Archive for Spain

What if the Enemy of My Enemy is Still My Enemy?

Your old pal BTL is in a bit of a quandary. He finds the bloated, smug, distant, and undemocratic rule of the European Union repugnant. Yet he finds the Leftist rebellion against it even worse.

What’s a PhD in schadenfreude to do?

Greece says (in the words of the UK’s Sun) “Up Yours, Delors”:

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis replied that the government would no longer engage with officials representing the country’s despised ‘troika’ of lenders – the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Instead, the new government – which swept to power last weekend on a promise of ending years of austerity – would talk directly to other EU leaders to try to write off more than half of Greece’s £179 billion in rescue loans.

In fact, Tsipras was elected because he vowed to reverse the kind of austerity measures prescribed by Berlin.

To which Berlin (which is Europe, let’s be honest) responded, not so schnell, Zorba:

Germany’s Finance Ministry denied that Berlin is ready to discuss a new 20 billion Euro aid package if Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accepted supervised economic reforms.

A spokesman claimed it was ‘pure speculation’, adding: ‘That is not on the agenda at all.’

Norbert Barthle, the parliamentary spokesman on budgetary affairs for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, told the business daily Handelsblatt there would be ‘serious consequences’ if Athens refused to cooperate.

Hearing that from a German must still make European bowels loosen just a bit, nein?

But he clarified:

He said: ‘There are clear rules and we have legal stipulations about the conditions for giving European credit assistance.

‘If Greece can’t accept these conditions, it must find the necessary funding on the capital markets.’

Translation: starve.

Which is good. That’s how a capitalist should answer socialist twaddle. But in addition to hunger pangs, there will be blood. And you know whose blood it almost always is:

A Greek politician who claimed that Jews “don’t pay taxes” has been elected as Defense Minister, Greek media reported Thursday night, amid already-high concerns over rising anti-Semitism in the country that is only expected to worsen following recent elections.

Panos Kammenos of the Syriza party made the comments during an interview with Greek Ant-1 TV, according to New Greek TV, on December 18 – just days after the drive-by shooting at the Israeli Embassy in Athens.

Local Jewish leaders were outraged at the comments.

“It is a disgrace that a leader of a party in Parliament does not know that Greek Jews are equal citizens and subject to the all the rights and obligations of every citizen,” the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece stated in response at the time…

With the utmost affection and respect to my Greek Jewish friends, so the [bleep] what? Weren’t Weimar Germany Jews “equal citizens and subject to the all the rights and obligations of every citizen”? And French Jews? And Polish Jews? And Dutch Jews? And even Greek Jews? You can’t argue away vile antisemitism: as Israel has shown, you kill it dead.

You can see BTL’s derriere pierced by the horns of a dilemma. Which is more detestable—the statist bureaucrats of Brussels (aka Berlin); or the neo-Nazis (short for National Socialists) of the fascist Left? It is with a heavy heart that I must side with gray suits over the brown shirts.

But it may be too late:

Tens of thousands of people have massed in central Madrid for a rally organised by radical Spanish leftists Podemos.

The “March for Change” is one of the party’s first outdoor mass rallies, as it looks to build on the recent victory of its close allies Syriza in Greece.

Podemos has surged into the lead in recent opinion polls, and says it will seek to write off part of Spain’s debt if it wins elections later this year.

Podemos says politicians should “serve the people, not private interests”.

Note to Spanish Jews: you may want to start packing your bolsas de viaje now.

PS: I know we’re hard on British antisemites here, and with good reason. But Britain’s reaction toward the EU’s hegemony has been to push back, and to listen to those arguing for greater distance from Berlin (aka Brussels), namely Nigel Farage’s UKIP. There’s the odd nutter in the party, but the Tories, Labour, and the Lib-Dems are no better, often worse. There’s a certain kind of crazy that effects the continent that doesn’t effect the UK.

PPS: Or does it?

The Church of England has launched an investigation into charges of anti-Semitism made against one of its more controversial vicars, Dr. Stephen Sizer.

Sizer, it would seem, has joined the ranks of what the Americans call “truthers” – those who insist that the truth has been concealed regarding who was behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Most truthers promote theories that the US government itself was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. But Sizer has endorsed a smaller group of truthers who, in medieval blood libel fashion, say the Jews did it.

Sizer this week posted to Facebook a link to an article titled “9/11 Israel did it.” In text accompanying the link, Sizer wondered, “Is this anti-Semitic?” Whether or not it is didn’t seem to matter to Sizer, in whose mind the link in question “raises so many questions.”

