June 6: Daily Contrarian Reads

The Real Unemployment Number: 102 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job

Did you know that the number of working age Americans that do not have a job right now is far higher than it was during the worst moments of the last recession?  For example, in January 2009 92.6 million working age Americans did not have a job, but we just found out that in May the number of working age Americans without a job increased to just a shade under 102 million.  We’ll go over those numbers in more detail in a moment, but first I want to talk a bit about the difference between perception and reality.  According to the bureaucrats in the federal government, the “unemployment rate” in May was the lowest that we have seen in 16 years.  At just “4.3 percent”, we are essentially at “full employment”, and so according to them anyone that really wants a job should be able to find one pretty easily.

Beyond Blowback

It’s been sixteen years since the 9/11 attacks, long enough for a strand of Islam to emerge that views terrorism against Western targets as a religious duty. Furthermore, the radical Islamist critique of Western values and lifestyle as morally corrupt has been integrated into the purely consequentialist idea of “blowback” as retaliation for specific actions. Because it can surely be argued – especially by religious ideologues – that a society capable of killing hundreds of thousands in, say, Iraq, is inherently depraved. Given the theory of “blowback,” this merging of a typically anti-colonialist narrative with a moral critique was inevitable. And to give it a religious angle wasn’t difficult. After all, in the years since September 11, 2001, have the US and its allies attacked any non-Muslim countries?

It Starts—-Hiring Falls In San Francisco

Hiring dropped 4.1% in May year-over-year in the Bay Area, which includes Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and other cities, according to LinkedIn’s new Workforce Report. This contrasted with the US overall, where hiring rose 2.4%, “the strongest month for hiring since June 2015,” as the report put it.

Gimme Shelter—-From the Excitement of Self-Destruction

“Have you all lost your mind?” Vladimir Putin replied to one of Megyn Kelly’s thrusts about alleged Russian perfidy toward the US in the gala interview that debuted her new Sunday Night star-chamber on CNN. Old Vlad put his finger on something there. His view of the late goings-on in America is like that of the proverbial detached Martian observer of strange Earthly doings, rattling his antennae and clicking his mouth-parts in mirth.

The Travails Of Printing Press Money—–Italy faces Borrowing Shock when ECB Removes Support

ITALY faces a “horror” scenario when the European Central Bank winds down its bond buying programme in a move that risks sparking a surge in the country’s borrowing costs, according to one of the world’s largest bond managers…..

Democrats Chase Red Herring of Russia-gate—-Even Progressives Are Fed Up

The over-the-top scapegoating of Russia serves many purposes for the military-industrial complex, Republican neocons, and kindred “liberal interventionist” Democrats. Along the way, the blame-Russia-first rhetoric is of enormous help to the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party — a huge diversion lest its elitism and entwinement with corporate power come under greater scrutiny and stronger challenge from the grassroots.

The Biggest Real Estate Bubble Of All Time Just Did The Impossible

One month ago, we said that “the Vancouver housing bubble Is back, and it’s (almost) bigger than ever.” Fast forward to today, when we can scrap the almost part: according to the latest data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, nearly a year after British Columbia implemented a 15% property tax targeting foreign buyers, in May the biggest real estate bubble of all time did the impossible and in a testament to the persistence of Chinese oligarchs, criminals, money launderers and pretty much anyone who is desperate to park their cash as far away as possible, after a modest drop following last summer’s tax the Vancouver housing bubble has bounced right back to new all time highs, as prices of detached, attached houses and apartment all surged to new record highs.

Debunking The Tesla Myths—-Why High “Resale Value “Hype Won’t Last

The point of the image is that the market for Tesla vehicles has grown over time and the resale data is based on a very limited volume of cars into a larger market. This demand driver will dissipate as Tesla has now reached the sales peak with the Model S in the US and even the Model X appears to have peaked. Looking at the image above, it can even be argued that Model S sales not only peaked but may be on the decline. Selling used cars into a stable to declining market compared to selling cars into a growing market has negative consequences for resale values.

Revision Season From The Washington Data Mills—Its Not Random

bring all this up in the context of revisions season. As the stock market has its quarterly earnings season, so does the economy hold an annual period of benchmark revisions; though in the interest of precision, the economy does nothing different for it is statistics that have to be updated in order to more fully describe non-random occurrences. For many people, it may seem overly pedantic to spend any time writing about statistical revisions to various accounts often several years afterward. What bearing does the refiguring of 2015 Factory Orders have on the economy and markets of 2017?

Dirty Red Dinosaur In the Making

So much for China’s clean energy push. Shenhua Group Corp., the country’s biggest coal miner, is in talks with one of the largest coal-fired power generators on a merger that would create a behemoth with ($267 billion) in assets. The combination with China Guodian Corp. wouldn’t achieve either of the goals of President Xi Jinping’s power-industry restructuring: overhauling bloated state companies and cutting reliance on coal. Instead, it would create another too-big-to-fail near-monopoly akin to the December 2015 formation of the Cosco-China Shipping Group.