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Spain's King Juan Carlos I is presently announcing his abdication, according to the BBC.  The Royal Family has been dogged by continued scandals, including ongoing proceedings regarding his daughter, Cristina, Duchess of Mallorca.  The King's son, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, is next in line for the throne.

Juan Carlos has gotten a great deal of well-earned negative attention for his family's poor decision-making and for his poor PR, including elephant hunting during the Great Recession (ewww).  But Juan Carlos will always be remembered by me as the man who will leave the last true dictator of Western Europe, Francisco Franco - an honest-to-God fascist, in the dictionary definition of the term - perpetually rolling in his grave.  Franco groomed him to take over Falangist Spain as a dictator, but, upon Franco's death, the King guided Spain to democracy and stood against an attempted coup d'état that could have resulted in fascism returning to Spain.

Obviously, the legal proceedings surrounding Princess Cristina need to play out without interference (and, thus far, there is no reason to think that they won't).  But I hope that history and the Spanish People will both remember Juan Carlos primarily for irrevocably breaking fascism's last stronghold in Europe.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The new Euro Party Podemos (8+ / 0-)

    is calling for a referendum on replacing the monarchy with a republic. Given the connection to the indignados, this could be something that we'll see large street protests over.

    http://www.economicpopulist.org

    by ManfromMiddletown on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 02:39:07 AM PDT

  •  i agree with you (25+ / 0-)

    he played a critical role in spain's post-franco transformation to democracy. in his early years, he also was known for a lack of pretense- steering clear of such excesses as the elephant hunting trip. i do think history will judge him very favorably.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:13:51 AM PDT

    •  2/23/1981: The king took down a miltary coup (5+ / 0-)

      23-F

      On February 23, 1981, military traitors attacked the Spanish Parliament and ordered parliamentarians under the desk while shooting over their heads.  King Juan Carlos I ordered them to stop and rallied military personnel loyal to the Spanish Constitution to convince them to stop.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 11:16:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what did his daughter do? (5+ / 0-)

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:22:50 AM PDT

    •  King of Spain's daughter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      waterstreet2013

      visited somebody with a gold pear tree

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:38:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Christina and her husband (15+ / 0-)

      have been under investigation for financial corruption ("diversion of public funds") and money laundering.

      "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

      by SueDe on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:07:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's more than this though. (17+ / 0-)

        In a country in the depths of an economic crisis, the King got called out for taking a hugely expensive African  safari at public expense.

        That started a collapse in his popularity, as confirmed by polling showing that the institution of the monarchy itself is in crisis.

        Support for abdication increased from 44.7 to 62 between January 2013 and 2014. While a majority believe that the King can't restore the prestige of the monarchy the son Don Felipe can. On the question of the monarchy itself, the country is basically evenly divided with 49.9 % favoring its continuation, and 43.3% not favoring this.  

        This is a hugely partisan issue. 77.7 of PP voters (conservatives) favor the monarchy, while among IU voters (Left) 84.7% oppose it.  Among PSOE (Socialist) and UPyD (Centrist) voters opinion is basically split.

        These numbers are from the start of the year, and it's probable that the situation has deteriorated further since then.  The royal family apparently has surveys conducted every 15 days.

        The Euro elections in Spain saw the Left clobber the shit out of the two main parties. I think that it's inevitable that they well take it to the streets.

        The wild card here is Felipe.  There's hope that a fresh face can restore the institution of the monarchy.  His wife was a popular newscaster before their marriage.  Shades of Charles and Di here, and it's my impression that Charles is actually better behaved than Felipe. There will be smoke, but fire?

        http://www.economicpopulist.org

        by ManfromMiddletown on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:23:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the "institution of monarchy" should have died, (14+ / 0-)

          worldwide, in the 19th century.

          Why it still exists anywhere (particularly in places where it still does have real political power), is a mystery to me.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:28:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And if it didn't die in the 19th century (8+ / 0-)

            It should have died in the 20th

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:34:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I have a great deal of respect for (17+ / 0-)

            what Juan Carlos did when the Spanish military seized the parliament by force of arms, and tried to restore an authoritarian regime, in February 1982.  Without the King going on national TV to order the conspirators to stand down, the country could have slipped into bloody civil war.

