December 30: Daily Contrarian Reads

Ron Paul’s Four New Year’s Resolutions for Donald Trump and Congress

In  the spirit of New Year’s, here are four resolutions for president-elect Trump and Congress that will enable them to really make America great again:

Why Obama Failed

Now two months following the greatest political upheaval most of us will ever witness, we are seeing the dawning of a new reality: Obama failed. The supposed successes such as the Affordable Care Act have become a handful of dust, and we are left with a huge amount of executive orders and signed legislation that seem destined for repeal. Eight years in office, and there’s not much to show for it. Economic growth never did take off. Hope and change ended in frustration and fear. The last month of the Obama years has been spent in a frenzy to do something, anything, important to secure his place in history: releasing prisoners, imposing new regulations, putting on the final spin.

Xi’s Power Play Foreshadows Historic Transformation of How China Is Ruled

Four years on, Mr. Xi has taken personal charge of the economy, the armed forces and most other levers of power, overturning a collective-leadership system introduced to protect against one-man rule after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. Shattering old taboos, Mr. Xi has targeted party elders and their kin in an antigraft crusade, demanded fealty from all 89 million party members, and honed a paternalistic public image as Xi Dada, or Big Papa Xi.

Red Ponzi 2.0—-Vietnam’s Credit Fueled Boom Is Heading For The Wall

Vietnam could be “sowing the seeds of the next crisis” with its loose monetary policy. Private-sector credit is on track to grow at near 20% for 2016, and in a note sent out to clients on Friday, Capital Economics senior Asia economist Gareth Leather wrote that “a credit boom on the scale that Vietnam is experiencing is not sustainable over the long term” and that another spike in nonperforming loans seemed “inevitable.”

Next Comes Frexit—-Le Pen Promises to Take France Out Of NATO and EU

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that NATO exists only ‘to serve Washington’s objectives’, and that she planned to hold a Brexit-style referendum, in an interview with a Greek newspaper. Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front and a candidate for the 2017 presidential elections, is known for her Euroscepticism and anti-immigrant views. Together with France, she also suggested that Portugal, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Greece and Cyprus should also leave the European Union….“Frexit will be a part of my policy,” she said in an interview with Dimokratia. “The people must have the opportunity to vote for the liberation from slavery and blackmail imposed by technocrats in Brussels to return sovereignty to the country.”

US Economic Data Has Never Been This Weak For This Long

Despite the ongoing propaganda reinforcing America’s “cleanest sheets in a brothel” economic growth, the fact is, there is a reason why The Fed folded, why Draghi doubled-down, why China cut, and why Kuroda will likely unleash moar QQE this week. It appears the ‘trap’ that central planners have set for themselves – by enabling massive financial asset inflation in the face of what is now the longest streak of economic weakness and data disappointment on record – now looks set to prove their impotence and/or Enisteinian insanity.

Stop Poking The Bear—–A New Cold War Is Dangerous, Costly and Unnecessary

THE GRAVEST crisis facing America and the West is also the most unnecessary: the ominous deterioration in relations with Russia. Far from the danger posed during the Cold War, Russia nonetheless remains positioned upon the crucial Eurasian heartland, a strategic bastion that cannot be ignored. It has always been, and remains, a potential threat to Europe, and that must always be borne in mind. And yet the most provocative actions in this relationship in recent years have come from Europe, NATO and America—against Russia. NATO, a military alliance, has expanded right up to the Russian border. It has deployed components of a missile-defense shield in Poland and Romania. NATO has flirted with allowing both Georgia and Ukraine, both traditionally part of Russia’s sphere of influence, into the Western alliance. U.S. officials undermined the democratically elected leader of Ukraine, whose government tilted toward Russia, and have taken actions bent on pulling Ukraine from Russia’s orbit. When Russia responded by securing Crimea, with its crucial harbor, and providing military support to rebels in eastern Ukraine who don’t want to be pulled Westward, the United States and Europe imposed debilitating economic sanctions.

A Cautionary Lesson—-How Spain’s Insolvent Government Depleted Its Social Security Fund To Finance Its Red Ink

When the Rajoy administration took the reins of power at the end of 2011, at the height of Spain’s debt crisis, the country’s Social Security fund had a surplus of over €65 billion, the result of a gradual accumulation of funds since the end of the 1990s. That money was supposed to serve as a nationwide nest egg to help cover the growing needs of Spain’s burgeoning ranks of pensioners. Instead, it has been used by the government to fill some of its own massive fiscal gaps, with the result that now, five years later, the total surplus has shrunk by 75%, to €15 billion…..Things have gotten so bad that in October the Spanish government was forced to admit to the European Commission that by the end of next year the surplus will have become a deficit, of around €2.6 billion. In other words, a fund that took 16 years to build up will have been plundered dry in less than half that time, at an average rate of around €11 billion a year.

The Christmas 1914 Truce And The Future of War

One thing that’s so remarkable about the Christmas Truce is this whole question of what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier or be somehow limited. Weintraub addresses this in his book. We may not have had the rise of communism, the Russian Revolution and Stalin and Lenin, we certainly would not have had Versailles. As a result, we might not have had Hitler or Nazism or maybe even FDR. I mean, it’s remarkable to think about, isn’t it? Denson: That’s right and that’s counterfactual history at its best. Weintraub, in his last chapter, entitled “What If,” points out that he thinks … and of course this is speculation, counterfactual history … that if we had had no Russian Revolution, we wouldn’t have gotten to that point where communism took over, no Lenin, no Stalin, there would be no Treaty of Versailles, mistreated Germany, therefore Hitler would not have had his cause to rise and no Hitler and Nazism and World War II, as I have argued in the past, World War II was simply a continuation of World War I with a truce….

Election Interference—–Washington Is The Grand Champion at 81 Times Since 1946

The US was found to have interfered in foreign elections at least 81 times between 1946 and 2000 – not counting US-backed military coups or regime change efforts. Ever since Donald Trump managed to win the US Presidential Election last month, the US establishment – which largely backed Hillary Clinton – has pounced on any and all opportunities to accuse a foreign power, namely Russia, of having “interfered” in the US election. Though such accusations have been proven to be based solely on speculation and not hard evidence, that hasn’t stopped the US political elite for crying foul for an act, they say undermines democracy in the worst way possible. Yet, absent from all of this post-election hysteria is any mention of the US’ own well-documented practice of interfering with the elections of numerous foreign nations under the pretext of protecting or furthering US “interests” abroad.