Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer announces the team’s offensive and defensive players of the week during his weekly press conference, but this Monday, he did something different. His offensive award was not to a single player, but to an entire unit: the offensive line.“Our offensive player of the week ran for 210 yards, had 15 knockdowns, scored 17 points and on the last drive of the game, killed four minutes and 30 seconds running the ball against a very good defense, so our offensive player of the game is our offensive line,” Meyer said of the unit’s performance in the Buckeyes’ 17-16 victory against Michigan State on Saturday.That offensive line consists of redshirt junior left tackle Jack Mewhort, junior left guard Andrew Norwell, redshirt junior center Corey Linsley, redshirt junior right guard Marcus Hall and senior right tackle Reid Fragel. Each has started all five games so far this season.Meyer expressed his satisfaction with the performance and progression of the offensive line through the season’s first five games, and especially in its most recent game.“Those five guys right now are locked and loaded, they’re together, they’re being well-coached, and they found a way to rush for 200 yards against a very stout team that doesn’t give up much rushing yardage,” Meyer said. “That’s the group right now that I’m most pleased with.”Coming into the season, however, the Buckeyes had less certainty with their offensive line, as they had to replace three starters from 2011.Norwell is the only returning starter in his same position from 2011, while Mewhort moved from right guard to left tackle. Hall had started five games at right guard in 2011, while Linsley and Fragel, the latter of whom was a tight end in his first three years with the Buckeyes, had never started a game as an offensive lineman at OSU.Mewhort said this year’s starting offensive line has come together well.“We’re really gelling well, and we’re getting better every day, so we’re really excited about the places we’re going,” Mewhort said.Offensive line coach Ed Warinner said the unit has “continued to grow” over the course of the season thus far.“They’ve played together for five games … we’re not a finished product there … we still have a lot of things to continue to grow and clean up and get better at, but I think they’re really playing hard, they’re starting to understand what we want in the spread offense, we’re trying to be physical up front,” Warinner said. “They practice that way and they’re starting to carry it to the game field and it was good, it was good to be able to finish off that game the way we did, and for them to be recognized by the head coach and the offensive staff as a unit that made the big impact, that was great.”Warinner said Meyer’s stamp of approval is meaningful to the offensive linemen because of the work they’ve put in.“I think it validates the hard work that they’ve put in, and just how hard they’re playing,” Warinner said. “There were four starting offensive linemen in this building at 6:30 this morning without anybody telling them they had to be here, without anybody making them have to be here. That tells me right now that they’re pretty all in.”Meyer specifically pointed out the progression of Fragel as a first-year offensive tackle for the Buckeyes.“Reid Fragel has become an offensive lineman. He wasn’t an offensive lineman at first, who are we kidding? He was a tight end playing offensive line that was trying to figure it out. His last two games, he’s now an offensive lineman, an Ohio State offensive lineman, which is, you say that around here, that’s pretty powerful stuff. We’ve had some great offensive linemen throughout the years,” Meyer said.While Meyer did praise the five starters, he expressed concern about the offensive line’s depth.“Unfortunately, we only got five (starting-caliber offensive linemen),” Meyer said. “(We) should have eight of them, we don’t. We have five guys right now.”The next test for the No. 12 Buckeyes’ offensive line is scheduled for Saturday in a home game versus No. 21 Nebraska at 8 p.m.Warinner said his unit will have to “be at our best” while going up against the Cornhuskers’ defensive front.“They have big defensive tackles that try to knock the guards back, they have defensive ends that are aggressive, quick,” Warinner said. “It’s a challenging defense … They are good up front. We’ll have to take it a notch up from last week.”
Ohio State then-sophomore forward Maddy Field (22) takes on Minnesota redshirt senior defender Lee Stecklein (2) during the Buckeyes game against the Gophers on Oct. 22. Credit: Emily Lehmkuhl | For The LanternThe No. 5 Ohio State women’s hockey team opens Western Collegiate Hockey Association conference play this weekend against Minnesota State. The Buckeyes are coming off a challenging early series matchup against No. 8 Colgate. Ohio State split the series, winning the first game by a score of 4-3, then earning its first loss of the season, as Colgate overcame a 2-0 deficit after the first period to come back and win 5-2. “I think for us it was a huge deal to play Colgate,” senior forward Charly Dahlquist said. “ Playing a team that is so skilled so early in the season and seeing our success against that team gave a little bright side showing that we can compete with a team that was at the Frozen Four last year.” Minnesota State looks to be a easier opponent than Colgate, with the Mavericks coming off a 5-28-1 record with a 3-21-0 record in WCHA play last season. Minnesota State has not had a winning season since the 2003-2004 season, the only winning season for the Mavericks since their team began playing back in 1998. However, so far in this current season, the Mavericks are 2-0, having won a weekend series against RPI, and Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said the team cannot overlook anyone.