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Is Gold Money?…
Don't Ask Ben Bernanke, Examine the Federal Reserve
BY PETER KRAUTH, Global Resources Specialist, Money Morning
If you really care about your financial future, here's something you need to know.
It's about a story that received almost zero coverage from the mainstream press. I can't say that I am surprised.
It involves gold.
Thanks to requests by Bloomberg News under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve has revealed unprecedented details concerning the personal holdings of its regional bank presidents.
What they found is nothing short of stunning ...
....Nearly 2,000 years ago Aristotle laid out what characteristics make for good money. According to Aristotle:
• It must be durable.
• It must be portable.
• It must be divisible.
• It must be consistent.
• It must have intrinsic value.
So it's no accident that the most common basis for money – in all of human history – has been gold.
Barclays: Gold fundamentals intact,
target $1800 on breakout above $1675
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Given that real interest rates are expected to remain negative for longer while concerns over currency debasement and inflationary pressures have resurfaced, the backdrop remains fertile for gold. However, gold still has hurdles to overcome, such as the further strengthening of the dollar, technical resistance levels and profit-taking.
The macro-environment is positive on the back of a stronger than expected US non farm payroll data, lower unemployment and solid growth in factory orders for December. The Eurozone has started 2012 in a good note, with January PMI coming out positive.
Dollar Weakness "Creating Gold Demand"
after Greek Deal, Time for American Austerity
"Is Not Now" says White House
By: Ben Traynor, BullionVault - Goldseek.com
SPOT MARKET gold prices touched $1733 per ounce Monday morning – 0.5% up on last week's close – as stock markets, commodities and the Euro all rallied following Greece's vote in favor of new austerity measures.
Silver prices meantime hovered around $33.90 per ounce – 0.8% up on the end of last week – while government bond prices dipped and the Dollar fell on the currency markets.
"The weakness in the Dollar...creates a bit of demand for gold," reckons Bernard Sin, head of currency and metal dealing at Swiss precious metals refiner MKS.
Iran presses ahead with dollar attack
Last week, the Tehran Times noted that the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in currencies other than the dollar from March 20. This long-planned move is part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vision of economic war with the west.
By Garry White - Telegraph.co.uk
"The dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme is nothing more than a convenient excuse for the US to use threats to protect the 'reserve currency’ status of the dollar," the newspaper, which calls itself the voice of the Islamic Revolution, said.
"Recall that Saddam [Hussein] announced Iraq would no longer accept dollars for oil purchases in November 2000 and the US-Anglo invasion occurred in March 2003," the Times continued. "Similarly, Iran opened its oil bourse in 2008, so it is a credit to Iranian negotiating ability that the 'crisis’ has not come to a head long before now."
Let's Return to the Gold Standard
By GEORGE MELLOAN - The American Spectator.org
Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman have been right all along, never more so than in this age of massive debt.
The futile search for El Dorado, the city of gold, is the stuff of legends, among them a sardonic poem by Edgar Allen Poe about a knight who wasted his life in that pursuit. At first glance, the quest for something far more substantial, an international gold monetary standard, might seem equally Quixotic in today's world where those who govern are disdainful of standards of any kind, including those laid down by the United States Constitution.
But first glances can deceive. The popular pressure for serious monetary reform is building as consumers see their buying power eroded by the sinking value of the dollar. Congressman Ron Paul, despite his naïve foreign policy views, is doing well on the presidential campaign trail on the strength of his demand for abolition of the Federal Reserve Board and a return to sound money. His message is getting a surprisingly receptive response from young audiences on college campuses.
The Final Tipping Point: Sheeple Meet Cliff
BY D SHERMAN OKST - FinancialSense.com
"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." ~Einstein
When I began seriously researching for the book I'm working on, "Psychopathic Economics," two principles really surprised me.
The first was a much deeper review of the '80/20 Rule', which states that 80 percent of the profits come from just 20 percent of the product line. Most often, 80 percent of the business generated is created by 20 percent of the work force (usually the sales team). In many cases 80 percent of the product line is purchased by 20 percent of the customer base. When businesses wind up on the ropes, 80 percent of the time they cut into that 20 percent muscle.
