by Mark Scheinbaum
AR Financial Correspondent
March 18, 2011
JAPAN, LIBYA, SIMON OF ARABIA, POLITICS AND BEYOND
ANGEL FIRE, N.M., March 20, 2011 -- Headlines flash by from Tokyo, Tripoli, Washington and Wall Street and the mouth begs the mind for mini-reality checks for the sake of intellectual honesty and integrity, or just plain sanity.
Here we go:
DAVID CAMERON - In an address to Parliament this morning carried live by the BBC, the British PM was a subdued profile in courage. Replacing a once bright and then tarnished Tony Blair, whose loyalty to George W. Bush led him into an Iraqi War that never had to be, Cameron sat in the crow's nest. He surveyed the world as it is, not as we want, and explained why Libyan rebels deserved better than murder by land and air by a madman and his sons.
JAPAN NUCLEAR RISK - The same stoic pride and resolve which brings order to noodle lines and cold shelters make the Japanese reluctant to criticize their misleaders. In the old days politicians and disgraced utility company execs would crawl into a corner and slash themselves across the belly and watch their guts fall out.
Today, the Japanese people get a moving target of misinformation about the air they breathe and the power they use. One Japanese father and mother and their five kids stood at the airport waiting for a flight to - well - to anywhere out of the country. Exactly what you and I probably would do with our kids.
MOUNTAIN TWILIGHT ZONE - The NBC, CBS, and ABC networks love the coastal tv markets with yuppies and money, and tolerate Chicago and Texas Cities with their "middle America" values in the Central Time Zone. Except for one or two upscale malls in Denver or perhaps Albuquerque, the Mountain Time Zone is of no interest to advertisers.
When news of a Libyan alleged "cease-fire" broke on CNN at 6:55am MT, in other parts of the United States people might await follow-ups from the Today Show and other network morning hows.
For us? Nothing - unless news of the Royal Wedding, taped in New York from London three hours earlier, is of interest to you. You see, network execs in New York have no use for people who foolishly live in Taos, Trinidad, Leadville, Casper or Silver City.
OBAMA IS DAMNED EITHER WAY - Bush went to the ranch and played golf. Fox said the pressures of the presidency are stressful. Bush is a common man, our kind of guy. Obama picks his choice in the NCAA basketball tourney, plays a round of golf, and keeps his Latin American state visit schedule.
Fox says - over and over - Obama is irresponsible. Yet Fox gives A long-form interview time to a former House Speaker who quit Congress, divorced his first of three wives, while she was in hospital suffering from cancer, sold the precious right of U.S. citizenship to Rupert Murdoch for a $5 million advance on his book, and lets us hear this moralist presidential candidate explain "why we need accountability."
LIBYAN CEASE-FIRE - Perhaps within hours of his airstrips being bombed by U.S. Tomahawk missiles, and lines of his tanks being blown to bits by France's nifty Rafale jets, Libyan ruler Col. Mohamar (why don't we just call him Mohair and leave it at that?) calls a "cease-fire." Brilliant.
This means rebel forces trying to recapture the Benghazi suburbs, and regain control of other areas and cities they've lost in the past few days, will be accused of "breaking a unilateral ceasefire" declared by Daffy Khadafy. Meanwhile, he's invited all the women and children in Tripoli to a human-shield party at his tented compound. Should be fun!
Question? Where is Simon (Bolívar) of Arabia? Where are the Moslem "brethren" from neighboring Tunisia and Egypt helping to liberate Islamic lands the way Bolívar, Bernardo O'Higgins and others did nearly two centuries ago in the Americas? Emboldened by Daffy's hold on power, Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia are probably busy replacing rubber bullets with .12 ga. rifled slugs and sabot rounds.
WITCHING WALL STREET - Friday was a Quadruple Witching Day on Wall Street. Four times a year equity, index, currency, and futures options all expire on the same weekend. One tv debate with talking heads this week asked "should investors bail out of the market right now? The one answer never heard should have gone like this: "People who get tummy pains from the volatility of the S&P, Dow, oil prices, or mutual funds and worry about when to bail out andt ry to "time" the highs and lows of the market, have no business investing in the stock market.
NO INFLATION EXCEPT FOR REAL PEOPLE - So-called experts tell us that gasoline at $3.87 a gallon instead of $2.63 a gallon will not have a long-lasting negative impact on the U.S. economic recovery, or even the spending habits of typical Americans. Nor will yesterday's Albertson's "sale" of butter for $2.25 hurt us. Oh, did I mention the "sale was for one-half pound packets? One half-ound of butter!
And in my town's local market a full pound of butter hit $6 last week. Don't even mention the new fish filet sandwich at Wendy's for $3.59.
AR Financial Correspondent Mark Scheinbaum is managing director of LF Financial and his opinion is his own and not that of his firm.