Silver as an investment

British Secretary of State Refuses to Rule Out A ‘Preemptive Strike’ On North Korea

borisjohnson

Boris Johnson, the British secretary of state for foreign affairs, has said the option of military action against North Korea “must theoretically remain on the table” in discussions about the country’s nuclear crisis. Johnson refuses to rule out a preemptive strike.

According to The Independent UK, while speaking at Chatham House, the Foreign Secretary said it was “the duty” of United States President Donald Trump to keep the possibility of a preemptive strike against Kim Jong-un’s regime available at all times. “It is the duty of any president of the US given the threat that his or her country could face from a nuclear-armed North Korea, it is the duty of the President at least to explore those military options and keep them on the table,” he said. “And yet clearly it must remain on the table. The possibility of some kind of military option – there is a spectrum of things that could be done – that possibility must theoretically remain on the table.”

When pressured as to whether or not the United Kingdom would support a preemptive strike against North Korea, Johnson stressed that he preferred the “productive avenue” of talks orchestrated by China. “I don’t think anybody can conceivably want a military solution to this problem, and I know many who have studied the matter find it hard to see how the military solution might play out,” he said. He was also asked if it was now time that the world accepted the hermit nation as among the club of nuclear states. Although it didn’t appear that he answered that question directly, he did make reference to the Cold War.

“The public can be forgiven for genuinely starting to wonder whether the nuclear sword of Damocles is once again held over the head of a trembling human race,” Johnson said. However, the British politician did say the Pyongyang regime’s nuclear ambitions would not make the country safer.

“No one wants any kind of military solution to the problem,” he said. “But Kim and the world need to understand that when the 45th President of the United States contemplates a regime led by a man who not only threatens to reduce New York to ‘ashes’, but who stands on the verge of acquiring the power to make good on his threat, I am afraid that the US president – whoever he or she might be – will have an absolute duty to prepare any option to keep safe not only the American people but all those who have sheltered under the American nuclear umbrella. And I hope Kim will also consider this: that if his objective is to intimidate the US into wholesale withdrawal from East Asia, then it strikes me that his current course might almost be designed to produce the opposite effect.”

Johnson’s comments come on the heels of Donald Trump’s decertification of the 2015 pact with Iran. Trump said that his predecessor Barack Obama was taken advantage of in negotiations, and last week repeated his threat to pull out of the landmark deal entirely. Johnson alleged that the Iran deal proved crucial at a time when the country had been “only months away” from producing a nuclear weapon, which could have triggered an arms race in “one of the most volatile regions of the world.” He said: “Think of the nightmare that deal has avoided.” Johnson also added that Trump had not “junked” the deal and with “determination and courage” the joint comprehensive plan of action deal could be preserved.

Johnson also acknowledged concerns about Iran’s support for Hezbollah, its supply of weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen and interference in Syria. “But that does not mean for one minute that we should write Iran off, or that we should refuse to engage with Iran or that we should show disrespect to its people,” he said. “On the contrary, we should continue to work to demonstrate to that population that they will be better off under this deal and the path of re-engagement that it prescribes.”

Are Cryptocurrencies Inflationary?


Are Cryptocurrencies Inflationary?

Posted with permission and written by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse 

Are Cryptocurrencies Inflationary? - John Rubino

 

 

There’s a debate raging over what, exactly, bitcoin and the thousand or so other cryptocurrencies actually are. Some heavy-hitters are weighing in with strong, if not always coherent opinions:

 

Jamie Dimon calls bitcoin a ‘fraud’

 

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon did not mince words when asked about the popularity of virtual currency bitcoin.

Dimon said at an investment conference that the digital currency was a “fraud” and that his firm would fire anyone at the bank that traded it “in a second.” Dimon said he supported blockchain technology for tracking payments but that trading bitcoin itself was against the bank’s rules. He added that bitcoin was “stupid” and “far too dangerous.”

————————

Peter Schiff: Even at $4,000 bitcoin is still a bubble

(more…)

The Harmful Effects of Antifa by Diana Johnstone

The Harmful Effects of Antifa
Diana Johnstone

An historic opportunity is being missed. The disastrous 2016 presidential election could and should have been a wakeup call. A corrupt political system that gave voters a choice between two terrible candidates is not democracy.

