September 13: Daily Contrarian Reads

And Still Another Bubble: The On-Line Advertising Scams

Category 1 storm clouds are gathering over what has traditionally been one of the most lucrative, and perhaps only profitable, sectors to come out of Silicon Valley in decades: online advertising…..Of course, the implications to this admission that online advertising was either being gamed by bots, or generally underperforming were significant, as it jeopardized the future revenue streams of two of the biggest companies in the world, Alphabet (aka Google) and Facebook, both almost entirely reliant on online advertising….. slowly but surely, chronic buyers online advertising space, are slowly waking up….

Why Entitlements Keep Growing, and Growing, And . . .

Mr. Cogan has just written a riveting, massive book, “The High Cost of Good Intentions,” on the history of entitlements in the U.S., and he describes how in 1972 the Senate “attached an across-the-board, permanent increase of 20% in Social Security benefits to a must-pass bill” on the debt ceiling. President Nixon grumbled loudly but signed it into law. In October, a month before his re-election, “Nixon reversed course and availed himself of an opportunity to take credit for the increase,” Mr. Cogan says. “When checks went out to some 28 million recipients, they were accompanied by a letter that said that the increase was ‘signed into law by President Richard Nixon.’ ”

Borrowing Our Way To Prosperity—–Household Credit Card Debt Back At 2008 Peak Levels

With credit card data in for Q2 2017, American households look to once again be on a collision course with the ever-elusive $1 trillion goal that narrowly escaped their clutches in 2008.  With nearly $940 billion in credit card debt outstanding, 2Q 2017 marked the second highest consumer revolving debt balance since the previous peak in 2008…….All of which adds up to nearly $8,000 of credit card debt per household, up 5% YoY versus flat-ish wages.

Now Comes A Monetary Hurricane—-The Coming Storm From The Red Ponzi

But make no mistake, the possibility for complete financial monetary mayhem has now formed on the horizon, can be seen, as well as tracked. And it too has name: The Yuan.And it has the potential to unleash a destructive power much like these recent weather events. i.e., Of biblical proportions. I’m not trying to be hyperbolic, or, as they say, “just trying to scare the children.” Because what triggers this possible catastrophe has its root in another of similar magnitude. e.g. N. Korea. A once thought as nothing more than a tiny, annoying little thunder-cloud, popping up every once and awhile threatening to rain on everyone’s parade.

How Debt Traders Are Losing The Junk Retail Game

Bond investors are playing a tricky game with lower-rated U.S. retailers, and they appear to be losing.

How ‘Regime Change’ Wars Led to Korea Crisis

Indeed, the current North Korea crisis, which could end up killing millions of people, can be viewed as a follow-on disaster to President George W. Bush’s Iraq War and President Barack Obama’s Libyan intervention. Those wars came after the leaders of Iraq and Libya had dismantled their dangerous weapons programs, leaving their countries virtually powerless when the U.S. government chose to invade…..So, the neoconservatives who promoted the Iraq invasion supposedly to protect the world from Iraq’s alleged WMDs — and the liberal interventionists who pushed the Libya invasion based on false humanitarian claims — may now share in the horrific possibility that millions of people in North Korea, South Korea, Japan and maybe elsewhere could die from real WMDs launched by North Korea and/or by the United States.

The Virtual Currency boom echoes Dotcom Fever

Did we learn anything from the failures of the internet boom? Apparently not. In what is looking increasingly like a new incarnation of dotcom fever, celebrities are endorsing virtual currency systems. Heiress and reality TV star Paris Hilton tweeted this week that she would be backing fundraising for LydianCoin, a digital token still at concept stage. It offers redemption against online artificial intelligence-assisted advertising campaigns. Baroness Michelle Mone, a businesswoman, announced she would be accepting bitcoin in exchange for luxury Dubai flats……

More Evidence Of The Saudi Role In 9/11

In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, which grew out of a suit filed in 2002 on behalf of bereaved family members and other victims of the attacks, includes a charge of direct Saudi government involvement in 9/11. It also claims that Riyadh directly funded the creation, growth, and operations of Al Qaeda worldwide. The Saudis, though scorning the accusation, have been striving ever more desperately to prevent the case from advancing through the legal system. To that end, they have employed to date no fewer than fifteen high-powered Washington lobbying firms.

Facebook: 100 Million Fake “Likes”

…….researchers at the University of Iowa have pulled back the curtain on the seedy underbelly of Facebook’s illicit influence-peddling economy. In a study reported by USA Today, the researchers described a thriving ecosystem of websites that allow users to generate millions of fake “likes” and comments. Working with a computer scientist at Facebook and one in Lahore, Pakistan, the team discovered a thriving community of 50 sites offering free, fake “likes” for users’ posts in exchange for access to their accounts, which were used to falsely “like” other sites in turn.

Jake Tapper: The War Channel’s War-Monger

However, as Trump transitions from a non-interventionist campaign platform to a crudely militaristic foreign policy, Tapper has not only let the president off the hook, he has played a central role in cultivating pro-war fever among the American public. I watched each episode of Tapper’s “The Lead” from August 1-10, as the North Korea crisis came to a head, as well as 14 editions of his show between April and July. Only two shows proceeded without an extended segment promoting regime change and expanded sanctions or hyping threats from North Korean ICBMs and Russian hackers……