SPAIN: Was the President of the Government Pedro Sánchez elected or selected?

July 21, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

Spain’s fledgling democracy came after the end of General Franco’s dictatorial regime in 1975, something that was only possible after his death. I have always commended Spain for its strong democracy and I have considered this country as a model to be emulated by Latin American countries, places where, overt or covert, dictators have plunged the region for decades. Nevertheless, after the way the socialist political leader Pedro Sánchez played his own game with his own questionable rules in order to become the President of the Government of Spain by ousting Mariano Rajoy through a no-confidence motion that he brought against him, now I obviously doubt that the Socialist Party’s leader can be a good political mentor not only for Latin America’s politicians, but for other people in his own country too.

If Pedro Sánchez’s objective, as an opposition leader, was to “clean the house” and remove Rajoy over a massive corruption scandal, known as Gürtel corruption case, once the goal had been achieved, the wise decision was to call an early presidential election as soon as possible, since, figuratively expressed, if your enemies are dead already, It’s pointless to keep shooting at them. When something of dire consequences throw a country into a turmoil, the new government formed after the chaos should always be transitory since its sole reason for being is the avoidance of greater political and economic troubles. To see out the remaining two years of the parliamentary terms instead of calling elections is tantamount to admitting that his real intentions were to usurp the power that Mariano Rajoy won two times in democratic presidential elections. The no-confidence motion can be easily seen as a plan to become the President of Government, which shows that some politicians and parties were ready to claw and scratch as many people think. If fingernails grow at an average rate of 0.01 millimeter per day, what will happen with those Spanish politicians and political parties after those two years, considering what they did in just a couple of days? I don´t even want to think about that. Let´s wait and see.

The former President, Mariano Rajoy, was never a great statesman, in my opinion. Rather than that, he was some kind of spring that was strong enough to resist against political enemies and problems until favourable winds started to blow, and he did so during the 2008 financial crisis, which was, by the way, the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of 1929. It is true: Spain’s economic recovery has been extremely painful and slowly, buy we cannot deny that thanks to some Rajoy’s measures, that country did not become a ship tossing on a wild sea, something that helped him win two consecutive presidential terms. If the current President, Pedro Sánchez, had decided to have the presidential election once again, he would probably have received Spanish people’s support (something that until now he has never received) by showing that his real intentions are not (were not?) to seize power at all costs, but “to work for the good of the people” as politicians usually say. His attitude and desire of being in power until 2020 despite the fact that he has never won an election, makes Rajoy look now as a political genius.

Before retiring from politics, former president Mariano Rajoy wished Pedro Sánchez good luck. Nevertheless, history is not made with luck, but facts and facts say that to remain in power in the way Mr. Sánchez did is legally right, but morally wrong. So, no matter how well he rules the country in these two years, he will be remembered by many as an usurper who could not fight and win the battle for the presidency where greatest politicians do: on the field of the presidential election.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

Photo: By courtesy of Calvin Smith under the criteria of Creative Commons (Flickr, 7-21-2018).

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(5) Five steps to invest money with the lowest possible level of risk and good potential for success

June 23, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

Depending on the level of their finances, when it comes to investing, most people take one of these two paths: a high-risk, high-return investment environment or a low-investment, high-return method called lottery ticket. In both cases, they expect that by a stroke of amazing luck they will become rich. However, in most cases, they end up with different luck, something like the same as a turkey on Christmas. Let’s see some ideas that will not make you a millionaire overnight, but at least will put you on the right track and, above all, will keep you away from serious problems.

Step 1: Start with your own money (savings)

I still remember the day when brother told me that many Americans are rich because they use other people’s money to invest while they keep theirs at the bank. He is not wrong, but he is not right either because the United States also holds the dubious honor of being at the top of the list of countries by foreign debt (the total debt a country owes to foreign creditors), which means that someday, believe it or not and even though a lot of generations will have to pass first, that country will crash economically in a way that nobody would have imagined before.

