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Gold & Silver: Deflationary downward wave
By Clive Maund - CommodityOnline.com
The last few weeks have been confusing. And that was the clear contradiction between the bearish price patterns that emerged in the case of Gold and Silver (and to a large top and a brutal wave of deflationary downward pointing) and the seemingly bullish Commitments of Traders (COT) structure in the precious metals sector. For the COT developments, we now seem to have an explanation, which we discuss later. But first let's take a look at the development of price patterns.
China’s 2012 Gold Panic
China's latest gold figures look unrelentingly bullish.
Too bullish perhaps…
BY ADRIAN ASH - FinancialSense.com
So "Growth has [now] replaced inflation as Beijing's top policy concern," says Qu Hongbin, Asian economics expert at HSBC in Hong Kong, forecasting three cuts to China's banking reserve requirements by July.
"There is developing in Beijing, I think, almost a panic about global economic prospects and the impact of the European crisis on China," agrees Michael Pettis, finance professor at Peking University. He goes one further and forecasts debate – if not the fact – of a currency devaluation in 2012.
Charting the gold price back to the year 1265
We have often seen requests to show the price of Goldgoing back as long as possible. The graph shown below is a gold price chart, indexed in 2010 British Pounds and going all the way back to the year 1265.
To the surprise of many, the 'early 1980's gold price surge' is not the only time in history when gold exploded as America's game with inflation was almost lost. It appears that based on the surge in gold back in the late 15th century, there was actually quite a serious need for Columbus to go forth and find a source of gold, because last we checked Ferdinand and Isabella did not have Bernanke's money printers back then.
Bob Chapman - Radio Liberty - 09 January 2012
China’s Gold Imports From Hong Kong
Climb to Record on Investment Demand
By Bloomberg News
China’s gold imports from Hong Kong surged to a record as consumers bought the metal before the Lunar New Year this month and investors sought to hedge against financial turmoil. Bullion rallied to a four-week high.
Mainland China bought 102,779 kilograms from Hong Kong in November, up from 86,299 kilograms in October, according to theCensus and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government. China doesn’t publish gold trade data
Will silver drive the rally in 2012?
By Jared Cummans - CommodityOnline.com
Silver has been one of the most talked about commodities over the past few years thanks to its massive price swings. After a dismal 2008, Silver prices soared for the next two years including an approximate 80% appreciation in 2010 alone and in 2011, which brought silver back down to earth despite impressive spikes intra-year. With losses piling up to more than 10% in the previous year, investors were quick to sell out of the flailing precious metal. Silver’s poor performance, however, came as a major surprise especially considering that Gold was up by about the same margin that silver surrendered. But now that 2012 is underway, silver may be poised for another break-out year.
The Ponzi Debt Bubble Leaves Only Two Options
BY KARL DENNINGER - FinancialSense.com
Contemplate this chart a bit. [see chart online]
This shows you what the stock market (S&P 500) did, along with the expansion in both GDP and debt (leverage) during that time. The debt expansion was a geometric series from roughly 1990 forward until it hit the wall in 2007.
It may not be intuitively obvious when you look at that chart, but this is what was happening. The data is a bit "noisy" as the granularity is quarterly, and of course there are small recessions and such in there, but on balance this entire "expansion" was in fact false --during this entire period, from 1980 forward until the crash, we did not have one three month period where economic growth occurred at a faster gross dollar amount than did new debt.
Banking system crisis- Paul Craig Roberts
On the Edge with Max Keiser-01-06-2012
U.S. runs in the red for 39th straight month
By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times
The federal government ran a deficit in December, marking the 39th straight month in the red, according to preliminary estimates Monday by theCongressional Budget Office, continuing a streak that dates back to the last days of PresidentGeorge W. Bush and encompasses PresidentObama’s entire term.
And in a bad sign, December’s deficit of $84 billion was slightly worse than the deficit in December 2010, reversing a trend that had seen a slightly improved picture over the previous few months.