US-China trade deficit now largest in world history
By Gene J. Koprowski - DailyCaller.com
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is meeting U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on Feb 14, Valentine’s Day. Their talks are likely to turn on Tibet and trade. But China’s veep isn’t expected to deliver a box of chocolates to the American president. China’s enormous trade advantage, now the largest nation-on-nation trade deficit in the history of the world, has put it in the enviable negotiating position of being able to say "bu" — that is, "no" — to most American demands.
The U.S trade deficit with China today is 28 times larger than it was during the Reagan era, according to new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That daunting deficit has grown by 18 percent per year since China first entered the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Greece Is Burning and Nobody Cares
By Alex Planes - Fool.com
Greece is burning. Not that this is a new phenomenon. But it sounds so sinister, so ominous.
When you find out why it's burning, it becomes a tragicomedy. The Greek government -- led by unelected economist Lucas Papademos -- promises to slash the safety net of many Greek citizens for a big sack of bailout money. Ordinary Greeks, whose futures are being mortgaged, are very angry. Things burn. Then everyone goes home and waits for the money to arrive.
The process repeats with such frequency that a lengthyWikipedia page has sprung up to catalog each outburst, hence the tragicomedy. And why shouldn't the country erupt in flames every so often? The country is a tinderbox with half its young people unemployed and 20% of the broader populace jobless.
Athens in Flames
Violent Clashes as Parliament Passes Austerity Bill
The Greek parliament has passed an austerity package that clears the way for a 130-billion-euro EU/IMF rescue package intended to save Greece from default. Violent protests against the austerity measures took place in Athens and elsewhere, with at least 120 people injured.
In the end, the Greek government managed to get its controversial austerity packagethrough parliament, but the price was high. Coalition parties had to deal with a number of rebel lawmakers, while at least 120 people were injured in some of the most violent protests Athens has seen in months.
A majority of 199 members of parliament voted to approve the package on Sunday night, with a total of 74 lawmakers casting votes against it. The tough austerity package details €3.3 billion ($4.35 billion) in budget cuts for this year alone, including public-sector layoffs, cuts in the minimum wage and reductions in some pensions.
Greece faces death by a thousand cuts
unless it leaves the euro
Lucas Papademos was suitably apocalyptic. If the terms of the second Greek bailout were not approved, the Greek prime minister warned over the weekend, there would be a "disorderly bankruptcy that would create conditions of economic chaos and social explosion.
By Jeremy Warner - Telegraph.co.uk
"The savings of the citizens would be at risk. The state would be unable to pay salaries, pensions, and cover basic functions, such as hospitals and schools, and … the country - public and private sector alike - would lose all access to borrowing and liquidity would shrink.
"The living standards of Greeks would collapse. The country would drift into a long spiral of recession, instability, unemployment and prolonged misery. These developments would lead, sooner or later, to exit from the euro."
A Death Sentence for Greece
What's Inside the New "Austerity Measures"
by MIKE WHITNEY - CounterPunch.org
"We are facing destruction. Our country, our home, has become ripe for burning. The centre of Athens is in flames."
– Costis Hatzidakis, conservative parliamentarian
On Sunday, the Greek parliament approved a new round of austerity measures that will further deepen the 5-year depression and sever the last fraying threads of social cohesion. In order to secure a 130 billion euro loan, Greek political leaders agreed to comply with a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU) that will not only intensify the sacrifices of ordinary working people, but also effectively hand the control of the nation's economy over to foreign banks and corporations.
Marc Faber -
Is Greece Irrelevant for global Markets - 10 feb 2012
Greece Becomes a Third-World Country
The news media has given a great deal of coverage to the austerity programs Greece has accepted in order to get it another 130 billion in aid, the riots in the streets of Athens that are part of protests against these measures, and the high unemployment in the southern European nation. The effect of these events, and others that include a five-year recession, is that Greece is on the brink of moving from a developed nation to the equivalent of a third-world one.
