Tis Only My Opinion
October 2001 - Volume 21, Number 10
We've got a job to do!
Get over it and get back to making America the greatest nation on earth!
The time for grieving is past and the events of September 11, 2001 are imprinted upon the soul of the American people of all races and won't easily fade into the mists of history.
But the aftermath's shock should not stop us from returning to work to make this nation the one to which most of the world's immigrants want to come. The United States is still the beacon where opportunity shines for those willing to put their shoulder to the grindstone and work!
Our goal should be to innovate and build up our economy! We can't allow the terrorists to destroy our economy which is their goal by becoming fearful defeatists.
Jeff Head has put together a website that documents the events of September 11th in vivid detail and from which these pictures are taken. I invite you to visit & bookmark the site at: http://libertyordeath.tripod.com/attack/
The brown building on the right of the above picture is 40 Wall Street where I spent a few years. On November 22, 1963, I learned about 1:10 p.m. of the Kennedy shooting while riding the elevator up to the 40th floor where our offices were located. At that time, I suggested to one of my mentors that "No one person makes this nation!" and he agreed. It was true then and it is true now . . . even if there are almost 7,000 dead.
Time to buckle up!
The courage of our current crop of CEO's in almost any industry and not just in the airlines and the travel industry is gravely lacking. By laying off over 100,000 airline workers during the past two weeks, the airlines are actually hindering the recovery by putting more people on the breadlines. It would have been more intelligent to have given every employee the choice of reduced pay by 20% until the economy recovered rather than being laid off. This should be a time of shared sacrifice, not seniority layoffs.
The fixation on short-term profits caused by Wall Street is probably driving the economy further into a deep recession, if not, a depression. During the past week, many companies are lowering their 3Q profit guidance (are you surprised?). Yet those so-called professional investment managers immediately drive their stock prices down in the rush to unload the stock. With the market down almost 15% from September 10th and with the mutual funds required by law to keep a large percentage of their assets in stocks plus required to report results as of September 30 to their shareholders, you must wonder about the lack of a panic.
This chart shows the performance of various market indices since January 1st. Quite clearly, the major indices have been in a downturn prior to September 11. If you followed my Stock Watch List and Market Commentary, your portfolio should not have been materially impacted by the decline in these indices.
Consumer spending and consumer confidence were both weakening prior to September 11th and really tanked after that date. Unemployment numbers are bound to increase with all the announcements of the past three weeks. Credit card delinquencies increased 50% month-to-month during the last reporting period. The Fed continues to increase the money supply and mutual fund redemptions are increasing. Many foreign investors are taking their money out of the US. You can can't smell the roses anymore.
But a pessimistic attitude will only aggravate the problems.
And the new FAA regulations relating to air safety won't make flying safer. Rather they will further reduce the number of passengers. Adding time to passenger baggage check-in procedures and boarding pass requirements will cause many short-haul airlines to file bankruptcy as travelers opt for other ways to take short trips.
Not a single one of the announced FAA regulations would have prevented the September 11th tragedies or any other airline hijacking to my knowledge. It is simply a case of trying to appear that you are doing something! To acknowledge that the billions of dollars spent on airline passenger inspections is not required would make the FAA bureaucrats look foolish (and that would be the truth!).
There is no need for screening luggage, banning knitting needles, plastic knives, fingernail clippers, etc., and asking each passenger inane questions that border on incredulity. A terrorist is going to tell you that he is carrying a bomb aboard? Right!
Since the pen is mightier than the sword, I am waiting for the FAA to ban #2 yellow pencils! Are the FAA minions up to the job?
Insisting that flight crews be armed, increasing the Air Marshal program, and letting military personnel and CCW licensees to exchange their ammunition for Glaser rounds before getting on the plane would stop hijackings quickly. But, of course, the gun control crowd including Sarah Brady and Handgun Control, Inc. along with Senator Charles Schumer would have a fit! But even the deaths of 7,000 American citizens because we have disarmed our people won't change the minds of these people.
Isn't it amazing that the government fears its citizens rather than using them to improve safety.
We could do away with all the interrogations of passengers, the metal detectors and reinstate gate boarding passes and be a lot safer! There is no way that a few air marshals and FAA inspectors can have the impact of a planeload of citizens who are responsible for their own safety.
