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Gold’s Role in the Future World Economy
BY ALEX STANCZYK - FinancialSense.com
A speech delivered at the 5th Annual Conference on Analysis of International Financial Markets, Beijing China Jan. 7th, 2012
Ni hao, it is an honor for me to speak to you today.
Briefly about myself, I am not a formally trained economist, rather as a young man I spent some years in the US Military serving in both the US Navy as well as the US Army, with several years of combat experience in the deserts of the Middle East. Because of this, I tend to view things plainly, and I will speak plainly to you today.
I am going to talk to you today about gold’s potential role in the future economy, more precisely the monetary system. I realize this is a topic that has been hotly debated for decades by people who are probably much smarter than me. I am not going to try and make an argument that we should be on a gold standard nor a paper standard. I would like to simply point out that gold may matter as we move forward, and for an entirely different reason than use as daily money.
Fractal Gold Report: Flash Crash
By David Nichols - GoldSeek.com
Wednesday brought on one of the more shocking trading days in recent gold history, as a "flash crash" hit the gold market while Ben Bernanke was delivering his usual bland remarks to Congress.
Financial journalists were quick to talk about the "disappointment" that Bernanke didn't discuss detailed plans for QE3, but that doesn't make much sense. This bullish pattern was not unfolding merely on speculation that QE3 was imminent. There just really wasn't anything all that remarkable from the Fed chairman on Wednesday, and certainly nothing to trigger this type of sell-off.
UK's top gold fund manager:
'I would buy gold at almost any price'
Leading gold fund manager Evy Hambro
on why he doesn't expect the bullion price to fall.
By Emma Wall - Telegraph.co.uk
Gold has emerged as one of the few winners from the financial crisis. Turbulence across markets globally and returns of next to nothing on cash over the past two years saw investors pour money into bullion. As a result, the gold price soared and Evy Hambro's BlackRock Gold & General fund saw inflows of nearly £1.5bn in the past 24 months alone, bolstering the fund to £3.4bn.
Emerging market demand
may pick up after sell-off in gold: HSBC
LONDON (Commodity Online): Emerging-market demand for gold may pick up after Wednesday’s sharp sell-off, said HSBC in a daily research note.
According to HSBC, gold and silver fell as the dollar rose when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, appearing before Congress, stopped short of signaling readiness to conduct another round of bond purchases.
"The inability of gold to clear USD1,800/oz in recent days, the sharp increase in net long speculative positions on the Comex since the new year, and the paucity of emerging-market buying in recent weeks left gold vulnerable to a selloff, which dragged silver lower in its wake," HSBC added.
Bullion Shakedown Stampedes the Ignorant
By: Rick Ackerman - GoldSeek.com
Although yesterday’s Congressional testimony by “Helicopter Ben” Bernanke was fundamentally meaningless, it caused gold and silver prices to take a spectacular dive. They got hit after the ‘Nank, prevaricating as usual, said the central bank wasn’t rushing to crank up a QE3 stimulus. While this may be true as far as it goes, it belies the fact that the money spigots have been wide open for years and will remain so, probably, until the financial system collapses. More on that below. Concerning the savaging that precious metals received, they are all but certain to recover, since the forces that have been driving them steeply higher for more than a decade are still very much in place.
Is Gold Giving Stocks a Warning?
By Todd Harrison - Minyanville.com
"One dog goes one way, the other dog goes the other way, and this guy's sayin', 'Whadda ya want from me?'"
--Tommy Devito, Goodfellas
Another session in the world's most famous arena is upon us and the bulls are still catching their breath from yesterday. They know that following outsized action, the tape tends to (at least) probe that direction the following session, and while the meat of the heat was in gold—which fell like a rock (because it is)—it planted a seed of doubt in the mindset of the masses. Today—and tomorrow's—action will be telling, particularly given the proximity to S&P 1375 (recent highs, drawn with a crayon).
Brazil declares new 'currency war'
By Samantha Pearson in São Paulo - FT.com
Brazil has declared a fresh "currency war" on the US and Europe, extending a tax on foreign borrowings and threatening further capital controls in an effort to protect the country’s struggling manufacturers.
Guido Mantega, the finance minister who was the first to use the controversial term in 2010, said the government would not "sit by passively" as developed nations continue to pursue expansionary monetary policies at the expense of Brazil.