PPPS: Never mind:

Britons feel more “unfavorable” to Israel than any other country worldwide except North Korea, a survey found.

The survey — taken in August and published Thursday by Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs — showed a massive surge in negative attitudes toward Israel since the previous such study, two years earlier. Thirty-five percent of Britons said they “feel especially unfavorable towards” Israel in the 2014 survey, compared to 17% in 2012.

That figure meant that Israel is regarded more unfavorably by Britons than Iran — 33% in the 2014 survey, compared to 45% in 2012. Only North Korea fares worse — regarded as especially unfavorable by 47% in 2014, compared to 40% in 2012.

At least Britain doesn’t have antisemitic politicians spewing ignorant hate speech.

PPPPS: Never mind—again:

Baroness Jenny Tonge, a member of Britain’s House of Lords with a long record of inflammatory, often antisemitic, statements against both Israel and the British Jewish leadership, has again been pressuring British Jews to collectively condemn Israel.

Earlier this week, Tonge tabled a written question in the House of Lords in which she asked “Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to encourage Jewish faith leaders in the United Kingdom publicly to condemn settlement building by Israel and to make clear their support for universal human rights.”

Tonge’s question, which comes against the background of rising antisemitism in the UK, was quickly condemned by Jewish campaigners.

Jonathan Sacerdoti of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, which recently published a disturbing survey about the current levels of antisemitism in the UK, told The Algemeiner that the “widely accepted” definition of antisemitism coined by the European Union Monitoring Center “specifies that it is antisemitic to hold Jews collectively responsible for any action of the State of Israel.”

“Baroness Tonge has a long history of making these sorts of remarks,” Sacerdoti said. “It is despicable to see her using the House of Lords to try to harass Jewish people.”

I think I’ve said enough. I’ve certainly read enough.

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Spanish Village Named “Kill Jews” Considering Name Change

You can’t make this stuff up.

A Spanish village is considering removing the phrase “kill Jews” from its name.

The village of Castrillo Matajudios near Leon in northern Spain will convene its 60 resident families at a town hall meeting next week to discuss and vote on the first formal proposal to change the village’s name, the regional daily Diario de Burgos reported Friday.

Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez, who submitted the proposal, suggested changing the village’s name to Castrillo Mota de Judios, which means “Castrillo Jews’ Hill.” He said this was the village’s original name, but it was changed during the Spanish Inquisition.

In parts of Spain, and especially in the north, locals use the term “killing Jews” (matar Judios) to describe the traditional drinking of lemonade spiked with alcohol at festivals held in city squares at Easter, or drinking in general.

Leon will hold its “matar Judios” fiesta on Good Friday, April 18, where organizers estimate 40,000 gallons of lemonade will be sold.

The name originates from medieval times, when converted Jews would sometimes be publicly executed in show trials at around Easter, Maria Royo, a spokesperson for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain told JTA.

“Regrettably, this type of expression exists in Spain in ceremonies and parties,” she said, but added that “the people saying it are mostly unaware of the history. It is a complicated issue that is ingrained in local culture.”

The federation is in contact on this issue with authorities, but given the popularity of the expression, “it is impossible to forbid this language” in that context, she added.

Aren’t Spaniards adorable?

Last month, Ramon Benavides, the president of a local associations of hoteliers, told the news agency EFE: “When ‘killing Jews,’ it’s best to take it slow and keep track of how much you drink to avoid excesses and its consequences the next day.”

I’m renaming my house from Villa Aggie to Kill Spaniards.

– Aggie

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¡Viva España!

But in order to vivir, my Spanish friends, you’ll need less of this:

Tens of thousands of protesters amassed in Madrid and other Spanish cities on Saturday to voice their anger over harsh austerity and the way the country’s being run in the wake of its financial crisis.

In Madrid, demonstrations turned violent and two police officers were injured, Spanish national police said on Twitter. Forty people were arrested.

Many in Spain have been struggling since the global financial crisis knocked the bottom out of the country’s housing market and sparked a major recession that left thousands jobless.

The country’s unemployment rate stands at 26% — its highest level ever — and the situation is even worse for young people, with more than 55% of 16- to 24-year-olds out of work.

With no income, many are finding themselves unable to afford the mortgage payments on homes that are no longer worth the prices paid for them.

The situation has compelled growing numbers to demonstrate against what they see as the gross unfairness of everyday life in Spain in 2013, where struggling citizens are evicted, even as hundreds of homes lie empty.

