Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 1.8.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain:-
  • The Spanish Royal Academy (RAE) has announced plans to create a Judeo-Spanish branch in Israel that will sit alongside the 23 existing academies dedicated to the Spanish languages across Latin America and in countries such as Equatorial Guinea and the Philippines. Speakers of Judeo-Spanish, or Ladino, fled Spain and settled elsewhere in Europe, as well as in the Middle East, north Africa and Latin America. More here on this.
  • Tourism receipts continue to soar and boost the Spanish economy. Basically good news, if not for everyone.
  • Good to see that roundabouts can be a huge problem in the UK as well. A new one was inaugurated last week in Derbyshire and there were 10 accidents at it in the first 48 hours. Essentially because it's flat, unsigned and unlit. So, invisible at night. On a fast dual-carriageway. Would you believe?
Well, the organisation chart of the White House I posted yesterday is already obsolete, following the sacking of the Communications Cretin who hadn't even taken up his job yet. I continue to believe that Trump will suffer a 'sudden heart attack' and leave the scene for Pence. Who normally would be considered a mad extremist because of his religious views. But who now looks like the Saviour Himself. At the end of this post is The Guardian's take on the defenestration of The Munch. Who, incidentally, also lost his wife last week. Looks like carelessness on a grand scale to me.

Here's what purports to be a guide on our Galician coast. The author calls it The Shellfish Coast, which neither I nor my Galician friends have ever heard. I say 'author' but I don't believe she actually exists. There's a series of these – very short – guides on Amazon and the reviews are not good - “Incredibly short. Poorly written. A waste of money” being one of them. I'm guessing they're farmed out to folk who make a quick trip and then write up something which includes recommendations to restaurants who've coughed up a fee. It's even possible they're written without leaving a desk in the USA. I won't be buying it, obviously.

Two regular moans:-
  • Spanish individualismo at its best/worst. Blocking the traffic by parking - on a zebra crossing – to chat to a friend.  

  • The sad sight of 2 young women smoking even when one of them has a young child with her.

Finally . . . Yesterday, reader Sierra wrote to say: I've received a letter with my latest bill detailing how, in accordance with the law 216/2014 and the administrative litigation resources of the "Sentencias del Tribunal Supremo", following a reconciliation of my facturas for 2014, 2015, and 2016, I owed...31 cents! Right on cue, I got my own letter later that morning, advising me that I owed them €3.88. Quite why I – a sole consumer – needs to pay more than 12 times Sierra's debt I don't know and have zilch chance of finding out. Maybe it's a total scam. It's included in my latest bill, of course. Paid by direct debit.


Scaramucci exit after 10 turbulent days shows chaos reigns at the White House

Scaramucci got his marching orders from the new chief of staff John Kelly, whose military experience now seems invaluable in this melee of warring factions. David Smith

On Monday morning Donald Trump sought, via Twitter, to reassure a troubled nation: “No WH chaos!”

For six blissful hours, there was calm in sunny Washington. Then the news broke that White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci had been ousted after just 10 days. The chaos was back with a vengeance.

“The Mooch” got his marching orders from the newly appointed chief of staff, John Kelly, a four-star marine general whose experience in Iraq suddenly seems invaluable for this White House: now a melee of competing actors, rival factions and complex alliances fighting for territory.

As it happened, minutes after the Mooch’s fate was sealed, Trump and Kelly were in the east room of the White House to award a medal of honor to a veteran army medic who served in Vietnam. What should have been a solemn ceremony suddenly felt cheapened.

Scaramucci burned twice as bright and half as long; he had not even been formally sworn in to his new position. He reportedly had the backing of fellow New Yorkers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. He was described by Charlie Sykes, a conservative commentator, as “Trump’s id”.

Evidently Kelly determined that Trump’s id has no place in the White House. Scaramucci’s vulgar, expletive-riddled interview with the New Yorker magazine last week was a sackable offence, especially in the eyes of a military man looking to instil some old-fashioned discipline. Among other things, the Mooch proved himself a communications director who did not grasp the rules of “off the record”.

When Trump’s White House came into being, there was a readily identifiable three-way struggle for power between the family, the party establishment and the “alt-right” disruptors.

Where does the power struggle within the White House stand now? One of Scaramucci’s targets in that interview, chief of staff Reince Priebus (“a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac”), was ousted last week, perceived by the president as weak, thus severing another link with the Republican party establishment. But another target, Steve Bannon, may suddenly have got a reprieve, preserving an influential nationalist/Breitbart voice in the administration.

The Republican establishment may yet pick itself up off the canvas too. Sean Spicer had felt compelled to announce his resignation when Scaramucci erupted on the scene on 21 July. But he has not left yet and could potentially be persuaded to take on the communications director role. As a military man himself, it might appeal to his sense of duty.

Scaramucci’s blowout raises fresh questions over the judgment of Ivanka and her husband, although their presence, along with national economic adviser Gary Cohn and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, ensures the so-called New York Democrats will remain a force.

It has long been said that Trump’s White House needs an injection of “grown-ups”. Scaramucci, a verbal brawler from Wall Street who channeled the president’s ego, clearly wasn’t it. The sober Kelly might be. But he faces a Rubik’s cube of battling constituencies, full of personal and political conflicts and “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” attitudes. And then there is Trump’s mercurial temperament and 24-hour Twitter trigger.

As for the Mooch, it was one of the briefest White House careers in history. But it is safe to say he has left his mark on American history and satire. As someone once sang: “Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot.”


Sierra said...

Also a "sole consumer" - but don't live in "a posh/pijo barrio" - we lucenses don't put on airs

Perry said...

Oh Colin, how could you miss the opportunity?

Scaramucci, Scaramucci, will you do the Fandango? ... Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?

Colin Davies said...

@Sierra. Not sure why this would make a difference.