en Pop Quiz: How Many Constitutional Rights Have We Lost? <div class="entry-content"> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="decoded aligncenter" height="1000" src="" width="762" /><em>Painting by Anthony Freda: <a href="" target="_blank" title=""></a></em></p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">How Many Constitutional Freedoms Have We Lost?</h3> <p>This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights &ndash; the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution &ndash; and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right. (<em>This is an updated version of an essay we wrote in February. Unfortunately, a <span style="text-decoration: underline;">lot</span> of information has come out since then.</em>)</p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">First Amendment</h3> <p>The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the <strong>freedom of speech</strong>, or of the <strong>press</strong>; or the right of the people peaceably to <strong>assemble</strong>, and to <strong>petition</strong> the Government for a redress of grievances.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Supreme Court has also interpreted the First Amendment as protecting freedom of <strong><em>association</em></strong>.</p> <p>However, the government is <a href="" title="arresting those speaking out">arresting those speaking out</a> &hellip; and <a href="" title="violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress">violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress</a>.</p> <p>A federal judge found that the law allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a <a href="" target="_blank" title="“chilling effect” on free speech">&ldquo;chilling effect&rdquo; on free speech</a>. And see <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a>.</p> <p>There are also <a href="" target="_blank" title="enacted laws">enacted laws</a> allowing the secret service to <a href="" target="_blank" title="arrest anyone protesting near the president or other designated folks">arrest anyone <em>protesting</em> near the president or other designated folks</a> (that might explain incidents like <a href="" target="_blank" title="arrested a young father walking with his son simply because he told Dick Cheney that he disagreed with his policies">this</a>).</p> <p>Mass spying by the NSA <a href="" title="violates our freedom of association">violates our freedom of association</a>.</p> <p>The <a href="" title="threat of being labeled a terrorist">threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights</a> certainly violates the First Amendment. The government is <a href="" title="using laws to crush dissent">using laws to crush dissent</a>, and it&rsquo;s gotten so bad that even <a href="" title="U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying ">U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying </a>that we are descending into tyranny.&nbsp; (And the U.S. is doing the same things that tyrannical governments have done <a href="" title="for 5,000 years">for 5,000 years</a> to crush dissent.)</p> <p>For example, the following actions may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a &ldquo;suspected terrorist&rdquo; today:</p> <ul> <li>Taking any <a href="" target="_blank" title="Liking privacy">steps to protect your privacy</a> (and <a href="" title="see this">see this</a>)</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Being a hippy">Being a hippy</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Complaining about the taste">Complaining about the taste</a> of your tap water</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Being young">Being young</a> (if you live near a battle zone, you are <a href="" title="fair game">fair game</a>; and <a href="" title="see this">see this</a>)</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Acting like a kid">Acting like a kid</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Using social media">Using social media</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Reporting or doing journalism">Reporting or doing journalism</a> (and <a href="" target="_blank" title="here">here</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="here">here</a>)</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Having <a href="" target="_blank" title="“strange odors”">&ldquo;strange odors&rdquo;</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" title="“bright colored stains on clothes”">&ldquo;bright colored stains on clothes&rdquo;</a> (what if you eat mustard or ketchup?)</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Speaking out against government policies">Speaking out against government policies</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Protesting anything">Protesting anything</a> (such as participating in the <a href="" target="_blank" title="“Occupy” movement">&ldquo;Occupy&rdquo;</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" title="“Tea Party”">&ldquo;Tea Party&rdquo;</a> movements).&nbsp; For example,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Department of Defense training manuals">Department of Defense training manuals</a> classify <em>all protest</em> as <a href="" id="_GPLITA_1" title="Click to Continue &gt; by Text-Enhance">&ldquo;low-level terrorism&rdquo;</a>. And see <a href="" title="this">this</a>, <a href=",2933,526972,00.html" target="_blank" title="this">this</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Questioning war">Questioning war</a> (even though <a href="" title="war reduces our national security">war reduces our national security</a>; and see <a href="" title="this">this</a>)</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Criticizing the government’s targeting of innocent civilians with drones">Criticizing the government&rsquo;s targeting of innocent civilians with drones</a> (although killing innocent civilians with drones is one of the main things which <a href="" title="increases terrorism">increases terrorism</a>. And see <a href="" title="this">this</a>)</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Asking questions about pollution">Asking questions about pollution</a> (even at a <a href="" target="_blank" title="public Congressional hearing">public Congressional hearing</a>?)</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Paying cash at an Internet cafe">Paying cash at an Internet cafe</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Asking questions about Wall Street shenanigans">Asking questions about Wall Street shenanigans</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Holding gold">Holding gold</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Creating alternative currencies">Creating alternative currencies</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href=";feature=related" target="_blank" title="stocking up on more than 7 days of food">Stocking up on more than 7 days of food</a> (even though all <a href="" target="_blank" title="Mormons are taught to stockpile food">Mormons are taught to stockpile food</a>, and most <a href="" target="_blank" title="Hawaiians store up on extra food">Hawaiians store up on extra food</a>)</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Having bumper stickers saying things like “Know Your Rights Or Lose Them”">Having bumper stickers saying things like &ldquo;Know Your Rights Or Lose Them&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href=",0,5919114.story" target="_blank" title="investigates factory farming">Investigating factory farming</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Infringing a copyright">Infringing a copyright</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Taking pictures or videos">Taking pictures or videos</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Talking to police officers">Talking to police officers</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Wearing a hoodie">Wearing a hoodie</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Driving a van">Driving a van</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Writing on a piece of paper">Writing on a piece of paper</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>(<a href="" target="_blank" title="Not having a Facebook account">Not having a Facebook account</a> may soon be added)</li> </ul> <p>And holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Being frustrated with “mainstream ideologies”">Being frustrated with &ldquo;mainstream ideologies&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="Supporting Ron Paul or being a libertarian">Being a libertarian</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Liking <a href="" target="_blank" title="the Founding Fathers">the Founding Fathers</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Being a <a href="" target="_blank" title="Christian">Christian</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Being <a href="" target="_blank" title="anti-tax, anti-regulation or for the gold standard">anti-tax, anti-regulation or for the gold standard</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Being <a href="" title="“reverent of individual liberty”">&ldquo;reverent of individual liberty&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Being <a href="" title="“anti-nuclear”">&ldquo;anti-nuclear&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“Believe in conspiracy theories”">&ldquo;Believe in conspiracy theories&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“A belief that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack”">&ldquo;A belief that one&rsquo;s personal and/or national &ldquo;way of life&rdquo; is under attack&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“Impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”">&ldquo;Impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“Insert religion into the political sphere”">&ldquo;Insert religion into the political sphere&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“Those who seek to politicize religion”">&ldquo;Those who seek to politicize religion&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“Supported political movements for autonomy”">&ldquo;Supported political movements for autonomy&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Being <a href="" title="“anti-abortion”">&ldquo;anti-abortion&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Being <a href="" title="“anti-Catholic”">&ldquo;anti-Catholic&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Being <a href="" title="“anti-global”">&ldquo;anti-global&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“Suspicious of centralized federal authority”">&ldquo;Suspicious of centralized federal authority&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“Fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”">&ldquo;Fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" title="“A belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in … survivalism”">&ldquo;A belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in &hellip; survivalism&rdquo;</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Opposing genetically engineered food">Opposing genetically engineered food</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Opposing surveillance">Opposing surveillance</a></li> </ul> <p>And <a href="" target="_blank" title="see this">see this</a>. (Of course, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Muslims">Muslims</a> are more or less subject to a separate system of justice in America.)</p> <p>And 1st Amendment rights are especially chilled when power has become so concentrated that <a href="" title="the same agency">the same agency</a> which spies on all Americans <em>also decides</em> who should be assassinated.</p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Second Amendment</h3> <p>The 2nd Amendment states:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.</p> </blockquote> <p>Gun control and gun rights advocates obviously have very different views about whether guns are a force for violence or for good.</p> <p>But even a top liberal Constitutional law expert reluctantly admits that the right to own a gun is <a href="" title="as important a Constitutional right as freedom of speech or religion">as important a Constitutional right as freedom of speech or religion</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: &ldquo;A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.&rdquo; Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More important, <strong>the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press.</strong> The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. <strong>Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, <strong>it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right &mdash; consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that &hellip; here&rsquo;s the really hard part &hellip; the <a href="" id="_GPLITA_5" title="Click to Continue &gt; by Text-Enhance">NRA</a> may have been right.