"I have maintained for quite a few years that when we reach the peak in this gold cycle, the SGE [Shanghai Gold Exchange]will resemble a casino. The Chinese have a huge propensity for gambling, and this is what will likely propel the gold price to levels that we probably can’t even imagine." -- Franco-Nevada Chairman Pierre Lassonde, 5/21/14
President Obama's release of five prisoners from Guantanamo Detention Center -- a government torture facility for predominantly innocent men -- raised eyebrows not so much for his continued failure to close the facility altogether, but for the American soldier for whom the prisoners' release was exchanged. For years President Obama and his apologists have blamed Congressional obstruction for the President's failure to deliver on his campaign promise to close Guantanamo, an obstacle which Mr. Obama conveniently circumvented in the subject case by simply ignoring the law requiring Congressional consent in order to release the men. Obtaining congressional consent and following the law is something the President does when it suits him.
There has been understandable head-scratching as to how Mr. Obama managed to bungle, in return for their release, the freeing of a U.S. prisoner of war -- a generally joyous and non-controversial matter. Whether it was a poorly executed political stunt or simply a cluster of ineptitude it speaks to the clumsy and cynical political pathology that defines this president. That he would send out Susan Rice of all people to run defense on the Sunday talk shows given the inevitable reminder of her disastrous Benghazi Sunday show performance makes Mr. Obama appear tone-deaf and isolated.
There is also the head scratching that any thinking American ought to be undertaking as a result of last week's episode in the fabricated "War on Terror." For instance -- exactly who are we at war with? If as has been widely reported the five released men were top level Taliban operatives (although there is no reason to believe they were), then explain again why we are taking our shoes off at airports? Why, if terrorists can be released once captured -- are the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians including children in proximity to drone strikes considered acceptable collateral damage in the course of capturing such men? Why is the NSA violating the privacy of millions of Americans if not to lead to the capture of men such as the five released prisoners? If the War on Terror is a valid proposition then why would the U.S. exchange five men presumed engaged in the business of murdering large numbers of civilians for one soldier? Now that these five men have been released, should we assume that the U.S. will commence hunting for them all over again? Why would we not? Is this catch and release we're playing? Have all of these men agreed to retire and enter other professions? Is there a war or isn't there?
The release of these five men in exchange for a U.S. prisoner of war is a face-saving diversion by which the U.S. government need not admit that it continues to incarcerate and abuse innocent men who are deprived of due process.
Tim Geithner, former U.S. Treasury Secretary is making the rounds promoting his new book in which he seeks to distance himself from the cesspool that bore him and cast himself as a savior of the system he helped destroy. He paints an "Us vs. Them" scenario and if you didn't know that this career bureaucrat was Robert Rubin's errand boy at Treasury 20 years ago you might be inclined to be interested in what he has to say. Here's a 1997 memo in which Geithner is seeking to round up support for securities firms to be able to sell toxic derivatives overseas. Geithner actively lobbied for this and the repeal of Glass Steagall, the major contributors to the financial crisis that would come ten years later.
For the this blog's five-year history I have been recommending Richard Maybury's U.S. & World Early Warning Report for its unsurpassed insight into geopolitical and military matters. In the June-July issue Maybury presents his theory that there are two styles of military defense -- Swiss and Roman (the latter being practiced by the entire world other than Switzerland). Maybury's review of the history and culture that makes Switzerland's defense force so potent is a fascinating read. Most Americans are inclined to attribute the country's unsurpassed span of peace (There have been 143 European wars since 1815 and Switzerland has avoided them all.) to its two century policy of neutrality, stemming from what is assumed to be a cultural passivity. Nothing could be more off the mark and as Maybury points out, it was Hitler's, Mussolini's and Stalin's fear of the Swiss -- not respect for its declaration of neutrality -- that protected the country from invasion. Maybury explains the 7 pillars of Switzerland's defense that make it the most effective defense force in the world. Boobus americanus has been told that the United States military is the world's best but how does one measure such things -- by effectiveness at maintaining peace or by the size and cost of its hardware inventory and personnel?
This is why the second amendment to our constitution reads as it does:' Dept. of Agriculture orders Submachine Guns with 30 Round Magazines. While Washington is making every effort to deprive you of your right to defend yourself it is arming government workers full tilt, because as we all know, weapons are safer in the hands of federal employees than those of private citizens.' According to a 2008 Justice Department study approximately 24,000 federal employees, all working at non-law enforcement agencies carried guns. That number has undoubtedly grown considerably in the ensuing six years. The following agencies have armed employees with in many cases -- SWAT teams: the Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (weather forecasters), the Library of Congress, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Investigative journalism as it was once practiced in this country is over. Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Edward Snowden/NSA story represents a prominent exception to this trend. Once upon a time the liberal establishment was a zealous guardian of U.S. journalistic freedom, ceding its prerogative to government citation of overriding national security interests in only the most extreme instances. Sadly, it has been the left's pivot toward government press oversight that has contributed most to the demise of investigative reporting: Glenn Greenwald: Response to Michael Kinsley
Perhaps most revealing in Kerry's speech was this: "[S]upposing I’m wrong or scientists are wrong, 97 percent of them all wrong – supposing they are, what’s the worst that can happen?" To a career politician this makes perfect sense. They are after all in the business of spending other people's money. Apparently $billions of taxpayer funds and resources squandered under such a scenario (much of it lining the pockets of politicians and climate theologists) would be of no consequence to the senator. You can be certain that the same indifference to waste drove every vote the former senator made during his congressional tenure.