If you are reading this, it is because you have neither the experience nor the certainty that you will succeed in investments. Then, why are you going to run the high risk of going into debt if you are not absolutely sure you will succeed? To take a loan for your first and new project of investment is tantamount to putting a dagger to your throat. Avoid problems and start your business with the things and savings that you have (few or many). If you win, it will be all yours, if you lose, the hit is painful, but you can survive. Besides, there are dozens of stories on Internet of rich people who started their business at their houses or with low investments, for example. Use them as role models.

Step 2: Make a gilt-edged investment all the time even though your profits could be very low

The main reason for which a lot of people failed in the past when investing was their lack of knowledge and information. Today, it is their lack of patience: They want to see profits on their first or second day after their investments of money. They get nervous after a week and are thrown into a panic a month later. This modern society policy on money has undoubtedly bad influence over this point and leads to mistakes since it pushes people to go for quick actions and very effective results in a short period of time.

In general, a gilt-edged investment provides low profits, but what is truly important is that you are winning and making money. Steady growth at a slow pace is dozens of times better than risky business decorated with promises of being rich overnight. Besides, the key is not the amount of money you get from certain business, but your ability to repeat dozens, hundreds or thousands of times the same or similar action (business) until you get your goal. One dollar might be meaningless for you, but it reaches a significant figure when it is multiplied by 1000.

Step 3: Invest in things related to needs

To go to a restaurant on weekends is something optional, but it does not turn out to be the same when the matter is to eat food, to drink water or to sleep with a roof over your head because these things are pressing needs. When you invest on them, you really have good chances to succeed. Depending on the amount of money you have to invest, you can go from a simple hot-dog stand, for example, to a small supermarket, from a room in your house to rent to apartments. Food and rent are and always will be two excellent markets to invest for a very simple reason: They are priority things.

Step 4: Invest in things you know well

Good investments are a matter of good administration and knowledge rather than like or preferences. We live in a society dominated by information and technology. However, the latter is just a platform. It is your ability to get the information you need to know the market in which you are investing and your ability to be the first in handling information related to buying and selling that tips the scales in favor of yourself.

Step 5: Adjust your budget for projects of investments to the profits coming from your business

You have probably read similar stories before: The small company is growing fast and it has decided to extend its radius of action by taking a loan. Things do not go well and now the company owes a debt that cannot pay. They’ll have to start now not form zero, but from minus because of the loan. To avoid such situations, any expansion of your business should be done by using some kind of special economic fund created from your profits.

Any investment is infallible in the same way that any business is risk-free. However, if you handle your investments in the way we explained above, you will be armored to resist any contingency. Finally, do not forget that to invest money with the only idea of being rich is as sad and useless as a dry river. Invest in things to make money and invest in happiness too by making the life of those who are working with or for you better and later, extend your generosity to others in need. Your happiness and somehow your money too, will grow for years.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Nicaragua: President Daniel Ortega should leave willingly or… not!

June 5, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

National Palace of Nicaragua

The way Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has changed over the years exemplifies at its best how unchecked power for a long time ends up ruining the life or unmasking the intentions of those who always seemed to emerge from the temptation of corruption and injustice unscathed.

I was still a child, but with a vivid memory to be able to remember those afternoons when my father, listening to the news on his old radio, used to tell me how close the people of Nicaragua were day by day to overthrow the dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. My father, a real fighter for social justice, followed those moments full of hopes and told me about some Nicaraguan leaders like Edén Pastora (Commander Zero), the same Daniel Ortega and others. Today, when we look at this country, because of their dubious actions, from many of those leaders of the people of Nicaragua, what is left is sad memories, since there is nothing more pathetic than to see people who pretended to defend their nation in the past enriching themselves now at the expense of the life and health of the country’s inhabitants.

It is one of life’s little ironies that President Daniel Ortega fought during all his youth to overthrow the dictator Somoza, a man who was identified with injustice and oppressed his people, and now he is the one who turn himself into some kind of modern dictator and the one who should be overthrown. Ortega has done all things that Latin American dictators usually do to remain in power: To turn congressmen into servants of “Godfather” in order to reform the country’s Constitution and thus to push constitutional changes through Congress that ended presidential term limits, to appoint relatives to key posts (his wife is vice-president of the country) and so on.

