Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required

“Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent.  Many give up.  The I.R.S. is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/us/law-lets-irs-seize-accounts-on-suspicion-no-crime-required.html?_r=0

Patriot Act ‘sneak-and-peek’ now overwhelmingly used in drug cases

“Since the Patriot Act passed, the number of of sneak-and-peeks each year has grown from about 16 per year to over 11,000 in 2013. Meanwhile, not only have the number of sneak-and-peek investigations unrelated to terrorism increased on a massive scale, the percentage of sneak-and-peeks that have anything to do with terrorism continues to drop. In other words, sneak-and-peek is increasingly ubiquitous while the justification for granting the government this power in the first place — terrorism — is not only irrelevant to the tactic’s increasing pervasiveness, it gets more irrelevant every year.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/10/29/surprise-controversial-patriot-act-power-now-overwhelmingly-used-in-drug-investigations/

OpenBazaar: The Decentralized Offspring of Ebay & Amazon

“No longer do you have to worry about a centralized business dictating the rules of operation (i.e. what kinds of items you want to list, what price, where you can sell or buy from). This creates a borderless trade system that no longer is limited to corporate interests.   Secondly is, as a protocol, OpenBazaar will support many types of business operations, not just direct sales or auctions (la eBay). You will be able to conduct all sorts of activities like lending, crowdfunding, crypto security issuance. The thing that makes this work, though, is our arbitration system, which uses multisignature transactions and a reputation system that is being built currently.”

http://cointelegraph.com/news/112756/openbazaar-the-decentralized-offspring-of-ebay-amazon-interview-with-project-lead-brian-hoffman

Live Like You’re Free

“You have been born into a time when you can communicate with thousands of people in an instant, people who share your interests and concerns. You can leave town for the weekend and see things daily that your ancestors could not possibly have imagined. Your job is almost certainly less physically taxing than any job any person who lived prior ever had. Statistically, you are likely to live longer and better than anyone born before you. Entrepreneurs are busy creating and popularizing some of the first tools in history that are more useful for undermining coercion than for furthering it. Freedom is expanding daily in ways our predecessors could hardly have dreamed.”

http://fee.org/the_freeman/detail/live-like-youre-free

Russian Stocks Stagnate, but Moscow Exchange Shares Soar

“One Russian issuer just bucked the trend in impressive fashion: the exchange itself. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) last week sold a nearly 12 percent stake in MOEX in a private placement worth some $500 million at 60 rubles, or some $1.75, per share. The issue was four times oversubscribed. Aside from signaling investor demand, MOEX stressed that the transaction brought its free float above 50 percent for the first time — bucking another trend in statist Russia, where other promised privatizations have been delayed for years. The MOEX placement was arranged by Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co., along with Russia’s Sberbank and VTB Capital.”

http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article/3359817/Banking-and-Capital-Markets-Banking/Russian-Stocks-Stagnate-but-Moscow-Exchange-Shares-Soar.html

Russian Stocks Now Cheaper Than Ever as Oil Rout Deepens

“Central bank data show net outflows from Russian assets totaled $75 billion in the first half, compared with $61 billion in all of 2013. The ruble has weakened 19 percent against the dollar this year, the second-worst performance among emerging-market currencies. ‘The market got smashed down for absurd reasons so reality is now setting in to the value there,’ Jim Rogers, who set up Quantum Fund with George Soros in the 1970s, said by e-mail from Singapore yesterday. Rogers, who said he has been bearish on the former Soviet nation for most of the time he’s been investing, said Oct. 1 that he has bought Russian ETFs and local stocks, including OAO Aeroflot and OAO Moscow Exchange.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-13/russian-stocks-now-cheaper-than-ever-as-oil-rout-deepens.html

Jim Rogers: “Sell Everything & Run For Your Lives?”


“Erin sits down with famed investor Jim Rogers to talk about Russia, agriculture, and China. Rogers is bullish on agriculture and likes China. But he sees the Chinese purchase of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel as a top of the market kind of ‘trophy’ acquisition. Jim also comments on whether a US equity bear market is on the horizon.”

Feeling Down?

“You have been born into a time when you can communicate with thousands of people like you instantly at any time. You can leave town for the weekend and see things daily that your ancestors could not possibly have imagined. Your job is almost certainly less physically taxing than any job any of your parents, grandparents, or virtually any person who lived prior to them ever had. Statistically, you’re going to live longer and better than anyone born more than a few years before you. Entrepreneurs are busy creating and popularizing some of the first tools in history that are more useful for undermining coercion than for furthering it.  You are the 0.00001%. Live like it.”

https://building.liberty.me/2014/10/10/feeling-down/

Swiss central bank opens Singapore branch [2013]

“The Swiss National Bank opened its first overseas branch on Thursday, in Singapore, as it seeks to improve management of its huge foreign currency reserves, including more than $50 billion in Asian assets.  The SNB has accumulated over 430 billion Swiss francs ($445 billion) in foreign currency defending the 1.20 per euro cap it imposed on the Swiss franc in 2011.  The bank is looking to diversify these reserves, nearly half of which was in euros as of the first quarter of this year, partly by branching into Asian assets.  Designed to improve the round-the-clock management of the reserves, Jordan said the Singapore office will allow the bank’s traders to operate in a favourable time zone.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/11/snb-singapore-idUSL4N0FH0LO20130711

Swiss central bank fights to block public vote on gold backing

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“Now the SNB is fighting on a new front: to block a populist motion that would force it to almost treble the proportion of reserves held in gold.  At the end of November, Swiss citizens will vote on an initiative that calls on the central bank to hold at least 20 per cent of its assets in gold; to repatriate any gold stored abroad; and to refrain from selling any gold in future.  The initiative seeks to tap into a current of Swiss public opinion that is fiercely proud of the country’s independence, and unsettled by the economic struggles of its neighbours. The government has rejected the idea, saying last year that ‘gold no longer has any meaning for monetary policy’. Parliament voted against it by a large majority.”

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-fight-to-block-public-gold-vote/41061340