Thursday, April 29, 2010

Barbara Kay: The cult of multisexualism

Sex education in the schools isn’t new. As John Moore pointed out in his Post column yesterday (“Hide your kids. The Liberals are coming”), Ontario’s more graphic additions, hastily rescinded to accommodate Christian and Muslim critics, were mere “tweakings” to a well-entrenched model.

Taken for granted in Moore’s column was the notion that early sex education — tweaked or untweaked — was a good idea to begin with.

Unless countered by vigorous instruction at home, no children in the last several decades have left school believing their sexuality has a higher purpose than giving them bodily pleasure. From adolescence they have been encouraged by sex educators — no, pressured — to maximize sexual pleasure (but with condoms!), and made to feel abnormal if they prefer chastity to sex without love or commitment. What’s so good about that?

John Moore scoffs at the idea that sex ed programs are designed by “activists,” but that’s only because he likes what they’re teaching. If he didn’t, he too would call them activists. Sex educators are pushing an ideology that is to sex what multiculturalism is to race. In fact what sex education in the schools promotes should be called multisexualism.

John Moore: Hide the kids, the Liberals are coming

Posted: April 27, 2010, 10:30 AM by NP Editor

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty suffered an uncharacteristic defeat last week. He was challenged on a matter of policy and he folded: In the face of public hysteria fomented by a previously powerless coalition of religious culture warriors, he shelved a perfectly reasonable sex-education pedagogy. The warriors are happy. The rest of us may live to regret the Premier's moment of weakness.

The new education regime was actually little more that a tweaking of the existing one, which was enacted by the Conservative Mike Harris government some 15 years ago. Changes were to include slightly more graphic language and the acknowledgement of the existence of gays and lesbians. Hardly worthy of the firestorm it precipitated.

The package was posted on a website three months ago as part of the new transparency many governments have embraced. And yet even that came back to haunt McGuinty: His critics claimed that the new policies had been buried on a government website. Somehow, making policy available on a medium that can be accessed from any home at any time is a means of hiding it.

Religious conservatives came out swinging. They were so eager to bolster their numbers that they welcomed conservative Muslims into the fold. So now the hijab is a good thing?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

15 spectacularly stupid predictions from the first Earth Day

We are just as green as green can be here at And to prove it, we’re recycling this story that we ran on Earth Day, 2009. One that goes all the way back to the very first days in the history of Earth Day.

It is our hope that by recycling it here on Earth Day 2010, another polar bear might live.

For the next 24 hours, the media will assault us with tales of imminent disaster that always accompany the annual Earth Day Doom & Gloom Extravaganza.

Ignore them. They’ll be wrong. We’re confident in saying that because they’ve always been wrong. And always will be.

Need proof? Here are some of the hilarious, spectacularly wrong predictions made on the occasion of Earth Day 1970.

“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.”
• Kenneth Watt, ecologist

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
• George Wald, Harvard Biologist

We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.”
• Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” • New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
• Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
• Life Magazine, January 1970

“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Stanford's Paul Ehrlich announces that the sky is falling.

Stanford's Paul Ehrlich announces that the sky is falling

“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones.”
• Martin Litton, Sierra Club director

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

“Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson

“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Keep these predictions in mind when you hear the same predictions made today. They’ve been making the same predictions for 39 40 years. And they’re going to continue making them until…well…forever.

Here we are, 39 40 years later and the economy sucks, but the ecology’s fine. In fact this planet is doing a lot better than the planet on which those green lunatics live.

You’ll also enjoy (or hate) our article, 25 Global Warming Debunking Videos Al Gore Doesn’t Want You To See.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Movie Genres That Make The Most Money

When you think of the most profitable movies at the box office, you probably think of the Hollywood blockbusters - films that grab headlines because of their huge budgets and equally huge profits, like Avatar, Titanic and Pirates of the Caribbean. However, when it comes down to it, these aren't the movies that bring in the most return on investment for their respective film studios.

Most of the time, movies with smaller budgets provide studios with the most bang for their buck, if the film reaches a profitable state. We'll take a look at the top 20 movies that have provided the biggest return on investment (ROI) (according to industry info website, The Numbers), and the ones that have been the biggest Hollywood flops, to find the movie genre that consistently provides the best returns. After the dollar value of the international gross is divided by the movie budget, this value is divided by two to obtain the percentage return; this extra step is conducted in order to determine the approximate funds that are returned to the movie studio. It should be noted that The Numbers' statistics are rough estimates of budget and box-office income, and DVD sales and rental income are not included.

