August 15: Daily Contrarian Reads

Memo To Trump: Your Enemy Is Not Fat Kim, It’s Fathead Jeff Bezos, The CIA-Washington Post & the Mainstream Media.

Let us come to the point. Your enemy is not Kim, your enemy is your mainstream mass media. Sure, it is not the only enemy, but if this enemy could be knocked out, the judges would obey, the congressmen would fall into line, Mueller would be sent back to oblivion. There is a problem, how to subdue this stubborn enemy……..And here I’d suggest dealing with Jeff Bezos, first of all and immediately. He is a father of the North Korean crisis, let him be the first victim of it. It is his claim that Koreans produced that nuclear warhead that jump-started the crisis. The jerk did it at the anniversary of the greatest atrocity of all times,the Hiroshima bombing……The man stole the good name of Washington Post, the glorious newspaper of old, the newspaper of Bernstein, Woodward, Seymour Hersh and many other wonderful American journalists and reporters. He turned the venerable paper into propaganda tool by appointing a campaign chief of staff instead of a professional man. If Lenovo is not allowed to use the name of IBM, though they bought the company, Bezos should not be allowed to use the name of good old WaPo. Let him call it Bezos Post.

Six Reasons The Selloff Is Just Getting Started—None Of Them N. Korea

Did Thursday’s little jolt of volatility wake you up after months of unusual stock market calm? Better get used to it. You might be tempted to think that the conflict between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was the main cause of the selling…..actually may not have a lot to do with U.S.-North Korea saber-rattling. Instead, what’s really going on is that the conditions were there to make the market extra vulnerable to a catalyst like the North Korea nuke squabble. And those conditions have not gone away. So there’s more to come. “I think this is a correction that’s not over,” says Doug Ramsey, the chief investment officer of the Leuthold Group. Here are six reasons why Ramsey may be right.

Why Trump and Yellen Make for a Volatile Pair

Hussman doesn’t believe Ms. Yellen is any brighter than her predecessors.  He writes, “One thing should be clear: policy makers have not become “smarter.” What they have become, with each bubble-crash cycle, is more reckless and arrogant in their willingness to extend speculative financial conditions by encouraging yield-seeking, compressing prospective future investment returns, amplifying the destructive consequences that inevitably result, and ironically, using those same consequences to justify fresh intervention.”

September Fed Meeting: Something Wicked This Way Comes

In just a little over 30 days the Federal Reserve will once again meet to ponder the rationale to either hike rates once again, or stand pat. But that’s only part of what I believe will overhang the “markets” much like the Sword-of-Damocles in the coming weeks. What will certainly be included in that consideration will be whether, or not, to begin the process of shrinking the balance sheet with an officially marked: time, date, and amount, combined with the unfolding schedule. And last, but certainly not least, a final consideration (that will surely make for quite the informative vote tally) that must be considered will be – if – they dare do both as in a hike, as well as announce the reduction schedule in unison.

It’s Even Worse Than You Think—-Beyond The Military/Industrial Complex

But today the «Military-Industrial Complex» is an archaic term that doesn’t begin to describe the complexity and influence of current structures. Indeed, even in Eisenhower’s day the MIC was more than a simple duplex consisting of the Pentagon and military contractors but also included an essential third leg: the Congressional committees that provide the money constituting the MIC’s lifeblood. (Reportedly, an earlier draft of the speech used the term «military-industrial-Congressional» complex, a fuller description of what has come to be called the «Iron Triangle». Asked about the omission from the final text, Eisenhower is said to have answered: «It was more than enough to take on the military and private industry. I couldn’t take on the Congress as well».)

Beware of the “Hamilton 68” Project—-Or When Barack Obama And Dick Cheney Join Forces

In Russia Sanctions And The Coming Crackdown On Americans we exposed a new project called “Hamilton 68” which claims to monitor 600 twitter accounts in real time, looking for what its creators consider to be overt, covert, as well as “second tier” Russian propaganda. The list of suspected “pro-Russian” twitter accounts is not provided, nor is any rationale given for how an account gets put on the list. Most disturbing is that the organization behind Hamilton 68, the newly established Alliance for Securing Democracy, is a creation of the German Marshall Fund – itself mostly funded by the US and NATO states. Like the completely failed and laughable “PropOrNot” before it (which publishes a McCarthyite sounding “The List”), Hamilton 68 immediately garnered mainstream news coverage presenting it merely as a benign and innocuous watchdog tool for protecting American democracy. Not long after PropOrNot appeared seemingly out of nowhere, it quickly rose from internet obscurity and invisibility after being the focus of a Washington Post article written in the form of objective hard news (the Post article now sits with an embarrassing Editor’s Note and Correction pinned to the top and bottom of the page).

Thanks Janet!  Silicon Valley Employees That Re Paid 7 Figures to Stay Away rom Work

On a sunny summer morning, a Facebook engineer woke up to go to work but felt ill. She ran to her bathroom and threw-up. “I thought I was getting sick,” the engineer recalled. It wasn’t a virus or food poisoning. She was having a bad reaction to her job. She was making $1 million a year, mostly in stock, and running a team of about three dozen people, she told Business Insider. And she had worked herself into a state of exhaustion in the three years since Facebook had acquired her previous company. The acquisition had been highly political, the integration wasn’t going well and she had been killing herself to make it more successful and protect her people from losing their jobs over it……And that’s how this hard-working, conscientious engineer wound up joining the least-secret, secret club in the Valley, known as “rest and vest.”

Weakening Used Car Market And Hertz—–The Final Nail in the Coffin

Unlike 2009 when the US government intervened with Cash for Clunkers and the lowest interest rates in history, I don’t foresee a catalyst that will boost or even stabilize used vehicle values for the next 2-3 years…… In conclusion, Hertz has surpassed the previous peak in per unit depreciation and now has to weather a 2 plus year declining used vehicle value storm with a more expensive mix of vehicles. The greatest challenge for Hertz is not behind, it lies ahead, and it’s one that they may not be able to survive this time.

Inside Washington’s Soft-Power Sanctions War

Congress voted to tighten economic sanctions against Russia. Embargoes once were imposed only occasionally and after serious debate. Today legislators and presidents think nothing of banning investment, trade and other contacts with foreign peoples and nations. They punish people and companies from other countries—such as Europe in the case of the anti-Russia legislation—for not following America’s rules……Only rarely do sanctions force political change, and that usually only happens if domestic factors already are favorable. In fact, people in targeted states often resent outside pressure. The routine use of sanctions—Washington hit thirty-six different countries between 1993 and 2000 alone—has made the United States an international bully.

Retail Rout Returns—-JCPenny Now A Penny Stock

JCPenney announced a $62 million dollar loss for the quarter. With the announcement, its share price plunged 16% breaking the $4 barrier for the first time. Stocks under $5 are considered “penny” stocks…..JCPenney is the latest department store chain to announce dismal results. Macy’s (M), Kohl’s (KSS) and Dillard’s (DDS) all reported a decline in same store sales on Thursday as they struggle to compete against Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Walmart (WMT).