a few months."

Japan was clearly defeated after the battle of Midway in 1942, but was unwilling to surrender. Instead, it fought on for three more years, and it wanted to fight to the death. Japan had 10,000 kamikaze planes, 2,350,000 trained troops, and a civilian militia of 28 million armed with bows and arrows, spears, and muzzle-loading muskets ready to resist the Americans. No Japanese force, not even a single battalion, ever surrendered to the Americans during the whole war until its very end. As late as August 9, 1945, after the bombing of Nagasaki, the Japanese inner cabinet (the "Big Six") was split three-to-three on surrender and Hirohito finally broke the tie. This was the very first time surrender was even considered.

Conventional bombing was not going to make Japan surrender. We had hit their sixty largest cities beginning in February 1945 and pretty much burned them out, and we created a firestorm in Tokyo that killed more than 100,000 people on the night of March 9, 1945, more than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

The number of people killed if America had invaded Japan, which it planned to do in two stages, an invasion of Kyushu in November 1945 and then a final assault on Tokyo in March 1946, while the British invaded the Malay Peninsula and retook Malaya and Singapore in November 1945, would have dwarfed the number of victims of the atomic bomb. We now know that the Japanese anticipated the Kyushu invasion and had fourteen divisions on the island. The US military estimated that there would have been 100,000 American casualties in the landings, and these calculations were based on fighting only three Japanese divisions, which is what we thought they had on Kyushu. It's more likely that American casualties would have been on the order of several hundred thousand, and if we had had to invade Honshu, over a million. The American planners assumed that fighting in Japan itself would have been like fighting on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the most horrible battles fought in modern history. At Okinawa we lost 12,500 dead and the Japanese lost 185,000 dead, half civilians. More than a million Japanese would certainly have been killed in an American invasion.

Meanwhile, the Americans had wiped out Japan's merchant fleet, as the Japanese had no concept of submarine warfare. And what we learned in Germany, after years of trial and error, is that the best bombing targets are railroad junctions. The plan was to hit a dozen key bridges and about fifty key railway yards and junctions along the Pacific coast of Honshu and destroy Japan's capacity to transport food. Tokyo, for example, produced only 3% of the food it needed. With no ships or trains to deliver food, literally millions of Japanese civilians would have died within a few weeks--they were already down to rations of fewer than 1500 calories a day--and the country would have been completely destroyed. And we were planning to use chemical warfare on their rice crop, if necessary, as well as poison gas. There would be no Japan today.

As for charges that the Americans were trying to scare the Soviets, the answer is quite simply no. They were trying to put an end to the war. The Soviets already knew we had the atomic bomb, as the Klaus Fuchs spy ring had kept Stalin informed.

To quote Richard Frank, "The atomic bomb was the least abhorrent choice." And to quote Paul Fussell, "Thank God for the atom bomb."
I'm not sure if you know that Jimmy Carter came very close to committing high treason in his atempts to sabotage the American war effort in the first Gulf War. He contacted foreign leaders on his own, attempting to carry on parallel diplomacy in opposition to the democratic will of the American people through their elected President and Congress. I honestly think that if they had wanted to prosecute, they'd have had a very good case, and right now instead of bothering poor people in Latin America Jimmy would be doing twenty-to-life in Marion.

I'm not sure whether Carter is evil or just extremely stupid. I think both, but that's just me.

You think this guy is pro-democracy and anti-terrorist? I certainly don't. As a matter of fact, I think he is despicable. And I am amazed that he didn't fuck up our country a lot more than he managed to do.

Possibly the greatest thing that happened in American history after the victory in World War II was Reagan's defeat of Carter in the 1980 election, when the American people convincingly repudiated the weak and irresponsible Carter. As an incumbent President, he was only able to swing 44% of the vote, the most pathetic showing for an incumbent since William Howard Taft had to run against both Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in 1912.

Look at these very recent quotes from Carter.

BIRMINGHAM, England — Former President Jimmy Carter said Saturday the detention of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval base was an embarrassment and had given extremists an excuse to attack the United States.

Carter also criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq as "unnecessary and unjust."

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England.

"I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

"What has happened at Guantanamo Bay ... does not represent the will of the American people," Carter said. "I'm embarrassed about it, I think its wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people."

Carter, who won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war.
"I thought then, and I think now, that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and unjust. And I think the premises on which it was launched were false," he said Saturday.

Gee, I dunno, but that sounds like sabotaging the war effort to me, not to mention insulting the President, the Congress, and the military. By far the worst thing, of course, is calling the President a liar with zero evidence. Sounds like Jimmy wants America to lose. Typical. What a piece of shit Carter is.

By the way, I figure that winning the Nobel prize for Peace or Literature is an excellent sign that you are a complete asshole. If you can't find anyone better to honor than Jimmy Carter, Dario Fo, Jose Saramago, Rigoberta Menchu, or that dumb Costa Rican president, whoever he was, it's clear that the point is giving out money to leftists rather than actually honoring people who have made a contribution.

If I ever meet Carter I'll spit in his face, and he's probably too much of a pussy to take a swing at me. If he does I'll deck him and I hope they charge me with assault because that would give me a platform to prove in court that the bastard is a traitor. He is forty years older than me and it wouldn't be a fair fight, but who cares when it's Jimmy Carter. Of course, his bodyguards will drag me away, but it'll be worth it.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I suppose everybody has heard about the hanging of the two gay teenage boys in Iran.

I am shocked, disgusted, sickened, and angered.

These poor kids were hanged just for being homosexual. What a miscarriage of justice.

The Europeans constantly bash the Americans for executing some murderers, though they don't seem too outraged when Japan or India or Thailand or Malaysia or Jamaica or the Philippines(all democracies) does the same thing, and it's been years since I read a complaint about the way the Communist Chinese dictatorship hands out death sentences like they were popcorn. They spend pages and pages of newsprint calling us evil for toasting Ted Bundy and his ilk. And we're even worse because we very occasionally fry some bastard who did his evil deed while under 18.

Where is the European anger at this atrocity? The Iranian government hanged two kids under 18, not for murder, but for playing with one another's penises. Where is the outrage? Where are the calls for international sanctions against Iran? Where are the calls for the overthrow of such an evil regime?

The answer is there isn't any. They're saving it all up for the next time the Americans kill some terrorists. The difference in the number of pages in the Spanish press devoted to the poor Brazilian who was shot by the police in London and the two boys hanged in Iran is 100 to one. The difference in the rage shown against Middle Eastern crimes against humanity and Western attempts at self-defense is 1000 to one. Even after the Islamists murdered 192 people here in Spain just seventeen months ago.

I can't wait until Mumia Abu-Jamal has his date with the executioner. La Vanguardia will undoubtedly publish a special edition.

The Europeans are a bunch of fucking hypocrites, and the Spanish press is the worst.

Al Qaeda and Islamist national-fundamentalism must be destroyed.
Check out this article from Commentary by Paul Johnson on anti-Semitism, which he calls a form of intellectual disease rather than racism per se. Johnson links anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, something I've been saying for years. A fascinating historical piece.

Meanwhile, if you're an investor, here's where you ought to put your money. As soon as I get some this is where I'm going to put it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Run, Dick, run! Cheney in '08!

Veteran reporter Helen Thomas, the "dean of the White House press corps," says she would not be able to live if Vice President Cheney were to run for the highest office.
"The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told The Hill newspaper. "All we need is one more liar."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

To my knowledge, my ancestors weren't involved in too many atrocities.

