El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Ever Happened to the Liberty Promised in 1789?

JULY 14, 2014
Pierre Gaxotte
Pierre Gaxotte
In his classic work on the French Revolution, Pierre Gaxotte shows the abysmal difference that exists between the respect shows by the Ancien Regime for the legitimate liberties of the individual and the family and the strong inclination of the modern State to meddle in the intimate lives of its citizens, a tendency which appeared with the advent of liberalism.
Before the nineteenth century, men lived freely in the intimacy of their homes and family circles; a man was investigated only if he was seriously suspected of committing a crime, professing a heresy, or fomenting a conspiracy. A citizen of the liberal State, however, is always treated as a suspect, even before doing something dangerous.
French Revolution
He is measured, weighed, and cataloged by the agents of the State. File cards are kept on him by the most different agencies, as personal data on him and his family are filed, compared, and cross-examined. The State wants to know what his ideas and habits are, how much he earns and where he invests his money, whether he has a car or owns real estate, and so on.
Having written his book a few decades ago, Pierre Gaxotte could not cover the most sophisticated devices for investigating people’s private lives. Such devices now permit not only the State but just about any person or organization to record what people discuss with their friends and relatives; whether it be on the telephone, in their offices, or in their bedrooms.
A microphone masquerading as a smoke detector.
A microphone masquerading as a smoke detector.
Gaxotte referred only to the liberal State. But out of liberalism came its offspring, the totalitarian State. Whether it be of the fascist or communist variety, totalitarianism always has the goal of implanting socialism. Since socialism is contrary to human nature, it makes its habitat only in an atmosphere of police oppression, in which the needs of the individual and the family are sacrificed in behalf of the interests of the Party.
In countries where totalitarian regimes were not installed, the consequences of the French Revolution led to the implantation, to a greater or lesser degree, of societies having a totalitarian tendency, a set of conditions either imposed by a Messianic party or determined by the idolatry of technology.
Storming of the Bastile
Storming of the Bastile
When technology replaces morality and society “emancipates” itself from the maternal tutelage of the Church, there is a withering of legitimate individual and family freedoms. Whether it is imposed by the State of by technology, totalitarian society is the stepmother of the “emancipated” man of the twentieth century.
Mental Pollution
Idolatry of technology has made life unbearable for men. In the 50’s and 60’s, TFP leaders wrote a number of articles characterizing what people are presently calling environmental pollution. Now it has become a fad to talk against smoke, noise of motors, devastation of forests, and congested traffic.
A 1952 Ad of the  False Face of Communism in the Saturday Evening Post Magazine.
A 1952 Ad of the False Face of Communism in the Saturday Evening Post Magazine.
In Lenin and Stalin’s time, international Communism promoted the development of super workmen to function more or less as robots serving the dictatorship of the proletariat. Now Communism preaches against the environmental pollution caused by the industry when this helps to explain the economic decadence of the socialist countries or to weaken the economic and military strength of the West.
Environmental pollution is obviously an evil, but we must keep a sharp eye on those who are fighting against it. Above all, it is necessary to struggle against another, much more pernicious pollution, one that the leftist intelligentsia hardly mentions if at all. We refer to the mental and moral pollution created by a mass media that wants to form people’s thoughts and habits and to break down their families by aggressive provocations to immorality, as well as that produced by the continuous barrage of advertising and propaganda and by the modern art that is deforming people’s mentalities.
A 2005 Banner at the 18th Congress of Communist Party of India (Marxist). Photo by Soman.
A 2005 Banner at the 18th Congress of Communist Party of India (Marxist). Photo by Soman.
In the midst of this noisy traffic assaulting the mind, who can find the calm to think about the pell-mell of events with discernment? Isn’t it true that contemporary man feels dazed under the daily load of disconcerting and illogical reports on international affairs?
The "Insectothopter", an micro unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the CIA for espionage purposes in the 1970s.
The “Insectothopter”, an micro unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the CIA for espionage purposes in the 1970s.
Consider just one of the thousand frauds imposed on people every day: for many years now, the media have painted any anti-communist government as dictatorial and corrupt. Why is so little said about the crimes of communist governments such as those of Russia, China, Cuba, Yugoslavia, and so on? Why is there such an outcry for free elections in every part of the non-communist world but no uproar demanding free elections in the communist countries?
The Technological “All Seeing Eye”
Separated from morality, technology makes life intolerable for man even in what was formerly his most intimate privacy. Today, recorders and listening devices have become so developed that no one can be certain that his conversation is not being monitored.
A 2013 photo by Dator66 taken in Kungsgatanm, Stockholm showing a warning sign on the left about the presence of surveillance cameras which are suspended above the streets. There are four cameras; one of each side of the street.
It has always been relatively easy to intercept telephone communications. But now the science of bugging telephones has reached the point where conversations on a multiple wire cable can be picked by electronic means and recorded without any physical contact with the wire. Private conversations can be monitored from a distance even through walls of solidly constructed houses. Pages of a confidential report being typed by a secretary can easily be photographed from another building over 100 yards away. Our technology in this field is so advanced that the Soviet Chamber of Commerce invited several American companies to Russia to exhibit their most modern anti-crime technology, such as machines that identify people by their voices, lie detectors, etc. No doubt the KGB will find many uses for these machines…
So then, the unlimited liberty that was promised as a pretext for overthrowing the Ancien Regime and “emancipating” society from the tutelage of the Church has proven to be a baseless chimera. Never has the human race has a tyranny so oppressive and detailed as that imposed in the name of liberty by the French Revolution.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Top 5 Reasons to Retire in Ecuador

