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Dumb and Dumber on 'Bulls and Bears'

Reported by Judy - September 2, 2006 -

Brenda Buttner, after pleading with folks to watch her show, delivered one of the dumbest business shows to come along in a long time in Saturday's (September 2, 2006) edition of "Bulls and Bears.".

Buttner not only cobbled together two premises for her show that had nothing to do with business, she also let her unqualified regulars show their incredible ignorance.

She began, for yet another week, with the question of whether Iran's nuclear enrichment plans matter to Wall Street. Charles Payne, of wstreet.com, began with the first of several pretty silly comments, saying this week's deadline was a good thing because it means the U.S. is closer to doing something and that's why the stock market went up last week. Huh?

Nobody else followed the logic in that remark either, with Tobin Smith, of Changewave Research, saying the market doesn't care about Iran right now.

A few minutes later, Payne was back into the mix, saying that the problem in dealing with Iran lies with U.S. allies. "We want to bring Germany and France closer to the fold," he said.

Germany and France? Even Scott Bleier, of hybridinvestors.com, knew that was wrong, correcting Payne that it is China and Russia that appear to want to block sanctions on Iran.

Then it was Tobin Smith's turn to put his foot in the mouth. Pretending he was on his cell phone, Smith said he had just gotten a phone call from Islamabad and that the rulers of Iran were happy that they were the main topic on "Bulls and Bears."

Sorry Toby. As Pat Dorsey, of morningstar.com, pointed out, Islambad is not in Iran, but Pakistan.

Then Tracy Byrnes, New York Post business writer, caught the dumb bug, advocating that the U.S. attack both North Korea and Iran. "We just need to take all these people out, and then we can pretty much go on from there," she said, drawing some murmurs of concern from the regulars.

The show was barely half over and already this bunch had embarrassed itself pretty badly, but Buttner went on to her next segment, which also had absolutely nothing to do with business news. This segment asked whether Wall Street believed Democrats would be better than Republicans in fighting terror.

Democratic strategist Susan Estrich laid out a pretty good case for why people should give up on Republicans as the party to handle national security. "They’ve given them six years and what have they got? They got a 9/11 commission that the Republicans fought and then the Republicans haven’t implemented the recommendations. They’ve gotten a war in Iraq which is against the wrong enemy, turned the whole world against us. They’ve got a Department of Homeland Security that can’t deal with the mess of Katrina. So I think the idea is when you got a party that can’t do the job, you might as well look to the other party for an improvement," she said.

Then Buttner turned the Republicans on the panel loose on her.

Payne noted, "Homeland Security and Katrina -- I don't know that that is necessarily their department." Since when? Did Bush outsource that to Halliburton, too?

Tobin Smith backed up Payne with, "The bottom line is where's the attack? We've probably stopped 15 or 20 that we haven't heard of." I doubt that. Bush wouldn't miss a chance to crow. Look at the publicity over that hapless bunch they arrested in Florida.

Estrich countered with, "The fact that we don’t know about it means we should trust the people even though everything we know they’ve done, they’ve done wrong? They’ve bungled the war in Iraq, bungled the response to Katrina, bungled the response to the 9/11 commission, but because of what we don’t know about, we should trust them?"

A decent response, but too complicated for this bunch of dummies to understand.