I was awakened by the shouting of more crowds of protesters. Fortunately they are not burning and wrecking shit. Yet. The day is young.

There exists a clear and present danger ingrained in Chilean people, and that is the lack of, and avoidance of, a sense of personal responsibility. When caught in an error, lapse in judgment, or outright red-handed doing something purposely wrong, they will deny everything and attempt to turn the tables on the accuser, “how dare you insult my dignity!?”

Which I find entirely fitting for the laughable name they have given to the bombed-out wasteland they changed from Plaza Italia to Plaza de Dignidad. Let me tell you, there is no dignity there. Not even the sidewalks remain; the rioters smashed them in order to have ammunition to throw at the police. Every storefront near there is smashed or burned, barricaded with steel plates, every surface painted over three times in graffiti calling for dead cops. Metro station Baquedano, underneath it all, was so badly wrecked that it remains closed even to transfers between rail lines. It would make the perfect set for an apocalypse movie.

So, instead of admitting any sort of wrongdoing, they try and convince themselves that the environment is wrong. And they just keep committing the same mistakes expecting different results (the definition of insanity). Thus, when the protests get rowdy enough, and the cops show up to try and disperse them, the rioters get even more violent and then express grand surprise that people get hurt, run over, shot in the face with pepper gas, sprayed with burning chemical agents, etc. Like, what the everloving fuck did you expect?

Then, of course, according to the protesters, it’s all the cops’ fault. Granted I am no fan of cops in general but in this situation my heart goes out to them. Anyone else viewing this stuff can see the remarkable amount of restraint the cops show here. In any other country, there would be a lot of dead rioters with bullets in them. 10,000 people rioting in a square throw a fit when they rip a cop off his motorcycle, throw it in the riverbed, and light it on fire. He escapes, barely, and the vehicles helping him get out manage to crush a pedestrian or two. The crowd, with the help of the media, post his photo and identity on the internet, further endangering his life and those of his family. Wash, rinse, repeat. There is no end in sight, because the people are rebels without a cause.

My crystal ball tells me that the plebiscite vote does not matter, really. There is nothing truly awful with the constitution, barring some judicial reforms. My prediction is that the plebiscite will fail and things will continue as “normal.” And if it wins, the new constitution will likely be a paraphrased version of what already exists. Because, once again, the existing constitution is not terrible. I think the main reason people want to change it, other than to fix some judicial problems, is more because “it was Pinochet’s constitution and it’s got to go.” Change a few words and voila! Look it’s a new constitution!

If they really get into the guts of it, then nobody will agree on what to change. Hell, every single political party here is too busy infighting (and avoiding personal responsibility by throwing everyone they can under the bus) to even get any proper leadership sorted out. It’s a hilarious game of hot potato! So a fresh new draft of a constitution is doomed. In order to try pleasing everyone, they will please no one. Or they will just fight for years while more angry mobs burn what is left of Chile to the ground. Chile’s culture of responsibility-avoidance and lack of forethought is going to guarantee a disaster should the constitution be completely redrafted.

And if they keep the old one, their mobs will continue to terrorize, loot, amd destroy. They will continue to blame their problems on a constitution they have never read. Chile is stuck in an unfortunate downward spiral from which, in my opinion, it will not re-emerge any time soon. It is their culture that needs to change. A culture now driven by spoiled and impressionable youth raised in the counterswing of socialists taking full advantage of their post-Pinochet pity party. And these kids will never, ever admit that they are wrong.

I hope I’m wrong about all of this, I really do. How un-Chilean of me!

Is Chile fucked?

Posted: December 28, 2019 in News, Politics, Stupidity, Uncategorized

It is my conclusion that Chile is, indeed, fucked.

The disparity between older and younger generations’ mentality is wide and unbridgeable. The poor refuse to pick themselves up and improve their own lives without outside assistance, and, in fact, find it quaint to resist help— instead finding some kind of reverse-psychological Newspeak “pride in poverty.” The rich simply leave for greener pastures. And the middle class are far too nonconfrontational to pick any sides. Or too busy thinking that they are poor when they are not. The “ghetto mentality” has really taken hold in Chile.

Previous protests have won a plebiscite vote to create a new constitution in April. That should have appeased everyone. Such a monumental thing has not been seen in Chile, let alone worldwide, since the famous “NO” vote of 1988 which ended Pinochet’s dictatorship. Chileans should be happy that they even have this ability, because other countries do not (and when it happened in the USA, the dissidents were summarily paved over into the bloody soil).

The moment to decide their own destiny is right there on the table but for some reason Chileans still wreck and burn their own neighborhoods. So, really, one must ask: what are they still protesting? Or do they simply want to wreck and burn shit?

The conclusion I have come to is that they simply want to wreck and burn shit. They want to pick fights with the cops. They want things to escalate into fatal encounters with the police. They want to steal and break things that they have not earned. There are no other reasons for what is happening here, barring major tinfoil hat shit and we’re not going to go there.

