El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

San Telmo: The place to eat meat

Back to our culinary critique of FOOD in Quito....we always comment that steak is not good in Ecuador...unless the meat comes from Argentina or Uruguay.  San Telmo is a MUST for meat lovers.......


There is a simple rule to follow when dining out, in search for good meat:  Great steaks come from great steak houses.

Gonzalo Proaño, General Manager of San Telmo Steak House  in Quito, says, "We were the first to import from Argentina," which is renowned for it's quality beef. Though their imported cuts currently come from Uruguay, Proaño says they are equally matched in quality.  "The beef from Uruguay is more expensive but I am very happy with it and the customers can see the difference."

But it is not enough to buy the best beef in the marketplace.  Meat must be properly aged.  Proaño explains that, "Fresh beef is really tough beef."  The reason is that it must overcome a stiffening process just after slaughter.   With aging, the beef becomes tenderer and more flavorful.   Aging is often from 7-10 days, but San Telmo has their own process.  "I vacuum pack it and age it for 17 days," says Proaño.  "The vacuum packing keeps it safe and the extra days add to the flavor and tenderness of the beef."

So with top quality  beef, properly aged,  San Telmo is able to offer a great mix of not only imported cuts, but national steaks also.

San Telmo offers six different "lomos," all national cuts.  Visitors to Ecuador often get confused by the term "lomo," which essentially refers to a tenderloin cut and includes the filet mignon.  Proaño says, "Filet mignon is really tenderloin the way we get it in the States…the only difference  is the sauce and the bacon." Other lomos include the three pepper steak and several mixed plates with tenderloin and seafood: Lomo a lo macho, San Telmo mix, and the San Francisco mix.  All have a special sauce to accompany them.

If you like your cut of beef straight off the grill, without additional flavorings, then the "Specialties from the Grill" menu is for you.   Try "Lomo a la piedra," a tenderloin served on a hot stone, or the San Telmo T-bone steak.  Beware, though, the T-bone is 700 grams of beef.  Most other national cuts at San Telmo are about 220-280 grams, more than enough to satisfy most appetites.

As for the imported cuts, San Telmo offers grilled ribeye (ojo de bife), grilled sirloin (bife de chorizo), rump cap (picahna, a traditional Brazilian cut), and a grilled, Aberdeen Angus Rib (tira de asado). All are 300-400 grams.

You may be surprised to find that some of the most flavorful items at San Telmo can come from the  appetizer menu, which is    equally as diverse as the steak menu.  Consider a carpaccio, either tenderloin or salmon, or choose from three cebiches, prepared Peruvian style.
And Proaño is particularly fond of their hot starters from the cow, such as sweetbreads, which are eaten with lemon, and their "chinchulín," or chittlins.  "This is a good seller," says Proaño.  "We clean them well, boil them for three hours, then put them on the grill."  For a true taste of Argentina, he recommends the "Provoleta a la brasa," or roasted provolone cheese.  "If you are Argentinian or Uruguayan, this is something you do not miss," he insists.

Though San Telmo is a steak house it has  plenty of other options, including soups, pastas, fish, and chicken.   For the person who cannot decide on just one thing, they offer assorted barbeques with nine different options, including tenderloin, pork chops, liver, kidneys, chitlins, sausage, veal, and black pudding.  And each meal can be accompanied by a  fine selection of wines.

After an appetizer and a steak, if you still have room, consider dessert.   The menu has international options, such as tiramisu, and local favorites like "helados de paila" (ice cream made in a tradition copper pot).  For a unique dish, try the "Habano de chocolate," a cigar-shaped chocolate dessert filled with nutella mousse, accompanied by a small  chocolate soufflé and "helado irlandese," a coffee and whisky ice cream.

The pleasure of eating at San Telmo, regardless of your dish, is the atmosphere.  San Telmo is probably one of the largest restaurants in Quito – a re-modeled house with three floors and two bars.  The distribution of each floor, though, makes it feel intimate.  They have outdoor seating, but during the day the restaurant is flooded with natural light.

In the evening, fireplaces and warm lighting make for a cozy environmet.  And the wood tables and contemporary artwork  are a reflection of Proaño's taste, offering an ambiance that is as elegant as it is rustic.

San Telmo is located at Portugal 440 and Francisco Casanova, half a block down from Eloy Alfaro.   House cuts of beef range from $18-28 and imported cuts are $19-37. They are open seven days a week from 12pm to 11pm.  For reservations call 333-1943/4 or visit  http://www.santelmorestaurant.com/


Report: TSA Interrogates Travelers Carrying Gold and Silver

Mac Slavo
October 24th, 2011

Just when you thought your silver and gold coins were portable and outside of the realm of government intervention and scrutiny, we learn that the Transportation Security Administration  may very well be starting to scrutinize possession of such coins if you travel through checkpoints, be they at airports or other public venues:

Via Infowars:
A traveler flying into Las Vegas was questioned by the TSA about his small collection of silver coins, another example of how the federal agency is acting more like a secret police unit than an airport security outfit, routinely interrogating Americans about their financial affairs.
Alex Jones talked to Jeff, a software engineer, after he passed through security, who told him that TSA agents had questioned him about why he was carrying silver coins and demanded to know their value. The screeners also asked if Jeff was collecting them for a hobby or an investment.
Jeff explained that he was simply planning to cash in the coins and use that money on his vacation instead of dipping into his bank account. The total value of the coins was no more than $600 doll

Though reports of these or similar incidences are rarely, if ever, carried by mainstream news, they happen more often than you might think.
You may be under the impression that gold or silver coins could be mixed in with regular coinage and transported without knowledge by screeners, but a post on the TSA Blog regarding an incident in St. Louis in March of 2009 indicates that TSA agents are on the look-out for travelers who possess precious metals, especially if “suspicious activity is suspected.”

