Armenia detains Russian citizen after US request

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Preview A Russian computer programmer was detained in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on Friday for alleged money laundering and illegal transfer of military technology, despite having no Interpol record. Sergey Mironov’s arrest was made after a US government request, his lawyer told RT.

Read Full Article at RT.com

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FatLivesMatter – The ‘Discriminatory’ Costs Of Obesity

The obesity epidemic in the United States continues to spread; and while the consequences of obesity on health are obvious, HowMuch.net notes that the impacts of the epidemic extend even into personal finance and work.

The following chart exposes the costs of obesity for each gender…

Source: HowMuch.net

The graphic above breaks down the costs of obesity by composition, with each composition having a distinct color. Each gender is represented by its respective sex symbol. The data were collected from a comprehensive study on the costs of obesity from George Washington University.

There are several compositions that are equal or near-equal between the two genders. The researchers found that obesity adds excess medical costs equally across both genders. At the same time, life insurance costs for the obese are also equal for both genders. While the study found that the medical costs were equal among both genders, many other costs vary between obese men and women.

The biggest difference in obesity costs between men and women come in the form of wages. Research has found that there is a connection between obesity and lower wages for female employees. Obese female employees earn relatively less compared to normal-weight female employees. Male employees who are obese do not receive relatively lower wages, according to the research. The result is $1,855 in added costs for obese women. However, the research paper notes “…accurately estimating the casual relationship between wages and weight cohorts is problematic, as the direction of the relationship has not been conclusively determined.”

The other biggest difference between obesity costs for men and women are in the composition absenteeism. The researchers found that obese male employees miss an additional two days of work annually due to illness related to obesity. Obese female employees miss between an extra one and five work days per year. Overweight and moderately obese male employees did not see incremental costs due to missing work, while female employees in the same two categories saw increased costs due to missed work. The largest incremental cost for both men and women in this composition was for the severely obese. Both morbidly obese (higher than severely obese) male and female employees saw added costs due to missed work from obesity related illness, but less than the costs for the severely obese.

While additional medical bills play a major role in added costs for both obese men and women, there are other many other areas where the obese have additional costs. In particular, sickness due to obesity related illness and lowered productivity leads to added costs. Obese female employees may receive lower wages, but additional research must be done to be sure.

#FatLivesMatter


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US Killing Far More Civilians in Syria Than They’ll Admit

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On July 19, US warplanes dropped bombs on a crowd of civilians in the Syrian village of Tokhar. When the dust cleared, a minimum of 95 people were killed, and some groups claimed that as the wounded began dying, the…

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Washington’s Decision to “Normalize” Relations with Cuba: Impede China’s Growing Influence in Latin America?

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Washington likely views this increasing Chinese presence in “America’s backyard” as a threat to US diplomatic, political and economic influence on a global scale.

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“I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This Before” – The Housing Markets In The Hamptons, Aspen And Miami Are All Crashing

One month ago, we said that “it is not looking good for the US housing market”, when in the latest red flag for the US luxury real estate market, we reported that sales in the Hamptons plunged by half and home prices fell sharply in the second quarter in the ultra-wealthy enclave, New York’s favorite weekend haunt for the 1%-ers.

Reuters blamed this on “stock market jitters earlier in the year” which  damped the appetite to buy, however one can also blame the halt of offshore money laundering, a slowing global economy, the collapse of the petrodollar, and the drastic drop in Wall Street bonuses. In short: a sudden loss of confidence that a greater fool may emerge just around the corner, which in turn has frozen buyer interest.

A beachfront residence is seen in East Hampton, New York, March 16, 2016.

We concluded this is just the beginning, and sure enough, several weeks later a similar collapse in the luxury housing segment was reported in a different part of the country. As the Denver Post reported recently, high-end sales that fuel Aspen’s $2 billion-a-year real estate market are evaporating, pushing Pitkin County’s sales volume down more than 42 percent to $546.45 million for the first half of the year from $939.91 million in the same period of 2015.

The collapse in transactions means that Aspen’s high-end real estate market “one of the most robust in the country, with dozens of options for buyers ready to spend more than $10 million” finds itself in its first-ever sustained nosedive, despite “dense summer crowds, soaring sales tax revenues and high lodging occupancy.”

Like in the Hamptons, the question everyone is asking is “why”? There are many answers:

Ask a dozen market watchers why, and you’ll get a dozen answers. Uncertainty around the presidential election. Fear of Trump. Fear of Clinton. Growing trade imbalances with China. Brexit. Roller-coaster oil prices. Zika. Wobbling economies in South America. The list goes on.

“People are worried about all kinds of stuff these days,” says longtime Aspen broker Bob Ritchie. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

The speed of the collapse has been stunning. Until just last year, the local market was beyond robust, with Pitkin County real estate sales hitting $2 billion in 2015, a 33% annual increase driven largely by sales of homes in Aspen, where prices average $7.7 million.

This year, however, “a slowdown in January turned into a free fall.” Sales volume in Pitkin County is down 42%, according to data compiled by Land Title Guarantee Co.

Almost all of that decline is coming from Aspen, where the market is frozen. Sales in the Aspen-Snowmass market in the first half of the year were the bleakest since the first half of 2009, and inventory soared to levels not seen since the recession.


