Iron Maiden: The Longest Day (2006)

Iron Maiden: The Longest Day (album: A Matter of Life and Death, 2006)

Lyrics The Longest Day

Wikipedia: D-Day (June 6, 1944)

Wikipedia: Normandy landings

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Narco Cultura (2013)

I just watched the documentary “Narco Cultura directed by Shaul Schwarza 2013 documentary film about the Mexican Drug War.

The Mexican Drug War which started in 2006 is an ongoing armed conflict among rival drug cartels fighting one another for regional control. At the same time these drug cartels are fighting against the Mexican government forces (the Federal Police and the Mexican army) and civilian vigilante groups. 

Although Mexican drug cartels, or drug trafficking organizations, have existed for several decades, they have become more powerful since the demise of the Colombian Cali and Medellín cartels in the 1990s.

Mexican drug cartels now dominate the wholesale US-American illicit drug market and in 2007 they controlled 90% of the cocaine entering the United States.

Analysts estimate that wholesale earnings from illicit drug sales range from $13.6 billion to $49.4 billion annually.

By the end of president Felipe Calderón‘s administration (2006–12), the official death toll of the Mexican Drug War was at least 60,000. Estimates set the death toll above 120,000 killed by 2013, not including 27,000 missing persons.

This documentary Narco Cultura focuses on the situation in the Mexican border town Ciudad Juárez (on the US-American side we have El PasoWest Texas) and on the phenomenon of the so called “narco-corridos” which is an element of the “narcoculture” in Mexico.

narco-corrido is a sub-genere of the Mexican norteñocorrido (northern ballad) music genre, a traditional folk music from northern Mexico, from which other several genres have evolved. This type of music is heard on both sides of the US–Mexican border.

The narco-corridos use a danceable, accordion-based polka as a rhythmic base. The first corridos that focus on drug smugglers – “narco” comes from “narcóticos” (narcotics) – have been dated back to the 1930s. Early corridos (non-narco) go back as far to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, telling the stories of revolutionary fighters. Music critics have also compared narcocorrido music to gangster rap.

“Narco-corrido” lyrics refer to particular events and include real dates and places. The lyrics tend to speak approvingly of illegal activities such as murdertortureracketeeringextortiondrug smugglingillegal immigration, and sometimes political protest due to government corruption.

Well, the effectiveness of this movie is mainly a result of the harsh contrast between the silly glorification of those cartell people (their bosses, dealers and killers) made in the songs and on the concerts of those narco-corrido-musicians with the disgusting images of the dirty and cruel war that is going on in Mexican border towns like Ciudad Juárez.

Ciudad Juárez has around 1,5 Million inhabitants and in the worst years the death toll of this drug war in Ciudad Juárez was up to more than 3000 murders a year.

See for example the article of December 15, 2010 titled “Ciudad Juarez Drug War Death Toll Hits 3,000” in “CBS News“.

In this documentary Narco Cultura you see dreadful images showing the bodies of shot persons (including policemen) lying in the morgue of Ciudad Juárez, also images of persons that have been decapitated or incinerated with gasoline, etc.

What is going on in Ciudad Juárez is monstruous and repulsive and it´s sad enough that such activities are glorified in the songs of those musicians that go on stage with AK-47s and bazookas.

Those weird mariachis as much as their fans obviously see in those drug lords ruling the Mexican cartels some modern Robin Hoods.  

But those cartels are in fact destroying the societies and economies of cities like Ciudad Juárez. The result of this violence is not only lawlessness and general fear. As one further result many businesses and companies that no only suffer under the effects of this massive violence, but also under the constant extortion by the cartels tend to leave cities like Ciudad Juárez.

And the Mexican cartels with their armed gangs are so powerful in Ciudad Juárez that they are leading an open war with the police forces, attacking them and also threatening the police officers with killing them in case they are not willing to resign from their jobs.

See for this documentary also the article titled “‘Narco Cultura’ Documentary Delves Into Drug Culture In Mexico (VIDEO)” (10/17/2013in the “Huffington Post“.

See also the article titled “Shaul Schwarz: Music, Guns and Drugs in the film ‘Narco Cultura’” (20/12/2013) in the website of “National Geographic“.

See also the article titled “Sundance Review: ‘Narco Cultura’ Is A Disturbing Look At The Mexican War On Drugs & The Idolatry Within” (1/21/2013) in the blog “The Playlist” (Indiewire).

This excellent documentary offers a disturbing look into the deadly anarchy and massive violence that is going on in Mexican borders towns like Ciudad Juárez: A violence that is conditioned also by the fact that those cartels can not only sell their drugs but also buy the weapons they need for this war in the United States with their very generous gun laws.

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The “Politics of National Pride” of the Spanish “People´s Party” (PP)

The leader of the Spanish People´s Party and current Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy has always been emphasizing in his speeches that the Spaniards should show with frankness their pride to be some Spaniards.

See for this for example an article of October 11, 2007 titled “Rajoy pide a los ciudadanos que manifiesten ‘con franqueza’ su orgullo de ser españoles” in the Spanish newspaper “El Mundo“. October 12 is the national day of Spain.

