Spain To Remove Catalonia President And Impose Direct Rule, Secessionists To Rally Tonight In Barcelona

The New York Times reports:

In a first for Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced on Saturday that he would remove the separatist government of the independence-minded region of Catalonia and initiate a process of direct rule from Madrid.

The announcement, made after an emergency cabinet meeting, was an unexpectedly forceful attempt to stop a yearslong drive for secession in Catalonia, which staged a highly controversial independence referendum on Oct. 1, even after it was declared illegal by the Spanish government and courts.

Mr. Rajoy took the bold steps with broad support from Spain’s main political opposition, and will almost certainly receive the required approval next week from the Spanish Senate, where his own conservative party holds a majority.

But the moves were immediately condemned by Catalan leaders and thrust Spain into uncharted waters, as the prime minister tried to put down the gravest constitutional crisis his country has faced since embracing democracy after the death of its dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975.

More from Spain’s The Local:

Rajoy is likely to announce plans to take control of Catalonia’s 16,000-strong police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, whose leader Josep Lluis Trapero could face up to 15 years in jail on sedition charges for failing to contain separatist protests ahead of the referendum.

EU leaders, who were at the ceremony to collect a prize for encouraging harmony in Europe, used their acceptance speeches to demand respect for the law in words that offered implicit backing to Madrid. “Some are sowing discord by deliberately ignoring law,” European parliament head Antonio Tajani said at the awards night in the northern city of Oviedo.

He added pointedly: “All too often in the past the prospect of redrawing borders has been presented as a heavenly panacea that has resulted in a hellish mess.”

As tensions continue to run high, independence supporters are set to rally in Barcelona Saturday evening calling for the release of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, the leaders of two powerful grassroots separatist groups who have been in jail since Monday pending investigation into sedition charges.

  • AdmiralPecker, USS JMG

    This isn’t going to go well.

    • Todd20036

      It’s already not going well.

      • Randy503

        I don’t know much about the situation, but it seems according to report that the Catalan people are pretty much divided about the issue of separation. The ones who do not secession like being part of Spain.

        A crackdown like this, taking away representation, putting people in jail, however justified, can only move people from supporting to Spain to something else, like indifference or supporting the secessionists. IT doesn’t take a political genious to figure that out.

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    • GanymedeRenard

      Love, love, love, love both your new avatar and screen name, Mr. Pecker! Sorry, Admiral Pecker!

    • safari

      Aye, sir.

    • MrRobotoLA

      “The prime minister tried to put down the gravest constitutional crisis his country has faced since embracing democracy after the death of its dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975.”

      So, apparently returning to dictatorship is their aim.

  • FAEN

    This isn’t worrying at all 😬.

  • Gregory In Seattle

    “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

    • FAEN

      “You can’t win Darth.”

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Relax your grip, iow!

      Frankie Goes to Hollywood–“Relax”

      https://youtu.be/RTishnW8nyc

  • MonochromeMouse

    While the secession of Catalonia would ultimately be bad for Spain, Catalonia, and the rest of Europe, why does the Spanish government feel the need to handle this like a dictatorship instead of just addressing Catalonia’s concerns and fixing the problems that are causing them to want to secede in the first place?

    • FAEN

      That would make too much sense.

    • netxtown

      I gotta feeling that their are some power players and some wannabe’s in Catalonia.

    • GanymedeRenard

      Not trying to play the devil’s advocate here, but Rajoy seems to be working in accordance with the current Spanish Constitution – agreed upon and sign by all major political parties, including the socialists and the Catalan after Franco’s death. No country would allow for a part of its territory to secede that easily if you ask me.

      • Jguerr

        If Rajoy would have allowed the election to take place, without the violence, without the police, without the dictatorship, the vote to be independent would have failed, with only about 41% support. Instead, with his violence, police, and other tactics he “forced” many remain as Spain voters to stay home, and encouraged on the fence voters to vote for independence. Now there is a battle, of many kinds, all of which is Rajoy’s doing.
        Canada did a much better job of the situation when Québec wanted to have a vote for independence, and they are still part of Canada. Of course we didn’t want Québec to split up Canada, but the vote happened, and they stayed, and some of their complaints were answered. It’s all very sad! Brexit, Trump, Spain, and the others I haven’t listed, but don’t affect me as much.

        • Hue-Man

          And businesses are fleeing Catalunya just like the exodus of head offices from Montreal in the 1970s – and the unilingual Anglophones who moved west with their jobs. Quebec’s economy is only now starting to recover.

          • MikeSEA

            Exactly. This should be an important cautionary tale to the Catalans.

        • GanymedeRenard

          I really detest myself for what I’m about to say, but I’ll close my eyes and say it nonetheless (please don’t hate me!). Here I go: Why would Rajoy allow for a referendum to happen when it directly conflicts with the Constitution on a very sensitive topic? I can see the parallels between Catalonia and Québec, but the cases aren’t the same.

          The Catalan nationalists parties are represented in the Spanish Congress and have failed to make their case to change the Constitution to let the Catalans – or any other regions of the Spanish kingdom for that matter – vote on whether they want to remain or not. I can see Rajoy’s concern: The Catalans will next be probably followed by the Basques, the Galicians, the Canarians, etc., until there’s nothing left of Spain’s territorial integrity. No leader would want that, and Rajoy clearly wants to make an example of this for the other separatists movements to see what happens. And he’s backed by the European Union on this.

          • Jguerr

            How dare you say something that makes so much sense! You make good points, I also don’t know all the details, all the parties involved, and all the historic details in Spain. I have a few friends who live there, but we don’t discuss politics much. My only opinion point (vs legal point) was if he would have let the vote happen, from what I hear, the situation wouldn’t be the problem it is today. Whether that was legally the correct thing to do, probably not.

          • coram nobis

            Even so, Rajoy’s brutal response rather changes things. It’s one thing to send in the constitutional lawyers, something else again to send in the Guardia Civil.

          • GanymedeRenard

            How else would you have managed a crisis when sending the constitutional lawyers have failed as a strategy both in Madrid and Barcelona for decades?

          • coram nobis

            That’s the beauty of it: play for time, file pleadings in court, complicate and obfuscate things. I don’t remember a crackdown like this since, oh, 1974 however.

          • GanymedeRenard

            At this point, I’m almost certain that Rajoy is just obeying orders from Brussels.

          • Dazzer

            I thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly doubt it.

            Brussels simply doesn’t need this right now.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Brussels may not need this right now, as you say, but it will in the long term. There are several separatist movements in Europe, and what becomes of Catalonia under Spain will prove to be not only a precedent but an example for all of them. Belgium itself has its own Wallons vs. Flemish thing going on, so I’m sure Brussels is watching closely.

          • Mark_in_MN

            And this is a problem for the EU mostly because they’ve made it so. They could choose to respond to these possibilities differently so as to reduce potential upheaval and crisis. For example, instead of making it clear that any newly independent region would need to go through the whole admittance process, but could automatically be members if they choose to.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Oh, stop trying to make sense. We all know this is pure bureaucracy. The EU needs as many people sent to the European Parliament in Strasbourg as new republics are declared depending on the number of cheeses censed! / S

          • MikeSEA

            No, I think this is his own strategy. He was smart to get the socialists to buy into his action plan. I think you hit the nail on the head when you noted that this would most likely lead to other regions leaving Spain, and that’s why he’s so opposed.

            I think he botched the response to the 1-O referendum. But, he seems like he’s being much more careful now, and honestly, I’m not sure what other course of action he could take.

          • GanymedeRenard

            In a perfect world, none of this should be happening.

          • MikeSEA

            Agreed. This is horrible, and no one really wins from these things. With all of the really crappy things going on in the world, why are they doing this?

