jueves, 23 de diciembre de 2010

You don't get to 1300 million chinese people without compromising your principles

As a progressive hero, what I detest the most is when so-called "liberal" or "progressive" entrepreneurs are so prone to suck it up to certified dictators, opressors and world bullies just to make another fistful of dollars. Zuckerberg pulls a Google: you know you can't make your big entrance to China without licking the boots of a few chi-coms, getting a politically debilitating wedgie, and granting that you won't interfere in any way with their iron-fist rule and you will be sure your precious social network will keep it that way.

Thanks to Bussines Insider for the fabulous embedding tool.

Shame on you, Zuckerberg.
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miércoles, 22 de diciembre de 2010

Net Neutrality: The end of the Internet as we know it?

Just like any given extremist, there's a personalized pick for you if you want to use the power of the FCC it you want to shut down something you don't like: some want to axe Fox News, others want a thorough investigation of the lastest season's Dancing with the Stars voting system, and others... well, they just want to take over the world, i.e. the Internet.

Congratulations! The first "net neutrality" regulations have been adopted by the FCC, but I don't blame them. Everybody is busy nowadays shutting down what they don't like of the Internet. Hugo Chávez, Julian Assange, the chinese (didn't you know there's no Facebook in China?). In the meanwhile, I let some expert give you some details:

I don't want to live the days when people are going to say "remember when the Internet was free?"
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sábado, 18 de diciembre de 2010

Colombian mining policy: spread your legs, relax and enjoy

A rough and rude title, but anyone who has read Introduction to the Colombian Economy by Alvaro Tirado Mejía, could hardly disagree, or would at least be wanting to sugarcoat reality. Two examples: the history of the Colombian Mining Company and Francisco Antonio Zea (they are very tied toghether). The other, I have to quote it as friend told me years ago: Two companies, A (private entrepreneurship) and B (state ownership), decided to start a partnership to for a promising business. To determine if the projections provided were viable and profitable enough, the private company went all the way and so they decided to get to work. The "A" company has about 6,000 employees. and the "B" company has about 50. Revenues from each one of every sale were divided in half and half strictly. Costs were too. Although the projections of A were not met, investment in infrastructure was so massive that there were no choice but to move forward. After a few years of operation, B was on the verge of bankruptcy, with huge losses and had to be liquidated. A, were as good as ever. How could that be possible?

Any acute reader will have noticed that I was telling (secondhand) the story of Intercor (A) and Carbocol (B), which despite being equally in all, ended with the state company bearing all rthe losses of the of the Cerrejon business. Now it's just history, but over two hundred years, the story remains the same: a timid and weak government that only knows how to say yes to predatory companies with true pirate vocation. On the other hand, how is it possible that in two hundred years it has not changed the mining business way? Why it did not change in two hundred years what we like to name corporate culture?

Not having to be progressive to be interested in this, but anyone who feels this like a personal injury, I know that the interests of the nation have been damaged in a not mensurable way and it is still hurting! Cristina de la Torre puts the nail on the head, in his column in El Espectador as she denounced Ingeominas, and in general how the previous administration refused to exercise control over mining operators who exploit our mines, something truly unprecedented and that could be considered rightfully as treason. This is not to kick to the investing companies out, but to simply state that they are unfair to us. They have to comply to what they have promised before. None of pacta sunt servanda sic rentibus sic other technicalities. It seems they are not satisfied with such tremendous advantages (tax stability agreements that that the majority of entrepreneurs in the country do not have), must be also not accountable to her partner, the Colombian State. What a shame!

Colombia's mining policy has not changed in two hundred years: it is simply spread her legs, relax and enjoy (?).
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jueves, 16 de diciembre de 2010

Is Wikileaks imploding?

The reason couldn't be other than Julian Assange gigantic ego. I feel so good what I know about American duplicity diplomacy now, but the guy, even if he's facing persecution, should have hired a PR hack to handle the heat he's facing right now. Obviously, he does not like to how his intimate and private details are given away (leaked) to the public. But a clerical error, a major mistake is not to keep your employees happy, as it seems by now. Even some of them are getting fed up of seeing how Assange takes full credit for everything. Now the founder of Wikileaks faces this:

Now irony is looping the loop, and the leaker is being leaked.
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viernes, 10 de diciembre de 2010

This former president is completely bat-guano insane

I've found out power is sort of a make-up kit. When you have it, no matter how angry, stupid, inconsequential or belligerent you act, you can still look sorta cool. One of the perks of being the alpha male. When you don't, you're just a screaming, pathetic nobody. Have you ever seen in a crowded meeting some mature man past his prime trying to grab all the attention and still trying to be relevant? You force a little smile and try to walk away backwards, slowly, very slowly...

