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Supplies of gold and silver American Eagles
adequate as demand drops - U.S. Mint
The U.S. Mint, which has had problems in meeting demand for its gold and silver American Eagle coins in the past says supplies are adequate to meet current demand at a lower level.
Author: Frank Tang - Mineweb.com
NEW YORK (REUTERS) -
The United States Mint said on Wednesday it has enough American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins to meet demand and does not expect to allocate them in early 2012.
Sales of the U.S. gold and silver bullion coins have slowed in the fourth quarter as precious metals prices retreated from record highs, bucking a trend earlier this year when investors flocked to physical gold and silver as safe havens.
"As we plan on having sufficient quantities of all coins available, we do not anticipate having to allocate the initial release," U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said in a note.
The Year U.S. Debt Beat Gold
By Derek Thompson - TheAtlantic.com
The economy doesn't care about the calender, but journalists and readers do. So, although December 30 is no better time to lift up and take stock of the last 12 months than any other day of the year, it's around this time that we get the best, most complete summaries of the state of the economy.
Take, for example, this wonderful round-up of investments in 2011, via Suzy Khimm. It crystallizes one of the 2011's most angst-inducing facts for liberals. In a year where the Federal Reserve worried about inflation, Congress worried about the deficit, and nobody in government seemed to put equal energy into job-creation, the 2011's best bet was debt. In a year where Bill Gross fled bonds and goldbugs kept up their chirping, investment in U.S. bonds paid off better than gold.
Five factors affecting the gold price
By Rajivi Sharma - CommodityOnline.com
Gold is a precious metal with which mankind has had a long and illustrious relation and continues to do so. Gold served as money until other forms of currency were devised and even now gold is bought as an investment. The innate high value of gold makes it a reliable form of wealth, no matter the conditions. This makes it a hedge against economical fluctuations. The actions of people based on this principle drive the price of gold.
For the prospective buyer of gold, it is important to know what all factors affect the rates of gold. This will allow a person to predict with good accuracy the trends in the rates and thus be able to direct an investment to more profit.
Could gold confiscation become a reality?
There is increasing worry that The U.S. and other governments may confiscate citizens' gold holdings and use them to help mitigate the Global Financial Crisis.
Author: Julian D. W. Phillips - Mineweb.com
BENONI - Many of the leading fund managers in the U.S. and elsewhere are expecting that governments will confiscate their citizen's gold. This will not be for the same reasons used in 1933. It will be to facilitate loans, swaps lower interest rates, and shore up international confidence in the turbulent, stressed paper-currency world in which we live. Each nation issues paper as money, dependent on the trust that nation can engender at home and abroad. But is this going to be sufficient, moving into an ever more turbulent 2012?
Gold will bottom in Jan-Feb, then explode to $1900/oz
By Toby Connor - CommodityOnline.com
With the move below $1535 this morning Gold has confirmed that it is still moving down into a D-Wave bottom. There has been some question as to whether or not the D-Wave had bottomed in September. The penetration of that intermediate low this morning confirms that the D-Wave did not end during the overnight sell off on September 26.
In the chart below I have marked with blue arrows the last several yearly cycle lows. As you can see they tend to occur in January or February. The timing band for the next cycle low should occur sometime in early to mid January. That should mark the bottom of this D-Wave decline with the slight possibility that there could be one more short daily cycle down,bottoming in early February.
Unrestrainedly bullish on gold - even more so on silver
James West of the Midas letter warns against gold and silver price volatility influencing investment decisions in what he sees as a strongly bullish investment sector. Gold Report interview.
Author: Brian Sylvester - Mineweb.com
PETALUMA, CA - The Gold Report: Since you launched the Midas Letter Opportunity Fund earlier this year, some might suggest The Midas Letter is beholden to companies held by funds and is not as objective as it once was.
James West: It's definitely not as objective as it was once. I'm very biased toward the companies I choose to cover because I am invested in them, my retail subscribers are invested in them and now my institutional clients are invested in them. But the caveat is that the companies are now beholden to me-not vice versa-because if they don't deliver on what they represent, I will ensure that the whole world knows about that.
Bank failures ease, but more expected in 2012
By Joan E. Solsman - MarketWatch.com
U.S bank failures have slowed to a trickle at the end of 2011, but that doesn't mean they're coming to an end.
