Friday, February 12, 2016

$eeing Grayson in Black-and-White

WARNING: Do NOT READ this article if you do not want "his image as a scold of Wall Street" destroyed.

"Grayson is a blood-pouring-from-the-fangs Zionist who has been treated by the goddamn American 'left' as a progressive" -- xymphora

"Florida congressman investigated over management of hedge fund" by Eric Lipton New York Times  February 11, 2016

WASHINGTON — The hedge fund manager boasted that he had traveled to “every country” in the world, studying overseas stock markets as he fine-tuned an investment strategy to capitalize on global companies’ suffering because of economic or political turmoil.

But the fund manager had an even more distinctive credential to showcase in his marketing material in June 2013: He was a “U.S. congressman,” Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Now he is also among the leading Democratic candidates for one of Florida’s U.S. Senate seats.

No. 

His defenders will say this is to smear his campaign; however, they didn't make him manage a hedge fund. 

This guy is self-smearing!

This highly unusual dual role — a sitting House lawmaker running a hedge fund, which until recently had operations in the Cayman Islands — has led to an investigation of Grayson by the House Committee on Ethics.

So he will get what, some slap on the wrist? The ability to holler it is politics?

The inquiry has become public, but emails and marketing documents obtained by The New York Times show the extent to which Grayson’s roles as a hedge fund manager and a member of Congress were intertwined, and how he promoted his international travels, some with congressional delegations, to solicit business. 

I will be explaining that momentarily.

Interviews and the documents show that Grayson told potential investors in his hedge fund that they should contribute money to the fund to capitalize on the unrest he observed around the world, and to take particular advantage when there was “blood in the streets.”

OMG, the member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, with this inside knowledge, knew where the next area of conflict and strife would be -- and then decided to make some bucks!!

The emails also show how Grayson’s work for the hedge fund, which had $16.4 million in assets as of October, at times interfered with his other duties. In August 2015, after Grayson introduced legislation calling for larger annual increases in Social Security benefits, he signed off on a plan to highlight the proposal at an event in Tampa, Florida, emails obtained by The Times show. But the plan was scuttled, two former aides said, when economic turmoil in China sent stock markets tumbling globally and Grayson had to turn his attention to the fund.

He's got his priorities $traight.

Ken Scudder, a spokesman for Grayson, disputed that account. “There has never been any time when Rep. Grayson’s investment activities have disrupted any of his work, whether official or campaign-related,” he said.

Grayson says he has done nothing wrong. “Here is something that is not true: that I somehow traded on my membership as a U.S. congressman to get clients for this fund,” Grayson said in an interview. He added that in the last year he had refunded the full original investments put in by his two outside investors in a fund that had faced steep losses — leaving only Grayson and a family trust invested in the fund.

Grayson has closed the Cayman Islands branches of the hedge fund, and in September, after the ethics complaint was filed, he changed the name of the fund from the Grayson Fund to the Sibylline Fund, LP. He did so, he said, to try to assuage critics who said he was violating congressional ethics rules by naming a professional business after himself. Although Grayson said he did not agree that the name was a violation, “there was no point in arguing about it any longer.”

Yeah, giving money back, closing an office, and changing a name all that WASHES AWAY the STENCH of CORRUPTION and HYPOCRISY! 

That is what all these members of the political cla$$ think!

But Grayson’s activities have long concerned his campaign aides. In private emails in June, Grayson’s aides pleaded with him to close the hedge fund, convinced that its focus on investing in nations hit by political or economic strife, and its ties to the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven, sharply conflicted with his image as a scold of Wall Street — even if he had not done anything wrong.

By wrong they mean illegal. 

There is difference between right and wrong. 

It may be legal, but that doesn't make it right -- or ethical!

“This is going to be the drip, drip, drip story that never goes away,” Doug Dodson, Grayson’s Senate campaign manager until the end of 2015, wrote in a June email to Grayson, saying his political opponents would “try to make you look like a hypocrite and a fraud and not the populist you claim to be.” 

One would hope it would drip, drip, drip, until this wolf in $heep's clothing that is covered by tar and feathers is drowned in the Atlantic Ocean.

And if it looks like a $cum and $mells like a $cum, well, it's a $cum.

Grayson rejected the advice, the emails show. “I still think that it would be taken, wrongly, as an admission of guilt,” he wrote back.

Sometimes Grayson deployed his aides to work for the fund and his political activity at the same time

That looks ILLEGAL!

Todd Jurkowski, a former spokesman in Grayson’s House office, served as the vice president of investor relations when the fund was started while also serving as treasurer for Grayson’s campaign in 2012.

Grayson first won a seat in Congress representing the Orlando area in 2008 but failed to win re-election in 2010. 

That was the Tea Party year, and 

In 2011, he started the Grayson Fund, which he said would specialize in investments in developing countries in Asia and Latin America. Grayson was elected again to the House in 2012, but he kept the fund open.

In the interview, Grayson said that, since resuming public office in January 2013, he had not actively solicited new outside investors to the fund and that none had joined. But a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in October said the fund had four investors, up from three in a filing from late 2014. Scudder, Grayson’s spokesman, called the discrepancy a typographical error. 

So he is ALSO a LIAR! 

A typo on a very important form from a person supposedly helping to run the country? 

That makes me feel real secure.

As for the marketing materials that appeared to solicit outside business, in the interview Grayson questioned whether they had been publicly distributed.

House rules prohibit lawmakers from holding an outside job that generates more than $27,495, under the current limits. Grayson said he did not violate this rule because he had not reported any earned income from the fund, even though at least some of the investors, according to the fund rules, would have been paying management fees.

I'm wondering where he hid it.

Some prominent Washington ethics lawyers who examined hedge fund documents obtained by The Times said he might have violated House ethics rules.

“On its face, what he has done here seems to be problematic,” said Stanley M. Brand, a former House general counsel. “You can’t use your official position to advance your business interests or create a personal gain.”

That's all that place does down there now, so WTF?

--more--"

We shall see if this is a drip, drip, drip story or a one-day wonder.

And to think that I used to like this guy as one of the handful of "good" ones down there.

Whole barrel is now rotten.

Nealing Over For MassMutual

All $cum down there, even the "good" ones:

"Congressman draws fire for bill that would aid MassMutual" by Christopher Rowland Globe Staff  January 05, 2016

WASHINGTON — The MassMutual office tower looms large over Springfield, a symbol of the powerful role the insurance company plays in the home district of Representative Richard Neal.

Now Neal is coming under fire for sponsoring legislation that would protect MassMutual — which is the veteran lawmaker’s biggest source of campaign money — and other insurance and financial services companies from regulations proposed by the Obama administration.

Neal and his cosponsors have introduced a watered-down version of the Obama administration’s plan to curb investment industry practices that critics say take an unfair bite out of Americans’ retirement nest eggs.

The Obama administration is taking aim at a conflict of interest for some brokers, who win hefty commissions to steer people with individual retirement accounts into complex investments with high fees and substandard returns. The White House estimates that Americans collectively lose $17 billion a year because they receive “conflicted advice” and wind up getting about 1 percent less in annual returns in their IRAs than they should.