The usual trend for national economies, if they are advancing economically, is that they make the transition from the third world to the level of "developing nations." China and India are usually considered to be at this level. The next and last level of advancement is to the status of "developed nation." The U.S., Japan and much of Europe are among those countries. Their gross domestic products rarely grow as fast as those of developing nations, but developed nations have high GDP per capita, high levels of education among their citizens, and strong consumer middle classes. Economists argue that those middle classes have lost ground over the past several years because of the bite of the recession, but they are still present and drive a great deal of economic growth.
SPIEGEL Interview with George Soros
'Merkel Is Leading Europe in the Wrong Direction'
Global investor George Soros considers the German government's policies in the euro crisis to be disastrous. In a SPIEGEL interview, he warns of a vicious circle triggered by Chancellor Angela Merkel's strict austerity measures and pleads for more money to be pumped into the countries most plagued by the debt crisis.
SPIEGEL: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is praised globally as "Mrs. Europe" and at home she is more popular than ever in polls -- partly thanks to her strong refusal to constantly pledge more German money to the euro rescue effort. Why do you feel her policies are wrong?
Soros: I admire Chancellor Merkel for her leadership qualities, but she is leading Europe in the wrong direction. To solve the euro crisis, I advocate a two-phase policy -- which is first austerity and structural reforms as Germany implemented them in 2005, but then also a stimulus program. If you do not provide more stimulus in Europe, you will push many European countries into a deflationary debt spiral. And that would be extremely dangerous.
Why America’s Bailout Won’t Look Like Greece’s
By: Rick Ackerman - GoldSeek.com
Americans can take comfort in the likelihood that the showdown between mortgage lenders and homeowners will not resemble Greece’s battle-to-the-death with its creditors. In the U.S., the banks are slowly losing ground to a populist, election-year tide that eventually will force lenders to accept a moratorium on mortgage debt for tens of millions of homeowners. In the rapidly escalating legal battle to bring this about, last week’s $25 billion settlement between the banks and the U.S. did not settle much of anything, since the banks in theory can still be sued into oblivion by aggrieved homeowners. The plaintiffs will be claiming in effect and with a straight face that they got in over their heads because lenders forced them to borrow more than they could repay. Who would have imagined just a decade ago that an army of reckless borrowers would seek the protection of the courts under the remorseless deadbeat’s battle flag "Kick me, beat me, make me write bad checks"? That’s what it’s come down to, evidently, and woe to any bank that asks the court for help in turning a family out onto the street. The five big banks that signed onto the deal are undoubtedly running scared, since the legal latitude afforded those who could conceivably claim "questionable lending practices" has been widened to include just about anyone who lives in a home – including, presumably, tens of millions more homeowners who are not yet underwater but eventually will be. Keep in mind that the costs of the yet-to-be-unveiled Homeowner Bailout Act of 2014 have already been socialized, since the GSEs have been originating 90% of all new mortgage loans.
The Empire Of Liberty:
Thomas Jefferson, Ron Paul
And The Sacred Fire Of Freedom
By Ralph Benko - Forbes.com
Who stands in opposition to "the [central] bank of the United States, public debt, a navy, a standing army, American manufacturing, federally funded improvement of the interior, the role of a world power, military glory, an extensive foreign ministry, loose construction of the Constitution, and subordination of the states to the federal government"? Hint, these words were not written about Rep. Ron Paul.
This is Garry Wills's description of Thomas Jefferson. The elite political class looked with disdain, and now looks with a certain measure of bemusement, upon Dr. Paul. Paul represents the re-emergence of a great American tradition. That tradition reawakens in the person of Ron Paul, who has a fair claim to be our era’s Thomas Jefferson. As Jefferson’s heir he commands deep respect if not always (as in the case of this Supply Side, Hamiltonian, writer) complete fealty.
