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Seth Lipsky: Ron Paul's golden opportunity

Section: Daily Dispatches

Who better to host the debate over sound money in Congress than the Fed's most persistent critic?

By Seth Lipsky
The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One of the most exciting features of the new Congress is the prospect that the chairmanship of a House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve will go to Ron Paul. Final assignments are still being worked out, and the leadership may yet shy away from giving the position to a congressman who doesn't believe the Fed should exist. But Dr. Paul, an obstetrician, has been the ranking Republican of the Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology subcommittee, and tradition suggests he will be the next chairman.

This couldn't come at a more timely moment, though Dr. Paul has been working his way up to the assignment for more than a generation.

I first met the congressman nearly 30 years ago, back when the physician-turned-legislator was emerging on the national scene as a member of the United States Gold Commission. The commission had been formed at the start of the Reagan administration to consider whether America, in the wake of the collapse of Bretton Woods, should move to sound money.

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Sona Drills 85.4g Gold/Ton Over 4 Metres at Elizabeth Gold Deposit,
Extending the Mineralization of the Southwest Vein on the Property

Company Press Release, October 27, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Sona Resources Corp. reports on five drillling holes in the third round of assay results from the recently completed drill program at its 100 percent-owned Elizabeth Gold Deposit Property in the Lillooet Mining District of southern British Columbia. Highlights from the diamond drilling include:

-- Hole E10-66 intersected 17.4g gold/ton over 1.54 metres.

-- Hole E10-67 intersected 96.4g gold/ton over 2.5 metres, including one assay interval of 383g of gold/ton over 0.5 metres.

-- Hole E10-69 intersected 85.4g gold/ton over 4.03 metres, including one assay interval of 230g gold/ton over 1 metre.

Four drill holes, E10-66 to E10-69, targeted the southwestern end of the Southwest Vein, and three of the holes have expanded the mineralized zone in that direction. The Southwest Vein gold mineralization has now been intersected over a strike length of 325 metres, with the deepest hole drilled less than 200 metres from surface.

"The assay results from the Southwest Zone quartz vein continue to be extremely positive," says John P. Thompson, Sona's president and CEO. "We are expanding the Southwest Vein, and this high-grade gold mineralization remains wide open down dip and along strike to the southwest."

For the company's full press release, please visit:

In the event, the committee recoiled from reform. But Dr. Paul wrote a dissent that made the case for gold and is still being read today.

At the time, the value of the dollar had recently plunged to less than 1/800th of an ounce of gold. The collapse was reversed by the pro-growth policies of President Reagan and by a Fed chairman, in Paul Volcker, of uncommon vision and courage. Momentum for a gold standard was hard to sustain when inflation was being brought down, if not conquered, by other means.

Right now we are experiencing an even more dramatic collapse of the greenback -- this time to little more than 1/1,400th of an ounce of gold -- and the issue has returned with a vengeance. The Fed is reacting to the dollar's collapse with a campaign of quantitative easing. The plan is to cascade hundreds of billions of additional dollars into the economy on the theory that we need inflation. No doubt this kind of thing will, if Dr. Paul accedes to the chairmanship, come in for a good deal more focused oversight than the committee has provided under Democratic leadership.

Heretofore, the subcommittee has "basically been a committee that's dealt with commemorative coins," as Dr. Paul has put it. In a conversation with me on Monday, the congressman said that he intends to get into the question of monetary policy itself. He would start by bringing in to testify to the committee not only the Fed chairman, but some of the leading officers and economists of some of the regional banks in the Federal Reserve system.

More far-reaching still is the prospect that Dr. Paul might use the committee to open up the deepest monetary issues, pressing for audits of America's gold holdings and of the Fed itself. At one point this week, the congressman's book, "End the Fed," ranked No. 2 on Amazon's list of the best-selling business books dealing with money and monetary policy, ahead of volumes by such luminaries of the right and left as Milton Friedman, George Soros and John Maynard Keynes himself.

Most exciting is the prospect that Dr. Paul will be able to bring into the national conversation such figures as, say, Edwin Vieira Jr., the visionary lawyer who has become the sage of the idea of constitutional money. That's a reference to the unit of account to which the Founders were referring when they twice used the word "dollars" in the Constitution, and which they codified in the Coinage Act of 1792 as 371 1/4 grains of pure silver, the same as in a then-ubiquitous coin known as the Spanish Milled Dollar, or its free-market equivalent in gold.

If Dr. Paul does accede to the chairmanship of the monetary subcommittee, he will, in but a few months, gavel it to order on the 40th anniversary of the summer in which President Nixon closed the gold window and brought an end to Bretton Woods. Yet a few weeks ago, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan himself, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, warned that "fiat money has no place to go but gold." Even the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has just called for restoring a role for gold in the monetary system.

The great debate is finally starting up again. Who better to host it in Congress than the diminutive doctor who, more faithfully than anyone else on the Hill, has for more than a generation stood for the idea of sound money?


Mr. Lipsky covered hearings of the United States Gold Commission for the Journal's editorial page. He is the author of, most recently, "The Citizen's Constitution: An Annotated Guide" (Basic Books, 2009).

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Prophecy Receives Permit To Mine at Ulaan Ovoo in Mongolia

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Prophecy Resource Corp. (TSX-V:PCY, OTCQX: PRPCF, Frankfurt: 1P2) announces that on November 9, 2010, it received the final permit to commence mining operations at its Ulaan Ovoo coal project in Mongolia. Prophecy is one of few international mining companies to achieve such a milestone. The mine is production-ready, with a mine opening ceremony scheduled for November 20.

Prophecy CEO John Lee said: "I thank the government of Mongolia for the expeditious way this permit was issued. The opening of Ulaan Ovoo is a testament to the industrious and skilled workforce in Mongolia. Prophecy directly and indirectly (through Leighton Asia) employs more than 65 competent Mongolian nationals and four expatriots. The company also reaffirms its commitment to deliver coal to the local Edernet and Darkhan powerplants in Mongolia."

The Ulaan Ovoo open pit mine is 10 kilometers from the Russian border and within 120km of the Nauski TransSiberian railway station, enabling transportation of coal to Russia and its eastern seaports. Thermal coal prices are trading at two-year highs at Russian seaports due to strong demand from Asian economies.

For the complete press release, please visit: