February 9: Daily Contrarian Reads

Debt Apocalypse Beckons: Consumer And Business Bankruptcy Filings Rising Again

For years, the Federal Reserve has been encouraging reckless borrowing and spending by pushing interest rates to ultra-low levels.  Unfortunately, this created an absolutely enormous debt bubble, and now that debt bubble is beginning to burst…..US bankruptcy filings by consumers rose 5.4% in January, compared to January last year, to 52,421 according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. In December, they’d already risen 4.5% from a year earlier. This was the first time that consumer bankruptcies increased back-to-back since 2010. However, business bankruptcies began to surge in November 2015 and continued surging on a year-over-year basis in 2016, to reach a full-year total of 37,823 filings, up 26% from the prior year and the highest since 2014.

Pat Buchanan Smacks Down The Self-Righteous Prigs Of The Imperial City

Yet, as we beat our chests in celebration of our own moral superiority over other nations and peoples, consider what Trump is trying to do here, and who is really behaving as a statesmen, and who is acting like an infantile and self-righteous prig. When President Eisenhower invited Nikita Khrushchev to the United States, did Ike denounce him as the “Butcher of Budapest” for his massacre of the Hungarian patriots in 1956? Did President Nixon, while negotiating his trip to Peking to end decades of hostility, speak the unvarnished truth about Mao Zedong — that he was a greater mass murderer than Stalin?….And when he rose to general secretary of the Communist Party, Ronald Reagan wanted to talk to him, as he had wanted to talk to every Soviet leader. Why? Because Reagan believed the truly moral thing he could do was negotiate to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

The Euros Days Are Numbered: Marine Le Pen’s Plan to Return To “Monetary Sovereignty”

Le Pen is making a “return to monetary sovereignty” a key plank of her policy platform as she seeks to replicate the populist victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. and has set up a task force to prepare, her adviser Bernard Monot said, as he explained the details of her plan on the sidelines of a rally in Lyon Saturday….Le Pen’s campaign for the French presidency has grabbed the attention of investors around the world with her aim to rip out the financial foundations of the European economy.

The Big 2017 Growth Industry—–Debt Restructuring And Bankruptcy!

But in 2015, the industry began licking its chops. And in 2016, total commercial bankruptcy filings jumped 26% from a year earlier, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. It was the first rise since 2010. 2016 was the “official rebound of the turnaround industry,” as Alix Partners, one of the big advisories in this industry, put it in its report, North American restructuring experts survey: a changing world. The year “will be remembered for some of the most impactful global events on record that not even the most well-informed experts could have predicted.” Hence, increased profit opportunities in 2017 for the restructuring industry…… experts are now counting on a surge in companies that, buckling under their debts, will seek to “restructure” them either in bankruptcy court.

“Davos Man Is Dead” – Trump’s EU Ambassador Slams Out Of Touch Elites

I don’t think it is just Europe. It is certainly the case around the world. The Davos Man is dead. We had the Davos World Economic Forum the other week and of course they had a lot of has-beens there. The keynote speakers were all people who were leaving office, for example, US Secretary of State John Kerry. Xi Jinping was their poster boy for globalization, and in effect, China has been a beneficiary of globalization. The 300 million jobs that were created in China was a significant economic fact, but lots of those jobs were taken out of the hallowed places of Western Europe and Middle America.

The Botched Yemen Raid—-Trump’s Bay Of Pigs Moment

The Pentagon’s attack in Yemen brings to mind the attack on Cuba at the Bay of Pigs more than 50 years ago. Just as the Pentagon presented the Yemen attack proposal to President Trump immediately after he assumed office, the CIA did the same thing to President Kennedy immediately after he took office……Once Kennedy was elected, the CIA knew that they were dealing with a neophyte president, one who had had little experience in foreign affairs…. While he took public responsibility for the debacle, he soon understood fully that he had been set up by the CIA, and he was livid about it. He fired the much-revered CIA Director Allen Dulles (who, in one of the most interesting conflicts of interest in history, would later be appointed to the official commission charged with investigating Kennedy’s assassination) and CIA Director for Plans Richard Bissel. He also vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the winds.

Dear IMF, Please Put Greece Out of Its Misery

Trump has stated Greece should abandon the Euro, and Germany is a currency manipulator. Thus, it is reasonable to believe Trump may threaten to pull funds from the IMF unless they cooperate. Cooperation in this case means backing out of the Troika deal.

The Terror Inside—— Trump’s White House War Mongers

Suppose, though, we judge the new president not by his own statements alone, but by the company he keeps – in this case, those he chooses to advise him on national security. Do that and a strange picture emerges. On one thing all of Trump’s major national security appointees seem crystal clear. We are, each one of them insists, in nothing less than a world war in which non-intervention simply isn’t an option. And in that they are hardly kowtowing to the president. Each of them took such a position before anyone knew that there would be a Donald Trump administration. There’s only one small catch: none of them can quite agree on just whom we’re fighting in this twenty-first-century global war of ours. So let’s take a look at this crew, one by one, and see what their records might tell us about intervention, Trump-style.

Clash of Civilizations—-Professor Huntington’s Humbug Gets A Berth In The White House

The president’s new Chief Strategist, Stephen Bannon, goes further in arguing that the United States should take an aggressive stance against radical Islam, placing it in the context of historic conflict between civilizations. In one 2014 interview, Bannon noted: “If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam, I believe that our forefathers… kept it out of the world, whether it was at Vienna, or Tours, or other places.” Indeed, Bannon’s comments often omit the “radical” modifier, describing Islam itself as a threat darker than fascism and communism. Neither Flynn nor Bannon confine their civilizational worldview to the Islamic world. For both, China is viewed as an expansionist threat to the West, particularly in terms of trade.

Source Of US Jobs Flight—–Bad Money After Nixon Closed The Gold Window, Not NAFTA And Bad Trade Deals

The source of global trading imbalances, soaring debt, declining real wages, and the massive rise of the 1% at the expense of the bottom 90% is Nixon closing the gold window. At that time, Nixon’s treasury secretary John Connally famously told a group of European finance ministers worried about the export of American inflation that the  “dollar is our currency, but your problem.” Balance of trade issues, soaring debt, declining real wages, and the demise of the US middle class are now our problem.