Spoiler: It sure isn’t to fight for your freedoms…
21st century Wire
Billionaire investors George Soros and Louis Moore Bacon cut their stakes in exchange-traded products backed by gold last quarter as futures dropped the most in more than eight years. John Paulson maintained his holding.
Soros Fund Management reduced its investment in the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest fund backed by the metal, by 55 per cent to 600,000 shares as of December 31 from three months earlier, a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed on Thursday.
Bacon’s Moore Capital Management sold its entire stake in the SPDR fund and lowered holdings in the Sprott Physical Gold Trust.
Paulson & Co, the largest investor in SPDR, kept its stake at 21.8 million shares.
Gold prices slipped 5.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, the most since the three months to June 2004, as signs of improving economic growth reduced the appeal of the precious metal as a haven. Global ETP holdings have lost 0.9 per cent since reaching a record on December 20.
UBS reduced its one-month price target yesterday by 6.8 per cent, saying economic optimism “takes the shine off defensive assets”, including bullion.
“The reduction in holdings by George Soros may unnerve the market a little bit,” said Nick Trevethan, a senior commodities strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. “The market may also be watching Paulson and those are steady.”
Gold for April delivery fell as much as 0.3 per cent to US$1,630.10 an ounce, the lowest level since January 4, on the Comex, and was at US$1,632.20 in early trade in Singapore. The price has shed 2.6 per cent this year.
Hedge funds have cut bets on a gold rally by 56 per cent since reaching a 13-month high in October as manufacturing rebounded from the United States to China.
Andrew McKillop is a former expert in policy and programming with the European Commission in Brussels. He writes and consults about the impact of oil prices on the economy and currently advises the ECOHABITAT sustainable housing and property development project near the French, Belgium and Luxemburg borders.
Daily Business Report
The most ardent optimist has to confront the consequences of low interest rates. The macro analysis of ivory tower academics seldom reflects the struggle of ordinary consumers or retirees. One such pinhead is Ben Bernanke.
Back on October 1, 2012 at the Economic Club of Indiana, the Federal Reserve Chairman employs sophistry of a major order. Such confused and twisted logic defies common sense and real world finance. Robert Romano writes in the article, More monetary alchemy from Bernanke: Low interest rates help savers.
“Many savers are also homeowners,” said Bernanke, adding, “indeed, a family’s home may be its most important financial asset. Many savers are working, or would like to be. Some savers own businesses, and — through pension funds and 401(k) accounts — they often own stocks and other assets.”
Bernanke explained, “Only a strong economy can create higher asset values and sustainably good returns for savers… [and] [t]he way for the Fed to support a return to a strong economy is by maintaining monetary accommodation, which requires low interest rates for a time.”
He said home values would collapse without Fed support, unemployment would rise, and asset values would plummet and “[s]uch outcomes would ultimately not be good for savers or anyone else.”
So, admittedly, the Fed’s easy money policies do not in actuality directly help savers. But they will increase home values, asset prices, and create jobs for savers, Bernanke claimed. Okay, but is that even true?”
Such deceptive dishonesty that the Fed fosters beneficial monetary measures, which encourage job growth and a vigorous housing market, defies evidence. The saver watches the evaporation of their money, while prices jump at rates far in excess of the official CPI. This is a fact. This construct is the legacy of the intentional 2007 Wall Street meltdown.
The inability of distinguishing between illiquid assets and the need to pay for cost of living expenses must be a trait that only financially – cash flow secure – magicians master. The perception that the masses benefit from central banking driving down and suppressing interest rates to negative levels is patently absurd. Negative Interest Rates and the Impoverishing of America by Michael R. Winther sums up the self-evident.
“Don’t forget that consumers pay income tax on interest earned regardless of whether real interest rates are positive or negative. The result is that many Americans are paying income tax on a negative real interest rate! This discourages savings and investment, but even worse, it steals from our citizens.
Negative real interest rates hurt all savers, but these rates are especially damaging to the elderly and those on fixed incomes. It is no longer possible for senior citizens to live on the interest of their savings and investments. In fact, our negative interest rates result in a situation in which our seniors must rely on the depletion of their principle for all of their living expenses.”
The net effects of an inflationary depression require that privately saved capital must be used to pay for the continued increases in basic costs. It is not just the retired person that is shafted from zeroing out the money market. Anyone who attempts to devise a budget that sets aside a portion of cash flow understands that there is no return on banking funds.
