Saturday, November 26, 2011

William Engdahl on the dusk of American exceptionalism

From: RTAmerica  | Nov 23, 2011 
The way Americans view their country has changed. Since 2002, the notion of American exceptionalism has dropped 11 percent. According to a Pew Research Center Poll, only 49 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, "our people are not perfect but our culture is superior to other." F. William Engdahl, journalist and historian, helps us understand what's going on.

Infamous trader Alessio Rastani at The Bank of Ideas

Analysis from David Morgan

Top analysis from David Morgan on Gold and Silver.

Note this interview was recorded on or before Nov 18, 2011 

Capital Account: Europe's Bondholder Bawl as Black Friday Americans Brawl

From: CapitalAccount  | Nov 25, 2011

Pepe Escobar: US missiles around Russia is Bay of Pigs all over again

From: RTAmerica  | Nov 24, 2011 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia may arm itself with missiles to counteract the US missile shield in Europe. In addition Medvedev said if the US continues to build up their missile shield Russia will withdraw from the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Pepe Escobar, a correspondent for the Asia Times, breaks down what is going on.

Central Banks add to Gold holdings, again!


Russia bought 19.5 metric tons of gold in October bringing their total gold reserves to 871.1 tons according to IMF data released today.

Belarus increased holdings by 1 ton, Colombia by 1.2 tons, Kazakhstan by 3.2 tons and Mexico by 0.9 ton, the data show. Germany reduced reserves by 4.7 tons and Tajikistan cut reserves by 0.4 ton, the data show.

Thus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Belarus and Mexico added a combined 25.7 metric tons of gold to reserves in October, after gold prices corrected from record highs.

Black Friday

In scenes reminiscent of Soviet bread queues millions of Americans have braved freezing weather and long queues overnight to exchange the last of their fiat dollars for tangible Chinese made goods before their purchasing power expires.

From: AssociatedPress | Nov 25, 2011


Moody's downgrades Hungary's debt to Junk status

Whilst this story is no doubt distressing for Hungarians the real news is that Austrian banks are on the hook for much of this govt. debt and that of Eastern Europe. Austrian Banks looked East during the lending binge of the 00's, when other countries in the Euro zone looked South and West, as a result they are just starting to suffer the increased risk of debt defaults. 

If Austrian banks falter in the coming months could we see a financial Anschluss with Germany coming to the 'rescue'? Then Germany could, along with the solvent Nordic nations, break away from the current Euro and form a 'AXIS Euro', leaving those on the old Euro to circle the drain of history?

From AlJazeera:

Credit agency Moody's has cut Hungary's debt rating to below investment-grade, citing high debt levels and weak growth prospects.

Moody's also cited uncertainty about Budapest's ability to meet fiscal goals as justification for cutting the debt one notch - from BAA3 to BA1.

The government said Friday's move was part of a series of "financial attacks against the country".

Last week, the Hungarian government announced it would seek a financial safety net from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, but no new loans.

Reaction to the Hungarian rating cut has led to other Central and Eastern European currencies to sell at a lower rate, adding to a wider risk aversion as the eurozone debt crisis is threatening to spill onto the region's on

From: Euronews | Nov 25, 2011

Venezuela brings home Gold


CARACAS (Dow Jones)--Venezuelan officials Friday welcomed the first air shipment of overseas gold holdings as part of a controversial move to repatriate the country's foreign reserves held in North America and Europe.

Crates holding gold bullion were shown on state television being offloaded at the capital city's Maiquetia airport and onto armored vehicles. Central Bank President Nelson Merentes deemed the arrival a "historic" moment for Venezuela, saying the first shipment was coming from "various European countries" via France.

Merentes said the government plans to eventually bring home 160 tons of gold over time. Before Friday, the country held 211 tons--nearly $11 billion worth--out of its 365 tons of gold reserves stored in U.S., Canadian and European banks. The country has the largest holdings in Latin America with nearly two-thirds of its $27.8 billion in international reserves held in the precious metal.

Merentes did not specify how much gold was shipped on Friday.

In August, President Hugo Chavez announced plans to repatriate foreign reserves as part of a broader effort to nationalize the country's gold sector. The move puzzled economists, who said it would further reduce transparency and raise more questions over the central bank's declining reserves. Some analysts speculated that, faced with several international arbitration cases seeking billions of dollars over nationalizations, the left-leaning South American government was looking to shield itself from having assets seized.

But Venezuelan officials say they aim to reduce exposure to debt-laden economies like the U.S. and those of Europe, while also taking advantage of the precious metal's rising price. Venezuela also has said it aims to diversify by investing in faster-growing allied nations like Russia and China, both of which recently have been making large investments into the oil-rich South American country.

"Now [the gold] will go to a place from which it should have never left: the central bank vaults [in Caracas]; not those in London or in Europe, but our own land," Chavez said earlier in the day.

The Central Bank of Venezuela already holds 154 tons of bullion on

Italian bond yields hit record highs

From Bloomberg:

Italian bonds fell, pushing two-year yields to a euro-era record, as a surge in borrowing costs at a bill sale highlighted concern European leaders are failing in their efforts to resolve the debt crisis.

Italian securities dropped for a fifth day as the nation sold 8 billion euros ($10.6 billion) of six-month bills at a rate of 6.504 percent, up from 3.535 percent last month. The Treasury also auctioned 2 billion euros of zero-coupon bonds at 7.814 percent.

From: Euronews | Nov 25, 2011

Portugal debt downgraded to Junk status

By Axel Bugge

LISBON (Reuters) - Fitch downgraded Portugal's credit rating to junk status on Thursday, citing large fiscal imbalances, high debts and the risks to its EU-mandated austerity program from a worsening economic outlook.

The ratings agency cut Portugal to BB+ from BBB-, which is still one notch higher than Moody's rating of Ba2. S&P still rates Portugal investment grade.

Fitch said a deepening recession makes it "much more challenging" for the government to cut the budget deficit but it still expects fiscal goals to be met both this year and next.

"However, the risk of slippage - either from worse macroeconomic outturns or insufficient expenditure controls - is large," Fitch said.

The challenging economic environment was clear in a Reuters poll on Thursday, where economists forecast Portugal's economy will contract by 2.9 percent next year, the deepest recession since the 1970s, and 1.6 percent this year, in line with the government's estimates. Portugal's 10-year bond prices plunged, sending yields surging more than 100 basis points to 13.85 percent -- the second highest level in the euro zone after on

James Turk on ownership of Gold and Silver over Paper Promises

James Turk discusses the Gold and Silver markets and the blowback from the MF Global disaster with Eric King of King World News......listen here

Nuke carrier leads US strike force into Syria waters

From: RussiaToday  | Nov 25, 2011 

It's thought the U.S. has redeployed its newest aircraft carrier from the Persian Gulf to the Syrian coast. Washington is also urging American citizens to leave Syria immediately. Patrick Henningsen, a political analyst from America's '' online magazine, says we are seeing initial steps of a repeat of what we saw in Libya.