My mother's father's family comes from Bukovina in the old Austrian Empire and from Berlin. They're 100% German. The Berlin branch left town in 1848, showed up in Rock Island, Illinois, and then moved out to Ellis County in western Kansas. I assume their leaving had something to do with the 1848 revolution. There they met up with the Bukovina branch, who had originally come from Wurttemberg in southern Germany and moved out to Bukovina, now divided between Romania and Ukraine, in the early 1700s when it was part of the Austrian Military Frontier. That was mostly vacant land recently conquered from the Turks and repopulated with people from all over the old Hapsburg empire. The Bukovinians didn't get to Kansas until 1888. Those are the most recently immigrated ancestors we have.

My mother's mother's family were probably more victimized than victimizers. Half of them were poor white folks from Mississippi who moved out to West Texas after the Civil War. My I think great-great grandfather was a buck private in the Confederate army and got shot in the ankle at Antietam/Sharpsburg (in fighting near the Dunker church, for you Civil War buffs). He survived and then went AWOL, though it was cleared up and he was discharged. He was a soldier, no perpetrator of atrocities. The rest of the family were Cherokee. They show up in Cherokee lands in Alabama in the 1830s, and they got deported west. Most of the family wound up in Oklahoma, but our ancestor went to West Texas where he met up with the Confederate soldier's daughter.

The Cherokees' story is particularly poignant. What happened is that a man called Balljack Shoemake, who was a white frontiersman, married a Cherokee woman and had five children. All of them are known only by Cherokee names. The Cherokee woman died and her children were later deported west. No one knows what happened to them. They probably died. Balljack then married a woman named Annie Bone, who was either full Cherokee or half Cherokee, who had a son by a previous liaison, and Balljack adopted the son and gave him his surname. We are descended from the son and not from Balljack. He could have been as much as full Cherokee or as little as one-quarter. Of the son's children, most went to Oklahoma, probably not voluntarily, along with Balljack's half-Cherokee children by his previous marriage.

As for my father's family, they probably came out of Virginia and North Carolina, and they show up in central Tennessee in about the 1820s, specifically in the town of Shelbyville. At least some of these people had some money; my great-great grandfather, John Alexander Stuart Shannon, was a miller and owned a few slaves. He was an officer in the Confederate army. As far as I know he was never in combat, and he was discharged in 1862 as millers were necessary workers. I'm not going to blame this guy, either. He did what was done in his society. He was a low-level leader, not from the ruling class.

The family went west to Lamar County, Texas, after the Civil War. You have to remember that Lamar County is a lot more like Oklahoma than it is like most of Texas. It was frontier territory during the late 1800s, only fifteen miles away from Indian Territory, which didn't become the state of Oklahoma until 1907. There aren't too many black people there; Lamar County's not the Deep South. They grew some cotton there, but it was marginal cotton land, and it's mostly been taken over by ranching now. What Lamar County is is hillbilly highland South. Nobody who's not from there has moved there in the last hundred years, unless they come from one of the even crappier next-door counties of Red River and Delta, and this means everybody from there is from Tennessee and Kentucky. British. Specifically, Scotch-Irish, Ulster Protestants.

Another thing hillbillies were was fanatically anti-black. They were not rich, and they despised blacks. The middle and upper classes in the South were racist, too, but rather benignly most of the time, if that's possible. Or at least not horrifically so. The hillbillies committed maybe three-quarters of the about 5000 lynchings that happened in America between the Civil War and the 1950s; the other quarter probably had the approval of the local middle and maybe even upper classes.

The difference between the two types of lynching is that the "condoned by the society of the time" kind were generally akin to vigilante actions. They occurred all over the country except New England, more frequently in the West and Southwest. More of their victims were white rather than black, and all of them were believed to be guilty of heinous crimes by what were then considered respectable people. (Of course probably some were innocent.) The executions were carried out without unusual cruelty in an orderly manner. The leaders were persons of some substance and influence in the community. There are several cases of black-on-black lynchings, in which black community leaders lynched other blacks who were thought to have committed heinous crimes. As late as 1933 there was a notorious lynching in San Jose, California, of two white kidnap-murderers. I am certainly not condoning this kind of lynching, but worse things have happened in frontier communities.

Like "hillbilly" lynchings. The "hillbilly" kind were different. They almost always happened in the South, more often in the highlands than in the Deep South. The victim was almost always black. He was usually thought by the mob to be guilty of some crime, but not always, and often the crime was being "uppity" or "disrespecting a white woman". He was generally killed quite horribly.

People in Paris, Texas, the seat of Lamar County, are and were mostly hillbillies. The weird Lamar County thing is that the local upper and middle classes weren't too far removed socially from the hillbillies, and so Lamar County lynchings combined the planning of an organized lynching and the cruelty of a hillbilly lynching. They were spectacularly atrocious events, and they had eleven of them.

These are the atrocities our people were in. Have a look at this local newspaper squib from 1932 about important events in county history. The boldface is mine.

Important Dates in the History of Paris, TX

Taken from Backward Glances by Alexander White Neville, Volume Two, edited by Skipper Steely - Column dated March 15, 1932

HERE are some facts that will serve to settle arguments that sometimes arise. I have from time to time been called on to give several of these dates. I have documentary evidence of each and they are not based on my memory.

The coldest officially recorded weather in Paris was Sunday, February 12, 1899. At 7:30 that morning it stood at 14 below zero on a private thermometer, which later was found to register one degree higher than the government Instrument. It had reached zero at 8 o'clock Saturday night.

Henry Smith, negro, was burned by the people of Paris the afternoon of Wednesday, February 1, 1893. The crime for which he died was committed the night of Thursday, January 28.

The first great fire in Parts was on Friday, August 31, 1877,
beginning about noon. The second began Tuesday, March 21, 1916, about 5 o'clock in this afternoon and burned about twelve hours. Yet another devastating fire occurred on April 27, 1896.

Organization of Lamar county was authorized by act of Texas Congress December 17, 1840, and organization was made early in 1841, the first court being hold in George Wright's store house 1n the present corporate limits of Paris February 22, 1841.

John A. Rutherford was the first presiding or county judge (1841-45) William Brown was the first sheriff (1841-44) and John R. Craddock the first county clerk (1841-52.) The first court house, a frame structure, was built at Lafayette, about three miles northwest of Paris, in 1841. Court site was moved to Mount Vernon. about six miles south of Paris, in 1843 and to what afterwards became Paris, in 1845.

The first brick court house in Paris was built by Epps Gibbons and Claiborne Chisum in the center of the square, 1846-47.

The first store was kept by James Johnson, near where 1s now the corner of South Main and Sherman streets. George Wright had his soon after near where is now the northwest corner of the Plaza.

Claiborne Chisum's residence was the first in what is now the corporate limits of Paris, but George Wright's was the first in the first corporate limits.

The first marriage license was issued February 28, 1841, to John C. Bates and Mrs. Nancy O'Neal and executed March 28, 1841 by Willard Stowell, justice of the peace.

Lamar county voted for prohibition in August, 1904 and delay in the courts prevented closing of the saloons until the latter part of April, 1906.

Clip and preserve this--it will settle an argument sometime.

