You’re a cowardly, leftist moron, to say the least.
– Comment from a Dear Reader, received yesterday
POITOU, FRANCE – Over the weekend, we drove down to the South of France for a birthday party.
It was in the Tarn area, famous for its ancient grottoes, its wars and massacres, and its food.
Poor Brunhilda. She founded the castle at Bruniquel, which we visited. A Visigoth princess, she married a king of the Franks (one of Clovis I’s grandsons) and became queen.
Her sister Galswintha married Brunhilda’s brother-in-law, becoming queen of the Kingdom of Soissons.
Alas, the 6th century was a treacherous time. Galswintha’s husband also had a mistress, Fredegund, who was eager to get the new wife out of the way. She had Galswintha strangled by an assassin.
War, assassinations, and suspicious deaths – Brunhilda and Fredegund were Christians, but neither turned the other cheek.
Instead, they went at each other for the rest of their lives. Finally, during the reign of Brunhilda’s great-grandson, Fredegund died. But that didn’t stop the bloodletting.
Fredegund’s son, Clothar II, eventually got his hands on Brunhilda and had her executed. Some reports say she was tied to the tail of a wild horse and dragged to her death. Others say she was pulled apart by two horses.
Also in Bruniquel is a remarkable cave, which was discovered by a 13-year-old boy in 1990. He noticed a small hole – scarcely big enough for a hare to enter – in the side of a hill.
But air flowed from the hole, indicating that it must be connected to one or more of the grottoes which are extensive in the area. The boy wiggled his way through a narrow passage and found himself in a large cave.
When an expert finally examined the cave years later, he made one of the most intriguing discoveries ever. Broken-off stalagmites had been arranged in a series of circles. Why? When? By whom?
The “why” is still a mystery. But new dating techniques have answered the other questions.
The circles were made about 176,000 years ago – making the site one of the oldest constructions in the world. At that time, there were no humans in Europe; so it must have been made by ancient Neanderthals, the forerunners of the Neanderthals who lived in Europe when humans arrived.
Excavations have not been done. And no Neanderthal bones have been found. But traces of fire are visible.
But let us skip ahead, from the past… to the present and the future… pausing only to remind ourselves that we are the same people – more or less – born of the same Brunhildas and Fredegunds as our ancestors.
“I’ve been following your Diary,” began a conversation at the birthday party on Friday night. “I see the problem you’re having… It’s rather amusing, watching you try to measure Trump’s actions with conservative principles, and seeing the kind of extreme reaction you get.
“You’re right, of course… The Donald is not in any way a conservative. And he’s not really going to make America great again. But there’s more to it.
“This is not the beginning of an empire. It’s closer to the end of one. You don’t need a Jefferson or a Washington at this stage. That is, you don’t need a builder. You need a barbarian.”
More than 60 Americans had made the trip for the party, an extraordinary group of scholars, lawyers, judges, former ambassadors, writers, and entrepreneurs.
Many had wrestled with the same heavyweight question: What is it about the Donald J. Trump phenomenon? What does it mean?
Herewith, we offer one opinion on the subject.
“He’s doing the world a great service,” continued a fellow guest.
“I voted for him. And I’m not sorry I did. Yes, he’s surrounded himself with morons and yes-men. And he’s doing some pretty nasty things – like separating children from their parents. I mean, why punish the children?
“But as you say, he’s wrecking the furniture. And at some point in history, you have to do it.
“Since World War II, the U.S. has been a builder. The Marshall Plan… Bretton Woods… Vietnam… Iraq. It is responsible for all these institutions like the TPP, NAFTA, the UN, the WTO, the ICJ, and so on.
“Even the European Union is an imitation of the United States… eliminating the trade barriers between member states.
“All around the world, an elite has arisen to run these organizations. They also run major corporations and universities. They all learn the same things and believe the same things. They run governments and central banks. They want to control everything. And, as you say, they mostly want to shift more and more power and money to themselves.
“Overseas, they want wars, treaties, and transnational organizations where they can feel like big shots and make a lot of money.
“And at home, these are the people that want to force bakers to make cakes for gay couples… and that take down the Confederate monuments… They’re the ones who think that people who don’t share their ideas are deplorable.
“These elites have become predatory. They’re looking out for themselves, not for the average person. And they’ve lost contact with the voters. The Democrats lost their blue-collar base. And the Republicans lost their traditional conservative base. And here comes Donald Trump, like a bull in a china shop, and he’s stomping all over them.