White House Economic Adviser:
'We Need a Global Minimum Tax'
Gene Sperling, director of the White House's national economic council, said today at an official meeting that "we need a global minimum tax"
BY DANIEL HALPER - WeeklyStandard.com
"He supports corporate tax reform that would reduce expenditures and loopholes, lower rates for people investing and creating jobs in the U.S., due so further for manufacturing, and that we need to, as we have the Buffett Rule and the individual tax reform, we need a global minimum tax so that people have the assurance that nobody is escaping doing their fair share as part of a race to the bottom or having our tax code actually subsidized and facilitate people moving their funds to tax havens," Sperling said.
The White House adviser then said that more details would be forthcoming, though "not in gory detail."
WH Economic Adviser:
"This Is A Democratic Budget"
And "We Need A Global Minimum Tax"
Trouble for Online News Sites
One of the challenges traditional news media face is that advertising has begun to move online. As its turns out, the news media does not do much better on the internet than in the old world of media ads. Marketers like search, and perhaps sports and entertainment. These marketers have not flooded to news sites. That means the news industry is likely to be crippled even more than in the past because it has failed to actively target its online readers.
A new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that excellence in journalism in the news business is terribly threatened. News organizations have been unable to keep up with much of the rest of the content industry online in terms of growth, because their sites fail to provide good targeting for advertisers who spend the most money — brand marketers. As Pew puts it:
Obama unveils $3.8 trillion budget
By Charles Riley @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- President Obama unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget request Monday that hikes taxes on the rich, spends new money on infrastructure and education, but does little to reform the entitlement programs that pose the biggest long-term threat to the federal budget.
"We built this budget around the idea that our country has always done best when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules," Obama said in his budget message.
What Matters in President Obama's 2013 Budget
The budget released today isn't about to become the law. It's a multi-trillion-dollar conversation piece that's designed to get people talking about the president's priorities. So let's talk...
By Derek Thompson - Telegraph.co.uk
The reason President Obama's 2013 budget matters is not that it's a preview of the year's laws. The vast majority of its provisions are dead-on-arrival. It includes $1.5 trillion in tax hikes that won't happen and $350 billion in immediate stimulus that can't pass.
The White House's budget matters for two other reasons. First, it forces the president to put numbers next to his priorities. Second, it gives everybody in Washington something to look at and talk about. It's an expensive, ornate conversation piece, like a Fabergé egg for policy wonks.
Volcker defends namesake rule against banks
By Jennifer Liberto @CNNMoney
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- The namesake of the so-called Volcker rule defended the policy in a letter to the Federal Reserve on Monday, and criticized banks for lobbying against it.
"With active cooperation among the agencies and with constructive consultation instead of futile stonewalling, an important reform can soon be put into place," said Paul Volcker, a former Fed chairman, in an essay accompanying his letter. Both documents were attained by CNNMoney.
Getting to the naked truth - The Economist.com
A regulatory probe sheds light on manipulative shorting
SHORT-SELLERS perform a valuable function in financial markets, exposing managerial incompetence, corporate fraud or plain overvaluation. Their reward, all too often, is calumny. Witness regulators’ rush to ban shorting in 2008 in response to sustained political attacks on the practice.
Like any form of trading, however, shorting is open to abuse. Some firms claim to have been victims of illegal “naked” shorting, where the seller does not arrange to borrow the shares in time to deliver them to the buyer within the standard settlement period. This, they say, has long been a favoured tool of unprincipled traders looking to launch bear raids—usually on small stocks but also, in times of turmoil, on bigger fish like Lehman Brothers. Hedge funds and the prime brokers that serve them have tended to counter that such accusations are smokescreens put up by bosses to mask their own failings.
U.S. Taxes Really Are Unusually Progressive
By Clive Crook - TheAtlantic.com
If you ask me, Jonathan Chait, a writer I respect, has made an ass of himself in a fight he picked with Veronique de Rugy over taxes and progressivity. She offended him by saying that America's income taxes are more progressive than those of other rich countries. Chait assailed her "completely idiotic" reasoning, called her an "inequality denier", "a ubiquitous right-wing misinformation recirculator" and asked if it was really any wonder he cast insults now and then at such "lesser lights of the intellectual world". (Paul Krugman said he sympathises. With Chait, obviously. The only danger here is in being too forgiving,Krugman advises. Chait may think the de Rugys of this world are only lazy and incompetent, but we know them to be liars as well.)