Yeah. The argument it settles is whether Lamar County was a very sick society or not. I'm amazed that it's gotten so much better in so little time. It's still pretty racist and pretty redneck, and the local poor whites are as bad as poor whites can get, but it's not an awful place anymore like it was then. Its redeeming qualities have become much more visible than they were then.
Remember, for news about Spain the Spain Herald is your one-stop source, and I personally translate the news though I don't select which articles to run. For more news and opinion don't miss Barcepundit in English, Barcelona Reporter, and Spain Media, all of which are linked over there in the blogroll.
I suppose everyone knows that the guy the British cops shot in the tube was an innocent Brazilian who didn't know what was going on. Poor guy. What a tragedy. His poor family.

He's one more victim of Islamist terrorism.

The cops are on maximum alert because of the July 7 bombings and then the failed attempts of last week. They are tense and nervous and under orders to shoot to kill. Especially in the tube, since it's clearly the main terrorist target.

I don't blame the cops for shooting the guy. He looked suspicious and then took off running. If he were really a bomber he might have killed hundreds of people.

Here's the problem. Cops shouldn't have to worry that suspicious-looking people are mass murderers. In the old days, suspicious-looking people were maybe gangsters or thieves or dope dealers and the cops didn't have to worry that if they didn't get them, it might result in mass murder. So they didn't shoot if the guy was trying to get away unless he did something like pull a knife.

It was the Islamist terrorists who created the situation in which the police have to shoot to kill.

Blame them.

Minor point of order: The Spanish press has been full of articles calling the Americans paranoid and living in fear and panic ever since 9-11. It has also been full of articles praising the famous British pluck in the wake of 7-7.

I don't remember the American cops blowing away any suspected terrorists who turned out to be innocent in the middle of the New York subway, though. It seems to me that the climate in Britain is intense right now, much more so than it ever was in Kansas City or Tennessee or Texas. Maybe not in New York, I don't know anything about New York. This is not a slam on the British, of course. We all hate and fear terrorism.

Al Qaeda must be destroyed.

Monday, July 25, 2005

My sister, Shannon, and brother-in-law, Phil, had their first son on July 21. His name is John Wesley Hodge. Photographs and more information are at, so go have a look. The kid is enormous, more than nine pounds. I predict he will be either an archaeologist or an NFL lineman. Naturally, I haven't seen him personally and can't opine, but he looks quite handsome to me. Doesn't have that tomato-red face that a lot of newborns have. We're going to go see them in September, so I'll report from there. I doubt he'll have picked up much conversational ability by then, but I'm sure he'll have many fascinating bodily functions I can tell you all about.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Short Discourse on Spanish Politics

We're now slightly more than a year into the Zapatero administration, and I think I know enough about what's going on to make a brief summary.

1) The Socialists are incompetent, but then we knew that. No matter how incompetent they are, however, there's a limit to how badly they can screw things up. First, Spain is still in the middle of a huge economic boom. Spain is Europe's Sunbelt. Good weather, comparatively cheap labor and land costs, educated workforce, tourist attractions, high-value agricultural exports, pretty good light industry and construction sectors. There's no way they can stop Spain from growing unless they do something dumb like renationalizing the phone company, which even the PSOE isn't going to do. Second, Spain is part of the EU for better or for worse, and I think generally for the better. What this means is there's a limit to what the government can do before Brussels calls it on the carpet and says the budget's out of whack or whatever.

2) The PSOE is weak on several fronts. The most important values held by the majority of Spaniards, and I don't mean hip Barcelona urbanites, are, more or less in this order: family, security, equality, solidarity, Spain as a nation, the Church. The PP has very intelligently been hammering on most of these issues. In about May they organized three large demonstrations. They were 1) against government negotiations with ETA, 2) against sending part of the Civil War archives to Salamanca, and 3) against gay marriage.

These demos were good for appealing to the PP's base voters. The problems that most people see with negotiating with ETA are a) why negotiate, they're losing and b) what they want is for their prisoners to be let out of jail. They'll compromise on everything else. Well, most Spaniards are against turning their prisoners loose, and the PP needs to keep hitting this issue hard. It appeals to the security and Spain values and also to family, as the PP has been successful in framing the ETA issue in the context of the victims of ETA terrorism and justice to them.

The Civil War archives issue is a red herring, completely meaningless. A big deal has been made over whether Catalan regional government papers from the Civil War archive should stay with the rest of the archive in Salamanca or be transferred to Catalonia. The Cataloonies made a big deal out of this, and the rest of Spain decided they were a bunch of jerks and this was a symbolic issue that was worth making a stand on. The Cataloonies have made themselves so unpopular everywhere else in the country that anything they're for, everyone else is automatically against. The PP does well in appealing to the Spain value.

As for gay marriage, a lot of people are against it. The PP again does well in appealing to the family and Church values.

Other issues I would hammer on are: Abortion. That's a major Church and family value, and the fact is the abortion law is regularly broken here. Abortion is only legal in Spain in case of rape, incest, an abnormal fetus, or danger to the woman's health. The problem is the abortion clinics will certify any abortion as necessary for the woman's health, so the law is regularly flouted. I would bring this issue up.

Immigration. It's unpopular, but we need at least some, and opposing it not only looks bad but is counterproductive in the long run. What we do is support immigration, but make a big deal about how we love the majority of immigrants who come here to work and to integrate themselves more or less into Spanish society. And we slam the hell out of the minority of immigrants who come here to do crimes, and we slam the Socialist administration for not deporting them. This way we look liberal for supporting the decent immigrants and tough for wanting to lock up the criminals. In fact, the crime issue is also always a root value. Everybody's for law and order, and there's way too much street crime now. Pound on both of these issues. Hard. Support mandatory prison for everyone who commits a violent crime. Appeal to the family values people by declaring we want to make this especially true for domestic abusers, which we of course would like to do.

Housing. That's seen as a major problem. It's not an emotional issue. What I would do is come up with some kind of housing plan that would make it easier and cheaper for municipalities to license housing starts and thus increase the supply. This is the issue you can use to show you're respectable and have a responsible program. Gotta appeal to the voters who imagine they don't vote on emotional issues.

Schools. They're going straight to hell and have been ever since the Socialist "reforma" of the mid-'90s. What pretty much everybody, especially the teachers, wants is to go back to the basics. This is a family and solidarity issue, and everybody's always in favor of the children. Run on a conservative education platform, promising to actually teach the kids to read and do math. That'll also look responsible. Support Church schools. That'll get them on your side, and besides they're generally better than the public schools. As far as religion classes in the public schools, make it look like it's a big deal that you'll compromise and allow it to be an optional subject rather than obligatory; in exchange demand that it count for the students' grade average. That ought to make everyone happy.

Islamist terrorism. Get a plan together right now for how we're going to deal with it when Al Qaeda bombs something else in Spain, which I'm afraid they will sometime before 2008. Islamist terrorism is one thing everybody's against. We should be able to blame it on the Socialists just like the Socialists blamed us for the last one. If for some reason it doesn't happen, which we all of course hope, then we just stow the plan and avoid the issue. If there is some kind of success by the government against terrorism, we credit the police, who are the ones who actually did the work in the first place.