The failures continued to abate in both number and size this year, and the ranks of distressed banks at risk of failing finally diminished. However, a newer, slower pace at which distressed banks are folding suggests small, plodding failures could extend far into the future.
This year, only 92 banks failed, compared with 157 in 2010 and 140 in 2009. The size of failed banks has dropped even more sharply: The total amount of assets at failed banks this year is down 63% from last year.
Gallup.com Year in Review
What we learned in 2011
by Lymari Morales
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup.com provides a retrospective of 2011, summarizing some of the top findings of the year.
The Only Hope In The Coming Storm
by David Wilkerson - WorldChallenge.org
God promised the prophet Zechariah that in the last days he would be a protective wall of fire around his people: "For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about" (Zechariah 2:5).
Isaiah also testifies to this: "For thou hast been a…shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall" (Isaiah 25:4). "There shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain" (4:6).
These promises are meant to comfort us as "prior warnings." You see, all the prophets warn of a great storm coming in the final days. And this storm will beat against God’s wall of protection with ferocity.
The Number One Catastrophic Event
That Americans Worry About: Economic Collapse
Can you guess what the number one catastrophic event that Americans worry about is? There are certainly many to choose from. Many Americans are deathly afraid of a major terrorist attack. Others live in constant fear of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes. Still others are incredibly concerned that a massive pandemic will break out at any time or that World War III will erupt in the Middle East. Yes, there are certainly a lot of potential catastrophic events that one can worry about in the times in which we live, but the number one catastrophic event that Americans worry about is actually "economic collapse". At least that is what arecent survey conducted by Leiflin Inc. for the EcoHealth Alliance found. But this goes along with what so many other polls have found over the past few years. Over and over again, opinion polls have found that the number one issue that American voters are concerned about is the economy. The truth is that average Americans are deeply, deeply concerned about unemployment, debt, the housing crash and the steady decline in the standard of living. It has been years since the U.S. economy has operated at a "normal" level, and many Americans are afraid that things could soon get a whole lot worse.
Is America Losing Control?
"Events are in the saddle and ride mankind."
by Patrick J. Buchanan - LewRockwell.com
In describing 2011, few cliches seem more appropriate. For in this past year, we Americans seemed to lose control of our destiny, as events seemed to be in the saddle.
While President Barack Obama maneuvered skillfully to retain a fighting chance to be re-elected, the economy showed no signs of returning to the robustness of the Reagan or Clinton years. And Obama is all out of options.
By January 2013, he will have added $6 trillion to a national debt that just earned America a downgrade on its AAA credit rating.
30 Statistics That Show
That The Middle Class Is Dying
Right In Front Of Our Eyes As We Enter 2012
Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class that the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, that is rapidly changing. The statistics that you are about to read prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the U.S. middle class is dying right in front of our eyes as we enter 2012. The decline of the middle class is not something that has happened all of a sudden. Rather, there has been a relentless grinding down of the middle class over the last several decades. Millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas, the rate of inflation has far outpaced the rate that our wages have grown, and overwhelming debt has choked the financial life out of millions of American families. Every single day, more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty. In fact, more Americans fell into poverty last year than has ever been recorded before. The number of middle class jobs and middle class neighborhoods continues to decline at a staggering pace. As I have written about previously, America as a whole is getting pooreras a nation, and as this happens wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated at the very top of the income scale. This is not how capitalism is supposed to work, and it is not good for America.
Keiser Report: Outrageous Predictions for 2012 (E230)
Iran says it has produced its first nuclear fuel rod
By Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran
and Alexandra Zavis in Beirut - LATimes.com
REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT -- Iran said Sunday that its scientists had produced the country’s first nuclear fuel rod and its navy had test-fired a new medium-range surface-to-air missile, announcements that were likely to heighten concerns about the country’s disputed uranium-enrichment program.
The Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA, reported that the nuclear fuel rod had "passed all physical and dimensional tests" and had been inserted into the core of Tehran’s research reactor.
Iran had said that it would be forced to manufacture the rods because it is barred from buying them on foreign markets. The tubes contain pellets of enriched uranium that provide fuel for nuclear reactors.