But the reforms proposed by Obama’s Department of Labor have been fiercely opposed by insurance and mutual fund companies — including MassMutual, Fidelity Investments, and other major Massachusetts firms — that manage trillions of dollars in individual retirement accounts.

The lobbying fight has spilled onto Capitol Hill, where the Department of Labor has been criticized by members of both parties. Neal’s bill, which he filed with Republican Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois, is supported by the industry and is touted as a bipartisan compromise.

He's the most senior member of the state delegation.

Neal acknowledged in an interview Monday that having a hometown constituent, MassMutual, which manages $155 billion in customer retirement accounts, was part of his motivation for wading into the debate. But he pointed out that he has been working on retirement issues for decades and that his interests are far broader than a single company in his district.

He said he would be pleased if the introduction of his legislation prodded the Department of Labor to scale back its “unworkable’’ rules.

“I want the Labor Department to come up with a rule that’s workable,” Neal said. Its current draft, years in the making, “is cumbersome and overly complicated and is going to drive people away from retirement advice that need it.”

Why?

Related: 
Little action on Obama’s lofty gun control plans

What are those, tears for the millions he's murdered?

Neal’s legislation contains the same stated goal as the Obama administration reform plan: requiring that brokers keep the “best interest” of their clients at heart when offering retirement investment advice. It also forces brokers to disclose commissions they receive from insurance and investment companies for signing clients up for particular investments.

I was just wondering why they wouldn't have been? 

Certainly not part of the economic $y$tem I was taught and told about.

But the Roskam-Neal bill lacks many of the strictest requirements for transactions between broker and client, such as a written contract between broker and client and a list of preapproved investments that brokers can discuss. Moreover, its passage would be a virtual death sentence on the Obama administration rules because it would require the Republican-controlled Congress to affirmatively approve the Department of Labor regulations — which is as close to a political impossibility as you can get.

Investor advocates are calling foul.

“It’s an industry wish list,” Barbara Roper, a consumer watchdog in Washington who closely follows financial industry regulations, said of the Roskam-Neal legislation. “It makes things worse than they are. This keeps the loopholes and lowers the standard.”

That is what Congre$$ does!

Dennis Kelleher, chief executive of Better Markets, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington, was similarly critical: “The bill is just the latest industry attempt to delay and kill the very simple rule that requires investment advisers to put their clients’ interests first.”

Neal’s legislation puts him on the opposite side of the issue from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who supports the administration’s proposals. Warren recently conducted a survey of investment companies that sell annuities, a form of investment often associated with high fees. She found that top-selling brokers, in addition to commissions, are rewarded with “kickbacks” in the form of free trips to places like Aruba and California wine country.

Disclosures of these incentives, according to Warren’s report on her findings, “are buried deep within prospectuses in complex legalese, rather than being provided in an easily available and understandable fashion.”

Having represented his district in Congress for nearly 28 years, Neal, a former mayor of Springfield, is the longest-serving member of the Massachusetts House delegation. He has held a seat on the Ways and Means Committee since 1993, making him an expert in the US tax code and the arcane details of investment products such as 401(k) plans. 

Looks like it is time for him to go.

He is an old-school practitioner of Washington politics, shunning harsh partisan combat in favor of quiet relationship-building.

Yeah, we got the me$$age.

Neal’s top 10 list of career campaign supporters is heavy with insurance and financial services companies. MassMutual tops his list of career sources of political money with FMR (the umbrella company of Fidelity Investments), the Boston-based mutual fund giant, second, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks political contributions.

Neal said that campaign contributions had “no bearing” on legislation he files and that his contributors are reflective of the mix of businesses in his district. He added he wants to move past the stark positions that have divided Washington.

By joining the heated battle over broker rules, Neal has waded into one of the longest-running fights of the Obama era. The “best interest” standards have drawn howls from the industry.

Powerful industry associations are fully mobilized in Washington and Massachusetts. The advocacy of the Boston Asset Management Association, a collection of mutual fund powerhouses, is coordinated by James Segel, a registered lobbyist who was former representative Barney Frank’s chief counsel and helped write the Dodd-Frank reform legislation. Segel said the danger is insurance and mutual fund companies will stop offering free retirement advice to middle- and low-income investors because the rules would be so burdensome.

The irony is not lo$t there.

A crucial moment for investment advice occurs when someone rolls over a 401(k) from a former employer and opens an IRA. The industry argues that these conversations are crucial to getting people to save.

Good thing we have a bankrupt government that just gave $700 billion away in tax loot as a Christmas present as Obama tosses around money like confetti looking out for us all and our retirements (what are all these IOUs in the Social Security Trust Fund?).

Fidelity 401k customers, for instance, “are three times less likely to cash out of their plans if they have had a conversation with a representative,” Fidelity spokesman Steve Austin said. “We support the bipartisan Neal-Roskam legislation because it ensures that middle class savers and small businesses get the critical help they need and desire, and that it is in their best interests.”

Do you want to talk to a woman?

In a statement e-mailed to the Globe, MassMutual said the Department of Labor regulations are “overly broad and ambiguous and will result in fewer Americans saving for retirement.”

But Roper, at the Consumer Federation of America, does not believe America’s investment industry will abandon IRA clients. She contends the industry is using scare tactics to sway the political debate.

“There is no way they are walking away from the multitrillion-dollar rollover market,” she said. “It is the most significant source of funds in average investor accounts.”

--more--" 

I gue$$ it's a good thing there is next to nothing in the 401k I have already written off. They keep sending me mail for some reason.

I Hope You Get a Kick Out of This Post

I didn't. I'm not only sick of the tweaking and rewriting and little adjustments as well as additions, I'm sick of the subtle elitist insults of the slop-shoveling pre$$. Sorry.

"Severed feet keep washing up in Pacific Northwest" by Yanan Wang Washington Post   February 11, 2016

They appear on the sand like any old piece of sea detritus. Sometimes they’re found, amid the candy wrappers and cracked shells, by volunteers cleaning up the area. Other times a vacationer might glimpse the grisly discard from the corner of their eye, a serene walk along the beach interrupted just like that.

As more people learned about these discoveries, they attracted morbid scavengers to the Pacific Northwest shorelines, where the Salish Sea connects waterways along the West Coasts of the U.S. and Canada.

What these scavengers sought remains a prickling curiosity: severed feet attached to running shoes, washed up from origins unknown.

Sixteen of these detached human feet have been found since 2007 in British Columbia, Canada, and Washington state. Most of these have been right feet. All of them have worn running shoes or hiking boots. Among them: three New Balances, two Nikes and an Ozark Trail.

The most recent one turned up earlier this week.

Charlotte Stevens of British Columbia was taking a walk with her family on Vancouver Island, the CBC reported, when her husband spotted something in the sand.

It was shoe, that they could see right away. But a closer inspection revealed something more.

‘‘He picked it up and brought it out on to the beach,’’ she told CBC, ‘‘and we had a look at it for about five minutes and we thought, it almost looks like there is an actual foot bone in it.’’

