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Edited by Alfred Adask
Friday, December 12th, A.D. 2014
Between Friday, December 5th, A.D. 2014 and 
Friday, December 12th A.D. 2014, the bid prices for:


Gold rose 2.4 % from $1,193.10 to $1,221.80

Silver rose 4.6 % from $16.29 to $17.04

Platinum rose 0.6 % from $1,218 to $1,225

Palladium rose1.4 % from $801 to $812

DJIA fell 3.8 % from 17,958.79 to 17,280.83

NASDAQ fell 2.7 % from 4,780.76 to 4,653.60

NYSE fell 4.3 % from 10,970.30 to 10,500.50

US Dollar Index fell1.2 % from 89.35 to 88.32

Crude Oil fell 12.3 % from $65.56 to $57.49


"Only buy something that you'd be perfectly happy to hold
if the market shut down for 10 years." --Warren Buffett 

"If the markets shut down for 10 years, what investment would you dare to hold-- 
other than gold"? --Alfred Adask

Inquiring Minds Wanna Hack


by Alfred Adask


The New York Times recently published an article entitled "Hacked vs. Hackers: Game On".  That article warned of the growing dangers of "hackers" breaking into our credit card and banking accounts:


"The impact on consumers has been vast. Last year, over 552 million peoplehad their identities stolen, and nearly 25,000 Americans had sensitive health information compromised-every day.


 "Over half of Americans, including President Obama, had to have their credit cards replaced at least oncebecause of a breach, according to the Ponemon Group, an independent research organization."


Of the world's 7 billion people, over one-half billion have had their identities stolen by hackers.  In just one year.  


About 110 million Americans have replaced their credit cards due to digitized assaults by hackers.  This number implies that, if you have and use a credit card, there's at least a 50% probability that hackers will get into your account and possibly steal some of your funds.


But there are things in the digitized universe that are even more valuable than your identity and credit card accounts.  For example,


". . .the value of those stolen credit cards, which trade freely in underground criminal markets, is eclipsed by the value of the intellectual property that has been siphoned out of United States corporations, universities and research groups by hackers in China .


"And this year, American companies learned it was not just Beijing they were up against. Thanks to revelations by the former intelligence agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, companies worry about protecting their networks from their own government."


We are surrounded by hackers.  Some are private hackers who are criminals.  Some are hackers employed by foreign governments whose actions are effectively legal because they operate beyond the jurisdiction of the US government.  And then, there's the US government, whose hacking is legal in the same sense that President Nixon once observed, "If the President does it, that means it's legal."


The potential losses are growing:


"If the tech sectorcannot persuade foreign customersthat their data is safe from the National Security Agency, the tech industry analysis firm Forrester Research predicts that America's cloud computing industry stands to lose $180 billion-a quarter of its current revenue-over the next two years to competitors abroad."


If you're hoping for a technological solution to the hacker problem, don't hold your breath:


 "We're slowly getting combinations of new technologies that deal with this problem," . . . . Edward Snowden revealed that the N.S.A. might have been grabbing data from companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook in unencrypted form as it passed between their respective data centers.  Now, they all encrypt their traffic as it flows internally between their own data centers.


Apparently, the only strategy that's currently effective for protecting your data and identity is data encryption-and even that can't be guaranteed to always work.  Instead,


"There is growing recognition that there is no silver bullet. Firewalls and antivirus software alone cannot keep hackers out . . . . People are recognizing that existing technologies aren't working.  It's almost impossible to think of a company that hasn't been hacked-the Pentagon's secret network, the White House, JPMorgan - it is pretty obvious that prevention and detection technologies are broken."


The hackers are smarter and more dedicated than the corporations and the government and certainly smarter than you and I.


There are implications: 


1)    The risk of using digital credit and debit cards is growing and might decline in the future.


2)    To be safe from hacking, some computer will be physically isolated from the internet.  But if we must abandon the internet to protect our data, the internet will be less useful and less used.


3)    "Smart phones" used to process monetary transactions will undoubtedly be hacked and drained of their digital funds.  (There's an app for that!)  People will begin to see that the convenience of digital currency may be outweighed by the inconvenience of digital theft.  "Smart phones" might not be quite so "smart".


4)    If the internet can't safely process digital currency transactions, its utility and growth may be significantly reduced; the survival of big online retailers like may be threatened;  the internet's single biggest industry (porn) could collapse; online stock investing may become a thing of the past; online gambling and Forex "investing" might fail; anything you do today with digital currency over the internet might be restricted or even terminated.


5)    Online shopping is threatened and might not overwhelm brick and mortar stores in the foreseeable future.


6)    Use of cash or checks in monetary transactions at "brick and mortar" stores, might begin to rise as people try to protect their wealth by moving away from digital monetary devices and back to a more physical monetary medium.


7)    The value of commercial real estate and shopping malls might not be destroyed by the internet.  Prices for retail real estate might even begin to rise.


8)    For now, digital currencies are the easiest to steal or counterfeit.  Next easiest are paper currencies like checks or paper dollars.  The hardest currencies to steal or counterfeit are precious metals.  Unless computer technology can be devised that takes the risk out of digital currency, people may begin to reject digital currencies and go back to more "primitive" currencies like paper and precious metals.


Ironically, the hackers might play a role in saving brick-and-mortar stores and the use of non-digital forms of payment like checks, cash and even gold.

"Grandmaster Putin's Golden Trap"?


by Alfred Adask


Dmitry Kalinichenko recently wrote a brilliant article entitled "Grandmaster Putin's Golden Trap".  That article was originally written in Russian and later translated into English by Kristina Rus. 


