While he does have some new philosophy (at X% off MSRP of course, coming to a Kindle near you) to preach, Nassim Taleb's re-emergence from the darkness of the media spotlight starts with a bang: "I realized that something wrong is going on, and only one candidate 'Ron Paul' seems to have grasped the issues and is offering the right remedies". He was given quite a lengthy period to proselytize as he outlines the Big Four problems he sees with the USA (and for that matter the world): Deficits (metastatic governments), The Fed, Militarism, and non-Bailouts (what is fragile should break early). As Ron Paul notes, "It's an illusion that the USD can bailout the world", Taleb makes many interesting, though a little murmur-some for our liking, points like "you don't gamble with hyperinflation" and his comparison between the US and the Soviet Union will surely raise some headlines as he rants of the growing divide between public and private employees standards of living, our "need to do something drastic about it" and on Obama/Government and deficit reduction that "the whole thing is rotten".
The rally for what could be World War III is in full swing. The truth amounts to very little on the eve of war. Iraq and the lies surrounding weapons of mass destruction proved this lesson almost a decade ago. Unfortunately for the people of America, Israel, and Iran, the political class and power wielders of their respective governments refuse to learn. Their desire is for more authority and prestige; no matter how many bodies it costs. With the administration now seeking to provide assistance to the opposition forces in Syria, intervention and war with Iran is only an eventuality at this point.
German lawmakers are to review Bundesbank controls of and management of Germany’s gold reserves. Parliament’s Budget Committee will assess how the central bank manages its inventory of Germany’s gold bullion bars that are believed to be stored in Frankfurt, Paris, London and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to German newspaper Bild. The German Federal Audit Office has criticised the Bundesbank’s lax auditing and inventory controls regarding Germany’s sizeable gold reserves – 3,396.3 tonnes of gold or some 73.7% of Germany’s national foreign exchange reserves. There is increasing nervousness amongst the German public, German politicians and indeed the Bundesbank itself regarding the gigantic risk on the balance sheet of Germany's central bank and this is leading some in Germany to voice concerns about the location and exact amount of Germany’s gold reserves. The eurozone's central bank system is massively imbalanced after the ECB’s balance sheet surged to a record 3.02 trillion euros ($3.96 trillion) last week, 31% bigger than the German economy, after a second tranche of three-year loans. The concern is that were the eurozone to collapse, Bundesbank's losses could be half a trillion euros - more than one-and-a-half times the size of the Germany's annual budget. In that scenario, Germany’s national patrimony of gold bullion reserves would be needed to support the currency – whether that be a new euro or a return to the Deutsche mark. The German lawmakers are following in the footsteps of US Presidential candidate Ron Paul who has long called for an audit of the US’ gold reserves. It is believed that some 60% of Germany’s gold is stored outside of Germany and much of it in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Markets appear to be tentatively recovering some of yesterday’s heavy losses, recording modest gains so far this morning. Comments made overnight by the German finance minister as well as senior officials from the Greek finance ministry may have mercifully given market participants some hope as they are confident the Greek PSI deal will be completed by the deadline tomorrow evening. The DAX index has underperformed the other European equity indices in recent trade following the release of some disappointing factory orders data for January, with markets expecting an expansion of 0.6%, however the reading came in at -2.7%, moving DAX stock futures into negative territory. WTI crude and Brent have also retraced some of their losses made earlier in the week following a drawdown in US gasoline inventories reported last night as well as a generally weak USD index in the FX markets today. Markets are awaiting US ADP employment change later in the session, as well as the weekly DOE oil inventories casting further light on the US energy stocks.
Those curious in tonight's episode of soothing political theater which gives the peasantry the illusion they are in control of something, anything, can quench their thirst for GOP primary irrelevancy at the following real time update (as we learn Newt Gingrich has already been proclaimed winner of the Georgia Primary, and Romney gets Virginia where the only other candidates was Ron Paul). As a reminder, as it has been said that the only candidate who will lower America's debt during his tenure will get no coverage, and certainly no votes, so it shall be. Diebold approves of this message.