On March 29th, a metal box containing a large amount of coins and cash was flagged for additional screening. Any large amount of metallic objects in one place (loose change or rolls of coins) appear as opaque images and are difficult and sometimes impossible to clear without being searched. I blogged about this type of search last October. If we can’t see through something on the x-ray, we have to take a closer look by opening the box/bag. Due to the contents, the passenger was taken to a private screening area which is customary when screening money or high dollar value items such as jewelry.
While it’s legal to travel with any amount of money you wish to carry when flying domestically, movements of large amounts of cash through the checkpoint may be investigated by law enforcement authorities if suspicious activity is suspected. As a general rule, passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property. A passenger who refuses to answer questions may be referred to appropriate authorities for further inquiry.
Source: TSA Blog [TSA.gov]

This is nothing short of a policy of guilty until proven innocent. If you happen to be of a world and paradigm view that differs from the status quo, you are engaged in suspicious activity. And if you attempt to opt out by refusing to submit to additional screenings or questioning than you get to join the millions of other people who are ‘on the list’ and will be from that point forth considered a domestic extremist. It’s as simple as that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cash Transactions Banned by Louisiana

We are posting this NOT just because we are from Louisiana.....

This article has been generously contributed by Thad D. Ackel, Jr. Esq., an advocate for private property rights and economic and civil liberty. Visit his web site at Ackel & Associates.
Editor’s Note: Last month we advised our readers of a troubling trend in Europe which now seems to be rearing its ugly head here in the U.S. When France banned cash transactions over $600 for the sales or exchange of metals like copper, gold and silver it was reportedly an effort by legislators to stop metal thieves from illegally unloading their stolen goods. The same criminal enterprises used in France to justify their legislation is now being used to pass similar, perhaps even more extreme, legislation right here in the United States. In addition to banning certain kinds of cash transactions completely, Louisiana now forces all “second-hand” dealers of goods (like gold, silver, or ANY second hand property) to keep detailed records of their customers, regardless of what they are selling. As you’ll see, and as is the case with most legislation emanating in recent years from States and the Federal government, the definitions have been purposely left ambiguous so that they can be applied at will by the State in any way police and prosecutors choose. We full expect similar laws to be enacted across the country in due time. Our ability to engage in lawful, private transactions with U.S. legal tender is being systematically stripped away.

Cash Transactions Banned by Louisiana: Government Takes Private Property Without Due Processby Thad D. Ackel, Jr.
This summer, the State Legislature and Governor of Louisiana passed a law that bans individuals and businesses from transacting in cash if they are considered a “secondhand dealer”.  House Bill 195 of the 2011 Regular Session (Act 389) broadly defines a secondhand dealer to include   “… Anyone, other than a non-profit entity, who buys, sells, trades in or otherwise acquires or disposes of junk or used or secondhand property more frequently than once per month from any other person, other than a non-profit entity, shall be deemed as being in the business of a secondhand dealer. ” The law then states that “A secondhand dealer shall not enter into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of junk or used or secondhand property.  Payment shall be made in the form of check, electronic transfers, or money order issued to the seller of the junk or used or secondhand property…”  The broad scope of this definition can essentially encompass everyone; from your local flea market vendors and buyers to a housewife purchasing goods on ebay or craigslist, to a group of guys trading baseball cards, they could all be considered secondhand dealers. Lawmakers in Louisiana have effectively banned its citizens from freely using United States legal tender.
The law goes further to require secondhand dealers to turn over a valuable business asset, namely, their business’ proprietary client information.  For every transaction a secondhand dealer must obtain the seller’s personal information such as their name, address, driver’s license number and the license plate number of the vehicle in which the goods were delivered.  They must also make a detailed description of the item(s) purchased and submit this with the personal identification information of every transaction to the local policing authorities through electronic daily reports.  If a seller cannot or refuses to produce to the secondhand dealer any of the required forms of identification, the secondhand dealer is prohibited from completing the transaction.
This legislation amounts to a public taking of private property without due process or compensation.  Regardless of whether or not the transaction information is connected with, or law enforcement is investigating a crime, individuals and businesses are forced to report routine business activity to the police.  Can law enforcement not accomplish its goal of identifying potential thieves and locating stolen items in a far less intrusive manner?  And of course, there are already laws that prohibit stealing, buying or selling stolen goods, laws that require businesses to account for transactions and laws that penalize individuals and businesses that transact in stolen property. Why does the Louisiana State Legislature need to enact more laws infringing on personal privacy, liberties and freedom?
Motivating the introduction of this legislation was an increase in criminal activity, necessitating law enforcement to develop additional tools in tracking potential criminals. Thefts of copper and other precious metals have risen recently with higher commodity prices and mounting pressures from the economic downturn.  The added restrictions under this recent legislation have come about under the pretense of cracking down on crime and helping the government take care of you, all at the cost of your individual privacy, economic, civil liberty and freedom.
Interestingly enough, although Pawnshops are still required to obtain clients personal information and transmit their client database information to law enforcement, they are exempt from the restriction of cash payments.  A jeweler next door to a pawnshop cannot offer clients the same payment method offered by its competing pawnshop neighbor.
Act 389 passed by unanimous consent of the Louisiana House of Representatives and only mustered one nay vote (Senator Neil Riser) from the State Senate.  The governor signed the legislation into law on July 1, 2011.
Thad D. Ackel, Jr. serves as lead counsel at Ackel & Associates L.L.C. and Broker of Tribute Real Estate.

Ecuador's president may have familiar rival

Things will get interesting.....

QUITO (AFP) - Businessman Fabricio Correa said since no one else has stepped up to run against Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, he will take on his brother, if the leader seeks reelection in 2013.
Fabricio Correa founded an opposition party in 2010 amid a scandal, and a big row with the president, over contracts his business had with the state.
When the media threw a spotlight on the deals, the socialist president, an economist by training, voided the deals saying he never knew they were businesses owned by his brother because they were signed by front men and firms.

