Something big must be happening behind the scenes because the level of broad popular distraction just hit ludicrous speed. The latest news, from AP: "Offering no explanation, the Iowa Republican Party has declared Rick Santorum as winner of the Iowa caucuses, days after saying incomplete vote results precluded it from doing just that. GOP State Chairman Matt Strawn and the party’s State Central Committee issued a statement late Friday naming the former Pennsylvania senator as the winner, “in order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results” that were released Wednesday." Naturally, jokes about Paul votes being "hanging chad-ed" by Diebold machines are imminent: "Because eight precincts never turned in certified results, Strawn said in the statement Thursday that the party could not declare a winner. He congratulated both Santorum and Romney. Sixteen days earlier, Strawn had announced that Romney had won the caucuses by eight votes." But far more notable, from the PPP website: "Newt Gingrich heads into South Carolina election day as the clear front runner in the state: he's now polling at 37% to 28% for Mitt Romney, 16% for Rick Santorum, and 14% for Ron Paul. Gingrich's lead has actually increased in the wake of his ex-wife's controversial interview with ABC. Although one night poll results should always be interpreted with caution, he led the final night of the field period by a 40-26 margin. One thing that continues to work to his advantage are the debates. 60% of primary voters report having watched the one last night, and Gingrich has a 46-23 lead with those folks. The other reason his ex-wife's interview isn't causing him much trouble is that there's a lot of skepticism about it. Only 31% of voters say they think her accusations are true while 35% think they are false and 34% are unsure. 51% of voters say that they have 'no concerns' about what came out in the interview." In other words: three primaries are about to lead to three different winners. What can we say: America always gets the president it deserves.
When Bill Maher, hardly a conservative, says that he applauds Ron Paul on his positions, and calls those Paul detractors in his audience "brainwashed liberals" it is safe to say we have seen it all. And so, once again, Ron Paul is officially cool.
A short time ago, the House of Representatives rejected (by 239-176 though not enough to avoid Obama's veto) the $1.3tn increase in the federal debt limit. As Reuters notes, this vote seems like 'a largely symbolic vote aimed at staking out election-year positions on government spending' as we know by now that Timmy G will underfund yet another pension plan (on the promise to transfer-pay it all back very soon) if it ever came to that. The Hill also adds Democratic comments that this was clearly 'a political stunt' as the House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says "This is a game that will say, see, I voted against debt." Where the sound-and-fury is laughable of course is that both the House and Senate need to 'disapprove' of the debt ceiling hike that is already 'pre-approved' in last year's Budget Control Act (and the Senate is widely expected not to disapprove). As politician after politician sought media-time, Ron Paul echoed his sensibilities (though not really helpful in this situation) that "we're in denial", and "you can't solve the problem of debt by accumulating more debt."
The world's biggest primary silver miner, Fresnillo, had flat silver production in 2011. Output is only expected to remain stable in 2012. African Barrick Gold said on Wednesday fourth quarter gold production fell 11% and missed its annual production targets. Despite price rises seen in 2011, gold and silver mining is remaining static contrary to claims by gold bears that higher prices would lead to increased production and therefore increased supply. Geological constraints may be impacting mining companies ability to increase production of the precious metals. Standard Bank has said it lowered its average 2012 gold price forecast by 6 percent to $1,780 an ounce, but continues to expect prices of the precious metal to touch new highs in the latter half of this year. "We maintain that gold will reach new highs this year but, given our dollar view, we believe that these highs will be reached only in the second half of 2012," the analyst said in a note. Standard Bank expects the U.S. dollar to gain strength, especially against the euro, over the next quarter. A few other banks have recently lowered price forecasts for gold, including ANZ and Credit Suisse – however the majority remain bullish on gold’s outlook for 2012.
The great lie that drives the fiat global financial locomotive forward is the assumption that there is no other way of doing things. Many in America believe that the U.S. dollar (a paper time-bomb ready to explode) is the only currency we have at our disposal. Many believe that the corporate trickle down dynamic is the only practical method for creating jobs. Numerous others have adopted the notion that global interdependency is a natural extension of “progress”, and that anyone who dares to contradict this fallacy is an “isolationist” or “extremist”. Much of our culture has been conditioned to support and defend centralization as necessary and inevitable primarily because they have never lived under any other system. Globalism has not made the world smaller; it has made our minds smaller. By limiting choice, we limit ingenuity and imagination. By narrowing focus, we lose sight of the much bigger picture. This is the very purpose of the feudal framework; to erase individual and sovereign strength, stifle all new or honorable philosophies, and ensure the masses remain completely reliant on the establishment for their survival, forever tied to the rotting umbilical cord of a parasitic parent government.
