Oliver North Bombs as Financial Analyst on Fox News
Oliver North, a convicted felon who got off on a technicality with the aid of the ACLU, brought his financial acumen to "Bulls and Bears" on Saturday (August 5, 2006), but the regulars on the show shot down all his predictions about Wall Street and world events, including the Israeli-Hezbollah war and the impact of Venezuela on U.S. security. It seems figuring out Wall Street is a little more complicated than marking up weapons to sell to terrorists and using the profits to foment discord in Central America.
"Bulls and Bears" host Brenda Buttner did her best to lay the groundwork for North, with lead-ins like, "The war against Hezbollah -- Does Wall Street need to see these terrorists crushed? Why an all-out win for Israel could mean an all-time high for stocks." Although Buttner phrased it as a question, the video screen displayed the message: "Wall Street’s Wish: Destroy Hezbollah!”
North went into the same routine on Hezbollah that he has been repeating several times a week on Fox News ever since the current Hezbollah-Israeli war began, which I will not bother to repeat.
Then Buttner went to pro-wrestler John Layfield and asked, "Do you think that Wall Street recognizes that this is the front line in the war on terror?" (Does that mean Afghanistan and Iraq have been demoted to the second and third fronts?)
Layfield responded with absolute assurance that Wall Street loves having terrorists killed and suggested Americans advocate ethnic cleansing in the Middle East.
"The market and America would love to have these people, have this terrible organization, Hezbollah completely eradicated from the planet. It’s good that we have somebody on our side finally doing work that we have been having to do alone almost," he said.
Then Buttner went to her regulars for their reaction to the blood-and-guts guests. Tobin B. Smith, of changewave research, suggested that Wall Street would not worry too much about the conflict as long as Iran is not directly involved.
Gary B. Smith of Exemplar Capital also refused to march after the colonel. Unless Hezbollah scores a major victory of some kind, Wall Street is not too worried. "Anything else I think Wall Street's fine with, to be honest."
Pat Dorsey, of morningstar.com, introduced a really radical idea, saying, "It’s a crazy thought that the U.S. economy might actually matter a little bit to the stock market. ... It’s the fed, inflation, and earnings that Wall Street cares about right now, because economically, to the U.S. and the U.S. market, Lebanon and Israel are tiny countries with not a lot of economic power. And it just doesn’t matter a lot to the U.S. market.”
North was not done with his financial forecasting, however. He next tried to scare investors into believing that Venezuela is a threat to their investments. This time, though, he had to disagree with his commander-in-chief, George Bush. Buttner played part of Neil Cavuto's interview with Bush, in which Cavuto asked him if Venezuela's president Chavez is a threat to the U.S. Bush said he was not.
Insisted North: "He is a potentially destabilizing force for everything south of Mexico" and "If he decides that he wants to support terrorism. … it could make the cost of oil go up a lot."
Tobin Smith dismissed North's concerns as fantasies. "He can't cut off oil; he may talk a good game … No oil, no power, a lot of lip -- that’s most out of what you get out of him. You can let your fantasies go wild down the road," he said dismissively.
Gary B. Smith was even less impressed with North's scare tactics, saying, "If you ask people on Wall Street where Venezuela and Chavez ranks on the list of things to worry about, I think he’s like probably 393 at this point. He's even below Hurricane Chris for crying out loud, so it’s just not on the radar. Maybe it will someday but he’s got to get in line behind North Korea and Iraq and Hezbollah and everyone else."
Pat Dorsey backed up Gary B. Smith, saying Chavez "is so far down the list it isn't even funny."
Scott Bleier of hybridinvestors.com came the closest to supporting North, claiming that Chavez's biggest threat is that he will encourage socialism in Latin America and deprive people of capitalism.
All in all, North was shot at and hit over and over. Will Buttner get the message and figure out that North's bull is too much even for "Bulls and Bears"?
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