AVOID a) foreign policy. Spain's anti-American. When the PP is challenged, profess no deep love for the Americans but stress it is necessary for Spain to be friendly with America as a practical matter. Call the Socialists incompetent but don't look like you're in bed with the gringos. b) the March 11 bombings. Stop refighting the past. That is actually the only thing the voters like about Zap. They supported the pullout from Iraq and they're not going to change their minds. Let the whole thing be swept under the rug. We lost that battle. Think about winning the next one. c) Bringing back memories of Aznar. He was an excellent prime minister, and also highly unpopular personally. Nobody liked him except us. Stop making a big deal about him. Don't disassociate ourselves from him, that would be wrong, but let's not intentionally bring him up. d) Getting bitter and angry at the Socialists. Yeah, we hate them, and we think they stole the last election from us unfairly, but the public does not like constant negativism. Let that slide.

EXCEPT: When the Socialists screw up massively in administration questions. The example is the furor over the oil tanker Prestige that sank off the Galician coast a couple of years ago. The Aznar administration had to make a quick decision and chose to tow the sinking tanker away from the coast, which might well have been the wrong choice, but it's rather unsporting to second-guess a crisis decision, which the PSOE did very successfully, as if it were the PP's fault the ship sank.

Well, we blast them on this. They've already had two major screwups, the subway tunnel in Barcelona that collapsed, leaving dozens of families homeless, and now the Guadalajara fire that killed eleven volunteer firemen. Second-guess the hell out of them on both these issues and don't let up. In fact, bring up the subway tunnel at every opportunity. This one is especially fun because the Socialists, in alliance with the Communists and ERC, have been running Barcelona since 1978 and anything that goes wrong can easily be blamed on them. As a matter of fact, I would bring up a third disaster, the Barcelona Forum, and hammer them with that, too.

Now. The next municipal and regional elections are in 2007 and the next national election is in 2008. That means we have plenty of time. We have the advantage that there is no responsible party on our right. In fact, I would intentionally make a big deal about totally disowning far-right movements like the Plataforma per Catalunya. We avoid being outflanked on the right by making it clear that anyone to our right is untrustworthy and undemocratic.

So strategy is to continue along with nailing down the right-wing base for at least the next year. Don't let up and hit them hard with the basic issues. Make sure all your core voters are going to come out. Then move toward the center and pick up the disgusted swing voters, of whom there will be plenty.

Part of our problem is image. Our least popular leaders are Acebes and Zaplana. They're attack dogs. Only the base likes them. Keep using them while we're still riding the right wing hard, since they keep the core voters fired up. But when we swing center sometime in 2007, get rid of them. Well, no, don't just kick them out, they've been loyal, but they have to drop out of sight for the campaign. Center voters hate these guys.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I posted this below in the Comments section.

I mean, I'm a liberal and all. I really supported gay rights, and women's rights back in the day, back in the Seventies and Eighties when it wasn't cool in some places, like certain junior highs I attended, to object to disgusting hateful comments. And I don't mean fag jokes or silly race jokes like the one about sticking velcro on the ceiling to keep black kids from jumping on the bed, I mean really nasty niggers ought to be lynched stuff, which is what a few of these Texas rednecks were hearing at home. Try standing up for gays under those circumstances. I'm not pinning a medal on myself, among other things because I bought into the nuclear peacenik stuff when I was in college the first time around and then was proved, fortunately, wrong.

I was of little help in getting rid of Communism, but people like me, and there were millions around that time, were the vanguard of the shift in social climate, in which we're now debating not whether gays shouldn't get beaten up but whether they should adopt kids.

And there's only so far people like me can go with the free sex do what you will stuff. You know, having sex with another man, that's not too gross if you don't get anal. That's revolting, whether you're gay or straight. I'm sorry. Nature was not designed for that. But if you want to do it, I can deal with it. Don't ask me to celebrate it, but I won't complain at all if you do it.

As for lesbians, of course, they're totally cool, especially if you're the meat in the sandwich, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

I understand this is a double standard, but come on, there are contradictions in all philosophies.

This sex with children stuff, now, that's totally out of the question. Unless, of course, you're in ninth grade and the French teacher with the big knockers nails you. Then it's cool, even though they'll put her in jail if they catch her.

OK, that's a contradiction, too, but bear with me.

This sex with animals thing, though. I'd find it hard to stand up for people into bestiality. In fact, I'd probably be part of ostracising them. No violence, but that doesn't mean we have to be friends.

And I am completely weirded out by what appears to be this large pervo bestiality ring that extends all over the world on the Internet. Jesus Christ. I thought there might be fifteen or twenty freakjobs around the world into this.

Next thing I know we're going to find a necrophilia message board.

Not that this turns me against the Internet. I still think it's the greatest invention since antibiotics.

But you can't distribute kiddie porn on the Internet, and you shouldn't be allowed to distribute bestiality porn, either, since a crime has to be committed in most jurisdictions in order to produce the porn.

I don't know whether bestiality is legal or not in Kansas, but if it's illegal, and I were the attorney general, I'd use that to close these guys down.
I posted this question over at the Straight Dope.

Black and white flag at Tour de France

I've done some searching for this and can't find anything. At the Tour de France, which I watch every afternoon in July, I see fans waving flags in the pattern of the American flag, but with black and white stripes and what appear to be about twelve small pine trees on a white field. I've been seeing this for the past several years. As far as I know it's not a Basque or Catalan separatist flag, and as far as I know it doesn't represent any of the teams. I can't figure out what it means, and I see it several times every day. This is starting to get on my nerves. Please help.

Monday, July 18, 2005

It just gets worse.
Here is these freaks' chatroom. You will not believe this.
This is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of. It is apparently true, since Reuters and MSNBC have it up. Good God. Why, for the love of Christ, would you want to do this?

SEATTLE - A Seattle man died after engaging in anal sex with a horse at a farm suspected of being a gathering place for people seeking to have sex with livestock, police said Friday.

The horse involved in the incident was not harmed, and an autopsy of the unnamed man concluded that “the manner of death was accidental ... due to perforation of the colon,” a police spokesman said.

“The information that we have is that people would find this place via chat rooms on the Web,” said Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Department.

Although sex with animals is not illegal in Washington state, Urquhart said that investigators were looking into whether the farm, located in Enumclaw, 40 miles southeast of Seattle, allowed sex with smaller animals that resulted in animal cruelty, which is a crime.

“If you’re talking about sheep or goats, there could be some issues,” Urquhart said.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The squatters did it again. They planted a homemade bomb made from a pressure cooker, three tanks of camping gas, and high-powered fireworks at a Fiat dealership in a Barcelona suburb. Probably the guilty parties are Italian anarchists and local squatter allies. Nobody was hurt. But we don't need this. Arrest these guys and squeeze it out of them. They're amateurs and will fold up. And they're not hard to find.

Al Qaeda must be destroyed, and squatter terrorism needs to be stopped right now before this turns into Renteria or Durango or Irun.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Get this. I just translated it for the Spain Herald. Unbelievable. Never heard of this guy before, but he's a violence-worshiping psychopath if I've ever heard of one.

Frabetti says London dead are not “innocent victims” if they voted for Blair

Self-proclaimed "writer and mathematician" Carlos Frabetti published an article on Thursday analyzing the June 7 bombings in London, Frabetti wondered, "Is London itself an innocent victim?" and answered, "Of course, if any of those affected had supported the invasion of Iraq or voted for Blair, then he would not be an innocent victim." Frabetti also said that a Muslim who kills supporters of Bush, Blair, Aznar, Berlusconi, or Zapatero would be the same as a Jew who killed a supporter of the Third Reich.