            But, he hasn't aged well. The Spanish monarchy has little real power, it's the hefty public support for the Royal Family and the corruption case with his idiot son in law that have been a bone contention.

            http://www.economicpopulist.org

            by ManfromMiddletown on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:40:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  NONE of the royals have much political power (6+ / 0-)

              Except in tiny places like Monaco.

              However, as Juan Carlos' actions during the attempted coup clearly show, a monarch can function very effectively as the head of state in ways that an elected leader can't.  A President or Prime Minister probably wouldn't have been able to shut down the Fascists the way he did thanks to partisan politics.

              The same thing applies to the British monarchy.  George VI and Queen Elizabeth basically held Britain together during the war, while Princess Diana hugging and touching an AIDS patient in the 1980's changed attitudes toward the disease pretty dramatically.  It's not a system I'd necessarily want to live under - I bow to no king save Brennan I, King of the East, may he lead us to victory over the Midrealm at Pennsic, w00t! - but constitutional monarchies have their uses.

              This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

              by Ellid on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:31:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  They're called CEOs now (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WisVoter, Bob Love, shaharazade, k9disc

            Hillary does not have the benefit of a glib tongue.

            by The Dead Man on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:26:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  separation of tribalism and politics (0+ / 0-)

            The cleverest argument for monarchy that I've heard is that you give the people - and especially the right - an apolitical symbol of the nation and guardian of tradition while the politicians are theoretically free to do their jobs without worrying about identity politics.

            Most European countries that were monarchies but became republics still have both a president (i.e. head of state) and a prime minister (i.e. head of government) as a nod to this history, though their power relative to each other varies country by country.  In some cases, the monarchy could be easily restored with minimal amending of the constitution simply by transferring the limited powers of the elected but essentially ceremonial head of state - versus the powerful head of government elevated from the majority party in a parliament - back to the senior member of the old royal family.

            Our system combines the two roles - head of state and head of government: national symbol and bureaucrat-in-chief - in the office of the President.  One could argue that this complicates matters since the President is not just a government official but the living symbol of the American people, whose appeal and power (for better or worse) has as much to do with their perceived values and character as with their actual policies.

            Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

            by Visceral on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:50:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Charles better behaved than Felipe??? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2013

          I'm not a royalist but Felipe has nothing. Not a single scandal or public positioning that is unpopular or anything really. Charles on the other hand.....

          •  Im thinking of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            reasonshouldrule

            the airport incident

            MIAMI (AP) — A routine security check at Miami International Airport turned into a diplomatic flap when the unhappy subjects of the search turned out to be the future king of Spain and his fiancee.

            The couple and four bodyguards were connecting onto a commercial airliner in Miami after arriving from the Bahamas in a chartered jet, The Miami Herald reported for Saturday's editions.

            But before boarding their Iberia Airlines flight to Madrid on Thursday, Crown Prince Felipe, Spanish television anchorwoman Letizia Ortiz and their entourage had to pass through a security check.

            "The prince and his bodyguard felt they should not be subjected to the screening, but if they do not have an escort from the State Department or the Secret Service, it is required," said Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lauren Stover. "It's the law."

            This does not portend well for a man who is expected to act as the first citizen instead of Louis XIV.

            http://www.economicpopulist.org

            by ManfromMiddletown on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:10:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quite the opposite (0+ / 0-)

              It is an ongoing joke among the Spanish regarding the bureaucratic imbecility of US Customs and the TSA in flights between Spain and Latin America, much of which lays over temporarily in Miami where Spanish travellers are subjected to what they all view as inane security precautions, such as filling out temporary visitor applications with questions such as, "Have you ever participated in a genocide?" Felipe's refusal to be searched in Miami was greeted with cheers from all over Spain for standing up to the American fools. What is a Spanish crown prince going to do even if he was heavily armed, after all?  Hijack an airplane?

              What makes sense to us about subjecting all people, high and low, to the same mundane humiliations of law just looks silly to much of the rest of the world when carried on to ridiculous, seemingly self-righteous, degrees.

        •  Which only goes to show you (0+ / 0-)

          In politics it is better to do something bad than to do something stupid.

