Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 18.10.16

SPANISH LIFE/CULTURE

Renfe: This is the Spanish public train operator. I'm in contact with them by email about the panama hat I left on the train last Friday. So far, so good. A nice form-response from the central office. I wouldn't normally bother to mention this but I just want to note that this is the nth bit of headwear I've left behind somewhere and that each of them had my phone number in them. To date, no one has ever called me. But I'm hoping this case will be different, as they're not cheap.

Corruption: See the Cavalcade below. And also this article on the PP guide to local illegal financing, mentioned a few days ago. Truly astonishing, for a number of reasons.

THE SPANISH ECONOMY & THE EU

The 2016 Deficit: Now, there's a surprise. For the 10th(?) year in a row, this will exceed the limit of 3.5% of GDP after which you'll be hit with a humungous fine from Brussels. But, also for the 10th year in a row, this ain't going to happen. As it never did with Germany and France. In the EU, 'fundamental rules' are only relevant for the likes of the little guys, like Greece.

THE UK

RT News: What a kerfuffle! Yesterday, NatWest bank announced it was closing its accounts. Cue predictable response from both the station (An attack on free speech) and from the Russian government (We will close the BBC accounts here). Of course, all the Russians saw the hidden hand of the British state in this – being incapable of seeing that it isn't always there and of believing in pure commercial decisions - but I'm very glad their reaction was so strong. And alos effective, as the bank immediately relented. What would I do if the station went under and I missed my morning laughs at the sheer hypocrisy of almost everything they do? Yesterday, for example, the main theme of the execrable Cross Talk was US illegal invasions of sovereign states such as Syria. Like the Crimea, Ukraine, Chechnya and Georgia, for example? Err, no. I leave you, firstly, with an hilarious comment from Russia’s foreign ministry Commissioner for Human Rights [sic]: It seems that freedom of speech is completely lost in Albion’s Russophobic fog. And, secondly, with this comment from Oliver Kamm of The TimesThe regime of Vladimir Putin murders journalists, represses homosexuals, imprisons critics, assassinates dissidents, flattens cities, attacks aid convoys, shoots down civilian aircraft, foments xenophobia and alters national boundaries by force. Yesterday its state-run propaganda outlet complained of an assault on its liberty because a British bank asked it to take its custom elsewhere. As Oscar Wilde reputedly said on reading of the death of Little Nell in Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop, you’d need a heart of stone not to laugh. It’s past time that Britain’s civil society, its broadcasting regulator and its elected government ceased pussyfooting around with RT. This is not a normal news outlet but a conspiracy of fraudsters in the service of a murderous autocracy. Denying it a bank account is the least of the problems we should be making for it. One can't say fairer than that.

GALICIAN STUFF

La Coruña: Ahead of my visit there last Friday, I ran a search in my computer and came up with a chapter from a 1909 book called Galicia: The Switzerland of Spain: Its opening para read: La Coruña covers 7,902 square km, and its population in the year 1905 amounted to 683,915 souls. It is the dampest province in Spain, and it has more misty days in the year than any other part; but, on the other hand, it is never troubled with those dry hot winds that cross to Spain from Africa: it is decidedly healthy, and its women and children have very beautiful complexions. Both factors possibly explain why it's a popular place with British expats.

LOCAL STUFF

Beggars: Those in Ponters clearly don't take Sunday off. Quite the opposite. I was assailed by 7 or 8 of these at lunch time, most of them new to me and so presumably on a day trip. Perhaps in the same coach. The locals all tend to avoid me.

FINALLY

1. Religions: This is very hard to believe but, on the same day as I read that some scholars of Islam believe Mohammed the Prophet is a fiction, my friend Dwight sent me an article about an American scholar who says he has proof of the long-standing belief that Jesus didn't really exist either. It's enough to make an atheist choke on his porridge! See here, here and here.

2. The Goths: I'd forgotten - if I ever knew - that these came in two sorts - Visigoths and Ostrogoths. Western-Goths and Eastern-Goths. As you can see from this helpful map, the former came down to Spain and did something never since replicated - they unified the country, under their rule from Toledo. Chasing out the residual Romans in the process. More on the Spanish Visigoths tomorrow.



THE CORRUPTION CAVALCADE

Latest entries first:-

The case
     Who
   Position
 Allegation
  Status
The cheating banker

F.J.O.G”
Director
Stole €1.9m from 14 clients

A Royal surprise

Princess Cristina
Sister of the king

Another royal    surprise

Ex-king
Tried to bribe the authorities not to proceed against his daughter.

No prospect of a trial.
Gürtel/
Correa
37 politicians and businessmen
Senior position holders
Illegal party financing

Bankía/Black Cards

Numerous ex-politicos and businessmen

Senior position holders
Use of 'black credit cards' to avoid taxation on income of more that €12m.
Bog standard case
Ventura Sierra Vázquez
The mayor of Vilareño de Conso, Galicia.
Falsification of docs and corrupt practices.