Now: The Puerta del Sol (Spanish for “Gate of the Sun“) is one of the best known and busiest places in Madrid. This square is the centre (Km 0) of the radial network of Spanish roads and also contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year. The New Year’s celebration has been broadcast live on national television since December 31, 1962.

The subway station of the Puerta del Sol was always named “Estación de Sol“.

Metro Sol

But on June 1, 2013 this subway station has been renamed now “Estación Vodafone Sol“.

Estación Vodafone Sol

Metro vodafone Sol

The politicians of the People´s Party of Madrid sold the name of this subway station to the British multinational telecommunications company Vodafone for one million euros a year.

Have a look for this for example at an article of 6/2/2013 in “eldiario.es“. Have also a look at an article about this in the Spanish edition of the Huffington Post.

So the name of the subway station of the probably most famous and most visited square in Madrid can be bought for some euros now by some British telecommunications company.

Well, if you can buy something like that for some euros here, there are probably a lot of other things too you can buy now in Madrid for some euros.

And there is a famous latin saying: “Pecunia non olet” (in English: “Money doesn´t stink“).

So I don´t believe that the politicians for example of the “Partido Popular” (headed in Madrid by the current Mayor of Madrid Ana Botella) who sold the name of the subway station of the most famous and most visited place of the Spanish capital will be very picky about what they are willing to sell or to offer and about what kind of corporations, organizations or private persons wanna make business here.

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The Fines Imposed on the Drug Companies: Obviously Ineffective

In recent years the USA have seen some of the biggest fines for multinational corporations in US history. It were the big multinational pharmaceutical companies which received those extremely high fines resulting from US court settlements.

See for this the Wikipedia article titled “List of largest pharmaceutical settlements“.

This list is headed by a billion fine imposed on GlaxoSmithKline (headquartered in Brentford, London) and by a 2.3 billion fine imposed on Pfizer (headquartered in New York City).

See also an article published on October 2, 2010 titled “Side Effects May Include Lawsuits” in “The New York Times“.

As investigative reporter Duff Wilson explains in this article, “for decades, antipsychotic drugs were a niche product. Today, they’re the top-selling class of pharmaceuticals in America, generating annual revenue of about $14.6 billion and surpassing sales of even blockbusters like heart-protective statins.

While the effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in some patients remains a matter of great debate, how these drugs became so ubiquitous and profitable is not. Big Pharma got behind them in the 1990s, when they were still seen as treatments for the most serious mental illnesses, like hallucinatory schizophrenia, and recast them for much broader uses, according to previously confidential industry documents that have been produced in a variety of court cases. (…).

Today, more than a half-million youths take antipsychotic drugs, and fully one-quarter of nursing-home residents have used them. Yet recent government warnings say the drugs may be fatal to some older patients and have unknown effects on children.

The new generation of antipsychotics has also become the single biggest target of the False Claims Act, a federal law once largely aimed at fraud among military contractors. Every major company selling the drugs — Bristol-Myers SquibbEli LillyPfizerAstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — has either settled recent government cases for hundreds of millions of dollars or is currently under investigation for possible health care fraud.

Two of the settlements, involving charges of illegal marketing, set records last year for the largest criminal fines ever imposed on corporations. One involved Eli Lilly’s antipsychotic, Zyprexa; the other involved a guilty plea for Pfizer’s marketing of a pain pill, Bextra. In the Bextra case, the government also charged Pfizer with illegally marketing another antipsychotic, Geodon; Pfizer settled that part of the claim for $301 million, without admitting any wrongdoing”.

Well, the astonishing fact about all this is that though those were the highest fines ever imposed to multinational companies in US history, they even then are obviously ineffective.

See for this an article published on December 20, 2013 in “Medscape” titled “Fines for Drug Companies Ineffective?

As Marcia Frellick states in this article, “a study of a recent escalation of fines paid by multinational drug companies to US federal and state governments shows that neither the amount of the penalties nor the measures to stop illegal practices are working, according to a report published online December 18 in BMJ. However, some experts think the problem lies, in part, with a complicated legal environment.

In the current study, Sidney Wolfe, MD, founder and senior adviser to the Health Research Group at Public Citizen in Washington, DC, reviewed all civil and criminal penalties paid to the US federal and state governments by pharmaceutical companies from January 1991 to July 2012 and found that they totaled $30.2 billion“. (…).

Dr. Wolfe’s analysis shows that from 2002, GSK and Pfizer were repeatedly fined, with penalties in the billions, for practices including fraudulent drug pricing, illegal off-label marketing of drugs, and paying kickbacks to healthcare professionals to encourage them to promote and prescribe drugs.

During this time, Dr. Wolfe notes, both companies signed several corporate integrity agreements, which are designed to prevent these offenses. The Office of the Inspector General negotiates such agreements with companies as part of the settlement of federal investigations. The terms include requiring companies to hire compliance officers or committees, develop written policies, and establish employee training programs.

On the basis of an analysis of the fines, Dr. Wolfe concludes, “There is a pathological lack of corporate integrity in many drug companies.”

If the usual judicial measures for such cases and even the highest fines imposed on multinational corporations in the history of the USA obviously are not able to stop the fraudulent and criminal business practises of those big pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, the lawmakers in the USA should start to think about other possible methods and actions to stop those multinational corporations to go on violating the laws of the United States.

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