High-end sales that fuel Aspen’s $2 billion-a-year real estate market  are evaporating

The statistics are stunning: single-family home sales in Aspen are down 62% in dollar volume through the first-half of the year. Sales of homes priced at $10 million or more — almost always paid for in cash — are down 60%. Last year, super-high-end transactions accounted for nearly a third of sales volume in Pitkin County.

“The high-end buyer has disappeared,” said Tim Estin, an Aspen broker whose Estin Report analyzes the Aspen-Snowmass real estate market.

“Aspen has never experienced such a sudden and precipitous drop in real estate sales,” according to the post.

Worse, it’s not just the collapse in the number of transaction: even more disconcerting for brokers who have always trumpeted Aspen as a safe and lucrative place to park a huge pile of money: Prices are dropping.

In the first half of this year, the average price per square foot of Aspen homes dropped 22 percent to $1,095 from $1,338 in 2015. Recent Aspen sales also closed at more than 15 percent below listing price, a rare discount.

Some brokers suspect that the frenzied sales and pricing pace of 2015 was not sustainable. The present decline is a correction, they say. “I think a lot of people thought we would go to the next level in 2016. Take the next step up and that step got resistance from buyers,” said longtime Aspen broker Joshua Saslove, who just put an Aspen home for more than $10 million under contract. If it closes, it will be just the fourth sale above $10 million in Aspen this year, compared with more than a dozen by this point last year.

“I think a lot of developers thought they would push their, say, $5 million properties to $6 million this year, but no one is buying,” Saslove said. “I don’t see that nonchalance or cavalier attitude any more.”

To be sure, Saslove is hoping that a rebound is coming; that however, may be overly optimistic and first far more pain is in store especially if one considers what is taking place in yet another formerly red-hot housing market, where suddenly things are just as bad, because as Mansion Global reports

Luxury condo sales in Miami have crashed 44%.

According to the latest report by the Miami Association of Realtors, the local luxury housing market is just as bad, if not worse, than the Hamptons and Aspen.

The latest figures out of Miami this week showed residential sales are down almost 21% from the same time last year. But as bad as this double-digit decline may seem, it pales in comparison to what’s happening at the high end of the market.

A closer look at transactions for properties of $1 million or more in July shows just 73 single-family home sales, representing an annual decline of 31.8%, according to a new report by the Miami Association of Realtors. In the case of condos in the same price range, the number of closed sales fell by an even wider margin: 44.4%, to 45 transactions.

The Miami housing market, and its luxury segment in particular, has been softening for the past year with high-end condos sitting on the market for twice as long as they did a year ago and sellers offering bigger discounts amid an increased supply.


Number of closed sales for Miami condos priced over $1 million fell by 44%

In July, townhouses and condos of $1 million or more waited, on average, 162 days for a buyer, a 1.9% increase over a year ago and the longest time of any other price range, according to the report.

As in the previous two markets, the locals want something to blame, in this case the strong dollar, which has significantly increased the value of properties in other currencies, has been blamed, and perhaps rightfully so as sales to foreigners—an important client base, since international buyers  acquire more homes in Florida than in any other state, according to the National Association of Realtors – have tumbled.

Real estate appraiser and data expert Jonathan Miller said that Miami is behaving like most of the rest of the U.S. housing market, which is in fairly good shape overall “but soft at the top.”

As noted here over the years, In the case of Miami, like in other most other coastal markets such as New York and Los Angeles, the housing boom was heavily boosted by foreign buyers, who used US luxury real estate as their new form of anonymous “offshore bank accounts” courtesy of the NAR’s exemption from Anti-Money Laundering Provisions. However, after the recent drops in commodity prices and the spike in the USD, they have scaled back their purchases.

“The international component is not as intense,” Mr. Miller said.

Depsite the slowdown deals are still being done, with cash the preferred form of payment of foreign buyers in the U.S., – some 43% of all sales in Miami in July were closed in cash, however down from 48.1% the same month last year, according to the latest figures.

Other potential buyers are also stepping back: cash sales for townhouses and condominiums, an indicator of investor activity, hit their lowest level in a year last month: 633 transactions, representing a 30.4% year-over-year decline, according to the report.

As for the forecast for the coming months, sales activity doesn’t look likely to surge. There were 1,272 pending sales of townhouses and condos in Miami in July, which means 25.4% fewer transactions waiting to close than in the same month in 2015 and the lowest number so far this year. Meanwhile, as a result of a building boom, luxury condo inventory is up 47.8% from last year, with 2,482 units worth $1 million or more waiting to change hands; this means that sellers of high-end condos will continue to face stiff competition, prompting even fewer transactions and/or lower prices.

So far, the collapse at the luxury end has failed to transmit to the broader market, less impacted by lack of foreign demand, however as we documented two weeks ago, it is only a matter of time before the overall US housing market suffers as well. The only question is whether the NAR and the US Census Bureau, who tabulate the “goal-seeked”, seasonally adjusted data, will admit it before or after the presidential elections. The likely answer: it depends on who the next president is.


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Joe Biden Humiliated In Turkish “Appeasement” As Erdogan Bombs US Allies In Syria

The last time U.S. Vice President Joe Biden flew to Turkey, in January, he had a stern message for President Erdogan: his model of Islamic democracy was setting a bad example by intimidating media and threatening academics. However, his tone was markedly different when he arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, just weeks after a failed coup in Turkey that has strained relations between the two countries, and on the same day that Turkey launched a full-blown incursion into northern Syria “to halt ISIS.” With Turkey making very clear, and very open overtures toward Russia, Biden was in full blown diplomatic damage-limitation mode.

