Orange Juice Unlimited

By Stein, Benjamin J. | The American Spectator, May 2010 | Go to article overview

Orange Juice Unlimited


Stein, Benjamin J., The American Spectator


SATURDAY

Well. Here I am at the Mission Bay Hilton in San Diego. I don't feel well. Maybe I have a touch of food poisoning. Or maybe a stomach bug. There is one going around and I guess I got it. Actually, now that I have been given the miracle of Tazo Refresh Mint Tea by my sister, I can get through it all right. This tea is truly God's gift. I have no idea how it works, but it soothes my stomach miraculously well. My sister has given me all kinds of good tips, especially about exercise and tea.

I got dressed and had a light but delicious breakfast, then headed over to the conference center here at the hotel. I am to give a speech at a huge gathering hosted by my pal Ray Lucia. It is about investing. He has an immense crowd of well over 1,000 people today and my job is not really to sell them anything, but to give them a general overview of the economy.

My view of it is that the recession was caused by the insensate carelessness and greed and contempt for ethics of the big players on Wall Street.

It was not the small homeowner. It was not the small builder. It was Wall Street playing games with housing finance instruments that killed the housing market, killed Lehman, and sent the nation into a panic.

The people who did the collateralized mortgage obligations, sold them to pension funds, then sold them short, then bought credit default swap insurance on them, are just amazing. They are a law unto themselves. They manipulate every price they come near, sell out their own customers, spend millions burnishing their images, then again, betray their customers the first chance they get.

This includes the very biggest names on The Street.

The people doing these deals get fantastically rich, and then they get appointed to high government posts, and meanwhile, their only interest is in making money for themselves.

The part that really fills me with horror is that after this kind of massive, nationwide economic terrorism takes place no one, and I mean no one, gets punished. It is fantastic.

Enough of that. I don't want to give myself a stroke. On to a happier subject.

I love speaking in San Diego.

Invariably, there are a lot of military families there and invariably, they are polite, encouraging, and have children also in the military. Let's drink to the hardworking people. Let's drink to the salt of the earth. Let's drink to the wavering millions, who need leaders but get gamblers instead. I think that's from a Rolling Stones song. In fact, I am sure it is. Their lyrics bear endless study.

I gave my speech, got lots of nice people asking for autographs and photos, and then packed my bags and headed home.

My bug, or whatever it is, was attacking me like mad and I slept a fitful sleep in the car. (I was being driven, obviously.)

There are some people out to get me. I know I am paranoid and nutty, but this is really happening, and I don't like it. There are people who are not feeling quite well who really want to hurt me and it's scaring me plenty. Well, I won't say anything more except to quote my idol, the young Bob Dylan:

Someone's got it in for me.

They're planting stories in the press.

Whoever it is, I wish they d cut it out quick,

But when they will, lean only guess....

Really, the whole world could benefit from a study of Bob Dylan's early works. My late pal Garth Wood used to say Dylan was the greatest poet of the 20th century, and how right Garth was.

And how I miss Garth, dead at his own hand, lo, these 10 or more years. The pain is acute still. I loved Garth. Hey, that reminds me of another song, this one by Neil Young:

I sing this song because I loved a man,

I know that some of you don't understand....

Gone, gone, the damage done....

I would like to see a department of 20th-century song analysis at UCLA.

Home to my beloved wifey, the light of my life, the angel of my whole lifetime, the goddess who walks on water.

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