Friday, February 23, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 23.2.18

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.

  • Here in Spain, you can be jailed for upsetting/insulting a policeman, a member of the Guardia Civil, a Catholic or the monarchy. And the Spanish wonder why others see them as touchy. Anyway, here's the New York Times on the issue of censorship I mentioned yesterday.
  • Some excellent news . . . After nearly two decades of missteps and mishaps, filming on the latest iteration of Terry Gilliam’s ill-fated "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” is due to start in October to be shot in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands, and to be finished by Xmas. Disasters on set, unexpected illnesses and financial problems have caused production to be canceled or delayed several times since work first started on the movie 18 years ago. It is expected to showcase the Gilliam-esque flights of fancy seen in the director’s previous films, such as “Brazil” and “Twelve Monkeys.” Can't wait to see it, having long ago enjoyed the documentary made about Gilliam's last(?) abortive attempt – Lost in La Mancha. Which someone has 'borrowed' from me.
  • Custody of children: In the time I've been here, things have moved from favouring mothers, through permitting/normalising joint custody, to compelling fathers to share the burden when the mother can't cope. All positive, of course, but – as with, say, gay marriage - all done rather more rapidly than one might expect in any society. Never mind an (ex-)Catholic one.
Life in Spain
  1. I made my 5th trip to the notary today, to explain that the company which had sent me the form had confirmed they needed the notary to put his name, date and signature in the right place. I was met, for the 3rd time, with the senseless comment that this was not how things were done in Spain. Because I wasn't sure I could correctly say Could you just get the fucking notary to put his fucking details in these 3 fucking lines on this fucking form, I politely asked the clerk to have a word with the gentleman and let me know if he was willing or not to comply with the company's request. She looked doubtful but said she would do this and call me last evening. She didn't, of course. I was, of course, reminded of Item 1 on the list of 7 Spanish faults cited yesterday: We lack information about what is happening around us.
  2. As I've said, the Honda dealer in Vigo failed to respond to 2 emails about an appointment, forcing me to phone them. But now things are in the hands of their computer. So, naturally, I got an email reminder from it today of tomorrow's appointment. As I've noted, this is the Spanish version of customer service – hand it all over to a machine. In this case, I suspect it's the same machine that's dealing with my insurance claim for a burnt-out central heating water pump.
  3. My friend Eamon has confirmed that Amazon Spain have only very recently introduced their latest ruse to get you to sign up for Amazon Prime. He then compared the 'simple' UK form with the 'complicated' Spanish form and (jokingly, I'm certain) suggested this reflected the Spanish love of complicating things by all talking simultaneously. I'm rather more sure it's a deliberate attempt to hoodwink clients.
The USA/Nutters Corner
  • The leader of the US gun lobby, Wayne LaPierre, has called for schools to have the same level of security as banks and warned that the “socialist” left is bent on stripping Americans of their firearms and freedoms. “We must immediately harden our schools. It should not be easier for a madman to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewellery store or a Hollywood gala.” It was an “absolute fallacy” that America needs more background checks on gun buyers. The present system was not being implemented properly. He argued against putting people who show signs of mental instability but who are not adjudicated mentally incompetent on a guns black list. Mr LaPierre said that a “socialist wave” was building in America. “ If they take over the House, our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed for ever .
  • Fart's tweets on the subject:
  1. What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing.
  2. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!
I wish I could leap ahead to just see what History makes of this jackass and whether it sees his election as confirmation of the beginning of the collapse of the American empire. Another Caligula? Or Nero, perhaps?

Meanwhile, there's a comment on LaPiere's insane ramblings below.

  • I haven't mentioned the Moscow propaganda TV outlet, RT News, for quite a while. Mainly because I don't watch it for a morning laugh these days. To make up for that, here's all you need to know about its reporting. I particularly like the item about Western office workers having computer chips implanted in their skin. Oh, and the story about animal brothels in Sweden
  • There's a book about drug trafficking in Galicia, called FariƱa. This is the Galician word equivalent to Harina in Spanish, or 'Flour'. There's a discussion about it here, in Spanish. And several more videos cited on that page about our major source of income. 
  • Here's something on a fruit – durian – with which I'm familiar from a stint in the Far East. For me, the experience of partaking of it was most accurately described as eating rancid cheese while standing in a sewer. And I don't even like ordinary cheese, so you can imagine what it was like for me.
Today's Cartoon


Wayne LePierre's speech: a reminder of the paranoia that gave us Trump

Wayne LaPierre followed the NRA’s customary post-mass shooting moves in his CPAC speech – and at times sounded like Trump’s twin

The National Rifle Association perfected Trumpism before Trump, attacking the mainstream media for lies and hypocrisy, bouncing from one culture war battle to another, using each new outrage to raise the bar for the next.

For NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre, a hardened provocateur, Thursday’s speech addressing yet another school shooting was comparatively muted. 

Five years ago, he sparked national outrage by responding to the murder of 20 elementary school children at Sandy Hook with the demand to put more “good guys with guns” in American schools. 

He simply reiterated that same proposal on Thursday, after another school shooting left 17 dead, arguing that the country needed to “harden our schools” against attack, and pledging “absolutely free” NRA support to any school in America that asked for it.

Donald Trump had already endorsed the “more guns in schools” approach himself the day before at the White House. 

LaPierre made the customary moves: denunciations of creeping socialism; warnings that American’s gun rights, could suddenly come under threat; blame of the mainstream media for its deceptions. At times, he sounded like Trump’s political identical twin.

In response to the new political threat of hundreds of furious, social-media savvy teenagers organizing against the NRA, LaPierre did not have much new to offer besides attacks on the integrity of American law enforcement. 

Dana Loesch, an NRA spokeswoman, directly blamed former FBI director James Comey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for failing to prevent the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“Maybe if you politicized your agency less and did your job more we wouldn’t have these problems,” Loesch said in her own CPAC speech Thursday, referring to Comey, the FBI director Trump fired amid an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

McClatchy reported in January that the FBI is also investigating whether a Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin used the NRA to improperly funnel foreign money into the American election process to support Trump.

LaPierre said he was saddened by the FBI’s “corruption” and “unethical agents,” and suggested the FBI’s rank and file needed to do a better job of policing its own leaders.

“What’s hard to understand is why no one at the FBI stood up and called BS on its rogue leadership,” he said. “Where was the systemic resistance?”

FBI officials have admitted that the bureau failed to properly follow up on two tips that the 19-year-old Parkland shooter was dangerous and might be planning a school attack. Trump fired Comey in May, months before the FBI reportedly failed to follow up on the earlier tip about the shooter.

LaPierre noted the NRA’s five million members included a large number of largest law enforcement officials, making the group’s choice to attack the FBI’s mistakes more striking.

The NRA leader attacked the Democratic party as being taken over by “a tidal wave of new European-style socialists”, citing a list of likely Democratic presidential candidates.

“There are now over 100 chapters of Young Democratic Socialists of America at many universities,” he said, an attack that the young socialists greeted on Twitter as a delightful and unexpected PR victory. 

He also highlighted reporting flaws in the current background check system for gun sales, perhaps setting the stage for the passage of modest bipartisan legislation to fix these gaps. The legislation is sponsored by Sen John Cornyn, an NRA ally, and tentatively endorsed by Donald Trump.

The NRA has faced months of criticism that its attack ads on the resistance against Trump were flirting with incitement to violence or full civil war.

But LaPierre said the group was not actually advocating violence. 

“Let’s be clear: we are never talking about an armed resistance against the socialist corruption of our government,” he said.


Maria said...

The nutters in the US are become legion. Common sense has disappeared.

If possible, I suggest finding another notary, or threatening to do so. Unless you've already paid, of course. In that case, this notary won't care what you ask of them unless it's something where they can charge you again. Gotta bill for those hours (minutes) of having the secretary type, and all the signing. His hand must hurt by the end of the day (!).

Eamon said...

Colin I wasn't joking about the form. That is how the Spanish do things. Stuff everywhere so that when you have finished by rushing you will find that you haven't done it right. Think of the office where you go to get something done. How many copies have you got? Do they only accept originals? Should you have several papers do they have to be left single, stapled together or held together with a paperclip? Amazon have set out the form so that you end up paying for something you really didn't want if you don't spend some time carefully trying to find what buttons you need to click.

Colin Davies said...

I tried another notary first, Maria, but was sent to this one coz he spoke English. Allegedly. And could read (and then ignore) the form. Still no call but today i am even more angry with Honda tgan with the notary. Details tomoz . . . I have already paid the notary but expect another bill, if he ever signs the form as req'd.

Sierra said...

You do seem to have problems with notaries - I've dealt with them in both a "Brit" area -
Murcia - always very helpful (even helping to count the "furniture" money at property transactions), and here in Galicia (he came out to have a discussion on London football teams)

Meanwhile, what's with this new "Captcha" process - seem to spend five minutes clicking on pictures proving you're not a robot?

Colin Davies said...

@Sierra: I guess it's possible that notaries in expat areas can't rely so much on customers readily accepting the way they're treated in non-expat areas. . . .

Don't know anything about the Captcha process. If it's been changed, it's been done by Google.