Oct 012017
 October 1, 2017  Posted by at 2:02 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Catalunya October 1 2017


I’ve seen a lot of videos and photos of the Catalonia attempt to hold a referendum today (Tyler has a “nice” series of them), and what struck me most of all, apart from the senseless violence police forces were seen to engage in, is the lack of violence on the side of protesters.

So when I see the Interior Ministry claim that 11 policemen were injured, That is hard to take serious. Not that the Catalans had no reason to resist or even fight back. That hundreds of protesters, including scores of grandma’s, are injured is obvious from watching the videos. Since rubber bullets were used in large numbers, fatal injuries are quite possible.

Policemen hitting peaceful older ladies till they bleed is shocking, and we are all shocked. Many of us will be surprised too, but we shouldn’t be. Spain is still the land of Franco, and his followers continue to exert great influence in politics, police and military. And it’s not just them: one video from Madrid showed people singing a fascist theme from the Franco era.



That’s the shape the EU knowingly accepted Spain as a member in, and that shape has hardly changed since. The total silence from Brussels, and from all its capitals, speaks volumes. Belgian PM Michel said earlier today that he doesn’t want to talk about other countries’ politics, and that’s more than I’ve seen anyone else say. It’s of course a piece of gross cowardly nonsense, both Michel’s statement and the silence from all others.

Because this very much concerns the EU. As Julian Assange tweeted “Dear @JunckerEU. Is this “respect for human dignity, freedom and democracy”? Activate article 7 and suspend Spain from the European Union for its clear violation of Article 2.” (Article 7 of the European Union Treaty: “Suspension of any Member State that uses military force on its own population.”) Sure, technically the Guardia Civil is not military, but are Juncker, Michel and above all Merkel really going to try and hide behind that?

Assange also re-tweeted this: “Claude Taylor Breaking: contact with Ecuadorian Govt says they plan on removing Julian Assange from their Embassy in London. Expect his arrest to follow.” Assange’s reaction: “DC based ex-White House claims I’m to be arrested for reporting on Spain’s censorship & arrests in Catalonia. Dirty.”

But that should not be a surprise either. We know from the example of Greece, and the treatment of refugees, what the morals of Europe’s ‘leaders’ are. Their morals are bankrupt. In that sense, they fit in seamlessly with those of Mariano Rajoy’s governing PP party in Spain.



Still, this is not why people want to be part of the EU. So unless very strong statements come from the various capitals, and very soon, given that they’re already way too late, the EU as a whole will find itself in such a deep crisis it might as well pack its bags and go home. Wherever home may be for these career politicians.

If you’re void of any and all ethics and morals, which is what that silence shouts out very loudly, you can’t lay any claim at all to the right to make decisions for anyone at all. That is true for Rajoy and his party, and it’s just as true for all other deadly silent European leaders.

And this is by no means over, it hasn’t started yet. Here’s a map of close vs open polling stations in Catalonia, via Assange. ‘Nuff said. What will Rajoy’s next move be? Locking up everyone? The entire Catalan governing party that organized the referendum? Make no mistake: the Spanish military have long threatened they would destroy Catalonia before allowing it independence.


Catalan polling stations. Green=open. Red=closed


Philosopher Anna M. Hennessey, who has lived in both Spain and in Catalonia, put it this way:

Franco was victorious and did not lose his war, as Hitler and Mussolini lost theirs, but this must not mean that we should let the dictator’s toxic ideological infrastructure persist any further into the twenty-first century. Supporting Catalonia is a necessary step in putting an end to fascism in Europe.

When Fascism Won’t Die: Why We Need to Support Catalonia

People in the United States, especially those from the 1980s onward, know little of Spain’s Civil War (1936-1939) and the long dictatorship that followed. This knowledge is helpful in understanding the situation in Spain and Catalonia right now. The judge (Ismael Moreno) who is set to decide on sedition charges against Catalan activists for attempting to hold a democratic referendum on October 1st, for example, has roots that are deeply connected to Francisco Franco (1892-1975), the military leader who initiated the Civil War, won it, and then went on to rule as Head of State and dictator in Spain for almost forty years.

Franco is a major figure of twentieth-century fascism in Europe. A purge of Francoist government officials never took place when the dictatorship ended in the 1970s, and this leadership has had a lasting impact on how Spain’s government makes its decisions about Catalonia, a region traumatized during and after the war due to its resistance to Franco’s regime. The lingering effects of Franco’s legacy are at this point well-documented and need to be a part of the discourse that surrounds what is quickly unraveling in Barcelona.