What’s your definition of “riding off into the sunset?”
For many retirees, post-employment bliss is more about getting the most out of a dollar and less about lying on the beach beneath palm trees. That's why those with limited budgets are discovering Ecuador just might be the perfect destination for life after work.
Here are five reasons the South American nation is luring retirees.

1. Stretch Your Nest Egg

By moving to Ecuador, some retirees say they can double or even triple their disposable income and live comfortably for around $2,000 a month or less. A furnished three-bedroom apartment with a view of the Andes rents for $600.
"It's a nation where, in the right communities, you really can 'upgrade' your lifestyle," said Jennifer Stevens, executive editor of International Living Magazine. "Because day-to-day living costs a fraction of what it does up north, a nest egg stretches much further."
A three-course lunch at a sit-down restaurant can cost as little as $2.50 -- and you can add a beer for just 85 cents. Plus, seniors receive discounts on public transportation and cultural events. And because Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency, it eliminates the hassle of money conversions, so you can focus on bargaining at the market instead.
Many of the restaurants in Cuenca cater to English-speaking visitors

2. Low-Cost Medical Care

Ecuador reportedly offers high-quality health care at a fraction of the cost in the U.S. Patients frequently receive personal attention directly from doctors, instead of nurses or physicians assistants. Medications are significantly cheaper, in some cases 60 to 70 percent less.
Retirees Ernie and Jorie Kinnard, formerly of Cumming, Ga., described a trip to the emergency room in Ecuador that ran them $37. The bill included $12 for the emergency room visit and $25 to see a specialist.
A recent surgery with a seven-day hospital stay that would have cost them $15,000 in the U.S. was just $2,200 in Cuenca. Some expats opt for private medical insurance, but residents are eligible for the government's medical insurance, which is similar to Medicare but is restricted to one hospital.

3. Lots of Flight Options

There are eight nonstop flights daily between the U.S. and Ecuador's main airport in Quito, and daily in-country flights between the three major cities: Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca.
A new $680 million airport opened just outside Quito with additional customs points, improved cargo capacity, and the longest runway of any international airport in Latin America. And some airlines give seniors half-off airfare for round-trip tickets purchased for flights originating within the country.