          • Mark_in_MN

            Why should territorial integrity be a primary and overriding concern? Why should it matter more than other worthy considerations? If anything, it would be economics, not territory, that should be a driving force in keeping Spain intact as it currently is.

            Rajoy may be setting himself up to the the leader who confronted a crisis and kept the nation intact. He could also, by these same actions, be setting himself up to be vilified as the person who tore Spain apart by his obstinance. The potential of legacy can cut both ways which ever way policy might lean here.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Before I even continue to post, I’ve got to say that I have no money to lose on this bid – not Catalan or Spanish here, though I’m madly in love with Iberia since pre-Roman times.

            That being said, I never contended that territorial integrity was a primary and overriding concern. I merely mentioned the splitting of Catalonia from Spain as a move that would ultimately lead to the disintegration of what we now know as the Kingdom of Spain.

            Catalonia is rich. So is the Basque Country – next in line to possibly say farewell to Philip VI. Next would perhaps be the Balearic Islands. Next the Canary islands. Next Galicia? Slippery slope and such, you know.

            If anything, I wouldn’t want to be in Rajoy’s shoes these days. Gee, history books will mention him as either the destroyer of post-Franco Spain via fascism – a horrendous turn of events, – or the father of a new creature whose true appearance will take years to be seen. Not a nice role at all, nope.

          • Mark_in_MN

            I wouldn’t not to be in his position, either. And I recognize that you didn’t specify that territorial integrity should be a primary or overriding concern, but that does seem to be a primary concern on the part of the national government of Spain, the EU, and a number of other nations around the globe with regions where some vie for independence. I just don’t understand why territorial integrity should be such an important matter with respect to independence movements.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Channeling Gollum: “My precioussss!”

      • MonochromeMouse

        Maybe not, they didn’t have to send riot police to stop a vote when the government could simply refuse to honor it, doing that wouldn’t make them look good to the rest of the world, but it wouldn’t make them look fascist.

        • GanymedeRenard

          So true – in an ideal world. And yet I wonder what would France’s or Germany’s reaction have been if faced with a similar situation. I already know the answer for the USA.

    • Hue-Man

      $$$$ Imagine what some American states would look like if the states in green on the map refused to send money to the Federal government! (I’m sure there’s a more recent map but I don’t expect it would be much different.) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d49e360523be1b28e0d8b6438d828abea1cd8c347bc907031757dce28410c2f.gif

      • Phillip in L.A.

        Maybe we should think about ceding Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana to Canada–if She will take them!

    • pipslvr

      While Rajoy has been handling the issue quite poorly, the independentists in Catalonia are compulsively obsessed with independence.

      To start with, they don’t really have a popular mandate. In the last real local elections, they LOST the popular vote but still got to govern due to electoral math, but in effect, a majority of Catalonia’s population voted against independence. Sort of like the Trump-Clinton electoral college math situation.

      October 1st ‘referendum’ while it should have been a valid form of free speech, can’t be in no way considered valid (no real census, not a binding vote, many accounts of multiple votes …) , yet all pro-indepence are obsessed with the result as valid with no argument. That said, the violence used by the police to stop it was dumb and uncalled for. But that’s another matter.

      Rajoy last weekend offered paths for dialogue and constitutional reform that Catalonia government rejected.

      So there’s only one way out of this mess at the moment. Article 155 of spanish constitution that calls for the dissolution of Catalonia parlament and whatever Madrid wants to do now. Catalonia leaders could have avoided this, but they didn’t. They had some leverage and they didn’t use any of it, and it could be too late now.

      • GanymedeRenard

        This is all so sad. 🙁

      • MikeSEA

        Excellent points. The amazing thing is how bad much of the media has been on this. The 90% yes vote is almost never reported with the caveat that there were no controls on voting more than once.

        This whole thing is a farce. Let’s hope reason and common sense make a comeback, and quickly.

  • bkmn

    I’m sure Vlad will toss a few rubles to the separatists to keep them revved up.

    • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

      I think Putin would encourage the central fascist-leaning government. He himself has quashed separatist movements.

      • Lars Littlefield

        Most definitely. Rajoy is Putin’s kind of guy.

    • Vira

      Red herring. Fake news. Non-event. Putin not involved.

      • Lars Littlefield

        Says the Russian internet bot.

  • shellback

    There are some states in this country that I would encourage to leave.

    • coram nobis

      Steve Bannon mentioned that, in a speech to the California GOP parteitag last night.

      Bannon also took aim at the Silicon Valley and its “lords of technology”, predicting that tech leaders and progressives in the state would try to secede from the union in 10 to 15 years. He called the threat to break up the nation a “living problem”.

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/21/steve-bannon-blasts-george-bush-and-calls-for-republican-revolt

      This was part of an extended remix attacking George W. Bush, who has not been a friend of late.

      Trump assailed Bush’s legacy during the 2016 presidential election campaign, saying he failed to keep America safe on 11 September 2001 and condemning his decision to invade Iraq. He clashed bitterly with Bush’s brother Jeb, a rival candidate who was swiftly eliminated. Bush attended Trump’s inauguration in January but was reported to have said: “That was some weird shit.”

      • Lazycrockett

        Well he’s staying true to the Russian Playbook isn’t he?

        • coram nobis

          Does that involve their support as well? He’s certainly being a provocateur. From the SF Chronicle:

          After Bannon was announced as the keynote speaker, Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley (San Bernardino County), tweeted that “it’s a huge step backward and demonstrates that the party remains tone deaf.”

          “We’re not in a place in California to be in a civil war,” Mayes, the former GOP Assembly leader, said in an interview Friday. “We have to be united to get out of the death spiral we’re in.”

          http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Steve-Bannon-rips-the-lords-of-Silicon-12295497.php

  • FAEN

    OT-WAY off the topic but I just saw this and squealed! I didn’t know Del Shores was making a sequel.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W-8HnRindsU

    • worstcultever

      looks great! and omg anything with Bonnie Bedelia – I am so there

      • FAEN

        I know right? Just wish it had Beth Grant.

        • And no Olivia Newton John. Her songs like Jack Daniels and You sure look like a Dick to me were highlights of the tv series.

          • FAEN

            Agreed!

    • Vira

      Why do you fuckwits pollute threads with unrelated topics? Can’t you just beat off alone?

      • greenmanTN

        I don’t suppose just SKIPPING OVER it occurred to you?

        • Vira

          It just clutters the thread, and any reasonable discussion therein.

          Seriously, some of you losers sound you wheeled into the TV room at the nursing home, desperate for company, desperate for titillation.

          You really ruin this site as anything for serious discussion.

          • Dazzer

            Instead of fighting, start a serious discussion that’s about Spain and not about something you don’t care about.

          • greenmanTN

            Well gosh, I guess you toddling off someplace else where that doesn’t happen is about the only opinion left to you then, isn’t it? Pity.

        • Robincho

          One gets the feeling that not much has EVER occurred to Vira…

      • Silver Badger

        No one is forcing you to be here. Begone!

        • Vira

          You are anal discharge.

          • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

            I don’t hear Joe making complaints or rude, obnoxious comments. It’s his blog.

          • Silver Badger

            We tend to protect our own. Joe doesn’t often have to interfere.

          • Silver Badger

            You are blocked.

      • Todd20036

        Concern troll is concerned. We get it.

        But looking at the occasional hot male is a mote of sanity in these pre-WWIII times.

        No one complained about people going OT. NO ONE

        Except you.

        Bugger off.

        • GayOldLady

          Who the hell does he think he is? Doesn’t he know that I’m the self-appointed unofficial monitor of you boys and i say, this thread stands, as is.

          • AdmiralPecker, USS JMG

            You have the full support of the fleet.

          • Adam King

            Chicken of the Sea has spoken!

