RANCHO SANTANA, NICARAGUA – So far, we’ve been very happy with the Trump administration.
It has been one laugh after another.
We don’t know what is more entertaining: the pathetic whining from the Left or the self-serving indignation from the Right.
The Left oversaw much of the unconstitutional power buildup of the executive branch. Abroad, Congress let the president run amok – invading, attacking, assassinating, and bombing foreign countries at will.
At home, Congress turned over much of its legislative power to the permanent government and the executive branch. Obamacare, for example, was written by lobbyists and bureaucrats; members of Congress didn’t even read it.
Hillary intended to use this outsized executive power to create the kind of stifling welfare-warfare state she wanted. But now, seeing it in Donald J. Trump’s reckless hands, the Left is apoplectic.
The Right, meanwhile, was completely behind the CIA and the NSA… as long as the spooks seemed to be targeting phantom enemies overseas.
Now these security monsters – fat and sassy, and embedded with Obama-era careerists – may be undermining the U.S. president, right here at home. The Right was appalled by Obamacare, too. But now they’ve got their own medical care nightmare.
Both Left and Right are getting what they deserve. (But so are we all…)
Ride, si sapis, said the Roman poet Martial. Laugh if you are wise.
Laugh at the whole public spectacle; you will understand it better.
The replacement program for Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, of which Trump said he was “proud,” looks as though it will not fulfill the president’s key campaign promises.
First, it will not provide universal coverage. Instead, the government’s number crunchers at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) say that the share of uninsured Americans would nearly double under the plan – to 24 million uninsured by 2026.
Second, even some of those who have coverage will be much worse off financially. That wasn’t supposed to happen, either; Trump promised.
But the CBO included an example. A 64-year-old earning $26,500 a year would pay $1,700 a year, in 2026, for medical coverage under Obamacare. Under the Republican’s proposal, he’d pay $14,000.
We don’t know whether this is good or bad – true or false. Newt Gingrich says the CBO – meant to give bipartisan estimates of what proposed legislation will cost – should be “abolished.”
But this is the swamp, remember? All news is fake. All facts are made up. All statistics are phony. And all opinions, unless they are ours, are idiotic.
One thing we mentioned yesterday…
During the campaign, candidate Trump took aim at the elite insiders… including those on Wall Street. They were “getting away with murder,” he claimed.
He was wrong about that. It was theft they were getting away with, not murder. But now he’s got five Goldman Sachs guys on his team; no handcuffs in sight.
On the campaign trail, candidate Trump also chided the military: “We never win,” he said. “And we don’t fight to win,” he complained.
He was right about that. But he misunderstood: They were getting away with murder. And they didn’t win wars.
But it wasn’t incompetence that made them not win; it was self-interest. If they won, the war would be over and the funding would stop. That would put an end to the whole scam.
But now, rather than cashiering the losing generals… and stopping the losing wars… Trump brought the losers into his administration, promised them more money, and continues bombing and bullying in unwinnable wars all over the world.
Here’s another funny thing that happened over the weekend, brought to our attention by our friend David Stockman’s excellent Contra Corner website.
Before he was elected, Mr. Trump was a critic of federal statistics. The unemployment numbers, for example, he said were “phony.”
Right on the money. They are phony. Once you have them, you know less than you did before.
But now, thanks to the miraculous transubstantiation of the electoral process, the same fake numbers, prepared by the same people in the same fraudulent way and delivering up the same counterfeit news, are anointed as Truth.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained:
“I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly,” Spicer said before quoting the president. “‘They may have been phony in the past, but they are very real now.’”
Trump also warned investors that the stock market was “artificial” and a “bubble.” Right again.
But don’t expect him to let it deflate naturally.
And here, we stick our necks out: Come the next crash, Team Trump will do all it can to keep this bubble pumped up.
And there you have the epitaph for the coming four or eight years: He came. He saw. He kept right on pumping.
Longtime Diary sufferers know that we take a fatalistic view of history.
Things happen. It doesn’t matter what you think. People play the role history gives them… and think what they have to think to get the job done.
Generally, there are patterns in history. Usually, they are visible only after the fact. But sometimes, you can catch a glimpse of them, if you squint and use your imagination.
Mr. Obama is a different man from Mr. George W. Bush. But the direction of the country remained almost unchanged over the entire 16 years of their White House terms.
And now… Mr. Trump – despite all the sound and fury – has a role to play, too.
The Goldman team, the generals, the phony statistics… They fit a pattern.
The U.S. is an empire. And all empires follow the same course, more or less.
They are like bubbles in the markets and foolish love affairs: They get hot. They expand. And then they pop. Investors, lovers, and soldiers all play their parts.
And then, somehow, the bubbles always find the sharp objects they need.