The translation is generally easy to read, but there are some portions of that English translation that may not have clearly expressed Mr. Kalinichenko's original ideas.

The article began with,


"Very few people understand what [Russia's President Vladimir] Putin is doing at the moment. And almost no one understands what he will do in the future.  No matter how strangeit may seem, but right now, Putin is selling Russian oil and gas only for physical gold."


Say whut?! 


Surely, Russia is not selling its petroleum products only for physical gold.  Surely, Russia is accepting other fiat currencies (such as euros, yuan and dollars) as payment for its crude oil.  From his first line, Mr. Kalinichenko's arguments seem false and even silly.


But Mr. Kalinichenko was speaking metaphorically.


He explains:


"Putin . . . of course, still accepts US dollars as an intermediate means of payment. But heimmediately exchanges all these dollars obtained from the sale of oil and gas for physical gold!


"To understand this, it is enough to look at the dynamics of growth of gold reserves of Russia and to compare this data with foreign exchange earnings of the Russian Funds coming from the sale of oil and gas over the same period."


In other words, Mr. Kalinichenko claims that if you compare the amount of crude oil that Russia has sold for fiat dollars in the past several years to the amount of gold Russia has purchased, you'll see that Russia has been buying almost exactly the same value in gold as it received in fiat dollars.  Kalinichenko concludes that it is Putin's policy to thereby "redeem" all of his fiat dollars for gold.


True, Russia was not selling its crude oil directly for gold-but it was selling its crude indirectly for gold with the dollar or other fiat currencies serving as only an intermediary


To illustrate, let's suppose I bought one million barrels of Russian crude oil and "paid" for them with fiat dollars.  Russia would happily sell their crude for my fiat dollars.  But Russia would not view my fiat dollars as the actual "payment" for Russia's crude.  Russia would not save my fiat dollars in their foreign reserves as a payment or world reserve currency.  Instead, Russia would only view my fiat dollars (a mere promise to pay) as an intermediate step between selling a real product like crude oil for a real "payment" like gold.


Russia would only view physical gold as the actual and final "payment" for its physical crude oil.


Thus, just as Mr. Kalinichenko claimed, Russia is being paid for its crude oil with physical gold.  Yes, fiat dollars may still serve an intermediary step in such transactions but, for Russia, the final payment is only gold


*  The significance of shifting the perception of the fiat dollar's utility from that of a "payment" to a mere "intermediary" can't be exaggerated. 


Because paper dollars were once redeemable in gold or silver coins, the people of the United States and of the world have been conditioned to believe that a paper dollar is a payment


But that was never true. 


Paper dollars have never been an actual payment, but always only an intermediate "promise to pay".  So long as paper dollars were backed by gold or silver, and people could redeem paper dollars for gold and silver, the inherent promise is every paper dollar was that, if you took your paper dollars (promises to pay) to the banks or government, you could exchange their "promises to pay" (paper dollars) for real payments-tangible gold or silver.  Gold and silver were recognized as real "payments"; the paper dollars were merely an intermediate step between selling (for paper dollars) and being actually paid-receiving gold or silver.


But, since A.D. 1971 (when the paper dollar finally became a pure fiat currency that was not redeemable in gold or silver from the government or banks) the government no longer "promised to pay" anything tangible (gold or silver) for paper dollars. 


If you received fiat dollars for your work, products or investments, they was still a "promise (of sorts) to pay" in terms of "something" physical.  But that promise would not be kept by the banks or government.  Legally, you couldn't redeem the paper "promises to pay" from the government or banks with anything tangible other than more paper, fiat dollars.


If you wanted to be "paid" for your work or investments, you'd receive a paper dollar ultimately issued by the Federal Reserve and/or government.  But then, it would be up to you to find some other chump who would give you something physical for your "promises to pay". 


For example, you might take your paper dollars to the gas station to buy some gasoline.  If you did, your "payment" for your work or investments would not be the paper dollars you received from your employer-it would be the gasoline you received from the third-party gas station.


The gas station owner who accepted your paper "promises to pay" would not redeem that promise from you (the guy who received the gasoline) or from the Federal Reserve (that issued the original paper dollar), but would only redeem that "promise" when he found some other chump (a fourth party) who'd accept worthless paper dollars (promises) in return for more merchandise to sell in his store or labor provided by his employees.


Then, whoever received the paper promises to pay from the gas station owner, would go out and find some other fool (fifth party) willing to trade a real payment (something physical and real that he owned or had produced) for the intrinsically worthless paper/fiat dollars.


And so it would go.  Each person who received a paper promise to be paid (fiat dollars) would not be paid by the person he'd sold his goods or labor to, but would later be paid (in something physical) by whoever subsequently accepted those paper dollars in return for yet another physical payment.


Once you see it, the process isn't hard to understand.  But it is surprisingly difficult to explain.


*  The important point is this:  Except for receiving paper dollars as payment for taxes, the government and/or Federal Reserve does not redeem the "promise to pay" that's inherent in every paper dollar.  The inherent "promise" in every paper or digital dollar is that one of your neighbors will probably "pay" the resulting debt-but the government and/or Federal Reserve will not.


An unredeemable fiat dollar is functionally equivalent to a NSF check written on an empty bank account-with one exception:  the fiat dollar is declared legal by the government while the NSF check is declared to fraudulent and criminal.


How rich, how powerful could you be if everyone was required by law to accept the paper checks you signed, but no one could cash your checks against your checking account?  Could you have a mansion in every state?  Could you purchase a different car for every day of month (year)?   How many lovers could you have?  How many jewels, Congressmen, Senators or Presidents could you buy if no ever redeemed your checks?


The same principle applies to the Federal Reserve and/or the federal government.  If they can issue "checks" (promises to pay) that can never be "cashed" against a real government account for something physical, they can eventually buy the world without ever actually paying for it.


*  This is no small thing.


In essence, it means that the government and/or Federal Reserve are able to buy physical things without paying for them.  Every time we receive fiat dollars from the Federal Reserve, if we want to change those "promises to pay" into actual payments, we must go to some third party and swap our paper dollars (promises to pay) for something physical (an actual payment) that the third party owns or has produced.  But the Fed, itself, and the government, never makes an actual payment on its debts.  They make purchases with mere "promises to pay" that Congress has declared that they're not legally required to keep.


This means that government (and/or the Federal Reserve) can grow exponentially by purchasing goods, labor or even power with mere promises to pay (paper or digital dollars) rather than actual payments.  Thus, the fiat dollar (paper promise to pay) is the foundation for Big and ever-Bigger Government.  If government had to make actual payments in something physical (gold or silver), I doubt that the current size of government would be more than 25% of the size that it is today. 


You can see why our government should be desperate and determined to ensure the survival of the fiat dollar.  If the fiat dollar dies, so does big government.



*  Therefore, is Mr. Kalinichenko correct in describing Russian President Putin as a "grandmaster" in implementing his monetary strategy vis-ŕ-vis the fiat dollar? 




But I wonder if Putin really understands how dangerous his strategy may be.


I'm not talking about Russia trading oil for dollars for gold.  That's a brilliant strategy, but not of critical importance.


I'm talking about exposing the dollar as only an "intermediary" rather than a real "payment".  Insofar as the world picks up on that exposure, the dollar's purchasing power will diminish or die.


According to Mr. Kalinichenko:


"Led by Russia and China, what the BRICS are doing now is actually changing the role and status of the US dollar in the global monetary system from the ultimate means of payment and asset accumulation . . . into only an intermediate means of payment intended only for exchange for the ultimate financial asset and payment-gold.

"Thus, the US dollar actually loses its role as the ultimate means of payment and asset accumulation, yielding both of those roles to another recognized, denationalized and depoliticized monetary asset-GOLD!"


Well, that's all very clever.  By changing the world's perception of the dollar from a payment to merely an intermediary or third-party IOU, Putin is challenging the perceived value of the fiat dollar. 


 But, insofar as Kalinichenko's analysis is correct, "Grandmaster" Putin's strategy poses a mortal threat to the fiat dollar and thereby poses a mortal threat to American "Big Government"-and is, thus, an implicit act of war against the US government.


I wonder if Putin really understands the dangers to himself and Russia that are implied in his "gold trap" strategy.


I'll bet that there are people in positions of power within the US government who understand the mortal threat posed by "Grandmaster" Putin's monetary strategy.  I'll bet those people in power are exploring alternatives to eliminate the mortal threat posed by the "Grandmaster".  I'll bet that those alternatives include assassinating Putin, collapsing the Russian economy or destroying Russia with nuclear weapons.


Mr. Kalinichenko opened his article on Grandmaster Putin by stating, "Very few people understand what [Russia's President Vladimir] Putin is doing at the moment."


Probably true.  But, I wonder if even the "Grandmaster" fully understands what he's doing.


*  Fooling around with the public's perception of the value of fiat dollar will not be treated as a joke.


The last two persons to threaten the US dollar were Iraq's president Saddam Hussein and Libya's leader, Colonel Muammar Kaddafi.  Hussein was hanged and Kaddafi was murdered.  Both of the nations of Iraq and Libya were trashed by military invasion and plunged into chaos and poverty. 


Fooling around with the public's perception of the value of fiat dollar is dangerous business.


Does "grandmaster" President Putin truly understand the risks he's taken by trying to emulate Hussein and Kaddafi? 


Worse, how far will the US government go to defend the fiat dollar?


If our government's determination to preserve the fiat dollar is unshakable, the whole world might be endangered by "Grandmaster" Putin's monetary genius.

The U.S. Mint has had a record-setting year in terms of silver American Eagle bullion sales.  As of Dec. 10, the Mint reported sales of 43,051,000 ounces of silver. That tops the previous record, set in 2013, of 42,675,000 ounces.


Federal Reserve policymakers meet Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss when to raise interest rates and how they will communicate those intentions without upsetting financial markets or the economic recovery. Unfortunately, the Fed is constrained by its own past missteps, and its credibility is at stake.


Short term rates have been near zero since 2008, and along with quantitative easing - the Fed's purchases and continued holdings of long-term bonds - they have held down the whole structure of rates on bonds, mortgages and consumer loans to arbitrarily low levels and imposed significant distortions on the economy.



Rare double eagle coin designed by Saint-Gaudens going to auction; could fetch up to $1.5M


NEW YORK (AP) - A rare 1907 double eagle $20 coin designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens could sell for as much as $1.5 million at auction next week. The lustrous gold piece is one of four experimental relief $20 coins that were minted in Philadelphia in 1907 between Feb. 7 and Feb. 14. A majestic flying eagle appears on one side and a figure of Liberty on the other. The coin is one of only two with sans serif-edge lettering. President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned the great American sculptor to redesign the $20 gold piece. Saint-Gaudens died a few months after the first Ultra High Reliefs were coined. Paul Song, director of Bonhams' department of coins and banknotes, said he discovered the coin in 1992 at an estate and it was sold at auction for $143,000. Bonhams is offering the coin for sale Tuesday on behalf of an anonymous American collector. It is estimated to bring from $1.25 million to $1.5 million.



According to a survey of more than 1,123 American workers released Tuesday by Principal Financial Group, two in three Americans said they blew their budget in 2014 - and it's Americans' appetites for food that are the main causes for this budget busting.


