Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 10.11.16


Yesterday I cited the old Chinese curse – May you live in interesting times. But there's a second one, which runs: May your dreams come true. This, of course, is what's happened to the Trump supporters. It's easy to see – and was before this shock – why these were, to say the least, disgruntled. But now they're awake and wanting to see Trump deliver on his raft of rash(?) promises, such as replacing all the jobs lost to the USA as the world changed over the last decade or two. It's easy to predict that they'll be disappointed but hard to see what the consequences of this will be.

The other saying which occurred to me yesterday was Kipling's about the two 'impostors', Triumph and Disaster. Trump's election is certainly a triumph of the political class which has suffered most in the last 20 years or more and which has revolted against the establishment. But will it result in the change these folk want or will it result in disaster? No one knows. On the other hand, it's easy to predict that the products of similar protest elsewhere - Syriza in Greece, Momentum in the UK and Podemos here in Spain – will never achieve their goals. The system remains an effective barrier to this. So, short of revolution to replace the system, what's the solution? It's surely not to reduce the taxes of the rich, as Trump is reported to have promised.

I have no idea of the answer to this question but here's a few comments while we wait for it to emerge, or not:-
  • In British polite slang, 'To trump' is to fart.
  • Michael Moore's advice to his fellow liberals: The majority of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump['the popular vote']. Period[Full stop]. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don't. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he's president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we'll continue to have presidents we didn't elect and didn't want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there's climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don't want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the "liberal" position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen.
So, perhaps that's the first part of the answer in the USA – Change the electoral system. Quite How? and By whom? is open to debate. And doubt.


Corruption & Ethics: Over the years, I've cited more than once the comment of a Spanish reader that, in daily life at least, there's very little corruption here. Which is totally true, though we all pay for the vast commercio-political corruption, of course. Instead, said this reader, it's a country of 'low ethics'. Which is also true. And it's impossible to live here - or in similar countries - without this getting to you and lowering your view of human nature. See the Finally section of this post below for the latest example I've suffered.


The Left: Following the hari-kari of the PSOE party, the upstart 'far left' Podemos is now reported to be the leading party on this side of the political spectrum. See here in Spanish. Podemos, by the way, opposes corruption. But is not immune to it. See below.


Forecasts and Austerity: The Spanish government is optimistic about growth and about being able to achieve a 2017 deficit below the mandatory[Ha!] 3% ceiling. Brussels disagrees and has reduced the growth forecast and demanded cuts greater than those planned by the Spanish government. I imagine that Brussels will be ignored, with impunity.


Brexit: As Richard North reports, opinion in the UK finally seems to be slowly progressing towards his long-recommended interim solution. To be followed by the tougher detailed negotiations. Let's hope so.


British Cemeteries: There are several of these in Iberia and I've visited three or four. This is a local one, in Vilagarcia, I've yet to take a look at. It dates from the times when the British fleet used to come to this coast in all its splendour.


My Parking Fine: My lawyer advised me that I couldn't depend on the fact that the No Parking sign (Vado) failed to give any licence details and that I had to check this at the town hall. There, a nice and helpful clerk admitted, firstly, that only in the city of Pontevedra was it not a legal obligation for the details to be shown, and, secondly, that his computer couldn't tell me whether or not the sign was properly licensed. If I appealed and it was, then my fine would be €200, not the mere €100. He also volunteered it was unjust there was a deceptive broken white line (which usually indicates legal parking) and that there was also a very weak, broken yellow line on the kerb, invisible from a car. These days, he added, the line had to be painted away from the kerb, on the road surface itself. Finally, he suggested I write to the town hall to complain about this, after paying the €100 fine. I'm not sure I'll bother. I'll probably leave the local police and car pound to continue with this profitable trap. And to suspect that the house-owner gets a cut of the proceeds. This is how sceptical you get in a country of low ethics . . . As I did in both Iran and Indonesia.


Donald Trump owns a golf course in Scotland. Here's one possibly way he could fulfil his main promise to the disaffected . . . 


The case
   The Accused
 Allegations and Status

Xelo Huertas, Montserrat Seijas, Daniel Bachiller
Office holders in the Balearics government
Falsification of commercial documents

Footnote: Yesterday I listed the problems which hit me first thing in the morning. I later added a couple more which occurred before my day was rescued by a wonderful birthday lunch with Spanish and South American friends. For the record, here's the full list:-
  • Trump elected.
  • No TV channels whatsoever via my satellite dish. Totally unprecedented.
  • No audio in a Skype link with my daughter and granddaughter.
  • No cash in my wallet
  • First ATM inoperative, at my bank
  • Second ATM being repaired
  • Third ATM charged me 2%


Sierra said...

Not much help on your parking fine, but maybe for some of your other adventures with Trafico:

Perry said...


Your mention of Iran (& Indonesia) put me in mind of Spengler's assessment on page 268 of his book. "A nation that knows it has nothing to lose is a dangerous entity-for example Iran. We cannot engage with it. We shall have to ruin it."

"Our exceptional nation can do its best for the peoples of the world, by reserving its alliance for those countries who in some way share its national premise. As for the living dead amongst the nations 'We shall not speak of them, but look & move on.'"

Yesterday, at Asia Times, Spengler wrote|: "To understand Trump, look at Franklin D. Roosevelt".

Sierra said...

Another of your bête noire - roundabouts - further fun in Lugo:

Colin Davies said...

@Sierra: Many thanks for both comments. I will cite the roundabout stuff tomorrow . . .

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