Daniel Ortega has been in power since 2007. Nicaraguan protesters, above all students, refuse to back down since April and people have taken to the streets in nationwide protests, something that has been answered by the President’s group with brutal actions, which resulted in the death of more than 100 people.

The country’s highly respected Catholic Church, late as usual for these kinds of situations, has finally shown some sign of life in favor of the people. We only hope now that most Nicaraguan do not give in to Ortega’s repression and keep their protests until forcing him to call presidential elections once again for the good of the country because from dictators, history has shown us that we do not get anything good and Daniel Ortega belongs to that group.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

Photo: By courtesy of Zenia Núñez under the criteria of Creative Commons (Flickr, 6-5-2018).


SPAIN: With an unfair criminal code, where will people go to seek justice?

May 26, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

It would not take more than 30 minutes to write an article on this issue showing some facts, statistical evidence and arguments that could make an average reader nod with his or her head and say “This writer is right” with his or her lips. But we are talking about justice, something for which millions of people all over the world have sacrificed their lives throughout history, hence be yourself an imaginary member of the jury and give your verdict for the following two cases occurred in Spain, cases that after many years of inertia, finally raised the alarm among Spanish people on how unjust their penal code is.

A teenager gets out of his car to punch fatally an octogenarian who reproached him for driving recklessly inside a pedestrian crossing. In the second case, five men grabbed a defenseless girl, penetrated her and forced her to fellate successively.

People who gave me their imaginary verdict for both cases pronounced jail sentence that ranged between 20 and 30 years and those people were later speechless when they heard that the teenager was found guilty of “negligent homicide” and, as for the bunch of savages, by the way, called themselves “the herd”, the jury did not consider their horrifying actions as rape, but “sexual abuse”. And now I ask myself: How on earth can be judged as an imprudent action a fatally punch on the face of an eighty-one-year-old man? Could not the members of that jury be much more “wiser” and leave such kinds of verdict and concept for a driver who killed a pedestrian after failing to see him or her at dark or when turning a corner? How many times should a woman be raped until the members of a jury can consider her case as a rape?

For many years, Spain has been a place where violence does not rule the country. This aspect and deep religious convictions in the past led to create a criminal code whose laws do not reach the stringent levels that can be seen in the United States or Latin America, for example. The country’s criminal code has a lot of old laws that resemble the title of that old movie we all know: The Untouchable. However, justice is not fiction and when it comes to it, a great deal of leniency shown when sentencing people who are obviously guilty of abominable crimes, only serves to enthrone injustice. Spain’s criminal code needs to be reformed as soon as possible because the verdict for those two cases mentioned before show that people in Spain cannot go anywhere to seek real justice.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Lights and shadows on the trade showdown between Trump and China

April 29, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

In the beginning of the year, President Donald Trump started a war that despite its non-violent actions, might leave a scar on millions of people, not on their faces, but in their pockets: Trump’s trade war with China. First, tariffs were imposed on Chinese steel and aluminum. Later, the United States announced new tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods and now Trump, via the U.S. Trade Representative, mulls over the possibility of additional levies, a 100 billion tariff plan. Since Chinese people’s hands do not tremble in such cases, China’s economic retaliation was swift by matching with equal force Trump’s actions. And now the question is how bad or good this trade war between these two economic powers could be.

For many years, China’s economy has soared at steady pace and levels that defy logic thanks to the hard work of its citizens, but also due to the unethical way traditionally used by the Chinese government of currency devaluation, yuan, an unfair trade practice that has derived great benefits and also because of a massive influx of Chinese products into American territory regulated by a dubious tariff system.

