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Today is the only day that I will be writing this week.   Andy Hoffman will be filling in for me for the rest of the week. I will be back in a week.

I know Bill Fleckenstein personally. We exchange emails occasionally and I have visited him in Seattle twice in the past three years. Most recently, Susan and I had dinner with Bill and his wife and he was kind enough to bring along two fine bottles of wine to the restaurant for the dinner. Bill is, among other things, an avid tennis player, skier and wine connoisseur. Bill runs Fleckenstein Capital and has a solid track record of outperforming the crowd with his investment strategies. In fact, his “shorting” fund produced stunning results over the last decade and was the place you wanted to be if only you could talk Bill into letting you in. It was very limited in size, deliberately, so he could better manage the portfolio. Bill is a Miles Franklin client and has recommended our firm in his daily blog. Here are Bill’s thoughts on physical gold:
Get Ready, Public to Enter Gold & Silver Markets
“A gigantic amount of buying in the metals has been from China and India. The average American has been more concerned about preservation of capital.”
“I’m suggesting that’s going to change and if you are going to have Americans buying gold, on top of the Chinese and the Indians, and the Europeans get involved, you are not going to be able to increase supply, so the only thing left to adjust is going to be price.”
Listen to the King World News interview of Bill Fleckenstein. The interview can be found at the link below:

King World News Interview with Bill Fleckenstein, February 2, 2012

Featured in today’s newsletter is an outstanding Lewis James interview of the brilliant Doug Casey on The Coming War With Iran. The interview not only discusses the probability of a war but Casey also discusses gold’s role in case it comes to pass. Put this article in the “don’t miss it” category. I then follow it up with an article from Spiegel, in Germany, that touches on the same topic.

A few words from Ranting Andy Hoffman’s Thursday Morning Commentary 2/2/2012:
Readers, the time to be cute with PHYSICAL PM purchases is rapidly waning, as one day soon you will see terrifying “no offer” situations when supply is not to be had for weeks on end, at monstrous premiums to boot.  A friend of mine told me yesterday he’d never have a problem getting supply, even at times of strong demand.  He couldn’t be more wrong, and citing what happened last April is a silly comparison, as just as supplies were emptied out, the Cartel smashed PAPER silver into oblivion, easing the supply crunch.  When the Cartel fails to hold PMs down in the near future, 6-8 week delays will be considered the “good old days” of plentiful supply, no matter how small your order.
Finally, an honest assessment of the monthly labor report from the folks at 5 Min. Forecast. This is a perfect mis-representation, which the Gold Cartel used to start another assault on gold, and it commenced at the usual time, 8:00 a.m., NY time. Also note on the following Daily Gold Chart – gold was sold off again by “a not-for-profit seller” after the NY Market was closed, in the very thinly traded weekend after-market. It’s all poppycock!! Drum roll, please:
When “Retirement Age” Is Obsolete (5minforecast.agorafinancial.comAddison Wiggin – February 3, 2012
The Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered a ridiculously bullish monthly employment report this morning. As usual, there’s more than meets the eye… and this month, much more.
The headlines look fantastic: 243,000 jobs added last month, the most since last April. The U-3 unemployment rate fell to 8.3%, the lowest since February 2009.
So how did the statisticians get there? Well, this is the month every year when they perform their “benchmark revisions” – revised figures from last year that account for all the missed guesses they made at the time.
And with that, 1.25 million people who were counted as being in the labor force in December were no longer counted in January. Gone. Poof.
We assure you only a slim percentage retired at age 65 and collected a gold watch. Most gave up looking for work a long time ago and no longer “count.”
Thus, the labor force participation rate – the percentage of the working-age population in the labor force, and one of the few numbers the statisticians can’t fudge – dropped to 63.7%.
That’s the lowest since… drumroll please… May 1983.
For perspective, that’s when David Bowie achieved superstardom – while confounding his longtime fans – with “Let’s Dance.”
For the record, unemployment as measured by John Williams at ShadowStats.com actually rose last month.
Take all the people counted in the U-3 figure… add all the part timers who want to work full time… and add all the people who’ve given up looking for work, no matter how long ago… and the unemployment rate is 22.5%.