October 26: Daily Contrarian Reads

Obamacare Benchmark Premiums to Rise 25% in Sharpest Jump Yet

Premiums for mid-level Obamacare health plans sold on the federal exchanges will see their biggest jump yet next year, another speed bump in the administration’s push for enrollment in the final months of the U.S. president’s term. Monthly premiums for benchmark silver-level plans are going up by an average of 25 percent in the 38 states using the federal HealthCare.gov website, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a report today. Last year, premiums for the second-lowest-cost silver plans went up by 7.5 percent on average across 37 states.

The Eurozone is Turning into a Poverty Machine

There are constant bank runs. The bond markets panic, and governments along its southern perimeter need bail-outs every few years. Unemployment has sky-rocketed and growth remains sluggish, no matter how many hundreds of billions of printed money the European Central Bank throws at the economy. We are all tediously aware of how the euro-zone has been a financial disaster. But it is now starting to become clear that it is a social disaster as well. What often gets lost in the discussion of growth rates, bail-outs and banking harmonisation is that the eurozone is turning into a poverty machine.

What Ails The Global Economy—–A Giant “Dollar” Problem

The world is finally waking up to its dollar problem, though in reality it is much, much more than that; it is a full “dollar” shortage. What will likely be most shocking to those who had subscribed to the Bernanke view is that this “dollar” condition is nearly a decade old, actually explaining why Bernanke should have been dismissed at least by the time Bear Stearns failed. The FOMC in every way demonstrated conclusively its utterly criminal incompetence because money wasn’t what they thought it was – even though that was the one task they were supposed to be totally unchallenged by.

How One Billionaire Became a Gold Bug

Hugo Salinas-Price, a hard currency advocate, and the founder of Mexico’s Elektra retail chain explains in the following guest post how he became a gold bug.

Bankruptcy Bust: How Zombie Companies Are Killing the Oil Rally

Their owners may be bankrupt, but the sprawling mines of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin are still churning out coal. It is the same story in oil fields along the Gulf Coast and with shale-gas wells in the Rocky Mountains. Energy investors have long hoped that falling prices would solve themselves by driving producers into bankruptcy and stanching the flood of excess supply. It turns out that while bankruptcy filings are up, they have barely impacted fossil-fuel markets.

How To Dismantle The American Empire—–Dump Duterte For Starters

Alliances are transmission belts of war. So our Founding Fathers taught and the 20th century proved……Yet, with the end of the Cold War, we did not dissolve a single alliance. NATO was expanded to embrace all the nations of the former Warsaw Pact and three former republics of the USSR. This hubristic folly is at the heart of present tensions with Russia.

The Italian Banking Job Is Getting Downright Squirrely—– While $400 Billion Of Bad Debts Putrefy

But the biggest threat remains the €360 billion or so of bad debt putrefying on Italian banks’ books….Against such a grim backdrop, it’s hardly surprising that domestic and foreign investors continue to vote with their feet. So far this year, a staggering €354 billion has been pulled out of Italy – up €118 billion from the same period last year. Worried investors are fleeing with their cash, driven by worries that the banks’ existential problems will continue to deteriorate as political deadlock in Rome and new banking regulations in Frankfurt prevent a comprehensive solution…..

The Real Threat To American Democracy—-Neocons, Not Russia

What is behind this Russophobia? A real Russian threat? A smokescreen intended to cover failed policies of the recent administration? The meeting between the Russophobic minds of a particular candidate (Hillary Clinton) and a particular group of voters (neocons)?……The neocons are not switching parties because they’ve seen the light. They are enamored with Hillary Clinton’s record of foreign policy and her willingness to embrace the US globalist claims.

The New York Hotel Lobby Goes Beyond Wicked—–Jams Down Law Which Makes It Illegal To Advertise On Airbnb

On Friday afternoon, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill making it illegal to advertise your home for short-term rent on websites like Airbnb. The law specifically targets New York City homeowners in apartment buildings who advertise their properties, or even just a spare room in their homes, to rent for less than 30 days at a time.

The Folly Of Hillary’s ‘No-fly Zone’ In Syria

The most consequential statement by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Wednesday night’s debate was her pronouncement that a no-fly zone over Syria could “save lives and hasten the end of the conflict…..It would do none of the above. A U.S. attempt to impose a no-fly zone in Syria would, as Secretary Clinton once cautioned a Goldman Sachs audience, “kill a lot of Syrians,” and, according to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Dunford, lead to a war with Russia. If the U.S. has not been invited into a country to establish a “no-fly zone” such an action is, in fact, an invasion, an act of war.