Welcome to my blog and website, I hope you find your visit interesting.
Life is very, very simple and easy to understand, but we complicate it with the beliefs and ideas that we create.
Don Miguel Ruiz
Finally, I'm updating my website. So what has been happening?
One weekend we took a day trip out to a very small town, here referred to as a village, called Usiacuri. It's about 25 miles south of Barranquilla. It's a nice little town with no large businesses of any kind. There's a park with a soccer field, and at the side of it a steep hillside to climb, and at the top of the hillclimb is a statue and a view of the historic church across the small valley. There are a few small tiendas (neighborhood grocery stores, but they are very small, usually one or two rooms in a persons house that have been converted into the tienda), one or two similar sized hardware stores, a couple similar sized restaurants, and a community arts center. Oh, and a similar sized shoe store. I didn't see any gasoline stations in the town. And the very old church that sits on top of a small hill overlooking the entire town. The town is known for the arts center, where many residents are involved in making baskets and other things from Iraca palm. The area has been populated since the early 1500's.
Hmm, what else has been happening in the last few months? I've been working a lot - I spend a lot of time walking to and from students. Though now my monthly walking distance has dropped (my students are closer to my home now) from 175 kilometers per month to only 100 kilometers per month. And I'm still working on the English learning website. Now finally about halfway finished. All of the lessons/quizzes/tests are finished for the A1 level, and I'm through the fitst 7 units for the A2 level. The one problem I will face is in recording the audio - I can't do it all myself, I'm going to need one or two more people for doing conversations. I haven't found another native English speaker here, yet, to help me with that. There are a few, not many, I just have to find them.
We have a cat now. One evening Sandra and I were walking to a supermarket, and we came across a kitten crying and wandering on the sidewalk, alone. We stopped and petted it, Sandra picked it up, talked to it, and then put it down and we started to walk away. The kitten followed us. We stopped again, picked it up and put it into a nearby garden, expecting it to stay there in the safety of the garden. We walked on, and the kitten followed us again. This time Sandra picked it up and asked me if she could keep it. She put it into her pocket, he seemed to be quite happy. We talked about it for a couple minutes and I said Okay. So we turned around and took the kitten home, put it in the patio with a bowl of milk, closed the door and left again for the supermarket. When we got home he had drank all the milk. The next day we bought it some food and he made himself at home with us. I got an empty box, cut it down a bit, and put in some dirt (actually sand, as there is virtually no dirt here, just sand). And the kitten took to it immediately. He has never gone potty on the floor. We believe he was born outdoors, a feral cat, and so never needed to be house trained. That was maybe 3 months ago. Now he climbs all over everything, even the security bars on the window, and climbs up to the awning, then onto the roof. He doesn't like going out front, it's too noisy and too many cars/trucks/busses. He doesn't like that. And that's a good thing. His name is Tom, he's black with white from his nose, chest, and stomach, and his feet. He's a wonderful little guy to have with us.
I've read that there are around 9 million U.S. citizens living overseas. These citizens are supposed to, are required (by law), to pay the US Government income taxes (actually, all taxes as if they are living in the US). Yet the US Government does not provide services to these millions of citizens, services that other US resident may receive such as roads, hospitals, unemployment insurance, etc. Nor do US citizens living overseas receive US government protection of local property (legal, courts, police, etc). Such services and protections are provided by the country in which these people are resident in and pay a fair share of taxes to. In other words, he US Government, in exchange for its taxation of these US citizens, as if they are residents of the US, does not provide any local services or local protection of property.
I believe, as do most, if not all, of the expatriates from the US, that the US claim of tax jurisdiction over residents of other countries is not justified.
An unofficial survey was done on Twitter about what term might be used to describe this double-taxation by the US government, and the term "Kafkaesque" won out over Orwellian, Catch-22, and Dystopian.
But I think another term, and a better name, for it all is "Tributary Slavery". Samuel Adams coined the term in relation to taxation without representation. Certainly today Tributary Slavery is a more applicable term to American citizens living overseas than it was to the Colonists in 1764. Today there are no services or protection of property in exchange for the taxation, unlike the situation 253 years ago. While US citizens overseas may vote, there is no representation in the true sense of the word as the votes get divided among the 50 states, and there is no representative only representing US citizens overseas. Therefore, the US Government to which we pay taxes does not represent me or the millions of other expatriot citizens. Evidence of this has been an enduring situation that Kafka might appreciate, and which Samuel Adams and the other Founding Fathers would find deplorable.