Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

JIHADISTS TARGET SPAIN

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

 

Jihadists Target Spain

“The actions of your ancestors are the reason for our actions today.”

by Soeren Kern 

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

Islamic militants are stepping up a propaganda war against Spain. In recent months, Islamic State and other jihadist groups have produced a flurry of videos and documents calling on Muslims to reconquer al-Andalus.

(more…)

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VIDEO – MICHELLE’S LAST FOUR YEARS OF VACATIONS – LEST WE FORGET

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

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AMERICA IS ALREADY EUROPE – ARTHUR BROOKS

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

 

The Wall Street Journal

  • July 9, 2012
  • America Already Is Europe

In spending, debt and progressivity of taxes, the U.S. is as much a social-welfare state as Spain.

  • By ARTHUR C. BROOKSMr. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise” (Basic Books, 2012).

    EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  Third, and most importantly, while a majority of Americans are neither leftists nor corporate cronies, they aren’t paying much attention to the political system. We often hear that more than 85% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. But, according to the 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, only 25% of American adults can correctly name both of their U.S. senators, and 51% can name neither. If I don’t know who my senator is, I am unlikely to know much about his bridge to nowhere.

       

I’m often asked if I think America is trending toward becoming a European-style social democracy. My answer is: “No, because we already are a European-style social democracy.” From the progressivity of our tax code, to the percentage of GDP devoted to government, to the extent of the regulatory burden on business, most of Europe’s got nothing on us.

In 1938—the year my organization, the American Enterprise Institute, was founded—total government spending at all levels was about 15% of GDP. By 2010 it was 36%. The political right can crow all it wants about how America is a “conservative country,” unlike, say, Spain—a country governed by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party for most of the past 30 years. But at 36%, U.S. government spending relative to GDP is very close to Spain’s. And our debt-to-GDP ratio is 103%; Spain’s is 68%.

At first blush, these facts seem astounding. After all, Spanish political attitudes differ dramatically from our own. How can we be slouching down the same debt-potholed, social-democratic road as Spain? There are three explanations, all of which point to a worrying future for America.

First, the American left is every bit as focused on growing government and equalizing incomes as the Spanish left. Despite arguments from liberals that tax increases on “millionaires and billionaires” are necessary for fiscal prudence, they are little more than a way to meet the single-minded objective of greater income equality. (more…)

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MARK STEYN: U.S., EUROPE ON DIFFERENT PATHS TO SAME PLACE

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012
REAL CLEAR POLITICS
Published: June 1, 2012

By MARK STEYN

Syndicated columnist

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

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

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

One of the bizarre aspects of media coverage since 2008 is the complacent assumption that what’s happening is “cyclical” – a downturn that will eventually correct itself – rather than profoundly structural. Francine Lagarde, head of the IMF, found herself skewered like souvlaki on a Thessaloniki grill for suggesting the other day that the Greeks are a race of tax evaders. She’s right. Compared to Germans, your average Athenian has a noticeable aversion to declaring income. But that’s easy for her to say: Mme Lagarde’s half-million-dollar remuneration from the IMF is tax-free, just a routine perk of the new transnational governing class. And, in the end, whether your broke European state has reasonably efficient tax collectors, like the French, or incompetent ones, like the Greeks, is relatively peripheral. (more…)

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EUROPE’S BRAIN-DEAD RIGHT

Friday, May 18th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • May 15, 2012,

Nobody should be surprised if voters also give Angela Merkel and David Cameron the boot at the next ballot.

  • By BRET STEPHENS

Readers presumably understand that Europe’s economic crisis is also the crisis of social democracy—of the idea that markets must be made to co-exist with high levels of taxation, regulation, unionization, welfare spending and subsidized health care and education. Eutopia may be nice in theory; it may even work for a while. But eventually social-democratic policies will lead to economic stagnation, policy paralysis and national bankruptcy on the continental scale we are witnessing today.

So, naturally, Germany’s Social Democrats romped to a 13-point victory in Sunday’s elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s largest state.

“All politics is local,” goes the cliché, and it would be tempting to read the German result that way, too. The state had long been a Social Democratic stronghold before tipping into the hands of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in 2005. Mrs. Merkel remains broadly liked as chancellor and doesn’t face an election until next year. And the German economy is the envy of Europe.

Associated PressForeground, left to right: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron. (more…)

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THE EURO IS CLOSE TO COLLAPSE

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
THE TELEGRAPH

The single currency is close to collapse

With Europe on the brink of a disaster, the euro must be reconstituted as an entity based on economic reality, not ideological folly.

Crisis: the Franco-German partnership which lies at the heart of the European project is fracturing as never before - The single currency is close to collapse

Crisis: the Franco-German partnership which lies at the heart of the European project is fracturing as never before Photo: AFP

21 Oct 2011

Yet again, Europe stands on the brink of abject disaster, apparently unable to resolve its differences. A monetary union that was meant to bring former enemies together, binding them to each other via irreversible economic integration, is succeeding only in tearing them apart. It is a crisis that this newspaper has consistently warned of since the single currency’s creation; it gives no pleasure to see our predictions come true.

With a meltdown in the sovereign debt markets fast metastasising into an all-embracing economic and political calamity, the Continent’s position has rarely seemed quite so imperilled since the days of the Second World War. Most worrying is that the Franco-German partnership which lies at the heart of the European project is fracturing as never before, with deep divisions over almost every aspect of the grand rescue plan. (more…)

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THE EURO THREAT TO OBAMA

Saturday, September 10th, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

  • SEPTEMBER 9, 2011

An economic shock from abroad is the last thing that the U.S. economy now needs.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:A European failure to contain its debt crisis would be a monumental electoral setback for Mr. Obama. This is not just because Mr. Obama’s governing and economic philosophies are closely associated with the European economic model. Nor is it simply because Europe is a major U.S. export market. Rather, it is because a European failure is bound to have huge ramifications for U.S. and global financial markets.