“Of course, he has his tweets and his comments. And his theories about things. And they’re mostly nonsensical. But that doesn’t matter.
“Everyone has gotten the message. We’re not building anything anymore. We don’t know how. We’re out of business.
“I wouldn’t have said it that way, but it needed to be said.”
“The system itself is fundamentally corrupt,” continued the guest.
“It needs to be broken up. That’s why so many people are backing Trump. They feel cheated. They just don’t understand how or why… but they can see him busting things up, and they like it.
“Yes, in a way, it’s too bad that Trump doesn’t understand what’s going on. He thinks all you have to do is talk tough, negotiate deals, organize photoshoots with foreign dictators… and prevent competition from Canada and Mexico.
“But even if Trump knew what he was doing, would it really make any difference? That’s what you’re missing.
“Suppose he had announced a coherent plan that really might make America great again. Suppose he had said that he was going to bring the troops home, balance the budget, put the CIA and the NSA out of business, and cut both the Pentagon budget and the social welfare budget.
“How long would he last? He’d have everybody against him. The zombies. The cronies. The press. The neocons. The leftists. The rightists.
“That was not an option. That Eisenhower world is gone. It’s too late. The Deep State rules. And no election is going to stop it.
“That’s why your critics are partially right. There were only two real choices. The Donald or The Hillary. Hillary wouldn’t be breaking up the furniture. She’d be polishing it. They want it broken.”
Breaking the furniture won’t make America great again. And Donald J. Trump’s tastes in interior design may not be ours.
But it’s clearly time to redecorate.
More to come…
MARKET INSIGHT: THE SPOILS OF WAR
By Joe Withrow, Head of Research, Bonner & Partners
War is quite profitable for the military/industrial complex…
That’s the story today as we chart the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA) – which tracks a basket of 38 of the largest defense contractors – from its inception in 2006 through today.
As you can see, ITA has shot up 293% since the ETF launched in 2006. And with Trump’s $700 billion military budget, the companies comprising this ETF will be flush with cash for years to come.
This is the nature of the military/industrial complex that Bill – and President Eisenhower – spoke of.
The revenue of the defense contractors represented in ITA is tied to the federal government’s military budget.
This means that they are incentivized to lobby the government for more defense spending each year… whether it’s needed or not.
– Joe Withrow
Trade War Heating Up
Last week, President Trump threatened tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports. But China isn’t taking this lying down. This could be its counterattack…
Cryptos’ Achilles’ Heel
Some crypto enthusiasts say that cryptocurrencies will replace money as we know it. But according to a report from the Bank for International Settlements, there’s just one problem…
But read also…
Amazon is on the verge of releasing its very own crypto coin. That’s the message from Jeff Brown, Bill’s top technology analyst. Skeptical? Review the evidence and decide for yourself.
As Bill alluded to above, one Dear Reader has some strong words for our editor…
While I agree that Eisenhower was a good president, I truly believe you should stop bashing our current president. With this current administration, the jobs are plentiful (to the point that there are more jobs than people to fill them), the stock market is through the roof, unemployment is at the lowest point ever in the history of the nation, unemployment rates for women and Hispanics are at 18-year lows, and 401(k) plans are quadrupling.
Also, ISIS is obliterated; and he [President Trump] has commanded peace through strength, brokered a deal with North Korea to denuclearize the entire peninsula, and has the backing of some of our biggest allies.
President Trump has done a whole hell of a lot, and he didn’t have to run on “I’m a four-star general” to get there, either. He is doing a lot for this country and creating jobs. But apparently, you dumbasses still haven’t gotten the memo. Yeah, he isn’t Eisenhower, but he is doing a wonderful job.
Oh, and GDP is climbing, too, with a projected GDP of between 3.8% and 4.6% for the second quarter. I will be unsubscribing from your leftist bullsh**. The fact that you would compare somebody who has been in office for 18 months to somebody who was in it for eight years. You’re a cowardly, leftist moron, to say the least.
– Ben H.
But it’s not all name-calling in the Mailbag…
It is amazing how many folks like to tell others who they should or should not respect. Respect the office of the president. But the person in the office has to earn respect, and there has to be more to it than just cutting deals.
– Jackie S.