How long will people accept this thief? The options to parking cash in hand with a FDIC insured institution seems worth an examination. However, few alternatives for working class savers exist. Surely, this occurrence is intentional because the real objective of the “New Normal” is to bankrupt Middle America. What other conclusion makes sense?
Designed lowering of our standard of living is visible at every turn. The money-centered banks recapitalized their balance sheets at the expense of the passbook accounts customers.
The recent implementation of approving an extra fee to credit card purchases is outrageous. The NY Daily News reports the example of allowing “MasterCard and Visa credit card users might see a surcharge of up to 4 percent on their receipts. Merchants are allowed to add an extra fee to credit card purchases starting Jan. 27.“
The besieged consumer gets another whammy from a banking system that thrives on charging usurious fees, while paying you near zero on your saving accounts. With the execution of the Bernanke rescue strategy, the prospects of personal or consumer loans are virtually non-existent. In Helicopter Ben speak; “maintaining monetary accommodation” just does not filter down to the common- man.While the concept of interest often confuses some Christians, Gary North offers a scriptural analysis in Usury, Interest, and Loans: A Brief Summary of Biblical Teaching, which asks:
“If charging interest were not legitimate, why would Jesus have used the example of money-lending as a legitimate way to increase capital? Why would He have attributed to God such words of condemnation for not having lent at interest?”
The tangible injustice is that the saver is especially screwed by the moneychanger system.
When you strip away the banking veil of trickery, what remains is a stash of greed, built on a hoard of distrust and deception. Few financial policies have been more destructive for the depositor than low interest rates. Siphoning off purchasing power is a perfect method to impart a fiscal squeeze, hard to rebound for any depositor. Everyday your cash lingers in money interest limbo is another diminution in your net wealth.
How can a society encourage saving under these circumstances? Apparently, the plan for depleting the economic assets of workers or investors is well underway. The notion that investing is feasible in this environment borders on delusional.
The submissive banking customer needs to take a hard look on continuing their depositing relationship with the commercial saving establishment. The endless gimmicks and get rich schemes that proliferate might seem attractive to desperate people. Yet, when you operate on parallel tracts, separated by a wide gulf of moneymaking returns, the definitive result is that treasure ends up in the accounts of the banksters and favored insiders.
The Post has learned as many as 10 fake gold bars — made up mostly of relatively worthless tungsten — were sold recently to unsuspecting dealers in Manhattan’s Midtown Diamond District. The 10-oz. gold bars are hugely popular with Main Street investors, and it is not known how many of the fake gold bars were sold to dealers — or if any fake bars were purchased by the public.As is to be expected, the Post story is weak on details: after all, any dealer who admits to having allowed Tungsten to enter his or her inventory can kiss their retail business goodbye, as customers will avoid said Tungsten outlet like the plague, for the simple reason that suddenly counterparty risk has migrated from Wall Street to the Diamond District. The one named dealer is the same one who already made an appearance in the previous story on Tungsten in gold’s clothing.
One gold dealer discovered that four of the 3-inch-by-1-inch gold bars he bought — worth about $72,000 retail — were counterfeit. “It has the entire street on edge,” said Ibrahim Fadl, 62, who has been the owner of Express Metal Refining, a Midtown gold-refinery business, for the last 11 years. “I and the others on the street work off of trust; now that trust is strained.” Fadl, a Columbia University graduate with a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and who has more than 40 years in the industry, purchased the four fake bars from a well-known Russian salesman with whom he has done business.Ah yes, those pesky Russians: always happy to do the Fed’s bidding, because who really gains from the loss of confidence in physical gold?
Fadl became suspicious when he offered the salesman a deep discount for the investment-grade gold bars and he quickly accepted it, a source tells The Post. Fadl said he did his due diligence “by X-raying the bars to ascertain the purity of the gold and weighing the bars, and the Swiss markings were perfect.” Tungsten is an industrial metal that weighs nearly the same as gold but costs a little over $1 an ounce. Gold closed Friday at $1,774.80 an ounce.We wish Fadl all the best in his liquidation sale. Others, for logical reasons, are far less willing to step forward:
A second 47th Street refiner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was burned recently when he bought six gold bars that turned out to be mostly tungsten, with just a gold veneer. He would not comment, though, on who sold him the bogus bars.The counterfeiting so far appears to have impacted solely PAMP (Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux ) gold bars, madeby MTB, whose CEO can hardly be too happy that some “Russian” has made it a life mission to destroy the credibility of any gold stamped with the PAMP stamp.