"So today, I am taking up the challenge of doing what the Miami Herald forecast way back in December: in 2013, it will be Correa versus Correa, and it is going to be fun," the candidate told Teleamazonas television.
On September 9, the president said he would not seek reelection in 2013 -- if another party leader could demonstrate that they have what it takes to win.
Fabricio Correa, meanwhile, testified Tuesday to a prosecutor in the case looking into the contracts, which he insists were legal. The contracts, worth a total of $700 million may have given the state a $143 million loss, an investigative team already has found.
He says his brother targeted with a "smear campaign of lies" and that voters can decide at the polls who is the better man.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We cannot get enough of Bill Bonner.....REALITY.....Vive La Revolution!

The Daily Reckoning Presents

The Occupy Wall Street movement is getting a fair amount of press. The movement, as you know, dear reader, is a loose assembly of the jobless, the homeless and the shiftless. Troublemakers, every one of them, with no coherent or sensible view of what is wrong or how to fix it. But what’s wrong with that?

The Occupy Wall Street protests started on Sept. 17 with a few dozen demonstrators who tried to pitch tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Since then, hundreds have set up camp in a park nearby and have become increasingly organized, lining up medical aid and legal help and printing their own newspaper, the Occupied Wall Street Journal.

About 100 demonstrators were arrested on Sept. 24 and some were pepper-sprayed. On Saturday police arrested 700 on charges of disorderly conduct and blocking a public street as they tried to march over the Brooklyn Bridge. Police said they took five more protesters into custody on Monday, though it was unclear whether they had been charged with any crime.

On Monday, the zombies stayed on the sidewalks as they wound through Manhattan’s financial district chanting, “How to fix the deficit: End the war, tax the rich!” They lurched along with their arms in front of them. Some yelled, “I smell money!”

The US is probably getting ready for a revolution. Back in the Cold War days, the CIA was asked to do a portrait of a country that might have a revolution. It decided that such a country would have three characteristics:

A big gap between rich and poor.

A middle class that was disappearing...or one that never existed in the first place.

A lot of people with a grudge.

The US fits each of these criteria. And then some others the spooks hadn’t thought about. The U6 broad measure of unemployment is going up...with 16.5% of the population without work. There are 6.2 million people who have been looking for a job for more than 6 months.

Americans are $7 trillion poorer, according to David Rosenberg, than they were 4 years ago — and property prices are still going down.

Yes, there’s also a Great Correction in progress. It, along with the policies of the US government, grind the faces of the poor.

Millions of marginally successful people think the system has failed them. Youth joblessness is at Great Depression levels. More than 45 million are on food stamps.

People come to think what they must think when they must think it. So, a person who feels he has failed must come to terms with it. He must find a reason that gets himself off the hook. It must be someone else’s fault.

It was not his fault he failed his chemistry exam. The ‘system’ should provide him with a good job anyway. It was not his fault his house got taken away; the system caused prices to fall...and his job got exported to Mumbai. It was not his fault he didn’t save any money; the banks took advantage of him mercilessly. He may even get a “deficiency notice” — telling him he has to pay the bank for its loss on his foreclosed house.

Add insult to injury, why don’t you!

The guy has a legitimate beef!

It wasn’t his fault that the Nixon administration cut the link to gold in 1971. It wasn’t his fault the Chinese produced things better and cheaper. It wasn’t his fault that the feds kept stimulating the economy...and encouraging him to go deeper and deeper into debt at artificially low interest rates. And it certainly wasn’t he who caused the housing bubble to blow up...or who caused it in the first place.

But one thing you can depend on. Not many people will do the hard work of connecting the kneebone of this disaster to the legbone that caused it. And he won’t want to make the sacrifices necessary to protect himself from it either. (Our advice: cut expenses to almost zero...save money...buy gold...become a bankruptcy lawyer.) Instead, he’ll join the revolution.

Of course, people do not join revolutions for good reasons. They join them for bad ones. They expect miracles. One wants free money. The other wants power. One wants to see his brother-in-law, who earns big money as a currency trader at JPMorgan, brought low. Another just wants to get high. One expects his mortgage to disappear. Another wants the whole neighborhood to disappear. One hopes to see his dead wife rise from the grave...the other hopes his live wife will fall into it.

One believes the bankers are rich and evil. Another believes the oil companies are rich and evil. A third thinks all rich people are evil. And a fourth believes that all people are evil, even those in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Some want to save porpoises. Some want people to use only natural deodorant. And a third thinks the world uses too much oil...and that only people who drive Priuses should be allowed on the road on Sunday. He owns a Prius dealership.

It is fun to mock the protestors. That’s why we do it. They are such easy targets.

But here at The Daily Reckoning we always stand with the powerless, the aimless and the witless. We are champions of the underdog...the lost cause and the diehard. So, we lock arms with the protestors and pledge our solidarity.

Vive la revolution!

But the poor protestors are just victims of history. When the US embraced its empire it condemned its middle classes. Why? Because that’s how empires work. They bring in cheap goods — and sometimes money itself — from outside. Whether they are taken as booty or traded for the imperial currency, the effect is about the same; they undermine local industries and local wages.

Ancient Rome imported wheat from Egypt, by the boatload, and gave it to citizens (an early form of food stamps). Result: the price of wheat collapsed. Small farmers couldn’t compete with free wheat. They couldn’t earn a living.

The Romans also brought in slaves. Rich, politically-connected Romans took over the small farms, consolidated them into big plantations, and ran them with slave labor. Again, the local labor was out of luck.

Things got so bad for the small farmers that they sold their children into slavery...and then, themselves. Then, in alarm, an edict prohibited Roman farmers from selling themselves into slavery. They were required to remain on their farms...and at work.

Spain ran a very different, short-lived empire in the 16th century. It conquered New World civilizations and imported gold and silver on a colossal scale. It was as if they were printing money! This easy money made the Spaniards rich. They used it like America uses her dollars — to buy things from overseas. Pretty soon, the Spanish neglected their own manufactures and their own farming. Prices rose. Spain’s nascent middle class was smothered in the crib.

