Tag Archive | "emergency services;"

The Danger of Distraction


Let’s not miss the arrows headed our direction because we are focused on bullets shot overseas.

The news is filled with the negative impact of Brexit.  Such news can shake our beliefs, shift our attitudes and motivate our investing.  It can create fear or greed, and the words can move us to impulsive action.

Yet this economic news is mostly meaningless.  The real danger of Brexit is distraction from more likely risks, such as Social Security shortfalls that will arise in as little as four years.

A recent Wall Street Journal article (1) shows that Medicare and Social Security will begin to spend more than they earn by the end of this decade.  Insolvency can come in less than 20 years.  The latest Medicare trust fund report shows that Social Security will exhaust its reserves in 12 years and face total depletion in 18 years.  This could cause a 21% across-the-board benefit cut.

The reality is far worse.   Medicare and Social Security accounted for 41% of federal spending in 2015 and the trust’s assets are simply a huge accounting slight of hand.

Social Security payouts have exceeded collections in tax since 2010.  The numbers only look positive due to interest payments that the trust earns on trust-fund assets.  By 2020, even this trick will not work.  Social Security will have to sell assets to make payments.  Of course such accounting is little more than mathematical trickery.  The income and assets of Social Security are government debt.

No person or government can borrow their way out of debt, especially when they never balance their budget.

The government can’t balance its budget because there are increasingly more  recipients  than tax payers.  There were 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary last year, down from 3.2 in 2008.  That ratio will slide to nearer 2 workers per beneficiary over the next two decades.

The lack of Social Security funds is only a third of the problem. Another third of the problem is rising costs.  Social Security recipients will receive less to pay for a higher cost of living.

The third problem is that the more expensive care will be inferior and not always free.  In a New York Times article, “When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers” (2) shows that turning emergency care and firefighting services over to private business is not a good idea.

Picture this.  A loved one slips into a coma and dies because the business that runs the ambulance was short staffed, due to business economies.  Or imagine that the ambulance arrives but is short of medical supplies because the business has run down inventories to increase profit.  Imagine seeing a house burn. You dial 911 but the house burns down because the fire department is slow.  Then you get a bill for $15,000 even though the private fire company arrived late.  Then the company sues for $15,000 when you refuse to pay.

This is happening.  As governments cannot afford to pay retirement benefits and emergency services, they increasingly turn them over to private businesses.  A wide array of civic services, ambulance, fire department, military, prison and hospitals are a few.

If you dial 911, you may be signing up to be a customer of a private business.  The problem is that often, you, not the government,  might be paying for the service.

This is trickery at its worst, but the problem grows.  Putting profit as a factor in life and death situations allows businesses to extort customers.  When a life or a home is at an immediate risk, customers will agree to anything.

Normally the refrain, “Give me your money or your life” is left to robbers.  Yet this concept can be and is used by business.

We have seen this in the pharmaceutical industry.  When questioned about raising the price of one prescription by 550% to $750 per pill, the CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals was quoted:  “If products are sort of mispriced and there’s an opportunity, we will act appropriately in terms of doing what I assume our shareholders would like us to do.”

Another quote in this industry about high prescription pricing was that “$1,000 a month did not seem like much for something that can save a person’s life.”  Out of context this is true.  Most of us would be willing to pay $1,000 to save our lives at any time. But can most people do this month in and month out?  Should a person have to pay this much when the pharma’s markup might be a thousand percent and when the drug was profitable at $20 a pill instead of $750.

Is it correct that every month the pharma firm can dictate price and say; “Give me your money or give me your life”.

Maybe this is why medicine has always been considered a profession, not a business.  This is why these professions have an oath, (the Hippocratic Oath and similar professional oaths, like the Osteopathic Oath) that are above the law.  These oaths are not legally binding. These oaths are not required in order to become a practicing physician.

This lack of requirement is the power behind the oath.  These oaths are important because unlike a license or medical degree, which are required to practice, the physician chooses to take this oath.

This is why professions have a practice not a business.  When business replaces practice, two key components of the Hippocratic Oath (below) can get thrown out the window.

“I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

“I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability.  My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.”

Perhaps long ago, great healers who created the oath recognized that the responsibilities in commerce and of public emergency service do not mix for one simple reason.  In commerce both the buyer and the seller should have an opportunity to negotiate and agree on the terms of the product or service and price.  In emergency situations, especially those of life and death, just as it is in armed theft, the weight of the negotiation leans too heavily for the business.