Action Adventure

Action adventure movies make the big headlines with the record-breaking ticket sales. However, huge ticket sales are usually matched by huge budgets, which means that these movies bring in a lot of money, but not the best ROI. For instance, to date, Avatar has made over $2.7 billion, yet its ROI is "just" 500%, as compared to lower-budget action film Mad Max (1979), which returned 24,837.5%. In the top 20 movies that have the best ROI, you won't see any of the blockbusters you'd imagine, and Mad Max is the only film of its kind in the top 20.

However, in the lowest ROI, there are a couple of action movies that come up. Southland Tales with -98.93%, Outlander was -98.75, Boondock Saints at -98.21, D-Tox AKA Eye See You at -98.36 and I Come With The Rain at -98.26%. So, although action, adventure and fantasy movies can be huge money-makers, when it comes to box office sales, they don't provide the best return.

Drama, Romance and Comedies

Dramas and romance don't typically have huge budgets for special effects and sets, so when one really takes off, it can make an incredible ROI. The movie Once was made on a shoestring budget ($150,000) and took off, gaining Oscar nominations in the music category and taking in nearly $19 million. Overall, it has the 10th-highest ROI at 6,232.39%. George Lucas' second film, American Graffiti is number nine on the list at 8,909.01%, Napoleon Dynamite is at 12 with a 5,667.62% return on its $400,000 budget, and the classic Gone With The Wind is at 15 with an ROI of 4,906.73%.

However, it's not all bright spots for dramas, romance and comedies – there are also a lot of box office failures. The Matt Leblanc war-comedy All The Queen's Men stands as the movie with the worst ROI of all movies, with a -99.92% return – do the math: it got back .08% of its budget. Other dramas didn't fare much better: Imaginary Heroes had a limited release and saw an ROI of -98.55, costing $10 million and taking in $290,000 at the box office; the star-studded bust Winter Passing was at -98.37%, and joins five other box-office busting dramas in the top 20 worst ROI.


With little in the way of cast, crew, special effects or big name stars, documentaries can often be made for a tiny fraction of what it costs a big-name Hollywood film, and when these films become popular, the ROI is astronomical.

The film Tarnation, which is pieced together from videos the filmmaker had recording throughout his whole life, had a reported budget of $218. However, take that "budget" with a grain of salt, as it is the amount that it cost the filmmaker to make the movie, but does not reflect the amount for marketing and distributing the film. Still, taking that number as a rough estimate of the film's costs to create, the ROI is 266,416.97%. This film is only beat out by one on the ROI list. Following Tarnation, in 4th spot, is the anti-McDonald's film Super Size Me, which cost $65,000 and had a return of 22,614.90%. There are no docs in the bottom 20 for ROI.

Horrors and Thrillers

Horror is another genre with a lot of huge ROI hits and few misses. The number one movie for ROI is the hit Paranormal Activity, which was made for $15,000 and had a box office gross of $161,830,890 for a return of 539,336.30%. The Blair Witch Project gave the studio a lofty 20,591% return. Night of the Living Dead comes in at six with an ROI of 13,057.89%, Friday the 13th is (coincidentally?) at 13, with 5,332.24%, Open Water follows at 5,110.09%, Saw comes in at 18 with 4,195.68% and Evil Dead closes out the list at 3,820.00%. Horror makes a much smaller appearance in the bottom 20 for box office ROI.

Bottom Line

Though The Numbers might not be precise, it gives a good estimation of the movie genre that can provide the best ROI at the box office. Some of these films did get limited release and went on to make a lot of money through sales and rental, but many of them simply lost their respective film studios buckets of cash. Overall, horror movies consistently have the most films in the top 20 for ROI and the least in the lowest 20 ROI, while drama is the exact opposite, having just two in the top 20 and dominating the bottom 20. Documentaries can take off, and even if they don't, they won't have the incredible losses that come with big Hollywood names and big Hollywood budgets.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Los Angeles Earthquake Vision

I have been holding back on this one, but, I feel that now is the time to share it. I have family in Los Angeles, and have been there a few times. One night, I was praying about the city and my family when I saw the following:

1. Narcotics money and organized crime had taken over the criminal justice system and many of the elected officials.

2. Gangs had infiltrated local politics and the police forces. As a result, investigations were interfered with, innocent police officers were killed and organized crime ran the city.

3. I saw that the Illuminazi Conspiracy ran these criminal elements from Hollywood. I also saw that they were involved in child pornography, snuff films, child prostitution and MK-Ultra Mind Control. I saw that some people at Disney were also involved.

4. I saw that the Illuminazis were also involved in donating large amounts of money to various charities in order to avoid suspicion.

I then saw the following:

1. A severe earthquake that stripped the facades off of downtown buildings. Concrete was turned to powder, so that, all that remained of some buildings was their steel frames. Many buildings stood with concrete floors and other building materials lying in piles of rubble at their base.