The four brave souls on Flight 93 proved that even unarmed passengers can shortcut the best laid plans of terrorists. The mindset and policies of the airline industry and their passengers before September 11th has been forever changed. Now, if only the bureaucrats will understand the new rules and institute policies that will allow passengers to exercise individual responsibility without becoming criminals to do so.
I have serious doubts about increasing the strength of cockpit doors and the use of sleeping gas in the event of a hijack attempt. If passengers understand that they are responsible for their own safety, the hijackers won't stand a chance. It is only the illusion of safety provided by the airline and/or the government that caused the September 11th hijackings and a determined terrorist. Despite all the money spent, and all the restrictions placed upon a free people instituted by the government, was the destruction of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon prevented?
I think the answer is NO!
So what makes anyone feel that the bureaucrats have the answer with all these new regulations. Eliminating plastic knives is stupid! Preventing cars from parking 300 feet from a terminal entrance is ridiculous. Eliminating curbside checking does what?
You can kill people with a shoestring, a high-heeled shoe, or a belt, or a Cross pencil. When will the FAA make us submit to full body cavity searches and put on GI issued clothing with our clothes carried in the baggage compartment? If they don't really begin to address the threat, I submit it won't be long. I can see it now. Domestic travel garments are pink and foreign travel garments are blue with no pockets.
Have American citizens become a bunch of cowards?
This past weekend, several members of my family flew to Spokane, Washington for an event. Despite having Senior tickets, they flew in First Class with all the other passengers as the planes were almost empty. They reported that the auto rental lots were over-flowing with vehicles, many hotels and motels were hurting for business and the shopping malls were almost deserted. It is disturbing to this observer that the impact of September 11th could so shake the foundation of this great country. One must wonder if the foundation is built upon quicksand!
But then, they all had gray hair and were not the current crop of Soccer Mom's and Sensitive Males that now dominate the under 50 age group. But they had lived through the depression of the 1930's and knew that you can survive if you have the will!
The problem today is that many of our citizens seem to have lost the will to pick up the pieces and forge ahead. Maybe, it is the welfare state and the liberal feel-good education system that has brought us to this sad state of affairs. Despite all the flag sales and the prayer services, something more must be added to the mix . . . a willingness to get on with life and to overcome perceived and real problems.
The new War
President Bush's speech last Thursday to the Joint Session of Congress issued the clarion call to battle against all terrorists and their supporters.
Either nations are with us or against us.
They must choose. Despite the ravages suffered under the Clinton administration, our military has seen a significant boost in its morale thanks to the steady hand held by Bush, Cheney and the rest of the team. It will be a long road but at least, we know why our citizens are being called to battle . . . unlike the Vietnam mess!
The reliance upon satellites and technology to gather intelligence as opposed to human intelligence has been found deficient. We can thank Frank Church of Idaho for starting the downgrading of human intelligence, President Carter for the destruction of a major portion of the intelligence agencies human intelligence apparatus and the Clinton administration and Senator Torricelli for the current state of affairs. Nevertheless, our intelligence services had warnings but failed to act. However, with the volume of the warnings and the manpower available that should not be a surprise.
The State Department's role and its reluctance to upset nations will be materially changed. Diplomacy will take second place to military action in the very near future. Coalitions are for public relations value and in the present situation, the only thing that counts is "winning." In fact, Secretary Powell could well be gone within 60 days and a general housecleaning at State and the Department of Justice be undertaken. Less than 50% of Bush's appointees have been confirmed by the Senate and that will change shortly or Bush will use other means to get his people in place.
During the 1954 Senate hearing 's, Senator Joseph McCarthy was rebuked by Joseph N. Welch, special counsel for the Army with the retort, "Senator, have you no sense of decency, sir?"
Today, we know from the Soviet archives that McCarthy was right and his detractors were not!
And many of the leaders in the Roosevelt and Truman State Department were instrumental in setting up the United Nations and backing Mao Tse-tung allowing the Communists to take control of China.
Should we let the United Nations take the lead against Terrorism?
Today, we pay the major portion of the United Nations budget, provide a significant amount of its police forces and get outvoted by every two-bit nation on earth. It is past time to withdraw from that socialist debating society and let it sink into a well-deserved oblivion.
In my opinion, the United States should act on its own best interests and forget about building coalitions and having the backing of the United Nations. We are the only superpower and it is time to act that way even if it means that we will see body-bags. A war against guerrillas and terrorists can not be successfully fought from 1,000 miles away or from 25,000 feet above the ground. It will be fought on the ground with small special operation type forces and by isolating these groups from their sources of financial and equipment support.