Are things so different now? The rich get rich. The middle classes get poorer; they have to compete with imperial plunder...riches coming from Asia, bought with dollars that were never earned...and never will be redeemed.

America’s middle classes were happy to sell their own children into perpetual debt servitude. The kids face obligations 5 to 15 times as great as annual output. Unless they revolt, they will have to work their entire lives to pay for their parents’ excesses.

But what will they do when future generations can take no more? They cannot sell themselves into slavery. They’ve already done so. Most face a lifetime of student debt, mortgage debt, and medical debt (aka Medicaid and Medicare), already.

What can they do? Join the revolution!


Bill Bonner,
for The Daily Reckoning

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oceanfront Condo in Ecuador: $47,500‏

Oceanfront Condo in Ecuador: $47,500
By Suzan Haskins, International Living
If you love seafood, warm ocean waters, and lazy days in the sun, you'll love Crucita, a small town that's growing in popularity with expat retirees.
In coastal Ecuador's Manabí province, Crucita is one of the best options for those who want to live in a typical beach town, yet be close to amenities like quality health care and modern shopping offered by a larger city.
Just a 30-minute drive from the major port city of Manta and 20 minutes from the provincial capital of Portoviejo, the little town of Crucita watches over a long eight-mile stretch of flat beach, bracketed on either side by tall rocky promontories. From the southernmost of these hills—closest to the town itself—paragliders launch themselves over the ocean. The thermal breezes allow them to float effortlessly to the beach below.
Crucita is the top spot in Ecuador for paragliding and hang gliding, in fact, and international competitions are held here every year. During these times and during Carnaval, just before Easter, the beaches are full of sun lovers who come to enjoy the sand, surf and warm, blue-green ocean waters.
Usually, though, Crucita is just a sleepy little beach town—a place to while away the hours at a small bar or seafood restaurant on the malecon…watching the waves with a cold cerveza and a plate of steaming seafood.
Crucita is known for its fresh ceviche and tasty encebollada—a rich stew of fish, onions and yucca that's said to be an excellent hangover cure. All this can be had for just a couple of bucks, beer included. (Perhaps it's an excellent hangover starter as well?)
The low cost of living in Crucita—and all of Ecuador, if truth be told—is one of the attractions here. Real estate prices, too, are phenomenally low—especially when you consider Crucita's proximity to two domestic airports and modern services provided in Manta and Portoviejo.
Friends of ours just moved into a new, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in a high-rise overlooking the beach. They're on the fourth of eight floors and from their balcony they have expansive views both north and south along the beach and the swimming pool and BBQ area below. For all this, they paid just $61,800.
I took this photo of Crucita from the paragliding launch area. The oceanfront condo our friends bought for less than $62,000 is situated to the lower left of the photo

A bit farther up the beach, an older one-bedroom apartment—also oceanfront and with a swimming pool—is selling for $47,500. Nearby, in another three-story beachfront building, the 1,670-square-foot top floor-unit—with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a rooftop terrace—is selling for $79,000. Monthly homeowner's fees for these range from $30 - $50/month.
Our friends say there is not a lot to do in Crucita and that's exactly why they like it.
"We walk on the beach in the mornings, maybe stop for lunch or buy some fresh fish from a local fisherman for $2 a pound. In the late afternoon we sit on the balcony, cold beer in hand, and watch the sunset. Later, the sound of the waves lulls us to sleep. And the next day we get up and do it all over again…"

Friday, October 7, 2011

The US Empire: A Tragic Comedy in Three Acts

What a delight it is to have an empire!

Do the Swiss get to send out drones to kill people they don’t know in countries they’ve never been? No! The poor yodelers go around with long faces and visit their shrinks. Americans have troops in 170 countries. Where are the Swiss? Only in Switzerland and the Vatican. Alas, they will never know the joys of nation building and people murdering.

We hear that Ron Paul was booed in the Republican presidential debates. Why? He suggested that we get out of the empire business, bring the troops home and become a civilized nation again. What a party pooper...a wet blanket...a killjoy!

An empire is so much more entertaining. We already have three wars going on...at last count...and quasi-wars in several other places.

Having an empire is like having a football team that plays for mortal stakes. It’s fun to watch...at least when your team is winning. And now, Team USA is kicking butts all over the planet. That’s why at football games, for example, (or so we’ve heard) images of the football team are sometimes mixed with images of US combat troops. The flag flies. The lumpen salute. They don’t want to think about it; they just want the homeland team to win!

And we have so much to look forward to. At least, we moral historians and ironic economists do. Gone is habeus corpus...forgotten is the presumption of innocence...into the wastebasket has been thrown the spirit of liberty. All that guff is in the past. In their place are hit squads and precision guided assassins. Now, the killer drones are only used abroad. But as the empire matures it is only a matter of time before they are used on more dangerous enemies — those at home! Yes, dear reader, if you can kill US citizens overseas, without any charges filed, let alone proved, you can certainly kill them where they might do the most damage — in the homeland. It is just a matter of time before the drones fly in Los Angeles and Baltimore, so watch out, Ron Paul.

You want to know what lies ahead? Just read the classics...particularly the history of Rome. Empires have roles to play too. They have scripts to follow. They have plots they must respect...and destinies they must fulfill.

For example, in the US, it is probably only a matter of time before a weak president is replaced by a strong emperor. A senate may be able to rule a constitutional democracy, but a real empire needs a real emperor, someone who can make decisions without getting caught in the gridlock of Congress. Besides, the public will love it. Yes, a popular general is sure to cross the Potomac sooner or later...from the Pentagon to the White house. The crowds will cheer. Garlands will be hung. Flowers will be strewn in his path. Finally, someone will bring order to the US...slay its enemies and reward its friends with war booty (military contracts).

