Archive for June, 2010

“24 Day Slide for Baltic Index!”

Is the Shipping Index Signaling Rough Seas Ahead?

The Baltic Dry Index continued its slide on Wednesday falling another 41 points to 2406. The drop was the 24th straight down day since its high of 4209 on May 26. In an article on June 14, “Diving Into the Baltic!,” I reported that the BDI had declined for 12 straight days. It was then at 3115 and had fallen 173 points that day.

Now, the 1803 point drop puts the index at the lowest level since October 5 of last year and the lowest level in 2010. The previous low for the year was 2566 on February 15.

It is now threatening the October 1st low, just 122 points lower, and could be headed for the September 25 low of 2163.

The BDI may not be as good an indicator of the future economy as it has been in the past but still points to pressure on the shipping industry and possibly the rough sailing ahead for a potential recovery.

Keeping an eye on the future!

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“Renewing Hope, Rebalancing America!”

It will take sacrifice and hard work to regenerate and revitalize this dying nation!

America is a place of hope, a place where dreams come true. It is a place where the weak, the downtrodden, and oppressed can succeed. Even the humblest can be free. Everyone here can aspire to rise to heights others can not even dream of.

That is one of the foundations of our greatness. That is America’s promise. That is America’s allure.

But America’s promise has faded and with it the hopes of millions of people.

How did America lose its way, get so out of balance? What needs to be done to recapture the spirit from which our constitution was founded?

For the second time in our 234 year history we are confronted with incredible obstacles— challenges that portend more destruction before we can begin to heal.

America needs to rebalance and the process needs to begin now!

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“Recapturing Hope to Save a Dying Nation!”

A Bipartisan effort is necessary to fix what’s wrong with America.

An earlier article, “The Evaporation of Hope!” discussed diminishing hope, disintegrating dreams, the need for change, and how we must rebalance this lost and dying nation. If we don’t, the consequences could be devastating.

This article will more clearly identify our biggest problems and begin to discuss the solutions necessary for the survival of this country.

Though campaign financing is at the heart of our path to destruction there is a lot we can do immediately to persuade our elected representatives to make the right choices. We can no longer sit idly by and allow them to continue to make their sordid mistakes. Too much is at stake to ignore the obvious problems. Collectively we must get active and apply pressure to make them do the right thing for ‘the people,’ instead of for the Special Interests.

Some think the Tea Party is that movement and that they’re doing the work necessary to correct the ills of this country. But the Tea Party is not the answer and if we’re duped into thinking they have the answers then we are in worse shape than anyone could imagine.

If the Tea Party is not the answer then what is, and how do we initiate it?

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Quick Hit: “Reconsillyation?”

Can we expect good  financial legislation out of this Conference?

Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate are meeting to hammer out a financial regulation bill that will be legislation for the ages!

It’s doubtful given the make up of the selectees forming the committee.

The obvious deficiencies in the conferees from the Senate are well documented in the recent article, “Are You Shitting Me?

It’s a little more difficult to judge the predisposition of the House representatives involved in this process. There are more conferees from the House and they represent smaller, more local segments of the country.

But, if John Boehner’s smoke screen and Ed Royce’s opening statement are any indication of the direction the Republican’s are going we can’t expect much help ‘for the people’ from them.

Reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be necessary as we exit this recession. The problems at the mortgage giants are enormous and must be approached in the near future as a pressing and separate issue. But, Boehner, Royce and Republican’s use them as a diversion from their complicity in the financial meltdown.

If Fannie and Freddie are a separate issue, why do they keep pushing to include them in this financial regulation bill that they already claim is too many pages?

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“The Evaporation of Hope!”

Just two short years ago we were promised hope and change!

After 8 years of a disastrous administration we, Independents like myself, Democrats, and some disgruntled Republicans voted Barack Obama into the office of President over the tired, old, destructive platform of John McCain.

The need for change was obvious and the promise of hope exhilarating. We had a dynamic, charismatic candidate that offered promise for the future; an opportunity to right the wrongs of the previous administration and 12 years of a destructive Congress.