The coming war with Iran
Regional chaos might count as a win for the mullahs
By Reza Kahlili-The Washington Times
Iran’s tyrannical leaders, determined to make the Islamic regime a nuclear-armed state, are preparing for war. That’s exactly what the United States and Israel might have to deliver, and soon. @-Text.rag:Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the Revolutionary Guards in May to speed up the regime’s nuclear-bomb program and arm its missiles with nuclear warheads. Now, sources reveal, Ayatollah Khamenei has ordered the guards to prepare for war.
In a recent meeting of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, it was decided that the possibility of an attack by Israel or America in 2012 is real and that the country’s forces need to prepare several contingencies for war. It also was concluded that in case of war, the regime could be victorious, though the cost would be high, but it would emerge as the one and only champion of the Islamic cause in the world.
Iran navy tests surface-to-air missile in drill
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI - AP - DailyFinance.com
TEHRAN, Iran -Iran's navy said Sunday it test-fired an advanced surface-to-air missile during a drill in international waters near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-sixth of the world's oil supply.
Iran's state TV said the missile, named Mehrab, or Altar, is designed to evade radar and was developed by Iranian scientists. The report said the missile was tested Sunday but provided no further details.
A leading Iranian lawmaker said the sea maneuvers serve as practice for closing the Strait of Hormuz if the West blocks Iran's oil sales. After top Iranian officials made the same threat a week ago, military commanders emphasized that Iran has no intention of blocking the waterway now.
Strait of Hormuz:
Threats exchanged, U.S. carrier tracked
By Amy Hubbard - LATimes.com
ran and the U.S. continued to trade words Thursday over an Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tanker traffic. Meanwhile, Iran said it had tracked a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
The action by an Iranian surveillance plane showed that Iran had "control" over moves by foreign forces in the region, the Associated Press quoted from an official Islamic Republic News Agency report.
Tehran is currently holding a 10-day military exercise in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz.
MAP: Strait of Hormuz
War Imminent in Straits of Hormuz? $200 a Barrel Oil?
Written by John Daly - OilPrice.com
The pieces and policies for potential conflict in the Persian Gulf are seemingly drawing inexorably together.
Since 24 December the Iranian Navy has been holding its ten-day Velayat 90 naval exercises, covering an area in the Arabian Sea stretching from east of the Strait of Hormuz entrance to the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden. The day the maneuvers opened Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told a press conference that the exercises were intended to show "Iran's military prowess and defense capabilities in international waters, convey a message of peace and friendship to regional countries, and test the newest military equipment." The exercise is Iran's first naval training drill since May 2010, when the country held its Velayat 89 naval maneuvers in the same area. Velayat 90 is the largest naval exercise the country has ever held.
Iran seeking to expand influence in Latin America
Iran seeks to skirt sanctions and expand influence in U.S. back yard -- By Joby Warrick - WashingtonPost.com
Iran is quietly seeking to expand its ties with Latin America in what U.S. officials and regional experts say is an effort to circumvent economic sanctions and gain access to much-needed markets and raw materials.
The new diplomatic offensive, which comes amid rising tensions with Washington and European powers, includes a four-nation swing through South and Central America this month by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His government has vowed to increase its economic, political and military influence in the United States’ back yard.
What’s Behind the Euro Crisis and How Will It End?
BY ANTONY P. MUELLER - FinancialSense.com
While the pronouncement of the "euro crisis" has become a main topic in the newsrooms and while a plethora of pundits hasn’t got tired of predicting the end of the common Europeancurrency, the facts tell a different story. By the end of 2011 the euro was quoted higher than its long-term average since its inception and the official inflation rate of the euro zone has been kept under two percent. The average debt burden of the countries that make up the euro-zone is less than that of the United States or Japan. What is, then, the problem with the euro? Why doesn’t a day go by without a headline that says that the euro is doomed and that it would be only a matter of time until the European Monetary Union and the European Union, too, would blow apart?
Peter Schiff - CNBC 30 Dec 2011
European leaders predict 2012 will be worse than 2011
Angela Merkel says new year will 'undoubtedly' be harder than the last as eurozone crisis hangover prompts more austerity
By Lizzy Davies and agencies - Guardian.co.uk
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has warned that the year ahead will "undoubtedly" be harder than 2011 in the starkest of a series of downbeat messages from European leaders dominated by fears over the economy.
Merkel said Europe was experiencing its "harshest test in decades" but would ultimately be made stronger by the crisis.
