Caesar: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Ay, Caesar; but not gone.
– Shakespeare, “Julius Caesar”
GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – Caesar was one of the leading mass murderers of his time. And one of its greatest generals.
He took an army into Gaul (present-day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany). At the time, there were some 3 million people in the area. He killed a million of them. Another million died of starvation and disease. A million were left.
Gaul was probably the Iraq or Afghanistan of the day. It “harbored terrorists,” said senators in Rome. Besides, some of its Celtic tribes had invaded Rome itself 400 years earlier.
The Gauls (dozens of Celtic tribes) fought bravely against Caesar’s legions. But they were no match for the well-organized, well-trained, ruthless Romans.
“Veni, vidi, vici,” wrote Caesar.
But while he could subdue millions of barbarians, he couldn’t stop his own senate companions from stabbing him to death on the 15th of March, 44 B.C.
What goes around, comes around.
When the Drought Comes
When we left you yesterday, we were dissecting America’s “capitalistic” economic system. We promised to continue today. But with so many disgusting body parts already on the floor, we are getting a little nauseated.
So, we switch to a lighter subject, a brief report from the ranch.
We rode over the pass, yesterday. We needed to see how much work would be required to fix it. The trail leads from our valley up through the mountains to the larger valley to the east.
Our side is high and dry, with little grass. On the other, the river flows year-round, allowing us to irrigate alfalfa crops and stock up round bales of hay.
The trouble is, the cattle have to get from one side to the other. A road was built in the 1950s. It has not been used in many years and has fallen into disrepair; in some places, there is no trace of it left.
In desperation, we drove our cattle over the pass two years ago. A drought left the poor animals on the verge of starvation; we had no choice.
But it was a rough passage. Several cows died. More were left crippled by the rough path.
Now, we move the calves by truck. But when the next drought comes, we may be forced to use the pass again. So, we wanted to see what would have to be done to it.
The dry riverbed at Gualfin
Bill and company moseying along
We left the lower farm a little after dawn, mounted on our familiar horses and comfortable saddles. We knew it would be a long day.
Hours passed, as we gradually made our way up a dry riverbed. It was hard going for the horses, as the sand gave way beneath them. But they kept going, and the sand changed to rugged rocks. The horses picked their way among them, often stumbling, but never falling.
Then, as we headed up to the pass itself, we noticed a house in the distance…
This was our land. We had heard that there were people living up here. But we doubted it. It was too barren, too bleak, and too dry.
We rode over to the house to have a look.
Bill discovers a strange house at Gualfin
At first, it appeared that no one was there. Dogs barked. But no one came out. It was a house typical of the area – built of mud, with a mud roof. There were also some mud outbuildings and several small corrals made of broken pieces of wood, roots, and sage.
It was ramshackle… with bits and pieces of trash strewn about.
“Hola… Buen día…” we yelled.
Then, we noticed a figure behind a fence. It was an old woman. She peeked around the corner. She couldn’t get many visitors and must have been cautious about welcoming strangers.
We explained that we owned the land and were just getting to know it better. Then we asked questions. Who was she? What was she doing there? How did she survive there? (The place has no drinkable water…)
The local people, up in the mountains, speak Spanish. But it is not the same language that you hear in Madrid or Buenos Aires. It sounds more like an Indian tongue, with quick, barked-out messages. Gradually, we pieced together her story…
“I was born over at the ranch [our place]. I came over here when I was about 16, with a man. I had six children. He left. They left. I’m still here.”
Faustina is about 70. She has relatives all up and down the valley. But she lives alone in one of the most godforsaken desert outposts we have ever seen.
It almost never rains. So she relies on a small spring to water her goats. She eats almost no vegetables… or fruits. Only goat meat, goat cheese, and whatever occasional bread or potatoes her relatives bring her from town.
They also bring her water. The water in the spring is too salty for human consumption.
Why does she stay there? Why doesn’t she move in with a relative in town?
Conversation was almost impossible. So, we stopped asking questions and left her a bag of apples, some corn, and some crackers we carried in our saddle bags.
The rest of the ride was more treacherous. At one point, the road was nothing more than a narrow ledge on a steep mountainside. A slip would have been fatal. But these criollo horses don’t slip. Or else, those that do are gone, along with their riders.
The riders (carefully) navigate the rocky pass
Finally, after about 5 hours, we reached the crest. There, in front of us and below us, was the ranch. We’d never seen it from that perspective; it was vast and still green from the late summer rains.