          The trip does not appear to have been taken at public expense; however it took place at a time when Spain was suffering 23% unemployment.  

          I've lost my faith in nihilism

          by grumpynerd on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:47:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Conservative Monarchists (2+ / 0-)
          77.7 of PP voters (conservatives) favor the monarchy

          This is of course what "Conservatism" means. It strives to "conserve" feudal monarchy - right down to the "divine right" of kings as administered by theocracy, and the status of labor as much above animals as animals are above inanimate property.

          The UK Conservative Party is the "Tories", who were the monarchists in the House of Commons. The US Republican Party was full of people whose families a few generations before were Loyalists (to King George III) in the American Revolution. They are against a democratic republic, and in favor of property and authoritarianism. Nearly a quarter millennium after "the shot heard round the world" we still aren't even over the freedom watershed from the monarchial culture that ruled humanity for the previous couple millennia.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:50:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's (0+ / 0-)

            actually a huge historical divide between the monarchists and falangists which I don't have the time to do justice.

            http://www.economicpopulist.org

            by ManfromMiddletown on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:19:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The modern Republican Party really dates to (0+ / 0-)

            the 30s, when opposition to Roosevelt reached a fever pitch.  Prior to that, the parties are more difficult to categorize, with the Democrats being more populist at a time when populist meant anti-black and anti-science, and the Republicans being the Progressives of the era.  So are you arguing that the post-Roosevelt Republicans are directly motivated by their 170-year-old loyalties to King George III?

            "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

            by auron renouille on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:49:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I appreciate the role played in ending Franco's (7+ / 0-)

    legacy . .

    But why in hell does anyone need a "king" in the 21st century?

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:26:38 AM PDT

    •  It's good for tourism. n/t (5+ / 0-)

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:43:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  For the UK, two arguments (16+ / 0-)

      1. "President Thatcher"
      2. "President Blair"

      To be honest, it does not make much of a difference what Head of State (HoS) you have in a parliamentary democracy. For example, do you know the name of the President of Germany?

      The role of the monarch or President under a parliamentary system is to advise the Prime Minister in privacy and to ask the leader of the largest party to form a government. That latter role gets more complicated in a multi-party system where the role can be to encourage the formation of a coalition government. Basically the parties agree and inform the HoS of the outcome of their negotiations. (You may remember that recently Belgium was without a government for over a year).

      The monarch also provides a figurehead. They are normally titular head of the armed services. Their oaths of loyalty are to her "and her heirs and successors under law" rather than to a constitution. In very extreme circumstances, a monarch may refuse to confirm a law although this is so rarely done it would provoke a constitutional crisis if they did. This is actually set out in the second normally sung verse of "God Save the Queen" where the role of protecting the ordinary citizens from the abuse of power of the Parliament is set out:

      Thy choicest gifts in store
      On her be pleased to pour,
      Long may she reign;
      May she defend our laws,
      And ever give us cause
      To sing with heart and voice,
      God save The Queen!

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 05:08:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Looking at the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden (10+ / 0-)

        and Norway, maybe there's something to be said for good constitutional monarchies.



        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:28:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe it gives those humans who need (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid, Visceral, reasonshouldrule

          some kind of stable hierarchy to look up to something to keep them occupied while governance is performed (ideally) by the adults.

          Hillary does not have the benefit of a glib tongue.

          by The Dead Man on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:36:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The House of Washington wouldn't be Bush or (4+ / 0-)

          Clinton.

          Maybe having one king would be enough ???

          (I hate it, seeing Bushes and Clintons running for president. This is a disaster.)

          "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

          by waterstreet2013 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:51:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Without making any claims for either the Bushes or (5+ / 0-)

            the Clintons, I don't see families in politics as any different than in any other profession. Many doctors come from families with doctors, and the same is true for lawyers, professors and ministers. There is a great deal of human capital needed for those occupations and it is not nefarious that children or relatives of politicians are more likely to go into politics - it reflects that the fact that you need to know certain things and have certain skills to do them, and the children of any professional pick up some things at home that are only acquired more painstakingly as an adult.



            Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

            by Wee Mama on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:33:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think the frustrating aspect of it is that both (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wee Mama

              GWB and HRC seemed to have a cleared path to the nomination.  GWB had no business winning the GOP's nomination, with his demons and lack of support from what one might call the Goldwater Republicans, and if Hilary runs in our primary, it's presently very difficult to imagine the primary even being competitive.  If GWB had become a long-serving Texas Senator or HRC had parlayed her experience in the White House into a career in the foreign service or the Senate from one of her home states (as opposed to a brief pitstop as Senator from New York), it wouldn't feel as bad to me, because you are right - no small number of families have family businesses.

              But the problem is that party elites and voters alike seem to give dynasties political Disneyland fast passes - they skip ahead to the front of the line and displace a generation of potential leaders.

              "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

              by auron renouille on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:49:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  House of Washington would have gone extinct (0+ / 0-)

            Unless George I formally adopted or otherwise chose and groomed his heir, presumably with the support of Congress.

            That would have been very Roman, and the founders worked so hard to imitate the Romans.

            Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

            by Visceral on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:59:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  A disaster, perhaps, but a temporary one. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not sure how I feel about another Hilary Clinton, but I know that I don't like the idea of two families dominating US politics and fresh blood is a good thing; that will weigh heavily on me during the Democratic primary, but if all other credible candidates sit out the primary or if she wins the nomination, I'm not going to be a dumbass and vote third party.  But if she's elected for two terms, we'll have 36 years dominated by two families with only a brief interruption by President Obama.  After those 36 years, there will likely be an incalculably large backlash against political dynasties.

            On the other hand, the Roosevelt family had outsized influence on the US between 1900 and 1945, and I'd say that both their effect on the nation was enormously positive and that it ended peacefully and without an irreparable power vacuum when President Roosevelt died.  So maybe I'm underestimating our political system's capacity for self-correction.

            "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

            by auron renouille on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:42:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm thinking more of places like Saudi Arabia (4+ / 0-)

        or Jordan or Brunei, where there is no "constitutional" about it--the "monarch" is the absolute ruler. A relic of the Middle Ages.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:45:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The us fetish for presidents makes uk's (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethtriggs, Bob Love, shaharazade, ichibon

        Separation of head of state and head of government look worth the money.

        Schedule permitting, PROOF WILL BE PROVIDED ON HOW I AM BEING "CONSTANTLY CALLED OUT" AND "UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED" FOR BEING BAD. Moreover, the dossier on my activities during the Bush administration will have an appendix concluding that I am Wrong.

        by Inland on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:06:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  the President of Germany (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        auron renouille

        is the highly-respected Joachim Gauck, famous for his human rights activism. And I didn't even have to look that up!

    •  Need? Doubtful. But I'm reminded of WW2, (0+ / 0-)

      when the rulers of the UK and the Netherlands, amongst many other countries, had a stabilizing and morale-boosting effect.  In the absence of a true crisis, monarchs and figurehead presidents such as the presidents of Germany and Israel (or, for instance, Canada's Governor-General) have no real effect on government.  But when she shit hits the fan - when Belgium went without a government for a year and nearly split up a couple years ago (for all of the idiotic "Belgian Waffles" remarks, that was a fairly serious situation for Europe), when the UK endured year after year of horrific bombing in the Battle of Britain, it's good to have someone around who owes allegiance to no party or political leader, only to the continuing competent self-governance of the realm.  The exiled monarchs who lived in Great Britain during World War II were enormous sources of morale for their Continental constituencies.

      The US has no such control or moderating factor other than Constitutional checks and balances between the branches - if a single party were to gain control of the Presidency and both houses of Congress and have sincerely bizarre ideas about world affairs, they could go off the rails in a way that would make Iraq look like an afternoon pizza party and SCOTUS would be no use because foreign affairs are 99% exempt from judicial review.  If that were to happen in the UK, if someday some fruit loop political party were to gain power with the stated goal of invading France, odds are that the PM would be summoned to a meeting with the Queen and the leaders of the House of Lords and essentially told "you can back the fuck up or you can have an enormous PR crisis and crisis of legitimacy."

      That's not an argument for the US to create a monarchy out of whole cloth - that boat sailed out of New York Harbor in 1783 with good reason.  But when the institution exists and is healthy, it can be a backstop against chaos.

      An interesting argument against royalty that hasn't been raised in this diary - what happens when there's some question about whether or not the monarchs in question remain monarchs out of their own free will?  There are some legitimate concerns about Japan, where it's an open question as to whether or not the Emperor runs the Imperial Household Agency or the Household Agency runs the Emperor.  There's been some real concern about Princess Masako's health that I don't think have ever been adequately answered, although once she produced an heir, I think the pressure was reduced.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:33:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting tidbit (16+ / 0-)

    up until 1974 the whole Iberian Peninsula was under fascist dictatorship.  The New State in Portugal ended in April 25, 1974 with the Carnation Revolution.  A year and a half later Spain joined the fold when Franco died and King Juan Carlos helped turn Spain into a democracy.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:39:59 AM PDT

    •  A lesson from Portugal (11+ / 0-)

      The 1974 revolution in Portugal followed an economic crisis caused by excess spending on the military in order to keep the country's colonial possessions. The cost outweighed any advantage from having access to the colonies' natural resources.

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 05:24:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very true (8+ / 0-)

        Portugal's empire wasn't very big but it was spread out.  They controlled Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome e Principe Timor East, Macau and Indian colonies of Goa, Daman and Diu.  All of them were taken over or gained their independence after the Carnation Revolution.  The ones in India and Africa were the biggest losses and the ones that Salazar invested heavily in maintaining.   After he died in 1970 though, the iron grip gave way.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 05:58:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Alas, Portugal was small and poor. (0+ / 0-)

        We're big and rich.

        It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

        by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:17:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  our colonies are all on the same continent (0+ / 0-)

          We're pretty much the only country to have held on to all of its 19th Century acquisitions.  It helped that we flooded them with our own people or European immigrants with a high degree of cultural compatibility.  Virtually every other imperial power did not export its own people in any significant number, was focused only on resource extraction to feed the motherland, and held on by force of arms.  They all eventually lost their colonies and left behind underdeveloped societies dominated either by alienated and self-serving elites or by radicals subscribing to schoolboy Marxism perverted to serve a racial agenda.

          Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

          by Visceral on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:15:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hmm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samanthab

    Maybe he can get a flat with Benedict and talk about retiring from lifetime appointments.

  •  Mixed feelings about Juan Carlos.... (11+ / 0-)

    I'm with Lenny Flank upthread in that I just can't come up with a justification for any monarchy, even a fully constitutional one, to still exist.

    But neither do I find anything compellingly wrong about a constitutional monarchy. Many a marvelous country has such a system, and who am I to judge those who choose, by democratic means, to keep it? Were I one of them, I'd vote in every plebiscite to rescind monarchy, but I'm not.

    But in any event, Juan Carlos impressed the hell out of me when I was a kid at the time he came to power. Clearly, Franco was evil, we all knew that. What a pleasant surprise it was when his hand-picked successor voluntarily gave up such absolute power and instead dismantled the dictatorship Franco built. Such bravery, there. Whatever his flaws, he'll always have my good will for that.

    "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." --MLK

    by Progressive Witness on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:13:40 AM PDT

  •  something about liberty occurring.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, schumann

    when the last king has been strangled with the entrails of the last priest...can't remember who said it

  •  I, too, will (8+ / 0-)

    remember him primarily for his guidance of Spain out of fascism. We would not travel to Spain for many years because of Franco (or Portugal or Greece, because of their fascist governments).

    We were there in 2006, during the 40th anniversary of the transition, and the newspapers were full of debate. Interesting that even then there were unapologetic, die-hard fascists defending themselves in the media. Also, Franco's tomb makes the US's canonization of Reagan look like amateur hour. You have to pay a hefty admission charge to see it, so we declined, not wanting to support his glorification.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:16:18 AM PDT

    •  Franco died 20 November 1975 so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TrueBlueDem

      the 40th anniversary could not have been in 2006.  Maybe the 30th anniversary of the return to democracy.

    •  Valle de los Caídos was not built for Franco. (0+ / 0-)

      He had intended to be buried in Madrid, including having a crypt constructed for that purpose. But the government in 1975 and Juan Carlos wanted no part of having felangist ceremonies set up with annual parades through the capital city.

      El Caudillo was dumped out there in the hills with the other Fallen.

      It's a memorial for all the dead from the Spanish Civil War -- finished more than a decade before Franco passed.

      And in passing: Northern Ireland's victory over Spain in 1982 remains the greatest miracle in the history of the Iberian Peninsula. Gerry Armstrong for ever !!

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

      by waterstreet2013 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:19:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is no way that this could be true. (0+ / 0-)

    It is not mentioned anywhere in the Yahoo News web site.  (/snark)

    "In 20 years, the GOP will be small enough to drown in a bathtub." - me

    by estamm on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:22:28 AM PDT

  •  Also breaking.................... (5+ / 0-)

    Generalissimo Francisco Franco is................still dead.


    "Republicans: the party that brought us 'Just Say No.' First as a drug policy, then as their entire platform." ---Stephen Colbert

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:23:33 AM PDT

  •  He also told Hugo Chávez to shut up. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miggles, shaharazade

    (Google:  ¿Por qué no te callas?)

    Make of that what you will.

    Bello ne credite, Americani; quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

    by Sura 109 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:47:31 AM PDT

  •  And say what you will about Franco (0+ / 0-)

    But when he came to power, the country was still in the 19th century.  He kept Spain out of WWII, modernized it and albeit by luck/accident, chose a successor to put an end to fascist rule.

    Spain's history in the last 100 years has been complicated and it's all much more gray than black and white.

    •  There is such a thing as bad people (0+ / 0-)

      Not sure how you see much grey there.  2 of the 3 things you mention, WWII and the end of fascist rule, reflect very poorly on Franco.  

      He kept Spain out of WWII by allying with the Nazis, who helped Franco win the Civil War as a means of weakening anti-fascist forces and testing out weapons and tactics it would use in WWII.  Do you really want to count this as a positive?!

      And you can't credit him for the end of fascist rule when it was done after his death against his express wishes!  That he was incompetent enough to enable Juan Carlos to gain the power to end fascism is good for Spain, but it does not reflect well on Franco.  

      As for modernization, this was done not for the people's benefit, but for the 1% of his day.  There was undoubtedly ancillary benefits that accrued to the people, but this was not Franco's intent.  

      Finally, even ignoring all of these points, Franco's record of oppression and persecution of anyone who dared to oppose him renders him a terrible person and a terrible leader.  Would you feel the same if Franco had murdered one of your family?  

    •  Did he also keep the trains running on time? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reasonshouldrule

      The Chinese Communist Party modernized China too, but no one would argue with a straight face that they deserve the special right to oppress their own people.  The world is better off without the Francos of history, regardless of whether or not they could run an efficient bureaucracy.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:32:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fascism's Last Stronghold in Europe (2+ / 0-)
    remember Juan Carlos primarily for irrevocably breaking fascism's last stronghold in Europe.

    Last week the French and the British people each sent the largest share of their EU Parliament seats to the (Le Pen) National Front and the UKIP, respectively. They are fascists. The same polls that predicted those wins now show those fascists leading in their domestic elections.

    Though in Spain the nominally "Left" establishment lost seats to new, more likely actually "Left" parties - especially Catalan independence parties. However, while Juan Carlos guided the country out of Franco fascism, he lived high on the bankster fascism tides of bubble and bust until now.

    There is nothing irrevocable about fascism strongholds in Europe.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:45:57 AM PDT

    •  Please be careful about how you use the word (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reasonshouldrule

      "fascist."  I in no way support UKIP and their ilk - they and other anti-immigrant, anti-EU parties are not good for Europe and not good for society.  But while Le Pen's FN and Greece's Golden Dawn may have earned the label, particularly the Golden Dawn, UKIP and others are not fascist in the dictionary definition of the term.  Bad, bordering on evil, but not fascist - not all ultra-conservatism and nationalism is fascism.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:36:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do you think UKIP differs? (0+ / 0-)

        The UK independence party sounds and acts very much like our far-right conservatives in the U.S., bankrolled by such people as the  Koch brothers whose father raised them in the fascist mold.  (Old Fred admired Hitler's Germany).

        This rightward lurch by the EU countries is troubling, imo.  I know how destructive the far right is to the States, and I would hate to see this growing in Europe as well.

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