BERLIN – Almost everyone is disgusted by the manner in which now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed.
But here at the Diary, we always look on the bright side, even when it’s pitch black.
Disgrace and Revulsion
The feelings of disgrace and revulsion won’t last long. They will soon be replaced by panic and desperation. Yes, the good news is that the coming financial blow-up will give people something else to think about… something more real and immediate!
In the meantime, the U.S. government is the greatest show on Earth. And it’s right in front of us… like a coliseum of ersatz clowns, political gladiators, innocent Christians, and senatorial lions all in the arena at once.
Every gesture is phony. Every statement is fraudulent. And the whole of it is a monumental fantasy.
A special combat medal, however, ought to be awarded to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee – for cowardice and dereliction (maybe a medallion depicting a man hiding behind a woman’s skirt).
Having hauled the poor woman – Christine Blasey Ford – all the way across the country, none of the members dared to cross-examine her, instead opting to have a hired prosecutor do the questioning on their behalf.
What a treat it would have been to see old Senator Sam Ervin back in action! We can almost imagine it.
For dear readers in need of a refresher, Ervin was a U.S. senator who called himself an “old country lawyer” from North Carolina. Sworn in at the height of McCarthyism, Senator Sam would go on to become the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities – known also as the “Watergate Committee” or the “Ervin Committee.”
Rather than deconstruct last week’s myths, lies, and absurdities, let us resurrect a dead senator and put him back on the Judiciary Committee:
Now, Ms. Blasey Ford, surely you’ve come to the Committee for a good reason. But I’d like to get a clearer view of what that might be.
You say you are 100% sure it was Mr. Kavanaugh who attacked you. In my experience with witnesses, there aren’t many who are 100% sure of anything. And many of those who say they are sure turn out to be not-so-sure when you question them.
But you’ve thought about this event many, many times over the years – from soon after the event, when the memory was clear and bright… all the way to today. Isn’t that right?
What surprises me is that in all these many recollections – which have been so meaningful to you – so many of the important details seem to have slipped away. And I will point out that these are the details – time, place, people involved, and so forth – that would make it possible for us to test your memory and see how accurate it is.
That makes an old man like me a little nervous. Because we have a man’s career in the balance here… along with his reputation… and that of the Supreme Court, too. And we don’t want to act solely on the basis of an unsubstantiated charge from so long ago.
So let me ask you another question: Do you think nominees to the Court should be disqualified on the basis of the uncorroborated memories of a tipsy 15-year-old?
Not that there’s any special reason to doubt a teenager. I recall that it was a teenage girl, Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orléans, who led the French army and was burned at the stake as a witch. And she was tried by some of the finest legal minds in Europe at the time.
It was also a teenage girl who set off the Salem witch trials – after she remembered things that weren’t true – and got a number of innocent people killed.
I bring these things up only to remind us all that we humans – young, old, great, and humble – are capable of great error and terrible mischief.
And yet, you say you are 100% sure. And I suppose you wouldn’t be here unless you thought this was important enough to cause us to change our minds about Mr. Kavanaugh.
But this memory relates to a 17-year-old boy. And here we are trying to determine whether the man that he has become is fit to be a Supreme Court judge.
We have heard from you that the boy was a drunken lout, and that he did things he shouldn’t have done. But what about the man? Should he be eliminated by something you say he did 35 years ago?
And I have a question about the moral system that you seem to be proposing. You know, in the Bible, Jesus says to the harlot: “Go forth and sin no more.” And to those who were ready to stone her to death, he said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
And yet, you have cast a stone at a man who appears to have committed no sin, if I may use that word, since the 1980s. I am going to presume you are without sin yourself… But I am still troubled by the fact that you have cast a stone.
In your view, is there no place for error, for weakness, for redemption, and for forgiveness? Do you think a man who sinned as a teenager should be forever disqualified from a position of trust and responsibility?
And don’t you think that the boy who was a drunken lout might have grown up and turned into a respectable man who is now worthy of the Supreme Court?
With that, Senator Sam would look gravely at the witness and pause. She would have to admit that it was possible.
So don’t you think the Committee should be spending its time on evaluating the man… rather than the boy? Especially since we have no way of knowing whether the charges against him as a teenager are true or not.
We don’t know how it would have gone. But at least Sam Ervin would have restored a bit of the Senate’s dignity.
But it will all soon be forgotten anyway. Because… while the Kavanaugh spectacle was going on, the U.S. 10-year bond yield rose to a seven-year high of 3.24% – nearly 2% above its bottom in July 2016.