The cops are getting blamed by the popular media as being the cause of these major fires but looking at statistics and science and chemistry, my bet is that 99% of the fires set are by rioters wanting to blame the cops. Endothermic decompression of aerosol canisters containing chemicals that are largely non-flammable does not make a bonfire. The one fact that people seem to be overlooking is: these protests are wrecking and burning shit. It doesn’t really matter who is the cause. But I’m pretty damned sure that the shit wouldn’t be on fire if there were no fucking protests. Rocket science 101.

In my opinion, the best thing the cops could do is simply not show up. Best PR play, best strategic play, best military play. Leave these “nonviolent protesters” as the sole cause of destruction, fire, and mayhem, and let the people see who are the true terrorists. Maybe things would fizzle out quickly, as they tend to do when the guest of honor fails to show up at the party.

If not, let them march through burning and looting and when the zombie apocalypse gets bad enough that the people beg for help, then roll in and use real bullets to grind them into a fine red paste. It’s time for Pinochet Part II.

I don’t see that happening, though.  Chileans are too weak, immature, and unrealistic. They would prefer to cut off their nose to spite their face. Despite so much worldwide present and historical proof, abroad and in their own country, they still cannot see that socialism and communism do not deserve (or leave room for) second chances.

More WTF in Chile: an update

Posted: December 4, 2019 in News, Stupidity
Tags: ,

So, a little perspective on what’s going on in Chile.

Daily protests continue, albeit slightly less violent than before. Probably because downtown there is nothing left to smash and burn, and most commercial locations have literally welded plate steel over their storefronts.

Once in a while you still catch an underlying whiff of tear gas and that subtle background sizzling in your eye sockets.

Things have kinda calmed down. For now.

Overnight, an entire industry has popped up for private traffic directors. Folks don a brightly colored vest and collect coins from passers-by for the service of directing traffic, which is good considering that most of the traffic lights downtown were torn down, smashed, or spraypainted over by vandals.

Some of these people came under attack by the protestors– how dare they do something good, or constructive, or useful! How dare they try to help themselves or their families! Literally dragged from the intersections and beaten by angry crowds of bolsheviks.

It hasn’t stopped the others, though. And not everyone respects the “authority” of the traffic directors. When there is a protest going on, or rush hour happening, all bets are off since drivers want to GTFO ASAP.

So… what happened to get to this point?

There are several factions at play here:

  1. Overtaxed minimum wage employees and pensionistas (retirees) who feel the pressure of increased electrical costs and commute fares.
  2. Any and all workers (from poor to upper class) who see the future hopelessness of the AFP pension/social security system and believe, perhaps rightly, that their retirement savings will be worthless or completely unavailable when it comes time to retire.
  3. People concerned with the state of health care (honestly I think they are ignorant– health care in Chile is excellent compared to literally everywhere else I have been)
  4. Angry students who want “free” education.
  5. Bolsheviks who want “free” everything.
  6. Angry assholes who just want to wreck stuff.
  7. Angry assholes who just want to steal stuff.

The whole thing really started kicking off when the subway fares went up. By 4 cents per trip. There were mass protests and people jumping turnstiles to show their dissatisfaction. BUT– most of the people doing this were students, who already pay a reduced fare (at a roughly 70% discount).

Some say that the subway fare increase is the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of social pressures in Chile. However, I disagree. My take on it: I think it was the subway and Carabineros’ general lack of ability to secure Santiago against the mass protest, which the people saw, and decided to take advantage of for their month-long drunken bonfire party. Hey, there’s nothing the government can do, we have free reign to do anything!

“Hey, I’ve always wanted to trash a hotel. And burn a subway station. And burn a church. And oh hey, look, dumpsters. What else can we burn? OOOOH A BUS! WITH PEOPLE! Wow, fire sure is fun to play with!”

And so they did.

What legitimate gripes people had (1, 2, 3) were quickly taken over and/or swept up in the bolshevik terror wave. And that’s exactly what it is. I’ve even heard that it was a planned attack– rumor has it that the PDI knew something was up– but since Chile has a bad history with intelligence organizations, Bachelet dismantled what remained of it during her tenure, and Piñera did not rebuild it (thinking it unnecessary), the threat was largely ignored or was not able to be dealt with properly. Some 80 subway stations were attacked or damaged simultaneously, 11 completely destroyed. Who knows if it was a conspiracy. Occam’s Razor says it’s just angry bolsheviks (4, 5, 6, 7).

A subway ticket office on fire.

What use is it blocking roads and setting fire to private property and businesses if you want government change? You’re not hurting the government, you’re hurting yourselves. I’ve had this conversation so many times and so many people agree with me. The most typical response from the most moderate Chileans: “Yeah we have problems that need solving but we’re committing suicide to try and fix them”

Chileans, as a culture, have a bad habit of not thinking things through. They are a bit naive/immature in their methodology. That much is clear with their behavior lately. The way to get better pay is not to burn businesses and send all those people into the unemployed worker pool. The way to get them to work faster and more efficiently so they can earn more money is not accomplished by burning the subway, putting up roadblocks, and smashing traffic signals. The way to win the hearts and minds of your fellow man is not through inconveniencing him or destroying his neighborhood. The way to keep the purchasing power of your currency is not to cause so much social unrest that you crash its value.