Dining out is the No. 1 thing Americans say they blew their budget on in 2014 (consequently, it also means they blow their diets: a study of more than 12,500 people published by Public Health Nutrition this year shows that on days when people eat out they consume an average of 200 calories more than those who eat at home). Eating out is followed closely by spending on food/groceries, with 18% of American workers saying they blew their budget on food/groceries.



Derivatives trade group says RadioShack has not failed to make debt payments


NEW YORK (AP) - A trade group ruled Friday that RadioShack has not failed to make debt payments, despite a lender accusing the troubled electronics retailer of violating terms on a $250 million loan. A panel with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, a trade group that represents banks and other companies that trade derivatives, ruled that the Fort Worth, Texas, company was keeping up with its debt obligations. The ruling means that investors who had bought derivatives as insurance against a RadioShack default were not entitled to payouts. Earlier this month, RadioShack lender Salus Capital Partners said the electronics retailer had breached loan covenants and was demanding full repayment of the $250 million loan, plus interest. RadioShack said Salus' position was "wrong and self-serving."


"With the adoption of the rule in the House, the CRomnibus grew from 1,603 pages to 1,774 pages," a congressional GOP aide tells Breitbart News. "The rule amended the bill to add some material on pensions that total 171 pages."


The final vote on Speaker John Boehner's , more than $1 trillion omnibus spending bill was in jeopardy after members almost killed the bill on the rule. A total of 214 members voted for it, less than the majority of members in the House, but since all members weren't voting, the 212 against the rule wasn't enough to kill it.


House Republican leaders narrowly quelled a revolt among their conservatives Thursday, then worked to overcome Democratic opposition to legislation to provide $1.1 trillion in government spending and chart a new course for selected, highly shaky pension plans.

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) switched his vote from nay to yay at the last minute. 


Rep. Kerry Bentivolio switched his vote to allow to the "Cromnibus" to survive a procedural vote, a Roll Call reporter tweeted: "Sessions spots Bentivolio in the Rayburn subway. Says 'You're a good man, Santa.'"

Most lawmakers have publicly admitted there is no way they could read this bill before voting on it.



WASHINGTON - Retirees covered by financially troubled multiemployer pensions could soon see their benefits cut under a $1.1 trillion congressional spending deal to keep the government running.


"We have a plan here that first and foremost works for the members of the unions, the workers in these companies and it works for the companies," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who worked the deal out with Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.


But it quickly drew fire from some labor unions and AARP, who denounced what they call backroom deal-making that will create hardships for older Americans.


Here are some questions and answers about multiemployer pension plans and the impact of the congressional move.


What are multiemployer pension plans?


These plans are usually found in industries that have many small employers that would not ordinarily put together a pension plan on their own, according to a report from Boston College's Center for Retirement Research.


More than 10 million people are covered by the plans, which involve agreements between labor unions and a group of companies. Many plans cover those who work in construction, but they are also can be found in the transportation, retail and trade sectors.


All told, there are about 1,400 multiemployer pension plans.


How did things get so bad?  About 150 to 200 of these plans covering 1.5 million people are in financial trouble and could become insolvent within a few years, according to estimates from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC). The agency was established by Congress to take over failed and failing pensions when they run out of money.


The plans were once thought to be secure, but a decline in unionization and financial crises like the Great Recession have left them with fewer workers to pay into them.


The PBGC says it's about $42.4 billion short of the money it would need to pay out pensions for plans that have failed or will fail. That's up from $8.3 billion in 2013.

The congressional proposal essentially shifts much of the risk from the government back onto the retirees and their funds.


Alicia H. Munnell, a Boston College professor and director of the school's Center for Retirement Research, says that decision was made out of desperation.


"They're at a point in time where it's impossible to cut benefits for new employees any further," she said. "It's sort of impossible to ask employers for any more money, so the question is what do you do?


"It's a place where there's no good options."


What kind of cuts are looming  This can vary widely, depending in large part on the financial condition of the plan and the wages paid in the industry.


"We have plans where a 10 percent cut will be enough to allow them to survive and thrive," said Randy DeFrehn, executive director of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, an advocacy group that consulted with Congress on the legislation.


In other cases, reductions as high as 30 percent may be necessary.


Some cuts may eventually be restored. That depends on factors like the industry, the plan's location and how much trouble it was in when the cuts were made.


"It's a function of a lot of different things," DeFrehn said.


People will know whether their plans face a cut because they will have to vote on the cuts.


What about other pension plans?  Single-employer pension plans are much more common, covering about 31 million workers and retirees in around 22,300 plans.


The PBGC said in June that it was "highly unlikely" that its single employer program would run out of funds in the next decade.


The improving economy, better market returns and an $869 million jump in income from legislative changes led to the improvement.


"It's a well-functioning pension insurance program, it's adequately funded, it's in fine shape," Munnell said.


The PBGC does not guarantee government pensions, and those were targeted for cuts in the Detroit bankruptcy case. But Munnell said her research shows states are "absolutely committed" to paying benefits.


"In the end, the cuts to pensions in Detroit were relatively modest," she added.


What's the reaction?


Among unions, it's mixed.


The AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department has been generally supportive. But the Teamsters and Machinist unions blasted the provision.


"Today, we have seen the ugly side of political backroom dealings as thousands of retirees may have their pensions threatened by proposed legislation that reportedly contains massive benefit cuts," said Teamsters President James Hoffa.


Machinists International President Tom Buffenbarger said, "While there is a genuine retirement crisis in this country today, the solution must not be borne by retirees who worked hard and faithfully contributed to their pension plans and have no practical means to replace lost income."