24 Statistics To Show
To Anyone Who Believes T
hat America Has A Bright Economic Future
Beware of bubbles of false hope. Right now there is a lot of talk about how the U.S. economy is improving, but it is all a lie. The mainstream media can be very seductive. When you sit down to watch television your brain tends to go into a very relaxed mode. In such a state, it becomes easy to slip thoughts and ideas past your defenses. Sometimes when I am watching television I realize what the media is trying to do and yet I can still feel it happening to me. In this day and age, it is absolutely critical that we all think for ourselves. When you look at the long-term trends and the long-term numbers, a much different picture of the U.S economy emerges than the one that is painted for us on television. Over the long-term, the number of good jobs in America has been steadily going down. Over the long-term, the number of Americans living in poverty and living on food stamps has been steadily going up. Over the past couple of decades, tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth have gone out of the country. Our debt is nearly 15 times larger than it was 30 years ago, and U.S. consumer debt has soared by 1700% over the past 40 years. Year after year the rate of inflation goes up faster than our incomes do, and this is absolutely devastating the middle class. Anyone who believes that we can keep doing the same things that we have been doing and yet America will still have a bright economic future is delusional. Until the long-term trends which are taking the U.S. economy straight into the toilet are reversed, any talk of a bright economic future is absolute nonsense.
For those hurting most, Fed’s remedies limited
By Neil Irwin - WashingtonPost.com
In the most difficult economy in a generation, middle-income and poor Americans are hurting the worst. Congress is tied in knots, barely able to pass even the most basic measures to help.
That has put pressure on the one arm of government with the power and the flexibility to try to boost ordinary Americans’ fortunes: the Federal Reserve. But the limited policies the Fed has at its disposal mostly put money in the hands of the affluent, at least through their direct effects. The affluent, in turn, are less likely than most to spend that money in the wider economy.
U.S. sells 10-year debt at lowest-ever yield
Treasury's gain after record-setting auction
Federal Reserve’s Beige Book notes moderate growth
By Deborah Levine, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Treasury prices advanced on Wednesday, pushing yields down, after the government sold benchmark 10-year notes for under 2% for the first time ever.
Ten-year yields, which move inversely to prices, fell 6 basis points to 1.91%. A basis point is one one-hundredth of a percentage point.
Thirty-year bond yields declined 6 basis points to 2.96%, dropping under the key 3% level.
Japan and Canada warn on Volcker rule impact
Last-ditch push against prop trading controls on sovereigns
By Tom Braithwaite and Michael Mackenzie in New York, Ben McLannahan in Tokyo and Shahien Nasiripour in Washington - FT.com
Foreign governments and asset managers are mounting a last-ditch push against the US Volcker rule, worried that the proposed ban on proprietary trading could exacerbate a liquidity crunch.
Japanese and Canadian regulators have warned the US government that the rule, which is due to be finalised within weeks and put into force in July, could harm world markets by preventing or deterring US banks such as Goldman Sachs from trading.
Spanish Banks Undermine Recovery
With Discriminatory Home Loans: Mortgages
By Sharon Smyth - Bloomberg.com
Spain’s banks, saddled with 329,000 foreclosed homes, are still willing to provide mortgages, as long as the borrower wants to buy one of their properties, according to a consumer-rights group. That’s no help to homeowners and developers seeking to sell.
Members of the group, Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios, or OCU, applied for mortgages at 46 bank branches in Spain in August and September to buy privately-owned homes. In every case, the lender tried to persuade the prospective borrower to purchase one of its own properties instead -- either by offering to finance 100 percent of the price or by refusing to lend for another home, spokeswoman Ileana Izverniceanu said.
Economic crisis means
the Mafia is now 'Italy's number one bank'
By James Mackenzie - NationalPost.com
ROME — Organized crime has tightened its grip on the Italian economy during the economic crisis, making the Mafia the country’s biggest "bank" and squeezing the life out of thousands of small firms, according to a report on Tuesday.
Extortionate lending by criminal groups had become a "national emergency," said the report by anti-crime group SOS Impresa.
