South America

Expat Files – 02.05.16

February 5, 2016

- Today we have some more personal stores concerning the failed attempts of Latin governments trying to copy the Big Brother state apparatus in Latin America. It's NOT working. Talk about “lag time”! When discussing places “off the Gringo tourist trail”, Latin culture is just not remotely ready for anything resembling what we know as intrusive first-world Big Brother culture. So as far as personal freedoms are concerned, the somewhat predictable Latin "chaos" can be a very good thing (wait…that’s an oxymoron, right?) -How safe are Latin infrastructure projects? Considering the general Latin lack of detail and proper maintenance, especially with government projects, should Gringos and Expats be overly worried about driving the roads, bridges and overpasses? -More details concerning Latin bank issued credit cards (VISA /MC).

Leid Stories – 01.28.16

January 28, 2016

Power Shift: The Radicalized Right and the Battle of ‘American Values’ Leid Stories discusses the rise of the radicalized right in America and the seismic shifts it has caused, and continues to cause, in our notions about governance, national identity, democracy, and even self.

Expat Files – 01.10.16

January 10, 2016

-The “Gringo Advantage” strikes again... sparking yet another simple, inexpensive business idea. (one you’d never expect). -Fresh gringos and new Expats can get awfully steamed up when they find they have to wait an interminable amount of time just to get waited on by a cashier or bank teller. Today we have a gringo “drive up AutoBanco” story that will get you thinking about how and why “manana” time is a part of Latin culture and why it will probably never change no matter how much Gringos and Expats kick and scream about it. -Today we have a strange (but not for Latin America) car parking-lot story that takes place at a modern Latin Airport -What does ”Off the Gringo Tourist Trail” really mean? -A visit to a typically decrepit, “free” Nation Health Care Latin Hospital. There are 101 reasons why public hospitals are NEVER recommended for Expats and Gringos. -We also have an email defending Mexico as a top place for Expat living -An analysis of how the two-faced Latin media, and criminal Latin celebrity hypocrites, portray Donald Trump as the evil one.

Alternative Visions – China’s Financial Crisis Erupts While US ‘Pivots’ to Destabilize South America – 01.08.16

January 8, 2016

Jack Rasmus takes a look at this past week’s major event in the collapse of the China stock market, as well as the resurgence of Neoliberal policies in South America and the US pivot to that continent and destabilization of economies in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentine now underway. What’s behind the most recent stock decline in China? Jack explains its relationship to the slowing real economy there, and the pressure to devalue its currency, the Yuan, that is growing. Devaluation coming in China is reflected in investors attempting to take their money and run, thus the stock decline now underway. China government efforts to slow it via ‘circuit breakers’ is not working as well as before. The real economy-currency-stock nexus will continue. How this all has contagion effects on the rest of the global economy is explained. Jack then looks at the US ‘pivot’ to South America, and specifically how the US destabilizes economies by wrecking its currency. Global oil and commodity crash, slowing China, and US interest rate hikes are all having major negative effects on South American economies. In this scenario, the US is now attempting to exacerbate Venezuela’s currency collapse even further, while attacking it politically and legally. Venezuela is a model of how the US destabilizes a country’s currency and therefore economy, as a prelude to re-establishing more friendly Neoliberal governments and policies.

Expat Files – 01.03.16

January 3, 2016

-Some Expat auto owners weigh in with amusing stories describing what happens when Latin cops tried to shake them down for dough. BTW: the car/vehicle paperwork shakedown situation is common around Christmas time (when most Latins are beyond dead broke). -Latin cops love bribes (mordida). But they love free gifts too. That why long term Expats sometimes tuck certain special cheap giveaway items in their cars just to hand to cops pressuring for handouts. In the event you get pulled over, some key cheap items can work like a charm! -In every Latin country there is a small group of 20 to 50 very wealthy “old money” families that own huge tracts of land along with many of the basic industries. Their last names and are well known to the rest of the working population- who generally revere them like minor royals. Often their snotty kids are unruly, abusive jerks. Even so, cops try to maintain a “hands off” policy. It’s sort of their Latin version of our “Gringo Advantage”…. though thankfully, few of us gringos come off like them in the pretentious jerk department. -The parking situation in Latin America can be complicated. Today we compare Latin parking options to what you are used to up in Hartford and Cleveland. Some of what you are about to hear will sound a bit nutty, but that’s life in Latin America.