China's march to currency dominance just got longer
By John Foley - Reuters.com
China’s path to currency dominance just got a bit longer. Hong Kong holdings of the Chinese yuan fell in January, according to data out on March 1; there has been an 8 percent decline since the end of November. With the yuan no longer certain to rise in value, foreigners have much less reason to hold it. For a would-be reserve currency, that’s a real spanner in the works.
When the yuan looked undervalued, everyone wanted it. As China started letting yuan flow more freely over the border into Hong Kong in 2010, financial osmosis took place. Individuals took up their daily allowance of the currency, suppliers to Chinese companies asked to be paid in it, and for those too impatient to wait for gradual appreciation, the higher offshore exchange rate offered a quick profit.
Inflation Is A Tax
And The Federal Reserve
Is Taxing The Living Daylights Out Of Us
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Ronald Reagan once famously declared thatinflation is a tax, but sadly most Americans did not really grasp what he was talking about. If the American people truly understood what inflation was doing to them, they would be screaming bloody murder about monetary policy. Inflation is an especially insidious tax because it is not just a tax on your income for one year. It is a continual tax on every single dollar that you own. As your money sits in the bank, it is constantly losing value. Over time, the effects of inflation can be absolutely devastating. For example, if you put 100 dollars in the bank in 1970, those same dollars today would only have about 17 percent of the purchasing power that they did back then. In essence, you were hit by an 83 percent "inflation tax" and all you did was leave your money in the bank. So who is responsible for this? Well, the Federal Reserve controls monetary policy in the United States, and the inflationary monetary policy that the Fed has gotten all of us accustomed to is taxing the living daylights out of us. This is madness, and it needs to stop.
Oil climbs above $110
on pipeline explosion report denied by Saudis
By Bloomberg News - WashingtonPost.com
Oil climbed above $110 a barrel for the first time since May after an Iranian state-run news channel reported an explosion on a pipeline in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi official said no oil facilities were sabotaged.
Futures reached $110.55 in New York on Thursday afternoon after Iran’s Press TV reported on its English-language Web site that "an explosion has hit oil pipelines in the flashpoint Saudi Arabian city of Awwamiya," then fell back below $109. Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, a spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry, said no oil facility in the region had been sabotaged after reports of a fire near the Ras Tanura refinery.
Painful savings rebalancing ahead for U.S. economy
By Martin Hutchinson - Reuters.com
Up to now, Americans have not suffered much for their lack of thrift. Until 2008, higher asset prices kept wealth up while the household savings rate declined, as Barry Bosworth points out in his Brookings Institution study "The decline in saving – a threat to America’s prosperity." Since then, higher household savings have been offset by large government budget deficits. A painful "anti-Keynesian" rebalancing lies ahead, with much lower consumption by households and government.
Households saved about 10 percent of their disposable personal income in the 1970s. That ratio fell to 2.8 percent between 2000 and 2007. Conversely, the ratio of personal consumption to GDP, which had been flat at around 62 percent from 1950 to 1980, increased to 70.8 percent in 2011.
Will 2012 feel like a comeback or a setback?
Quick! Was 2011 or 2010 a better year for the economy?
Posted by Ezra Klein - WashingtonPost.com
The answer is 2010, at least if you're looking at growth. That year -- widely considered a disappointing one for the recovery -- saw three percent economic growth. As for 2011, even with the strong fourth quarter, growth was only 1.7 percent. That's not so impressive. And yet this, right now, feels like a recovery. It feels like we turned the corner in 2011. 2010, meanwhile, felt like a setback.
That's because we judge the economy based on its trend more than its level. The strongest growth in 2010 came early in the year. In the first quarter, the economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.9. By the fourth quarter, it had slowed to 2.3 percent. We lost speed, and it felt like we were losing our recovery.
Euroland will pay for this monetary madness
The flood of cheap money from the European Central Bank is storing up grave trouble for the future.
By Jeremy Warner - Telegraph.co.uk
When something looks dangerous, it generally is. And few things look quite so high-wire right now as the European Central Bank’s efforts to hold the euro together by flooding the banking system with free money.
This week, the ECB injected a further 529.5 billion euros via "long-term refinancing operations", or LTROs, bringing the tally to more than 1 trillion euros.