This should have been the signal to face reality. The U.S. political system is totally rotten, contemptuous of the people, serving the corporations and lobbies that pay to keep them in office. The time had come to organize a genuine alternative, an independent movement to liberate the electoral system from the grip of billionaires, to demand a transition from a war economy to an economy dedicated to improving the lives of the people who live here. What is needed is a movement for the pacification of America, at home and abroad.

That is a big order. Yet this approach could meet with wide support, especially if vigorous young people organized to stimulate popular debate, between real live people, from door to door if necessary, creating a mass movement for genuine democracy, equality and peace. This is as revolutionary a program as possible in the present circumstances. A moribund left should be coming back to life to take the lead in building such a movement.

Quite the opposite is happening.

Provoking a new Civil War?

The first step toward preventing such a constructive movement was a false interpretation of the meaning of the Trump victory, massively promoted by mainstream media. This was essentially the Clintonite excuse for Hillary’s loss. Trump’s victory, according to this line, was the product of a convergence between Russian interference and the votes of “misogynists, racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and white supremacists”. The influence of all those bad people indicated the rise of “fascism” in America, with Trump in the role of “fascist” leader.

In this way, criticism of the system that produced Trump vanished in favor of demonization of Trump the individual, making it that much easier for the Clintonites to solidify their control of the Democratic Party, by manipulating their own leftist opposition.

The events of Charlottesville resembled a multiple provocation, with pro- and anti-statue sides provoking each other, providing a stage for Antifa to gain national prominence as saviors. Significantly, Charlottesville riots provoked Trump into making comments which were seized upon by all his enemies to brand him definitively as “racist” and “fascist”. This gave the disoriented “left” a clear cause: fight “fascist Trump” and domestic “fascists”. This is more immediate than organizing to demand that the United States end its threats against Iran and North Korea, its open and covert project to reshape the Middle East to ensure Israel’s regional dominance, or its nuclear buildup targeting Russia. Not to mention its support for genuine Nazis in Ukraine. Yet that trillion dollar policy of global militarization contributes more to violence and injustice even in the United States than the remnants of thoroughly discredited lost causes.

The Left and Antifa

All those who are sincerely on the left, who are in favor of greater social and economic equality for all, who oppose the endless aggressive foreign wars and the resulting militarization of the American police and the American mentality, must realize that, since the Clintonian takeover of the Democratic Party, the ruling oligarchic establishment disguises itself as “the left”, uses “left” arguments to justify itself, and largely succeeds in manipulating genuine leftists for its own purposes. This has caused such confusion that it is quite unclear what “left” means any more.

The Clintonian left substituted Identity Politics for the progressive goal of economic and social equality, by ostentatiously coopting women, blacks and Latinos into the visible elite, the better to ignore the needs of the majority. The Clintonian left introduced the concept of “humanitarian war” to describe its relentless destruction of recalcitrant nations, seducing much of the left into supporting U.S. imperialism as a fight for democracy against “dictators”.

Antifa contributes to this confusion by giving precedence to the suppression of “bad” ideas rather than to the development of good ones through uninhibited debate. Antifa attacks on dissidents tend to enforce the dominant neoliberal doctrine that also raises the specter of fascism as pretext for aggression against countries targeted for regime change.

Antifa’s excuses

Antifa has several favorite arguments to justify itself to those who criticize its use of force and intimidation to silence its adversaries.

1. Its violence is justified by the implicit violence attributed to its chosen enemies who if left alone plan to exterminate whole groups of people.

This is demonstrably untrue, as Antifa is notoriously generous in distributing the fascist label. Most of the people Antifa targets are not fascists and there is no evidence that even “racists” are planning to carry out genocide.

2. Antifa is engaged in other political activity.

That is completely beside the point. Nobody is criticizing that “other political activity”. It is the violence and the censorship which are the hallmarks of the Antifa brand, and the target of criticism. Let them drop the violence and the censorship and get on with their other activities. Then nobody will object.

3. Antifa defends threatened communities.

But that is certainly not all they are doing. Nor is that what its critics are objecting to. Actual defense of a truly threatened community is best done openly by respected members of the community itself, rather than by self-styled Zorros who arrive in disguise. The problem is the definition of the terms. For Antifa, the victim community can be a whole category of people, such as LGBTQI, and the threat may be a controversial speaker at a university who could say something to hurt their feelings. And what community was being defended by Linwood Kaine, younger son of the Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine, when he was arrested in St Paul, Minnesota, last March 4 on suspicion of felony second-degree riot for attempting to break up a pro-Trump rally at the State Capitol? Although Kaine, dressed in black from head to toe, resisted arrest, the matter ended there. What downtrodden community was the young Kaine defending other than the Clintonite Democrats? His own privilege as a family member of the Washington political elite?