</strong> This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that <strong>gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>The gun control debate &ndash; including which weapons and magazines are banned &ndash; is still in flux &hellip;</p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Third Amendment</h3> <p>The 3rd Amendment prohibits the government forcing people to house soldiers:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.</p> </blockquote> <p>A recent lawsuit by a Nevada family &ndash; covered by (<a href="" target="_blank" title="Mother Jones">Mother Jones</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Fox News">Fox News</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="Courthouse News">Courthouse News</a> &ndash; alleges violation of the Third Amendment.</p> <p>Moreover, the military is arguably <a href="" title="quartering “digital” troops">quartering &ldquo;digital&rdquo; troops</a> within our homes.</p> <div> <div style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt=" In America, Journalists Are Considered Terrorists" border="0" height="598" src="" title="Nearly Half of All Americans Believe The Federal Government Poses An Immediate Threat To The Rights And Freedoms Of Ordinary Citizens" width="396" /></a></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><em>Painting by Anthony Freda: <a href="" target="_blank" title=""></a>.</em></div> </div> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Fourth Amendment</h3> <p>The 4th Amendment prevents unlawful search and seizure:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The right of the people to be <strong>secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures</strong>, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.</p> </blockquote> <p>But the government is <a href="" title="spying on everything we do">spying on<em> everything</em> we do</a> &hellip; <a href="" title="without any real benefit"><em>without</em> any real benefit</a> or <a href="" title="justification">justification</a>.</p> <p>Indeed, experts say that the type of spying being carried out by the NSA and other agencies is <em>exactly</em> the kind of thing which <a href="" title="King George imposed on the American colonists … which led to the Revolutionary War">King George imposed on the American colonists &hellip; which led to the Revolutionary War</a>.</p> <p>And many Constitutional experts &ndash; such as <a href="" target="_blank" title="Jonathan Turley">Jonathan Turley</a> &ndash; think that the police went too far in Boston with <a href="" title="lockdowns and involuntary door-to-door searches">lockdowns and involuntary door-to-door searches</a>.</p> <div style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" border="0" height="300" src="" width="246" /></a><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" border="0" height="299" src="" width="230" /></a><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">Paintings by Anthony Freda: </span><a href="" style="font-style: italic;" target="_blank" title=""></a><span style="font-style: italic;">.</span></div> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Fifth Amendment</h3> <p>The 5th Amendment addresses due process of law, eminent domain, double jeopardy and grand jury:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>No person shall be <strong>held to answer</strong> for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, <strong>unless on a presentment or indictment</strong> of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of<strong> life, liberty, or property, without due process</strong> of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.</p> </blockquote> <p>But the American government has shredded the 5th Amendment by <a href="" target="_blank" title="subjecting us to indefinite detention">subjecting us to indefinite detention</a> and <a href="" title="taking away our due process rights">taking away our due process rights</a>.</p> <p>The government claims the right to <a href="" title="assassinate or indefinitely detain any American citizen on U.S. citizen without any due process">assassinate or indefinitely detain any American citizen on U.S. citizen without any due process</a>. And <a href="" title="see this">see this</a>.</p> <p>For example, American citizens are being detained in <a href="" target="_blank" title="Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago">Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago</a> &hellip; including:</p> <ul> <li>Brutality</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Being held in secret</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Not even telling a suspect&rsquo;s lawyer whether his client is being held?</li> </ul> <p>And see <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a>.</p> <p>As such, the government is certainly depriving people of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.</p> <p>There are additional corruptions of 5th Amendment rights &ndash; such as property being taken for <a href="" target="_blank" title="private purposes"><em>private</em> purposes</a>. And the right to remain silent <a href="" target="_blank" title="is gone">is gone</a>.</p> <p>The percentage of prosecutions in which a defendant is denied a grand jury is difficult to gauge, as there is <a href="" title="so much secrecy">so much secrecy</a> surrounding many <a href="" title="terrorism trials">terrorism trials</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank" title="HUNG LIBERTY (NYSE) by Colonel Flick/WilliamBanzai7, on Flickr"><img alt="HUNG LIBERTY (NYSE)" class="aligncenter" height="1024" src="" width="683" /></a><em>Image by <a href="" target="_blank" title="William Banzai">William Banzai</a></em></p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Sixth Amendment</h3> <p>The 6th Amendment guarantees the right to hear the criminal charges levied against us and to be able to confront the witnesses who have testified against us, as well as speedy criminal trials, and a public defender for those who cannot hire an attorney:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and <strong>to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation</strong>; to be <strong>confronted with the witnesses against him</strong>; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.</p> </blockquote> <p>Subjecting people to <a href="" target="_blank" title="subjecting us to indefinite detention">indefinite detention</a> or <a href="" title="assassination ">assassination </a>obviously violates the 6th Amendment right to a jury trial. In both cases, the defendants is &ldquo;disposed of&rdquo; without ever receiving a trial &hellip; and often without ever hearing the charges against them.</p> <p>More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases <a href="" title="based upon “secret evidence”">based upon &ldquo;secret evidence&rdquo;</a> that they don&rsquo;t show to the defendant &hellip; or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.</p> <p>The government uses &ldquo;secret evidence&rdquo; to <a href="" target="_blank" title="spy on Americans">spy on Americans</a>, prosecute <a href="" target="_blank" title="leaking">leaking</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" title="terrorism">terrorism</a> charges (even against <a href="" target="_blank" title="U.S. soldiers">U.S. soldiers</a>) and even <a href="" target="_blank" title="assassinate people">assassinate people</a>. And see <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" title="Secret witnesses">Secret witnesses</a> are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are <a href="" title="not even allowed to read their own briefs">not even allowed to read their own briefs</a>.</p> <p>Indeed, even the <a href="" title="laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret">laws <em>themselves</em> are now starting to be kept secret</a>. And it&rsquo;s about to <a href="" title="get a lot worse">get a lot worse</a>.</p> <p>Moreover, government is <a href="" title="“laundering” information gained through mass surveillance">&ldquo;laundering&rdquo; information gained through mass surveillance</a> through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will <a href="" title="“recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction”">&ldquo;recreate&rdquo; the evidence in a &ldquo;parallel construction&rdquo;</a> &hellip; so they don&rsquo;t have to admit that the evidence came from unconstitutional spying.&nbsp;&nbsp; A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a <a href="" title="“totalitarian process” which shows that we’re in a “police state”">&ldquo;totalitarian process&rdquo; which shows that we&rsquo;re in a &ldquo;police state&rdquo;</a>.</p> <p>And there are <a href="" title="two systems of justice in America">two systems of justice in America</a> &hellip; one for the big banks and other fatcats, and <a href="" target="_blank" title="one for everyone else">one for everyone else</a>. The government made it <a href="" title="official policy">official policy <em>not</em> to prosecute fraud</a>, even though fraud is the <a href="" id="_GPLITA_0" title="Click to Continue &gt;; by Text-Enhance” data-cke-saved-href=””&gt;criminal href=””&gt;criminal fraud&lt;/a&gt; is the &lt;em&gt;&lt;a title=">main business model</a> adopted by Wall Street. Indeed, the <a href=" href=" id="_GPLITA_2" title="Click to Continue &gt;; by Text-Enhance” href=””&gt;giant banks&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt; &lt;p&gt;The perpetrators of the &lt;a data-cke-saved-href=">biggest financial crime in world history</a>, the <a href="" title="largest insider trading scandal of all time">largest insider trading scandal of all time</a>, illegal <a href="" title="raiding of customer accounts">raiding of customer accounts</a> and <a href="" title="blatant financing of drug cartels and terrorists">blatant financing of drug cartels and terrorists</a> have all been committed recently without any real criminal prosecution or jail time.</p> <p>On the other hand, government prosecutors are using the legal system to <a href="" title="using laws to crush dissent"> crush dissent</a> and to <a href="" title="trying to blow the whistle">silence whistleblowers</a>.</p> <p>And some of the nation&rsquo;s most powerful judges have lost their independence &hellip; and are <a href="" title="in bed with the powers-that-be">in bed with the powers-that-be</a>.</p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Seventh Amendment</h3> <p>The 7th Amendment guarantees trial by jury in federal court for civil cases:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.</p> </blockquote> <p>But there are <a href="" title="two systems of justice in America">two systems of justice in America</a> &hellip; <a href="" target="_blank" title="one for the big banks and other fatcats">one for the big banks and other fatcats</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank" title="one for everyone else">one for everyone else</a>.&nbsp; So good luck going after the powers-that-be.</p> <p>And the World Justice Project &ndash; a bipartisan, independent group with honorary chairs including numerous current and former Supreme Court Justices &ndash; released a report saying that Americans have less access to justice than most wealthy countries &hellip;&nbsp; and many developing nations.&nbsp; The report <a href="" title="finds">finds</a> that Americans have less access to justice than Botswanans,&nbsp; and that only the wealthy have the resources to protect rights using the court system:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="size-full wp-image-15124 aligncenter" height="333" src="" title="Access Civil Justice - High-Income" width="721" /></a></p> <p>For example, Germans sue equally whether they are rich or poor&nbsp; &hellip; but in America, only the wealthy have the resources to protect rights using the court system:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="aligncenter wp-image-15125" height="564" src="" title="Germany v US" width="570" /></a></p> <p>And the <a href="" title="austerity caused">austerity caused</a> by the <a href="" title="highest levels of inequality in world history">highest levels of inequality in world history</a> &ndash; which are in turn is caused by <a href="" title="socialist">socialist</a> <a href="" title="actions">actions</a> by our government, which have <a href="" title="destroyed the Founding Fathers’ vision">destroyed the Founding Fathers&rsquo; vision</a> of prosperity &ndash; is causing severe budget cuts to the courts, resulting in the wheels of justice slowing down considerably.</p> <p>Finally, federal judges have recently decided that they can <a href="" title="pre-judge cases before the plaintiff even has the chance to conduct discovery">pre-judge cases before the plaintiff even has the chance to conduct discovery</a> &hellip; and throw cases out if they don&rsquo;t like plaintiff&rsquo;s case.