European Parliament Endorses Goldstone Gaza Report - By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz (12/3/10) PDF Print E-mail
By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz   
Thursday, 11 March 2010 19:24

The European Parliament on Wednesday urged its 27-member states to monitor the Israeli and Palestinian probes into alleged war crimes committed during last year's late-winter conflict in Gaza.

The resolution backed the findings of a UN-appointed expert panel chaired by South African Judge Richard Goldstone, which concluded that both sides committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the war that began in December 2008 and ended in January 2009.

The parliamentary move, which would give the EU an unprecedented role in evaluating the progress of Israel's war crimes probe, was sharply criticized by Israel.



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History As Our Guide - By Rob Kirby (11/3/10) PDF Print E-mail
Rob Kirby   
Thursday, 11 March 2010 07:53

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Washington Must Ban U.S. Credit Derivatives as Traders Demand Gold - By Janet Tavakoli, Huffington Post (11/3/10) PDF Print E-mail
By Janet Tavakoli, Huffington Post   
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 23:00

Congress should act immediately to abolish credit default swaps on the United States, because these derivatives will foment distortions in global currencies and gold. Failure to act now will only mean the U.S. will be forced to act after these "financial weapons of mass destruction" levy heavy casualties. These obligations now settle in euros, but the end game is to settle them in gold. This is so ripe for speculative manipulation that you might as well cover the U.S. map with a bull's-eye.

Credit default swaps are not insurance. If you buy fire insurance on your home, you must own the house. If you buy credit protection on the United States, however, you do not need to own U.S. Treasury bonds. If your protection gains value after you buy it -- not because the U.S. defaults, but because of market mood changes -- you can resell that protection and make a profit.

Lower credit risk means a lower price for protection. Zero implies zero risk. The higher the basis points, the higher the implied risk. When U.S. credit default swaps were first introduced, the price of protection was around two basis points. According to Bloomberg, the price for five-year protection was around 38 basis points (per annum) on Friday. But the price in the over-the-counter market -- where this stuff actually trades -- was almost double or around 75 basis points.
Since most traders in U.S. credit default swaps don't think the U.S. will default any time soon, why are they trading U.S. credit default swaps? They are speculating on price movements the way a day trader buys and sells stocks to speculate on stock price movements.



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Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 March 2010 23:04
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MUST-WATCH VIDEO: Q&A With Janet Tavakoli (10/3/10) PDF Print E-mail
Posted by Administrator   
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 00:16



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Trade Deficits and Fiat Currencies - By Robert P. Murphy, Mises Daily (10/3/10) PDF Print E-mail
By Robert P. Murphy, Mises Daily   
Tuesday, 09 March 2010 21:51

There is a connection between fiat currencies and trade deficits, and many cynics have argued that the US dollar's status as global reserve currency allowed Americans to consume more than they produced for decades. However, this "deficit without tears" argument is sometimes overstated. To gain a deeper understanding of both monetary theory and international trade, it's useful to probe the issue more carefully.

Does Fiat Money Cause Trade Deficits?

In his book, The Creature from Jekyll Island, G. Edward Griffin is rightfully suspicious of the American trade deficit and the US dollar's special role in the world since World War II. He explains,

When the dollar was separated entirely from gold in 1971, it ceased being the official IMF world currency and finally had to compete with other currencies.… From that point forward, its value increasingly became discounted. Nevertheless, it was still the preferred medium of exchange. Also, the U.S. was one of the safest places in the world to invest one's money. But, to do so, one first had to convert his native currency into dollars. These facts gave the U.S. dollar greater value on international markets than it otherwise would have merited. So, in spite of the fact that the Federal Reserve was creating huge amounts of money during this time, the demand for it by foreigners was seemingly limitless. The result is that America has continued to finance its trade deficit with fiat money — counterfeit, if you will — a feat which no other nation in the world could hope to accomplish. (p. 93)



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