Thursday, July 27, 2006

Aimless thoughts while listening to Robert Earl Keen:

Zap and the PSOE have finally shut up about Israel; I'm not sure they got the message that most of the rest of the world thinks they're anti-Semites, but they learned that their rhetoric aimed at domestic consumption can backfire when the international media gets hold of it.

According to various estimates, there are at least 800,000 illegal aliens in Spain today. This is just one year after Zap decreed a massive asylum program and legalized a few hundred thousand of those who were already here.

I'm in favor of immigration. I'm an immigrant. And I'm not particularly concerned about the number of illegals right now, since Spain can hold the ones it has without much problem (Spain's immigrants are about 8.5% of the total population). Pretty soon sometime, however, they're going to have to set up a guest-worker program, in the same way that Germany accepted Spanish guest workers in the 60s and early 70s.

Of course, if you really want to limit immigration, you have to let the free market work and give those people the chance to earn a living in their home countries. And the best way to do that, of course, is for the US and EU to eliminate import restrictions and tariffs on goods from Third World countries. Let them compete with us on a level playing field. Simplistic, I know, but it would do a hell of a lot of good.

According to La Vanguardia, the average immigrant in Barcelona earns about €800 a month and spends some €550 for a room in a four-bedroom apartment. There's the native Catalan real-estate owners gouging the Third Worlders, since that's twice the price you'd pay if you were a leaseholder, and I'll bet the places the immigrants live are not nearly as nice as what a leaseholder gets for his €1000 a month.

Hugo Chavez is buying armaments from Russia: 24 Sujoi-30 fighters and 30 military helicopters. He is going to have to junk his F-16s because the Americans won't sell him spare parts. In addition, he wants to manufacture AK-47 rifles in Venezuela.

There's a major stink going on in Marbella, the trashy Costa del Sol magnet for Russian mafiosi and Arab sheiks and assorted international con men. The city's mayor, Julian Muñoz, gossip-magazine and reality-TV mainstay because of his romance with aging torch singer Isabel Pantoja, is in jail along with about half of the city council, and Jose Maria del Nido, Muñoz's lawyer and the president of the Sevilla FC soccer club, has just been charged with embezzling €6.7 million. Wonders will never cease.

It's still hot, 45º C in the sun in Barcelona and about 34º in the shade. Unpleasant. Sweaty. Smelly. La Vangua ran a letter to the editor encouraging citizens to shower and use deodorant regularly. Most do but too many don't. Many of those who don't can be found hanging out at the Casa Julio bar on Calle Providencia.

By the way, a gang of aggressive homeless drunks and drug addicts has taken over the beach at Barceloneta and the cops are having no luck moving them along. Sounds like the place to party on Saturday night.

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