2. One major crack opened up along the "strand" and separated the city from the Pacific Ocean.

3. I saw waves come in groups and submerge the homes along the Pacific Coast.

4. The Hollywood sign was destroyed and huge mansions were in ruins. These were subsequently looted and some of their inhabitants raped and murdered.

5. I saw that many were killed and many were displaced. Inner city tenements drew a hefty premium and it was nearly impossible to find a place for rent.

6. I saw fires break out both during and after the earthquake in the downtown area. Some from broken gas mains and some from looters.

7. The National Guard and Federal Troops were brought in to maintain order, but the downtown area was in ruins from looting and rioting.

8. I saw that food was sold for a king's ransom.

9. I also saw that food trucks with supplies were attacked by gangs so that they could resell it on the black market.

10. It became necessary for the government to "convoy" in supplies with tanks and troops.

11. Many people starved from the lack of food. Others from dehydration or disease from lack of clean water.

12. I saw a literal war between the gangs and the military. Helicopters were shot down with gang-owned missiles. The inner-city became a combat zone.

I also saw that many of the righteous were warned to leave the city. Others remained and were under divine protection. Most of these were there to help the injured and the homeless. Refugee camps were set up throughout the city.

If you have not already done so I would recommend that you store food, water purifiers, guns and ammunition. As I have stated in previous posts, the best protection is a righteous life. God harvests the innocent and the guilty. I feel that Los Angeles has let these Secret Combinations get above them and now they run the government. Those that have permitted this, fall under the same condemnation as those that brought it about. I was told this is why the entire city is under condemnation, and all will suffer to some degree.

We as a people have a responsibility to oppose evil, no matter what the cost to ourselves, our fortunes or our family. God will ultimately restore all of our losses and add His eternal rewards on our heads. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward.
I believe that when we sit back and do nothing, we ultimately take upon us the same judgements as the wicked.

Tonight on Drockton Radio: Paul Drockton and Stuart Usher- Holly Greig Update 4 Pacific/7Eastern/12 AM GMT

City forewarned of whopping property tax hikes

Torontonians are facing average annual property tax increases of more than 10% for four years in a row unless the city can find new revenue sources.

Without asset sales or a significant increase in provincial funding, the tax bill could leap by about 12.5% in 2011, 11% in 2012, 9.75% in 2013 and 8.25% in 2014, city staff told the executive committee Wednesday.

The committee approved a much more modest 2.9% increase on residential property taxes for this year, adding $67.69 to the average home assessed at $407,374 and bringing the 2010 tax bill to $2,402.

Mayor David Miller said he feels confident the Dalton McGuinty government will follow through with election promises to upload 50% of the TTC’s operating costs, despite its recent decision to delay half the promised funding for Transit City.

“My confidence in the government was shaken by their position on Transit City,” Miller said. “Am I concerned (about TTC operating funding)? Yes. But I mean they’ve made a clear commitment repeatedly to negotiate this ... I believe on this one that they’ll honour their commitment and it will put this city in good shape for a long time.”

Toronto is also looking for the province to upload social housing costs, and needs the federal government to give it one cent of the GST.

None of the items requested by the city are in the provincial budget.

While the province has agreed to talks with Toronto regarding its TTC operating budget, there is no deadline for an agreement.

McGuinty has said he does not have the money right now.

Councillor Doug Holyday said the city is budgeting based on wishful thinking.

“It counts on too many things that are not likely to happen,” he said.

Without new funding sources or asset sales, the following four years of tax increases could boost the average Toronto homeowner’s bill to more than $3,500 by 2014.

However, Toronto’s residential property taxes still tend to be lower than those in neighbouring communities.

Oakville residents, for instance, paid an average of $3,461 in property taxes compared with Toronto’s $2,334 in 2009. Mississauga homeowners forked over $2,559 and Oshawa ratepayers paid $3,314 on average in 2009.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti asked the executive committee to support him in a motion that would have exempted seniors from the Toronto vehicle tax, but his colleagues turned it down flat.

Miller said the budget already provides for low-income seniors to have their property taxes waived or deferred.

The current city council is leaving the budget in good shape overall, and with a surplus that likely will be applied in part to next year’s budget, he said. That will help the future council keep property taxes low.

“Sure there are some risks, no question about that ... but I’m optimistic and I think Torontonians should be, too,” Miller said.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

America: the Grim Truth

Americans, I have some bad news for you:

You have the worst quality of life in the developed world - by a wide margin.

If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you'd be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home.

I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.