Based on his frequent statements via Twitter, it is easy to deduce that President Trump knows few things about the art of politics and almost nothing about diplomacy, but when it comes to money and business, he can raise his hand firmly, because he knows how to make money, putting aside any possible criticism of his method to get it. Thus, even before being president, during his presidential campaign, when President Donald Trump attacked China’s practice of exchange rate manipulation, he was pointing a reality that other presidents did not want to face out. Some economists might tremble at the thought of the dire consequences of the trade war between China and USA. The managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has also warned that a war trade can rip apart the global economy and could create a lose-lose situation for everyone. Nevertheless, it could also shed light on the murky way that the world trade system works today.

I cannot consider China as the black sheep or the film’s villain by taking the best part of the cake on international trade when international consumers are buying cheap, but low quality Chinese products, an action that leads to the detriment of their own national industries. I cannot feel sad for those international companies that are losing the battle against Chinese firms since it is a situation that they themselves have created by selling their products at exorbitant prices and going to China itself to manufacture them and thus reduce the costs of production and increase their profits.

Since not all companies can absorb additional levies, there is no doubt that this trade war will prompt price rises, perhaps the price that consumers have to pay for their individual actions that represent the search of their own benefits instead of national benefits. When protests begin because of the high commodity prices and people’s disenchantment leads to new governments in elections, our political leaders will understand at last that we need a new global economic order and above all, a fair world trade system.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

Photo: By courtesy of Daniel Ramirez under the criteria of Creative Commons (Flickr, 4-29-2018).


Jesus’s ideas (4): about love

April 16, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

JESUS

Human beings are significantly influenced by three things only: love, money and power, which explains why most people spend most part of their time and lives after the pursuit (directly or indirectly) of at least one of the three. In order to understand Jesus’s ideas on love, I think that this simple, but pragmatic activity will take us to the right position: Try to make contact with Jesus by all means in your power, with whatever resources you have at your disposal: Use your smartphone, pray, call his name, etc. After doing these things for 10 minutes, 10 months or even 10 years, the result will be the same: Nobody will answer you. What does that mean, then? Irrefutable proof of Jesus’s non-existence, perhaps? Absolutely not. What we learn from that exercise is that God and Jesus have different ways to talk to us these days, ways where words are irrelevant and, therefore, we cannot be misled by them. They talk via other people and their actions. Thus, if we want to learn what love is or what Jesus said about love, the type of relationship you have with the others might be your best teacher.

Almost all actions we take in any of their many possible senses (good, bad or unwittingly things) are determined by our right or wrong idea of love, that is, for the love of the family, country, money, etc., and consequently, all things, from our achievements to mistakes, have its origin in love. By understanding what this word means and using its power properly, we can build a solid platform to grow and live a better life. But, what is love? What is its limit? Who should I love? The answer to these questions and similar ones were given by Jesus more than 2000 years ago, but nevertheless, our inability to understand them and apply them has been the reason for our woes and misery today, despite our relevant scientific and technological developments.

People tend to complicate their lives and make them difficult. Jesus, however, loves the word simplification. Thus, for example, he brought to us the simplification of the rules that governed the human behavior of many people in his time, rules of the Old Testament that, by the way, sometimes were harmonized and sometimes seem to contradict each other. He simplified the whole Bible in one word: Love. So we have a good idea of what to do in life already: Just love your God and love people without any distinction. As we said before, since the only way we can talk to God is through “his representatives”, that is, people, we have no choice but to love them and love can be explained with only three words: To do good. Most of the problems that threaten to destroy the world are the result of our closed-mindedness on love, something that goes from a normal person in the streets to our world leaders. In general, people only want to love those who they can get along well with, closing their internal doors of their hearts to others. This kind of narrow mentality has created the social and economic inequalities we have today since the absence of love for the other lead to take advantage of them. “Love the Lord, your God and love your neighbors as yourself.” Jesus said and by doing so, the happiness of millions of people will be your own happiness and their sadness will not be yours, but a reason to live and fight in live by trying to change their suffering to smiles. Why was I born? What should I do with my live? and other similar questions will not haunt you anymore from that moment.

