August 3: Daily Contrarian Reads

Smoking Guns—Seymour Hersh Has Evidence RussiaGate Is A CIA Planted Lie

In a youtube video upload-dated August 1st, he reveals from his inside FBI and Washington DC Police Department sources — now, long before the Justice Department’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be presenting his official ‘findings’ to the nation — that the charges that Russia had anything to do with the leaks from the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to Wikileaks, that those charges spread by the press, were a CIA-planted lie, and that what Wikileaks had gotten was only leaks (including at least from the murdered DNC-staffer Seth Rich), and were not from any outsider (including ’the Russians’), but that Rich didn’t get killed for that, but was instead shot in the back during a brutal robbery, which occurred in the high-crime DC neighborhood where he lived. Here is the video…

As Car Sales Plunge, Auto Dealers are Not Amused

AutoNation, the largest automotive retailer in the US with about 280 franchise locations – and thus a sampling for auto dealers in general – reported second quarter earnings this morning, upon which its shares (AN) fell 7%, and are down over 40% from two years ago. It took Ford shares three years to fall 40%. AutoNation’s new vehicle revenues in the second quarter fell 4.6% year-over-year to $2.93 billion; used vehicle revenues fell 4.6% to $1.2 billion. It booked revenue gains in its high-margin areas – Parts & Service, Finance & Insurance, and Other – but that wasn’t enough to make up for the slide in new and used vehicle sales. So total revenues fell 3% to $5.28 billion.

Burn, Baby Burn! Tesla Consumed $1.16 billion of Cash During Q2

Tesla continued to burn cash, and in the second quarter it outdid not only itself but Netflix too, with a record cash burn of -$1.16 billion – or roughly $13 million per day – almost double what it burned in Q1. In Q3, Tesla’s CapEx was $959 million, a number which is set to surge as the Model 3 launch continued well into into Q3: Tesla expects it will burn another $2 billion in CapEx in the second half.

The End of Globalism

Progress is slow. That’s what I’ve learned – and come to expect – after twenty-plus years at this post, commenting on world events and swimming against the tide. However, after all this time, it looks to me as if the tide is turning – slowly, unevenly, yet surely – against the War Party.Oh yes, the times they are a changin’, as Bob Dylan once put it, and here’s the evidence…

Red Ponzi In The Donald’s Cross-Hairs—–U.S. Plans Trade Measures Against China

The Trump administration is planning trade measures to force Beijing to crack down on intellectual-property theft and ease requirements that American companies share advanced technologies to gain entry to the Chinese market.The administration is considering invoking a little-used provision of U.S. trade law to investigate whether China’s intellectual-property policies constitute “unfair trade practices,” according to people familiar with the matter. That would pave the way for the U.S. to impose sanctions on Chinese exporters or to further restrict the transfer of advanced technology to Chinese firms or to U.S.-China joint ventures.

Yes, ObamaCare Is Busted—-Insurers Seeking 30% + Rate Hikes

Major health insurers in some states are seeking increases as high as 30% or more for premiums on 2018 Affordable Care Act plans, according to new federal data that provide the broadest view so far of the turmoil across exchanges as companies try to anticipate Trump administration policies. Big insurers in Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina, Iowa and Wyoming are seeking to raise premiums by averages close to 30% or more, according to preliminary rate requests published Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Major marketplace players in New Mexico, Tennessee, North Dakota and Hawaii indicated they were looking for average increases of 20% or more. In other cases, insurers are looking for more limited premium increases for the suites of products they offer in individual states, reflecting the variety of situations in different markets. Health Care Service Corp., a huge exchange player in five states, filed for average increases including 8.3% in Oklahoma, 23.6% in Texas, and 16% in Illinois.

Red Swan Rising: China Orders Anbang To Sell Its Overseas Assets

Two weeks ago, when discussing the troubles plaguing one of China’s conglomerates and “boldest dealmaker”, HNA Group – recently best known for acquiring Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge capital in a transaction that has yet to close – we said that what until recently was one of the world’s most aggressive roll-ups of varied companies from around the globe, including stakes in Hilton Companies and Deutsche Bank, as well as countless Chinese acquisitions, could very soon become the “reverse roll-up from hell”, as the stock price of HNA tumbled, putting the roughly $24 billion in loans that had been taken against HNA stock in jeopardy of breaching their LTV limits, forcing a massive margin call, and potential fire sale liquidation of the company’s assets as shown in the chart below…

Retail Meltdown Fueled By Asset Stripping LBO Artists

Nearly every retail chain caught up in the brick & mortar meltdown is an LBO queen – acquired in a leveraged buyout by a private equity firm either during the LBO boom before the Financial Crisis or in the years of ultra-cheap money following it. During a leveraged buyout, the PE firm uses little of its own capital. Much of the money needed to buy the retailer comes from debt the retailer itself has to issue to fund the buyout, which leaves the retailer highly leveraged…..This form of asset stripping removes cash from the retailer and leaves it struggling under a load of debt. It works wonderfully until it doesn’t – until booming online sales started eating their lunch, sending these overleveraged retailers, one after the other, into bankruptcy court, where creditors learn what it means to end up holding the bag. But they’re not amused, as we now see. But first the numbers…

The Magic Isn’t Gone, It Was Never There

In any case, the latest figure is back to 1.42%, the same meandering level as the middle of last year before WTI’s base effects kicked in to inappropriately arouse mainstream hope. As I’ve written before, the issue of inflation is not strictly consumer prices. The Federal Reserve has committed itself to doing whatever monetarily in order to bring about a sustainable 2% rise in inflation. Instead, like Japan, it can’t come close without outside assistance.

Endless Wars—Not What Flyover America Voted For

Unless we believe Kim is a suicidal madman, his goal seems clear. He wants what every nuclear power wants — the ability to strike his enemy’s homeland with horrific impact, in order to deter that enemy. Kim wants his regime recognized and respected, and the U.S., which carpet-bombed the North from 1950-1953, out of Korea.