          • AdmiralPecker, USS JMG
          • Robincho

            As your counterpart in H.M.S. Pinafore sang, “And when the breezes blow, I’m generally found below…” 😉

          • GayOldLady

            Thank you Admiral

        • Vira

          You are anal discharge as well.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            The Fuck Off & Die Door is ————->

          • AdmiralPecker, USS JMG

            ♪♫ We had joy, we had fun
            We had seasons in the sun
            But the wine and the song
            Like the seasons have all gone ♫♪
            http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn6/mzchiefphotos/Blocked.jpg

          • Hue-Man

            The personal attack convinced me. People are entitled to their opinions but shouldn’t bully others.

      • FAEN

        LMAO @ fuckwits. Honey I’ve been called worse by smarter. Go drink some Vodka and chill out you fragile cupcake.

        • Vira

          Encara de anal discharge.

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        You seem new here. What you need to know is that we don’t care about fuckwaffles like you.

        • FAEN

          Ok ‘fuckwaffles’ made me spit coffee on myself lol. I’m stealing that if it’s ok.

      • coram nobis

        As King Juan Carlos I once said to Pres. Hugo Chavez, “¿Porque no te calles?”

      • perversatile
      • Lizard

        See that little minus sign to the far right of the username? Yeah, that one.

        Click it. Magical things happen.

      • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

        Go fuck yourself. Clearly you need laid.

      • AdmiralPecker, USS JMG
      • fkevin
    • DaddyRay

      Can’t wait to see it – Love me some Sordid Lives

    • djcoastermark

      Hubs and I went to the screening tour party in Tampa for this film back in June. I have never laughed so hard during a movie. Best of all in attendance were, Emerson Collins, Del Shores and Ann Walker. After the show we went to the after party, and yes, Emerson is just as cute in person (I like crazy) and Ann was just as sassy and gives lots of hugs and kisses in person. Get the movie, it’s the best one yet.

      • FAEN

        I’m happy for you and the hubs but I’m also jealous as all hell lol.

        I’m definitely going to see this and I’ll end up picking up a dvd copy.

    • GanymedeRenard

      Looks fun!!

      • FAEN

        You’ve seen the first one right?

        • GanymedeRenard

          *Blushes* No, I have not. *Blushes*

          • FAEN

            Oy! Well you must lol. It’s worth watching and you won’t have your Gay Card temporally taken away 😉

          • GanymedeRenard

            Sanction accepted. Bad gay, bad gay. LOL

          • FAEN

            LOL-no worries. Let me know how you like it. For me personally it was extra funny because I knew people who were very similar.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Will do!

          • I knew all those characters instantly.

            Also, the bit where Delta Burke mentions the tuna casserole with the potato chip crust made me laugh so loud my friends had to rewind the movie (VHS back then) because I was laughing so hard no one could hear the dialogue that followed.

    • Hue-Man

      Was this filmed before Jeff Sessions became AG?

    • Thank you for posting this. I had not heard about this sequel. I love Aunt Sissy. She reminds me of every older southern women from my childhood. (With highly selective editing I do have a few pleasant childhood memories of growing up in East Texas.)

      • FAEN

        You’re very welcome matey. The characters remind me of my ex’s family. We used to watch it and laugh until we fell off our chairs!

    • JT
  • coram nobis

    Not a first for Spain, if you count what Franco did to Catalonia, 80 years ago. Or, for that matter, the 1713-1714 siege of Barcelona, at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession.

    Vae victis.

    • GanymedeRenard

      Well, in honesty, the article seems to be saying this would be a first for Spain since the country embraced democracy in 1975.

      • Lars Littlefield

        Well, a first since 1975. 🙂

        • GanymedeRenard

          That’s what I meant. 🙂

      • coram nobis

        George Orwell:

        This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the
        world. After all, the chances are that those lies, or at any rate similar
        lies, will pass into history. How will the history of the Spanish war be
        written? If Franco remains in power his nominees will write the history
        books … But suppose Fascism is finally defeated and some
        kind of democratic government restored in Spain in the fairly near
        future; even then, how is the history of the war to be written?
        — “Looking Back on the Spanish War”

        • GanymedeRenard

          I most certainly don’t dispute that.

      • coram nobis

        Well, yes, strongly implied. Even so, Catalonia still has a long memory of the last two times their autonomy and language were extinguished. Outsiders may not easily remember, but the Catalans don’t, and neither would the Spanish.

        • GanymedeRenard

          Absolutely. But then again, Europe’s history is replete with similar situations, the Catalan case being but one iteration.

    • MikeSEA

      I thought that Franco was dead? Plus, this wasn’t the only region to suffer under Franco. Suffering notwithstanding, they were happy to take Franco’s economic investments that has turned them into the wealthy region they are now.

    • MikeSEA

      Plus, I’m sure the siege of 1713 is still very painful for all of those who remember it (oh, wait…), but time moves on. Sometimes we have to let the old stuff go.

  • Dazzer

    I’d welcome barraxines insight on this.

    • worstcultever

      Me too – I’m way too ignorant to have an actual opinion, and appreciate being educated on the threads by people who know stuff about this

  • Todd20036

    I don’t know the best way to handle this situation, but imposing martial law isn’t the answer.

    • I do not think what Rajoy is doing is imposing martial law. He is not calling the army out. He is suspending a regional parliament in Catalonia and is applying an article of the Spanish Constitution– which will result in new regional elections at some point next year. As graphic as the scenes were of police shutting down the polling stations, the army was not called out and bullets were not used against civilians – the U.S. saw some much more brutal scenes in protests in Baltimore and Ferguson Missouri. The Catalan government called for elections — which were not allowed by the Spanish constitution for independence. The USA had a civil war over this in 1861 and hundreds of thousands of Americans died. Look, it was not pretty– and clubs were used against protestors — but let’s not call it fascism (it is not) and let’s not call it martial law. Compared to U.S. riots what is happening in Spain / Catalonia is relatively mild. Have you checked out Charlottesville?

  • DaddyRay
  • Cerberus

    Welp, looks like we’re going to see Spanish Civil War Part 2.

    • FAEN

      I hope it doesn’t come to that.

      • Elsewhere1010

        Seems like Spain is depending on it. As always, it will start out as a popular war; even Spain’s opposition party seems to be in favor of it.

        Then it becomes hell on earth for everyone involved, and those EU “leaders” who have backed Spain will learn that the reputation of the EU itself has been forever changed.

      • GanymedeRenard

        Especially because the first one was the prelude to WWII.

  • Lars Littlefield

    Typical fascist move. Worst possible tactic for dealing with the issue. Rajoy is not Spain’s friend.

    • coram nobis

      Is he going to ban the Catalan language again? They did it in 1939 and 1714 after the last two times Barcelona fell.

      • Lars Littlefield

        To speak freely everyone will have to relocate to Andorra, which quite honestly, could use a good makeover.

        • Dazzer

          I’ve never been wild about Andorra. If you don’t hit the brakes fast enough as you’re driving into the place, you’ve driven straight past it without realising. 🙂

          • Lars Littlefield

            I was dragged there to go skiing a couple of times. Nothing like skiing on hard packed snow full of gravel. ugh

        • Circ09

          Lol…lots of rich folks already tried relocating to Andorra in the past to avoid paying Spanish taxes. Last I heard they shut that game down too.

      • GanymedeRenard

        Interestingly, and ironically, both Franco and Rajoy were/are Galician. Franco forbade the use of the Galician language (galego) in his own region. I doubt Rajoy will make the same mistake. Wait, perhaps I’m overestimating his intelligence. Never mind.

      • Lars Littlefield

        I received an email today from my Catalan friend Josep with whom I had an extended dalliance back in 1980-81. He swims 50 laps every morning, is always horny and still cuts quite a dashing figure for a gentleman of 87-years-old. He reports that tensions are high and things in general are not good. He’s a native of Barcelona and has vivid childhood memories of living through the civil war from 1936 to 1939. He’s pro independence. I don’t argue with him. He knows more about the situation and has lived through worse times than I’ve ever been faced with. There is general consensus that Rajoy and the Partido Popular are not doing themselves or the rest of Spain any favors. We all hope for the best.

      • Lars Littlefield

        Qui sap? 🙂

  • Sam_Handwich

    this is from a couple of years ago

    This week we hear reports from Spain that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is going to be attending a close friend’s wedding. Not so unusual, you might think. The thing is, his close friend (also a colleague, a senior official within Rajoy’s Popular Party) is a man, and so too is his betrothed.

    You might consider that in 2015, that’s not so unusual either – until you realise the peculiar subtext. Rajoy has for a long time been the head cheerleader (what an image) of Spanish political opposition to same-sex marriage. Back in 2011, Rajoy’s Popular Party lodged an (unsuccessful) appeal against Spain’s 2005 law allowing
    gay marriage in the Constitutional Court, which had been passed under the previous socialist government. Strange, then, that Rajoy should now be happily chomping on the tiered wedding cake of a gay colleague.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-anti-gay-marriage-spanish-pm-now-plans-to-attend-a-gay-friends-wedding-what-rank-hypocrisy-10507940.html

    • coram nobis

      Does this mean Rajoy will impose marital law on Barcelona?

  • GanymedeRenard

    At the risk of sounding like a troll, I apologize in advance for reposting this – and I’m not even Catalan or Spanish for that matter.

    Remember Charlie Hebdo, folks? Last week’s edition was dedicated to the Catalan issue. Here’s its editorial – long post, bear with me:

    The Catalan independence referendum has shaken Europe. If all the European regions with their own language, history and culture start claiming independence, the Old Continent will soon break up like pack ice under global warming. Given that there are 200 languages in Europe, why not create 200 new countries? And why not as many declarations of independence as the continent has cheeses and wines?

    Independence, but from what? Independence is legitimate when you want to break free of tyranny or oppression. From what tragic destiny do the Catalans want to free themselves today? Franco banned the use of Catalan after his victory in 1939 but in 1977, not long after his death, the Generalitat de Catalunya was re-established, followed by a regional Parliament and government. So today, in the absence of Franco, they must find another tyrant to overthrow. They have chosen the Spanish state and, of course, the worst dictatorship the world has ever known: the European Union, based in Brussels.

    Independence: a flamboyant word sometimes hiding less noble concerns. As with the Italian Lega Nord, it’s always the richest regions that seek it. Catalonia wants independence so it no longer has to pay for Spain’s poorer regions. We can almost hear the despicable Margaret Thatcher again: “I want my money back”. Language, culture and tradition are nice on postcards, but dosh is so much better. Europe’s poor regions rarely take to the streets demanding independence.

    Beyond these mercenary considerations, it’s curious to hear certain voices from the Left claiming that the independence of a region like Catalonia will strike a blow for cultural identity, which, by the way, no-one is disputing. But in that case, why should the cultural identity claimed by the Catalans be considered OK when the Christian identity championed by European xenophobes isn’t? Why are the words “identity” and “culture” audible when they are uttered by the Left, but become repugnant when used by the Right or the extreme Right? The aim of Catalan independence is not to free the region of a tyranny that doesn’t exist, nor to enable the economy to become prosperous because it already is, and even less to speak a language that has been authorised for a long time. The obsession with identity that is spreading across Europe like mould across fruit affects the extreme Right, but also the Left. Right-wing nationalism and left-wing nationalism have one thing in common: nationalism.

    Toothless grandmothers will knit flags…

    When Catalonia has broken the shackles binding it to the Spanish monarchy and the Holy European Empire, what will happen? Proud independentists will march through the streets of Barcelona to the sound of drums and fifes, taking themselves for the Durruti column, young girls will throw rose petals at the militants who have bravely defied the Spanish police state, choirs of curly-haired children will sing of new-found freedom and the end of the Euro, toothless grandmothers will knit flags in the colours of the new Republic, and great-grandfathers will dig out the caps they wore at the front in 1936. It’ll be beautiful, it’ll be moving, it’ll be magnificent. And then when evening comes, everyone will go home and collapse in front of the telly to watch “Wheel of Fortune” and Barça in the quarter final of the league cup. Catalonia really deserved that.

    Site: https://charliehebdo.fr/en/

    The original title in French was Connerie ou Mort https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/652c8a8cdad0236c32cb6758e65d238d0ef196caa4952e17bbd50d480a84e6f1.jpg , roughly translated as ‘Idiocy or Death’. The cover of that edition, in the same satirical, irreverent spirit that’s made this weekly publication both infamous and vulnerable, states that the (separatist) Catalans are even more stupid than their Corsican counterparts:

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Thank you for the very thoughtful post, GanymedeRenard!

      https://youtu.be/aQ5c4qhHHtI

      • GanymedeRenard

        My pleasure, Phillip. 🙂

  • Scout

    Some people have reported this on Facebook, I did too. I don’t know if it does any good. I reported it the “other” category as insulting someone’s gender or ethnicity. You can’t just report it. It has to fit into their categories of what is inappropriate content.

    https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/921453489263398912

    • FAEN

      Jeebus 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

    • Karl Dubhe

      Is the name of the Texas Ag Com Charles Manson?

      • MikeSEA

        Says a lot about Texas that this idiot was elected to statewide office. Wow.

    • fuzzybits

      Disgusting!

    • houstonray

      I reported to FB (not that the Russian controllers will do anything about it but it’s worth a shot).

      Disgusting.

    • UrsusArctos 🐻

      BIG mistake. These 2 will own it, along with the bigot’s ass. Personally, despite it being intended as a slur, I think it’s chuckleworthy because “Cowboys & Indians” is MUCH more American than “Nazis & Fascists”

    • Lars Littlefield

      Someone needs to force the agriculture commissioner to drink a Big Gulp filled with Roundup.

    • djcoastermark

      Odd coming from a texan, where those hats are so commonplace, in the mall, at the grocery, the hair salons, etc. I think he just insulted 3/4ths of the women and at least half the “men” there.

    • Lazycrockett

      Another man afraid of strong women.

  • goofy_joe

    I’m torn. On one hand, I’m all for breaking away from a government that ignores the needs of the people and we as a country based off sedition and rebellion, should in theory support others to do the same.

    On the other hand, if one of our states held a secession vote that was against the law, I would hope that law would supersede emotions and keep the country together. I’m sure there are more complicated facts in this case, but that’s where my brain is at the moment.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok
    • HZ81

      Love him. I know a lot of folks don’t or no longer dig him, but I still do, even when he drives me nuts.

      Just an aside. 🙂

      • FAEN

        I love his show and watch it whenever it’s on but I dislike his constant anti-Muslim stance. I know he’s anti religion in general but it comes across-to me anyway-that he takes a lot more jabs at Islam than any other religion.

      • Lazycrockett

        I think the show has gotten stale as it moves more away from the panel discussion and more onto bad cardboard jokes and then a 2nd interview again. Id ditch both and just let the panel go at it.

      • greenmanTN

        He has some blind spots (doesn’t everyone?) but usually when I agree with him I *really* agree. He has some pithy observations about our politics, as opposed to Fox which is merely pissy.

    • jerry

      Good point: “What cretin in the history of the world has to deny what he said during a condolence call.”

  • fuzzybits

    Isn’t that part of Spain the big moneymaker for the whole country? Money talks.

    • Yes, and the Madrid area are the richest part of Spain. Catalonia resents sending more money out to Spain then they get back. But the primary reason they want to be a separate nation is cultural and linguistic — Catalan is a separate language, and they have a distinct national identity.

