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If you were the president of Mexico how would you deal with cartels?

Here’s my “draconian” approach.TL;DR: Declare the war on drugs lost, clean up after it, return society to productivity, eliminate drug-related violence and pay half the external debt of Mexico. Not bad.Note that as the president of Mexico, I have scant six years, no re-election, which puts me on an accelerated timetable that requires pretty drastic action. Also note it may not be possible because I’d need cooperation of congress. But let’s say “The David Party” wins supermajority and I get to do whatever I want.Note my numbers may be off, I’m just grabbing values from where I can find them on quick searches and I’m not using a spreadsheet or anything.First up, let’s state the obvious:Based on this premise, things become rather obvious:I won the election! Wee! We got congress on a landslide! Wooot! First night, I party. Of course! A new era for our people! I promised a lot, and for the next six years, I am working for the people of Mexico.Week one, I would legalize all drugs on Mexico’s side, and tax them at 35% - which they’ll love because of the enormous savings in their own security and their reunification to society offsetting it, and encourage them to put the distribution centers along the US border in less populated areas.Why? Mexico has no reason to fight this anymore, and in the US, Colorado and California have already started signs of giving up. We’re done doing all the dying for the US’ to continue their own behavior. A lot of the stuff still comes from Colombia which the US had “fixed”. So yeah, that’s done now.Some benefits of this initial legalization and relocation approach:The drug trafficking is done in regular planes and trucksThe distribution and packaging centers and any collateral danger is geo-localized; and it’s where they want to be anyway.They no longer have a reason to be armed.There is a precedent for something similar. Canada’s Seagrams became big during US alcohol prohibition with the tacit encouragement of the Canadians.Seagram’s was quietly “encouraged” to get big, get closer to the US, and never, ever put on labels legends to make it seem a leftover from “before” prohibition. No, never. ;-)Today, prohibition era Seagrams’ whiskey are super expensive collector items.Drug profits (profits only) in Mexico alone are said to be $500B per year “As much as Wal-Mart”, they say.35% tax brings in, back of the envelope calculation, $175 Billion in new revenue. Per year (with an expected drop year over year as consumption falls).It also saves in hospitals and our own military - and everyone is going to love not dying (not dying is great, you guys!).I also expect better tax revenue elsewhere as these dealers can now just invest their money instead of laundering it or putting it under the proverbial mattress (I read the biggest drug money bust in Mexican history was USD $22B - yes, in cash, yes, in a single bust!). That would have been $7B in taxes right there! Forget about getting it peace-meal in drug-busts here and there and everyone hiding it; formalize this stuff!And they have to invest it in Mexico as other legislations around the world probably won’t catch up for a while. So that helps the economy too.Same week Announce that in six months, Mexican Gun laws will be heavily enforced again, and in the meantime they can turn in their guns, no questions asked, no ballistics checks done. Maybe pay USD $20 a piece. That costs me $600 million with the estimated 30,000 illegal weapons out there. So I still have $174.4 Billion. And this charge almost goes away after the first year. as the demand for guns is now much less.Destroy the weapons, then use the rest of the money to start phase 2, in year 2 (and perhaps also a little of it in the first year, if we go into debt a little with bonds or something).Now the weapons issue is also managed; as Mexico is not really a “gun culture”.Have I mentioned everyone is going to love not dying?Triple the $34.6B Federal police budget (to $90B) and increase community policing in Mexico’s North. Important stuff - take care of small crimes, but also help the community and retrain for rebuilding the social fabric. “Peace” officers as much as police officers. I still have $84B.Do huge international-level campaigns and media buys with ads against drug consumption (in the tobacco model). I have no idea how much this would cost but Apple, Inc pays $1.8B in global advertisement and are probably one of the best-known brands anywhere. Let’s do the same and then some. So say double that plus a bit more for rounding. And yes, all over the world. This problem is international, so we’re doing the same. That’s $4B. I still