Urging greater European co-operation to salvage the Euro, Merkel said the German economy was performing well "even if the next year will undoubtedly be more difficult than this one".
Euro Leaders Aim to Buy Time to Save Currency
By Patrick Donahue - Bloomberg.com
European leaders return to work this week seeking to buy time for the Spanish and Italian governments to wrest control over their debt and rescue the single currency from fragmentation as the region’s crisis enters a new year.
Some 157 billion euros ($203 billion) in debt will mature in the 17-member euro area in the first three months of 2012, according to UBS AG. By the end of that period, leaders have pledged to draft a stricter rulebook on reining in debt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet in Berlin Jan. 9 to flesh out the details.
Presenting The Exchange Stabilization Fund In 5 Parts:
Is This The Real "Plunge Protection Team"?
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
When it comes to the fabled President's Working Group on Capital Markets, also known as the Plunge Protection Team, the myths about the subject are certainly far greater than any underlying reality. To be sure, vast amounts of popular folkflore has been expounded into the public arena, with most of it being shot down simply due to it assuming conspiracy theories of such vast scale that the human mind is unable to grasp the complexity, and ultimately the inverse Gordian Knot makes an appearance with the claim that vast conspiracies are largely untenable simply because it is impossible to keep a secret from so many people for so long. Yet what if the secret is not a secret at all but is fully out in the open, and is only a matter of interpretation, and contextualizing? Why just 3 years ago it would appear preposterous to allege the capital markets are a ponzi and that the Fed does everything in its power to keep stocks higher. Well, what a difference three years make: now the Chairman himself in a Washington Post OpEd has admitted that the sole gauge of Fed success is the loftiness of the Russell 2000, neither unemployment nor inflation really matter now that the Fed's third mandate has been fully whipped out.
Foreign central banks cut US treasuries
By Michael Mackenzie in New York - FT.com
Holdings of US Treasuries by foreign central banks has fallen by a record amount over the past four weeks according to the latest Federal Reserve data.
The net $69bn drop in Treasury holdings registered at the Fed by foreign official institutions comes as benchmark yields ended 2011 near record low levels and when the US central bank is conducting Operation Twist, its $400bn programme to sell shorter-lived Treasury bonds and buy those with longer maturities.
China’s Central Bank
to Keep Monetary Policy 'Prudent' in 2012, Zhou Says
By Bloomberg News -
The People’s Bank of China will maintain a "prudent" monetary stance to ensure policy remains stable in 2012 and improve its management of foreign-exchange, Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said.
The central bank will "deepen financial reform, accelerate the development of financial markets, and strengthen and improve foreign-exchange management," Zhou said in a New Year message on the PBOC’s website. Also today, Caixin magazine quoted Zhou as saying that while the yuan is near equilibrium, the currency’s trading band may widen to more than its current 0.5 percent on either side of the centralbank rate.
America’s Threat to Trans-Pacific Trade
Jagdish Bhagwati - Project-Syndicate.org
MUMBAI – As if undermining the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round of global free-trade talks was not bad enough (the last ministerial meeting in Geneva produced barely a squeak), the United States has compounded its folly by actively promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). President Barack Obama announced this with nine Asian countries during his recent trip to the region.
The TPP is being sold in the US to a compliant media and unsuspecting public as evidence of American leadership on trade. But the opposite is true, and it is important that those who care about the global trading system know what is happening. One hopes that this knowledge will trigger what I call the "Dracula effect": expose that which would prefer to remain hidden to sunlight and it will shrivel up and die.
Jim Rogers - CNBC 28 December 2011
The Obama Nation:
Even More Debt And Even More Store Closings
Well, it is time to raise the debt ceiling again. Right now we are about to hit the current limit of $15.194 trillion and the Obama administration is going to ask that it be raised by another 1.2 trillion dollars. Unfortunately, Congress has already promised not to stand in the way, and so soon the debt limit will be raised to a staggering $16.394 trillion. Considering how much debt we have already placed on the backs of future generations, what is another 1.2 trillion dollars? After all, if we are going to sell our children and our grandchildren into debt slavery, we might as well go all the way, right? Such is the thinking in "the Obama Nation". During "the Obama Nation", the federal government has already accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office. Of course the Bush administration was nearly as bad at piling up government debt. Between Bush and Obama (with a big helping hand from the Federal Reserve), they have done a pretty good job of wiping out the financial future of the United States. If there are future generations of Americans, they will look back and curse those that did this to them. It is absolutely immoral to steal trillions of dollars from future generations. Unfortunately, there are very, very few members of Congress that are even objecting to this madness.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Saga Continues
Despite death knell business as usual
By Heide B. Malhotra - TheEpochTimes.com
The year 2011 will be remembered as a tough and challenging year for the two mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.). Both were deeply embroiled and commonly believed to be part of the problem that precipitated the mortgage crisis.
