National News February II

Politics Pays
You don’t need Venn diagrams to follow the logic here that politics is a heinous yet well-paid endeavour, whose practitioners cannot avoid the accusation that they endeavour in order to enrich themselves. What can former Presidents Aznar and González say when, aside from the 80,000 euros that they both receive annually and for life from the Spanish state, they also, as consultants to Endesa and Natural Gas respectively, earn a further 200 thousand euros yearly each? The answer is: nothing; only that they are mighty pleased about it, and sod the rest of you (I won’’t even mention all the other lucrative deals these chaps are involved in).

Certain opposition groups have questioned this arrangement, but it has fallen on the deaf ears of the Socialists as they too plan to continue plundering from the state once officially out of it. This is only one example of the privileges that the putative elite accumulate with years in power.

Take the fractious case of pension reform; i.e., robbing from the old to give to the state which, in collusion with high finance and speculation, broke the banking system in the first place which, by the way, hasn’t changed its ways. Now, to receive the full 100% of his or her pension, a Spaniard might have to work and pay in for 35 years and then retire at 65 and not a day earlier (the reform will raise this to 67); senators and representatives, however, need only pay in for twelve years and can retire at 60 to receive the full whack.

For the Spaniard, 15 years paying in will get them 50%; for the illustrious elite, seven years gets them 50%. For the Spaniard, 30 years gets 90%; for the superior caste, then years means 90%.

You see where this is going, and none of the politicians raises a voice to say, hey, perhaps this isn’t quite, you know, fair and democratic to the sheep, er, the electorate. Well why would they? Democratic governments act as midwives to big business, this their primary role, in keeping the cash flowing, even in so-called retirement, keeping the rich, rich and making everybody else pay for it. Democracy? More like Demockerycy.

23-F Hero Dies
On February the 23, 1981, a Guardia Civil colonel, with many prior arrests and demotions to his name (how they let him stay in the Guardia that long is a mystery), along with 200 fellow Guardia, marched into the Congress building in Madrid and fired several shots into the ceiling.

As he shouted out about taking over the country: a coup d’etat, or golpe de estado. Colonel Antonio Tejero’s plans fortunately failed to materialise due to a number of factors, but one among them was Lieutenant Colonel José Luis Aramburu Topete, the Chief of the Guardia Civil, who had the building surrounded and met with Tejero in trying to convince him to stand down.

Tejero threatened his superior officer several times with a gun, until finally, the fascist idiot gave himself up. Aramburu died recently at the age of 92 after a long and distinguished career.

Justice vs. Atrocity
Although not for all, for some, this type of thing is a dilemma, as in the case of John Demjanjuk, a suspected Nazi war criminal: he’s, what, 89 now, really old & sick, and in a wheel chair: so, should we kill him for what he allegedly did or put him in jail for the short time he has left? Justice has been after him for years. For some reason, ill health, red tape, whatever, in Germany, where he now is incarcerated, he still hasn’t been processed through trial and jury yet.

Born in the Ukraine, he’s accused of participating in the murder of nearly 28 thousand Jews in Sobibor, where he worked as a guard (Nazi guard brutality is a fascinating psychological example of how people can turn into monsters in those conditions); but now a Spanish judge has come forward and accused Demjanjuk of involvement in the murder of 60 Spaniards in another camp, Flossebürg, where Demjanjuk also supposedly worked.

These Spaniards were primarily refugees from the Spanish Civil War (republicans, anarchists, etc). What a truly awful time in our history. But the question remains. What would you do with him if he’s found guilty?

Dead Baby, Will Travel
Short but not at all sweet: a woman allegedly killed her newborn baby in Germany, then brought the tiny body to Spain where she burned it. The woman? 34 and Brazilian. Method? Used a sheet to asphyxiate the poor thing and then buried it in the garden, reportedly. Shortly afterwards, dug the body up, found her way to Spain, and struck the match. What’s odd about this is that they don’t know where she burned the body, so presumably she confessed to the deed.

Toxic Prostheses
Should you be considering implanting a toxic prosthesis anytime soon, know that you may be fined up to 24,000 euros for your audacity. A recent decision pulled up by the Supreme Court for four women who suffered from the toxicity of their mammary prostheses has ruled that the women suffered moral and physical damages (the offending plastics had to be removed) and are entitled to compensation.

The company involved, AEI, has been selling the deadly boob implants since 1994 and they had been approved by the relevant EU authorities, but in 2000 it was discovered that certain side effects, to wit, DNA mutation leading to carcinogenic consequences, which of course, being DNA, is hereditary, tended to outweigh the pros of the cosmetic operation. The claimants had originally presented their case in a Madrid court but lost owing to lack of evidence.

Organ Donation Down
Spain a number of years ago developed what was probably the most efficient system of organ donation/transplant in the world. From source to recipient, an incredibly tight and well-organised network, smoothed out the process and gained world-wide admiration (this theme is treated in Almodóvar’s Todo Sobre Mi Madre).

However, 2010 saw a drop in donations thanks to fewer traffic fatalities and a certain reluctance on the part of families affected. In 2009, 1,605 organs were donated compared to 1,502 in 2010. As demand inevitably increases the Ministry of Health is looking for alternative solutions, and so is turning towards ‘live’ donations; these being people who voluntarily offer a kidney, for example, where they can do without. Donating is a generous and brave act, and giving permission to use your parts once you don’t, er, need them anymore is equally admirable. And so, I would suggest that politicians donate their brains because; let’s face it, they don’t use them.

Hope I Die Before I Get Old
Barcelona hopes to open Europe’s first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (the best one is located in Cleveland, Ohio and it’s superb!) on March 31st. With halls devoted to the Beatles and the Stones, as well as to Spanish rock, the fan will stroll through musical history with all its sordid paraphernalia such as you would expect.

If it’s anything like Cleveland, then this has to be worth a visit. It will be located in the vicinity of Las Arenas, this is an old bullring in the Plaza de España that is still being transformed into a commercial centre. The Hall will also have temporary exhibitions ,as well as live concerts.

Ironing Out Differences
Murcia has been having its share of problems recently with a PP politician being beaten up by some local thugs and the trend continues: when two kids tried to iron out their differences, one of them, a 15-year old, ended up in a coma after the other, 16, whacked the victim with an iron bar. Turns out the older is a Spanish boy and the younger an Ecuadorian girl. Police confirm there was no relationship between them, other than a causal one.

This Hotel is Rubbish
The Beach Garbage Hotel in Madrid recently opened its doors to a dubious public. The walls are made of flotsam and jetsam, washed up on beaches all around Europe, as well as flea market bargains and objects culled from garbage dumps. Nice.

The hotel is the brain child of German artist (it would be an artist, wouldn’t it, like that chap Duchamp who made a toilet into art), Ha Schult. You couldn’t make this up. Ha Ha Schult said the idea came from wanting to impress upon us all the sheer amount of waste generated by tourism in Europe. “I created the […] hotel because the oceans of our planet are the biggest garbage dump.”
Project spokeswoman Rose Piqueras said the hotel aims at showing what our holidays will become if the beaches aren’t cleaned. She also fingered Italy’s southern beaches as the worst offenders (she clearly hasn’t been to Almuñécar).

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