“Every year there is a little flair, that’s a little different,” Muzerall said. “There’s new players or coaches might tweak things with the personnel they have. And with head coach John Harrington being who John Harrington is, a 1980 Miracle on Ice player and his wisdom, you never know what he could have up his sleeve.” The Buckeyes will have an advantage of being able to look at several players to contribute on the ice instead of just their star players. In just four games played, 15 players have scored a point, with seven of those 15 scoring multiple points. “When you have secondary scoring, that’s very reassuring for the depth that you have,” Muzerall said. “You’re not always relying on the same players. You feel comfortable about bringing out your second, third or even fourth line. Knowing that they can execute what you ask of them shows that we’ve come a long way and don’t rely on just three people anymore.”The Buckeyes have been lethal on the penalty kill, keeping the opposing team from converting on a power play 17-18 times in the four games played so far.. The 94.4 percent success rate on the penalty kill is tied for No. 10 in the NCAA, trailing only teams with 100 percent success rates.“I think a big thing for us with the penalty kill is we are relentless,” Dahlquist said. “We don’t let down, we realize we are down a player and we need to get the puck out. I think we’re just a gritty team that isn’t willing to let down and that’s why we are so successful.” The Buckeyes play on Friday and Saturday against Minnesota State at the OSU Ice Rink. Friday’s game is set to start at 6 p.m. and Saturday’s game starts at 1 p.m.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, January 9, 2018 – Nassau – Family and friends of the late Dr. Patricia Bazard, gathered at Salem Union Baptist Church, Taylor Street, on Friday morning, January 5, for final farewell to an outstanding Bahamian cultural icon.Pictured are her husband, Luicito Bazard, with children and other family members; and photo of Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Acting Prime Minister the Hon. Peter Turnquest, and other officials. Interment followed at Lakeview Memorial Gardens.(BIS Photos/Peter Ramsay) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:
Silver Eagle monster box. If you want to buy in bulk, you can currently get a 500-ounce box for less than $10,000 from any reputable dealer, something we haven’t been able to say in a long time. Gold jewelry. Most gold jewelry doesn’t come in 22- or 24-karat form, and many pieces are merely gold plated or coated. Even “investment” gold jewelry comes with high mark-ups. For that reason we wouldn’t use it as a replacement for bullion. Besides adorning yourself with it, another possible use is if you want to transport gold across borders; a 22-karat gold necklace has the same purity as a gold Eagle but wouldn’t be reportable as a “financial instrument” (check the rules for other countries). Gold jewelry was also excluded in the 1933 confiscation. Numismatics and rare gold coins. Coins that are generally no longer in production and largely valued on their rarity and condition. An 1822 Half Eagle five-dollar gold piece, one of only three known to exist, expects to fetch $10 million in upcoming auctions. If your interest in numismatics is solely investment, don’t buy anything that isn’t graded Mint State (MS), nor anything that hasn’t been graded by one of the two most respected graders, NGC or PCGS. The best advice is to buy the rarest, highest-graded coins you can afford. However, Numismatics is a form of coin collecting, which you should pursue only if you find it fun and the history behind certain coins interesting—and after you’ve established a solid foundation in regular bullion. Potential advantage: collector coins were exempt in FDR’s gold recall in 1933. They have also appreciated very strongly in past inflationary environments but would likely do poorly in an economic downturn. Gold “Sovereign” coin. A 22-karat British coin that contains .2354 troy ounces, about one-quarter of an ounce. No currency value, but a popular collector coin. You can also buy a half gold Sovereign coin that contains .1177 ounces of gold, about an eighth of an ounce. Gold Maple Leaf. The Royal Canadian Mint’s signature gold product, with .9999% purity. One of the lowest premiums for a sovereign gold coin. Palladium bars. 1-, 10-, and 100-ounce bars with .999% purity. IRA eligible. Are less likely to be targeted in a confiscation or change in regulation Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA). You can automatically gift precious metals to your heirs