Bill Bonner – Bill Bonner’s Diary (United States) –
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – If mockery is an art, here’s a fellow who calls out for the talents of a Leonardo: Mr. Robert Mueller.
Clean as a whistle. Hard as steel. Incorruptible. Unstoppable.
He just keeps going, hammering away… until he nails a dangerous felon.
Or railroads someone else…
Last week, Mr. Mueller handed in his indictment.
After so many months of rumors… accusations… countercharges… and fake news, we now have a federal prosecutor who’s managed to collar a gang of real desperadoes.
Who are these hellish perps? What mayhem and murder have they committed?
Did they plant a charge of dynamite under the Capitol dome? Have they given the nation’s nuclear codes to our mortal enemies?
Stay tuned… more in a moment.
Back in Baltimore
We got back to Baltimore yesterday evening, after a long drive from Dulles International Airport.
It was bumper to bumper the entire way, adding an extra hour to the trip.
Even coming into Baltimore, where traffic is normally fairly light, the backup caused us to take a detour through the slums.
“I hope you locked your doors,” said a friend. “I don’t even stop for red lights in West Baltimore.”
It was an unseasonably warm evening. People were out on the sidewalks, sitting on their front steps, or standing on street corners.
Here and there, junkies wobbled and shook. Mothers screamed at their children. Loud, boom-boom music came from parked cars.
Coming from Europe, the effect is shocking – and not just the poverty.
We’ve never seen anything like it elsewhere. Every third house was boarded up. Trash was everywhere. Broken windows and doors… busted signs… burnt-out stores.
There was no new construction. No investment. No attempt to fix up or improve. No flower pots. No neighborhood bars or restaurants. No theaters. No commerce or industry, except for the liquor stores and convenience stores run by Koreans.
This was a real “sh*thole,” right here in the USA.
What kind of society produces such a forlorn, degenerate place?
How could it exist just an hour away from the Washington Swamp, where dollars flow in by the trillions from all over the country?
“Baltimore’s homicide rate hit a new high last year – 353 murders in 365 days. That’s almost one a day,” our friend continued with mock pride.
“There was some guy around your neighborhood a few minutes ago. He looked crazy and he was carrying a gun. I called the police. By the time they got here, he had gone. Welcome home!”
But thank God, we’ve got crime fighters like Robert Mueller on the job!
He’s assuring the safety of our citizens and the integrity of their institutions.
And at last, after months of following elusive clues and spending millions of dollars of other people’s money, he’s nabbed some fiendish criminals.
A retired St. Petersburg police officer… a 31-year-old web designer… and various other big-time miscreants earning $4 to $6 an hour!
And what did they do?
We turn pale and recoil at the sheer horror of it: They were tweeting… blogging … and posting on Facebook… with messages such as, “Trump is our only hope for a better future.”
The Russian government wasn’t involved.
The meddlers spent a trivial amount of money putting out dumb messages, most of which were never delivered and never read.
They organized protest marches, to which no one showed up… and must have had zero impact on the election.
And now that Mr. Mueller has brought the heavy hammer of justice down on their s, we can all sleep more soundly.
At least, that’s the spin from the mainstream media. They made Mr. Mueller the Hero of the Hour… the pride of U.S. legal system… proof that the judicial system works!
But just drive through West Baltimore; it doesn’t work at all.
A young man here is more likely to go the jail than to college. Children are lucky to have one parent. Many people can neither read nor write.
Few have jobs. What more damage could the Russians do to these people… to these neighborhoods?
They are so unsafe, insalubrious, and ungenial that you can’t even give away a house in them.
And Mr. Mueller. He is not a dumb man. What does he think… in the dark of night… without his suit and tie… without the media egging him on…
…when stark reality hits him like a recurring nightmare?
Does he realize that, by taking on such a silly, woebegone project – making a federal case out of nothing – future legal scholars will regard him as a hopeless laughingstock?
Donald Trump is right: The Russians must be laughing their a**es off.
MARKET INSIGHT: A HIDDEN BULL MARKET
By Chris Lowe, Editor at Large, Bonner & Partners
Here’s a bull market that no is talking about…
…the bull market in lumber.
Today’s chart tracks the price of lumber going back to 2013.
As you can see, lumber prices dropped 46% from 2013 to 2015.
Since then, they’re up 139%.
That’s more than three times as much as the S&P 500 over the same period.
– Chris Lowe