Raymond Nassim, CEO of Manfra, Tordell & Brookes, the American arm of the Swiss firm that created the original gold bars — with their serial number and purity rating stamped clearly into them — said he reported the situation to the US Secret Service, whose jurisdiction covers the counterfeiting of gold bars. He said his company “is supporting and cooperating with authorities any way we can.” Nassim thought the culprit must be a professionally trained jeweler to have pulled off the caper. “The forger had to slice the original bar along the side, hollow out the gold and insert the tungsten ingot, and then reseal and polish the bar, Nassim said.The case of gold counterfeiting has already taken NYC by storm:
At an industry dinner Thursday night hosted by Comex, the New York-based metals exchange, the room was abuzz with talk about the bogus gold bars, according to Fadl.Which was also to be expected. What is also to be expected is that as more and more stories of Tungsten making it into broader gold circulation, that retail sales of physical gold will certainly be impaired as end consumers become far more cautious about what they buy. And while we await more information, especially from the Secret Service, who is “on top” of this case, which we assume implies that gold is after all money, we leave readers with our conclusion from Tuesday: “with false flags rampant these days, we would not be surprised if this is merely yet another attempt to discredit gold, this time physical, as an undilutable medium of warehousing wealth. So buyer beware: in a time when everyone is broke, triple check before exchanging one store of wealth for another.” For those curious what a fake 10oz bar looks like, here it is again:
“I think we are going to see a new Cold War emerge in the next two years, and we are seeing the initial steps of that new Cold War right now,” he told RT.Another chief concern is Russia’s close military co-operation with Syria – with reports of S-300 missile defense installations having been supplied from Moscow. Henningsen adds here:
“If the Western powers think they are going to get away with a no-fly zone in Syria, this is a very different prospect than Libya. This will be the first time, in Syria, and also, if you look forward – with Iran, that the West, actually, is engaging a country that has the ability to fight back”.-
On 23 June 1936, in the wake of the collapse of League efforts to restrain Italy’s war against Abyssinia, British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin told the House of Commons that collective security had…In 2011, and under the cloak of UN Resolution 1973, the recent illegal war and destruction of sovereign state Libya by Western Axis powers and their NATO military coalition, demonstrated the same policy of appeasement by UN member states towards the ambitions of the US, Britain, France, Italy and Israel – whose joint strike led to the dismembering of the Libyan state and its government. Following the war, Western nations have shamelessly moved in to carve up Libya’s state assets and bolster its new unelected government. Recent reports of the detention of 7,000 people in prisons and camps by the anti-Gaddafi forces, along with hundreds of reports of brutal rape, torture and extrajudicial assassination by NATO-backed Libyan rebels – all met with a deafening silence from the UN – as it was indeed complicit in the looting and raping of Libya by the West under the cynical disguise of “humanitarian intervention”. UN member states will normally stand back, preferring not to challenge the US and partner Israel, for fear of economic and political reprisals. This policy of economic and political retribution was demonstrated recently as the US threatened the withdraw the funding for the UN’s own UNESCO branch following a successful application for international recognition via UNESCO membership by fledgling state Palestine. Ultimately, the US retains control over the UN, because the US pays for most it, as well as hosts UN operations. This fact alone nearly compromises the entire institution. Following the US lead, Israel proceeded to pile on additional punitive measures against Palestine, threatening to build an additional 2,000 settler homes and freeze the transfer of Palestinian tax funds – all for joining UNESCO. Despite the open corruption and illegal coercion present through the Palestine debacle, once again, the UN and its member states remained mostly silent – further proof of the non functionality of the UN. Those who did voice an objection, would never be able to back it up with any real action, as the issue becomes swallowed into the UN’s internal politics and its impressive multi-billion dollar bureaucracy. The Arab League has shown itself to be nothing more than a passive functionary of US and NATO nation interests in the Middle East, and the UN has become nothing more than a newLeague of Nations, and acts a passive functionary of US and its partners. Unfortunately for the Syrians – as it was for Libya, regime change in Syria and the carving up of that country’s resources and national assets are a high priority now for the US and its Axis powers. And nothing can stop them, save for another powerful nation intervening on Syria’s behalf. Certainly, the UN will not do anything this time but flash a green light as it did with Libya, making the UN one of the biggest obstacles to international justice and material accomplice to injustice the world has ever seen. The Arab League and the UN are simply two bad apples of the same bunch, and both need to exit from the world stage sooner than later. The Syrian affair is just the latest in a string of UN-sponsored, Western regime change and economic rape project by the West – nothing more. Meanwhile real reformers are beaten to death in Cairo, right in front of our eyes. -“failed ultimately because of the reluctance of nearly all the nations in Europe to proceed to what I might call military sanctions … The real reason, or the main reason, was that we discovered in the process of weeks that there was no country except the aggressor country which was ready for war … [I]f collective action is to be a reality and not merely a thing to be talked about, it means not only that every country is to be ready for war; but must be ready to go to war at once. That is a terrible thing, but it is an essential part of collective security.”. Ultimately, Britain and France both abandoned the concept of collective security in favour of appeasement in the face of growing German militarism under Hitler.