And more of this:

I’m not unsympathetic. Unemployment, homelessness—hopelessness—suck, even in sunny Spain. Especially in sunny Spain, as 26% unemployment demonstrates. (And I thought misery loved company!) But there’s a reason the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) are the PIIGS and Germany is Germany.

To oversimplify, the Germans don’t take siestas.

As I learned from Mark Steyn, seeming generosity is anything but generous when the consequences are that only a single generation (or two at most) profits from “generous” social benefits. The 55% unemployed young people need to have a serious talk with their parents, not the government. (Well, both actually.)

Still, lovely song.

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After Terrorism

Wanna know what happens to a population that swears off terrorism, once and for all?

Ask the Basques (Via Jungle Trader)

For decades, most of the news out of Basque country was horrible. Since the late 1960s, this region in northern Spain has been infamous as home to the ETA separatist group, which killed more than 800 people while fighting for Basque independence from Madrid.

But two years ago, the separatist group declared a final cease-fire and the attacks have stopped. Now the country is becoming known for something else: its booming economy.

While the rest of Spain’s economy is forecast to shrink nearly 2 percent next year, CAF is growing by 10 percent a year. Companies like this keep the Basque unemployment rate down around 12 percent — less than half of what it is in the rest of Spain.

[I]n Basque country, training to become a mechanic, for example, is just as prestigious as going to university. It pays well, too. For companies like CAF, that means there’s a large pool of qualified workers, says Galarza.

“All the time, you can find somebody to come into the company and to start working the next day. It doesn’t happen that easily with our factories in the south of Spain,” he says.

In southern Spain, vocational training was phased out in part because it was associated with the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which ended in the 1970s. Spaniards started going to university instead. But unemployment among young grads is around 50 percent now.

I was going to suggest the Arabs of Gaza, Judea, and Samaria read this story to learn how better to channel their energy from indiscriminate, genocidal slaughter into something like, I don’t know, jobs.

But I think American college kids could profit from this too. Turn their efforts from Gender and Sexuality Studies (a la Sandra Fluke) into something like, I don’t know, jobs.

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You Can Buy A Lovely Beachside Home In Spain For Less Than The Price Of A Huge Latte In Starbucks

and here’s why

After working six years as a senior executive for a multinational payroll-processing company in Barcelona, Spain, Mr. Vildosola is cutting his professional and financial ties with his troubled homeland. He has moved his family to a village near Cambridge, England, where he will take the reins at a small software company, and he has transferred his savings from Spanish banks to British banks.
“The macro situation in Spain is getting worse and worse,” Mr. Vildosola, 38, said last week just hours before boarding a plane to London with his wife and two small children. “There is just too much risk. Spain is going to be next after Greece, and I just don’t want to end up holding devalued pesetas.”
Mr. Vildosola is among many who worry that Spain’s economic tailspin could eventually force the country’s withdrawal from the euro and a return to its former currency, the peseta. That dire outcome is still considered a long shot, even if Spain might eventually require a Greek-style bailout. But there is no doubt that many of those in a position to do so are taking their money — and in some cases themselves — out of Spain.
In July, Spaniards withdrew a record 75 billion euros, or $94 billion, from their banks — an amount equal to 7 percent of the country’s overall economic output — as doubts grew about the durability of Spain’s financial system.

The withdrawals accelerated a trend that began in the middle of last year, and came despite a European commitment to pump up to 100 billion euros into the Spanish banking system. Analysts will be watching to see whether the August data, when available, shows an even faster rate of capital flight.
More disturbing for Spain is that the flight is starting to include members of its educated and entrepreneurial elite who are fed up with the lack of job opportunities in a country where the unemployment rate touches 25 percent.
According to official statistics, 30,000 Spaniards registered to work in Britain in the last year, and analysts say that this figure would be many multiples higher if workers without documents were counted. That is a 25 percent increase from a year earlier.
“No doubt there is a little bit of panic,” said José García Montalvo, an economist at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. “The wealthy people have already taken their money out. Now it’s the professionals and midrange people who are moving their money to Germany and London. The mood is very, very bad.”

I read the stuff about housing a while back – and yes – it isn’t as dire as the headline reports. (I have to explain that because we have some readers to hang on our every word as literal truth). My understanding is that you can buy a new three bedroom villa along the coast for something like thirty thousand bucks. Anyway, you can see the problem for their economy if the young, energetic whipper-snappers decide that Britain or Germany is a better bet.

