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"Allowing bankers to control the nation's economy makes as much sense as allowing drug addicts to control the nation's pharmacies! Inevitably, all the ills of the nation end up being treated with placebos." -- Michael Rivero
Negotiators involved in Qatari-mediated peace efforts between Israel and Hamas are said to be scrambling to salvage talks after the deadly aid convoy incident. The death toll from that Thursday incident has reportedly risen to 118. President Biden has said he hopes a deal can be reached by the start of the Muslim season of Ramadan, which begins March 10.
"We’re not there yet," he told reporters Friday. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the emerging disappointment and fear that talks have been utterly stalled. "Talks between Israel, Hamas and their mediators were expected to kick into high gear as the two sides try to reach a cease-fire for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan...," the Saturday report describes. Meanwhile Al Jazeera reports of a new mass casualty attack near Rafah:
At least 11 Palestinians were killed and 50 wounded when an Israeli air raid directly hit tents housing displaced people in Tal as-Sultan, Rafah, an area previously designated as "safe".
Claire's Observations: Right now, Israel has just shot its way out of any potential "cease fire"; there is, nor will there be any "safe space" in Gaza to which starving, peaceful, and terrified Gazans can possibly retreat.
The "Fix is In" courtesy of a 2 billion dollar loan/(bribe) from the IMF, and those Gazans left breathing will find themselves forced into tent camps on the Egyptian side of the Israeli/Egyptian border.
But what about their future in Egypt?!? Will they be able to organize, and form political parties inside Egypt?!? With El-Sisi as President, bets on that happening are extremely low. Right now, political dissidents in Egypt are known to have been "disappeared", with utterly no one knowing anything about their whereabouts.
And what about their kids?!? How are they going to be fed and educated?
Right now, Egypt's economy is groaning from an intense demographic time bomb. As reported in September, InterPressServices 2023:
CAIRO, Sep 20 2023 at InterPressServices: (IPS) - The population of Egypt increased from 104 million in November 2022 to 105 million in June 2023, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). This represents the growth rate for the country, where the poverty rate is 27.3 percent. The population increase means that every 245 days, it increases by one million, or 3 people per minute.
The population density in Egypt has also increased, from 100.1 people per square kilometer (km2) in 2020 to 104.2 people per km2 in 2023. Cairo is the most populous Governorate in Egypt, with over 10 million residents, followed by Giza, with 9.5 million residents.
The fertility rate in Egypt has been declining in recent years, from 3.5 births per woman in 2014 to 2.85 births per woman in 2021. However, the annual birth rate is still high, at around 2.2 million.
If current fertility rates remain stable, Egypt's population will reach 119 million in 2030 and 165 million in 2050. However, if fertility rates fall to 1.6 children per woman by 2042, the population will reach 117 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050, Dr Najwa Samak, former head of the economics department at Cairo University, told IPS.
Samak stressed that the rapid population growth in Egypt is a burden on the national economy and a major challenge to the state's development efforts. She called for concerted efforts from all sectors of society, including civil society organizations, the media, and state agencies, to control the population growth rate.
She said that the human element is one of the most important factors in production for any country and that population growth can be a blessing if it is used to raise production rates and national income. However, in the case of Egypt, the rate of population growth is outpacing the rate of economic growth, putting a strain on the country's resources."
So, if Egypt is having a terrible time supporting its own citizens because of its intense growth rate, how in the world are they going to support the future of the Palestinian people? I know that two billion dollars sounds to most of us like a great deal of money, but you have to understand; most Egyptians will not see any real benefit from that money.
Who will most likely benefit will be El-Sisi, and his cronies.
Reports of El-Sisi's current net worth are all over the place, but a reasonably "middle of the road estimate" comes as follows: https://peopleai.com/fame/identities/mahmoud-el-sisi at around $ 5 million dollars. And WOW, how does one do that on an Egyptian Civil Service salary?!?
The leaders of Kenya and Haiti inked a pact for a Kenya-led UN mission to the Caribbean nation. Nairobi plans to send 1,000 armed men, dubbed police officers, to Port-au-Prince as local authorities have all but lost control of Haiti’s capital city. The Joe Biden administration has been working for several years to create a UN force to invade Haiti to restore order.