Expat Files – 12.27.15

December 27, 2015

-More stories of failed charitable freebee attempts by first-world “do gooders” to save the poor… -How “do gooders” team up with corporate monsters like Mcdonalds to use so-called acts of charity. The secondary effect is simply to program poor kids into becoming future “Happy Meals” consumers. -More unique traditions that show up during Latin holiday season (most of these totally unknown by first-world people) -Reports on two criminal Latin Ex-Presidents: one (from El Salvador) under house arrest for stealing $15 million plus and the other (from Panama) now holed up in Mijami awaiting extradition from the USA. -Today we discuss the root causes of the massive Latin real estate bubble and why deceptive advertising looks as if it’s keeping parts of it somewhat afloat (but not for long)

Expat Files – 12.25.15

December 25, 2015

-Latins celebrate the Christmas holidays for virtually months and months at a time. That said, if you yourself are obsessed about the Christmas season you’ll be in great company down here. -Because Latins go all out for Christmas, most of them are dead broke before the big event even arrives which, oddly enough, is why the local cops are ever so vigilant as the day approaches. Cops love the holidays. “Tis the season” for the cops to squeeze extra cash out of unsuspecting drivers who are perpetually late and in a hurry to get somewhere (it’s a manana society you know). Today we talk about what to do if you get stopped or pulled over. Right off the bat there will be definite signs that indicate a bribe request is forthcoming. We’ll also explain a few tricks you can use to try to get out of it. -Today I’ll describe my own very recent traffic stop- Christmas bribe/extortion story. Not to worry, it does have a somewhat happy ending. Listen now to hear how it took me a half hour to wiggle my way out of a sticky situation, when confronted with some crooked cops. -In a late breaking email, a gringo listener (with a Colombian wife) describes some of the more common and clever new neighborhood extortion schemes that have been popping up in working class residential areas in Colombia, specifically in and around Barranquilla. Could it happen to me, you, or other Expats to? Should we be worried? Listen and find out…

Expat Files – 12.20.15

December 20, 2015

- Which Latin currencies are the strongest and most stable? Which are apparently good risks to hold, and why? -More news on the very high interest rates Latin banks are offering in both US dollar funny money and local funny money accounts too. -What Latin banks are conservative, strong and worth dealing with? How do clueless gringos search them out? -How to take advantage of subtle local variations in currency exchange rates. -Which Latin countries have the fastest growing fat-ass government bureaucracies, and why? -A sad but true Latin holiday story..

It’s All About Food – Beverly Bennett, Pure Power of MACA – 12.01.15

December 1, 2015

Part I: Beverly Bennett, Pure Power of MACA Maca—grown in the high plateaus of the Andes mountains in central Peru and Bolivia—has been cultivated for over three thousand years. Widely praised as a superfood and credited with boosting stamina, energy, libido, and fertility, maca also functions as an adaptogen, a natural substance that stimulates the body to heal whatever is out of balance. Maca has been recommended for decades by both conventional and alternative health care practitioners worldwide. Beverly Lynn Bennett reviews maca’s nutritional and healing properties and all its available forms. She thoroughly covers how to incorporate powdered maca into daily meals and provides 32 scrumptious recipes, including beverages, morning meals, snacks, sides, main dishes, and treats. Incan Maca Hot Chocolate, Garden Guaca-Maca-Mole, and Maca-Miso Dressing are just a few of her delicious offerings.

Mark Garavan – Living in the anthropocene – a frame for new activism

November 4, 2015

We are living in a new time. A new world has emerged. Like many things that are new on such a scale it is at once frightening, disturbing, uncomfortable. We have emerged from the geological epoch of the Holocene into a new epoch designated as the Anthropocene.[1] This notion of the Anthropocene refers to a profound realisation that human aggregate activity is now the single most decisive force shaping the planet. We have become the most significant geological agent acting on the Earth. For better or worse we have broken through a certain limit and possess now the power to determine the biosphere of the planet. In the Anthropocene the old simplicities are gone. We are no longer human subjects acting upon an objective nature ‘outside’ us. Nature and human are now bound together. Free nature is over. Free humanity is over. They are relics of the Holocene. In our new age, Earth and Human are entangled irrevocably together. Welcome to the era of Earth-bound responsibility! The assumptions, the myths, the illusions of the Holocene no longer apply. Read
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