Monthly Archives: June 2015

Confederate Flag is Symbol Around the World

Square land battle flag of Confederate States of America.

Square land battle flag of Confederate States of America.

In the wake of the senseless massacre of nine African Americans in their historic church in South Carolina last week, Governor Nikki Haley has said that she will ask that the Confederate flag be removed from flying over from the capital. Other southern states, which have been flying the flag, a symbol of racism and hatred for many, have joined in the call to remove the symbol, finally, after over 150 years since the defeat of the south in the Civil War.

This welcome move does not mean, however, that the Confederate flag will not continue to fly in other parts of the world. And not because its symbolism is lost on those who fly it, but because they know exactly what that flag stands for.

In Brazil the descendants of southerners fleeing from the mayhem of the Civil War and post-Civil War Reconstruction, fly the flag to remember their heritage. During the 1860s Brazil offered US refugees land grants, and thousands took Brazil up on the offer. Slavery was also still legal in Brazil at the time.

“To me it’s a positive symbol of my heritage,” said a participant in a festival to celebrate the heritage of the descendants of southerners. “For us, it doesn’t have a negative connotation at all.”

In Italy the symbolic message of the flag speaks to the sense of loss Southern Italians experienced when they lost their independence when they became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

“We too are a defeated people,” a professor in Naples said. “Once we were a rich and independent country, and then they came from the North and conquered us and took our wealth and power away to Rome.

Not surprisingly, skinheads and neo-Nazis in Germany have also adoped the Confederate flag as a symbol of their feelings about racism and white supremacy. Civil War reenactments have also been gaining in popularity in Germany, with many Germans identifying with the Confederate rebellion.

US Airline Stocks About to Take Off?

Continental Airlines Boeing 757-200

Continental Airlines Boeing 757-200

According to the June 22 edition of Barron’s, a US financial magazine, the stocks of four of America’s leading airlines could rise anywhere from 15 to 50 percent. Driving the upswing are lowered fuel prices and shrinking competition.

Barron’s looked at the 2015 forecast for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the four following airline companies: Delta Air Lines, United Continental Holdings, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines Group. The found the projected growth to be 40 percent, to $29.2 billion. Compare that to Wall Street’s forecast made in June 2014 before oil prices plunged: an EBITDA to rise by 7 percent to $22.7 billion.

The decline in revenue per available seat, and important data point considered closely by investors, is merely a speed bump on the way to improved performance, the report stated.

Last Friday American Airlines closed at $39.97 per share; Southwest at $33.86; Delta closed at $41.35, and United Continental at $52.01 per share.

History of US Business On Exhibit at Smithsonian

Alexander Graham Bell, between 1914 and 1919

Alexander Graham Bell, between 1914 and 1919

July 1st will be the opening day of a brand new exhibition entitled, “American Enterprise” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The exhibit will explore the history of business in the US, its positive side as well as its negative aspects.

According to Smithsonian sources, visitors “will be immersed in the dramatic arc of labor, power, wealth, success and failure in America.”

On display in the 8,000 square foot gallery space in the Mars Hall of American Business will be such essential items from the great American innovative past as the cotton gin created by Eli Whitney; a Fordson tractor; an experimental telephone developed by Alexander Graham Bell, and a New York Stock Exchange booth from 1929, the year of the great crash.

“American Enterprise will convey the drama, breadth and diversity of America’s business heritage along with its benefits, failures and unanticipated consequences, through four chronological eras from the 1770s to present,” says John Gray, the museum’s director.

Rubio Introduces Bill Against US Funds for Cuban Military

Official portrait of US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Official portrait of US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio revealed a new law that would make it illegal for US companies to engage in financial transactions with the Cuban military. Rubio is a Cuban American, and has also announced his candidacy for president in 2016. His campaing has featured a loud opposition to the new policy recently established by the Obama administration to normalize economic and other relations with the small Communist-led island only 90 miles from Florida.

“It is not in the interest of the United States or the people of Cuba for the U.S. to become a financier of the Castro regime’s brutality,” Rubio said.

“The Cuban Military Transparency Act would prevent U.S. dollars from getting into the hands of the Cuban military and would demand accountability from the Obama Administration regarding fugitives of American justice in Cuba, the return of stolen and uncompensated property and the role of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior in Cuba,” he added.

Rubio’s bill would call for the identification and denial of any transactions of a financial nature which include the military arm of the Cuban dictatorship, its leadership and subdivisions as well. The 14-page proposed legislation is co-sponsored by one Democrat, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and the following Republican Senators: Orrin Hatch (Utah), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Cory Gardner (Colo.), David Vitter (La.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.).

Canada’s Currency Reaches Six-Week Low

Canadian money courtesy of Rick.

Canadian money courtesy of Rick.

Compared to the US dollar, the loonie lost three-fifths of a penny on Monday, falling to its lowest point in over a month and a half.

The Canadian dollar closed at 79.78 US cents, a loss of 0.63 cents from its closing price on Friday. On April 13 the loonie reached its lowest intraday price of 79.60. Since reaching a high of 83.86 US cents in mid-May the Canadian dollar has fallen by over four cents.

“U.S. releases are the key risk for [the Canadian dollar] as we consider last week’s Bank of Canada statement and its optimistic tone centered on the U.S. outlook driving export-led growth,” said Eric Theoret, a foreign exchange strategist at Scotiabank.