</p> <div> <div style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" border="0" height="417" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5677511465214785906" src="" style="border: 0px none;" width="600" /></a></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><em>Painting by Anthony Freda: <a href="" target="_blank" title=""></a></em></div> </div> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Eighth Amendment</h3> <p>The 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor <strong>cruel and unusual punishments</strong> inflicted.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank" title="subjecting us to indefinite detention">Indefinite detention</a> and <a href="" title="assassination">assassination</a> are obviously cruel and unusual punishment.</p> <p>The widespread system of torture carried out in the last 10 years &ndash; with the <a href="" target="_blank" title="help of other countries">help of other countries</a> &ndash; <a href="" title="violates the 8th Amendment">violates the 8th Amendment</a>. Many want to <a href="" title="bring it back">bring it back</a> &hellip; or at least <a href="" title="justify its past use">justify its past use</a>.</p> <p>While Justice Scalia <a href="" title="disingenuously argues">disingenuously argues</a> that torture does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment because it is meant to produce information &ndash; not punish &ndash; <a href="" title="he’s wrong">he&rsquo;s wrong</a>. It&rsquo;s not only cruel and unusual &hellip; it is technically a <a href="" title="form of terrorism">form of terrorism</a>.</p> <p>And <a href="" title="government whistleblowers are being cruelly and unusually punished">government whistleblowers are being cruelly and unusually punished</a> with unduly harsh sentences meant to intimidate anyone else from speaking out.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="aligncenter" height="394" id="il_fi" src="" style="padding-right: 8px; padding-top: 8px; padding-bottom: 8px;" width="272" /></p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Ninth Amendment</h3> <p>The 9th Amendment provides that people have other rights, even if they aren&rsquo;t specifically listed in the Constitution:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.</p> </blockquote> <p>We can debate what our inherent rights as human beings are. I believe they include the right to a level playing field, and access to non-toxic food and water. You may disagree.</p> <p>But everyone agrees that the government should not <em>actively encourage</em> fraud and manipulation. However, the government &ndash; through its <a href="" title="malignant, symbiotic relation with big corporations">malignant, symbiotic relation with big corporations</a> &ndash; is interfering with our aspirations for <a href="" title="economic freedom">economic freedom</a>, <a href="" title="safe food and water">safe food and water</a> (instead of <a href="" title="arsenic-laden, genetically engineered junk">arsenic-laden, genetically engineered junk</a>), freedom from undue health hazards such as <a href="" title="irradiation">irradiation</a> due to <a href="" title="government support">government support</a> of archaic nuclear power designs, and a level playing field (as opposed to our crony capitalist system in which the <a href="" title="little guy has no shot">little guy has no shot</a> due to <a href="" title="redistribution of wealth">redistribution of wealth</a> from the middle class to the super-elite, and government support of <a href="" title="white">white</a> <a href="" title="collar">collar</a> <a href="" title="criminals">criminals</a>).</p> <p>By working hand-in-glove with giant corporations to defraud us into paying for a lower quality of life, the government is trampling our basic rights as human beings.</p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Tenth Amendment</h3> <p>The 10th Amendment provides that powers not specifically given to the <em>Federal</em> government are reserved to the states or individual:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.</p> </blockquote> <p>Two of the central principles of America&rsquo;s Founding Fathers are:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>(1) The government is created and empowered with the consent of the people</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>and</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(2) Separation of powers</p> </blockquote> <p>Today, <a href="" title="most Americans believe">most Americans believe</a> that the government is <em>threatening</em> &ndash; rather than <em>protecting</em> &ndash; freedom. We&rsquo;ve become <a href="" title="more afraid of our government">more afraid of our government</a> than of terrorists, and believe that the government is no longer acting with the &ldquo;<a href="" title="consent of the governed">consent of the governed</a>&ldquo;.</p> <p>And the federal government is trampling the separation of powers by stepping on the toes of the states and the people. For example, former head S&amp;L prosecutor Bill Black &ndash; now a professor of law and economics &ndash; <a href="" target="_blank" title="notes">notes</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the resident examiners and regional staff of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [both] competed to weaken federal regulation and <strong>aggressively used the preemption doctrine to try to prevent state investigations of and actions against fraudulent mortgage lenders</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Indeed, the federal government is doing everything it can to stick its nose into every aspect of our lives &hellip; and <a href="" title="act like Big Brother">act like Big Brother</a>.</p> <p>Conclusion: While a few of the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights still exist, the vast majority are under <span style="text-decoration: underline;">heavy</span> <span style="text-decoration: underline;">assault</span>.</p> <h3 style="color: #000099;">Other Constitutional Provisions &hellip; and The Declaration of Independence</h3> <p>In addition to the trampling of the Bill of Rights, the government has also <a href="" title="trashed the separation of powers">trashed the separation of powers</a> enshrined in the main body of the Constitution.</p> <p>The government is also engaging in activities which the Founding Fathers fought against, such as taxation without representation (<a href="" title="here">here</a> and <a href="" title="here">here</a>), <a href="" title="cronyism">cronyism</a>, <a href="" title="deference to central banks">deference to central banks</a>, etc.</p> <p>As the preamble to the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Declaration of Independence">Declaration of Independence</a> shows, <a>the American government is still carrying out many of the acts the Founding Fathers found most offensive</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>He has <strong>kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies</strong> without the Consent of our legislatures. [Background <a href="" title="here">here</a> and <a href="" title="here">here</a>]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He has affected to render the <strong>Military independent of and superior to the Civil power</strong>. [Background <a href="" title="here">here</a>, <a href="" title="here">here</a>, <a href="" title="here">here</a>, <a href="" title="here">here</a>&nbsp;and <a href="" title="here">here</a>]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He has <strong>combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws</strong>; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: [<a href="" title="Background">Background</a>]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For <strong>transporting us beyond Seas</strong> to be tried for pretended offences [<a href="" target="_blank" title="Background">Background</a>]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He is at this time <strong>transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries</strong> to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty &amp; perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the</p> <p>Head of a civilized nation. [<a href="" title="Background">Background</a>]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He has abdicated Government here, by <strong>declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us</strong>. [Background <a href="" title="here">here</a>, <a href="" title="here">here</a> and <a href="" title="here">here</a>]</p> </blockquote> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Bank of New York Central Banks Comptroller of the Currency Cronyism ETC Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank Federal Reserve Bank of New York First Amendment Fox News Insider Trading national security None NRA Nuclear Power Office of the Comptroller of the Currency SPY Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:57:05 +0000 George Washington 502614 at As IMF Default Looms & Tax Revenues Plunge, Greek Stocks & Bonds Tumble <p>As the rest of the world appears happy to assume everything is fixed in Europe (and if it's not, Draghi will buy it back to being awesome), Greece is looking unwell once again. Initial exuberance has faded dramatically in the last 3 days as<a href=""> IMF default warnings</a> and a <strong>22.5% plunge in tax revenues</strong> has sparked concerns about Greece's sustainability once again. <em>Default (or restructuring) risk is soaring, Greek bond yields are surging, stocks sliding, and Greek banks (bonds and stocks) are getting hammered.</em> As The Guardian's Helena Smith notes, <strong><em>"the country is in a strategic vacuum,"</em></strong> and next week's T-Bill auction could be a major catalyst.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Greek Stocks and Bonds Ugly...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="634" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Greek Banks even worse...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="627" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>As The Guardian's Helena Smith reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Angst over the pending funding gap is VERY real. </strong>Government figures show that tax revenues have dropped precipitously (22.5%) as a result of the political turmoil gripping the country. Greeks have simply stopped paying. The country’s former deputy premier Evangelos Venizelos has just made a statement saying rather than conducting real negotiations, the new leftist-led government is waging a “war of impressions,”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The country is in a strategic vacuum.</strong> Just one month after the election everything is in the air. Revenues, cash requirements, fiscal targets. How will the fiscal gap that exists be plugged? Where are we going regarding the debt? Sadly our array of negotiating mistakes has taken us way off from the point we were when the parliament was dissolved,” he said referring to the day snap polls were called in December.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Everything is being enthusiastically projected as a triumph, but as soon as you scratch the surface, you see that there is no plan, or result, or security or prospect. The country has to find its goals.</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p>Next week will be interesting given the weakness into the weekend, <a href="">as The Guardian notes,</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>In a closely watched auction, Greece plans to sell €875m of six-month treasury bills next Wednesday to refinance a maturing issue.</strong> Greek banks use T-bills as collateral to borrow from the ECB’s emergency liquidity line and then invest the money in more T-bills. This helps the government, which is frozen out of the bond markets, to cover its short-term needs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Foreign investors have shied away from T-bill sales in recent months. They are the only source of commercial borrowing for Tsipras’ government.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><strong>Greek CDS still indicate a 75% probability of restructuring </strong>(assuming 'norm' recovery rates).</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="957" height="1012" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond CDS default fixed Funding Gap Greece recovery Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:55:47 +0000 Tyler Durden 502613 at Steen Jakobsen Warns Of Looming US Slowdown, "I'm Long Gold... And Adding" <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Saxobank&#39;s CIO Steen Jakobsen, via</em></a>,</p> <div> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 16.7999992370605px; font-weight: bold;">US Q4 growth revised lower, 0% looms later this year</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 16.7999992370605px; font-weight: bold;">Europe has consistently beaten the US as regards expectations</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 16.7999992370605px; font-weight: bold;">Neither EU nor EM have the heft to compensate when US growth fades</span></li> </ul> </div> <div><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;"><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">Let&#39;s kick off with some data &ndash;&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">US Q4 revisions are out today and showed a slowdown from 2.6% to 2.2%.