with the Hard Assets Alliance UTMA program. Contributions of up to $14,000 per year are exempt from the dreaded gift tax. The account functions the same as a normal HAA account, and the adult client controls the funding, buying, and selling. All products are available at all storage locations—or you can use the MetalStream feature and accumulate a position over time, with storage locations in Salt Lake City and Singapore. Gold South African Krugerrand. Fineness is the same as an Eagle, .9167, and has a more “coppery” color than other gold coins. The Krugerrand is the only sovereign coin that does not have legal tender in its home country. Gold Austrian Philharmonic. The only bullion coin denominated in euros. Purity is .9999%. The most popular gold coin in Europe. Platinum bars. One- and ten-ounce sizes are the most common. Purity is .9995 and they’re eligible for IRAs. Digital gold. Buy, trade, and sell bullion online, a service many dealers offer, but the difference here is that you buy into a pool account, where you share typically a 400-ounce bar with other investors. The bullion is held by the dealer in allocated form, but in most cases you can’t take delivery. The most popular dealers are Bullion Vault and GoldMoney. Are cheaper to buy Gold Buffalo. Purity is .9999% and has a slightly lower premium than an Eagle. Beautiful coin from the US Mint. Are better suited for international diversification Gold Chinese Panda. Very cool .999% coin, and like the Kangaroo the design changes every year. Premium is higher for this coin, which you may or may not recoup. Are less risky Silver Mexican Libertad. Mexico is one of the largest producers of silver in the world, though production from its mint lags other countries. The silver Libertad is more difficult to purchase outside Mexico (though you can find them online). Interestingly, they make coins in fractions as low as one-twentieth of an ounce, and as big as five ounces. Unlike most sovereign coins, the Libertad has no face value. Silver rounds. These coins are not produced by a sovereign government and so have no face value. You can find a round for almost anything—even some bullion dealers and silver producers make their own product. Rounds are manufactured by private mints, so quality and fineness will vary. The most common is probably a silver Buffalo, but again it’s not a sovereign coin. Premiums are cheaper, but we wouldn’t denominate the bulk of your holdings in rounds. Platinum Maple Leaf. Royal Canadian Mint product that is .9995 pure and has C$50 face value. Eligible for IRAs. Fractional gold Maple Leaf. Like the Eagle, as small as a tenth ounce is available, and comes with the same advantage and disadvantage. Gold bars. You can buy gold bars in all sizes, from one-tenth ounce to 400-ounce LBMA bars. The advantage is that premiums are lower than coins. The disadvantage is that they’re not as attractive, and with larger bars may require an assay before a sale, which you’ll have to pay. To avoid an assay, keep your purchase to 10-ounce bars or less. Only buy from a reputable dealer, and only a “good delivery” bar. Gold CombiBar. The 50-gram CombiBar is a .9999 fine bar that comes with 50 detachable one-gram pieces. Also available is the one-ounce CombiBar with 10, one-tenth-ounce detachable bars. You can sell individual pieces, but if you detach them dealers won’t buy the bar back, so either hold for emergencies or plan to resell (or gift) the bar as is. Can be put in an IRA. Silver CombiBar. 100-gram bar that can be broken into 10-gram bars. As with gold, dealers won’t take the bar back if you detach any pieces, so either hold for emergencies or plan to resell (or gift) the bar as is. Eligible for IRAs. International allocated gold depositories. There are a number of foreign storage facilities that allow you to keep some of your physical gold stored internationally, what Doug Casey considers a must-do for every investor. The Hard Assets Alliance is probably the easiest program to use and provides storage in Singapore, Zurich, London, and Sydney. Fully allocated and delivery available anytime. Plus, for US investors, very limited reporting requirements. Have historical significance Gold ETFs. Bullion-backed ETFs are a way to play moves in the gold price. Some are better than others, but the issue here is that you as a retail investor can’t take delivery of the metal (there are a couple newer funds that offer this, but it’s expensive). Don’t use an ETF to claim you “own” gold; you don’t. You’re investing in price direction only. US Mint proof coins. You can get a number of coins in proof form, which entails, among other things, a higher relief and mirror-like surface. The stunning difference between an Eagle and proof Eagle, for example, is easy to see. But you’ll pay for it, as premiums are substantially higher. A proof coin should thus be viewed as a collector item. Gold Canadian Growling Cougar coin. The second of three annual gold bullion coins in the Royal Canadian Mint’s Call of the Wild series. What’s interesting about this series is that their fineness is .99999, the purest gold coins made. About $20 more in premium, these are great ways to diversify your gold holdings, though probably shouldn’t be your first gold