August 9: Daily Contrarian Reads

By This Measure The Current Stock Market Bubble Is Bigger Than Dotcom

My friend, Dr. John Hussman, recently pointed out that stocks have now achieved a valuation altitude that is extremely rare. Only during the week of March 24, 2000, the very peak of the dotcom mania, were stocks ever more highly valued than they are today. As another friend of mine, Eric Cinnamond, recently asked, “If valuations are similar or higher than past bubble peaks, how can today’s cycle not be considered a bubble?” Good question.

Oliver Stone Slams The “Vast Stupidity” of the Russia Sanctions Act

Congress passed its beloved Russia sanctions last week by a vote of 419-3! The Senate followed with a vote of 98-2!! I guess ‘American Exceptionalism’ includes the vast stupidity inherent in having two giant oceans to distance us from the rest of humanity. With all the Apples and Microsofts and computer geniuses we have in our country, can we not even accept the possibility that perhaps our intelligence agencies are not doing their job, and maybe, just maybe, are deliberately misleading us to continue their false-flag war against Russia? Or for that matter, that Russia itself may not be that invested in screwing up our vaunted democracy with such sloppy malware as claimed? Especially in view of the strong statement put out by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of reform-minded veterans throwing a dose of acid on the infamous ‘Brennan-Clapper Report’ of January 6, 2017. With this report alone, much less the overt lying and leaking that’s been going on, both James Clapper (‘We don’t do surveillance on our own citizens’) and John Brennan (‘Drones and torture? None of our business’) should be investigated as thoroughly as Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son, etc.

Surface Calm in the S&P 500 Masks a Spate of Blowups Below

That didn’t happen in the past five days. In fact, the equal-weighted version just posted its biggest weekly drop since May, and its worst week versus the regular S&P 500 all year. The reason: while enough megacap stocks rose to keep the S&P 500 afloat, single-stock blowups were far more common than single-stock rallies. How much more? Thirteen stocks posted declines greater than 10 percent, compared with just three that rose that much. Most of the carnage was in the energy and drug industries, with companies from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Range Resources to Mylan and AmerisourceBergen posting double-digit declines.

Signs of the Top: Hong Kong Market Narrows Sharply—-Top 7 Stocks Account for 70% of YTD Gain

The advance has been narrow — just seven of the index’s 49 stocks, including Tencent, Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. and AIA Group Ltd. have accounted for almost 70 percent of the advance. Their 30-day price swings have jumped 25 percent on average this year, while the HSI Volatility Index holds near a decade low.

2017—-The Year Without an Arctic Summer, NOT!

They are calling this in the Year without an Arctic Summer.  The Greenland Ice Sheet is gaining near record amounts of ice this year. Very little melting has occurred this summer, which is about to start coming to an end. Europe has been unusually cool once again after last year ice wiped out crops all the way down into Spain creating shortages of vegetables.

California has 11 Counties With More Registered Voters Than Voting-Age Citizens: Registered Voters 144% of Eligible

For example, a comparison of the 2011-2015 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and the most recent California active and inactive voter registration records shows there were more total registered voters than there were adults over the age of 18 living in each of the following eleven (11) counties: Imperial (102%), Lassen (102%), Los Angeles (112%), Monterey (104%), San Diego (138%), San Francisco (114%), San Mateo (111%), Santa Cruz (109%), Solano (111%), Stanislaus (102%), and Yolo (110%). Our own research shows that the situation in these counties is, if anything, worse than the foregoing data suggest. For example, we contacted Los Angeles County directly this past June. At that time, county officials informed us that the total number of registered voters now stands at a number that is a whopping 144% of the total number of resident citizens of voting age.

The Madness Is Back: Homeowners Take Out Mortgages To Buy Bitcoin, Cars And Wine

It’s been about a decade since the term “mortgage arbitrage” made headlines. It’s back. In the clearest sign yet of just how late far the investing cycle the developed world finds itself, the FT writes that wealthy British homeowners are again borrowing against their property to invest in bonds, equities, alternative investments or commercial property as the low cost of debt creates opportunities for “mortgage arbitrage”. And while taking out a mortgage to invest in “safer” arbs like corporate bonds, commercial real estate or private equity would be at least understandable, if not excusable, in the current low-yield regime, some more extreme “investment” decisions suggest that the madness and euphoria that marked the peak of the last asset bubble is back: because while growing numbers are prepared to risk using their primary residence as collateral, some are ready to gamble on extremely volatile assets like bitcoin, wine and cars.

How The CIA Bamboozled The Public For 70 Years

Beginning with the Truman administration and the creation of the National Security State in 1947, Cold War Liberalism became the dominant philosophy of the American intelligence establishment. The CIA actively shaped and disseminated these views through psychological warfare and media manipulation. Agency created front organizations and publications networks such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom were vital in this subversion process. These spooks believed it absolutely crucial to mold the cultural milieu of intellectuals, both in the United States as well as Europe. But covertly influencing the mass of the general public was not neglected via publications such as the Reader’s Digest, Time, Life, Look, Newsweek, and other popular magazines. Key figures in this propaganda apparat were Frank Wisner, Tom Braden, Cord Meyer, James Jesus Angleton, Phillip Graham, Joseph Alsop, Stewart Alsop, and C. D. Jackson.

Retail Apocalypse Update—Heading for A Grocery Store Near You

Department stores and many mall-based retailers are closing thousands of stores after years of over-expansion. Now the grocery industry appears to be heading toward a similar fate. Like mall-based retailers did in the 1990s, supermarkets have been expanding rapidly across the US in recent years. “Over the past 10 years, we saw high growth from some of the more traditional players, which has resulted in saturation in the US, and forced mainstream supermarkets to slow openings,” Danielle Dolinsky, an analyst at retail consulting firm Planet Retail RNG, told Business Insider.

Deep State Duplicity—–The Syrian White Helmet Scam

However, missing from this unambiguously positive coverage has been the group’s ties to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, their doctoring of footage, their role in executing civilians and their use of children – both dead and alive – as props for producing pro-intervention propaganda. Also absent is how the White Helmets have received over $123 million from 2013 to 2016 from the U.S. and UK governments, as well as Western NGOs and Gulf state monarchies.