</span></span></div> <div style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong>This makes Q3 (2014) the peak in this cycle and I expect QoQ growth in the US will hit <span style="font-style: italic;">zero </span>by Q3 or Q4. </strong>There are several factors for this including rising real rates, mal-investment into energy but most importantly &ndash; falling earnings in the US.</span></div> <p><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">Societe General &ndash; Global Quantative Research has published an excellent report titled &quot;Global Earnings Estimate Analysis &ndash; Is the US heading back into recession?&quot;.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">I have borrowed the main chart &ndash; which shows how the six month change in 12-month earnings per share coincide with US GDP &ndash; not pretty and definitely <span style="text-decoration: underline;">not </span>what Janet Yellen and Wall Street promised me less than two months ago.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;"><img alt="US" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/54c87311-e835-4057-a80f-5af1ad152346.png" src="" /> </span></p> <div class="ddd" style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">US quarterly GDP has been 3.0% since 1970 and 2.6% since 2000 &ndash; with big swings: <p><img alt="mnb" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/609cb030-6bc7-45fe-a49d-b88f4fbbe5b2.png" src="" /><br /> <div class="ddd">&nbsp;Source: Bloomberg, Saxo Bank</div> </p><p><strong>I see a repeat of the growth pattern from late 2006 into 2008.</strong></p> <p>The market is focused on the telegraphed June potential Fed hike, but this week&#39;s speech by Janet Yellen clearly has got people thinking as she again introduced inflation concerns and &ldquo;data watching&rdquo;&hellip;. In other words, we need to again look at the actual economy and its performance which is a bad news for the happy campers in the equity market.</p> <p>This chart will soon have relevance for all asset classes&rsquo; &ndash; It shows the outperformance on expectations from Europe over the US. May I add that this is&nbsp;<span style="font-style: italic;">exactly </span>the opposite of the consensus two month ago, except for a few analysts. US data has <span style="font-style: italic;">consistently </span>done worse than expected.</p> <p><img alt="cesi" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/1d7f4fb3-7ffc-4f27-8f7d-da72c3e7890f.png" src="" /><br /> <div class="ddd"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span></div> </p><p><strong>The point however is US data been worsening for a long time</strong> &ndash; I personally think we are in period where we yet again handover the growth engine from the US to emerging markets but via a significant new low in growth which will make Europe looks good. The expected path for me is:</p> <p><strong>Slowdown confirmation in the US over the next two months </strong>&ndash; that will kill the improvement in Europe by end of Q2 and leave it stable - not growing for the year. Meanwhile, emerging markets will come back as market realise the Federal Open Market Committee is years away from &lsquo;talking up&rsquo; rates.&nbsp;</p></div> <div style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">The June or September initial hike (if it comes) will still leave FOMC 100 basis points above Wall Street on its projected long-term path for growth &ndash; and remember that this is a Wall Street that is also too optimistic about future growth. The Fed sees 3.0-3.5% on the &ldquo;dots&rdquo; (charts that display expectations from individual FOMC members about the direction of interest rates) while Wall Street sees 2.5-3.0% on average.&nbsp;</div> <div style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;"> <p><strong>In other words, there is room for a +100 bps correction to the sustainable long-term growth which will render 10-year rates 1.0-1.5% before we are over with this part of the cycle, which I label: Restarting the business cycle.</strong></p> <p>Restarting the business cycle as policy measures, QE and targeted &ldquo;help&rdquo; for banks is running if not out of time then out of impact on the economy. The inequality and low salary to GDP base simply can&rsquo;t produce enough domestic consumption anywhere for the middle class to be able to afford the products the stock market listed companies produce.</p> <p>The chart below is my July 2013 projection of rates &ndash; as you will note the &ldquo;calendar&rdquo; needs to be moved further forward&hellip; 2014 in chart is now 2015 due to Bank of Japan and the constant hope of &ldquo;lift off&rdquo; in rates, but the actual pricing rhythm has been relatively precise and predictive.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="as" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/223dbe13-8d25-4766-b54a-f6918884a56b.png" src="" /></p> <div class="ddd">&nbsp;Source: Bloomberg, Saxo Bank</div> <p>There are a few more charts which are worthy of perusal:</p> <p>Port of LA traffic has collapsed. Yes, some of it is to do with strikes and unions but&hellip;. look at size of the drop! Deeper than March 2009!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="port" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/d93220b5-eb92-44b2-a1c2-beac15bdda71.png" src="" /></p> <div class="ddd">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;">Have no illusions &ndash; US short-term rates are rising:<br /><img alt="interest rates" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/699d0c81-f729-4204-bfb5-57acf9155361.png" src="" /></p> <div class="ddd">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;">The outlook for Europe remains&hellip; more of the same:</p> <p><img alt="pmi" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/3f5014ac-05e5-4aa4-a985-a0b936685a77.png" src="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="ddd">&nbsp;</div> <p><u><span style="font-weight: bold;">Conclusion:</span></u></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Macro</span></p> <p><strong>We are in a &ldquo;in-between period&rdquo; </strong>- where the US will slow down and ultimately hand over the growth engine to emerging markets by the earliest in Q4-2015 but firmly in 2016. The problem is that emerging markets are not ready due to high US dollar debt and waning commodity prices and Europe is still too weak to contribute net to world growth leaving a growth vacuum for new growth.</p> <p><strong>Europe will show one more month of improving data, then the global slowdown and EM and US will drag down the data to flat performance.</strong> Europe will still do better than expected in 2015 but not enough to constitute a real improvement yet.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="usa" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/f5185846-c804-4a18-8ee7-fed3d25f6254.png" src="" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" /></p> <div class="ddd" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-style: italic;">&nbsp; The wheels of commerce will move more slowly. Photo: iStock</span></div> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Markets</span></p> <p><strong>I still only have one very strong view and that&rsquo;s that 10-year fixed income will trade 1.5% even potentially 1.0% this year</strong> &ndash; everything else will lag this move by nine months. So in other words, if the low in yields comes in Q3 (as I expect) then the summer of 2016 will be the lift-off we all have talked about.</p> <p><strong>The US dollar will peak this quarter and will probably have peaked for this cycle.</strong> The weaker USD will stabilise commodities and emerging markets, creating the conditions for a hand over at the end of this year. The US dollar should be very sensitive to this relative slowdown in the US, especially as Europe is improving.</p> <p><u><strong>Gold remains top of my list for new investment &ndash; I&rsquo;m long and adding</strong></u> &ndash; I have also <strong>re-sold Brent crude as the marginal cost of producing oil is still rising</strong>, meaning the global impact still is negative net-net. Jeremy Grantham makes the excellent argument that for world to benefit from falling energy prices it has to come with falling marginal cost. The opposite is the case now: lower prices, higher production/extraction costs.</p> <p>The stock market&hellip;..Not time yet to call the top, but I&#39;m preparing a special report on valuations and models, or the lack of it. The conclusion will be: <strong>There is potential for a 5-10% year but also for a 25% correction. </strong>The really totally binary, problem of course being that the market is very expensive by traditional standards, but this are hardly normal times. The expected return for reference over 1, 3 and 10 years can be seen below &ndash; the upside that first year still can carry the market higher, the downside the next 9-10 years!</p></div> <div style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</div> <p><img alt="kla" class="popup-image" data-original-image="/images/article/original/9fed9123-1c4e-446c-8294-3dfc3dac5966.png" src="" style="height: 346px; width: 599px;" /></p> <div class="ddd">&nbsp;</div> Bank of Japan Crude fixed Janet Yellen Japan Jeremy Grantham Port Of LA Recession Saxo Bank Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:33:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 502612 at Gold Sovereigns Bought by Greeks in Volume as New Greek Drachmas Designed <p><a href=""></a><strong><a href="">Gold Sovereigns Bought by Greeks in Volume as New Greek Drachmas Designed</a></strong></p> <p><strong>- Greece warns may default on IMF loan next week</strong></p> <p><strong>- Greek bank runs continue and deposits flee</strong></p> <p><strong>- German Bundestag votes for bailout extension</strong></p> <p><strong>- Syriza agree to a bailout extension of four months, in return for concessions yet to be approved by the EU</strong></p> <p><strong>- Questions over Syriza negotiating a weak deal despite its strong position</strong></p> <p><strong>- Greece and EU buying time to arrange orderly "Grexit"?</strong></p> <p><strong>- Greece has printing presses poised to print newly designed Greek drachmas</strong></p> <p><strong>- Greeks buying gold bullion</strong></p> <p>The Euro Working Group discussed Greece’s imminent funding problems yesterday amid mounting concern about how the country will meet its massive obligations.</p> <p>Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations, Alekos Flambouraris, suggested yesterday that Greece might delay payment to the IMF if it cannot find the necessary money. Greece is due to pay the IMF 1.6 billion euro next month but the Greek Minister said that Athens might ask to delay this payment for two months.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1945"> <dt><a href=""><img src="" alt="Proposed New Greek Drachmas" width="640" height="291" /></a></dt> <dd><em>Proposed new Greek drachmas</em></dd> </dl> </div> <p>Kathimerini reports that "the possibility of Greece postponing the repayment of any debt tranches to the IMF is seen as “exceptionally complicated” with “many obstacles,” according to officials “familiar with the subject”. They stress that such a move would constitute a “clear default,” with consequences for a large number of other loans Greece has received."</p> <p>Yesterday the Bank of Greece presented its latest, January, bank deposit data and it shows&nbsp;<strong>bank runs</strong>&nbsp;continue in Greece. There was a record €12.2 billion monthly outflow of deposits. This is greater in absolute and relative terms than anything experienced during any of the previous Greek crises and bailouts.</p> <p>The total amount of Greek corporate and household deposits has now tumbled to just €148 billion. This number is in line with some of the more pessimistic expectations, and brings the total cash holdings at Greek banks to the lowest level since August 2005.</p> <p>Separately and not surprisingly, the German parliament has approved the bailout extension by a large majority in the Bundestag.</p> <p>The announcement last Friday that Greece would after all adhere to an extended bailout program was viewed as a capitulation by Syriza and a triumph for Germany and the Eurogroup.</p> <p>The statement, which simply reaffirmed the existing program, substituting some unpalatable terms with euphemisms - Troika is referred to as "institutions,” for example, has sparked dissent within Syriza itself and the first violent protests against the new government outside the Greek parliament were seen yesterday.</p> <p>We consider it odd that Greece should have folded while its hand was so strong. Greece could push the EU to the brink. From the point of view of Syriza's electorate, things cannot get much worse anyway.