Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Plan B Countries & Thoughts

Anyone who has read more than a couple of my articles already knows that Peru is "our" Plan B country, our bearing import company -- Ameru Trading del Peru S.A. is located in Lima.  We really do not have any kind of plans or ideas of anywhere else to go, as we have no good contacts anywhere else.  We do have an reasonably good understanding of Peru, and a large part of my wife's family there, however, and of course my wife is Peruvian (and American).

So, I cast the net out for people to contact me regarding THEIR Plan B countries, especially those who had actually DONE something (either move to one or show me serious planning).  Three people/groups sent in their stories (of serious work or having left), and I will share some of each here.  Four others have either looked at the subject in some depth and/or are otherwise planning for a difficult future in the USA.

I am by no means trying to look at many candidates, nor make a judgement.  Zero Hedge member "CrashIsOptimistic" pointed out recently that there is no perfect place.  That is obviously true, if there were, everyone would go there!

A curious thing I have noted among all of the below people discussed below: they dislike Socialism!


One of these is a big surprise!  I would not have guessed that country in my "Top Ten" or so guesses, but what I have learned very recently makes a very good case for:


Beginning an extraordinary series of emails back and forth over just the past few days, I was contacted by a family living in Australia, and they are strongly considering moving from Australia to Paraguay!  From Australia?  Yes.  Perhaps some of you have read recently (over the past three - five years or so it has become much more obvious) that Australia has gone further than the USA down a socialist path...  These reports are evidently true, as this family had actively looked at a number of countries, including in SE Asia as well as a few in Latin America and a long hard look at Mauritius (an tropical island nation in the Indian Ocean).

Members of this family have visited (in Latin America) at least Paraguay and Uruguay (the latter is, in general, highly regarded by the ex-pat newsletter writers).  But, the family found a fairly stifling environment and tax burdens they did not want to deal with.  This family is tightly knit and looking for a quiet place from which they can work and enjoy what they have.  My guess (!) is that they have some, but not a LOT of money, so they can move to many places.

This family has impressed me with the amount of homework they have done.  Some of them have visited candidate countries of Mauritius, Uruguay, Paraguay as well as certain SE Asian countries "they know well".  Some are working (a couple at lucrative jobs it seems), some are not.  What they seek is tranquility and and environment that will LEAVE THEM ALONE.  And one that welcomes immigrants such as them.

They have settled for the moment on Paraguay.  But a family is a family, and this decision must be accepted by them all.  They have a lawyer already there whom it looks like they could trust (important).  They have spent at least a month there on visits.  The climate and the "laissez-faire" attitudes are to their liking.  Small scale farming will be at least a segment of how they live.

Taxes are low.  They welcome European-descendant people.  Paraguay is less enthused about Brazilians and Argentines.  People from Brazil and Argentina are swarming in due to local softly-repressive governments (both Socialist in governing), and the Brazilians are slowly accumulating land in Eastern Paraguay along their common border, and bring their language and attitudes with them, which are NOT in harmony with Paraguayans as a whole.

One things I did not know: Paraguay is growing very fast!  They are building roads and other infrastructure (good hospitals and schools).  It is becoming something of a regional business hub, in part due to their relaxed attitudes about taxes and regulations (there is the bribery, and some crime there, but not much violent crime like is seen, for example, in Peru).  Here is an interesting link I received today from one of the family members:

Holy moly!  The next Panama!?  Paraguay appears to be much more advanced than the ONE time I visited (in 1985).  I rather enjoyed the country, but, at least in 1985, I felt very remote...  On the other hand, this family has no problem with remoteness, they are not living in Sydney down under.

Paraguay appears to be a very interesting choice for those who want a warm (hot!) climate, a tarnquil (by Latin American standards), reasonable prices and a lack of ethnic tension (you see ethnic tension in Peru, there is still a lot of resentment against Westerners...).

This family is the only people I have communicated at length with who are NOT Americans.  They do NOT want to come to the USA either (not even the Republic of Texas, discussed further below), as we here are just a year or two behind Australia in adopting many of these soft-coercive policies imposed by the government of Australia.