Consider this: you are the only people in the developed world without a single-payer health system. Everyone in Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand has a single-payer system. If they get sick, they can devote all their energies to getting well. If you get sick, you have to battle two things at once: your illness and the fear of financial ruin. Millions of Americans go bankrupt every year due to medical bills, and tens of thousands die each year because they have no insurance or insufficient insurance. And don't believe for a second that rot about America having the world's best medical care or the shortest waiting lists: I've been to hospitals in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Singapore, and Thailand, and every one was better than the "good" hospital I used to go to back home. The waits were shorter, the facilities more comfortable, and the doctors just as good.

This is ironic, because you need a good health system more than anyone else in the world. Why? Because your lifestyle is almost designed to make you sick.

Let's start with your diet: Much of the beef you eat has been exposed to fecal matter in processing. Your chicken is contaminated with salmonella. Your stock animals and poultry are pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. In most other countries, the government would act to protect consumers from this sort of thing; in the United States, the government is bought off by industry to prevent any effective regulations or inspections. In a few years, the majority of all the produce for sale in the United States will be from genetically modified crops, thanks to the cozy relationship between Monsanto Corporation and the United States government. Worse still, due to the vast quantities of high-fructose corn syrup Americans consume, fully one-third of children born in the United States today will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives.

Of course, it's not just the food that's killing you, it's the drugs. If you show any sign of life when you're young, they'll put you on Ritalin. Then, when you get old enough to take a good look around, you'll get depressed, so they'll give you Prozac. If you're a man, this will render you chemically impotent, so you'll need Viagra to get it up. Meanwhile, your steady diet of trans-fat-laden food is guaranteed to give you high cholesterol, so you'll get a prescription for Lipitor. Finally, at the end of the day, you'll lay awake at night worrying about losing your health plan, so you'll need Lunesta to go to sleep.

With a diet guaranteed to make you sick and a health system designed to make sure you stay that way, what you really need is a long vacation somewhere. Unfortunately, you probably can't take one. I'll let you in on little secret: if you go to the beaches of Thailand, the mountains of Nepal, or the coral reefs of Australia, you'll probably be the only American in sight. And you'll be surrounded crowds of happy Germans, French, Italians, Israelis, Scandinavians and wealthy Asians. Why? Because they're paid well enough to afford to visit these places AND they can take vacations long enough to do so. Even if you could scrape together enough money to go to one of these incredible places, by the time you recovered from your jetlag, it would be time to get on a plane and rush back to your job.

If you think I'm making this up, check the stats on average annual vacation days by country:

Finland: 44
Italy: 42
France: 39
Germany: 35
UK: 25
Japan: 18
USA: 12

The fact is, they work you like dogs in the United States. This should come as no surprise: the United States never got away from the plantation/sweat shop labor model and any real labor movement was brutally suppressed. Unless you happen to be a member of the ownership class, your options are pretty much limited to barely surviving on service-sector wages or playing musical chairs for a spot in a cubicle (a spot that will be outsourced to India next week anyway). The very best you can hope for is to get a professional degree and then milk the system for a slice of the middle-class pie. And even those who claw their way into the middle class are but one illness or job loss away from poverty. Your jobs aren't secure. Your company has no loyalty to you. They'll play you off against your coworkers for as long as it suits them, then they'll get rid of you.

Of course, you don't have any choice in the matter: the system is designed this way. In most countries in the developed world, higher education is either free or heavily subsidized; in the United States, a university degree can set you back over US$100,000. Thus, you enter the working world with a crushing debt. Forget about taking a year off to travel the world and find yourself - you've got to start working or watch your credit rating plummet.

If you're "lucky," you might even land a job good enough to qualify you for a home loan. And then you'll spend half your working life just paying the interest on the loan - welcome to the world of American debt slavery. America has the illusion of great wealth because there's a lot of "stuff" around, but who really owns it? In real terms, the average American is poorer than the poorest ghetto dweller in Manila, because at least they have no debts. If they want to pack up and leave, they can; if you want to leave, you can't, because you've got debts to pay.

All this begs the question: Why would anyone put up with this? Ask any American and you'll get the same answer: because America is the freest country on earth. If you believe this, I've got some more bad news for you: America is actually among the least free countries on earth. Your piss is tested, your emails and phone calls are monitored, your medical records are gathered, and you are never more than one stray comment away from writhing on the ground with two Taser prongs in your ass.

And that's just physical freedom. Mentally, you are truly imprisoned. You don't even know the degree to which you are tormented by fears of medical bankruptcy, job loss, homelessness and violent crime because you've never lived in a country where there is no need to worry about such things.