This lame behavior has been the trademark of former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe Vélez for the last couple of months, since he left office and came back from his failed Georgetown University gig. Hah, you know this isn't even true. This lame behavior has been the trademark of former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe Vélez since he was campaigning for president for the first time.

That's not true, either. This erratic, aggressive and mean behavior has been Uribe's trademark for his entire life. At the beginning, he had the youth, then he got the power. Now that he's an ex president, he really looks pathetic and lame when he attempts with a strange and out of order furor to defend his presidency and his former aides from all the attacks, political and judicial, received in the last couple of months.
Taking the novelty of his Twitter account aside (which he couldn't understand how to handle at the beginning, witness the gaffe of trying to issue a lengthy press release this way), Uribe has incurred in so many contradictions, the biggest of them all was to claim there was no possibility of a fair trial for his former aides regarding the colossal wiretapping scandal that marked the end of his presidency.

In fact, it was a multi-gaffe. First, he uttered this whopper outside Colombia, something he vehemently condemned when his political adversaries did the very same thing during his tenure. Second, after tirelessly insisting in how things worked out in his presidency, now that every Colombian could travel across the country without the fear of being kidnapped, and how the overall security substantially improved, it was a curious paradox how things were different a mere few months after his appointed successor, Juan Manuel Santos, took the oath as the new Colombian president. Well, it is not a secret that his heir apparent, Andrés Felipe Arias, couldn't make it past the primaries. Otherwise, things could have been really different (and to his satisfaction). And third: he's right. There's no reasonable way to figure there could be a fair trial, because his former employees waged a war against the judiciary, the first and foremost victim of the wiretapping scandal. That means they brought all this unto themselves (Maybe it was intended as such, since victims cannot judge the offenders).

And now, Uribe faces the inconvenience of Wikileaks. The leaked Department of States cables are beginning to produce a steady embarrassment to him. For starters, his no-nonsense, no-concessions approach to the war against the guerillas has been shattered: it was revealed he was looking for secret peace talks. Besides, everybody knows Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president is an authoritarian, not a democrat. But it sounds kind of awkward when Uribe, according to the cables, uses a very non-diplomatic language to assert that Chávez is a Hitler and the Venezuelan situation is akin to the Third Reich Germany. Like Uribe himself were the madman.

And now, Yidis Medina, a congresswoman found guilty of receiving bribes to vote the constitutional reform that allowed Uribe's re-election, says in her tell-all book, that the president begged her for her definitive vote... down in his knees in a rest room.

That does it, he's completely bat-guano insane.
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miércoles, 8 de diciembre de 2010

Treinta años sin John Lennon

Hace treinta años, John Lennon, una leyenda viva, el fundador y líder de la más grande banda del pop/rock de todos los tiempos (muérdete el codo, Lady Gaga), fue asesinado por un pesadillesco "fan" llamado Mark David Chapman (pudo haber hecho carrera como doble de Stephen King), justificándolo al decir que el Artista (sí, con mayúscula) era un farsante (al cantar "Imagina que no hay posesiones" y poseer una fortuna de unos 150 millones de dólares) y dejando entrever también su complejo de Eróstrato reclamado la vida de John para obtener su anhelada notoriedad instantánea.

El día de hoy han sido tratados ya todos los enfoques, así que me iré por el enfoque personal para comentar el aniversario de la muerte de John. Es cansón para todos salir a cantar una vez más todos las alabanzas bien conocidas y bien merecidas. Tampoco voy a empezar a señalar con el dedo y decirles lo terrible que era John como persona. Y es que es aún más fácil descartar todas las deficiencias de John cuando uno recuerda el tamaño y la cantidad de sus logros. Todos los Beatles me han decepcionado en un momento (Paul lo hizo recientemente en la Casa Blanca, tratando de insultar a Bush, terminó insultando a su esposa Laura), pero en mi calidad de beatlemaníaco furioso, estoy más que dispuesto a perdonar.

Por cierto, el carácter de Lennon estaba lleno de defectos horribles, pero eso no le impidió nunca querer y tratar de hacer lo correcto, y una vez más, debemos recordar que sólo unas pocas personas (por lo menos tres de sus compañeros) realmente podían entender cómo era volverse increíblemente famoso, con admiradores adorandote a ti, diciendo también que le era imposible equivocarse.

Whatever gets you thru the night, is alright, is alright.

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