Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today I was censored in my homeland Venezuela

Since January 2000 I had been a pro-bono columnist at El Universal. It was recently sold to a group supposedly very friendly and cozy with the Nicolás Maduro government.

Today, July 29, 2014, two days before the centennial of the discovery of oil in Venezuela, something which has enriched governments so much so as to make a true democracy impossible, I was informed there was no room for me in the paper anymore.

Am I sad? Of course! It is truly hard to be censored in one´s own country, especially when one has so much one wants to say, especially when so much needs to be said.

Thank God there are now such things a blogs otherwise I might have had to start putting up a print-shop in the basement or practicing graffiti.

The title of the article I was to publish July 31? “100 years of submission”... in it I was as always wanting for the oil revenues to be shared out directly to the citizens... so that we do not have to live any longer in somebody else's business.

Think of how you would feel if your government was receiving and disposing of over 97% of all the exports of your country. That is my Venezuela. That is the country where the price of milk, if you can find it, is 278 times the price of gas (petrol) and that is not viewed as something immoral.

That is an oil curse as big as oil curses can come!

PS. But, on the other hand can you think of "Daddy why are you not censored?" Indeed it is not easy to live in a low profile dictatorship! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

What does it matter whether the Picasso, hanging on my wall, is worth 5 or 50 million? I did not pump up its value.

Yes, I accept that you might have a point thinking it is not fair that the Picasso that had I been rich could be hanging on my wall, should now be worth 50 million, instead of the 5 million it was valued when I would have had to pay inheritance taxes to keep it in my family? But I did not pump up its value...that was done by those who with their QEs and fiscal deficits injected so much liquidity. 

I swear, it is the same Picasso as always, I did absolutely nothing to it… in fact it has perhaps even lost some of its shine.

If the government now takes my Picasso in a Thomas Piketty wealth-tax, to help repay its debt… would it not then have to sell it, causing it only to hang on somebody else’s wall? 

Of course the government could export the Picasso to pay for oil… but what about when we run out of Picasso’s on our walls… and these all hang on their walls? Is that fair?

PS. Down here, on earth, with no Picasso, I am still envious of that 50 million Picasso hanging on somebody’s wall and wondering whether a little wealth tax would not be such a bad idea.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shamelessness is taking over the web!

The big web players are becoming more and more shameless… and there seems to be nothing that can stop them…

Initially they were quite respectful of your information… lately I have seen messages reading like “we will import your address book”… and, as a token, we will not store your email and password. Holy moly!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why does Bill Maher, so funny when exploiting what’s exploitable, remind me so much of Monsieur Thénardier in Les Miserable?

Madame Thénardier: Master of the house isn't worth my spit. Comforter, philosopher, and life-long shit. Cunning little brain; regular Voltaire. Thinks he's quite a lover, but there's not much there.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

One question, and one opinion, on the Scottish independence referendum of September 18, 2014

Question: How many Scots under 16 years of age will not have a chance to vote on what will affect them the most? Why not give all thirteen and more that right and allow those over 50 to vote only if they do so in representation of a child or a grandchild under thirteen? That could really make this vote on the declaration of independence a real game changer.

Opinion: The draft of June 2014 of the Scottish Independence Bill states that “In Scotland, the people have the sovereign right to self-determination”. Great, but unfortunately, it would not seem that “self-determination” will include each Scottish citizen managing his share of natural resources his country has been endowed with, like oil.

And friends, speaking as an oil-cursed Venezuelan, who has had to live in somebody else’s business, until he could not endure that anymore and had to leave his country, you might think more about this issue.

If not, I assure you that this independence of yours could turn out to be a real Pyrrhic one, when all of you Scots will become dependent on the clan that manages those natural resource revenues for you.

Please don’t let that happen!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Should there be a limit to what ex presidents, ex first ladies, ex congressmen and other ex public officers could earn for giving a speech?

Like for instance the weekly median salary in the nation?

Otherwise, even though they are out of office, it seems so much ex-post rent extracting clientelism.

I mean does it make any sense to compensate one speech given to a few, with sometimes something that could sound like the salary paid to him by all for a full year of services to the nation?