Month: March 2016

A Desperate Phone Call From Sam To Sovereign Man

One of my favorite websites to visit and favorite newsletters is one written by Sovereign Man. He always has lots of great information about living abroad and politics in the United States. I wanted to share this post from Sovereign Man I received today by email. If you haven’t checked out their website or signed up for the newsletter, I highly recommend both. Enjoy..

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March 30, 2016

Santiago, Chile

 

Yesterday I received a rather desperate phone call from a relative of mine named Sam.

I used to spend a LOT of time with Sam growing up. And back then he was an amazing guy.

Sam was the kind of person who was so charismatic that you felt happy and excited just being around him.

He was an incredibly positive person with a keen interest in helping others.

I remember how frequently he used to start some meaningful project to benefit his community, or quite often less-fortunate people thousands of miles away that he had never met.

Sam was also incredibly successful. He was just one of those people who always seemed to be able to make money. And over the course of his life he amassed substantial wealth.

Sam was constantly learning and creating; he was in to art, science, technology… a real Renaissance man.

Most of all, Sam was a person of rock-solid integrity. He stood up for his values, and the rest of us deeply respected him.

I’m really grateful to have had his mentorship for so long, and I know that I’m a better person as a result of his influence.

But starting around 15 years ago, Sam started to change.

He went through a major personal crisis… the kind of thing you hope to never have to experience in life.

It was absolutely terrible. And the entire family rallied around him in support.

I personally spent several years of my life going to bat for Sam, and I sacrificed a lot for him. The whole family did.

But Sam never recovered. In fact he just got worse.

He started making the most incredibly bizarre financial decisions, squandering away his wealth in ways that just seemed completely crazy to the rest of the family.

He had dozens of businesses at that point, and ALL of them were losing money.

But he refused to make any changes. He refused to tighten the business spending. In fact he started spending even more, squandering what little wealth he had left.

We tried to help. Some of his accountants approached us at one point and gave us a snapshot of Sam’s finances. It was gruesome.

This guy had easily been the wealthiest person we had all known. But he had been reduced, at least on paper, to poverty.

His debts were astronomical, and he hardly had any savings or assets left other than his house and a few fancy antiques.

But Sam refused to believe it; he insisted on living like the multi-millionaire he had always been, even though he no longer had any income to support his lifestyle.

It was so bad that the entire family had to chip in and start putting money into his bank account on a monthly basis.

But whatever amount we could muster was barely enough to cover Sam’s most basic living expenses, let alone all the luxury he was accustomed to.

And we couldn’t even begin to make a dent in Sam’s debt burden, which was growing by the day. We found out later that he had even gone into debt with some pretty shady characters.

We tried intervening again and again. But Sam wouldn’t listen.

And despite all the help and support we had extended him, Sam ultimately turned on his own family, attacking the people who loved him most.

He used to ring us up, and sometimes even show up on our doorsteps in the middle of the night, demanding money… screaming that we had an obligation as a family to pay him.

He even got violent with some of my relatives; with others he broke into their houses and stole from them.

At some point there was a complete mental breakdown, and he became totally paranoid. He started taking letters from the mailbox and reading our mail.

And he even ratted out a few of my relatives to the authorities for some petty violations of the municipal code.

A few members of the family started to distance themselves from Sam; at that point the guy was a loose cannon and becoming dangerous.

We found out later that he started embezzling funds from his companies. He’d taken money out of his employees’ pension accounts for his own personal use.

And he’d leaned heavily on his reputation in the business community to build a giant fraudulent pyramid scheme.

It was really sad.

Sam had changed. There were always good days and bad days, and sometimes I would occasionally see flashes of the old Sam.

But for the most part his desperation had made him petty, deceitful, and abusive, even with his own family.

And the man I had once known– that strong, honorable Sam who always stood up for what was right– was long gone.

He and I had once been so close, and he was such an important mentor in my life.

But at a certain point I had to recognize that there were too many things about another person’s life that were beyond my ability to fix.

I will always love my Uncle Sam and be grateful for his life lessons and the fond memories of our time together.

But I finally had to move on with my own life and become free of his destructive behavior.

It was a hard decision. But I know it was the right one.

It’s natural to want to help family; but to continue enabling someone so abusive only makes his problem worse.

And I realized that the old Sam still exists. He’s within me. And all the rest of the family.

So the best thing I can really do for him is to emulate all the good qualities he used to have… and continue to live by most important values that Sam once stood for.

 

Sam may be your Uncle too… because Sam is America.

 

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black

Founder, SovereignMan.com

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Terrorists May Have Accessed Nuclear Power Plants

Revelations are now coming to light that IS terrorists associated with attacks in Belgium, Paris and fighting in Syria may have already accessed (and worked at) at least one nuclear power plant in Belgium. Apparently 2 workers at a nuclear power plant in Belgium quit work to go to Syria and fight for ISIS. Later, another potential terrorist sabotaged the plant in attempt to cause a nuclear melt down. At some point, terrorists were also videoing a top official who works at a Belgian nuclear plant, in what authorities believe was preparation to kidnap him/her and infiltrate the plant.Nuclear Power Plant

The investigation into this week’s deadly attacks in Brussels has prompted worries that the Islamic State is seeking to attack, infiltrate or sabotage nuclear installations or obtain nuclear or radioactive material. This is especially worrying in a country with a history of security lapses at its nuclear facilities, a weak intelligence apparatus and a deeply rooted terrorist network. – The New York Times, March 25, 2016

The terrorists aren’t coming, they are here! Back in the early 2000s Americans didn’t fear terrorism after things settled down subsequent to 9/11. We felt safe. Now the pendulum of terror is swinging our way again, as fears that London and the United States may be the next targets of terror.

As Worldwide Terrorism Explodes, Are You Prepared?

Terrorism, particularly related to Islamic Extremist ideals, is increasing exponentially worldwide. This week suicide bombers killed 34 people in Brussels, Belgium, the heart of Europe and NATO. Europe and many other parts of the world have opened the gates for immigrants from the Middle East (such as Syria), accepting millions displaced from their homelands. Unfortunately, with the good also come the bad, and there may be many more sleeper cells of terrorists waiting to come into action, like those who acted on Tuesday. No matter what the cause of the terrorism, it’s time for us to stand together and stop  terrorists and those who harbor them from entering into our borders.

According to The Associated Press, The Islamic State (IS) has trained at least 400 fighters to attack Europe. As we mourn those innocent people who died at the hands of cowardly terrorists, let us exponentially increase our resolve to stamp out this illness once and for all.don't mess with texas

Associated Press Article: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BRUSSELS_ATTACKS_CELLS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-03-23-15-15-46

List of Terrorist Events that killed more than 100:

Note, there are more than 40 of these cowardly terrorist events that have occurred in the past 15 years! http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/terrorism/wrjp255i.html

Details of more recent terrorist attacks worldwide: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks

Facial Recognition Is Being Used At Stores Near You

Did you know stores like Wal-Mart are already using facial recognition on customers like you? If you live near a larger city or you frequent larger chain stores like Wal-Mart, your face is probably already in a database somewhere. But what’s really frightening is not that your local Wal-Mart has your face in a data base – it’s what may happen in the future with your data. And I don’t recall being notified by the store that my face was being photographed and catalogued. Hmm….welcome to the dystopian future of 1984!

facial recognition

Read more at The Hill: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/273489-business-eyes-facial-recognition-guidelines

9 Questions You Need To Answer Before Moving Abroad

Here’s a great follow up blog to our last one about bugging out to Ireland. Check it out!

Dream Chaser

Before moving to Manchester, my only experience with living abroad was the ERASMUS semester I spent in Malta. But that was a completely different story – I was there temporarily, and didn’t need much. However, when you move to another country to live and work there, and to build a new life, things get more serious. And before you do that – you have to make sure you know what you’re doing and what you’re in for. Sharing from my experience – questions to ask and answer before the big move.

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The Fastest Growing Economy in Europe

I don’t necessarily recommend just packing up and bailing out of your own home country, but for some it is not an option.  Sometimes things just happen and you need to move along.  So if you are country shopping you might find it interesting that Ireland has the fastest growing economy in Europe.  Last year Ireland’s economy grew 7.8% which is greater than China and the US. ireland

The factors that caused this are mostly sound common sense principals but the two that I find most notable are #1: Ireland has a low corporate tax rate (12.5%) that is dwarfed by the Unites States 39% corporate tax rate (This is what attracts business). #2:  Ireland is prosecuting the bankers that crashed their economy in 2008.  Ireland recently extradited David Drumm, former chief executive of Irish Anglo Bank, back from his hide out in Boston Massachusetts on 33 charges, including forgery and fraud. (This restores public trust)

Now, how does this help you?  Keep your eye on Ireland.  If they continue to grow I will recommend them as a place to expatriate to.  My only word of warning is that unemployment in Ireland is still at 8.6% so don’t expect to hop off a boat and be flooded with job opportunities.   However, this is a European country and if you land a job it will pay way better than a job in most Latin American or African countries.  It is important when planning a move to consider how easily you can get work as an immigrant as well as what it will pay and how you will be treated.  At this time, for those very reasons, I have Ireland on my watch list and you should too.

Google Yourself – Are you Hard To Find?

For some time now I’ve been pondering how hard it would be for someone to find me by simply doing a Google search. I like to think that as a privacy advocate and one who is guarded about my personal information, I would be difficult to find. Google yourself now and you may be surprised by how much of a “footprint” your digital data leaves for a stranger to follow.island house rock

Recently, I was put to the test, so to speak. As a proud entrepreneur, I’ve been involved in several successful small enterprises in the past. One of those was an online business that I ceased operation after moving my family to a new city. Later, one of my past clients was apparently trying to contact me to access some information that I retained (he had lost his copy). The good news is that initially he had difficulty finding me.

