GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – The full moon was still up in the west when we got up yesterday.
We put on a pair of jeans, boots, a flannel shirt, a scarf, a sweater, gloves, and a hat.
It was dark, but riders were already heading down the allée from the house toward the campo adentro – the inside pasture.
Pablo, one of the ranch hands, lives on the far side of the pasture in a puesto (a remote farmstead) where several canyons come together and at least a trickle of water is usually available.
From his position at the edge of the field, he flushed out the few cattle that had wandered that far to the east and drove them over the hill.
There, he was to hook up with the rest of the gauchos and begin sweeping the valley for the rest of the cows.
Meanwhile, your editor… his wife, Elizabeth… Sergio, our farm manager… and Marie Beatrice, a young French woman who is visiting… all headed out to the north, to the “marsh.”
More about that in a minute… First, a brief interruption.
One of the core insights of the Diary is that our money system is the source of many of the problems we see in our society.
This includes the unequal distribution of wealth, the loss of factory jobs, the slowdown in real growth, and the runaway power of the “Deep State.”
But this insight is not an easy one to understand.
What’s “fake money”?
We’ve seen only one other person – economist George Gilder (quoted more often by President Reagan than any other living writer) – who has managed to see through the humbug and hocus-pocus.
In his book The Scandal of Money, Gilder, like us, says the money system, founded on a bogus U.S. dollar, is not just a financial mistake. It is the source of a fundamental unfairness in our economy.
It benefits the rich, the insiders, the well-educated, Wall Street, the Establishment, Big Business, and Big Government. And it penalizes ordinary people who work normal jobs in the Main Street economy.
You can see that clearly in the following chart:
What can be done about this?
Probably nothing. The system benefits the insiders. And the insiders control the government.
Besides, Team Trump doesn’t seem to understand the effect of fake money any better than Team Obama or Team Bush.
So, in an act of high-minded desperation or cynical mischief (we’re not sure of our motive), we have put together some of our writings on the subject in a special book.
And we sent a copy of the book to President Trump.
No, we don’t expect the president to read it. He famously doesn’t read books. And now he is far too busy anyway.
But perhaps… maybe… possibly… who knows… someone in the White House may pick it up, read it, and find it interesting.
Perhaps he will even talk to “The Donald” about it.
Now, back to our story…
There is little water in the marsh this time of year… or most of the year, for that matter.
But in the rainy season, the flatland at the edge of the mountains where the river flows through a narrow pass to the adjoining valley fills with water and remains marshy for weeks, sometimes months.
Riding through it is a delight. You splash through shallow ponds and scare up birds.
Yesterday, though, we were not riding for pleasure.
Our part of the job was to round up the cattle that were down in the riverbed, where they were taking advantage of the last green grass of the season.
Sergio had his own horse, a pale white and gray criollo with an energetic character. Sergio is a “breaker.” He takes young horses and trains them.
From the beginning, his horse was almost out of control. A stallion, he jerked his head. He paid little attention to the bit. He ran too fast… or too slow. Several times, Sergio had to get off to calm the horse down.
“He needs more work,” Sergio explained.
When we got near to the pass, the grass was thick. There were still a few pools of water and groups of cattle grazing – 30 here… 25 there.
We were in a wide pan, a river bottom about a half-mile across, rising on either side. Gustavo was already stationed on one side. Natalio was on the other.
In the distance was a cloud of dust.
“That’s Pablo and José, driving the cattle that were down further in the valley,” Sergio explained.
We waited. Gustavo, on his red horse, on one side. Natalio, on a white horse, on the other. Gauchos never let their feet hit the ground, if they can avoid it.
We, in the middle, followed their example. We sat on our horses, with small herds of cattle on either side. All was quiet.
The sun was bright, but the air was cool. The cattle stared at us. They must have known something was up. But none moved.
Gradually, the dust grew closer… and then we heard Pablo and José yipping and yelling, driving the cattle before them.