On Feb. 9, Rep. Scott Garrett, chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), held a meeting titled GSE Reform, calling for an end to the taxpayer bailout of the two government-sponsored enterprises and launching a series of 2011 congressional hearings into the wheeling and dealing by the two giants.
U.S. Homes Lose $700 Billion in Value in 2011 --
and That's the Good News
By Sheryl Nance-Nash - DailyFinance.com
The year-end housing news is sobering -- U.S. homes are expected to lose more than $681 billion in value in 2011. But there's an upside -- that's 35% less than the $1.1 trillion lost in 2010, according to new research from Zillow (Z), a real estate information marketplace.
What else did the research show? Just nine out of 128 markets analyzed had gains in values in 2011. Bragging rights go to the New Orleans area, where the gains were greatest at $3.5 billion. Pittsburgh claimed the number two spot with a gain of $2.7 billion.
Some Housing Forecasts
One plus in 2011 was that residential investment made a small positive contribution to GDP growth for the first time since 2005 (mostly due to apartments). And construction employment probably added a few jobs in 2011, for the first time since 2006.
Now there is a growing consensus that new home sales and housing starts will increase in 2012. I think a small increase is likely, even with the large number of distressed homes, and I will be writing about the reasons soon.
Most Companies Don’t Plan to Hire in 2012
By Franklin Yu - Epoch Times Staff
NEW YORK—While the economy is slowly recovering, the employment picture isn’t likely to improve in 2012, according to surveys conducted by job search company CareerBuilder.
In a survey of more than 3,000 hiring managers and HR firms, 23 percent said that they plan to add full-time staff next year, which is slightly below the 24 percent who expressed the same sentiment last year. Seven percent said that they expect to trim staff, which remains the same as last year.
The rest of the firms say that they either do not know how they would proceed or intend to remain with the same headcount.
EEOC: High school diploma requirement
might violate Americans with Disabilities Act
By Dave Boyer-The Washington Times
Employers are facing more uncertainty in the wake of a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warning them that requiring a high school diploma from a job applicant might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The development also has some wondering if the agency’s advice will result in an educational backlash by creating less of an incentive for some high-school students to graduate.
Who Are the 6 Million?
By Derek Thompson - TheAtlantic.com
One of the unanswered mysteries about the economy today isn't just where the jobs are, but where the drop-outs are. Those "drop-outs" are the 6 million would-be workers who are not counted in the labor force because they've stopped actively seeking more work, even if they're very much hoping for more work.
If they counted toward unemployment, the official rate would be 11 percent rather than 8.6 percent. As the economy picks up, and these people re-join the job hunt, the unemployment rate will go up before it goes down.
U.S. consumer in the slow lane
By Stella Dawson
(Reuters) - It's up to the consumer to drive the U.S. economy and lift world growth in 2012, and the outlook is far from encouraging.
Over the past three and half years, growth in U.S. consumer spending has averaged a paltry 0.2 percent adjusted for inflation, the weakest in the post-World War II period, Morgan Stanley says.
While the employment picture is gradually brightening, wage growth is going in the opposite direction, keeping a lid on consumer behavior. Over the past year, pay for blue-collar workers adjusted for inflation fell 12 cents from the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was the steepest decline since the stagflationary days of 1980.
Online car-selling scam nets $4 million, prosecutors say
By Tiffany Hsu - LATimes.com
For more than three years, six foreign nationals ran an Internet vehicle-selling scam that bilked customers out of more than $4 million without delivering a single car, motor home or boat, according to a federal indictment out of Los Angeles this week.
The indictment charges six people from Germany, Russia, Romania and Latvia with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and money laundering.
