Going Shopping to Decide Which Party to Vote For

Going Shopping to Decide Which Party to Vote For

To decide which political force to vote for, this weekend I went shopping at various malls in Madrid.

First, I went to the Podemos Shopping Center. I was struck by the fact that even in the parking lot, everything was full of Venezuelan, Cuban, Catalan esteladas, ikurriñas, Andalusian republican, and Spanish state flags. Right at the entrance to the center, there were some morally and politically corrupt students from the Marxist-Complutense University of Madrid. They were talking about creating a commune-cooperative to use the academic center to cultivate marijuana, all thanks to a subsidy from the current rector. While they played Argentine and Bolivian accented musical notes on their old guitars, the stench of their bodies, like incense, created the necessary atmosphere to celebrate a secular-atheist mass and they loudly recited the thousands of commandments of their satanic religion.

After getting past the entrance, I was surprised to see that the shelves were empty, the ceiling lights flickered, sparked, or were burnt out. A rotund steward with a large mustache and a Venezuelan accent, resembling Maduro, said that «the store is empty due to the conspiracies of right-wing and capitalist oligarchies trying to destroy the People’s store.»

Later, a manager named Monedero, according to the badge on his chest, quickly explained to me that no money was used in this mall and that everything could be acquired through barter. Stunned by his explanation, I said: «Buy what? The shelves are empty!» He responded by calling me a «capitalist-consumerist pig.»

Once I got away from Monedero, I found a long-haired salesman in charge of a bookstore full of old books. Archaic volumes of Marxist thought, books that were not for sale, you could only borrow them to read in the center’s reading room, just like reading the Koran in a madrasa.

As I was leaving that gloomy place, I passed through the technology area, where a large crowd gathered around a few old televisions, showing strange programs I had never seen before. These were television programs that had the power to bring viewers to their knees, praising the televangelists who demanded absolute loyalty to the Religo-Communism-New Age, asking everyone to be ready for «the final struggle.»

After fleeing the Podemos Shopping Center, I followed a friend’s advice and headed to the Ciudadano Shopping Center. As soon as I got out of the car, I saw the happy faces of people and families crossing the parking lot with joyful steps on a sunny Sunday morning, heading toward that haven of peace and joy. Everyone was smiling, all bodies were athletic, the ladies were beautiful, the men tall and with abundant hair, and the children looked like they came out of a «Disneyland» commercial.

I was surprised to see such perfect homogeneity, it seemed strange to me, there wasn’t a single wrinkle on the faces of the older ones, sorry, there were no older people! No one had an extra gram of fat, I felt like I was surrounded by actors or models about to do a «flashmob.»

The aisles of the shopping center were filled with organic, biological, gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, fat-free, calorie-free, excipient-free, and additive-free food. Large posters preached the harms of hamburgers, fast food, calamari sandwiches, patatas bravas, and pork and other processed meats. Almost nauseous from the pain of conscience caused by my bad eating habits, I left the area of false delicacies and foods.

The boutique of the Ciudadano Store was full of clothes from the best brands, and I felt like trying on some pants and shirts. After several minutes in the fitting rooms, I realized that all sizes, regardless of manufacturer and style, were very, very, very small, made only for skeletons and deformed runway bodies. It’s not that I’m fat, but if I don’t eat some serrano ham and torrijas, I’ll start losing hair.

Everything I saw in this shopping center seemed like a summary of Aldous Huxley’s «Brave New World,» where everyone I saw seemed to regularly consume their dose of «Soma» or lived painlessly in the frames of «Logan’s Run.»

Seeing that my shopping day was going badly, I decided to head to the city center, looking to satisfy my shopping desires in an urban, historical, traditional shopping center, what some consumers would call «Casta» stores.

Centro Comerciales Socialistas Obreros y Españoles (CCSOE) was in the past the most important distribution chain in Ex-Spain, they were everywhere, through their franchise system of Casas del Pueblo.

I remember as a child, how a former general director of CCSOE with a marked Sevillian accent would go out to the balcony of his main office on Calle Ferraz, back in 1982, to celebrate CCSOE’s sales successes.

I had already been told that this shopping center was «in decline,» but there were memories from my childhood of walking through aisles full of all kinds of products, at good prices, and open to the market economy.