The main responsibility of the businessman versus the doctor shifts from the patient to the shareholder and the message to the patient can become ‘give me your money or give me your life’.

The patient (ie now customer) has no or little choice.

Private fire departments can bill homeowners thousands of dollars for putting out fires.  Will you quibble over the price when your house is blazing or your loved one is near death and needs immediate care?

This trend has been growing as many big investment banks and firms have invested in emergency services that customer’s lives depend upon.

When it comes to emergency services it’s better to take government “inefficiencies” over corporate greed as it is morally wrong to put profits above the lives and property of a community.  At least, as taxpayers,we can exercise some authority with our vote.

How do we solve these problems?

Merri and I have been writing about what we do for more than 30 years and since we returned from Ecuador to Smalltown USA we base our strategy around three foundations.  First, we work hard to maintain good, natural health and stay out of the modern health care system as much as possible.   Second, though we are in our 70s, we continue to run a micro business that offers products and services that create income.  Earning more then we spend is our basis of everlasting wealth.  We rely on our energy and skills more than the promises of the government, pensions, banks, etc.  Third, we avoid debt and invest what we do have saved in value using our anchor of value and mathematical financial information rather than economic news as our guides in investing.

We would like to spend a long weekend at our North Carolina farm sharing what we have learned and experienced over 50 years of investing, living and operating businesses globally.

We provide a special service, our International Club and hope you will join us for the year ahead.

Gary

(1) www.wsj.com/articles/social-security-medicare-trust-funds-face-insolvency-over-20-years-trustees-report-1466605893

(2) www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/business/dealbook/when-you-dial-911-and-wall-street-answers.html?_r=0

 

New International Investing Era


A new international investing era could be created by a destructive scientific fundamental that is now so powerful it could overwhelm all other factors determining our wealth. This danger has such power that it could destroy most investors and much worse… end civilization as we know it.

electromagnetic-pulse

Photo from Wikepedia report on Electromagnetic pulse weapons.

The most frightening part is that this force could unleash its destruction on us… now… at any time!

I want to share what, why and when this disaster could happen.

Then, I want to share how you can be protected rather than ruined.  We’ll even see how this, with luck, could be the creator of untold wealth which you, I, and a handful of cautious, insightful investors could share.

Before I explain how to safeguard your family from this possible upcoming disaster, let me explain that I first began to understand the magnitude of the risk after reading the New York Times best selling novel “One Second After” written by bestselling author, William R. Forstchen.

The story had extra meaning for me because it shows life in a small North Carolina town (similar to where Merri and I live during the summer) after an electro magnetic pulse is detonated by terrorists over the United States.

In the story the electrical grid and anything using a computer stopped working due to an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) created by just three small nuclear devices, launched from container ships and detonated high above the USA.

Without central communication and distribution, mass devastation and chaos ensued immediately.   The agony was terrible and life almost unfathomably complicated.

What made this fiction meaningful is that the book really documents and details the West’s dangerous reliance on technological systems which are so extensive that no one even recognizes them any more.

Adding to the terror of this book is a forward by Newt Gingrich and and afterword by Captain Bil Sanders (USN) one of the foremost experts on EMP. His comment  on how an EMP exploded over the US would create the Compton effect and how it would have “devastating consequences on our country” should be examined and understood.

It was Captain Sanders’ deep understanding of EMPs that made the warning in this book so powerful.

In a moment we’ll share ways to protect against this disaster… that could happen to all of us… suddenly… at any time.

First here are three facts that you should know.

EMP Fact #1: Many countries, including the US have EMP weapons that have nothing to do with a nuclear bomb and are quite small. They essentially put out a high energy very sharp spike of energy – high frequency and very short wavelength, short duration pulse.

However it is the nuclear EMP device that creates the greatest risk.  These are nuclear bombs that DO NOT CREATE DAMAGE FROM THEIR BLAST, HEAT OR NUCLEAR FALLOUT.   Instead the weapons create an electrical wave that fries just about anything with a computer.  A survey of open sources over the past decade finds that knowledge about EMP and EMP attack is evidenced in at least Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Egypt, Taiwan, Sweden, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iran, North Korea, China and Russia.

Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings have shown how to design nuclear weapons that generate an extra powerful EMP effect called Super-EMP that can destroy even the best protected military and civilian electronic facilities.

electromagnetic-pulse

EMP Fact #2:  This risk has grown to such an extent that America’s electrical grid is so vulnerable to terrorist attack that the Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson is pushing a bill to give the energy commission broad authority for “true emergency situations.”

This is explained in a recent USA Today article entitled “Electrical grid vulnerable to terrorist attack”  by Thomas Frank.  Here are excerpts from that article: It sounds like a science-fiction disaster: A nuclear weapon is detonated miles above the Earth’s atmosphere and knocks out power from New York City to Chicago for weeks, maybe months.

electromagnetic-pulse

This graphic is from the USA Today article linked below.

Experts and lawmakers are increasingly warning that terrorists or enemy states could wage that exact type of attack, idling electricity grids and disrupting everything from communications networks to military defenses.

An expert panel that Congress created to study such an attack says it would halt banking, transportation, food, water and emergency services and “might result in defeat of our military forces.”

“The consequences would be catastrophic,” said Joseph McClelland, director of the energy commission’s Office of Electric Reliability. Full recovery could take up to 10 years, he said.

The scenario involves a phenomenon called an “electromagnetic pulse,” or EMP, which is essentially a huge energy wave strong enough to knock out systems that control electricity flow across the country.

The immediate effect would resemble a blackout. Although blackouts can be restored quickly, an EMP could damage or destroy power systems, leaving them inoperable for months or longer.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is pushing a bill to give the energy commission broad authority.

At a committee hearing in July, Steve Naumann of energy giant Exelon said the authority should be limited to “true emergency situations.”

The commission studying the threat says the U.S. is ill-prepared to prevent or recover from an EMP, a vulnerability could invite an attack.

“We are not well-protected at all,” said Michael Frankel, who was executive director of the commission.

EMP Fact #3:  If an EMP event takes place, the Western World could quickly run out of food. Here is an excerpt of a transcript of a speech given by Professor Sir John Beddington, chief scientific adviser to the British government, at the GovNet SDUK09 event.  This has become know as “The Perfect Storm” speech.

I spoke here last year at about the same time about the issue of the food crisis and the burgeoning increases in food prices that were being driven by population growth, use of biofuels and so on.

The first problem here is that we really have a major issue. This graph takes a little bit of explanation; it is the ratio of our reserves to our consumption. What it is showing is that last year is the lowest level of reserves that we have had as a proportion of our consumption in years, since 1970 and actually since records were taken of this sort.

electromagnetic-pulse

That means that we’ve got somewhere like reserves of around 14% of our consumption, that implies, give or take, 38 or 39 days of food reserves if we don’t grow any more.

As you can see, it’s the lowest level that we’ve actually had.  Is that a problem?  Well the answer is yes it is going to be a problem.  We saw the food spike last year; prices going up by something in the order of 300%, rice went up by 400%, we saw food riots, we saw major issues for the poorest in the world, in the sense that the organisations like the World Food Programme did not have sufficient money to buy food on the open market and actually use it to feed the poorest of the poor.

But this is England, not North America.  Right?

Beddingdon’s note shows that North America might not be able to rely on Europe for much food assistance and…

America’s food reserves are even worse as explained in this excerpt from last year’s article “The US has no grain reserves” published in the Tri State Observer, Milford, PA. The excerpt says:  Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), has raised concerns over the issue of U.S. grain reserves after it was announced that the sale of 18.37 million bushels of wheat from USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.

“According to the May 1, 2008 CCC inventory report there are only 24.1 million bushels of wheat in inventory, so after this sale there will be only 2.7 million bushels of wheat left the entire CCC inventory,” warned Matlack. “Our concern is not that we are using the remainder of our strategic grain reserves for humanitarian relief. AAM fully supports the action and all humanitarian food relief.

Our concern is that the U.S. has nothing else in our emergency food pantry. There is no cheese, no butter, no dry milk powder, no grains or anything else left in reserve. The only thing left in the entire CCC inventory will be 2.7 million bushels of wheat which is about enough wheat to make 1⁄2 of a loaf of bread for each of the 300 million people in America.” (MY BOLD)

The CCC is a federal government-owned and operated entity that was created to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices. CCC is also supposed to maintain balanced and adequate supplies of agricultural commodities and aids in their orderly distribution.

“This lack of emergency preparedness is the fault of the 1996 farm bill which eliminated the government’s grain reserves as well as the Farmer Owned Reserve (FOR),” explained Matlack.

This is backed up by a Scienceblog article that says: “The US Government Has Zero Grain Reserves.”

In 1996, the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (“Freedom to Farm Act”) called for elimination of government stockpiles of grain.  I’m sure someone thought it made sense, at the time.

Now, the United States government has no reserves of butter, cheese, dry milk, barley, corn, oats, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, rice, sugar, honey, peanuts, canola seed, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower seed, sunflower seed, peas, lentils, chickpeas, and cotton.  [Source: US Farm Service Agency, Current CCC Inventory (PDF file)]

The book, “One Second After”, clearly and very dramatically (but I am not sure how accurately) drives home the point that unless a person takes a unique financial stance that his finances, and maybe even his or her life, could be wiped out.   Many military and scientific studies support this monumental economic, social and life threatening risk.

Yet you do not have to ruined by EMP.  You may even find that this potential weapon will create extra ordinary wealth that a few investors will share.  Here is how and why.

First, there is no proof that an EMP event as described above would create quite the havoc mentioned above.

Here is how one scientist whom I have known for years and trust completely, explains this.

“I’m not sure how large an effect the nuclear device would have above the atmosphere — the pulse might dissipate somewhat along the earth’s electromagnetic field.  It would probably take out a lot of communications and military satellites.

“Electronic devices that are not attached to any power source and that do not have an antenna when the EMP pulse hits could survive – even better with some shielding material.”

EMPs could be the driving force for the next investing era.

Just like the nuclear threat in the Cold War…  an EMP attack may never happen.   Yet because it could… the perception of risk… has created a huge rush by many governments to develop new weapons and forms of protection… just as during the Cold War.

This site and our multi currency site have repeated many times how stock market bulls and bears are based on cycles of human interaction, war, technology and productivity.

These cycles are intricately connected with the new waves of productivity that grow from the great human platform of combat. The cycle goes like this.

An economic downturn enhances a war or threat of war. Struggles for survival in the war (like the Civil War, WWI, WWII and the Cold War (WWIII), super charge inventiveness that creates new forms of productivity…the steam engine, the internal combustion engine,  production line processes, jet engines, TV, farming techniques, plastics, telephone, computer and lastly during the Cold War, the internet.

Each new invention helped win a war.  Shifting the technology to domestic use… after the war… created a boom.

Each boom leads to excess.

Each excess led to a correction.  The correction creates an economic downturn.

The economic downturn enhances a war or threat of war.

Here we are… in the correction again… at the correct time when we should expect that another war (or threat of war such as the Cold War) should begin to build!   This latest downturn started almost exactly (1998), 16 years after the last boom began (1982)…which began after the last great human struggle called the Cold War.

If the cycle repeats, the struggle should build now due to the poor economy.

The key for spotting the greatest investment opportunities is to spot the next big invention… the technology that will spin out of WWIV.

The key is that a problem must have such severe consequences (such as losing the war and being destroyed) that all stops… all logics of return on investment are ignored.  Technology and research are pushed full steam ahead regardless of cost. The threat must be real and serious… like EMP.

There are seven steps you can take to assure that you are not destroyed by an EMP.

#1:  Move well away from the USA…. to an agriculturally based country.  This is one reason Merri and I have been active in Ecuador for nearly 15 years.

#2: Move to Small Town USA.  Our sites have been looking at the benefits of this for years and why we live on agricultural property.

#3:  Create your own source of food.

#4: Create a local source of hardened energy and communications.  This is one reason our newest real estate purchase is also agricultural property and already has a HAM radio tower installed.

#5: Keep some gold and or silver on hand.

#6: Know how to take care of your own health.

#7:  Hold some assets outside of North America.

Merri and I have already taken six of these seven steps… and are well on our way to completing the seventh step.  From this we learned one really important point.

You should not suffer in the process of  gaining this protection either.

Merri and I did not move to the country… buy our Blue Ridge farm… set up our own food supply… start our garden… buy agricultural land in Florida… get a ham radio tower… buy gold and silver… organize assets out of the US and become involved in taking care of our own health naturally because we were worried about EMPs.  We did so because we wanted to.

Chances are that an EMP attack will NOT take place.  During the Cold War nuclear bomb shelters were not required!

