Beating Inflation
Aug 19, 2005

* Emergency Declared at U.S. Southern Border -FOX
* PPI raises inflation fears -CNN
* Home prices 'extremely overvalued' in 53 cities -USAT
* Gas helps push July's CPI up 0.5% -MW
* Oil holds above $66, prices start to hurt -Reuters
* Gold market glitters, $440-$450 range -Reuters
* Wal-Mart profit gain is smallest in 4 years -Reuters
* Fed May Need to Raise Rates to Stop `Bubbles'-Bloomberg


* INFLATION JOLT: Twice What "Experts" Expected -CRS
* ONE NATION UNDER DEBT, Introduction -Craig R. Smith, SATC
* Cashing in on rare coins -Annie-Laurie Blair, GNS
* Gold – Where To From Here? -Pierre Lassonde, Newmont
* Beneath the Surface -Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley
* Who's responsible for $3/gal gas? -Jon C. Ryter
* Rights vs. Responsibilities: Double-Talk -JB Williams
* THE ISLAMIZATION OF EUROPE -Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, Barnabas


"The easiest and surest way to 'play' this bull market is to buy gold coins, and put them away. You don't worry about price, because you view these coins as pure wealth, and you are not holding them for appreciation, you are holding them for posterity."

-Richard Russell, Dow Theory Letter (interview with Marketwatch, 8-16-05)


PPI raises inflation fears -CNN
Measure of wholesale prices far above Wall Street's forecasts in July after being unchanged in June.
August 17, 2005

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Wholesale prices increased sharply in July, according to a government report that showed inflationary pressures far stronger than Wall Street's expectations.

The Producer Price Index rose 1 percent in July after being unchanged in June. Economists surveyed by had forecast only a 0.5 percent rise in the inflation measure.

The so-called core PPI, which strips out often-volatile food and energy prices, increased 0.4 percent, compared with the 0.1 percent decline in June and above the forecasted gain of 0.1 percent. It was the biggest jump in the closely watched core number since a 0.7 percent rise in January.

Energy prices rose 4.4 percent in July, the biggest jump since a 5.7 percent gain in October, which resulted in the overall PPI also posting its largest gain since that month as well.

Gasoline prices rose 10.9 percent, but businesses also saw other energy prices rise as well, with jet fuel prices spiking up 16.8 percent, industrial natural gas up 7.4 percent and liquefied petroleum gas prices up 5.6 percent.

Home prices 'extremely overvalued' in 53 cities -USAT
By Sue Kirchhoff, USA TODAY
Aug. 17, 2005

WASHINGTON — Single-family home prices are "extremely overvalued" in 53 cities that make up nearly a third of the overall U.S. housing market, putting them at high risk of price declines, according to a study released today.

The report, by Richard DeKaser, chief economist of National City Corp., examined 299 metro areas accounting for 80% of the U.S. housing market. (Chart: High-priced housing faces risks; 299 metro areas ranked)

DeKaser terms a market extremely overvalued if prices are 30% above where he estimates they should be based on historic price data, area income, mortgage rates and population density — a proxy for land scarcity.

Based on those criteria, Santa Barbara, Calif., is the nation's most out-of-whack market, with houses 69% overpriced. Rounding out the top five: Salinas, Calif.; Naples, Fla.; and Riverside and Merced, Calif.

College Station, Texas, is the most undervalued, priced 19% below where the data suggest it should be. Other inexpensive communities include El Paso, Odessa and Killeen, Texas, and Montgomery, Ala.

The highest-risk markets are in California; Southern Florida; parts of the Boston area; the Long Island, N.Y., counties of Nassau and Suffolk; and Ocean City, N.J.

The big culprit: in 85% of the cities surveyed, home-price gains outpaced income gains during the past year. In Bakersfield, Calif., prices rose 33% while incomes increased 3%. In 29% of areas, prices outpaced income growth by at least 10 percentage points.

Just 2% of markets were in bubbly territory at the start of 2004, vs. 31% in the first quarter of 2005.

Related Story:
'Mr. Housing Bubble' strikes chord, draws ire -WND ... WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Striking a chord with uneasy U.S. property investors,'s latest design -- "Mr. Housing Bubble" -- has become its best seller in less than a week. The parody of the decades-old Mr. Bubble bath foam package offers a "Free Balloon Mortgage Inside." But the smiling pink house-shaped bubble also warns: "If I pop, you're screwed."

Gas helps push July's CPI up 0.5% -MW
New car prices plunge 1%, the biggest drop in 30 years
By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch
Aug. 16, 2005

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Soaring energy prices pushed the U.S. consumer price index up 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis in July, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

The report leaves the Federal Reserve on course to raise interest rates again by a quarter percentage point in September, economists said.

The increase in the CPI was slightly ahead of expectations of a 0.4% gain among Wall Street economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The core CPI was expected to rise 0.2%. See Economic Calendar.

The increase in the CPI was the highest since April. The CPI was flat in June. Meanwhile, core prices have increased 0.1% three months in a row.

In the past year, the CPI has risen 3.2%, up from 2.5% on a year-over-year basis in June. The year-over-year gain in the core rate ticked a tenth of a percent higher to 2.1% in July.

Core inflation remains within the Federal Reserve's comfort zone. Policymakers are clearly alert to the dangers, having raised interest rates 10 times in the past 14 months.

"The headline inflation rate remains elevated, stoked by energy prices, and the only way the Fed can ensure the pass-through to core inflation is kept to a minimum is to push the funds target up to at least a neutral level," said Sherry Cooper, chief economist for BMO Nesbitt Burns.

"Inflation pressures remain a concern with the unemployment rate close to breaching the 5% level and the price of a barrel of oil over $65," said Drew Matus, an economist with Lehman Bros.

Wages aren't putting any pressure on firms to raise their prices. Real hourly wages fell 0.2% in July. Over the past year, real hourly and weekly earnings (adjusted for inflation) have fallen 0.5%.