This 2% increase, imposed on $68 trillion of debt, is equal to an extra $1.3 trillion in interest charges – completely offsetting any stimulus that might have come from the tax cut.
To look at it another way, the typical working person who works an average of 33 hours per week earns $26 an hour. His percentage of the total debt is about $500,000.
At today’s interest rate, he will have to work 558 hours – or three and a half weeks (not including taxes) – just to keep up with the interest payments. Clearly, this is impossible…
So the only way the bubble can maintain itself is to claim more of the man’s future.
A bubble never runs out of money – or entertaining distractions. The feds can create as much of both as they want. It runs out of time. And as interest rates rise, it is running out fast.
Tomorrow… we’ll share what we learned in Argentina, a country with 40% inflation and a currency that lost two-thirds of its value in the last 12 months.
MARKET INSIGHT: THE S&P’s SECTOR SHAKE-UP
By Joe Withrow, Head of Research, Bonner & Partners
The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) just created a new Communication Services sector, which will draw heavily from the Technology and Consumer Discretionary sectors…
Today’s chart maps the new sector weightings as a percentage of the S&P 500 for the sectors most affected, compared to what they were prior to the GICS reclassification.
As you can see, the new Communication Services sector will make up 9.9% of the S&P 500. For comparison, the old Telecom sector – which was rolled into Communication Services – only made up 2% of the S&P.
The new sector will carry a greater weighting largely because Facebook and Google have been reclassified from Technology to Communication Services. Likewise, Netflix and Disney have moved to the new sector from the Consumer Discretionary sector.
This will not have a big impact on the overall stock market, but it will affect exchange-traded funds (ETFs) designed to track specific industries.
As index ETFs are overhauled, tech ETFs may no longer deliver exposure to Facebook and Google… and consumer discretionary ETFs may no longer offer exposure to Netflix and Disney. Meanwhile, new communications ETFs will start to pop up.
These ETF overhauls will take place on the back-end… so ETF investors don’t need to do anything. But investors who own ETFs designed to track one of these sectors may want to keep an eye on how their funds’ holdings change.
– Joe Withrow
How the Housing Market Changed Post-Crisis
In the years before the Great Financial Crisis, real estate was the Wild West. No down payment? Bad credit? Erratic income stream? Mortgage approved. But now, 10 years later, those days are gone…
Why You Should Own Fewer Stocks… And Hold Them Forever
Most dear readers are looking for ways to be better investors. In this essay, Chris Mayer, one of Bill’s ace stock pickers, reveals one of the best ways to get rich from stocks: buy fewer of them… then forget you ever did.
Why Big Companies Squander Brilliant Ideas
In 1970, the first personal computer was invented – but not by Microsoft. It was made by Xerox. But today, Microsoft is the undisputed PC king, while Xerox still makes photocopiers. Here’s why incumbent businesses continuously fumble great ideas…
In the mailbag, Trump’s new trade deal is on one reader’s mind…
If Trump was smart (he’s not), he could make a real difference by focusing his attention on the lack of efficiency in Canada/America/Mexico trades. Take the automobile industry, for example… I learned from a story that aired on National Public Radio that some car parts are shipped back and forth across the Canadian border seven times before they are put in a finished auto.
Part A is manufactured in America and shipped to Canada, where it is added to Part B. The Canadians add Part C and ship it back to America, where Part D is connected before it is sent back to Canada, and so forth.
If the Trump team worked with the manufacturers to streamline the process, not only would efficiency be improved, less oil would be burned transporting stuff back and forth (reducing carbon dioxide emissions and lessening global warming), production costs would go down (increasing profits for the manufacturers), and the cost of the finished car would be less (making consumers happy). That would be a win-win deal for everyone.
– Dale A.
Meanwhile, a suggestion for the welfare of the ranch…
My dear Mr. Bonner, it appears to me that you must render some attention, heart, and humility – and perhaps a joke or two – towards the water gods and goddesses in Gualfin. Laugh if you like, but in the privacy of your own heart, give it a try… and maybe Elizabeth could be gifted in this activity.
If that doesn’t work, perhaps enlist the services of one of the many fine dowsers. They even have a trade organization and regional chapters. Many of our fine Western North Carolina dowsers go all over the world helping people with a variety of water and other issues.
– Laurie F.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Have you heard of the “Great Crypto Conspiracy”?
According to cryptocurrency expert Teeka Tiwari, there’s a plan at the highest levels of Wall Street that could have dire implications if you own any crypto assets.
To get all the details, be sure to tune in this Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. Reserve your spot for this online event right here.