U.S. Net Exporter of Petroleum Products -
A Look at the Numbers
Written by James Hamilton - OilPrice.com
One big story of 2011 was the United States switched from being a net importer to a net exporter of petroleum products. Here are the details behind that development.
The graph below plots the difference between U.S. exports and imports of petroleum products. On average in 2008, we had been importing about 1.8 million barrels per day more than we exported. So far in the second half of 2011, the difference has swung to an average positive net export balance of 0.4 million barrels per day. The exports are coming in the form of diesel and gasoline that is being sold all over the world, with the top 10 buyers in terms of growth of demand for U.S. products being Mexico, Netherlands, Chile, Canada, Spain, Brazil, Guatemala, Turkey, Argentina, and France.
Incandescent bulbs dimming despite GOP efforts on Hill
By Sean Lengell-The Washington Times
New light-bulb efficiency standards kicked in Sunday, despite a last-minute Republican move that prohibits the federal government from spending money on enforcement.
And while some Republicans have championed the anti-enforcement effort as a temporary death-sentence reprieve of the traditional incandescent bulb, others say the move largely is symbolic, as manufacturers long ago had planned to adhere to the new regulations by Jan. 1.
Americans buy record numbers of guns for Christmas
Americans bought record numbers of guns last month amid an apparent surge in popularity for weapons as Christmas presents.
By Nick Allen, Los Angeles - Telegraph.co.uk
According to the FBI, over 1.5 million background checks on customers were requested by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in December. Nearly 500,000 of those were in the six days before Christmas.
It was the highest number ever in a single month, surpassing the previous record set in November.
On Dec 23 alone there were 102,222 background checks, making it the second busiest single day for buying guns in history.
The Next Step
by Eric Peters - LewRockwell.com
Are we there yet?
No, but we are getting very close.
We are now at the point, I suspect, that our colonial ancestors were in the early 1770s. They were still British subjects, but had begun to question the relationship – the supposed right of the British sovereign to rule them. Within a very short time, they would reject the relationship in toto – onprinciple – and would become Americans.
I believe we are in roughly the same spot as those soon-to-be-Americans of the early 1770s.
Two Four Star Generals
Write New York Times Op-ed Against NDAA
and Indefinite Detention of Americans
The Intel Hub
Two retired four star Marine generals have written a stunning op-ed in the New York Times which demands that President Obama veto the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that allows the government to use the military to indefinitely detain American citizens without due process.
Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, both 4 star Marine generals, published the piece on December 12. The op-ed starts with a direct demand that President Obama veto the NDAA bill in order to protect our country from the "false choice between our safety and ideals."
It then gets into one of the most blatant anti American treasonous provisions in the history of the United States.
Ringing in a Conservative Year
By George Will - PatriotPost.us
WASHINGTON -- Although they have become prone to apocalyptic forebodings about the fragility of the nation's institutions and traditions under the current president, conservatives should stride confidently into 2012. This is not because they are certain, or even likely, to defeat Barack Obama this year. Rather, it is because, if they emancipate themselves from their unconservative fixation on the presidency, they will see events unfolding in their favor. And when Congress is controlled by one party, as it might be a year from now, it can stymie an overreaching executive.
needs to get real on salvaging middle class
With the coming U.S. presidential election, 2012 offers voters, business leaders and politicians an opportunity for a joint debate over the fundamentals of capitalism in America.
By Michael Hiltzik - LATimes.com
Occupy Wall Street and its coast-to-coast spinoffs captured the headlines in 2011, but the economic debate it helped trigger should reverberate deep into 2012.
That's the debate over the future of the American middle class. Rarely has its economic plight been an explicit issue in a presidential election, but candidates on both sides of the partisan divide are poised to make it the centerpiece of their campaigns in the coming year.
Voters Want Growth, Not Income Redistribution
By Michael Barone - PatriotPost.us
"A 2008 election widely regarded as heralding a shift toward the more government-friendly public sentiment of the New Deal and Great Society eras seems to have yielded just the reverse."
So writes William Galston, Brookings Institution scholar and deputy domestic adviser in the Clinton White House, in the New Republic. Galston, one of the smartest political and policy analysts around, has strong evidence for this conclusion.