– Aggie

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Farage By Name, Savage By Nature

My man-crush (bromance) on Nigel Farage is in the public record.

Watch this, and see if you want to fight me for him:

Speaking in Strasbourg today at the European Parliament, UKIP leader Nigel Farage outlined why the bailout of Spanish banks will seriously aggravate the euro crisis.

He rubbished the ‘success’ of the Spanish bailout, and accused Jose Manuel Barroso of a series of failed predictions for the economy.

Dispelling myths that Europe ‘had turned a corner’, Farage warned of a ‘looming, impending disaster’. Speaking of a ‘total and utter failure’ he said that the crisis had reached such severity ‘you just couldn’t make it up.’

As the Gershwin song goes:

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
When he said the world was round;
They all laughed when Edison recorded sound.
They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
When they said that man could fly;
They told Mar – co – ni wire-less was a pho – ney—
It’s the same old cry.

But ho-ho-ho, who’s got the last laugh now?

How is Farage wrong? Anyone…? Bueller…?

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Freedom for Myopia!

Exhibit ZZZ for why Mark Steyn is The Man:

The Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t get a lot of attention in the United States, but on the Continent it’s long been seen as the perfect Euro-metaphor. Years before the euro came along, it was the prototype pan-European institution, and predicated on the same assumptions. Eurovision took the national cultures that produced Mozart, Vivaldi, and Debussy, and in return gave us “Boom-Bang-a-Bang” (winner, 1969), “Ding-Ding-a-Dong” (winner, 1975), and “Diggi-Loo-Diggi-Ley” (winner, 1984). The euro took the mark, the lira, and the franc, and merged them to create the “Boom-Bang-a-Bang” of currencies.

How will it all end? One recalls the 1990 Eurovision finals in Zagreb: “Yugoslavia is very much like an orchestra,” cooed the hostess, Helga Vlahovic. “The string section and the wood section all sit together.” Shortly thereafter, the wood section began ethnically cleansing the dressing rooms, while the string section rampaged through the brass section pillaging their instruments and severing their genitals. Indeed, the charming Miss Vlahovi? herself was forced into a sudden career shift and spent the next few years as Croatian TV’s head of “war information” programming.

Fortunately, no one remembers Yugoslavia. So today Europe itself is very much like an orchestra. The Greek fiddlers and the Italian wind players all sit together, playing cards in the dressing room, waiting for the German guy to show up with their checks. Just before last week’s Eurovision finale in Azerbaijan, the Daily Mail in London reported that the Spanish entrant, Pastora Soler, had been told to throw the competition “because the cash-strapped country can’t afford to host the lavish event next year,” as the winning nation is obliged to do. In a land where the youth unemployment rate is over 50 percent, and two-thirds of the country’s airports are under threat of closure, and whose neighbors (Britain) are drawing up plans for military intervention to evacuate their nationals in the event of total civic collapse, the pressing need to avoid winning the Eurovision Song Contest is still a poignant symbol of how total is Spain’s implosion. Ask not for whom “Ding-Ding-a-Dong” dings, it dings for thee.

It gets serious now, but let’s not bother with demographic death spirals and societal decline. Let’s just remember Helga Vlahovic as she was:

One hundred Greek grandparents have 42 Greek grandchildren. Is it likely that 42 Greeks can repay the debts run up by 100 Greeks? No wonder they’d rather stick it to the Germans. But the thriftier Germans have the same deathbed demographics. If 100 Germans resent having to pick up the check for an entire continent, is it likely 42 Germans will be able to do it?

Look around you. The late-20th-century Western lifestyle isn’t going to be around much longer. In a few years’ time, our children will look at old TV commercials showing retirees dancing, golfing, cruising away their sixties and seventies, and wonder what alternative universe that came from. In turn, their children will be amazed to discover that in the early 21st century the Western world thought it entirely normal that vast swathes of the citizenry should while away their youth enjoying what, a mere hundred years earlier, would have been the leisurely varsity of the younger son of a Mitteleuropean Grand Duke.

I was sad to learn that Helga Vlahovic died a few weeks ago, but her central metaphor all those years ago wasn’t wrong. Any functioning society is like an orchestra. When the parts don’t fit together, it’s always the other fellow who’s out of tune. So the Greeks will blame the Germans, and vice versa. But the developed world is all playing the same recessional. In the world after Western prosperity, we will work till we’re older and we will start younger — and we will despise those who thought they could defy not just the rules of economic gravity but the basic human life cycle.