Just one problem. On the topic in question, De Rugy is right and Chait is wrong.
Mortgage Settlement Will Plunge Real Estate Values
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
It is official. State and federal governments have condoned forgery, perjury and fraud in what’s been called the "robo-signing" foreclosure debacle. Last week, the five biggest banks in America signed on to a $26 billion deal that, basically, lets them off with a slap on the wrist for fraudulently foreclosing on homes in the last few years. I am not going to go on and on about how unfair and unjust this deal was or how the rule of law has been thrown down the stairs. I am going to focus on the fallout of this morally corrupt deal.
Why Are Record Numbers Of Young Adults
Jobless And Living At Home With Mom And Dad?
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
In the United States today, unemployment among those age 18 to age 34 is at epidemic levels and the number of young adults that are now living at home with Mom and Dad is at an all-time high. So why are so many of our young adults jobless? Why are record numbers of them unable or unwilling to move out on their own? Well, there are quite a few factors at work. Number one, our education system has completely and totally failed them. As I have written about previously, our education system is a joke and most high school graduates these days are simply not prepared to function at even a very basic level in our society. In addition, college education in the United States has become a giant money making scam that leaves scores of college graduates absolutely drowning in debt. Many young adults end up moving back in with Mom and Dad because they are drowning in so much debt that there are no other options. Thirdly, the number of good jobs continues to decline and this is hitting younger Americans the hardest. Millions of young people enter the workforce excited about the future only to find that there are hordes of applicants for the very limited number of decent jobs that are actually available. So all of this is creating an environment where more young adults are financially dependent on their parents that ever before in modern American history.
Fox closes Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano
Google-Motorola Mobility deal approved by U.S. regulators
By Jessica Guynn - LATimes.com
Google Inc. may be on the verge of closing the biggest deal in its 13-year history -- one that will escalate competition with Apple Inc.
Its $12.5-billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility got approval from U.S. and European antitrust regulators Monday, bringing it significantly closer to manufacturing phones, tablets and other consumer devices such as a home entertainment system for the first time.
A Google spokeswoman declined to comment but said the Internet search giant hopes to close the deal early this year.
Although officials in Washington and Brussels concluded that the Motorola deal would not stifle competition, U.S. and European regulators warned they would monitor to make sure none takes place.
The Big Transition Looming at Ford
By John Rosevear - Fool.com
Despite some breathless headlines, shares of Ford didn't fall significantly after the automaker announced the departure of two senior executives last Thursday. (The stock did fall on Friday, but then so did most of the market.)
At first glance, some Ford shareholders might have been inclined to agree with the headline-writers -- the departures of CFO Lewis Booth and Global Product Development chief Derrick Kuzak, both key drivers of Ford's remarkable renaissance, certainly look like major losses for the Blue Oval.
Frontier Airlines to cut 446 more jobs in Milwaukee
Denver Business Journal by Rich Rovito, Reporter
Frontier Airlines, which has been slashing flights at Milwaukee's airport as it refocuses its operations on Denver, signaled Monday that it plans to lay off another 446 of its Milwaukee-area workers.
The layoffs at Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport are expected to occur between April 15 and April 30, according to a notice filed Monday with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development by Frontier’s parent company, Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc.
Feds shut down Amish farm for selling fresh milk
By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times
The FDA has won its two-year fight to shut down an Amish farmer who was selling fresh, raw milk to eager consumers in the Washington region, after a judge this month banned Daniel Allgyerfrom selling his milk across state lines, and he told his customers he’ll shut his farm down altogether.
The decision has enraged Mr. Allgyer’s supporters, some of whom have been buying from him for six years and who say the government is interfering with their parental rights to feed their children. But the Food and Drug Administration, which launched a full investigation complete with a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and a straw-purchase sting operation against Mr. Allgyer’s Rainbow Acres Farm, near Lancaster, said unpasteurized milk is unsafe and said it was exercising its due authority to stop its sale from one state to another.