purchase. Won’t require an assay to sell, while others may Gold futures. The most speculative arena you can enter, where sharp swings could buy you a new house—or take the one you own. Like stocks, you don’t own any gold (you could stand for delivery, but that requires deep pockets). Gold auto-accumulation program. You can accumulate gold (and silver) automatically with regular deductions from your bank account, an especially attractive feature for smaller budgets. Silver Saver is also a good program for gold and silver, though more expensive than the Hard Assets Alliance, particularly for delivery. Check out HAA’s MetalStream program. HAA also offers auto-accumulation of platinum and palladium, something no other dealer we know of can do. Another advantage: over time, dollar cost averaging beats a buy and hold strategy (because you buy more ounces when prices are lower and fewer ounces when prices are higher). Palladium CombiBar. 50-gram bar divisible into one-gram bars. As with other CombiBars, you break it and it can’t be resold, so it should only be broken up for emergencies. There you have it—plenty of ways to diversify your precious metals holdings. Match your goals with the best forms to own, always leaning toward ownership of physical metal. Our advice: if you believe the excesses from politicians the world over won’t be a free lunch, buy now. Are not eligible for IRAs. You can probably think of other reasons, but the point is that diversification of your gold holdings can assure that you don’t get wiped out if the only form of bullion you hold runs into an unexpected problem. If you don’t own gold, I can tell you there’s nothing quite like the feel of an ounce of gold in your hand. And if you, like us, are concerned that excessive monetary abuse will have consequences, use this list to round out your holdings… Gold Eagle. Probably the most widely recognized gold coin in the world, meaning it has high liquidity. Carries a slightly higher premium than Buffaloes or Maple Leafs, though you will likely recoup that premium if you sell in a bull market. Disadvantage is that it is 91.67% pure (22 karat) and thus many international jurisdictions won’t accept it for storage since they generally require 99.9% purity. However, the Hard Assets Alliance can hold gold Eagles in Zurich, and in Singapore for IRAs. Silver Eagle. I include silver products because silver has been used as currency even more often than gold. It should do very well in the inflationary environment we expect, though it would not do well if we get a deflationary depression, so don’t buy just silver. Silver bullion commands a much higher premium than gold, primarily because it costs just as much to produce an ounce of silver as it does gold. The king of silver products is the US Mint’s Eagle, with .999 fineness and the only silver bullion coin allowed in an IRA. A slightly higher premium than other sovereign silver coins, but similar to a gold Eagle, you’ll likely recoup that premium if you sell in a bull market. Silver Eagles come in tubes of 20. Silver bullion was excluded in the confiscation during the Great Depression. Silver bars. From one ounce to 1,000 ounces and everything in between. The guideline here is to buy only from the most reputable refiners. Also, we would not buy bars greater than 100 ounces due to the likely requirement of an assay upon resale (counterfeiting has been known to occur with larger bars and so the industry is cautious about them). Junk silver. Pre-circulated 90% silver coins that are legal tender in the US, though you wouldn’t sell them at their face value. The most common items are dimes, quarters, and half dollars, sold in various sized bags. The advantages include very low premiums and a ready source of barter. Disadvantages include higher shipping costs and the need for a larger storage space. Gold certificates. Bullion stored at a depository that comes with a certificate of ownership. The facility holds on to the gold and charges you a storage fee—but you can actually pay zero storage fees in the Perth Mint’s Certificate program if you purchase unallocated gold (minimums apply). You can take delivery, but you’ll have to pay a fabrication cost to convert your unallocated holdings to coin or bar form, along with delivery charges. Everbank has a similar program. Store easier and less expensively than others Gold Australian Kangaroo. What I like about this coin is that the government changes the picture of the kangaroo each year. Fineness is .9999. Platinum CombiBar. 