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Intelwars International Diversification Strategies

Panama is still an obvious escape hatch

At the turn of the 20th century, the United States had recently become the largest economy in the world… and it was showing.

The US had just vanquished Spain in the Spanish-American War, resulting in a vast new American colonial empire, stretching from the Philippines to Puerto Rico.

And it was just the beginning of American dominance overseas.

A few years later in 1903, JP Morgan (as in, the founder of the mega-bank that bears his name) engineered a coup in Central America that ended up creating a new republic in the region: Panama.

And almost immediately, JP Morgan and his colleagues got to work developing a canal that would run right through Panama.

The Panama Canal was a game changer back then, and one of the most ambitious engineering projects in history.

Before the canal, ships traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast had to circumnavigate the entire American continent, sailing from

New York, down to the southern tip of Argentina, and back up the Pacific Coast to San Francisco.

The trip took forever. But the Panama Canal slashed the journey down to a fraction of the time.

The Canal was of such strategic importance to the United States that the Defense Department built more than a DOZEN military bases in Panama (a country less than half the size of Florida.)

And Panama became very Americanized as a result. The government dollarized the economy from Day 1. English became widely spoken.

The US finally withdrew all of its forces on December 31, 1999, and handed over control of the Canal to the Panamanians. Most of the suit-and-tie experts thought it would be a disaster… that Panama would bungle it all up and the economy would soon be in hyperinflation.

That didn’t happen.

In the 20 years since taking over, Panama has flourished. Trade, transportation, banking, real estate, and tourism have all boomed.

And the growth has been pretty mesmerizing.

My first trip to Panama was back in 2003. Back then the main airport (Tocumen International) was basically a rural airstrip.

The taxi ride into town was dark and lonely, and downtown Panama City was a quaint backwater at best.

Over the years I’ve been back at least 20 times, and even lived there for a time. And the pace of development has been truly impressive.

Today Panama is practically a different country.

It’s obviously not all rainbows and buttercups– Panama has its issues, just like any place else.

But over the last two decades, a robust middle class has developed in Panama that’s 2-3x the size (as a percentage of population) than its regional neighbors like Nicaragua or Honduras.

Plenty of business and investment opportunities abound. The economy has consistently been one of the fastest growing in the region. And the capital’s downtown skyline seems more like Miami than Central America.

Plus, as we’ve written several times before, Panama makes it VERY easy for foreigners to obtain residency. The country’s doors are wide open, welcoming foreigners to come and join in on the prosperity.

Our research team counts at least 19 different ways you can obtain legal residency in Panama. But the most popular option still remains the “Friendly Nations Visa”.

They rolled this out eight years ago. In short, if you’re a citizen of one of the 50 countries with significant economic or cultural ties to Panama, you can obtain residency by setting up a corporation.

(The list of eligible countries includes the US, Canada, UK, Australia, most of Europe, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, and several Latin American countries.)

In theory it’s a bit like an investor visa, since the original goal of the program was to generate economic activity in Panama.

You’re supposed to set up a business and fund the company with a small deposit at a local bank (less than $20,000 should be sufficient for the whole family to qualify).

And once your paperwork is approved, you can even withdraw the money if you choose.

In my view, this is a real no-brainer Plan B option for most people. It’s fast. It requires a very low investment amount. And the money isn’t tied up for long at all.

Having a legal residency in another country is a very sensible option.

It doesn’t mean that you need to move away from your home country.

It only means that, if at some point down the road you decide that you NEED to leave, then you’ll already have a place where you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

If conditions in your home country deteriorate rapidly and you have people rampaging in your face, or a government that wants to tax you to oblivion, you won’t want to start thinking about your options while you’re packing your bags.

This is a really important point. Emotional decisions are bad decisions. And if you wait until the proverbial hits the fan to even start thinking about where you might want to go, you’ll be too emotional to make rational decisions.

Start making those types of decisions now.

Where might you want to obtain legal residency, just in case? Where are the places you could see yourself spending time (if you really needed to)? Do you or your family have any special needs?

Panama is an easy option for a lot of folks. But even if it doesn’t work for you, there are definitely some places in the world that will tick your boxes.

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AOC’s terrorist propaganda video

“I’m not here to poo poo you,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told 4.8 million followers on a live Instagram broadcast over the weekend.

“I’m not here to say you’re wrong. Or that you’re a bad person. . . I’m not here to shame you.”

She was talking, of course, to people who aren’t particularly fired up about voting for Joe Biden.

But to AOC, not voting for Biden is the worst possible sin. And despite promising to not “poo poo” anyone, she went on for 41 minutes basically poo pooing everyone who wasn’t willing to vote for Joe Biden.

It doesn’t matter whether you agree with him, whether you trust him, whether you think he’s competent or qualified, or whether his plans make any sense.

It doesn’t matter that AOC herself constantly slammed Biden throughout the primary race as a tired, outdated hack.

She has now decreed how every sensible, decent human being must vote. She doesn’t believe you should have a choice in the matter, including not voting at all.

(She also had a political hit list of half a dozen Senators to whom “she needs you to give the boot. . .”)

To be clear, I’m incredibly anti-political. I’m not ‘for’ any politician. I’ve never voted in a political election, and I find the entire process pointless; unless you live in a handful of swing states, any vote cast for a presidential candidate doesn’t matter anyhow.

But I still believe that people have the fundamental right to vote for whoever they want, or to exercise the right to not vote at all… and not be subject to the commands of AOC or anyone else.

Honestly a lot of her broadcast seemed more like a terrorist propaganda video than an impromptu political rally.

Let this moment radicalize you,” she said, in reference to the fight to replace the recently-departed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

We can, and must fight. . . I need you to be ready. . . I need you to do this. You need to do more. Everyone has to do more.”

What exactly does she want us to do?

Whatever it takes. “There’s no limitation,” she said.

“I’m scared all the time,” she confessed to her supporters. “I’ve had moments where I’m terrified.” But then she explained how she turns her fear into fuel, and encouraged her followers to do the same.

I have a feeling this is how Al Qaida used to recruit suicide bombers. And any ‘normal’ American (i.e. not a sitting politician) would probably end up on a watch list if they had broadcast that same message.

AOC went on to say that this fight, the struggle, the ‘peaceful protests’, the occupy movements, “are tools that we are going to have to use for the rest of our lives. . . this is not over. We win in November– I’m sorry to tell you, you’re not going back to brunch. . . . that’s not happening. There is no going back after November. Gear up.”

Wow. No going back? The rest of our lives? Gear up? If you believe AOC’s melodrama, this isn’t even an election. This woman really seems like she’s rallying the troops and preparing for war.

Frankly it would be pretty comical if AOC weren’t so popular. The video was seen by millions of people and received over half a million likes, with doting comments by radicalized supporters.

Personally I don’t buy it.

I believe most people are sane and normal, and the fringe radicals and shrieking Twitter mob are merely an incredibly loud, yet small minority.

AOC likes to fancy herself as a righteous political vigilante. She loves the idea that her words strike fear in her opponents, as if she’s Bruce Wayne beating capitalist oppressors to a pulp by night with her bare fists. That’s the legend she’s trying to build.

To me she just sounds like another clueless drama queen. It’s not scary, it’s just pathetic.

But I still have a Plan B in case I’m dreadfully wrong, and AOC ends up with authority to do more than poo-poo her enemies.

And when I see videos like this, it strikes me as more sensible than ever to have a strong, robust Plan B.

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While I was sitting in the ER, I thought of these three other countries with great healthcare

Around 2:30am a few days ago when I was deep asleep, my significant other suddenly shook me awake and asked me to take her to the emergency room.

She told me she was having trouble breathing and her heart was racing, so we immediately hopped in the car and raced to a nearby urgent care clinic.

Fortunately it all turned out fine. But it was my first experience seeing the Puerto Rico medical system up close and personal.

My verdict? Meh.

Frankly it was better than I thought it would be. I had pretty low expectations given the fact that this place has trouble even keeping the lights on most of the time. (But then again, so does California…)

I thought the doctor was professional and knowledgeable (and also trilingual). Plus the facility had a reasonable amount of equipment on hand to be able to perform a battery of tests.

But there were definitely limitations. And a lot of weirdness.

When we arrived, for example, we did the typical triage first. But then we had to go back into the waiting room where the receptionist presented me with a bill. So basically I had to pay before we even saw the doctor. (It was only $100 for the ER visit).

So, overall, it was so-so– decent, yet cheap. But I wouldn’t rank Puerto Rico anywhere near the pantheon of world class medical care destinations. Not by a long shot.

I imagine there are probably a lot of folks right now thinking about medical care given everything that’s happened this year.

And at the same time, countless people are now looking at their options to relocate. Remote work has made it possible for millions of employees to move anywhere they want, as long as they have a good Internet connection.

So if you’re thinking about moving abroad, but want to ensure you’ll still have access to great quality healthcare, I’ll tell you about three places I was thinking about while I was sitting in the waiting room the other night:

Thailand

Thailand is probably my favorite. The country has some of the best, most efficient hospitals in the world. Every time I’m in Bangkok, I always book a few appointments at Bumrungrad International Hospital, mostly because it’s more like a luxury hotel experience than a hospital.

They have internationally trained physicians in every specialty you can imagine, cancer treatment, dental, cosmetic surgery, sexual reassignment… pretty much everything.

And procedures tend to be far less expensive than in the US.

At Bumrungrad, total knee replacement run about $10,000 USD, compared to an average price of $50,000 in the US.

And bear in mind that Bumrungrad is probably the most expensive hospital in Thailand. There are plenty of other top-notch, internationally accredited hospitals in the country that are much cheaper– like Bangkok Hospital, Sikarin Hospital, etc.

Thai hospitals even offer package deals and specials. Bangkok Hospital, for example, currently offers an all-inclusive childbirth package for about $1,660 USD.

This includes a three day two night stay in the hospital, all meals, medical care, and any medications needed.

(In the US, the average out of pocket cost to give birth WITH insurance is around $5k according to a University of Michigan study. And without insurance, it easily runs over $10,000.)

Malaysia

Malaysia isn’t on a lot of people’s radar, but it also offers exceptional care for very low cost.

For example, you’ll pay less than $20,000 for heart bypass surgery in Malaysia, versus more than $75,000 on average in the US.

Prince Court Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia’s biggest city) has consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the world for medical tourism. And, like Thailand, the list of specialties is numerous.

The cost of medication in Malaysia is also incredibly cheap (which is similar in Thailand as well).

Plus access to the newest, cutting edge medicines is quite easy since Singapore (one of the biggest manufacturers of pharmaceuticals in the region) is right next door to Malaysia and just a few hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur.

Panama

For people looking for quality, specialty healthcare in a place that’s a lot closer to North America, consider Panama.

Panama is just a few hours plane ride from the US and Canada. It was a strong, stable economy, and its healthcare system is full of US-trained physicians, especially in facilities like Hospital Punta Pacifica, which is affiliated with Johns Hopkins.

Panama’s flexible legislation is also making the country a hot location for medical tourism.

So in addition to typical procedures like child birth or elective surgery (which are often 50% to 75% less than in the US), Panama is also welcoming to alternative treatment options.

For instance, I know a doctor who started a stem cell clinic in Panama which has helped people with everything from age-related mental issues, to sports injuries.

It’s also helpful that Panama is one of the easiest places in the world to gain residency. So anyone thinking about moving there can become a legal resident in no time.

Of course these aren’t the only options for high-quality healthcare destinations. There are plenty of others, especially if you’re looking for specific treatments.

People interested in IVF, for example, may look to India first. And as our Sovereign Woman Viktoria just informed me, Turkey is apparently THE spot for hair restoration.

(Viktorija is currently in Istanbul and will be sending you one of her popular reports from there soon.)

You may have noticed that each of my three suggestions– Thailand, Malaysia, and Panama– just so happen to be in beautiful, tropical destinations.

And that’s sort of the idea: you can find whatever you’re looking for. If you want beachfront paradise with great healthcare, that’s available. If you want great tax benefits, great schools, and close proximity to your home country, that’s available too.

You just have to decide for yourself what’s most important, and recognize that you have the freedom to choose the life that you want.

