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Catalonia Really Wants To Be Free

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Darrell Castle talks about revolution in Spain as the region of Catalonia seeks independence.


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CATALONIA REALLY WANTS TO BE FREE

Hello this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. Today is Friday October 6, 2017 and on today’s Report I will be talking about the nation of Spain and the struggle of one of its regions or provinces to become an independent nation. We start with a little background.

Prior to the start of World War Two the Spanish Region of Catalonia sought to establish a Republic in Spain and it was allied in its struggle with the Soviet Union. The opposing force was Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco who was allied with Nazi Germany. Adolph Hitler had begun rearming Germany from its defeat in World War l and the Spanish Civil War gave him a chance to test his new weapons, especially the Luftwaffe or German Air Force. The new airplanes used in Spain caused Great Britain to take notice and start its own rearmament. The Spanish civil war became a cause for celebrity attention around the world. Ernest Hemingway went there and wrote “For Whom The Bell Tolls” about it.

Franco continued as Spanish head of state until his death in 1975. After his death a Constitutional Monarchy was established with 17 autonomous regions one of which was Catalonia. The autonomy of these regions was spelled out in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 but the Constitution did not allow for complete independence from Spain.  Since that time the region of Catalonia has been in a struggle with the Spanish Government in Madrid. The two sides can never agree on how much autonomy each region has or even what is meant by the term autonomy. The Catalan people have voted in non binding referendums many times and each vote is overwhelmingly for independence.

Each time the Spanish Government goes to the Constitutional Court for a ruling that the referendum is illegal and unconstitutional, and each time they get it. Spain will not voluntarily let go of Catalonia, the nation’s most valuable and richest region. Catalonia is not the only Spanish Region to consider independence and the Basque Region is watching these events very closely.

Catalonia is located on the northeast corner of Spain. It borders France and the Mediterranean Coast and includes the city of Barcelona. It is Spain’s number one tourist region, from which comes its highest tax revenue. The tax system is Catalonia’s reason for wanting independence and has been since the Constitution of 1978. The Catalans are upset because more than a majority of their taxes are collected from them but used in other regions. Catalonia is being used as a tax farm by the Spanish Government to fund its welfare and vote buying schemes in other regions.

In a nutshell the real problem with Catalonia and Spain in general is one of demographics. Spain has the lowest fertility rate in Europe and its population is rapidly aging. While Spain struggles to deal with an unproductive and aging population the European Union requires the immigration of a few million immigrants supposedly to replace Spanish low wage workers but who in reality fill the welfare rolls. Scotland could not afford to vote for independence from Great Britain because of all the subsidies it receives but in Spain the relationship is reversed and Catalonia subsidizes the Spanish Government.

The Catalan people have come to the conclusion that they would be better of without the rest of Spain so they are pushing independence as far as it will go. Other regions such as the Basque region watch and wait for their own opportunity. Spain is in a very difficult spot because if Catalan is allowed to be free other regions will follow suit and the Spanish Government will have no way to pay the debt service on the billions it has borrowed from the European Central Bank and the German Banks.

In its desperation to keep Catalonia peaceably, Spain has offered to pay billions to the region. That is money that only the banks can provide so we have a typical banker story. The banks hold the Spanish Government in a state of virtual bondage. The Catalonians told Spain sure we’ll take your money but only if there are no political strings attached so the deal fell through. The Government offers whatever you want except what you absolutely mush and that is freedom.

The European Union also seems desperate to keep Catalan from achieving independence even though the region is adamant that it wants to remain a part of the Union.  They want independence on the one hand but apparently not complete independence because they want to remain a part of a Union that would to a certain extent control their economy, border, etc.

Catalonia is a threat to the European Union just as Brexit was and is a threat. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor and unofficial leader of the European Union and increasingly with Emmanuel Macron of France, have been outspoken against independence for Catalonia. It would make it more difficult for Spain to repay the European banks and also such movements threaten the control that is supposed to be imposed collectively from Brussels. The EU already has its hands full with Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic in defiance of EU regulations and orders on immigration.

Catalonia set a referendum for last Sunday October 1 and this time the vote was to be binding. The Spanish Constitutional Court ruled the vote illegal and invalid before it was held. The Spanish Government had two choices with the vote; allow the vote but campaign against it and point out to the people the disadvantages of independence and the advantages of remaining Spanish or send in the Guardia Civil, National Police, to break up the election. The government, as governments tend to do, chose the dumbest possible course of action sending in the Guardia Civil to brutally suppress the vote.

People guilty of nothing but standing in line to vote were attacked and almost a thousand were injured badly enough to go to the hospital. They tried to confiscate the ballot boxes but the people organized and resisted as best they could. This was not a top down revolution led by the elites but a widespread phenomenon involving all aspects of society including the Catholic Church. All 400 Catholic Clerics in Catalonia signed the demand for independence. I suppose the Government thought that the Catalonians would be so intimidated that they would just abandon their efforts but the repression had the opposite effect. The determination of the region was bolstered and now Catalonia will move unilaterally to declare independence this Monday the 9th of October.