[..] Like the Spanish government, the Spanish police force was never purged of its Francoist ties following the dictatorship. It is a deeply corrupt institution [..] Manuel Fraga Iribarne, one of Franco’s ministers during the dictatorship, founded Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party. The party is currently enmeshed in a corruption scandal of its own. Spain’s royal family is similarly linked to Franco and has also been brought to trial for its own set of corruption charges. It is impossible to ignore the fascist bedrock upon which modern Spain is founded, or to ignore the reality that this foundation has to do with the way Spain treats Catalonia.

And so we can see the dream of a united Europe die. At least one that most people will feel comfortable living in. And if you can’t achieve that, why have a union to begin with? Democracy in Europe is dying in Brussels, it’s dying in Greece and the Mediterranean, and it died today in the streets of Barcelona and other Catalan locations.

Are all Europeans simply going to sit back and wait till it dies where they live, too? My bet is they will only do that until they no longer see the EU as economically beneficial to them. And as of today, because of Catalunya, economics will no longer be the only consideration. Because Spain will not be thrown out, not even suspended. There will be lots of empty strong words, but not all Europeans are all that stupid.

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has called for Rajoy to resign, but she knows as well as anyone that that will not be enough, and it won’t change a thing. Rajoy is merely one representative of a fascist system that is the underbelly of Spain, waiting for its opportunity to raise its ugly head. It’s found that opportunity today, and the whole world is silent. Well, the ‘leaders’ are.


And while we’re talking disaster, I can’t help myself from briefly addressing Puerto Rico. The anti-Trump echo chamber is louder than ever, and it’s getting absurd. I can’t see what part of it is Trump’s doing, and what is due to other sources, but it simply seems not true that help is not moving forward. In a destruction as complete as Puerto Rico, there are limits to what can be done in a limited amount of time.

All the criticism of Trump at some point becomes criticism of other people involved as well. The mayor of San Juan gets lauded as a hero in certain circles, but is she really? How about the US military, how about FEMA? They look to be doing a good job, and FEMA seems to have learned a lot from Katrina 12 years ago.

Again, I don’t know how much of that is Trump, but if I may be cynical, he’s smart enough to know how his response could or would be used against him, so he would be really thick if he let the situation get worse than it should be. Earlier today Cate Long, an expert on Puerto Rico due to its debt fiasco, and hence with a lot of contacts there, tweeted:

“Federal govt has leapfrogged Puerto Rico govt & made direct connection with 78 municipalities. Central to powerful supply chain & relief.”

While the Huffington Post, not exactly Trump cheerleaders, posted this:

US Military On Puerto Rico: “The Problem Is Distribution”

Speaking today exclusively and live from Puerto Rico, is Puerto Rican born and raised, Colonel Michael A. Valle (”Torch”), Commander, 101st Air and Space Operations Group, and Director of the Joint Air Component Coordination Element, 1st Air Force, responsible for Hurricane Maria relief efforts in the U.S. commonwealth with a population of more than 3 million.

Since the ‘apocalyptic’ Cat 4 storm tore into the spine of Puerto Rico on September 20, Col. Valle has been both duty and blood bound to help. Col. Valle is a firsthand witness of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) response supporting FEMA in Puerto Rico, and as a Puerto Rican himself with family members living in the devastation, his passion for the people is second to none. “It’s just not true,” Col. Valle says of the major disconnect today between the perception of a lack of response from Washington verses what is really going on on the ground.

[..] some truck drivers from outside the island have been brought in, and more are coming, however it’s not a fix-all. “We get more and more offers to help, but there is no where to stay, we can’t take any more bodies, there’s no where to put them.” Col. Valle says, adding that their “air mobility” is good, and reiterating that getting more supplies or manpower is not the issue. When asked three times what else Washington can do to help, or anyone for that matter, three times Col. Valle answered, “It’s going to take time.”

Maybe it’s time to exit your echo chamber?



Home Forums Catalonia and other Disasters

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    Catalunya October 1 2017   I’ve seen a lot of videos and photos of the Catalonia attempt to hold a referendum today (Tyler has a “nice” series of
    [See the full post at: Catalonia and other Disasters]

    Ken Barrows

    General Honore disagrees with you regarding Puerto Rico and President Trump. Can we all agree that Teump is gratuitous and a bit of an a**hole?


    Absolutely Ken. but that doesn’t mean he’s left Puerto Rico and went golfing, or that the US wasn’t there under his command. People’s opinions are being shaped by nonsense too much. By now, that’s what it is. You can’t un-echo the chambers anymore. Still, it would be good to realize that whatever happens, there’s a whole platoon of formerly journalists ready to blame it on Trump.

    Thing is: could they have been there earlier? We don’t know. Everything’s gone there. Could more goods have been sent in? The reports say they’re already overstocked. Could more people have been sent in? Well, probably, but we have no clue as to how efficient that would have been. For one thing, where would they be based? It sounds good in the echo chamber, but it has no solid ground.