A new perspective of Gualfin
It took another 3 hours to come down from the pass and cross the prairie to the house. And when we arrived, we were so tired, stiff, and sore, we could barely dismount.
Home, at last…
But we have found out what we needed to know. Fixing the road could not be done with our backhoe. It would be too dangerous. The road was too far gone. It would have to be done as it was built in the first place – by teams of men with picks and shovels.
We reported this to the ranch foreman.
“You’re going to have to send about four guys up there… with picks and shovels… and they’re going to have to go at it hard for about three weeks.”
“Yes, that would have been possible in the old days. But I don’t know if I can find four guys willing to do it today. It’s too hard. And too far away. When it was built, the guys stayed up there for weeks, sleeping out in the open and eating whatever they had brought with them. But those men are long gone. And the young men today are used to getting welfare payments, riding on motorcycles, and watching TV.”
The young recruits are not the same as the old veterans.
TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT: THE NEXT CONSUMER ELECTRONICS CRAZE
By Jeff Brown, Editor, The Near Future Report
Venture capital (VC) firms are pouring money into augmented reality (AR) companies…
You’ve likely already heard of virtual reality.
Virtual reality takes you into a completely artificial space… There’s no natural light, only computer graphics. It replaces the world you see normally with a virtual world you can interact with.
Augmented – or “mixed” – reality is different. With AR, graphics, images, or data are overlaid on top of the world you normally see.
You’re able to view the real world. But it’s augmented, or mixed, with these other visuals. Augmented reality allows users to still see the world around them.
And as you can see from the chart below, venture capital money is racing to fund startups developing this technology.
As you can see, VC firms poured $3.3 billion into AR companies in 2018. That’s more than double the amount invested by VCs in 2017. And it’s a 1,650% increase from the VC investments from 2011.
All told, $8.9 billion has flowed into private augmented-reality companies over the past eight years.
Why are venture capital firms taking such an interest in private AR companies?
You may think that AR applications are just silly games that kids play… But they are big business.
In fact, the top-selling AR game Pokémon Go generated more than $2 billion in revenue in two years. For perspective, average revenues per year of a company in the S&P 500 is about $2.2 billion.
And this technology has countless real-world applications outside of gaming. AR can be used to enhance GPS applications… make social media immersive… improve educational curriculum… facilitate interior design… make construction measurements… and much more.
As I told you recently, I believe an intuitive set of AR glasses will eventually replace your smartphone.
This level of capital investment always leads to an explosion of new development. We will see a wave of new AR applications on mobile devices in 2019 and 2020, as a result.
I expect to see hundreds of millions, if not a billion, AR headsets and devices sold per year in the near future.
– Jeff Brown
P.S. In order for next-generation AR devices to work at full capacity, we’ll have to take the next step in wireless network technology. I’m talking about upgrading our current wireless networks to 5G.
Fifth-generation wireless technology is a game changer. It will give us wireless download speeds that are, on average, 100 times faster than what we have today. And it will also be one of the biggest investing trends of the next decade. To see how I’m getting my readers ready to profit from this new tech, go right here.
P.P.S. And be sure you check your inbox tomorrow morning. I’ll be stepping in as the Diary’s weekend guest editor. I’ll show you why the U.S. and China are headed toward a second “Space Race.” All the details on that tomorrow morning.
Will the Next Financial Crisis Be Your Own?
As Bill has said time and time again, the working man’s dollar is decreasing in value. He has to work for 1,154 hours just to get a standard Ford F-150! So it may come as no surprise that consumer debt, in total, hit a record-high of $4 trillion as of December… leaving most people living credit card payment to credit card payment. Which leaves some experts wondering… will the next financial crisis be your own?
Amazon’s Secret Squad of PhD Economists
Amazon has turned business, as we know it, inside out. Now, the Big Tech giant is on to its next venture… measuring inflation. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continues its old-school surveying tactics, Amazon has recruited a dream team of economists and PhDs… to beat the government at its own game…
This Is the First Serious Threat to the iPhone…
Consumers are holding onto their smartphones longer… the newer models simply aren’t innovative enough to compel consumers to run out and buy them. Not to mention, they’re expensive. Bill’s go-to tech expert, Jeff Brown, shows why the “something big” we’ve been waiting for in the smartphone world is finally here… and why that spells trouble for Apple’s iPhone.