Frabetti's column, titled "Accomplices and victims," was published on Thursday in the newspaper Gara, the paper that Basque terrorists use to express their ideas and warn about their attacks. In that column, Frabetti, who is also an author of children's books, continued his support of Muslim terrorism, as he already had after September 11 and March 11. According to Frabetti, the only terrorism is committed by the State, and everything else is the way of struggle of the poor.

Frabetti cited French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre and his thesis that all men are "half-accomplices, half-victims." However, he then declared that said thesis is not completely true since some are only accomplices and not victims at all, and then applied this thought to the victims of the June 7 bombings.

He asked, "In what measure are the Londoners who suffered the June 7 bombings victims and in what measure are they accomplices? Are they innocent victims as the politicians and the media keep repeating, 100% victims on Sartre's scale? Is London itself an innocent victim? Regarding individual persons, they should be analyzed case by case, and, of course, any of them who supported the invasion of Iraq or voted for Blair in the last election would not be an innocent victim." Regarding London itself, Frabetti asked, "Was destroyed Berlin at the end of the Second World War an innocent victim? If the answer is negative, the same is true for London."

As if this were not enough, Frabetti continued with his "comparisons, which are the only way to understand things." He asked, "How would we judge a Jew who during the Third Reich had attacked a supporter of Hitler? Do we have the right to judge any more harshly a Muslim who attacks a supporter of Bush or Blair? Or of Aznar. Or of Berlusconi. Or of Zapatero, who is expanding the naval base at Rota so that American bombers will be able to continue massacring Afghans and Iraqis."

This is not the first time Frabetti has expressed this sort of ideas. After the March 11, 2004 bombings in Madrid that killed 192 people, he said, "Without the criminal embargo that killed two million Iraqis, and without the massacre of the Palestinian people, there would have been no March 11. Without the criminal conspiracy of the 'trio of the Azores,' there would have been no March 11." In the same article, Frabetti said, "Compared to the invasion of Iraq, 'Islamic terrorism's' greatest atrocities are mere incidents." Regarding ETA terrorism, which has attacked Spain for more than four decades, he said, "We cannot talk about ETA terrorism without also talking about, and above all, State terrorism."

In September 2001, Frabetti wrote, "Hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims will become human bombs against the United States, to use Kim Il Choi's words. And dozens of millions of us Westerners, including many Americans, will support them. And Ben Ladin was right: there will be no peace in the United States while there is no peace in Palestine and in the other countries stained with blood and looted by the most evil of empires."
I sent this one to Libertad Digital a few weeks ago and they didn't use it, so here goes. My comments are in English. The original text is in Spanish.

The image of an imperialist, uncultured, rapacious, hypocritical, capitalist, and generally offensive United States is very common in Europe and especially in Spain. Just for example, here are some quotations from an article published in a Spanish magazine which deals with ideas and culture. I've left them in the original Spanish. I put the quotes in bold and italic so they'll be easier to read.

"He aquí un imperio fallido: Norteamérica. Este pueblo anglosajón ha sido dueño en los últimos años de los resortes triunfales. Cuando en la historia universal un pueblo lanzaba sobre el resto del mundo la cantidad de apetencias que el mundo actual debe al pueblo yanqui, ese pueblo convertía todos sus afanes en afanes imperiales. El imperialismo yanqui existe ciertamente, pero en forma ramplona, cobarde y, a la postre, según ha de verse, ineficaz...

"Yanquilandia es, en efecto, una república despreciable. Pueblo sin grandeza que se entrega a un centenar de banqueros y les encomienda la indicación de las rutas. Los banqueros prefieren un imperialismo hipócrita, la captura de las aduanas y el falso respeto a la libertad de los pueblos, a esa otra tarea fundamental que exigiría hondas sinceridades y peleas gravísimas: el ejército imperial agarrotando pueblos más débiles y truncando destinos pequeñitos...

"No ha faltado voluntad de imperio a los magnates que dirigen la república yanqui. Pero, repetimos, afanes mediocres, sin dar la cara, temiendo las complicaciones leguleyas, huyendo el escándalo internacional, sin firmeza, cobardemente, como quien hace un delito y teme que lo vean...

"Los yanquis han controlado los últimos veinte años. Su influjo está ya en decadencia, y un día cualquiera veremos que se rompe en mil pedazos su pretendido poderío. No se peca en balde contra los valores eminentes ni deja de castigarse de algún modo la mediocridad. Hispanoamérica tiene ahora la palabra...

"¡Nada con Yanquilandia, pueblo desleal, mezquino e hipócrita!"

This article isn't from one of those pro-Castro magazines run by a few ex-hippies. Nor is it from one of those anarchist tracts published by the squatters. It isn't from one of those pseudointellectual websites belonging to a bunch of postmodern desconstructionists.

It comes from a magazine called La Conquista del Estado. The editor-in-chief was a fellow called Ramiro Ledesma Ramos. Among other contributors were Ernesto Giménez Caballero and Juan Aparicio López.

The issue is dated April 4, 1931. The magazine disappeared a few months later when it was integrated into the organization of the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

You know, we owe the British a lot of thanks. Yeah, there were a couple of unpleasantnesses back around 200 years ago. but I think 1940-41 is plenty of payback. They stood by us and we stood by them and the other English-speaking countries kicked in their share and more.

In Kansas City, in the middle of the most prestigious commercial area, where thousands of people pass by each day, there is a statue of Winston Churchill. And his wife. Churchill is presented as a man like the rest of us. He is sitting down, next to his wife. He's not standing over us or a man on horseback. He is a human being. And the British flag, lighted up, flies 24 hours a day over the statue. It's quiet recognition, the best kind.

How about if we all do that about 20 years or so from now with another British prime minister?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Well, it's an exciting morning here in Spain. In addition to the dirtbag squatter bomb this morning, ETA let off four bombs at a power plant in the town of Amorebieta in the Basque Country at about 2:10 PM, around two hours ago. The bombs were low-powered and caused no damage. No one was injured. An advance warning was called in and the plant was evacuated. I imagine what they're trying to do is remind everyone they're still here and warn us all that they could have planted much bigger bombs that would have done much more damage if they had wanted. Except they may really be so weak now that this is all they can do. I don't know. The power plant is the largest investment--€520 million--by a foreign company, the Irish public company ESB, in the Basque Country. It began testing at the beginning of the year and is expected to come fully on-line in August. Extreme nationalist and environmental groups have long opposed the power plant, though it is a "combined-cycle" plant which is apparently the highest tech there is and therefore the most efficient and environment-friendly infrastructure investment possible. Local citizens voted in a non-binding referendum against the plant.
Well, the damn squatters have committed their first overt terrorist act here in Barcelona. They planted a homemade bomb in front of the Italian Institute of Culture, a language school and cultural center, as a protest against a bunch of anarchists being arrested in Italy. Yeah, great, that's brilliant, we're pissed off so we'll attack high culture. Total anti-intellectualism. Bombing a school, for Christ's sake.

Here is what TV Catalunya is reporting:

The bomb went off at about 8:05 AM. A bomb-squad police officer was injured and a trained police dog was killed. The Italian Institute is on Paseo Mendez Vega, between c/Aragon and c/Consejo Ciento in downtown Barcelona. The police had cordoned off the area after they received a warning of a suspicious artifact deposited at the front door of the Italian Institute. The Casa Italia in Barcelona said they had received various threats. The bomb was homemade, consisting of explosives packed into a steel coffee brewer, you know, one of those Spanish things that's basically a pressure cooker. The explosion damaged the Institute building and the building across the street. Fortunately, there was nobody in the building, since summer intensive courses begin at 9:30 AM.

