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Welcome To Vilcabamba
"The Sacred Valley of Longevity"

This Is A Privately Circulated Blog, scribbled exclusively for Friends & Familiars, that peers into and pontificates about Expat life in the hinterlands of South America. If your eyesight is less than optimal (like mine), then just click the type size up a notch on your browser..

Here you will find a series of curmudgeonly commentaries that I've posted from atop my rickety old soapbox for the past few years. And yes, there are indeed political rantings, so place your seats in the upright position and fasten your seat belts .... it may be a bumpy ride.


Is Time Speeding Up For You?

According to the late Terance McKenna, ethnobotanist, philosopher and psychonaut, time is indeed accelerating faster and faster. The golden-tongued Troubadour of Consciousness describes the process in the short video below.


So, How's Your Year Been?

As I wish one and all a Happy New Year (now that the Mayan prophesy hacks have been proven wrong), it's time to check out the balance of good and bad for 2012. Here is one way of looking at the year about to end:

For me it's been the Blue side all the way, firmly entrenched in the positive and fending off the negative. Oh, and since I'm safely away from all of the political crap that's been happening up yonder in Norte Americano land, this has nothing to do with Red State, Blue State ideology.

Wishing all of you a VERY Happy New Year and an abundance of Good Things for you and yours.



Truer (and more timely) Words Were Never Spoken

When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed. - Ayn Rand


This Is Why I'm Here And Not There!


Obamacare - What Could Go Wrong?

Please excuse me while I go all political on you, but I have a question that you dear readers might be able to answer for me.

Let me see if I have this right. We have now been "gifted" by our government with a healthcare plan we are forced to buy and fined if we don't, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people, without any new doctors but provisions for 16000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chair says he doesn't understand it, passed by a congress that didn't read it (but exempted themselves from it), with funding by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which WE will be taxed for four years before benefits even take effect, by a congress that has bankrupted social security and medicare, signed by a president who smokes, all overseen by an obese surgeon general and financed by a country already trillions in debt? What could possibly go wrong? Hm-mmm?

Let's face it, the problem with America's healthcare is that it pays for treating symptoms not curing causes, and changing how we pay or who pays will not fix this crises. Taking personal responsibility for our health and living healthier lifestyles is the solution, not Obamacare! Check out www.healthyfooders.com


The Sorcerers of Silence

We are all of us, each and every one, cast under the spell of enchantment. The malevolent Wizards of War have placed us in a trance; enthralling man, woman and child with words and images which hold us in fitful slumber. It is a place of dark bad dreams and the erratic vibration of fear. It is, alas, our present reality.

For the past few years I have pointed out to friends and familiars that you must focus on real issues and ignore all of the background noise that is produced by the media and the so called financial gurus. The scene for what is happening today, and which will continue to happen in the next few years, has already been set for years and even decades. What happens to Greece, J.P. Morgan, U.S. Federal Reserve or the European Union has no effect whatsoever on the exceedingly severe long-term economic and social decline that the world will experience in the next few years.

These daily headline events merely create short term volatility caused by irrational and short-term-oriented investors, including HFC (high frequency computer) traders. The Dark Years Are here, the world is almost certain to experience a hyperinflationary depression of a magnitude that will have a massive impact for the majority of the world’s population for years and probably decades. And there is no short term action taken by any governments that can change the outcome. They have tried, and failed.

It is time to Get Out Of Dodge! It is long since past the time to make a change, you must not tarry further. You must distance yourself from the steadily encroaching fascist Security State apparatus that seeks to hold you in thrall to their corporatist masters and bleed from you the taxes necessary to wage their Everlasting War (aka population reduction). It is time to make a change.

The very thought of "change" in one's life is scary to a lot of people. But change is our only constant companion. It is the only sure thing in our lives. Thus, we ought to embrace change as a friend who brings opportunity, even though in the companionship of uncertainty.

There are still countries that, due to their unique circumstances, offer a more benign governance to their citizens, along with their foreign residents. These places, particularly a few countries in South America, will soon close down their borders to the veritable tsunami of immigrants attempting to escape from the tyranny of their current governments. Thus, time is of the essence. You should seek safety. Now!

Richard Russell of Dow Theory Financial Letters, who, like myself, experienced the 1930s Depression, says that in an economic depression everyone suffers, it is just the case of who suffers the least. For me, that's just where I wish to be …. somewhere else, in company with the least suffering. Those who had "Eyes To See and Ears To Hear", and then acted!


Growing Your Own Grocery Store

These beautiful, tender, succulent leaves that you see above will provide me several nutritious, organic meals ... all with very little time and effort on my part. It takes only high altitude sunshine, the magical mineralized water of Vilcabamba and deep, rich soil. Add in a few vegetables that grow along side the lettuce in the same garden greenhouse and you have what is called "Healthy Food". When that day comes where the supermarket shelves are stripped bare, my garden will sustain me ... abundently. How about you? Just wondering.

In the Dark Days to come, FOOD is going to be in short supply (if available at all.) The little garden plot you create now, either an inexpensive indoor hydroponic system or outdoor greenhouse, can feed you and your family with nourishing, organically grown food. If what the so-called "prepping experts" are telling us is true, then the greenhouse will be needed to protect the plants from excess solar UV radiation. It's why I have one, as do my neighbors. And it helps me grow HUGE heads of lettuce like that which I'm holding in the photo just above. Good luck with your own.



The Fed’s much anticipated release of its survey of U.S. consumer finances reports that a hypothetical family richer than half of the nation’s families had, in 2010, a net worth of $77,300 as compared to $126,400 in 2007. That’s a whopping drop of nearly 40%. In fact, that is galloping poverty! Moreover, the median family income also fell to $45,800 in 2010 from $49,600 in 2007. No, quantitative easing does not solve all problems; far from it.

The only way to beat such a growing reality caused to us all by a fiat currency system and uncontrolled credit and debt creations is to own the right asset classes at the right time, i.e., NOW. Failure to do so will only lead to further net worth loses. Oh, and in case you're wondering, GOLD is the only item shown on the chart below to be a buy ... except for periods of strong growth. Do you really think THAT is right around the corner?

For those of my greatly belabored readers who are still invested in the stock market (hmm-mm, like to live dangerously, dont'cha?) here is a chart that gives you at least a hint as to "what to do when". But good luck in figuring out from government statistics whether we are in inflation or deflation. Fear and Greed aren't that hard, just check your gut feeling. Here is the chart:


Helga's Bar And The Banksters

A subscription service sent me this piece and I don't know whom to credit for it, but it's the clearest explanation I've heard regarding the debt crisis and the credit bottleneck that is stifling the world's economy.

Helga is the proprietor of a bar. She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.

Helga keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers' loans).

Word gets around about Helga's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Helga's bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in town.

By providing her customers the freedom from immediate payment demands, Helga gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer - the most consumed beverages.

Consequently, Helga's gross sales volumes and paper profits increase massively. A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Helga's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

He is rewarded with a six-figure bonus.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS. These "securities” are then bundled and traded on international securities markets.

Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as "AA Secured Bonds" are really debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

The traders all receive a six-figure bonus.

One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Helga's bar. He so informs Helga. Helga then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons but, being unemployed alcoholics, they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Helga cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and Helga's 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBOND prices drop by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank's liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Helga's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations; her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion-dollar, no-strings-attached cash infusion from the government.

They all receive six a figure bonus.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who've never been in Helga's bar.

Now do you understand?


Tinfoil Hats and Expectations

I haven't posted anything in over a month simply because I've been waiting with bated breath for something to happen worth commenting upon,. Nada. Zilch. Zero! And I can only hold my breath for so long.

The Conspiracy Conduits were jammed with dire prognostications, pettifoggeries and prophesies …. all of which bode direly for us in the immediate future. We were even given a couple of exact dates to circle on our respective calendars, September 27th, 2011 and then March 2nd, 2012. The first one was supposedly the date when most all of the U.S. elite political class minions would be in not-so-secret bunkers deep beneath Denver's International Airport facilities. What was to happen? Well, how about a "false flag" episode.

Now for those of you who are not prone to layering the inside of your Panama Hats with tinfoil or maintain a yearly subscription to Alex Jones, a False Flag Episode (attack) is an engineered geopolitical ploy used to arouse the citizenry into a fighting frenzy. It is the necessary prelude to WAR!

For this latest "secret conspiracy", the candidates ran the gauntlet from the sudden admission that Planet X was indeed coming close enough to earth to create severe catastrophic damage, to a group of "White Hats" in the military staging a coup. And fanning the flames of all this was a furtive former Forbes editor residing in Japan named Benjamin Fulford. He was the self-styled spokesman for an Asian group of assassins called The White Dragon Society, who were in the process of bringing to justice that shadowy group of Bad Guys called Illuminati. Even Shock Jocks Jeff Rense and Alex Jones were pussycats compared with Fulford's utterings.

Oh, but wait … there's more! Na-aaa, that's enough.

So with my expectations on a higher state of alert than my immune system after a dose of antibiotics, I sat glued to the World Wide Web awaiting the latest version of Armageddon (right after these brief commercial announcements.)

It's now March 24th. The politicos are safely home. The White Dragon Society is nowhere to be seen and no dreaded Brown Dwarf Star has appeared in the overhead night-time sky. Frankly, every time there is one of the "for sure" prophecies based on a specific date, I'm reminded of my favorite cartoon shown below. Meantime, I'm going to cancel my subscription to the "Time Monk" WebBot series of predictions. As for knowledge of the future …. as Clark Gable once opined, "Frankly, my dear, I just don't give a damn."


You Won't Believe This!

Want to know why Greece will NOT be allowed to default, despite all of the drama on the world stage?

Here is a link to what Greece owes and which banks it owes it to. If THIS doesn't mess with your head, nothing will. And hey, it doesn't even show the five U.S. banks that would instantly become insolvent if a default did actually occur.

Click Here For Greek Debt


The Powers That Think They Be

I don't know why, but at a dinner party recently someone asked me to play the role of soothsayer and proclaim to those gathered where I thought the geopolitical world was headed. I've little understanding of such things these days and even less of a sense of what trends are now so firmly in place that we can know where the path mankind is traveling will lead us.

But considering the idiotic clown-like performance of our world "leaders" lately, let me share this circus metaphor that I used to provide my answer of sorts:

The Powers That Think They Be (PTTTB) gathered in the center ring have been entertaining us with a balancing act ….. keeping the wobbling, spinning plates of the economy precariously balanced atop slender poles held in trembling, uncertain hands. The crowd seems to know that these are merely incompetent clowns, not well-trained performers, but those of us who have paid for our ticket to this Greatest Show On Earth still hope fervently that no great catastrophe will occur to mar our entertainment.

As is usually the case with such performances of derring-do, when the plates finally fall to the floor in a shattering cacophony, the "PTTTBs" will simply cram themselves into their little clown jalopy, scurry from the circus ring, and leave the roustabouts to clean up the mess. And you and I, dear reader, are the roustabouts.

As to when and how this accident-in-waiting finally comes about, I'm afraid I don't have a clue. But the only way that I know that such a balancing act can end is either the jugglers catch all the plates in midair as they are falling (amidst great applause) and immediately treat the onlookers to another act, or the plates end up in a shattered heap on the floor, to the groans and disappointment of the crowd. In any case, the clowns have scampered away in merry abandonment, leaving the customers to wander down the midway looking for other distractions from reality.

So it is, so it will always be ….. unless we choose a different path.

As one of my favorite Chinese aphorisms states: "If you don't change your direction, you will surely end up where you are headed."


Where The Writing Gets Done

Thought that you dear readers might like to see a photo of my little casita's study, where all the blog scribbling takes place. The books you see in the background have been lugged around with me for the past forty years, some of which are far older than that. Being a semi-retired gentleman of leisure, I now have the time and inclination to re-read a good number of these books ... some of which are finally beginning to make some sense to me. Everyone should have a personal library of "real" books, along with the new digital e-books stuffed into our Kindles, iPads and other assorted electronic readers.

Every book has within its pages the combined life-energy of the person who wrote it and of those who have read it and thought of its contents. And whenever a book changes hands, that energy grows and strengthens. Find within the pages of your books the ideas and concepts that awaken the chord of recognition in your mind and in your heart. Let the words become those thoughts that enable you to manifest a greater clarity of who you are and what you are to do with your life.