Remember the cold war: evil Empire, 5 year plans, Lada cars, etc? It may very well be back, this time over the simple matter of a few million barrels of crude per day, after Russia was found to be quietly supplying an embargoed Syria with ammunition, in violation of a weapons embargo. Reuters reports: "A Russian-operated ship carrying a cargo of ammunition has reached conflict-torn Syria after being temporarily halted during a refuelling stop in Cyprus, sources in Russia and Cyprus said on Friday. A source in Cyprus, where the ship made an unscheduled stop for refuelling late on Tuesday, said the ship had given written assurances to authorities its destination would not be Syria but Turkey. It was allowed to sail a day later, whereupon it dropped off conventional tracking systems, switched course and reached Syria on Thursday. "It had bullets. There were four containers on board," a Cypriot official told Reuters." And here the plot thickens: we now have some war mongering deepthroat somewhere in Leningrad, pardon, St. Petersburg: "The ship was carrying a dangerous cargo," the source at St. Petersburg-based Westberg Ltd. said by telephone on condition of anonymity. "It reached Syria on Jan. 11th." Needless to say, the US is not very happy that Russia is doing precisely what it warned a few months ago it would do: namely protect its sphere of influence especially in light of the ever-encroaching NATO aspirations (yes, provocations go both ways as Ron Paul has long been warning): "The United States said on Friday it had raised concerns with Moscow over a Russian-operated ship that has arrived in Syria and which sources said contained a cargo of bullets. "With regard to the ship we have raised our concerns about this both with Russia and with Cyprus, which was the last port of call for the ship, and we are continuing to seek clarification as to what went down here," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said." Looks like the escalation in the Straits of Hormuz is about to shift to the backburner as we finally go back to where the real tension is and always has been: between West and East.
Independents would elect Paul over Obama.
Dear Sheep, thank you for your compliance. Sincerely, Wolf.
In under one hour, the New Hampshire GOP Primary polls close. The New Hampshire primary is the second contest in the state-by-state battle for the Republican presidential nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama on Nov. 6. Romney narrowly won the first contest, the Iowa caucuses, on Jan. 3. According to Reuters, and pretty much all of the mainstream media, Mitt Romney is in charge, and Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman appeared to be in a battle for second place in New Hampshire, the small New England state known for its independent streak and outsized role in presidential campaigns. As for Mitt, "A multimillionaire who says his experience as head of private-equity firm Bain Capital would help him spur America's economy as president, Romney might face a bigger challenge in the next primary in South Carolina on Jan. 21, where the economy is weaker and conservatives make up a larger slice of the electorate." Because apparently people in New Hampshire are big fans of 25% IRRs predicated by 5x Debt/EBITDA LBOs. Or something. Follow the primary via the CNN live webcast below, through the WSJ live blog, or via Politico. Fox News is tracking New Hampshire exit polls here. Finally, the live tally of final results can be tracked using the interactive Google map below.
We have now entered the fifth year of this Fourth Turning Crisis. George Washington and his troops were barely holding on at Valley Forge during the fifth year of the American Revolution Fourth Turning. By year five of the Civil War Fourth Turning 700,000 Americans were dead, the South left in ruins, a President assassinated and a military victory attained that felt like defeat. By the fifth year of the Great Depression/World War II Fourth Turning, FDR’s New Deal was in place and Adolf Hitler had been democratically elected and was formulating big plans for his Third Reich. The insight from prior Fourth Turnings that applies to 2012 is that things will not improve. They call it a Crisis because the risk of calamity is constant. There is zero percent chance that 2012 will result in a recovery and return to normalcy. Not one of the issues that caused our economic collapse has been solved. The “solutions” implemented since 2008 have exacerbated the problems of debt, civic decay and global disorder. The choices we make as a nation in 2012 will determine the future course of this Fourth Turning. If we fail in our duty, this Fourth Turning could go catastrophically wrong. I pray we choose wisely. Have a great 2012.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
A REAL “black swan event” - an event that deviates by 180 degrees from what is “normally expected” - would be a political debate over root causes and basic principles. The great merit of Ron Paul - and the great service he is giving to his own and every other nation - is the fact that he is doing everything he can to raise the debate to that level. That makes Dr Paul a unique politician, a man who tells people what most of them DON’T want to hear or understand. Or at least they don’t think they want to understand it. Dr Paul’s great and merited attractiveness to a growing number of admirers has a very simple source. He is that rarest of creatures - a FREE man. He is beholden to nobody. He has developed his ideas and his convictions over a long and fruitful life of independent thinking. He does not compromise. He homes in on the fundamental issue and principle of any political issue and serves it up without salt or other “seasoning”. He says what he means and he means what he says. He is the living embodiment of the “dream” that most Americans have long since given up on as they saw it slip further and further beyond their grasp.
Because it beats a Saturday night lobotomy.... Right? Also, Bachmann is gone.
Presenting An Iran Attack Probability Timetable And A Complete Geopolitical Outlook For The Middle EastSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/07/2012 15:41 -0500
The folks at Religare Capital Markets have put together one of the better cheat sheets on a region that most of the big banks largely ignore: the Middle East, where day after day we get new and more troubling headlines of escalation, usually involving Iran and Israel. And since at the end of the day, in a resource-strapped world, the bottom line is always about energy, and oil, what happens in the MENA region is arguably far more important at the end of the day than who prints how much electronic paper/linen. But most important is probably the following analysis charting the probability of an attack of Iran by either Israel or the US. We were quite surprised to find that in Religare's opinion the probability of an Israeli-sourced attack on Iran hits a high of 50% sometime in early February, with the US contributing about 20% with a peak in May and just before the presidential elections. This is how they explain it: "The probability of an attack on Iran is now higher than ever. The only solution to the current crisis, diplomacy, is off the table due to politics and the focus is now shifting to regime change. We see the probability dropping mid-year, although US elections could increase the probability of a US attack significantly (unless Ron Paul steams ahead), as will Iran’s likely decision to move their centrifuges to reinforced facilities in Qom if not handled correctly (likely mid-year). We reiterate our view that the fallout may not be as bad as expected from an Israeli strike, horrendous from a US one." And if they are right, what happens to oil will likely be the biggest catalyst of events in 2012 - a topic PIMCO has already had some extended observations on.