R. Mix grade of their work so far: A+, with Distinction in walking the walk.


I have a  "Virtual Friend", that is, a friend whom I do not know personally (in fact she is my first virtual friend!), only through email and other Internet correspondence.

She is living on a tropical Pacific island, and rather enjoys it.  She is an American with some ties to the USA (family), but has been where she is at for years now (working there).  Her situation is tenuous there though, mostly dependent on being able to keep her job.  She has some assets in addition to her income.

Even though she likes life where she is at, she is looking at other islands (including more remote ones) that will be able to use her skill-set and better match her own need for a tranquil life.  One island she has looked at is Fiji, where one of my other correspondents has also looked.  She has also looked at New Zealand.

New Zealand seems to have tightened their rules for immigrants for prospective immigrants, a general trend I see in many other countries.


One of my other "virtual friends" (an American) is looking at Australia (hey, you better read this article!) as well as Fiji.  He may have other countries in mind as he has certain exceptional skills that allow him a freedom to go just about anywhere...  I have "known" him for a little while now, and it would not surprise me if I get an email from him


Another new contact (the family looking hard at Paraguay is a new contact) wrote me a nice pair of notes about his experiences in a variety of countries.  European born, but a traveler at heart (he has lived in many places), it looks like he found his place in New Zealand.  At this point I do not know how long he has been there, but he is married, with children, and one of those children is studying back in "the Old Man's own country".

Full circle!  I gather that he is happy in New Zealand, he is not stuck in a city...


Proving yet again that "great minds think alike" is another virtual friend, in fact he is my second one, and the ONLY one who I have actually met in person!  At a coin shop buying gold of course, smile,,,

He has been interested in the whole "Plan B Country" idea for years.  He has looked at Mexico and Costa Rica in some detail, he has at least one tie to each of those two.  But, for now, he is dug-in in a part of the country where one would NOT think that there are not many "Bug Out" places, yet he has one...  I don't where it is, ha ha ha!

He is there because his wife is unenthusiastic about leaving the USA...  A common theme among American men it seems.


I have two friends in The Republic of Texas who are probably just going to dig in there, for better or worse.  At least Texas is "still America" (for the most part), there are lots of rural areas and people who want to be left alone (and are armed to the teeth to protect their freedom).

Both of my friends are armed, don't mess with them!  They are "Molon Labe" kinds of guys, NOMI, CATIYMFs! are acronyms I would expect to hear from them when (not "if", when!) I go back to visit beloved Texas.

My first friend in the Lone Star Nation LIKES the idea of leaving, but his wife does not (they have a big family), and he told me they would require good medical facilities, a real issue for them.

My friend Ed is my BESTEST friend!  He will not be heading to Latin America, but if he gets some more money, he will be moving to the sticks...  And never be found!


To summarize this main part of the article, the family I described first is commendably on the march...  My virtual friend in the Pacific has already left!  My new contact living in New Zealand has as well (having lived in several other countries).  My virtual friend hunkering down in the "unexpected place" is one of the few people I know who are fairly close to being "ready" in a SHTF or even the dreaded TEOTWAWKI.


I close this article with a thought or two on PREPARING for a move to "Plan B".  They all say that it is best to start now, before the chips fall...  This is very true!

We have some infrastructure in Peru, and we could move some wealth (probably) in a pinch there, so we would be just fine down there.  Some of my above friends are more ready than others for moving overseas if it comes to that.  But, whether they move or not, they are getting ready for the storm...

Another one of my really smart Internet contacts I deal with on other matters.  But, he rolled an idea past me just the other day.  Namely what did I think of buying stamps (as in stamp collecting, some of you may have collected them when younger).  Of course some stamps are very valuable, which was his point.  Buying some valuable stamps, putting a pair of $20,000 stamps between Pages 112 and 113 in the book you are reading on your flight allows you to discretely move capital out...