When I crossed the access door, I observed that what was once a spacious area full of boutiques without walls and obstacles, was now fragmented and divided, and what used to be a prosperous united store was now divided into small shops within a large building. Each «little shop» had a different name, I didn’t understand anything, CCSOE had «fragmented» into CCSOE.cat, CCSOE.esk, CCSOE.val, CCSOE.and, CCSOE.ext, CCSOE…

It was already late afternoon, and my shopping bags were as empty as the stomach of ‘Lazarillo de Tormes’. I was heading home when, passing through Calle Génova, I remembered I had forgotten to visit the Popular Shopping Center, a place that allowed you to pay for your purchases «in cash, by credit card, in B money, and in envelopes,» at the convenience of its customers.

Undoubtedly, the Popular Shopping Center outdid its competitors for many reasons. On the one hand, all its employees were civil servants in the morning and sellers in the afternoon, its aisles were full of property registrars, notaries, state attorneys, tax inspectors, judges, and prosecutors. However, curiously, most of its customers are entrepreneurs.

The Popular Shopping Center always stood out for its wide range of products, they had everything and for everyone: items for liberals, conservatives, Christian democrats, social democrats, Carlists, monarchists, republicans, atheists. A young general director, with a funny mustache and a charming Valladolid accent, had turned a small shop into a national chain by the late 90s.

With the firm conviction of buying some items for a special dinner, I headed to the wine cellar, looking for a bottle of Rioja or Ribera del Duero. Suddenly, two strange characters approached me. The first was a tall man with a white beard, glasses, and a Pontevedra accent. The second was a short woman. They both grabbed my shoulders and in a dictatorial voice asked: «Where are you going? What do you want to buy?» To which I replied: «A bottle of wine.» They responded: «Can you drink the wine you want, and in the quantity you like?» My answer, as a liberal, was: «Yessssss!»

Moral: every Spaniard should remember the content of article 6 of the Spanish Constitution in the next general elections, and given the poor service our politicians are providing to the common welfare of all Spaniards, I prefer to keep voting based on ideology and common sense.

Those of us who still believe in Spain must demand a greater citizen role within the closed structures of political parties, in order to prevent incompetent councils, who wouldn’t pass a simple job interview, from leading the destiny of a nation with 500 years of history. Therefore, in these upcoming elections, I will vote based on ideology and not personalism. By the way, beware of populism.

How to Double the Number of Employees in a Law Firm?

How to Double the Number of Employees in a Law Firm?

Human resource management is the cornerstone of running a law firm because the credentials and values of these professionals determine the successful outcome of each case they handle.

Security, firmness, agility, guts, valor, courage, and strength are essential traits for anyone aspiring to be a successful lawyer. These traits can be developed and improved with the necessary work and training. However, let us now ask ourselves: are there currently any teaching mechanisms in Spanish universities or any other educational institutions that enhance these traits? The answer is clear and simple: no!

Therefore, those of us who select other professionals for incorporation into a law firm, especially young profiles, should not focus so much on technical and theoretical training, as it is worth little or nothing if the candidate has never been invited to step out of their comfort zone to face personal risks that, subsequently, will allow them to put into practice the knowledge learned in the Academy.

Many times, I have heard university professors, especially those allergic to the noble practice of law, say, “in law, you either know it or you don’t.” Thus, these poor bureaucrats with caps encourage from their chairs and from their offices, smelling of old and rusted books, and strive to inoculate the advantages of those who will have a salary for life, as advertised by a major coffee company.

Initially, there would be nothing despicable about having a lifelong salary, if it were not for the fact that those who least need to struggle to survive inevitably see their personal comfort zone shrinking inversely proportional as the years go by. However, it is not all the responsibility of university professors because if we survey the students of any first-year law group at any Spanish university, more than 70% would answer, “I want to take a civil service exam.” This answer resonates like the sound of tormented souls being taken out of purgatory, hung on the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as if that unquenchable fire were synonymous with private activity, business, and entrepreneurship.

Undoubtedly, Max Weber, in his book «The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,» can help us understand where, sociologically speaking, the source of values and professional traits of that person who daily fights against their fears and insecurities to become more efficient and stronger in their professional sphere lies, which will also eventually encompass their personal life.

So now I think we should ask how to double the number of lawyers in a firm. The answer, at first, will also have to do with the increase in the number of clients, right? Of course, it will. So, how can we increase or double the number of clients? Undoubtedly, this is the key question, but its answer is entirely linked to the first question because there is no better business generator in a law firm than the lawyer himself, right? The responsibility for managing each client’s matter lies primarily and ultimately with the lawyer, making each lawyer an ambassador for their firm.

