The Nasty Habits of Reality
BALTIMORE – People never intend to bring disasters upon themselves. But they sometimes put themselves in situations in which disaster is the only way out.
The War Between the States was supposed to be quick and decisive. The glorious histories of the war were already written – at least in the minds of the combatants – by the time of the First Battle of Bull Run.
General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson inspects the action at the First Battle of Bull Run. Confederate observers were suitably impressed. We’ve got this in the bag, they said to themselves. Let’s start writing the history books!
Donald vs. the Swamp
BALTIMORE – Judging by the Diary mailbag, dear readers would like to see a more positive attitude towards the president-elect. We would like to take a more positive approach; we like wishful thinking as much as anyone. In particular, we’d like to see Mr. Trump do away with the inheritance tax.
A message from the swamp thing: all you’ll get is a maw-full of muck – it is knitting itself back together already. And besides, it is ticked off.
Illustration by Len Wein
BALTIMORE – Fidel Castro was regarded as a revolutionary and a “change agent.”
But he is better understood as a throwback, more of a counter-revolutionary than a real revolutionary. The real revolution in human affairs happened long before he was born… and is still going on – the revolution led by civilized free-market capitalism.
Finger-wagging Fidel Castro on the cover of TIME in 1965, which by this time accused his revolution of “decaying”. The US government initially continued to subsidize Cuba in the wake of Castro’s takeover as he had given less than truthful assurances that the “handful of communists” in his cabinet had no influence on Cuba’s policies. The Batista government’s economic policies had a great many statist features as well, so at first it seemed as though the differences between the two regimes would only be marginal – mainly, someone else would do the stealing. By the time the above cover story was published, the US was waging a full-scale economic war against Cuba. It is rare for a classical peasants’ revolt to actually succeed. Castro’s victory over Batista was quite a feat in that sense; not surprisingly, it elicited the admiration of Leftists the world over. Castro was not a Stalinist, presumably not least because Khrushchev had “de-Stalinized” the Soviet Union, but he did declare himself a Marxist-Leninist (which Stalin incidentally had claimed to be as well). The political Left’s misguided admiration for Castro never wavered though.
BALTIMORE – Last week, the Dow punched up above 19,000 – a new all-time record. And on Monday, the Dow, the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and the small-cap Russell 2000 each hit new all-time highs. The last time that happened was on the last day of December 1999.
Ironically, two events that were almost universally expected to trigger large stock market declines were followed by quite rapid and strong gains. Would the market have fallen if Hillary Clinton had won the presidential election? That would have confounded expectations as well. Also, the S&P 500 declined for nine days in a row (even if not by much) just before the election – at the time Clinton was still widely expected to win. it remains to be seen whether and for how long the recent discounting of Nirvana will last – click to enlarge.
TRUMP HOTEL, New York – Trump’s rambling army – professionals, amateurs, camp followers, and profiteers – is marching south, down the I-95 corridor. There, on the banks of the Potomac, it will fight its next big battle.
Lieutenants in Trump’s army: Bannon, Flynn & Sessions
Photo credit: Drew Angerer / AFP
The Trump Trade
After 35 years of waiting… so many false signals… so often deceived… so often disappointed… bond bears gathered on rooftops as though awaiting the Second Coming. Many times, investors have said to themselves, “This is it! This is the end of the Great Bull Market in Bonds!”
The long bond’s long cycle – red rectangles indicate when the post 1980 bull market was held to be “over” or “over for sure” or “100% over”, etc. We have repeatedly seen bear percentages close to or even exceeding 90% in the Barron’s “smart money” poll over the years. There can be no doubt that Donald Trump’s election has boosted inflation expectations in the short term – but will the momentum persist? – click to enlarge.
Depravity and Degeneration
BALTIMORE – Finally, it’s over. We were both delighted and appalled by the news. A smile spread over our face… and our steps lightened… as we looked ahead to four years without Hillary Clinton’s know-it-all mug in the news.
Praise be! This mug will be largely missing from the airwaves and the intertubes in coming years. And your caption scribbler PT won’t have to look for a fall-out shelter! We thank the Lord and the American public for this not inconsiderable favor.
$8 Trillion Transfer
RHINEBECK, New York – It is a beautiful autumnal day here in upstate New York. The trees are red, brown, and yellow. Squirrels hop across the lawn, collecting their nuts. Unseasonably warm the last few days, rain showers are moving in from across the Hudson, driven by a chilly wind.
Making Flimflam Float
RHINEBECK, New York – Poor Mr. Obama. In an apologia in The Economist, the president reveals that he has learned nothing during his time in the White House.
More importantly, he has forgotten nothing…
At the time this ad appeared it was just a threat… then he actually went ahead and did it, dispensing advice to his successor. In case readers are not familiar with it, the Economist is essentially a socialist rag, advocating government intervention at every turn – it is not very different from the FT in this respect. As a friend of ours recently remarked, the last year in which the magazine was worth reading was 1993, it’s gone downhill ever since. We will concede though that it continues to work very well as a contrary indicator (its title pages have a near perfect record in this respect).
RHINEBECK, New York – Is the stock market dead? Nothing is happening there. It is the first of November. The countdown to the elections has begun; the nation seems to hold its breath.
Photo credit: Joe Ravi
Calm Before the Storm
BALTIMORE – It was another slow news day for the stock market. At least at 7 a.m. here on the East Coast it was. But bonds are starting to show signs of topping out.
Hawk in waiting
Cartoon by Bruce Plante
Deep State in Control
BALTIMORE – What is going on in the markets? Well, nothing much. The U.S. stock and bond markets have been as dull as a teetotaler’s funeral. No dancing. But no teary breakdowns, either.
Most read in the last 20 days:
- Gold Price Skyrockets in India after Currency Ban – Part III
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- Gold Price Skyrockets in India after Currency Ban – Part IV
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- A Note on Gold and India – What is Driving the Gold Price?
Hidden Motives It is well-known that India's government wants to coerce its population into “modernizing” its financial behavior and abandoning its traditions. The recent ban on large-denomination banknotes was not only meant to fight corruption. Obviously, this very bad Indian has way too much cash. Just look at him, he looks suspicious! Photo via thenewsminute.com In fact, as our friend Jayant Bhandari has pointed out, fresh avenues for corruption ...
- Gold Price Skyrockets in India after Currency Ban – Part V
A Brief Recap India's Prime Minister announced on 8th November 2016 that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes will no longer be legal tender. Linked are Part-I, Part-II, Part-III, and Part-IV, which provide updates on the rapidly encroaching police state Expect a continuation of new social engineering notifications, each sabotaging wealth-creation, confiscating people’s wealth, and tyrannizing those who refuse to be a part of the herd, in the process destroying the very backbone of the...
- Attaining Self-Destruct Velocity
Bad Monday Some Monday mornings are better than others. Others are worse than some. For one Amazon employee, this past Monday morning was particularly bad. No doubt, the poor fellow would have been better off he’d called in sick to work. Such a simple decision would have saved him from extreme agony. But, unfortunately, he showed up at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters and put on a public and painful display of madness. Good-bye cruel world! On this our planet,...
- All Aboard! Trump’s Express Train to the Future
Free Money! BALTIMORE – Last week, the Dow punched up above 19,000 – a new all-time record. And on Monday, the Dow, the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and the small-cap Russell 2000 each hit new all-time highs. The last time that happened was on the last day of December 1999. Ironically, two events that were almost universally expected to trigger large stock market declines were followed by quite rapid and strong gains. Would the market have fallen if Hillary Clinton had won...
- India's Currency Debacle – An Interview with Jayant Bhandari
A Major Crisis Last week Jayant Bhandari related the story of the overnight ban of certain banknotes in India under cover of “stamping out corruption” (see Gold Price Skyrockets In India after Currency Ban Part 1 and Part 2 for the details). Banned 500 rupee banknotes The problem is inter alia that the sudden ban of these banknotes has hit the Indian economy quite hard, given that 97% of all transactions in the country are cash-based. Not only that, it has...
- Will the Swamp Swallow Trump?
Permanently Skewed TRUMP HOTEL, New York – Trump’s rambling army – professionals, amateurs, camp followers, and profiteers – is marching south, down the I-95 corridor. There, on the banks of the Potomac, it will fight its next big battle. Lieutenants in Trump's army: Bannon, Flynn & Sessions Photo credit: Drew Angerer / AFP Here at the Diary, we do not like to get involved in politics. But this is a special time in the history of our planet – a...
- There Are Two Types of Credit — One of Them Leads to Booms and Busts
Stumped by the Bust In the slump of a cycle, businesses that were thriving begin to experience difficulties or go under. They do so not because of firm-specific entrepreneurial errors but rather in tandem with whole sectors of the economy. People who were wealthy yesterday have become poor today. Factories that were busy yesterday are shut down today, and workers are out of jobs. What has caused the bust? The modern-day economic orthodoxy continues to be unable to provide...
- Gold Bull Market Remains Intact – Long Term Fundamentals Outweigh Short Term Market Gyrations
A Strong First Half of the Year, Followed by Another Retreat In early 2016 gold had a big bull run. The precious metal rose close to 25% this year, pushed higher in a summer rally that peaked on July 10th. Gold experienced a bumpy ride over the remainder of the summer though, as investors became increasingly concerned about a potential rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Uncertainty returned to gold market and has intensified further since then. Initially, gold rallied sharply...
- Too Early for “Inflation Bets”?
The Trump Trade After 35 years of waiting... so many false signals... so often deceived... so often disappointed... bond bears gathered on rooftops as though awaiting the Second Coming. Many times, investors have said to themselves, “This is it! This is the end of the Great Bull Market in Bonds!” The long bond's long cycle – red rectangles indicate when the post 1980 bull market was held to be “over” or “over for sure” or “100% over”, etc. We have...
- US True Money Supply Growth Jumps, Part 1: A Shift in Liabilities
A Very Odd Growth Spurt in the True Money Supply The growth rates of various “Austrian” measures of the US money supply (such as TMS-2 and money AMS) have accelerated significantly in recent months. That is quite surprising, as the Fed hasn't been engaged in QE for quite some time and year-on-year growth in commercial bank credit has actually slowed down rather than accelerating of late. The only exception to this is mortgage lending growth - at least until recently. Growth in...