 

The dramatic shift in dplomatic posture by Biden comes as the U.S.-Turkish alliance has been dealt several blows in recent weeks, to the point where the US vice president’s arrival in Ankara shows just how concerned the US, which is counting on continued support from Turkey – NATO’s second-biggest military – has become.  American worries have been compounded by Erdogan restoring ties with Russia – the Turkish president’s first diplomatic meeting after the failed coup was with Putin in St. Petersburg, as a result of which Turkey has been discussing military cooperation with the Kremlin.

Meeting with Erdogan and Turkey’s prime minister in Ankara on Wednesday, Biden delivered a message of alliance and conciliation.   “Let me say it for one last time: The American people stand with you … Barack Obama was one of the first people you called. But I do apologize. I wish I could have been here earlier,” Biden said.

But he wasn’t.

And while Biden’s pathetic attempt at appeasement may have come and gone, reinforcing just how much the American people stand with a person whose pre-arranged purge of political opponents has resulted in over 100,000 Turkish citizens fired or arrested, Turkey’s diplomatic humiliation of the US continued, when far from attacking ISIS in Syria, the stated objective behind the invasion, Turkish forces and rebels supported by Erdogan continued their deadly attacks on Kurdish-backed forces in north Syria on Saturday. The same Kurdish-backed forces which are also backed by the US.

And it’s not as if Turkey is even hiding it: Turkey’s government, which is fighting a Kurdish insurgency at home, has said the Syrian campaign it opened this week is as much about targeting Islamic State as it is about preventing Kurdish forces filling the vacuum left when Islamists withdraw. Turkey wants to stop Kurdish forces gaining control of a continuous stretch of Syrian territory on its frontier, which Ankara fears could be used to support the Kurdish militant group PKK as it wages its three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.

According to Reuters, Turkish security sources said two F-16 jets bombed a site controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, which is part of the broader U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Kurds are fighting back,  and according to military sources, one Turkish soldier was killed and three others wounded when a tank was hit by a rocket that they said was fired from territory held by the Kurdish YPG. The sources said the army shelled the area in response.

At that point the chaos that is the Syrian conflict, with so many competing elements, many of whom supported by the US, was on full display.  Case in point: Syrian rebels opposed to Ankara’s incursion said Turkish forces had targeted forces allied to the YPG and no Kurdish forces were in the area. On the ground, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels fought forces aligned with the SDF near the frontier town of Jarablus. Forces opposed to Ankara said Turkish tanks were deployed, a charge denied by Turkey’s rebel allies.

As a result, the narrative is now split in two: one “confirming” the Turkish explanation, the other justifying the actions of the YPG, just in case the US decides to flip after all, and support its “lesser” allies:

he Jarablus Military Council, part of the SDF, had said earlier on Saturday that Turkish planes hit the village of al-Amarna south of Jarablus, causing civilian casualties. It called the action “a dangerous escalation”.

 

The Kurdish-led administration that controls parts of northern Syria said Turkish tanks advanced on al-Amarna and clashed with forces of the Jarablus Military Council. But the Kurdish administration said no Kurdish forces were involved.

 

However, the leader of one Turkey-backed rebel group gave a rival account. He told Reuters the rebels battled the Kurdish YPG around al-Amarna and denied any Turkish tanks took part.

 

Turkish security forces simply said Turkish-backed forces had extended their control to five villages beyond Jarablus.

In short, chaos and a full-blown media propaganda war; however, as Reuters notes, one thing is clear: any action against Kurdish forces in Syria puts Turkey further at odds with its NATO ally the United States, which backs the SDF and YPG, “seeing them as the most reliable and effective ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.”

However, just like Biden’s arrival in Ankara was a tacit admission that the US will fully ignore Erdogan’s unprecedented crackdown on human righs in post-coup Turkey as the president purges even the remotest political opponent, so the YPG, which has been “backed” by the US, is about to realize just how little such backing really means when the US has bigger fish to fry, in this case desperately trying to keep Turkey on its good side, and away from Putin’s circle of influence, all the while providing countless concessions to Turkey as the country continues to openly defy western norms and put away dissidents, while arresting members of the press, and education system, as Erdogan nationalizes private corporations alleged to have ties with the notorious “coup plotter” Fethulah Gullen.

In doing so, the Obama administration has once again revealed the true extent of its hypocricy, as it turns a blind eye toward the trampling of human rights in Turkey, while screaming bloody murder when something similar takes place in any other part of the world.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s humiliation of its “partner”, the US, will continue, and much to the amusement of Vladimir Putin, there is absolutely nothing Obama will do about it. 


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Precious Metals Market Report with Franklin Sanders

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“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality.” ~Lao Tsu

By Catherine Austin Fitts

Franklin Sanders will join me next week for the precious metals market report. Franklin will walk us through what has happened in the gold and silver markets […]

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Powerful storm in Chechnya blows roofs off of homes, kills at least one (VIDEO)

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Preview A severe windstorm with heavy rain swept through the Chechen capital of Grozny on Saturday night, ripping off trees, roofs, advertising boards and turning streets into rivers. A young woman died in the storm and a man was injured.
Read Full Article at RT.com

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UNLOCKING GOLD’S TRUE VALUE: The Economic Code – Finally Revealed

SRSrocco

By the SRSrocco Report,

The true value of gold is much higher than the spot price quoted in the market.  This is due to several factors, but the most important reason is misunderstood by just about every economist and monetary scientist in the world today.  Those who are able to understand the information in this article, will finally be able see the value of gold (money) in a totally different way.