Energy prices, which increased 3.8%, were the main source of higher consumer prices in July. Gasoline prices rose 6.1%, while natural-gas prices increased 3.8%. Electricity prices fell 0.3%.

In the past year, energy prices are up 14.2%, while gasoline prices are up 19.5%

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Oil holds above $66, prices start to hurt -Reuters
Aug 16, 2005

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil held strong above $66 a barrel on Tuesday as the standoff over Iran's nuclear program and U.S. refinery glitches supported prices even as the world's big consumers began to feel the pain.

Oil has soared about 50 percent this year on worries the industry is struggling to pump and refine enough crude.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters high prices were here to stay, and he called on oil firms to plow their sizable profits into new plants.

"This crisis, we know, is likely to last. All the factors have come together for oil to remain expensive in the years and decades to come," he said.

Iran's decision to press ahead with its nuclear program in defiance of the West and rampant fuel demand in the United States have helped to fire the latest rally.

Figures on Tuesday showed consumer inflation was feeling the heat.

U.S. July consumer prices rose at their fastest rate in three months and UK inflation was at its highest level since comparable records began in 1997.

U.S. crude was trading down 17 cents at $66.10 a barrel at 1805 GMT, below Friday's $67.10 record, while U.S. gasoline was over $1.97 a gallon after nearly tying last week's record of just above $2.01. London Brent was down 13 cents at $65.45.

Overall, the relentless rise this year has lifted oil toward the inflation-adjusted $82 average in 1980, the year after the Iranian revolution.

The International Energy Agency's chief economist told Reuters on Monday that an average $50 a barrel oil price this year would crimp economic growth by 0.8 points.

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8-16-05 -- Venezuela threatens anew to turn off oil spigot to US -AFP
CARACAS - Venezuela's energy minister, Rafael Ramirez, said that Caracas is "ready and willing" to cut off its oil supply to the United States, if there are any signs of aggression from the superpower toward his country. "We are prepared to do that, and we stand ready to defend our rights," Ramirez told the official news agency ABN...These two daily boats full of Venezuelan oil could head another way instead of going to the United States," warned Chavez, whose country is the fourth-largest provider of oil to the United States, supplying some 1.5 million barrels a day.

8-16-05 -- Another record at the pump -CNN AAA: Average price for a gallon of unleaded is the highest in California, lowest in Wyoming... NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Prices at the pump struck another record high Tuesday, according to travel club AAA's daily fuel gauge report. The nationwide average price of a gallon of regular unleaded hit $2.524, up 4 cents from the previous day, according to AAA, the largest U.S. motorist organization formerly known as the American Automobile Association. In the last year, prices have gained nearly 67 cents, or about 36 percent.

Gold market glitters, $440-$450 range -Reuters

LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Gold pushed higher in Europe during Tuesday afternoon trading, with downside resilience encouraging a reversal of the day's trend and technically-based buying, traders said.

Prices pushed away from earlier lows near $440.00, erasing earlier losses, to settle into the plus column, aided by steadiness in New York futures.

"We are in a $440.00 to $450.00 range, and as long as $440.00 is supported it is bullish for the price," one trader said.

Initially, further profit-taking, coupled with a firmer dollar, put prices under pressure, although the correction of some two percent since scoring an eight-month high last Friday, was expected given the market's rapid ascent.

By 1501 GMT, spot gold was at $443.10/443.90 a troy ounce, up from New York's late quoted $441.70/442.50 an ounce on Monday.

The market shrugged off latest U.S. financial data, with the July CPI rising 0.5 percent, against expectations of a median 0.4 percent rise, compared with an unchanged reading in June.

Analyst James Moore of said that with bullion in holiday trading mode traders will continue to keep a close eye on the currencies as well as the oil market.

"Further price fluctuation in either will almost certainly overflow, creating a similar reaction in the precious complex. For now support in gold should be found around $438-40 with gold's upside target still a breach of the $450 level," Moore added.

Wal-Mart profit gain is smallest in 4 years -Reuters
Aug. 16, 2005

CHICAGO (Reuters) — Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) on Tuesday posted its smallest quarterly profit gain in four years and gave a disappointing forecast for the current period as rising oil prices curbed sales and drove up costs.

The 6% profit growth for the latest quarter beat Wall Street expectations because hot July weather drove summer merchandise sales.

But Wal-Mart fell short of its goal of increasing profits faster than sales, which were up 10.2%. Its key U.S. Wal-Mart stores division generated disappointing results for the second consecutive quarter.

The company's earnings announcement came five days after rival Target (TGT) reported a bigger-than-expected profit.

Wal-Mart said earnings rose to $2.8 billion, or 67 cents a share, in the second quarter ended July 31 from $2.7 billion, or 62 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts on average were expecting 65 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

For the third quarter, Wal-Mart said it expects profit of 55 cents to 59 cents a share, compared with Wall Street's expectations of 61 cents.

Wal-Mart, considered a barometer of consumer sentiment because it draws more than 100 million U.S. customers each week, said it remained upbeat on the U.S. economy, but oil prices that topped $67 a barrel this month were a big concern.

"Inflation in the U.S. appears to be well under control," Chief Executive Officer Lee Scott said on a recorded message. "The only real economic concern I have is that oil prices will erase improvements in employment and real income for an important portion of our customer base."

Gasoline prices have hit Wal-Mart's core low-income customers particularly hard, and the company has started offering more upscale goods in hopes of bringing in wealthier shoppers who are less sensitive to fuel prices.

Target's sales growth has outpaced Wal-Mart's in recent quarters, in part because its trendy-but-affordable clothing appeals to middle- and upper-income shoppers.

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8-17-05 -- Bear Market Rally -Forbes
...There are good reasons to believe that the two-year bull market of 2003 and 2004 was nothing but a brief countertrend in the post-2000 slump in stock prices.

Fed May Need to Raise Rates to Stop `Bubbles' -Bloomberg

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. central bankers may need to consider raising interest rates to keep surging property prices from creating a financial crisis or a long-term economic slowdown, a researcher with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said.

