OUZILLY, France – Poor Donald Trump.
He has had to apologize for hurt feelings. He has had to reshuffle his campaign team. He has been kicked so often by the press that he is starting to hide behind chairs, like a university president.
Here at the Diary, we favor lost causes, diehards, and underdogs.
“The Donald” may soon qualify on all three counts.
We will return to the Big Top in a moment… and elaborate on why this year’s presidential election is really a “Clash of Myths.”
Meanwhile, nothing much to report from the markets.
Nothing much to report from Ouzilly, either. The last of the family leaves this weekend. Then we will be empty-nesters again.
Like parents everywhere, we wonder how much to interfere in the lives of our young adult children.
Say something? Or keep quiet? Offer fatherly advice? Or let them figure it out for themselves?
Father tends to be more laissez faire. Mother is more activist, more interventionist. Both want to help. But both are aware that they can’t protect their children from life.
“Wisdom is the knowledge you need to avoid serious mistakes,” says father, gravely.
“Where do you get wisdom?” asks the son.
“From making mistakes,” comes the answer.
But back to national politics…
As we mentioned two days ago, if you want to enjoy the next three months, we suggest you think of the election campaign as entertainment.
It is a circus – with clowns, pratfalls, high-wire acts, and freaks aplenty.
“But wait,” you may protest. “This is a serious matter. We have to be good citizens and decide the future of the country… responsibly.”
Yes… well… it may be flattering to think so. But nobody really cares what we think… and it doesn’t really matter anyway.
The biggest myth of all is that elections turn politics into a kind of market, where voters cast their ballots like people bidding at an auction; we don’t always get the best deal, but it’s the only “fair way.”
Markets discover prices honestly.
People bid with their own money, when they spot a need or an opportunity. And they take the consequences when they make a mistake and adjust their bids – always learning… always correcting themselves… and always moving forward.
The worst of them lose everything and are knocked out of the bidding altogether; the best stay at it until they, too, go broke… or retire.
Elections are bogus.
Most voters don’t have any idea what they are bidding on. Half of them have no money to bid with. Most are merely trying to get something for nothing. Others just want to force others to do as they tell them.
When voters make a mistake, everyone suffers… even those who “bought” the other candidate. No one learns anything. And the most benighted of the candidates is elected president.
Besides, what voters think they are bidding on – wealth and power – aren’t on offer; the insiders control the important things.
But let us turn to the here and now.
Hillary on one side; Donald on the other. The myth of the “competent professional” meets the myth of the “strong leader.”
A Red, White, and Blue Angela Merkel versus a Yankee Putin.
What challenges will the new president encounter? Will a decisive, instinctive yahoo respond better than a careful, seasoned hack?
No one knows.
Nor does anyone know how well the candidates fit the myth.
Is Hillary really a competent professional? Is Donald really a strong leader? Or are they just caricatures… frauds pretending to be myths?
The most vivid illustration of clashing myths we have seen in recent times was the marvelous performance orchestrated at the Democratic National Convention.
One of the most enduring myths – in almost all countries – is that of the “fallen hero.” It doesn’t matter who he was… or what he was supposed to be fighting for… or which side he was fighting on: If he died in war, he is a “fallen hero.”
The ancient Greeks believed there was no better way to die than in battle. Dying in battle gave a kind of honor and immortality that you couldn’t get otherwise.
The Spartans, for example, made headstones only for men who died in battle or women who died in childbirth.
And in every village of France you will find a monument to “Nos Héros Morts Pour La Patrie.” Usually, it is inscribed with dozens…or hundreds…of names of the soldiers who died in the trenches of World War I.
And everywhere, it is common practice to summon the ghosts of fallen heroes in politics. Pericles did it in his famous funeral oration. And so did Team Hillary when it brought out the parents of a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq…
Myth vs. Myth
Donald Trump took the bait.
He raised another still-inchoate opposing myth: that there is something un-American or untrustworthy about Muslims.
Hillary bet correctly that the “fallen hero” myth was stronger than the “bad Muslims” myth. If you believe the polls, Donald sank; Hillary rose.
But wait… What about the candidates’ policies?
What about the Wall? What about better trade deals? What about the cost of a college education? What about Russia and the Middle East?
Surely, voters have a clear choice?
Alas, no. As segregationist politician George Wallace once put it, in the things that matter “there’s hardly a dime’s worth of difference” between Democrats and Republicans.
For instance, there will be no wall built, regardless of who is elected. “For the first time since the Great Depression,” reports the Washington Post, “more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than entering.”
What would be the point of the Wall? To keep Mexicans from returning home?
Nor is there any such thing as a “better deal” in foreign trade. There is either free trade… or there are crony trade deals.
Both candidates will angle for more crony deals. Both candidates promise huge infrastructure spending programs, too.
Will one be better at selecting these boondoggles than the other?
No one knows.
Neither candidate will make substantial changes. The tax system is tightly controlled by special interests working for the parasitocrats.
That won’t change, no matter who sits in the Oval Office.
But let us turn to foreign policy.