Unfortunately, the majority of economists and precious metal analysts look at gold in a very specialized way.  While precious metals analysts see gold as real money versus the Keynesian view of a Fiat Dollar System, both fail to grasp gold’s true value.  Gold is more than a precious metal based on supply and demand.  Furthermore, the Austrian School of Economics looks at gold as a foundation of money in the procurement of goods and services.  However, gold’s real value comes from energy in all forms and in all stages in its production.

The Foundation Of Gold Money:  ENERGY = GOLD = MONEY

To understand this principle, I have decided to use one of the largest gold producers in the world as an example, Newmont Mining.

According to Newmont’s 2013 All-In-Sustaining-Cost for producing gold, they provided the following chart:

Newmont AISC

Now, this was a few years ago when the price of oil (energy) was higher, so with lower energy prices, costs have come down since then.  Regardless, this still provides us with a list of costs.  The main part of Newmont’s sustaining costs are shown as CAS – Cost Of Sales.  That’s the blue part of the bar chart, which is broken down on the right, in the circle pie-chart.

If we look at the pie-chart by itself, we see that energy comprises 20% of the total costs.  Of course, the knee-jerk reaction from a typical precious metals analyst is that energy is only 20% of Newmont’s cost to produce gold.  The analyst only sees 20% energy cost because his mind has been trained to look in a superficial and specialized way.

Here is a breakdown of the CAS -Cost Of Sales pie-chart:

Newmont CAS

As we can see, diesel at 10% and power (electricity) at 10% comprises 20% of pure energy for Newmont’s gold cost.  However, we must realize that labor at 50%, is also a form of energy…. it’s HUMAN ENERGY.  People need to understand that science breaks down labor into work or energy.  The term Horsepower was developed from the energy of horses performing work.  Thus, human labor is a form of work, and is also a form of energy.

Now, some of the labor force gets paid more because their labor contains more experience and specialization.  For example, an experienced mechanic working on the huge earth moving machines gets paid more than another working doing regular manual labor because of the TIME & ENERGY invested in the mechanic’s trade.  The mechanic spent years doing work and education which consumed one hell of a lot of energy in different forms to have 20 years experience.  Thus, the energy in labor for years of work has provided him that experience.  Which means, the amount of work-energy the mechanic has done for 20 years allows him to be paid a higher rate.

So, if we add human labor (work-energy) of 50% of the CAS cost with the 20% of diesel and power, the total is now 70%.  So, if we were going by scientific terms of doing work-energy, pure energy and labor energy comprises 70% of Newmont’s cost to produce gold in its CAS- Cost Of Sales breakdown.

Okay, let’s look at the remaining two categories:

     Consumables = 10%
     Materials & Parts = 20%

Newmont’s uses a lot of consumables to produce gold.  Here is a list of some of Newmont’s consumables provided in their 2015 Sustainability Report:

Newmont Materials Used

I decided to use lime as perfect example, because the production and transportation of lime is very energy intensive.  Again, according to a typical gold mining analyst, he places lime as a “consumable cost” and not an energy cost.  Once we look at the total process of producing and transporting lime, we will realize the overwhelming value or cost of lime is from the ENERGY in ALL FORMS and in ALL STAGES.

Here is simple diagram of the production of lime, which Newmont consumed 515,800 tonnes in 2015 to produce gold:

Lime Production Process

The lime is first mined from the ground and transported to the production plant.  This costs a lot of energy from the diesel in the truck as well as the labor-energy of the truck driver.  As the lime moves through the producing plant, it consumes a great deal of energy as electricity is needed to power the plant as well as the high-temperature Kilns that process the lime.

Here is a small section of an EPA Report on the Economic Production of Lime in the United States:

EPA Lime Cost Breakdown

As the report states, the cost of materials for producing lime is much greater than the labor… three to four times greater.  If we go back to Newmont’s CAS – Cost of Sales, labor was 50%, which is half the cost, while the other half was from energy, materials and consumables.

Regardless, the largest percentage of materials used to produce lime is liquid fuels.  Furthermore, the lime industry spent $138.2 million on energy in 1996, which was 31.4% of its material cost.  I would imagine that energy cost is much higher now and accounts for an even higher percentage of total costs.

In addition, we must add the percentage of human labor to the total energy cost in producing lime.  Moreover, all the other materials used to make lime also must be viewed the same way in their production.  Even though the lime industry purchased materials to produce lime, the overwhelming value of those materials came from the energy consumed in ALL FORMS and in ALL STAGES.

Once the lime is produced, it has to be transported to Newmont’s gold mines.  Lime is very heavy, so it takes a lot of energy to transport lime via ship, railroad or by truck.  Either way, the energy burned in the ship, locomotive and truck as well as the labor by the ship captain and crew, locomotive engineer or truck driver also must be added to the total cost as ENERGY.

Using lime as an example, we can see that other consumables such as cyanide, grinding materials and cement also get their value from the energy in all forms and in all stages in their production.  This is also true for the other category of “Materials & Parts.”

If Newmont has to replace a large part of a system in one of their ore processing facilities, the value of that part comes from all the energy consumed in all forms and in all stages along the way.

