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Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: May 16, 2011 Reporting From: Santiago, Chile

In Banking, Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Interesting places, Jobs in Cape Coral, Marine Info., Medical treatment, Offshore accounts, Political, Taxes on May 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Sovereign Man

Notes from the Field

Date: May 16, 2011
Reporting From: Santiago, Chile

On June 10, 1215 AD, after prolonged rebellion and frustrating negotiation, a group of England’s most influential barons entered London to force the disastrous King John Softsword into accepting a revolutionary charter of individual freedoms.

Five days later in the Runnymede meadow of Surrey County, John affixed his royal seal onto what became known as the Magna Carta. It still exists on the books today in England and Wales.

This document was one of the more important antecedents to the US Constitution; its proclamations ended the absolutism of England’s monarchy and spelled out very clear rights and freedoms, including, among others, the right of a man to enjoy his private property without trespass from government officials.

Over 550 years later, the framers of the Constitution codified this right in the 4th Amendment to be secure in one’s private property. Last week, the Indiana Supreme Court effectively rejected both documents in two separate cases.

In the first case of Lacey v. State of Indiana, the Court ruled that police officers serving a warrant on a private home may simply walk right in without knocking.

The second case of Barnes v. State of Indiana is far more startling. The case deals with one Richard Barnes, a regular Joe citizen of Indiana, who was in the midst of marital problems with his wife one evening in 2007. The couple was arguing when police arrived to the scene and attempted to enter the home.

Barnes made it very clear to the officers that they were not to enter his home. The officers did not have a warrant, and they did not have probably cause to believe that anything illegal was happening. But they entered regardless.

Barnes tried to block the door, and as the police officers muscled their way past him, he shoved one of them against the wall in defense of his property. Barnes was choked and tasered in his own home, subsequently hospitalized, then charged with misdemeanor battery on a police officer.

The case went to court, and the Barnes defense team cited a private citizen’s right to resist unlawful entry into one’s home. They lost. The case was appealed, all the way up to the Indiana Supreme Court. Here’s where it gets interesting.

The Court agreed that the police officers entered the Barnes home illegally. The Court further agreed that one’s right to resist illegal entry has existed since the Magna Carta. The Court further agreed that the US Supreme Court has reaffirmed this right to resist unlawful entry in numerous court cases.

Seems pretty cut and dry, no?

Yet, in summarizing the court’s opinion, Justice Steven David writes, “We hold that there is -no right- to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.”

Wait. Full stop. A citizen has no right to resist unlawful entry by police officers on his private property? Apparently we’re all supposed to lay down like two-toed tree sloths while these jackbooted monkeys turn private property into yet another ‘rights free’ zone.

Americans already have to put up with dispensation of the Constitution at airports, border checkpoints, political events, many train station, and soon to be bus terminals and shopping malls. We’d better add ‘private residence’ to that list as well.

The right to protect oneself and one’s property against unlawful entry is the hallmark of any free civilization. Conversely, it is the hallmark of a totalitarian police state when government goons have the authority to go stomping around on private property without oversight of a judicious, impartial court.

There is no middle ground here… and a government that is on the way to denying this right is not far down the road from denying other basic, seemingly no-brainer rights– like assembly, criticizing the government, and possession of firearms.

One of the reasons I travel so much is so I don’t have to deal with this kind of nonsense. I enjoy spending time in countries where I have no fear of some government agent forcing his way into my home.

There are a number of such places in the world– Chile is definitely one of them.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

PS for SMC Members: Your monthly premium edition will be sent out momentarily. I’m particularly excited about this edition because we have managed to negotiate a way for you to establish a bank account in Singapore at one of its strongest banks without having to visit the country! Stay tuned for details.

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: April 25, 2011 Reporting From: En route from Santa Cruz, Bolivia

In Banking, Business, Business/Political Trends Worldwide, Continental Travel, Jobs, Medical treatment, personal and business, renminbi currency, Sovereign Man on April 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: April 25, 2011
Reporting From: En route from Santa Cruz, Bolivia

[Editor’s note: Simon put an unusual amount of photos in today’s letter, you can see all of them online.]

Anyone who has any doubt that central planning and corruption destroys an economy should head to Bolivia. The country is a classic example of a resource-rich nation whose economic potential has been squandered by socialism.

It wasn’t always this way. Bolivia has had several periods of prosperity in its relatively brief history; in the late 1800s, for example, the price of gold began to rise dramatically against silver which was backing many currencies at the time such as the US dollar. (see chart).

Bolivia’s mining industry dates back to the 16th century, and as the country was rich with gold, its economy prospered. The good times lasted until the global depression in the 1930s when Bolivia and Paraguay went to war over the Chaco, each side thinking there was oil underneath the ground.

Following a terrible defeat and a resurgence of tough times, a number of revolutionary movements sprouted around the country. These took hold for several decades, eventually leading to a series of failed military dictatorships that were finally abandoned in the 1980s.

With an inflation rate of roughly 25,000%, Bolivia’s new market-oriented government took immediate steps to liberalize the economy, reduce capital and trade barriers, privatize state-owned companies, and attract foreign investment.

By 1985, the economy was heading back on track, and the prosperity lasted through the early 2000s when nationwide turmoil broke out over the fate of Bolivia’s massive natural gas reserves.

In light of new gas discoveries near Santa Cruz, the government provided concessions to a group of foreign companies who were willing to invest the necessary intellectual and financial capital to exploit the reserves. This move was widely opposed by many Bolivians and resulted in violent protests.

Ultimately, socialist presidential candidate Evo Morales was elected in 2006 and began his tradition of May Day nationalization decrees, starting with the natural gas reserves.

Morales considers himself a champion of the poor, and his stated aim is to distribute the profit from Bolivia’s resources among the people. Certainly, there is a large contingent of the population within Bolivia that lives in abject poverty, and their prospects have changed little over the years.

Socialists like Morales think that you can cure poverty by throwing money at the problem. They believe that by confiscating profits from evil capitalists and sprinkling them among the poor, they can lift people out of poverty.

This is a logical failure. Poverty isn’t caused by a lack of money… it’s caused by the lack of ability or opportunity to create value. Showering poor people with money does not address this problem, just ask any millionaire lottery winner who’s ended up back in the trailer park.

Like an incompetent physician who routinely misdiagnoses an ailment, socialism tries to treat the symptoms of poverty rather than address its root cause. Consequently, these measures ultimately end up as catastrophic failures.

The most common play is to vastly expand the size of government and hire legions of new workers. To give you an example, there is a network of toll roads outside of Santa Cruz. You pay the toll, not for the upkeep of the roads (which are in terrible condition), but to pay the salary of the guy who collects the toll.

Army bases are everywhere in Bolivia. You can’t drive 30 kilometers without passing some sort of military installation where a bunch of jackbooted monkeys are parading around waiting for the Brazilians to invade.

Perhaps the best example is at the airport.

When you want to leave Bolivia, there is first a three-step check-in procedure. Following that, you have to stand in another line to pay the airport departure tax. Needless to say, this revenue doesn’t go to improve the airport, but to pay the salaries of the people who collect the tax.

Following that is the passport border control, another line. Following that is an INTERPOL check, yet another line. Following that is narco-trafficking checkpoint, where they go through your carry-on baggage looking for drugs.

In my case, the inspecting officer actually sniffed my iPad, leading me to believe he was either heeding
New York Fed President Bill Dudley’s culinary advice, or honestly thought that I could manage to pack the circuitry full of cocaine without damaging the touch screen functionality.

After that is yet another line for final customs clearing. The whole process takes 2-hours on a good day.

Each of these people along the way has a job… yet not a single one of them is adding any value or gaining any valuable experience. The net effect of such policies cascading across the entire economy has been unmitigated wealth destruction.

Deep down, Bolivia is a nice country. It’s incredibly cheap, the people are friendly, the women are attractive, and the weather is quite nice. But it truly takes a special person to be able to deal with the constant misgivings and inefficiencies in this centrally planned state.

When I compare Bolivia to it’s southern neighbor Chile– clean, modern, developed, civilized, market-oriented– it’s a night and day difference.

Fundamentally, these are the same people who have taken two completely different paths. One leads to wealth and is a great example of how a pro-market, limited government can benefit society. The other leads to poverty, and is the clearest example of what happens when politicians drive an economy.