``While there are hurdles to clear, the door may be open for using higher interest rates to help reduce or contain price bubbles,'' Glenn Rudebusch, the bank's associate research director, said in an interview Aug. 12.

Rudebusch's comments go beyond the stance taken by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and the rest of the Federal Open Market Committee, which decided at its June meeting not to use higher rates to address ``possible mispricing'' of assets. Economists such as Merrill Lynch & Co.'s David Rosenberg say the central bank should keep the soaring U.S. housing market from becoming a bubble that damages the economy when it bursts.

Greenspan ``has stated his view and thinks it is delusional to think monetary policy is a good tool for popping asset price bubbles,'' Rudebusch said. ``There's still a lot of research to be done and it's not an open-and-shut case.''

The median U.S. home price surged 51 percent to $219,000 in June from the beginning of the expansion in November 2001, according to the National Association of Realtors. The 15 percent jump from June 2004 was the biggest 12-month gain since 1980.

Greenspan told Congress in testimony earlier this year that while there was ``froth'' in some local real estate markets, there probably isn't a nationwide bubble in home prices.

Two Approaches

Federal Reserve policy makers raised their benchmark U.S. interest rate for a 10th straight time on Aug. 9, to 3.5 percent, to stay ahead of inflation as the world's largest economy accelerates.

Policy makers, in theory, have two choices when asset prices rise in a way that may reflect ``price speculation or irrational investor euphoria,'' Rudebusch said in an Aug. 5 letter posted on the bank's Web site.

One is a ``standard policy'' that uses higher rates to offset increased inflation pressures and rising consumer demand that might be triggered, for example, by a booming stock market, he said.

The other is a ``bubble policy'' that goes further and tries to reduce the size of the bubble by setting interest rates ``even higher.'' Some surging asset prices may hurt the economy in a way that's difficult to undo, he said. The dot-com bubble, for instance, ``spurred overinvestment in fiber-optic cable and decimated the provision of venture capital for new technology startups for years.''

Answering Questions

Central bankers need to answer three questions before taking a bubble policy approach, Rudebusch said. The first is whether a bubble can be identified. Another is whether the fallout from such a bubble will be significant and hard to correct later. The third is whether interest rates are the best tool for addressing rising asset prices.

``It is possible to conceive of a situation in which reducing the bubble in advance is a preferred policy strategy,'' Rudebusch said.

During 1999 and 2000, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite Index and Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed to record levels, central bankers didn't try to deflate prices. The consequences ``from the apparent boom and bust in equity prices arguably have been manageable,'' the researcher wrote.

Greenspan is opposed to attacking bubbles as they form. ``The evidence of recent years, as well as the events of the late 1920s, cast doubt on the proposition that bubbles can be defused gradually,'' Greenspan said in December 2002. ``Among our realistically limited alternatives, dealing aggressively with the aftermath of a bubble appears the most likely to avert long-term damage to the economy.''

Rudebusch said ``there is no bottom line on the appropriate policy response to asset price bubbles.'' Further research and experience are needed to settle the debate, he said.


INFLATION JOLT: Twice What "Experts" Expected
The true rate, cause, and cure for the rising cost of living
By Craig R. Smith
Aug. 22, 2005

"We've had a taste of inflation today...Dollars are worth less and less, and ultimately less, bringing the ruination of nations. When Germans needed a wheel barrel of currency to buy a loaf of bread, their frustration paved the way for Hitler."
-PAUL HARVEY, 5-17-05 Afternoon broadcast

When a highly respected radio commentator like Paul Harvey equates the social, political and economic threat posed by higher inflation to the rise of Hitler's Third Reich, it's time we understand what's really going on and what, if anything, can be done to overcome it.


For years we've been told "Inflation is NO problem!" But let's apply some plain old common sense to discern the true rate of inflation. Just over the past year... (Compare to chart of 2004 increases)

* Energy is up 45%
* Health Care is up 22%,
* College Tuition is up 18-30%
* Commodities are up 16%
* Housing is up 12%

Common sense tell us the true rate of inflation should be much higher than 2-3% -- which is what government stats and most economic experts still maintain today. (What planet do these guys live on anyway?)

The “official” government wholesale inflation indicator (PPI) for July jolted the market last week, showing inflation at twice the rate expected by economists -- a startling 12% annualized. Media pundits were quick to blame it all on the temporary oil price spike.

But using common sense, I calculate the true rate of inflation at between 6-7% -- about double the “official” rate -- which does not reflect real world cost of living increases. (See In whose numbers do you trust?).


‘There is no surer way of overturning a society, than to debauch the currency.' The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does so in such a manner than only one man in a million is able to diagnose it.’ Lenin was certainly right”. -John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of Peace

Inflation is officially defined as a "sustained increase in the general level of prices for goods and services. It is measured as an annual percentage increase." But is that the whole story?

Is inflation just caused by greedy businessmen wanting more profit? Or, could it be The Federal Reserve, in concert with the U.S. government, actually promotes the real engine of inflation -- printing too much paper money?

The true source of inflation is the FEDERAL RESERVE, which creates more and more paper “dollars” to stimulate the economy, yet are simultaneously reducing the value of every dollar that every American has saved or invested. This monetary inflation begets asset inflation, which can be seen clearly in the "extremely overvalued" real estate market.

A deceptively low "official" inflation number hurts everyone, but especially those who rely on SSI and fixed retirement incomes. Cost-of-living income adjustments based on artificially low government CPI and PPI figures will never be able to keep pace with higher "real world" prices. No wonder our national saving rates recently hit zero again.

Inflation is the number one enemy of your financial plans for the future and of the generations to come. My rule of thumb is; take the official inflation rate and double it.


"Inflation is like sin; every government denounces it and every government practices it."

Monetary theft is not limited to governments; the stealing of money can be seen in such ancient practices as the clipping of coins and the abasing of metals. That is why coins with a milled rim became popular starting in 1685. These early types of inflation have been succeeded by "fiat" (false) money inflation.