You are right. I think I would describe the current economy as similar to throwing a can of gas on a fire. We are seeing the big flame now. Pretty soon, all we will see is a black hole, and there will be no fuel left to keep it going. You’re right about something else, too: Trump is a moron, almost as bad as his strongest supporters. As a Canadian, I can’t imagine what I should be ashamed about, as one of your dear readers suggested.
– George E.
You know, Bill, you’re still the RWGWTMT&M [rich white guy with too much time and money], but you’re still right. Time will prove you right. So do not despair.
From my childhood in New England, I learned it is always calm before the storm. Common sense is not all that common. But even today, as “disrupted” as things are, not-so-common and common sense still rule the day. And here is what no one yet gets: The phrase, “It’s a new normal” – which many people, mostly young, all wanting to proclaim victory through disruption, and who want to say out loud – is just another form of, “This time is different.”
The debt-clearing cycle is ahead. It is under the disruption radar, being ignored by Trump, who is too busy playing to the naysayer crowd. But when it comes, it is going to be a doozy – bigger than the fat-boy, Trump, and she-man all put together. It is going to disrupt. And that isn’t fake news. But seriously, can we still say doozy out loud?
– Stephen L.
Cheer up, Bill! Your writing deals in reversion to the norm. As you have said, you’re not sure when, but it will happen eventually. What else can one expect when you go $21 trillion into debt, mostly to pay for today instead of tomorrow? What else can one expect when you start wars on every continent? What else can one expect when diplomacy is now to show how “masculine” one is and expect everyone to say “thank you” afterward?
– Justin S.
This was an informative email, on point with my thoughts, hopes, and fears. I really appreciate your insight… most of the time.
– Andrew C.
Best commentary yet. We don’t need a return to the ’50s as a whole, but to Ike’s philosophy in particular.
– David N.
I have to concur that Donald Trump has a few screws loose. What’s amazing is that it took a nincompoop to negotiate with North Korea.
– Laszlo E.
Outstanding article explaining how our current economy relates historically to when America was really great.
– Robert C.
I do not read much of what comes my way, but I do look forward to your weekly comments and find it quite disheartening to think that so many of our citizens believe Trump and dismiss your comments. I am glad my son and grandchildren have citizenship in Canada (as well as the U.S.) and I believe their fluency in French and travel experiences will keep them living there and looking at other countries while our country continues its demise.
– Jay H.
Alas, Bill, it appears that many of your readers are trapped in the binary narrative fed to us from all sides in our media-hyper world (i.e., if you don’t love Trump, you must love Hillary et al.). The world is not binary. But small minds prefer small answers with a little emotional stimulation to leave dull shades of gray inaccessible to the modern American attention span.
Remember, dear readers, “divide and conquer” has been the near-first commandment of tyrants for far longer than we’ve been reading Mr. Bonner’s prose, and it still works great. Study the great possibilities of the gray and resist small-minded, emotional, binary entrapment of possibilities. Learn from the many historic ones that Bill recounts to us.
– Laurie F.
Bill, I’ve enjoyed your musings for many years and have saved a good amount of your Diaries. Your series on bitcoin with your “resident expert” was very memorable; those feelings, emotions, and questions were all too familiar. For someone who has taught me to be suspicious of government and has given me an acute awareness of the Deep State, the decimation of our middle class, and the consequences of unbacked fiat currency, you sure don’t seem to have a very good handle on how to rectify the Deep State situation.
Think about it! It’s taken over a century to get to where we are today – for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume this all started with the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Do you really think President Trump (or anyone else) could possibly unwind this overnight, in a month, or in their first 500 days? Do you realize what impact moving too fast would have on our country and the world? Short term, he has to “play the game.”
– Roger D.
Regarding the negative feedback from your readers, I suggest you just remember who you are getting it from. They are the dumbed-down, deluded masses who refuse to believe that Pinocchio now occupies the White House.
It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, which is from a Dutch-American journalist and lecturer named Hendrik Willem van Loon, who said, “Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession – their ignorance.” Never give up, Bill, as the truth always eventually comes to light.
– Arthur S.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
After today, this opportunity will be gone…
This trading technique might not be for everyone. But if you’re willing to stake money on the fastest-moving stocks BEFORE they hit the front pages of Bloomberg, then you should listen to what our colleague Jason Bodner has to say.