The misery that we always drag in our daily lives comes from the distinction we make between whom we love and whom we do not. For instance, we like this person and hate the rest at work, and the result of that is that we are upset more than 10 hours per day. Similar situations happen inside our family, neighborhood, etc., creating a sense of indifference and loneliness. This narrow view of love is what makes us feel unhappy or discontented because what it is not loved, it is hated and hatred destroys our lives gradually, but firmly. Jesus’s ideas about love (love your neighbor as yourself, which means love everybody without distinction) are very difficult to put into practice since human nature is a bundle of conflicting passions that has chosen to travel down the path that leads in precisely the opposite direction, but it is not an impossible task as many people (including priests) have said. Just today, for 24 hours, try to love without frontiers and make it your goal for tomorrow too. Sometimes we will succeed in our attempt and sometimes we will fail, but at the end, the closer we are to Jesus’s ideas on love, the less you will hate and that is, somehow, the source of boundless happiness

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Artificial intelligence (AI) might destroy millions of people in an intelligent and artificial way

March 2, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

Whenever you make predictions of great consequences and considerable magnitude, you also take the risk of being called another false prophet with apocalyptic ideas. Based on the fact that in less than 20 years, millions of employees in different parts of the world (with Japan taking the lead, followed by the United States and England) will be replaced by robots, as a result of the development of artificial intelligence (AI), the title of this article, rather than a prophecy, could be already a piece of reality that only needs a fixed day to come to light. It is an extremely serious situation that could turn into something chaotic since it is still unknown to many despite the broad impact it might have on the lives of millions of people. But, what does artificial intelligence mean and what kind of influence will AI have on our lives?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science aimed at the creation of intelligent machines and robots that can work like humans and, to some extent, act like them. Depending on people’s level of knowledge on this topic and history, they would probably have one of these two questions in opposition to our stance:

What’s wrong with having robots to do heavy lifting or strenuous activity at a factory or the chores at home?

The problem is that if this is done without strict regulations, it will abruptly send millions of employees home, employees who will not able to make their living or support their families, which will increase the number of people in need and problems too. Remember that we are talking about people who do a low-paid labour, but are more content with having their job than being unemployed. The sudden wave of unemployment might create a social and economic crisis as never before, with protests and crimes growing stronger because it is hard to find something more despairing than a father who cannot feed his family.

Did not “the experts” tell us same during the industrialization times when the tractor and machinery took farmers and manual workers out their lands and factories respectively, but after a period of upheaval, society adjusted to its new reality?

That sounds reasonable, but contexts are entirely different. Industrialization spread basically over the technical field, leaving some margin of manoeuvre in other areas for people to react. So, farmers could go to the city and work as waiters, for example. Artificial intelligence, however, will cover almost all areas where people do their jobs and we will see a robot performing as a qualified doctor or offering sexual services as a prostitute. In the past, technological advances and changes were slower and we could do some adjustments. In recent years, they go at a much faster pace and we are reaching a point where we will not be able to absorb them without paying a high price for it, that is, without terrible consequences.

We enter the era of artificial intelligence, which can turn into a great ally of ours or a terrible enemy, depending on the way we use it. In an ageing society, like Japan for instance, for a kind elderly couple, to have a robot that can open a jar and help lift heavy things is undoubtedly something positive. But the same situation will mean instant ruin for a lot of Japanese companies dedicated to providing services related to care of the elderly and, therefore, the loss of millions of Yen every day. Regarding to the use of artificial intelligence in our daily lives, our reluctance comes from the fact that since the first inventions until the seventies approximately, most of them responded to global needs. These days, inventions are linked to the huge amount of money of those who invested in them, and believe me, they invest to obtain big profits without the least care for others. Thus, young people should think twice before choosing a career since getting a job could be more difficult than today. If indeed, the whole idea behind the investment of such enormous amount of money (counted in billions) to create intelligent machines and robots is improvements in people’s lives, so that they can have more free time and less heavy work, then, let’s welcome artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, my optimism does not reach that ceiling and what I can see is few millionaires who will become billionaires and millions of unemployed workers begging and others stealing in the streets if prudence is not exercised in the field of artificial intelligence. Only time will tell.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2018 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.