He cites a recent Gallup poll showing that while 82 percent of Americans think it's extremely or very important to "grow and expand the economy" and 70 percent say it's similarly important to "increase equality of opportunity for people to get ahead," only 46 percent say it's important to "reduce the income and wealth gap between the rich and the poor," and 54 percent say this is only somewhat or not important.
Door is open; all paths leading to Rome, next?
Some Anglicans apply to join the Catholic Church
By Michelle Boorstein - WashingtonPost.com
The Vatican is set to launch a structure Monday that will allow Anglican parishes in the United States — and their married priests — to join the Catholic Church in a small but symbolically potent effort to reunite Protestants and Catholics, who split almost 500 years ago.
More than 1,300 Anglicans, including 100 Anglican priests, have applied to be part of the new body, essentially a diocese. Among them are members of St. Luke’s in Bladensburg,which this summer became the first group in the country to convert to Catholicism.
Russia’s Inevitable Democratization
Sergei Guriev and Aleh Tsyvinski - Project-Syndicate.org
MOSCOW – Twenty years ago, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, the Soviet Union ended, and Russia began an imperfect transition to democratic capitalism – a transition that has proven to be far more difficult than expected. And yet the recent protests – somewhat similar to those that preceded the end of the Soviet Union – provide grounds for cautious optimism about the future.
So, what lessons can we draw from the successes and failures of Russia’s last two decades of post-Soviet transition? And what lies ahead?
The Shadow Superpower
Forget China: the $10 trillion global black market is the world's fastest growing economy -- and its future.
BY ROBERT NEUWIRTH - ForeignPolicy.com
With only a mobile phone and a promise of money from his uncle, David Obi did something the Nigerian government has been trying to do for decades: He figured out how to bring electricity to the masses in Africa's most populous country.
It wasn't a matter of technology. David is not an inventor or an engineer, and his insights into his country's electrical problems had nothing to do with fancy photovoltaics or turbines to harness the harmattan or any other alternative sources of energy. Instead, 7,000 miles from home, using a language he could hardly speak, he did what traders have always done: made a deal. He contracted with a Chinese firm near Guangzhou to produce small diesel-powered generators under his uncle's brand name, Aakoo, and shipped them home to Nigeria, where power is often scarce. David's deal, struck four years ago, was not massive -- but it made a solid profit and put him on a strong footing for success as a transnational merchant. Like almost all the transactions between Nigerian traders and Chinese manufacturers, it was also sub rosa: under the radar, outside of the view or control of government, part of the unheralded alternative economic universe of System D.
Japan hit by 7.0 earthquake
A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 jolted eastern and northeastern Japan on Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages and no tsunami warning was issued.
The earthquake measured 4 in central Tokyo, Fukushima and their surrounding areas on the Japanese intensity scale, which measures ground motion, according to Japan Meteorological Agency, which uses a different measuring system than the U.S. Geological Survey.
A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power said there were no reports of any abnormalities at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plan following the quake.
Some high-speed train services in northern Japan were suspended after the earthquake, but soon resumed operations, Kyodo news reported.
Air Force buys an Avenger,
its biggest and fastest armed drone
The new radar-evading aircraft, which cost the Air Force $15 million, has a maximum takeoff weight of 15,800 pounds and can fly at 460 mph. The drone, built near San Diego, is for testing purposes.
By W.J. Hennigan - LATimes.com
The Air Force has bought a new hunter-killer aircraft that is the fastest and largest armed drone in its fleet.
The Avenger, which cost the military $15 million, is the latest version of the Predator drones made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., a San Diego-area company that also builds the robotic MQ-9 Reapers for the Air Force and CIA.
The new radar-evading aircraft, also known as the Predator C, is General Atomics' third version of these drones. The Air Force picked up only one of them, strictly for testing purposes.
North Korea's new year message declares era of prosperity
State greets 2012 with promises to defend Kim Jong-un 'unto death' and address food shortages, signalling economic focus
Associated Press in Pyongyang - Guardian.co.uk
North Korea has vowed to stage an all-out drive for prosperity and unite behind new leader Kim Jong-un, ushering in 2012 with promises to resolve food shortages, bolster its military and defend Kim Jong-il's young son "unto death".
The pledge in North Korea's annual new year message comes as the country enters a new era, with Kim Jong-un installed as supreme commander of the 1.2 million-strong military and ruling party leader following his father's death.
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