WHILE YOU WERE DISTRACTED...
by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Lake Worth, Fla.
LAKE WORTH, Fla., Jan. 13, 2004 -- While your head is turned by media nonsense, several political, social, and economic stories are ready to explode into the headlines. Remember where you heard it first.
Only in the United States would a relatively intelligent person think that urgent news involves Michael Jackson, Howard Dean's chances in Iowa, or Mad Cowburgers.
Here are my news stories for you - no extra charge:
The police chief of the historic second city, Cap-Haitien, was assassinated; a small parade downtown from the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-ville turned into a spontaneous anti-Arisitide march. Agence France-Presse said 30,000 marches took to the streets. Reuters said more than 10,000. Aerial photos looked more like 100,000.
The once-popular Aristide, a former priest once propped-up by a U.S. invasion, has achieved exactly what all the other Haitian presidents have achieved in 200 years: failure. Poverty, arms, drugs, violence, and economic chaos are at the flashpoint.
He's a working-class guy from a union family; crafted a wealthy law practice beating up on big guys; has a family which seems almost human, and is refreshingly articulate and candid.
The phones started ringing this week when the Des Moines Register endorsed him for the Democratic nomination. "How did you know?" I was asked.
The answer is I kept my eyes and ears open, and easily found reasons to eliminate all of the other candidates from my focus.
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell for the second year in a row has failed to pump as much oil from planet earth as they sell - dipping into their reserves. Shell now predicts that they (and others?) may only be able to find 70 to 90 percent of the oil resources needed each year.
In elementary school we were taught the Middle East had enough oil for another 100 years. That was 50 years ago (I 'm feeling old about now, gang).
All the economic and political trends - even with a cold winter - should have stabilized oil prices in the $20-30 per barrel range. We're lucky to hold at $36. Don't be shocked if you see gas at $1.99 per gallon before you ever see $1.35 again (the State of Georgia excluded).
Before the end of the year the dot-com remnants, biogenetic pharmaceuticals, and debt-ridden telcom companies will once again be trading in the toilet.
Driven by favored tax-treatment for dividends, investment-grade large caps and mid-caps will soar. Formerly blue-chip European and Japanese companies will find that a super strong Yen, Euro, Swiss Franc, and Pound Sterling will lead to recession in their backyards.
Well, not quite. Filipino sailors with no criminal records can't come ashore for the one-day shore liberty they used to get every month or two. With $80 billion spent on airport and airline security and climbing, the U.S. and its "coalition" members are spending a pittance on maritime security.
Cruise ships are now the size of Cleveland, and containers hold half-dead (or all dead) refugees trying to reach U.S. soil. al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Russian mafia, the Cali Cartel, and 93 gangsta rappers from Stockton could all be partying in a container in the port of New Orleans and no one would know.
Well, maybe the National Enquirer would know. The only remaining question is whether or not the maritime crackdown will occur before or after the next terrorist attack.
In none of these places did anyone discuss Michael Jackson, Laci Petersen, the Mars Mission, Britney Spears, Princess Di, Kobe Bryant, or Dr. Phil.
I must be hanging out with pure trailer trash, because to watch U.S. television all of the above are on the tips of the tongues of all educated, informed Americans. Lord help us... . Former UPI newsman Mark Scheinbaum is paid to manage risk, not create it, at Kaplan & Co., www.kaplansecurities.com , He can be heard on the radio twice each morning nationwide on Doug Stephan's "Good Day." Visit www.dougstephan.com for local stations.