Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Marley Snarls at a Friend

I like to refer to Overstock.com's famously wacky CEO, Patrick Byrne, as "my Marley," as in the famously wacky dog that was depicted in a recent movie, a memoir, and, originally, in columns in a Florida newspaper by John Grogan.

I understand Grogan's fascination with his dog, because it is the same fascination that I have with Byrne. Marley and Byrne are journalistic gifts that keeps on giving, providing endless amusment. One is the world's worst dog, the other is the nation's worst CEO. Both are endlessly destructive, paranoid--howling at thunderstorms. The difference is that Marley was at bottom a lovable mutt, and the theaters overflowed with tears when the doggie died in the Owen Wilson-Jennifer Aniston movie. Great dog. A story of love.

Byrne is very much the same, if you replace "lovable" with "despicable."

This brings me to the latest adventures of my Marley. What has he chewed up this time? Whose leg has he humped? Has he peed in the ocean off Dog Beach? Well, this time, the Journalist's Best Friend has done it again, by wandering over to the website of a potential ally, a person not unsympathetic to his naked shorting crusade, and making do-do all over the place.

The venue was the blog of someone named Lila Rajiva, who posted on the fake Matt Taibbi video. This is hardly a mega-blog, and her point was hardly unique. Besides, it's sort of a moot issue by now. Taibbi has ceased defending the video since Penson Financial wrote a letter to the SEC saying that the video is a fake.

Byrne heard a dog whistle summoning him to this obscure blog. Still being careful not to vouch for the accuracy of an obvious fake, he could have simply politely pointed out to Ms. Rajiva that he felt the case for its being fake was shaky, or something like that, thanked her for her interest, and gone on his way. Most CEOs wouldn't post on obscure blogs at all, of course, since they're too busy running their companies. But the SEC-investigated Byrne knows that the less time he spends running the company into the ground, the better.

So here comes my Marley, as usual going totally bonkers, growling and snapping (unlike Marley, he is a vicious little pooch), personally attacking her and accusing her of being part of a "disinformation campaign" in a hysterical, paranoid rant beginning, "BEWARE ALL READERS." Lila Rajiva is now part of The Enemy, not only wrong but malevolent, acting on instructions from unseen powers:

You can imagine that if a journalist uncovers a loophole through which wealthy, powerful interests are stealing money, those interests will organize a disinformation campaign to block their exposure (perhaps written in weasel-words that a layman would not catch).
What needs to be kept in mind is that the object of this nutty attack is sympathetic to naked shorting arguments, as is a fellow blogger who posted as follows:
Although, I have never followed Byrne's ranting and ravings in detail, I am aware that he has been leading a near one man crusade against naked short-selling. On this limited bit of information, I have always considered him somewhere between an eccentric and a nut job.

Judging from Lila's post she has had about as much interest in Byrne as I have had....

He tells us that deep dark interests would attempt to battle Taibbi. And implies that these deep dark interests have decided to employ Lila and me as their conduits. LOL.

Let me tell you something, even people who I generally tend to agree with are probably nervous about getting too close to me, and try and tell me what to post.

The chance that some black hat operator is going to be comfortable approaching me to attack Taibbi is absurd. I rip the penultimate black hat operator Goldman Sachs regularly. I don't think I have ever said a good thing about them.
This blogger, Robert Wenzel, makes clear that he is sympathetic to some of Byrne's views. But that doesn't stop Byrne. He chews up the trousers of anyone who comes within range, potential friend, foe or total stranger. He can't help himself.

That is what makes Patrick Byrne my Marley.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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