And then, of course, there will be civil war. Once a government can be taken by force, rather than the fraud that is customary in democracy, force will be used to compete for it. Perhaps the Democrats will have their military men...the Republicans will have their own forces. They will fight it out for control of the empire.

And then, to stop the killing and the destruction, the army will get together and decide to put its own man in the top position. Inevitably, this will lead to more struggles for power...

..and much comedy. The military forces will choose even bigger morons than the voters. They will come and go quickly...with two, three...maybe a dozen new leaders in a single year. Some will be dangerously incompetent. Others will be dangerously able. Some will be lunatics.

How long will it be before an American Caligula appears? Will he force the senators’ wives to become prostitutes? Will he proclaim himself a god? Will he be murdered by his own guards and companions? We hope so.

Of course, it won’t the America we knew. Or even the one we want. But it should be a treasure trove for future historians and stand-up comedians.

Below, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, from the Reagan administration, pinpoints the moment when America, as we knew it, died...

Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning

The Day America Died

September 30, 2011 was the day America was assassinated.

Many expected President Obama to re-establish the accountability of government to law. Instead, he went further than Bush/Cheney and asserted the unconstitutional power not only to hold American citizens indefinitely in prison without bringing charges, but also to take their lives without convicting them in a court of law. Obama asserts that the US Constitution notwithstanding, he has the authority to assassinate US citizens, who he deems to be a “threat,” without due process of law.
In other words, any American citizen who is moved into the threat category has no rights and can be executed without trial or evidence.

On September 30 Obama used this asserted new power of the president and had two American citizens, Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan murdered. Khan was a wacky character associated with Inspire Magazine and does not readily come to mind as a serious threat.

Awlaki was a moderate American Muslim cleric who served as an advisor to the US government after 9/11 on ways to counter Muslim extremism. Awlaki was gradually radicalized by Washington’s use of lies to justify military attacks on Muslim countries. He became a critic of the US government and told Muslims that they did not have to passively accept American aggression and had the right to resist and to fight back. As a result Awlaki was demonized and became a threat.

All we know that Awlaki did was to give sermons critical of Washington’s indiscriminate assaults on Muslim peoples. Washington’s argument is that his sermons might have had an influence on some who are accused of attempting terrorist acts, thus making Awlaki responsible for the attempts.

Obama’s assertion that Awlaki was some kind of high-level Al Qaeda operative is merely an assertion. Jason Ditz concluded that the reason Awlaki was murdered rather than brought to trial is that the US government had no real evidence that Awlaki was an Al Qaeda operative.

Having murdered its critic, the Obama Regime is working hard to posthumously promote Awlaki to a leadership position in Al Qaeda. The presstitutes and the worshippers of America’s First Black President have fallen in line and regurgitated the assertions that Awlaki was a high-level dangerous Al Qaeda terrorist. If Al Qaeda sees value in Awlaki as a martyr, the organization will give credence to these claims. However, so far no one has provided any evidence. Keep in mind that all we know about Awlaki is what Washington claims and that the US has been at war for a decade based on false claims.

But what Awlaki did or might have done is beside the point. The US Constitution requires that even the worst murderer cannot be punished until he is convicted in a court of law. When the American Civil Liberties Union challenged in federal court Obama’s assertion that he had the power to order assassinations of American citizens, the Obama Justice (sic) Department argued that Obama’s decision to have Americans murdered was an executive power beyond the reach of the judiciary.

In a decision that sealed America’s fate, federal district court judge John Bates ignored the Constitution’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law and dismissed the case, saying that it was up to Congress to decide. Obama acted before an appeal could be heard, thus using Judge Bates’ acquiescence to establish the power and advance the transformation of the president into a Caesar that began under George W. Bush.

Attorneys Glenn Greenwald and Jonathan Turley point out that Awlaki’s assassination terminated the Constitution’s restraint on the power of government. Now the US government not only can seize a US citizen and confine him in prison for the rest of his life without ever presenting evidence and obtaining a conviction, but also can have him shot down in the street or blown up by a drone.

Before some readers write to declare that Awlaki’s murder is no big deal because the US government has always had people murdered, keep in mind that CIA assassinations were of foreign opponents and were not publicly proclaimed events, much less a claim by the president to be above the law. Indeed, such assassinations were denied, not claimed as legitimate actions of the President of the United States.

The Ohio National Guardsmen who shot Kent State students as they protested the US invasion of Cambodia in 1970 made no claim to be carrying out an executive branch decision. Eight of the guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury. The guardsmen entered a self-defense plea. Most Americans were angry at war protestors and blamed the students. The judiciary got the message, and the criminal case was eventually dismissed. The civil case (wrongful death and injury) was settled for $675,000 and a statement of regret by the defendants.

The point isn’t that the government killed people. The point is that never prior to President Obama has a President asserted the power to murder citizens.


Paul Craig Roberts

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Five Flags of Freedom

Bob Bauman JD, Legal Counsel, The Sovereign Society
More than two decades ago, an interesting character with the nom de plume, “Bill Hill” wrote a popular escape manual for freedom advocates titled “PT—The Perpetual Traveler.”

Hill outlined his PT ideas with a five point plan “…for those,” he said, “with courage enough to pursue freedom.” He memorably illustrated his plan with something he called The Five Flags of Freedom.

Hill wrote: “People of intelligence and wealth owe it to themselves and their descendants to have more than one flag. No one with common sense should give all their assets or allegiance to just one.”

Confiscatory income taxes and suffocating government regulations have caused many independent minded Americans and their European counterparts to seek new flags.

They are discovering that, as business owners, expatriates or tax exiles abroad, they need not belong to any particular country nor participate in its senseless policies and politics.

An individual’s relationship with government should be a matter of choice, an option. The passport you hold and the country where you live or were born need not determine your fate forever…

Why the Greatest Wealth Migration
in U.S. History Has Begun

Today, millions of the wealthiest and most productive Americans are leaving home to relocate various aspects of their lives in the best possible places.

