Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Today La Vanguardia gives page 8 to Cindy Sheehan's "retirement," which doesn't strike me as an especially important international story. Comments: 1) Ms. Sheehan deserves the same respect as any other mother who lost a son in battle 2) Nonetheless, she is clearly unbalanced 3) The Democrats used her during two elections and then when they didn't need her anymore, they threw her away 4) She is more anti-American than anti-war or anti-Bush; she's definitely got a grudge against society 5) I hope she gets some psychiatric help.

Eusebio Val in the Vangua says, "Sheehan's problem was that she radicalized her invective to the point that she could only convince marginal sectors. It is true that surveys showed a majority opposed to the war, and last November's elections, owing partly to Iraq, took Congress away from the Republicans. But that does not mean that Americans applaud statements like 'Bush is the biggest terrorist in the world, worse than Osama bin Laden.' Being blatantly used by the regimes of Venezuela and Cuba didn't help her either. She got invited to the World Social Forum in Caracas and praised Chávez. She also went to Havana, to the glee of the Castro regime, demanding the closure of the Guantánamo military prison. These actions made her an easy target and cost her credibility."

Venezuela note: The closing down of Radio Caracas Television has finally brought the entire Spanish press out against the Chávez regime. The protests got good coverage. Now he's threatening to close down the country's other major channel, Globovisión, and CNN. It takes a threat to the media's status, power, and influence to really get it pissed off.

And Castro is claiming that Bush ordered his assassination. He said, "I am not the first or the last person whose death Bush ordered, or of those he plans to keep killing, whether individually or en masse." Now we know where the posters at the Guardian are getting their ideas.

Some kid in Russis stabbed 37 Caucasians (that is, people from Azerbaijan, Chechenia, etc.) to death in Moscow in nine months, for racial reasons. Seems he thought that Caucasians "oppressed the Russians," and that it was time to "clean up the city" and "punish them." Of course, there were no cries of outrage condemning the racism and violence of Russian society.

Fallout from the elections: The Red-Green-Brown Catalan Tripartite is going to put the squeeze on CiU, forming anti-CiU coalitions everywhere they can. They are hoping to take the provincial diputaciones in Girona and Lleida away from CiU, as well as such cities as Manresa, Figueres, and Ripoll.

Get this. Catalan regional president José Montilla said that many citizens did not turn out to vote "because they're satisfied with the government they have."

Word is that Nafarroa Bai is asking for way too much for any deal with the Socialists in Navarra to go down, and it's now quite likely that the PP will hold both the Navarra region and the city of Pamplona, though they'll have to govern as a minority in both. Looks like the PSOE should have accepted Rajoy's offer of a couple of days ago to swap the Canaries for Navarra; now it looks like the PP might get both of them.

Some proof of the "conservatives turn out to vote more reliably than leftists" thesis: The districts of Barcelona with the highest turnout were all middle-class CiU-PP strongholds: Tres Torres 63%, Sarrià 60%, Sant Gervasi-Bonanova 60%, Sant Gervasi-Galvany 60%, Dreta de l'Eixample 58%, Pedralbes 58%. The districts with the lowest turnout were all poor left-leaning and Spanish-speaking areas: Torre Baró 32%, Baró de Viver 33%, Trinitat Nova 37%. Vallbona 38%, Trinitat Vella 39%, Ciutat Meridiana 40%.

My neighborhood, the Vila de Gràcia, had the highest vote for Esquerra Republicana (16%), the highest percentage of "en blanco" (none of the above) votes (6%), and the lowest vote for the PP (7%). I don't fit in politically in this neighborhood at all, but they tolerate me since I'm a nice enough guy. Also, I never talk politics unless someone else brings it up, and even then I try to dodge the subject.

The National Court in Madrid acquitted eight of eleven alleged Pakistani terrorists who were going to blow up the Mapfre tower, one of Barcelona's tallest buildings, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Three of them were convicted of raising €18,000 to send to "known members of an international terrorist network" and forging identification documents. Two got six years and one got seven.

Britain is going nuts over this missing child in Portugal business. Her name is Madeleine McCann, and it's the top story--or near the top--almost every day in England. This is as big a media circus as anything the Americans are capable of; in fact, the British sensationalist press is much better at mobilizing the peasantry than the comparatively clueless Yanks. Unfortunately, the poor girl is almost certainly dead. The guy who was "helping police with their inquiries" for showing too much interest in the case seems not to be responsible, as I've heard nothing else about him since he was detained temporarily.

Remember the guy who, when faced with a home invasion, shot the two robbers between the eyes with his target pistol a couple of months ago in a Barcelona suburb? They dropped all charges against him, in case you were wondering.

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