Trial just started
Bog standard case
José Ramón [Nené] Barral
The ex-mayor of Ribadumia, Galicia
Money laundering and drug smuggling

Under investigation
Bog standard case
María Antonia Munar
Ex-president of the Balearics parliament
4m bribes for changing property 
classifications
Awaiting sentence. 4 years demanded.

7 comments:

Sierra said...

Good to see Brexit having a non-affect on UK inflation

Colin Davies said...

Not sure whether this isn't sarcasm. . . .

If it is, the fall of the pound - and indeed a short term economic downturn - was easy to predict. And was, of course, predicted. The longer term is more important, just as it was after the 'disastrous' UK ejection from the ERM back in ?'92.

Many economists argue that some inflation is not only a good thing but essential for growth.

As is a currency which is an accurate measure of underlying ecomic capability. Which is denied to Germany, luckily for German exporters.

Alfred B. Mittington said...



Did your book REALLY say that "Coruña covers 7,902 square km, and its population in the year 1905 amounted to 683,915 souls"?

Coruña???

Other than that: Visi meaning West and Ostro East has never really been proven, I believe. There are theories that derive 'Visi' from 'Wise' and 'Ostro' from 'Austral', shining. History is, as we all know, far from an exact science…

HistoricAl

Colin Davies said...

Province

Perry said...

Colin,

Islam; are you up to Chapter 10 by any chance?

For harsh dealings with Goths, Belisarius was your man. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belisarius

Justinian's biographer was Procopius. He wrote that:

Such were the works of the Emperor Justinian in Cilicia. And in Jerusalem he dedicated to the Mother of God a shrine with which no other can be compared. This is called by the natives the "New Church"; and I shall explain of what sort it is, first making this observation, that this city is for the most part set upon hills; however these hills have no soil upon them, but stand with rough and very steep sides, causing the streets to run straight up and down like ladders. All the other buildings of the city chance to lie in one group, part of them built upon a hill and part upon the lower level where the earth spreads out flat; but this shrine alone forms an exception. For the Emperor Justinian gave orders that it be built on the highest of the hills, specifying what the length and breadth of the building should be, as well as the other details. However, the hill did not satisfy the requirements of the project, according to the Emperor's specifications, but a fourth part of the church, facing the south and the east, was left unsupported, that part in which the priests are wont to perform the rites. Consequently those in charge of this work hit upon the following plan. They threw the foundations out as far as the limit of the even ground, and then erected a structure which rose as high as the rock. And when they had raised this up level with the rock they set vaults upon the supporting walls, and joined this substructure to the other foundation of the church. Thus the church is partly based upon living rock, and partly carried in the air by a great extension artificially added to the hill by the Emperor's power. The stones of this substructure are not of a size such as we are acquainted with, for the builders of this work, in struggling against the nature of the terrain and labouring to attain a height to match the rocky elevation, had to abandon all familiar methods and resort to practices which were strange and altogether unknown. So they cut out blocks of unusual size from the hills which rise to the sky in the region before the city, and after dressing them carefully they brought them to the site in the following manner. They built wagons to match the size of the stones, placed a single block on each of them, and had each wagon with its stone drawn by forty oxen which had been selected by the Emperor for their strength. But since it was impossible for the roads leading to the city to accommodate these wagons, they cut into the hills for a very great distance, and made them passable for the wagons as they came along there, and thus they completed the length of the church in accordance with the Emperor's wish. However, when they made the width in due proportion, they found themselves quite unable to set a roof upon the building. So they searched through all the woods and forests and every place where they had heard that very tall trees grew, and found a certain dense forest which produced cedars of extraordinary height, and by means of these they put the roof upon the church, making its height in due proportion to the width and length of the building.

Perry said...

Whoops! Did not add the link.

http://www.askelm.com/temple/t111219.pdf

Alberto MdH said...

I think you misunderstood the case of the King emeritus. The current information doesn't suggest that he tried to bribe the authorities not to proceed against his daughter.

I'll try to explain me but it is a bit complex: In Spanish' Law there are three kinds of accusations: pública(The Fiscal) privada(private, meaning the victims) and particular (people's, that means that in certain cases anybody could act as the accuser, it is used a lot in corruption trials)

In the case of Cristina, the people's accusation was a so-called union named "Manos limpias" (¿Neat Hands?) that used to launch suits in any case notorious enough (Some of them plainly frivolous) That group latter was accused of being part of a blackmailing network that extracted money from the accused in those cases in exchange from retiring the accusations (The case is still under investigation so it is too soon to expeculate how it will end) hen the scandal broke out, among other things, surfaced a recording of two supposed members of the ring ho speculated about how much money expected to extract from Juan Carlos for leaving the case (Which, at that point would have mean the collapse of the case against Cristina, since there were no other accusers against her) Anyway, they didn't retire the charges, so it looks that the transaction didn't took place and they constitute any instance of authority in any case.

With the current information, it would not be a case of bribe nut of blackmail and the former king would be the victim, not the accused (As I say, that should remain as long as it doesn't surface any incriminating evidence against Juan Carlos, if there is any)

Well, that's all, please, forgive me if it is not clear enough but I think that this reaches the top of my command of the English language.

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