</p> <p>Ultimately, Greece could get its bridging loan from Russia or the BRICS bank so why should Syriza buckle and face national humiliation when it did not need to. We suspect a larger game is afoot.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1946"> <dt><a href=""><img src="" alt=" " width="800" height="517" /></a></dt> <dd></dd> </dl> </div> <p>Some analysts have suggested that the EU and Greece have reached a stalemate and are preparing to attempt an orderly exit by Greece from the euro and back to the drachma.</p> <p>This may certainly be the case. Greece has&nbsp;<strong>newly-designed Drachma notes</strong>&nbsp;(see above) and printing presses waiting for the order to start rolling.</p> <p>Where all this is leading is anyone's guess. If it is a simple case of Syriza being out-smarted by its EU partners it can only lead to social unrest in Greece and a possible rise of the fascist Golden Dawn.</p> <p>At any rate,&nbsp;<strong>Greece is bankrupt</strong>&nbsp;with no hope in sight, at least within the euro monetary union, so eventual default appears inevitable.</p> <p>If Greece and the EU have agreed to disagree there is no guarantee that the process will be orderly despite the best intentions of both sides. If it is achieved it will open the door for other peripheral nations to follow suit, each exit process a mine-field.</p> <p><strong>Greeks have been accumulating physical gold&nbsp;</strong>in recent months in anticipation of&nbsp;<strong>bank holidays</strong>,&nbsp;possible&nbsp;<a href="">bail-ins</a>&nbsp;and indeed a possible&nbsp;<strong>return to the drachma</strong>.</p> <p>Despite the last minute Greek debt deal, we are continuing to see demand from Greece including demand from companies and some high net worth buying.&nbsp;</p> <p>Demand in January and so far in February has been very high with dozens of new accounts opened and purchases valued in the millions. Many of the new Greek clients said that these were not one of purchases, as is often the case, rather initial purchases, with a view to buying more in the coming months.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="goldcore_bloomberg_chart6_27-02-15" width="300" height="297" /></a></p> <p>We have clients in over 40 countries but Greece saw the greatest increase in demand in January and this has continued into the end of February. In demand are&nbsp;<a href="">gold sovereigns</a>&nbsp;and bars - some for delivery but more for storage, in Zurich primarily.</p> <p>British sovereigns remain the traditional favourite of Greek investors and the Bank of Greece continues to see very high demand for sovereigns in Athens.</p> <p>Millions of euros worth of demand for gold is small vis a vis other assets but it is a large increase in terms of physical gold demand - especially as it came from a very low base - Greek demand was quite low last year.</p> <p>Concerns about bank deposits and the ‘Grexit’ remain and lingering doubts about the long term outlook are leading to continued safe haven demand.</p> <p>The Greek situation is far from resolved and the euro is still in peril. Today came news that the Irish government has contingency plans for the collapse of the euro including a return to the Irish national currency - the Irish punt. This is something we said was likely to be the case and we were attacked as “scaremongering.”</p> <p>The truth can be a scary thing sometimes … especially for those who put their head in the sand and ignore it.</p> <p>Owners of physical gold will be protected should we see a reversion to national currencies and or further currency devaluations in the ongoing currency wars.</p> <p><strong>Updates and Award Winning Research&nbsp;<a href="">Here</a></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.3em;">MARKET UPDATE</strong></p> <p>Today’s AM fix was USD 1,205.00, EUR 1,073.59 and GBP 782.77 per ounce.<br />Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,220.00, EUR 1,073.66 and GBP 785.58 per ounce.</p> <p><a href="">Gold</a>&nbsp;climbed 0.32% percent or $3.80 and closed at $1,208.40 an ounce on yesterday, while silver remained unchanged at $16.54 an ounce.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="goldcore_bloomberg_chart7_27-02-15" width="800" height="450" /></a></p> <p>Gold and silver are set for gains in all currencies this week after losses in February - losses which reversed some of the initial 2015 gains in January.</p> <p>Gold in euros has retreated in February, after posting its biggest monthly rise in 17 years in January. Gold in euro is down 5.5% on the month - the biggest monthly drop in over a year.</p> <p>Gold in euros appears to have found pretty strong support at the 50-day moving average (at €1061 currently) according to analysts in the Thomson Reuters Global Gold Forum.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1947"> <dt><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold in US Dollars - 5 Days (Goldcore) " width="622" height="418" /></a></dt> <dd><em>Gold in US Dollars - 5 Days (GoldCore)</em></dd> </dl> </div> <p>Gold in dollars edged downward in early morning trading in London, hampered by a stronger dollar and traders taking profits on gains seen this week.&nbsp;<a href="">Gold in Singapore</a>&nbsp;was up 0.2 percent at $1,210.80 an ounce near end of day trading. In late morning trading in London the metals group are all marginally lower.</p> <p>Gold&nbsp;is $1,206.10 off 0.33%,&nbsp;silver&nbsp;is $16.47 off 0.77% and&nbsp;platinum&nbsp;is $1,172.96 off 0.36%.</p> <p><strong>Chinese&nbsp;</strong>demand remained robust this week and again overnight which is supporting gold at these levels. As is the more dovish noises made by&nbsp;Fed&nbsp;Chair Janet&nbsp;Yellen&nbsp;on Wednesday.</p> <p><strong>China&nbsp;</strong>plans to start their own benchmark yuan denominated gold fix that would come from a new 1kg contract to be launched at the government run Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) a source told Reuters. The SGE only opened in the city's free trade zone in September 2014 and allows foreigners to trade yuan denominated contracts.</p> <p>The world's biggest gold buyer will further influence the pricing of the precious metal and appears to have designs on becoming the world’s leading precious metals hub.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1948"> <dt><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold in GBP - 5 Days (Goldcore) " width="625" height="418" /></a></dt> <dd><em>Gold in GBP - 5 Days (GoldCore)</em></dd> </dl> </div> <p><strong>India's&nbsp;</strong>demand for gold was only average this week as buyers in the world's number 2 buyer of the metal held off purchases ahead of an expected cut in import duty. But dealers are expected to increase their demand, if the import duty is lowered from a record 10 percent in Saturday's federal budget.</p> <p><strong>India</strong> may announce a cut to their import duties in their annual budget to be published tomorrow. Some analysts put the cut on the gold duty at 2 to 4 percent from 10 percent. Another positive gold factor.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1949"> <dt><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold in EURO - 5 Years (Goldcore) " width="619" height="423" /></a></dt> <dd><em>Gold in EURO - 5 Years (GoldCore)</em></dd> </dl> </div> <p><strong>U.S. economic data</strong>&nbsp;to be released today are the important GDP figures, The Chicago PMI, pending home sales and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment and inflation reports.</p> <p>Poor numbers and a higher than expected inflation number should see gold make gains. Better than expected numbers could see gold come under selling pressure.</p> <p>Earlier this week Switzerland's competition commission said it was looking into possible&nbsp;<a href="">gold and silver manipulation</a>, and the Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) were investigating at least 10 major banks for price rigging of precious metals markets.</p> <p>The last thing insolvent banks and governments want are surging gold and silver prices.</p> <p>Perverted and ‘unfree’ markets create profound risks to financial systems and economies for all investors and savers. They also present opportunities.</p> <p>As ever, it is prudent to be on the opposite side of official manipulation as ultimately the free market forces of supply and demand will always win out.</p> <p>This was seen recently when the Swiss franc peg broke resulting in the franc surging 40% in 13 minutes. The same will likely happen to precious metal prices when the manipulation of banks come to an end - likely through the power of the physical demand of 3 billion people including high net worth and central banks in Russia, India, China and Asia.</p> <p><strong>Breaking News and Updates&nbsp;<a href="">Here</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href=""></a></strong></p> BRICs Central Banks Chicago PMI China Commodity Futures Trading Commission Consumer Sentiment default Department of Justice Germany Greece India Janet Yellen Precious Metals Reuters Sovereigns Swiss Franc Wall Street Journal Yuan Zurich Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:21:57 +0000 GoldCore 502611 at The Recovery, Unemployment, and Earnings Are All Based on Fraud and Accounting Gimmicks <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 1.3em;">For six years, we&rsquo;ve been told that the US economy is in recovery.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is a totally bogus narrative that was dreamt up by the Central Planners running the Fed. Remember the &ldquo;green shoots&rdquo; craze of 2009. It was BS. The US economy is a disaster and has been since 2009.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The bean counters in Washington fabricate a load of nonsense to &ldquo;prove&rdquo; otherwise, but telling someone who is 5&rsquo;6&rdquo; tall that they are actually 6&rdquo; tall doesn&rsquo;t change their height.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Similarly, telling Americans experiencing a REAL unemployment rate of 10+% and an underemployment rate in the high teens that the economy is &ldquo;recovering&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t change their real-world experience.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 490px; height: 368px;" /></p> <p>As far as real economic growth goes, if you want a clear picture, you need to look at nominal GDP growth. The reason for this is that because the Fed greatly understates inflation, the official GDP numbers are horribly inaccurate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By using nominal GDP measures, you remove the Feds&rsquo; phony deflator metric and the other accounting gimmicks created by the bean counters to overstate growth. With that in mind, consider the year over year change in nominal GDP that has occurred.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 490px; height: 231px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Historically, the level of economic growth post 2010 has been associated with recessions. Small wonder that this &ldquo;recovery&rdquo; actually feels like an economy that is not growing: when you take out the accounting gimmicks, GDP is flat lining.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking of accounting gimmicks consider the massive divergence between corporate revenue growth and EPS growth (hat tip Lance Roberts). You cannot fake revenues: they represent real growth. EPS on the other hand, can be massaged a million different ways.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 490px; height: 310px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Notice that the un-massaged growth post-2009 is just 30%. The massaged &ldquo;growth&rdquo; is 250%. Bear in mind, executive stock options are linked to EPS&hellip; so guess who got rich in the process.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Again, this whole economic &ldquo;recovery&rdquo; and stock market boom is based on accounting gimmicks and outright fraud. It&rsquo;s a giant house of cards that is primed to come crashing down&hellip; just as it did in 2000, 2007&hellip; and will today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;ve yet to take action to prepare for the second round of the financial crisis, we offer a FREE investment report <strong><em>Financial Crisis &quot;Round Two&quot; Survival Guide </em></strong>that outlines easy, simple to follow strategies you can use to not only protect your portfolio from a market downturn, but actually produce profits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You can pick up a FREE copy at:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Best Regards</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Graham Summers</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Phoenix Capital Research</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Green Shoots Nominal GDP Real Unemployment Rate recovery Unemployment Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:17:32 +0000 Phoenix Capital Research 502610 at Missouri Auditor, Governor Hopeful, Dies Of Apparent "Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound" <p>Over the past year, there had been a perplexing spike in suicide events involving bankers, especially those of Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan. Overnight, the first prominent public sector suicide shook the state of Missouri when its state auditor Tom Schweich died in St. Louis in what is said to be an apparent suicide, at the age of 54, around 9:48 am on Thursday, when Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said paramedics responded to an emergency call from his home. Schweich was then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound.</p> <p>The Police chief was quoted by <a href=""></a>, who said that “What we know at this point suggests an apparent suicide.”</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="401" /></a></p> <p><em>Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich announced his candidacy for governor in January in St. Louis&nbsp; </em></p> <p>As reported by the local newspaper, Murphy declined to say if authorities found a note or any communication from Schweich. He said family members are cooperating with the investigation. He would not disclose specifics about the weapon involved in the shooting or where Schweich was wounded. At least one family member — believed to be Schweich’s wife — was at home at the time of the incident.</p> <p>On the surface nothing strange, yet what is peculiar about the suicide theory is that as further reported, "<strong>Schweich began the day by calling The Associated Press and St. Louis Post-Dispatch to invite reporters to his home in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton for a 2:30 p.m. interview. </strong>He apparently called both news organizations <strong>minutes before the 911 call was placed from his home." </strong></p> <p>Needless to say, a strange sequence of events for a person who was just preparing to take his life just minutes later. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The topic of that interview, according to the editors of the Post-Dispatch, was to be Schweich’s belief that John Hancock, the recently elected chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, had spread rumors about him.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Schweich’s office in Jefferson City released a routine audit of the Department of Corrections at 10 a.m. Then at 11:18 a.m., the auditor’s office said in a statement that Schweich had been taken to a hospital for “a medical situation.” </p> </blockquote> <p>Gov. Jay Nixon, well-known across the country after the St. Louis riots from last summer, canceled a St. Louis appearance following that announcement as concern for Schweich’s condition spread quickly across Missouri. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Schweich’s office confirmed his death at 1:30 p.m. “It is with great sadness that I confirm the passing of Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich today,” spokesman Spence Jackson said in an email. “Please keep in mind his wife Kathy and two children.” </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nixon ordered state flags to fly at half-staff, calling Schweich “a brilliant, devoted and accomplished public servant who dedicated his career to making Missouri and the world a better place.”</p> </blockquote> <p>What adds to the mystery is that Schweich, who was elected as state auditor in 2010 and was re-elected without Democratic opposition last November, had a bright future to look forward to: Last month he announced his candidacy for governor in 2016. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"In recent weeks, however, the race for governor had turned increasingly rough. <strong>Schweich framed his campaign around the idea that corruption was rampant in Jefferson City — and he pointed to his rival for the GOP nomination as the prime example</strong>. He accused Hanaway of being bought and paid for by conservative megadonor Rex Sinquefield, who has given roughly $1 million to her campaign. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last weekend, as Republicans gathered in Kansas City for the Republican Party’s annual conference, a radio ad hit the airwaves attacking Schweich as a weak candidate who could be “easily confused for the deputy sheriff of Mayberry.” The ad was paid for by a political action committee called Citizens for Fairness in Missouri. Schweich’s spokesman said the ad had upset the auditor. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ad was paid for by a political action committee called Citizens for Fairness in Missouri. Schweich’s spokesman said the ad had upset the auditor.</p> </blockquote> <p>Then things get downright bizarre:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>This week, rumors swirled around the Missouri Capitol that Schweich <strong>planned to call a press conference to accuse Hancock, the newly elected chairman of the Missouri GOP, of making anti-Semitic remarks and spreading rumors that Schweich is Jewish. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Schweich told a Post-Dispatch editor that he was Episcopalian with a Jewish grandfather and suspected references were made to his Jewish heritage to damage his standing with Republicans in the primary for governor. Schweich had made similar complaints to the AP.</p> </blockquote> <p>Whether it was the topic of Schweich's heritage that disturbed the auditor so much, or something else - perhaps something related to his job as <strong>auditor of a state </strong>- that was the reason for his premature death we will never know.&nbsp; Just as well will surely never know if, following the autopsy, foul play is discovered.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="960" height="641" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Corruption Deutsche Bank John Hancock Newspaper Nomination Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:09:01 +0000 Tyler Durden 502609 at The "Cashless Economy" Is A Myth <p><em>Via ConvergEx&#39;s Nick Colas,</em></p> <p><strong>The &ldquo;Cashless economy&rdquo; is myth.&nbsp; </strong>Forget what you think you know about credit and debit cards, PayPal, bitcoin, Apple Pay and any other modern conveniences meant to displace physical currency.&nbsp; The truth is that transactional currency ($1 through $20 bills) in circulation per capita today in America is essentially where it was, inflation adjusted, in 1994: $661 then and $649 today. Moreover, t<strong>he Federal Reserve&rsquo;s orders from the U.S. Treasury for small bills have grown faster in the last five years than the 20 year average</strong>: 4.5% annually versus a 3.5% long run growth rate.&nbsp; This year should be no different, with the Fed ordering $49.9 billion of &ldquo;small bill&rdquo; currency, the largest amount since 2010. One bit of good economic news in terms of transactions: $1 bills wear out fastest, and the Fed&rsquo;s 2015 order of 2.5 billion bills is higher than 2014 (2.3 billion) and 2013 (1.8 billion). <strong>That&rsquo;s growth and relevance any startup online payment company would be happy to see.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><strong>As a New York City resident, the &ldquo;Fast Cash&rdquo; button at ATMs in other U.S. cities always amuses me. </strong>The most typical offering is $20. That doesn&rsquo;t even buy you a 7 day unlimited MetroCard in Gotham ($30) or a sandwich at the Carnegie Deli (the Reuben is $29.99).&nbsp; If you want to see &ldquo;Fifty Shades of Grey&rdquo; at the Ziegfeld you&rsquo;ll get a Lincoln back for your Jackson, but you&rsquo;ll have to choose between a drink or popcorn. You won&rsquo;t be able to afford both.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>And yet there is actually some good data behind that $20 Fast Cash option.&nbsp; </strong>According to the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, a 2012 survey done by three regional Federal Reserve branches, the average adult American carries $56 and the median observation is $22. Only 5.2% of Americans carry a $100 bill, and a Boston Fed paper from November 2014 estimated that 65% of those notes actually circulate overseas. So a $20 bill from the ATM in Des Moines or Charlotte is actually enough to replenish the average American&rsquo;s wallet. Just don&rsquo;t try that in NYC.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>All this got me to thinking about how many small bills - $1 through $20 notes &ndash; it takes to keep the U.S. economy in business. </strong>The Federal Reserve issues paper money, ordered from the Treasury&rsquo;s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), and keeps records of cash in circulation available on their website. With all the fuss about online payments, credit and debit cards, virtual currencies and the like you&rsquo;d think paper money would be leaving the stage. As it turns out nothing could be further from the truth.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>We pulled the circulation statistics from the last 20 years of Fed data, as well as BEP print runs and the U.S. central bank&rsquo;s 2015 orders for currency, and here&rsquo;s what we found (several charts included immediately after this note):</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>The growth of what we will call &ldquo;Transactional currency&rdquo; ($1 through $20 bills) has been remarkably stable over the last 20 years</strong>.&nbsp; In 1994 there was $109 billion in such currency outstanding, growing to $207 billion in 2014. There was one hiccup in 1999, as the Fed prepared for worries over Y2K glitches in the banking system, when transactional currency in circulation grew by 15% to $150 billion and shrank by 13% the following year.&nbsp; On average, however, the balance of such bills has grown by an average of 3.5% annually.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 326px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Look at transactional currency per capita, adjusted for inflation, and you&rsquo;d be hard pressed to find any real change over the last two decades</strong>. With 263 million Americans in 1994, per capita transactional cash amounted to $414 back then. That is $661 in today&rsquo;s money.&nbsp; Fast forward to 2014, with 319 million Americans, and the per capita number is $649. That&rsquo;s a compounded rate of change of only 0.1% annually, or 1.8% over the whole period.&nbsp; Cashless economy indeed!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 662px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The most popular transactional note in circulation is the $1 bill, followed by the $20 note</strong>. There are some 11 billion of the former in circulation currently and 8.1 billion of the latter. Together they make up 74% of all the transactional currency moving through the U.S. economy.&nbsp; Interestingly, the ratio of the two notes in circulation hasn&rsquo;t changed very much since 1994.&nbsp; Back then, there was 13.2x the amount of $20&rsquo;s in the system versus $1&rsquo;s - $80.5 billion versus $6.1 billion.&nbsp; Now, the ratio is 14.8x - $162.2 billion versus $11.0 billion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Not only is paper currency holding its own in the Internet age, it is actually growing faster than U.S. GDP.&nbsp; </strong>For example, aside from the correction in 2000 to reabsorb bills issued in 1999 for Y2K, transactional money in circulation has risen every year since 1994 &ndash; no recessions here. Over the last 4 years, the average growth of $1s through $20 in circulation has been 5.1%.&nbsp; Look at the Federal Reserve&rsquo;s currency order from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for 2015, and you&rsquo;ll see they are expecting to receive $49.9 billion of new transactional notes.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s the largest order since 2007 ($51.4 billion) and 2010 ($50.3 billion).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The $1 bill wears out the fastest of any face value, for the obvious reason that it changes hands the most in small value transactions. </strong>On average, a $1 bill circulates for 5.9 years, according to the Federal Reserve. Twenty-dollar bills last an average of 7.7 years.&nbsp; For reference, $100 bills stay in circulation for 15 years since they are typically more a store of value than a transactional currency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Despite the half-decade average life, the Federal Reserve has ordered more $1 bills for 2015 than either of the last two years</strong>. The amounts are 2.5 billion this year versus 2.3 billion in 2014 and 1.8 billion in 2013. Given that the Federal Reserve bases their orders mostly on how much they need to replace paper money worn out through use, this is a promising sign about economic growth in the U.S.&nbsp; More money usage should mean more transactions, after all.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>So what&rsquo;s going on here?</strong></u>&nbsp; After all, the rise of shopping on the Internet, the &ldquo;App economy&rdquo;, virtual currencies, incentive program credit and debit cards, and online banking were all supposed to make paper currency obsolete.