Additional Newmont Mining Full Cycle Energy Costs Explained

Let’s take a look at Newmont’s All-In-Sustaining-Cost chart once more:

Newmont CAS

Okay, I just explained the first category on the bottom of the bar chart in blue, the CAS – Cost Of Sales.  Let’s discuss the next category called “Sustaining Capital (in red).”

Newmont Mining spends a lot of money on sustaining capital to be able to produce gold on a continual basis.  According to their Q2 2016 financial report, they will spend between $650 and $700 million on sustaining capital in 2016.  One part of sustaining capital is “stripping costs.”  This is a tremendously energy intensive activity of stripping (removing) overburden and poor quality ore.

Many of you are aware of this huge cost if you watch the show, GOLD RUSH.  If my memory serves me correctly, the team under Parker Schnabel spent something close to $500,000 to remove the overburden and move their wash plant on one of their biggest gold cuts last year in Alaska.  The majority of that cost was the diesel to power the huge earth moving machines to remove that overburden.

Basically, the stripping cost listed as “Sustainable Capital” is from the liquid energy burned and human labor.  Another energy cost found in sustainable capital is the making of new haul roads to get to the new ore cut.  This takes a huge amount of energy as loaders, haul trucks and other earth moving machines transport the rock and gravel to make these new haul roads.

If I went down the entire list of sustaining capital, the overwhelming expenditure of the $650-$700 million Newmont will spend this year will be from all the energy in all forms and in all stages.

Another category not included here is regular “Capital Expenditures.”  This would include purchasing a new one of these massive haul trucks below:

CAT-797F

This is the Caterpillar 797F that costs $5 million.  If we went on the same journey as we did when I explained the cost to produce lime, we would find out that the overwhelming value of that massive CAT 797F comes from all the ENERGY in ALL FORMS and in ALL STAGES.

Hell, the huge tires for the CAT 797F, that cost $40,000 a piece, each contain nearly 2,000 pounds of steel, enough to build two small cars and enough rubber to make 600 tires to put on them.

Again, according to the gold mining analysts, they list the Caterpillar 797F as a capital expenditure.  However, if we look through the entire ENERGY MATRIX, we now see that what Newmont purchased as a CAT 797F haul truck, is again…. all the energy in all forms and in all stages in its production.

If we consider the last few categories in Newmont’s All-In-Sustaining-Cost bar chart of Exploration-Advanced Projects, General & Administration and Other, we can apply the same energy logic.  It takes a lot of energy to explore for gold as well as advancing new gold mining projects.  Not only does it take the burning of a lot of energy to explore and advance projects for gold mining, there is also a lot of human labor (manual & experienced), materials and parts to consider in the total process.

Unfortunately, most people have been programmed to compartmentalize everything today.  They see most things separately and are not able to understand how energy gives value to the majority of goods and services in the world today.  They just see the end result and believe that it magically appeared on the storeroom shelf.  I would assure you that the value of most goods sitting on the shelves in the thousands of Walmarts across the country were derived from ENERGY, in all forms and in all stages.

While Newmont is showing on its balance sheet that it purchased, lime, materials or equipment, it really purchased a great deal of energy that was consumed in their production.

There are several other items that Newmont has to dish out money to be in the business of producing gold, such as interest expense and taxes to name a few.  I would imagine someone reading this article would be quick to blurt out that interest expenses and taxes are not energy.  Well, that might be true if we look at them in a superficial way, but most taxes go to pay the governments to maintain roads, infrastructure, public buildings and government employees that function as a necessary part of our highly complex society.

Thus, the government spends a lot of money on energy as well as human labor to maintain roads and infrastructure.  So, if we really expand our ENERGY MATRIX horizons, we would see that ENERGY is the main driver that comprises the value of most goods and services in the world today… including GOLD.

The Strategic Importance Of ENERGY = GOLD = MONEY

Hundreds of years ago, the prize by empires was obtaining gold and silver.  This was especially true for the Spanish Empire and its leading role in the world at the time due to its ability to acquire massive amounts of gold and silver from South America and Mexico.

During the 1500’s when the Spaniards were using Aztecs as slaves to loot gold and silver from their lands, the energy source at the time was mainly human and animal labor.  To build the massive Spanish Armada that was destroyed or then sunk by a huge storm in 1588, it took a great deal of human and animal labor.

Spanish Armada

(courtesy of Wikipedia)

Furthermore, according to this source, On May 28th 1588, the Armada, with around 130 ships, 8,000 sailors and 18,000 soldiers, 1,500 brass guns and 1,000 iron guns, set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, headed for the English Channel.  The Spanish were able to amass such a large fleet of ships, crew and armaments due to massive amount of gold and (especially) silver they plundered from South America and Mexico.

According to the Historical World Silver Production 1492-1927, the Spaniards produced over 90 million oz of silver from 1521-1600 in Mexico alone.  They started mining silver in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1540, the region where the largest primary silver miner in the world, Fresnillo is currently producing silver.

Furthermore, the Spanish opened large-scale mines in Peru, in the land of the Incas.  From 1533 to 1600, over 94 million oz of silver were produced.  As we can see, the Spanish became the leading empire on the globe due to their ability to amass the largest hoard of silver on the planet at the time.

Well, this all changed in the early 1900’s when the top oil barons realized the value of money would come from oil and no longer from just human and animal labor.  This is why the top oil companies decided to carve up the globe in the early 1900’s and work with each other to control, extract, and sell the most important energy source to world.