4. Antifa claims that it is in favor of free speech in general, but racists and fascists are an exception, because you can’t reason with them, and hate speech is not speech but action.

This amounts to an astounding intellectual surrender to the enemy. It is an admission of being unable to win a free argument. The fact is that speech is indeed speech, and should be countered by speech. You should welcome the chance to debate in public in order to expose the weaknesses of their position. If indeed “you can’t reason with them”, then they will shut down the discussion and you don’t have to. If they resort to physical attack against you, then you have the moral victory. Otherwise, you’re giving it to them.

5. Antifa insists that the Constitutional right to free speech applies only to the State. That is, only the government is banned from depriving citizens of the right to free speech and assembly. Among citizens, anything goes.

This is a remarkable bit of sophistry. Bullying and intimidation are okay if done by an unofficial group. In keeping with neoliberalism, Antifa is out to privatize censorship, by taking over the job itself.

Verbal Violence

The verbal violence of Antifa is worse than their physical violence insofar as it is more effective. The physical violence is usually of minor consequence, at most temporarily preventing something that will happen later. It is the verbal violence that succeeds most in preventing free discussion of controversial issues.

Alarmed by the proliferation of pro-Antifa articles on CounterPunch, I ventured to write a critique, Antifa in Theory and Practice [https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/09/antifa-in-theory-and-in-practice/]. My criticism was not personal; I did not mention the authors of those pro-Antifa CounterPunch articles and my mention of author Mark Bray was respectful. The result was a torrent of vituperation on CounterPunch’s FaceBook page, as well as in a hostile email exchange with star Antifa champion Yoav Litvin. This culminated with a hit piece by Amitai Ben-Abba published on CounterPunch itself. Note that both Litvin and Ben-Abba are Israelis, but pro-Palestinian, which provides the two with impeccable left credentials.

These reactions provided a perfect illustration of Antifa discussion techniques. It is a sort of food fight, where you just throw everything you can pick up at the adversary, regardless of logic or relevance. On the FaceBook page, Litvin, on the basis of my past carefully objective articles on French politics, accused me of “shilling for Marine Le Pen”. Irrelevant and inaccurate.

In his hit piece Ben-Abba dragged in this totally off-topic assertion: “Much in the same way that her early ’00s pseudo-historical denial of the massacre in Srebrenica worked to embolden Serbian nationalists, her present analysis can embolden white supremacists.” Need I point out that I never denied the “massacre” but refuse to label it “genocide”, nor did Serbian nationalists ever need my humble opinion in order to be “emboldened” – especially since the war was over by then.

I happily grant that there are issues raised in my initial article that deserve debate, such as immigration or whether or not the “fascism” of the early twentieth century still exists today. Indeed my whole point was that such issues deserve debate. That’s not what I got. Ben-Abba came up with this imaginary allusion to the immigration issue: “ ‘antifa’ is a broader umbrella term that allows formerly unaffiliated folks (like the sans-papiers migrant baker who makes Johnstone’s croissants) to participate in defense of their communities against neo-fascist intimidation.”

Very funny: I am exploiting some poor undocumented baker and preventing him from being defended. Aside from the fact that I very rarely to eat a croissant, the bakers in my neighborhood are all fully documented, and moreover this largely immigrant neighborhood is the scene of frequent peaceful street demonstrations by African sans-papiers clearly not intimidated by neo-fascists. They obviously do not need Antifa to protect them. This fantasy of omnipresent neo-fascism is as necessary to Antifa as the fantasy of omnipresent anti-Semitism is to Israel.

Antifa rhetoric specializes in non sequitur. If you agree with some conservative or libertarian that it was wrong to destroy Libya, then you are not only guilty of association with a pre-fascist, you are a supporter of dictators and thus probably a fascist yourself. This has been happening in France for years and it’s just getting started in the United States.

The Antifa specialty is labeling anti-war activists and writers as “red-brown”, red for left and brown for fascist. You may pretend to be on the left, but if we can find the slightest association between you and someone on the right, then you are a “red-brown” and deserve to be quarantined.

By claiming to defend helpless minorities from a rising fascist peril, Antifa arrogates to itself the right to decide who is, or might be, “fascist”.