One of the more important moves this administration has undertaken is to restrict the flow of intelligence to Congress and put the Executive branch and Military on strict notice that leaks will not be tolerated. Finally, someone who understands that the public does not always need to know is in charge!
Yesterday, a columnist took President Bush to task for not bombing the infrastructure of Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan. What infrastructure is there left to bomb after the bloody Soviet war and almost 12 more years of fighting between various factions. The following is from the CIA factbook:
It would be better to provide road building equipment. cement plants, and a few bulldozers and Civil Engineers to begin the rebuilding of the country. Certainly, the Taliban did not build anything during the last few years.
As President Bush stated, "Perhaps, some of this war will be seen on television, but some of it will never be seen!" Sometimes, I wonder if journalists understand the meaning of the term "covert". I seriously doubt if we will see under this administration military landings on beaches with TV journalists recording it under klieg lights. Perhaps, in the movies, but not in real life.
Who should we fight?
The most likely suspect is Osama bin Laden and the Afghan Taliban with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Libya frequently mentioned as co-conspirators. The public is almost totally ignorant of the role of the Wahhabi sect of Islam in the rise of the Taliban. The following is a quote from a recent e-mail:
Remember that at least 8 and possibly, 14 of the 19 terrorists that died were Saudi's as is bin Laden. Makes one wonder.
And the war does not have to be fought with weapons. As Afghanistan is in its fourth year of record drought, food and medicine are in short supply. By providing relief supplies to the Northern Alliance as well as the urban dwellers clearly marked "Made in America", the rule of the Taliban and the clerics can be broken. People most often vote with their stomachs! When you are hungry, you become an animal . . . or have we forgotten Pavlov's experiments.
This contest is a battle for people's minds as well as against the terrorists.
The great failure of the Islamic nations is that they have not found a way to increase the standard of living of all their citizens. While the rulers live generally in luxury, the citizens live in poverty and that is a formula for revolution. Also, most of the Middle Eastern countries are not democratically elected and that there is little separation between church and state except in Turkey. It is definitely a contest between cultures . . . don't ever forget it.
Yes, it is hard to be an optimist!
However, there are signs that argue for it! Zyvex, a leader in nanotechnology, has just made an exciting breakthrough. As CMOS technology has about reached its development limits, nanotechnology is emerging. For more information, click here.
Already they are talking about a computer the size of a sugar cube that will have the power of several of today's supercomputers. Being able to build things, atom by atom opens up many horizons. Nanotubes, nanomaterials, nanomachines, nanorobots . . . better start learning about them. Their impact upon the world will be immense!
Already we have pill-sized TV cameras that patients can swallow. The following is a quote from the Nanomedicine website:
And have you heard of the World Technology Network? WTN brings the key players together - from the most cutting-edge technologists to the most forward-thinking financiers, from the most conceptual futurists to the most grounded entrepreneurs, from the most insightful science writers to the most savvy marketers, from the most broadly focused government officials to the most narrowly focused policy analysts, and, of course, from the world's leading corporations to the world's newest start-ups.
I submit that WTN will be a major catalyst in the recovery. On Tuesday, I attended a meeting of the Women in Technology International at Texas Instruments on Nanotechnology. The interest was amazing!
Innovation and Responsibility is the key!
Many times our economy has faced challenges. While we had our doomsayers, there were always those few who said, "There has to be a better way!" and went out and found the answers to the problems facing them.
Kneejerk reactions as shown by the FAA won't do anything constructive, nor will an assault on our freedom and civil liberties. Rather we must play to our strengths and get over the malaise that has settled over our citizens, find CEO's and Board of Directors who can determine that it is better to reduce salaries of everyone rather than destroying 20% of their workforce, and get back to work!
Hiding in your house is not the answer. The rescuers in New York and Washington, DC should be our inspiration! At great personal risk, did they ever do anything but carry on and double their efforts!
No, and neither should we!
But then - 'Tis Only My Opinion!
Corruptisima republica plurimae leges. [The more corrupt a republic, the more laws.] -- Tacitus, Annals III 27
This issue of 'Tis Only My Opinion was copyrighted by Adrich
Corporation in October 2001.
Last updated - July 3, 2008