Oil was also the main reason why Hitler decided to attack Russia in World War 2.  He needed the oil to continue with his plans of Nazi expansion.  Instead of using gold or silver, Hitler needed oil.. and badly.

Germany attacks Russia

According to this source on Germany & Oil:

At the outbreak of the war, Germany’s stockpiles of fuel consisted of a total of 15 million barrels. The campaigns in Norway, Holland, Belgium, and France added another 5 million barrels in booty, and imports from the Soviet Union accounted for 4 million barrels in 1940 and 1.6 million barrels in the first half of 1941. Yet a High Command study in May of 1941 noted that with monthly military requirements for 7.25 million barrels and imports and home production of only 5.35 million barrels, German stocks would be exhausted by August 1941.

 

The 26 percent shortfall could only be made up with petroleum from Russia. The need to provide the lacking 1.9 million barrels per month and the urgency to gain possession of the Russian oil fields in the Caucasus mountains, together with Ukrainian grain and Donets coal, were thus prime elements in the German decision to invade the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Here we can see that Hitler gained five million barrels of much-needed oil from Norway, Holland, Belgium and France  to be able to attack Russia.  I have read some accounts that Russia was the REAL PRIZE for Hitler and the Nazi’s.  Which is why they used their lightning-speed Blitzkrieg Warfare on the Western European countries to consume as little fuel as necessary while acquiring the necessary petrol to attack Russia.

When the United States entered into World War 2, it was just a matter of time before the Germans were beaten.  The U.S. was the Saudi Arabia at the time and was providing most of the oil to the allies.  It was the huge reserves of oil and natural resources that propelled the United States to becoming the leading empire in the world.

Unfortunately, the United States peaked in cheap oil production in 1970.  One year later, Nixon dropped the Dollar-Gold peg.  How ironic… aye?  Then of course we had the Arab oil embargo in 1973 and Iranian oil crisis of 1978 which pushed the price of oil from $1.80 a barrel in 1970 to $31 by 1979.  This had a profound impact on the price of gold and silver as they skyrocketed during that decade.

However, over the next 45 years, clever bankers on Wall Street, London and etc, have hoodwinked investors into putting their surplus funds into paper assets which have become the GREATEST PONZI SCHEME in history.

This paper ponzi scheme can only work on RISING OIL PRODUCTION.  Again, the greatest ponzi scheme in history can only work on rising oil production.  Furthermore, it can only work on rising CHEAP oil production.  Unfortunately, the world has peaked in cheap oil production a decade ago.  We are filling in the gaps with very expensive oil production that the world cannot afford without the massive increase of debt.

According to the work by the Hills Group and Louis Arnoux, they believe an OIL PEARL HARBOR will take place by the end of the decade:

Oil Pearl Harbor

They don’t see a rising oil price in the future, rather they believe it will fall as the available net energy to the market will continue to decline.  They also believe the economic principle of supply and demand will no longer function as a “Thermodynamic Collapse” of oil will take place.

With rapidly falling oil production, the $250 trillion in total world assets of Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate and Insurance Funds will be in big trouble.  Thus, investor fleeing rapidly falling paper assets and Real Estate will move into gold (and silver) to protect wealth.

Energy has been the key driver for the value of gold and silver for thousands of years.  For the majority of our history, the energy has come from human and animal labor.  However, as coal, then oil came in the picture, this changed the dynamics considerably.  With the peak of inexpensive global oil production, the world is about to experience one hell of a FINANCIAL CALAMITY.  Very few people are prepared for what is coming.

With the understanding that most goods and services in the world are based upon all the ENERGY in ALL FORMS and in ALL STAGES, things are about to get very interesting.  Some believe falling energy production will depress the price of gold.  This is an incorrect assumption

Due to the massive funneling of the world’s funds into paper assets over the past 45 years, this has artificially lowered the value of gold (and silver).  Once the world wakes up to the fact that they are invested in ENERGY IOU’s, investors will move into physical gold to protect wealth as oil production declines in earnest.

We have a new series at the SRSrocco Report site, called WELCOME TO THE CONVERSATION where we discuss new topics about energy, mining, precious metals and the economy:

Lastly, if you haven’t checked out our new PRECIOUS METALS INVESTING section or our new LOWEST COST PRECIOUS METALS STORAGE page, I highly recommend you do.

Check back for new articles and updates at the SRSrocco Report.


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The War On Whistleblowers & Why America’s Next President Will Kill Julian Assange

Submitted by Jake Anderson via TheAntiMedia.org,

I’m worried about Julian Assange. This is not a maternal instinct, but rather, a pragmatic one. The increasingly hostile statements made by top state officials and their surrogates show a widespread condemnation of whistleblowers in the halls of government. President Obama set the tone early in his administration.

In the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the rhetoric goes well beyond condemnation of methodology and straight to advocating for his brutal murder.

We already know that Obama, Clinton, Sanders, and Trump have all said they would prosecute Assange. Clinton, to get more specific, wants him extradited from Ecuador, prosecuted for espionage, and his WikiLeaks removed from the Internet. Her desire to charge him with espionage is only a little ironic considering the Clinton Foundation’s Pay-to-Play system arguably warrants an espionage indictment, as does Clinton’s storing of Special Access Program intelligence on an unencrypted private server.

Meanwhile, over in the Trump Tower of Mordor, the business mogul’s draconian approach to just about everything includes a ruthless hatred of all journalists, and most certainly whistleblowers. Trump has indicated his treatment of an extradited Assange or Snowden would be severely harsh. Snowden, in particular, would be assassinated if Trump had his way. I can only shiver imagining how a President Trump would react to a major leak from the inner chambers of his new political empire.

The transition from authorities’ vows of prosecution to their use of surrogates who openly call for Assange’s assassination is highly disturbing, to say the least.  Granted, Assange supposedly has his ‘thermonuclear’ device — a 1.4 GB cache of files containing the identity of spies, military secrets, and unredacted documents from Bank of America and BP that can be unencrypted and released upon his death or arrest — but with a large faction of the mainstream media acting as a bullhorn for state propaganda, any damage inflicted by Julian’s ‘insurance’ packet could likely be mitigated by some social engineering. Remember the Panama Papers? A couple months ago people were saying it was the biggest leak in human history. Have you heard even a nostalgic reference to it since?

All this wouldn’t be quite as surprising — or alarming — if the anti-democratic venom hadn’t trickled down into the daily talking points of media figures and network journalists (whom I affectionately refer to as the State Department’s paid interns). Voices from across the political spectrum have repeated the claim that Russia has ‘weaponized’ Wikileaks. Sometimes they pose the conspiracy theory as a question. “Has Russia weaponized Wikileaks to disrupt a U.S. election?” My question in response would be: has the U.S. media questionized State Department propaganda in order to deflect attention away from a rigged primary and a political power structure that is rotten to the core? It’s actually a brilliant little piece of state agitprop. They managed to turn the public’s attention away from one of the most egregious examples of election fraud in recent history and demonize both Russia and Wikileaks in one fell swoop.

Such blatant propaganda is to be expected from the government. But coming from a journalistic establishment that is ostensibly there to dig for the truth, it’s rather shocking to see rampant election tampering from a major American political party get trumped by an unproven accusation toward a foreign country. Regardless of one’s conspiratorial appetite, seeing the 4th estate function as the infotainment branch of the State Department, parroting its every chirp of propaganda, should be profoundly distressing.

Let me give you a couple of examples, first from a mainstream right-of-center publication, then from a wildly popular left-of-center ideologue. In the former, we have TIME Magazine, which has had the hickeys of state propaganda on its neck for decades. On August 12th, 2016, TIME published an article called “WikiLeaks Is Getting Scarier Than the NSA.” I’ll let that sink in for a moment. I don’t even have the emotional bandwidth to explain why that title earns the ‘Psyop of the Century’ award. Just. . . remember to be scared.

On the left, we have Bill Maher, whose excoriations of hypocritical Republicans can be extremely entertaining and perceptive. Like The Daily Show, Maher functions as the liberal end of what some cultural philosophers think of as a manufactured spectrum of acceptable discourse. When Maher, who claims solidarity with Assange and the cause of WikiLeaks, repeats the same government talking point that Russia is tampering with our elections, it kind of forces you to consider that all corporate media — left or right — operates under the same tent.

The anti-WikiLeaks propaganda wouldn’t feel so existential if I didn’t believe anti-whistleblower messaging is soon going to escalate into an actual long-term military campaign against leakers and hacktivists around the world. In the near future, don’t be surprised if there is some ‘event’ that catalyzes a mobilization of military campaigns against targets that are deemed ‘a danger to our democracy because of their unlawful disclosures of matters of national security.’ This would almost assuredly include symbolic targets like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden to achieve a “chilling effect.” We’ve already seen Intercept writer Barrett Brown receive prison time for essentially hyperlinking to leaked information in an article. Add to this the fact the Obama Administration has used the Espionage Act to prosecute twice as many defendants as all previous administrations combined, and you get a sense of how power structures are increasingly criminalizing the dissemination of information.

Now back to my non-maternal worrying over Julian’s safety. Recently, in a stunning interview (above) with Dutch television program Nieuwsuur, Assange may have underhandedly confirmed that the recently murdered DNC operative Seth Rich was the leaker of the 3,000 emails that showed the DNC colluded with the Clinton camp, the implication being he was killed either out of revenge for the leak or to prevent future leaks. He didn’t state this explicitly but his abrupt and completely random reference to the murder in the context of assessing the dangers faced by WikiLeaks sources doesn’t make sense unless that was his way of ‘accidentally’ signaling a connection.

The interviewer picked up on that and asked him, “Why make the suggestion of a young guy being shot in the streets of Washington?”

The fact that Wikileaks posted a $20,000 reward for any information on Seth Rich’s murder suggests they do not believe it was a random robbery, which is further evidenced by the fact that his wallet, credit cards, and phone were not taken.

It is also certainly a bit coincidental that within days of the conspiracy going viral, Seth Rich’s family made a public statement asking for rumors about his death to stop. On a likely related note, their new family spokesman is none other than Brad Bauman, who is a Democrat ‘crisis communications’ consultant with the Pastorum Group. According to his LinkedIn profile, Brad’s job is “providing strategic communications advice to Democratic candidates.”

Disputes over this conspiracy persist, but there is no hard evidence linking his death to a politically motivated act of violence by DNC or Clintonian operatives. However, one can surely admit it is unusual for a family to hire a high-powered PR firm that provides “public relations for progressive candidates.” One logical explanation is that the Clinton campaign realized suspicions would surface after Seth Rich was found murdered and immediately started damage control. If Pastorum hadn’t only been created last year, it might not seem so peculiar. And if their web page had any content on it whatsoever, it would be possible for people to easily learn about the origins of their creation. But, like Russia’s connection to the DNC leak, it’s just a theory.