Sure enough, the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed that the shoe came with a dismembered foot. As with the others, there’s no telling for exactly how long the foot was in the water, but the regional coroner Matt Brown said the exact model of shoe had gone on the market after March 2013, indicating that it once belonged to someone who went missing between then and last December.

Brown is working with the police to connect the foot to individuals who disappeared from the area around that time.

If history is any indication, however, the identity associated with the foot will stay adrift.

Over the years, armchair sleuths and scientists alike have used a number of terms to describe the feet: severed, dismembered, detached, disarticulated.

Found, but still lost.

After the first two feet - both right - were found in British Columbia just six days apart from one another, locals began sounding the alarm, and authorities expressed equal surprise.

‘‘Two being found in such a short period of time is quite suspicious,’’ Corporal Garry Cox of the Oceanside Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the Vancouver Sun in August 2007.

‘‘Finding one foot is like a million to one odds,’’ Cox said, ‘‘but to find two is crazy. I’ve heard of dancers with two left feet, but come on.’’

Five more were found in the next year, including one near Pysht, Wash. Speculation increased, as recounted in a 2008 article in the Toronto Star:

‘‘Speculation ranges from natural disasters, such as the tsunami of 2004, to the work of drug dealers, serial killers and human traffickers.

‘‘One theory concerns a plane crash off Quadra Island three years ago with five men aboard. Only one of the bodies has been found.

‘‘Other theorists believe the coastline is being used as a body dump for organized crime activity; a third scenario is a serial killer is at work.’’

But to the disappointment of many a conspiracy theorist, science suggests more mundane answers. 

Like I care about this, but that aside, like I would believe the "$cience" quoted in my cover-up and protective corporate pre$$. They long ago lost that.

Writing for the Pacific Standard, Spenser Davis pointed out last year that a study on the Puget Sound found that when a body floating in water is ‘‘subjected to the push and pull of its environment,’’ the bones of hands and feet are almost always the first to fall off.

In British Columbia, two of the feet have since been identified as having belonged to people with mental illness, while three others were linked to individuals who likely died of natural causes.

Foul play is not suspected in any of the other cases, though it hasn’t been ruled out, either.

‘‘All of the ones who’ve been identified so far, there’s no mystery,’’ Gail Anderson, a criminologist at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University, told the Daily Beast in 2011. ‘‘These people were very depressed, unhappy about life, and were last seen heading toward the water. People jump off bridges. They deliberately wish to disappear.’’ 

Good. Then I don't have to waist any more time with these silly theories, etc.

But there are other points of strangeness. For one, why did the feet only start turning up after 2007, and why have they continued to turn up with unprecedented frequency since then?

The Daily Beast considered the power of the ‘‘Vicious Cycle’’ theory, which suggests that once people became aware of the phenomenon, they started subconsciously - or completely deliberately, in some cases - scanning the shorelines for shoes.

Also a likely answer.

And yet — it’s hard not to wonder

Actually, it is. 

‘‘There are so many coincidences taking place,’’ forensics consultant Mark Mendelson told the Daily Beast in 2011. ‘‘Everybody who jumps off a bridge is wearing runners?. . .Until you can show me something pathologically concrete that this is a natural separation of that foot from a body, then I’m saying you’ve got to think dirty.’’

I was thinking body disposal by I know not.

--more--"

Anyone testing the water for radiation out there, what with 300 tons of cooling seawater being leaked into it every day for nearly 5 years?

RelatedSneaker sale arranged online spirals into armed robbery

Don't leave your jacket lying around, either:

"Canada Goose jackets mysteriously take flight at BU" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  February 10, 2016

Canada Goose jackets are mysteriously taking flight on Boston University’s campus, and police say students are likely to blame.

According to BU Today, the university’s online news service, campus police have noticed a surge in reports of thefts of the popular down parkas, which can cost upward of $1,200.

Since September, 14 clothing items have been reported stolen to police, according to BU Today. A majority of those items were Canada Goose jackets.

The brand of jackets are marked by a small, circular patch with a red circle that’s sewn into the left sleeve. The bulky winter coats, designed to keep people warm in frigid temperatures, feature a hood lined with a puffy trim of beige coyote fur.

Boston University Police detective lieutenant Peter DiDomenica told BU Today that the jackets are “twice as valuable as an iPhone,” which likely makes them alluring to thieves, especially when the jackets are left unattended around campus.

In a tweet last month, police singled out the jackets as a hot item, and said many of the thefts have occurred at the school’s fitness and recreation center.

Police put out a notice that read “Canada Goose stolen faster than you can burn 100 calories,” a reference to the incidents of theft taking place at the gym.

“Winter jackets left unattended are flying away! Please keep them in sight or place in a locked area,” police said in a tweet at the time.

--more--" 

I would say it is time to head north, but.... time for me to fly, too.

You know, speaking of kicking habits.... look at all the drugs floating around Bo$ton (and beyond; you may not want to light that).

Big Breakfast

Globe took me to Dunkin'!

"Dunkin’ Donuts to roll out new deals" by Candice Choi Associated Press  February 04, 2016

NEW YORK — Dunkin’ Donuts, feeling sidelined by a discounting fight in the fast-food industry, is planning to jump into the game with its own deals.

The coffee-and-doughnut chain said Thursday that customer visits slipped at US stores open at least 18 months in the last three months of 2015.

I'm not going anymore; I had to make budget cuts.

CEO Nigel Travis blamed the loss on aggressive promotions at burger chains, which he said were sparked by McDonald’s highly anticipated rollout of all-day breakfast.

Oh, the myths under which we live.  

Whadda ya' mean the full morning lineup won’t be available all day

Remember "Falling Down?" 

I'm not seeing the crossover, either. 

Dunkin' is now a burger joint?

Wendy’s, for instance, launched a ‘‘4 for $4’’ deal in October, which Burger King later one-upped with a ‘‘5 for $4’’ offer. McDonald’s more recently introduced its ‘‘McPick 2’’ deal that lets people pick two items for $2.

I love the jingles coming from the TV (click).

To win back customers, Travis said Dunkin’ is planning three national value promotions of its own for 2016, and meeting with franchisees next week to finalize plans. He compared the situation to the political system, noting that presidential candidates such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, if elected, would need to get Congress to go along with their plans.

Must you profane my breakfast with such talk? 

Think I'll skip the next Globe invite.

‘‘We have to figure out how to bring franchisees along,’’ Travis said.

His remarks were a reference to the tensions that pricing can cause between fast-food companies and their franchisees. Companies make money by getting a percentage of sales at restaurants, while franchisees have to think about whether the prices they charge will cover costs like food ingredients. As such, franchisees don’t always like discounts.

Subway chief advertising officer Chris Carroll, for instance, said he got support for a $6 Footlong promotion this month by telling franchisees it was a one-time offer to ‘‘kick traffic into restaurants.’’ He said it wouldn’t be a recurring promotion like the chain’s famous $5 Footlong, which was introduced in 2008 and was last advertised nationally two years ago.

You know, I no longer ride the Subway, either. The two trips a month is down to none. Haven't been there in over six months. Can't even remember last time.