So, are the best records from each university those who will become the best legal professionals? The answer, once again, is simple: no!

Why? Because most of them, if they have not received or strengthened their own security, firmness, agility, guts, valor, courage, and strength through an extra-academic means, particularly through a personal environment that inoculates those values, will ultimately be nothing more than law graduates actively seeking employment, as if employment, besides being sought, could not be self-generated through entrepreneurship; which essentially involves striving to expand your comfort zone.

Consequently, a law firm grows in the number of professionals and clients when it values each candidate more for their ATTITUDES than for their aptitudes, and to do this, the person must be known better than the project of the professional in the job interview.

Finally, and after subscribing to each word of this article, it would be very unjust not to demand a profound university reform, in order to put it at the service of society, and not the other way around as it has been until now. And I say the other way around because we experienced lawyers are the ones making true legal professionals, even fighting against many of the technical and moral dogmas that new graduates bring from the sterile academic campus. Undoubtedly, the aforementioned reform can only come about by abolishing the figure of the university professor as a public servant, since the bureaucrat with a cap can never, ever, extract the skills that a lawyer needs; this is because the comfort zone of the bureaucrat with a cap can never, in any case, be equal in size and dimension to what a lawyer needs.

Dad, Why Do We Keep Voting for the PP?

Dad, Why Do We Keep Voting for the PP?

I fondly remembered the advertising campaign launched by Atlético de Madrid during the 2001-2002 season, the one where the child asks his father: «Dad, why are we Atlético fans?»

On December 20th, as I headed to the polling station, I asked myself why I continue voting for the Partido Popular. Before casting my vote, and feeling a bit concerned, I called my father for advice. He had always been a member of Reforma Democrática, a party led by Don Manuel Fraga. I then sought advice from an old schoolteacher who had always been a member of Unión del Pueblo Español.

I continued my inquiries, asking a good friend who had always supported Acción Democrática Española. I even asked the family doctor, who had always been with Democracia Social. Not satisfied yet, I spoke with my neighborhood baker, who had always held a membership card for Acción Regional. And an old trade unionist, who never stopped being part of Unión Social Popular. I even spoke with the parish priest of my village, a lifelong supporter of Unión Nacional Española.

The omnipotent power given to the president of the PP since 1989 has been eroding internal democracy. With all these conversations, I recalled the nuances and details that once constituted the Spanish center-right. Coalición Democrática, Partido Liberal, Partido Democrático Progresista, Renovación Española, and Partido Demócrata Popular were not just acronyms initially integrated into Alianza Popular—and later merged into Partido Popular—but they represented the real representation of the various groups and families that, since the first Spanish Constitution of 1812, formed the center-right family in Spain.

That alphabet soup was undoubtedly a strong and healthy ideological conglomerate, where each party had its own identity. This lasted until the PP’s refounding congress in January 1989. That congress allowed the PP to reach Moncloa, but the omnipotent power given to the president of the new party has been eroding the internal democracy required by any political organization, as demanded by Article 6 of our Constitution.

Many nights, I watch with healthy envy the electoral debates of the U.S. Republican Party as they search for their presidential candidate for November. Undoubtedly, it is not easy to reach an agreement within the party among people with ideologies as diverse as those represented by Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or Donald Trump. Each of them responds to the details and nuances of that center-right liberal spectrum in the United States.

Why can’t PP voters choose our leader like the Republicans in the United States? But why can’t PP voters choose our political leader as it is done in the United States? Can’t our ideological nuances—more or less conservative, more or less liberal, more or less Christian-democratic—be authentically and democratically reflected within the party? Do we need to endure forever the foolocracy represented by the PP leaders?

Do we need to attend PP congresses like the parties of the Communist Party of the USSR? Should we continue watching, impassively, as sycophants in chambers and town halls applaud the artificially imposed leader until their hands bleed? Does the sectarian oligarchy of state lawyers, the Soraya clique, the bodyguards of Marianismo have the right to indefinitely usurp our conservative or liberal ideology?

The answer to all my questions is no. But since I cannot freely choose the next candidate of my party for the general elections, since we see day after day how the organization disintegrates amidst passivity due to the serious suspicions of corruption, and since we have had to endure our own leader telling us that «if anyone wants to go to the liberal or conservative party, let them go»—and yet we are still here—we must be allowed to remember that many of us continue to firmly believe in a simple center-right electoral program. And that program can be summarized as: Rule of Law, unity of Spain, respect for private property, low tax pressure, a non-interventionist State, and protection of life.