Helga Vlahovic got while the getting was good.

PS: A little commentary of my own.

When the Permanent Student Class realizes the gravy train will never reach the depot (metaphor alert!), they react accordingly. No silly, not by getting a job! Not for them! Besides, their sainted Obama has seen that there aren’t any.

No, they take to (and sh*t in) the streets. The Occupy Movement is our version of Greek riots and French truck strikes. What do you mean I have to pay for my degree in transgender interpretive yodeling? You one-percent bastard! If the government’s skint, find a “millionaire or billionaire” to pay me my “fair share.”

The are contemptible, sure, but pitiable too. This is what they’ve been taught, after all. To come of age and learn the world really doesn’t give a damn about their unique and special talents must be a hard slap in the face indeed. Woozums.

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Spain Collapsing

I can’t get this scene out of my mind. A friend had just returned from Spain, raving about how they are so superior to the US. They have all sorts of new buildings, a new transportation system, they work fewer hours… That was then.

Spain’s sickly economy faces a “crisis of huge proportions”, a minister said on Friday, as unemployment hit its highest level in almost two decades and Standard and Poor’s downgraded the government’s debt by two notches.

Unemployment shot up to 24 percent in the first quarter, one of the worst jobless figures in the developed world. Retail sales slumped for the twenty-first consecutive month as a recession cuts into consumer spending.

“The figures are terrible for everyone and terrible for the government … Spain is in a crisis of huge proportions,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said in a radio interview.

Standard and Poor’s cited risks of an increase in bad loans at Spanish banks and called on Europe to take action to encourage growth.

Huh. That’s probably why I haven’t heard much about Spain lately. However, someone else I know told me that you can buy a beach front, 3 bedroom house, new construction, for something like $30,000. Could that be true? Maybe we need a second office, BTL?

– Aggie

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Shockah! Spain Has Bigger Deficit Than Anticipated, Raises Taxes

How long before we get a nice New Year’s Eve message like this?

Spain’s new government warned Friday that the country’s budget deficit will be much higher than anticipated this year, as it unveiled a first batch of austerity measures that include surprise income and property tax hikes.

Following the new conservative government’s second Cabinet meeting, the budget deficit for this year was revised up to 8 percent of national income from the previous government’s forecast of 6 percent.

Alongside the upward revision, which comes amid predictions that the Spanish economy will soon be back in recession, the government headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced further measures to get a handle on its debts, including euro8.9 billion ($11.5 billion) in spending cuts.

“This is the beginning of the beginning,” government spokeswoman Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said.

She said more reforms and austerity will come in 2012.

At least their government is telling them the truth. At least the citizens of Spain elected a government that is willing to tell them the truth.

On a cheerier note, a few years ago a couple of friends went on a trip to Spain. They came back raving about the fantastic new train system, the beautiful public squares, etc. They wondered why we couldn’t be more like Spain.

Why indeed. Oh, second cheery note: I think that the youth unemployment in Spain is something like 40%. Something to aspire to, my friends.

– Aggie

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Wishing We Could Be More Like Europe… Not.

They’re so sophisticated. And they have so much leisure time!

Estudias o trabajas?” When young Spaniards gather around the bars and patios, that’s their traditional icebreaker line: “You study or work?” In the past year, it’s become almost mandatory to answer, with a self-effacing smirk: “Nini.”

It is half a joke, for nini is a way of saying “neither-nor,” and NINI is the Spanish government acronym for “Not in education or employment” – that is, lost to the economy.

But it’s not really a joke, because now almost everyone is NINI. The under-30 unemployment rate in Spain has just hit 44 per cent, twice the adult rate. Italy also has passed the 40 per cent mark, and Greece has gone even further. If you count all the people who’ve given up looking, it means the number of people between 20 and 30 who have any form of employment in these countries is something like one in five.

Cogitate on that for a minute. In Spain, 44% of people under thirty are unemployed. Similar reality in Italy and Greece. Can you even imagine??? As they say in parts of the Midwest: Can you feature that?

I often feel a bit sorry for young adults in America. Half of them are working 60+ hours per week because employers are intentionally hiring too few people, and the other half are in yoga classes. But they still have some opportunity to grow and they come from a culture which encourages entrepreneurship. The typical European looks to the government for everything. If their system fails, I’m not sure they have the skills to re-create a thriving society.

