[The] thing I have learned about these people in Washington is they have no money. So what happens when they have no f*****g money is they write about what seat they are in and what the title is. F*****g congressmen act like that. They are f*****g jackasses.

– Anthony Scaramucci

POITOU, FRANCE – Goodbye, Mr. Scaramucci. We hardly knew ye.

Which is probably a good thing. We doubt we would have liked you very mooch.

Mr. Scaramucci had been a Hillary supporter. He raised money for Barack Obama. He supported gun control and gay marriage.

It must have been tough to give up his ideals, his principles… whatever they were. He gave up his investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, too.

For what? Fame? Power? Status?

Whirlwind Affair

When opportunity presented itself, the ex-Goldman guy did what the rest of the Goldman alums – Cohn, Mnuchin, Bannon, etc. – did. He fell in love with Donald Trump.

“I love the president,” Scaramucci proclaimed last week.

But the course of love is rarely straight. Instead, it meanders, collects in stagnant pools, only to run suddenly over the edge and splash upon the rocks below.

Finally, it often ends up in a swamp. What is remarkable about “The Mooch’s” affair with “The Donald” is that it all happened so fast.

Just a few short years ago, in 2015, Mr. Scaramucci told Fox Business that Mr. Trump’s palaver was “anti-American” and that he was just a “hack politician.”

That must have been the most inaccurate assessment of his future boss ever made. “The Donald” is the opposite of a hack. Hacks are reliably dull and serviceable, like a kitchen faucet. Trump is more like a loose fire hose, shooting water all over the place and soaking everyone.

Nor is Trump a politician. Politicians are smooth operators who will say whatever they need to say to get what they want. What is endearing and refreshing about Mr. Trump is that he is not a politician.

As near as we can tell, the president is more like a playground bully. In and out of scrapes all his life… failed casinos, failed marriages… vulgar, indecent, and mean… he is as “The Mooch” described him – an “inherited money dude from Queens County” who somehow ended up in the White House.

And anti-American? Wrong again.

Mr. Trump captures the zeitgeist of his era better than anyone – when middle-aged Republicans long to hear the F-word in public… law-abiding Christians from Iowa can’t wait to send a drone to kill people in the Hindu Kush… and every geezer, coast to coast, seems happy to have the feds pay for his pills with money his children and grandchildren haven’t even earned yet.

Bit Player

Mr. Trump is a brawler. Now, he’s in the fight of his life, and he loves it.

Around him, his lackeys, sycophants, and handlers scrap for places at the table – the Goldman guys on the left, protecting the fake money system… the generals on the right, protecting the crony empire.

A third of the country loves him. A third of it hates him. And a third – the most intelligent group – doesn’t give a damn.

Meanwhile, the whole spectacle is entertaining for everyone, like a traffic accident or a nasty divorce. The press can’t take its eyes off Donald Trump.

It’s Trump. All Trump. All the time. And the economy seems to have slowed down to watch, too; economic growth rates have fallen in half. And stocks keep going up, no matter what happens in Washington.

Mr. Scaramucci was a bit player. Walk on. Walk off.

Just as he mistook Mr. Trump for a hack politician, he seems to have taken the part he was offered without reading the script through to the end, where it becomes clear he was brought in as a fall guy.

It is hard to believe he flubbed his lines when he dished on Priebus and Bannon to a reporter from The New Yorker. Didn’t this newly minted White House communications director realize that a reporter’s job is to report?

If he didn’t understand that, he certainly sets a new standard of imbecility – even for the White House.

Mr. Scaramucci performed useful service in getting Priebus and Spicer out of the way. But then, it was time for him to go, too.

The other Goldman guys found him embarrassing. And the president’s new chief of staff, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, “asserting his command,” as the newspapers put it, sent him back to the dressing room.

In every headline we read this morning, the narrative is the same: Scaramucci was too foul-mouthed and foolhardy for the team, so Kelly, bringing military discipline and order to the White House, ousted him.

Everywhere, too, this change is hailed as a “step in the right direction.”

Is it?

We doubt it. On all fronts – right and left, domestic and overseas, warfare and welfare – things remain just as they were. Except that “The Mooch” has left the stage.

Regards,

Signature

Bill

 

Market Insight: Energy Stocks on the “Bargain Counter”


BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE, Bonner & partners


bill bonner

Time to buy energy stocks?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the energy space has been deeply depressed.

Since its peak in 2008, the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil – the international benchmark – is down 67%.

And the MSCI USA Energy Index, which tracks mid- and large-cap energy stocks going back to 1995, is down 35% from its June 2014 peak.

Today’s chart tracks the price-to-book (P/B) ratios of the MSCI USA Energy Index and the S&P 500.

This widely watched valuation tool compares the value of the assets companies carry on their balance sheets versus their market price.

Energy stocks are selling at their steepest discount, in terms of book value, to the S&P 500 since 1999.

They’re on the “bargain counter,” in other words.

Chris Lowe

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Mailbag

In today’s mailbag, more discussion on Bill’s treatment of Trump…

As a Republican I used to get irritated when you slammed Trump. Now, with all the antics going on in the White House and Congress, I just shake my head and laugh. It’s so ludicrous that it’s amusing. One thing I do wonder though… Is all this noise coming from Washington just a skillfully planned distraction? If so, what’s the real endgame? Is it possible there are real “behind the scenes” changes going on?

– D. T.

Meanwhile, kudos on yesterday’s Diary, “Marriage: Win-Win or Win-Lose?

You recently wrote “Marriage: the winningest win-win ever.” Bravo!

– Scott S.

I just read your article on marriage as a win-win deal. You have a great sense of humor. I enjoyed it immensely.

– James H.

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