March 8: Daily Contrarian Reads

Here Comes PE Multiple Compression—-Worse than Before the Last Three Crashes

But there are some factors – boundless optimists should push them aside assiduously – that, from a historical point of view, would trigger tsunami sirens. Because in the end, it’s not different this time. And the cycle of “multiple expansion” and “multiple compression” is one of those factors…And earnings have been flat since 2011!…… earnings of the S&P 500 companies in Q4 2016 were back where they’d been in Q4 2011. So five years of earnings stagnation. Yet, during those five years, the S&P 500 index soared 87%…..This aggregate P/E ratio has nearly doubled from 14.9 on January 1, 2012, to 26.7 on March 3, 2017:

How The Deep State Is Attempting To Take Trump Down

In this case I understand from very good friends that what happened was both Jim Clapper and John Brennan at CIA were intimately involved in trying to derail the candidacy of Donald Trump. That there was some collusion overseas with Britain’s own GHCQ [Government Communications Headquarters]. That information that was gathered from GHCQ was actually passed to John Brennan and it was disseminated within the US government. This dissemination was illegal.  Donald Trump is in essence correct that the intelligence agencies, and some in the law enforcement community on the side of the FBI, were in fact illegally trying to access, monitor his communications with his aides and with other people. All of this with an end to try and destroy and discredit his presidency. I don’t think there can be any doubt of that

Mark Levin’s CNN Smackdown On The Alleged Conspiracy Theory Behind Trump’s Wiretap Tweet

Did you listen to my show on Thursday, before President Trump tweeted? Did you watch my appearance on Fox and Friends Sunday morning? I know you are ticked I did not appear on your show, despite your numerous requests. Your ad hominem attacks about “right wing” radio host and conspiracy theory stuff … incredible. I simply put together the stories that YOUR profession reported, on the public record. Do you deny there were two FISA applications? Do you deny the first was turned down? Do you deny the second was approved? It’s called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. It is about surveillance. The fact that we cannot discern all the details because of the secrecy, except for what the media have revealed and selective leaks by the government, should cause you to want to know more, not to trash those who point it out.

The Red Ponzi Metastasizes—-$33 Trillion Banking System Is Now The World’s Largest

Something historic, if largely unnoticed, took place at the end of 2016: China’s banking system surpassed that of the eurozone, becoming the world’s largest by assets, which according to the FT is a sign of both of the country’s increased influence in world finance and its reliance on debt to drive growth since the global financial crisis. It is also a confirmation that when it comes to interwoven, “Too Big To Fail” financial systems, nothing compares to China and that the onus is on Beijing to keep its banks viable and solvent at all costs. Chinese bank assets, frequently discussed here and which are also the basis for Kyle Bass’ bearish stance on China, hit $33 trillion at the end of 2016, versus $31 trillion for the eurozone, $16 trillion for the US and $7 trillion for Japan. The value of China’s banking system is now more than 310% the size of its GDP, compared to “only” 280% for the eurozone and its banks.

Trump’s SOTU Speech Dissected—-A Budget-Busting Spending Spree 

But none of the reforms favored by Trump have ever included making any substantial cuts to federal spending whether it be on the military or on social spending. He hasn’t even talked about freezing government spending or slowing it down.  When it comes to social spending, it will be business as usual. It’s significant that Trump didn’t even mention Social Security or Medicare — which are the two biggest single components of the federal budget’s social spending. Social Security by itself (in 2016) was 23 percent of all federal spending, while Medicare was 15 percent….But, where is Trump going to propose an additional 50 billion in cuts on top of the 54 billion he’ll need to cut to finance his military spending plans? And then, on top of that, he’ll need to make cuts to cover his infrastructure plans. ..

America’s Miserable 21st Century—How It All Fell Apart After 2000

In some circles people still widely believe, as one recent New York Times business-section article cluelessly insisted before the inauguration, that “Mr. Trump will inherit an economy that is fundamentally solid.” But this is patent nonsense. By now it should be painfully obvious that the U.S. economy has been in the grip of deep dysfunction since the dawn of the new century. And in retrospect, it should also be apparent that America’s strange new economic maladies were almost perfectly designed to set the stage for a populist storm…..The very fact of Trump’s election served as a truth broadcast about a reality that could no longer be denied: Things out there in America are a whole lot different from what you thought. 

Lessons and Propaganda from the Botched Raid on Yemen

Nearly everything went wrong in the Yemen raid.  Surprise wasn’t achieved.  U.S. troops were killed and wounded.  Far too many non-combatants (innocent civilians) were killed, including an eight-year-old girl.  A $75 million Osprey malfunctioned and had to be destroyed. To hazard a guess, this raid probably cost the U.S. in the neighborhood of $250 million while failing to achieve its main objective.  Meanwhile, the enemy put up fierce resistance with weaponry, mainly small arms and explosives, that probably cost less than $100,000…..In brief, the U.S. raid on Yemen was prodigal in cost, profligate in resources, and unproductive in results.

Trump Being Scammed By Foxconn and Other Global Corporates On “Jobs” Announcements

For some residents of this small city, there was something familiar about Foxconn’s recently announced plan to hire up to 50,000 U.S. workers, one of the many hiring pledges from companies rounded up by President Trump in the first weeks of his administration. The only difference was the scale……But the factory was never built. The jobs never came. “It just seemed to fade to black” after the announcement, recalled a local official. It was the start of a mystery, created by a chief executive known to promise projects all over the world that never quite pan out

Forward Guidance: Now Known As The Fed’s Flying Fickle Finger Of Faith

As I perused many of the financial/business media reports this past week, both broadcast and print, one thing became clear: Not only were the cadre of so-called “experts” and “smart-crowd” guests perplexed about why the Fed. was signaling a rate hike for March. But even some hosts seemed absolutely dumbfounded…….In a little less than 90 days since hiking for only the second time in 8 years (and after waiting a year between) the Fed. is now hell-bent on making sure that the call for another rate hike is not only possible, but imminent. And, as to make sure it’s not to be misconstrued – it’s being publicly reinforced by doves, hawks, FOMC voting members, non-voting members, retiring members, and alike.

Behind The Shouting Over Ukraine——De Facto Partition of the Donbas

There appears to be much more going on that mere recognition of documents. I don’t know about you – but to me this sure looks like the DNR and LNR are cutting off their last ties to the Ukraine and the junta in Kiev appears to go along with this plan…..