Gun Control

I'm used to understanding that murder and senseless slaughter are part of life...if you bother to look around it's everywhere. 

I think you guys need to stop being so emotional and treat this as a simple issue: USA law allows residents to own weapons, but it also allows the government to restrict which kind of weapon gets owned. You focus too much on appearance and reputation, but the focus should be to restrict availability of weapons which have excessive lethality. This means focusing on the rounds (the mass, the type of construction) and the round and barrel combination (which gives muzzle velocity and kinetic energy upon impact). Other items you should control are the firing rate (remember Las Vegas), the recoil (a weapon with less recoil is easier to fire, move to a different target, and fire again), the clip size, and the reload rate. 

It's evident there's a lot of system inertia to keep things as they are, but I suspect it would be overcome if you stop the whining and crying and start protesting for real. A protest that blocks a highway with 2000 persons is much more effective than one with little signs in a park where you get interviewed by CNN repeating the same messages you've used for years, I think a majority would agree if the law is changed to control weapon lethality. You have the legal precedent, now you have to focus

Letter to The Guardian about the Petro

The following are questions I received from The Guardian, and the answers I sent a few minutes ago:
Will the Petro affect your life? 
It would be good if it fails. The Maduro dictatorship is nearly genocidal, has to be deposed, therefore all sources of income need to be choked off. 

Are you going to buy the Petro? 
No. The Petro has no meaningful backing. The oil reserves they claim do not exist. Therefore it's a worthless electronic bond. 

Who will the Petro help? 
The dictatorship, if it can convey the image that it's a success. They may use some of the stolen billions they have to buy Petros and thus manipulate the market. 

What should the country do instead of launching the Petro? 
The country should strive to depose Maduro and his maniacal communist and narco oligarchs, install a new government, put several thousand Chavistas in jail, and the National Assembly should address letters to countries, corporations, media and individuals who over the years helped this monstrosity stay in power, and tell them their names will be listed in a museum built to Chavez and Maduro's victims. 
Reminder: Never refer to the dictatorship as if it were Venezuela. 


We are Catalans

Translated from a Wasap thats going around:

We are the other Catalans: those who when we go to demonstrations behave as civilized people, who never put any flag on the balcony, we are quiet, tolerant, hardworking, peaceful, discreet and friends of our friends; we want to have health, love and work, like everyone else; we believe in family and personal effort and not in donation and subsidy to get things; we love peace and freedom. We abhor corruption, violence, abuse of power, manipulation and lies.

We are bilingual without complexes; we do zapping without problems for all the options and the film that we saw yesterday we no longer remember in which language we heard it (Catalan or Spanish).

We like sports and we also encourage Nadal, Ferrer, Lorenzo, Alonso, Barça, Spanish and the National Team, and it does not matter if the goal is scored by a Catalan or a Manchego when we compete for the European Cup or the World Cup. And out of respect we do not whistle the hymn of Spain or any other.

We are fed up with "procès" and politics in general with so much lies. We vote for the least bad or discarded candidates.

We hate those who foment phobias between territories, whatever their color, from here or elsewhere, to win four votes, keep the armchair and keep taking shares from everyone's account.

We do not believe that independence is the solution to all our problems: we are not so naive; we consider that confrontational politics and its leaders are precisely part of the problem.

Why is everything so uptight? Should not they all have to work to get us out of this crisis, to stop stories and not to confront each other? I think that many think so, but we are not seen or heard: we are the Others. And although they know that,  they are ignoring us for not thinking like them.

After the failure of the October 1 referendum there will be new regional elections. Inform everyone that we are part of the Others, tell your acquaintances, tell the undecided ones, those who think that this is not their concern, that depending on our vote in the future regional elections, Catalonia's fate hangs on the balance, that vote will decide if it remains the fiefdom of a few who base their discourse on hatred of the other peoples of Spain, the extremists who are indoctrinating our children in schools and spreading propaganda and lies in the autonomous TV channels and other means which they purchased with our tax money. Let us demand that the constitutionalists be above the interests of their parties and stop using public funds to peddle their hatred and supremacism. 

We will demonstrate to those who lead the process that we are Catalans and Spaniards. Let's show them that we have not believed the vile lie that "Espanya ens steals" when the only ones who have been robbing us are they, the ruling Mafia which steals our resources, our money, our pride and our dignity. We will tell them and the world that it is enough of signs of hatred, intransigencies and threats of sanctions for those who do not collaborate or think like them. We will stop this adventure that has only brought us and bring more economic and intellectual poverty and more crisis despite the promise of paradise.

Because we love Catalunya, because we love Spain, because we want to remain European, viva Catalunya!


Beatriz arrived in Chile

Beatriz, a Venezuelan lawyer, and her son reached Chile yesterday at 4:30 am, made it through Chilean immigration ok. She was robbed by Venezuelan border guards on her way out, but she managed to get away with $1000 she had put in a very secret place (I had told her she was likely to be robbed, to keep a believable amount of money in her purse, and hide everything else). 

She says the  border guards were very happy to see she had USA dollars they could steal, and since she kept quiet they didn't search her bag thoroughly, so she managed to arrive in Chile with her diplomas, birth certificates, reference letters, and other documents which will help her get a visa. Chile is being very kind with Venezuelan refugees, so there's a huge flow by road and air. 

Beatriz says it's very cold in Santiago, so she was going to buy two air mattresses and two blankets. She has friends who took her in, but they don't have the furniture or beds for her to use. I suggested she also buy warm clothing, and go to the market, buy vegetables and chicken to make soup, because she has to keep herself and her son warm. Getting sick at this point in time would be a serious blow because she's there on a tourist visa, and has no right to public health care services.  

Based on the number of Venezuelans who went to the opposition sponsored consultation on July 16th, there are 2 million Venezuelans abroad, and roughly 50 thousand per month are leaving. This exodus doesn't seem to get much coverage.