Organized crime now generated annual turnover of about €140-billion ($178.89 billion) and profits of more than €100-billion, it added.
More proof that Obama's regulatory leaders
are saving elite financial criminals
By Bill Black - NakedCapitalism.com
The New York Times published a column by its leading financial experts, Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story, on November 22, 2011 which contains a spectacular charge against the Obama administration’s financial regulatory leaders. I have waited for the rebuttal, but it is now clear that the administration does not contest the charge.
The specific example that prompted the NYT article (“Financial Finger-Pointing Turns to Regulators”) was a civil action against a former executive of IndyMac. IndyMac was supposed to be regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS). OTS was the worst of the federal financial regulators – which is a large statement. It was so bad that the Dodd-Frank Act killed it. I used to work for OTS. One of the things I did to make myself unemployable during the S&L debacle was to testify before Congress against the head of our agency, Danny Wall, and our head of supervision, Darrell Dochow. Wall resigned in disgrace and Dochow was demoted and sent back to run the obscure office he had once run in Seattle.
Too-Big-to-Fail Bank Definition
May Be Expanded by Regulators
By Ben Moshinsky and Jim Brunsden - Bloomberg.com
Global regulators may expand the definition of a too-big-to-fail financial firm, signing up domestic lenders, clearing houses and insurers to capital rules designed for the world’s biggest banks.
The "framework should be in place for domestically systemically important banks by the end of the year," Mark Carney, chairman of the Financial Stability Board, said yesterday after a meeting of the group inBasel, Switzerland.
China bank regulator bans some derivative sales
By Rose Yu
SHANGHAI (MarketWatch) -- China's banking regulator has banned the sale of commercial paper-backed products by trust companies, in another bid to crack down on shadow financing, four people familiar with the situation said Thursday.
The China Banking Regulatory Commission's branches across the nation told trust companies to stop selling such investment products Wednesday, said the people, who declined to be named. The people added it isn't clear when the ban will be lifted.
Growing wealth divide puts globalization at risk
By Ben Hirschler
(Reuters) - A backlash against rising inequality - evident from the Occupy movement to the Arab Spring - risks derailing the advance of globalization and represents a threat to economies worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum.
Severe income disparity and precarious government finances rank as the biggest economic threats facing the world, according to the group's 2012 Global Risks report released on Wednesday.
Corzine Sued by Montana Farmers
Over MF Global Futures Account Money
By Karen Gullo - Bloomberg.com
Jon Corzine, former chief executive officer of collapsed commodity brokerage MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MFGLQ), was sued for fraud byMontana farmers who claim he oversaw the misappropriation of their commodity trading account funds.
The lawsuit filed today by three farmers and a cattle- raising operation in Montana seeks to represent a nationwide group of commodities futures customers whose money went missing amid the $41 billion bankruptcy of MF Global, parent of the futures brokerage that is being liquidated. A trustee is looking for $1.2 billion or more in money missing from commodity customers’ accounts.
The Neverending MF Global Story:
Regulators Block The Truth
By Francine McKenna, Contributor - Forbes.com
Instead of looking out forMF Global investors – and customers who are still waiting for their money – it looks like regulators and the bankruptcy trustees are busy suppressing information. Instead of full transparency, regulators and the trustees are holding onto crucial details that might tell us all who was asleep at the wheel when the broker/dealer and futures commission merchant (FCM) headed over the cliff.
Bankrupt Solyndra seeking to pay bonuses
Court’s OK sought for 'incentive plan'
By Jim McElhatton-The Washington Times
Now seems an unlikely time for handing out bonuses at bankrupt Solyndra LLC, but that’s the plan of company attorneys intending to dole out up to a half-million dollars to persuade key employees to stay put.
Nearly two dozen Solyndra employees could receive bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 each under a proposal filed by Solyndra’s attorneys in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.
The attorneys say the extra money will add motivation at a time when workers at the solar company have little job security and more responsibilities because so many of their colleagues have been fired.