Eurozone unemployment hits record high of 10.7pc
The eurozone's unemployment rate rose to a record high of 10.7pc in January, reaching levels of extreme social distress across large parts of Southern Europe.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
Data from Eurostat showed that the region lost 185,000 jobs in one month, with the vast gap between North and South growing ever wider. The figures for the previous four months were also revised upwards sharply. There are now more than 450,000 more people without jobs than assumed a month ago.
Klaus Baader from Societe Generale said the outlook was "deteriorating drastically" in the region. "Economic slowdown and fiscal austerity has hit the labour market much harder than previously thought."
10.7 Percent: Unemployment In Europe Is Worse
Than It Was At The Peak Of The Last Recession
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
The unemployment rate in the eurozone is now 10.7 percent. That is the highest the unemployment rate has been since the introduction of the euro. The unemployment rate in the eurozone never got any higher than 10.2 percent during the last recession. This is very troubling news. It was just recently announced that the eurozone has entered another recession, and already the unemployment rate is hitting new record highs. So how bad are things going to get in the months to come? The truth is that the problems for Europe are just starting. The European sovereign debt crisis continues to get worse, and another major global financial crisis is going to be here way too soon. The EU as a whole has a larger population, a larger banking system and more Fortune 500 companies than the United States does. When the financial system of Europe crashes, the entire world is going to feel it.
It's Not Really about the Debt
Mises Daily: by Frank Shostak
In his Outside the Box e-letter, February 13, 2012, respected economic commentator John Mauldin presents an interview with Dr. Lacy Hunt, a highly regarded US financial economist. According to Hunt the key factor behind the current world economic crisis — in Europe and the United States in particular — is a very high level of debt relative to gross domestic product (GDP). For instance in the United States, as a percentage of GDP, both public- and private-sector debt is currently at around 400 percent, while in the eurozone it is 450 percent.
This way of thinking follows in the footsteps of the famous American economist Irving Fisher who held that a very high level of debt relative to GDP runs the risk of setting in motion deflation and in turn a severe economic slump. According to Fisher the high level of debt sets in motion the following sequence of events that culminate in a severe economic slump:
Central Banks Now Operating as One Global Monopoly?
Dominant Social Theme:
More is better. But each bank "does its own thing."
by Staff Report - TheDailyBell.com
Free-Market Analysis: It is a much denied fact that what may be called a New World Order is continually being developed at the highest reaches of power. But what is less well known is the amount of coordination already developed between the facilities that provide the engine for global governance.
Central banks are separate banking facilities and responsible for various elements of their country's economies. Some are operated at an arm's length from government but all are likely, one way or another, controlled by theAnglosphere power elite.
Fed officials flag soft economy but mum on easing
By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa
(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other top officials of the U.S. central bank on Thursday highlighted risks to the economic recovery despite recent signs of strength, but offered few hints that any additional monetary stimulus might be needed.
Bernanke told lawmakers there was reason to be suspicious of the recent decline in unemployment given the weakness of economic growth. [see chart]
So the spat of good news means we should sit back and quietly expect the Federal Reserve to demur on any more quantitative easing, right?
Americans earning more, but spending still in question
By Ylan Q. Mui - WashingtonPost.com
Americans are earning more money amid the strengthening job market, but economists say the arc of the recovery largely hinges on what consumers do with the extra cash.
Government data released Thursday showed wages and salaries rose 0.4 percent in January from the previous month, following a similarly strong increase in December. Total personal income increased 0.3 percent in January, and government economists recently revised their calculations upward for income growth during the second half of last year.
Surprise! The Case for QE3 Is Stronger Than Ever
Think the economy is too healthy for another round of Bernanke's stimulus? Wrong! In fact, this is the perfect time for more monetary easing. Let me explain...
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
For the past three years, economists have loved to hate the recovery. But they're coming around to the possibility that they might have to fall in love with the idea that the comeback is real. Typically, a stronger economy means a more conservative Fed. As this chart from Reuters shows, when growth goes up, interest rates go up.
Fed's Lockhart: economy far from optimal
By Karen Jacobs
(Reuters) - The U.S. economy is gaining strength as evidenced by lower unemployment and other positive recent economic data, but it remains far from its 'optimal condition,' Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart said on Thursday.
