Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.

– Marcus Aurelius

BALTIMORE – Nothing new. Same old, same old.

China warned that its corporate debt levels were too high.

Sotto voce, investors might have heard that Chinese debt is in danger of blowing sky high, as companies continue to borrow in order to finance overseas acquisitions.

But it didn’t seem to phase them. Not yesterday. The Dow was up 41 points anyway.

Caesar in the Flesh

Meanwhile, President Obama visited Cuba, hoping to be remembered by historians for more than just Obamacare.

And the presidential primaries continued to be a source of amazement and entertainment.

It is not often that we get to use the word “apoplectic.” But this seems to be an occasion for it.

Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times in London, is practically melting down at the prospect of a Trump win:

The U.S. is the greatest republic since Rome, the bastion of democracy, the guarantor of the liberal global order. It would be a global disaster if Mr. Trump were to become president. Even if he fails, he has rendered the unthinkable sayable.

Mr. Trump is a promoter of paranoid fantasies, a xenophobe, and an ignoramus. His business consists of the erection of ugly monuments to his own vanity. He has no experience of political office.

An American “Caesarism” has now become flesh.

Quoting leading neocon Robert Kagan, Wolf writes that Trump is the “GOP’s Frankenstein monster.”

If you have any doubt about the kind of monster Trump may be, just Google “Trump Hitler.” You’ll find 2,700,000 results, including a number of videos.

Some complain about The Donald being compared to Hitler, suggesting that a comparison to FDR would be more appropriate.

Others are of “Hitler” complaining about being compared to Donald Trump…

Meanwhile, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren says Trump is an “insecure loser who reminds me of Hitler.”

And South of the Border, the Mexican president… along with two of his predecessors… have all found similarities between A.H. and the Republican frontrunner.

The Road to Tyranny

Is Trump really like Hitler?

Trump has no moustache. He doesn’t speak German. He has the “strongest Jewish ties of all the candidates,” he tells New Yorkers. His daughter, Ivanka, is married to an orthodox Jew and has converted to the faith.

What kind of Hitler is this?

No, to understand Donald J. Trump, you have to go further back… to a Time Before Pants.

“If there were anybody who would have been unsurprised by the sudden rise of the Donald,” writes colleague Van Bryan in Classical Wisdom Weekly, “it would have been Plato.”

Plato believed that democracy would be a fleeting and unhappy phase of human government. It was the “worst” kind of government, he said… partly because it led inevitably to tyranny.

In Plato’s rendering of political cycles, the best form of government is the Aristocracy – with superior, high-minded, selfless, and capable people in the driver’s seat.

Think Jefferson or Adams.

This typically gives way to a degenerate form of government, Timocracy, in which the leaders were still public spirited but less competent.

Then, the rich and powerful (the cronies) take advantage of weak government by asserting their own authority. Plato called this form of government an oligarchy.  

Suddenly or gradually, the little people get tired of being exploited. They take control of things in a democracy.

The Plagues of Every City

Plato seems to have little respect for and little confidence in democratic government.

The number of “drones” (we would call them “zombies”), hoping to get something for nothing, multiplies. As Plato wrote of the “drones”:

[They] are the plagues of every city in which they are generated, being what phlegm and bile are to the body. And the good physician and lawgiver of the State ought, like the wise bee-master, to keep them (drones) at a distance and prevent, if possible, their ever coming in.

Freedom creates rather more drones in the democratic than there were in the oligarchical State… And in the democracy, they are certainly more intensified.

Public discipline disintegrates. Chaos and disorder increase. Budgets get out of balance. Markets become volatile. Pointless wars proliferate. Finally, the “drones” accept a dictator who promises to restore order (“Make America Great Again”).

To which Donald Trump replies: “Hey, they love me in Athens.”

Regards,

Signature

Bill

Market Insight


BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE


Complacency rules!

At least that’s the message from the U.S. stock market’s “fear gauge,” the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX).

The VIX measure investors’ expectations of big price swings – aka “volatility” – for the S&P 500 over the next 30 days.

As you can see, the index peaked in February at a reading of just over 28 points.

Today, it’s at just under 14 points – a roughly 50% drop.


Featured Reads

Prepare for Financial Doomsday
A currencies expert travels to Tokyo to investigate a small banking technicality that could be the trigger to the next global financial crisis.

China Asks Fed for Crash Playbook
Last summer the People’s Bank of China sent a desperate cry for help. It asked Fed officials what they did in October 1987 during the worst one-day crash in U.S. history.

World’s Largest Money Manager: No Signs of a Recession
The experts say the U.S. economy is not headed for a recession. In fact, all signs point to a recovering economy. And recovering inflation.


Mailbag

The Donald continues to divide opinion among Diary readers…

It is extremely disheartening to read in your articles – as one can find also elsewhere and everywhere – that Donald Trump is an outsider.

He is the quintessential INSIDER. Please see interview with Sean Hannity. He explained his large and extensive donations to politicians throughout his career (and at all levels): so they would answer his calls.

In attempting to explain his huge donations to Democrats – to Hilary Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to name a few – he revealed himself.

– Eleanor N.

You bet I like Trump’s honesty, forthrightness, humbleness, unquestioned ability, 100% commitment, fighting spirit, inability to be bought, sold or influenced; not looking for a legacy nor power nor fame nor riches nor success, nor the next rung on the ladder, nor recognition, nor influence.  I like him for what he is doing to right the GOP, but most of all to oversee Making America Great Again. 

– Robert S.

I’m taking my mind off the political circus by going to my Libertarian Party state convention as a delegate… and from there to the national convention to make sure I don’t have to vote for a whip-wielding lion tamer bent on making us obedient, or a tattooed lady, or a clown driven by a need to be the center of attention. 

There are more candidates out there. But the problem for libertarian voters is recruiting candidates who aren’t in it for the personal attention or the personal power. The LP is much better at doing this than either of the two dominant parties… in part because they were anti-politics and in part because we have little power to offer a candidate. 

But we do give power to voters by offering them another candidate. One thing’s for sure: Refusing to vote hasn’t ever worked.

– Sandra K.

Have you considered the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind
to pillory Hillary or merely to thump that chump Trump?

– Nicholas P.

Do you have a personal story to share about one of the presidential candidates?

Bill and the team would love to hear from you. Write us at [email protected].


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