      • MikeSEA

        But when you talk to Catalans about this issue, the money thing almost always comes up.

  • Robincho

    The Catalonian leader Puigdemont is pronounced “poochdemont” — and something tells me Madrid is really screwin’ the puig on this one…

  • Phillip in L.A.

    ¡El gobierno central en Madrid juega una partida muy peligrosa!

    https://youtu.be/YwuGn2VM65s

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    They really are pushing for a civil war…shades of Franco.

  • jrex

    It will be no surprise if someone discovers a Putin connection somewhere in this mess.

  • JWC

    Hm do not see this ending well

  • David Walker

    TOT, but for a non-animal laugh break:
    I just finished watching last night’s “Have I Got News For You” and someone came up with another perfect name for the fucking moron, although they were (happily) not talking about OUR fucking moron at the time. It was for a time traveler who claims to have fought in WWII for the Germans. He was referred to as
    Herr Transplant
    We now return to our regular newscast.

  • margaretpoa

    Because violent suppression always works to heal divisions….

    • -M-

      Yeah. If I were going to force new elections over this, I’d say have them for the whole country. Like “okay Catalonia, and everybody else, weigh in on who you want to represent you.”

  • billbear1961

    Bloody fucking outrageous–no one has the right to tell a distinct people with their own language and culture, who have occupied their own territory for centuries, that they have no right to self-determination! Catalans have the same right to decide their own future as the Scots and Welsh do in the UK and the Québécois do in Canada. It is disingenuous beyond belief to tell a distinct people that YOUR law forbids this when the whole POINT of an independence movement is to free oneself from the laws and rules of another people!! If a distinct people do not CONSENT to YOUR laws, to rule by YOUR government, they have an inherent RIGHT to choose independence if they so desire!

    The referendum should have been allowed to go forward without interference, with observers from both sides–pro- and anti-independence–and neutral observers from abroad making sure everything was above board. It was predicted that No forces would have won! Instead of allowing Catalans to exercise their RIGHT to self-determination, jackbooted THUGS from Madrid exposed them to INEXCUSABLE police BRUTALITY that resulted in over 800 peaceful citizens being harmed and requiring medical help!! Now this same arrogant and hamfisted central government seeks to DISSOLVE Catalonia’s government, to deprive them of their AUTONOMY, and to exercise dictatorial control over a separate and distinct people, thus demonstrating the perfectly understandable desire of MANY Catalans for INDEPENDENCE!! More than EVER, one understands their perfectly NATURAL desire for LIBERTY!! Madrid’s ruthless actions plead eloquently in favour of the cause of Catalan independence, proving the JUSTICE of their cause!

    I am appalled at how so many, everywhere, including in the EU, are BULLYING Catalonia!!

    I hope Catalans will vote more than EVER, in local elections, for representatives who favour their RIGHT to self-determination. (I would oppose their inherent right to independence only if they were seeking to set up an independent state that rejected the tenets of modern genuine democracy, that rejected the right of every citizen to the EQUAL protection of the laws.)

    • Silver Badger

      Um…I can’t help but notice that Bill Davis and billbear1961 posted word for word the same post. Either one is plagiarizing the other, they are both the same person, or great minds truly think alike. XO

      • Treant

        They’re the same person; our Billbear is AKA Bill Davis.

        It’s like I’m Treant, but you might find me accidentally posting as HotTopLookingForBottoms.

        • Silver Badger

          So confusing. I’m Silver Badger wherever I go.

        • GanymedeRenard

          Volunteering here. Your alias, I mean. 😉

      • billbear1961

        We are one and the same person, SB! 🙂

        Not for the first time poor old Bill Davis had his post taken down by goddamned Disqus and labelled as spam on his profile page.

        Almost anytime I post a LONG comment on Political Wire as Bill Davis–my bear is banned there for daring, several years ago, to aggressively and relentlessly warn that the GOP had become fascists–it is taken down and labelled as spam, which makes me LIVID.

      • billbear1961

        Part 2: Now it has happened HERE on JMG!

        Someone or some THING is out to get Bill Davis!

        Others on PW post very LONG comments, sometimes, and THEIR posts aren’t taken down!

      • I am also Cristiano Ronaldo, the famous star Real Madrid futbol superstar. Do not tell anyone please. It can stay our secret. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f7f2af53ed07a93a634be06e6c2f00449ad5ebf92b940733463d4b29b08b8994.jpg

        • Dazzer

          Cristiano is gay?

          Ummm.. that might not be the secret you think it is…

        • GanymedeRenard

          Are you telling us you’re Portuguese – from the island of Madeira, to be precise? I knew it! LOL

    • So–applying your logic. the Russian speaking population in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and the Ukraine — which is the majority of the population in the Eastern parts of those nations has the right to break away and rejoin with mother Russia? Right now, these people can rightfully claim they are suffering discrimination as non-native language speakers. Just asking you — this is a major thorn in Putin’s side. The first three nations I mentioned are U.S. allies in NATO. Why the hell are we bound to protect them if they are suppressing their Russian speaking population? I can’t figure out why we agreed to expand NATO in the 1990’s — after we won the cold war.

      • billbear1961

        No, the Russians in the Baltic states are immigrants to those countries (and their language rights are quite extensive).

        • My point is that it serves the goals of Russian nationalists (Putin et al) if the EU disintegrates into a series of small nation states, if NATO disbands as an effective organization (the goal of Trump, Putin, Bannon, LePen, the AfD in Germany, Corbyn, and others), — leaving Russia as the only regional superpower with 2,000 nukes- and increases the possibility of regional war. I am not saying Catalonia should not be independent — it is for them and Spain to work out. But watch a Pandora’s box if you call for the breakup of Europe into nation-states, and the ability of any region to call an independence referendum in a western democracy whenever they want — the horrors of pre-1945 Europe will return.

          • billbear1961

            How often can the three requirements–a distinct language, culture and centuries-long establishment in a given territory–be said to apply?

            If–IF–the EU continues to move towards economic and political integration, where borders matter about as much between member states as they do between U.S. states or Canadian provinces, how vitally important is it that current states remain precisely as they are today? Military cooperation can’t continue, adding newly emerging states? The Czech Republic and Slovakia divorced. Belgium may come apart along language lines.

            I don’t favour independence for Quebec but recognize the RIGHT of the Québécois to self-determination.

            Madrid has behaved abominably, playing right into the hands of Catalans who favour independence. They are treating Catalans like a conquered people–I find it truly disgusting.

            As for Russia, how strong is THAT union, THAT federation?

            What right does China have to hold on to Tibet against its will?

            As for the U.S. it may be that some states in the southwest fulfill the requirements to possess the right to self-determination.

          • Mikey

            You err by talking about these three “requirements” applying to Québec. The VAST majority of french-speaking people in Quebec are immigrants. Generation after generation of immigrants. The “pure-laines” are a tiny minority of the population.

            As for “culture”, there’s nothing particularly distinct about Quebecc’s culture. most people listen to english music, watch Hollywood films (dubbed into french), watch American TV shows (again, often dubbed), there’s not much other than the kitsch “ceinture-fléchée” and violoneux who play folk songs most people don’t listen to on any sort of regular basis.

            I should know better than to talk politics with people I like. Someone (and I am included in that “someone”) is always likely to dig in their heals and be obstinate. It’s particularly difficult to speak about local politics with someone who isn’t a native. While you may perceive things one way, it IS your experience and as such isn’t “wrong”, often the outsider – no matter the time spent in a particular location – never really grasps the subtleties or the intricacies of the greater picture.

          • billbear1961

            I have always been an outsider, everywhere, in all circumstances. I’ve never known anything else.

