Sunday, December 16, 2007

ETA set off a small bomb in front of the courthouse in the Basque town of Sestao; the building was damaged but no one was hurt. The terrorists called in a warning before the bomb went off.

Meanwhile, ETA declared war on Spain again over the weekend, sending out a press release saying it was willing to attack Spanish law enforcement officers "at any time and at any place." It referred to the murders of the two Civil Guards in France as "executions." Yeah, you bastards, that's exactly what ought to happen to you scumbags after you get convicted, and there's no need to be finicky about the methods. Perhaps public guillotining, or maybe the good old Chinese bullet in the neck in a football stadium.

The fact that Zap actually thought he could trust these vermin and negotiate with them demonstrates his extremely bad judgment. And I suppose the deal for a truce in Catalonia that Carod-Rovira and ERC made with ETA at the secret meeting in Perpignan is now off.

Dumb Catalan media mess: The government of the Valencian Country, or Valencian Community, or whatever the hell the official name is for the autonomous region encompassing the provinces of Castellón, Valencia, and Alicante, has closed down TV3's broadcast station in Alicante. Here's the deal: According to very confusing laws, each autonomous region has the right to set up its own government-controlled TV channel. However, no region has the right to broadcast its channel into another region, since that would be unfair competition for that region's own public TV. No, it really doesn't make sense to me, either.

So TV3, apparently without even a by-your-leave from the Valencia regional government, set up a broadcast transmitter to send out TV3's signal in Valencia. And the Valencian government has called bullshit on that and ordered them to stop.

Naturally there's politics behind this, too. TV3 is Catalan nationalist; no one disputes that. In Valencia, however, the majority feeling is anti-Catalanist and pro-Spain, as is shown by the PP's electoral domination of the region. TV3 frequently criticizes the Valencian regional government and those Valencians who don't like the idea of a "Paísos Catalans" (Greater Catalonia) that includes Valencia.

TV3 complained, of course, calling the Valencian Generalitat's decision "a hostile act, deplorable, and unnecessary," and accusing it of playing to the gallery for electoral purposes. However, the TV3 spokeswoman had to admit that they had no legal right nor permission to broadcast in Valencia. TV3 wants to make an arrangement by which it would broadcast in Valencia in exchange for the Valencian regional station, Canal 9, being allowed to broadcast in Catalonia. The Valencian government does not consider this a high priority.

My opinion? If I were Valencian I would prefer to have as many free TV channels as possible, including TV3, even though I probably wouldn't want to watch anything on it but the football.

Spanish regional nationalists are currently confused about what to think over Bolivia. It seems that the country's six richest provinces, the ones that are mostly mestizo, Spanish-speaking, and in the lowlands, and whose chief city is Santa Cruz, have declared their own autonomy from the Bolivian central government in La Paz. The Bolivian government is run by radical populist Evo Morales, whose support base is in the four poorest provinces, mostly Indian, Quechua and Aymara-speaking, and in the highlands.

Now. Your Spanish regional nationalists make a big deal out of what they call "self-determination," a concept the hapless Woodrow Wilson foisted on the world in the notorious Fourteen Points. So theoretically they would support the Santa Cruzans in their quest for autonomy. But they're also Third World leftists, and they think Evo Morales is Jesus, or at least St. Paul, and they worship Indians (oops, sorry, the indigenous peoples) and hate evil Spanish conquistadores, and they're trying to blame Western companies like Repsol for stirring up the Santa Cruzans.

Result? Cataloony cognitive dissonance.

Alleged former terrorist Moammar Gadafi is in Spain. He gets to meet with both King Juan Carlos and Zap. He was greeted at the airport with full honors of state by defense minister Alonso. That's disgusting. This guy is a mass murderer. (Anyone else remember Lockerbie?) Sure, we have to deal with him, but we don't have to kiss his ass.

Crazy Muslim shit. It seems that the FC Barcelona coat-of-arms logo, which includes a small red cross on a white background, the Cross of St. George, Catalonia's patron saint, is not acceptable in Muslim countries. So what they've been doing with it in some of these places (Saudi Arabia and Algeria) is reducing the cross to a vertical red line. There are Muslims so ridiculously sensitive that they censor a football team's logo!

The club has responded that as far as they know, all the official shirts they sell everywhere in the world have the full, uncensored club logo. Any shirt with only a red bar is a pirate copy, they claim.

This latest Muslim snit over symbols started a couple of weeks ago when Inter Milan wore its hundredth-year commemorative jerseys, which are white with a red cross on the front, in a home game against a Turkish club. Some oversensitive Turk accused Inter of racism or something for wearing the jerseys with the cross.

So now the Barça fans are all stirred up, and they're universally furious at the sacrilege to their holy symbol. Not the cross in itself, but the desecration of the Barça shield. It's fascinating that in order to make a politically correct lefty Catalan into a raving xenophobe, all you need to do is insult the Barça icon. They were all, like, multiculti and antiimperialist and sympathetic to the need for self-esteem in the Third World over Salman Rushdie and the Danish cartoons and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but the sanctity of the Barça is inviolate.

Other Barça news: They beat the crap out of Valencia last night, 0-3. Eto'o is back, and he scored two fine goals; Gudjohnsen knocked in the third off a psss from Giovani dos Santos. Both Ronaldinho and Deco started the game on the bench. Messi tore a thigh muscle and will be out for a month, so he'll miss next week's big game against Real Madrid. This was the first Barça away win for more than two months, and it should give them back some confidence. Valencia played lousy. They've got too many good players to put up such a sad show.

Former Barça`midfielder Guillermo Amor, who played in more than 500 games mostly during the Cruyff years, was seriously injured in a car accident last night near Tortosa. He had been one of the TV announcers on the Valencia-Barça game last night, and was driving home when he had the wreck at about 2 AM. He is currently in critical condition but is expected to live. Hope he's OK; I always liked him.

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