Monday, March 19, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia: 19.3.18

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.

  • There were profiles of 12 leading politicians in a newspaper yesterday. One of them (Rajoy) is a notary and 7 of the others are lawyers. So, almost 70% - as pointed out by Dutchman Vincent Werner in his book on Spain's major problems. Much, much higher than in other developed nations.
  • And you thought this sort of thing only happened in Spain . . . In Hong Kong a new law is about to be adopted making it illegal to mock the Chinese national anthem, with a sentence of 3 years in prison for offenders. Spain has fallen behind.
  • Pensioners here might well have done better than those either employed or unemployed in the last 10 years but the system is on very shaky foundations and, as reader MarĂ­a has pointed out, promises of future increases are parsimonious. People are increasingly worried about their old age, as noted here.
Life in Spain
  • Crossing the bridge into town yesterday midday, I was tempted to shout at a chap on a bike: “Amigo! If you're going to allow your kid to weave in and out of people on the pavement, it's bloody pointless to ride alongside him on the road constantly shouting at him to 'Mind the pedestrians'”. And: “Have you not noticed it's Sunday and there's bugger all traffic on the road?”.
  • Click here for the article from which these nice snippets come:-
- Donald Trump swept into the White House on a promise to run the government like a business and stock his administration with titans of industry. The partnership hasn’t worked out.
- Just over a year into Trump’s presidency, those titans are leaving, driven out by a chief executive who doesn’t want to hear no, doesn’t trust anyone but himself and can’t stand to share the spotlight, even with those he once hailed as “the best people” on earth for these jobs.
- Trump’s penchant for publicly and privately torturing powerful leaders in his administration extends to military brass.  But it is Trump’s break with his Masters of the Universe that undercuts most clearly a central premise of his appeal as a candidate: He knew what it took to be successful and he would hire people in his own image. The breakup, say White House officials, outside experts and even the president’s close friends, was inevitable.
- Trump is simply returning to who he’s always been, a one-man reality show who prefers to be surrounded by admirers who will praise and fawn over him and confirm that all his instincts are correct and brilliant and certain to succeed. The wonder is that anyone is surprised. [Is there anyone, as of March 2018] [Or even as of March 2017?]
- Trump’s pledge of running the nation like a business had totally gone off the rails. “No board of directors at any big company would ever permit this type of treatment or this level of chaos”.
For the future . . .
- Trump’s friends and defenders don’t really deny that Fart is moving into a new phase of his presidency where he will naturally be less inclined to rely on executives who have subject-matter expertise. Fart is growing in confidence, these people say, and increasingly believes he is best served following his own instincts rather than relying on the savvy guidance of former top executives.
- The USA. is now at greater risk of trade wars and the possible end of the North American Free Trade agreement, a development most economists believe would be catastrophic.
  • And , answering my question of yesterday about who would willingly work for Fart: I think all of these types of people will be gone soon and all for the exact same reason. Trump has gotten to where he is by basically being who he is and if you are a strong-minded person yourself and believe you have something substantial to contribute, you don’t want to stick around and keep getting run over by the boss.
  • So, is Fart about to go nuclear on Mueller? If so, there's said to be a likelihood that this would set off a firestorm in Washington, likely triggering a severe backlash against the president even among his Republican supporters in Congress. One can but hope.
  • Old Soviet joke: A man walks into a food shop in Moscow, looks around and says “Don’t you have any meat?” The shopkeeper replies: “No, we don’t have any fish. The shop that doesn’t have any meat is across the street.”
The UK
  • Brexit chaos looms, says Richard North here.
  • Meanwhile, this foto of young women in Birmingham yesterday makes me proud to be British:-

The English Language
  • According to the French president: The Anglo-Saxon language wants to consume other languages. M Macron is aiming at to have French take over from it as the number 1 foreign language, in Africa at the very least. Ironically, his novel approach is to use English to promote French, which has angered traditionalists. Especially Canadian French speakers, who've gone so far as to ban the English words and phrases which increasingly litter French in France. And Spanish, of course. El Pack Family, for example. Something from an insurance company, I think.
The Cultural Wars
  • Transgender etiquette has produced a new linguistic complication at leading British universities. Students and academics are being encouraged to sign their emails with their names, titles, telephone numbers and whether they prefer to be known as he or she — or another option.
  • It’s always a pleasure to bring you a new term from the social justice warrior’s cretinaurus. This week’s word is 'cishet'. Cishet means someone who is happy with their birth gender and heterosexual — ie, 98% of the world. And here’s another: 'wypipo'. That’s the new approved term for “white people”. Onwards, ever onwards!
Social Media
  • No one can pretend Facebook is just harmless fun any more. The revelation that Cambridge Analytica exploited the data of 50 million Facebook profiles to target American voters is indeed frightening. But Cambridge Analytica shouldn’t act as a diversion from the real bad guy in this story: Facebook. More here.
  • The relevant UK minister avers that: The 'Wild West' era for technology firms like Facebook and Google is over. Their use of people's data must be properly regulated. And they must accept increasing taxation by national governments. Why is it taking so long?
  • I'm often blessed with beautiful dawns, as I sit reading the papers and then writing my blog. Very occasionally, thanks to a river mist, the view looks rather more Japanese than Spanish. Or that's how it seems to me anyway. Judge for yourself:- 

  • I am a huge fan of writer and podcaster Adam Gopnik. Yesterday, I enjoyed this opening line to one of his offerings: Anyone who tells you their rules for a happy marriage doesn't have one. Just as the people who write about sex are never people you would want to sleep with. 
  • But what I really want to cite is this podcast on the Nazis. I'm a firm believer that everyone should be reminded annually of their appalling atrocities and crimes against humanity. I'm not one of those who believes it could never happen again. And this is as good a memory jogger as you could have. Along with videos of the camps.

Footnote: Could I just advise readers who arrive via Google + that I plan to quit that site soon. But . . . There's now a option to get posts automatically via your email. See the box on the top right.

Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 19.3.18


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Hmmmm... 98 % of people are heterosexual???

I think you ought to check your numbers. Last time I checked scientific tallies, some 10 to 15 % of the population was gay...


Colin Davies said...

It's a 3rd party quote, as evidenced (for 98% of readers) by the italics . . Ask if u want a name to write to. But i believe it's a deliberate exaggeration by a columnist to endorse a point. So you'd be wasting yr time. Not unusual for you, of course . .

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Who are you addressing with this rough answer, I wonder??


Colin Davies said...

I wish i knew

Alfred B. Mittington said...

And how, pray tell, is one to know this is a quote from a third person, and not a text written by the blogger???

There's absolutely no sign of footnotes or references or quotations marks...


Colin Davies said...

It's a convention I've used for year. Research shows that 98% of reader realised this. But the 2% who are anally retentive don't and seem to need explanatory notes/footnotes. Life is too short.