A cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces
An airline ticket to romantic places
– Billie Holiday, “These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)”
BALTIMORE – South Beach…
Last week, we were sitting in the hotel restaurant in Miami Beach having breakfast…
A man – about 30 – was leaning on the counter. His dirty pants were falling down. He wore a black t-shirt with a skeleton on it. He put his head down on the counter… and said something incomprehensible.
He got a cup of coffee… and staggered over to a chair and flopped down, talking to himself.
After a few minutes, he got up. He clutched his pants, which were almost around his knees. He wobbled. He lurched. He headed for the door and disappeared out through it.
Then, a woman… voluptuous… pretty… dressed in white jeans, with a very low-cut t-shirt came in the same door.
She looked in our direction. She said something. We couldn’t make it out… Was she asking the time of day? Directions? We smiled.
She came towards us and sat down next to us on the couch.
“Would you like a massage?”
Two young men came in. Shorts. T-shirts. Almost identical outfits. But one wore his baseball cap backwards. They held hands. Smiled at each other. They got cappuccinos.
Deceit and Delusion
But now, we are back in Baltimore, visiting our new granddaughter. Then, we’ll be off again, back to Ireland.
There was a time when we looked forward to traveling. Buying an airline ticket to a romantic place promised a thrill, an adventure… and a learning experience.
Now, we’d rather stay home. But now, the cost of not traveling is higher than the benefit of staying home. We’re taking care of business, in other words. And as business has grown, so has the need to take care of it.
But let’s turn to our familiar beat – the world of money. Or, more particularly, the world of deceit and delusion known as “economics.” Unromantic. Tawdry. But fascinating.
When we left off last week, we were looking at fake wars. As you know, these are wars that no one wants to win, since their real purpose is to shift wealth from the public to the war-fighting industries.
Our point was that even fake wars sometimes spin out of control – when people forget what kind of war they’re fighting, for example.
Early in the week, U.S. president Donald J. Trump was taking the trade war far too seriously. Then, his Deep State handlers must have straightened him out on that; before the week was over, he declared that he wanted to get back into the Trans-Pacific Partnership!
Then, he went off message again… this time, on the war on terrorism. A gas attack against civilians in Syria had been alleged; the president wanted to retaliate.
As you know, no sparrow can fall anywhere on the planet without inviting a U.S. counterattack against the starlings. Observers wondered why the president didn’t wait to find out who had actually perpetrated the attack… if anyone. But they failed to understand the nature of fake war.
It didn’t really matter whether any atrocities had been committed… or who had committed them. As it turned out, the gas attack was most likely fake. Perfect; the U.S. could stage a fake revenge attack, too!
Russia was notified in advance of where and when the U.S. would attack, allowing time for the “enemy” – whoever they are – to make themselves scarce.
The Donald had an opportunity to show what a tough, decisive leader he is without doing any real harm. It was all for the benefit of the fans… and, of course, the Deep State.
So far, so good.
Deep State War
Then, no sooner had we all relaxed when, on Sunday, a new war flared up – the war between Donald J. Trump and the Deep State itself.
Many people think this war is real. Donald J. Trump, they believe, is fighting for “the people”… and the Deep State is trying to stop him. He really wants to drain the swamp, they say; it’s not his fault the water is getting deeper.
Anything is possible.
Mr. Trump’s instincts are clearly “populist” – he certainly understands the showbiz side much better than most politicians. But he is no fool.
Hardly had the sun set on the polling stations in November 2016 when he invited the Wall Street insiders from Goldman Sachs… and a trio of retired generals… to join him in the White House.
But there are many different factions in the Deep State. Like sows at a feeding trough, they bump into each other trying to get at the swill. And the winners are usually those that are most heavily armed.
Leaping ahead, we notice that whenever there is a “populist” movement in politics, it almost always leads to the military wing of the Deep State taking control.
Caesar, Lenin, Mao, Mussolini, Hitler, Perón, Castro – revolutions begun in the name of the “people” tend to degrade into military dictatorships.