&nbsp; Yet the American economy is using more paper currency, even adjusted for inflation, than ever before.&nbsp; Population growth only takes this calculation to flat, with the net $12/person reduction we noted above but a still-sticky $650/person in circulation today.&nbsp; And, of course, there is the simple fact that the Federal Reserve is still growing the supply of transactional currency faster than GDP or population growth combined with inflation.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>A few possible explanations fall to hand:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>The underground economy is growing faster than reported/official economic growth.&nbsp; </strong>Ask any housekeeper or day labor how they would prefer to be paid, and the answer is invariably cash.&nbsp; There are plenty of good reasons for this response, ranging from tax avoidance and immigration status to the lack of a bank account.&nbsp; The same goes for a myriad of other workers, from New York City doormen at Christmas to the local automotive repair shop or the burly guy manning the ropes at a hot new club.&nbsp; Cash talks&hellip;&nbsp; You know the rest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Cash is still more convenient than many other payment options for small amounts.</strong> The Diary of Consumer Payment Choice showed that the typical American uses cash some 50% of the time for transactions less than $50.&nbsp; It is still the preferred method payment for food and personal expenses (51%) and personal to person gifts and transfers (67%).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Contrary to popular belief, young people (18-24) prefer to use cash more than any other age group.&nbsp;</strong> Fully 40% prefer old school legal tender; their parents (45 to 64) only rate it as the preferred method of payment some 25% to 32% of the time.&nbsp; Since this age cohort typically has a larger amount of small transactions, this preference does make some sense.&nbsp; It does, however, present a real challenge for online and app-enabled payment solutions to gather this most tech-savvy group into their fold.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Low inflation and interest rates make holding cash less costly.&nbsp;</strong> After all, if the opportunity cost of holding cash is zero &ndash; that&rsquo;s currently the average interest rate on a bank deposit, after all &ndash; then what incentive is there to keep money in the financial system?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The rise of lower income households. </strong>Another finding from the &ldquo;Diary&rdquo;: households making less than $25,000/year preferred to pay in cash some 55% of the time. That compares to 22% for households with $50-75,000 in income and just 10% for those making more than $200,000 annually. The preferred payment mechanism for those high-earning households is actually credit cards, at 66%, likely due to the various incentive programs on offer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Everyone uses cash for something.</strong> Regardless of income, every household uses cash for approximately 22 transactions per month, again according to the &ldquo;Diary&rdquo;.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The &ldquo;Cashless Economy&rdquo; seems very far away indeed, and the demographic targets and use cases for companies seeking to build alternative payment systems are harder to develop than many entrepreneurs likely realize.</strong> In the meantime, real cash money continues to grow in relevance and use. They might just be dead presidents and Treasury secretaries, but when it comes to the American economy, they are very much alive and well.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="974" height="529" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple Bitcoin Federal Reserve New York City Rate of Change Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:49:50 +0000 Tyler Durden 502608 at The Law, as given to Moses by The God of Abraham, The God Israel, The God of Christianity, and The God of Islam <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Recently, here on Zero Hedge, I posted an article titled, <a href="">"Law suit? Porn addict? Divorcing? Seeking investment ideas? Worried about the world?" </a>In the article, I state:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Below is an English translation of one of Jesus' very famous outdoor lectures, which was widely shared by his disciples that were present, and eventually written down circa 70-90. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>If you take 5-10 minutes to read this sermon, then you will know what being a Christian is actually supposed to mean.&nbsp; </strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="">On many other occasions, on Zero Hedge, I have also recommend this very good book.</a></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, P.S. Edition</span><br />Bruce Feiler, $&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 10.39 <br />In today's world where all sides try to dehumanize the enemy, we should understand that <a href="">Jews, Christians, and Muslims pray to the same God</a>.&nbsp; </p> <p>Today, I was reading this article on RT, <a href="">‘100yrs to repair Gaza’: Oxfam says blockade remains, aid almost non-existent.</a></p> <p><img src="" width="550" height="367" /></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Oxfam’s statement outlines how “the situation in Gaza is becoming increasingly desperate” and calling for the lifting of the eight-year blockade, as well as a continuation of peace talks.</p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <p>“Only an end to the blockade of Gaza will ensure that people can rebuild their lives,” Regional Director Catherine Essoyan said. With it in place, the flow of construction materials in and agricultural produce out is having a crippling effect on the lives of Palestinians.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the NGO, new figures reveal a drop last month in construction materials, which are vital to the efforts. "Less than 0.25 percent of the truckloads of essential construction materials needed have entered Gaza in the past three months," the statement also said.</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; </p> <p>In pure figures, over 800,000 truckloads of such materials are still required to repair the infrastructure damaged in last summer’s operation alone – Israel’s bloodiest in years – which claimed 2,200 Palestinian lives, most of them civilians.</p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <p>About 100,000 of these people still live in shelters and other makeshift or temporary accommodation because of this lack of materials.</p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <p>“Tens of thousands more are living in badly damaged homes,” Oxfam ads.</p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <p>“Families have been living in homes without roofs, walls or windows for the past six months. Many have just six hours of electricity a day and are without running water. Every day that people are unable to build is putting more lives at risk. It is utterly deplorable that the international community is once again failing the people of Gaza when they need it most,” Essoyan continues.</p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <p>“Exports of agricultural produce from Gaza have fallen in the last year to just 2.7 percent of the level before the blockade was imposed. Fishermen are still restricted to an enforced fishing limit of 6 nautical miles – far short of where most fish are – farmers are restricted from accessing much of the most fertile farmland.” </p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In formulating my response to this RT article, <a href="">and attempting to have <em>empathy</em> for both sides of the Palestinian Holocaust</a>, I could not help but to first think back to my earlier reading, this morning, of Jesus' teachings from His Sermon on the Mount, more specifically, regarding Moses' teaching of the law:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. </p> </blockquote> <p>Next, my mind was led to here, to the law, as given to us by Moses from The God of Abraham, The God Israel, The God of Christianity, and The God of Islam.&nbsp; Specifically, this law:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"You shall not murder."</p></blockquote> <p><strong>If you take five minutes to read the following, then you will have a pretty good idea of how Jews and Christians are supposed to act.</strong>&nbsp; </p> <p>I have included both The Ten Commandments, <a href="">Exodus 20</a>, and<span class="passage-display-bcv"> various other laws, <a href="">Leviticus 19</a>, </span>for our reading, interpretation, contemplation, discussion, daily use, and I am most certain...our debate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="passage-display-bcv"><img src="" width="648" height="377" /><br /></span></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong>The Ten Commandments</strong></p> <p>20 And God spoke all these words:</p> <p>2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.</p> <p>3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.</p> <p>4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.</p> <p>7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.</p> <p>8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.</p> <p>12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.</p> <p>13 “You shall not murder.</p> <p>14 “You shall not commit adultery.</p> <p>15 “You shall not steal.</p> <p>16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.</p> <p>17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Various Other Laws</strong></p> <p><a href="">Leviticus 19 New International Version (NIV)</a></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">1The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.</p> <p>3 “‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.</p> <p>4 “‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.</p> <p>5 “‘When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. 6 It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up. 7 If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted. 8 Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the Lord; they must be cut off from their people.</p> <p>9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.</p> <p>11 “‘Do not steal.</p> <p>“‘Do not lie.</p> <p>“‘Do not deceive one another.</p> <p>12 “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.</p> <p>13 “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.</p> <p>“‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.</p> <p>14 “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.</p> <p>15 “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.</p> <p>16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.</p> <p>“‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.</p> <p>17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.</p> <p>18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.</p> <p>19 “‘Keep my decrees.</p> <p>“‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.</p> <p>“‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.</p> <p>“‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.</p> <p>20 “‘If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment.[a] Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the Lord. 22 With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven.</p> <p>23 “‘When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden.[b] For three years you are to consider it forbidden[c]; it must not be eaten. 24 In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25 But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.</p> <p>26 “‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.</p> <p>“‘Do not practice divination or seek omens. <strong>[Except for Economists?]</strong></p> <p>27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.</p> <p>28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.</p> <p>29 “‘Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.</p> <p>30 “‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.</p> <p>31 “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God. <strong>[Except for Economists?]</strong></p> <p>32 “‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.</p> <p>33 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.</p> <p>35 “‘Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. 36 Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah[d] and an honest hin.[e] I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. <strong>[Except for Economists?]</strong></p> <p>37 “‘Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord.’”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, if you haven't had enough, enjoy reading another recent RT article: <a href="">Over half of Republicans want to ignore Bill of Rights, make Christianity national religion.