Archive for July, 2012


Easy Prophecy, Check

Remember the end of a previous edit, where I said that whoever won the European football championship would come to regret it soon, as its government would screw the people while they were celebrating? It happened ten days later: austerity cuts are going to be introduced to “save” Spain from a debt crisis. Which means, in practice:

  • People (mind, only poor people, the kind of suckers who have low-income civil service jobs and/or have no way of evading VAT) are going to be made to pay for the sovereign debt. This is goodwill only, as the purpose of paying is that the country can receive “help” in the form of a loan from the rest of the EU. In other words, heroic measures are taken so that a debt can be replaced by a higher one.
  • As you know (that is, as you know if you are a neoliberal economist with not a gram of common sense), sovereign debt engenders unemployment. The way to fight it is getting money by firing civil servants. Other possible measures include making it easier for companies to fire people (this hasn’t been announced in Spain, yet). In other words, in order to reduce possible, theoretical unemployment in the future, you create actual, certain unemployment, immediately.

And, exactly as it did in 2010, when the Catalans were allegedly busy watching the World football cup, their breast swelling with national pride, the Spanish government is trying, again, and this time with the excuse of the cuts, to curtail the independence of Catalonia.

Being a prophet is not as hard as one would think.



Industry is […] producing a “new model” every two years […] resorting to consumers’ private garbage cans for the deposit of useless, but expensive, profit-making wrappings.

Millions in effort, time and investments are wasted on built-in obsolescence, on planned wear and tear, so that the refrigerators, electric razors, stockings, toys, or light bulbs fall apart earlier than necessary[.] 
–Ulrike Meinhof, 1968

Meinhof was murdered before she could see the rise of smartphones, but her words do have a prophetic ring. All her columns are published as Everybody Talks about the Weather…We Don’t (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2008), an interesting book spoiled only by the usual anti-communist rant that her idiot daughter wrote and imposed on the publisher. I warmly recommend it to people who want to see how the seed of the current capitalist dystopia were already sowed in the 60’s. All of it was there: wars waged under weak excuses, consumerism, all-engulfing “conservative” media, calling demonstrators “terrorists”, censorship, emergency laws. It was just on a smaller, more humane scale.



A lot has happened since my last post. Most of it is bad news. No, wait: all of it is bad news. Let’s see:

  • In Greece, New Democracy finally solved the political impasse by lying (how didn’t they think of that before, is amazing): immediately before the new elections, they declared they would not create more unemployment or reduce salaries further. Immediately after winning them, they made a banker prime minister.
  • In Denmark, the nominally social democratic government made a tax reform in which taxes are reduced only on the highest incomes and the deficit in the state balance is made up by taking money from retired people and by increasing taxation on housing. The “opposition” approved almost unconditionally, while the People’s Socialist Party (that of the idiotic Ida Auken) acquiesced, except for their parliamentary spokesman, who was promptly removed from the position. The Unity Party, which is supposed to be even more to the left, acquiesced as well, saying the Gini index (which is expected to raise to levels never measured before in the country) “doesn’t cover everything”.
  • The infamous Erdogan (Turkey’s president) jumped on the bandwagon and, behind the safety of all of the NATO, is now thundering threats against Syria.
  • The North of Mali passed under control of Islamic militias, which are now destroying all cultural treasures they can find. In case people wonder why, it is a common Islamic hobby: it happened in Afghanistan in 2001, and it is still happening in Saudi Arabia. It won’t happen in Syria for a while, though: the Islamic government NATO is trying to install there will be busy massacring the Alawites before it starts buldozing Palmyra.
  • And, finally, a prophecy: no matter which country wins the European football championship tonight, its inhabitants will wake up in the next days to some truly unpleasant government measure. I am not quite sure what (“austerity” is my best guess but, last time Spain won something, the government tried to remove the autonomy of Catalonia). If you are Spanish, or Italian, hope your team loses, and that your countrymen are appropriately angry.