For Dunkin’, finding the right national price promotion could be tricky because the popularity of its menu items varies more by region. In the Northeast, the company sells more drinks, while other markets rely more heavily on doughnuts.

Some offers around the country could provide clues on what Dunkin’ has in store.

Aaaah, I don't need to see a menu. 

The chain has been offering sandwiches for $2.99 in the afternoons in Boston. In Chicago, it has been advertising an ‘‘All Day Value Menu’’ that features 99-cent hash browns and a muffin for $1.49. It has also been offering two egg-and-cheese sandwiches for $3 in the city.

That should be good for the cholesterol, obesity, and other health problems that don't seem to really matter when it comes to bu$ine$$ and adverti$ing.

Least it will keep you whole.

Travis noted that even in the afternoons, Dunkin’s breakfast sandwiches outsell its lunch sandwiches.

‘‘Breakfast is something people are willing to have all day. Not many people are willing to have a hamburger at 6 a.m.,’’ he said. 

Is that McDonald's next great idea? All day dinner?

For the last three months of 2015, Dunkin’s sales at established US stores fell by 0.8 percent. The chain forecast sales would rise up to 2 percent for 2016.

WHAT? 

During the holiday season in this age of recovery and job growth spouted by government and pre$$? 

How could that be?

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. reported a loss of $8.9 million, or 10 cents per share, for the fourth quarter. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 52 cents per share.

WOA!

The company, which also owns Baskin Robbins, said total revenue rose 5.5 percent to $203.8 million. The figure was boosted by new store openings.

But they lost nearly $9 million dollars?

--more--" 

Isn't Dunkin' the official coffee of the Bo$ton Red $ox and Globe owner John Henry?

Related: U.S. owners bow to fan pressure over ticket prices

Imagine if that happened at a Sox game.

Also see: US economy added fewer jobs in January

Bit of acid reflux there.

California Lottery Goes Unclaimed

No one submits verified claim for $63 million lotto jackpot

I checked the web version against my print and it was completely different so I threw it away.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

French Vote Fixed

Aren't they all?

"France’s far right rides wave of anger" by Elaine Ganley Associated Press  December 07, 2015

PARIS — France’s options are no longer as simple as left and right. The far-right, antiestablishment National Front has ridden a wave of anger over migration and extremist attacks straight into the political mainstream — where experts predict it will stay. 

Contrary to what you might think, I'm not into the far right due to the Islamophobic blind spot.

Yes, they do have some good tendencies in the economic realm and they are far better than the constant stream of fraud lefti$ts.

The party’s historic results in Sunday’s first round of regional elections were the latest in a series of electoral inroads, with scores that shamed and destabilized traditional parties.

First Spain, then US, now them!

The conservative party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy and President Francois Hollande’s Socialists — the longstanding anchors of French political life — are scrambling to find ways to block the ascent of the far right before the Dec. 13 final round.

They will rig it.

The showing of the National Front, which won six of 13 regions, will dynamize leader Marine Le Pen’s planned bid for the presidency in 2017. In the traditionally Socialist northeastern region where she was running, the party won more than 40 percent of the vote. Her niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, had a similar showing in the southeastern Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, a stronghold of the traditional right.

In a bid to stop a second-round National Front victory, the Socialist Party ordered its candidates to withdraw from those two regions so their supporters could give their votes to conservative candidates, a bitter exercise that Prime Minister Manuel Valls said was necessary.

 Excu$e me?

‘‘There is a choice between two visions of France,’’ Valls said Monday night — that of traditional parties and that of the extreme right, ‘‘which divides the French, tries to pit one against the other.’’

I think my pre$$ does that.

Opponents say the National Front criticizes without offering solutions.

No, they offer solutions; they are just not what the globali$t bankers and wealthy elite want to hear. 

The party, with four lawmakers in Parliament, opposes the European Union and the euro currency and fears Muslim immigrants will supplant French civilization. 

Oh, don't we all? 

But Le Pen says hers is the party of patriots — a message with resonance since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130. ‘‘I believe that the National Front’s incredible results are the revolt of the people against the elite,’’ she said Monday.

Don't worry; that will get put down soon. That's what French rulers do.

‘‘The National Front is an excellent first-round party,’’ said far-right expert Jean-Yves Camus. More difficult is ‘‘transforming itself into pole position in round two.’’

Already setting the stage for the next narrative.

--more--"

"Party leader hails rejection of France’s ‘old political world’; Le Pen’s gains echo Trump’s rise on voter fears" by Ishaan Tharoor Washington Post  December 08, 2015

WASHINGTON — France’s far-right National Front made remarkable gains in regional elections on Sunday, winning close to 30 percent of the national vote and consigning the ruling Socialists of President Francois Hollande to a dispiriting third place in the polls. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, hailed the results as a rejection of ‘‘the old political world.’’

While France’s dazed Socialists and center-right parties will hope to peg back the National Front in an upcoming second round of elections, Le Pen’s credentials ahead of 2017 presidential elections look all the more burnished.

To many, though, her ascension is profoundly disturbing. The National Front is a party still known for its xenophobia and wider links to the rhetoric and politics of European neo-fascism. Le Pen, 46, has struggled to move the party out of the shadow of its controversial (and rather racist) founder, her octogenarian father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

The WaPo puke adding editorial comment there?

But, as the election results show, Le Pen has capitalized on very real fears and frustrations among France’s electorate. The aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, carried out by Islamist assailants linked to the Islamic State, buoyed the National Front. The party has long maintained a conspicuously anti-immigration line and campaigns aggressively on the question of Muslim integration and the threat of Islamist infiltration.

To be sure, as my colleague Rick Noack noted on Monday, the party also gained massively because of France’s economic woes.

Reporters are not supposed to cite themselves in their own stories! It's rule #1!

Entrenched unemployment and fatigue with the Paris establishment have steadily driven white working class voters to its ranks. But the French election took place amid a steady drumbeat of Islamophobia, as well.

The fault of the crisis drill gone live, staged and scripted productions, and false flags focused on by my pre$$.

In the run-up to the vote, Le Pen’s party ran polarizing ads, including one warning of the possibility of an Islamist takeover. This was a tactic that likely had real effect: According to a Pew survey earlier this year, some 67 percent of French citizens polled said they were ‘‘very concerned’’ about the rise of Islamic extremism.... 

That is Trump talk!

--more--"

So what changed in a week?

"Far-right French party stymied in latest voting" by Michael Birnbaum Washington Post   December 14, 2015

CALAIS, France — Voter turnout was significantly higher on Sunday than a week before, at 59 percent compared with 50 percent, suggesting that many had come to the polls specifically to keep the National Front from office.

Chastened political leaders from the dominant center-left and center-right parties vowed to be more responsive to the concerns of those who voted for the National Front.

Sunday’s poor results notwithstanding, the National Front’s policies have already reshaped French political life in the wake of the Paris attacks, and looking ahead to France’s 2017 presidential election, Le Pen is emerging as a powerful force who could mount a credible effort to oust the president.

Do you know to whom she is linked?

In the Fort Nieulay section of Calais, a windswept coastal city where 15-story housing blocks jostle with 19th-century brick warehouses, many voters said they were fed up with a Parisian political class that, they contended, rarely ventures far from the gilded halls of power.

