February 15: Daily Contrarian Reads

The Greatest Bond Bubble Ever—-David Stockman’s Reflections On Maestro Greenspan’s Visit To Agora

A lot of stuff that came out of our meeting is worth highlighting. But I want to focus on a couple of the whoppers I picked up on….. his claim that the kind of central banking we have now… the kind he pioneered and practiced… was meant to “replicate the gold standard” – that was a proposition too far. Activist central bankers do the opposite of what the gold standard did. Alan got it right in 1966 when he wrote his essay “Gold and Economic Freedom” for Ayn Rand’s newsletter, The Objectivist.

China Just Created A Record $540 Billion In Debt In One Month

One week ago, Deutsche Bank analysts warned that the global economic boom is about to end for one reason that has nothing to do with Trump, and everything to do with China’s relentless debt injections. As DB’s Oliver Harvey said, “attention has focused on President Trump, but developments on the other side of the world may prove more important. At the beginning of 2016, China embarked on its latest fiscal stimulus funded from local government land sales and a booming property market. The Chinese business cycle troughed shortly thereafter and has accelerated rapidly since……Yes… but not yet, because as China reported overnight, in January Beijing injected the greatest amount of aggregate monthly credit, between bank and shadow loans, i.e., Total Social Financing, on record, amounting to an all time high $540 billion

Jim Rogers: “We’re About To Have The Worst Economic Problems Of A Lifetime, A Lot Of People Will Disappear”

“Get prepared,” warns billionaire commodity guru Jim Rogers, “because we’re going to have the worst economic problems in your lifetime and a lot of people are going to disappear.” In this wide-ranging interview with MacroVoices’ Erik Townsend, the investing legend discusses everything from whether Russia is being scapegoated (“yes, ask Victoria Nuland”), the war against cash (“governments love it… they want to control everything”), to his views on gold and the demise of freedom.

The Ridiculous Central Bank Pursuit Of Inflation—-Europe Trying Japan’s Failed Cure

The nascent monetarism of the 1960’s actually stood in sharp contrast to the dominant Keynesianism of the time; in fact, most of Friedman’s work rose out of trying to disprove a great deal of it. The problem we all live with today is that in the later 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s Keynes and Friedman were no longer kept separate as opposite ends of a heated debate. They fused, and suddenly we were left with only one operating dogma which held an activist central bank, not the background guidepost central bank Friedman had envisioned, as the primary if not only monetary agent.

Stock Market Chart Guru McClellan Warns Of “Important Price Top” As Volume Collapses

Plunging volume and narrowing breadth among the most popular exchange-traded funds indicates U.S. stocks are peaking, according to Tom McClellan, editor of the McClellan Market Report. As Nasdaq 100 ETF QQQ has soatred post-election, volume has cratered…And Tom McClellan warns that when investors get complacent, they do certain things.  They show up as bullish in the various surveys.  They bid tiny premiums on options, driving down the VIX.  They put all of their cash to work, letting money market fund levels get down really low.  And they trade tiny volumes on QQQ.

The Neocons’ Back-Door to Trump

President Trump’s foreign policy is sliding toward neoconservative orthodoxy on the Middle East because White House insiders are aligning with Israeli-Saudi interests and vowing undying hostility toward Iran, which they falsely insist is the chief sponsor of terrorism. I’m told that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, privately at least, recognizes that Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-led Gulf state allies are the prime backers of Al Qaeda and Islamic State – with Iran actually fighting these major terror groups – but close advisers to President Trump, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, appear wedded to Official Washington’s “group think” blaming Iran for pretty much everything that’s gone wrong in the region.

Was Ist Das, Mario?  German Wholesale Prices Up 4.0% Y/Y

Two weeks after Germany reported a spike in consumer prices, which jumped 1.9% from a year ago, the biggest annual increased since July 2013…Germans got another price shock today when the Federal Statistics Office reported that Wholesale Prices rose a China-like 0.8% MOM in January, and advancing 4% year-on-year in January, up from the “mere” 2.8 percent increase in December, and the fastest growth since October 2011, when prices gained 4.1%.

Fake News—-Ours And Theirs

had to laugh when the “mainstream” media began making a fuss about the alleged epidemic of “fake news.”  My immediate and uncontrollable reaction was: “Are we to be spared nothing?!” After all, as Antiwar.com’s longtime readers know, these are the very same people who were spreading the Bush administration’s “talking points” as if they were facts in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. They know this because we spent years debunking them. Here are just a few samples:The famous “aluminum tubes” that were supposedly part of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear arsenal……The yellowcake from Niger….

Why Donald Trump Needs The Next Recession To Start As Quickly As Possible

A new recession is coming, and Donald Trump needs it to begin sooner rather than later.  As I explained last week, most American voters tend to care about their pocketbooks more than anything else.  If the next recession were to officially start during the first quarter of 2017, it would be very easy for Trump to blame it on Obama, and then he could portray himself as the one that pulled the U.S. economy out of recession in time for the 2020 election.  But if the next recession does not begin until 2018 or 2019, everybody is going to blame it on Trump even if it is not his fault.  In politics, who gets the blame for whatever goes wrong is often the most important thing, and if Trump wants to avoid blame for the next recession he needs for it to start as quickly as possible.

Washington’s Phony “Red” Versus “Blue” War of Words—-Neither Party Gets The Real Crisis At Hand

Don’t be fooled by the idiotic exertions of the Red team and the Blue team. They’re just playing a game of “Capture the Flag” on the deck of the Titanic. The ship is the techno-industrial economy. It’s going down because it has taken on too much water (debt), and the bilge pump (the oil industry) is losing its mojo. Neither faction understands what is happening, though they each have an elaborate delusional narrative to spin in the absence of any credible plan for adapting the life of our nation to the precipitating realities. The Blues and Reds are mirrors of each other’s illusions, and rage follows when illusions die, so watch out. Both factions are ready to blow up the country before they come to terms with what is coming down.