As they came within a few hundred feet, suddenly, everyone was in motion. Gustavo and Natalio swooped down from the hills. And our little group fanned out, forming a line with the rest of the gauchos, putting the mountain called “Peach” behind us.
From there, we moved south, whooping and hollering, pushing the different groups of cattle together, until we had a herd of about 250 in front of us moving toward the corral.
The dogs did most of the work.
They barked at the heels of cattle and greatly disturbed mother cows with small calves.
When one of the cows bolted from the herd, the dogs took out after her, yapping and nipping. The cow ran away stirring up dust and trying to get a good kick at the dogs.
But soon, it realized that the only sanctuary it could find was in the herd. It soon turned around and headed back to the rest of the cows.
But when one of the small calves became separated from the herd, the situation was alarming.
Some of the dogs are almost as big as the newborn calves. We had about five of them with us.
When a calf got separated from its mother, the dogs would chase it… snapping at its eyes, ears, and hind legs. Left alone, they could bring the animal down and kill it.
We yelled at the dogs to stop. But they paid no attention. The mother cow, terrified, would then go after the dogs to try to save her calf.
This raised more dust… more barking and snapping… more desperate mooing… and even a greater frenzy from the dogs.
Whoever was closest to the emergency turned his horse and laid the whip on his hindquarters.
The sight of the horse and rider coming up fast was usually enough to disperse the dogs and give the calf and cow an opportunity to get away.
In one instance, the dogs drove a young animal to the edge of a cliff. They continued to bite at it while the gauchos looked on, unable to help it.
Suddenly, the calf panicked, fell off the cliff, and tumbled down into a ravine. The dogs didn’t hesitate; they followed the calf down the side of the cliff themselves… and fell upon the dazed and disoriented animal again.
Natalio, our oldest and most experienced cowboy, rode down into the gulch. Then, using his woven leather lasso, he whipped the dogs until they finally backed off.
The poor calf went over to Natalio’s horse, as though for protection… rubbing against it. Natalio then turned his whip on the calf, driving it down the ravine toward the herd.
By this time, Sergio’s horse was giving him more trouble.
Samuel, one of the most macho of the gauchos, traded with him. Samuel doesn’t believe there is a horse he can’t control. So he took up the challenge readily.
The pale horse squirmed… tossed his head right and left… unwilling to go forward. Samuel pulled on his reins… dug in his heels… and hit him hard with his whip.
The horse took out running with Samuel on his back.
It was not a very elegant way to treat a horse, but the animal soon fell in line… and did the work that was required of him.
Now, mounted on his excited stallion, Samuel raced from one end of the long herd – stretching out over several hundred feet – to the other… chasing escapees… pushing the herd onto the right path… driving them through the gate and, finally, into the corral.
We were about three-quarters of the way to the corral when we noticed that one of the calves had a broken leg.
“How did that happen?” we asked Natalio.
“It was born that way,” he replied.
It had been losing ground the whole way and was now trailing the rest of the herd. Curiously, the other cows seemed to reject it, kicking it when it approached as if it were one of the dogs.
“This calf isn’t going to make it,” we said to Samuel.
“No…” he answered, smiling.
When the dogs attacked it, it could neither run away nor hope for the protection of its mother, who had advanced with the rest of the herd.
We drew our horse alongside the poor thing to keep the dogs away.
“We should probably put it out of its misery,” Elizabeth suggested.
But the calf struggled on… and reached the corral. Then we all broke for lunch.
An hour later, the gauchos were separating the calves from the rest of the herd.
Yelping and whistling, they ran around inside the corral, driving groups of cattle – calves as well as cows – into a smaller enclosure.
Then they were able to separate the mother cows from their calves, leaving all the calves in one pen with the cows in the larger part of the corral. But a few of the calves and cows refused to be separated by this method.
For these few, Pablo and his brother, José, got out their lassos, threw them onto the calves, and dragged them into the proper pen.
José is a short, stocky man. He roped one of these young cows and held the rope around his back. But the calf was so strong, he pulled José across the corral as though he were waterskiing.