Whatever they think they are doing, whatever they claim to be doing, the one thing they really are doing is to tie the left into such sectarian intolerance that any broad inclusive single-issue anti-war movement becomes impossible. Indeed, it is precisely the imminent danger of nuclear World War III that leads some of us to call for a non-exclusive single issue anti-war movement – thus setting ourselves up as “red-brown”.

That is why Antifa – unwittingly let us say – is running interference for the war party.

It is most unfortunate to see CounterPunch become a platform for Antifa. It didn’t have to. The site is quite able to reject articles, as it has systematically rejected contentions about 9/11 or as it rejected David Cobb’s and Caitlin Johnstone’s (no relative) right to respond. It could have taken a principled stand against calls for violence and censorship. It did not do so. It is one thing to encourage debate and quite another to sponsor mud wrestling.

The post The Harmful Effects of Antifa by Diana Johnstone appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Air Force Denies That US Nuclear Bombers Are Being Put Back On 24-Hour Alert

There were many unanswered questions following last night’s story from Defense One, according to which the US Air Force would put nuclear bombers on high, 24-hour alert for the first time since the end of the cold war in 1991. There may be even more questions on Monday, when the Air Force denied the report and said it was not preparing to put its B-52 nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert, adding that a “misunderstanding” might have led to a report claiming those preparations are underway.

According to Ann Stefanek, the chief of Air Force media operations at the Pentagon, updates to facilities, exercises, and training related to the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana are done routinely to ensure the service is prepared.

“We are not planning or preparing to put B-52s back on alert,” Stefanek said.

Sunday’s report in Defense One said the Air Force was preparing to put the long-range strategic bombers at Barksdale on around-the-clock alert for the first time since 1991. The report also pointed out that the alert order had not been given, and that officials were preparing for such an order if it comes.

Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, was quoted as saying the service was taking “one more step” to ensure it is prepared.

“I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward,” Goldfein told Defense One.

It remains unclear just where the alleged “misunderstanding” took place in the breakdown of communication between Goldfein, Defense One, and today’s damage control by the USAF.

Gold Jumps As Trump Says “Very, Very Close” To Fed Chair Decision

The Dollar index dropped and gold jumped as President Trump told reporters during a meeting with the prime minister of Singapore that he was "very very close" to a decision on who would be the next chair(person) of The Fed

Jerome Powell continues to be the front-runner…

And gold is up…

 

Pushing the precious metal above its 100DMA…

It’s Time To Take Central Bankers’ “Calm Assurances” With A Pinch Of Salt

"It could be time to fire up your engines," suggests former fund manager Richard Breslow, urging some life back into the seemingly oblivious markets…

Via Bloomberg,

There’s a lot of uncertainty out there and the response to it shouldn’t be an inability to trade. How about a little frenetic back and forth?

We could use some of the good kind of noise, as in, let’s show a little life. Markets are inching toward some really interesting levels and it’s time for them to show a little spirit and giddy up.

For once, try taking central bankers at their word that tapering and, eventually, rates, are on the move. And take all of these blithe assurances that everything during the process will be calm, cool and collected with a grain of salt. We need to stop saying global economic growth and trade are showing meaningful strength and then agree that everything is still horrible and we can’t afford to change.

 

 

Do you know why there’s no inflation? We measure it incorrectly. I can assure you it’s more expensive to live than it used to be. (more…)

Amazon Has Received 238 Proposals For The Company’s Second Headquarters

Just days after we reported that in the mad dash by virtually every American city to become Amazon’s second headquarters, in which some such as New Jersey offered as much as $7 billion in state and city tax credits, today Amazon announced that that it has received 238 proposals from “cities and regions in 54 states, provinces, districts and territories around North America” who want to host the company’s second headquarters, also known as HQ2.

As CNBC reports, bids for the new headquarters were due to Amazon on Thursday, Oct. 19. Cities big and small from across over America, from Newark to Boston and hundreds inbetween are trying to impress Amazon and the more than $5 billion it plans to spend on its second headquarters. One Georgia town’s mayor went so far as promising he would rename the town “Amazon” if the company agreed to build there.

Amazon didn’t name any of the bidders or say when it would come up with a short list for its potential picks. Cities including New York, Boston, Atlanta, Nashville and Austin, Texas, have said they applied for the new corporate site, which is expected to generate 50,000 high-paying jobs over nearly 20 years.