The Institute's accountant and the cleaning woman, arriving for work at about 7:45 AM, saw the coffee-brewer with cables sticking out of it sitting in front of the door and called the police, who sent several vehicles and the bomb squad and cordoned off the area. The dog, trained to detect explosives, approached the coffee-brewer with his trainer at the other end of his long leash. When the dog touched the coffee-brewer with its nose, the bomb blew up. The dog was killed by the blast and the police officer was wounded in the arm and the side. The area is still cordoned off. The cops are still analyzing the debris, which seems to indicate a "more potent bomb" than others of the same sort, which have often been planted by squatters and their ilk in places like phone booths and bank cash machines.

The Italian consulate has not commented yet. The Institute and the consulate had received various threats, which is why the coffee-brewer was taken seriously and reported. On the Institute's wall graffiti, consisting of the word "llibertat" and the anarchist symbol, can still be seen. The building contains the Italian Institute, the Casa Italia, and the Amaldi high school, where Italian students living in Barcelona go. The police believe the act is the work of an Italian "anti-system" group that several weeks ago called a protest demonstration, which was really a riot, several weeks ago here in Gracia. I've personally seen their posters and their graffiti all over the walls.

My guesses:

1) It probably was who the cops think it was.
2) These guys were definitely sheltered by local squatters.
3) The cops will now bust up the squats since they've got an excuse to do so.
4) I will cheer loudly. Go Cops! Whack 'em, club 'em, let's go, Cops!
5) These dopes will get caught because they're not professionals.
6) But they're getting too good at this.
7) I will bet they've been getting basic training from Jarrai.
8) To me, the police dog's life is worth more than those losers' lives all put together.
9) Because they came damn near killing several people. What if the cop had been closer to the dog when the bomb went off? What if the area hadn't been cordoned off when it exploded? What if the accountant had given the coffee-brewer a nudge with his foot, wondering what it was? What if the cleaning woman had thought it was just garbage and picked it up in order to throw it away? What if nobody had paid any attention and the thing had blown up when the students arrived at 9:30? Murderers aren't worth shit and these guys are murderers, since trying to do the deed is just as evil as actually doing it, and this was obviously premeditated.
10) These guys will get done for attempted murder, killing the police dog, wounding the cop, and terrorist activity. Then they'll get sentenced to a total of 300 years in jail each but get out in 12 on good behavior.

Al Qaeda must be destroyed.

And if the squatters ever do this again they'll be added to that above little wish of mine.

I've always been live-and-let-live with squatters as long as they didn't trash the squat and turn it into a rat's nest, graffiti up the neighborhood, run illegal bars with punk-rock concerts until four in the morning, vandalize the local bank branches, phone booths, and garbage containers, provoke the local skinheads and start gang fights, and every couple of months square off against the cops in an alleged demo that's really a full-blast riot. Oh, yeah, and clear out peacefully when the cops come with a warrant to kick them out rather than using that as another excuse for a riot.

Actually, I've never encountered any bunch of squatters who didn't do all those things. So I've never really been live-and-let-live with squatters, but I would be willing to if they acted like civilized people. This, however, is about as bad as anything they've ever done.

Don't go around blowing up shit in my town.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Well, there's been no more conspiracy speculation over here about London getting the Olympics. The (very biased and rather paranoid) Spanish sports press had been saying that 1) Tony Blair's intervention on behalf of London's candidacy was critical, and that he thought the Olympics was important enough to call in his political chips, something I doubt in the extreme; 2) David Beckham's intervention on behalf of said candidacy was critical, too, and Beckham is a traitorous dirtbag who should have supported Madrid's bid; 3) The Americans decided to screw over Zapatero by torpedoing Madrid's bid. Evidence: New York's votes all went to London or Paris. Even Ana Botella has put this one forward; 4) Prince Albert of Monaco did his part to screw Madrid over in favor of Paris by bringing up Madrid's alleged security problems at the official presentation; 5) There is an alleged "Anglo-Saxon" bloc that really runs the IOC and it conspired to screw over Paris in London's favor, as usual; 6) That bloc does everything possible to frustrate the goals of the Samaranch family out of meanness and spite 7) The Americans and British made sure the Games went to London in order to screw over Chirac.

Fortunately, that petty sniping has stopped now. There is a Robert Fisk column in today's Vanguardia which is just hellacious, justifying the London bombings, however. The rest of the Vanguardia today seems to be taking things quite seriously, as if it understood that the problem is Islamist-nationalist anti-Western terrorism and that we will not have peace until it is defeated. One thing nobody is doing in Britain is blaming the Blair government for the bombings. Many people who should have known better blamed the Aznar government for the Madrid bombings and gave the Socialists a shock victory that they'd never have won otherwise.

It seems to me that there are several possibilities which are not mutually exclusive about the bombings. First, we recognize that successful mass murder like this takes at least months to prepare, so of course they had this planned. Probably they timed it to coincide with either the Group of Eight meeting in Scotland or with the Olympic Games announcement, or both. There's no way they could have known London would win, but they must have known it had a good chance. Maybe even they had a plan prepared to be executed anytime and thought this was a good opportunity. I suppose the question now is exactly who did it and how we catch them.

As for trying the prisoners at Guantanamo, let's not be disingenuous. They fall into the category of partisans, neither civilians nor captured lawful bearers of arms. Civilian trials are conducted under civilian law when crimes are allegedly committed by civilians. The Guantanamo guys are not civilians. They were captured under arms and conducted at least one deadly revolt after they were rounded up. Military trials are conducted under military law when crimes are allegedly committed by soldiers. One thing international military law makes clear is that uniformed enemy soldiers under state military discipline carrying out orders, who are not suspected of serious war crimes, are not to be tried. They are prisoners of war and are to be treated decently. The Guantanamo guys are not prisoners of war, though. They're not lawful bearers of arms.

So if somebody's not a civilian and not a soldier bearing arms lawfully, what is he?

He's a partisan. The Germans and Russians and French and British and Union and Confederates had a way of dealing with this. Partisans were summarily shot or hanged if captured. We don't do that nowadays, out of possibly misplaced humanitarianism. So what do we do with them? If we turn them loose they'll just pick up guns and join up with their buddies somewhere in Chechenia or Pakistan. If we shoot them we'll look terrible in the eyes of the world, even though they deserve it. Also, if we shoot them, we can't interrogate them, and we really want to interrogate them because we have good reason to suspect they all have lots of information about their friends who do things like blow up buses in London.

So we should do exactly what we're doing. Lock them up and keep them locked up so they can't go back to their old ways. Interrogate them, and let us not be finicky about the methods. I would say the limit is inflicting pain rather than discomfort. I hope these guys' lives are as unpleasant as possible; that's more likely to convince them to talk. But we must set limits for ourselves, because if we do not we will certainly be corrupted. Power exercised without limits is tyranny. Well, here's the limit. No physical pain and no unsupervised interrogation. If some psycho hillbilly thinks it would be fun to take some naked photos with them, well, that's wrong because it's out of control behavior. But if the interrogators want to humiliate a prisoner as part of making his life so uncomfortable he'll talk, I say bring on the dog collars.

Al Qaeda must be destroyed.

Here's a piece I sent to the Spain Herald a while back. I'm translating my writing to English, but not the quotations, which I will leave in the original Spanish.