‘‘We’ve tried the other parties. We might as well try the National Front,’’ said Mathieu Coze, 30, a train engineer who voted at a polling station in a maze of gray high-rise apartment buildings. ‘‘The National Front has always talked about migrants. We’ve already lost a lot from what our fathers and grandfathers fought for,’’ he said.

Even in defeat, the National Front was likely to be able to hold on to a sense of victory among its supporters, said Bruno Cautrès, a political analyst at the Center for Political Research at Paris’s Sciences Po.

‘‘They are the victims of the system, the voice of the people that no one wants to hear, the voice of the working class,’’ he said.

Le Pen has engaged in a years-long effort to overhaul the party started by her father, Jean-Marie, who embraced anti-Semitic views and minimized the Holocaust. The younger Le Pen has repackaged herself as a clarion voice for the working class and struggling small-business owners.

She has buried many of the same messages as her father in friendlier language, such as emphasizing France’s secular values, a move critics say is coded language that targets Muslims.

Marine Le Pen, like Trump, has capitalized on a sense that establishment politicians care more about their own survival than about the fate of those who have not prospered for decades. But unlike the American billionaire, Le Pen has been more careful than Trump to avoid embracing policies that seem outright racist or directed against specific religions.... 

You $en$e it because it is true!

--more--"

"Marine Le Pen far from humbled by National Front’s bruising defeat" New York Times  December 15, 2015

PARIS — Marine Le Pen’s concession speech after her National Front party lost in every region of France on Sunday was anything but conciliatory, despite more than 70 percent of voters rejecting the far-right leader’s message of hostility toward immigrants and open borders.

That intransigence, analysts say, is the key to both the National Front’s history and its destiny, and the reason — in the absence of truly dire economic conditions — that a takeover by the far right in France is not likely anytime soon.

What gives the party its fiercely loyal following — its vituperative denunciation of migrants, its unconcealed hostility toward Muslims, its xenophobic “France for the French” message — also makes it an impossible partner for any political group closer to the mainstream and helps block its advancement as a political force.

Ahh, they are NATIONALISTS, and there is nothing an agenda-pushing globalist paper hates more.

Throughout the country, in Sunday’s second round of regional voting, the mainstream parties formed a de facto alliance against the National Front, which even lost in the two regions where Le Pen and her niece Marion Maréchal Le Pen were favored to win.

Oh, STINK!

In those areas, in the deindustrializing, high-unemployment north and in a south full of those who still regret the loss of French Algeria, the third-finishing Socialist Party pulled out of the race, letting the mainstream right party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy win.

Permanent outsider status for the National Front — outside the “golden palaces of the Republic,” as Le Pen sneered Sunday — was the result. A similar dynamic was in play in departmental elections in March, when more than half of the left’s voters switched to the mainstream right candidate in the second round, and the right won 535 out of 538 contests with the National Front.

Jérôme Fourquet, a polling expert, noted that the “Republican front was effective, as a big proportion of the left’s voters voted for the right,” meaning Sarkozy’s party. In the southern region around Nice, 65 percent of those who voted Socialist in the first round voted for the right’s candidate in the second, and in the north around Lille, where Le Pen was running, the figure was 70 percent, Fourquet said at a news conference.

French voters are all little lemmings, huh, doing what the Party says?!

--more--"

Now about those working folk:

"French farmers used tractors and burning tires to block roads in Brittany and prevent access to the port city of La Rochelle to protest low prices they say are putting them out of business. More than 100 farmers, many of them livestock breeders, on Monday closed the highway near the city of Lorient in the west, said Thierry Coue, head of the regional chapter of farm union FNSEA. In La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast, about 100 livestock farmers and grain producers blocked entry to the city from the east, said local FNSEA chairman Francois Avrard. Insolvencies for French livestock farms last year rose to the highest since at least 1998, led by beef cattle and dairy producers, according to data analysis firm Altares."

Can't even get a taxi or flight out:

"Taxi drivers and air traffic controllers go on strike in France" New York Times  January 26, 2016

PARIS — Taxi drivers and air traffic controllers in France went on separate but simultaneous strikes Tuesday, blocking traffic in major cities and disrupting flights at several airports.

The strikes were part of a wider day of protests in the public sector, including hospitals and schools, to call attention to staff reductions, low salaries and education overhauls. More than 100 demonstrations were planned around the country.

Some taxi drivers set fire to tires and tried to block the highway that circles the French capital, but the police pushed the demonstrators back with tear gas. Hundreds of taxi drivers also blocked traffic around airports and train stations in Lille and Toulouse on Tuesday, and they paralyzed traffic in central Marseille.

Taxi unions called the strike to protest ride-booking companies like Uber, which allow people to summon drivers through a smartphone app.

Taxi drivers argue that ride-booking companies do not respect certain regulations — like a ban on cruising for fares, which only taxis can legally do — and they say that drivers for ride-booking services have an unfair advantage because they do not have to pay for expensive taxi licenses.

Better of driving your own car.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls held an emergency meeting with taxi union representatives, the interior minister and representatives from the Transportation Ministry on Tuesday.

Valls’ office said in a statement after the meeting that the government would increase enforcement of the 2014 law that regulates the activity of ride-booking companies, to “put an end to unfair behavior and guarantee the conditions of loyal competition.”

The statement said that Valls was ready to consult industry and government representatives “on the economic equilibrium of the individual transportation sector and on the potential regulatory evolutions that might follow.”

The statement also said that the government would provide support to individual drivers, but it did not provide any details. Some taxi unions have asked that drivers receive financial compensation from the state for their loss of business and the drop in the value of taxi licenses.

--more--"

"Hoax bomb is found on Air France flight" by Tom Odula and Lori Hinnant Associated Press  December 20, 2015

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A fake explosive rigged with cardboard, sheets of paper and a household timer forced an Air France flight into an emergency landing in Kenya on Sunday, sending hundreds of passengers down emergency slides in what the airline’s CEO said was the fourth bomb hoax against the airline in recent weeks.

Some call them psyops.

The homemade apparatus was discovered around midnight hidden in a lavatory cabinet behind a mirror where it was apparently placed during the approximately 11-hour flight to Paris from the island of Mauritius, said the airline’s CEO, Frederic Gagey. He said the airline has had heightened security checks around the world since the Nov. 13 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris.

‘‘It was an ensemble of cardboard, papers and something that resembled a kitchen timer. Nothing that presented a danger to the plane, to the passengers or to the crew,’’ a visibly irritated Gagey told a news conference in Paris. He said it contained no explosives.

With France in a state of emergency since the Paris attacks and the United States on high alert since the attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 dead, hoaxes present a particular conundrum for security officials, who must choose between feeding mass fear and keeping the public in potential danger.

Sigh. I'm full out of fear, sorry, and if something happens, oh, well.

On Tuesday, the two biggest school systems in the U.S. — New York City and Los Angeles — received threats of a large-scale jihadi attack. LA reacted by shutting down the entire district, while New York dismissed the warning as an amateurish hoax and held classes.

Who did they blame, the mob?