    Looks to me like DoD and FEAM are doing a good job. How much of that is Trump, we don’t know. We do know he has good reasons to NOT f*ck this up.

    I have big problem with the constant negativity. It sounds hollow.

    No idea who Gen. Honore is


    There are disasters and pain in many more place than the two you have listed as an example.

    The Mediterranean has never seen peace.

    Men/women in all those disasters are causing people to suffer or to get relief.
    Some people are finding ways to benefit from the loss of others.

    Someone is always picked out to be blamed for bad things.

    It’s gods fault.
    It’s the devils fault.

    I just live on this earth.
    I heard the messenger.
    I’m innocent.

    V. Arnold

    The ghost of Franco has risen; Rajoy is a fascisti…
    The unprovoked brutality of the police is just stunning.
    I have a friend living in Spain; and he’s considering getting out.

    V. Arnold

    No idea who Gen. Honore is

    Apparently he was in charge of the Katrina relief efforts; or at least the logistics.
    Certainly nothing to be proud of…

    John Day

    First, about Spain/Catalonia: It has been clear for a month, and I have been saying (elsewhere) that the declarations and actions of the Spanish government were of a sort to increase divisiveness, the exact opposite of their stated intention of creating unity. This is now extremely evident, as people who went to the poll to vote “stay” got treated to badly that they voted “go”. The Spanish police and the Catalan police and firefighters contested some polling places, and Catalan police are being charged with dereliction of duty. When the enforcers change sides, the revolution has gone live, and this action forces the uniformed enforcers to change sides.
    Whose interests are served by this antithetical behavior? I can’t answer. What is the utility of another Spanish Civil War? To whom? I can’t see the grand sinister plan yet. It just looks stupid. I doubt it really is.
    Puerto Rico is still broken. My friend, Manuel is a doctor in the only hospital in the smallish town of Yauco, southwest part of the island. He has been getting one gallon of water per day to drink, and gets 2 minutes on the phone with his wife in Austin from the military, a couple of times per week. His hospital very nearly closed. The relief is just not getting to the rest of the island. People who can get fuel are driving to San Juan for water and food, which is dangerous at night with damaged roads. My main hope is that this will use enough US military resources to delay what looks like a planned invasion of Venezuela, to bestow democracy upon their oil reserves.
    Have a nice day…

    Dr. Diablo

    Former Gen. Honore was on national news lambasting Trump’s response to the hurricane even back with Harvey. I’m not sure, considering Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico, what he thought could be done, but that’s fair game, I guess.

    …Except for Gen. Honore was the one running the Katrina relief, which was so mishandled it led to credible theories FEMA and the government were running an intentional, open genocide against the people of New Orleans, withholding aid, stopping supply trucks, re-settling people, confiscating guns, having police and EMTs raid houses and stores and even shoot people escaping NOLA, all overseen or at least in the jurisdiction of Gen. Honore. All of this is well-reported consensus fact. So the man who ran the worst relief effort in U.S. history, one so bad the population actually, credibly believed the U.S. government was trying to kill them, is invited on national TV to criticize Trump’s relief efforts? The gall is breathtaking. And viewers nod their heads and say, “Wow, yeah, F Trump! Here’s a general, he should know.” Yes, a general that should have been court-martialed if W. or anyone actually cared or had consequences for performance. That’s who General Russel L. Honoré is.

    The actual recovery? Stinks. It’s really slow, tedious, expensive, and unpleasant. That’s what happens when everything in a 50 mile radius is put back to the 19th century. Let’s look at P.R. They had a 1-Star general running support after Maria passed, as would be procedure. As a naval exercise, that may have been delayed waiting for the storm to pass Norfolk. There are no roads or trucks, so available supplies quickly bottled up in San Juan. As you might expect, airlifting supplies inland is slow as you don’t know who needs what. They have mainland drivers but no beds for them, and still need parts and trucks. After a week, which involves finding out what needed and what was broken, they upped to a 3-star and additional supplies, as by the book. We have not had any particular emergency as the weather is good and the people are orderly. The power is out, but if anyone remembers, last month when PR went bankrupt, the power company said they might have blackouts due to corruption stealing their daily repair money for years, and the cash crunch might shut off a power plant or two. That’s not a strong territory. As a very poor place since the 1950’s, the houses are not Florida-code, the roads are weak, and the supplies and other depth of infrastructure mined in favor of well-reported corruption. It goes without saying the people don’t bother to prepare for themselves. So an eider feather could knock them over.

