July 20: Daily Contrarian Reads

Mario, Thanks For The Gibberish

A more accurate summation of his speech is as follows: central banks navigate by inflation; inflation isn’t behaving no matter what we do; we don’t really know why; but we also believe that this “contradiction” is temporary because we believe it is temporary.It’s the same part of a speech given by Janet Yellen, Haruhiko Kuroda, and any number of other faceless empty suits sitting atop the organizational charts of major central banks. They all think low inflation is temporary, and yet they continue to say that year after year after year. At some point even the speechwriter has to point out the meaning of the word “temporary.”

Don’t Buy The Dips—-There Aren’t Any!

Having previously reflected on how “easy” this market has been in 2017, it appears The WSJ has finally noticed something is different this time, pointing out that major indexes haven’t gone a calendar year without a pullback of at least 5% in at least 30 years. We noted previously that there hasn’t been a single instance when the U.S. equity benchmark pulled back 5 percent from its highs in 2017. The last time the market slumped at least that much was in the aftermath of the June 2016 Brexit vote — marking a 267-day streak that’s the longest since 1996, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The last time equity markets went this deep into a year without all three of those benchmark indexes suffering at least 5% pullbacks was nearly a quarter-century ago, in 1993.

Why Syria Collapsed—–Flooded By Billions Of  Washington Directed Illegal Arms 

Over the last seven years, several billion dollars’ worth of armament has been illegally introduced into Syria – a fact which in itself is enough to disprove the myth according to which this war is a democratic revolution. Numerous documents attest to the fact that the traffic was organised by General David Petraeus, first of all in public, via the CIA, of which he was the director, then privately, via the financial company KKR with the aid of certain senior civil servants. Thus the conflict, which was initially an imperialist operation by the United States and the United Kingdom, became a private capitalist operation, while in Washington, the authority of the White House was challenged by the deep state. New elements now show the secret rôle of Azerbaïdjan in the evolution of the war.

The ‘Foreign Meddling’ Double-Standard

We’re all supposed to be outraged by alleged Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election, despite the fact that no actual evidence of such interference has been made public. First it was “17 intelligence agencies” supposedly confirmed that Moscow was behind the DNC/Podesta email releases, and then it was down to just three – with the National Security Agency modifying its judgment to “moderate confidence.” But the media continued to make this claim, as did the Democrats (or do I repeat myself?), and the conspiracy theorizing ploughed ahead. Yet the real meddling by foreigners in American politics has been ignored because it doesn’t identify the right targets.

Harley-Davidson Spirals Down, Announces US Layoffs, Builds Factory in Thailand

Shares of Harley-Davidson (HOG) dropped 10% in the morning after the company reported second-quarter earnings and were down nearly 6% at the end of the day. Almost everything was bad. Retail sales by its dealers in the US fell 9.3% in Q2, compared to a year ago, to 49,668 motorcycles…..Shipments in the quarter fell 7.2% to 81,807 and are down 10.8% year to date….The 30-day delinquency rate on its $7.5 billion in motorcycle loans outstanding rose to 3.25%, from 3.16% a year ago, and from 2.7% in Q2 2015. The annualized loss experience on those loans reached 1.71%, the highest for any second quarter since 2010.

The Smell of Dry Paint in the Morning

Oh, but for the days of antiquated notions such as matching assets to liabilities. But that’s so 80s. Today, a given public pension’s portfolio is anything but dominated by the Treasury bonds once held to satisfy its future liabilities. Rather, half of a typical portfolio’s assets are invested in stocks, a quarter in bonds and cash, and the balance in ‘alternative investments,’ including private equity, hedge funds, real estate and commodities. (Yes, we are still on the subject of matching current and future retiree paychecks to appropriate investments.)

After GOP Health Care Split—–Tax Cut Wrangling Comes Next

Republicans in Congress unveiled a fiscal 2018 budget plan as a first step to major U.S. tax reform on Tuesday, only to face the same divisions between conservatives and moderates that helped killed their efforts to replace Obamacare.

Which Is Worse? America’s Government or France’s?

In France, half the people work hard; the other half try to stop them. But the typical French family is more prudent than its American counterpart. It’s seen governments come and go. The Third Republic fell in 1940. The Fourth Republic fell in 1958. The Fifth Republic will probably fall in the coming financial crisis. French currencies come and go, too.

The US Stock Market Is Now The World’s Most Expensive

The True History of The Ukraine That No One Knows

In 1667, the Treaty of Andrusovo affirmed Russian sovereignty over historic Russian lands that had been part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth since the 14th century. These areas were de-facto Russian ever since the Treaty of Pereyaslav, signed in 1654 as an alliance between local Cossacks and the government in Moscow.