More Americans Opting to Retire Abroad


4. It Really Is Paradise

Ecuador hosts a variety of climates, divided by the Andes mountain range: there are broad beaches on the Pacific Coast, snow-capped volcanoes, geothermal hot springs, and the dense Amazon rain forest.
Ecuador is a land of diverse experiences. In just one trip, you can see the Pacific Coast, the Andes, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands.
Just off the coast, the Galapagos Islands are perhaps the most famous wildlife reserve in the world, with its blue-footed boobies and gigantic tortoises. Charles Darwin formed his theory of evolution at this volcanic archipelago, located 600 miles west of the mainland.
There's no need for air conditioning, especially if you live in the Southern Sierra. Cuenca is two degrees south of the Equator, set in the Andes Mountain Range about 8,400 feet above sea level.
Winters are mild, at about 52 degrees, and the summer tops out at about 75 degrees.
Cuenca actually means “river basin,” or “bowl,” in Spanish.
"The lower air pressure doesn't hold heat the way it does at lower elevations, so in Cuenca, everyday has all four seasons," explained retiree Frances Hogg, from Michigan. "It is spring in the morning, summer at noon, fall in the evening and winter at night."

5. Cuenca Is for Lovers

Retirees Judy and Bill Collins from Houston, Texas, said moving overseas together has sparked their sense of adventure. And despite its challenges, the overall experience has strengthened their marriage.
"The city itself has a certain charm," said Judy Collins. "Cuenca is the 'Paris of Ecuador' because here people hold hands and they kiss and love each other and they're not afraid to show it."
An American couple sits on a park bench in Ecuador. AMBER PAYNE / NBC NEWS
Bill and Judy Collins, an American couple from Houston, enjoy a quiet moment in the center of Cuenca.

American Retirees Flock to Ecuador and Fight 'Gringo' Stereotype

Amber Payne

CUENCA, Ecuador — Thousands of American retirees are living out their golden years in a South American country the size of Colorado.
After International Living Magazine's “Global Retirement Index” anointed Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city, as the top spot to retire in 2009, a great migration, or what some have nicknamed the "gringo invasion" began.
"Rather than sitting around waiting to die, we decided to do something different,” said 65-year-old Ernie Kinnard. “With the great medical care, cost of living, the weather, the people are wonderful – it's a great place to be."
But while this influx of people is considered by many to be a boost to the local economy, there is also growing concern that Americans are pricing out the locals and breeding culture clash.

Pensioner perks

For many retirees, the perks of life in Cuenca are too much to resist. For the 65-and-older set benefits include half-price water and electric bills, half-price tickets to cultural and sporting events, and sales tax refunds. Plus seniors can cut to the front of the line at the grocery store and the bank.
Ernie and his wife Jorie Kinnard, 60, call themselves "economic refugees." Ernie lost his job and half his 401k in December 2008 during the financial crisis. With the value of their home in free-fall, the Kinnards decided to leave Cumming, Ga. for Cuenca.
"Since we've moved here, I don't think there's a week that's gone by where I haven't said, ‘God I love it here, I just love it here,’” said Ernie.
Life is sweet in Cuenca, Ecuador. A basket of fresh bread is for sale in the local market.
"Senior citizens here have a red carpet," said Ana Lucia Serrano, the former head of Cuenca's immigration office. "And we believe that everybody is welcome in Ecuador."
Ecuador is an increasingly popular destination for Americans: some 285,000 U.S. citizens traveled there by air in 2012, according to the Department of Commerce.
And approximately 7,000 Americans have settled in Cuenca as of May 2013. With the number of full-time expatriates constantly in flux, officials estimate there are about 10-15,000 Americans who have resettled in Ecuador as a whole.
"It is sad to say, but they do not come here to live, they come here to die"

Good and bad

While the numbers may seem small, they have had a big impact on Cuenca, a city of approximately 350,000.
“What we’re trying to do is just create a friendly space to receive these migrants that we’re getting,” said Edward Miranda, Cuenca’s Director of Foreign Affairs. “In every migration influx, there are good things and bad things.
“A lot of services and new restaurants have been implemented throughout the city, which we see as positives. We’re [also] learning from the U.S. culture, which is seen as positive.”
But according to Miranda, the downside of the influx of the almighty American dollar is that it’s driving up prices on local goods and services and creating a housing bubble, as Ecuadorians increasingly cannot afford to buy real estate in their own country.