The Clintons quietly built up the power of the government. After the fall of the Soviet Union, America should have enjoyed a “peace dividend” since it didn’t need to spend so much on its military. Instead, military spending went up.
And then, George W. Bush set the empire on course for bankruptcy. His War on Terror has already cost $6 trillion while increasing the reach of the terrorists.
And now, along comes Donald J. Trump, who appears to be just the man the empire needs – to finish the destruction.
Let’s see… If the U.S. empire wanted to destroy itself, what would it do?
Simple. It would continue the work of Clinton, Bush, and Obama. It would pump up military spending… and increase entitlements, too.
More wars. More debt. And more misleading phony interest rates… phony statistics… and fake money.
And… oh, yes… it would gratuitously make more enemies abroad… smother trade… and create an atmosphere of disgust, distrust, and uncertainty at home.
That ought to do it!
P.S. Last Friday, we introduced you to our newest colleague, Jeff Clark. Unlike your editor – an old fuddy-duddy when it comes to investing — Jeff is a trader. And very different from our Diary’s “big-picture” view, Jeff believes you can spot short-term trading opportunities by studying the numbers alone.
In the “Investing Insight” below, Jeff closes the loop of one of the opportunities he mentioned in a previous Diary issue.
It’s not our usual fare here at the Diary. But maybe it’s a good counterbalance to the public spectacle we discussed above.
BY JEFF CLARK, EDITOR, DELTA REPORT
The price of cocoa has popped higher.
Shares of the iPath Bloomberg Cocoa ETN (NIB) are trading about 7% higher than where I recommended them earlier this month (March 3).
NIB is approaching my immediate upside target of about $25 per share. And it’s time to take fast profits on this trade.
Take a look at this updated chart…
NIB has broken out to the upside of its declining channel pattern. This likely indicates the start of a new intermediate-term uptrend for cocoa. And I expect NIB will rally up toward my upper target of $28 per share over the next few months.
But, as I wrote in my original recommendation, commodity traders will do well jumping in and out of short-term positions – rather than holding trades for several weeks at a time.
You see, commodity prices are enormously volatile. Profitable trades can quickly turn into losers.
That’s what makes it so tough for most people to make money in the commodity market. They try to maximize the gains on intermediate-term positions.
But the short-term volatility of commodity prices tends to knock folks out of their trades – often at the worst possible times.
The bottom line is this… There’s no such thing as a long-term commodity trade. You get in. Then you get out quickly. Then you can look to get back in again.
So… with a 7% gain in a little less than two weeks, now is the time to get out of NIB. Go ahead and take your profits on this trade.
We’ll look to get back into a similar position if/when NIB pulls back and retests the former resistance line of the declining channel pattern.
Best regards and good trading.
– Jeff Clark
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The U.S. Is in Real Trouble
America is headed for something much more serious than any past crisis… And it will be much worse – and last much longer – than people expect…
The thorny issue of medical care dominates the mailbag once again…
Let’s talk about Canadian health care… Last Friday I accidentally cut off a small portion at the end of my finger. It bled excessively, so I was slightly concerned. I live about an hour outside Vancouver, British Columbia, and as a 68-year-old retired lawyer, I have paid into the system for 43 years.
I drove to my local clinic and they had a sign up that said, “We do not deal with emergencies.” The attending doctor would not see me – they only deal with scheduled appointments.
I was instructed to drive to the local hospital – about 15 miles away – or take an ambulance which costs about $600. Lesson: Do not get sick in the wrong area in Canada. Alternatively, take advantage of the new, hot-off-the press Assisted Dying Bill, which will probably soon become a Suggested Dying Bill.
– Johana B.
Thank you for telling the truth. I am the last capitalist in my family and am hopelessly lost in a sea of government dependents. I was almost thrown out of the family one night when I announced I was probably not filing for Social Security! I had to remind them that the matriarch of the family never worked a day in her life sent her Social Security check back to the government (who threatened her if she didn’t accept it). Interesting times we live in.
– Gary B.
We are overbuilt, overstocked, overpaid, overtaxed, over regulated, over fed, over controlled, over manipulated, over catered to, over government supported, over funded, over indebted, and we have gotten “over” our moral commitment to ourselves and our country. So, what other problems does this country have to “overcome”? Solving the problems above should be enough to “Make America Great Again.”
– James B.
And, finally, this… on the subject of President Trump and the Deep State.
I have to agree with [Diary reader] Sandra K. But turn it around: Society can be humane, but politics is not. When Donald Trump became a politician, he gave up any claim to humaneness – sadly. He shows it by categorizing everyone and everything as good or bad according to his own standards, and by rejecting what he thinks is bad.
Just as most previous occupants did to some degree, of course. But most didn’t suffer such sudden conversion and learned to temporize to some degree. One thing becomes obvious: We have elected the Deep State to the White House… again.
– Chuck B.