have $80B.Spend another $1B giving temporary employment as spokespeople to any ex-drug dealer that wants a new job. They can spend six months to a year telling their stories and honing basic skills to get back into the community. But it’s a transitional job. An atonement, if you will. After that, they need to find something else to do.Pay for free addiction treatment in Mexico’s drug treatment centers. As a gesture of goodwill to the US and Canada, I’d also pay for half the drug addiction treatment of any US (and Canadian) citizen as long as it’s done in a Mexican addiction treatment center, and as long as the US government pays for the other half.Why? Because it’s an equation and you need to help fix the other side (I’m not going to lecture the US on that fact and then not do my part when the shoe is on the other side). US inaction on addiction awareness paved the way for them to get like that and they already ruined their lives; the resulting money is partially here now, and there’s nowhere to go but up, but they need to be able to afford the treatment. So how is $0? Zero dollars and a free trip to Mexico for a month sounds good for you? Mexico receives 35 million people a year already, we can find a way to make room for 21 million over six years.This, but in a Mexican beach, and for free. And people probably not as pretty, but no worries, come as you are.This is the tough one. That’s about $210B (full cost, not just half) for 21 million addicted Americans. But we can stagger that cost over 6 years (and there won’t be room for all of them at the same time anyway so there’ll be triaging and a waiting list based on need), so it’s $35B per year including the plane ticket. I still have $44B left.If the US cooperates and pays for half as requested, I have $61B left. But let’s assume the lower figure because I don’t actually expect US cooperation. Canada may help with their much lower number. I’d encourage the US and Canada to similarly decriminalize on their side, but not expect it.Use $4B to lobby and manage any international fallout from the approach, which will be shocking to some in the beginning. That’s 4 times as much as the entire US pharma industry; only I’m not just spending it just in the US. I still have $40B.Over 6 years, I accumulate about $240B.And you want to hear a coincidence? Mexico’s entire external government debt is a bit less double that, $417B, or 35% of GDP. It’s actually not an unhealthy level for a modern nation, all things considered, but I’ll go ahead and pay over half that debt.As I step down, I leave my beloved country with a debt of $177B (14% of GDP) and a continuing but declining revenue stream that will last about 10 more years before leveling off (as new kids stop using the product, addicted people “age out” or get better), and a vibrant economy in a place that more people want to visit because it’s so much more secure.And I did that without touching anything of the rest of the budget, not doing any tax reforms, and while creating a virtuous circle that if revenue is reduced, it’s because we’re fixing the problem.I have a lot more ideas for the country, but I’d keep those two concepts separate. Use the drug stuff to solve the drug stuff. And pound away at the debt.Or I could be convinced to reduce GDP debt to 20% instead of 14% and modernize Pemex and increase output or work on infrastructure with the $10B a year, or a huge anti-corruption task force (but only because I think it would pay for itself in productivity). No fixed social programs though. Those we can do from any actual structural improvements we get.What’s important is that, knowing that that revenue will eventually be reduced or stabilized to something much lower, they’re “one time” expenses and they don’t become a fiscal burden, or investments that will produce direct revenue later. We don’t want to be back in crisis in 20 years. There’s no reelection (which is a great thing; if people ask, I won’t even be coy; I’ll just tell them to take a hike and follow the constitution, que para eso hicimos revolución - that’s why we had a revolution in the first place!) and I can’t come back and help again, my fellow Mexicans.I’ll want to retire locally to a quiet life, perhaps to a former drug war hard-hit area, just to make the point that it’s fixed and enjoy the fruits of my labor too.After this, I bet a memoir titled something like “How the Mexicans saved Civilization in six years: When the whole world gives you a chili, you make salsa and spice up the world” would be a worldwide best seller.Consulting fees to help other countries do the same would also be quite nice.Because we care about people, but after all, we’re no communists. Hah.Not bad, huh?

Is The Last of Us Part 2 a masterpiece?