Trouble Is Brewing for Office Market
By CRAIG KARMIN And ELIOT BROWN - WSJ.com
Penn Mutual Towers, an office complex across the street from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, has seen its vacancy rise and income fall after one big tenant left and another renewed its lease for 15% less than it had been paying. Its creditors are foreclosing on the property, according to data company Trepp LLC.
Similar problems are mushrooming in office markets throughout the country, foreshadowing a new wave of real-estate trouble.
The Housing Bubble and the Economic Crisis
What Greenspan Should Have Done
by DEAN BAKER - CounterPunch.org
In Washington policy circles, money and influence can be used to make even the most simple and obvious things complicated and confusing. This is certainly the case with the housing bubble and its aftermath. Four years into the housing bubble downturn, much of the country remains hopelessly confused about what happened, why it happened and who is to blame.
First, what happened is very straightforward. We had a huge run-up in house prices that had no basis in the fundamentals of the housing market. After 100 years in which nationwide house prices just kept even with the overall rate of inflation, house prices began to sharply outpace inflation beginning in the late 90s. By 2002, when some of us first noticed the bubble, house prices had already risen by more than 30 percentage points in excess of inflation. By the peak of the bubble in 2006, the increase in house prices was more than 70 percentage points above the rate of inflation.
Bernanke Doubling Down on Housing Bet
Asks Government to Help: Mortgages
By Jody Shenn - Bloomberg.com
Ben S. Bernanke is signaling his willingness to double down on a three-year bet that’s failed to revive housing, showing the extent of the Federal Reserve chairman’s effort to wrest a recovery from the deepest recession.
Since the Fed started buying $1.25 trillion of mortgage bonds in January 2009, the value of U.S. housing has fallen 4.1 percent, and is down 32 percent from its 2006 peak, according to an S&P/Case-Shiller index. The central bank is poised to buy about $200 billion this year, or more than 20 percent of new loans, as it reinvests debt that’s being paid off. Some Fed officials have said they may support additional purchases that Barclays Capital estimates could total as much as $750 billion.
Hostess returns to bankruptcy over pensions
(Reuters) - Twinkies and Wonder Bread maker Hostess Brands Inc filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than three years, after failing to reach an agreement with workers on pension and health benefits.
Hostess' declining financial performance, crippling legacy costs associated with its pension plans and massive debt levels led the company to Chapter 11 bankruptcy, court papers showed on Wednesday.
The company, which has about $860 million in debt, said it does not expect disruptions in the manufacturing and delivery of its products during the bankruptcy process.
Hostess Files for Bankruptcy, but the Twinkie Will Never Die
With the food manufacturer in jeopardy, let us consider the wonderful international complex behind the making of the Twinkie
By Derek Thompson - TheAtlantic.com
The Twinkie is indestructible (or so we're told), but the imperishable treat's maker is in danger of succumbing to that most common of economic forces: Health care and pension costs.
Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Wonder Bread, announced that it is filing for bankruptcy for the second time in less than ten years due to expensive legacy pensions and medical obligations for its 19,000 employees in 49 states. Deep in debt, Hostess is also forced to weigh the rising cost of ingredients against falling demand for its sticky treats. Last year, inflation for sugar (21%) and wheat (69%) took ingredient costs to all-time highs while Twinkie sales declined by 2%.
US consumer credit borrowings
hit 10 year high in November amidst a financial crisis
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): The US consumer credit growth for November came in at over $20 billion. This is a record 10% increase in a month, the most in almost 10 years.
Revolving credit (mostly credit cards) usage grew for the third consecutive month by $5.60 billion. Non-revolving credit (mostly auto mobile and student loans) rose $14.78 billion adjusted seasonally.
Smart TVs: The next tech war is in the living room
By Hayley Tsukayama - WashingtonPost.com
Hawking their wares at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, the world’s top television manufacturers are bent on making a splash: They’re trying to sell a whole new approach to television.
In a world where the latest gadgets are automatically expected to be hooked up to technology "ecosystems" — apps, Internet connectivity and access to social networks -- television makers are banking on the fact that couch potatoes will want to see their friendly living-room TV get in on the act.