Finding financial numbers you can trust can be as much of a struggle as finding a financial advisor you can trust. Discovering “real world” statistics involves stripping out the political-financial spin by crosschecking the numbers with multiple sources. This takes time and energy, but the alternative is to passively take a loss year after year.

My fear is when U.S. consumers finally wake up to the realities of inflation, they will suddenly find themselves too far behind the curve to do anything about it.

I suggest keeping an eye on gold prices, as another trustworthy indicator of real world inflation. Gold is up about 6% so far this year, so it’s safe to say inflation is at least 6%. Gold prices are now up 60% since 2001 -- I consider that as inflation “proof”. Alan Greenspan says, “If you want to know where interest rates are going … watch gold.”

As an interesting side note, the word “gold” in the Bible is often preceded by the word “pure”. Yet gold is not found in a state of purity, instead, it must be refined before it’s fit for use. No wonder gold (and silver) coins have faithfully served as the world’s only inflation-proof money for over 6,000 years – they can’t be printed by any government!

For more tips on overcoming inflation, read my newest 10-page Special Report: Real World Inflation Solutions.

By Craig R. Smith
Aug. 15, 2005


“It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."
-Henry Ford

What you are about to read may shock you!
As of August 2005, in addition to your mortgage, auto, credit card and other personal debt, YOU OWE $26,598!

It's true! That's your portion of the nearly $8 Trillion U.S. debt, shared equally by 300 million other Americans. And, if you're the breadwinner of a family of four, that amounts to a whooping $106,393 per household!

Government officials and economists often reassure the public that "Since we owe it to ourselves, it's no problem." But, as you are about to discover, they are wrong!

Debt is enslaving and consuming modern American culture. Gradually, like a frog in the kettle over the past 60 years, moneylenders have masked the true destruction of our money system -- by extending mortgage loans from 7 years, to 10, then to 15, 20, and now 30 years -- to their great financial benefit, I should add.

Yes, debt has become the legalized financial drug of the last generation -- after having been shunned for the previous 10 generations in America. Did you know that the root meaning of the word "debt" is "death"? Compare the words "MORTuary" and "MORTgage"... there's a clue.

Despite our cavalier attitude toward amassing record high debt levels, the fact is that debt does matter to the rest of the world. A world whose been supporting our financial over-indulgences for a many years, but at a big price: the destruction of the U.S dollar.

Far too many Americans are now forced to live paycheck to paycheck, and are often buried in debt. Any disruption in income or investment values could send tens of millions over the edge into bankruptcy -- also sending asset values spiraling downward, dragging down with them stocks, bonds, CD's, mutual funds and the value of the U.S. dollar.

But the dawn of the 21st century has brought about some major changes. The ideological pendulum is now swinging toward morality, freedom, liberty, and justice -- all of which draw strength from real assets; like land, gold, livestock and other commodities. Yes, we're witnessing the beginning of the end of a debt-driven, "symbolic" era -- and the start of an economic renaissance based on "substance."

We hope this special report will help put you and your family on the right side of history -- learning how to protect and grow your wealth by exercising the disciple to make sure the numbers all add up right.


"Number's don't lie, people lie!" -Unkonwn

Modern culture is based upon our trust in numbers. They're commonly accepted as the means to achieving objectivity in analysis, certainty in conclusions, and truth. Numbers tell us about the health of our society and they provide a demarcation between what is accepted as safe and what is believed to be dangerous.

But in reality, numbers are nowhere near as objective as we often take them to be. They do not exist in the air, but instead always come from someone's computations. Someone put them there and they often hide his or her intentions or assumptions.

It is easy to use numbers to lie, but it's very hard to discover that lie because our culture tells us numbers are objective and true. For the same reasons, it is easy to see that a whole economic system may also be reported falsely when using only government numbers to describe it.

It was a British economist who first said, "I never trust anything the government says until they officially deny it!" A sad statement, but apparently true regarding government statistics.

The numbers that you can trust are not as easily found. Finding "real world" statistics involves stripping out the political-financial spin by cross-checking the numbers with multiple sources.

Next time you hear that the CPI figure is this, or the GDP figure is that, keep in mind these numbers are calculated with a hidden purpose to help bolster public confidence in government and Wall Street.

After years of scandals on Wall Street, the fabric of U.S. confidence is badly torn and the whole system is in jeopardy of imploding -- including our precious U.S dollar.

I wrote "Rediscovering Gold in the 21st Century" back in 2001 - to help readers understand the vital role tangible assets, like gold and silver, have played in keeping our economy trustworthy --serving as a plumbline to help offset dishonest government numbers, funded by fiat money.

AN OCCULT MONEY SYSTEM?... more on this topic next week.

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8-17-05 -- A Nation of Big Spenders -Wash. Post By Robert J. Samuelson ... The Commerce Department did just that recently when it reported that Americans' personal savings rate had dropped to zero. As a society, we seem unwilling to devote even a penny to the future. How could this be, considering all of our huge contributions to retirement accounts? There are two possible answers. One is alarming: A low savings rate reflects national character -- an addiction to immediate gratification. The other is more reassuring: Low saving is partly a statistical mirage. Both answers are true.

Cashing in on rare coins -Annie-Laurie Blair, GNS
Gannett News Service
Aug. 15, 2005

Holding a 1794 Liberty dollar in your hand is seductive.

The weight of the silver feels substantial, unlike today's coins. The Liberty dollar transports you to the era of George Washington's presidency, the founding of the first U.S. bank and the Whiskey Rebellion. And then there's the price tag: $7,000 at Main Street Coin's gallery in Fairfield, Ohio.

"You buy coins because you love them," says Mike Dickmann, gallery co-owner. "For 40 bucks, you can buy history."

In fact, the market for investing in rare coins has been building since 1999, when the U.S. Mint sparked new interest in coin collectibles by issuing the first state commemorative quarters. The U.S. Mint has sold 24.71 billion of them.

Other factors sparking the boom, experts say, are the Internet's impact on sales and knowledge; low interest rates; and a loosening of once-strict grading values for coins.