America's Pipe Dream
By Aimee Duffy - The Motley Fool
When Americans clamor for energy independence, the focus of said clamoring typically falls on increasing oil and gas production. But what most advocates and proponents don't realize is that energy independence is impossible right now -- not because of natural resources, but because we lack the midstream infrastructure to process and transport our domestic energy supply.
Midstream assets, specifically pipelines and processing centers, are more crucial than we think and will play a key role in America's energy future.
5.6 earthquake felt across California's north coast
By Ken Schwencke and Dalina Castellanos - LATimes.com
A magnitude 5.6 earthquake was felt across a wide swath of California's north coast but there were no reports of damage.
The temblor was reported Monday afternoon six miles from Weitchpec, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It occurred at 1:07 p.m.
According to the USGS, the epicenter was 17 miles from Westhaven-Moonstone, 18 miles from Trinidad, 31 miles from Eureka and 218 miles from Sacramento.
U.S. plans new talks with North Korea
By Guy Taylor-The Washington Times
The State Department said Monday that U.S. officials will engage in direct talks with North Korea later this month, signaling the first major development in the tense relations between the West and Pyongyang since the death of longtime North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.
Glyn Davies, the U.S. special representative forNorth Korea policy, will meet with Kim Kye-gwan, North Korean first vice foreign minister, on Feb. 23 in Beijing, State Department officials said.
Ten Things President Obama
Needs to Hear From China’s New Leader
BY JOSEPH A. BOSCO - WeeklyStandard.com
Chinese leaders announced that Vice President Xi Jinping, the Communist Party’s designated successor to Chinese president Hu Jintao, will try to correct "the trust deficit" when he visits Washington this week. Xi told a gathering of Chinese and U.S. officials commemorating the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s opening to China that he hoped his visit "can play a positive role in advancing the Sino-U.S. cooperative partnership."
To build mutual trust and become genuine partners, here are ten things Xi could say to President Obama:
Taiwan. We in Beijing and you in Washington successfully intervened in Taiwan’s recent presidential campaign to ensure the reelection of pro-China incumbent Ma Ying-jeou. We will express our appreciation to your administration and to Taiwan’s voters by permanently renouncing the use of force to compel unification and by withdrawing our 1,500 missiles targeting the island.
The alliance between Mexican cartels
and U.S. gangs may be the most serious threat
to our national security
by Richard Valdemar - Borderland Beat Reporter Chivis
Like the unwanted dandelions that sprout in lawns, cartel and gang partners continue to adapt and survive. Whatever code of conduct that may have restrained them in the past has disappeared.
Their terrible acts of violence and cruelty continue to escalate. The systematic corruption of our police, courts and political system is their goal. Those who they cannot corrupt, they murder. Journalists, police, judges, soldiers, religious leaders, women and children are all potential victims.
Nixon Then, China Now
By Minxin Pei - Project-Syndicate.org
CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – When US President Richard Nixon embarked on his historic trip to China 40 years ago, he could not have imagined what his gamble would unleash. The immediate diplomatic impact, of course, was to reshape Eurasia’s geopolitical balance and put the Soviet Union on the defensive. But the long-term outcome of America’s rapprochement with China became visible only recently, with the economic integration of the People’s Republic into the world economy.
Had Nixon not acted in 1972, China’s self-imposed isolation would have continued. Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening of China to the world would have been far more difficult.
Road to Damascus… and on to Armageddon?
Western politicians and media are not yet fighting World War III, but they are talking themselves into it.
by DIANA JOHNSTONE - CounterPunch.org
Paris - What if pollsters put this question to citizens of the United States and the European Union :
"Which is more important, ensuring disgruntled Islamists freedom to overthrow the secular regime in Syria, or avoiding World War Three?"
I'll bet that there might be a majority for avoiding World War III.
But of course, the question is never framed like that.
That would be a "realistic" question, and we Westerners from the heights of our moral superiority have no time for vulgar "realism" in foreign policy (except the eccentric Ron Paul, crying out in the wilderness of Republican primaries).
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