As does having Bitcoin.  Perhaps Bitcoin's highest and greatest value is the ability to move a HUGE amount of wealth about as discretely as possible (providing that you can find a way to cash them in "over there", which, with some creative thinking, is soluble...).

I somewhat regret not having had more time to write a longer article on this subject of so much interest to bright and freedom-loving people.  This will have to do for now.  If this article finds a big audience (that I can see in my stats), there may be more articles with more experiences...

Comments and/or emails are very welcome.  Especially comments!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lies, Malinvestments And Parasitical Jobs

Over the past couple weeks I have noted various examples of lies, malinvestments and parasitical jobs -- all of these are symptoms of things going wrong, things clearly bad for our economy and our country.  All three have always existed, of course, and in due quantity, but in my opinion these are much higher than what seems to be "normal".


Lies are bad because they send out bad signals, bad signals that often cause wrong actions to be taken, not just to cover up bad behavior...  I have no desire to explore the topic of current lying too much, as everyone knows about this, but I would like to explore these for a moment to demonstrate their impact.

There are three sets of almost monumental scale lies coming from the Obama administration that almost demonstrate for themselves not just the lies, but the impacts.  The first set of lies are those on Obamacare itself, a subject I explored a time or two before.  It seems that much of the administration KNEW that there would be a number of bad impacts upon our healthcare, but they went ahead with the w hole program anyway.  They KNEW that insurers would make a lot of money (for now, we will see later on if the insurance companies get ground up).

They KNEW that many doctors would "opt out" of various care options.  They KNEW that people would have trouble signing up at the website (they knew it was unfinished and not ready, but they launched it anyway, with great fanfare...  And yet all we have gotten are lies about how many have signed up, how many have paid, what the exact status of each state's programs, etc.

The Obamacare lies add up to a lot of money!  As well as huge negative budget numbers in the years to come.

The IRS targeting scandals are another set of lies and cover-ups.    Apart from targeting "Tea Party" groups (who, as a whole, are very pro-liberty and pro-small business, the latter being about the only source of private sector hiring), we must examine what regulatory uncertainty means for future investment, a topic Jim Rickards explores in his new book (The Death of Money) at great length.  Regulatory uncertainty is one of the major preoccupations of any prospective investor, say, in building a factory or an business that needs an extensive physical presence (eg, warehouses).

Regulatory uncertainty is one of the major reasons why few businesses are building in California (except relatively "clean" ones like software companies, internet companies, etc.), in fact many businesses are leaving California and New York...

Finally, it looks like Benghazi is going to turn out to be another (major?  who knows?) scandal.  Apparently all the important players, perhaps including President Obama himself, knew that the riot leading to the deaths of four Americans had nothing to do with the "video", it was a well-planned terrorist attack, they knew it essentially in real-time, yet they LIED about it not being an Al-Qaeda attack, just "furious Muslims" reacting to the video.  All on another September 11, just when the Obama re-election campaign was in full throttle...

All of these lies have consequences, that is one thing your ever-becoming more humble host here realizes.  Actions have consequences.  Lies are actions, are evil.  These official lies make America a less attractive to not just prospective foreign investors, but to those of us who live here as well.


Malinvestments is another topics I can only lightly address.  A "malinvestment" is one where an investment actually winds up squandering more capital than it creates.  Three large-scale malinvestments immediately come to mind:

-- The bank bailouts and endless QEs, from 2008 until even now
-- Overinvestment (investment past a certain level becomes bad) in US housing
-- Chinese epic-scale malinvestments...

I can think of very few people that I know who were (are) in favor of the bank bailouts, at least since the the immediate acute phase of the 2007 - 2009 Financial Crisis was over.  Those days in 2008 were scary, and no on really knew what was going to happen, so it is perhaps forgivable among among our regulators and Congress to have granted that immediate financial aid (TARP) to stanch the the great bleeding we all saw, even if the Great Recession happened for various reasons that many saw coming (housing bubble / subprime scandals / over-borrowing and scandalous reliance on government).