American interests

The most common sentence you here in discussions about politics and economics is, "There are a lot of interests behind it." I am assuming that "interests" mean hidden shadowy figures with lots of money in Swiss banks who manipulate all of our actions for their own personal benefit. I think many of these shadowy figures have surnames that end in -berg, -stein, or -witz. Gas prices going up? "Lots of interests." Farmers on strike because food prices are dropping? "Well, it's all the interests." Clothing prices stay the same? "The interests are behind it." Somehow.

If the shadowy figures aren't Jewish, then they're probably American. Remember the oil pipeline we were going to build across Afghanistan which was the real reason we went in there? Or Rafael Poch's verdict that the damn Yankees sent aircraft carriers to Indonesia after the tsunami in order to take control of the strategic Strait of Malacca. Or Baltasar Porcel's argument that the gringos and the Jews are getting together in order to grab the Middle East's--get this--water resources.

Here's another example of that kind of thinking. It's some quotations from an article by a German columnist, A.E. Johann, about the real interests behind American international policy. The quotes are in the original Spanish; the article was published in a popular European publication with editions in several languages. Here's the URL. Since the quotes are long, I've put them in italics and boldface, alternating.

"Pues «pax americana» no representa otra cosa que la dominación del mundo desde Wáshington, del mismo modo que que la «pax británica» no significaba otra cosa que la denominación del sistema que puso al servicio de los intereses de Londres vastas partes de la Tierra pero, bien entendido, sin desarrollar los suyos...

"América intenta establecerse en todos los ángulos de la tierra susceptibles de transformarse en punto de partida para ataques contra Europa y Asia Oriental. Todos los medios son adecuados para lograrlo: Presión económica, violencia militar, intrigas, propaganda cultural. Una vuelta alrededor de la Tierra lo probará...

"En el Golfo Pérsico se encuentra el cerco de toda Europa que irradia desde América hasta el Este con el lazo corredizo que los Estados Unidos han arrojado hacia el Oeste, a través de los Océanos Pacífico e Índico, con el designio de estrangular el Asia Oriental. Pues el capital americano vela en los campos petrolíferos de las islas Bahrein por el abastecimiento de petróleo para las tropas y buques...del Océano Índico y del Mar Rojo. El cerco de Europa salta desde el Golfo Pérsico hacia la India. Aquí faltan todavía los eslabones intermedios de Turquía y el Irán. A pesar de que estos Estados nada desean con más vehemencia que conservar su neutralidad, aumentan a diario los indicios de que los anglo-americanos se proponen respetar la soberanía del Irán tan poco como las de Siria y el Irak...

"Los ingleses y americanos intentan también, con los más variados pretextos, obligar al Afganistán a formar en el frente antieuropeo...

"...Las partes de África situadas al Sur del Sahara necesitan con urgencia, en el aspecto económico, de los Estados Unidos, único país que puede actuar de comprador en ellas, se reconoce claramente el proyecto norteamericano de hacer depender a todo el África de su benevolencia para controlarla por último, no sólo económicamente sino también en los aspectos político y militar...

"América quiere someter a su dominio...a toda Europa, con inclusión de la Gran Bretaña. Espera poder demostrar que Europa está entregada en su alimentación a la buena voluntad de América y que, además, puede también ser sancionada militarmente por ella. Europa, con inclusión de Inglaterra, debe transformarse en una colonia económica obediente a América; esto representa que, desde el punto de vista de Washington, no existe ya diferencia entre los distintos Estados europeos...

"Con la misma consecuente falta de respetos que en el Atlántico, intervienen los Estados Unidos en Asia, a través del Pacífico...Los esfuerzos americanos de predominio se han extendido sin cesar al Pacífico...También en Asia Oriental, del mismo modo que en Europa, quieren los Estados Unidos impedir por todos los medios que los países de aquella zona lleguen entre sí a una sensata conciliación de sus justificadas reivindicaciones. Este proceso remitiría a sí mismos a los Estados Unidos...

"Si los países del Imperio británico se avienen voluntariamente a ser vasallos de Wáshington, Europa y Asia Oriental, antiguas cunas de la civilización, no pueden doblegarse al dominio de la clase americana que es capaz de expresar en dólares todos los valores y considera su Hollywood una obra cultural de primera categoría."

No, the article isn't from Le Monde Diplomatique. Or Der Spiegel. Or El País. Not even Libération. Sure, it looks like it might have come from any of them, but it was actually published by the German magazine Signal, in twenty different languages, with a circulation of two and a half million copies.

In the September 1941 number. Three months before Hitler declared war on America.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

This is Stanley Kurtz from The Corner over at National Review comparing June 7 with March 11.

THE PAIN OF SPAIN [Stanley Kurtz]Appeasement and shame, thy name is Spain. It's good that the Spain precedent is being used as a touchstone. The whole shameful incident had fallen off the radar screen. It deserves more attention. For one thing, I'd like some information. How have people in Spain thought about the episode in recent months? Have they ignored it? Are they proud of it? Is anyone in Spain having second thoughts now? Rather than simply speculate about how the British will react and what it will mean, we need a close examination of what Spain has already done and what it has meant.

Let's see if I can answer Mr. Kurtz's questions.

1. They've pretty much forgotten all about it.
2. They've completely ignored it.
3. They are proud because they refused to participate in the illegal and unjust Iraq War.
4. No.

The PP got something like 40% of the vote in the March 14 election. Those people are not included in the above generalizations. The Socialist administration, however, would do exactly the same thing now as they did in 2004. And 60% of the people would support them.

For opinions from some Spaniards who do not agree with the Socialist administration, go to the Spain Herald.

Al Qaeda must be destroyed.
I suppose you know about the bombings in London. Of course this isn't the place to look for coverage. My heart goes out to the people of London. I hope not too many people were killed, but it looks bad. This is just like New York and Bali and Casablanca and Madrid. Al Qaeda are vicious killers and I hope this convinces some people that they are the enemy and have to be defeated. On all fronts. In Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria and the West Bank and Pakistan and the Philippines and Saudi Arabia and the US and UK and Spain. Guantanamo a gulag? My ass. They haven't killed any of the prisoners there, and as far as I'm concerned that's about the kindest treatment those murderers deserve. Koran abuse? Don't make me sick.

Remember when Bush said, "If you aren't with us, you're against us"? He was right.

Tony Blair is showing leadership. He's the guy right now. Stand behind him. He and the British people deserve nothing less.

Al Qaeda must be destroyed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New Blog Mission Statement

It's about time to shake off the blog lethargy I've been going through for about the past three months. The problem is that when I started back in February 2002 on the old Homestead sight--I changed to Blogger in October 2002 with the help of Patrick Crozier--I was the only blog from Spain that I knew about. I don't think there were more than a few operating in Spanish at that time, and there certainly weren't any in English out of Spain. I gained some notoriety in the blogosphere because I was about the only person transmitting live from Spain the day of the bombings, March 11, 2004.

Now that's changed. The Spanish blogosphere has become vibrant, and Trevor Morgan with Kaleboel and Spain Media and Franco Aleman with Barcepundit are doing a better job with news from Spain than I ever could. Also, of course, we now have the Spain Herald for a solid right-wing take on the news translated by yours truly. Iberian Notes is no longer needed as it was before.