There are those who say that while they agree completely with Ron Paul's economic policy of fixing the #1 issue that ails America (as a reminder, total US debt/GDP would only decline under a Ron Paul presidency) they disagree with Paul on his foreign policy. We wonder why when all he does is instead of appealing to the jingoism of warmongers and patronizing the basest of herd instincts, he simply tells the truth. Such as on Today's State of the Union show on CNN when asked if Obama has done "enough" to force Iran to stop its nuclear development via sanctions and others, his reply was spot on: "I think he gets too much involved. I think sanctions gives the motivation for them to want a nuclear weapon. We have 45 bases around them, we can demolish them within hours. And the worst thing the sanctions do, and Republicans and Democrats both support it and the other GOP candidates want war even more, the whole thing is there is a lot of dissension in Iran and we should encourage it by not interfering, once we get involve and threaten to bomb them, it becomes nationalistic - everyone joins the Ayataollah and Ahmedinejad. So there is a blowback - unusual circumstances and unintended consequences. So yes, our people are well-intended, but they don't realize how much damage they do by not accomplishing what they want and causing more harm to us. So our military personnel right now are very adamant not to be involved in a bombing of Iran, it makes no sense whatsoever to our military personnel, to the CIA, even though they are much more interventionist than I am."
Gold and Silver Plunge – Called “Intervention”, “Window Dressing”, “Temporary Smash”, “Paper Fiasco”Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/01/2012 09:11 -0400
The positive PMI data would ordinarily result in some price weakness as would the testimony from Bernanke which suggested that the Federal Reserve's ultra loose monetary policies may not continue much longer. However, the scale of the selling and size of the price falls was unusual. Respected analysts such as legendary Jim Sinclair, John Embry and Jean-Marie Eveillard suggested that the sell off was due to manipulation by bullion banks. Sinclair said it was an “intervention” and was “window dressing” that long term bullion investors should not be concerned about as inflation was coming due to “QE to Infinity.” Embry said that it was a “smash down” and a “paper fiasco.” Jean-Marie Eveillard suggested that central banks may have intervened, as they are doing in fx and bond markets, and sold gold in volume into the market. It is of course very difficult to ascertain what caused the sharp falls in the precious metals yesterday however it would be naive to completely discount what Sinclair, Embry and Eveillard believe may have happened.
Here's a chart you won't see anywhere in the mainstream media - not the right, and certainly not the left. According to Rasmussen's 2012 Presidential Election Matchups, which pit Obama against any of the four GOP presidential candidates, while the balance of challengers certainly appear to have no chance of defeating the incumbent (something we touched upon yesterday), today, for the first time, Ron Paul has managed to unseat the standing president, by a thin margin of 43 to 41, for the first time in this series.
Ron Paul To Ben Bernanke: "People Lose Trust In The Government Because You Lie To Them About Inflation"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/29/2012 12:29 -0400
Anytime Ron Paul sits across from Ben Bernanke you know sparks will fly. Sure enough, they did: starting 3 mins 50 seconds into the clip below, Ron Paul, guns blazing, asks the Chairman if he does his own shopping, if he is aware of what true inflation is, and if he knows that Americans don't trust the government because they are being lied to about inflation. And it only gets better, once Paul starts brandishing a silver coin. The punchline: "The Fed will self-destruct anyway when the money is gone" - amen. And ironically letting the Fed keep on doing what it is doing will achieve that in the fastest possible way. In fact, letting the system cannibalize itself with no further hindrances may be the best option currently available - just go to town.
Bill Gross' monthly letters are always a fresh source of jovial imagery, although the bond king may have outdone himself in his latest monthly letter which collapses the principles of investing onto the football field: "My point about pigskin offense and defense is the perfect metaphor for the world of investing as well. Offensively minded risk takers in the markets have historically been the ones who have dominated the headlines and won the hearts of that beautiful gal (or handsome guy).... Canton, however, has an approximately equal number of defensive in addition to offensively positioned inductees, so there must be a universally acknowledged role for both sides of the scrimmage line. What fan can forget Mean Joe Greene, Deion Sanders or Mike Ditka? The old, now politically incorrect showtune laments that “you gotta be a football hero, to fall in love with a beautiful girl,” but football and any of life’s heroes can play on either side of the line, it seems." And it only gets better. While at its heart Gross' latest is merely yet another lamentation against the confines of the financially suppressive regime that arises from ZIRP and ends with what many expect is a whimper (when in reality they all forget to factor in the facility of hitting the CTRL+P keys as many times as necessary), the flourish of abandon this time around is palpable. We would not be surprised to soon see Gross hang up his offensive (and defensive) jersey, and sit back and enjoy the coming lunacy from a distance (but hopefully not before he allocates just a little to the Ron Paul SuperPAC).
