Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Spain's Lady Mayors

My first question is are they for secession?

"Two activist women take mayoral reins in Madrid, Barcelona" by Alan Clendenning Associated Press  June 13, 2015

MADRID — Spain’s biggest cities — Madrid and Barcelona — completed one of the nation’s biggest political upheavals in years Saturday by swearing in far-left mayors. The radical leaders have promised to cut their own salaries, halt homeowner evictions, and eliminate perks enjoyed by the rich and famous.

The landmark changes came three weeks after Spain’s two largest traditional parties were punished in nationwide local elections by voters groaning under the weight of austerity measures and repulsed by a string of corruption scandals.

In Madrid, 71-year-old retired judge Manuela Carmena was sworn in as mayor to cheers from jubilant leftists who crowded the nearby streets shouting ‘‘Yes We Can!’’ as they ended 24 years of city rule by the conservative Popular Party, which runs the national government. 

Spain's Obummer?

‘‘We want to lead by listening to people who don’t use fancy titles to address us,’’ Carmena said after being voted into the office by a majority of Madrid’s new city councilors.

We will $ee how far they are allowed to get.

Carmena has vowed, among other things, to take on wealthy residents who have exclusive use of the city-owned Club de Campo country club by opening it up to the masses. ‘‘We’re creating a new kind of politics that doesn’t fit within the conventions,’’ she said before being voted in. ‘‘Get ready.’’

Except it's eight years old over here.

In Barcelona, antieviction activist Ada Colau was sworn in as the city’s first female mayor.

Smiling broadly, Colau took possession of the official mayoral sash and scepter before thanking voters and her coalition partners “for making possible something that had seemed impossible.’’

Colau has questioned whether it’s worth spending $4.5 million of city money to help host a glitzy Formula 1 auto race every other year. She thinks the funds would be better spent on free meals for public school students in need of assistance.

That is a good point; however, it doesn't serve that upper-cru$t ruling cla$$ that likes to have fun!

Carmena and Colau ran for office as leaders of leftist coalitions supported by the new proworker and antiestablishment Podemos — ‘‘We Can’’ — party formed last year.

It is led by the pony-tailed college professor Pablo Iglesias, a big supporter of Greece’s governing far-left Syriza Party.

Been about a week since I piped up about Greece:

"Talks between Greece and its creditors have been deadlocked, and the nation’s emergency financing ends June 30. Without fresh funds, Greece is unlikely to be able to repay its debts and could end up crashing out of the euro currency union. Jitters about Greece have been a cloud over the markets in recent days, notably in Germany.... The European Commission said Sunday weekend talks to find common ground between international creditors and Greece were unsuccessful and left a wide rift that needs to be closed within two weeks to avoid a possible Greek default. An EU Commission official, who refused to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations, said that ‘‘the talks did not succeed as there remains a significant gap between the plans of the Greek authorities and’’ the demands of the international creditors. On top of that, the official said that, for the EU’s executive, ‘‘the Greek proposals remain incomplete.’’ The official refused to be more precise. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ‘‘remains convinced that with stronger reform efforts on the Greek side and political will on all sides, a solution can still be found before the end of the month,’’ the official said. Finance ministers from the 19 nations using the euro currency have a meeting next Thursday in Luxembourg which has already been billed as decisive to see if a bailout deal for Greece can be found. Greek Deputy Prime Minishter Yannis Dragasakis said disagreements remained over the cuts in pensions and increases in value added tax. Greece’s $270 billion bailout expires June 30, at which point the country will lose access to the rescue loans it desperately needs to repay debts and avoid a default that could force it out of the euro.... 

The loans are only putting them deeper into debt, which is how all this started. When does it end?

Concern about Greece’s latest effort to avoid a default weighed on financial markets. The slide started early after weekend negotiations between Greece and creditors failed to get the struggling nation closer to a revised bailout deal. Greek leaders want access to the final $8.2 billion in their bailout program to repay debts and avoid a possible default that could trigger its exit from the euro currency union. The current program expires June 31. ‘‘All eyes, including our own, are on Greece,’’ said Erik Davidson, at Wells Fargo Private Bank. Investors also got discouraging news from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest Empire State manufacturing index. This month’s reading fell to negative 2, meaning manufacturing is contracting

And yet this government and its mouthpiece media are spewing everything is great, recovery is roaring, unemployment down.

The report suggested manufacturers are still being held back by the strong dollar and cutbacks in investment by oil and gas drillers. But a survey of US home builders vaulted to the highest level since last fall, and separate measures of builders’ sales expectations jumped to housing boom-era levels. Investors were looking ahead to Wednesday’s Fed meeting; the central bank is expected to update its interest rate policy." 

Gonna give themselves a long look in the mirror, huh?

Snapshot: US stocks rally on hope for Greece

Greek jitters upset markets

Markets serve up a hohum week

(Blog editor's head swimming back and forth; what bull$hit)

Back to Spain:

Iglesias smiled from a balcony inside Madrid’s City Hall as he watched Carmena being sworn in, then pumped his clenched fist as he celebrated with others on the streets.

The left’s takeover of Madrid, Iglesias said, is the goal his party has nationally for general elections that must be called by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy by the end of the year.

‘‘Our principal objective is to beat the Popular Party in the general elections,’’ he said.

The political fragmentation propelling Carmena and Colau into office marks a historic moment in Spanish politics, said Manuel Martin Algarra, a communications professor at the University of Navarra who specializes in public opinion.

‘‘Madrid and Barcelona for the first time are not going to be governed by political parties, but by coalitions made up of social movements,’’ he said. ‘‘This was a punishment vote to the traditional political establishment in Spain.’’

Yeah, people are fed up with 25% or more unemployment all across the planet.

For Carmena’s Ahora Madrid — or ‘‘Madrid Now’’ — coalition with the Socialist Party, that means a mandate to roll back moves by the Popular Party to privatize city services, as well as carry out audits of the city’s debts and contracts awarded to private companies seen as political cronies, said Pablo Carmona, an incoming Madrid city councilor.

That could open a real can of worms!


Oh, did you see the smugness?


"Spain’s air traffic controllers say the final stretch of a four-day strike has seen no flight disruptions because none of their operators left their posts. Controller stoppages had been scheduled for between 10 a.m. and noon and 6 and 8 p.m. on Sunday to protest against penalties imposed on members who held a strike in 2010. However, ‘‘not one controller left his post’’ their official Twitter account said before the final two-hour stoppage was due to begin. In December 2010 controllers staged a 24-hour wildcat strike over work conditions that closed Spain’s airports and left 600,000 travelers stranded."

And all I get is something buried in a pos brief?


"Baggage handlers and airplane cleaners at Logan International Airport plan to strike Wednesday to protest labor practices they call unfair, such as workers being fired for participating in union activities. As many as 100 nonunion airline contractor employees are expected to picket starting at 5 a.m. at the MBTA’s Airport Station on the Blue Line in East Boston, according to 32BJ SEIU, the union that has been trying to organize the workers. Workers’ jobs are protected by federal law during strikes over labor practices, a union spokesman said. The Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan, said it will “continue to take labor allegations seriously and resolve issues that affect the airport workforce.”