by Joe Shea
July 24, 2011
A COUNTRY HUNG OUT TO DRY
ANGEL FIRE, N.M., July 23, 2011 -- Six weeks away from the decade anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks one would think Wall Street and the nation would take serious note of the slaughter in Norway.
One would think wrong.
When the first news of the twin attacks in Norway broke, the flat Dow and S&P 500 Indices stayed slightly down, and the euphoric Apple-driven NASDAQ defied debt, deficits, and destruction and rose for a great end to the week.
The disconnect between the world and Wall Street is symptomatic of leadership and media which keep their eyes on the sparrow and not the vulture. Don't even think about looking for the majestic American eagle, like Elvis, he has left the room.
After the markets closed and the horrific news was updated that in addition to two blasts at the seat of power in Oslo, which took at least seven lives, a companion attack at a youth camp resulted in 80 more dead at the hand of one gunman.
If you switched your TV on for news you heard Headline News interviewing Nancy Grace about the Casey Anthony trial, CNN News running a crime feature about who killed Tupac, and Fox News discussing unsolved crimes in a feature report.
Please try on this scenario:
What would the focus of America be tomorrow if the President narrowly escaped a huge bomb blast in Washington which shattered buildings and killed residents. At the same time in suburban Maryland or Virginia at a summer camp 80 campers and others were assassinated in what seemed a coordinated attack?
Every Congressional or White House comment is carried live about the supposed default of U.S. debt coming on August. 2, a rather arbitrary date given by the Treasury Secretary for the economic sky falling on Chicken Little. Maybe yes, maybe no.
A Speaker of the House allegedly refusing to take a call from the President kept the evening news shows busy.
Did anyone mention that if a patchwork bill raising revenue, cutting some taxes, reducing spending, amending entitlement plans, and extending loans is worked out, the country will still be broke for many years?
Bill Gross of PIMCO, the world's largest fixed income manager, stopped buying US Treasury bills, bonds and notes weeks ago. Then one of his aides said maybe they will start buying again.
The major rating agencies threaten to lower the United States Triple-A rating, but even trust companies and institutions required to hold only Triple-A instruments shrug and wink, and indicate that the full faith and credit of even a wounded U.S. balance sheet won't really count.
They are making no provisions, and placing no hedges, on their portfolios.
Whatever happens in an eleventh hour settlement will not change the fundamental recessionary trends still facing America. Nor will it change the fact that Intel, McDonald's, Boeing, Google, Union Pacific, and Apple will still make money.
Neither will it change the fact that a number of transnational corporations will truly be more credit worthy than the government of the United States and pay solid and reliable dividends at a better return than investors get in U.S. Treasuries.
Some people will vote with their wallets and place their future in the hands of Heinz, Verizon, Chevron, or Tootsie Roll rather than the White House and Congress.
But international politics, and a stubborn loose network of people who want our readers dead, will not go away August 2nd or October 2nd.
In a year in which Osama Bin Laden was introduced to Navy Seals up close and personally, even Wall Street fools should keep an eye on the 10th anniversary of the worst mass murders on U.S. soil.
There are always wars, assassinations. depressions, nuclear fears, scandals and scoundrels to spook Wall Street. To focus on the Boehner-Obama anthropological budget dance and not on the context of global instability is just plain irresponsible.
Oslo, Norway, is not Damascus or Cairo. Today's attacks should remind recent terror victims in Spain and the U.K. that the United States might be the primary prize for those who call us infidels, but in a pinch just about anyone believing in democracy, rights for women, and free and open debate is okay for publicity built upon corpses.
At one point today some online "news sites" felt the "saving" of the National Football League season or hot weather in Newark was the biggest news story of the day.
Just keep on staring at that sparrow when the vulture sneaks up and plucks out your eyes.
Anders Behring Breivik, 32, the suspect arrested in the Norway shootings and bomb blasts was described as a "right-wing extremist" by a Norwegian government official in a New York Times article this morning.