So what I need to do is refocus it, I think. There are several ways I could do it and I might try one or all of them.

a) Make it more of a personal diary, include local color, learn to use my digital camera and post photos.
b) Post all the stuff I send in Spanish to Libertad Digital that they don't print. Which is nearly all of it. Trust in readers to do the damn translating, since I don't do that anymore unless I get paid for it. Sorry. When you translate more than 3 hours a day for money you stop doing it one hour a day for free.
c) Get real nasty on the Comments section. That always brings in readers.
d) Be more of a linker and less of a thinker. That saves a lot of time.
e) Be the first pooblog on the Net. Every day I will write about my digestive system, just like Ignatius in A Confederacy of dunces.

So let's get started.

July 6--Morning burps and slight heartburn due to gazpacho consumption last night. Cucurbita play hell with my stomach, but I love cucumbers and especially gazpacho. Laid cable circa noon. One-pounder or so, brownish-green, dense, easy wipe, kind of stinky. Flushed easily. Remember, these are all high-fiber vegetarian poos.

Here are a couple of gazpacho recipes.

3/4 pound Red ripe tomatoes
2/3 cup Chopped onions
1 clove Garlic
1 Cucumber - peeled seeded
1 Red bell pepper --chopped
3 cups coarsely chopped Crustless French bread
2 tablespoons Spanish or very fruity olive oil
1/4 cup Sherry vinegar
Salt --to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper --to taste
6 tablespoons Finely-chopped green bell pepper
6 tablespoons Finely-chopped red bell pepper
6 tablespoons Finely-chopped onion
6 tablespoons Finely-chopped cucumber
6 tablespoons Finely-chopped hard-boiled egg
6 tablespoons Finely-chopped olives
3/4 cup Small croutons

In a food processor or
blender puree tomatoes, onions, garlic, cucumber, red pepper, bread, olive oil and vinegar until very smooth, 2 minutes or more. Refrigerate several hours. Before serving, season with salt and pepper and strain through a sieve if desired. Thin with ice water if needed. Divide among individual soup bowls and offer choice of garnishes.

I'd use a lot more tomato and less bread. Good recipe, though. Gazpacho should NOT be Mexican-style spicy. It should taste of, well, tomato, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar.

1½ kg red tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1 small cucumber (or half a long cucumber), chopped
1 small bread roll, soaked in water
olive oil
white wine vinegar

There are two ways of preparing gazpacho: you can either use an electric food processor/blender and then pass it through a sieve, or you can use a food mill (a mouli). The important thing is to get rid of all the pips, skins, etc.
First, blend and sieve, or mill, all the vegetables into a large bowl. Then squeeze the water out of the bread roll and add to the tomato/vegetable mixture. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of vinegar. Season with salt and blend well. Check the taste and add as much water as necessary depending on whether you will be drinking or eating it with a spoon. Chill thoroughly before serving. If you are using bowls, finely chop some cucumber, green pepper, tomato, and hard-boiled egg to use for the garnish.

I'd use red bell pepper if possible instead of green, but that's just me.

Here's one I wrote for Libertad Digital they didn't use.

Hollywood y las estadísticas

Hagamos una prueba rápida. Contesta estas preguntas básicas sobre EEUU.

1. ¿Qué porcentaje de los useños son inmigrantes?

A. 1,5% B. 4,7% C. 10,4% B. 22,3%

2. ¿Qué porcentaje de los useños son judíos?

A. 2,1% B. 5,6% C. 11,3% D. 21,7%

3. ¿Cuántas horas trabaja el useño medio por semana?

A. 39,5 B. 42,5 C. 45,5 D. 48,5

4. ¿Qué fracción de useños visitaron un país extranjero el pasado año?

A. 1/5 B. 1/7 C. 1/11 D. 1/13

5. ¿Qué porcentaje de los useños tienen título universitario?

A. 6,8% B. 13,2% C. 19,7% D. 25,6%

6. ¿Cúal es la importación más importante de EEUU?

A. alimentos B. informática C. petróleo D. vehículos motorizados

7. ¿Cúal es la exportación más importante de EEUU?

A. máquinaria eléctrica B. alimentos C. petroquímica D. textiles

8. ¿Cúales son los ingresos medios por hogar en EEUU? (España, $19.000)

A. $19.000 B. $26.000 C. $34.000 D. $42.000

9. ¿Qué porcentage de su producto doméstico bruto gasta EEUU en defensa?

A. 3% B. 6% C. 12% D. 24%

10. ¿Qué porcentaje de los hogares en EEUU tienen electricidad, agua potable, y acantarillado?

A. 53% B. 68% C. 82% D. 99%

11. ¿Cúal es la tasa de asesinatos por 100.000 habitantes en EEUU?

A. 5,7 B. 38,8 C. 58,3 D. 127,8

12. ¿Cúal es la tasa de suicidios por 100.000 habitantes en EEUU?

A. 10,4 B. 56,9 C. 118.0 D. 269.8

Las respuestas correctas son 1. C 2. A 3. A 4. A 5. D 6. D 7. A 8. D 9. A 10. D 11. A 12. A.

No es lo que uno pensaría después de ver seis películas y once series televisivas hollywoodienses cada semana, ¿verdad?

Un problema que tienen casi todos que solo conocen a Estados Unidos por los medios de comunicación es que toman lo que han visto en el cine por una aproximación a la verdad. Las películas de Hollywood, como las de todos los países, son de ficción y apenas tienen que ver con la realidad. Su objectivo es entretener al espectador y satisfacerle para que vuelva al cine o la tienda de DVDs o el canal de televisión otra vez la semana que viene. Repito. Son de ficción.

No puedo contar las veces--ocurre varias veces cada día en la prensa española--que he leído que tal y cual película es un reflejo de la realidad. He visto a muchos articulistas utilizar a películas tan dispares como American Pie y American Beauty para ilustrar sus argumentos. Hoy mismo hay una carta apasionada en La Vanguardia en contra del boxeo, y la autora pone como base de su argumentación la película Million Dollar Baby. Esto nunca es legítimo porque una película en sí es una falsedad.

Doy unos ejemplos muy basícos de unas películas que todos han visto. En Acosados (The Accused), como en Algunos hombres buenos (A Few Good Men), todas las series de televisión, y todas las pelis basadas en libros de John Grisham, el sistema legal que los actores desarrollan no tiene nada que ver con el de verdad. En cien por cien de las películas de acción, los "polícias" vulneran la ley cada vez que tomen una acción. Pero el Donnie Brasco de verdad, por ejemplo, nunca cometió ningún delito mientras trabajaba de infiltrado en la Mafia. Y, por supuesto, nunca llegó a ser amigo de ningún mafioso. Otra cosa es que todas las pelis de guerra son claramente falsas. Nadie de verdad haría las cosas que se ve en Apocalypse Now o Platoon, y si lo hiciera no sobreviviría mucho tiempo.

Y las series de la tele. Es muy fácil caer en el error de que lo que se ve en las películas refleja fielmente la realidad de una sociedad, pero por supuesto las famílias useñas no se comportan como las de la tele. Menos mal. Si la vida fuese como en The O.C. o 90210, yo también sería antiamericano. Afortunadamente, son sólo culebrones.

Pensemos un momento. Imaginemos, por un momento, que los extranjeros se tomasen productos como Aquí no hay quien viva, Los Serrano, Los ladrones van a la oficina, o Crónicas marcianas por un retrato fiel de la sociedad española. Me iría yo en dos segundos si esto fuera cierto. Afortunadamente, no lo es.