As a side note, we at Privacyliving.com have developed several techniques that allow one to separate from the previous life (such as changing phone numbers, new address, etc., removing an online presence and much more complicated methods). We also wrote the book, so to speak, on disappearing. Read “How To Disappear in 24 Hours.”

However, these days it’s getting harder to remain anonymous and off the radar.

castle doors

Ultimately, my client did find me, sort of. Using an online subscription pay service (there are lots of them online), he was able to find a mailbox (not home address) that I occasionally check. This is a little how a “skip-tracer” works, and also how you destroy a sweater: Find the one loose thread and it can be the undoing of the sweater, and you. The good news is that I’m glad to help my client and he’s not a bad guy looking to harm me.

As a privacy advocate, I’m proud to say that it would take some much more sophisticated digging to find me. But it’s a lesson to all of us that your information is being cataloged online by organizations who will sell it to the highest bidder, whether it be your home address, phone number, business information and more.

If you think you might be in danger of being found or you work in an industry (such as law enforcement) where you make lots of enemies, consider reading “How To Disappear in 24 Hours.” You can also contact us for a consultation that is tailored to your situation.

In the 21st Century, your privacy is paramount!

Haunted By Hackers: A Digital Ghost Story

A fascinating tale of what happens when you piss off a hacker, who happens to live in another country. The moral of the story is that in the 21st century, no one is safe from cyber terrorism.

Haunted by hackers: A suburban family’s digital ghost story

human electronic

The 4th Amendment at US Border Crossings

First of all, this is a series of articles about border crossing and privacy.  When we get 100 views on this one we will post Part II, so if you like the article be sure and share it!

If you watch an episode or two of “Cops” you will inevitably see a suspect with his shirt off yelling at the police and telling them he knows his rights!  This may not be something we all do but it is something we all think we know.  Most of us are wrong when it comes to the actual scenario at hand.  In this instance I am referring specifically to your 4th amendment rights when you cross into the United States at the border or its equivalent (like an airport).

4th amendmentYou don’t have to be a smuggler to be concerned about your privacy at the border.  Many ordinary vacationers and business people report being treated unfairly by the agents on a regular basis.  In defense of those agents I will just say I know at a crossing known to be used by terrorists, drug mules, and human traffickers the BS coming from people gets old and I know it leads them to see just about everyone as the enemy.  Somewhere along the way a balance has to be achieved.

To paraphrase the 4th amendment, the people should be secure in their belongings without fear of unreasonable search and seizure unless authorities get a warrant signed by a judge.  Due to the abuse of this right by all sorts of criminals, and the escalation of tyranny by power hungry officials the fourth amendment is sometimes better off used as toilet paper at border crossings.

I have made multiple border crossings and entered the US from foreign countries via airplane on many occasions and have usually done so with no problems.  However, I have had plenty of incidents as well.  Of course I do my best to stay up to date on court cases as well as preparing myself for the worst every time. (More on preparing for the worst at a border crossing in Part II).  At one of my more memorable crossing experiences, my partner and I were stopped by the agent who said the following: “So…what I’m wondering is what two white boys coming out of central Mexico are hiding” as he glared at us with a stare that demanded an answer.  We were then searched extremely thoroughly.  Most memorable, was how our private belongings and luggage were all gone through and laid out on a table for all to see.  When the agent couldn’t find anything wrong, he simply walked away leaving us to re-pack all of our belongings that he and his partners had made a mess of.border security

The courts have ruled time and time again that customs agents can search based on their own training and experience as well as the totality of the circumstances.  The totality of the circumstances can really come way out of left field.  For example: in my case at the Mexican border, my partner and I were white and were driving up to America from about 8 hours deep into Mexico.  That apparently is a red flag.  The agents will always ask where you are coming from and where you are going.  If you are coming from an area known for having issues or are going to an area known for issues, you can expect further scrutiny.  I also know that my partner and I both had driver’s licenses from different states.  That is also suspicious.  The point here is that a trained officer from the border patrol added all these small unimportant details and manufactured a reason to detain us for a search.  This is the totality of circumstances.

To condense my point here I will say this.  The 4th amendment at this time is pretty much on suspension at all airports and within 100 miles of all US borders and ports.  It is my opinion that you will probably not do yourself any good by arguing with an officer about this.  Cooperation is probably the best thing you can do.  However, there is one amendment that can’t be suspended or taken away ever: the 5th Amendment.  When you are stopped you don’t have to be rude or argue or run or fight.  Just shut your mouth and don’t give up anything you are not asked for.

As promised, I will expand on this information in part II.

Pentagon Drones Are Spying On US Citizens

Drones are no longer used in foreign operations. Now they are being used to spy on Americans. Unfortunately, this may be the sad beginning to a terrible chapter in US History. One we’ll eventually look back on and regret.

“The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights have been rare and lawful, according to a new report.” – USA Today

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/03/09/pentagon-admits-has-deployed-military-spy-drones-over-us/81474702/Drone Size