The Government has refused to negotiate and has said that it will trigger article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, the so called nuclear option. Article 155 has never been used before and as a counter Catalonia said that it will request that Article 7 of the European Union Treaty be invoked. Article 155 would effectively end Catalan’s autonomous status and the Region would then be ruled not by its own elected officials but by those in Madrid. Article 7 requires suspension from the EU of any member state that uses military force on its own people.

Spain, already suffering severe economic troubles with unemployment of the young running above 38 % and deeply in debt, is now facing a possible catastrophe. It simply cannot live without Catalonia and yet it appears that it will have to or brutally repress a revolution. No investors want to buy Spanish bonds so rates have to soar at a time when there is no money to pay higher interest. Should Catalonia be successful, investment in Spanish paper might cease completely. It’s hard to see how the Government in Madrid could survive under those circumstances so Article 155 becomes a real probability.

I would not call this a civil war because it is not yet a war and even if it is, the term Civil War does not apply. A war for independence is not a civil war in the true sense. The American Civil War was not really a Civil War because that is where two groups fight a war seeking control of the same government. It was, rather, a war for independence just as Catalonia is about to engage in. Revolution would be an even better term.

Catalonia is part of a growing resistance to centralized authority occurring in many parts of the world. The movement toward independence seems like a good thing to me. How would the United States Government handle such a movement here? Perhaps we’ll find out somewhere down the road.

Breaking up is hard to do but no relationship is usually better than a bad relationship.

At least that’s the way I see it,

Until next time folks,

This is Darrell Castle,

Thanks for listening.

Catalonia Really Wants To Be Free

 

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Darrell Castle

1970

East Tennessee State University

Darrell Castle was born in 1948, in Kingsport, Tennessee, graduating from Ketron High School in 1966.  He attended East Tennessee State University (ETSU), earning a Bachelor of Science degree in both Political Science and History in 1970, and a Juris Doctorate from Memphis State University in 1979.   He currently resides in Germantown, Tennessee.

1971

United States Marine Corps

Darrell came of age during the Viet Nam War.  During his ETSU years, he enrolled in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for two years and attended the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders class in Quantico, Virginia.   Following graduation he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.  Darrell trained under then 1st Lieutenant, Oliver North.  After graduation from Basic School, Darrell’s unit received a unit citation for being deployed in five different theaters of operation at the same time.  He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and received orders to the Far East for 13 months.  His service in Viet Nam followed a family military tradition; his oldest brother serving in the Army during World War II, another brother having served as a Marine in the Korean War.

War is a life-changing event and Darrell’s experiences during those years contributed to his strong belief that war should not be entered into capriciously; and, that the decision to go to war must be made according to constitutional provisions.  He firmly believes in upholding Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which makes it clear that only Congress can declare war, and that those powers are not granted to the president.  He left the Marine Corps a very different person than when he went in.

left to right, front row: Joan, Joanna, Michael, and Darrell.

Life does have a way of steering one into new directions, and Darrell moved on to earn his Juris Doctor in 1979 from Memphis State University (now known as the University of Memphis) and became an attorney.  It was here that he had a second life-changing event – he met and married the former Joan Weil.  Happily wedded for nearly 38 years, they have one daughter.

In 1984, Darrell opened a private firm, which later grew into Darrell Castle and Associates, based in Memphis, Tennessee. Since then, he has opened firms in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; and St. Louis, Missouri.  With over 25 years of legal experience, he has earned much respect.  His current focus is on consumer bankruptcy and personal injury, but Darrell Castle and Associates also represents clients in the areas of social security/disability and workers’ compensation.  (www.darrellcastle.com)

Darrell has a strong Christian religious ethic.   He has served as a deacon and deacon chairman in his local church.  In 1998, Darrell and Joan stretched out their hand to serve others, and founded Mia’s Children Foundation (www.miaschildren.org), a Christian mission in Bucharest, Romania which ministers to homeless gypsy children.

His political activism includes:

  •  Two terms as the Constitution Party of Tennessee State Chairman
  • Three terms as the Vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Constitution Party
  •  Two terms as the Platform Chairman of the National Convention of the Constitution Party
  • Instructor of the Institute on the Constitution course
  • Author of numerous articles and commentaries addressing national issues and analysis of current events
  •  Board member of the Conservative Caucus since 2005
  •  2007 Chairman of the National Veterans Coalition, an outreach of the National Constitution Party
  •  2008 Constitution Party Vice-presidential Candidate, running mate of Chuck Baldwin.
  • Creator and author of the Castle Report2008

    Vice-Presidential Campaign

 

 

 

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