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California’s governor makes ominous prediction for America

California’s governor made a rather ominous prediction this weekend when he told an interviewer that “California is America. . . fast forward.”

He was talking specifically about the wildfires that have ravaged his state– a warning that the natural disasters that natural disasters will soon plague the rest of the country too, thanks to climate change.

But his comment should really be taken more broadly… because California really is a snapshot of America in the near future.

Just like America, there are a lot of incredible things about California. It’s home to some of the biggest, most ‘innovative’ tech companies in the world. It has a large, educated, highly skilled population.

Just by itself, the state is the 5th largest economy in the world. It’s a powerhouse. Or, at least, it should be. It has all the promise of America– Hollywood, Silicon Valley, sunshine, Disneyland, and endless possibilities… the place where dreams can come true.

And then there’s reality.

Yes, the state is ablaze and air quality has turned toxic. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the problems.

(The wildfires are indicative of a bigger problem, though. It’s not like wildfires are a rare occurrence in California. They happen every year. Yet somehow this government always gets caught with its pants down.)

Just look at the state’s electricity situation: the fifth largest economy in the world can’t manage to keep the lights on! And the state has to resort to rolling blackouts like some third-world country.

Last week the Mayor of Los Angeles tweeted–

“It’s almost 3pm. Time to turn off the major appliances. . .”

It sounds like a joke. But this actually happened: the mayor of one of America’s largest cities told people to turn the lights and appliances off because they can’t produce enough electricity.

Bear in mind that California’s electricity rates are among the highest in the country. So people pay dearly for shoddy public services.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the electricity deficit reached up to 50% of total consumption last month– which is pretty extraordinary.

Of course, the politicians always blame some evil boogeyman… climate change, in this case. They claim that the month of August was very hot, and the excess electrical demand from too many air conditioners was too much for the grid to bear.

Really? August was hot? Is this honestly a surprise to these people?

But just like the wild fires, the failed electrical grid doesn’t even begin to tell the real story.

The school system has gone totally bananas– California leads the way in intellectual jihad, firing university professors for expressing views that don’t conform to the Twitter mob, and now mandating an Ethnic Studies course at public universities.

California was the first in the nation to legislate wokeness in business; the state now has laws which tell shareholders who they can/cannot elect to the Boards of their own companies.

Business regulations are out of control; the state has long since bent the knee to labor unions, which create massive excess business costs for anyone who dares to be an entrepreneur in the state.

And for anyone who is lucky enough to start a business and become successful despite constant obstacles and roadblocks put up by the state, the government rewards you with the highest tax rate in the country.

But even though the wealthiest 1% of Californians account for nearly HALF of the state’s total tax revenue, the government feels entitled to squeeze them even more.

Now the state’s legislators wants to raise taxes on the wealthy from 13.3% to 16.8%.

PLUS they want to hit people with a wealth tax… and make the whole package retroactive.

They even want to continue to tax former Californians who LEAVE, essentially creating the first state Exit Tax in the United States.

The list goes on and on… from the state’s critical (and ridiculously mismanaged) water shortages to the homeless epidemic to the high cost of living.

California was also home to some of the worst, most incomprehensible Covid lockdowns in the country.

Politicians told people that wet sand was OK, dry sand was not OK.

They arrested a guy for surfing, entirely by himself, for violating social distancing edicts rules, but then praised peaceful protesters who packed together like sardines.

But the biggest issue with the state, by far, is what I call the tyranny of the elite.

These are the single-minded people who are convinced in their righteousness, whether for the environment, social justice, public health.

It doesn’t matter how pitiful their results are. It doesn’t matter that every shred of objective evidence says their idiotic policies and ideas are dead wrong.

Their ideas have bankrupted the state (whose budget deficit exceeds 30% of revenue!), plundered the electrical grid, destroyed the forests, etc.

Yet they refuse to accept reality, and continue racing down their destructive path.

But Californians themselves are starting to understand what’s happening.

The most recent Census data only goes to 2018. But in that year alone, nearly 700,000 people left California for other states. And it was the 7th year in a row where people fleeing the state handily exceeded the people moving there.

That trend probably accelerated in 2019 and hit warp speed this year.

Real estate websites like Zillow and Redfin show a surge of Californians looking at property outside of the state, and some cities (like San Francisco) have twice as many homes on the market compared to this time last year.

People are starting to understand that there are more options out there. And they’re right.

California is in big trouble. And, like the governor said, it’s a sign of things to come in the US.

Fortunately, feudalism is dead. We’re not medieval serfs anymore, tied to the land and forced to remain.

There are plenty of options out there– place where you can move, live, work, invest, thrive, and be happy.

It just takes a little bit of education… and the will to take action.

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Surprise! Politicians aren’t following their own COVID rules…

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

Philadelphia Mayor caught dining indoors despite his own ban

In March, the Mayor of Philadelphia banned indoor dining throughout the entire city, because of COVID.

The ban was still in effect last week when the Mayor was caught dining indoors at a friend’s restaurant in Maryland.

Apparently, he was not actually that worried about the dangers of indoor dining.

But instead of allowing Philidelphians to make their own decisions, like he did, the Mayor destroyed their restaurant businesses in the name of COVID safety.

His rules are only for the peasants.

Click here to read the full story.

Gyms forced closed in San Francisco– except for government gyms

Business owners in San Francisco are still prohibited from opening their gyms.

Meanwhile, gyms in government buildings have been open since July.

Police, prosecutors, judges, bailiffs, and paralegals are all free to go to their taxpayer-funded gyms.

And after a weight session, they return to work to enforce the shut down of the peasants’ gyms.

(This is the same city that shut down indoor hair salons for everyone except Nancy Pelosi. She was caught breaking the rules and getting her hair done indoors last week.)

The woke Bolsheviks are demonstrating what equality will look like under their system.

Click here to read the full story.

College civics: the correct answer is that the Constitution was racist

“The largest class Vanderbilt [University] has ever taught,” is a civics course taught to 800 college students.

One question on an online quiz asked students, “Was the Constitution designed to perpetuate white supremacy and protect the institution of slavery?”

You’d think something like that would at least be a lengthy essay question. But on this civics quiz, it was a true or false question.

No gray area, no nuance, no intellectual debate.

And, ding ding, you guessed it, the answer was true, the Constitution was designed to perpetuate white supremacy.

(Amazingly enough, according to the university’s website, undergraduate students pay $52,780 per year in tuition to be indoctrinated into this intellectual jihad.)

Click here to read the full story.

Hiring a “happy” stylist discriminates against unhappy people

A salon owner in England put out a job description to a local government-run job center.

The ad for a hair stylist said, “This is a busy, friendly, small salon, so only happy, friendly stylists need apply.”

But the job center called just an hour later, saying they could not run the ad.

The job description was discriminatory, they said, because it asked only for “happy” stylists to apply for the job.

And that might make miserable pessimists think they cannot apply for the job.

Click here to read the full story.

Tedx London explains what a Womxn is

Tedx London is a chapter of Ted Talks which hosts educational speakers.

They announced on Twitter that “TEDxLondonWomxn is coming back.”

Which led some people to ask, what is a womxn?

TedxLondon responded:

“No, that’s not a typo: ‘womxn’ is a spelling of ‘women’ that’s more inclusive and progressive. The term sheds light on the prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers womxn have faced, and explicitly includes non-cisgender women.”

It’s unclear how exactly adding an x to a word is more inclusive. It is also unclear how this new word is supposed to be pronounced…

But these sorts of logical details never seem to matter to the woke warriors.

Click here to read the full story.

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The new puritans are on the prowl

In the spring of 1692, Giles Corey was 80 years old when his wife was accused of witchcraft.

The entire town was in such a frenzy that even Giles started to believe that his wife might be a witch.

Soon after, another person in the town was accused of witchcraft. Then another. And another. And another.

It wasn’t until Giles Corey himself was accused of being a wizard that he realized the whole thing was a scam.

But it didn’t matter. The Puritan preachers in this small New England town (Salem, Massachusetts) took every accusation seriously.

They felt it was their duty to protect the townsfolk from the systemic witchcraft that was so pervasive in Salem. So everyone who was accused of witchcraft was quickly punished.

That included Giles Gorey, who, at the age of 81, was tortured for three days in September of 1692, in an attempt to extract a plea.

He had been accused, therefore he must be guilty. And Corey was laid in a field with boards placed on top of him, and large rocks piled on top of the boards to slowly crush him to death.

Rumour has it the only words he spoke during the torture were, “More weight.”

These days we have a new breed of Puritans. Their religion is wokeness, and they too see witches everywhere.

What’s really incredible is that these Puritan witch hunters are really just a small percentage of the population.

Most people are completely sane and normal. But this tiny group happens to be the loudest.

And because of that,  they’ve completely upended everything– culture, business, politics, and even science.

They tell us what words we can/cannot use. Some of the largest corporations in the world have already bent the knee, cancelling movies, music, and even food, because it offends the mob.

Disney cancelled the song “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” because it’s offensive. Yet they graciously thanked the Chinese Communist Party in their recent release of Mulan!

And the same doctors and public health officials who tell us that we have to wear masks tell us that it’s OK to not wear a mask when rioting, because hate is a much bigger public health crisis.

Wokeness is such bizarre logic. But it never stops.

Just this morning I saw articles lamenting the lack of diversity in the wine industry; and another claiming that National Parks aren’t welcoming enough to certain minorities.

Even 2+2=4 is now a controversial statement to some mathematics educators, who find the expression grounded in imperialistic, heteronormative toxic masculinity.

But it’s not enough to simply bow out and avoid their intolerance. That makes YOU a target.

You have to denounce family members, grovel to the Twitter mob, raise a fist in solidarity, participate in the chants and rituals… otherwise you put yourself and your family at risk.

They’ll come for your job, your business, and your dignity.

I have no idea how far this will go, or how much more ridiculous it will become.

This is clearly not the first time in history that a small number of crazy people end up causing havoc and devastation to an entire society.

Now, I still believe that, even in the midst of such mindless chaos, the world is still abundant with opportunity.

I’ve just always felt that it’s best to tackle those opportunities… and face obvious risks… from a position of strength.

This is the core idea behind having a ‘Plan B’– to put yourself in a position of strength, regardless of whatever happens (or doesn’t happen) next.

This includes things like expanding your network and meeting like-minded people– which is more important than ever.

It means taking care of your finances– protecting your assets, avoiding roller coaster rides in markets and currency devaluations, legally cutting your taxes, and expanding your income.

It also means having a place to go, just in case you might ever need to hit the eject button.

This doesn’t mean having a doom-and-gloom mentality. It’s a sensible, rational precaution in light of such clear risk.

And it’s not a decision you’ll be in the mental state to think through when the mob is at your doorstep.

This is really the most important part of a Plan B: thinking through what’s important to you, and what you *might* need to do… now– while you’re in a rational state.

Waiting until panic sets in means making emotional decisions later… and emotional decisions tend to be very bad decisions.

So take advantage of the relative calm, and make some key decisions now.

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I met expats overseas who are absolutely thriving

[Editor’s note: This letter was written by our Sovereign Woman—Viktorija.]

Just like Simon, I’m probably one of the world’s worst tourists.

When I travel somewhere, I prefer to experience real life in the country or city that I’m visiting.

So my schedule is usually full of meetings and networking with local entrepreneurs, attorneys, bankers, and foreign expats, trying to get a feel for the place.

And after a great trip to Dubai last month, I’m now doing the same thing in Lisbon, Portugal– a beautiful European city that I typically visit every summer.

Portugal is becoming incredibly popular with expats, no doubt due to its cheap cost of living, extremely high quality lifestyle, and plethora of legal residency options.

I had a great meeting with one of the attorneys we work here in Lisbon with to discuss their residency programs, and to see how the current situation has impacted them.

As Simon wrote last week, Portugal has some great residency programs, and pretty much anyone can take advantage of them.

Unsurprisingly our attorney in Lisbon told me that they’ve seen a surge in residency applications from US citizens over the past few months.

And even though Americans are not formally allowed to travel to the EU right now, you can start the residency process right from your home country by going through the nearest Portuguese consulate.

If you have sufficient savings and are interested in purchasing a property, Portugal’s ‘Golden Visa’ program offers legal residency to foreigners who acquire qualifying real estate.

But more interestingly, there are plenty of ways to obtain residency here for people who are no high income earners, or who aren’t interested in buying property.

Just today I met a couple of architects from Lebanon and Italy living and doing business in Portugal, an Australian who left his corporate job in London and moved to Lisbon to open up a coffee shop.

I met a foreign entrepreneur who obtained bank financing here– he borrowed €50,000 from the bank for his startup, at a “ridiculously low” interest rate.

I also met with his banker who confirmed that, yes, they do make loans to startups. The interest rate is ‘euribor’ (which is currently NEGATIVE 0.5%) plus a margin of between 2% to 3.75%.

And on top of that, the banker told me that entrepreneurs can receive an extra €50,000 in business funding from the Portuguese government as part of their economic stimulus.

I also met an expat from the United States who recently moved here after becoming completely fed up with life back in Los Angeles. And as she watches the lockdowns and insanity on TV, she knows she made the right decision and doesn’t see herself going back.

She doesn’t have a ton of money and would by no means describe herself as wealthy. But she’s doing very well here in Lisbon as a yoga teacher.

And I think she is a great example of how anyone can do it.

Portugal is a wonderful place, but it’s just one tiny drop out of an ocean of options.

Whether it’s Portugal, Panama, Puerto Rico, or anywhere else in the world, there is absolutely a place (and probably several places) where you will thrive… where you will feel energized and happy.

And again– anyone can do it.

In the past, a lot of people had significant constraints. Work. The kids’ school. Karate class.

All of those constraints have melted away. A lot of jobs are online. A lot of schools are now online. And, yes, they have Karate class overseas too.

Given everything that’s happening right now, it’s worth at least considering the possibility that you can live the life you’ve always dreamed about, but never had the freedom to pursue.

To get started, you just need the right information… and the willingness to make it happen.

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“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” not inclusive enough for Disney

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

Mark Zuckerberg predicts civil unrest in November

File this one away under “No sh*t, Sherlock…” In a yet-to-be aired interview with Axios HBO, Mark Zuckerberg states the obvious that, come election night in the Land of the Free, there most likely won’t be a winner declared because it will take days, if not weeks, to count all the mail-in ballots.

Moreover, says Zuckerberg, there is “a heightened risk of civil unrest” especially between the end of voting and the time the results are announced.

(And to be even more obvious, depending on who wins the Presidency, we believe the resulting civil unrest will make all the rioting we’ve seen so far in 2020 look like a picnic in the park… but that’s another story.)

Disney cancels “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” song 

There may be no other large corporation that’s more woke than Disney. The media giant has changed everything– its shows, movies, rides, and attractions, to conform to the Twitter mob.

Disney has now opted to remove the song “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” from its Disneyland theme park.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah was released as part of Disney’s 1946 film Song of the South… and as you can probably imagine, Song of the South didn’t handle the issue of race as delicately as it would be treated today.

(I mean, the movie title has the word ‘south’ in it, so it is automatically offensive to the Twitter mob.)

OK great. So the movie offends the Twitter mob. But Disney is cancelling a SONG that was part of the movie’s original soundtrack. WHY?

According to Disney’s official response, “The removal of the song from Downtown Disney’s background music is part of a continuous process to deliver an environment that features stories that are relevant and inclusive.”

What exactly are the lyrics of Zip-a-dee-doo-dah that make it so inflammatory?

“My oh my what a wonderful day / plenty of sunshine headin’ my way.”

Rage! Fury!

Click here to read the full story. 

Coffee mug cancelled for promoting domestic violence

Finally, the real source of domestic violence has been identified and eradicated.

The Twitter mob successfully secured the removal of a coffee mug from the British grocery chain, Sainsbury’s.

The mug featured a quote from the classic children’s book Matilda by Roald Dahl.

The mug said, “A brilliant idea hit her.”

After multiple Twitter-mobsters took note of the mug, the leader of a women’s group also got in on the action.

They claimed that the mug promoted domestic violence against women, because it could be read, “A brilliant idea: hit her.”

The grocery store apologized, and removed the mug.

Well done ladies! (But not in the cooked meat sense of the term.)

Click here to read the full story. 

University creates tech to scan Twitter for misogynist Tweets

An Australian University is developing a technology that can identify misogynist and sexist Tweets.

Currently, Tweets have to be reported before they are deleted, which the team sees as a problem.

This technology will make it easier to censor the Tweets automatically– or at least send the Twitter mob after fresh victims.

Think of this as a way to automate the thought police, so that no stone goes unturned in identifying microaggressions. And in the future, it can be expanded to any woke principles that the Twitter mob sees fit.

Of course, the algorithm is only partially accurate. So the misidentified will just have to take one for the team.

Click here to read the full story. 

German man fined €1,500 for flipping off speed camera

For driving 9 km/h over the speed limit (about 5 mph) Germany usually issues a €20 ticket.

But when the automatic traffic cameras flashed to take a picture of the minor infraction, one man decided to flip it the bird.

The picture of him with his middle finger up made it to the German authorities. And they decided to fine him €1,500 ($1,775) instead, for the crime of being offensive.

He also had his license revoked for a month.

But at least he wasn’t caught walking his dog for only 59 minutes per day otherwise the penalties would have been even more severe!

Click here to read the full story. 

Pregnant Australian woman arrested for social media post about COVID

Police in Victoria, Australia entered a pregnant woman’s home, handcuffed, and arrested her in front of her two young children.

It was all because of a post she made encouraging people to attend an anti-lockdown protest.

The woman was also served with a search warrant for her electronics.

The encounter was recorded until police apparently turned off the recording in order to seize the cell phone it was being filmed on. “Any device in the house, we’re taking,” the officer in the video says.

The woman was taken into custody, and charged with incitement.

It is a breach of law, under Covid rules, to gather in large groups. And encouraging people to break that law is also illegal.

It’s absolute insanity that this is where we are at.

The government can do whatever it wants to restrict the freedom of its citizens– right up to shackling and caging a pregnant woman, in front of her kids, over a Facebook post.

All in the name of safety from a virus.

Click here to read the full story and watch the video.

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I went to Mount Rushmore… before the Bolsheviks cancel it

After having visited 120+ countries on all seven continents, and dozens of states across the US, it’s a pretty rare event these days that I travel somewhere I’ve never been before.

I’m pretty weak in the South Pacific—I’ve never been to Tahiti or Bora Bora… nor central Africa, like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But most of the rest of the world I have covered.

One blank spot on my US travel map was South Dakota… until yesterday afternoon.

I knew back in July that I would have to make a trip… primarily to see Mount Rushmore before the Bolsheviks cancel it.

Sadly I’m only half-kidding.

I almost never watch TV anymore. But I happened to be flipping through channels on the afternoon of Friday, July 3rd and saw a reporter from the Communist News Network describing Mount Rushmore as “a monument of two slave owners on land wrestled away from Native Americans.”

And that pretty well sums up the national hysteria right now.

(Meanwhile, on the right side of the screen, CNN had its real-time Covid statistics to continue stoking fear and paranoia. And that single clip tells you everything you need to know about mainstream media.)

Then, just this week in Washington DC, the local government released a report of 153 properties across the city—schools, parks, monuments– that should be renamed because they’re presently named after a “person of concern.”

The report was authored by a special committee established by Washington DC’s mayor, which was tasked with identifying monuments that have “disqualifying histories”.

This includes people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and dozens of others.

The findings are so absurd that the DC committee even recommended to “remove, relocate, or contextualize” the Washington Monument.

“Contextualize” means adding the opposing context… so the Washington Monument would include a sign or plaque that explains how George Washington owned slaves.

Great. But why don’t we contextualize everything?

How is it that peaceful protestors and their champion politicians are allowed to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the streets, without contextualizing it as well?

Perhaps there should be an asterisk * at the end of the phrase, followed by a footnote informing people that the parent organization is founded by “trained Marxists” (in their own words) and has amassed vast, unelected power and taken in countless millions in donations without a public single audit or financial statement.

Of course, we’re not allowed to contextualize BLM, nor any figure from the movement. No one can engage in civil discourse on the matter without enraging the Twitter Mob and being cancelled.

But George Washington? The guy who literally won the war of American Independence? He must be contextualized! Or removed.

And that takes me back to Mount Rushmore, where all four men—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt– have “disqualifying histories”.

Don’t take this to the bank, but I have a sneaking suspicion that some Antifa domestic terrorist will eventually deface or partially destroy the monument.

(Security isn’t very tight at the park, and it wouldn’t be terribly difficult for a good climber with a few cans of spray paint to make a big fuss.)

That’s not an especially outlandish suspicion. These ‘peaceful protestors’ feel fully justified in torching property, looting businesses, making death threats, and engaging in all sorts of violence. Vandalizing Mount Rushmore would be pretty tame by comparison.

And that’s the world we live in now.

Most people are pretty sane and easy going. But a small minority of intolerants has hijacked society with its paradoxical logic.

We must contextualize the slave owner George Washington! But we must respect China and the brutal way that it treats minority groups.

We must cancel misogynists! But we must respect cultural misogyny in many Islamic countries.

It’s all mind boggling.

I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for a child in school right now, with all this wokeness being crammed down their throats– the gender obsession, white fragility, historical revisions… not to mention pandemic hysteria.

And this fever is not going to break anytime soon.

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Intelwars International Diversification Strategies

Digital Nomads will want to know about these two countries

British Petroleum announced this week that ALL 6,500 employees in its London office will be working from home within the next two years.

BP is even going to shut down the office entirely and sell the building. They’re not the only ones.

Right now, in fact, only 13% of London office workers are back at the office. And as we’ve been saying, many likely won’t return.

When you never have to go to the office anymore, why stay in expensive London? Or New York, or San Francisco for that matter?

A lot of people are already moving.

I’ve been driving across the northern United States for the past few days– Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.  ‘Rural’ doesn’t even begin to capture the scene here. It’s gorgeous.

And it’s been remarkable to see how many people are moving to these areas from big cities (especially from California).

Even more, as we’ve been suggesting, a lot of folks will pick up and go farther afield, leaving their home countries altogether.

That’s one of the silver linings of COVID: the work-from-home revolution allows a lot of people to go anywhere, for any reason– perhaps to dodge the chaos, for better weather, a different lifestyle, tax savings, or all of the above.

Two places to consider are Spain and Portugal; both have very straightforward options for people who might want to live there (even just temporarily) to obtain legal residency.

In short, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have sufficient cash, liquid assets and/or monthly income so that you won’t become a burden to local welfare programs.

Portugal’s “D7” visa requirements, for example, are based on the current minimum wage.

So if you have an income or cash savings of at least €7,620 (the annual minimum wage in Portugal, roughly USD $9,000), you can receive a temporary residency permit that’s valid for 1 year.

If you bring your spouse, you’d need an additional 50% of that amount, plus 30% for each child.

So a family of four would need about $18,000.

(This is the bare minimum, and of course it’s always best to show more if possible when you submit your application.)

And to be clear, this is YOUR money. It’s not like you have to pay it to the government as a fee or anything. You keep it in your bank account, and spend it as you see fit. The Portuguese government just needs to know that you have (or earn) enough to support yourself.

Spain has a type of visa that is very similar to Portugal’s D7. It’s called “residencia no lucrativa” or “non-lucrative residency.”

Spain is more demanding when it comes to showing savings or income, but their requirements are not outrageous.

This required amount increases slightly each year, depending on the Spanish minimum wage.

As of 2020, they want to see that the primary applicant has €25,560, and an additional €6,390 for each additional family member.

So, a family of four would need to show a minimum €44,730 of savings to qualify for residency in Spain (or almost $50,000).

Spain and Portugal are just two drops in an ocean of options. Both are really nice (in fact, our own Sovereign Woman is currently in Portugal meeting with lawyers and real estate agents.)

Digital Nomads in particular may be drawn to Spain and Portugal– especially Lisbon and Barcelona. Those cities have vibrant entrepreneur communities, high quality local workers, excellent nonstop flight networks, great weather, and cheap living costs.

There are undoubtedly millions of people around the world who are thinking about their next steps right now.

Everyone’s life has changed. And a lot of people are starting to realize that they have much more control over their own lives– including the freedom to choose where to live– for the first time ever.

This ought to be a deliberate decision. There are countless places around the world to choose from. And you can decide for yourself what’s important… what matters to you… and start crafting exactly the life you want to live.

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Lessons in Social Justice from the 16th century

It was a damp evening in the early 1560s when Walter Kapell was marched through a silent crowd in the town square.

He had just been convicted of heresy by the Inquisition, and he would only have a few more minutes to live.

Kapell was a wealthy man and beloved by the townspeople of his native Diksmuide in modern day Belgium. He reportedly gave much of his wealth away to feed and clothe the poor, and his many beneficiaries turned up to watch his execution in horror.

This was a period in history when the Catholic Church, having long ruled over European society, was starting to lose its grip on power.

Martin Luther famously wrote his ‘95 Theses’ in 1517, which was one of the first popular works that questioned the Church’s practices. And a revolutionary movement quickly picked up steam.

Countless Europeans began breaking away from the Catholic Church. And by the mid-1500s, dozens of Protestant religious groups had formed all over Europe.

The Church fought back aggressively against this threat to its power, and it quickly enlisted the support of friendly governments.

Philip II of the Holy Roman Empire was a zealous ally to the Church; he decreed that Protestant heretics should be snuffed out and executed, and the Inquisition that he established in the ‘United Provinces’ (which includes modern day Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) was legendary for its brutality.

People the United Provinces were overwhelmingly Catholic. But for the most part the average citizen was easy-going and supported religious freedom for Protestants.

In 1558, for example, when the Inquisition in Rotterdam sentenced several protestants to death, local Catholic citizens rescued them from the stake.

Any execution that did take place was horrifying for Catholics and Protestants alike.

And then, in the 1560s, a few particularly gruesome executions took place.

One of them was Walter Kapell. Again, Kapell was loved by everyone– Catholic and Protestant.

And his death was so painful that a Flemish peasant threw himself onto the very pyre where Kapell was being burned to death, reportedly screaming:

“Ye are bloody murderers! That man has done no wrong but given me bread to eat.”

Another victim, an Anabaptist whose name has been lost to history, was hacked to death with a rusty blade in front of his family.

Thomas Calberg, a weaver from the town of Tournay in modern Belgium, was burned alive because he had some Protestant hymns in his possession.

These executions prompted both Catholics and Protestants in the United Provinces to say ‘enough is enough’.

And in the summer of 1566, the United Provinces exploded into full blown social revolution.

On June 28th, 6,000 people gathered in Tournay (where Thomas Calberg was executed). Within two days their ranks had swelled to 10,000. Within a week, 20,000.

The protests quickly spread across the provinces.

In Antwerp, one of the most commercially important cities of the day, 30,000 protesters gathered, many of them armed.

It didn’t take long for things to become violent.

On August 14th , a crowd of ‘peaceful protestors’ broke into numerous churches across the provinces and destroyed the property inside.

On the 16th and 17th, a mob in Antwerp entered the great cathedral and destroyed everything in sight. They ripped down Catholic monuments and set church libraries ablaze.

In Tournay (again, where Thomas Calberg was executed), EVERY church in the town was razed.

Around the same time, prominent Dutch noblemen from the region saw the political tides shifting, and they began to swear allegiance to the protestors.

The most prominent local politician was William of Orange; he came from a wealthy landowning family in the Netherlands and was born a Protestant.

But then he switched to Catholicism as a young man in order to gain favor with the ruling Holy Roman Empire.

At the outbreak of the revolt, William maintained his loyalty to the Empire and remained a Catholic.

Only after the revolt had carried on for several years did he switch back to Protestantism and claimed that he had been a lifelong Protestant.

(Most people saw right through his self-serving BS.)

Many prominent noblemen supported the sacking of churches; they insisted that most of the protests were peaceful, and that any property destruction was less important than the fact that so many Protestants had been burned alive.

Eventually the violence spread to individuals.

Catholics were routinely beaten and maimed… even though the majority of Catholics in the United Provinces supported the Protestants and their religious freedom.

In March 1568, angry mobs (which included many Catholics), stormed into churches and cut off the ears of priests.

As historian John Motley wrote of the mob, “[Catholics] had ceased to be human in their eyes. . .” Anyone who did not vocally and publicly disavow their identity as a Catholic was in danger.

And even though the mob was only a small percent of the population, it was able to take over local governments.

They almost immediately imposed their own version of the Inquisition, stamping out anyone who practiced or tolerated Catholicism.

Margaret of Parma (the governor of the United Provinces) summed it up when she wrote to Philip II, “Anything and everything is now tolerated in this country, except the Catholic religion.”

The lawlessness and chaos was so pronounced that citizens across the United Provinces—both Catholic and Protestant—wondered whether the new Inquisition was actually worse than the old one.

The economic effects were devastating. Antwerp and Amsterdam emptied out. Businesses shuttered, and many prominent entrepreneurs left altogether and fled to England.

Entire industries left the United Provinces, never to return. Their businesses relocated to other countries, vastly benefitting those foreign economies.

And this chaos in the United Provinces raged on, literally for more than eight decades.

Modern pundits often write that what’s happening in the United States today is reboot of the 1960s. Honestly it seems a lot closer to the 1560s.

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Germany will pay you to do nothing, but force you to walk your dog

The old joke about the 1990s TV show Seinfeld was that it was a show about nothing. Now it looks like Germany wants to be an economy about nothing.

German University paying scholarships to do nothing

A German university is looking for people it can pay to do nothing. Literally. They want to pay people to refrain from activities.

Anyone can submit proposals on what they pledge to stop doing, for how long, and why. 

The idea is to explore how NOT doing certain activities impacts your life, and the lives of others. So for example, if you pledge to stop shopping for three weeks, they would study how NOT shopping would cut fuel consumption, plastic waste, etc.

Right now it’s just a pilot program that will only select a handful of people. But if the results prove that doing nothing promotes environmental and social justice, we’re already expecting some much bigger funding for the next round.

Just imagine how much better the world would be if we valued laziness and sloth! And this trend won’t end with Covid until we recognize that sitting at home and doing nothing is brave and heroic.

Click here to read the full article.

Germany to test universal basic income

Speaking of doing nothing, “Universal Basic Income” is an idea that has caught fire with the Bolsheviks.

The idea is that people should be paid just for existing. We all just get to collect money that the central bank conjures out of thin air. 

Obviously some people think this will cause laziness, and rob people of achieving their full potential. But others insist it is the best way to relieve poverty and inspire creativity.

So to test the idea, Germany will pay 120 ‘volunteers’ €1,200 ($1,400) a month for three years to see what happens.

It’s almost like Western civilization is rejecting the idea that actual work has to be done to produce the food, clothing, and shelter humans need to survive.

Click here to read the full article.

Germans must walk dogs twice a day under new law

Well, here’s at least one thing that Germany wants you to do: WALK YOUR DOG!

Under a newly introduced plan, all Germans will be required to take their dogs for a walk twice a day, totalling an hour of walking time.

An earlier version of the law required two one-hour walks per day, but that was changed after a backlash.

Still– a little chihuahua needs the same amount of exercise as a Golden Retriever? And now Germans will be legally liable if they have a busy day, and don’t have a full hour to spare?

Maybe next the state can micromanage the proper number of pats and belly rubs. WHO’S A GOOD BOY??

Ironically, when it comes to absurd nanny states, there seems to be no consensus: while Germany is forcing people to walk their dogs, other governments have forced people to NOT walk their dogs during the pandemic.

Click here to read the full article.

Teachers are worried you’ll hear what they teach your kids

A Tennessee school district asked parents to sign a form agreeing not to listen in or “eavesdrop” on online classes. 

Parents were not a big fan of this idea, and after a backlash the district backed down.

But this wasn’t the first time schools worried about parents hearing what they are drilling into students’ brains.

One teacher complained on Twitter that virtual classrooms will have “potential spectators… overhearing the discourse.”

Several teachers expressed concern about parents overhearing “honest conversations about gender/ sexuality” in his classroom which usually has a “what happens here stays here” policy.

Apparently these gender and sexuality-obsessed public school teachers want to have sensitive conversations with your children behind your back.

Click here to read about the waivers, and here for the Tweets.

Punctuation is now triggering to Millennials

We all know that text messages lack the nuance of face to face conversations. Without emotion, things like sarcasm and passive aggression are harder to detect.

But did you know that something as simple as a period at the end of the sentence could trigger anxiety in Millennials and Generation Z?

The author of a new book on digital etiquette claims that youngsters find it stressful to read text messages with a period at the end.

According to the author, the period is perceived as abrupt, unfriendly, and even insincere.

You already ended the text, you don’t have to be a big jerk about it and add a period! WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW MUCH ANXIETY AN ALL-CAPS MESSAGE WOULD CAUSE.

Click here to read the full article.

Great Britain bans advertising “unhealthy” foods on daytime TV

Coronavirus is not the only public health emergency that allows authoritarian control of society; obesity is another excuse for power hungry politicians.

Great Britain announced it will ban the daytime TV advertising of foods with more than 1.5g of salt, 20g fat or 22.5g of sugars per 100g.

This includes stuff like ketchup, bacon, and cheese.

This tramples free speech, but also will take a bite out of advertising and sales revenue, when companies are already struggling.

And this is coming from a ‘moderate’ party… not even the most radical politicians in Britain.

Click here to read the full article.

Massachusetts now requires flu shot for all students

The Massachusetts Department of Health announced it will require all students in K-12 schools, and college undergraduates to take a yearly flu shot.

Curiously, students who are staying at home and engaged in their public school system’s remote learning are NOT exempt.

There’s no corona vaccine yet, but we imagine this is a way to get everyone used to the idea of the government mandating what goes in your body.

It is no longer for individuals or parents to weigh the benefits and drawbacks for their family.

Homeschoolers, however, are exempt from the law.

Click here to read the full article.

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It’s time to have an honest, rational conversation with your family

When the captain came on the announcement system yesterday morning to introduce himself to passengers, the first thing he said was,

“Ladies and gentlemen, a lot of us have been cooped up and under tremendous stress for the past several months. So the most important thing we can do right now is be kind, patient, and understanding with one another.”

It was an interesting way to start off a flight.

And I remember thinking to myself, “He probably wouldn’t bother saying something like that unless they’ve had some bad experiences recently with passengers fighting with one another.”

Sure enough, it didn’t take long before I heard an altercation between two passengers; ostensibly one of them had let her mandatory face covering slip ever-so-slightly below her nose. And a nearby passenger would have none of that.

It was even more interesting to me to witness the sense of entitlement that some people feel in barking orders to other human beings. They’re like Army Drill Sergeant shouting “Put your mask over your nose!”

This example, of course, barely scratches the surface of conflict these days. I’ve written before in these pages about people being pepper sprayed, or assaulted, for not wearing a mask.

I’m not even talking here about whether it’s right or wrong to wear I mask; I’m talking about the inability to people to engage in civil discourse.

There’s so much bottled up RAGE in the world… and it takes nothing anymore for that rage to explode and turn violent.

Masks are only one example. Social justice is another—rage quickly turns to violence and chaos.

Earlier this week an angry mob (of mostly white young people) swarmed restaurant customers whose only crime was dining outside in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The mob ran up to the restaurant tables and commanded the diners raise to raise their fists in solidarity, screaming “White silence is violence.”

You can’t even have lunch anymore without having to worry about being attacked by a violent mob.

And just last night in Wisconsin, rioters violently clashed with armed citizens in a literal gun battle that took place in the streets in America.

The mob had already torched private property, including, inexplicably, a car dealership. And several concerned citizens took it upon themselves to defend other property from the mob since the local government doesn’t seem willing or capable to do so.

And that’s when things became violent. At least two people are dead, and several shot.

Even something as simple as politics—which has long been a source of passionate and vocal disagreement—easily descends into violence and chaos.

These days, people are literally being beaten and battered for quietly expressing their political views. Countless others have been fired from their jobs.

It’s nearly impossible to have a rational discussion anymore, and this all constitutes a complete breakdown in the social fabric.

I figure many of us probably stare at our screens and watch these videos and news reports in utter disbelief. We can’t bring ourselves to acknowledge what has happened over these past few months.

But make no mistake– this is happening. This is not a figment of our imaginations. And it’s not going away.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s going to blow over. Or some politician is going to ride in on a white horse and make everything better.

In fact, in many cases, state and local governments are in on it… they’re fanning the flames of chaos, cheering on riots and dismissing the violence as “peaceful protests.”

I’ve been writing about this for years: you cannot depend on your government, and you cannot depend on the good nature of your fellow citizens. You really have yourself to rely on, first and foremost.

That’s why I’ve long encouraged our readers to have a Plan B.

A Plan B isn’t about doom and gloom. On the contrary—it’s about ensuring that you’re in a position of strength regardless of what happens, or doesn’t happen, next.

A Plan B is an acknowledgement that obvious risks exist… and a sensible approach to protect yourself from those risks.

Well, we’re not talking about ‘risks’ anymore, i.e. potential threats that -might- occur. We’re talking about terrible trends that HAVE happened… ARE happening… right in front of our very eyes.

Our brains work in a funny way in this regard; human beings often suffer what psychologists call “normalcy bias,” i.e. even when we see radical events taking place, we assume that everything will quickly go back to normal.

Seriously—does anyone honestly believe that these angry mobs will put down their torches and pitchforks and settle down? Does anyone honestly believe that after the election it will be all rainbows and buttercups?

Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t shrug off what’s happening and assume it will all go away. Remember the words of Medal of Honor recipient Admiral Jim Stockdale, who survived 7+ years in a Vietnamese prison camp:

You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose– with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

It’s really time to have an honest, rational conversation with yourself and your family about obvious threats… and sensible solutions.

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It’s time to rethink the Hong Kong dollar

In 221 BC, the 38-year emperor Qin Shi Huang declared total victory against all of his rivals in northern China.

Qin’s ancestors had literally spent centuries invading neighboring states and engaging in complex diplomacy in order to unify China into a single empire.

And Qin Shi Huang was the first Emperor to rule over the unified China that his ancestors had worked so long to build. Talk about having a long-term view.

But instead of celebrating his military success and enjoying peace, Qin decided to expand his empire even further. He focused his attention on the fertile, tropical lands south of the Yangtze River… and sent a massive army of 500,000 men to seize the region.

Among Qin’s new conquests was a small peninsula where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea.

Today we call this area Hong Kong.

Hong Kong really rose to prominence more than 1,000 years later when invading Mongols ripped through China in 1276 AD.

The imperial family of the Song Dynasty knew they would be executed by the Mongols… so they relocated to Hong Kong’s Lantau Island.  Countless refugees followed, fleeing the Mongols for Hong Kong.

So even more than seven centuries ago, Hong Kong was part of people’s Plan B.

This continues to be the case today; Hong Kong has long been among the world’s most prosperous and free jurisdictions. And even people who don’t live, work, or do business in Hong Kong have been able to benefit from its stability and economic freedom.

One of those ways has been through its currency– the Hong Kong dollar.

Hong Kong’s currency has been ‘pegged’ to the US dollar since 1983 at a rate of 7.80 Hong Kong dollars per US dollar, plus/minus a very tiny range of less than 1%.

This policy has effectively made Hong Kong dollars completely interchangeable with US dollars. And Hong Kong actually has the ability to back it up.

Plenty of other countries have tried (and failed) to peg their currencies to the US dollar. They do this create stability– having a currency that’s interchangeable with US dollars makes it easier to attract foreign investment because the peg eliminates currency risk.

Problem is– most places can’t back it up.

When a government or central bank pegs its currency to the US dollar, they need to be willing and able to exchange US dollars for their currency. And obviously this policy requires having a stockpile of US dollars in reserve.

Most countries that try to peg their currencies do not have this stockpile of US dollar reserves. Argentina, for example, pretended to peg its currency to the US dollar back in the 1990s.

It was a total disaster.

Argentina didn’t have enough dollars in reserve to actually make good on the peg. And before long, the arrangement (along with Argentina’s economy) collapsed.

But Hong Kong actually DOES have the reserves.

Hong Kong’s US dollar reserves are so vast that they could literally buy back every single Hong Kong dollar in circulation, and still have plenty of savings left over.

This is practically unheard of when it comes to pegged currency arrangements. So Hong Kong’s dollar is truly the real deal.

This is one of the reasons why I’ve long favored it, especially as part of a sensible Plan B.

For US dollar-based businesses and individuals, Hong Kong’s dollar represented all the good parts of the US dollar, but none of the downsides.

Think about it: the US dollar is backed by a government that has $26.6 trillion in debt. Hong Kong is practically debt-free. Yet these two currencies are worth almost exactly the same.

So clearly, between the two, the Hong Kong dollar was a safer choice.

But I don’t believe that’s still the case.

In the last few months, we’ve seen a minor trade dispute between the US and China escalate into a full-blow Cold War, resulting in sanctions, arrests, and asset freezes on both sides.

More importantly, China has now squashed any illusion of Hong Kong sovereignty.

Even though Hong Kong is supposed to remain autonomous for several more decades, mainland China’s government has taken over Hong Kong’s political and economic policymaking.

I do not find it coincidental that China began its most aggressive power grab in Hong Kong around the same time that tensions between the US and China began to rise.

So at this point, Hong Kong’s dollar is pegged to the US dollar. China has taken over Hong Kong. And the US and China are quickly becoming bitter enemies.

With these conditions, I don’t believe we can count on the stability we’ve seen over the past several decades when it comes to the Hong Kong dollar peg.

Quite simply, there’s no rational reason for the two currencies to be pegged anymore. Hong Kong is not some frontier market like central Africa that needs the stability of the peg.

Hong Kong is a wealthy, advanced economy. And it’s far more connected to China than the US.

So with tensions flaring between China and the US flaring, the peg may be a casualty of the Cold War.

Sure, it’s possible that nothing happens. China could decide to leave the Hong Kong dollar alone… or gradually re-peg it to a basket of other currencies.

But China could also decide to re-peg the Hong Kong dollar to its own currency, the renminbi. Or to seize a portion of Hong Kong’s US dollar reserves and devalue the Hong Kong dollar.

And it’s not only China. Just a few weeks ago, the US government threatened to break the Hong Kong dollar peg.

Now, those were just idle (and silly) threats. But the point is that there are several uncertainties today that did not exist even a few weeks ago. And those uncertainties may result in change to the peg.

Keep this in mind if you hold Hong Kong dollars: you might not be able to count on that stable exchange rate.

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Once upon a time in Hollywood. . .

When Charlie Chaplin first arrived to Los Angeles in December 1913, the city was still a fairly small oil town… just a fraction of the size of San Francisco.

LA was so underdeveloped that, as Chaplin wrote in his autobiography, wild coyotes frequently roamed around Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

But within a few years the city was booming, and Chaplin had become one of the most famous people in the world.

This is obviously in large part due to the development of the motion picture industry– the most revolutionary technology of its era.

But what’s interesting is that the motion picture industry didn’t actually start in LA. The technology was originally developed in the late 1800s in part by Thomas Edison, who was based in New Jersey.

Edison’s east coast film studio produced over 1,000 movies (including a bizarre snuff film called Electrocuting an Elephant). And he notoriously threatened to sue anyone who attempted to make movies.

In 1902, a US Appeals Court ruled that Edison did NOT invent the motion picture camera… but his lawsuits continued regardless.

This constant threat of legal action was a huge disincentive to entrepreneurs. And so, in the early 1900s, several young studio executives packed up and left the east coast for Southern California where they were much better protected from Edison’s frivolous lawsuits.

This is the primary reason why the motion picture industry grew up in LA; sure, the region’s ample sunshine was a nice benefit, allowing for year-round outdoor production.

But the chief benefit was the city’s free-wheeling, pro-business culture. It was like Hong Kong in its heyday– anything goes– which attracted talented artists and entrepreneurs from all over the world who were free to build their dreams.

This industry created vast prosperity. Studio executives became unimaginably wealthy. Actors became rich and famous. The industry created countless jobs and supported a deep middle class.

And the city collected substantial tax revenue. It was a win/win for everyone. And, unsurprisingly, the local government did its part to protect the Golden Goose.

For example, unions were allowed to organize. But they received no special favors or privilege from the government.

Taxes were kept low. Regulations were simple. In short, people were free to create, experiment, and build their businesses.

So much has changed since then.

The entertainment industry is still the primary economic driver of Southern California today. But the state and local governments routinely engineer ways to chase away production.

Pay attention to the end credits next time you watch a movie. You’ll probably see something about production in New Mexico or Georgia.

These are among the states that have rolled out the red carpet for production companies, enticing them with tax credits, grants, and a much easier regulatory environment.

Georgia has become so prominent that Atlanta is rapidly becoming the next Hollywood; several mega-hits, like Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Stranger Things were produced in Georgia.

The economic impact has been in the tens of billions, and tens of thousands of jobs.

Those are jobs (and tax revenue) that could have gone to California.

But California is too busy burdening businesses and productive individuals with absurd regulations and taxes.

If you want to move a lighting pole three feet to the left on the set of a Hollywood production, you’d better have a union employee do it (which adds dearly to production costs).

And now the state legislature wants to soak the rich with retroactive income taxes and wealth taxes.

You’d think California would be doing everything it can to keep Hollywood the capital of the entertainment industry… and to keep wealthy people in the state.

Remember, fewer than 1% of Californians pay half of the state’s taxes. So if even a small number leaves the state, California’s finances will be in dire straits.

But that’s exactly what’s happening.

Data from real estate websites like Redfin show a surge in Californians looking for houses outside of the state.

In the city of San Francisco, there’s been a 200% increase in the number of homes for sale compared to this time last year. Meanwhile, properties across the state line in Nevada (which has no state income tax) are being gobbled up.

Coincidence?

Other self-exiled Californians are heading to places like Florida and Texas (which also have no state income tax). Or even here to Puerto Rico, which has incredible incentives to reduce your total tax rate to 4% or less.

I imagine there will be a lot of people who leave the US altogether… which not only allows you to escape state income tax, but federal tax as well.

The biggest federal tax benefit is the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: US citizens living abroad are eligible to earn up to $107,600, tax free.

And your spouse can earn an additional $107,600 tax free.

Plus there’s a generous housing benefit… so in total we are talking $250,000+ of earned income, virtually free of US federal tax.

Note- this exclusion applies to ‘earned’ income, like wages. It does not apply to investment income, like capital gains or dividends. Investment income is generally still taxable if you live abroad.

(People who generate their income through investments really ought to consider Puerto Rico, which has 0% tax on most investment income.)

There are two ways to qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

One is to demonstrate that you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country; this is more qualitative. It means, for example, you have legal residency in a foreign country and live there with your family as your primary residence.

An alternative way to qualify is through ‘physical presence’, meaning that you spend at least 330 days outside of the US during a 12 month period.

If you find yourself sick and tired of lockdowns, politics, and general social hysteria, spending some time abroad is worth considering.

In addition to the tax benefits, you might find the cost of living to be much lower… and the personal experience to be incredibly rewarding.

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We were humbled by this feedback from our readers

CNN almost makes it sound like a James Bond movie.

It’s like there’s a tuxedo-clad billionaire straightening his bowtie while boarding his private jet and flying off to his private island… where scantily clad women await him with champagne and caviar.

This is the image that CNN conjures when they talk about “the elite world of investment migration.”

The ‘worlds’ most trusted news source’ recently posted an article on its website about second citizenships. They acknowledge that an additional passport is a really useful tool… but suggest that a second citizenship is something only “super-rich families” and “ultra-rich individuals” can do.

This is complete baloney.

Obtaining a second citizenship is not the stuff of Hollywood. It is a real-life, completely reasonable step that many people go through to take back control of their lives.

For example, an entire family can purchase citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis for $150,000.

Sure, $150k is not exactly chump-change. But you don’t have to be a Rockefeller either.

The truth is, everyone should have a Plan B– not just, as CNN puts it, ultra-wealthy people and celebrity elite.

We used one longtime Sovereign Man subscriber, David, as a case study for one of our recent alerts. He is emblematic of the philosophy of Sovereign Man.

He became a pilot so he could see the world. But on a hiatus for health reasons, he settled down in Colombia for the cheap living.

This was back when Colombia was knee-deep in the scandals and horrors of frequent kidnappings by FARC (Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, an often violent guerilla group).

This prompted him to tackle another important Plan B item– learning a second language.

I tried to get out of learning it for years,” he says. “Let me emphasize that I’m not very inclined when it comes to languages; I’m an engineering-type of guy.”

Later, David headed to Panama where it is very easy to acquire residency, which put him on the path to Panamanian citizenship.

This is one way to obtain citizenship from another country– obtain legal residency, and then, after a certain number of years, you’ll be eligible to apply for naturalization and citizenship.

In Panama it typically takes five years of legal residency to be eligible to apply for citizenship. In other countries (like Argentina), it can be as little as two years.

David is now working on Portuguese language skills, because he and his wife had a baby in Brazil. And this is a huge benefit to their newborn child.

Being born in Brazil means their child became a Brazilian citizen immediately from birth. And as a result, David and his wife were able to obtain Brazilian residency in just two weeks– that’s lightening fast. Plus their legal residency puts them on a path to Brazilian citizenship as well.

Several days ago we sent the full story of David’s journey to members of our premium service, Sovereign Man Confidential.

And we were almost immediately flooded with emails from other members telling us their own stories about how they’ve used Sovereign Man’s information to take back control over their lives.

For example, we heard from one couple in their mid-twenties tell us about how they were taking advantage of Israeli citizenship for Jewish people.

This is based on Israel’s “Law of Return”, whereby all Jewish people are eligible to obtain Israeli citizenship. I even know a few people who converted to Judaism specifically for this reason.

Several members are claiming European citizenship through ancestry; this is common in many European countries, where their national legislation provides citizenship to anyone who can prove they have a parent, grandparent, or possibly long-lost ancestor, from that country.

Poland, Ireland, Italy, etc. all offer citizenship through ancestry.

We heard a few stories from people taking advantage of a Spanish law that confers legal residency (and eventually citizenship) in Spain to anyone from a former Spanish colony, including places like the Philippines, most of Latin America, and even here in Puerto Rico.

There are so many options out there: everyone can craft a unique Plan B in their own way that works best for their situation– and it doesn’t always take a lot of money either.

All you need is a bit of education, and the willingness to take action.

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This is one of the single biggest threats to the dollar today

In late November 1943, as World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific, leaders of the ‘Big Three’ allied nations– the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union, held a key strategy meeting in Tehran.

It’s hard to imagine anymore that the United States and Soviet Union were, at least for a time, allies. Many of us grew up in a world where the Cold War dominated, and threat of mutual nuclear annihilation was ever-present.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Relations between the Soviet Union and the West started out as fairly neutral in the 1920s. And even by the mid-1940s the two sides were allies.

The conference in Tehran (followed by another meeting in Yalta in early 1945) represented the high water mark in cooperation between the Soviet Union and the West.

But after the war, their relationship rapidly deteriorated.

By the early 1950s, the two sides were in full blown Cold War– and you could see it everywhere: the Space Race, the Arms Race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, proxy wars across Asia and Latin America, massive military buildup in Europe.

These tensions escalated very quickly… and lasted for decades– the Soviet Union and the United States were mortal enemies for nearly 50 years.

We’re seeing many of the same elements today in a new, rapidly growing conflict between the US and China.

What started off as a simple trade dispute has quickly escalated into a diplomatic crisis, and now a new Cold War.

Just over the last few weeks, both sides shut down one of the other’s consulates (the US closed China’s consulate in Houston, and China closed the US consulate in Chengdu.)

The US government has threatened to ban the popular Chinese app TikTok and to de-list Chinese companies from US stock exchanges.

Foreign reporters on both sides have had their visas revoked.

And each government accuses the other of spreading the Coronavirus around the world.

This laundry-list is practically never-ending, and doesn’t even scratch the surface of hacking and spying allegations on each side.

In speech last month, the Attorney General of the United States stated, “The ultimate ambition of China’s rulers isn’t to trade with the United States. It is to raid the United States.”

The following week, the US Secretary of State effectively declared Cold War against China when he said:

[I]f we don’t act now, ultimately the CCP will erode our freedoms and subvert the rules-based order that our societies have worked so hard to build.

If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party, whose actions are the primary challenge today in the free world.

General Secretary Xi is not destined to tyrannize inside and outside of China forever, unless we allow it. . .

Maybe it’s time for a new grouping of like-minded nations, a new alliance of democracies.

We have the tools. I know we can do it. Now we need the will.

Pretty forceful.

Now, one important thing to remember is that, during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the US was at its peak.

Today the tables are turned. China is the rising power, and the US is well past its peak.

China is one of the world’s biggest creditor nations and has a vast pool of savings. The US is the world’s single largest debtor nation, with record-high government debt, consumer debt, etc.

This year alone the US federal government will likely increase its national debt by $5 trillion. And the debt (at $26.5 trillion) is already 136% of GDP!

More importantly, as we discussed several times over the past few weeks, economic sustainability and prosperity are no longer priorities in the United States.

Governments at the local, state, and federal levels are full of Bolshevik politicians who despise successful individuals and businesses.

They are far more concerned with chasing jobs and investment out of their districts, passing retroactive tax increases, and locking down businesses from opening up (while allowing riots, rampages, and the destruction of property).

Socially, the country has completely lost its mind and is eating itself from within.

It’s hard to imagine winning a new Cold War at a time like this.

But if this conflict continues escalating, it could have dire consequences, especially for the US dollar.

Right now the dollar is the dominant reserve currency in the world.

This means, for example, that foreign governments and central banks hold their excess savings in US dollars (most frequently in the form of US government bonds).

This is why the US federal government can increase its national debt by trillions of dollars, and the Federal Reserve can print trillions more, because the rest of the world will still readily accept their currency as THE global reserve standard.

But watch what happens as this conflict with China escalates.

The US government is rapidly pushing China out of the US financial system. They may even default on the US debt that is owned by China.

Doing so will compel China to simply create its own, competing financial system.

And suddenly every country that China does business with would start using the Chinese system and increasing their holdings of Chinese renminbi.

As a result, China’s currency would essentially take global reserve ‘market share’ away from the US dollar. And even a small portion would have a huge impact.

A smaller share of global reserves would mean that the US could no longer get away with printing trillions of dollars, or piling up its endless mountain of debt.

There would be less demand from foreign governments and central banks to buy US government bonds, which would cause the dollar to lose a LOT of value. That means serious inflation.

Conflict with China is by far one of the single biggest threats to the dollar. So it’s worth paying attention to, because, as the last Cold War proved, it can escalate rapidly and persist for decades.

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Does anyone else find this ironic?

Does anyone else find this ironic?

In the age of #MeToo and BLM, the most ‘woke’ political party in the Land of the Free has chosen a guy with multiple sexual misconduct allegations as its presidential nominee; and a lady who locked up countless black people (many for victimless crimes) as its vice presidential nominee?

These are true statements, of course.

Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault a few months ago by a former staffer; he summarily dismissed the allegation, even though he told the Washington Post (prior to being accused) that women who accuse men of sexual assault should be believed:

“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real. . .”

On top of that, Biden has been accused by several other women of incredibly inappropriate behavior, bordering on the absurd.

Lucy Flores, for example, said that Biden– while he was still Vice President– came up behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, inhaled the scent of her hair, and then slowly kissed the back of her head.

Eva Murry said that Joe Biden complimented the size of her breasts when she was just 14 years old back in 2008: “Fourteen? You’re very well endowed for 14.”

There was also the 13-year old daughter of Senator Chris Coons; at Coons’ swearing-in ceremony in 2015, Biden was filmed pulling himself closer to her, gently grabbing her arm and moving his lips towards her head.

When he leaned in to kiss her forehead, she tried squirming away, looking extremely uncomfortable… at which point her mom had to politely intervene.

I mean, these stories are pretty much endless. At a minimum it’s seriously creepy.

Then there’s Kamala Harris, whose record as District Attorney involved convicting nearly 2,000 marijuana cases, averaging nearly 300 per year.

That’s high. Based on data from the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, Harris’ annual marijuana conviction rate was only exceeded once (in 1993).

But more than that– as California’s Attorney General, Harris refused to support mandatory police body cameras. She did, however, support the death penalty.

She even insisted that a black death row inmate, Kevin Cooper, be executed, even though Cooper argued that DNA evidence would prove his innocence. Harris opposed allowing Cooper to present new evidence… until the New York Times finally wrote an article about his harsh treatment.

Back in 2011, the US Supreme Court ordered the State of California to release 33,000 prisoners, because its state prison system was ‘unconstitutionally’ overcrowded.

Harris was Attorney General at the time, and her office pushed back on the Supreme Court’s order, claiming that prison inmates (who are predominantly minorities) were cheap labor and needed to help fight wildfires.

And even the New York Times acknowledges that Harris “largely avoided intervening in cases involving killings by the police.”

Her inaction was so pronounced that protesters in her hometown of Oakland started distributing fliers saying “Tell Attorney General Kamala Harris to prosecute killer cops! It’s her job!”

In 2014 after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Harris (as California’s Attorney General) faced a lot pressure to investigate cases in her case where police had shot minorities.

She declined to do so, claiming, according to the New York Times, “it was not her job.”

You get the idea.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t comment on Harris’ ridiculous selection process.

In a normal, rational world, when you hire someone for a job, you choose whoever is the most highly qualified for the position.

That alone should be the deciding factor… not something as silly as DNA or sexual orientation.

I have hundreds of employees across my various businesses; every single person was put in their position solely because they were the best fit for the job.

Sovereign Man’s parent company is run by a woman. My bank is run by a woman. I have people of various races in senior positions.

And honestly I even hate writing this… I hate describing a great executive as ‘a woman’ or ‘minority’, because, who cares?

To even even bring up such pointless attributes about them denigrates their amazing talent. They were, in no way, hired to check a box. They were hired because they’re the most qualified.

And that’s supposed to be the priority when you hire someone… at least, in a normal, rational world.

But our world is not rational. And hiring someone based on qualifications is no longer a priority.

Joe Biden’s campaign highlighted this new priority of the day when he decided from the outset that his running mate must be a black female, effectively eliminating 93% of the population from consideration when he

Bear in mind, this is the person who could potentially become President should something happen to Biden. So it’s a fairly important job.

But rather than consider all possible candidates, he started with a narrow subset… because the priority now is what’s hanging (or not hanging) between someone’s legs, and the level of melanin in their skin.

Everything else (including actual qualifications for the job) come second.

Again, it shouldn’t matter. If the best qualified person for the job is a disabled, pansexual, non-binary Native American, then that’s the person who should be chosen.

I’ve been writing about this a lot lately– this idea that priorities have radically shifted.

Universities no longer prioritize well-rounded education. The media no longer prioritizes truth. Businesses can no longer prioritize profit. The government in no way prioritizes fiscal responsibility.

And as a I wrote yesterday, even the military can no longer keep national defense as its top priority.

Marxism and wokeness are now the priorities. And you can see it everywhere.

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Our enemies will tremble at the sight of our diversity and inclusion. . .

Not long ago, the British Army realized that it needed to completely revamp its recruiting campaign.

The younger generation simply wasn’t responding to Army’s previous ‘Be All You Can Be’ style of advertising. So British leadership changed the recruiting message to keep up with the massive cultural shift that has been sweeping the world.

Their updated campaign focused on– you guessed it– diversity and inclusion.

The Army’s new priority was to show off how woke they are, and to make new recruits feel safe and happy… as opposed to building a lethal, highly effective fighting force.

One of the best examples of this ad campaign shows British soldiers on a combat patrol, ostensibly in the mountains of Afghanistan.

But suddenly the mission stops… because one of the soldiers is Muslim and needs to pray.

The ad shows the rest of the unit happily and patiently waiting. At one point, the radio squawks (which is usually because the command headquarters or another nearby unit needs to communicate with your squad.)

But one of the soldiers shushes the radio operator. So we not only need to stop the entire freaking war, but we have to cut ourselves off from potentially critical communication, just so this guy can continue to pray without being disturbed.

Just to be clear, I respect anyone’s religious beliefs. I don’t care if someone prays to the sun, Allah, or Joe Pesci.

But they don’t stop a war when someone gets SHOT. Duh. So why stop just because someone needs to pray? What kind of priority is this??

It’s as if the Army leadership actually believes “Our enemies will tremble at the sight of our diversity and inclusion. . .”

But in reality, the entire world now knows that the British military will stop in the middle of a war to coddle the needs of every individual soldier.

Again– this is a major shift in priorities. Military service is supposed to be about selfless sacrifice, not the needs of the individual.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese have figured this out.

In its new recruiting campaign, China’s military leadership shows the sacrifices that its soldiers make… the early mornings, the long days, the time away from family, and the difficult life.

But the Chinese ads attract exactly the type of person they’re looking for– people who don’t want to take the easy path.

China’s recruiting ads also show off a bonanza of high-tech weaponry, including some of the most advanced fighter jets, tanks, and ships in the world.

Take a look at these two side-by-side and ask yourself, “Gee I wonder who would win that war?”

I wrote about this yesterday- you can see this major shift in priorities just about everywhere.

The top priority of the world’s biggest corporations is no longer running their businesses and turning a profit. Now it’s all about showing off their woke credentials.

You can’t just sell shoes anymore. You have to run political ads to demonstrate how deeply you believe in the new religion of wokeness.

Nike built an entire ad campaign around Colin Kaepernick– the former NFL player who started the movement to kneel during the US national anthem.

And last month when Kaepernick tweeted that July 4th was a “celebration of white supremacy,” Disney almost immediately hired him to produce content.

Beyond wokeness, economic priorities have also shifted. National, state, and local governments all over the world are paying people to NOT work, and refusing to allow small businesses to operate at normal capacity.

Rather than work, produce, and contribute to a healthy economy, they want us all to be terrified of a virus and dependent on mother government.

As I wrote yesterday, economic prosperity is no longer the priority.

They will rack up limitless amounts of debt, print infinite quantities of money, make interest rates negative– all to protect people from Covid, regardless of the cost to the economy or individual liberty.

Then you have Bolshevik politicians to contend with, like Conresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who led a ridiculous crusade last year to banish Amazon from her district.

Amazon had originally announced that they would establish a second headquarters in Long Island City, New York (which AOC represents).

“HQ2” as it was called, would have brought billions of dollars in benefits– high paying jobs, investment, additional tax revenue. And in exchange, Amazon would have received some minor tax breaks.

The deal was a win/win for everyone. Amazon would have benefited, the local community would have benefited, and the government would have benefited.

But Bolsheviks don’t like win/win situations. They can’t stand it when a wealthy person or big business wins. They’re only willing to do a win/lose deal. And absent that, they’ll do a lose/lose deal.

And that’s exactly what AOC got– a lose/lose deal. Amazon walked away, and her district ended up with no big investment or additional tax revenue.

If economic prosperity were still the priority in the United States, angry voters would have revolted against AOC for her irrational, destructive behavior.

Instead she was celebrated… because, again, economic prosperity is no longer the priority.

Universities, which used to prioritize scientific advancement, vigorous debate, and the transfer of knowledge to the next generation, have embraced wokeness and become intolerant of any intellectual dissent.

And in the case of Great Britain, the new woke priorities even extend to national defense.

Their Army’s priority is now diversity and inclusion. It’s no longer about defending the nation, and, if necessary, fighting and winning wars.

Ultimately these new priorities cultivate weakness– a weaker national defense, a weaker economy, a weaker, more fractured society.

And it’s hard to imagine any nation thriving long-term when it consistently cultivates weakness.

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Economic prosperity is no longer the priority. Guess what happens next…

Recently I held a live Q&A Zoom call with my friend Peter Schiff, and several dozen members of our Total Access group.

And towards the end of the call, one of our members asked– what do you think the future looks like for the US, and the West in general?

Peter went off into one of his classic tirades about how the US dollar is doomed because of how much money the central bank is printing.

And while I generally share Peter’s dim view about the dollar (were it not for all the other world currencies that are being printed into oblivion), my answer was a bit different.

In deference to the 20th century Danish Proverb– “predictions are hard, especially about the future”– I do think it’s possible to look at major trends to at least have a sense of direction.

So if you want to understand where things are going, just take a look at everyone’s priorities.

Most governments’ Covid reponses are an obvious example.

The economic destruction they’ve created is staggering. Tens of millions of people unemployed, countless businesses gone bust, trillions of dollars of wealth wiped out.

In the first wave back in March, they shut down the economy to protect us from the virus. Then they opened up again… but– shocker– the virus was still there.

What a surprise! Shutting down the economy did not eradicate a virus.

So what did a lot of these people do when the second wave hit? They started shutting down the economy again.

It didn’t work the first time, so let’s keep trying the same approach and expect a different result. It’s genius!

This is clearly economically destructive. But again, economic prosperity is no longer the priority. All that matters is force-feeding people a false sense of safety.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York probably captured this mentality the best when he said back in May,

“We don’t want to lose any lives [to reopen the economy]. We’ll figure out the dollars, and we’ll figure out the economic impact, but we’ll protect people in the meantime, and we’ll protect their health.”

This is total BS. The sad reality is that lives are lost all the time in the normal course of economic activity.

In New York City, two workers died during the construction of Freedom Tower. Plus there were dozens of life-altering injuries, like spinal fractures and paralysis.

The government knew the tower’s construction would likely cost human lives. But they approved the construction permit regardless, because they knew the benefit would outweigh the human cost.

Similarly, over 100 people died constructing the Hoover Dam in the early 1930s. The government knew that people would die. But the benefit outweighed the cost.

Today there can be no discussion of cost or benefit. There is one priority, and it’s no longer economic prosperity.

But the shift in priorities doesn’t stop there.

Basic fiscal responsibility is no longer a priority– and it hasn’t been for a long time.

Most western governments were racking up enormous debts even before Covid started.

In the US, even during the economic boom of 2015-2018, the federal government added at least $1 trillion to the debt each year.

Now the debt growth is completely insane: the US Treasury Department expects to add $5-$6 trillion to the debt this calendar year.

(That’s more than the entire national debt as recently as 2001!)

And not to be outdone, the Federal Reserve has conjured trillions of dollars out of thin air since the start of Covid and slashed interest rates, once again, to zero.

Plus, there’s a good possibility they’ll make interest rates negative. Just imagine how much prosperity you’ll achieve once you have to start paying your bank just to save money.

Of course, all of these tactics– printing money, going deeper into debt, negative interest rates, paying people $600/week to stay home and NOT work– are destructive to economic prosperity.

Then we have the rise of the Bolsheviks… a growing chorus of politicians (and voters) who despise capitalism.

Like Seattle city councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who claimed she wants to overthrow “the racist, sexist, violent, utterly bankrupt system of capitalism” and replace it with “a socialist world.”

A few years ago this was a fringe view. Now it’s mainstream fever.

They want to get rid of capitalism– the system that created the most prosperous nation in the history of the world– and replace it with the same economic model as Cuba and the Soviet Union.

And Joe Biden, of course, unveiled his economic plan last month, built around ending “the era of shareholder capitalism.”

He wants the government (and Twitter mob) to set the priorities and stakeholders in your business, rather than the market.

This, again, is an obvious reflection of priorities. And economic prosperity is clearly not on the list.

Economic prosperity also takes a backseat to social justice.

Yes, most reasonable people probably agree that the mistreatment of minority groups should change. But that’s not an excuse to go on a violent rampage.

Yet whenever angry mobs take to the streets and destroy private property, the media elite and their political allies justify criminality as necessary to end systemic racism.

Meanwhile, universities have turned into hotbeds of progressive radicalism to perpetuate white fragility and the evils of capitalism.

Corporate America has also caved. You can’t even sell beans anymore without things turning political.

Countless people who are talented, productive, and made valuable contributions to their companies have been fired because they used the wrong words or expressed some intellectual dissent from the Twitter mob.

Firing a rock-star employee because of his/her personal (and non-controversial) views would ordinarily be considered completely stupid. But now it’s the norm… because economic prosperity is no longer the priority.

This trend is obvious: several powerful movements have gripped the world… and most of them are economically destructive.

So it’s not terribly difficult to see where things are headed.

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Ignorance prevails again!

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

Yale Study tests the best Covid vaccine propaganda

Is guilt, self-interest, or anger the most effective way to convince people to get a Covid vaccine?

A Yale study will attempt to answer that question, by studying which message resonates most with the general population. It’s called Persuasive Messages for COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake.

There is no actual vaccine yet. But the study is already testing to see which method of propaganda will most effectively convince people to get a vaccine… whenever that happens to be.

The study will also measure how confident the propaganda makes people feel about a vaccine, and if it makes participants want to persuade others to take the vaccine.

Finally, researchers want to see if the propaganda produces fear in the unvaccinated, and how much social judgment it will cast on those who choose to remain unvaccinated.

Just in case you start to see a “spontaneous” groundswell of popular support for a brand new untested vaccine…

Click here to read about the study on clinicaltrials.gov.

Bed and Breakfast removes insensitive Norwegian flag

Being Norwegian is now racially insensitive.

At least that’s true for people who can’t tell the difference between the Norwegian and Confederate flag.

A bed and breakfast in Michigan calls itself the Nordic Pineapple. The owners used to hang a Norwegian flag out front (next to the American flag) to celebrate the heritage of co-founder Kjersten Offbecker.

But the red flag with a blue and white cross drew criticism from some guests, passers-by, and of course, the Twitter-mob.

The couple who owns the B&B says they received substantial hate mail, bad reviews, and angry phone calls from people who thought they were flying the Confederate flag of the former Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

They had originally tried to educate people that, in fact, THE NORWEGIAN FLAG IS NOT THE CONFEDERATE FLAG.

(Honestly– take a look. The Norwegian flag looks NOTHING like the confederate flag. You have to be totally blind to confuse the two.)

But they quickly realized that the Twitter mob has no mind (or soul) and is hence incapable of being educated.

Ignorance prevails again!

Click here to read the full story.

Scottish Hate Crime bill could outlaw the Bible and theater performances

The Catholic Church has expressed concern that the Bible could be outlawed under a section of a Scottish Hate Crime bill.

The legislation would make it illegal to possess “inflammatory material” which could “stir up hatred” of a person or group based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.

For instance, if a prosecutor decides that supporting typical gender roles constitutes “stirring up hatred,” the Bible could be considered “inflammatory material” for any number of relationships depicted– or the rules laid out in the Book of Leviticus.

The bill also specifically takes aim at theater performances, noting that portrayal of fictional characters does NOT exempt an actor or producer from liability.

An actor, director, or writer could be prosecuted under the law when an offense “is committed during a public performance of a play by a person who is a performer in the play.”

So if you’re an actor who plays a fictional bigot that uses racist language, you could be prosecuted under this law.

Of course this gives the government all the power it needs to ban essentially any book or play that they determine stirs up hatred.

This is yet another nail in the coffin for free speech and expression in the [formerly] civilized world.

Click here to read the full bill.

Illinois Lawmaker wants to ban history class for being racist

A State Representative from Illinois is leading a charge to abolish history classes and remove history books from public schools.

He says that these books and lessons currently teach a racist history which promotes systemic racism (similar to how future Nobel Prize laureate Colin Kaepernick called July 4th a “celebration of white supremacy”).

Until the books can be replaced with something that better indoctrinates– or, uh, teaches– kids about the history that the Marxist censors approve of, these classes should be replaced with classes that better promote today’s zeitgeist.

Click here to read the full story.

Colorado declaring racism a public health crisis

Colorado has declared racism a public health crisis.

That will allow the Department of Public Health to take funds that were earmarked for things like, you know, health, and divert those funds towards the eradication of systemic racism.

But don’t forget about all the glorious powers the state claimed to fight the Covid public health crisis…

Surely the Governor of Colorado has just as much power to end systemic racism.

For instance, if you can shut down restaurants for spreading Covid, you could shut down restaurants for spreading racism– or perhaps having too large a proportion of white patrons.

