Home > Uncategorized > 2011/05/02: Freudian Slip of the Day: Ollie North says, “And (getting caught) is exactly what’s happened to OBAMA.”

2011/05/02: Freudian Slip of the Day: Ollie North says, “And (getting caught) is exactly what’s happened to OBAMA.”

Their low regard for President Obama by those politically well to the right of center is well known. But the ways in which it sometimes slips out that they consider him the ‘enemy’ are striking nonetheless. And this is not some fictional joke that we thought up to illustrate a metaphorical point. It actually transpired on television today.

FoxNews’ lunchtime TV program America Live had Lieutenant Colonel Oliver ‘Ollie’ North on today to discuss the Navy Seals’ Team 6 military operation that led to the Usama Bin Laden killing. While we presume most would already know this, it is still worth noting that North is the Über-Patriot (or Culprit, depending on your point of view) behind the Iran-Contra scandal back in the Reagan administration. Loosely speaking, he was the one who took Reagan’s orders to “do something” about getting weapons to the right-wing rebels down in Nicaragua, and covertly set up illegal military resupply trades with the Iranians to raise the cash.

Needless to say, he was another of the multitude of Americans who were frustrated at Bin Laden’s ability to avoid capture or death. While some of the response to this weekend’s events has been mindless and wholly overblown, further into the day more rational voices emerged on the true nature of the situation and likely further impact. As we suggested in our analysis earlier today, there isn’t really a whole lot of economic impact; crude oil didn’t rally on Bin Laden remaining alive, so why would it drop on the event of his death? (More on that below.)

However, on the issue of the US finally being able to visit Justice or Revenge (and it is after all a bit of both) on Bin Laden, Ollie North was very clear. He reminded us that in regard to a previous era’s anti-terror effort President Reagan had said, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” North went on to note, “And that is exactly what’s happened to OBAMA”  

…and quickly corrected himself, “I meant Osama.” That’s verbatim.

Y’know, as conservatives we were more than a bit put off by Mr. Trump’s forcing us all to revisit the ‘birth certificate’ issue. And just as that was put to bed (with the President exacting his revenge on “The Donald” with a whole series of quips at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner), along comes Ollie North lumping the President in with the world’s most wanted man. It seems that the right-wingers’ fixation with ‘getting’ the President is something they just can’t suppress. While we can all expect that more of these bogus ‘credentials’ and ‘religion’ issues will dog the President right into next year’s US general election, this one was a real doozy.

Extended Market Implications

As noted above, not much… unless some Al Qaeda retribution attack actually succeeds. Hopefully not. Yet, as today’s market activity seems to imply, there’s no immediate equity market or economic upside benefit to the demise of a central figure of an organization that has most definitely become a franchise operation. Whatever else we know or don’t know at present (including Mr. Rumsfeld’s infamous unknown unknowns), there is little doubt that Usama Bin Laden had very little to do with the day-to-day planning of attacks by the various subsets of the organization he brought together after chasing the Russians out of Afghanistan.

As noted in our regular market analysis earlier today, even the initial impact of the news only took the June S&P 500 future up to its next (and fairly critical) resistance in the 1,365-70 area. And in spite of some overnight euphoria that somehow this meant Crude Oil would become a lot cheaper, it never seriously challenged is lower support in the 111.04-110.30 range.

While experiencing somewhat of a setback from the early extreme high, the June Gold future is also generally keeping the bid above the 1,520-30 resistance knocked out last week; and the government bond futures seem to (perversely) like the strength of the energy market and Gold right now as well. That is likely in appreciation of the perspective we discussed at length in Friday’s Rohr Report General Update: with a still weak employment and wage picture, the equities can only take so much commodity input cost escalation before they need to worry about the economic and profit margin impact. We shall see.

The Full Short-Term Psychological Response

It’s of no small note that the equities euphoria and deflation seem to reflect the general psychological response to yesterday’s announcement. Which is most interesting insofar as the equities had overnight to observe that evolution of sentiment, yet still decided to run up right after the opening today in spite of it.

While there were many examples of the degree to which the initial US response to the news was overblown, xenophobic and overly-euphoric, just a few examples will suffice. First of all, there was the normally insightful John King on CNN, who could not seem to stop himself from saying over and over again, “…and I say it again, ‘Usama Bin Laden is dead.’ “

On FoxNews Geraldo Rivera was waxing eloquent about degree to which this was a big victory, and put America back on top. Funny, we hadn’t noticed that the existence of Usama Bin Laden was the reason US kids’ math and science scores are so crappy compared to the competition. Until more worldly voices advised caution that this doesn’t mean the end of the terrorist threat, each of them was repeatedly heard to announce the death of Al Qaeda. As noted above, the death of the founder doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a broad-based franchise organization.

And someone who should know about business organizations, and the degree to which any reasonable assessment of the news should not have been so euphoric made possibly the most bizarre comment of all. On CNBC this morning, ex-GE head Jack Welch allowed that this wasn’t a total victory. However, he then went on to discuss the psychological boost this would provide Americans. (Loosely paraphrased) “At least folks who’ve lost their jobs and possibly lost their homes can now feel better.” ??!!!!!

How rich and how aloof do you actually have to be to have that thought cross your mind, much less utter it on the public airwaves? A heads-up for Jack: nobody has lost a job due to the 9/11 terror attack, or subsequent terrorist activity. That happened because of the competitive pressures that drove firms like yours to move them overseas. While that was undoubtedly a commercial imperative, if you really want to make people feel better, figure out ways to manufacture more efficiently over here, and hire them back.

Thanks for your interest.

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