The AARP, which says it represents millions of retirement-age Americans, also attacked the agreement as a "secret, last-minute, closed-door deal between a group of companies, unions and Washington politicians to cut the retirement benefits that have been promised to them."


Karen Friedman of the Pension Rights Center, a group that opposes the changes, called the move "outrageous. We think that Congress is sneaking through a provision that would torpedo the most sacred protections of the federal private pension law and will devastate retirees."



Governor: Detroit's bankruptcy, largest municipal bankruptcy in US history, formally ending



(AP:DETROIT) DETROIT (AP) - Detroit is formally emerging from bankruptcy, marking the end of the largest municipal case in U.S. history bankruptcy will officially end at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.


He thanked the emergency manager who implemented a two-year budget that eliminates $7 billion in city debt.


The city must also try to reverse decades of population loss by attracting new residents and adding jobs.


"We still have enormous challenges delivering services in the city every day," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "But at least now we are no longer a city that's in bankruptcy. So, we're going to start afresh tomorrow and we're going to do the best we can to deliver the kinds of services the people in this city deserve."


Last month, Federal Judge Steven Rhodes approved Detroit's plan to restructure $7 billion of the city's $12 billion debt load. It calls for $1.7 billion in savings and revenue over 10 years to improve city services. About $440 million of that will be used to eradicate blight and help demolish the more than 40,000 houses standing vacant in Detroit neighborhoods. Some $430 million is promised to improve police and fire services, and response times to 911 calls.


.Some retirees also will see their pensions cut by 4.5 percent. Cost of living allowances were reduced for retired police and firefighters.


The impact on retirees would have been more onerous if not for an $800 million promise from foundations, major corporations and the state to help soften cuts to their pensions while protecting city-owned pieces in the Detroit Institute of Arts from possible sale.



Federal judge sentences Liberty Dollar creator Dec. 2 to probation for 2011 conviction

Bernard von NotHaus faced 22 years in federal prison


By Paul Gilkes , Coin World

Published : 12/03/14

Liberty Dollar founder Bernard von NotHaus was sentenced to three years probation Dec. 2 from his 2011 conviction on charges involving the production and distribution of the private voluntary barter currency. Shown is a silver 2005 Liberty Dollar.


A federal judge in North Carolina Dec. 2 sentenced Bernard von NotHaus, creator of the Liberty Dollar private voluntary barter currency, to three years probation for his 2011 conviction on charges the Liberty Dollar violates federal counterfeiting statutes.


U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Voorhees in Statesville sentenced von NotHaus, who is 70 years old, to three years probation on each of the three counts for which a jury found him guilty on March 19, 2011. The sentences are to run concurrently. Von NotHaus was also sentenced to six months house arrest.


Von NotHaus had faced up to 22 years in federal prison, the maximum penalty sought by federal prosecutors. On Nov. 10, Judge Voorhees rejected von NotHaus's appeal to have the conviction set aside.


Von NotHaus was convicted by a jury "of making coins resembling and similar to United States coins; of issuing, passing, selling, and possessing Liberty Dollar coins; of issuing and passing Liberty Dollar coins intended for use as current money; and of conspiracy against the United States."


Von NotHaus, the self-described "monetary architect" behind the Liberty Dollar, founded the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act, or NORFED, to create and circulate the Liberty Dollar. NORFED produced its first Liberty Dollars in 1998. 


Von NotHaus dissolved NORFED as an entity in December 2006 and renamed the business Liberty Services.


Liberty Dollars were typically manufactured as .999 fine silver rounds (though some were struck in copper and others in gold) and as paper certificates in denominations of $1, $5, $10 and $20. The paper Liberty Dollars were backed by silver, and the silver rounds were minted by the private Sunshine Mint in Idaho.


According to von NotHaus, Liberty Dollars were made to circulate as "private voluntary barter currency" and were never intended to be mistaken for United States legal tender. However, the federal government, acting on a complaint, saw things differently, seizing Liberty Service assets in 2007, which included millions of dollars in Liberty Dollars owned by von NotHaus's customers.


The civil forfeiture proceedings involving the seized property are ongoing.



Greek stocks in biggest fall since '80s amid fear a political crisis could endanger bailout


ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greek shares suffered their worst hammering in nearly three decades Tuesday, on concerns the country is heading for a political crisis that could jeopardize its vital bailout program. The Athens benchmark index fell 12.8 percent, the biggest one-day drop since 1987, after the conservative-led government brought forward the date of a presidential vote that, if inconclusive, will lead to general elections. Investors fear the main left-wing opposition party, Syriza, which is leading in the polls, might win the general election. Syriza has said it will demand a substantial cut to what Greece owes in bailout loans if it is elected. Economist Megan Greene said the country's bailout creditors - the European Union and the International Monetary Fund - are not going to stand for that, and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras would probably end up falling in line with them.



Bernard Madoff's ex-secretary gets 6 years in prison; sentencing of computer programmer next


NEW YORK (AP) - The former secretary for imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison after she apologized to victims of the multi-decade, multi-billion dollar fraud and berated herself for failing to see past her boss's influence and the riches he bestowed on her. Annette Bongiorno, 66, was sentenced in Manhattan by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who said she believed Bongiorno's testimony at trial that she was largely duped by Madoff into manufacturing fake trade results for his private investment business. She called her "a pampered, compliant and grossly overcompensated clerical worker who supervised other clerical workers with a ferocious enthusiasm." The judge said Bongiorno "could and should have recognized that Mr. Madoff's success seemed impossible because it was impossible."




Millions of Americans are spending too much of their monthly income on housing.