They view governments as providers of facilities and services, like hotel keepers. If they offer good accommodation and make you feel comfortable and prosperous, you stay. If your government becomes too demanding or too nosey, or if a competitor offers a better deal, you can move on.

A few years ago, U.S. News & World Report confirmed, “A wave of native born citizens are going abroad in search of new challenges, opportunities, and more congenial ways of life.”

Some are seeking full-time residences… others find part-time tropical vacation homes where they can live like kings for $20,000 a year… while some move their businesses to slash their taxes.

No one government can or even should be trusted to control all your money. Experience shows us that government does not have your best interests at heart. Americans have learned with a vengeance how much politicians love to redistribute other’s wealth. In the end, they also will succeed in redistributing taxpayers. The major portion of all liquid private wealth, the smart money, already should have been moved offshore. As Bill Hill would say, it has been “re flagged.”

And these days, it’s not just the wealthy jumping ship. Every day, middle-class folks are re-flagging themselves to get the government they want and to gain access to economic opportunities that no longer exist in America.

Individuals can remove themselves from the control and jurisdiction of any government by acquiring dual citizenship, investing internationally and becoming human multinationals.

In order to accomplish this you have to arrange your assets according to the following simple outline:

Your Five Flags: The Layered Strategy to
Live as Close to Government-Free as Possible

Flag 1: Second Passport and Citizenship. You should obtain citizenship and a second passport from a country that does not tax non-residents on their worldwide income. The U.S. taxes its citizens without regard to where they live in the world. Your second passport should be issued by a country that is unconcerned about its offshore citizens and their outside activities. It can act as the ultimate insurance policy during times of war, persecution and political upheaval.

Flag 2: Business Base. You need a place in which you can form a corporation or limited liability company and invest and earn money with minimal restrictions. This should not be where you legally reside, thus it excludes your personal fiscal domicile. Some countries grant free land, interest free loans or tax holidays to promote new local business and jobs with minimal regulation. Such places include the Cook Islands, St. Kitts & Nevis, Uruguay and Panama. I write about these jurisdictions often in Offshore Confidential, a monthly research series that offers offshore wealth protection solutions to every day Americans.

Flag 3: Residence and Domicile: Obviously, the best place to live is where you’re happy. But as a practical matter it also should be a place with a territorial tax system that does not tax outside income. You should live in a tax haven with good infrastructure and communication systems where wealthy, productive people can be creative, live, relax, prosper and enjoy themselves, preferably with maximum bank privacy and a stable government. Panama, Monaco, Andorra, Singapore, Hong Kong, Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland should be considered.

Flag 4: Asset Management: In spite of all the negative publicity, Switzerland remains the world’s best place from which assets, securities and business affairs can be managed by proxy. It is one of the best for an offshore bank account, life insurance and annuities. The
Swiss have highly competent independent financial managers, and there is little or no taxation of non residents or non citizens. Other possibilities include Austria, Luxembourg, Denmark, Liechtenstein and Hong Kong.

Flag 5: Playgrounds: These are places where you physically spend time, where quality of life is a top priority. Normally, because of legal restrictions on how long one can stay without being considered a resident for tax purposes, it is necessary to have several such places, although, depending on the place, legal and political deals usually can be made if you want to stay in one place. But for tax purposes, one should avoid spending more than 90 days per year in any one country. Factors here are matters of personal choice: climate, seasons, geography, leisure activities, culture, history, security and prices.

Stay Away from “Home” To Maximize the Benefits

One point to remember: governments only have power and jurisdiction over their citizens when they are within their home territory or colonies. For this reason, one generally should stay out of the country on whose passport one travels. Your major financial assets should be invisible and far away from the country in which you actually make your home. And keep your lifestyle as unremarkable and humble as possible, never flamboyant and attention-getting.

By using the Five Flag strategy, you too can get the most out of life. Once you have your new second passport and money enough to survive comfortably at your chosen destination, security is yours.
Faithfully yours,

Bob Bauman JD
Legal Counsel, The Sovereign Society

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of the many reasons I moved to Latin America and married a local.....FAMILY

Family tradition in Ecuador: stay close to home

by Katie Moran,
QUITO, ECUADOR — Living with one's parents until age 30 is not appealing to most Americans. At 18, many teenagers learn to say goodbye and leave the nest. Suddenly, a new life starts away from family, friends and everything one has known until that point. This is a coming-of-age moment that most Americans consider to be a given. But what is a custom for Americans is horrifying to Ecuadorians and other South American families.

"I just turned 28 and still live with my mother and sisters," said Lorena Torres, a Quito native. "It's weird to move out before you get married here. Why live by yourself when you can be with family?"

The importance of family in Ecuador comes before all other things: money, sleep, work. In many cases, brothers, sisters, cousins and parents all live in the same building so they can be near one another. When children go off to college, they live at home and commute every day. Most universities do not even have dormitory facilities as an option for students, and the idea of a child or sibling moving far away for a job opportunity or a change of scenery is uncommon.

"My family would be so upset if I decided to go to college in the United States," said Jorge Ramirez, a student at the University of San Francisco-Quito. "Of course they want me to experience the world, but moving out is not an option for me."

In the United States, the success and interests of each individual are highly valued. An aspiring doctor may move away from small-town America in order to pursue his or her dreams, and a struggling artist may move to New York City to exercise his or her creativity with others who have similar interests.

Many parents of college students understand and encourage the pursuit of all opportunities, and children can feel trapped if forced to stay in one place. The extent to which love is exhibited in American families is very different from South America.

"When I graduate, I am moving straight to Barcelona to teach English," said Jessie Montalo, a student at Boston College. "(My parents) can't wait to visit me."