But it goes much deeper than mere surveillance and anxiety. The fact is, you are not free because your country has been taken over and occupied by another government. Fully 70% of your tax dollars go to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon is the real government of the United States. You are required under pain of death to pay taxes to this occupying government. If you're from the less fortunate classes, you are also required to serve and die in their endless wars, or send your sons and daughters to do so. You have no choice in the matter: there is a socio-economic draft system in the United States that provides a steady stream of cannon fodder for the military.

If you call a life of surveillance, anxiety and ceaseless toil in the service of a government you didn't elect "freedom," then you and I have a very different idea of what that word means.

If there was some chance that the country could be changed, there might be reason for hope. But can you honestly look around and conclude that anything is going to change? Where would the change come from? The people? Take a good look at your compatriots: the working class in the United States has been brutally propagandized by jackals like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. Members of the working class have been taught to lick the boots of their masters and then bend over for another kick in the ass. They've got these people so well trained that they'll take up arms against the other half of the working class as soon as their masters give the word.

If the people cannot make a change, how about the media? Not a chance. From Fox News to the New York Times, the mass media in the United States is nothing but the public relations wing of the corporatocracy, primarily the military industrial complex. At least the citizens of the former Soviet Union knew that their news was bullshit. In America, you grow up thinking you've got a free media, which makes the propaganda doubly effective. If you don't think American media is mere corporate propaganda, ask yourself the following question: have you ever heard a major American news outlet suggest that the country could fund a single-payer health system by cutting military spending?

If change can't come from the people or the media, the only other potential source of change would be the politicians. Unfortunately, the American political process is among the most corrupt in the world. In every country on earth, one expects politicians to take bribes from the rich. But this generally happens in secret, behind the closed doors of their elite clubs. In the United States, this sort of political corruption is done in broad daylight, as part of legal, accepted, standard operating procedure. In the United States, they merely call these bribes campaign donations, political action committees and lobbyists. One can no more expect the politicians to change this system than one can expect a man to take an axe and chop his own legs out from underneath him.

No, the United States of America is not going to change for the better. The only change will be for the worse. And when I say worse, I mean much worse. As we speak, the economic system that sustained the country during the post-war years is collapsing. The United States maxed out its "credit card" sometime in 2008 and now its lenders, starting with China, are in the process of laying the foundations for a new monetary system to replace the Anglo-American "petro-dollar" system. As soon as there is a viable alternative to the US dollar, the greenback will sink like a stone.

While the United States was running up crushing levels of debt, it was also busy shipping its manufacturing jobs and white-collar jobs overseas, and letting its infrastructure fall to pieces. Meanwhile, Asian and European countries were investing in education, infrastructure and raw materials. Even if the United States tried to rebuild a real economy (as opposed to a service/financial economy) do you think American workers would ever be able to compete with the workers of China or Europe? Have you ever seen a Japanese or German factory? Have you ever met a Singaporean or Chinese worker?

There are only two possible futures facing the United States, and neither one is pretty. The best case is a slow but orderly decline - essentially a continuation of what's been happening for the last two decades. Wages will drop, unemployment will rise, Medicare and Social Security benefits will be slashed, the currency will decline in value, and the disparity of wealth will spiral out of control until the United States starts to resemble Mexico or the Philippines - tiny islands of wealth surrounded by great poverty (the country is already halfway there).

Equally likely is a sudden collapse, perhaps brought about by a rapid flight from the US dollar by creditor nations like China, Japan, Korea and the OPEC nations. A related possibility would be a default by the United States government on its vast debt. One look at the financial balance sheet of the US government should convince you how likely this is: governmental spending is skyrocketing and tax receipts are plummeting - something has to give. If either of these scenarios plays out, the resulting depression will make the present recession look like a walk in the park.

Whether the collapse is gradual or gut-wrenchingly sudden, the results will be chaos, civil strife and fascism. Let's face it: the United States is like the former Yugoslavia - a collection of mutually antagonistic cultures united in name only. You've got your own version of the Taliban: right-wing Christian fundamentalists who actively loathe the idea of secular Constitutional government. You've got a vast intellectual underclass that has spent the last few decades soaking up Fox News and talk radio propaganda, eager to blame the collapse on Democrats, gays and immigrants. You've got a ruthless ownership class that will use all the means at its disposal to protect its wealth from the starving masses.

On top of all that you've got vast factory farms, sprawling suburbs and a truck-based shipping system, all of it entirely dependent on oil that is about to become completely unaffordable. And you've got guns. Lots of guns. In short: the United States is about to become a very unwholesome place to be.

Right now, the government is building fences and walls along its northern and southern borders. Right now, the government is working on a national ID system (soon to be fitted with biometric features). Right now, the government is building a surveillance state so extensive that they will be able to follow your every move, online, in the street and across borders. If you think this is just to protect you from "terrorists," then you're sadly mistaken. Once the shit really hits the fan, do you really think you'll just be able to jump into the old station wagon, drive across the Canadian border and spend the rest of your days fishing and drinking Molson? No, the government is going to lock the place down. They don't want their tax base escaping. They don't want their "recruits" escaping. They don't want YOU escaping.