            I am amazed at your casual dismissal of Québécois culture, which I have always found much more vibrant and “a thing of its own” than what I’ve seen coming from English Canada, which I do find too centered on the States, although filtered through a more civilized Canadian prism; and the Québécois do this, achieve this, while remaining open to the rest of the world, at least here in Montreal, where attention is paid to what happens in the U.S. but also to what goes on in Europe, in Britain and France, in particular. Quebec is a crossroads, open to many influences, and not all European. They have a taste for the exotic, more pronounced than my own!

            To be a Francophone IN Quebec is to BECOME Québécois, eventually, part of that distinct society, unless one shuts oneself off. It isn’t necessary to be pure laine in order to be part of the nation. If it were, then the independence movement WOULD be open to charges of racism and xenophobia.

            Don’t forget I am also influenced by my husband (whose family IS pure laine, as a matter of fact).

          • billbear1961

            There is something inherently repugnant about forcing a people into a union against their will, or forcing them to REMAIN in one against their will.

            Many states in the U.S. do NOT fulfill the 3 requirements for self-determination, but I’ll tell you right now that if secession is the ONLY way for a state that still believes in genuine democracy to avoid fascism, to extricate itself from a union that is going down the road to fascist tyranny, a union where GANGSTERS are preparing to strip MILLIONS of citizens of their CIVIL RIGHTS, I damned well support secession in such DIRE circumstances!

          • Halou

            “if the EU disintegrates into a series of small nation states”

            Dwarf States according to the misnamed Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and it;s leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky
            http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/08/11/russian-colonel-zhirinovsky-threatens-total-annihilation-of-baltics-poland/

            http://www.linesquotes.com/wp-content/uploads/popular-authors/Vladimir-Zhirinovsky-Quotes-14-The-West-Will-Have-To-Choose-…-Quotes.jpg

          • GanymedeRenard

            Ouch!

    • GanymedeRenard

      Your heart is in the right place, Mr. Bear.

      • billbear1961

        Hello, sweetie!

        I felt the need to speak out–I cannot stand it when people are BULLIED.

        • GanymedeRenard

          I see your point, and I too HATE brutality.

        • MikeSEA

          Sorry, but bullied my eye. About the only people who have been bullied in this matter are the unionist Catalans, who are often afraid to speak out.

          • billbear1961

            Hey, YOU may excuse the horrific police brutality that was unleashed on peaceful Catalans during their vote, sending 800 of them to hospital–I do NOT.

    • Mikey

      Bill honey, sadly, the brand of “nationalism” found in Quebec is not one that really bears close scrutiny. It is pure and unadulterated “racial” purity.
      I’ve lived through the whole thing, from its inception, the terrorism, the various failed referenda, and contentious elections that pitted “us vs. them” in the lowest possible way to garner votes from people with the least life experience and education.

      The Québecois are no more a “people” than the franco-Ontarians, or New Brunswickers, or the franco populations in the Prairie provinces. A common language is all that binds people together here. For a large portion of the population the culture isn’t even native.

      It’s interesting because every time I’ve accosted a separatist and asked “what would we gain from separation”, they will toss off a list of “governmental powers” over which a supposedly sovereign Québec would gain control. And the problem is, the vast majority of these powers are already purely within the purview of the various provincial governments. In Canada, provinces have far more autonomy than is generally realized.

      So the whole idea of sovereignty is an illusion. At least, it is for Québec.

      • billbear1961

        I don’t agree. René Levesque’s dream of seeing Quebec become “the Denmark of North America” was a beautiful one.

        My husband was a sovereignist until the past 10 years or so; so was I. He is extremely intelligent and well educated, and he is not a racist. I speak French, but we also speak much English–he would hardly have married an Anglophone if he were a Francophone bigot.

        Yes, there are pockets of bigotry in the sovereignist movement, but the great bulk of sovereignists have always strongly disapproved of that bigotry and have always vigorously denounced it.

        Quebec has been THE center of progressivism in Canada since the Quiet Revolution in the 60s when it freed itself from the dogmatism of the Catholic Church. Quebec’s very progressive and expansive Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in force since the 70s, predates the federal version by a decade. Discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation was explicitly forbidden as of 1977. It is NOT forbidden in the federal version, but the courts have since ruled that the federal version should be interpreted to also forbid such discrimination. Only recently has English Canada caught up with Quebec’s very liberal social views (Quebec was the only province where marriage equality consistently received strong majority support from the start).

        Recently, there has been strong feeling that religious accommodation policies go too far, because many feel that they threaten Quebec’s strong belief in, and commitment to, a thoroughly SECULAR society.

        Quebec IS a DISTINCT society. I know that from living here for 30 years, from exposure to friends and family here. To cross from Quebec into Ontario is very much like leaving one country and entering another. The social dynamics are very different. It is not merely a question of language.

        • Mikey

          We’ll have to agree to disagree. I was born and raised here. I’ve seen separatism in all its gruesome colours. I’ve heard the rants and speeches by Pauline Marois, and Bernard Landry, and Jacques Parizeau, with their dog whistles to the basest of instincts, the constant yapping about “us vs. them”, the repetition of lies and fantasies about “la grosse de chez Eaton”.

          My family is all over the province, in the Saguenay, in Chaudière-Appalache, in Québec, in Montréal. And I’ve seen the small-minded mentailty of these people who have never bothered to leave the province, even less their own little terroire, and who speak about “les autres” as though they have 1st hand knowledge. They don’t.

          I’ve seen small-minded, rabid separatists who attacked tourists, then had the audacity to complain about the anglos in Québec (when in fact, these were, as I said, tourists not residents).

          And yes, my family is French-speaking. Our ancestry can be traced back to the very first settlements in the province over 400 years ago. I’m a francophone, and married to a francophone.

          While Québec may very well be a progressive society (the first gay marriages were not in Québec, but in Toronto), it has some very serious flaws, not the least of which is a deep-rooted insecurity that manifests as xenophobia.

        • Mikey

          but it doesn’t MATTER whether or not Québec is a distinct society (which in my opinion is barely an issue). Separatism won’t “fix” anything, since there’s nothing to fix!
          The provincial government has control of so many things, can make its own laws (and has), controls its own immigration, culture, etc… The Canadian government has been ANYTHING but overly controlling. It has been a good partner for most of the last 40 years (although the Harper years were not good for ANY Canadians, so let’s set that aside)..

          • billbear1961

            I don’t favour independence but respect a people’s right to self-determination if the conditions I keep repeating are met, and I believe they are met by the Québécois.

            I know that for two centuries, following the Conquest, the English WERE lords and masters in Quebec, and that Francophones, aside from the rich and powerful, were treated as second-class citizens in their own home. What protection they got, they got from the Church, and they paid a HIGH price for that protection, living under the tyranny of its dogmas.

            When they finally began to shake themselves free from that domination, from the tyranny of the Church and the economic tyranny of the English, and to assert themselves in the 60s, and even more so in the 70s with the victory of the PQ, especially bringing in laws to protect the French language in their OWN home, no longer taking a subservient position to English in the major cities of their OWN home, their own COUNTRY, the English–many of them–had a FIT and behaved like tortured martyrs.

            People who lived through the October Crisis in 1970 will NEVER forget how the hostage-taking and murder of a provincial cabinet minister by the terrorist FLQ were used as an excuse to suspend civil liberties and to terrorize, to psychologically torture, MANY innocent citizens whose only “crime” was to desire independence for Quebec.

            Even if Quebec or Scotland or Wales were paradise on earth, Mikey, the Scots, the Welsh and the Québécois would still have the right to choose independence!

            EDIT: The Catalans have that same right.

          • Mikey

            Let’s immediately correct an error here:

            The francophones in Quebec were not under the “tyranny” of Britain (ie: “the English”) until the 1970’s. Canada gained its independence 150 years ago, and francophone Quebecers were abandonned by France when the French lost to the English on the Plaines d’Abraham.