Where do you stand– is it possible to eradicate poverty by giving out money for free? Let me know what you think.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Notes from the Field…..Simon Black……via e-mail

In Medical treatment on October 27, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: October 27, 2010
Reporting From: Trivandrum, Kerala State, India

In life, you can either be an Elvis person or a Beatles person. I’m an Elvis man myself. Fortunately, so was Ashok, the brakeman on train #6302.

I serendipitously ended up meeting Ashok by mistake– I boarded his train as it was literally pulling away from the station thinking it was the one that I was supposed to be on. It wasn’t.

As my companion and I chased down the train, Ashok was poking his head from the second-to-last car, and he helped us aboard after I hurtled our luggage onto the carriage. Only once on board did I realize that a) we were on the wrong train, and b) we weren’t even in a passenger car… we were in the brake room.

Lucky for me, Ashok seemed more transfixed by my beautiful friend’s flowing blonde hair rather than the fact that two strangers were illegally aboard his car.

It ended up being a wonderful experience, we talked for hours. It turns out that he has a keen interest in American politics and kept asking me about the issue of Obama’s religion and birthplace. Apparently infotainment is still a pretty big US export.

I was more curious to pick his brain about India; the question I ask everyone is– how can such a diverse country of 1.2 billion people who speak over 600 different languages and come from dozens of segmented religious and cultural backgrounds possibly co-exist under a single flag?

“I cannot explain it,” he said. “Only God knows.” That’s a typical answer here.

By the end of our trip, Ashok and I had become fast friends, swapping stories and taking silly photos. Then he pulled out his mobile device– something that looks a lot like a Blackberry but is incredibly more advanced– and requested something rather bizarre of me: he asked me to sing a song into the microphone.

“uh…. I don’t really…. dooooo that….” but the look of disappointment on his face was too much to bear. And so, in appreciation of his kindness and generosity (he had even offered to share his meager lunch with us), I broke into “My Way” in the style of Elvis Presley.

It may have been the strangest incident of my trip so far, standing in the brake room of a speeding train in the middle of rural India with a total stranger singing karaoke without the music. But it seemed to repay my debt to Ashok for the knowledge and kindness that he had extended.

Aside from the fact that Ashok really loves Elvis, I also learned that he has a son studying medicine in Australia. After finishing his schooling, Ashok’s son will have an abbreviated residence and then return to India to take up medical practice at an international private hospital.

In India, it’s typical for many private hospitals to have western-trained physicians; rather than staying in the west, many choose to return home because they feel like the cost-adjusted opportunities are stronger in India, and they get to spend more time practicing their craft rather than filling out insurance paperwork.

At India’s private hospitals, many of which thrive on the business of foreign patients, there is relatively little government or insurance bureaucracy to deal with. Patients pay cash, and the costs are so low that the hospitals can profit handsomely while providing world-class treatment.

Here in Kerala, there are a number of hospitals that specialize in foreign medical tourism. The CRAFT hospital, for instance, is renowned for its infertility treatment center, and the Ahalia Eye Hospital is a JCI accredited facility with numerous success stories of treating ailments where western hospitals had failed.

One of the more famous hospitals in India is the Apollo chain which also has a number of JCI accredited facilities for a variety of afflictions including cancer and heart disease.

According to the physicians and administrators that I’ve spoken to here, procedures are a fraction of what they cost in the west; hip replacement surgery runs about $6,800 and coronary angioplasty about $2,700, inclusive of accommodation, medicine, surgical fees, etc.

From my own experience, though, I’ve found that the best part of medical treatment overseas is being able to see the doctor right away– waiting time is practically zero. In many countries doctors will still even make house calls and invite you to ring them on their mobile phones if you have any problems.

This is in stark contrast to the norm in many western countries where you waste away in the lobby waiting for some nurse to triage you… and in some instances ultimately get treated by a physician’s assistant rather than a medical doctor.

Given the value for price and the English proficiency in the country, India is one of the places where you may consider planting a ‘medical flag’; these are countries with top quality medical care at a fraction of the price that you would pay in the west.

Rather than stressing about rising insurance premiums or the bungling incompetence of government-run hospitals, foreign medical care is a viable and cost effective solution for the issue that should be everyone’s #1 priority– our health, and the health of our families.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

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