I am not writing this to scare you. I write this to you as a friend. If you are able to read and understand what I've written here, then you are a member of a small minority in the United States. You are a minority in a country that has no place for you.

So what should you do?

You should leave the United States of America.

If you're young, you've got plenty of choices: you can teach English in the Middle East, Asia or Europe. Or you can go to university or graduate school abroad and start building skills that will qualify you for a work visa. If you've already got some real work skills, you can apply to emigrate to any number of countries as a skilled immigrant. If you are older and you've got some savings, you can retire to a place like Costa Rica or the Philippines. If you can't qualify for a work, student or retirement visa, don't let that stop you - travel on a tourist visa to a country that appeals to you and talk to the expats you meet there. Whatever you do, go speak to an immigration lawyer as soon as you can. Find out exactly how to get on a path that will lead to permanent residence and eventually citizenship in the country of your choice.

You will not be alone. There are millions of Americans just like me living outside the United States. Living lives much more fulfilling, peaceful, free and abundant than we ever could have attained back home. Some of us happened upon these lives by accident - we tried a year abroad and found that we liked it - others made a conscious decision to pack up and leave for good. You'll find us in Canada, all over Europe, in many parts of Asia, in Australia and New Zealand, and in most other countries of the globe. Do we miss our friends and family? Yes. Do we occasionally miss aspects of our former country? Yes. Do we plan on ever living again in the United States? Never. And those of us with permanent residence or citizenship can sponsor family members from back home for long-term visas in our adopted countries.

In closing, I want to remind you of something: unless you are an American Indian or a descendant of slaves, at some point your ancestors chose to leave their homeland in search of a better life. They weren't traitors and they weren't bad people, they just wanted a better life for themselves and their families. Isn't it time that you continue their journey?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Protecting Your Cash : Doug Casey

Protecting Your Cash
L: Doug, we recently talked about getting assets out of your home country, especially the U.S., where to take them and what to do with them. In so doing, you touched on the inevitability of currency controls just ahead, especially for Americans. Can you tell us more about that?

Doug: Yes, I’m quite serious about what I said about “the grim reality of impending currency controls.” As the global economy continues to deteriorate, governments will have to appear to be “doing something.” It’s going to become very fashionable to institute some sort of foreign exchange control.

Why might that be? Because obviously, people who are taking their money out of the country are unpatriotic…

L: Those bastards.

Doug: That’s right. Jingoistic Americans naturally, but stupidly, see taking money out of the country as being unpatriotic. They don’t understand that it’s mainly those prudent people who will be able to supply the capital to rebuild a devastated economy later. Besides, getting money abroad is obviously something that only rich people would do… and of course, it’s time to eat the rich, as well. For those two reasons, there won’t be much resistance to controls. And the state gets to appear to be “doing something.”

And when they do, more people – at least those with any sense – will get scared and really try to get their money out, which will exacerbate the run to the exits. The bottom line is that if you want to get your money out, the time to do it is now. Beat the last-minute rush.

I don’t know what form the exchange controls are going to take, but there are two general possibilities: regulation and taxation.

The regulations might take the form of a rule prohibiting you from taking more than X-thousands of dollars abroad per year without special permission. No expensive vacations, no foreign asset purchases without state approval.

As for the taxation, if you want to, say, buy foreign stocks or real estate, you might have to pay an “Interest Equalization Tax” or some such. So, you could do it, but it’d cost you a lot of money to do it.

Something like either of these, or both, is definitely in the cards.

L: But aren’t FX controls something from the past? I mean, where do they exist today?

Doug: Well, FX controls have been used since the days of the Roman Empire. A country debases its currency, raises taxes beyond a certain level, and makes regulations too onerous – and productive people naturally react by getting their capital, and then themselves, out of Dodge. But the government can’t have that, so it puts on FX controls. They’re almost inevitable at this point.

Almost every country – except for the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, and a few others – had them until at least the ‘70s. I remember leaving Britain once in the ‘60s, and a border guy searched me to see if I had more than 50 pounds on me. In those days currency violations in the Soviet Bloc countries could get you the death penalty. Things liberalized around the world with Reagan and Thatcher, and then the collapse of the USSR. But you have to remember that that was in the context of the Long Boom. Now, during the Greater Depression, things will become much stricter again.

Right now, the U.S. just has reporting requirements. But some places, like South Africa, make it very expensive and inconvenient to get money out. South Africa, perversely, may serve as a model for the U.S.