What seems to be clear is that we should have let a few more banks go under.  To have had a short & sharp recession (like 1920), and gotten it over with (1921 on).  Instead, we have a dismal recovery with endless huge deficits as far as we can see...

The housing bubble speaks for itself.  Fewer Americans own their own homes than before.  Housing prices have only recovered to 2006 levels in certain hot areas (NYC, San Francisco, parts of Miami, etc.).

And we have yet to see what is going to happen in China...  China has spent immense, almost indescribable amounts of money on little used highways, train stations, and even cities.  There are various experts who believe that the Chinese infrastructure investments will eventually create more than has been destroyed ("that people will eventually move into those empty cities"), but I don't think so.  Mish ( has written at length on China, as well as having quoted, numerous times and at length, with respected China analyst Michael Pettis.  I highly recommend Mish's blog for its "truthiness", Mish has a sharp eye out for those government entities that spend money poorly...


Parasitical jobs are the latest thing to cross my radar.  By "parasitical jobs" I mean those that destroy capital, that make our country a worse place.  And yet they legal.

I have been the (perhaps clueless,but still) victim over the past year of the mania for getting my vehicle towed away or "booted".  In both cases, it was legal and there signs...  Guilty!  But, in both cases, I parked in a large lot, at night, far away from the bank (in one case, and Suntrust was closed) and the restaurant (Wendy's, beware of Wendy's!).  In both of these cases, the owners likely have had a deal going with a local towing company and local immobilization company (attaching the "boot" to the from wheel immobilizing a car).  Legal, but nonetheless a scam.  A scam, that adds nothing to our country, to the contrary, it wastes people's (the victims) time and resources while enriching the towing companies and providing a "supplemental" though sleazy income to the owners of vacant parking lots...

Don't get me wrong, towing and booting service providers have their uses, to remove broken-down vehicles (tow trucks) and free-parkers who would take up parking spaces of businesses (or governments) who have legitimate business providing services to those who need to park there.

There are bankers and lawyers who similarly are needed in our economy.  But, a certain percentage of those are parasitical as well...  I leave it up to my readers' imaginations for examples...


Sometimes these things make me want to just scream!  Or run away, run away to see nothing but things like the below.  I am traveling at the moment but caught these creatures of God late one afternoon on a road less taken (*click* on the image for a better view):

(Wild turkeys, miles from the nearest town...)

Now that I think of it, maybe these were the perfect creatures to show here, smile,,,  I feel better already!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fun With Bitcoin For Beginners: Part Seven

(As it has been since January since I last wrote on Bitcoin ("BTC"), there have been several changes in the BTC Community and it is possible that some of you have may have forgotten some of the information, review my posts in November, December and January in needed)

Despite the over 50% drop of Bitcoin prices in recent months, it is not going to disappear anytime soon.  Just a few minutes ago I caught the below transaction of $1,009,441.35.  The transaction costs were 22 cents (well under one thousandth of 1%)...!  The hash code for this transaction is:


^--- Just click that link, and look around for more about it.

Here is a map below of the propagation of that million dollar plus transaction among "Bitcoin Nodes" around the world, *click* the image for a better view:

Note that Europe is also big in BTC, many nodes, also note there in the "Gulf of Guinea" near bottom right, that there are 37 nodes that relayed this transaction.

Quick Contest: Why are there so many nodes there in the Gulf of Guinea?  The winner gets 0.05 Bitcoin! The Winner is the first one to provide a plausible explanation by comment only here at my blog, so get going!


In recent days I have had the chance to try out two BTC "mixing services".  In easy language, mixing services take the ID numbers of various peoples' Bitcoins "going in", and shuffle them together via one or more algorithms to make the origin of Bitcoins com "coming out" more difficult to track.

The Blockchain, you will recall, is the public ledger of Bitcoin transactions.  It is only "somewhat" anonymous, anyone's BTC wallet is posted there along with some details, as visible in the above million dollar plus transaction.