</a></p> <p>Peace be with you.</p> B+ Israel Testimony Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:32:54 +0000 hedgeless_horseman 502606 at Presenting AAPL's Reaction To The Worst Manufacturing Report In 6 years <p>Ugly data this morning had stock markets leaking lower into and beyond the open, and then Chicago PMI's total and utter collapse hit the tape... and this happened...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="594" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Which explains how after notablke downgrades to GDP, a drop in consumer sentiment, and massive misses for ISM Milwaukee and Chicago PMI - stocks are unch to higher.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On a side note, "Most Shorted" stocks are cratering this morning (which probably means more ammo for the ubiquitous Friday close meltup and Nasdaq 5000 run)...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="327" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Charts: Bloomberg</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1025" height="1014" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Chicago PMI Consumer Sentiment Meltup NASDAQ Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:26:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 502605 at $1,000/oz For Silver (Today): A Starting Point <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="">Jeff Nielson for Sprott Money</a></strong></em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Regular readers are well aware of an unresolved problem/issue which has permeated these commentaries for (especially) the past three years: the lack of any rational or objective means for <strong>pricing assets</strong>, most notably precious metals themselves. There are two enormous obstacles facing any analyst, in attempting to resolve this issue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First of all; our economies are now operated with currencies which are not only worthless, but are <em>absurdly</em> fraudulent and worthless. With all asset prices denominated in one form or other of this worthless paper; this makes the <strong>absolute price</strong> for all hard assets “infinity” – with no means of differentiating between asset classes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compounding this enormous practical difficulty; the <em>relative</em> price of assets (in relation to each other) has also been skewed well beyond the slightest connection with “reality” (i.e. the economic fundamentals particular to each asset class) through endless, systemic, market manipulation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Previous commentaries have frequently noted that “we no longer have markets”, just rigged casinos. Thus the ridiculous prices generated through this systemic fraud have no relevance or legitimacy whatsoever.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Boiled down; the conundrum facing us in attempting to estimate (current) rational prices for assets is two-fold. Not only do we lack any obvious starting point for <em>where</em> to begin this process; we have no visible parameters to guide us in <em>how</em> we begin this process. How do you begin to estimate rational “prices”, in a totally fraudulent system, denominated in worthless currencies?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Rob Kirby" width="100%" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-10489" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Enter Rob Kirby. <a href="">In a recent interview for Sprott Money News; Mr. Kirby</a> was in fact asked this specific question: how do we engage in the relative pricing of assets, with asset prices “skewed so severely through manipulation”? Here was his response:</p> <p><em>I take the last 3,000 years, roughly. I put it on a yardstick. I ask myself for the greatest amount of that yardstick, what served as money? If you take the last 3,000 years and you put it on a yardstick, for about 32 inches of that yardstick <strong>somewhere between 40 and 60 ounces of silver was a solid upper middle class wage</strong>.</em></p> <p><em>My question back to you is tell me exactly what you consider to be a solid upper middle class wage today? If you’re like me, you’re going to probably say that it’s around $50 to $60 thousand a year. Some might have a different number. I’m just going to take $50,000 a year, and I’m going to divide that by 40 ounces of silver…[it’s] </em><em><strong>more than $1,000 an ounce in today’s dollars</strong></em><em>.&nbsp;</em>[emphasis mine]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kirby’s response is ingenious, in that it addresses both how and where to begin in the relative pricing of assets, <em>and</em> he supplies us with an objective metric to use in beginning this process: the “average wage”. While critics can quibble, slightly, with the specific metrics he used in this calculation; the methodology itself is unquestionably sound.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The “average wage” is an objectively definable concept. The workers earning that average wage must be paid. Thus we can use that average wage to come up with <strong>a price for money</strong> – <em>real</em> money (i.e. silver and/or gold). $1,000/ounce for silver is a “starting point” (as noted in the title) in two respects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="ezcol ezcol-one-third"> <p>First of all; Rob Kirby’s estimate of $1,000/oz for silver as a rational price today allows us to then price other assets in relation to this objective reference point. Obviously the first “price” we would calculate once we have a legitimate price for silver is the price for gold.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Referring to Kirby’s historical “yardstick”; for nearly all of our history (prior to the last 100+ years of extreme price manipulation) the price of silver existed at roughly a 15:1 ratio versus the price of gold. The reason for this relatively constant price ratio is that it accurately reflected the supply ratio of these two metals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Silver exists at roughly a 17:1 ratio versus gold in the Earth’s crust. With the two metals having roughly similar aesthetic appeal (silver is actually the <em>more</em> brilliant of the two metals); it was only logical/natural that the price ratio would parallel the supply ratio. With silver priced at $1,000/ounce today; that directly implies a rational price today of $15,000/oz for gold.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Once we have rational prices for our (real) money; we are now in a much better position to “price” all other assets (relative to each other), because we’re no longer denominating these estimates in the worthless paper of the bankers. It’s beyond the scope of this analysis to come up with “historical” prices (price ratios) for other commodities, other hard assets (such as real estate), and asset prices for the plethora of goods produced in the global economy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, it is certainly not beyond the scope/means of our governments (and the various businesses in these different sectors) to engage in this re-pricing exercise by referring – whenever and wherever possible – to “historic” prices, which existed prior to the One Bank turning our markets into merely one of the “rackets” in its crime syndicate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the fundamentals for different classes of assets can (and do) change over time; historic prices for various asset classes can be modified, to reflect these changing fundamentals. Again, this is a process which can be done objectively, assuming that such analysis is based upon legitimate data. Indeed, it is changing fundamentals which is the second reason why a $1,000/oz price for silver (today) is merely a starting point.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The fundamentals of silver <em>as a commodity</em> have changed enormously, versus the historical “norm” referred to previously. Indeed, the dramatic change in silver’s economic fundamentals is a direct result of (in particular) the last 50+ years of systemic price manipulation. Specifically, while the supply of silver versus gold in the Earth’s crust is a constant; the quantities (and ratios) of these two metals <em>above ground</em> is not.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Global stockpiles of silver in relation to gold have plunged radically, as detailed in the analysis of the esteemed Ted Butler. By Mr. Butler’s own, best estimates; more than 80% of the world’s silver was literally “consumed” over this period of time, a direct product of the six-hundred year low in the price of silver (in real dollars).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="100%" border="0" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As has been explained previously; under-pricing anything induces over-consumption, our natural reaction to anything which is (relatively) “on sale”. But not only did the extreme/ruthless price-suppression lead to the dramatic over-consumption of silver, such extreme under-pricing enormously discouraged industrial recycling, while decimating the global silver-mining industry – further under-cutting supply.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="ezcol ezcol-one-third ezcol-last"> <a href=""><img src="" width="100%" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-10908" /></a> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A vast array of consumer and industrial products using silver (in various amounts) sprang into our lives, given that silver, in metallurgical terms, has greater usefulness/versatility than any other metal. Furthermore, because of its superlative metallurgical properties; silver is often only required in small or even trace amounts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In such quantities; it was not (and is not) economically viable to attempt to recover the silver from these products (as they are used-up and discarded), and so in this manner, global stockpiles have literally been consumed – as demonstrated in a chart very familiar to regular readers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="100%" border="0" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We know that global inventories of silver plummeted by roughly 90%, between 1990 – 2005 (reflecting the absolute trough in the price of silver). What we don’t know is how much <em>further</em> those inventories have dwindled since 2005, because it was at that point that the banksters began radically falsifying inventory data, in conjunction with their two, ultimate tools of precious metals fraud: the so-called “bullion-ETF’s” –GLD and SLV.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This catastrophic devastation of global silver inventories (and stockpiles) means that the historic supply ratio of the two metals (as reflected in global stockpiles) no longer exists. The exact ratio is unknown (due to the falsification previously noted) but given the known decimation of those stockpiles; some analysts are suggesting that (above ground) the two metals exist in <em>relatively equal quantities</em>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Critics of this commentary might argue that $1,000/oz for silver today is “not a realistic price”, and they would be partially right. Having arrived at an objective price for gold of $15,000/oz today based upon Rob Kirby’s original metrics (and silver’s historic fundamentals), and having established that silver is (literally) much “more precious” today; $1,000/oz is clearly <em>too low</em> to constitute a fair, current price for silver.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A price of $15,000/oz for gold suggests a (current) <strong>price for silver at least in the vicinity of $5,000/oz</strong>, if not higher. For skeptics who find talk of such numbers to be hyperbolic, despite the objective foundation for those numbers; never forget that we’re pricing these metals in worthless paper.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As previously explained; denominated in these worthless currencies, the absolute price for all these assets is<em>infinite</em>. In relation to that reality; pricing gold/silver (today) in mere $1,000’s can only be regarded as the most-conservative of calculations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No matter how radically the One Bank has falsified our economic reality in this Wonderland Matrix of fraud and propaganda; through human ingenuity we can restore rationality and legitimacy to our markets, and the prices generated by (bona fide) buyers/sellers in those markets. And it all starts (yet again) with silver and gold.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;"><strong><a href="">Jeff Nielson for Sprott Money</a></strong></em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> Global Economy Market Manipulation Precious Metals Real estate Reality Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:26:01 +0000 Sprott Money 502604 at