Saturday, May 26, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 26.5.18

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 pagehere.

  • Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas thinks that Sr Rajoy is a dead duck, following the corruption-related developments of this week. El PaĆ­s seems to agree, here (in English). But the man himself appears not to. Among his characteristic responses to a motion of centure in parliament include:-
  1. These events happened long ago.
  2. The PP is much more than 10 or 15 isolated cases. 
  3. We’ve been ruling for many years.
  4. The no-confidence motion is a ruse employed by opposition parties to install the PSOE leader in power.
  5. It goes against the political stability that our country needs and it goes against the economic recovery. It is bad for Spain,
Almost Churchillian, in their eloquence, aren't they? Nothing about the Augean stables needing to be cleaned, though. Sr Rajoy clearly doesn't think that rooting out corruption would be be good for Spain.
  • Actually, it gets worse. After the trail judge had questioned Sr Rajoy's credibility as a witness, the latter - who's widely believed to draw not just one but 2 illegal registrar salaries - responded with the question: Who issues credibility certificates? The citizens of this country. Which doesn't say a lot for them. Or at least for the more than 20% of the electorate who'd still vote for him and the PP party. Does he really need to assassinate someone?
  • Oh, by the way, I was right about the trial seeming to last a decade: It was a nine-year investigation, says El Pais.
  • Finally on this, a Spanish columnist has opined that: The justice system has done its job, and we should congratulate ourselves for it. But politics has not, and it can no longer hide under the mantle of impunity. Yes, indeed! I can't pretend I was optimistic.
  • Will Northern Europeans finally wake up?
Life in Spain
  • You don't want to get too free with your speech in Spain. If you do . . . 
  • See the Guardian article below on Trump. With my boldings.
Nutters Corner
  • I've mentioned the fraudulent evangelist Jim Bakker a few times. Here's a video which speaks for itself. His wife appears to have been able to afford an awful lot of plastic surgery. And possibly doesn't look remotely like she did on her wedding day. As I've noticed before, her vocabulary seems to be limited to one-syllable words of endorsement of her husband's daft comments. It's very hard to believe people can be so gullible. Even US evangelists. Oh, I forgot. They made Fart the President.
  • Sorry, can't resist adding this one . . .
  • And then there's this . . . Paul McGuire, the guy who said that Trump is now engaged in the greatest spiritual battle in world history, now says that Trump is under attack by Luciferian “advanced beings” who are using “supernatural multidimensional power” against him.  Click here for his full insane rant. I feel flattered.
Duff Cooper
  • This is a rather characteristic paragraph of his, written in 1949, when he DC 59 and not far off his death in 1951. It again raises the question of what on earth he means by 'love': Susan Mary [aged 27] plays a part in my life. She writes me the loveliest letters and she loves me far more than I deserve. I love her too, very deeply and tenderly, but not as I love Caroline. I am not ‘in love’ with her, although there is nothing I wouldn't do for her. I owe her so much. Maxine is a new star in my firmament. She is only 26. Diana[DC's wife] thinks her the most beautiful girl she has ever seen. She is also good and intelligent. She loves her husband who is extremely nice. I like being with her, but I am not in love with her and would never seek to persuade her to do anything she thought wrong. Such a gent. He later gives her an illegitmate child, of course.
  • I don't even know who the hell Caroline is but she's quite likely an old flame, Caroline Paget, the wife of Sir Michael Duff, DC's nephew. She's last mentioned 2 years previously in this comment: I made love to everybody - to Caroline, who was in a heavenly mood, to her sister, to a lady whose name I don't know but with whom I pledged to lunch on Friday, to a very pretty widow called Diana Goldsmith. I also, it seems, had at one time Dick Wyndham's pretty mistress on my knee and this annoyed Diana, who left in anger. But I had a wonderful time.
  • By the way . . . DC's real forename was not Duff but Alfred. No idea how this became Duff or whether it's used for all Alfreds. I suspect not.
Finally . . .
  1. Here's some good news, especially for those of us who've just been deleting all those emails without even reading them: You can stop plowing/ploughing through every GDPR-related email asking if you want to keep in touch. But the bad news is that: You shouldn’t have received (most of) them in the first place. Experts are saying European consumers didn’t need to be on the receiving end of the avalanche of emails that landed in their inboxes this week. More here on this.
  2. A bit from the Daily Telegraph which includes a mistake I've never seen before: I can’t imagine that those Nats who reckon their’s is a true party of the Left  . . . . The paper is said to have ditched its experienced subeditors and farmed out the (overnight) work to teenagers in New Zealand. You'd never guess.
© David Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 26.5.18


The North Korea farce makes it clear again: Trump is dangerous: Simon Tisdall

How much longer can the world tolerate having this narcissist in the White House?