Lockhart, a voting member of the U.S. central bank's Federal Open Market Committee this year, also said he still favors low-rate monetary policy even though at present low rates aren't stimulating much credit growth.
Fed's Raskin: Stronger U.S. economy will help savers
By Steven C. Johnson
(Reuters) - While record low interest rates have cut income for savers, they will ultimately nurse the U.S. economy back to health, increasing returns for savers and investors alike, a top Federal Reserve official said on Thursday.
"Critics of the Federal Reserve's accommodative monetary policy are correct that the low level of interest rates represents a strain on households who rely on income from interest-bearing assets," Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin said in a speech to the Y's Men of Westport/Weston.
Fed's Pianalto: no significant change to outlook
By Leah Schnurr
(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve faces risks if it takes more policy action or if it withdraws monetary accommodation, making the central bank's "already quite accommodative" stance fine for now, a top U.S. Federal Reserve official said on Thursday.
Pianalto described the Fed's current stance as appropriate, though she nodded to a recent string of stronger economic data.
"It's an appropriate policy. I think it has us on a path for continued, steady growth and output, which will then lead to more employment growth, but keeping prices stable," Pianalto said in a rare question-and-answer session with reporters.
Five Largest Banks 'Should Be Broken Up': Fed’s Fisher
By: Reuters with CNBC.com
The five biggest banks in the United States are too powerful and should be broken up, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said on Wednesday.
The financial crisis has left the five biggest banks even more powerful than before, he said at an event in Mexico City.
The five biggest U.S. banks are: JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citigroup.
"After the crisis, the five largest banks had a higher concentration of deposits than they did before the crisis," he said. "I am of the belief personally that the power of the five largest banks is too concentrated."
Bernanke warns of slow progress ahead on jobs
By Mark Felsenthal and Pedro da Costa
(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday offered a tempered view of the U.S. economy, pouring cold water on the notion that recent upbeat signs herald a stronger recovery.
Bernanke told Congress that unless growth accelerated, the unacceptably high U.S. unemployment rate would not keep dropping.
But he stopped short of signaling further Fed bond purchases, dashing the hopes of some traders in financial markets who were betting on more monetary stimulus.
Explaining the U.S. Home Health Care System
By Megan McArdle - TheAtlantic.com
Yesterday's post on early hospital discharges has triggered a lot of interesting discussion. Two questions came up over and over: why can't we do this more like European countries, who have single-payer systems--and why can't we do this more like our ancestors, who regarded caring for family members as an important part of familial duties?
No one made both arguments, so I'll try to take them one at a time. On the question of Europe, I do get the impression that European governments provide a lot more automatic in-home care. But that's all anecdotal--I'm not aware of any really good studies on the matter. Moreover, the anecdotes I have heard indicate that it's far from uniform: Spanish families are supposed to provide lots of care for sick relatives; Norwegian families, almost none.
To residents of another Washington,
their cherished values are under assault
By Eli Saslow - WashingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON, Okla. — Here is the only light amid the Sunday-night darkness of the plains, its yellow glow visible for a mile around. People travel here down two-lane roads, past flags that snap in the wind and a sign that reads “Only God Can Save America.” They park in front of the steeple at the corner of Center and Main. Pastor Fred Greening greets them at the door.
Theirs is a church of 400 in a town of 600, where four generations stand together to bow their heads in prayer. Cowboys wear boots and roughnecks wear flannel. A 9-year-old sets down his toy truck and clasps his hands. Together they recite pledges of allegiance to the United States, to the Bible and to the Christian flag.
Exposing world class hypocrites...
Delegitimizing Government Power
by Joel F. Wade - TheDailyBell.com
Al Gore excoriates us on how we need to restrict our wasteful lifestyles and limit our "carbon footprint" while flying around the world in private jets, using orders of magnitude more energy than any of us little people.
Barrack Obama attacks the "fat cats" and nags us for not being generous enough – requiring the government to spread the wealth around – while making millions of dollars, giving little to charity, and traveling on exorbitant vacations.
Leftist politicians claim that they support the "99 percent" crowd of the Occupy Wall Street protests, though they personally tend to be among the wealthiest and the most involved in the kind of fascist crony capitalism that is most oppressive to regular citizens.