– Aggie

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Welcome Back, Hermanos y Hermanas Judios

Things haven’t changed much; you’ll pick it right up:

Six centuries after their forcible conversion, a leading hareidi rabbi rules a Spanish island’s Chuetas are Jews.

The Chuetas of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, are the descendants of Mallorca’s Jews, who were forcibly baptized in the 14th and 15th centuries and then barred from intermarrying or assimilating with the island’s Catholic population until the modern era.

Most of the island’s Chueta community bears the names of families whose ancestors who were executed for practicing Judaism more than 300 years ago. Rabbi Karelitz’s ruling relates to those Chuetas whose ancestors practiced strict endogamy down through the generations and did not intermarry. In order for their return to the Jewish people to be complete, it will be necessary for the Rabbinical Court to get to know each individual Chueta and their personal and family background.

Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund revealed that Rabbi Nissim Karelitz recently issued a written opinion stating clearly and unequivocally that the Chuetas are part of the people of Israel. Freund works to bring “hidden Jews” back into the regular Jewish community and has led the effort to gain recognition of the Chuetas as Jews.

In his written opinion, Rabbi Karelitz stated that, “Since it has become clear that it is accepted among them [the Chuetas] that throughout the generations most of them married among themselves, then all those who are related to the former generations are Jews, from our brethren the children of Israel, the nation of G-d.“

“This is an historic development,” Freund told Spanish journalists in Palma. “I have been working for years to get the Chuetas of Majorca recognized as Jews. This ruling removes any doubts or questions that may have existed regarding their status. The Chuetas are now considered to be full-fledged members of the Jewish people. Rabbi Karelitz’s decision will pave the way for many of them to return to their roots nearly six centuries after their ancestors were torn away from us against their will.

“The Chuetas no longer need to live in between worlds – we have succeeded in opening the door for them to come home. And I hope and pray that many will do so.

I don’t know how they’ll feel. “We’re what?” But I guess they already know or suspected.

Next, I can’t wait for the Palestinians to be outed as closet Jews. We’ve already know some of them are.

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Spain Encourages Green Energy Investment, Rips Off Entrepeneurs

Live and learn.

German Vilimelis heard about Spain’s solar gold rush from his brother-in-law in 2007.

Across the plains around Lerida, the northeastern Spanish town where they spent weekends, farmers were turning over their fields to photovoltaic panels to capitalize on government solar- energy subsidies. Vilimelis persuaded his father, Jaume, who made a living growing pears on 5 acres (2 hectares) of land in Lerida, to turn over a portion of his farm for the project, Bloomberg Markets reported in its November issue.

Vilimelis, 35, a procurement manager for a consumer goods company, pooled his family savings and mortgaged his apartment to obtain a loan of more than 400,000 euros ($558,500) to cover the investment. Within nine months, the family’s 80-kilowatt generation unit — 500 solar panels on seven racks angled toward the sun — was feeding power into the national grid.

Solar investors such as Vilimelis were lured by a 2007 law passed by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero that guaranteed producers a so-called solar tariff of as much as 44 cents per kilowatt-hour for their electricity for 25 years — more than 10 times the 2007 average wholesale price of about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour paid to mainstream energy suppliers.

Thanks to the incentives, the family met the monthly cost of the loan and even earned a small profit. Once the debt was paid off in 2018, Vilimelis looked forward to making even more money during the 15 additional years of subsidies guaranteed under Spanish law.

Now Vilimelis and more than 50,000 other Spanish solar entrepreneurs face financial disaster as the policy makers contemplate cutting the price guarantees that attracted their investment in the first place.

“You feel cheated,” he says. “We put our money in on the basis of a law.”

Never trust a liberal government. They like to change the rules around as it suits them.

Zapatero introduced the subsidies three years ago as part of an effort to cut his country’s dependence on fossil fuels. At the time, he promised that the investment in renewable energy would create manufacturing jobs and that Spain could sell its panels to nations seeking to reduce carbon emissions.

Yet by failing to control the program’s cost, Zapatero saddled Spain with at least 126 billion euros of obligations to renewable-energy investors. The spending didn’t achieve the government’s aim of creating green jobs, because Spanish investors imported most of their panels from overseas when domestic manufacturers couldn’t meet short-term demand.

I think that unemployment in Spain is about 20% at the moment, due to the brilliant economic policies of the Zapatero administration. But let’s check. Yep. 20%. But who’s counting?

My guess is that if the Republicans do very well on November 2nd, we won’t hear much about green jobs for a while. But if Obama gets a second term – watch out.

– Aggie

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