Europe – Spain

Spain’s “Government of Scoundrels” Stokes Diplomatic Row

By Don Quijones: Since taking office, Rajoy’s government has done everything within its means to alienate the Spanish public. Its key election pledges – taxes wouldn’t be hiked, banks would never be bailed out, vital services would not be cut, unemployment would be a priority, the economy would improve… – all turned out to be lies; and its corruption scandals are mushrooming. But now it has a new strategy: a territorial tussle with the UK.

Attitudes Harden in Spain as Catalonian Independence Referendum Looms

By Don Quijones, Spain: Since last year’s unprecedented protests to mark Catalonia’s national day of independence on September 11th, relations between Rajoy’s administration and Catalonia’s coalition government have soured to the point of curdling. Catalonia’s leader called it a “war of cultures” between the two “countries.”

Just How Low Can Spain Go?

BBC’s article about the political funding scandal gripping Spain featured a photo of hapless leader Mariano Rajoy licking his lips like a “dirty old man.” It spread like wildfire across the social media, setting off a cacophony of calls for Rajoy to resign for the irreparable damage he’d done to Spain’s overseas image.

Beware, the Borderless Tax Man Cometh

Contributed by Don Quijones: The first four items the G-8 dealt with was the need for governments to share information to “fight the scourge of tax evasion.” If only their primary targets were multinationals, banks, and hedge funds that pay a pitiful fraction of the taxes they owe in the countries they operate. But they’re going after the little guy.

Former TBTF Bank Chief Receives Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card

Contributed by Don Quijones:Two weeks ago, Miguel Blesa, former president of Spanish savings bank Caja Madrid, went to jail for his role in the bank’s demise. Finally, a TBTF bank chief got nailed for his role in the financial crisis. But it was too good to be true! Now a witch hunt against the judge has begun.

(Spanish) Banks Worse Than Pushers

Contributed by Don Quijones: Steppenwolf’s The Pusher, the opening song for the 1969 movie, Easy Rider, was about dealers who “push” tainted drugs on unsuspecting users. The pusher “don’t care if you live or if you die,” it goes. Similarly, Spanish banks pushed investment products called preferentes on unsuspecting clients.

The Unthinkable Happens: A Former TBTF Bank Chief Goes to Jail

Contributed by Don Quijones: Just when you thought the concept of universal justice was dead, a courageous Spanish judge, Elpidio José Silva, did what no other judge in the Western world, bar Iceland, dared to do: He refused to grant bail to a former top banker, sending him to prison before facing trial for his alleged role in Spain’s financial crisis.

Morgan Stanley’s Penny-Stock Shenanigans in Spain

This is so bad, it’s almost funny. It happened May 31, at the end of the month, Friday afternoon, when no one was supposed to pay attention, minutes before the close of the stock market, when volume had died down to a trickle, and when the move was guaranteed to produce huge results.

The Financial Takeover of “Our” Newspapers

Contributed by Don Quijones: “In a newspaper like El País it is no longer possible to criticize the main Spanish banks. And you have to be very careful when talking about the Government, in case it gets angry: its benevolence is needed in order to avoid bankruptcy.”