Thanks to rising costs and stagnant wage growth, nearly 40 million Americans are spending more than 30% of their income on housing payments, property taxes and other home expenses, according to a survey of 10,000 U.S. households conducted by the Demand Institute, a non-profit think tank run by the Conference Board and Nielsen.


Faring most poorly are renters, 49% of which are "cost burdened" by their monthly rent payments, the report found. That's compared to 26% of homeowners


A spike in foreclosures after the housing bubble burst forced many Americans to start renting. That sent rents soaring by more than 25% since 2005, according to the Census Bureau. Since wages have been relatively stagnant its also meant that renters were spending a larger percentage of their income on housing costs each month.


Home prices have risen too, but they are still down about 18% from their mid-2006 peak. That, combined with historically low interest rates on mortgages, makes home buying a much more affordable choice in most markets right now.


Another downbeat economic report coming out of China. The world's second-largest economy saw its exports rise by 4.7% in November, which was well below expectations for a gain of 8.0%.


Imports were down 6.7% versus expectations for a rise of 3.9%. This news is also a bearish underlying factor for the raw commodity sector, as China is the world's biggest importer of raw commodities.


And in Japan, gross domestic product in the third quarter was reported at minus 1.9%, which was below expectations. Japan is now in economic recession.


European Central Bank official Ewald Nowatny said Monday the weakening of the Euro zone economy has been "massive."


The OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)


The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world) issued a report Monday saying the already-weak economic growth in the European Union will slow further in the coming months, including the potential for the EU to fall back into recession. The OECD forecast slowdowns in the economies of the U.K. and Russia, too. The agency said economic growth in the rest of the world's major economies will remain near present levels.



The National Bank of Belgium is the latest central bank to show interest in repatriating its gold reserves.

In an interview with Belgium broadcaster VTM Nieuws Sunday, Luc Coene, governor of Belgium's central bank, confirmed that the bank is looking at how they can bring their gold reserves back into the country.


According to IMF data compiled by the World Gold Council, Belgium holds 227.4 metric tons of gold, representing 34.2% of its official foreign reserves. According to reports, most of the gold is held outside of the country with the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada and the Bank for International Settlements.


Axel Merk, president and chief investment officer of Merk Investments, said that global instability is on the rise, so is it not surprising governments and central banks want more control over their reserves.

However, he added that repatriating gold is not as simple as it sounds and in the global marketplace moving gold reserves is more than just transfer the metal from one location to the next. He said that neither central bankers or politicians know how to hand physical gold.


"It's not trivial to store gold safely - and places such as London have shown they have the experience to do so," he said. "This shouldn't stop anyone from repatriating gold, but means that there's a learning curve."


The topic of gold repatriation has heated up in recent weeks after Swiss citizens voted down a referendum, on Nov. 30, that would have seen the central bank increase its gold reserves by 20%, hold all its gold within the country and not be able to sell any of its gold reserves.


Just before the Swiss referendum, the Dutch central bank announced in mid-November that it had it repatriated 122.5 metric tons of gold, worth about $5 billion, back to Amsterdam from the U.S. On Nov. 25, France jumped on the gold bandwagon after political leader Marine Le Pen wrote an open letter to Christian Noyer, governor of the Bank of France, requesting that the country's gold holdings be repatriated back to France.


Last year Germany made headlines after it announced that the central bank would repatriate all of its gold held in Paris and about 300 metric tons of gold from New York, however, since then Germany has quietly backed away from the initiative after only transferring about 5 tons of gold from New York within the first 18 months.


Expect to see higher lease rates in the long-term as more physical gold is bought by Asian consumers, reducing the amount available in the global gold market.

Empower Yourself - Whole Food Supplements - No Synthetics or GMOs - 100% Organic -

Low quality flu studies hit media

by Herbalist Wendy Wilson

The propaganda the CDC likes to distribute about the medical benefits of the flu vaccines is pure hype according to an article in the British Medical Journal. This is nothing new as the BMJ has been warning the medical community and people of the hoax that is played out on them with the recent fraud exposed in the medical science area (specifically studies). Teams of medical researchers who understand how to conduct a real study found that a high percentage of the data in favor of flu vaccines is unsupported by facts. They also reported that the studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to be published by medical journals than the studies of similar size by other funders, which were not as prominent. Studies published in medical journals are cited more, are given more prominence and are accepted as scientific fact. However, the BMJ report found that there was a significant lack, or gap, between the study results and its conclusions, which qualifies as "a poor quality study." The author of the article, Dr. Peter Doshi, even quips that with most flu studies "what you see is not what you get." What do you need to know about the promotion of flu products? Let's find out.



A red flag hits everyone in the face when you look at the unprecedented growth in flu vaccine manufacturing and sales. In the 1990's the US pharmaceutical companies made a mere 32 million doses of the flu vaccine. Compare that to today's figures of 135 million which is over a 4000% increase in just 24 years; that's 180% increase per year. This is a good example that disease is economically driven and you need to look at who gains or profits from it. In other words, who is driving the plague bus? What has helped push the flu market into unprecedented growth is the lack of controls. There is very little if any remedy for vaccine damages anymore. And it used to be that in order to get a vaccination it was necessary to have it administered in clinical setting by a medically trained professional; such as at a doctor's office or hospital. Today the clerks behind the drug counter can give you a vaccine. Flu shots are given in super markets and some drive thru chains. Has the public demanded this? The answer is no; it has been orchestrated by a massive public health campaign. However, is the health of the public the goal?  