It was clear that Obama understood the needs of the people and would work hard to restore the balances that make this country great! There had been a long, slow, painful 30 year erosion of that balance and America was in an agonizing death spiral. Obama promised to reverse that!

But, as an Independent, a year-and-a-half into his Presidency, I’m wondering…

Where is the change that millions of Americans were hoping for?

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“Diving Into the Baltic!”

The Baltic Dry Index continues its decline from recent heights!

Just over 2 weeks ago I was going, for the second time, to admit that I was wrong about the message the Baltic Dry Index was communicating. It reached its highest level in a little over 6 months on May 24th rising to 4,209. It has fallen since that date for 12 consecutive days to 3,115 after falling 173 points today. It has declined by 1,094 in that 12 day period.

The last time it was below 3,115 was on April 26 when it sat at 3,020 after hitting a low of 2,911 on the 12th.

I was about to write an article of contrition about the Index after it had risen steadily to its peak on March 15 to 3,574, after having written Quick Hit: “A Wild Ride on the Baltic,” on the 22nd of February. At the conclusion of the article, about the two month roller coaster ride, I posed the question at the end—‘Is the Baltic Dry Index signaling problems ahead?’

I’m not sure what the decline over the last 12 days means, but I must ask again…

Is the Baltic Dry Index signaling problems ahead?

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Quick Hit: “A Step Backwards in Arkansas?”

An important Primary Election was held in Arkansas on Tuesday.

Incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln defeated primary challenger Bill Halter by a narrow margin in an effort to keep her seat on the Senate.

It was an important election for many reasons with maybe the most important being hard-working people verses the corporations.

Unions, tired of being snubbed by a moderate Senator, backed Lieutenant Governor Halter to seat a Senator that would vote for the people—those the Senator is supposed to represent.

A look at Senator Lincoln’s campaign contributions reveals why she voted against healthcare, before she voted for it. She has received nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions from healthcare and healthcare professionals, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies over the last 5 years. She has also taken over $830,000 from financial services institutions, and $300,000 from lobbyists.

More recently Senator Lincoln introduced an amendment to the FinReg Bill dealing with derivatives which would make them more transparent and bring them out of the shadows and into the light. It is hated by financial institutions but may have been a pre-election move of atonement for all the destructive votes she’s made since 1999.

She had help from the President and the still popular Arkansas pol, Bill Clinton, and barely squeezed out the victory.

The Halter campaign fell short, but receiving 48% of the vote against a multi-term incumbent should be viewed as a victory for labor, despite the loss.

And, though Lincoln has her work cut out for her against Republican opponent John Boozman in the general election, she may have learned a valuable lesson in her hard-fought primary contest.

In her acceptance speech she told her supporters and the voters of Arkansas that she heard them. Hopefully she understood what they were saying to her. It was clear that working ‘for the people’ should be on the top of her list of priorities.

Her first priority should be to push the toughest derivatives bill she can through the Senate. ‘The people’ deserve to know how much damage the derivatives market is going to wreak on the financial world before it’s too late. Arkansans deserve her best efforts.

It’s time our Senators and Representatives do something good for the country instead of for corporations and the top 1% of the population.

This country can no longer tolerate corporate lap dogs in their political houses.

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“So…. Where Are the Jobs?”

The economy has turned, and though recovery is slow, things are improving!

The recession is over!

And Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

For four straight months the economy had added jobs and expectations were high among analysts for the May report. They expected over half-a-million new jobs on Friday, and the whisper number was even higher. The number was good; 431,000 new jobs in May.

But it wasn’t exactly what the market wanted and there was a caveat. This month’s number included 411,000 Census workers hired temporarily by the government to complete the 2010 Census. These, of course, are only temporary and will be gone by the end of summer.

But, the U.S. isn’t Rome and the Obama Administration is doing all it can to put people back to work.

So…. Where are the jobs?

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