            The “French” =/= Quebecers.
            The “English” =/= anglophone Canada.

            The Separatist movement has played with this false dichotomy to create a narrative of “us vs. them”, about how “the English beat us at the Plains of Abraham”. This is a lie. The English beat the royal French army (this all occurred more than 30 years before the French revolution) on that battlefield. They did not beat the people who would eventually become “Québecois”.

            I lived through the October crisis. Pierre Laporte lived on my street. These were my neighours. The acts of the FLQ were terrorist acts, and there were very few “innocent” people detained by the police.

            Those who you so quaintly refer to as “desiring independence” were backers of the FLQ. The narrative has been twisted and changed to make them all out to be victims of the “big, bad, terrible Canadian English government”.

            The October Crisis is over, the FLQ members involved are gone, the government long-ago revoked the War Measures Act, we do NOT live in that world anymore. There is no “need” for independence other than to feed the egos of greedy politicians who would line their own pockets with what would be left of the resources of the province. The Marois, and Landris, and Parizeaus of the movement are – much like trump! – in it FOR THEMSELVES. And the young idealists who see independence as a noble goal are so out of touch with the realities of the world that they would destroy the country.

            *********************************

            Anyway, that’s all I’m going to say on this. From now on I post pics of cats, or Minions, or puppies.

          • billbear1961

            When I spoke of the economic tyranny of the English, I didn’t mean the British–I meant the English-speaking capitalists living in Quebec, who dominated the economy, whether they lived in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada (or abroad).

            To some extent I dread these exchanges about the right to self-determination because they are so complicated–they involve so many issues and so many details that have to be ironed out, and then there is the HISTORY involved and all the details about THAT that people disagree about; so, the exchanges go on and on and on, and often get heated.

            But I cannot bear it when people, especially minorities, are bullied and sneered at or condescended to, and so feel obliged to speak up.

            If I fail to speak out, I feel like a coward who has failed to behave like a gentleman.

          • Mikey

            then you should stand up for the linguistic minorities, like the anglophones in Quebec, who are regularly bullied, denied service, and have laws curtailing their free expression.

          • billbear1961

            *I* am an Anglophone. In 30 years, I have been openly frowned or sneered at a grand total of 2 or 3 times by Francophones who detected an accent or were impatient because I failed to immediately grasp what they said to me in French. ONCE someone told me to “speak French” when I, forgetting my manners and where I was, began by addressing him in English. FAR more common is being addressed in English by Francophones, politely and with a smile, if I show any difficulty at all in saying in French what I want to communicate.

            For whatever reason, you fail or refuse to take into account the enormous fragility of French surrounded by a massive ocean of English in North America. Thanks to the efforts in Quebec, particularly of sovereigntists, French is alive and well in North America, at least in this province, not in perpetual decline, destined for virtual or total extinction, as it is in places like Louisiana in the States, as it would be in the rest of Canada, most likely, were it not for Quebec’s existence and influence.

            I do not think it is asking too much of anyone who LIVES in Quebec for them to be expected to have or to attain, within a few years of residency, at least an elementary grasp of French, so that they can function–communicate–in public with a French-speaking population. To DEMAND service in English (or any other language), as opposed to requesting it, except in government offices, is the height of arrogance.

            I have never found the French language requirements of Law 101 anything but reasonable.The fuss over signs–that one is being horribly abused–because signs must be in French or with French predominating–is ABSURD. Talk about offending dainty snowflake sensibilities!

          • Mikey

            Do not confuse recent arrivals to Quebec with people who were born and raised here.
            The VAST majority of anglophone Quebecers are bilingual. The same cannot be said of francophones.
            You’ve been VERY very lucky. I suspect it has to do with where you have lived in Quebec. I can assure you that your good experiences are not shared by the majority of Quebec anglophones who have met with open hostility, laws that eliminate their language, laws that refuse the import and sale of products if there is no French documentation to go with it, etc…

            Anyway, I really should have done as I said I would and let this drop.

  • GanymedeRenard

    I weep. Truly.
    (Singer is Mónica Naranjo, the Catalan figure in between Madonna and Lady Gaga; needless to say, a gay icon in Spain and Latin America.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhS9i2t8RWs

  • Joseph Auclair

    Odd that so many liberals, these days generally opposed to ethnic nationalism and opposed at the time to the Alaskan secession moves that happened shortly after, and because, oil was found in Prudhoe Bay, seem sympathetic to secession movements in other countries motivated by nothing but ethno-nationalism.

    These days, it’s usually the Trumpists, European populists, and right wing Zionists who support the ideas of old time nationalism.

    • ultragreen

      It is because we know that nation-states are sometimes ruled by a conservative and tyrannical minority or majority that oppresses human rights.

  • MikeSEA

    Not a great situation, but hardly a surprise. If Catalan independence TRULY had majority support, the government could have organized a LEGAL referendum asking for the authority to negotiate constitutional change that would have allowed a binding vote. However, they knew they wouldn’t win that vote, so instead, they held a vote that they knew would be boycotted by unionists. Shameful. You really have to wonder about a government that would willing cause this chaos knowing well they don’t have majority support.

  • MikeSEA

    Plus, the ethnocentrism of the Catalan independence movement gives me the creeps. I distrust any movement that is based on one group essentially saying they are better than others. OK, the Catalans are saying “different” and not better, but you would be a fool to interpret this any other way.

    • billbear1961

      The Québécois are not saying they are better than the rest of Canada when they assert their right to self-determination–nor are the Scots or Welsh saying THEY are better than the English when THEY talk of a right to independence.

      When Americans fought their war for independence, were they saying they were BETTER than the Mother Country??

      Those who seek independence merely desire the right to run their own lives without interference from others.

      Are Americans ARROGANT to assume they have a right to independence from Britain?

      • MikeSEA

        I’m not talking about the people of Quebec or Scotland, so don’t change the subject.

        I’ve visited Catalonia several times, including for two weeks this August. At the risk of repeating a previous reply, I have often heard Catalans say unkind things about other Spanish people, mostly implying (or saying outright) that they are lazy and taking all of their money. Again, I’m an outsider and this isn’t a scientific poll, but I’ve had enough of these conversations to be pretty sure about this.

        • billbear1961

          So, there’s no possibility that Catalans ARE being taken advantage of?

          You’ve decided that, have you?

          • MikeSEA

            Well, from what I can tell (not Spanish, sorry) it’s no worse than other rich regions in other countries. This happens everywhere. Rich Canadian Provinces pay into an equalization fund to help Quebec, and other relatively less well-off provinces. It’s part of social solidarity, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable.

            I will certainly consider evidence to the contrary. I spent two weeks there in August, though, and no one really made a convincing case that this was happening. It’s always, we’re different (really better is what they mean) and we pay too much to Madrid. Hardly very convincing. Focusing on the money and how lazy other Spaniards are makes them seem like a Catalan version of the (US) Republican Tea Partiers.

          • ultragreen

            Oh well, blue states in the US are financially supporting the red states, and within most states it is the urban areas that are financially supporting the rural areas. Under what circumstances can people living in a city or region of a nation-state decide that they have had enough and be allowed to secede? As far as I can tell from your responses so far, the answer is never.

          • billbear1961

            He’s making excuses for why a distinct people with their own language and culture, who have inhabited their own territory for centuries, have no right to self-determination, because according to him, their ONLY motivation is financial grievance.

            That’s IT–HE has decided their ONLY motivation is financial; so, out the window goes their right to self-determination. And he tells ME not to mix or confuse issues!!!

            YOU, on the other hand, are talking about people who DON’T fill the requirements for self-determination I mention above, but rather are just people who hate progressive taxation or equalization payments made to fellow citizens.

