Sunday, November 13, 2011

Next Up: España


Last week George Papandreou resigned as Prime Minister-- fired by the Germans-- and yesterday Silvio Berlusconi suffered the same fate. The German's put Lucas Papademos in to replace Papandreou and they're installing Mario Monti to take care of their Italian investments for them. In the end Berlusconi refused to step down unless the Parliament agreed to some really bad Austerity measures-- measures that, while popular with the 1%-er enemies of humanity, have already proven to be counterproductive-- like raising both the age of retirement from (60 to 65) and the sales tax, the most regressive of all taxes, from 20% to 21%. There will also be a freeze on public-sector salaries for 3 years. The "left" (a joke) voted with the 1%-- 380-26-- abandoning the working families of Italy entirely.

So who's next? Spain. Their elections, which were due to take place in March, have been moved up to November 20, the anniversary of Spanish fascist dictator Franco's death. The Spanish economy has been picked over by the same vulture bankster types who have devastated the economies of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and-- if less apparently-- the U.S. and France. But instead of confiscating their stolen wealth and hanging them, our societies are allowing them to dictate the terms of their own complete takeover of society. although the new head of Spain's Socialist Party is warning that the Austerity programs being shoved down Spain's throat is a disaster, it appears his party is headed for a monumental landslide defeat. And Spain's Occupy Movement-- Los Indignados-- appears even stronger than the one here in the U.S.

Spain's prime minister, José Zapatero, heads the Socialist Workers' Party but, like Obama, he's a complete tool of the 1%-- even if, like Obama, a slightly reluctant and diffident one. And though the head of the Socialist Party, he's spent his time in "power," since 2004, proving to the 1% that there's no need to fear him and that he's as socialist as... Obama. Zapatero isn't running for reelection. And his party has no chance to avoid a tsunami. The problem for Spanish voters is that the right-wing opposition is going to be even worse-- a lot worse. Mariano Rajoy is like Spain's Rick Perry-cum-Jim DeMint and he isn't even telling the voters how bad their medicine is going to be, just that there's going to be some yucky Austerity coming their way. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have been trying to get him elected since 2008. There are 5 million unemployed people in the country and probably plebty of them are looking for work in France and Spain.
The paradox is that the conservatives are on course for an historic overall majority at a time when socialist and communitarian politics are once again in fashion, stirred up by the indignados.

However, the socialist mainstream has not been able to benefit from this leftwing sentiment. Socialist politicians and trade union officials have not been welcome at indignado marches and encampments.

The view, and not just among the young, is that they are all corrupt and not up to the job of getting the country back on its feet. It was depressingly clear during the televised debate that neither candidate had any substantial ideas of how to revive the moribund economy and get people back to work.

For their part, the mainstream parties have dismissed the indignados as naive idealists at best.

The indignados' slogan is "they don't represent us", which raises the question of why they have not established their own party. Carlos Paredes, a spokesman in Madrid for the movement, said the system was rigged so that only the two big parties could win, so there was no point in forming a party. He believes the role of the movement is to act as a pressure group.

"The politicians make policy, not us. The movement wouldn't be necessary if the politicians hadn't decided to make all these cuts," he said.

The natural indignado position would be to adopt "a plague on both your houses" stance and abstain in the election, but this, too, favours the two-party hegemony.

Instead they have launched a clever campaign encouraging people to vote for small parties and have produced a chart suggesting which party to support in each constituency in order to wreak maximum damage on the Socialist-People's party duopoly.

None of this is likely to change the predicted outcome of a big win for the conservatives, although to call it a landslide suggests that something dramatic is going on, whereas the People's party is going to win mainly by default.

A recent poll showed that, after the economy and unemployment, the Spanish see their politicians as the biggest problem. If scarcely anyone is taking any interest in the general election it's not just because the result is seen as largely irrelevant: it's the markets that rule.

So much needs to change if Spain is to get out of the hole it's in. But as the commentator David Espinós wrote in El Periódico this week, "Rajoy is the antithesis of change. But in almost every election the candidate who can pull off the trick of associating themselves with change, wins. And in spite of everything, Rajoy has pulled it off."


As expected Mariano Rajoy's extreme right coalition won a landslide victory from voters angry at the Socialists for backing the Austerity regime Rajoy is about to dump on them with an intesity they earned for themselves today. 44% of Spaniards voted for Rajoy's Popular Party, as opposed to only 29% for the Socialist Workers Party. That will give Rajoy about 186 of the 350 seats in the lower house.
The new government will have little time to show results and people are bracing themselves for a new wave of spending cuts, our correspondent adds.

Over the past week, borrowing rates have risen to the 7% level which is regarded as unsustainable. Unemployment stands at five million.

Miguel Arias, the Popular Party's campaign co-ordinator, said Spain was "going to make all the sacrifices".

"We have been living as a very rich country," he told BBC News.

"People are used to a very high level of public services and it takes time to them to acknowledge the realisation that we now are a poor country, that we have lots of debts and in order to pay them back we must reduce public expenditure and then we must recover the confidence of the markets."

Labels: ,


At 7:04 PM, Anonymous robert dagg murphy said...

At a time when humanity has more of everything available to them they are being asked to cut back on their purchasing power. The physical reality calls for just the opposite of austerity. We need to be increasing purchasing power at the same time we increase mobility and learn appropiate social systems to take advantage of our good fortune and not decreasing it. The economy works best when goods and services are being exchanged not when things become stagnate. Each time a good or service is exchanged we need to make it better quality and cheaper. This will increase our common wealth. As an example, instead of 2000 miles of transoceananic cable we use a small communication satellite to carry more calls. We are continually doing more with less but these gains in common wealth are not being reflected in our economic system.
Now the 1 per cent feel threatened but should not as it is not a case of bringing anyone down but of bringing the rest of humanity up to ever higher standards of living. When this occurs the need for war will cease to exist. Science has turned on the cosmic reservoir and what ever needs to done can be done. We need a new accounting system based on what is really here. While Ron Paul calls for a gold standerd I believe Energy should be the new accounting unit as it is abundant and not scarce as is gold. Fortunately we get more energy from our Star Sun then we can ever spend and this energy is what runs everything and is accumulated in physical reality as matter. Put a log in the fire place and light it you will see the Sun coming out of the log. Science has said we are now using 17 energy units to run everything when we have 86,000 units available daily. The glass is not half empty or half full. Stand under Niagara Falls with an 8 ounce glass and that is a conservative picture of what is available for our use. We also learn more not less and therefore our knowledge continues to increase. Combine unlimited energy with a smarter people and we have got it totally made but these facts are unknown to most of humanity and our present economic, social and political systems do not recognize these truths. Our paper money economy is dead and since it is dead it can't tell us. Corporations are also unliving entities and therefore can never exibit human compassion and empathy. This is at a time when these qualitites are most needed.

I feel there is truth in what I am saying and I have written most of this before and hope to not bore the readers and appreciate their indulgence. I am compelled to write it.


Post a Comment

<< Home