The average person has misplaced their trust in the pharmaceutical industry which has for the most part purchased the medical and political establishments. Here is an example of the average patient who does not do their homework and takes their doctor's word for everything. I doing some shopping and was checking out at this store and the cashier looked a bit haggard. I asked her if she was alright. She told me that she felt ill and needed to go home. As she is scanning my items she tells me that she never has called out from work expect when she got the flu shot and developed a fever. I asked her when she got the vaccine and she said about a week ago. She brushed off the fever as an expected side effect of the flu shot but now she looked like she was coming down with full-blown flu symptoms. The worst part is she lived with and took care of her elderly mother who was getting chemo treatments for her cancer. You know how this is going to turn out. The daughter gets the flu shot, gets the flu from the shot, becomes infected with several flu viruses and shed them off to infect her mother who has no immune system from cancer treatments.


"Most of the flu studies (70%) were of poor quality with over-optimistic conclusions that is, not supported by the data presented." Dr. Peter Doshi, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (BMJ article May 16, 2013)


"Here's the bottom line, the vast number of people who get the flu vaccine aren't going to get any benefit, but they get all of the risks and complications. Doshi's article is a breath of fresh air. This article exposes in well-defined and articulate terms what has been known for a long time - the flu vaccine promotion is a fraud." Dr. Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon and author The Blaylock Wellness Report



According to Dr. Doshi's report on flu studies he states that if you believe the statistics from the CDC and the flu trials, the influenza vaccine is the most important medicine on the planet preventing 50% of deaths. If that were true, he points out it would be considered malpractice to make available only 135 million doses of the flu vaccine when there are 315 million US citizens. The studies the CDC chooses to refer to as supporting the flu vaccine program are "implausible." To make the claim that a vaccine saves lives there has to be solid research and statistical evidence behind it. If you deliver evidence of the contrary to the CDC they will acknowledge it was brought to them, will not debate it and do nothing about it. Here is what the CDC knows; only 1 in 6 viral bugs is actually influenza and when hundreds of influenza specimens are tested annually only 16% test positive for influenza. A report on last year's flu vaccine (2012-2013) showed that there was a probable 9% effective rate of protecting the elderly from the flu. That statistic is most likely flawed as the CDC lumps in pneumonia and bronchitis in with their flu statistics. This is why most people who get flu shots think it did not protect them because, it didn't.   



What it comes down to is that pharmaceutical companies and modern medicine perceive everyone as a patient with something to be managed with drug therapy. Everything under the sun is turned into a social health risk or concern. For example, bad breath or flatulence used to be an embarrassing nuisance and now it has become a social concern and in some countries an offense with legal ramifications. Medical conditions of every sort have been taken up to an epidemic level that drug companies want to manage. Take another example of the psychiatric field changing the definitions on minor behaviors to more serious conditions requiring drug treatment; i.e. hording (a.k.a. pack rat). So, the medical slant is that everyone is dysfunctional, either physically or mentally and everyone has to have drugs to live normal lives. Why would a flu vaccine be any different? It isn't and protecting you from a future disease is where medicine is heading. Selling patients drugs for a disease that has not manifested yet is their next big payday. Selling treatments with fear is their agenda. Convincing women to get a mastectomy before they get breast cancer is really self mutilation, not prevention. So, what it boils down to is that disease or health is what medical science says it is. If mutilating your body is a treatment and taking toxic drugs without a diagnosis is a treatment then they are deciding that with or without real evidence.



The halls of medicine will take the scientific position that boosting the immune system is a fallacy and in their next breath they confess that they are still studying the immune system and don't fully understand its function. Here are a few statements from the Harvard Health Publications of Harvard Medical School:


"Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, herbs and other factors on the immune response in both animals and humans. Although interesting results are emerging, they are preliminary because we are still trying to understand how the immune system works and how to measure its function."


Then in the next paragraph they state this; "Many products claim to boost or support immunity. The concept of boosting immunity makes little sense scientifically and may not be a good thing. Professional athletes engage in "blood doping" putting more blood into their system to enhance performance and they run the risk of strokes. "


Science assumes that boosting the immune system automatically will cause more blood production and put people at a stroke risk. Science seeks to control the mechanisms within the immune system. Science wants to control how many different kinds of cells are in your blood. Immune boosting does not seek to override the natural function of the immune system and works within the system. The body decides which immune cells to manufacture based on the pathogen involved and the nutrition to draw from. Nutritional substances in the diet or in the herbal supplements can help the body balance function, not interfere with it. Science is stumped when an event cannot be measured and analyzed. For example, they know that reducing stress elevates the immune system function but they don't know how that is happening. They see the link but they can't scientifically measure the effect. They admit that science is not advanced enough to understand how this works at improving immunity.   My question for the folks at Harvard is if you don't know enough about the immune system and how it functions then why subject it to immune suppressant drugs? Medical science has its place as a solution for trauma but not for preventing disease. Disease management (not prevention) is their bread and butter.



How many death certificates are issued citing death by prescription medications? Answer; they are in the millions. How many death certificates are issued citing death by herbs alone? Answer; there are none. It is my experience that if one is diligent with diet, exercise and avoids prescription and over-the-counter drugs they are much healthier and above dirt. If you are interested in a safer and more effective way of avoiding winter colds and flu then call the folks at Apothecary Herbs. If you do happen to catch a flu bug or cold they also have herb formulas to help shorten the duration of the illness. You will also develop life-long immunity towards these pathogens. Call Apothecary Herbs and ask about their All-In-One product or their combo pack called My 3 Amigos. Herb kits are also available. You'll be amazed at the power you have with God's herbs which are "for the service of man" (PS104:14). Call 866-229-3663, International 704-885-0277, where your healthcare options just became endless. If you missed out on Cyber Monday and this past week's Tis the Season to Give promotion to earn an additional 100 Redemption Points then check out the coupons on the Herb Medicine Options (HMO) page and save. The Apothecary Herbs 15th Anniversary Product Catalog available the end of December. A limited number is scheduled to be delivered so email or call to reserve your copy.