L: Okay, so, we talked last week about Americans at least setting up a Canadian bank account and safe deposit box, and better yet going in person to Panama, Uruguay, Malaysia, or a similar place to do the same. And once there, you advised getting with a lawyer, either referred by someone you trust or found through an interview process, to set up a corporation that can handle your assets and investments for you. This all needs to be reported but it’s wise to do it in advance of the higher costs or other limitations to come.

Doug: Yes. While U.S. persons must report foreign bank and brokerage accounts, safe deposit boxes are not – at least not yet – reportable. This leads me to the biggest and best “loophole” when it comes to potential foreign exchange controls, and that’s foreign real estate.

I’m of the opinion that, broadly speaking, real estate as an asset class is going to be a poor performer for a long time to come – but that won’t be equally true across all countries. Real estate in countries that rely on mortgage debt to buy and sell will continue to be the worst hit.

People don’t understand that buying property with a mortgage is just the same as buying stocks on margin. It’s caused speculative bubbles and malinvestment. Until the malinvestment in those countries is entirely liquidated, you don’t want to invest in real estate in them. But a lot of countries, especially in the third world, have no mortgage debt whatsoever. Zero mortgage debt. You want a piece of property, you pay for it in cash. That keeps prices down and the market much more stable. And it makes for more interesting speculations, because if a mortgage market develops in the future, it could light a fire under prices.

But, from the viewpoint of FX controls, the nice thing about real estate is that there is no way they can make you repatriate it. Other than owning a business abroad, real estate is the only sure way to legally keep your capital offshore.

L: I suppose it would be difficult for even Uncle Sam to seize your estancia in Argentina… not without starting a war.

Doug: Yes. Although I don’t doubt he’ll be starting more wars as well… [Laughs]

L: So, part of your thinking here isn’t just speculative. You’re talking about strategies for wealth preservation, not just in the face of foreign exchange controls, but more aggressive, predatory taxation and confiscation by the state – they can seize your assets, even real estate, in the U.S., but not abroad.

Doug: Exactly. Argentina is excellent from that point of view; rights to real property are, if anything, better than those in the U.S. In many ways, Argentina is culturally and demographically more like Europe than Europe. Uruguay is also excellent, although culturally it’s like a backward province of Argentina. Paraguay is quite secure – but a bit weird as a place to live.

I’m not currently up-to-date on the Chilean real estate market, but Chile is definitely now the richest and most advanced South American country, and an excellent choice. Brazil is fine. Colombia is improving greatly. Ecuador has a goofy president, but parts of it are very nice, and it’s about as cheap as Argentina. Eastern Bolivia is interesting, actually, despite Morales. Only Venezuela is out of the question in South America – but Chavez won’t last forever. It’s just a pity they have all that oil, which is always a corrupting influence.

L: Well, then, what about Central America? I know you prefer South America for speculative purposes, but what if someone wants to park a lot of wealth by buying a couple miles of beautiful beachfront property in Costa Rica, or some place like that?

Doug: I was a big fan of Costa Rica for many years… The first time I went down there was 35 years ago – but it’s a different place now. Then, it was very cheap, and now it’s very expensive. And it’s totally overrun with gringos. So, Costa Rica is not of that much interest to me at this point; it’s pleasant, but there’s limited upside.

I think an excellent place to be in Central America is Belize. Although culturally and ethnically, it’s not really part of Central America; it’s part of the Caribbean.

L: And they speak English there.

Doug: They do indeed, though things are changing. The Guatemalan government has always regarded British Honduras, which is what Belize used to be called, as part of Guatemala. There have actually been confrontations between Britain and Guatemala over this. But that’s in the past; now there’s a different problem. Guatemalans are rolling over the border in much the same way that Mexicans are in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

So, the character of Belize is changing, but for the foreseeable future, it’s still going to be Belize, and I rather like it. Aside from Panama, Belize would be my first choice in Central America.

The problem with Central America, however, is that it’s a bunch of small countries that have historically been very unstable. And culturally backward. Most are under the thumb of the United States… there’s a long history of U.S. invasions, most recently in Panama with Noriega. There are Frito Banditos running around these places…

The most culturally advanced country in Central America, not counting Mexico, of course, since it’s in North America, is Guatemala. But Guatemala has had huge troubles with violence, which has only recently come to an end… I hate going through checkpoints at night, manned by jumpy, uneducated, heavily armed teenagers.

Nicaragua is the low-cost alternative, but it’s relatively backward. Panama is probably the best choice. It’s very international, very urban (in Panama City), and it’s very sophisticated, infrastructure-wise.

If I didn’t like Argentina and Uruguay so much, I would put Panama at the top of my shopping list.