At least 300 rare coins have sold for more than $200,000 each, leaving general investors calculating coin return rates in the face of the 200-point dip the S&P has seen in five years.

Values for virtually all series and grades of U.S. coins have risen substantially over the past three years, according to Mark Ferguson, a market analyst for Coin Values magazine.

Collecting tips

• Have clear objectives when buying rare coins. Decide what types of rare coins you want, the amount you wish to invest and the circumstances under which you will consider selling your coins.

• Only buy rare coins graded and authenticated by the leading independent grading services, whose standards are accepted industrywide.

• Buy coins as a long-term investment only. Expect to hold the coins for 10 years or longer.

• Only buy rare coins that are popular with collectors and are actively traded. Avoid thinly-traded esoteric coin issues that may be difficult to sell in the future.

• Never buy very expensive rare coins by mail-order or from any dealer on a sight-unseen basis. Buy only sight-seen Quality Certified Coins.


Related Story:
The Price is Right -Craig R. Smith, SATC ... In all the years that I've been in the business of buying and selling U.S. rare coins, I've yet to have a week go by that a customer hasn't asked one of my staff ... Was the price I paid the right price? ... How is a coin's real value determined? ... What publications or services provide accurate prices? ... So I will try to answer the most commonly asked questions in this article.

Gold – Where To From Here? -Pierre Lassonde
August 19, 2005 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

In August 2003, Pierre Lassonde, president of the world’s largest gold miner, Newmont Mining, said "The US dollar has enormous fundamental problems and the only way we believe that they are going to be addressed is through more liquidity in the system. They ultimately translate into reflation and higher gold prices.

"The US is running a US$550bn trade deficit mostly against China, Japan, the European community, and it is unsustainable. Basically, every day the rest of the world is putting 70% of their savings into the United States, so when you think about that it is not sustainable, so therefore the dollar has to go down for that to stop and that is good for gold."

At that time, gold was trading at US$360/oz. Pierre’s tip was that gold would rally to US$452/oz, and boy was he spot on. In December last year, gold hit the mark, and aside from a couple of extra dollars more, the price bounced hard off the ceiling and proceeded to enter a period of range trading (see chart). But with the global economy looking strong, and the US dollar seemingly likewise, the question now is: where to from here?

ABN Amro Morgans economists noted earlier in the month that treasury securities held in custody at the Federal Reserve on behalf of foreign official institutions have grown by only US$25bn so far this year, after an increase of more than US$200bn in 2004. Data from the Treasury International capital system also suggest an ebbing demand for treasury securities from foreign official investors during the first five months of the year.

This, suggests ABN, means that Central Banks are no longer supporting the US dollar. Only private investors are still supporting the US dollar, and they are, in ABN’s view, yet to realise they’re alone.

The combination of US deficit and US dollar was what led Pierre Lassonde to make his prescient statement two years ago. To the same end, ABN models what the analysts deem to be the "real" US dollar gold price. When the economists update their model of the real US dollar gold price, they look not so much at the foreign demand for US Treasury Bonds, but how rapidly they are being supplied. They look at the budget deficit of the US government.

ABN’s economists note the US budget deficit has worsened from a surplus of 2.4% of GDP in 2000 to a deficit of 3.6% of GDP in 2004. That is a worsening of 6% of GDP. This is the worst deterioration in peace time that the US budget has seen since 1929.In 2005, the forward estimates of the White House Office of Management & Budget suggest that the US budget deficit is actually improving, notes ABN. The budget deficit should decrease from 3.6% of GDP last year to around 2.7% of GDP this year, 2.6% of GDP next year and 1.7% the year after that. The reason that is happening is because of increasing corporate profits.

However, the economists’ model of the US dollar gold price indicates that the appropriate level of the gold price is not determined by where the budget deficit is this year - it is determined by where the budget deficit was last year. On this basis, the model is suggesting the appropriate price for gold now is US$484/oz, and that’s around US$40 plus higher than the current level.


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Swiss America Special Alert -- Gold Rush Phase II has begun...

Beneath the Surface -Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley
Aug. 15, 2005

Ah, for the perspective of the summer break. For me, it came just in the nick of time. Not much has broken my way over the past few months. The soft patch turned out to be shorter and softer than I had thought, as the US-led global business cycle once again has demonstrated its time-honored resilience. This reflects what is by now an all-too-familiar theme: On the surface, the global economy seems to be doing just fine. Yet just beneath that seemingly tranquil surface, the imbalances and tensions are only getting worse.

Standard rules of thumb tell us that every $10 increase in oil prices should knock about 0.4% off GDP growth during the following four quarters. But after the briefest of soft patches this spring, the world proceeded to zig rather than zag, as the business cycle miraculously sprang back to life. So much for the precision -- or even the relevance -- of our time-honored macro metrics! Those who felt that $50 oil would derail the global economy have been dead wrong. Why worry about $60 or even $70?

The reason to worry, in my view, is that the cost of this cyclical resilience in the face of an energy shock is not without serious consequences for an unbalanced world. In particular, it has pushed the asset-dependent American consumer to a new state of excess. At first blush, there seems to be little reason to worry -- according to our US team, personal consumption growth is tracking a 5.5% gain in the current quarter. But consider the costs of that stellar accomplishment -- a personal saving rate that has finally hit the “zero” threshold, debt ratios that continue to move into the stratosphere, and asset-led underpinnings of residential property markets that are now firmly in bubble territory. Courtesy of surging oil prices, these costs are now at the breaking point, in my view.

Consider the saving position of the American consumer. The flaws of this measure are well known -- especially the exclusion of saving traceable to capital gains on asset holdings. But shifts in the national-income-based personal saving rate do a perfectly adequate job in depicting disparate movements of labor-market-dominated income generation and personal spending. On that basis, there can be no mistaking the precarious position of today’s US consumer. In the face of an unprecedented shortfall of labor income -- with real compensation growth in the 44 months of the current expansion running $282 billion below the path of the typical cycle -- consumers have not even flinched. Reflecting a new asset-dependent spending mindset -- first arising out of the equity bubble of the late 1990s and more recently supported by the property bubble -- US households have been more than willing to draw their income-based saving rates down into unprecedented territory.