Climate "researchers" need to eat too...The Climate Change hornswoggle is a political gravy-train enriching political charlatans and feeding academics who live off government grants. Those grants cease when the conclusion is not the desired one. Whenever you're presented with a study, find out who paid for it. UKTimes: Scientists condemned for political bias on climate change
"Climate scientists who vilified a colleague for advising a think-tank are “blind to their own biases”, according to a former senior member of the UN’s climate change advisory body."
Notwithstanding the relentless propaganda campaign that insists there is unanimity among scientists about climate change (note Kerry's reference to "97 percent,") the scientific community is actually about equally divided as to the causes of global temperature variation as well as whether it even poses a problem. You would certainly never know this through mainstream media reporting or from reading your child's school textbook. Rather than search the internet and directly access the scientific data and dissenting interpretations, boobus americanus is perfectly content to have his understanding of the matter spoon-fed to him by those two power centers of scientific research, Hollywood and Washington. The zealotry has turned increasingly ugly and intolerant of late. Those who dare to cite the considerable scientific controversy surrounding the issue are labeled "deniers," evoking a comparison to repudiators of the mass genocide that was the Holocaust, and which rather subtly equates climate skepticism to anti-Semitism. All of which makes one mindful of George Orwell's words: "The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."
A national poll conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania reveals that the overwhelming majority of Native Americans in the U.S. do not find the term "Redskins" offensive. That doesn't seem to matter to the Speech Police. When political correctness takes on a life of its own the supposed "victims" are unimportant. The far more offensive word in the team name is "Washington: " CBS: 90% of Native Americans in U.S. not Offended by term 'Redskins'
A word about Pope Francis...Like so many, I find him to be a breath of fresh air. His humility and (relative) disdain for pomp has touched many (I particularly support his move toward less garish papal footwear). However let's not forget that he's a socialist and accordingly, one of the world's more prominent violators of the Ten Commandments (i.e. "Keep your mitts off other people's stuff."). Of course there is not a surviving historical institution more associated with plundering and retaining other peoples' stuff than the Vatican, but I digress...
Russia Buys 900,000 Ounces of Gold Worth $1.17 Billion in April (with proceeds from dis-hoarded U.S. Treasuries; Russia sold 1/5th if its U.S. govt. holdings, or $26 billion in the prior month
Gold and silver...
Barclays Fined For Manipulating Price Of Gold For a Decade; Sending "Bursts" Of Sell Orders It would have been a far better deterrent had the U.K.'s SEC equivalent, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) done absolutely nothing. Once again a sacrificial guppy is given up while higher level officers are spared mention, let alone criminal indictment. By the FCA's own findings the scheme commenced prior to the fellow's employment at the bank, yet the FCA has no names to attach to the prior malfeasance?
Deterrent? Remarkably, as Bloomberg's Matt Levine pointed out the subject gold price manipulation occurred on June 28, 2012, the day following Barclay's settlement ($493 million in fines) with U.S. and U.K. authorities for manipulating Libor. So having agreed to part with one half billion dollars as a price for manipulating the benchmark interest rate, it was back to business the very next day engaging in manipulation. Barclay's apparently considers market rigging a good business model and negotiated regulatory fines just a cost of doing business given the overall profitability. This is another settlement that actually encourages bad behavior. Other than the guppy, everyone walks. Using the funds of innocent shareholders to pay the fine the guilty, including Barclay's ousted Chairman, Robert Diamond get to keep their bonuses. And cue...next manipulation
NYTimes: Credit Suisse Gets Off Easy: It seems that criminal fraud perpetrated upon U.S. citizens by "too big to jail" U.S. banks is fine with Eric Holder's Justice Department, but when foreign banks assist those same citizens in protecting their assets from confiscation by a predatory government it becomes a zero-tolerance matter. Here again though, not one top executive was forced to resign.
Writing on the Barclay's case, GATA's Chris Powell sees it, as do I -- as a diversion from the wholesale manipulation of the gold price undertaken by central banks: Barclay's case doesn't prove gold is always manipulated; that proof is elsewhere
"[T]he case actually may distract from the infinitely greater manipulation of the gold market by Western central banks...Just a week ago the Swiss National Bank told your secretary/treasurer that it had stopped leasing gold in 2011 but refused to answer or even acknowledge the question of whether the bank continues to trade in gold or gold derivatives"