Why? Because government is always a way for the few to take advantage of the many… and the fraud is easier to pull off when you can invoke those atavistic “us versus them” emotions.
The lumpen naturally rally ‘round the flag and support the military – no matter how absurd the situation.
And if they don’t, you shoot them.
MARKET INSIGHT: VOLATILITY IS BACK
By Joe Withrow, Head of Research, Bonner & Partners
Volatility is back…
That’s the story of today’s chart. It shows the number of one-day moves of 1% or more for the S&P 500 in 2017 and 2018.
As you can see, the S&P 500 only moved 1% or more on eight trading days in all of 2017.
So far in 2018, the S&P 500 has moved more than 1% on 28 different trading days.
For comparison, the S&P’s historical average by this point in the year is 13 days with a 1% move.
– Joe Withrow
Why Wall Street Loves President Trump
Very soon, Wall Street could be singing the president’s praises. Trump’s agenda of deregulation is about to free up some of America’s biggest banks. And that could mean skyrocketing profits.
But read also…
Earnings Season Won’t Save This Bull Market
A stronger-than-expected earnings season, mostly from America’s biggest banks, buoyed U.S. stocks recently. But according to one Nobel Prize-winning economist, strong earnings won’t be enough to stave off a bear market.
How to Bulletproof Your Portfolio
As Joe Withrow showed above, stocks have been more volatile thus far in 2018 than they were in all of 2017. In these turbulent times, you need a plan. Chris Mayer, one of Bill’s top analysts, shows how you can chaos-proof your portfolio.
In the mailbag, President Trump’s standoff with China is on readers’ minds…
Everybody forgets. How can China pull the plug on the dollar by selling our bonds? Imagine their $1.3 trillion holding being worth far, far less if they start unloading. In fact, we both have each other by the throat.
– Julius G.
What a superb synthesis: Xi doesn’t comprehend how much he needs our worthless paper and Trump doesn’t get that the “debt flow” must keep flowing. I have to wonder why. Perhaps the first commenter is right! This is déjà vu all over again: a contrived war.
Regarding another dear reader: Sir, the days of civility are gone; they went south on November 8, 2016. I applaud Bill for calling a dolt a dolt in HIS Diary.
Point Three: Someone pointed out, “You are scaring us; now, tell us what to do.” The onus of your money, sir, is on you (and your paid financial advisor/s). For us paupers, we’ve already figured out what to do: buy everything we will require for six to nine months (household provisions, toiletries, first aid stuff, canned food/s and some bullets) before scared, hungry, and uncivil folks come to take it by violence. If you aren’t a pauper, how much bullion do you have?
– Bill S.
I just have to respond to Bill Bonner’s latest attacks on President Trump. When Bill Bonner starts equating Donald Trump with Xi Jinping, in all fairness, he should also point out that President Trump does not direct the FBI to grab American lawyers, like Robert Mueller, and make them disappear forever. He doesn’t put people related to Americans who oppose his views under house arrest, or eventually make them disappear as well. He does not run slave labor shops. And so on.
But Chairman Xi provides the lowest price on lots of goods. So is that all that matters? And why is there no mention of the many burdensome regulations President Trump has removed to make U.S. businesses more competitive? Would this have been a better action to accelerate before imposing new tariffs?
– Frank W.
Thanks for your ideas, keep it up! Your words on China brought back memories of a trip there a couple of years ago. As we rounded almost every bend of the Yangtze River, there seemed to be a massive bridge being constructed across the river! Amazing! How did they pay for all of this? Only to realize that WE were paying for all this new infrastructure with our interest payments to the Chinese. Where else were they going to put the money? The Chinese might as well get something real out of the deal since the value of the U.S. dollar was dropping like a stone. Again, thanks for your words!
– Gus G.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
If we tried to sell this book in bookstores, it would be banned…
Casey Research founder Doug Casey just released the follow-up to his 2013 book Totally Incorrect. Doug calls it Totally Incorrect, Volume 2.
In it, Doug gives his take on everything from genderless babies… to the modern space race… and last year’s NFL protests. And he doesn’t mince words. See why some are outraged at this new book by going right here.