Yet can we take a chance?  Ignoring this risk and with no action is not the answer either.

Instead let’s share ways and lifestyle alterations that protect as they provide joy, satisfaction, better health and enhanced wealth.

You may not be able to (or want) to move your home abroad or to a rural area.   Yet gardening, even in urban areas,  can be healthy and fun.  Holding some precious metals is probably a good investment anyway.  We should be taking care of our health even when their is no threat of war.

When it comes to holding assets abroad… our multi currency course can help.

Since mankind began, every generation has endured some great threat or risk.  Yet here we are… still growing!  Only time will tell whether EMP will create havoc or the greatest new wave of wealth we have seen.  Whichever, Merri and I will be here to share the experience with you.

Gary

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn wherever you live, which brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am giving everyone who enrolls in our North Carolina or Ecuador International Business & Investing seminar in October or November our “Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course” (offered at $299) free.

Here are comments from a reader about the way we help:  Thank you for your inspiration and information outlining foreign banking and retirement.  Your comments and suggestions are welcome for planning the steps to evaluate the early stages of living abroad.

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

December 6-8 Blaine Watson’s  Beyond Logic & Shamanic Tour

December 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

December 11-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Join us in 2010.   Attend more than one seminar and tour and save even more plus get the three emailed courses free.

Our multi seminar-tour discounts have grown!

See the 2010 winter schedule below.

To Enroll click below.

1 real estate tour  $499 Couple $749

2 seminar courses & tours $949 Couple  $1,399

3 seminar courses & tours   $1199 Couple  $1,749

4 seminar courses & tours   $1,399 Couple $2,149

5 seminar courses & tours  $1,599 Couple $2,499

(Be sure to show in the comments section which courses and tours you are attending)

International Club attend up to 52 courses and tours in 2010 free.

Jan.   8-11     Ecuador Export Tour ($499) Couple $749
Jan. 13-14     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 16-17     Coastal Real Estate Tour
Jan. 19-20    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Jan. 22-23    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Feb. 11-14   Quantum Wealth Florida -International Investing & Internet Business, Mt. Dora, Florida ($749) Couple $999
Feb. 15-16   Travel to Quito and Andes
Feb  17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Feb. 20-21  Coastal Real Estate Tour
Feb. 23-24  Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Feb. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Mar. 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Florida ($749) Couple $999
Mar. 15-16    Travel to Quito and Andes
Mar. 17-18     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Mar. 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour
Mar. 22-23    Coastal Real Estate Tour
Mar. 25-26    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

See our entire 2010 seminar and tour schedule here

Read the entire articles:

Electrical grid vulnerable to terrorist attack

The US has no grain reserves” published in the Tri State Observer, Milford, PA.

Cotacachi People


The people of Cotacahi are first and foremost , the asset that makes this village great.

Recent messages have looked at the excellent Cotacachi service… but the wonderful people reduce the need for emergency services. You do not hear sirens blasting away in Cotacachi often because there are not many emergencies!

Merri and I take walks every morning and it is a happy time where we meet our many Cotacachi friends.

We begin at the bakery… for a bite of hot, out of the oven, bread.

cotacachi-eople

Our baker smiles and salutes.  His assistant knows exactly what we want and has it ready as we walk in the door.  20 cents for two hot rolls.

cotacachi-people

We stop the street sweeper and give him a tip with a “thanks for making our village so beautiful”!

cotacachi-garbage-service

We speak to all the young children headed for school… on their own.

cotacachi-people

Laborers are already working by 7am,  continually improving the sidewalks and roads.

cotacachi-people

This gentleman just stands in his doorway. Every morning he is there for a “Buenas Dias.”

cotacachi-garbage-service

We drop off some shoes at the shoeshine man.   50 cents to shine a pair though we give him a dollar. When we return from a trip his wife hugs us like we are family.

Ecuador-people

He puts our shoes on the sidewalk to advertise his services.

Ecuador-people

We love the wonderful traditional dress that so many men and women in Cotacachi wear.

cotacachi-people

What a way to start the day…a healthy walk… pleasant weather…so many smiles… waves and friendliness… because of Cotacachi’s people.

cotacachi-people

Until next message may all of your people be wonderful as well.

Gary

Join us in Cotacachi.

Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  Here is a special offer on this new course.

You can enroll in this special course for $299. However if you sign up for three courses in any one month.

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour