Against the backdrop of price inflation reaching six percent, the unemployment rate touching five percent, the increasingly large holdings by foreign governments of dollars (that at the time were convertible into gold upon demand) and his desperate need to get reelected, in August, 1971 President Nixon conferred with his economic advisers about how to solve the inflation problem without taking any blame for it.
The meeting was precipitated by the demand from the British ambassador “who showed up at the Treasury Department to request that $3 billion [of paper dollars] be converted into gold. At that moment in time, the amount of “cover” — the amount of gold held in Fort Knox as a percentage of outstanding paper dollar claims against it — had declined from 55% to 22% — leaving the Treasury desperately close to default. The economic advisers surrounding Nixon knew that “shutting the gold window would weaken the dollar against other currencies, thus adding to inflation by driving up the price of imported goods,” but they moved ahead anyway. And so was born the Nixon lie, delivered just as the Asian markets were opening on Sunday night, August 15, 1971. Here are the relevant parts of the lie:
There is no resolution yet on a proposed $7 billion Canadian-U.S. oil pipeline, as President Obama has continued to delay his decision on whether to approve it. Before the construction and operation of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline expansion can progress, the President, through the U.S. State Department’s permitting process, must grant final approval — an approval which has been in political limbo for the past three years.
In a bill passed in July by the U.S. House of Representatives, the North American-Made Energy Security Act obliged the President to decide by November 1 whether to move forward with the 1,700-mile pipeline, which would transport Canadian crude oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, and then on to the Gulf Coast.
As The New American reported two weeks ago, political opposition and environmental rhetoric hover around Obama’s verdict to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Finally, some good news about the economy, from an unlikely place: North Dakota. CNNMoney reported that while the United States' economy grew at less than 3 percent last year, North Dakota’s grew by more than 7 percent. And with national unemployment over 9 percent, in North Dakota it is just over 3 percent (and hasn’t touched 5 percent there in more than 20 years).
The prime driver is the discovery of vast untapped but recoverable oil reserves in the Bakken Formation, along with improved technology, which is allowing entrepreneurs to obtain access to it: fracing (or fracking). Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, explains: “North Dakota has a lot of untapped shale oil, and developing that field [has] attracted a lot of investment and a lot of employment into the state.”
The Bakken Formation is an oil shale deposit located two miles below ground, and reaches from western North Dakota into eastern Montana and up into Saskatchewan, Canada.
Many suspect leftist billionaire George Soros of having profited from Standard & Poor's recent downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. According to ETF Daily News, an “invisible trader” bet nearly $1 billion that the rating would be downgraded. Kenneth Schortgen of the Examiner notes:
While the identity of the "mystery investor" remains unknown, many indicators do point to George Soros as the principal benefactor. First, Soros has been tied to the Obama administration since the 2008 elections. In February of this year in fact, a Soros investment fund profited well on President Obama’s new green energy policies.
Secondly, right about the exact same time as the $1 billion bet took place on the US credit rating downgrade, Soros made public the move to divest his management fund of outside investors, and quietly go private. This move allows him to make trades and investments without being required to notify the SEC under the new Dodd-Frank act passed in Congress last year.
The Florida State legislature has taken steps towards securing Second Amendment rights by eliminating restrictions on firearms. The measures, which will be enacted on October 1, will impose penalties on public officials who pass or enforce gun regulations at the state level. Violators face a $5,000 personal fine and may risk being removed from office by the governor. Florida already had a law that made it illegal to pass gun regulations beyond those imposed through state statutes since 1987. The Blaze explains the necessity for this new law:
While Florida has had a law on its books since 1987 that makes it illegal to pass gun regulations beyond state statutes, there was no enforcement mechanism in place. As a result, towns and cities have created ordinances at will. In the process, many of them have criminalized otherwise completely law-abiding citizens who unintentionally ran afoul of arbitrary, localized gun rules.
As a result, Governor Rick Scott has signed into law the Penalties for Violating Firearms Preemption Law, which forces the repeal of all regulations and policies that violate the firearms preemption law of 1987.
A headline on the Politico website told the story — or, more accurately, the part of the story Politico and much of the rest of the news media want told: "Michele Bachmann wins Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty gets third."
A link takes the reader to "the full article," which notes that Bachmann, the third-term Minnesota congresswoman "won 4,823 votes, narrowly edging out Ron Paul," who received exactly 152 fewer votes among the 16,892 ballots cast. That was the only mention of Paul in the "full article."
It might seem strange that Pawlenty's distant third-pace finish and his exit from the presidential race immediately thereafter should draw more news coverage than Paul's virtual tie with Bachmann for first place. Sunday's New York Times at least fit Paul, rather than Pawlenty, into the headline and noted in its story the closeness of Paul's 28 percent of the vote to Bachmann's 29 percent. (Actually, it was even closer when you look past the rounding off of numbers. Bachmann's total represented. 28.55 percent, while Paul's 4,671 votes gave him 27.65 percent of the total.) But it barely mentioned the Texas Congressman thereafter, beyond noting only that his "libertarian views put him at odds with many Republicans."
British Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly considering the drastic step of “pre-crime” blocking of social media sites if the violent riots in his country continue. He contends that such a move would permit authorities more time to “catch up” with arrests of suspects shown rioting on surveillance cameras. The communication platforms under particular scrutiny are Twitter, Facebook, and Blackberry Instant Messenger.
In an address to the British House of Commons on Thursday, Cameron explained:
Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. So we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.
Similar measures were taken by then-President Hosni Mubarak during the Egyptian revolution earlier this year. The Guardian reported on the impact of social networking during the conflict:
The Italian government revisited its plans for handling the nation’s gaping public debt problem. On Friday, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that tax increases and spending cuts would both be in the new austerity plan. The tax increases included a “special levy” on income above €90,000 per year as well as tax increases on income from financial investments. More specifically, there would be a surcharge of 5 percent on incomes above €90,000 and a 10-percent surcharge on incomes above €150,000. The tax rate on financial income would increase from the current level of 12.5 percent to 20 percent. The government also pledged to crack down on tax evasion.
The spending cuts were directly largely at local government. Giuseppe Castiglione, head of the Union of Italian Provinces, almost immediately bemoaned the government cuts, which he said would fall most heavily on direct services to Italians: "When you talk about municipalities, you're talking about social services, when you talk about provinces, you're talking about schools, security at school, local roads."
The Central Intelligence Agency was intimately involved with the federal government’s infamous “Operation Fast and Furious” scheme to send American weapons to Mexican drug cartels while simultaneously working with other agencies allowing narcotics to be shipped over the border, according to a series of explosive reports.
Citing an unnamed CIA source, a Washington Times article theorizes that U.S. officials were actively aiding organizations such as the Sinaloa cartel with guns and immunity in an effort to stymie Los Zetas. That’s because, according to the piece, the powerful and brutal criminal Zetas syndicate has the potential to overthrow the government of Mexico — and might be planning to do so.
Apparently the secretive U.S. intelligence agency also played a key role in creating and using the American government’s gun-running program to arm certain criminal organizations.
If you thought the Central Intelligence Agency hatched a few wacky plots to get rid of Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro, such as planting explosive sea shells on the sea shore, the boys at Langley had nothing on British Intelligence during World War II, a new book has disclosed.
According to Secret Weapons: Technology, Science and the Race to Win World War II, by Professor Brian Ford of Cardiff University, British intelligence want to lace Adolf Hitler’s food with estrogen to turn him into a woman, London’s Daily Mail reported on Monday: “Agents planned to smuggle doses of oestrogen into his food to make him less aggressive and more like his docile younger sister Paula, who worked as a secretary.”
The war seemed to have no end in sight, the Mail reported, so an “Allied plot to turn Herr Hitler into Her Hitler was just one of a number of nutty ideas cooked up to break the stalemate.”