“We look forward to Nato continuing its operations until the end of the year,” said Jalil, adding that stopping the flight of Gaddafi supporters to other countries was a priority. “We seek technical and logistics help from neighbouring and friendly countries,”Among other illegalities which contravene the UN’s flimsy Resolution 1973, which only allowed for a no-fly zone over Libya, Qatar stood in for the US as far back as March 2011, when it recognised the NTC as the legitimate authority in Libya. Writing its own rules, Qatar then went ahead to supply NATO-Rebel fighters with military provisions, heavy weaponry and more than $400m (£250m) in cash towards regime change. Worse yet, it was revealed today that the Qatari government has provided boots on the ground in support of the US and NATO’s plan for regime change in Libya. According to Ahram Online:
For the first time, Qatar reveals that it had soldiers on the ground across Libya assisting in the fight against Gaddafi’s regime, with the country to play a major role in integrating the rebels into the Libyan military… “We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on the ground were hundreds in every region,” said Qatari chief of staff Major General Hamad bin Ali Al-Atiya.Under international law, this move by long-time US puppet Qatar is a flagrant violation of UN 1973, and other international laws, a crime of opportunity which should place Qatar firmly in international court. The US agenda in Libya was always to exact regime change- but without getting its hands dirty by being caught in public with troops on the ground. In this twisted operation, it assigned the job of fall guy to its chief partner in the Middle East, Qatar. But now it appears that the US and Britain are both reported to have had special forces troops on the ground in Libya in the run-up to Gaddafi’s assassination last week. Israeli intelligence news service DEBKA quoted US sources who admit that American drones kept Gaddafi’s home in Sirte under surveillance, while it was surrounded by US and British forces.
American sources are willing to admit that US drones operated by pilots from Las Vegas pinpointed the fugitive ruler’s hideout in Sirte and kept the building under surveillance for two weeks, surrounded by US and British forces. Both therefore had boots on the ground in breach of the UN mandate which limited NATO military intervention in Libya to air strikes.In addition, US emirate puppet Qatar put its hands in the cookie jar very early on, providing the marketing and facilitating the selling of rebel-controlled Libyan oil exports beginning in March - oil which, under Gaddafi, was used to pay government salaries and state benefits on which most families depend. That system is now in chaos, as NTC Rebels and assorted western companies scramble to carve up the country’s state-owned assets and natural resources. The UK was then next to join in the party, when on Oct 4th, independent oil and gas explorer Heritage Oil became the first foreign firm to pump Libyan oil thanks to its acquisition of a Benghazi-based oil company. Qatar has stated yesterday that it will remain in Libya as the US proxy. Military commander Atiya said yesterday, that following the eventual departure of NATO troops in 2012, a new “international coalition”, led by Qatar would oversee “military training, collecting weapons, and integrating the rebels in newly established military institutions.” What is not mentioned here, is that any Qatari military operation will be accompanied by its numerous US advisers, as well as US military equipment, and CIA intelligence support. And so it begins. “The liberation of Libya”, to be divided up by a series of multinational companies, along with a permanent attachment of US and European military specialists. In a few months time, internal struggles will be rife and naturally, NATO will still be there- along with UN blue helmets. Whatever is left of the original NTC and their CIA contracted al-Qaida freedom fighters, will likely have ripped each other to pieces fighting over the scraps of wealth that are left by the US, Europe and Qatar. Surprised? This writer is not, as it was easily predicted on Oct 4th that NATO would be staying in Libya, and that there would be boots on the ground in 2012: By that time, all the horrors and atrocities which have been carried out by NATO and its Rebels will have been flushed out, and with any luck, people in the west might realize who brought real brutality and tragedy to the country of Libya. Let the rebuilding commence.