50-gram bar divisible into one-gram bars. As with gold and silver CombiBars, you break it and it can’t be resold, so it should only be broken up for emergencies. Silver Maple Leaf. The Royal Canadian Mint’s signature silver product, with .9999 fineness. Maple Leafs come in tubes of 25. Slightly lower premium than an Eagle. Interestingly, it has the highest face value of all comparable silver bullion coins (C$5). Silver proof, numismatic, and commemorative coins. Like gold, collector coins are widely available in silver. These are more speculative in nature. Like gold, these coins were excluded in the 1933 gold recall. Gold stocks. I’ve run into a few investors who claim they own gold because they own gold stocks. If a miner has proven and probable reserves, they do have legitimate “gold in the ground.” But of course you don’t own that gold nor could you get your hands on it. More importantly, equities are a speculation on the share price rising, which it may or may not for a whole host of reasons. Invest in gold stocks for the right reasons. May be more attractive to investors in different market conditions Silver Austrian Philharmonic. A .999 fine coin with $1.50 euro face value. Silver Philharmonics are cheaper than Eagles and Maple Leafs. Are more popular in different parts of the world Silver Maple Leaf monster box. 500 coins in a sealed box. The cheapest way to buy silver Maple Leafs. US Mint commemoratives. These coins are actually authorized by congress, and celebrate American people, places, events, or institutions. They contain gold but are not priced by their gold content but by the sentiment behind them, usually by those drawn to that particular commemoration, as well as collectors. Darn. I wasn’t cast as the leading man in the movie 50 Shades of Grey. Perhaps I didn’t have sufficient “acting” experience. But the experience I can offer is much more valuable than the latest cinematic fad. The advantage to the following list of 50 Ways to Own Gold is that it helps you diversify your holdings. This is an important strategy, because some forms of bullion… Will outperform others Gold “notes.” A company has made what it calls an “aurum,” a gold note shaped like a paper dollar bill, except it has either one-tenth or one-twentieth of a gram of gold in it. The advantage is that you can carry it around in your wallet, though you’d still have to exchange it for currency. We suspect the premium is very high and more importantly, this idea may or may not catch on, meaning you could be stuck with a bunch of aurums you can’t sell. Australian silver coins. The Perth Mint makes several annual silver coins—this year includes a Kookaburra and a Goat. Legal tender in Australia and come in tubes of 25. I’ve found these to have generally higher premiums than other silver coins. Some are available in half ounce (with a higher premium, of course). Silver paper products. The same items listed for gold are available for silver—ETFs, stocks, futures, and options. The same guidelines apply: you don’t own the metal, so these are all secondary investments after you’ve built a solid foundation in bullion. Have greater purchasing-power protection than others Birds of Prey silver coin series. Four-coin series put out by the Royal Canadian Mint (only three coins released so far), each featuring a different bird. They recently completed the Wildlife series. The designs are pretty cool, but these are mostly collector coins and are not eligible for IRAs. Silver bar boxes. Some dealers will sell bars by the box, including a monster box of fifty 10-ounce bars. Again, buy reputable manufacturers only. You can get a box of these for less than $9,000 right now. Will return a greater premium upon sale than other forms Gold options. You can buy options on a variety of gold ETFs, stocks, etc. Generally risky, though writing covered calls on stocks you own can generate income while waiting for the next bull market. We also successfully hedged our gold portfolios against the big downturns in 2013 and 2014 with options. Again, you don’t own any bullion with this option. Platinum Eagle. Platinum and palladium are precious metals, too, and have been used in currency, though the bulk of their modern-day use is primarily in autocatalysts to reduce pollution. As a result, you have to figure industrial demand into your investment consideration. If we get high inflation, these two metals should do well but would struggle in a deflation. The platinum Eagle is a one-ounce sovereign coin from the US Mint and is eligible for IRAs. Palladium Maple Leaf. .9995 purity with a face value of C$50. IRA eligible. Fractional gold Eagle. You can get Eagles in half-, quarter-, and tenth-ounce denominations. The advantage here is that they could be very practical if you don’t want to sell a full ounce. The disadvantage is that purchase premiums will be higher. Platinum fractional coins and bars. Several mints produce platinum coins in half, quarter, and tenth ounce. As with gold and silver, these come with higher premiums.
Click here to see this developing story — — Recommended Link Justin: Interesting. And what do you think of Guaidó? Many Western countries have recognized him as the acting president of Venezuela.Doug: Guaidó is conducting a coup d’état. Or a golpe, as they say here in Latin America. The army and the police – who have all the guns – have apparently declared for Maduro. Of course Venezuela has something like 2000 generals – an almost unbelievable number. I’m sure most of them, as well as thousands of colonels, are living high off the hog and don’t want to see a change.On the other hand, the rank and file are likely sympathetic with the common people. They may desert if pressed. Or maybe some charismatic captain or top sergeant will rise up. Anything is possible. Including an actual civil war. Anything’s possible in a country suffering a total economic disaster.Now, just to be clear, I despise Maduro. He’s a thug, a criminal, and a socialist with