Air France has been the target of three prior hoaxes, all in the United States, Gagey said. The fourth came on board the flight from Mauritius, a popular winter vacation spot for French tourists. The Boeing 777 was heading to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris when its pilots requested an emergency landing early Sunday at Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa.

What a massive mind f*** on those people. No wonder they are swinging right.

Six passengers were being questioned, including the person who informed the crew about the device, said a Kenyan police official who is part of the investigation and who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

Gagey congratulated the crew for their cool-headed reaction to divert the plane to Moi International Airport. A safety check was carried out in the bathroom before the flight, he said, indicating the device was placed in the cabinet while the plane was in the air. He denied any security failure in the flight, saying that passengers are checked and sometimes double-checked on flights.

Passengers praised the cool-headed response of the flight crew. ‘‘The plane just went down slowly, slowly, slowly, so we just realized probably something was wrong,’’ said Benoit Lucchini, who was headed home to Paris on the flight. ‘‘The personnel of Air France was just great, they were just wonderful. So they keep everybody calm. We did not know what was happening,’’ said Lucchini. ‘‘So we secured the seat belt to land in Mombasa because we thought it was a technical problem, but actually it was not a technical problem. It was something in the toilet.’’

The plane carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members had left Mauritius at 9 p.m., said Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino. All passengers were safely evacuated and the device was removed, he said. The passengers were being flown to Paris on a special flight late Sunday.

Two Air France flights from the U.S. to Paris were diverted on Nov. 17 after bomb threats were received. No bombs were found on the planes from Los Angeles and Washington. Air France officials said the third hoax was on a Dec. 8 flight from San Francisco to Paris. It was not immediately clear what, if any, action was taken in response to that threat.

Gagey decried the series of hoaxes. ‘‘This is behavior that for me is criminal. It sows doubt, it disrupts our operations, it inconveniences passengers, and obviously each time we can get information about those who are responsible for these extremely bad jokes, pardon the expression, we file a legal complaint,’’ Gagey said. ‘‘We find this behavior stupid, damaging and unacceptable.’’

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks and the Oct. 31 downing of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt’s Sinai desert that killed all 224 people aboard. Moscow says the plane was brought down by a bomb planted on board. IS has also repeatedly threatened the symbols of France — among which Air France is prominent.

Steven Ciaran, a 30-year-old Irishman, said he was seated at the back of the Air France jetliner watching a movie when he noticed the rushed movement of cabin crew preparing emergency drills. The crew told him it was a technical problem and they created a calm environment among the passengers, he said. 

Which is exactly what this was!

‘‘I was very distressed because I could see we were far from the destination,’’ said Ciaran, who was traveling from Reunion Island to Dublin for the Christmas holiday. He said passengers reassured each other.

‘‘I thought the plane had difficulty and not that it had anything to do with terrorism,’’ he said.

Yeah, thank God.

--more--"

So who was it?

"Ex-officer held after fake bomb found on plane; Flight to Paris made emergency landing" by Angela Charlton Associated Press  December 22, 2015

PARIS — A retired French police officer traveling on Air France was detained Monday after a fake bomb hidden in a lavatory forced his Paris-bound flight to make an emergency landing in Kenya, according to prosecutors.

Are you phoqueing kidding?

The hoax — the fourth against Air France in recent weeks — comes amid heightened concerns about extremist violence in many countries, and aggravated passenger jitters around the holidays.

The man in custody is a former police officer who was detained upon arrival Monday at Charles de Gaulle Airport, according to an official in the prosecutor’s office in the nearby Paris suburb of Bobigny. The official, who is not authorized to be publicly identified speaking about an ongoing investigation, did not release the suspect’s name.

Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said the suspect was among six passengers questioned Sunday in Kenya. Nkaissery said Kenya alerted French authorities about the suspected involvement of this man and a traveling companion in placing the fake bomb in the bathroom. He said sniffer dogs traced the package back to their seats and the bathroom.

Sigh. I've seen this movie a hundred times now!

The arrest is part of an investigation prompted by a legal complaint filed by Air France on Monday for reckless endangerment. The lawsuit does not name a perpetrator but leaves it to investigators to determine who might be prosecuted, and allows Air France to seek damages in an eventual trial.

France has been in a state of emergency since Islamic extremist attacks Nov. 13 in Paris killed 130 people and left hundreds wounded. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for those attacks and for downing a plane Oct. 31 carrying Russian tourists out of Egypt, killing all 224 people on board.

On Sunday, Air France Flight 463 from the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to Paris made an emergency landing in Mombasa, Kenya, after a bomb was reported aboard. All 459 passengers and 14 crew members on the Boeing 777 were safely evacuated down airplane emergency slides.

Authorities later discovered a fake explosive, rigged with cardboard, sheets of paper, and a household timer, and declared it a hoax. Air France chief executive Frederic Gagey said the homemade apparatus was apparently placed in a lavatory cabinet during the flight.

Overwhelmed with relief, the passengers arrived safely in Paris on Monday, some crying as they embraced loved ones.

That's another thing they do with the psyops: give you a PTSD-inducing event.

‘‘We thought we were going to die. Because of the speed of the airplane going down, we thought we would crash in the sea,’’ said passenger Marine Gorlier of the French town of Melun after landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

‘‘I really admired the crew, because they thought it was a real bomb and they remained very serene,’’ said Antoine Dupont of the northern city of Lille. ‘‘One of my grandchildren said: ‘The slide was super!’ ’’

It was drill! 

These are all drills being reported as live events with a fictitious -- and increasingly ridiculous -- premises.

The Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s biggest airline, has said that last month’s Paris attacks had cost it about $54 million of revenue in the last few weeks of November alone and that it could be May before its pipeline of forward bookings returns to normal. 

I don't want to hear it.

Call 'em out on this false flag $hit then!

Five days after the assaults, Air France flights from Los Angeles and Washington to the carrier’s Charles de Gaulle hub made unscheduled landings in Salt Lake City and Halifax, Nova Scotia, respectively after phone threats called in to a reservation center at Delta Air Lines, the European carrier’s US partner in the SkyTeam alliance.

The the Five Eyes spies and NSA data collection effort certainly knows from where they came.

An Air France service from San Francisco to Paris was grounded in Montreal earlier this month after another threat. Authorities are scrutinizing phone records in relation to all three incidents.

And?

--more--"

Hello?

Speaking of hoaxes:

"French authorities said Monday that a teacher who claimed to have been stabbed with scissors and a box cutter at a preschool near Paris had fabricated the story. A police official in Aubervilliers confirmed that the man, who has not been identified, admitted to having invented the assault by a supporter of the Islamic State at the Jean Perrin preschool in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris. It “was a fake attempt, done so that he could have himself transferred” to another job, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity."

Also see:

Eagles of Death Metal return to Bataclan for first time since Paris attacks
President of France, rocker honor 2015 attack victims
Islamic State militant returned to Belgium before Paris attacks
5 released after queries on Paris attacks

‘‘Did he escape? Did he not escape? Nobody knows.’’

