March 8, 2015 archive

Sunday Night Movie

Well Luxemburg’s the next to go, then who knows maybe Monaco

So why do I think that after Greece, Spain could be the next to experience a ballot box Revolution?


Gürtel: A Dangerous Spanish Silence

The Spain Report

Friday, March 6th, 2015

The Gürtel investigation is going to trial. The suspects have been charged. The Popular Party as an organisation will now officially be tried, not as a suspect prosecuted for a crime but for being a “profit seeking participant” that benefited from the allegedly criminal fraudulent activities of its three former treasurers whose activities spanned a 20-year period, fundamentally the same period that the party has existed for, although the specific crimes 40 people have now been charged with took place between 1999 and 2005.

Spain’s governing party will be ordered to repay €245,492. A quarter of a million euros. Ana Mato, who was Mr. Rajoy’s Health Minister until the end of November last year, will have to hand back €28,467. She famously claimed she did not know she had a brand new Jaguar parked in her garage at home. She is still a sitting MP. The Public Prosecutor is seeking 42 years in prison for Luis Bárcenas, the most well-known of the three former party treasurers, who was recently released from prison after 18 months on remand during the investigation. Those accused must post a total of €449 million in bonds to cover restitution liabilities. Half-a-billion euros.

Spanish voters know there is nothing they can do about corruption until the elections, and then they cannot get rid of individual rotten apples because, as Mr. Rajoy is demonstrating, it is he who decides who will be the party boss in each Spanish region and major city, not voters, party members or even the senior regional leaderships themselves, who for weeks have been on edge over the Prime Minister’s decision. The freshly anointed chiefs will decide who gets on their coveted electoral lists, who is to be on their team with a chance of playing in the next round. Thus Spain races from one end of the political spectrum to the other, at the national and regional levels. There is no middling option seeking balance, no gentle pruning of dead or dying branches; a party reigns strong in a place for many years and then, apparently suddenly, is out of favour with the voters and out of office.

The implosion of senior party leadership at different levels and the swirling undercurrents of corruption will make for a very exciting electoral year in 2015 if they all come together in time to anger Spanish voters enough for them to decide radical change is what is now needed, that the current lot just won’t do anymore, that this is it, their only chance in four years to do something about it. Whatever the outcome.

(h/t Lambert @ Naked Capitalism)

The Gürtel case is an ongoing political corruption scandal in Spain, which implicates officers of the People’s Party (PP), Spain’s major right-wing party, some of which have been forced to resign or have been suspended. The case came to public attention in early 2009, but for the most part the suspects are still awaiting trial. Gürtel is one of the largest corruption scandals in recent Spanish history, and there are related scandals, such as the Barcenas case, which have received media attention in their own right.

The investigative operation was given the name Gürtel in a cryptic reference to one of the principal suspects, Francisco Correa (Correa means belt in English, Gürtel in German). Correa is a businessman who cultivated links with PP officers. The Spanish police began to investigate his activities in 2007 after information was obtained from a whistle-blower regarding alleged corruption in the Madrid area.

The accusations include bribery, money laundering and tax evasion, and implicate a circle of businessmen led by Correa and politicians from the People’s Party. The alleged illicit activities relate to party funding and the awarding of contracts by local/regional governments in Valencia, the Community of Madrid and elsewhere.

Early estimates of the money loss to public finances amounted to at least €120,000,000., while some of the alleged bribes paid in return were not particularly large (for example, items of luxury clothing).

It’s not that you can buy politicians, it’s that it’s so cheap.

We’ll try to remain serene and calm, when Alabama gets the bomb.


On This Day In History March 8

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 8 is the 67th day of the year (68th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 298 days remaining until the end of the year.

International Women's Day 2014 photo 8march_landysh_zpsb1db1e26.jpg On this day in 1911, International Women’s Day is launched in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany.

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is marked on the 8th of March every year. It is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.

Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

The first IWD was observed on 19 March 1911 in Germany following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. The idea of having an international women’s day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions.

In 1910, Second International held the first international women’s conference in Copenhagen (in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69, which until recently housed Ungdomshuset). An ‘International Women’s Day’ was established. It was suggested by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified. The following year, 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on March 19. In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the united Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

Demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women’s Day was declared a non working day in the USSR “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women’s day must be celebrated as are other holidays.”

2015 International Women’s Day

The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is “Make It Happen”.

International Women's Day 2015 photo kii9xRuphhq1_Q1T-z0CU0vFZjLL2Gxqmrz_zps6f3c76b5.jpg

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Obama praises Selma ‘heroes’ 50 years after march

      7 hours ago


US President Barack Obama has marked the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march in Alabama by paying tribute to the “heroes” who took part.

He delivered a speech commemorating “Bloody Sunday” on 7 March 1965, when security forces attacked black demonstrators in the city.

Mr Obama said the marchers, who were campaigning for equal voting rights, had “given courage to millions”.

His wife Michelle and about 100 members of Congress also attended the event.

“Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African-Americans, but for every American,” he said, standing in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the violence took place.

Sunday’s Headlines:

MH370 report: underwater locator beacon battery had expired a year before

India is in denial about its rape culture – but then so are we

Hong Kong’s domestic workers ‘treated worse than the dogs’

Saudi Arabia rejects rights criticism after flogging blogger Raif Badawi

Four suicide bombings in Nigeria. Is this Boko Haram’s last gasp?

Late Night Karaoke

The Breakfast Club (Reels)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Dubliners – banjo medley (reels)

Today in History

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

Jon Stewart – Blazing Tattles

Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Jon Stewart – Blazing Tattles