There are two ways that I know of (and there are more) to insure better privacy.  One way is to create wallets and use new wallets regularly.  That helps, particularly if you tell no one (not even the person or exchange where you got your BTC) about your new wallets...

And the other way is to use the mixing services.  There are a number of these, and I suppose they could be divided into two broad classes: gambling sites (where when you win a bet, your BTC comes back "mixed") and the regular mixing services.  As a relative beginner myself, I went ahead and chose to use two mixing services I had seen advertised:  (which seems to be affiliated with

*** is apparently NOT any kind of "official service" of Bitcoin and the Blockchain itself (there are very few "official anythings" with Bitcoin, it is a p2p network that no one runs), it is a free service that allows anyone to poke around some of the infrastructure of BTC.  The service seems to be very respected by the Bitcoin Community, my source "Bitcoin Insider" had good things to say about them as I was learning how to perform basic tasks under his instruction.  An option of using is included with the MuliBit Bitcoin client. allows anyone to enter a BTC wallet and check for "taint", a measure of how strong the link(s) are between BTC received and from where it came.  Taint is measured as a percent from 0% - 100%, I am guessing that a high level of taint ties the sender and the receiver rather closely.    Two quotations from's taint analysis page:

"The data can be used to evaluate the anonymity provided by a mixing service."


"The more "taint" the stronger the link remains." (the link between sender and receiver)

In the above hash-coded transaction, here is the recipient's wallet and the associated "taint", again this is all publicly available information:

If you click that link, you will note a large number of wallets with 50% taint, a rather strong link (per sender -- notice many senders though -- so the transaction seems to be pretty anonymous), but you will also note a much larger number of wallets (from senders), making this transaction an even harder nut to crack...  I am not skilled enough to make any further remarks about the "taint" of this transaction nor if the sender or receiver even used a mixing service.


IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES!  These are my experiences only!  Your mileage may vary!  Mixing BTC is at your own risk!  What worked today might not tomorrow!  I suggest sending very small amounts only as you get started and build confidence.

I first tried out, a frequent advertiser at, and because they use the same logo of a capital "B" with pieces coming off, I inferred that they are affiliated.  I also guessed that they were likely legitimate as they have been advertising there at for sometime.  I would like to thank "Peter R" for giving me some instruction in first using this mixing service.

-- Start by opening a new wallet at (unless, of course, you already have one).

-- Open your wallet, and click "Send Money", here's a picture (images below edited for privacy), note: choose "Shared Coin" (at left in blue):

-- Enter the to and from wallet IDs and number of repetitions (three seems to be enough)

--  Click blue Review Payment button, you will then get this, it took 6 minutes for sharedcoin to round up some other participants:

After you are done you can check out your transaction, mixed with other people's:

Some text re receipt of the BTC from my MultiBit wallet, there is a LOT of text (again edited):

Seen by 7 peers. Appeared in best chain at height 299xxx, depth 1, work done 3436405.
     in   [304407fc9b0fc13c33c556ec057491bb50a0855ae

Total elapsed time: about 25 minutes.  Of course, I have been writing this part of the article while mixing the BTC, but 25 minutes, perhaps up to 45 minutes would be about right.


Using is different (duh!).  First go to their home page, click the green box ("Start Here").  Then type in recipient address.  Then you will see the below box, click "Mix my coins!":

You will then get a new wallet address (you just have to trust them not to steal your BTC, this is my second go 'round with them) in the orange box, as below:

You then return to your original (sending) wallet.  Then send your BTC to the "orange" wallet that bitmixer created for you.  It has now been some 15 minutes, and my receiving wallet is waiting on confirmations.  Last time I sent my BTC through, it took some 35 minutes total.

Update: This time it took almost an hour for everything to come through.  Hey, now you know!

Note that bitmixer gives you a 4-length alphanumeric code.  This allows you to send more BTC to that same wallet address for 24 hours, the code ensures that none of your older (first transaction) BTC gets mixed in should you want to send more BTC within that 24 hour window.


Look around the sites and FAQs of the mixing services for more information.