These are all examples of world-class hypocrites. They say one thing and do another. They go around telling everybody else how to live while they themselves indulge their own appetites.
Koch brothers sue Cato Institute
In suit, Koch brothers seek bigger control over D.C. think tank
By T.W. Farnam and Dan Eggen - WashingtonPost.com
The billionaire Koch brothers, whose outsized political spending has become an issue in the 2012 elections, are attempting to take control of a prominent Washington think tank in a move that would expand their influence in conservative politics, according to court recordsand interviews.
Charles and David Koch, owners of a Wichita-based conglomerate that ranks as one of the largest private corporations in the world, filed a lawsuit this week in Kansas seeking an option to increase their 50 percent control of the Cato Institute.
THE KOCHS VS. CATO
by Jane Mayer - NewYorker.com
The arch-conservative billionaire Koch Brothers have sued the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington—often mistakenly seen as merely a tentacle, if not mouthpiece, for the Kochtopus—for control of Cato. Slate’s Jacob Weisberg wryly tweeted: “Brothers sue to regain ownership of CATO. Like the Iran-Iraq War, but better.”
The lawsuit, filed in Kansas, certainly adds a new layer of rancor, and, if it goes forward, promises a glimpse inside the secretive machinations of the Kochs. But the friction between Charles Koch and the Cato Institute isn’t new—there’s a long backstory here. In fact, Charles Koch, whom many regard as the brains behind the Kochs’ powerful political and industrial empires, first broke with Cato some two decades ago, while still retaining a stake in the think tank, for reasons that have never been made public.
The End of Ownership:
Why Aren't Young People Buying More Houses?
Richer couples! Cheaper mortgages! Millions of unwanted houses! Despite all this, young home owners declined for 30 years, even before the Great Recession. Here's how the American Dream shrank.
By Derek Thompson - TheAtlantic.com
When older generations wonder what's the matter with Millennials, they often judge their younger cohorts against such financial and social benchmarks as finding a job, getting married, and buying a home. These observations often come wrapped in weak science -- "blame Facebook for their indolence" -- or dripping with judgment -- "blame their parents for making them weak." The science is weak, but the observations are true. Fewer young people are finding jobs. Fewer young people are getting married. Fewer young people are buying homes.
Nearly half of Arizona homes are 'under water'
Phoenix Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, Reporter
About half the homes with mortgages in Arizona had negative equity in the fourth quarter of 2011, CoreLogic reported Thursday.
In Arizona, 48.3 percent of 631,126 residential properties with a mortgage were underwater for the fourth quarter, according to CoreLogic. That compares with 47.1 percent in the third quarter.
Nevada, at 61.1 percent, was the only state with a higher negative equity rate than Arizona.
Lumps of Labor
By NED RESNIKOFF - TheNewInquiry.com
Barack Obama’s most recent State of the Union included no less than 33 repetitions of the word jobs, and that does not even include his one glowing reference to the recently deceased Steve Jobs. Most of them were piled up near the top of the speech, in statements like this: "Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed."
Yet for all this talk about jobs, the president was strikingly reluctant to specify what kind of jobs he’d like the business community to "bring back." One job, it seems, would do as well as any other. Perhaps that’s why he praised American manufacturing for "creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s," while declining to note that new hires in that sector are getting paid far less than their predecessors.
Sheriff Arpaio: Obama birth certificate a 'forgery'
By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times
PHOENIX — Armed with a new 10-page report he commissioned, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Thursday he suspects the birth certificate President Obama released last year is a "computer-generated forgery" — and also raised questions about the authenticity of the president’s selective service registration card.
In an extensive — and at times combative — press conference in Phoenix, Sheriff Arpaiorepeatedly said he is not questioning the president’s legal status under the Constitution nor alleging fraud on Mr. Obama’s part, but did say there is evidence crimes have been committed by someone and his investigation continues.
Forgery most foul!
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's birth certificate revelations
Arizona sheriff's six-month investigation ends with Arpaio vowing to find whoever 'forged' Barack Obama's birth certificate
It's hard work being a conspiracy theorist. Just look at Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-styled tough guy of American policing, who has released the preliminary results of his "birther" investigation into whether Barack Obama is a true American.
