Author Archives: Bill Bonner

     

 

 

French Fraud

POITOU, FRANCE – “Which is worse? America or France?” The question must be put in context. We were invited to dinner with local farmers last night. Jean-Yves and Arlette live in a modest house in the nearby town – an efficient and cozy place built about 25 years ago. They’ve added a solarium to the back, where we had dinner.

 

FAF – French-American Friendship. These days it’s a “which is worse” competition… [PT]

 

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Bent and Distorted

POITOU, FRANCE – This morning, we are wondering: How dumb is the Fed?

The question was prompted by this comment by former Fed insider Chris Whalen at The Institutional Risk Analyst blog.

 

They’re not the best map readers, that much is known for certain. [PT]

 

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Crackpot Schemes

POITOU, FRANCE – “Nothing really changes.” Sitting next to us at breakfast, a companion was reading an article written by the No. 2 man in France, Édouard Philippe, in Le Monde. The headline promised to tell us how the country was going to “deblock” itself.  But upon inspection, the proposals were the same old claptrap about favoring “green” energy… changing the tax code to reward one group and punish another…  and spending more money on various humbug initiatives.

 

Subsidized green energy scams are mainly creating eyesores – other than that, they add up to nothing but cronyism writ large. After the one of the biggest solar company bankruptcies ever happened in Spain, a detailed economic study found that for every subsidized renewable energy job the government “created” (at a cost of nearly $2 million per job!) 2.2 jobs were lost elsewhere. It is a good bet that the math isn’t much different elsewhere. To add insult to injury, there is precisely zero evidence that carbon emissions are reduced by even one iota due to these efforts. It is an apodictic certainty that no economy can possibly be “rescued” by the subsidization of this nonsense. There is a widespread belief in government circles that “economic growth” can somehow be conjured up by bureaucrats. That is a costly error that increasingly endangers the future of Western civilization. [PT]

 

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Putting on the Purple

 

Mayor: Drebin, I don’t want any more trouble like you had last year on the South Side. Understand? That’s my policy.

Drebin: Yes. Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards. That’s my policy.

Mayor: That was a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones.

– The Naked Gun

 

Laura Loomer, the first protester to rush the stage to interrupt the enactment of stabbing Donald “Caesar” Trump in a new version of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Apparently it has been transformed into some kind of leftist/ establishment/ Deep State wish fulfillment fantasy, which in turn has predictably triggered supporters of Mr. Trump. Since Ms. Loomer first rushed the stage, other protesters have followed her lead (see here for the back story on Loomer – thereafter protesters stormed the stage againand again…). In the meantime several companies have pulled their sponsorship of “Public Theater”, the group performing the play, presumably because the actual shooting of several Republican lawmakers by a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter made it seem like a truly major publicity fail in the making. We would note the following: Normally it is actually not a  good idea to publicly suggest that one would like to assassinate the POTUS – issuing such threats is illegal and will result in a visit by national security minions and quite likely a charge. Mr. Trump appears to have become the exception to this rule – there has been a veritable flood of death threats against him on social media and elsewhere, but we have yet to hear of anyone getting into trouble over this.

Photo credit: Fox News

 

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Don’t Be Fooled by These Calm Markets

What is happening in the world of money? Well – the most striking thing is: nothing.

It doesn’t seem to matter what happens. Dysfunction in Washington. Meltdown of the techs. No matter how rough the seas get, the markets glide along… scarcely noticing the storm-tossed waves below.

 

Thankfully the world’s central planners are so well-versed in egging on the creation of an ever greater mountain of debt and seemingly limitless asset price inflation with their “scientific” monetary policy that a complete blow-up of the the financial system only threatens now and then… most of the time we are in “moderation” mode. Nowadays we are in something that feels like a Valium-induced waking dream. It couldn’t be better… volatility has just served up its greatest disappearance act since the end of the last “moderation”.  What could possibly go wrong? – click to enlarge.