Then, when the animals were finally separated, the calves were run through the chute, where they were vaccinated.
This was the hardest part of the job. The calves protested as they were jabbed. They twisted and turned, ducking for cover, one under the other. Many of the calves needed a plastic device in their noses to prevent them from nursing.
The grass won’t last long. The mother cows need to rebuild their own strength. They can’t afford to have calves nursing a moment longer than necessary.
So when a calf was judged ready to be weaned, Samuel put a rope around the calf’s throat and pulled it hard against the wood chute… or manga… while Natalio worked the yellow device into its nostrils.
Often, it took several tries – both men together against the struggling animal – to get the thing in place.
As this was going on, the mother cows stood silent, looking at us as though we were murderers.
We worked at the manga all afternoon.
Your editor operated one of the gates, the only thing the gauchos trust him to do properly. All the animals passed through – 165 of them. But we did not see the calf with the broken leg.
Finally, at about 6 p.m., the last group of cows went through the chute, were given their vaccines, and then the whole herd was released back into the field.
Tired, we jumped down from the stone wall of the corral and were about to ask Gustavo what he had done with the calf with the broken leg when we saw Pablo with a knife in his hand.
Beside him, dogs were eating entrails. Hanging from the tree in front of him was the bloody carcass.
We looked closely. One of its forelegs was twisted in an odd direction.
“Would you like a piece of meat, Patrón?” asked Pablo.
Editor’s Note: Bill has been sending in pictures from the ranch all week. We’ve collected some of the best ones right here.
By Teeka Tiwari, Editor, Palm Beach Confidential
Editor’s Note: Below, an insight on a potential development with the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin from our friend Teeka Tiwari.
If you own any bitcoin, or even if you are thinking of buying some, I encourage you to read this. I’m going to tell you about a potential change in bitcoin and show you how to profit if it does occur.
Here’s what you need to know…
Bitcoin is becoming much more popular. But that comes with growing pains.
The increased usage is slowing down transaction times on the bitcoin network. Some bitcoin developers want to change the cryptocurrency’s code to allow for faster transaction times.
This faction is called Bitcoin Unlimited (BTU).
Another group of developers doesn’t want to change the code.
They argue that speeding up transaction times would concentrate the power of the network in the hands of people who can afford the much more expensive machines needed to process large amounts of data.
This faction is called Bitcoin Core (BTC).
The Unlimited guys say if bitcoin isn’t changed so it can process transactions faster, bitcoin will be overtaken by other cryptocurrencies that can scale.
Things are getting contentious. And we may reach the point where bitcoin splits – or “forks” – into two versions: Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Bitcoin Unlimited (BTU).
How to Prepare:
A cryptocurrency fork is like a corporate spin-off.
Let me be clear… No one knows for sure whether there will be a fork. My job is to get you ready in case there is. If bitcoin splits, you’ll receive equal amounts of BTC and BTU. And you’ll likely see price volatility in both.
Another of our crypto plays also had a hard fork back in July 2016.
After initially dropping 60%, it’s gunned up 413% since then. So don’t sweat the potential bitcoin fork. We’ve seen this before.
But there are two important actions you need to take to make sure you profit from a potential fork. Hold on to both versions of bitcoin. And if you store any bitcoin on Coinbase, immediately move it to a bitcoin wallet. We recommend using Jaxx.
Jaxx is a bitcoin wallet that you can use on both your desktop computer and your mobile phone.
Coinbase has said it will not support BTU. If you use Coinbase and the fork goes through, you won’t receive “shares” in BTU.
That’s outrageous, and it’s the reason we are no longer recommending Coinbase.
If you are holding bitcoin on Coinbase, we recommend you immediately move your coins to the Jaxx wallet.
Note that Coinbase has said it may suspend trading if the fork happens. So it’s important to make the change to Jaxx now. Otherwise, you might be locked out of your account before the fork.