The details of the inquiry – announced at a packed press conference in Arizona – were enough to make you want to lie down in a darkened room for a week just to recover from the terrible exertion of it all. And that's even before you hear his conclusion: that Obama's birth certificate is probably a computer-generated fraud.
Witchcraft is growing threat
to children in Britain, warn police
Children in Britain are being abused and murdered in increasing numbers because the belief in witchcraft is rife in some African communities, police said.
By Nick Britten and Victoria Ward - Telegraph.co.uk
The warning was issued as a couple from the Democratic Republic of Congo were found guilty of murdering the woman’s 15-year-old brother during an "exorcism ceremony".
The Metropolitan Police yesterday said it had investigated 83 "faith-based" child abuse cases involving witchcraft in the past 10 years but believed it was still an "under-reported, hidden crime".
Hackers Seized Control of Computers
in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab
By Kim Zetter - Wired.com
Hackers seized control of networks at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory last November, gaining the ability to install malware, delete or steal sensitive data, and hijack the accounts of users in order to gain their privileged access, according to a report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s inspector general.
The breach, originating from Chinese-based IP addresses, allowed the intruders to compromise the accounts "of the most privileged JPL users" giving them "full access to key JPL systems," according to Inspector General Paul K. Martin in a report to Congress (.pdf).
New World Order?
It was nice while it lasted.
By GEOFFREY NORMAN - The American spectator.org
Twenty years ago this week, the war known as "Desert Storm" ended with the United States and its allies utterly victorious and President George H. W. Bush's vision of a "new world order" seemingly validated. Aggression had been met, turned back, and punished. So decisively, it seemed, that no rogue state would try anything like Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait again. Bush's approval ratings soared, briefly, to 90 percent.
That now seems not merely a long time ago but like something from another, dimly remembered age. Which may account for why not much was made of the anniversary. There were no speeches and no parades recognizing a military triumph that would, we were told, usher in a Pax Americana.
Military Spending and Bastiat's "Unseen"
Mises Daily: by Eric Phillips
You will often hear self-styled conservatives say, "I support the free market and a strong national defense." But if by supporting a "strong national defense" they mean supporting a large and aggressive conventional military — as they almost invariably do — these two positions are mutually exclusive. A military establishment funded by taxation, inflation, and debt is just as destructive to the market economy as a welfare establishment funded by taxation, inflation, and debt. Every dollar spent on the military, just like every dollar spent on the Department of Health and Human Services, is a dollar not spent or invested in the civilian economy. Every person employed by the military or the firms that supply the military with equipment is a person not employed in the civilian economy. And since civilian employment and capital accumulation are the foundations of a prosperous capitalist economy, a conventional military can only exist at the expense of a fully functioning free-market capitalist system.
The beginning of the end of Putin
Vladimir Putin will once again become Russia’s president.
Even so, his time is running out
Russia knows that Vladimir Putin, who is now prime minister, will be elected president on March 4th. This is not because he is overwhelmingly popular, but because his support will be supplemented by a potent mixture of vote-rigging and the debarring of all plausible alternative candidates.
The uncertainty will come after the election, not before. Developments in the past few months have shown that Mr Putin cannot rule his country indefinitely. The beginning of the end of his reign has begun (see article). Whether it is a good end or a bad one is up to him.
Leave Afghanistan Now
By Cal Thomas - PatriotPost.us
Most wars have a turning point that either signals the road to victory or the ditch of defeat. In Vietnam, the 1968 Tet Offensive by communist troops against South Vietnamese and American forces and their allies is regarded as the turning point in that conflict. Though communist forces suffered heavy losses, which would normally define defeat, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite and others in the U.S. media, portrayed the operation as an allied loss, thus encouraging not only the anti-war movement, but North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops who believed all they had to do was hang on until America grew tired of the war and quit.
Is War Imminent?
US and UK Step up Military Action in the Persian Gulf
By James Burgess - OilPrice.com
War against Iran seems imminent as both the US and UK military commands ask for more funding to increase the preparation and deployment of military arms and personnel in the Persian Gulf.
The US has already added to the number of aircraft carriers it has stationed in the area, sending both the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Carl Vinson, along with a number of warplanes and tens of thousands of troops. The warships will be modified with antitank weapons and rapid fire machine guns, all specially designed for dealing with the Iranian fast attack boats.