This is where hubris and arrogance lead. By indefinitely postponing his summit with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, in a fit of petulance and political cowardice, Donald Trump has squandered a golden opportunity for peace on the Korean peninsula, plunged the Asia-Pacific region into a period of renewed uncertainty, blindsided America’s allies, and resurrected the dread prospect of nuclear war.

All may not yet be lost. But that’s no thanks to Trump. The author of The Art of the Deal thought he alone could pull off what had eluded successive presidents in Washington. He prematurely hailed Kim’s decision to free three US citizens as a major breakthrough. He basked in utterly ludicrous talk, notably from Boris Johnson, of a Nobel peace prize. When Kim made clear “denuclearisation” did not mean what Trump thought it meant, he meekly offered more concessions.

In short, Trump messed up. He rashly promised more than he could deliver. Then, when Kim balked at unrealistic US demands, he got cold feet.

North Korea’s measured response offers some hope. The US decision was regrettable, it said. But Pyongyang remained open to talks with the US at any time. Trump should study this statement to see how the diplomatic game works.

It cast the White House in the troublemaker role usually reserved for Pyongyang. It grabbed the moral high ground before a watching world. And it reiterated the North’s longstanding aim: to establish direct, bilateral communication with the US, bypassing the stalled multilateral talks process.

Attempts to make the best of a bad job cannot hide the possibility that a rare chance to bring North Korea in from the cold may have been permanently missed. Most worrying is the effect of this epic snub on Kim and his apparently genuine efforts to improve relations with the west. Sceptical North Korean generals will say, “We told you so,” and push for more, and bigger, nukes and missiles. Kim’s own position could be in jeopardy. His politically and personally risky policy of reform at home and engagement abroad was blown apart by Trump on the very day he voluntarily blew up his nuclear test site.

At risk, too, are Pyongyang’s rapprochement with South Korea and President Moon Jae-in’s exemplary bridge-building. Trump was the undeserving beneficiary of Moon’s efforts, which took flight at the Winter Olympics. That opening may have been blown, thanks also to his national security adviser, John Bolton, his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and other lower-order Team Trump chicken hawks. Moon declared himself “perplexed” – a feeling probably shared in Tokyo. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, has worked hard and thanklessly to keep Trump on course.

China’s leaders will experience mixed emotions as they survey the smoking ruins. Increased regional instability and resumed US sabre-rattling on its doorstep are not in Beijing’s interest. Nor will China welcome further, alarming evidence of Trump’s whimsical irrationality. On the other hand, the upset is a timely reminder to Kim about who, when the fog clears, are his only true friends – and the centrality of Beijing to any eventual security deal. China may also be less inclined to observe US-inspired international sanctions. Indeed, a return to the Obama-era policy of maximum economic pressure may no longer be credible. If so, military options will once more gain traction in Washington.

Given Trump’s now familiar mercurial behaviour, it’s possible all this could change tomorrow – even that the June summit will be back on again. Trump indicated as much on Friday, suggesting airily that he and the North Koreans were “playing games”. This is no way to conduct a deadly serious nuclear weapons negotiation. And it raises a much bigger question. How much longer can the international community pretend that having a narcissistic amateur running the White House is a tolerable or even manageable state of affairs? Just look at the global wreckage after 18 months of Trump. A landmark climate change pact trashed. Protectionism, trade wars and divisive border walls on the rise. Hopes of peace in Israel-Palestine, and dozens of Palestinian lives, sacrificed to the presidential ego. A potentially catastrophic dereliction of duty under way in Syria. Continuing appeasement of Russia. And a new Middle East war in the making, after Trump’s unilateral renunciation of the Iran nuclear deal. It is no exaggeration to say US authority and credibility on the world stage are now at stake.

This is not leadership. It is day-by-day, manmade chaos masquerading as policy. It’s not America First. It’s America Foolish. Yet there is no end in sight to the damaging tomfoolery. Trump does not learn from his mistakes. He just makes bigger ones. For Britain, soon to host him, the Korean lesson is clear: this US president should carry a health warning wherever he goes. Keep him at arm’s length. For he is weak, cowardly and dangerous – and not, on any account, to be trusted.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

The Evangelicals did not make Mr Trump president of the US. Neither did Mr Putin's Russian hackers. The American electorate made the man president of the USA, whether you like it or loath it. For better or - probably - for worse.

It's something to remember, though...

Duff B. Mittington

Colin Davies said...

Wrong. Mrs C got more thatn 2m votes more.

The 18th century Electoral College made Fart president.