Every day around 1:00 P.M., Ecuadorians leave their jobs and reunite with their families for a large meal and pleasant conversation. This time is built into everyone's daily schedule. "Family" consists of immediate, extended, adopted, in-laws, second-cousins, half-sisters, everyone. Houses are constantly filled with visitors stopping by, and many homes have extra rooms for overnight family sleepovers.
"Nothing is more important than family here," said Marcia Amaquina Logacho, an Ecuadorian culture professor at the University of San Francisco – Quito. "Ecuadorians take pride in their country by taking pride in their family. As long as the family is healthy and living, we are happy. The idea of saving time in one's day for family is extremely important. In the U.S., I feel like you try to do that, but it doesn't always work out. Life is much more fast-paced and goal-oriented. But here, it's part of the culture to include family in everything we do. It's been ingrained in us for many centuries, and now it's a part of life."

Logacho teaches foreign exchange students about the differences in Ecuadorian culture in comparison to their own with an emphasis on understanding the South American way of life. Her goal is not to teach anyone that one culture is better than another, but to begin a dialogue for students to compare and contrast freely, she said.
For Americans, familial love is shown through the encouragement and pursuit of excellence and success, said Jamile Tellez, an Elon junior studying abroad in Quito.

"After coming here and seeing the importance of family, it makes me reconsider our relationship and interactions at home," she said. "I think there may be a lot left to discover, and I can't wait to see them again and show them how much I've changed." 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Be Afraid........

by Gary Scott.....

The crazier the world… the more will retire from the old and watch for the new to emerge.
A reader sent this note last week. Gary,  Here’s a quote to add to your library:  “The order of the present is the disorder of the future.” Saint Simon
How true.  The order that Western capitalistic Democratic societies have lived with for the past 75  years are now all suspect.
The cover of last week’s Economist says it all… be afraid.

However this fear belongs only in the unreal world.
Excerpts from the Economist’s cover article outline the global economic problems.   IN DARK days, people naturally seek glimmers of hope. So it was that financial markets, long battered by the ever-worsening euro crisis, rallied early this week amid speculation that Europe’s leaders had been bullied by the rest of the world into at last putting together a “big plan” to save the single currency. Investors ventured out from safe-haven bonds into riskier assets. Stock prices jumped: those of embattled French banks soared by almost 20% in just two days.

But those hopes are likely to fade, for three reasons. First, for all the breathless headlines from the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington, DC, Europe’s leaders are a long way from a deal on how to save the euro.

A slew of recent indicators suggests the euro area is slipping into recession, as Germany’s exports slow, the fiscal screws tighten, confidence slumps and the banks’ travails imply tighter credit. Even if the euro-zone crisis were to be solved tomorrow, the region’s GDP would probably shrink over the coming months.

America’s economy is still limping along, though the summer slump in share prices and consumer confidence suggest future spending will weaken further. The Federal Reserve is trying new ways of support, somewhat half-heartedly. Whatever it does, America is currently on course for the most stringent fiscal tightening of any big economy in 2012, as temporary tax cuts and unemployment insurance expire at the end of this year.

In the aftermath of the Lehman crisis, policymakers broadly did the right thing. The result was not a rapid return to prosperity in the West, but after such a big balance-sheet recession that was never going to happen. Now, more often than not, policymakers seem to be getting it wrong. Their mistakes vary, but two sorts stand out. One is an overwhelming emphasis on short-term fiscal austerity over growth.

The second failure is one of honesty. Too many rich-world politicians have failed to tell voters the scale of the problem. In Germany, where the jobless rate is lower than in 2008, people tend to think the crisis is about lazy Greeks and Italians. Mrs Merkel needs to explain clearly that it also includes Germany’s own banks—and that Germany faces a choice between a costly solution and a ruinous one. In America the Republicans are guilty of outrageous obstructionism and misleading simplification, while Mr Obama has favoured class warfare over fiscal leadership. At a time of enormous problems, the politicians seem Lilliputian. That’s the real reason to be afraid.

In short there is nowhere to invest now that does not have risk.  Stocks, bonds, commodities, gold silver, currencies have all shown themselves to be volatile. Yet  those who can look beyond these social economic agreements we have come to rely on at a deeper reality retire from this unreal world and watch the power of reality.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tightening the Noose: France Bans Cash Sales of Gold/Silver over $600

Mac Slavo
September 23rd, 2011
A couple of weeks ago our report that some Austrian banks had begun restricting the sale of gold and silver to 15,000 Euro (~$20,000 USD) reportedly because of money laundering issues was met with disbelief by many readers of financial news and information web sites. As we mentioned in that commentary, it is our view that governments, namely in Western nations, are making it more difficult for individuals to make gold purchases, as well as to do so anonymously.
It looks like this trend of restricting the peoples’ ability to acquire assets of real monetary value is expanding. If a recent report from France is accurate, and based on the French governments official web site it looks like it is, then as of September 1, 2011, anyone attempting to sell or purchase ferrous or non-ferrous metals, which includes gold and silver, will be required to pay for their purchase via a credit card or bank wire transfer if it exceeds 450€ (~ $600 USD):
Here is the applicable French law via www.legifrance.gouv.fr and translated into English by Google Translate:
Article L112-6
Amended by Law n ° 2011-900 of July 29, 2011 – art. 51 (V)
I. Can be made in cash payment of a debt greater than an amount fixed by decree, taking into account the place of tax residence of the debtor and the professional purpose of the operation or not.
In addition a monthly fixed by decree, the payment of salaries and wages is subject to the prohibition contained in the preceding paragraph and shall be made by check or by transfer to a bank or postal account or account held by a payment institution.
Any transaction on the retail purchase of ferrous and non ferrous is made by crossed check, bank or postal transfer or by credit card, not the total amount of the transaction may not exceed a ceiling set by decree. Failure to comply with this requirement is punishable by a ticket for the fifth class.
II.-I Notwithstanding, the costs of the department conceded that exceed the sum of 450 euros must be paid by bank transfer.
III.-The preceding provisions shall not apply:
a) For payments made by persons who are incapable of binding themselves by a check or other payment, as well as those who have no deposit account;
b) For payments made between individuals not acting for business purposes;
c) paying the expenses of the state and other public figures.
According to independent reports the law was passed to curb the illegal sale of stolen metals like copper, steel, etc. Given the rampant rise in thefts of these metals from telephone poles, construction sites and businesses here in the United States, we can certainly see this as a reasonable assessment for why the French passed this law.
However, the fact that no exception was made for gold and silver simply cannot be ignored. The new law effectively makes it illegal to purchase even a single Troy ounce of gold or around 18 ounces of silver in cash.
Looking at a single incident, for example the identification requirements in some major US cities like Houston, TX if you want to trade bullion, or the aforementioned restrictions in Austria, could be construed as coincidence or no big deal. But the most recent example in France suggests that what we have here is not a coincidence, but rather, a pattern. If there truly is a behind-the-scenes push to keep gold out of the hands of the people, then it would likely be done through indirect means and we commoners would be none the wiser.
How long before the US Congress, as a result of the rise in metals thefts here in the United States, uses this same excuse as a pretext to follow in the footsteps of the French?
Strike that question. That can’t happen in America.
Reference Sources: Legifrance.GouvEgalte & Reconciliation, Chris Martenson, GLPKitco