The real world revolves around cash flow. Families across the land understand this basic concept. Cash flows in from wages, investments and these days from the government. Cash flows out for food, gasoline, utilities, cable, cell phones, real estate taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes, clothing, mortgage payments, car payments, insurance payments, medical bills, auto repairs, home repairs, appliances, electronic gadgets, education, alcohol (necessary in this economy) and a countless other everyday expenses. If the outflow exceeds the inflow a family may be able to fund the deficit with credit cards for awhile, but ultimately running a cash flow deficit will result in debt default and loss of your home and assets. Ask the millions of Americans that have experienced this exact outcome since 2008 if you believe this is only a theoretical exercise. The Federal government, Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks, regulatory agencies and commercial real estate debtors have colluded since 2008 to pretend cash flow doesn’t matter. Their plan has been to “extend and pretend”, praying for an economic recovery that would save them from their greedy and foolish risk taking during the 2003 – 2007 Caligula-like debauchery.
Debt default means huge losses for the Wall Street criminal banks. Of course the banksters will just demand another taxpayer bailout from the puppet politicians. This repeat scenario gives new meaning to the term shop until you drop. Extending and pretending can work for awhile as accounting obfuscation, rolling over bad debts, and praying for a revival of the glory days can put off the day of reckoning for a couple years. Ultimately it comes down to cash flow, whether you’re a household, retailer, developer, bank or government. America is running on empty and extending and pretending is coming to an end.
Anyone Who Thinks that War Is Good For the Economy Has One Eye Covered ... And Is Only Looking At Half the Picture ...
When one puts aside all the histrionics, all the melodrama, all the irrelevant secondary bullshit such as appearance, charisma, ability to tele-evangelize, all the irrelevant policies such as what planet the US should colonize or how women should procreate, and focuses on just one thing: which presidential candidate (not to mention president) will do the right thing for America, which is to make sure that it doesn't collapse under a record debt load, there is just one answer. And it is not even ours: it comes from the impartial Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Project, aka US Budget Watch ("U.S. Budget Watch neither supports nor opposes any candidate for office. Its reports are intended to promote understanding and discussion of the federal budget and how specific policy proposals would affect the deficit") which today released an analysis on debt sustainability titled "The GOP Candidates and the National Debt." The answer is in the chart below.
We need to look to Europe now to see what TPTB have in store for us. This is the consummate problem, reaction, solution game being played for all the marbles. First, you get the problem “spiking interest rates for the peripheral countries.” Then the “reaction,” financial panic and fear. Finally the “solution.” The placement of unelected technocrats as the leaders of Greece and Italy with ties to all the power structure’s institution such as the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg group and of course Goldman Sachs. It is like a coup that takes the shadow government from the shadows and puts them in your face. The reason that this is so key is because we are next. They don’t want to roll up everything at once. If they can get Europe safely consolidated then they will move here. That is when interest rates in the U.S. will spike (problem), and we get panic (reaction) and then the solution (bankster technocratic committees in charge and the IMF to the rescue, ie loss of sovereignty). This is the plan and I see it as clear as day.
While it has been well-documented by now, that even as the campaign of Mitt Romney continues to be funded exclusively by Wall Street legacy firms, that of Ron Paul is largely in the hands of the US military. Yet when it comes to the recently infamous SuperPAC, things have changed. Because as Politico reports, of the roughly $3.4 million total in cash raised by the pro-Paul group Endorse Liberty since its founding on December 20, none other than PayPal cofounder and Clarium Capital chief Peter Thiel has donated $2.6 million. So as the renegade financier, whose opinion on Ben Bernanke and the gold standard is well-known to Zero Hedge regulars emerges as a primary backer of all that is wrong with the status quo, and the Ben Bernanke way of monetary suicide, we wonder who is next? Actually, scratch that: Bill Gross has already made his opinion well known vis-a-vis Ron Paul's candidacy. Isn't it about time the Newport Beach multibillionaire reached into his back pocket and put his money where his mouth is, especially following his tongue in cheek endorsement of Ron Paul for president?