L: Got it. Back to the exchange controls themselves. Do you think people will have any warning at all? It seems to me that this is the sort of thing the Powers That Be would want to spring on people.

Doug: I think it’s going to come out of left field. It always does, with at most an official denial just before it happens. In August 1971, Nixon devalued the dollar, which immediately dropped against gold and all foreign currencies. I think there’s a reasonable probability that the government will do that again. Gold may not be part of the equation, but they may decide to put in some sort of fixed exchange rate between the dollar and various foreign currencies.

The reason for thinking this is simple: with all the dollars outside the United States devalued by that much, that much of a liability just vanishes into thin air. And in the short term – it’s never a long-term fix – U.S. exports would go up. This would “stimulate” the domestic economy. Imports to the U.S. would go down, which would make for fewer dollars leaving the U.S. and adding to the $7 trillion overhang the U.S. already has.

L: I know you hate making predictions, but can you tell us if your “guru sense” is tingling on this so strongly that you think it could happen this year? Or is this more of a 2010 possibility? 2011?

Doug: The timing on this is really unpredictable. These people don’t have a plan. They’re acting “ad hoc” to whatever seems most urgent. All the so-called “economists” around government today are really just political hacks. Their world views are totally unsound.

L: With all the problems the U.S. has, do you think this could happen now? Could we be reading about new exchange controls on this afternoon?

Doug: Sure. Although they typically pull these stunts over a weekend. I expect something of this nature to happen any time between tomorrow morning and two years from now. If some form of currency controls are not instituted within two years, I’m going to be genuinely surprised.

So, if you’re going to take action, you should start heading for the exits now. Not next month, and certainly not next year.

L: For those who don’t take action until it’s too late, under the scenarios you mentioned, they’ll still be able to get money out. It’s just that it might be more difficult, time consuming, humiliating, and certainly more expensive to do. For every $100,000 they move, only $90,000, or $70,000, or whatever will get to where it’s supposed to go. Can you foresee a more Stalinesque alternative, where they simply can’t get anything out at all?

Doug: Hopefully not. Anything is possible, and things can change so rapidly… but I’d hate to think of what conditions would be like if they ever became that draconian. It’d be so bad on other fronts that there would be all sorts of even more urgent things on your mind – Americans would get a very quick and unpleasant education in the real meaning of Maslow’s hierarchy.

L: Like the Mad Max-style neobarbarians at the door with a battering ram.

Doug: Exactly – that’s when you’ll definitely want to be in more pleasant climes. I’d want to be watching it on my wide-screen, in comfort, not out my front window.

L: We’re talking about extremes here…

Doug: You know, back in the 1970s there was a spate of books published on financial privacy. In those days, financial privacy was still possible. Now, it’s not only no longer truly possible, short of embracing a completely outlaw lifestyle, it’s very dangerous to write about it or even talk about it. I kid you not. These days, people who ask too many questions about privacy techniques may well be government stooges…

There’s lots of handwriting on the wall. All those books on financial privacy were published in the ‘70s – if you look on Amazon, you can still find them. But there’s nothing really worth reading that’s been written on the subject in 20 years. It’s actively discouraged by the government. I could name – but I won’t – at least two authors that got themselves into a real jackpot this way. Forget about the First Amendment.

In fact, I even feel uncomfortable talking about it in this interview.

So let me once again emphasize that I advise everyone to stay fully within the bounds of the law.

That’s not for moral reasons, of course; there is no morality to the law. It’s strictly for reasons of practicality. Risk-reward ratio.

L: Understood. Loud and clear. Any more investment implications, besides foreign real estate, that you want to draw attention to here?

Doug: Yes – and it’s another reason for those so very clever boys in Washington to embrace currency controls. They will be disastrous for the U.S. economy, but there’s a very good chance that, in the short run, they’ll be very good for the stock market. That’s partly for the reasons I already mentioned about it temporarily boosting U.S. exports, and hence earnings of U.S. exporters, but also because all that money that can’t leave the U.S. will have to go into something.

Investors will probably want to put it into equity, rather than debt, while the dollar is depreciating. Again, it’s disastrous over the long term, but as a short-term play, buying the blue chips the day the exchange controls are instituted could be a good move.

L: You’d buy the Dow?

Doug: I might, if I couldn’t think of anything more intelligent or original to do. We’ll just have to see what the situation is like.

L: This will be a development we’ll have to keep an eye out for in The Casey Report, then.

Doug: Yes, we will. The more politically controlled an environment, the more distortions are created. And the better it is for a speculator.

L: Thanks again, Doug – you’ve given us a lot to think about.

Doug: My pleasure.

Doug Casey and Louis James