Ecuador Bans Bitcoin, Plans Its Own State-Run Digital Money

“The law gives the government permission to make payments in ‘electronic money’, but decentralized digital currencies like bitcoin will now be prohibited.  The proposed electronic money is to be backed by the assets of the Banco Central del Ecuador, the nation’s central bank. The National Assembly will oversee the new currency while the central bank will develop and integrate it into the broader financial system.  Companies offering digital currency services will have to withdraw from operations or cease entirely.  This includes BitPagos, which recently raised $600,000 and had plans to grow in Ecuador’s bitcoin market.”

Shock: Colombia to Legalize Marijuana


“Colombia has a great climate for marijuana. The plant is indigenous and once it is cultivated and harvested, Colombia is in a good position via its free-trade agreements to supply top quality, naturally produced, low-cost cannabis around the world. From an investment standpoint, those seeking to participate in this powerful trend should be asking, ‘How does a company ideally position itself to capture significant market share in this timely and highly-profitable industry – and establish a sustainable leadership position?’ The answer will no doubt emerge as more countries with more natural advantages emerge to offer quality products to a growing market place.”

FedEx Facing Criminal Charges for Shipping Internet Pharmacy Drugs

A federal grand jury in San Francisco has indicted FedEx, the world’s largest cargo company, on criminal charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and distribution of misbranded drugs. Federal prosecutors are seeking to forfeit and seize at least $820 million in what they say are proceeds from such illegal shipments.  The move comes after FedEx rejected offers from federal prosecutors to cut a deal. FedEx’s chief competitor, UPS, settled a similar case last year by agreeing to pay $40 million after being linked to the shipment of prescription drugs by illegal online pharmacies. Both cases were brought by US Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag.”

Rand Paul: Blame Dick Cheney for Iraq violence, not Obama

“Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. said many critics who blame the president for the ferocious Islamist insurgency in Iraq, like former Vice President Dick Cheney, should take a look in the mirror.  ‘I don’t blame President Obama,’ Paul told NBC News. ‘Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution.’  Paul said those who have questioned the president’s approach should ask the same questions of those who supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq: ‘Were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? Was the war won in 2005, when many of those people said it was won?’  ‘They didn’t, really, I think understand the civil war that would break out,’ Paul said.”

US Drug Policy and the Border Child Immigration Crisis

“The majority of the child immigrants are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Those Northern Triangle countries suffered not only devastating civil wars in the 1980s, with the US supporting conservative, often dictatorial governments (or, in the case of Honduras, serving as a platform against the government in Nicaragua), but also chronic poverty and income inequality.  They are also the countries feeling the brunt of the expansion of powerful Mexican drug trafficking organizations who, in response to increased pressure from the Mexican government (assisted by US aid under the Merida agreement) began pushing south into the region around 2008.”

US Falls Apart, Stock Market Booms?


“Current (public) scandals include Libor manipulations, the gold price-fix scandal and so-called flash trading exposed by financial journo Michael Lewis. Now there is another scandal being brought into the public view via Wall Street on Parade, which last week posted an article entitled, ‘Lawsuit Stunner: Half of Futures Trades in Chicago Are Illegal Wash Trades.’  Securities marts in the US and throughout the world have always been controlled by insiders that will gain advantages as they write the rules and implement them. In our hyper-regulatory climate, driven by international interests, trading has been centralized by force, giving insiders huge incentives to use all sorts of trickery.”

Shipping container apartment being erected in Washington this week

“They are the building blocks of the global economy, 20 million big steel boxes sloshing across oceans on mammoth container ships.  Starting Monday, the first of 18 dented outcasts are set to be stacked in a dug-out District basement, turning a deteriorating student group house into an experiment in creating eye-catching housing fast and on the cheap.  Among the questions raised by the effort: Can hundreds of thousands of discarded sea containers, long talked up by designers, really help create more affordable housing, or is it mostly a gimmick? And just how do you bring humanity to the confines of an 8-by-40-foot box?”

Big jump in number of millennials living with parents reported

“More Americans than ever live in multigenerational households, and the number of millennials who live with their parents is rising sharply, according to a study released Thursday.  A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population, lived in multigenerational arrangements in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s more than double the 28 million people who lived in such households in 1980, the center said.  For the first time, a larger share of young people live in multigenerational arrangements than of Americans 85 and older. The share of people in the older age group living in multigenerational households rose between 2000 and 2012 to 22.7%.”

New-home sales fall 8.1% in June; May sales in record downward revision

“Paired with June’s slippage, newly updated sales figures for March, April and May show the industry’s spring performance was weaker than previously estimated, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.  Instead of rising nearly 19% from April, May’s sales were only up about 8%. The magnitude of the change was a single-month record for new-home sales data, according to Census records on revisions that date to 1996.  Sales fell from May in every region, led by a 20% decline in the Northeast. The falloffs elsewhere were 1.9% in the West, 8.2% in the Midwest and 9.5% in the South.  The median price of homes sold last month was $273,500, up 5.2% from June 2013.”

In Gold We Trust 2014

“The In Gold We Trust 2014 report takes a sober look at the big picture in the monetary system and offers a holistic analysis of the gold sector. This is the eighth edtion of the report. It is written by Ronald Stoeferle who is the managing partner at Incrementum AG in Liechtenstein. He manages a global macro fund, focusing on a proprietary management approach, heavily influenced by the Austrian School of Economics.  Probably the most important of the ongoing trends is the frightening observation that we arrrived in terra incognita when it comes to our monetary world. This is the result of continuing monetary interventions by central banks around the world.”