Again, the assertion that a whistleblower was murdered by an operative for a major political party cannot be proven at this time. Nor can the assertion that the murders of five people (in two months) who were going to testify against Clinton had any connection with Clinton operatives.

What can be proven, and what should be taken far more seriously, is the metamorphosis of the state’s rhetoric against Wikileaks from hostile to downright war-like. Not vitriolic, but war-like — as in quite literally the kind of rhetoric that leads to actual war with tanks, guns, and bomber planes — or, in this case, maybe just a bomb robot or a stealthy climber.

It’s a worrisome time for Assange supporters. The last two weeks, in particular, have been downright surreal. First, Obama hagiographer Michael Grunwald tweeted with maniacal delight his support of Assange being killed in a drone strike. Then, Clinton strategist Bob Beckel went on Fox News and jumped up and down in his seat begging for someone to “illegally shoot the son of a bitch…[because] a dead man can’t leak stuff.”

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These two men, Democrat luminaries regularly featured on POLITICO and CNN, advocated the extrajudicial killing of a whistleblower to millions of people.

The stigmatization and demonization of whistleblowers and hacktivists come after a decade in which the U.S. government’s civil liberty abuses have been laid bare for all to see. Snowden’s history-altering revelations about the NSA set the precedent that in the information age, state abuses can be illuminated for citizens to see. Transparency doesn’t bode well for Big Brother.

Notably, the NSA leaks facilitated by WikiLeaks are still pouring out. The Intercept recently began publishing internal NSA newsletters written by and circulated among its critically important Signals Intelligence Directorate, or SIGINT. Intercept writer Micah Lee spoke to Anti-Media about the SIDtoday articles.

“Besides the hundreds of small, but significant, individual revelations about the NSA,” he said, “the SIDtoday articles as a whole describe a secret history of the United States’s response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Until Snowden leaked documents, the public didn’t understand, or consent to, what America’s spies were doing, but SIDtoday tells the story of how and why it came it be.”

Micah says the Intercept has only published 9% of what it has, which will amount to around 4,500 articles. Micah acknowledged the dangerous environment in which whistleblowers now find themselves.

“No matter [who is elected], it will be an uphill battle for whistleblowers, but I doubt that will stop them.”

It is my assertion that both Trump and Clinton are likely to engage in specific military operations to dismantle organizations responsible for high-level leaks. It could very well be the next ubiquitous war.

Clinton has cultivated a well-documented track record of pro-war ideologies, not the least of which is her perpetual use of the War on Terror to trigger fear and trauma in the minds of voters. Who could forget the primary debate in which she used 9/11 imagery to defend her Wall Street connections?

An example that may have flown under the radar was the Clinton Foundation’s advertisement for the 2014 exhibit “Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America.” It was a featured installation at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in my hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.

According to the Clinton Foundation’s site:

Americans have endured thousands of incidents of terror, violence, or subversion right here at home by domestic terrorists and foreign agents, militant radicals and saboteurs, traitors and spies…The exhibition reminds us that Americans have known and dealt with acts of terror since the founding days of the republic and will continue to face these challenges in the years ahead.”

For Clinton (and assuredly Trump, too) war is a permanent fixture in the American empire, as it was for Bush, Obama, and virtually all presidents before them. But the enemies are scattered and amorphous now. Radical jihadists are not like traditional standing armies; their prosecution requires a global, never-ending ubiquitous brand of war that is encoded into the very structure of American foreign policy. A widespread declared war against hackers, hacktivists (Anonymous), whistleblower organizations (WikiLeaks) and individual whistleblowers (Snowden, Chelsea Manning, etc.) would be similar. The empire’s enemy would be scattered, and tracking them would require that the tentacles of the security state slither further into every home and digital device.

For the empire, these leaks are a direct assault on the power and hegemony of the ‘deep state,’ the synergistic nexus of state diplomats and officials, defense contractors, financial institutions, surveillance courts, and the military-industrial complex that together forms the connective tissue holding together a globalist oligarchy.

They stand to lose too much from hacked information showing their improprieties. And the rhetoric continues to accelerate. Guccifer 2.0’s recent hack of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s computer provoked her to use the phrase “electronic Watergate.”

It will be a bipartisan war, and the battle lines will be drawn harshly. In the same vein as Bush’s “you’re either with us or against us” axis of evil, the umbrella of terrorism will expand to include any organizations that leak classified information, any group that publishes the information, and eventually, any journalist that links to a publication containing the information. Barrett Brown, currently serving 63 months for linking to a leak, may agree with me.

Whatever administration is in office will, of course, invoke national security as the pretext for the War on Leaks.

Maybe a giant financial institution is hacked, and the information released is said to be the catalyst for an economic downturn; then another leak is blamed for a terrorist attack that kills hundreds of innocent people; then several more major corporations have their entire systems compromised; then an individual hacker releases 50 million social security numbers; celebrities see more of their lascivious sex acts on TMZ (maybe a couple of A-listers are outed).

Soon the entire country agrees: we must go to war with hackers and organizations that leak information.

After years of hating the government, Americans welcome Big Brother back into their lives as the protector of information. They need the state.


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