More Americans Opting to Retire Abroad

One university student complained that the taxi cabs frequently discriminate against locals, driving past them to pick up gringos who don’t notice or simply don’t care if the fare doubles from the usual $2 to $5 dollars.
When it’s a few dollars more, many Americans don’t mind paying “gringo prices” and a cycle continues, disrupting the economic flow. This over-paying and over-tipping can change the expectations of locals.
There is also growing frustration that some Americans take no part in economic growth but reap the social benefits.
"When you go to another country you are a guest, you have to respect the laws and respect the culture," said Serrano. "There were some people who [moved to Ecuador] that had never been out of the United States.”
Rosi Toledo, a freelance journalist, has been analyzing the impact of the American presence on Cuencan life and culture.
“They think they can change many things without knowing the history or the values of many traditions and other cultural issues," said Toledo.
Some Ecuadorians believe that because of their wealth some Americans expected priority treatment in the markets and around town.
"It is sad to say, but they do not come here to live, they come here to die,” said Toledo.
In response to complaints, Miranda has set up a task force to print more information around the municipality in English. They are creating an English website that explains local ordinances, trash/recycling laws, and information on Ecuadorian customs and culture.
Frances Hogg, a 60-year-old lawyer from Michigan, now calls Cuenca, Ecuador home.

Good neighbor, not ugly gringo

Many of the Americans are aware of the complaints and are trying to make sure their compatriots show their new community some respect.
"It's reflecting badly on all of us,” said 60-year-old Frances Hogg, a lawyer from Michigan. “We're a family and we need to take care of matters in the family.”
According to Hogg, many in the expat community are involved in giving back in ways big and small. From spaghetti dinner fundraisers, to volunteering at hospitals and schools, to providing life-saving surgeries to impoverished children.
There are dozens of expat blogs, expat e-books, and message boards likeGringoTree.com where subscribers sell items, search real estate and write articles touching on a range of issues – including fitting into their new community.
"Now that we're in their country, we need to learn their language ... Otherwise we're hypocrites."
Lee Dubs and his wife, Carol, moved to Cuenca in 2003, when there were only a handful of Americans living there. Their shop, “Carolina Bookstore” is an expat gathering place, a popular spot to buy English books and take Spanish lessons.
Lee and Carol Dubs left North Carolina in 2003 and made Cuenca, Ecuador their new home.
A retired language professor from North Carolina, Dubs has been very vocal about his concerns that some newcomers are uncomfortable integrating themselves into Ecuadorian society. He even wrote and article posted in an expat online journal titled, “Assimilation or Isolation? Good Neighbor or Ugly Gringo.
In contrast to the isolationist attitude, some Americans consider it is a point of personal pride that they have more native amigos than American friends. In the supermarket and on the streets, gringos walk past each other, unfazed by the others’ presences. As one retiree put it, “I have plenty of American friends back in Denver.”
"You need to move with a sense of humor..."
Judy, 67, and Bill Collins, 66, moved to Cuenca two years ago from Houston with “a lifetime boiled down to two suitcases,” committed to integrating themselves in the community and living as Ecuadorians.
"Now that we're in their country, we need to learn their language,” said Bill Collins. “Otherwise we're hypocrites."
The Collinses take weekly Spanish lessons and the have made friends attending an Argentine tango class where they are the only gringos. They advise other retirees interested in moving to Ecuador to have patience and keep an open mind.
"You need to move with a sense of humor. You're going to have to learn the give and take. If you can't give and take, you shouldn't come," said Judy Collins.
The U.S. Department of State maintains a complete description of living & travel conditions for American citizens in Ecuador at Travel.state.gov and recommends all U.S. citizens travelling to / living in Ecuador enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).