The retail price of gasoline rose by $0.50, or 17% nationwide over the past month to $2.38 a gallon, and 42% of Americans believe Bush and the oil companies are manipulating the price for political advantage, and they are right. Actually gasoline has fallen from $3.18 to $2.38 or $0.80 a gallon, which is 25%. The White House says if that is so why doesn’t gas go to $3.50 a gallon? Our answer is to enrich the oil producers and the international oil cartel. The Gulf producers are also recycling much of their ill-gotten gains into Treasury securities to keep the US from going bankrupt. In addition in trouble auto manufactures will again sell more SUV’s and light trucks – a high profit center.
Gasoline prices are having some salutary effects on American consumers in September. The Conference Board says the consumer confidence index rose to 104.5 from 100.2 in August.
The Fed of Richmond’s Manufacturing Index came in at 9 versus 3 in August. The shipment index hit a reading of 9 versus negative -8 in August. The revenue index improved to 11 in September from 7, while its retail sales index came in at negative -1 from negative -5 in August.
Bernie Ebbers deserves to go to jail, but not for 25 years. JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Citicorp, Bank of America, the Royal Bank of Scotland and CIBC aided and abetted in the fraud. They were fined and made restitution of about $3 billion each. They bought their way out and elitists are allowed to do that. None of them went to jail and in fact, no one was charged. Murderers get 25 years, not fraudsters. Ten-years would have been appropriate along with confiscation of assets. Mr. Fastow cut a deal with the Feds and they screwed him – that’s why he spoke out on the banks being in on the deal. We can promise you there will be no prosecution or convictions. It doesn’t happen to Illuminists in America. We continue to have a 2-tired system of jurisprudence.
Senators Boxer (D-CA), Dodd (R-CN) and Feingold (D-WI) proposed emergency legislation on Wednesday to reimburse states for printing paper ballots that can be ready at polling places in case of problems with electronic voting machines on November 7th. This is another example of Democrat stupidity. This bill should have been submitted months ago, thus, it smacks of pure politicalizing.
Bearish bets on Nasdaq reached a record high in September. The short position rose to 7.35 billion as of 9/15, up 1.2% from the mid-August level. This is the 6th increase in seven months.
The number of NYSE shares sold short also reached a record at 9.74 billion shares, up 1% from mid-August.
The scandal over backdating stock options used by companies to reward top executives with shares granted at below market prices has so far cost investors $7.9 billion in market value. Seventy-eight percent of 117 companies that announced investigations saw their shares drop. Thus, there are 220 investor lawsuits against 70 companies, which demand restitution and damages. Corporate criminality at its worst.
By 2030, the number of people over age 65 will be 71 million, double the number in 2000, and America’s cities, towns, counties and states have no provisions or preparedness for the onslaught of people.
Our President is contemplating another war with Iran as our military bleeds to death in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army is in its worst readiness condition since the end of Vietnam. Many of our men and women are in their third tour and are simply emotionally worn out. Two-thirds of all Army combat units are rated not ready for combat. Sixty percent of National Guard solders have already reached their limit for overseas combat, which should deter Mr. Chaney’s lust for more war.
The Army just announced another extension of combat tours for thousands of soldiers who just finished a year in combat. This is the second extension in two months. The Army just simply does not have sufficient active-duty military personnel to sustain the current level of effort. The entire region of Al-Anbar has been lost, a modern version Beau Geste. We are losing 2.5 soldiers a day or 61 a month. One-third of the Veterans from Afghanistan have sought medical treatment for stress and mental disorders. Treatment is complicated because of the growing demand for services - vets have long waits for doctor appointments, sometimes as long as six months. The system is living on life support.
We are sickened by what we see in Iraq and Afghanistan and at the crass incompetent leadership in Washington. All we can see is hopelessness. If these wars are not ended it will not only break our country financially, but spiritually as well.