Education's Medicaid Problem
More bad news for privileged public employee teachers.
By RISHAWN BIDDLE - The American Spectator.org
These days, there is plenty of wrangling over the future of America's woeful traditional public schools. Inside the Beltway, congressional Republicans, Senate Democrats, and President Barack Obama are in a stalemate over the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. Obama will also have to defend his school reform legacy against any one of the Republican presidential aspirants who becomes the nominee (who, in turn, will have to distance himselffrom the school reform mantle of George W. Bush, upon whose efforts Obama has built his own).
Underwater Homeowners May Swim Freely
by Lena Groeger - ProPublica.org
Prevailing wisdom has it that homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth -- known as being "underwater" -- are forced to stay put because the property is too difficult to sell. So people who would otherwise relocate -- say, to find a job -- are "tethered to their homes." It's a theory touted by prominentNew York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Harvard economist Lawrence Katz, and regularly makes appearances in the media.
But according to economist Sam Schulhofer-Wohl at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, they've all got it backwards: underwater homeowners are actually more likely to move.
10 Shocking Home Invasion Horror Stories
That Are Almost Too Creepy To Believe
Is your home secure? Are you absolutely sure? There are very few things that are more terrifying than having your home invaded. In fact, many people are never able to feel completely safe in a home again after it has been invaded. Our homes are supposed to be our fortresses. They are where we keep our families and our most cherished possessions safe. Unfortunately, due to the declining economy the number of truly desperate people out there continues to rise. When people become truly desperate, they will often find themselves doing things that they never dreamed that it would be possible for them to do. Hopefully the shocking home invasion stories in this article will motivate you to take action. We all need to learn how to protect ourselves and our families. For a long time the incredible prosperity that we enjoyed in this nation helped to mask the nightmarish moral decline that was taking place. But now that hard times have hit, we are starting to see the fabric of society come apart. All over the United States homes are being invaded, and some of these home invasions are almost too creepy to believe.
12 Infected With New Swine Flu Strain
By JASON KOEBLER - USNews.com
The days of medical masks at airports and widespread panic may be coming back—that's because at least 12 humans are believed to have been infected with a new strain of swine flu that's not covered by this season's vaccine.
The new swine flu strain, H3N2v, has shown at least some potential for human-to-human transmission in those 12 individuals, which makes it especially dangerous. Between 2009 and mid-2010, more than 17,000 people died worldwide from the highly contagious H1N1 swine flu strain, leading the World Health Organization to call the strain a pandemic.
Saving the Post Office: The Models of Kiwibank and Japan Post
by: Ellen Brown, Truth-out/org
Neither rain nor sleet nor snow may have stopped the Pony Express, but the nation's oldest and second-largest employer is nowunder attack. Claiming the United States Postal Service (USPS) is bankrupt, critics are pushing legislation that would defuse the postal crisis bybreaking the backs of the postal workers' unions and mandating widespread layoffs. But the "crisis" is an artificial one, created by Congress itself.
Killing America’s Dreams, One Lousy Concept Car at a Time
By Joel Johnson, Jalopnik - Wired.com
Concept cars aren’t just wank jobs of empty, aspirational futurism. They’re goal posts. They’re psychedelic mind-expanding drugs made of carbon-fiber and starlight. They stand as examples of not just where a car company could go, but where — barring a collective public gasp at an engineer’s daydream gone overly onastic — American culture will go once technology and manufacturing capability allow.
So as I sit here at the Detroit auto show, I wonder: Why have American automakers stopped dreaming?
* * * * *
Don't be Conned by the NIA -- Do not promote their videos
Homeland Security watches Twitter, social media
....Also Monitoring The Drudge Report, The New York Times
By Mark Hosenball
(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.
A "privacy compliance review" issued by DHS last November says that since at least June 2010, its national operations center has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" which involves regular monitoring of "publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards."