As noted previously, Amazon had very specific requirements for cities that are interested in placing a bid: it wants a city with an established mass transit system, easy access to international airports, availability of software developers and other tech talent, cultural fit and the ability to move into a
phase-one site as early as 2019. Other items on its wish list: a metro
area of more than one million people and tax incentives.

Still, as the WSJ adds, it is unclear where Amazon might land. “I don’t think any one market fits everything. It’s going to be a balancing act of the various attributes,” says Dave Bragg, a managing director at Green Street Advisors, which conducts real-estate research.

Amazon has increased its workforce from a few thousand to more than 40,000 over the past decade. And it is still planning to add 2 million square feet and 6,000 people in the next 12 months.

(more…)

Jimmy Carter: ‘I Don’t Think There’s Any Evidence That Russians Changed Votes’

jimmycarter

Former president Jimmy Carter has said that he doesn’t think that the Russians stole the election from Hillary Clinton.  He also had some brutal criticisms of Barack Obama’s foreign policy during a New York Times interview.

“I don’t think there’s any evidence that what the Russians did changed enough votes or any votes,” Carter told The New York Times in an interview published on Saturday.

Carter was a one-term Democrat who also noted in the interview that he and former first lady Rosalynn Carter disagree on the matter.   “Rosie and I have a difference of opinion on that,” he said. “They [the Russians] obviously did,” the former first lady said.  But Donald Trump also disagreed with the former first lady in a Twitter post, saying that it was Facebook that was clearly on Hillary’s side, not the Russians.

But Jimmy Carter’s interview unveiled a few other interesting quotes as well. The comments from the former president and first lady, who say they voted for socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary, come as the congressional and federal probes continue to investigate evidenceless ties between the Trump campaign and Russian election meddling.

What was a little ironic, to say the least, was that Rosalynn Carter was upset that the Russians may have stolen the election from Hillary Clinton, but failed to express the same outrage that Hillary and the DNC stole the primaries away from her choice, Bernie Sanders. That one obviously slipped by the mainstream media, but anyone with half a functioning brain can see the hypocrisy in that phony outrage.

Jimmy Carter also said he’s eager to partner with Trump for a North Korea diplomatic mission. While his comments about his North Korea plan were brief, the former Democratic commander in chief addressed several topics, including the Trump-Putin relationship and his disappointment of Obama’s work in the Middle East.

“I would go, yes,” he said. Carter also said he has talked with Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, about his intentions but was given “a negative’ response. “I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” he reiterated. But Carter didn’t stop there.  He criticized Barack Obama’s foreign policy and blasted the media for their often overtly and harsh coverage of Donald Trump.

The former president said Obama “refused to talk to North Korea more” and lamented the US drone attacks in Yemen, according to Dowd. “He made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that,” he said about Obama’s action on the Middle East.

Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies

Nine, ten years ago there were no cryptocurrencies. Now there at least a couple of thousand depending on whose counting … READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE ON THE NEW WEBSITE: JIM ROGERS TALKS MARKETS  

Jim Rogers is a legendary investor that co-founded the Quantum Fund and retired at age thirty-seven. He is the author of several books and also a financial commentator worldwide.

US Prepares For War: Steps Taken To Put Nuclear Bombers on 24-Hour Alert Status

b52

The United States Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended back in 1991. The Air Force is said to face this decision due to a changing geopolitical environment.

It isn’t just North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal that has the Air Force planning to “fire up” the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway.  Those pads are dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings and will probably soon once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and ready to take off at a moment’s notice partly because of the heightened rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang. But the military is also concerned about Russia’s increasingly potent and active armed forces, according to Defense One.

The long-range bomber can also unleash both nuclear and precision-guided conventional ordnance, but the military insists this is for preparations only. “This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,” said General David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff,  in an interview during his six-day tour of Barksdale and other U.S. Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission. “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.”  Goldfein and other senior defense officials wanted it stressed to the public that the alert order had not been given just yet, but the preparations were already underway in anticipation that it will come.

Goldfein also noted that in a world where “we’ve got folks that are talking openly about [the] use of nuclear weapons,” it’s important to remain alert and think of new ways to be prepared.

That decision will eventually likely be made soon by General John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command (or  STRATCOM, is in charge of the military’s nuclear forces or General Lori Robinson, the head of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM, which is in charge of defending North America.)  Meanwhile, Goldfein, who is the Air Force’s top officer and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is asking his force to think about new and inventive ways that nuclear weapons could be used for deterrence, or even in combat.

“It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union. We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability. It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right,” Goldfein said.