an IQ of – I’m guessing – about 90. But give him credit. He’s totally destroyed what was once the richest country on the continent, and that takes special talent. Even Clinton, Bush, and Obama in sequence couldn’t do that to the U.S.If you listen to him talk, he uses very simple Spanish. Even with my very substandard Spanish I can understand him perfectly when he speaks. That’s because he uses very simple, bus driver-type language. You can easily imagine him in his bus driver’s uniform, piloting around the streets of Caracas. But he’s said some things that are quite intelligent.Justin: What sort of intelligent things has he said?Doug: Well, when Trump seemed to threaten an invasion, he said, “Are you going to repeat a Vietnam in Latin America?”It was a very intelligent question to ask. Even people that hate Maduro may decide that it’s such an affront having American soldiers invade their country that it could easily turn into a Vietnam. They’ll figure the U.S. is there to steal their oil.It’s quite stupid – not to mention illegal – for Trump to say, “We don’t like your regime so we’re going to send troops in to change it.” It’s just asking for trouble. It’s as if the U.S. learned absolutely nothing from trying to change regimes in a score of countries since the end of WW2.Another intelligent thing Maduro said is, “Everything depends on the level of madness and aggressiveness of the northern empire.” He was referring to the United States, of course.For many years the U.S. has, in fact, been acting like an empire. But not so much like the Roman Empire, which conquered and occupied places. Although, the U.S. does that, too. That’s why we have troops in South Korea, Germany, Japan, and scores of other countries. The U.S. is more like the Athenian empire, which was effectively a commercial empire, as opposed to a military empire.Maduro’s quite correct. Americans are not always the good guys. If a visitor from Mars were to examine this planet, they’d have to say the most dangerous entity in the world today is the U.S. government. I know most Americans may be affronted to hear that. We’re used to thinking of ourselves as the “good guys.” And that’s true, when it comes to our culture and civilization. But the U.S. government has a life of its own. It’s different from the country. Just as Venezuela’s government, and the attached Deep State, isn’t the same as the average Venezuelan.Maduro also said that, “It’s as if I told the European Union that I’d give it a few days to recognize the Republic of Catalonia.”He was referring to when Catalonia attempted to break away from Spain in October 2017. And he’s absolutely correct. I was 100% on the side of the Catalans in that misadventure. Governments shouldn’t stick their noses into other people’s business. Major wars can start over trivial incidents. WW1 is the perfect example.Some of Maduro’s observations are intelligent and correct. But I’d still say he’s a borderline moron, the AOC of South America, judging by everything else he’s done and believes. That doesn’t mean that he can’t say intelligent things from time to time.Justin: What are the chances Trump sends troops to Venezuela?Doug: Well, Trump is a genuine loose cannon. He has no core beliefs, just gut feelings. He flies by the seat of his pants and seems to be capable of doing almost anything on the spur of the moment.Trump likes to show strength. He likes to demonstrate that he’s a tough guy who can’t be bluffed. He’s quite capable of invading, on some pretense. There are plenty of precedents for that sort of thing. Don’t forget the U.S. actually invaded Grenada, which was about as illegal as Hitler invading Poland in 1939 or Japan invading Manchuria in 1931.The U.S. also invaded Panama on the pretense of its president dealing in drugs. Another completely illegal invasion. It nearly invaded Cuba with Bay of Pigs incident in 1961. Haiti, the Dominican Republic – the U.S. treats countries in the Caribbean as satrapies in its empire. It doesn’t treat them like real countries. Which is ironic, because in most cases they aren’t real countries – they’re banana republics, run by kleptocrats. But that’s beside the point. It’s very bad policy to do this type of thing, on several levels.So, sure. Trump is entirely capable of sending in the Marines. Justin: Interesting. Doug, I’ve become friends with quite a few Venezuelans during my travels. They fled to countries like Colombia, Argentina, and Peru because the situation at home was so unstable.And many of these people are very hopeful about the future of Venezuela in light of what’s happened lately, specifically Guaidó’s rise to power.Do you share this optimism? Do you see things getting better in Venezuela?Doug: Yeah, that’s a great question. Venezuela’s biggest problem is that it’s sitting on a huge amount of oil. Possibly the world’s largest reserves, although it’s mostly heavy, high-sulfur sludge – not light, sweet crude. However, the quality of the hydrocarbons isn’t the problem. The problem is that it’s all owned by the State. That means anybody that wants to be wealthy and powerful has to get control of the State. Or be a crony.These people will continue fighting for it. They’ve totally politicized the country’s economy.How would I solve the situation? It’s essential to get the power and money out of the hands of the State. The only way to defuse this situation is to probably take 100% of the State’s shares in the Venezuelan oil company, and divide them, pro rata, to all the people in the country.In fact, do that with all the State’s assets. I’ve pitched a program like that to a dozen governments over the years. It’s become a hobby, and I’ve written about it [Editor’s Note: see here and here]. This would give the average Venezuelan a stake in the government’s assets.Of course they’d also have to install an impeccable board of directors who wouldn’t use it as a vehicle to enrich themselves – at least, not too much. That’s unlikely, I know. Just a fun thought…Justin: Doug, you’ve had a lot of success speculating in markets that the average investor wants nothing to do with.Do you see a crisis investing opportunity shaping up in Venezuela?Doug: Well, here’s the thing. Venezuela is a huge country. It’s 30% bigger than Texas. There are only 30 million people, including lots of European immigrants. It’s potentially immensely wealthy. Huge possibilities in every regard. The only thing wrong is the political system. Mining, tourism, ranching, farming. It should be an industrial powerhouse, too. But, like every country in Latin America, the labor laws, taxes, regulations, and currency debasement make real development very risky.The good news is that Venezuela is still going to be there. Regimes come and go. Unfortunately, it’s still going to have problems because of the ingrained culture, and the oil situation.Which brings us to your question. Is there any way that we can profit from all of this?I’m reasonably familiar with both real estate speculation and Latin America, having been to every country in Latin America, in most cases a number of times. I’ve lived in three.You can buy an apartment in Venezuela for very cheap now. It’s said real estate prices have fallen about 60% in just the past year. I’ve looked at the websites to get an idea of what prices are. They look very cheap for what you get. But the numbers are meaningless.It’s going to depend on what you offer the guy and how desperate he is.Justin: Where would you consider buying real estate in Venezuela? Caracas is one of the most dangerous cities on the planet these days.Doug: Caracas would not be the first place I’d want to buy. Caracas has turned into your classic shithole. The city’s basically in a valley surrounded by hillsides covered with what they call “ranchos” full of poor people. In Brazil, they call these neighborhoods “favelas.” Every Latin country has its own name for the slums where people build their houses out of cardboard and flattened tin cans.There’s one partially completed skyscraper I know of. Probably 30 stories tall. It’s been abandoned, but it’s occupied to at least the 20th floor with squatters. No higher, I guess, because of the logistics of hauling water and such.But the mobs of people are just one problem with Caracas. The electricity probably doesn’t work half the time. The water can’t be trusted at this point.Fortunately, it’s a huge country. So I would go to one of the outlying cities and look to buy a farm – although I’m sure all the farms and ranches in the country have gone to seed, the cattle stolen and slaughtered by starving people. Most important, it’s probably very hard to get a good title to a piece of property once you give the owner money for it.But I’ve always said I’ll buy anything if the price is right. You might find the right desperate seller who’s just totally fed up. And you may get the bargain of a lifetime. It happens all the time, all over Latin America.This can be an excellent time to go shopping, if not particularly in Caracas, which is just too sketchy. You could find something good in one of the other cities, and particularly on Margarita Island, in the Caribbean. It has certain advantages because it’s not really connected to the mainland and its problems. It’s a center for all kinds of offshore activity, like gambling. It has the beaches. I’d look at that first.But it’s something where you’ve got to put boots on the ground. Before buying anything, you’ve really got to spend a month there.Justin: Why is that?Doug: All kinds of problems are going to arise. For one thing, you should really occupy something once you buy it. In Latin America, there’s a big problem with squatters. If you own land but you don’t visit it or manage it, you could eventually find somebody else living there.After a few years, they have a legal argument that it belongs to them. So, it’s a tremendous opportunity but one that has to be acted on carefully. Should you do it? Look, I should have bought that castle outside of Umtali in Rhodesia in 1979 for $85,000; it sold for $13 million five years later. But I would have had to live there. Long story.There’s little question in my mind that Maduro is going to be out. If he’s smart he’ll grab his billion dollars and leave now. The new guy will seem like a reformer for a few years, then probably turn into a criminal who’s looking to steal his own billion dollars. Of course a renaissance is always possible, like Chile under Pinochet.I’ve been to Venezuela four or five times, including out into the