Herbalist Wendy Wilson on Herb Talk Live

Saturday morning show:

7 am EST on GCN

12/13/14 Dr. Rebecca Carley

Weekday show:

7 pm EST on AVR

12/16/14 Dr. Rebecca Carely

Shortwave show 8 pm EST WWCR 4840

Go to Herb Talk Live & Radio Archive area for network link access and past shows to download and share. For Android users you can download a FREE app for Herb Talk Live on GCN. See the download link under radio archives at top of page.

NEW HMO COUPONS at Apothecary Herbs 866-229-3663

Click on the green HMO button on top left on web site. Cut and paste coupons in your cart and save. These coupons expire the end of January 2015.


HMO1 Free US Ground Ship on orders of $50 to $199 (US only excludes Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands & Porto Rico)


HMO2  Free Power Herbs e-bookwith purchase of $200 to $499 (Must put Power Herbs e-book in cart for discount to apply)

HMO3  10% off purchases of $500 to $1,000.


"NEW" from Apothecary Herbs POWER GREENS FOR PETS - Keeps you away from the vet.  Natural herbs for dogs and cats. Because we want organic pets

Power Greens is a blend of organic plants and natural herbs containing vitamins, minerals and 22 amino acids found naturally in these whole-food plants. Easy to digest with healthy digestion enzymes. You will notice the vibrant color of the greens and other ingredients in Power Greens for Pets because it is made with certified organic herbs grown to Tilth Standards (the highest organic standards in the industry). Compared to Dinovite®, Power Greens for Pets is made with superior grade ingredients and will produce much faster and better results in the health of your pet. No need for large scoops of our Power Greens for Pets to get results. Depending on the size of your pet 1/2 teaspoon to one tablespoon is all you'll need. Your pet will be healthier and you'll save money. For more info call 866-229-3663


MORE HERB SECRETS IN THE POWER HERBS e-BOOK. By popular demand The Power Herbs e-book is available with symptom/herb reference guide, information on organ cleansing and how to make your own herbal tinctures plus a whole lot more. Go to and click on Books. You must have email to order and receive the e-book a PDF version of The Power Herb book for just $14.99. At this time, we do not offer this title in hard copy.



Try Dandelion Root Tincture for inflammation, blood purification, respiratory infections, digestion and cancer protection at



Do you have your Pandemic Kit yet? Here is what folks are saying about the 100% organic Pandemic Kit made by Apothecary Herbs. "I have this kit and recommend everyone have at least one on hand (or more depending on family size) for a pandemic." Rebecca Carley, MD, Hickory, NC and "I have one and glad I do; just in case. I like the long shelf life." Melody Cedarstrom, Port Matilda, PA (more customer feedback at or call 866-229-3663 to order your kit today.



Pure energy is organic and instantly absorbed - transporting nutrition to every cell in your body. It is a super food for the body to repair, build and fortify itself. Where do you get it? It's called Body Foundation Food Mix and is at Apothecary Herbs 866-229-3663, International 704-885-0277 This pure energy food source is so efficient; you won't feel hungry between meals and can safely lose weight.



Apothecary Herbs has released a new product called Liver Detox Tea. You can layer this tea with Milk Thistle Tincture for a gentle yet effective liver cleanse. This is a nice option if you can't do the Liver/Gall Bladder Flush using olive oil. You will find this new product under Herbal Teas at Also new is the Liver & Gall Bladder Tincture with dandelion root for more anticancer protection. This formula is available in 1 oz, 2 oz and 4 oz sizes. You will find this item under Organ Body Cleanses at You can layer this tincture with the Liver Detox Tea and be well!



Being prepared is never a waste of time. Get your own organic garden growing and stock as much healthy foodstuffs as you can. You'll also need backup medicine but the over-the-counter and prescription medicines have a limited shelf life of two years or less. However, your organic medicines have a ten year shelf life without side effects. Call the folks at Apothecary Herbs for their Natural Medicine Starter Stock-up Package or make sure you get one of their many herb kits for boosting immune system and protecting you from viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. Call Apothecary Herbs 866-229-3663, International 704-885-0277 online, where your healthcare options just became endless.



If you suffer from allergies (sneezing, itchy watery eyes, stuffy or runny nose, sinus pressure or sinus infections) try the Echinacea Deluxe formula and Herbal Eyewash both around $20.00 from Apothecary Herbs. Call now toll free 866-229-3663



You already know that you can save on the half and full case discounts in the Vitamin Vault area at Apothecary Herbs has added a new item called the Natural Medicine Starter Stock-up Package. This package is designed for those preparing for their medical future and contains immune boosting, pain & inflammation, organ cleanses, vitamin, mineral, amino acid and protein products plus a Pandemic Kit and it comes with a savings. Visit or call toll free to order your Starter Stock-up Package 866-229-3663, International 704-885-0277.  


MALE & FEMALE ORGAN CLEANSES KITS - Don't give disease a foothold. You will have the power to cleanse the bowel, urinary, liver, gall bladder and blood system with this cleanse package. For added cleansing, ask about how you can upgrade your order to include the prostate cleanse for men or the Kidney/Bladder cleanse for females.  Go to or call their 24-hour live customer service line 866-229-3663, International 704-885-0277.


See Apothecary Herbs One Year Supply of Herbal Medicine at or call 866-229-3663, 704-885-0277. Call for a customized year supply or to set up installment payment for this package.

The information contained herein is not designed to diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure disease. Seek medical advice from a lincensed medical physician (if you dare) before using any product or therapy. 
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