"Police warn more Islamic State attacks likely in Europe" by Rick Noack Washington Post  January 25, 2016

LONDON — Hopes for a year less defined by threats of international terrorism were dashed Monday by the European law enforcement agency, which warned there is ‘‘every reason’’ to expect attacks in Europe.

The European Police Office (Europol) said the Islamic State militant group is becoming increasingly global and will keep attempting lethal attacks on soft targets in Europe, similar to those in Paris that killed 130 people 2½ months ago.

In addition to lone-wolf attacks, Europe increasingly faces the prospect of large-scale, organized, mass terror attacks, the agency said in a report.

A la Gladio. 

I'm sure Europeans know what that is.

Rob Wainwright, head of Europol, said at a meeting in Amsterdam of interior ministers that more than 5,000 EU nationals have been radicalized by fighting with extremists in Iraq and Syria, and many have returned home.

But take in those refugees!!!


The meeting in Amsterdam was held amid heightened fears of attacks on European capitals similar to the ones in Paris. On Sunday, the Islamic State released a video that featured the Paris attackers and included footage of some of them executing hostages.

‘‘Expect a mujahid to show up to kill you,’’ the alleged ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, said in the video. He was killed in a shootout with police in a Paris suburb days after the attacks.

The video included general threats against Europe but also showed several landmarks in London, raising concerns about possible plans by the Islamic State to strike in Britain. 

All videos cited by the war-promoting pre$$ are now considered staged and scripted propaganda productions. Sorry.

Abaaoud reportedly had visited Britain last year. Despite having returned from Syria, he entered the country on a ferry without being detected by police. He also took photos of British landmarks. British authorities estimate 800 British extremists have gone to Syria and Iraq. Nearly 400 are believed to have returned, according to the BBC.

So which British intelligence agency is working with him?

British intelligence services, like authorities in other European nations, have interviewed returnees to decide who should be monitored more closely. But London bombings in 2005 showed it is often hard to analyze who could become a threat to national security.

Yeah, about that.... sure would be hard to "analyze."

Dozens of officers are needed to observe a suspect around the clock, which makes it necessary for intelligence services to constantly reassess their targets.

The beginning of Sunday’s propaganda video showed encryption software allegedly used by the terrorists.

Heaven help us.

Although it has since been pointed out that the encrypted messages shown in the video are probably fakes and technically flawed, the Islamic State’s focus on such tools was probably intended to raise even more alarm. Such fears were reflected in the Europol report Monday, which concluded that ‘‘the availability of secure and inherently encrypted appliances’’ as well as ‘‘coded language’’ could hamper surveillance.

It's all fake, and we are no longer alarmed. Sorry.

The report singled out France as a main target. It said there is reason to expect that the Islamic State and terrorists inspired by it, as well as other religiously inspired terrorists, will undertake an attack somewhere in Europe again.

The report did not suggest an attack is imminent, but....

WHAT?

--more--"

Also see:

Paris attack leader said he slipped in with 90 extremists, according to testimony from the woman who tipped police to his location.

Hollande waives prison for abused French woman who shot husband

The case drew a wave of support, from women’s groups, politicians, and sympathizers around France with a petition signed by tens of thousands."

RelatedFrance calls on US to lift economic embargo on Cuba

The French needed a lift.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Spain Goes Socialist

What an encouraging sign for the Sanders campaign!! 

Of course, we all need be careful. Once a population starts going that way (see planet Earth, 1930s), the elite string-pullers of society crash economies and start World Wars. 

Oh, yeah, right, already in them.

"Upstart parties win wide support in Spain election" by Harold Heckle Associated Press  December 20, 2015

MADRID — A strong showing Sunday by a pair of upstart parties in Spain’s general election threatened to upend the country’s traditional two-party system, with results showing that the ruling Popular Party won the most votes but fell far short of a parliamentary majority and risked being booted from power.

Days or weeks of negotiations may be needed to determine who will govern Spain, with the new far left Podemos and business-friendly Ciudadanos parties producing shockwaves because of strong support from voters weary of the country’s political status quo.

It's a different system, but the same phenomenon.

In past elections, the Popular Party and the main opposition Socialists were the established powerhouses and needed support only from tiny Spanish parties to get a majority in Parliament when they didn’t win one from voters.

‘‘Spain has changed,’’ said Inigo Errejon, who holds the No. 2 position in Podemos. ‘‘Many people have lost their confidence in traditional parties. The two-party system has ended.’’

‘‘It looks like a Socialist government, but....’’ 

But WHAT?

Podemos and Ciudadanos both gained strength by portraying the Popular Party and the Socialists as out-of-touch behemoths run by politicians who care more about maintaining their own power than citizens’ needs.

Is there a vaccine for this $h**???

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said he would seek an alliance to prevent a leftist coalition from taking power.

So it won't be Socialist? Or is that $ociali$t (see France and Greece)?

The nation’s economic crisis, corruption scandals, and a separatist drive in the northeastern region of Catalonia have dominated Spanish politics over the past four years.

I'm for secession wherever anyone wants; what I oppose is where nations are being deliberately broken up through subterfuge.

Rajoy has defended his handling of the economy, tried to skirt the corruption minefield, and vowed to halt the independence push....

--more--"

"Parties in Spain wrestle to form a government; Election leaves doubt on which party will lead" by Raphael Minder New York Times  December 22, 2015

MADRID — The leaders of four political parties in Spain found themselves struggling Monday with the question of which party could form a government, a day after a fractious election in which support for the two establishment parties plummeted and voters flocked to two insurgent parties that might now be able to act as kingmakers.

There is that word again in the context of politics.

The governing conservative party of Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s incumbent prime minister, received the most votes Sunday, but it lost its parliamentary majority, leaving Rajoy with an uphill task to stay at the helm of either a minority or a coalition government.

But if Rajoy’s future was in limbo, so were those of his main rivals, who also failed to achieve the decisive victory they had hoped for. The election was a resounding manifestation of the political fragmentation in Spain, where mainstream parties have alternated control of the government since the restoration of democracy in the late 1970s.

Among various prospects for a possible coalition government, the only one that would ensure a parliamentary majority would be an alliance of Rajoy’s Popular Party and the opposition Socialists, led by Pedro Sánchez. Such a “grand coalition” has governed in countries like Germany but would be unprecedented for Spain.

It would also require resolving a very difficult relationship, given a heated confrontation between the parties’ leaders during the campaign. In the final televised debate before the election, Sánchez accused Rajoy of being dishonest, referring to the prime minister’s failure to take responsibility for corruption scandals, including one centered around the Popular Party’s former treasurer.

The Socialists insisted Monday that they would not facilitate another term as prime minister for Rajoy. César Luena, the secretary of the Socialists, said at a news conference that the executive committee of his party would demonstrate “prudence and responsibility” and would allow Rajoy, as leader of the party that got the most votes, to attempt to form a government. But Luena said his party would “vote no to Rajoy” when Parliament reconvenes next month.

“What came out of the ballot boxes is a monumental mess,” Bieito Rubido, editor in chief of the conservative newspaper ABC, told Spanish television Monday. “Almost everybody has lost.”