I want to call on all people who agree with this brief program to demand internal democracy within the PP, for all of us to demand that the organization convene an extraordinary refounding congress, as it would be very sad to vote for the PP only out of fear of the extreme left. This way, I can explain to my son why I continue to vote for the Partido Popular.

In Defense of Liberalism

In Defense of Liberalism

In a few hours, Spanish citizens will face the twelfth legislative elections since the transition to democracy, and the first with Felipe VI as King of Spain. These elections, compared to previous ones, represent a great challenge for our nation and a prelude to significant changes.

The so-called ‘emerging’ parties were initially a breath of fresh air against the traditional Spanish bipartisanship. Since 1982, PSOE and PP have alternated in power until today, generating a long period of democratic stabilization.

However, bipartisanship seems worn out, partly due to the generational change represented by those under 30, many of whom feel disaffection towards the 1978 Constitution. Undoubtedly, sociology will have to explain why this is happening.

In my opinion, a low-quality educational system like ours has caused many of our young people not to grow up with entrepreneurial attitudes. Entrepreneurship should be promoted through education, although our current university system is far from this goal. On the contrary, it fosters social sheepishness under the umbrella of the single-minded thinking of an outdated and conservative left.

From a liberal ideology, on the other hand, true wealth and well-being can be created. Our ideology advocates for individual rights, which are the pillars on which social and economic progress rests. Thus, in our Rule of Law, we must all be equal before the law, without privileges, adhering to a legal framework that protects individual freedoms and collective well-being simultaneously.

With these guarantees, the elements that promote the existence of free citizens can be achieved, with minimal state intervention, minimal tax pressure, and limited commercial regulations. All this will allow the engine of national economic development to be in the hands of each citizen.

It is undeniable that the state has significant obligations to the citizen, but the most important one is to foster their development and growth from childhood, through adolescence, and into youth within a serious and rigorous educational framework, free from archaic ideologies that preach fear and favor immaturity and irresponsibility. These ideologies develop collective insecurities, attitudes that rival meritocracy and effort, strangling personal merit in favor of the poor inefficiencies of an egalitarian state that rewards the mediocre and the brave alike. The party that wins the elections will have to address the revision of the public education sector in Spain, placing private companies at the helm of each university to manage this public sphere effectively.

There are no liberal positions in the political programs of PSOE, Podemos, or Ciudadanos. These three options seek to perpetuate in the consciousness of Spaniards the fears and insecurities that make them prisoners of their environment.

Profound educational reforms, privately managed healthcare, greater presence in international politics, the creation of an Economic Community of Latin American Countries, an energy plan based on nuclear energy, the recovery of state competencies, a genuine separation of powers, and the imposition of plural and dynamic processes for the selection of candidates within political parties, plus the suppression of professional politicians, are essential programmatic elements of the liberal spirit found in parts of the PP.

At this moment, and paraphrasing Kennedy, we must remember that phrase, «Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.» And our politicians must learn that «true freedom consists of being able to say to everyone, even those things they do not want to hear.»

Let Artur Mas tell us the truth!

Let Artur Mas tell us the truth!

Next Thursday, the 15th, the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas, will testify as a defendant in relation to the judicial process being pursued in the Superior Court of Catalonia for disobeying the Constitutional Court. The date coincides with the 75th anniversary of the execution of Lluís Companys. It is unclear whether the choice of that specific day is a coincidence or the result of a conscious decision by the investigating judge.

What does not seem to be a coincidence is the validity of Article 330.4 of the Organic Law of the Judiciary, which allows half of the magistrates of the Civil and Criminal Chamber of each Superior Court of Justice to be appointed from a shortlist proposed by the respective regional parliament. This is the provision that was used to appoint the magistrate in charge of the procedure against Mas in the Catalan Superior Court. It is worth noting that the proposal for this appointment was pushed forward by CiU, the party of the now-indicted individual.

The language of Cervantes, still a co-official language in Catalonia, is rich in aphorisms, and one very appropriate for this occasion is that «no one can be judge and party» or «don’t set a fox to guard the henhouse.»