 

WTF is going on in Chile?

Posted: November 16, 2019 in News, Stupidity, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

According to international news, “Piñera has been having some problems with protests.”

In reality, criminal vandals have destroyed the metro system, looters have smashed and stripped clean countless places of business, and riots of arsonists have been rampaging through cities, setting fire to businesses, churches, and residences.

Police headquarters and personal homes have been attacked, army bases attacked, and roadblocks are set up by “vigilantes” who think it’s fun to force drivers to get out of their cars and dance for the mob. If they please the crowd, they are allowed to pass. If not, the mob smashes or burns their car.

It all started about a month ago because of a 10-cent hike in the public transit fees. People began protesting nonviolently at first by either boycotting the metro or jumping the gates. Then they decided to take it to a new stupid level by wrecking and setting fire to the metro stations.

Supposedly the driving force behind these protests is that the people want constitutional reform. However, of all the people I have asked, “what needs to be changed about the constitution?” not a single one could give me an answer.

Essentially, people are just looting and burning shit because they can. There is no reason to any of it. Every single night, the trash piles are dragged into the street and set on fire by arsonists. The dumpsters are long gone– they burned those the first day. The metro remains closed, and the storefronts that did not get looted or burned remain barricaded and closed. What businesses are open are shuttered up and you have to enter and exit through a tiny opening in the steel plate. Everything closes at 4pm so that people can get home in order to hide from the mobs.

I can’t keep my windows open because tear gas and the smoke from burning trash will waft through.

There is no mainstream media coverage of this at all. And I really don’t know why.

 

2017’s US taxes got borked and the IRS sent me back a notice that I owed them A LOT OF MONEY™ the reason for which THEY WILL NOT TELL YOU™ so you simply have to figure it out yourself and redo everything, paying interest penalties on money you never owed in the first place because it took them 9 months to get back to you because they are slow and they suck.

Anyways, in dealing with the fallout, I found a neat thing called the US/Chile Social Security Totalization Agreement which pretty much absolves you of the need to pay self-employment tax if applicable. 

There is no official tax treaty (yet) between the USA and Chile, but fortunately this agreement, in combination with the FEIE, should help eliminate a good deal of your tax burden if you are a self-employed vagabond in Chile.

Long time since I have posted anything.

So many people have written in or told me how much they enjoyed my writing and how much they miss it. For which I am humbled. Unfortunately, it only came out when I was angry. And I’m just not angry anymore. Nothing in Chile has filled me with the pure, seething, all-consuming anger that seeps from every pore in the same way that Uruguay did.

I deal with anger, awkwardness, and general malaise by trying to bury/hide it in wit and sarcasm; maybe it’s age, maybe it’s environment, maybe it’s the fact that I have stopped watching the news. I’m just not a fission pile of daily rage anymore.

So, what’s been going on with me? Things have coasted along more or less smoothly bouncing back and forth between the USA and Chile over the past few years. I’ve gotten to the point where I am applying for Chilean citizenship. Still waiting on the t’s to be crossed and the i’s to be dotted regarding my Chilean tax situation, which got botched, but it’s nothing that cannot be corrected, and as soon as it’s rectified I can submit all the requisite poop to become an official Chileno.

The tax stuff came down to the SII (Chilean IRS) not having any idea what to do with my situation as a digital vagabond with so many different flags in so many different places. It took them a year to get back to me regarding just how to file, but here’s the cool thing: Unlike the US IRS, who is content to jail you for even a minor breach of rules they do not even understand and cannot (proven time and again) even supply consistent results for, Chile’s IRS will write you an official signed, stamped resolution about exactly how to file, with which you can show them if any issues arise. They just take their good sweet time doing it.

End result is that because of a combination of me paying taxes to the Empire, and because of a neat new loophole I found, my tax burden in Chile is pretty well negligible. I will pay more in accountants’ fees than taxes. Which is fine by me.

What are my plans for the future?

I’ve got a thing in progress with Polish citizenship by ancestry which may or may not bear fruit; I’ve located the missing link, and I merely need to find a record of his birth in Poland. Therein lies the challenge, because Nazis. I have no plans to live in the EU but you can’t ever say no to an extra passport. Well, maybe summertime in Berlin would be nice…

Puerto Rico is the next destination of choice after my Chile chapter is done. For an American digital vagabond, the tax breaks simply can’t be beat, and you get so much more benefit to much less time put in. 6 months of exile per year, right next to home, without technically “having to leave home” in order to absolve you of your US tax burden, plus no more capital gains taxes— where do I sign and how much of my blood would you like? One mortal soul, coming right up.

 

On Wednesday, Venezuela decided to finally pull the trigger on leaving the Organization of American States. This is the first logical thing the Venezuelan government has done since Chavez took power.

Gee, I wonder if they will be missed.

Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.