My top analyst, Greg Wilson, put together an excellent video that shows you how to easily transfer your bitcoin from Coinbase to Jaxx. You can watch it here.
Like I said, we don’t know for sure if or when a split will take place… but we want you to be prepared if it happens. And remember… hold tight and don’t sweat the volatility. We’ll keep monitoring the situation and alert you of any big news.
There’s a good chance we could see the eventual winner of this “nerd war” soar in price very soon.
— Teeka Tiwari
Editor’s Note: Bitcoin started a currency revolution in 2013 when it shot up 8,500%. And Teeka believes that was just the beginning.
He’s scheduled a free webinar next Thursday to show readers three trends that will propel cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to new heights. And when you reserve your spot for this free event, you will also get access to three training videos from Teeka that show you how to get started trading cryptocurrencies.
He even recommends a new crypto trade. Learn more here.
Why a Fund Manager Is Giving Money Back to Investors
With the stock market continuing to climb, one hedge fund manager is getting nervous about a potential fall. He’s now doing something unusual: giving money back to investors.
This Iconic American Industry Is in Trouble
Bill’s friend and colleague Porter Stansberry shows you why an iconic American industry is on the verge of collapse. Porter warns that when it goes down, it could bring thousands of people with it.
More Americans Can’t Pay Their Credit Cards
For the first time since ’08, outstanding credit card debt passed $1 trillion. And now, the number of people unable to pay off their debt is starting to surge.
In today’s mailbag, readers react to Tuesday’s essay, “Heavily Armed Swamp Critters.”
It seems somewhat striking, that while you seem readily accepting of others compassion towards the possible death of your “dream” ranch, you seem, intentionally or not, unable to grasp the dire condition of people subjected to death by chemical weapons rained down upon them.
And while I suspect you shall move on from your “dream” situation one way or the other, the Syrian people that are subject to bombing by the Syrian government and Russian war planes, have little choice, whether they survive, or suffer an excruciating death.
While I agree that the U.S. should stay out of other people’s business, when you see the bully attacking the child, sometimes you have to step in and stop the assault. Either you become complicit in allowing the abuse, or “try” to do the right thing, expensive or not! I enjoy the “Diary” and hope to enjoy more in the future.
– D. Honrath
You have jumped to a conclusion that I disagree with. I don’t think that responding to killing children means we are getting into a war in the Middle East. We simply sent a message that WMD will not be tolerated… anywhere on the planet.
If we did nothing, they’d be here pretty quickly as the new method of operation for ISIS, and others.
We have too many rogue nations with crazy people in charge to sit by and watch. My guess is, they won’t be so quick to push us. Talk and bluster is cheap. Messing with us and killing more of your own children could bring severe consequences.
Peace doesn’t come without a price. Our soldiers have been paying that price for a long time.
– M. L.
Meanwhile, readers continue to write in about Bill’s Argentine ranch adventures. This in response to yesterday’s Diary, “Charged by an Enraged Bull”…
For most of my life I have had the pleasure of being involved in cattle; both making a little money and at times losing a fair amount on more than one occasion.
Not for sure what it is about these four legged beast that a guy/gal falls in love with; maybe it’s them taking their first breath, seeing the value added product of grass being turned into protein, or the years of genetic selection and the nutritional science that goes into producing top tier beef.
The aura, mystique and romance are indeed real. All I know is it’s addictive, keeps me out of trouble, and my better half loves the little ones when they are born.
Keep a ranching Wild Bill, many great life lessons for your grand kids will be learned at Gualfin (and yes there is still a few for us old ones too).
– B. McLain
Of the many emails I receive daily, I always read yours. Having grown up on a dairy farm, I can relate to your experiences and struggles at your Gualfin ranch.
I am reminded of the old saying that “All my problems started out as good ideas.”
– S. Miller
Last year, Bonner & Partners’ chief investment strategist Chris Mayer recommended investing in this one company.
Seven months later, the stock shot up almost 100%.
Now, Chris is revealing his method for finding this investment before anybody else in this brief presentation.