Today, AOC and her “solutions” continue to strike a chord with dear readers…
I’m 69 years old and was raised in Ms. AOC’s district. If you look at the demographics of her district, you will see it is semi-literate, as her ideas are. It has been a corrupt, ticket-fixing Democratic stronghold for 100 years. Their idea of democracy was to do the low-intelligence voters favors and then hand them pre-filled-out sample ballots to carry into the voting box to make sure they didn’t make any mistakes on voting day. So explain to me why we are shocked that what comes out of her mouth is so bizarre. Pull the stats from the U.S. Census Bureau on her district to see what I am saying.
She has no understanding of our “real” system of governing, nor a handle on our economic system. If you listen to the gibberish that comes out of her mouth and analyze it, you’ll find it is meaningless, populist rhetoric. Most of the commentators that interview her are like the dogs we had in back windows of our car years ago, whose heads bobbed as the car was in motion. She won’t go on a program where she is challenged because she would be hard pressed to explain her rambling comments.
– Anthony L.
I do enjoy your articles, especially when you delve into financial and economic issues. Some very good and thought-provoking “stuff.” However, when you get “off course” and delve into politics, you would be well-served to get a little more factual. Take AOC… Bill, she is the real thing. Most everyone, yes even lots of Republicans, identify with most of her messaging. The GOP-ers are in a panic, and all they can do is call her an idiot and other nonsensical names. This will get them nowhere… just embolden her further. Her tax-the-rich plan is on the beam. Seventy percent-plus agree with AOC. What the filthy rich are not paying now is a joke. Some of our best economic times have come when the top rate was 70%.
And please do not infer that AOC is an idiot when the truth is she is brilliant. Watch her and listen to her sometime and you will soon catch on. AOC did not graduate magna cum laude from Boston University by being an idiot. She does have some growing up to do but will learn fast. Yes, she did work in a bar, but that is a better “education” than Trump got, barely getting through school at all levels. AOC pulled herself up from her bootstraps, unlike bozo Trump, who was handed $400 million or so from his pop. Who do you think is the better person?
– Matthew P.
Bill, as you yourself said, the system is rigged, in favor of the very rich and powerful. Surprise, surprise. What else is new? The element of meritocracy under capitalism is there, but it’s insignificant in relation to how the system is rigged, economically and politically, in favor of the uber-rich. And mostly everyone knows that…
From what I’ve read, some 78% of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck, and that number has been growing over the past years, and promises to grow even more over the years to come. To me, that indicates that capitalism is failing the vast majority of hard-working Americans. Maybe that’s why an increasingly greater number of Americans are having second thoughts about wonders of capitalism, and are therefore curious about alternatives, like democratic socialism… Just a thought…
– Herb K.
Meanwhile, other readers pivot back to The Donald… should we all be thankful for President Trump?
I was thinking while I was enjoying your article, that as an individual, I have more confidence in President Trump than I had with Obama. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason, I feel President Trump will lead this nation to new heights. It might be bolstered by a mountain of debt, but as things progress, I think the deficits will be replaced by surpluses. Thanks again for the great articles.
– Dale Y.
I believe Donald Trump is a threat to the United States and he needs to be impeached. I’m talking out of office and put in the biggest, darkest, deepest hole that we can find. He’s not a good president. He has business with Russia and all other foreign countries. He’s excellent in that area. He should stay with this area of expertise, not running the United States.
– Jesse G.
I think the budget that President Trump submitted is perfectly fine. He is the smartest president we’ve ever had with finances and knows exactly what he’s doing. And what so many in the leftist camp don’t understand is that we are so much better off, in every aspect, than we’ve been in decades, if not ever. Our economy, health, and safety are his main concerns and he has worked miracles with the sludge we’ve been left with after the Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations left office.
Open your heart and mind, eyes and ears, and keep your mouths closed for a change. President Donald Trump is a blessing from above and truly cares about his fellow American brothers and sisters, as well as this awesome country we live in. He wants to protect each and every one of us, and building the wall is a great way to do that. You want to come to the United States and live the grand life we have here? Then, do it the right way, the legal way. You’ll be welcomed and your life will be so much more rewarding, if you become a citizen and do things the right way. I thank God for President Trump… and you should, too. We all should be thankful.
– Beverly T.
In Case You Missed It…
For the first time ever, Casey Research founder, Doug Casey, is revealing a revolutionary way to make huge money from gold… even if the price falls.
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