Well, let’s see…The reason why The Last of Us Part II doesn’t deserve to be called a masterpiece is because it promised fans a story that could rival - even succeed - the story of its predecessor.It failed. Miserably.The Last of Us is rightfully considered a masterpiece not in terms of the gameplay (which is pretty pedestrian third-person mechanics) but in terms of the story and the characters.Joel and Ellie are the soul of this game.Their characters are polar opposites and they complement each other perfectly. Joel is a broken man needing a reason to live and Ellie is that reason.He suffered immensely through the pain of losing one child; he couldn’t suffer it again.This is what makes Joel and Ellie’s relationship - as well as the game’s ending - so compelling.You feel as though you have gone on this journey with them, and Joel sacrificing humanity’s potential shot at a vaccine - which couldn’t ever happen, mind - to save Ellie implicates us in his selfishly justifiable actions.Was it so bad for the fans to ask for another adventure with Joel and Ellie?Naughty Dog thought so. That’s why they intentionally mislead fans to believe that Joel would be a main playable character in the game before possibly getting killed off, and the player controls Ellie for the remainder.Instead, within the first two hours of gameplay, Joel is wastefully executed in front of Ellie by another character - Abby - that we’ve never heard of or seen before and the game focuses on Ellie getting revenge.Alright, revenge story. Joel was a very likeable character that had to be killed off just so this game could actually have a story, but he’d die at some point, so let’s go and murder Abby, boys!That is until you get to this point in the game.An important quality of any story in any medium is its structure.Especially in video games with a single-player campaign, the story cannot afford to take detours, otherwise the player will probably get bored and likely play something else.The Last of Us Part II suffers horribly from poor story structure.So, Joel gets killed off, fair enough. Ellie then goes after Abby and her accomplices with her girlfriend Dina, jolly good.Until it comes to a climax with Jesse being shot, Tommy being held at gunpoint and Abby has Ellie in her sights.Then the game cuts to black and now we’re playing as Abby for the next ten hours.This is bad because the player has already invested their time into following Ellie’s story. They’re not likely to feel engaged by this climax being interrupted and having to play as the woman who killed Joel Miller.Also, look at this character model.I’m aware that there are women in the real world with muscular bodies, but I don’t think they’re the survivors of a world-ending plague.How on earth can Abby look like a bodybuilder in the post-apocalyptic wasteland? In a world like The Last of Us, that’s supposed to be gritty and mature, this is childishly laughable.What’s wrong with a traditional feminine figure? Does that not make females empowered? Naughty Dog doesn’t think so.Abby built herself up to be the villain - and a hateful one at that - by killing a protagonist that players liked. If the game switched alternatively between Ellie and Abby, the story may have been a little more tolerable.My God, there are even entire compilation videos on YouTube of people intentionally letting Abby be killed by Ellie in their boss fight later on.When you have a character that players dislike so much that they want her to die, that’s when you know you’ve failed as a story developer.Not only is the player forced to play as Abby to get back to playing as Ellie, Abby’s story and character isn’t even that interesting or likeable.That also brings up another point about why The Last of Us Part II doesn’t deserve to be called a masterpiece: the unironic deconstruction of its main characters.The developers seem to have a throbbing erection for painting Joel as how some fans may have seen him: the most selfish and ruthless man alive.We know Joel isn’t a good man, but he saved Ellie out of love. It is selfish, but we would do the exact same thing if we were Joel.Naughty Dog seems to believe Joel is an irredeemable villain in a decaying world where there are surely people much more depraved than him.Then there is Ellie.Ellie lost so much of her charm, humour and kindness, which is what made her the perfect complement to Joel’s character.You could justify this by saying Ellie found out Joel lied to her as well as the trauma of losing him before she could explicitly forgive him.But, that shouldn’t fundamentally change who Ellie is at her core.She was a funny, strong and brave girl in the first game who had to do what she must to survive.Now, she’s murderously angry, depressed and frankly horrible. She condescends Jesse, she doesn’t want to listen to Tommy’s advice, she doesn’t even try and compromise with Dina at the end when she wants to find Abby again.That’s the only time I felt sorry for Dina, too. Good character, Naughty Dog!In the first game, she broke a cannibal’s finger and said “Ellie is the girl who broke your FUCKING FINGER!”There is none of that badass charm from Ellie in this game. Heck, there isn’t even much soul in the game itself.The game’s world and story is almost entirely miserable from beginning to end.There are only one or two moments of levity granted to the player