No more power blackouts in Ecuador....stepping into the 21st Century....

QUITO, Ecuador, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Ecuador is on track to launch the largest Smart Grid project in Latin America in a multimillion-dollar collaboration with GE Energy that sets a benchmark for electricity management in the region.

Ecuador's Electrica de Guayaquil said it decided to invest in a brand new smart meter infrastructure to streamline reliable supply amid projected economic growth through 2012.

Households across the Latin American country should expect to see "improvements in the reliability of their electric service," GE said.

About 25,000 meters will be installed in the country by Electrica de Guayaquil, the second phase of a complete overhaul of the country's meters, which will eventually replace nearly 200,000 meters.

Ecuador has faced charges it squandered its oil wealth during years of mismanagement. It suspended its membership of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries when it couldn't pay its subscription fees but returned to the group in 2007, mainly to better manage its share of the global oil market.

The investment in the electricity supply infrastructure is part of an overall streamlining of the energy sector, officials said.

"Improving Ecuador's energy outlook is a very important factor in improving Ecuador's economic outlook," Electrica de Guayaquil General Manager Oscar Armijos Gonzalez-Rubio said.

"The information, network management and efficiency gains from this new meter infrastructure will help us get the most benefit from our electric grid," he added.

GE said that as part of an overall grid modernization strategy, its meter network will enable remote connect and disconnect of customers, the collection of usage information for efficiency planning and future enhancements such as demand response control and pre-payment.

GE will deliver smart meters with advanced metering infrastructure and RF communications. Trilliant will provide the communications platform.

"EDG is becoming a Latin American leader in adopting new technologies to improve energy service," said Roberto Vengoechea, general manager, Digital Energy Latin America.

"These smart meters give EDG the data points and capabilities to change consumers' relationships with electricity. The enhanced network control and efficiency tools enabled by smart meters open doors to the very latest energy innovations that can increase productivity and efficiency while reducing and minimizing outages," he said.

GE has been expanding its Latin America network, which is about 90 years old. Recently the energy giant announced a $500 million GE Global Research Center project in Rio de Janeiro.
GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/09/30/Ecuador-on-track-to-set-up-Latin-Americas-largest-Smart-Grid/UPI-29291317418173/#ixzz1ZjjvbGxC

Flag this messageCuenca... buy or sell? Market update Oct '11- Ecuador Insider

I know what everyone else is saying on the net…

Cuenca?  Now?  Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy!

Yeah, whatever… I’ll let the other guys hype the place up, they’re doing a great job, I’ll just call it like I see it…

This week I was in Cuenca, talking to a few contacts, having a look around…

Here’s what I dug up…

No doubt about it, over the last 2 years, since Cuenca was put on the world retirement destination map, prices have jumped. In fact, there's rumored to be over 3000 expats living in Cuenca already.

Also, favorable local government policies for new Ecuadorian home owners have also pushed prices up a bit.

For instance, in the area of San Joaquin, land was going for around $40 per square meter in 2009, now in October of 2011 the same land can be sold quickly for around $80-100 per square meter… a 100% increase.

Land around the city center of Cuenca is going for around $300-350 per square meter.  And to build you’re looking at around $400 per square meter of construction, just like elsewhere in Ecuador.

In the center of nearby, highly promoted, Yunguilla valley lots are going for around $25 per square meter.  You can find cheaper lots on the outskirts of the valley.  A few short years back before the international promotion lots were quite a bit cheaper.

But Yunguilla is still an interesting buy because that’s where everyone wants to have their hacienda, the locals included.

The good news is you can still find one bedroom suites near the center of town for $35-40k, two bedroom condos for $50k, and desirable three bedroom condos starting around $65k just like you could two years back, but the options are less at those prices and you’ll have to look harder.

Also, I did eat a delicious full course lunch with chicken and vegetable soup for $2, just like I did 2 years ago.

Buying a property to rent is also a good idea, I’ve noticed a strong surplus in demand over rental supply.  You can rent 1 bedroom high-end furnished suites in a relatively new building for around $300-400/month, 2 bedroom furnished condos for $450-500/month, and 3 bedroom furnished condos for $700/month.

Overall, Cuenca is entering the third year of a strong real estate market, but right now I’d still say Cuenca is a “buy”, but not a “quick buy”… you’ll want to shop around a bit, prices are all across the board but deals can be had! 

And if you’re after a colonial house fixer-upper in the center of Cuenca, FORGET about it… currently, prices for colonials in Cuenca are sky high, often $400,000 or higher… in a soon-upcoming newsletter I’ll cover an interesting alternative or two in Ecuador if a colonial fixer-upper is what you’re after.   

Until next week!

Domenick Buonamici
Real Estate Investor, Entrepreneur