          • ultragreen

            I don’t think the motives really matter. There should be an orderly set of rules for either joining or leaving a nation-state in its constitution that is not too restrictive. Otherwise, there will be serious conflicts or even civil war within a nation-state’s borders.

          • leastyebejudged

            It’s weird to me that people seem to not understand that the cops are the violent force by which the state gets it’s way.

            It’s not complicated, but it does make me LOL when people are upset about the rather mild violence in Spain compared to the systemic violence they accept from the USA.

            The USA is the most corrupt and evil country in the world, and it got that way and remains that way through brute force and physical violence.

          • billbear1961

            No, you have decided that if a people insist they are distinct from another–i.e. that they are not the same people–and have a right to run their own lives, THAT is a sign, automatically, of arrogance, that they think they are SUPERIOR to the other people in question.

            You don’t make that assumption, it seems, about the Scots, for example, but you DO about the Catalans.

            This certainly suggests the strong possibility that you just don’t care for Catalans.

          • MikeSEA

            Well Bill, first, we’er talking about the Catalans, not the Scottish or Quebec. I think the distinctions are a little overblown. Yes, Catalonia is distinct, but it’s not like it’s Germany or something.

            My (strong) opinions on this come from many visits to the region, and a LOT of conversations about this perplexing issue. Mostly play out the same way. (We’re different and they are robbing us blind. Sometimes you come across a real bore who really plays up the whole ‘Spanish are lazy’ thing which to me is really just an ethnic joke in different packaging.)

            I don’t know if you’ve been to Catalonia, but a lot of people come from other parts of Spain. Over half of the region’s population has Spanish as their mother tongue. This is quite a bit different from Quebec, which I appreciate that you are familiar.

          • billbear1961

            Damn it–in the last post, I wrote that you DO care for Catalans when I meant that your attitude suggests you DON’T care for them.

          • MikeSEA

            Not true, I quite like them, and have visited Catalonia many times. I find them friendly and interesting and will be back, regardless of what happens.

            However, what is going on is madness, a nasty game that no one will will win. I like the Catalans enough to tell them this is insane, and that they are playing with fire. There are no urgent violation of rights going on; nothing that justifies a drastic action without majority support.

          • billbear1961

            Well, you don’t sound enamored of Catalans who want their independence.

            I agree they can’t declare independence without a majority voting in favour in an HONEST referendum.

            Madrid should have let them HAVE that honest referendum, simply arguing for them to stay by giving them good reasons to, instead of bullying them like this!

            If I were a Catalan, I would be FURIOUS with Madrid for this hateful abuse, for treating Catalonia like an occupied country defeated in a war!

          • MikeSEA

            I take your point about allowing an honest referendum, but I’m just not sure I agree. I’m not comfortable with nationalism of any kind. This just seems like you would be letting the genie out of the bottle, with a lot of potentially damaging consequences.

            Think of Brexit. In theory, what was wrong with it? Unfortunately, the campaign for it was based on lies. Who knows how people would have voted had the lies not dominated the debate; I suspect the outcome would have been different.

            Independence is an emotional issue. and I have no faith that something similar wouldn’t happen here. I’ve heard enough that makes me think a lot of people would be voting based on ill-informed ideas, or out-right prejudice. The stakes are high; if they leave Spain, it’s pretty clear they are not getting into the EU anytime soon. Even if Spain didn’t object, it’s almost a certainty France would, as this would threaten its territorial integrity. As this is a giant part of their market for their products, this would be a serious problem.

            This isn’t East Timor, and Catalans aren’t oppressed. Life happens in Catalan (for those who speak it), and people have complete control of their regional government which has a lot of authority. The benefits of independence seem so minor as to be illusory. My gut suspects this has a lot to do with Catalan corruption (not saying that Spain doesn’t have any) and settling some scores, held-over from the Franco era. I just don’t see any good reason for such a drastic change.

            Thanks for arguing with me on this. I definitely disagree with some of your opinions, but I certainly respect that these are sincerely held!

          • billbear1961

            An opinion is of little value if one can’t marshal arguments to defend it. An exchange with someone who disagrees with us gives us a chance to see how strong our arguments are!

            I do talk, directly or indirectly, in some of my other posts, about some of the issues you’ve just raised, but I’m afraid I’ve rather worn myself out at this point, Mike.

            I would only ask that you do not casually dismiss police brutality.

          • MikeSEA

            Well said! I’m argued out too, and appreciate that were able to engage respectfully.

            If I left you with the impression that I dismiss police brutality, then I didn’t explain myself very well. An out-of-control police force is dangerous and disgusting, and not consistent with a democratic and peaceful society.

            Rajoy botched the response to the referendum, period. He just should have ignored it. It was clear that the police weren’t going to stop voting, and they should have relaxed and not escalated the situation. I didn’t see any video of this, but read enough to know that it was over the top.

            The police were put in a no-win situation, and weren’t well trained enough or mature enough to change tactics when things got out of control. This doesn’t excuse their actions, but I do wonder exactly how things unfolded to result in the hair pulling, etc. Does provocation excuse this crap? NO. Excessive force = termination in my book. But, I am hopeful that these officers did not go out with the intention of beating up people, and want to hear to hear both sides. Some of this stuff was so bizarre, and this makes me think this was a bit more complicated than it appears at first glance.

        • billbear1961

          And the violent hatred demonstrated by the inexcusable brutality of the Spanish police?

          • MikeSEA

            Sorry, can’t defend the Spanish Police on this. However, I do know that large portion of the 900 ‘injured’ really just suffered panic attacks and dizzy spells. This was simply more manipulation on the part of the Catalan government.

          • billbear1961

            You know, I bet if YOU had been the object of such hateful brutality–had been pulled from a polling station by your HAIR or pulled from a group of peaceful protesters by a cop into a group of cops who then started beating you–you wouldn’t be so casually dismissive of the ABUSES that took place. [edited]

          • MikeSEA

            I wouldn’t have given that farce of 1-O any sort of legitimacy by voting in it. This was a deeply cynical move by the regional government. I am not defending the Spanish police, they should have just ignored the entire thing But, what does that say about a people who would use their elderly and children as essentially human shields?

            I like the Catalan people. But, a good percentage of the population seems to have lost their mind.

    • pipslvr

      Catalonian independentists are not saying they are better than anyone. They just want absolutely nothing to do with Madrid.

      • MikeSEA

        I have to disagree on this point. I’m not Spanish or Catalan, but have spent a fair amount of time in Catalonia, less so in the rest of Spain. I have often heard Catalans say unkind things about other Spanish people, mostly implying (or saying outright) that they are lazy and taking all of their money. Again, I’m an outsider, but about the worst I’ve heard about Catalans in the rest of Spain is that they are arrogant (and cheap.)

        Among Catalans (or at least the ones I’ve talked to about this) I get the DISTINCT feeling that they are implying that they are indeed better than other Spanish people. I’m an outsider and this isn’t a scientific poll, but I’ve had enough of these conversations to be pretty sure about this.

  • JAKvirginia

    If you can’t accept and include the uniqueness of all of the people inside your borders, it’s a bit of a stretch to call yourself a “national” government. Just sayin’..

  • ultragreen

    A properly designed nation-state should have written in its constitution an orderly set of rules that allow a city or area to join a nation-state, and another set of rules that allow a city or area to leave a nation-state. The constitutions of nation-states (including the U.S. constitution) are often deficient in the latter. This causes serious internal conflicts and civil wars.

    • leastyebejudged

      You don’t seem to grasp the true nature of these “nation-states”.

      Which is amusing, since you seem capable of describing them accurately.

  • EDinMCO

    Meanwhile, Putin is laughing his ass off.

  • JCF

    “EU leaders…offered implicit backing to Madrid.”

    FFS. How about backing NOBODY here in this clusterfuck?