    That said, the recovery is disappointing. There is no support at home because all the U.S. troops and trucks are overseas in illegal wars. The Navy seemed a bit lackadaisical, I mean, you can fly all day to F-stan, but you can’t clear a strip in the United States, you have no satellite photos and assessment of damage department in the Pentagon? No military cell-tower service ships, or are they busy in Syria? No one (including reporters) have satellite phones anymore? Really? I can’t say that’s represents a broke, third-world country but it’s getting there, which is why, for 20 years, we’ve needed that money at home, in Cleveland and Detroit. So if the Navy has been by the book, and Congress themselves don’t care, took them a week to suspend the Johnson Act, what are they after Trump for? Even the Mayor was fine with San Juan until the polito-boys arrived from Chicago, and the narrative, which was scattered and uncertain, galvanized into this week’s anti-Trump narrative(tm), along with the Cat and the Hat being racist ™ written by a librarian in a Cat and the Hat costume with a former black first lady promoting Dr. Seuss with a live-action performer and a brass band. No you can’t make this up. Also no one cares or reports that more people were killed in Chicago this weekend. So now the narrative is written, they can finally report on it with confidence: “P.R. was fine before Trump got there.” Immediate by the book support run by the Military is now impeachably inadequate. If he visits he’s an obstacle, and if he doesn’t, he’s racist and doesn’t care. Same as it ever was, and I think this is the tornado-of-nonsense ™ Raul was talking about. But just having a weak, lackluster, uninspired response isn’t enough. It has to be bad, Really Bad, “bad hombre” bad. In the new world, if it isn’t Hitler-mated-with-PolPot bad we can’t be bothered to report on it, and I just find that ridiculous. Like shut-off-my-TV-and-cancel-my-NFL-subscription ridiculous.

    They stink? It stank before he got there, governments always stink, and what they need is the Cajun Navy and the Baptist Charities, who usually do all this crap while politicians posture on Camera and FEMA obstructs. But they can’t help this time, at least not yet.

    Ken Barrows

    One view (wrong) is that General Honore did a good job after the initial screwup:


    I have lived in Barcelona since May 2011 after moving from Australia. I arrived 3 days before 15M, the “Ocupada” of Pl. Catalunya, I met my first Catalan friends there. The “Mossas” moved in there too, put 170 people in hospital and cleared the square. Los Indignados were back next day 5,000 strong and stayed there.

    Anyone who thought the thousands of Spanish police, sitting in rented cruisers in Barcelona port waiting for 1 – 0, would do anything else but beat the crap out of anyone who got in their way is naïve. You do not expect a scorpion to do anything but sting, and this is the land where bullfighting is part (thanks to Rajoy) of the “patrimony” of the country, where macho idiots from all over the world come to run in front of a pack of bulls. Historically this is a brutal country.

    You are spot on with the Franco references Raul, it amazes me to this day that there has been no mass attempt to have a truth and reconciliation forum. Thousands of bodies still lie in mass graves around Spain, whilst “El Caudillo’s” monument is in pristine condition. Justice Balthazar Garzon was the last person to try and do something about that. He was also running a corruption investigation into 70 senior members of the Partido Popular (Rajoy). Garzon was suspended and banned from practicing law for 11 years by the same Spanish judicial system that made the Catalan referendum illegal, and gave instructions on how the “Mossas” should behave on 1 – 0.

    There is a direct lineage from Franco to Rajoy, From 1951, Manuel Fraga served in various posts in the Franco regime, including minister for information and tourism.  He took part in the Transition (restoration of the Monarchy),  and formed the conservative People’s Alliance (AP), the precursor to the Popular Party (PP).
    Appointing Jose Louis Aznar as head of the Partido Popular (PP) in 1989, Fraga became President of the PP.  Fraga finished his political career as Franco did, in office. He died in January 2012 serving as Spain’s ambassador to the European Union. Rajoy was appointed head of the PP in 2004 after Zapatero’s election. It was not until 2004 that the monuments to Franco began to be removed in Catalunya. Streets named after fascist generals still exist. There is still an intense hatred of the Bourbon royal lineage, installed by Franco.

    The “agreement to forget” which is the basis for the “democracy” which exists in Spain, and Catalunya also deprives 100,000 bodies in mass graves around Spain the peace their families badly need.

    It was Aznar that asked the Royal Academy of History to re write the “Spanish Dictionary of Biography”, which then attempted to describe Franco as “authoritarian” rather than a “brutal dictator”. Aznar introduces “friendly fascism” to Spain. Rajoy inherits a “crisis” when elected and has been the perfect puppet. Even tells Donald Trump that Rafa Nadal “is my friend”, Trump not impressed.

    Whatever happens in the aftermath of 1 – 0 may not be pretty, it may be brutal again, its a brutal country, but the people of Catalunya and Barcelona have seen worse and will be back.


    IIRC Batista fled Cuba to sell insurance in Franco’s Spain.

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