Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nut Season Has Begun

It's that time of year, I guess

The Full Moon was on April 13, so that can't be it. Sunspots, perhaps? Anyway, for whatever reason I've been getting a larger than usual number of nutty/threatening emails/attempts to comment on this blog, with every single one from the anti-shorting crackpots.

This is, apparently, nut season!

The most egregious of these nutty/threatening etc. emails etc. I have cheerfully forwarded to law enforcement agencies.

That brings me to something the public doesn't understand about journalists. There seems to be a feeling out there that if you communicate with a reporter you are instantly afforded some kind of "First Amendment" protection. Hell no! Everything is on the record unless stated otherwise, and if threatened (in the criminal sense of the word) most journalists will prosecute.

I made that point back in February, when the "sanitycheck" website's bravely pseudonymous proprietor, "Bob O'Brien," who the NewYork Post has identified as a former used medical equipment peddler named Phil Saunders. Saunders reported a cock-and-bull story about a "journalist friend" being "threatened" by supposed thugs in a bar. (He posted the story to explain why he cowers behind a phony name.) See Feb. 15 entry here. As I said at the time, a real journalist would not hesitate to report a threat.

I should point out that threats have never (well, almost never) been an issue in the past. Years of writing about the Mob produced not a single threat of any kind.

That's because Mob people are (with some exceptions) fairly rational. Naked-shorting nuts are not. Maybe that's because their entire movement is based on a screwy conspiracy theory that makes the Mossad-dynamited-World Trade Center kooks seem sane by comparison.

Take, for example, the communication that I received last night, which attempted "blackmail" over "dirt" that exists only in this slimeball's imagination. This person concluded his missive as follows:

"Tell your friends to stay away from our computers, or we will release the information to NCANS [National Coalition Against Naked Shorting]. They've been waiting for months for something this juicy."

I presume the "our" is this creep and his pet hamster. The "friends" refer to the massive conspiracy in which I am involved (no doubt along with hedge funds that I excoriate in five chapters of my book) and I suppose the "computers" are ... Lord knows.

Lunatic or not, a threat is a threat -- and I repeat: I report all threats to law enforcement, even from obvious nuts. In fact, especially from obvious nuts who are dumb enough to use the Internet to communicate threats.

This particular jerk didn't sign his name. Another one did. We're talking dumb.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Baloney Brigade anti-shorting movement is an army of wackos -- small, vocal, and dismayingly effective in its campaign to divert regulatory attention from real problems.

Time for regulators to wake up and smell the nuts.

UPDATE: A response to this item came quickly on an Internet message board from "Bob O'Brien," the bravely pseudonymous phony name used by Phil Saunders, the creep who is the Propaganda Minister of the anti-shorting crazies. ApparentlySaunders was dissatisfied with my reaction to the threat from one of his followers, and he wondered aloud as follows:

Wonder what the bad guys have on 'lilGW, or whether it is a straightforward financial matter?

First of all I appreciate the compliment. I am trying to get little, with no success.

I think the rest of this typical O'Brienism -- the same line pushed by Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne -- merits some analysis and should not be instantly dismissed as "trash talk" or somesuch.

Byrne and his anonymous friend both take the position that it is impossible for any journalist to believe that Overstock.com is a stinker, or that the naked shorting campaign is a lot of hooey. We must be corrupt!

This attitude can be easily explained. The anti-shorting movement is not a legitimate movement, but a cult. Only cults demonize their critics in this fashion. This rhetoric, which can be found throughout the anti-shorting movement, is not evidence that the anti-shorters are a cult. It is proof.

FURTHER UPDATE: The errant individual has come forward. (See comments.) He pleads the "baloney defense" -- he consumed too much baloney, and that apparently resulted in a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Apparently this person didn't realize that IP addresses are captured by the Haloscan system. Even if they weren't, they're easy enough to track down.

Hey, baloney cultists are not known for their mental acumen. If they had half a brain, after all, they wouldn't be pushing a nonexistent cause, would they?


Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site.

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