Who's responsible for $3 per gallon gasoline? Hint: It's NOT OPEC.
Jon C. Ryter
August 16, 2005

Gas prices soar as new Energy Policy Act of 2005 makes our position as clear as mud. Seven Sisters slap the hands of Congress for not relieving them from MTBE liability as the price of crude continues to rise.

Gas prices at the pumps are soaring again as crude oil prices hit $66 per barrel—bouncing briefly to $69 before dropping back to $66 to close just under $67 a barrel — at $66.86. (Brent North Sea crude closed at 66.36 on Friday.)

Experts were puzzled at the dramatic upward spike since OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] has been steadily producing oil at near capacity and the demand for oil in Asia slackened substantially over the last couple of weeks. Those two factors alone should have brought the price of crude oil down below $60 per barrel and eased the price of gasoline and home heating oil. That didn't happen. The question that begs an answer is WHY.

The blame for this one lies solely at the doorstep of the Seven Sisters. We can't blame it on the Saudis over the death of King Fahd since Saudi oil production has not dropped a barrel. Nor, can we blame it on President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. Not one OPEC nation has cut their crude oil production.

The blame this time lies with the Seven Sisters and their European oil allies—Standard Oil, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron (formerly Chevron-Texaco), Sunoco, BP-Amoco, Atlantic Richfield, Sohio, Conoco, Unocal and those it partially owns, like Citgo, Sinclair, Phillips, Ashland Oil, Marathon and Gulf as well as Pennzoil and Quaker State. And, of course, the behemoth European oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell. The International Energy Agency [IEP] pointed out on Thursday that the slowdown in oil production is coming exclusively from outside of OPEC. That means only one thing. The Standard Oil cartel and Royal Dutch Shell have cut production. In fact, they have cut production below the level called for by the reduced demand by Asia. US refiners admitted they were "having problems" meeting demand this week—without explaining what their problems were.

Added to that stress came rumors from both England and the United States that there were "credible reports" echoed from the Australian government as well that al Qaeda was " the final stages of planning attacks" in the British Empire to be carried out soon—and in the United States on September 11. The rumors suggest that terrorists might hijack oil trucks (or any tractor-trailers) and crash them into busy gas stations throughout the United States, or they might go after oil refineries, wells or pipelines in order to interrupt the flow of oil, causing crude futures to skyrocket to that mythical $100 per barrel level and cause a shock wave that will be felt by a sharp downward spike in the stock market.

On top of that, on Thursday, the Saudi government of newly crowned King Abdullah said "...[t]here are credible reports that terrorists are planning further attacks [in Saudi Arabia] in the near future...we continue to believe that terrorists are planning further attacks, including against westerners and places associated with westerners in Saudi Arabia." In response to the new oil crisis, King Abdullah offered to increase oil production in the kingdom by another 1.5 million barrels per day—which would completely cover the current shortfall plus provide the industrial world with an oil "cushion." Logic suggests that will ease the throttle on the futures market, but pundits believe we are headed for $85 oil—and they don't hold out much hope that consumers are going to find too much relief from artificial high prices.

Clearly, the Arab nations are now producing at, or very near, capacity. While most people are of the view that most of America's oil comes from OPEC, in point of fact, 40% of our oil comes from the Mideast or other OPEC nations. The balance comes from domestic sources, from England or Russia.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave the oil industry many of the things they demanded, but it denied them just as much—if not more.

First, it gave them $14.5 billion in tax cuts to offset their research costs to develop new biofuels as well less expensive hydrogen fuels and fuel cells that will be available to the general public along every major artery across the nation. (Hydrogen fuel—even if it could be produced less expensively, will have limited appeal if the driver of a hydrogen car can't find a "filling station" when they need a fill-up.) The Energy Policy Act of 2005 also requires oil refineries to increase the use of ethanol, a biofuel, doubling its use as a gasoline substitute to 7.5 billion gallons per year by 2012. Today, neither ethanol nor hydrogen are an inexpensive fuel. Each costs about $5 a gallon.

The closest Congress came to mentioning gas efficiency was not requiring new cars to be more energy efficient. "The bill signed today by the President," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said on Monday, Aug. 8 shortly after the photo op bill signing at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, "does not do nearly enough to put America soundly on the path towards energy independence. Nor will it relieve customers from skyrocketing costs."


Rights vs. Responsibilities: Dangerous Double-Talk -JB Williams

Americans spend a lot of time fighting for, talking, debating and writing about our rights. No matter from which side of the political aisle we hale, we love our rights and we love to talk about them. It’s a shame we are not as enthusiastic about the responsibilities that accompany those rights.

To be sure, we Americans have more rights than we can shake a stick at. But the one we seem to love most, or at least hang our hat on the most, is our right to freely speak our mind. I’m certainly no exception.

Every fight we are engaged in today revolves around some real, perceived or desired right, as human beings, as fellow Americans, or as members of the world community. We fight over gay rights, abortion rights, religious rights, economic rights, artistic rights, gun rights, property rights, racial rights, majority or minority rights and even our right to act as a sovereign nation, in the interest of national security. Nothing will get a good fight going like a fight over rights…

Yet we seem somewhat reluctant to spend any time on the responsibility side of the equation. It’s almost as if some people fail to realize that each right carries with it an inherently inescapable responsibility. They interpret all freedoms and personal liberties to be free from consequence or responsibility, but nothing could be further from the truth.

As Americans, we have above all else, the right of self-determination. We not only have a right to decide what’s important, we have an obligation, a responsibility, not only as regards ourselves, but as regards our community and our nation.

On the August 14th edition of Face the Nation, leader of the Democratic Party Howard Dean announced to the world (his personal opinion concerning Americas response to Iran’s return to nuclear proliferation), that America “doesn’t have much [military might] left to fight a country that is a danger to the United States.”