while the rest of the game is focused on this dark and depressing world that has no glimmer of hope. It felt oppressively nihilistic.The Last of Us had a mature and dark story, but there were multiple moments where the player could just slow down and breathe, even have a laugh. Naughty Dog essentially want to have a “Giraffe Scene 2.0” but without any of the compelling emotion behind the scene that made it special.The only time where it comes close is in a flashback where Joel takes Ellie to a museum for her birthday. That’s legitimately the only time where the characters were happy and fun.This brings us to the game’s poor handling of its themes.The Last of Us Part II is a game about right and wrong, written by people who think they’re always right.It essentially amounts to “violence is bad” and “revenge is bad.” This kind of superficial writing does not belong in a sequel to one of the greatest games of all time.Remember how I said how Joel and Ellie are deconstructed unironically? These themes play a major role in the story and their characters.How is it that the game lets the player control Ellie and kill hundreds of people in rather brutal fashion, yet she has a panic attack on unknowingly killing a pregnant woman?Then, how is it that when Abby has a knife to Dina’s throat (after we’ve played as her), Ellie pleads her to stop saying that Dina is pregnant and Abby replies “Good.”?How on earth can Naughty Dog expect players to root for the sociopath who is perfectly willing to slit the throat of a pregnant woman, and whom doesn’t suffer as nearly enough emotional trauma that Ellie does when she commits the same violent atrocities?Then there is the ending.The whole point of this story and of Joel being killed was so that Ellie could have her revenge on Abby. Then, when she has Abby entirely at her mercy, she spares her life and lets her leave.Other people can have their opinion and I can respect it, but, personally, this renders Ellie’s motivation - and the entire point of playing the game - obsolete.The Last of Us’ world is not like ours. It is brutal, empty and cruel. There are no rules outside of civil communities; you do what you can to survive.Why have Ellie and the player go on this journey just to take away the choice from both to achieve their own catharsis from killing Abby?It leaves the player feeling manipulated and emotionally fatigued, just as Ellie would feel when she can’t play Joel’s guitar any more to rub the salt in a little harder.We know revenge isn’t the best coping mechanism for grief or pain, but in a world like The Last of Us, we should at least have that.In summary, I don’t believe The Last of Us Part II can be called a masterpiece because it’s story is badly written and structured, its themes are patronising and shallow, its treatment of the main duo is awful and the rest of the cast feels forgettable.Enough to be going on with, don’t you think?Peace and Love.A short life and a merry one.

Should Turkey pay reparations to Armenia and some of the Balkan states such as Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, FYROM, Montenegro, and Serbia?

On ReparationsNO. It is not terribly useful to demand reparation funds from Turkey. That is money made by honest and hard-working Turks; almost everyone who participated in the Armenian, Pontic Greek, and Assyrian genocides is dead, never mind the earlier massacres in the Balkans.Correspondingly, as most of the Turks on here have noted, the Christian regimes were not noted for their kind and charitable treatment of their Muslim citizens. There have been numerous massacres against the Muslims in the Balkans like the Bosniaks, Albanians, Goranci, Torbeši, and Pomaks which even continue into the 21st century. If Turks are compelled to pay for the genocides, this may well open up the floodgates for reverse payments to the Muslim Muhacirs who fled organized campaigns and genocides in the Balkans.Additionally, compelling this monetary payment, while momentarily satisfying for those of us under the Cross, will only further strain relations with the Turks.On SolutionsWhat would be much better than reparation payments would be actual attempts to repair the damage between our two communities. I am Assyrian and I will not ever forgive the CUP for their intent and actions in liquidating the Assyrian population of Anatolia, but the Turks are not going anywhere and there are at least 60 million ethnic Turks in Turkey. These people will be our neighbors and we will be theirs. It would be better if we accepted that.We should first undo all of the laws that prevent the honest discussion of our different historical tragedies. Glossing over our community’s actions to portray our ancestors as unmitigated heroes will not serve anyone. We should teach the honest stories of the Muhacirs and of the Anatolian Christians. We should discuss both narratives honestly and sincerely.We should also do projects together, such as business and infrastructure development. In my dealings, I have met a number of Turks and found them to be as different among their members as any other group. It is much harder to keep the flame of hatred alive if you make friends on the other side.It’s not going to be easy by a long shot, but this is a much more worthwhile endeavor than playing the reparations game.

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