 

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“Russiagate”

WEST RIVER, MARYLAND – We’re back at our post – watching… reading… trying to connect the dots. And we begin by asking: What do “think tanks” think about? The answer in a minute.

First, there is a dust-up in the Washington, D.C., area. “Russiagate,” it is called. As near as we can make out, some people think the Trump team had or has illegal or inappropriate contacts with the Russian government.

 

It’s all very obvious, if one looks closely…  Putin has inundated the brains of US voters with his evil Putin rays from his redoubt in Moscow, causing them to make the wrong choice.

 

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Tremendous Flop

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – Now comes a report from the Financial Times that tells us the nation’s No. 1 industry – home building – has been backing up for a quarter of a century.

According to the newspaper, U.S. home builders “started work on the same number of houses in the past year as they did a quarter of a century ago, even though there are 36% more people working as residential builders now than then.”

 

Moat contractors have been particularly bad. Incidents like the one depicted above are reportedly increasingly frequent.

Image credit: Gary Larson

 

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A Minor Derailment

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – Yesterday, stocks fell.

And volatility shot up.

 

When too many people have too many knives out at once, accidental cubism may result

 

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Seeming Contradiction

CACHI, ARGENTINA – Here at the Diary we have fun ridiculing the pretensions, absurdities, and hypocrisies of the ruling classes. But there is a serious side to it, too. Mockery makes us laugh. And laughing helps us wiggle free from the kudzu of fake news.

 

Is it real? Is it real? Is it real? Above you can see what the problem with reality is, or potentially is, in a 6-phase research undertaking that has landed its protagonist in a very disagreeable situation (a corner of reality best avoided, so to speak). 1. he learns that something is amiss. 2. he has to measure reality, otherwise it doesn’t exist! He does so, and 3. strange people show up at his doorstep, giving him ominous messages. 4. At least reality is now real! Then he  learns about a philosopher, who asserts that while it may be real now, in a sense, it is nevertheless a computer simulation. Oh well, what does he know? Unfortunately, a bunch of serious-sounding German physicists calculate that he actually appears to be right. 5. By now our protagonist will believe anything, so when he hears about Dr. Schreber’s efforts to keep the universe from dissolving/imploding by thinking about it all the time, he is no longer even surprised. 6. He enters the Tearoom of Despair –  a “world of horror, futility and endless buttered scones” – click to enlarge.

 

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Honest Profession

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – The Dow rose 174 points on Thursday. And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said we’d have a new tax system by the end of the year.

Animal spirits were restless. But which animals? Dumb oxes? Or wily foxes? Probably both.

 

Since Thursday there have been two additional very spirited up days with large gaps – this is very rare in the DJIA, particularly from such a high level after a ~240% rally since the lows made 8 years ago… it continues to feel like a blow-off (and it happens against the backdrop of a sharp slowdown in money supply growth) – click to enlarge.

 

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Paycheck to Paycheck

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – The Dow was down 118 points on Wednesday. It should have been down a lot more. Of course, markets know more than we do. And maybe this market knows something that makes sense of these high prices. What we see are reasons to sell, not reasons to buy.

 

DJIA daily (incl. Thursday)… it was just taking a rest – click to enlarge.

 

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Conspiracy of the Few

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – “U.S. stocks fall on Trump talk…” began a headline at Bloomberg. Or it may be Trump action. We had already counted six major campaign promises – including no O’care repeal and no “America First” foreign policy – already buried (some for the better).

 

A bunch of campaign promises get the MOAB treatment…  A great many  theories have been proposed to explain Trump’s recent series of u-turns: 1. he is in thrall to the Deep State because he always was, or because he is blackmailed; 2. he plays a deep, Machiavellian game, and the strike on Syria and other policy reversals are just temporary reversals to get the media and the people promoting the story that he is a pawn of Putin off his back; 3. he simply reacts impulsively to situations as they develop, without even considering whether his actions are in line with his promises. Perhaps he was replaced by an android?

Cartoon by Nate Beeler

 

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