Election Industry in Crisis as Romney Romps Home
by ALEXANDER COCKBURN - CounterPunch.org
He stuck his foot in his mouth a couple of times in the final days, but on Tuesday millionaire Mormon Mitt Romney cantered past the winning post in the New Hampshire primary with 39 per cent of the votes cast. Libertarian Ron Paul ran second with 23 per cent. Another millionaire Mormon, Jon Huntsman, got 17 per cent. Floundering abjectly in the mire of defeat were Newt Gingrich (ten per cent) and the headline snatcher in Iowa a week ago, Rick Santorum (nine per cent.)
The Mythical Middle in American Politics
By Terence Jeffrey - PatriotPost.us
Why did the Democrats run Bob Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania in 2006 against Sen. Rick Santorum?
Why did President George W. Bush win a higher percentage of the African-American vote in Ohio in 2004 than he won nationwide?
Why did Proposition 8 win in California in 2008, while Sen. John McCain was losing the state in the presidential election?
The answer: The middle in American politics is not where the liberal media or establishment Republicans want you to think it is.
Obama or More of the Same
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
Mitt Romney, who finished first in New Hampshire last night, got a raw deal from the mainstream media (MSM) and his Republican opponents about a comment that was totally taken out of context. It was reported that Mitt Romney said, "I like to fire people." That would make you think he was some sort of cold hearted person who doesn’t care about people. What Romney actually said was in the context of health care providers and being able to fire companies who give you bad service. Romney actually said, "I like to be able to fire people who provide services to me." I agree with Romney on this one. This was a totally false representation of what Governor Romney said, and everyone who carried this story and used this in a campaign should be ashamed.
Why Banks Back SOPA,
the "Bring the Chinese Internet to America" Bill
Although lots of technology-related sites are correctly up in arms about the Stop Online Piracy Act, the MSM has given it short shrift, and the financial blogosphere has not paid much attention (cross posts of some of George Washington articles being a welcome exception).
SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP Act) use nuclear-weapon-to-kill-a-mouse scale solutions to Internet piracy. David Carr in the New York Times, in an rather anodyne article given what is at stake,gave an overview of what is wrong with the bills, namely, a lot. Even if you accept the proponents’ dubious claims about the losses from "rouge" foreign websites ($58 billion!), the bills probably won’t fix that problem and will create a host of new ones. Despite assertions that it would create jobs, it would actually deter technology startups, undermine scientific journals, and could fragment the Internet domain name system. It’s tantamount to making the public wear ankle bracelets to combat shoplifting.
Champions of Freedom
By John Stossel - PatriotPost.us
It's election season, and so once again people look for heroes. Is Ron Paul one? Maybe. He's fought a long, lonely battle to limit the power of government. As government grows, I yearn for champions of freedom who fight back. Rep. Paul has done that.
But it's a mistake to look for heroes in politics. It's too ugly a business. My heroes are people like Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek and Ayn Rand.
Almost 1 In 3 U.S. Warplanes Is a Robot
By Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman - Wired.com
Remember when the military actually put human beings in the cockpits of its planes? They still do, but in far fewer numbers. According to a new congressional report acquired by Danger Room, drones now account for 31 percent of all military aircraft.
To be fair, lots of those drones are tiny flying spies, like the Army’s Raven, that could never accommodate even the most diminutive pilot. (Specifically, the Army has 5,346 Ravens, making it the most numerous military drone by far.) But in 2005, only five percent of military aircraft were robots, a report by the Congressional Research Service notes. Barely seven years later, the military has 7,494 drones. Total number of old school, manned aircraft: 10,767 planes.
U.S. Drone War Returns to Pakistan (And It Ain’t Stopping)
By Spencer Ackerman - Wired.com
For the first time since a deadly U.S.-Pakistani firefight drove relations between the two uneasy allies into the toilet, a missile fired by a drone slammed into a North Waziristan target. Surprise! Washington-Islamabad acrimony isn’t enough to stop the drone war.