In October, at Washington’s urging, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that authorized Kenya to lead a UN police force in Haiti to return power to Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has faced months of violent unrest in the wake of the 2021 assassination of President Jovenal Moise.
The people of Haiti did not elect the government in Port-au-Prince. Not long after Moise’s murder, then-Prime Minister Claud Joseph resigned at the behest of Western pressure, allowing Henry to assume power in his stead.
Since then, armed gangs have seized control over most of the city under Henry’s watch, at times occupying critical infrastructure, including its main port.
After the UNSC approved the force, opposition leader Ekuru Aukot in Nairobi challenged President William Ruto’s decision to send Kenyans to Haiti. In January, the Kenyan High Court ruled in favor of Aukot, blocking the deployment.
The president later declared he could skirt the ruling by inking a pact directly with Port-au-Prince. That “reciprocal” agreement was signed on Friday. Ruto said he and Henry “discussed the next steps to enable the fast-tracking of the deployment,” though the leaders did not offer a timeline for the operation.
The US-backed plan to send Kenyans to Haiti has met opposition in Port-Au-Prince in addition to Nairobi. Haitians have protested Henry’s request for the UN deployment, as UN peacekeepers in Haiti have a legacy of rampant sexual abuses and, causing a cholera outbreak that killed thousands
Donald Trump dominated in Saturday's primary races, inning caucuses in Idaho and Missouri - while sweeping the delegate haul at a Michigan party convention.
The former president earned every delegate at stake on Saturday, bringing his overall count to 244vs. Nikki Haley's 24. To secure the Republican nomination, Trump will need 1,215 delegates in total.
In Michigan, Trump won all 39 delegates at the Republican convention in Grand Rapids, after winning the state's primary on Tuesday with 68% of the vote vs. Haley's 27%.
In Missouri,Trump won 51 delegates. Things went particularly not well for Haley at one point:
The steep odds facing Haley were on display in Columbia, Missouri, where Republicans gathered at a church to caucus.
Seth Christensen stood on stage and called on them to vote for Haley. He wasn't well received.
Another caucusgoer shouted out from the audience: “Are you a Republican?”
An organizer quieted the crowd and Christensen finished his speech. Haley went on to win just 37 of the 263 Republicans in attendance in Boone County. -AP
Claire's Observations; One has to wonder what Haley knows - or intuits - about the future fate of President Trump between now, and the November Elections (and whether those elections are going to be held in November, is still an open question)
Heather Idoni picked up a phone receiver and punched in her inmate number on a keypad to activate it through the visitation window at Grayson County Detention Center.
She had 15 minutes to talk before the sound was cut off without warning and her guests were told to leave.
In prison, every move an inmate makes is controlled. Ms. Idoni, 59, is getting used to that. She must, because she is facing more than 41 years in prison—the rest of her natural life.
Her sentence is expected to be the longest in the United States for someone charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, a 1994 law that prohibits interfering with anyone obtaining or providing “reproductive health services.” It was seldom used until the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reversed Roe v. Wade in June 2022, which returned abortion regulation to the states.
Her crime: sitting near or in front of the doors of abortion clinics to give sidewalk counselors a few moments to talk to women before their abortion appointments and potentially change their minds. Nine women out of 10 give them the middle finger and keep walking, Ms. Idoni said. But some women do change their minds, and sidewalk counselors say the life of every baby saved is worth the risk.
But a decade or more in prison is an outcome Ms. Idoni and other abortion rescuers didn’t expect. In post-Roe America, pro-lifers have been served harsh, life-altering penalties.
“I have young, young grandchildren,” Ms. Idoni told The Epoch Times. “They are not going to have any memory of me. It’s hard to think about. It is the most painful thing, being separated from my young grandchildren who are growing so fast, and I’m missing their lives.”
Before prison, Ms. Idoni owned a bookstore in Linden, Michigan. She is a mother of 16, including 10 orphaned boys she adopted from Ukraine.