If there is any doubt on this score, all one need do is consider the U.S. financial system’s massive exposure to European banks. In a recent survey, Fitch Ratings Inc. found that, as of the end of July, the U.S. money-market industry still had over a trillion dollars of direct exposure to European banks—or roughly 45% of money markets’ overall assets. The Bank for International Settlement reports that American banks have loan exposure to German and French banks of more than $1.2 trillion.

In 2008, Barack Obama was propelled into the White House largely by a financial crisis. In 2012, he might find that what goes around in politics comes around, as his bid for re-election may be thwarted by yet another financial crisis. The main difference between then and now will be that this crisis did not originate in the United States but in Europe. And it will be one over which President Obama has no control.

(more…)

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THE CRISIS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

IMPRIMIS – HILLSDALE COLLEGE

Vaclav Klaus

July/August 2011

Václav Klaus
President,
Czech Republic

The Crisis of the European Union: Causes and Significance

Václav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic, spoke to friends of Hillsdale College in Berlin during Hillsdale’s 2011 cruise in the Baltic Sea. The speech was delivered at Berlin’s Hotel Adlon on June 11, 2011.

As some of you may know, this is not my first contact with Hillsdale College. I vividly remember my visit to Hillsdale more than ten years ago, in March 2000. The winter temperatures the evening I arrived, the sudden spring the next morning, and the summer the following day can’t be forgotten, at least for a Central European who lives—together with Antonio Vivaldi—in le quattro stagioni. My more important and long-lasting connection with Hillsdale is my regular and careful reading of Imprimis. I have always considered the texts published there very stimulating and persuasive.

The title of my previous speech at Hillsdale was “The Problems of Liberty in a Newly-Born Democracy and Market Economy.” At that time, we were only ten years after the fall of communism, and the topic was relevant. It is different now. Not only is communism over, our radical transition from communism to a free society is over, too. We face different challenges and see new dangers on the horizon. So let me say a few words about the continent of Europe today, which you’ve been visiting on your cruise.

You may like the old Europe—full of history, full of culture, full of decadence, full of fading beauty—and I do as well. But the political, social and economic developments here bother me. Unlike you, I am neither a visitor to Europe nor an uninvolved observer of it. I live here, and I do not see any reason to describe the current Europe in a propagandistic way, using rosy colors or glasses. Many of us in Europe are aware of the fact that it faces a serious problem, which is not a short- or medium-term business cycle-like phenomenon. Nor is it a consequence of the recent financial and economic crisis. This crisis only made it more visible. As an economist, I would call it a structural problem, which will not, by itself, wither away. We will not simply outgrow it, as some hope or believe.

It used to look quite different here. The question is when things started to change. The post-World War II reconstruction of Europe was a success because the war eliminated, or at least weakened, all kinds of special-interest coalitions and pressure groups. In the following decades, Europe was growing, peaceful, stable and relevant. Why is Europe less successful and less relevant today? (more…)

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EUROPEAN CRISIS DEEPENS

Friday, August 19th, 2011

European Crisis Deepens | Via Meadia

The bad news just keeps coming. Coming close on the recent revelation that economic growth is slowing faster than expected in France and Germany, British labor figures have disappointed forecasters and it seems that Greece is heading for yet another recession despite optimistic predictions to the contrary.

A familiar pattern is emerging here. European leaders attempt to paper over the problems afflicting their economies with unconvincing and half-baked measures and rosy forecasts about the future. Markets initially respond briskly when European leaders emerge from a huddle with a new “fix”; disillusionment sets in within a few days as the limits of the agreements become clear.

Over time, this approach loses credibility.  New communiques are greeted with slacker and shorter rallies.  Meanwhile, the underlying problems are getting worse, not improving.

The entirely predictable recession in Greece, for example, means that the Greeks are headed for yet another failure to meet the tough fiscal targets imposed by the EU.  Greece’s problems are severe, but Greece is very small.  Europe’s comprehensive failure after countless iterations to get Greece right suggests pretty strongly that it will be unable to manage bigger and more complicated problems in places like Italy, Belgium and Spain.

Breaking this cycle is going to require a more serious commitment to bold steps — perhaps like those proposed today by leading Euro Federalist Mark Leonard – towards overhauling a European system that is quite clearly broken. As Leonard notes, the only way out of the current crisis is both political and economic reform. (more…)

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EURO DREAM THREATENS TO BECOME NIGHTMARE

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

IrishTimes.com

DAN O’BRIEN

Sat, Aug 06, 2011

ANALYSIS: LAST WEEKEND the world’s attention was on Washington DC as America’s politicians peered into the abyss of sovereign default. On Sunday they stepped back. This weekend attention is on Rome and Madrid. Politicians in those two capitals are sliding towards the same abyss.

But there is a big difference between the US and the Mediterranean countries. In America, that country’s leaders walked voluntarily to the edge of the chasm for political reasons. They were not beaten to that point by the bond market.

Political leaders in Italy and Spain are in an altogether more difficult position. They are being propelled towards the precipice because confidence in their economies is draining away. They are clutching desperately for something to halt the slide. But it appears ever less likely that they can save themselves.

With each passing week it seems increasingly clear that Europe is coming to a fork in the road: one route leads to deeper integration, with very considerable political implications; the other leads down into the dark valley of disorderly disintegration. The decision on which way to go will be among the most important collective choices taken by Europeans in the post-second World War era. (more…)

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