Four people were killed near Mirin Shah in the first drone strike since Nov. 16. In the interim, 24 Pakistani soldiers died in a U.S. helicopter strike during a raid by U.S. commandos on a village near the Pakistan border; a military inquiry determined the Pakistanis had fired persistently on the commandos. The drone war has effectively been on pause to let U.S. diplomacy with Islamabad regroup
Clinton's Tone Deaf US Foreign Policy Announcements
Create New Provocations in Asia
by ALICE SLATER
On UN Day, at a panel on Nuclear Disarmament, Secretary General Ban-ki Moon spoke about his 2008 five point proposal for nuclear disarmament, including the requirement for negotiations to ban the bomb. It was dismaying when the next speaker, a retired US Air Force General, Michal Mosley, breezily assured the audience and his fellow panelists that it certainly was now possible to rid the world of nuclear weapons, since atomic bomb technology is thoroughly out of date. He boasted that today “we” have long range attack weapons of such "unbelievable precision and lethality" that we no longer need nuclear weapons in the US arsenal. Our conventional weapons are ever so superior to those of any other nation. He said this as his fellow co-panelists, the Russian and Chinese ambassadors, took in the full import of his braggadocio, to my extreme embarrassment as a US citizen. Did the General consider for a moment the effect his words were having on the Ambassadors and the other non-US participants in the meeting? His astonishing disregard for the effect of such provocative war talk on our fellow earth mates seems to be a major failure of our "tin ear" foreign policy.
Iran: Oh, No; Not Again
In each of the years 2008, 2009, and 2010, significant worries emerged that Western nations might attack Iran. Here again in 2012, similar concerns are once again at the surface.
Why revisit this topic again? Simply because if actions against Iran trigger a shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40% of the world's daily sea-borne oil passes, oil prices will spike, the world's teetering economy will slump, and the arrival of the next financial emergency will be hastened. Even if the strait remains open but Iran is blocked from being an oil exporter for a period of time, it bears mentioning that Iran is the third largest exporter of oil in the world after Saudi Arabia and Russia.
White House and State Department are in No Position
to Issue Credible Denials Regarding Spying Charges
An American Spy in Iran?
by DAVE LINDORFF - CounterPunch.org
I wouldn’t want to be Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the 28-year-old former US Marine just recently sentenced to death by a court in Iran after being convicted of being an American spy.
Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian exile parents, and who grew up in Michigan, is being defended by President Obama, whose White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, declared, "Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false." The White House, not content with that denial, went on to trash the Iranian government and legal system, with Vietor adding, "The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons."
Iran car explosion kills nuclear scientist in Tehran
By Frank Gardner - BBC.co.uk
A university lecturer and nuclear scientist has been killed in a car explosion in north Tehran.
Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, an academic who also worked at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, and the driver of the car were killed in the attack.
The blast happened after a motorcyclist stuck an apparent bomb to the car.
Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated in recent years, with Iran blaming Israel and the US. Both countries deny the accusations.
Iran blames Israel for killing nuclear scientist
Bomb kills Iran nuclear scientist as crisis mounts
By Ramin Mostafavi and Parisa Hafezi
(Reuters) - An Iranian nuclear scientist was blown up in his car by a motorbike hitman on Wednesday, prompting Tehran to blame Israeli and U.S. agents but insist the killing would not derail a nuclear program that has raised fears of war and threatened world oil supplies.
The fifth daylight attack on technical experts in two years, the magnetic bomb delivered a targeted blast to the door of 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan's silver sedan as he was driven down a busy street near a Tehran university during the morning rush hour. The chemical engineer's driver also died, Iranian media said, and a passer-by was slightly hurt.
Iran and the undeclared campaign
By Frank Gardner - BBC.co.uk
The assassination on Wednesday of another Iranian nuclear scientist may now prompt Iran to try to respond in kind.
The murder in Tehran of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan is the fourth such attack on Iran's scientists in just two years.
It comes on top of a sophisticated cyber sabotage programme and two mysterious explosions at Iranian military bases, one of which in November killed the general known as 'the godfather' of Iran's ballistic missile programme.
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