* * * * *
a reason NOT to attack Iran...
Exiled Crown Prince campaigns to bring Arab Spring to Iran
Iran's exiled Crown Prince has launched a campaign to rally political exiles behind an Arab Spring-style demand for free elections and a new constitution.
By Damien McElroy - Telegraph.co.uk
Reza Pahlavi, the son and heir to the last Shah, wants to revive the opposition by uniting critics of the regime behind a common platform. He sees Friday’s elections for the Iranian Majlis, or parliament, as an opportunity.
Calls for a boycott are circulating widely inside the country and activists hope to push the turnout to a record low.
There have also been warnings from hardliners that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was prepared to use the interior ministry to rig the ballot boxes.
a reason to attack Iran...
Time to act on Iran
Obama administration efforts
dangerously out of touch with reality
By Mike Huckabee-The Washington Times
I have just returned from Israel, where I spent 10 days and had the opportunity to visit with people from the prime minister to street market vendors in Jerusalem’s Old City and gained perspectives ranging from Knesset members and rabbis to Arab Israelis, Christian Israelis and Muslim merchants. I can attest firsthand that the threat ofIran's government to “wipe Israel off the face of the map” is taken far more seriously than in the Obama administration, where the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, spoke for the president by saying that"Iran is a rational actor."
Really? A government is “rational” that denies the Holocaust, publicly boasts of its goal of obliterating entire nations, is poised to execute by hanging a young Christian pastor because his faith offends the sensitivities of a government that will shoot women in the streets of Tehran should they dare question the results of a phony election? Calling such a government “rational” is not only irrational, but recklessly dangerous and not just to Israel, but to every nation in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, not to mention the decent and civil people who live in Iran, but who do not share the radical, racist and ruthless outlook of their own maniacal government.
Why Bombing Iran Would Mean Invading Iran
By Robert Wright - TheAtlantic.com
Mitt Romney is tired of hearing President Obama threaten Iran in only vague terms. Enough of this "all options are on the table" stuff. Obama, Romney says, should declare that "we are considering military options" and "they're not just on the table--they are in our hand."
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Romney will get some support next week when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington: Netanyahu will ask Obama to say publicly that "the United States is preparing for a military operation in the event that Iran crosses certain 'red lines'."
Russia upgrades radar station in Syria to aid Iran
By Abraham Rabinovich - Special to The Washington Times
JERUSALEM — Russia has upgraded a surveillance station it maintains in Syrian territory in order to provide Iran early warning of an Israeli attack, according to the Israeli security-related blog Debkafile.
The surveillance station, located south of Damascus, had been able to monitor air traffic in Israel as far south as Tel Aviv, as well as northern Jordan and western Iraq.
Since the upgrade, its range reportedly extends to all parts of Israel and Jordan and as far south as the northern part of Saudi Arabia.
Israeli PM demands Obama commit to military action
if Iran sanctions fail
Binyamin Netanyahu pressing for explicit threat from US ahead of crucial meeting with Obama next week in Washington
By Chris McGreal in Washington - Guardian.co.uk
Israel is pressing Barack Obama for an explicit threat of military action against Iran if sanctions fail and Tehran's nuclear programme advances beyond specified "red lines".
Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is expected to raise the issue at a White House meeting on Monday after weeks of intense diplomacy in which Obama has dispatched senior officials – including his intelligence, national security and military chiefs – to Jerusalem to try and dampen down talk of an attack.
Why Israeli Public Opinion Opposes a Strike on Iran
A new poll shows Israelis are skeptical of attacking Iran, especially without U.S. support.
By Paul R. Pillar - TheAtlantic.com
Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland, in cooperation with the Dahaf Institute of Israel, has just released the results of a poll taken within the past week of Israeli opinion toward Iran and American politics. Israeli attitudes toward the efficacy of a military strike against the Iranian nuclear program parallel the range of views one hears on that subject in the United States. If there is any surprise, it is that Israeli views are not any more hawkish than they are, notwithstanding the war rhetoric that the Netanyahu government has been disseminating for many months. (Anyone who doubts the ability of government drum beating to build public support for a war should recall the enormous effect on American public opinion of the George W. Bush administration's drumbeat on Iraq.)
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