Here is where the myths really collide. We know what Hillary will do – she’ll continue to bomb, drone, spend, and meddle. She’ll continue the failed policies of the Bush/Obama regimes.
Donald promises a new assessment. NATO? Israel? Russia? He’s not so sure.
This has so rattled the Republican neo-con warmongers that many – such as Kagan, Kirchick, Negroponte – have gone over to Hillary. They’ve gotten together with the Democrat’s mythmakers – including Krugman in the New York Times – to suggest that Donald is a “Siberian candidate.”
Here, they’re taking mythmaking to a whole new level: a myth counterattack.
Former CIA Director Michael Morell, writing in the New York Times, accused Trump of being “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
(Hmmm… we can imagine a “witless agent.” But an agent who takes orders wittingly? That is, he takes orders without realizing it? That is a challenge!)
Donald is said to be tight with Putin; his daughter even vacations with Putin’s mistress, according to the press reports. (Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin have never met, despite the widely reported “bromance.”)
Does this mean anything?
Team Hillary is betting that the “Bad Russians” myth is stronger than the “Good Strong Man” myth.
Next up: a guy who can put four billiard balls in his mouth at the same time!
Further Reading: As Bill keeps saying… it doesn’t really matter who wins the race for the White House, because a shadowy group of unelected elites already holds all the power. It’s a disturbing story that few people know, but Bill exposes it all in his warning about the Deep State.
BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE
Today’s chart will embolden stock market bulls.
It’s of the small-cap Russell 2000 Index relative to the large-cap S&P 500 Index.
As you can see, for the first sustained stretch this year, riskier small-cap stocks are outperforming less risky large-cap stocks.
When small caps outperform large caps, it’s a sign that investors’ appetite for risk is growing.
How to Weather the Fed’s Attack on the Dollar
The Fed’s only chance to prevent a debt crisis may be to trash the U.S. dollar. And if the dollar goes down, then certain other currencies have to go up. One currency expert tells you which ones.
Irish Bank Is Latest to Pass on Negative Rates to Customers
Bank of Ireland, one of Ireland’s largest banks, is the latest European bank to pass on the European Central Bank’s negative lending rates to customers. A rate of -0.1% will apply to deposits of over €10 million.
Clinton and Trump Agree to Commander-in-Chief “Cage Match”
The two candidates will square off same stage early next month at a “commander-in-chief” forum devoted to national security. It’s likely to be contested as brutally as a cage fight.
The Mailbag is chock-a-block with readers’ reactions to Wednesday’s issue – “Donald Trump – Democrat in Disguise?” – including a creative new epithet for Bill…
Hey, toad head – Donald isn’t the person who put our entire country at risk including children by having an unsecured server in the hands of our incompetent sec of state who is Hillary Clinton. You could get a job at CNN.
– Tom S.
I do not approve of your comments on Trump. You have no idea what is at stake. The U.S. about to have the casket lid close on our freedom and you cannot take the time to find out who the principals are in this rigged election.
– James B.
What makes a good President?
Well, you start with someone who loves the country. That eliminates 99.999% of the potential candidates.
– Jerome B.
I am, like everyone, amazed and entertained at the presidential campaign of 2016. Do you think that there is any reason to believe that Gary Johnson has a chance at the election this time around?
And possibly a more important question in light of today’s email comments from you: Does it even matter? Would Gary Johnson, if elected, be most likely to be assassinated by cronies from one side or the other of the current controlling structure of our country?
– Jeremy R.
Maybe Bill should disclose his wine intake before and during writing these epistles from France. Or more closely look at the models of Franklin and Jefferson for such epistles.
– Bill D.
Great mess you wrote. Congrats!
– Mario Z.
The U.S. presidential election is serious for legal honest God-fearing families and Americans. The next president will be selecting 3 to 4 Supreme Court Justices that will be on the court for life, profoundly either returning America to greatness, law and order, and the Constitution…. or a documented pathological liar who will continue the erosion of family values, religious freedom, Second Amendment Rights and America’s sovereign borders.
Without borders, strict interpretation of the Constitution and the rule of law… we are no longer a country.
– Peter S.
Today’s message nailed it. Unfortunately, you’re preaching to the choir – even if some of them leave their pews. Woting only encourages the bas*****. The USA, Inc. is too big a prize to be subjected to populists in polling booths.
– Patrick D.
I had to look up the phrase “scalawag” to capture your nuance. You might want to post my reply so others capture it as well.
"Scalawag: A white Southerner who supported Republican policy during Reconstruction, often for personal gain.” Very apropos.
With that being said, I’m a recovering zombie, retired Naval aviator, active DoD civil servant. I plan to vote for the scalawag because an individual that has had CEO decision making training and skills since 21 years of age will have the leadership skills to run the U.S. government industry.
NOTE: I am a fully-paid subscription member that has derived much knowledge from each of Bonner’s services and endorse them to my fellow cohorts. I have a better understanding of the piece parts of this complex fiat system we are experiencing than I did as a knave three years ago. It makes for better investment decisions.