Concerning a recent Bush press conference in which the President rightfully refused to eliminate military action as a option regarding Iran, Dean said “that no option should be taken off the table”, but that “he [the President] shouldn’t say it, because it can’t be delivered upon”, implying that either this President doesn’t have the will to use such an option, (proven wrong by this Presidents action in Iraq), or that America does not have the military strength to carry out such an option, an assertion made often by many liberal democrats these days.

Clearly Governor Dean, like any other American, has every right to such an opinion. However, as the leader of the second most powerful political party in America, representing nearly half of American voters, on a world stage, during a time of war, what were his responsibilities and did he live up to them?

Should he consider his audience, not just those like minded political ideologues that such statements are intended to rally, but the world-wide audience, including our enemies, who re-printed those statements in their own propaganda rags within minutes? What would we suppose Iran (or many other terrorist minded regimes in the world) might take from his statements?

Could we reasonably assume that Iran would take his statements quite literally, becoming more confident in their decision to defy the official position of the US administration and therefore, the UN, who never acts in such matters without the US? How did Iran respond to this news, that America was unable to “deliver upon” any threat of action? Let’s not guess. Iran answers the question…

“An increasingly defiant Iran called yesterday for Europe to open talks on Tehran's intention to enrich uranium, and dismissed a veiled Bush administration warning of military action against Iranian nuclear operations as psychological warfare.” states an AP article in the following Monday morning Seattle Times. In short, Iran immediately responded to Deans statements for benefit of the same world stage.

Reality is that military action in Iran became more likely as a direct result of Dean’s irresponsible statements. We know this because we have seen it before. Hussein, with the help of his bed-partners in France, Germany and Russia, became oblivious to threats of action from the UN or the US after successfully thumbing his nose at 17 hollow threats from the international community via an impotent UN throughout the Clinton years, leaving only military action as a viable means of forcing compliance.

For the record, when saber rattling doesn’t work, and our enemies call our bluff (if that’s what it is) using the saber itself is usually the only remaining option. In some circles, undermining formal foreign policy initiatives by discounting policy statements as insincere, would be considered “aiding and abetting” the enemy, whether intentional or out of ignorance. After all, it pretty much voids the efforts of diplomats actually charged with the responsibility of resolving conflicts without military action, doesn’t it?

What about liberal statements that Iraqis are worse off now than when living under the boot of the friendly Hussein family? Does anyone really believe this to be true? Even it if were true, (as if it could be), does such a statement not directly encourage those “insurgents” currently “resisting” efforts to create a free Iraq? Are these so-called “insurgents” motives not validated by such statements, there resistance emboldened by Americans who openly support their claims?

How about the statement that Iraq was not a hotbed of terror before American soldiers arrived, or Senator Dick Durbin’s statements accusing American “Nazis” of running modern day “Gulags”? Could the “insurgents” themselves have said it any better?

While all of these people have a right to make these statements, they also have a responsibility not to make statements which clearly support the views and ambitions of our enemies. Don’t they?

Can one claim to “support our troops” while making statements that aid, support and embolden the enemies of our troops? I can’t see how… Can one claim to be pro-American when all of their rhetoric is anti-America? What kind of national leader takes aim at his own nation in support of his nation’s enemies? Technically speaking, only a traitor!

It seems to me that a debate over rights vs. responsibilities might be the most important discussion we could have in America today, maybe the world. Which carries more weight, our right, or the inescapable responsibility?

Do we have a right to defend our nation and way of life against all enemies, foreign or domestic, at any cost? Regardless of whether or not we have the right, we certainly have the responsibility to do exactly that, whatever the cost. This is the first responsibility of every elected official, no matter their political party affiliation.

Most Americans agree that the war on terror is one we can’t afford to lose. But how do we win a war that half of the nation sees no need to fight? How do we defeat an enemy supported by nearly half of our population?

We have the right… but we also have a responsibility. Those who accept no responsibility with their right can not be trusted with that right. In war time, no one is more dangerous than an irresponsible individual willing to aid and abet our enemies for sake of political gain. Patriotism doesn’t get any more basic than this and I am troubled by the number of Americans who either just don’t get that, or just don’t care…

American Daily

International Director of Barnabas Fund
ASSIST News Service
August 15, 2005

PEWSEY, WILTSHIRE, UK (ANS) -- On Friday, May 20th 2005, a crowd of some 300 Muslims burned a wooden cross outside the American embassy in London. This was part of a protest against the rumored desecration of a Qur’an by American soldiers in Guantanamo Bay, during which British and American flags were also burned. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this event was that it was not deemed to be newsworthy, receiving little attention in the national press.

The whole scenario is reminiscent of what happens in so many Muslim-majority countries: a rumor of an insult to Islam, a violent and blasphemous anti-Christian reaction, police watching idly, and a complete lack of public interest let alone outrage. It could have been Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia or Northern Nigeria. But it was the UK.

Europe is undergoing a rapid process of change as Muslims make their presence felt in politics, economics, law, education and the media. While there is a wide range of attitudes amongst Muslims in Europe, with many who are broadly content with the status quo and just want to live their lives peacefully, others are striving deliberately to drive forward the changes. As a result of the efforts of the latter, Europe is gradually being transformed into a society in which Islam takes its place, not just as an equal alongside the many other faith communities, but often as the dominant player. This is not purely, or even primarily, a matter of numbers, but is more a matter of control of the structures of society. It is not happening by chance but is the result of a careful and deliberate strategy by certain Muslim leaders.

Though the effects are only now becoming noticeable, the planning was done decades ago. In 1980 the Islamic Council of Europe published a book called Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States which clearly explained the Islamic agenda in Europe. When Muslims live as a minority they face theological problems, because classical Islamic teaching always presupposed a context of Islamic dominance; hence the need for guidance on how to live in non-Muslim states. The instructions given in the book told Muslims to get together and organize themselves with the aim of establishing a viable Muslim community based on Islamic principles. This is the duty of every individual Muslim living within a non-Muslim political entity. They should set up mosques, community centers and Islamic schools.

