Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Deals from Hell

by metavision Sat Jul 12th, 2008 at 03:12:25 AM EST

This started as a comment that grew snarkier --being home with a fever at this time of year-- and became a rant about the supreme subprimers.

During the last protest march, I saw a real estate office (Fincas Corral) where the biggest sign on the window said simply "120%".  And it wasn´t quite the interest rate, if you get my drift.  Some developers were so panicked at their expo this winter, that they offered a free car if you purchased a ´home´.  An actual, permanent asset, like land, was not necessarily included though.

Little shop of horrors... Diary rescue by Migeru

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Personal Stories Off The Beaten Path

by metavision Fri May 2nd, 2008 at 06:22:11 AM EST

I want to thank poemless for the words that seem to describe the juxtapositions of a rare Friday, (25-IV-08) spent in a different planet.  

Odds Never End:  15:00 to 15:50

This afternoon I had an appointment with an endocrine person, after having given up on them for years.  Given the Madrid region´s health system, I had to go to town to see one and it became an exploration and an adventure.

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Blooming, blanking, brilliant... cia

by metavision Sun Jan 20th, 2008 at 10:56:35 AM EST

From Magnifico´s news report, I was really intrigued by the revelations in this NYT article:  CIA sees Quaeda Link in Death of Bhutto

The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that the assassins of Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister, were directed by Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani militant leader in hiding, and that some of them had ties to Al Qaeda.
The C.I.A.'s judgment is the first formal assessment by the American government

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I apologize for bad form.

by metavision Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 07:57:35 AM EST

After the holiday arguments, an internet failure, taking time out to reconsider and lick my wounds, I have apologies to make and fences to mend.  Ugh, yikes, ... I have contributed to create divisions in ET with my bad form.  There is form and there is content, and I´m afraid I only added bad form to side-content.  I do things in a big way; the good and the bad.  I feel really bad for hurting feelings and I am sorry.

I realized my bad a lot quicker because I was told a woman I know has just buried the father of her child:  Being needed and wanting to help, I naturally softened up and got a bigger perspective.  I am lucky I found community work to keep me busy instead of answering all comments, or my apologies would need a whole series.

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Emerging economies confront the FMI

by metavision Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 01:53:24 PM EST

The G-24 demand more supervision of rich countries and bigger control quotas.
El País:  http://tinyurl.com/3d8tsx (My translation.)

Emerging economies have come out strengthened from the liquidity crisis that affects international financial markets.  The good progress of China, India, Brasil, or Argentina has been barely altered and it´s the advanced economies that suffer the impact of credit tightening.
The G-24 demanded the Fund submit rich countries to the same supervision it imposes on poor ones.

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The Trimtab Principle

by metavision Sat Oct 13th, 2007 at 08:51:48 AM EST

Just read my iShift newsletter (http://www.noetic.org/publications/iShift_current.htm --if you don´t find something interesting in it, you are sleep!)  and expected to quickly skim down to Swami´s humor piece, but I found this and the search ensued...  Two hours later, I remember why I don´t find time to read many books:  I´m like a butterfly and the internet, ET included, is the biggest library I can handle.

http://challenge.bfi.org/main.php and http://challenge.bfi.org/faq/#trimtab

"Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little ()man could do. Think of the Queen Mary -- the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trimtab.

See the boat image at www.trimtabcommunications.com/about.html

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Changing gears

by metavision Sat Oct 6th, 2007 at 03:41:24 PM EST

After two weeks in my first carpentry class, I have made a lovely "gramil", or marking gauge (1) and a false square that I will keep the rest of my life.  Only hand tools allowed!  I had to make two trial gramil boards out of pine (and sharpened the chisels ten times until the teacher said I was leaving them shorter than the handles) before I learned enough to make it out of ash.  (Read, like rock.)  Up next are dozens of dovetail joints.

We have about half hour of theory a day and we take notes, copy drawings and look at pictures.  We have covered furniture in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome so far, but I forgot to bring my notebook home to review.  At noon today, on a Friday..., we had the first theory quiz and I went blank because some classmates were making me laugh.  It was so bad, I got maybe 4/10 questions right.  I think I have no shame left and need some ´reform´.

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My Cover Is Blown

by metavision Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 11:55:10 AM EST

A new member emailed me to ask if my job at ET was to rate comments, since my nick showed up so often.  So, now you all know I am in the richest of elites.

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Job openings at CEO

by metavision Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 01:59:56 PM EST

Reading old email I found that Corporate Europe Observatory has two job openings and I cannot find the announcement on their site, but you can check them out at http://www.corporateeurope.org/

CEO is a European-based research and campaign group targeting the threats to democracy, equity, social justice and the environment posed by the economic and political power of corporations and their lobby groups.

They are a small and serious left organization and they also co-host the following:

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Proud of Spain Today

by metavision Fri Jul 6th, 2007 at 05:51:40 AM EST

(July 4) I am still watching the annual, two to three day, Debate of the Nation between President Rodriguez Zapatero and the leaders of every party in congress and I am awed.  It is not "an address to the nation that cannot talk back", but a fully representative debate that I wish were mandatory for most adults.  It is a grilling and I think the President likes that challenge.  This is in addition to every Wednesday of the legislature as the President appears in what´s called the (un)"control session".  

Not that it is a panacea, but I really would like to hear what countries have a comparable, government reporting system.  My mind starts to imagine 43rd  having to speak extemporaneously for five minutes...

Update [2007-7-6 9:26:4 by metavision]:The news is announcing that CIS polls say 43.9% think the President won the debate, versus 16.5% for the PPīs Rajoy. This statistic will be heard very widely and should sink in.

From the diaries - afew

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The media and the numbers

by metavision Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 09:34:24 AM EST

In the past week I have seen two articles about Iraq contractors with very different numbers that cannot be reconciled.  Few countries besides the US and UK have been "selected" for the contracts and I don´t believe there are "scores of companies" involved if we consider the sub-sub-contract schemes.

So who´s counting?  And who´s believing?

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DW claims "Spain gets rich on cheap immigrant labor"

by metavision Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 09:37:20 AM EST


I picked this article from Fran´s Salon because its true part hurts, but I had to send an LTE.  It is typical of major press anywhere:  It gives no appropriate information, confuses all the issues, helps absolutely no one and changes absolutely nothing.  The headline contains at least four push-button, eye-catching words and that was apparently enough for the editors...

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Viva Barcelona!

by metavision Sat Apr 14th, 2007 at 05:20:43 AM EST

The night train there on the 5th, would fill a novel by itself because it was a throw back to 40 years ago:  Six bunks per compartment because all trains were full.  My compartment was in the last car with five other women plus a 2-year old girl, but one woman stayed in the restaurant car.  We hit it off and "unionized" even before the conductor came by, so we took over the "caboose" and the hallway.  Fortunately, I had my glass of wine to induce sleep and we only told stories and laughed until midnight.  An older woman and one my age were going to France and had family histories of civil war exile, which kept the Mexican student, the Ecuadorian student with the girl and I asking endless questions and comparing details.

I am not going to talk about "world class", fancy hotels and other BS comparisons.  I am talking about a city where people are the main concern of urban planners and you can feel it in the way they interact.  It seemed more respectful and dignified, less noisy and even groups of young people in the squares were less invasive on others.  It´s densely populated and I heard it has one of the largest "okupa" groups of Europe, but the attitude and the public space is totally different than Madrid and pedestrians are the rule, not the exception.

From the diaries - whataboutbob

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Shopping is a mind bender.

by metavision Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 05:28:56 AM EST

A British friend called to go to lunch and shop for clothes out of town on Saturday and I decided to go because a meal with a friend and a ride in the countryside is an enjoyable day.  We had met teaching English to management types in a global consulting firm and even if we have very different views, we became friends as two outsiders looking in:  As recent arrivals observing Spain, as ex-corporates peeking into a super-corporate, etc.  (Their 30-story building burned down and neither of us was questioned by the police,  but we have our own theories.)

Although I grow more shopping-averse every week, I enjoy looking and watching without feeling any compulsion.  We drove SW, out of town and passed the windowless, industrial block, shopping malls to get to a place that could have been an ecovillage, if the parking lot had been 1% of its size and had some windows facing it.  At least in its south side.

From the diaries -- whataboutbob

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Edging the personal and the public.

by metavision Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 06:47:24 AM EST

This used to be a comment, before it grew into ...this and more to come.

To begin, I want to praise Jerome, whataboutbob and Keone (just come to mind right now) for having the courage to write about personal aspects appropriately and to say that I am really happy to see caring support from everyone.  ET is about improving the system, but we can also be about helping each other, unashamedly.

In the so-called, western civilization you almost have to be an acrobat to maintain the proper balance of trust and personal defenses, unless you have a very healthy support system.  I don´t have it.

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If the US had a real claim against Iran.

by metavision Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 08:38:08 PM EST

If there was a real claim, the proof wouldn´t be stretched, forced, bent out of shape, delayed, delegated and underserved this way.  It would be presented!

Sunday´s WaPo article contains contradictions, lacks reasonable questioning and is a fly-by piece of work, but for what I have read on the sidelines, the NYT coverage does not even pose a single question about what these GRUNTS SAID, in this cheap circus show.

(* marks the quoted paragraphs and after the dashes are ---my own words.)

WaPo:  http://tinyurl.com/22akqc

*Military Ties Iran To Arms In Iraq
--US military says......... it can tie Iran to arms in Iraq, but does not prove it.

(My stretched version)

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Non-seasonal greetings

by metavision Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 03:58:49 PM EST

Whether I send serious demands or curse the evil admin, the Whouse replies are instant and predictable.  There is nothing to laugh about and I don´t want to lose my breakfast, so I learnt years ago:  Before you write pols, enter their email address in your spam list.

On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your correspondence.  We appreciate hearing your views and welcome your suggestions.  The President is committed to continuing our economic progress, defending our freedom, and upholding our Nation's deepest values.

Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to every message.  Please visit the White House website for the most up-to-date information on Presidential initiatives, current events, and topics of interest to you.  In order to better receive comments from the public, a new system has been implemented.  In the future please send your comments to comments@whitehouse.gov.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.  "

Does it do any good?  It cannot hurt and keywords are definitely counted.

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TGIF, bridges and religion in Spain.

by metavision Fri Dec 8th, 2006 at 07:10:30 AM EST


Today is Constitution Day in Spain and a national holiday.  That´s good, but what´s even better is that Friday, Dec. 8 is another holiday:  "The Immaculate" ("virgin" Mary).  That´s the day when you have to remember every Mary you know to wish them a "happy saint´s day", since everyone gets to celebrate two days a year for themselves, their birthday and their "saint´s day".  I am not researching where the latter one came from...

The Mary part is a global warming problem at this point.  Just "about every female" in this country and "half the males" have Mary as part of their name.  The rivers of ink wasted putting that name on paper, in the past century alone, seems enough damage, but who can measure the brainwashing effect caused by the repetition?
We have María---Jesús/Elena/Gloria/Josefa/Isabel/Fernanda/Esperanza/Luisa/Cristina...  María Dolores = Mary Pains, you name it!  As to the males, the name Mary is carried in second place, as in  Juan/José/Pedro/Jesús---María.  Except, of course, for Mario?

From the diaries (Happy Saints Day Maria!) ~ whataboutbob

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The Price of Royalty in Spain - 5

by metavision Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 at 04:44:12 PM EST

1. Description  2. The Good.  3. The Bad.  4. The Ugly.  5. Changes are in Order.

Changes are in Order
*Detaching themselves from the church would be ideal, but the cost may be unbearable.  The hard right, PP is heavily anchored in the church/Opus Dei/ Legionarios de Cristo, so if the monarchy lets go of the ropes to the church, the imbalance could be frightening for the country.

An off the cuff idea is for JCI to (strengthen and) abdicate on Felipe in a few years and start taking symbolic, anti-church steps, veiled as the carefree adolescence he never had, before he is too unhealthy to enjoy it.  I don´t know, maybe a retreat with the Dalai Lama, Native USAmerican drumming and dancing, sun worshipping at Machu Pichu?  Nothing too strenuous.

*Practices the public still considers benign are hardly acceptable for public figures that want to be "our betters".  Personal preferences in sports are good, but calling bloody acts a "sport" is not.  People pushing machines to the limit is a blood-thirsty and wasteful exercise to me, but the King attends competitions and allows press coverage of himself, especially since there are Spanish contenders lately.  If a spectacle resembles a roman circus and the human has a minimal role, it is not a sport.

At this point I will contradict myself AND act hypocritically because I am omnivorous:  I feel duly shamed.

Killing animals with  firearms to claim sport, closeness to nature, manhood, bravery, accuracy, ecological balance and all the rest, does not dismiss the fact that it is unnecessary regression = voluntary violence on defenseless beings.  JCI does hunt, hunts inedible big game, travels far to do it and represses the press coverage.

*Chauvinism in titles is as offensive as may seem irrelevant, but there is power in them words.  A title says a woman cannot become queen, except through marriage.  An "Infant" title says a female royal can NEVER grow up, to become a princess.  What kind of fairy tale is that?  It´s true of males also, by the way.  Now that JCI´s sisters are senior citizens, translating them as infants, makes me cringe.  Could Britain handle an Infant Anne?  Time out.

Comments >> (16 comments)

The Price of Royalty in Spain - 4

by metavision Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 02:21:20 PM EST

1. Description.  2. The Good.  3. The Bad.  4. The Ugly.  5. Changes are in Order.

How could I forget this great source of photos?

*The royals maintain the rituals and the hierarchy of the catholic church on the public stage for major church holidays and family events.  Holy holiday visits to some religious site may make the royal family user-friendly with the old faithful, but it is clearly anachronic now.  It is very symbiotic for the 21st century, yet I hope the King has the deciding hand on that relationship and plays along, "traditions must stick together", only as a political balance.

I cannot stand idolatry scenes like Felipe and Leticia "presenting their first child to a statue of Our Lady of Atocha" in its old chapel, as apparently has been royal tradition.  For me, it´s too close to "offering in sacrifice", too close to "flesh and blood" and plainly, too biblical.  If this thirty-something couple, doesn´t "cut the crap", who will?

The church in Spain is openly right-wing (duh!) and has marched in the streets! with the PP!, against gay marriage.  Both the PP and the church may have lost more credibility for it, but the royals stayed well out of that one.

*The gender issues of "titularity" have been ignored by the royals, which may mean they are smart enough to know how well their bread is buttered.  Politicians on both sides have mentioned the issue ONLY since Leonor was born, but the lack of action says it was an opportunistic thought.

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