In 2022, at least 26 pro-life activists were charged under the FACE Act, and many are now in prison or awaiting sentencing. Most were charged after June 2022, when President Joe Biden formed the Reproductive Rights Task Force, a Department of Justice-led group focused, in part, on enforcing the act. The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment.
Political watchers predict the emotional issue of abortion will be a top 2024 election topic in most races.
Ms. Idoni was convicted in 2023, along with four other defendants in Washington, of a FACE Act offense and of felony conspiracy against rights.The group blocked the entrance to a late-term abortion business in 2020. The DOJ said the group entered the facility and blocked access using their bodies, furniture, chains, and ropes, then live-streamed their activity on social media. The DOJ considered live-streaming a felony conspiracy, which carries a 10-year penalty. The FACE violation adds another year. Sentencing is in May.
But after her trial in Washington, Ms. Idoni and five others were convicted for praying and singing hymns in the hallway of a now-closed abortion business in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. This will be considered a prior conviction and could add years to the sentence out of Washington. She awaits another trial for two FACE violations in Michigan
Silver would Explode with a fraction of Bitcoin ETF inflows
by Blue Line Futures
Friday, Mar 01, 2024 - 8:52
Precious Metals remained supportive this week in light of PCE data aligning with expectations. The lack of an upward surprise reaffirmed markets and drove the S&P 500 to its 14th-record close. Bitcoin and other Crypto assets stole all the attention with multi-week Billion Dollar ETF inflows, creating more trading volume in Bitcoin ETFs than the SPY and QQQ. Gold ETF outflows recorded 12 straight days and are down 3.5% YTD, indicating a lack of interest in the Precious Metals. Does the lack of interest bother me? Not particularly, because the volatility will die down in Precious Metals, and like a sleeping alligator, when it finally wakes up, it will eat and eat a lot! I suggest staying nimble and focusing on the small futures contracts that give you the flexibility to enter and exit 23 hours per day, six days a week; you never know when that alligator will wake.
In the near term, Precious Metals will continue to digest economic data to guide when the first interest rate cut will come. Next week, we will have the February employment data marked on our calendars where any significant changes could lead to adjustments to the CME's FedWatch tool. Current expectations for an interest rate cut at the March meeting are non-existent, but May still has a 25% chance and 65% in June. The interest rate cuts' timing, pace, and depth will propel Precious Metals. Studies have shown that since 1990, the first interest rate cut after a hiking cycle has resulted in a 6% gain (on average) in the price of Gold over the next 30 days. We will want to position ahead of time.
Daily Gold Chart
Since correcting below $2000/oz only once in 2024, Gold futures quickly rebounded and found complacency between the 50-DMA ($2052) and the 200-DMA ($2021). Where ETF demand lacks, Central Bank buying has provided an invisible price backstop. After the PCE number fell in line with expectations, prices attempted to break above recent resistance, achieving an intraday high of $2066.1 (as of this writing), only to be met with additional selling pressure. It will take a close above $2060 and an additional close above $2072.5 to attract new market participants. I recommend looking for prices to drift below $2030 to build a long-term core position in anticipation of the first interest rate cut.
Having the flexibility to enter and exit the market quickly makes it essential for Precious Metals investors to have a futures trading account alongside their core Physical Precious Metals holdings. If you are interested in speculating on the rise and fall of the price of Precious Metals on a shorter-term basis, such as two weeks or two months, or If you have never traded futures or commodities, check out this new educational guide that answers all your questions on transferring your current investing skills into trading "real assets," such as the 1000 oz Silver futures contract. You can request yours here: Trade Metals, Transition your Experience Book.
Daily Silver Chart
With the Gold/Silver ratio trending back to 2024 highs, it remains clear that Silver needs to attract the same buying interest of other industrial metals to get out of its rut. Solar stocks remain heavily shorted by funds that could lean on physical demand. My philosophy in investing in Silver is to buy it when no one wants it and sell it when the world is chasing it. Prices are trading in a band with $26 on the upside and $22 on the downside, where our models indicate below $23 as a good "long-term" value. It will take a move above $23.50 and $24 to trigger new net ETF inflows that can increase prices significantly.