Amazing Powers of Invisibility Available For Limited Use, Special Today Only...
Interested parties can sign up for a free trial. So here is the independent confirmation from at least one media outlet that the story has been picked up and verified - but not by anyone in the mainstream financial media.)
Overstock.com is up over 20% in 3 trading days, and if you aren't following the stock closely you would never know it.
The SEC is investigating the defendants in Overstock's lawsuit against Gradient and Rocker Partners, and the only way you would have heard about it is if you read the SLC paper, or this blog.
A former FBI agent, notorious for his role in the Sirhan Sirhan investigation, is going around intimidating Overstock employees, and nary a word is heard anywhere but at the Easter Bunny's little holiday den.
Apparently the mainstream NY financial press doesn't have the slightest interest in reporting some stories - specifically stories that paint OSTK in a favorable light, or the shorts accused of damaging OSTK's reputation and share price in a negative light.
One might well wonder aloud how that could be. It's not every day that we see internet retailers running up in price as though they just successfully completed phase 3 clinical trials for the cure for cancer, especially in today's lackluster market. It's not every day that the SEC opens formal investigations into what amounts to a who's who of the short selling hedge fund world.
And yet this entire episode is as invisible as if it was the Emperor on parade, nude as a newborn, shielded only by the hubris and collusion of a compromised media that believes that the US investing public is stupid enough to believe whatever it is told - or more specifically, whatever it is fed through a self-serving, selective filter.
If one reads the WSJ, or the NY Post, or tunes into CNBC, or happens across Barrons, one hears nothing. See no evil, speak no evil. Well, that isn't quite completely true, as the NY Post devoted much ink over the weekend to regaling that fine publication's readership with a story denigrating Overstock, from the perspective of the defendant in the lawsuit; and apparently the fact that the SEC is investigating that side of the conflict didn't merit a mention - you know, it just wasn't news.
Odd, you are thinking? Nah. On Friday, I wrote a Sanity Check that counseled readers to consider how these publications treat companies shorted by these turds, when an SEC investigation is launched into one of them - usually we read 10 Yahoo news items on the feed referencing full page articles expressing shock and outrage, and fanning the flames of any selloff that results.
But when the bad guys are the recipients of the scrutiny, it is dead silence.
I wasn't much of a conspiracy guy when I started my shareholder activist role a few years ago. I figured a couple of lowlife opportunists were gaming a stock I was involved in, and that I could combat their actions by disseminating accurate information about the company.
As I learned more about Wall Street's history, and connected the dots of how inter-penetrated many of the relationships on the Street are, I began to realize that what to the outside world could look like an impossibly complex and implausible conspiracy, was in actuality a dozen bent reporters and their compromised editors, a few co-opted regulators at the right levels in the right agencies, a few politicians and want-to-be politicians, and a group of scumbags small enough to fit into a medium-sized Holiday Inn banquet room.
The problem is that the group of scumbags had so gamed the system as to give it a terminal illness, and had made so much money doing so that they could literally buy favorable treatment at every level of the political and media spectrum.
The other problem is that Wall Street will kill its young for a buck, and the smug conceit that is the pervasive tone of those princes of finance lucky enough to be in the upper reaches of the financial system oligopoly forgives virtually any action, no matter how base or criminal, as long as big money is made. Because that is the name of the game.
I've written about the cult of socio-pathology that is the mindset for a certain segment of Wall Street. I've heard countless stories of coke fiend deci-millionaire 30 and 40-somethings who believe that because they have cheated the system for years, that they are above the law, are minor deities cut from a distinctly different bolt of cloth than the rest of we human refuse. We are viewed as bumpkins, slow, dim-witted sheep to be fleeced at their leisure, where there is no shame to stealing our retirements, and in fact a certain pride is evinced in being smart enough to realize that rules were meant to be broken, and that restrictions or ethics are for losers and peasants. The sheer amount of money to be had by cheating us, and the ease with which it can be had if one knows the right people, affords a society of spoiled sociopaths the ability to thrive at our expense.
No wildly implausible "Sith Lord" conspiracy is really required (although if one reviews Dr. Byrne's schematic one sees that what was actually described was fairly mundane and predictably structured). Rather, a deliberately engineered and orchestrated stock manipulation scheme the likes of which were common in the 1900's-1930's is what we are seeing, with the impact considerably larger due to the highly centralized nature of the modern financial media apparatus in the US (concentrated in just a few offices in Manhattan, really), coupled with the economics of out-of-control leverage which an industry struggling with ever-slimmer margins is willing to allow, in the interests of generating more almighty bucks. Toss in a seasoning of some international cheats and money launderers, and you have the components of the meal.
The same 5 editors and ten reporters (or so) can mold public opinion, the same few bent regulators can structure rules to maximum advantage of the crooks, the same compromised class action attorneys can bludgeon whatever the target of the day is, and the sheep, who represent everything West of NJ, are handily fleeced.
Doubtful? Skeptical? Open a newspaper or tune in CNBC, and pay attention to how invisible this story has become now that OSTK is climbing, and the SEC is finally embarrassed enough to have to investigate the perpetrators.
It is really and truly shocking how effective the cone of silence is once it has been lowered.
Figure it out, people. This is Jesse Livermore, circa 2005. Nothing more mysterious or original.
There really are no new ideas.