Article 330.4 of the Organic Law of the Judiciary is a provision contrary to Article 117 of the Constitution, which proclaims the independence of judges. With the state and regional legislative power controlling the appointment of judges directly or indirectly (through the General Council of the Judiciary), it can be said that our country has certain gaps in its Rule of Law.

The indictment against Mas concerns three crimes: serious disobedience committed by public authorities (Article 410.1 of the Penal Code), perversion of justice (Article 404), and embezzlement of public funds (Article 433). We were surprised to hear the «most honorable» defendant say, «legally I did not disobey, politically what happened was a democratic rebellion against the Spanish State: I set up the ballot boxes.»

The testimonies given on July 13 and 30 at the headquarters of the TSJ of Catalonia have revealed the same social fracture that existed in the Basque Country in the 1980s and 90s, where many remain silent or look the other way, others shout praises to Casanova, Companys, and Pujol, and a few outcasts dare to tell the truth before the investigator, in a room decorated with the red and yellow flag.

Very few school principals in Catalonia, despite the pressures received, refused to hand over the keys so that the so-called «participatory process» of 9-N, suspended by the Constitutional Court, could take place in those schools. They have borne the brunt of the social blackmail that the religion of nationalism imposes on its infidels.

I hope and wish that Artur Mas will tell us the truth on the 15th and clarify the confirmed pressures that teachers suffered to hand over their schools and place the ballot boxes prohibited by the Constitutional Court in them. I hope and wish that the investigator will be guided only by legality because any judicial system that does not function independently makes the rest of the citizens who are subject to it prisoners of its inefficiency. We eagerly await to see if, after a possible disqualification from holding public office, Mas will decide to stay in Catalonia or self-exile to Liechtenstein.

The Necessary Review of the Spanish University Caste

The Necessary Review of the Spanish University Caste

It is evident that Spain has much at stake in the challenge to the Rule of Law led by the President of Catalonia, Artur Mas. It seems unthinkable that Spain could lose this battle, but we should draw some conclusions to avoid similar situations in the future.

Any Spaniard might think that this duel could be lost by our country simply due to non-appearance or, rather, due to the neglect of duties by the national political parties, parties that are supposed to represent the general interest.

In this neglect of duties, both PP and PSOE stand out equally. However, it is an undeniable merit of zapaterismo to have brought back the two Spains, reopening an old wound that we thought had healed as a result of the agreement between political forces during the Transition.

We cannot understand ‘zapaterismo’ as an accidental phenomenon but as the result of bringing the prejudices of the elitist, oligarchic, and endogamous Spanish bureaucracy into the political sphere, specifically, the university caste from which Zapatero himself came.

This caste does not serve the citizenry since its purpose and existence are exclusively oriented towards inoculating students with a venom against private enterprise and wealth generation, uprooting any possibility of developing personal attitudes towards entrepreneurship and promoting the desire to become civil servants.

To whom does the civil servant account for their work? Or, in the university sphere, who measures or evaluates the outcome of the teaching task? Spain, like other Western societies, must carefully study the functioning of its bureaucracy to transform it into a tool that serves society.

It seems we have not learned that when meritocracy is removed from the horizon and unfair egalitarianism punishes the best, blocking any possibility of proportional benefit to effort and risk, we end up in the situation of abject misery to which communism led us.

It is the risk of failure and uncertainty (inherent in the private world) that create the right environment for progress. The fact that something can go wrong scares us and leads us to do everything in our power to prevent that adverse outcome. Effort, reflection, and creativity arise in contexts of uncertainty, and the fact that things can change activates us to survive.

However, the bureaucratic and endogamous design of the university (see the system for selecting professors, the internal promotion system, funding and evaluation system, its limited interaction with the business world…) has immobilized its functioning, hindered its dynamism, and distanced its members from the real world, turning them into the social agents who feel the most animosity towards changing the status quo. It is no surprise that we do not have leading universities, as they live in a parallel, static, and immovable universe where meritocracy and the creation of viable solutions to real problems have been relegated to the corner of oblivion.

It is necessary to analyze the results of 30 years of public service in democracy to implement changes that generate benefits for society, turning teaching into a driver of national economic development since it is from this activity that behaviors generating an entrepreneurial attitude and mindset, the genesis of wealth creation, emerge.

Undoubtedly, the university bureaucratic caste will not allow the indoctrination of our young people to stop, as it would mean the end of the outdated left that still roams the classrooms. But without that change, the conflict of the two Spains will remain ad eternum.

error: Content is protected !!