The Real Reason to Welcome Secession

“Borders change over time. And humans, when given the opportunity, tend to choose to live independently in smaller and more internally cohesive groups. That’s a big reason why there are more than 200 countries in existence today, versus around 70 in 1945.  And the process continues.  What makes the residents of places like Catalonia, Scotland, and Texas so anxious to separate themselves from their respective national governments? Humans have a fundamental drive to seek personal autonomy, and that drive carries over into our social and political lives. And, of course, smaller governments are more accountable than larger ones.”

Europe: Cliff Ahead?

“Over the last two years we had opposing trends—booming European stock markets and weak underlying real economies. This conflicting mix was mainly fostered by easy money that drove down interest rates to historic low levels. Plowing money into stocks, despite the poor fundamentals, was the only solution for most investors.  At their current elevated levels European stock markets appear vulnerable, and it seems reasonable to doubt that we will see a continuation of booming stock markets. Of course, such a decoupling can continue for some time, but the longer it continues, the closer we will get to a correction of this anomaly.”

Should Marijuana Investors Be Afraid of the SEC?

“The industry still has immense potential over the long-term as more states allow recreational and medicinal usage. Changing production laws in Canada have opened the door to large-scale operations and returns to efficient production could be extremely high.  The opportunity in the ‘green rush’ has been accompanied by share prices surging as much as 4,500% for one company and triple-digits for most in the space. It is obvious now that shares were over-priced on revenue that is probably still a few years out. The field is getting more reasonably valued and some of the larger, more established companies might even be worth a look.”

Penning the Sheep for a Shearing—Capital Controls, Part 2

“A year or two early is always better than one day too late.  You will never know precisely when the day of reckoning will come… until it’s too late. And it will likely come as a surprise in order to ensure its effectiveness—like the sneak attack on Cypriot bank depositors did on that Saturday morning.  Even if capital controls are never imposed, you are no worse off for internationalizing your savings. In all likelihood, you’d be better off. You could sleep better at night knowing that you have insured your savings by diversifying your political risk. Also, many offshore banks are better capitalized and otherwise sounder than any bank you would find in your home country.”

The Only Legal Way to Opt out of Obamacare

“My monthly health insurance premium recently increased by 25%. And my agent predicts that at the end of 2014 my premium will double.  Another reason Obamacare policies cost more is that they must provide a mandated set of benefits. Obamacare calls policies that offer benefits like reconstructive breast surgery for men ‘minimum essential coverage.’  If you’re over 65, Medicare is considered minimum essential coverage. But I’m too young for Medicare – and so are most of my clients. It turns out that the only way that an American citizen or resident can opt out of minimal essential coverage is by leaving the US and becoming a bona fide resident of another country.”

US State Bank Supervisors to Discuss Bitcoin at Public Hearing

“In late February, the US Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), a membership organisation for state banking regulators that liaises with Congress, announced it would launch a new task force aimed at investigating emerging payments issues, including topics related to bitcoin and other digital currencies.  To date, nine state banking officials have joined the task force, including New York Department of Financial Services superintendent Benjamin Lawsky. The organisation’s fact-finding mission will take one of its first steps on 16th May, when the CSBS will hold a public hearing on emerging payment issues in Chicago, Illinois.”

Prove you have no offshore accounts or face prosecution, says UK

“Savers who stash money in offshore accounts are more likely to be prosecuted under government plans to get tough on tax evasion.  The Treasury unveiled plans last night to simplify laws and make it a criminal offence for Britons to hold undeclared income overseas.  Currently, HM Revenue & Customs can only secure a conviction if it can prove that an individual was trying to hide money from the authorities.  But George Osborne will shift the ‘burden of proof’, meaning that accused individuals under investigation must demonstrate that this was not the case.  Convicted criminals will pay a hefty fine or face jail under the plans.”

Sen. Blumenthal Wants You To Know Train Safety Is Very Important

“During a track-side speech on railway safety Friday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) unintentionally demonstrated just how important railway safety is. Watch what happens as soon as the surprised senator says: ‘Safety, as you know, is paramount.’ Yes it is, senator, yes it is.  The video may go viral, but not for the reasons you would hope for.”

Supreme Court Upholds Vehicle Search Based On Spurious 911 Call


“When officers found the truck, however, they observed no erratic driving after following for several miles. They nevertheless pulled over the vehicle and smelled marijuana. A search of the truck netted four bags of pot, fertilizer and hand clippers – resulting in the arrest of the occupants, Lorenzo and Jose Navarette of Santa Rosa, Calif.  The Navarettes fought unsuccessfully to suppress the fruits of the traffic-stop-turned-pot-bust search. They argued that the anonymous tip was too vague to support the stop, and that officers observed nothing while following to establish a reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity.”

Mining Shares I Like Ahead of the Gold Rush

“Since I’ve been inundated with emails asking me what miners I like going forward, I think everyone has a right to know what I am looking at.  So here we go. A list of 10 you might want to keep handy:

1. Goldcorp Inc. (GG)

2. Yamana Gold, Inc. (AUY)

3. Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM)

4. Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM)

5. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX)

6. Hecla Mining Co. (HL)

7. Eldorado Gold Corp. (EGO)

8. New Gold, Inc. (NGD)

9. Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV)

10. Randgold Resources Limited (GOLD)”