May 30: Daily Contrarian Reads

Now Comes "Trump of Arabia"

The Great White Father came to Saudi Arabia last week to harangue some 50 Arab and African despots on the glories of Trumpism, democracy and the need to fight what the Americans call terrorism. Having covered the Mideast for many decades, I cannot think of a more bizarre or comical spectacle.  Here was Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most repressive regimes, hosting the glad-handing US president who hates Islam and the Mideast with irrational passion.

Deep Six the Deep State

You won’t read about this in what passes for the “mainstream” media, but newly declassified documents reveal that the Obama administration was violating its own rules and spying on Americans with such frequency that even the normally compliant FISA court scolded them: “The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.”

No Exit From The RussiaGate Madness & More

A most curious feature in the current low state of American politics is the delusional thinking at both ends of the political spectrum. Both factions have gone off the rails mentally, and the parties they represent race toward oblivion like Thelma and Louise in their beater car.....To see the Democrats go on about “Russian collusion” you would think we were watching a rerun of the John Birch Society in its heyday. Americans who have done business in Russia as private citizens are being persecuted as though they were trading with the enemy in wartime. Newsflash: we are not at war with Russia, which, by the way, is no longer the Soviet Union.....Likewise, the insane idea that it is malfeasant for high public officials to speak to Russian officials, or for the president to share sensitive strategic information with them, especially about genuine mutual enemies such the various Islamic jihad armies. Since when is that beyond the pale? Well, since January of this year when the Democrat Party ordained that members of the Trump transition team were forbidden to speak to Russian diplomats at the highest level. Do you suppose that in the hothouse of Washington incoming foreign policy officers of Obama’s government had no conversations with foreign diplomats between the election of 2008 and Obama’s inauguration? The idea is laughable.

The Real Villains of Manchester-----Cameron, Sarkozy, Obama, Clinton

In Salman Abedi we have the convergence of both these disastrous US/UK and allied interventions, however: it turns out that not only did Abedi make trips to Libya to radicalize and train for terror, but he also travelled to Syria to become one of the 'Syria rebels' fighting on the same side as the US and UK to overthrow the Assad government. Was he perhaps even trained in a CIA program? We don't know, but it certainly is possible. Britons should hold David Cameron guilty of the innocent blood staining Manchester. No less guilty are Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama. Likewise Hillary Clinton of "We came, we saw, he died" infamy, who reportedly was the driving force for America’s role, without which regime change in Libya would not have occurred. Let that self-anointed champion of women and girls answer for Manchester.

Sears----Shrinking Its Way To Zero

Revenues plunged 20% year-over-year to $4.3 billion. Some of that plunge was caused by the endless series of store closings with which Sears is trying to keep itself out of bankruptcy for as long as possible. And some of it was caused by same-store sales which plunged 12% at the surviving stores. That was about twice the decline a year ago. So the downfall is picking up critical momentum....From Q1 2007 to Q1 2017, revenues plunged by $7.4 billion. But just over the past three years, Q1 revenues have plummeted by 3.6 billion. At this accelerating pace, revenues of the once largest retailer in the US will be zero in three more years, or by fiscal Q1 2020, to be reported, theoretically, in May that year:

Cat's Out of The Bag-----Obama Intel Agencies Illegally Spied On Americans For Years

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

The Essence of Trumponomics---Wishful Thinking

Already we are hearing references to “Trumponomics.” But what exactly are the priorities or objectives of a president who seems to make things up as he goes along, who says one thing one minute and contradicts himself the next, and who is neither a policy wonk nor remotely interested in policy details?.....First,. Trumponomics seems to rely on two old friends, Rosy Scenario and Fuzzy Math

Retail Armageddon And The High Rollers of Private Equity

There's a fascinating exchange buried in Payless ShoeSource's bankruptcy court documents, one that highlights the increasing ire over private equity firms' involvement in distressed retailers. Payless, remember, is the discount shoe retailer that became insolvent earlier this year after being the subject of a leveraged buyout in 2012. Now, suppliers and property owners that are owed money are clearly mad about how private equity firms directed Payless to borrow millions of dollars to pay themselves hefty dividends without improving the company's viability.

If There Was Ever An Example Of ‘Reward-Free Risk’ This Is It

Considering the price-to-sales ratio for the median stock in the S&P 500 is higher than ever before and to a significant degree, you might say investors are taking the greatest amount of risk for the least amount of potential return in history. In other words, if there was ever an example of “reward-free risk” this is it.

Monetary Policy That Is Strangely Devoid of Money

It’s likely not that most people don’t care, rather they care more about other things. The President was elected largely due to enormous economic dissatisfaction over an economy that eight years ago for “some” reason just up and shrunk. It contracted by the largest amount since the 1930’s and then never recovered.  Being deprived of any and all explanation for that, or how it was even possible, populist movements have sprung up and taken hold of the political situation to at least try and find some answers.  Donald Trump was the first (successful) major attempt in the United States.

The Eye-Care Industry Wants Big Government to Crush the Competition

Big Eye is watching you. For more than a decade, lobbyists from Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which controls over 40 percent of the contact lens market as a result of their cozy relationship with optometrists, and the American Optometric Association (AOA), which represents nearly 40,000 optometrists nationwide, have been fighting to create an artificial monopoly in the eye care industry. By inundating bureaucrats with large pieces of state and federal legislation, AOA and J&J hope to eliminate competition through regulatory capture.

 

 

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