Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The demo last night in the Plaza Sant Jaume was apparently a pretty good show, especially since about eight different groups showed up and tried to hijack it, among them the PP who wanted to protest against the Socialists, and the Cataloonies, who wanted to protest against Spain. A Cataloony got all agitated and punched a woman in the face, breaking her glasses. I love the way they'll call a demo at the drop of a hat in Spain; what's the point of protesting against the commuter train system being all screwed up? I thought we were all against that.

There were between 500 and 1000 demonstrators, not much compared to what they can bring out on the streets when it's a question of attacking the United States.

Meanwhile, very wisely, the Generalitat has decided to postpone its plan to reduce the speed limit to 80kph (50 mph) on the motorways leading into Barcelona, since they're all snarled up right now, and making drivers go slower would just make things worse and really piss everyone off; there was a 13-kilometer traffic jam yesterday inbound on the B-23 until 10 AM.

They've announced that the closed-down commuter lines will not be back up until after the upcoming long weekend (four days for Todos los Santos), and I'll bet they won't be back on line for a long time after that.

Note: I'm getting at least twenty hits a day on Google searches for the story about the scumball who beat up the Ecuadorian girl on the train. Many of them are from the US and in English; I get the idea that this incident is being seized on by the multiculturalism industry over there, for some reason.

The story about Sarkozy walking out on Lesley Stahl for asking persistently about his relationship with his soon-to-be ex-wife has caught on over here, and is getting plenty of play.

Looks like it's going to take a while and maybe a bribe to get the seven Spanish aircrew out of Chad, whose government has accused them of being "pederasts." La Vanguardia speculates that the whole thing has something to do with French dirty dealing in order to get European Union troops to go into Darfur. La Vangua loves to speculate.

Yesterday foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos finally got a face-to-face meeting with Condi Rice. They discussed, get this, the agenda for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meeting at the end of November in Madrid. Real top-level issue, that. Cuba was not mentioned because there was obviously no point in mentioning it, as the Zap administration is pro-Castro.

Want some moral snobbery? The Milà i Fontanals high school has a student body that is 80% immigrants. So they decided to put on "an exhibition and a series of debates" on capital punishment. Why? Because "many students come from countries where the death penalty is used, and some of them are in favor of it." So, therefore, we have to teach them that they're wrong. Wonder how many sides there are going to be during the "debates." The exhibition includes pictures of garrotes, gallows, and guillotines, along with "a documentary about Guantanamo." Now wait a minute. A total of zero executions has taken place at Guantanamo.

Naomi Klein gets the back-page interview in La Vanguardia today. It's the same old wank as you'd expect. She claims that people are allowed to die every day in the United States because they cannot pay for medical care. And that "capitalist fundamentalism takes advantage of natural disasters," like the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. She blames the US for "the CIA coup in Chile," and the lack of social democracy in Russia and China. She states that the "neocons" have replaced the public school system in New Orleans with a private system, and that in California "the fire brigade has been privatized." Says Klein, "Washington fights efficient and solidarious states that restribute goods and services, because they get in the way when it tries to apply its global capitalist utopia." And she adds, "In Iraq, the dogmatic American prophets of fundamentalist capitalism have wiped out all vestiges of the Iraqi state and have left the country in the hands of mercenaries and subcontractors."

The interviewer provokes Klein twice into going even farther than she'd planned, by saying that in the US "public health is unknown," and that "In the '60s, the CIA, in order to stop social democracy, created the myth of suicide in Sweden." Naomi takes the bait, of course.

But get this. The best part is our interviewer's introduction. He says that Klein's new book "perhaps incurs in some simplifications and possesses a certain adolescent idealist vision...So what? Milton Friedman and the neocons at the American Enterprise (sic), who give Washington an ideological alibi, have committed gross simplifications of reality and idealism that violates common sense. Naomi, besides, doesn't invade countries, just libraries."

How snotty and self-righteous.

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