This "Partnership" is the Gun Pointed at the Heart of Democracy
There's a gun pointed at the heart of representative democracy, and your Congressperson has their finger on the trigger.
It's called the American Legislative Exchange Council-or ALEC for short.
And while its name may sound perfectly harmless, it's the single reason why your vote no longer matters.
You see, due to the influence wielded by this mysterious group, elected officials have become little more than high-paid rubber stamps.
As for representation, thanks to ALEC, you don't really have any.
So what is ALEC?
Where to Invest in 2013: What Jim Rogers is Most Optimistic About
If you're looking for where to invest in 2013, know that the best investment opportunities often come from areas that are out of favor, giving them large potential upside.
That is what successful contrarian investors such as Jim Rogers and others do. They look for investments where people are rushing out of the 'doors' – creating bargain prices, as opposed to investments where people are clamoring to get into – creating rich valuations.
So far in 2013, one sector where investors have been rushing out of is the entire commodity space. This has created opportunities for sharp-eyed investors.
Cybersecurity: See Who's On This Latest Hacker Hit List
A group of mostly Middle East and North Africa based criminal hackers launched a cyber-attack campaign Tuesday that tested the cybersecurity of U.S. government agencies, financial institutions and commercial businesses.
Dubbed OpUSA, the effort is the latest in a string of cyber-attacks on crucial U.S. entities aimed at slowing down or blocking these heavily trafficked sites.
"We see this as a widening in the cyber war front and organizations may require new tactics or technical defenses to defend," Carl Herberger, VP of security solutions at Radware Ltd. (Nasdaq: RDWR) told FOX Business Network.
"We anticipate that today's [Tuesday] attacks will be against high impact targets, including government websites, law enforcement organizations, brand-name entities, financial services organizations and critical infrastructure providers," he added.
The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI warned of the attacks weeks ago.
"The attacks will likely result in limited disruptions and mostly consistent of nuisance level attacks against publicly accessible web pages and possible data exploitation," read an unclassified memo from Homeland Security, first obtained by cybersecurity blog KrebsOnSecurity.com.
"Independent of the success of the attacks, the criminal hackers likely will leverage press coverage and social media to propagate an anti-US message," the alert said.
Indeed, the story made its rounds in the media, while cybersecurity personnel were on high alert.
Why Workers Are Getting Squeezed by Obamacare
Obamacare stipulates that large employers don't have to provide health insurance to those working fewer than 30 hours a week.
As a result, critics say, employers have increasingly cut worker hours to stay within the limit.
Fox Business' Stuart Varney noted Monday the latest jobs report showed 278,000 people were pushed involuntarily into part-time work when they wanted full-time work.
"In large part, that's because Obamacare's coming down the pike," Varney said.
The squeeze isn't happening only in the United States.
In Japan, employers have been limiting workers' hours to avoid paying health insurance for them for decades, Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald said on Fox Business' "Varney & Co."
Check out this video to hear Keith's take on the Obamacare provision and how it will affect American employees.
Invest in the Chinese Yuan Before It Takes Over the Financial World
It's only a matter of time before the U.S. dollar loses its more than 50-year reign as the world's dominant reserve currency, and it will be replaced by the Chinese yuan.
From January 2012-January 2013, transactions in yuan grew 171% in value, moving the yuan ahead of the Russian ruble to 13th place in global currency payments, up from 20th last year.
And you can bet the yuan will soon crack the top 10. In March, yuan payments grew in value 32.7%, compared with a gain of only 5.1% across all currencies.
Part of the reason for the yuan's growth is that at least half of all trade with emerging markets could be settled in yuan by 2013- 2015, which would be up from just 3% in 2010, according to HSBC.
For Money Morning readers, the rise of the yuan shouldn't be a surprise.
The Next Big Change in the Energy Markets
Thoughts are again turning to the next big change in the energy landscape.
As it unfolds, I have been working on how to exploit this trend and will be rolling out my recommendations when I appear at the MoneyShow in Las Vegas next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Of course, before I sketch my new approach to the Caesar's Palace audience, I'll outline it here first. You can expect more on this in coming Money Morning editions.
Today, I want to extend on Saturday's discussion and set the stage for the revisions I will be begin sketching out in my next article.
This is once again about hedging.
Don't Let Stocks Like These Tempt You
When I'm investing, I like to have a good idea of the economic value produced by the companies I invest in.
Not because I'm a great fan of "social investing" — I'll happily buy tobacco company shares if the yield's good enough and the consumption trend is solid — but because there are a lot of dangerous stocks out there that are simply tricks of the market.
Sometimes short-term factors make a company very profitable for a while and then suddenly disappear. Those are the companies – and sectors — where investing is dangerous.
And that's what I'm going to tell you about today.
What Warren Buffett Said at the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting
About 35,000 people traveled to Nebraska Saturday to hear what Warren Buffett had to say at Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting for 2013.
Referring to his out-of-the-ordinary invite, Kass told The Wall Street Journal Buffett is "self-confident, but he's not afraid of a challenge. I believe he enjoys challenges."
Just hours before the crowd gathered, Berkshire reported a 51% jump in Q1 profits. The conglomerate earned $4.89 billion, or $2,977 per Class A share, up from last year's $3.25 billion, or $1,966 a share. Berkshire's insurance arm was a particular bright spot, as was its BNSF railroad.
The company's diversified portfolio, which runs the gamut from banks to cowboy boots to boats to candy, surged to $1.1 billion from $580 million.
Five Scandals That Made JPMorgan Wall Street's Worst Villain
Wall Street's Big Banks are hardly known for their good deeds, but JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) may be the worst of the lot.
For a bank that used to be considered a model citizen among Wall Street institutions, the reversal of reputation has been stunning.
According to The New York Times, at least eight federal agencies are currently investigating JPM. And JPMorgan has more regulatory sanctions against it than any other major U.S. bank.
The damage to JPMorgan's reputation has gotten so bad that it has started to negatively affect the nation's largest bank by assets.
Increased regulatory scrutiny brought on by the scandals has slowed or halted about 60 new projects in JPMorgan's consumer unit, for example. The turmoil also has touched off a series of high-profile departures from the bank.
How to Hedge Oil Prices in Volatile Markets
Welcome to the new pricing environment.
We're already started to see kneejerk reactions to short-term indicators last Friday.
A better than expected jobs report sent crude oil prices higher immediately. The figure was encouraging but not a barnburner. Of course, some massive upward revisions for the previous two months hardly hurt either.
Some of this is the result of investors still gun shy after a massive recession. Now we have certainly had a very nice bull market run and the prospects of another meltdown any time soon are negligible.
Nonetheless, the new drivers of oil prices provide little chance for real dynamics to work themselves out. This is all about reaction. Picture it as the newest investor version of smoke and mirrors.
Today's prospects are very good for the oil sector. Natural gas has pulled back from some heavy gains. Major losses earlier this week were erased on Friday. There is a range forming, and it is likely to remain absent any unexpected developments (largely geopolitical at this point).
Demand will increase as we move into the summer; global levels will rise quicker than domestic in the U.S. or Western Europe. That will provide some upward pressure on oil prices.
Remember as well that, while certain region such as the U.S. have a new largess in unconventional (tight or shale) oil, the full volume of that new production will be more expensive to bring on line. That means the additional extraction will not decrease the overall price.
However, the real question is how to make money if trading is in a narrow range for the near term.
You need to develop a new hedging strategy. Here's how…