If you can force the sick to quarantine, you can detain anyone who says something you consider racist– like “All Lives Matter”– until they are cured.

Remember, one Colorado town even banned property owners from their own vacation properties in the name of Covid-19 safety.

Don’t support Black Lives Matter (i.e. the organization co-founded by– in their own words–  “trained Marxists” that has taken in hundreds of millions of dollars without a shred of financial transparency) ?

Well perhaps the town will restrict you from your property for this thought-crime.

Click here to read the full story.

Trader Joe’s backtracks: “we disagree that any of these labels are racist.”

Trader Joe’s decided that the store will not bow to a teenage girl’s petition we wrote about two weeks ago.

The Twitter mobsters demanded that Trader Joe’s change the culturally insensitive branding of certain products, like Trader Jose’s Beer, or Trader Ming’s Chinese Food.

Originally it appeared that Trader Joe’s would bow to the mob when the chain said that, although the brand names were “rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect.”

But now, Trader Joe’s won’t change the names after all.

The store now disagrees that its labels are racist, and they will make decisions based on customers, not Twitter mobs.

“Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended­—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing.”

Click here to read the full story.

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This second passport comes with free university tuition

I’ve written a lot in the past that there are two lifelong benefits that parents can provide their children, practically from birth.

The first is the gift of a foreign language. Every kid is going to learn his/her parents’ native tongue. 

But giving a child constant exposure to a foreign language from a very young age will help them develop an additional native fluency that will last a lifetime.

It makes an enormous difference. My own Spanish fluency, for example, is quite strong. But there’s no mistaking that I’m a gringo who learned the language later in life. 

My friend Jim Rogers understands this very well. So when he moved to Singapore several years ago, he hired a Chinese governess whose sole responsibility was to speak Mandarin Chinese to his kids. 

They grew up speaking Chinese (and English too), and they’ll have that native fluency for the rest of their lives. It’s a huge advantage for them.

Another gift you can give your child is a second citizenship.

A second citizenship and passport gives them the ultimate insurance policy. At any point in their lives, they will always have an alternative place to live, work, study, and invest outside of their home country. It opens all sorts of doors, opportunities, and Plan Bs.

If you’re thinking about having children, you might want to consider going overseas to any number of countries that grant citizenship to any child born in their territory.

The legal concept is known as jus soli, or ‘right of the soil’. And this includes most of the western hemisphere.

So if you give birth in Canada, the US, Mexico, and pretty much the entirety of Latin America (including Chile, Brazil, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, etc.) your kid under most circumstances will automatically have citizenship in that country. 

And that’s a citizenship they’ll have for life.

Another way to obtain citizenship for your kids, of course, is through ancestry. 

Your ancestors may have already given you this gift without you even knowing; citizenship through ancestry allows you to claim citizenship if you have ancestors from a wide range of places like Italy, Ireland, Poland, Spain, or Greece.

But if you’re not part of the lucky bloodline club, there is another way to give the gift of a second citizenship to your whole family… even if your kids are already grown.

Simply buy it.

These are called ‘Citizenship-by-Investment’ programs. And for larger families looking to acquire a second passport, the country of Antigua and Barbuda offers an amazing deal.

(Technical point: despite the way it sounds, ‘Antigua and Barbuda’ is one country, not two. It consists of two primary islands which are named… wait for it… Antigua, and Barbuda.)

As we have discussed recently, countries that depend on tourism are in rough shape from Covid-19. And they need ways to boost their tax revenue.

So a few months ago, Antigua and Barbuda introduced a program where an entire family of six can purchase citizenship for just $150,000.

Technically this is really a ‘citizenship by donation’. You’re not making a traditional investment where you fund a business or buy stock, generate a return, and recoup your capital down the road.

In this case, your donation goes to the country’s “University of the West Indies Fund”.

One really convenient aspect about Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment program is that the legislation is quite lenient regarding family members.

Under the program’s official rules, you can include children up to the age of 28 (as long as they are enrolled in university). You can also include dependent parents as young as 58 years old. 

With fees included, it comes to about $168,000 for a typical family. That breaks down to just $28,000 per person, which is peanuts for a second passport.

One added benefit: Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship-by-Investment passport comes with one year of free tuition for a member of the family at the University of the West Indies. 

You might be surprised to find out that UWI has attracted some incredibly prominent minds. Notable alumni include 1992 Nobel Prize laureate Derek Walcott, and 23 current and former prime ministers from around the region.

UWI’s alumni website also lists 71 Rhodes scholars who graduated from the university. And UWI consistently beats many larger, more prominent schools in the Times Higher Education’s annual world university rankings.

So, overall this is a highly competitive Citizenship-by-Investment program. And if you have a large family, including dependent parents and adult children, it’s definitely worth considering.

[Members of Sovereign Man Total Access: remember, your Total Access membership makes you eligible to acquire this passport at an even bigger discount that can easily amount to $15,000 to $20,000 or more.]

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4 countries welcoming the digital nomads during Covid

Life has taken an eerie turn for digital nomads as their favorite cities emptied of tourists and foreigners working remotely.

Tasha Prados arrived in Vietnam in late February, a few weeks before the country closed its borders.

On March 12, she received word that she had 10 days to request an evacuation to the US through her travel insurance.

Tasha opted to stay in Vietnam, and rent a house with five other digital nomads.

They hunkered down for what ended up being a much more mild lockdown compared to many places in the US and Europe.

Vietnam accomodated those digital nomads who stayed, by automatically extending visas.

Still, a large portion of digital nomads across the world likely went “home” as the pandemic hit– which for many meant moving back in with mom and dad or another family member.

Now as a second wave hits, and lockdowns are continued or reintroduced– including in Vietnam– many digital nomads are wondering when they can get back to their nomadic lifestyle.

And that same question is on the minds of a lot of governments who understand that digital nomads are valuable assets to local economies.

They come to a country and spend money on rent, food, restaurants, and entertainment.

They don’t take local jobs, and they don’t ask for anything in return except for good weather, a low cost of living, a vibrant cultural and/or nightlife scene, and decent internet.

Usually, digital nomads can stay in their chosen country for 30 or 90 days at a time, depending on the host country’s visa policy. But that’s generally just not enough. It takes time to set up your “new office” and become truly productive in a new country.

The Republic of Georgia was first to realize that, and back in 2015, it allowed citizens from this laundry list of countries to stay in Georgia for a full year, no questions asked.

As a result, safe, inexpensive, culturally rich Georgia has become a popular place for digital nomads.

(One of our own Sovereign Man team members is currently living and working in Georgia, and is already penning a Sovereign Man: Confidential alert about what he has learned after spending a few months there.)

Now, Georgia is reportedly rolling out a new type of visa aimed explicitly at attracting digital nomads.

But Georgia isn’t the only country looking to boost its economy by attracting mobile people– and their mobile incomes.

COVID-related travel bans dried up the flow of tourists, so other countries have realized that they, too, want productive digital nomads to come and stay.

Barbados was among the first to announce a “12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp”, allowing visitors to come to the country and work remotely for a full year in the Caribbean paradise.

Barbados does charge a $2,000 fee. But you won’t be liable for Barbados income taxes. Plus US citizens will likely qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Tax Exclusion, meaning the first $107,600 you earn abroad is tax free.

Another option: starting from August 1, Bermuda will let foreigners work remotely on the island for a full year, after paying a $263 fee.

However, you may want to think twice if you plan to save money. Bermuda offers a very civilized and safe environment, but the cost of living in Bermuda can be higher than in New York City.

If island life isn’t your thing, the European country of Estonia has long been known as a tech-friendly innovator. It offered its e-Residency program to anyone willing to run an Estonian-based business remotely.

However, the program did not offer the possibility to actually live in Estonia.

Now, Estonia has announced a new “Digital Nomad Visa” for remote workers, allowing them to stay and work in the country for a full year.

And while Estonia’s northern climate and cold Baltic sea aren’t so tropical, its Digital Nomad Visa can be an excellent opportunity to spend a year in Europe and explore the rest of the continent.

We expect a lot more countries – especially those with suffering tourism industries – to wake up to the realities of the 21st-century digital economy and to start rolling out similar offers.

Due to Covid, there are A LOT more people working from home, who have the freedom to pick up and move if they choose. And that could mean a huge wave of new digital nomads.

That’s pretty exciting. Digital Nomads have been voting with their feet for a long time, and rewarding the countries with the best policies and atmospheres.

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Mommy put us in time-out again

After a few weeks of freedom here in Puerto Rico where people could engage in dangerous, death-defying acts (like going to the gym), our all-knowing, all-powerful governor announced new lockdown rules late last week.

Or as I tell my friends, Mommy put us back in time-out.

This is not unique to Puerto Rico; several states and countries all over the world are imposing new waves of restrictions due to an uptick in Covid infections.

I find this all remarkable.

Several months ago when Covid was brand new, it was pretty scary. We knew nothing except that it was highly contagious and seemed deadly.

Politicians had to make hasty decisions with imperfect information in an extremely emotional environment… and it’s hard to begrudge them for that.

But it’s not March anymore. It’s August.

And they’ve had five months to gather their wits, summon their courage, and perform a rational cost/benefit analysis based on mountains of data that are now available.

CDC statistics, for example, show that 79.8% of Covid deaths are from retirees over the age of 65 who are no longer in the work force.

Yet politicians still want to prevent people in their prime working years from being able to work– ages 25-64, whose mortality rate is very low according to CDC data.

Most importantly, the CDC states that out of all ‘Covid deaths’, 94% were actually related to some other condition besides (or in addition to) the Coronavirus.

[O]n average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death” in addition to the Coronavirus.

For example, roughly 10% of patients aged 0-24 years who tested positive for the Coronavirus actually died due to poisoning, accident, or intentional injury.

Yet they’re still recorded as a ‘Covid death’.

This is not some wild conspiracy theory. The CDC posts this data on its public website for anyone who cares to look.

But you never hear about this in the media.

They’d rather fan the flames of panic and hysteria.

Just as soon as people start to feel a little bit comfortable again– BOOM– they shove some story in our faces about a healthy teenager who died of Covid… just to make sure we all stay afraid.

They forget to mention, of course, how extremely rare this is. The mortality rate for healthy people, and especially healthy young people, is absurdly low.

They also fail to mention that healthy young people even occasionally die of the flu.

In December, for example, a 16-year old girl from Ohio caught the flu. And yes, it was the flu, not Covid. She had influenza B. And she died.

This is extremely rare; the mortality rate for young people with influenza is negligible. But even still, it happens. Just like Covid.

Yet amazingly enough, they did not shut down the global economy because a 16-year old girl died of the flu.

Covid is different due to its asymptomatic transmission. And I’m not making light of its public health impact. It’s obviously a serious issue.

But my main point is that these politicians don’t make decisions based on a rational, data-driven cost/benefit analysis.

It’s just monkey see, monkey do nonsense.

If some governor in one state tightens restrictions, it’s politically safe and acceptable for another governor to follow along.

If everyone is doing it, the political consequences are pretty low… regardless of the economic consequences.

80% of Covid deaths are from people who are not actively contributing to economic production. And 94% of deaths are related to some other condition.

Yet their only solution is to shut down the economy and cost tens of trillions of dollars of prosperity… even though this ‘whack-a-mole’ approach has been ineffective at eliminating the virus.

Duh. You can’t just wait-out a virus. Even 7th grade biology students know that.

Meanwhile, US GDP is down 33%. In Europe it’s down 40%.

The Census Bureau reported that more than 100 million Americans went without a paycheck last week, and 30 million had to borrow money from friends and family to make it through the month.

Tens of millions are without work, countless businesses have gone under.

And the national debt is skyrocketing.

Just this morning, in fact, the US Treasury Department announced that it expects to borrow at least another $2 trillion between now and the end of December.

That will bring the total new additional debt for 2020 to more than $5 trillion. It’s staggering.

A banker friend of mine in Switzerland summed it up last week when he told me, “The more money they print and the more debt they borrow, the less anyone seems to care.”

He’s right. And that’s a pretty scary statement… because it means they’ll just keep piling up the destructive consequences without ever asking the difficult question: “Is it really worth it?”

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