countryside and up the Orinoco River. It’s a great place. But you’ll have to live there for a while, and get connected, in order not to make a mistake.I first went to Venezuela like 25 years ago. At the time, a mining boom was underway. But the Hugo Chávez government basically stole everything, all the assets of the mining companies. Now what’s left is vandalized, destroyed, and worth zero. Typical Third World stuff.That’s the problem with a country like Venezuela. The usual suspects – socialists, populists, even common criminals – get control of the government. Foreigners put money in, and the government feels they can steal it with impunity – in the national interest, of course. And they’re right. They can.This is why development is very hard in countries that don’t have a firm grasp of the basics of Western civilization and the rule of law. I’m afraid Venezuela’s shown itself to be in that class.It’s also Indian country, and the natives are getting restless. That’s true of most countries in Latin America now. Indians feel they’ve been held down. They want to steal things from people of European descent, take over, and run their countries the way the Incas used to.I’m not terribly optimistic for Venezuela’s future. But it could still be a very interesting speculation. As was Rhodesia in 1979.My guess is that if you could find a nice cattle ranch in the hands of the right owner, you could probably buy 100,000 acres for $1 million. That would include whatever’s left of the houses, barns, cattle, machinery, and what have you. If you’re in a position to do that and defend your property, you could make a fortune.And have the adventure of a lifetime. I kid you not.Justin: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me today, Doug.Doug: You’re welcome.Justin’s note: Mark your calendars… on February 27, Doug and Strategic Investor editor E.B. Tucker will be revealing the top money-making strategy to use in 2019. This little-known strategy can generate gains 10x bigger than options. And Doug and E.B. say now is the perfect time to use it. It will be one of the most important events in Casey Research’s history. Stay tuned for more details…Reader MailbagToday, a question about the world’s greatest safe-haven asset…What is the outlook for gold? I own several gold coin sets. Should I just hold them?– MattJustin’s note: Thanks for writing in, Matt. Here at Casey Research, we always recommend holding physical gold for the long term. It’s the ultimate safe-haven asset and can protect you during crises.We also see big upside in the gold price this year. If you haven’t yet, check out Strategic Investor editor E.B. Tucker’s piece on why gold is set to soar in 2019.E.B. also recently shared a fun and obscure way to invest in gold, which you can read here.In Case You Missed It…Take a look at this picture.It might not look like much, but this barren strip of land holds a secret. In fact, Dave Forest was recently able to make 5,205% in two months by unlocking this secret.The secret revealed… right here. Click here now to see why Justin’s note: Venezuela is in a state of despair.The country’s economy has collapsed… inflation is through the roof… and food and medicine shortages are rampant. But there’s hope. I say this because Venezuela has a new president. Well, sort of… You see, Juan Guaidó just elected himself interim president of Venezuela.And many countries, including the United States, now recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s active president instead of Nicolás Maduro.It’s a promising development, and not just for Venezuelans. As you’re about to see, a major crisis investing opportunity could be shaping up there… Justin: Doug, how do you see the situation in Venezuela shaking out?Doug: Well, it’s a bit of a complex question because Maduro is the “legally” elected president of a supposedly democratic country. Now, I say that with the proviso that I don’t believe in democracy as a way of organizing the world. Democracy is really just mob rule in a coat and tie.Of course Maduro’s election was rigged, which is so very often the case in Latin America, Africa, most of the Third World. And even the United States, for that matter.Since election fraud is the case almost everywhere, you can’t hold that against the guy. He’s really just working within the system. That’s just the way things are. He’s actually the president, like it or lump it. Venezuela isn’t Switzerland… Recommended Link Trump is Getting a HUGE Favor from this EX-CIA InsiderThe liberal media hope you never see what this man is revealing here. By exposing the global elite’s most disturbing plan yet, he could be saving our President’s rear end…and helping out everyday Americans in the process. Hurry. Events may unfold as early as March 31st. HINT: Too controversial for the lame-stream media U.S. Seniors Can Now Collect Monthly Income By “Piggybacking” Switzerland’s Social Security Program?!Without ever living, working in, or even visiting Switzerland… Savvy American seniors have discovered a way to supplement their retirement income by as much as $3,204 every month… Thanks to a strange – yet completely legal – clause in Switzerland’s constitution. This is very quickly becoming one of America’s biggest retirement trends…