At all costs they must avoid being assimilated by the majority. In order to resist assimilation, they must group themselves geographically, forming areas of high Muslim concentration within the population as a whole. Yet they must also interact with non-Muslims so as to share the message of Islam with them. Every Muslim individual is required to participate in the plan; it is not allowed for anyone simply to live as a “good Muslim” without assisting the overall strategy. The ultimate goal of this strategy is that the Muslims should become a majority and the entire nation be governed according to Islam. (M. Ali Kettani “The Problems of Muslim Minorities and their Solutions” in Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States (London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1980) pp.96-105)

Not all Muslims would support this action plan. The more secularized are happy to become integrated within the majority society. Even amongst those who agree on the ultimate goal of creating an Islamic state, there are differences about methodology i.e. whether this should be a slow and peaceful transition, or whether it should be hastened by means of political dominance or even – say some – by violence.

Despite the variety of opinion amongst Muslims, it is not hard to recognize the different stages of the Islamic Council of Europe’s strategy being put into practice within today’s Europe. Muslims do tend to live in tightly concentrated areas, and show little sign of integrating into wider society. Saudi funding is paying for the erection of large and beautiful mosques, staffed by imams brought over to Europe from the “home countries”. Sweden’s third largest city, Malmø, is effectively ruled by violent gangs of Muslims, and some of the Muslim residents of the city still cannot read or write Swedish though they have lived there for 20 years. Denmark has recently seen the Nordgårdsskolen in Aarhus become the first school in the country to have 100% Muslim pupils. Britain’s Muslim population (variously estimated at between 1.6 and 3 million) is concentrated in three areas: north-west England, the midlands and London. In some of these areas Muslims are now targeting the remaining Christian presence, arsoning churches, physically attacking church leaders and their property; the aim seems to be to “cleanse” these areas of non-Muslims.

European Muslims are Islamizing many aspects of life that also affect non-Muslims. Spanish Muslims have expressed their desire to “regain” the mosque of Cordoba. This building was originally a church, then turned into a mosque, and then turned back into a place of Christian worship. Halal meat is now routinely served in many British prisons, schools and hospitals, sometimes to Muslim and non-Muslim alike, and the hijab [Islamic headscarf] is worn in British schools. Muslims in the London borough of Tower Hamlets have forced name-changes for districts and local amenities if the existing name sounds too Christian for their liking.

In the UK, where Islam is making its most rapid advance, Islamic law (shari’a) is already practiced unofficially, with shari’a councils and shari’a courts giving judgments on Muslim family matters. In education numerous concessions are being made to British Muslims, Islam often being given more prominence and respect than other faiths at state schools. An increasing number of university posts are being funded from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries on condition that a certain line of thinking is promoted.

The ultimate goal of taking control of society, as depicted by the Islamic Council of Europe in 1980, is clearly in the minds of at least some Muslim leaders. A Dutch Imam has stated that Islamic law is superior to other forms of legislation so there is no need to obey other laws. Some Finnish imams preach on the Islamic duty to kill a Muslim who converts to another faith, adding that it is difficult to carry this out in Finland at present because Muslims do not yet “own the state”. Furthermore, the freedoms of European society are being exploited by Islamic militants and their supporters to plan terrorist activities around the world. London – or “Londonistan” as it is becoming known – is one of the most important bases for Islamic terrorism worldwide. This has been illustrated by the July bombings in London itself.

Despite all these advances, Muslims still tend to portray themselves as victims in European society, while the majority society in turn struggles to affirm them and to avoid giving any accidental offence.

But this kind of reaction by non-Muslims can be seen as the typical behavior of dhimmi. In classical Islam, Christian and Jewish minorities within an Islamic state were called dhimmi. They were free to worship and live out their faith, but had to submit to a raft of discriminatory and humiliating laws. They learned to be subservient, and to consider the dominance of Muslims as normal as the Muslims themselves did.

It is typical of dhimmi not to protest if a Christian cross is burned by an angry crowd, nor even to feel that anything outrageous has occurred. Likewise the Muslim scheme to turn the cathedral of Cordoba back into a mosque has the backing of some Spanish government leaders in the city.

At a political level, European countries are responding in different ways to the challenge of Islam. France is determinedly protecting its secularism, and has banned the hijab in school. The Netherlands have recently swung from one extreme to the other, following the ritualized killing of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh by a young Muslim in November 2004; they are turning against multiculturalism and becoming concerned to control immigration. The UK seems to be seeking to replicate the segregation and communalism of the British Raj in India, whereby the various religious communities were each given their own laws. This policy would certainly mesh well with some Muslim leaders’ own plans for Britain. If Britain is to be sub-divided in this way, perhaps geographically as well as legally, it raises the question of how the Church would survive in areas of Islamic rule. What form would Christian ministry be able to take in these areas?

Muslims are still a minority in numerical terms in Europe, with an estimated 20 million living in the European Union. No country apart from Albania has a Muslim community amounting to more than about 10% of the population. However, demographic studies indicate that Muslim populations are growing far faster than the non-Muslim populations. This is due partly to continued immigration, partly to conversion, but mainly to the larger number of children which Muslim families typically have. The growing Muslim community is a mosaic of different ethnic, linguistic, cultural, sectarian and geographical backgrounds, and characterized by increasing internal tensions particularly over how to relate to the host society.

Some Christians have decried as faithless pessimism those who predict the Islamization of Europe before the end of the century. But it must be remembered that the region which is now Pakistan and Afghanistan was once Christian, as was North Africa. The Church was completely eradicated from these areas by the advance of Islam. It would surely be arrogant to think that this could never happen to the Church in Europe.

As individual Christians we must love our Muslim neighbors and forgive any wrongs done to us. But as a community the Church must defend herself, as well as the Judaeo-Christian heritage with which Europe is blessed. For this her leaders need great wisdom and courage.

For more information on Barnabas Fund, go to


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DISCLAIMER: All of the provided information is believed to be accurate, however errors are possible. The opinions in the Commentary section do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Swiss America. Past performance of any investment is no guarantee of future performance. All investments have risk.

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