The one possible exception, Rubido and other commentators have suggested, is Podemos, which established itself Sunday as the largest antiestablishment party in Spain. Podemos was formed early last year as a far-left, antiausterity party, modeled in part on the success of Syriza, the governing party in Greece. However, Podemos failed Sunday to supplant the Socialists as Spain’s main left-leaning group.

Syriza $old out.

The leader of Citizens, Albert Rivera, forecast Monday that a minority government could run Spain by striking a series of temporary, issue-by-issue agreements with other parties, including his.

The Citizens party transformed itself last year from a regional party in Catalonia — fiercely opposed to the Catalan secessionist movement — into a national party with a probusiness economic agenda. But while Citizens also managed a breakthrough Sunday, it came in a distant fourth, with too few seats to allow Rajoy to join with it to form a center-right coalition.

That's odd. 

Also see:

Catalan separatists rally in Barcelona
Parties seeking break from Spain gain majority in Catalonia’s Parliament
Tough talks loom for Catalonia secessionists

They lost after exit polls were showing massive support?

Catalonia’s leader to continue secession effort

Related:

"A separatist win could cause a ripple of secessionist fervor across Europe. And investors cringe at the uncertainty an independence drive would create for Spain’s economy."

Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos, said Monday the election must result in “a new political system” in Spain. 

I truly wish them the best of luck.

--more--"

RelatedSpain’s Socialist leader tapped to try to form government

Didn't someone once say give me control of the money supply and I care not who makes the laws?

"Spain received more than 29 billion euros, or $31.5 billion, of orders for its first bond sale of the year, showing that investors are shrugging off the political upheaval gripping the nation. The government was said to have sold 9 billion euros of 10-year securities in a deal that Kim Liu, a fixed-income strategist at ABN Amro NV, described as “very good.” The response bodes well for a week of heavy issuance of euro-zone debt, with Spain itself due to offer as much as 5 billion euros of bonds with maturities up to 2023 on Thursday."

Related:

Jewish scions now Spanish citizens
Spanish princess in court for tax fraud trial

Better not say anything bad about her, either:

"The law also allows for the summary expulsion of migrants caught illegally entering the country’s North African enclaves and sets hefty fines for protests outside Parliament or strategic installations."

That would be ISIS and other mad Muslims, right?

"Spanish police arrest 7 on suspicion of jihadi links to ISIS" Associated Press  February 07, 2016

MADRID — Spanish police arrested seven suspected members of a jihadi cell linked to the Islamic State group and Jabhat al-Nusra militants during raids Sunday in the eastern provinces of Valencia and Alicante and in Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the cell had sent arms, bomb-making materials, and electronic equipment to Syria and Iraq in shipments disguised as humanitarian aid.

In a statement, police said the cell was well-organized by a ringleader who ran a business that enabled him to ship containers with supplies and weapons from Spanish ports to the armed groups.

The cell is suspected of also supplying funds for Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra and of money laundering. 

Or al-nUSrA.

The ringleader was contacted on several occasions urging him to supply women for combatants in Syria and Iraq to marry, ‘‘following guidelines set down by the Islamic State group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,’’ the statement said.

Baghdadi is a fraud (didn't they kill him), and we already do that. It's how we tell them we love them.

In Germany on Sunday, police searched the homes of two men suspected of being part of an extremist organization. The raids took place near the western city of Mainz.

The men are ‘‘suspected of taking part in the Syrian civil war as members of a foreign terrorist organization,’’ prosecutors said. They did not say whether they were arrested.

--more--"

Also see: 

"Spanish police said the arrests of 89 Chinese and Pakistani citizens have broken up a human trafficking ring. The ring sought to smuggle Chinese people into the United States, Canada, Britain, and Ireland, with Spain used as a transit country, in collaboration with other international gangs, police said Saturday."

Related: Pulp Reality 

Looks like a waste of good food to me. 

Time to get out of Spain:

"Six people died and several others were injured after being hit by a speeding car that left the road while taking part in the Coruna Rally in northwestern Spain on Saturday evening. The accident killed four women and two men in Carral, in the region of Galicia, a police spokeswoman said. Among the injured taken to the hospital were three children. The cause of the accident is under investigation (AP)."

"Spanish police visited US couple’s house before finding body" Associated Press  January 07, 2016

MADRID — Spanish police officers visited an American couple days before they found the decomposed body of their 7-year-old son at the family’s rented apartment in the northeastern city of Girona, police said Thursday.

Police did not identify the couple or say what part of the United States they came from.

A police spokesman said officers went to the apartment on New Year’s Eve to see if the father was all right after the US Embassy contacted them, saying the man’s colleagues were concerned after not hearing from him in some time.

The spokesman said the man did not open the door but insisted that he was fine and would get in contact with the Embassy. The spokesman said the officers noticed nothing suspicious and left.

Police on Tuesday arrested the couple — a 39-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman — on suspicion of reckless homicide after they found the child’s body on a bed under several blankets at the house.

The couple lived at the apartment with the 7-year-old boy, a 12-year-old son, and a 14-year-old daughter.

The US Embassy in Madrid declined to comment.

--more--"

RelatedBody found is likely missing US woman

And across the sea:

"An autopsy on the body of a US tourist found dead in western Belize has determined that she was strangled. Anne Swaney, 39, died from ‘‘asphyxia due to compression of the neck area, throttling, and blunt force traumatic injuries to the head and neck,’’ according to the post-mortem report. Swaney worked for Channel 7 in Chicago. Her body was discovered Friday morning floating in the Mopan River. A Guatemalan national has been questioned by police."

Related: All Choked Up Over Ashley Olsen Murder 

As predicted, the story was quickly dropped.

On paper, Italy allows abortions, but few doctors will perform them
Top Italian court details why Amanda Knox’s conviction was tossed
Rome mayor resigns amid scandal over his expenses
2,000-year-old Rome pyramid getting spotlighted
Building collapsed in Rome

Oddly, that leads us to the other side of Spain:

"Ex-CIA operative held in Portugal" Associated Press  October 09, 2015

MILAN — A former CIA operative convicted of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric as part of a renditions program has been detained in Portugal and is awaiting a decision on whether she will be turned over to Italy to serve her six-year sentence, a top Italian prosecutor said Thursday.

Sabrina De Sousa was among 26 Americans, mostly CIA agents, convicted in absentia over the kidnapping of Milan cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, in daylight from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003.

Part of the diplomatic CIA (I need a drink).

The Italian Justice Ministry did not immediately return calls seeking comment on De Sousa’s detention.

De Sousa, who had operated under diplomatic cover, was initially acquitted due to the immunity but was found guilty by Italy’s highest court in 2014.

I'll never see them or the State Department the same again.

The Indian-born De Sousa came out publicly against the US decision not to allow the American defendants to get their own lawyers near the end of their first trial, eventually winning permission to have her own counsel.

De Sousa said she was concerned about losing her freedom to travel to visit family in India.

The 26 Americans received sentences of six to nine years. Italy later pardoned the only military defendant."

The sentences were in absentia. US refused to turn them over.

Related:

Portugal’s coalition government reelected

Except if you read the article, they weren't. 

That's the banker's pre$$ for you.