Monday, October 31, 2011

Overstock.com Nears Default While Utah Media Sleeps

The always-intriguing story of Overstock.com ratcheted up a notch on Monday, as word emerged on Sam Antar's blog that Overstock is on the verge of violating its debt covenants and is therefore close to default, This devastating news was buried in a footnote.

That's probably the best example I've found of the need to read the footnotes of financial statements. Significant news is often buried therein. In this case, the news is so significant that I wonder if perhaps there may be a disclosure issue, and that Overstock should have issued a public disclosure highlighting its flirtation with bankruptcy.

Among Sam's findings, just from reading the latest 10-Q, is that Overstock is juggling the books:

At the end of its third quarter, the Overstock.com had $18.4 million of net working capital (current assets minus current liabilities). However, the company would have reported a mere $1.4 million of net working capital had it not played a shell game and window dressed its balance sheet during the third quarter. Apparently, the company wanted to avoid reporting dangerously low net working capital going into the fourth quarter, while at the same time it is trying to renegotiate terms of its Master Lease Agreement (sale leaseback) with U.S. Bank.

One thing I find especially interesting is the utter indifference to all this by the local Utah newspapers, especially the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News and the local Associated Press bureau, which seem to view their role as that of extensions of Overstock's public relations department. Not a word has appeared in the local newspapers about the company's third-quarter financial woes, the libel suit against its CEO Patrick Byrne, or the downgrade that led to a sell-off in the stock on Friday.

Here is typical Salt Lake Tribune "coverage," a rewritten press release on a routine postponement in the company's lawsuit against Goldman Sachs.

Here is a typical puff piece from the Deseret News on the company's disastrous "rebranding" strategy -- but not a word from the company's conference call last week on how "O.co" was causing confusion among customers and has hurt sales.

In the unlikely event that word ekes out into the press on its financial travails, legal woes or the default threat, you can be sure that it will be written with an overt pro-Overstock bias.

In other words, one of the largest and most interesting companies in Utah just isn't covered at all, except when it issues a press release. If that isn't a "captured media," to use one of Byrne's favorite phrases, I don't know what is.

The stock today is down 7% so far, and is testing its 52-week lows. If you relied upon the Utah newspapers to tell you about this dog's breakfast of a company, you'd be scratching your head and wondering why.

UPDATE: By the end of the day Overstock shares were down 8.4%, trading at a 52-week low, possibly because of Sam's blog item.

On Nov. 1, Overstock's descent into insolvency was picked up by the Going Concern accounting blog, and the stock is still falling, but the Utah media continues its radio silence. Not to worry, if Overstock comes up with a positive spin or some non-news p.r. event they'll be right on top of it.

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Click here to pre-order the book from Amazon.com, and here to pre-order from Barnes & Noble.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Advance Praise for Ayn Rand Nation


I see that the pre-publication reviews for Ayn Rand Nation have been published on the Amazon.com page for the book, so I guess I might as well share them here:

"Think Ayn Rand is marginal? Think again! Gary Weiss's powerful new history inscribes the libertarian firebrand at the very center of the American story of the past three decades. "--David Frum, NY Times bestselling author of The Right Man and Comeback

“Ayn Rand Nation is a fascinating exploration of one of the fastest growing and most powerful coalitions in the modern conservative movement. With an unerring eye for detail, Gary Weiss embarks on a journey of discovery that examines the emerging influence of the Tea Party and other political groups that proclaim themselves to be the intellectual progeny of Rand, a crotchety, stubborn and proud purveyor of a philosophy of selfishness. Weiss explores this emerging cultural phenomenon with the even-handed and objective techniques of a sociologist, revealing that these activists are no unified bloc of believers, but are divided between absolutists dedicated to scholarly study of Rand, and fly-by-night devotees who pick-and-choose portions of Rand’s beliefs to create a false philosophical underpinning for their own political convictions. If you want to understand the men and women whose vehement voices are reshaping American government, you must read this book.” --Kurt Eichenwald, New York Times bestselling author of The Informant and Conspiracy of Fools

“The timing of this book couldn’t be better for Americans who are trying to understand where in the hell the far-out right's anti-worker, anti-egalitarian extremism is coming from. AYN RAND NATION introduces us to the Godmother of such tea party craziness as destroying Social Security and elimination Wall Street regulation. Weiss writes with perception and wit."--Jim Hightower, best selling author, newspaper and radio commentator and editor of the Hightower Lowdown


"Gary Weiss brings his skeptical bent and sharp writing to a character who has inspired both fanatical belief and deep derision for decades: Ayn Rand. The book is a compelling journey of discovery about a woman who continues to exert a powerful hold over our society. Weiss shows how Rand is ultimately quite a bit more complicated than either her fans or her detractors would have it."--Bethany McLean, best-selling author of The Smartest Guys in the Room and All the Devils are Here.

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Click here to pre-order the book from Amazon.com, and here to pre-order from Barnes & Noble.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Genesis of a Libel: How Mark Mitchell Turned a Rehash into a Nightmare

Conspiracy theorist/fantasist Mark Mitchell, Deep Capture blog

I'm fascinated on several levels with the libel suit that was brought against Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne last week by Ali Nazerali, a Vancouver stock promoter. This could easily be a crushing blow for both Byrne and his libel factory, the Deep Capture website that he created in 2007 to spin conspiracy theories and stalk his critics. But that's just one reason I'm fascinated.


It's also an example of what happens when you combine conspiracy-theory paranoia--as practiced by Byrne's employee Mark Mitchell, a disgraced former Columbia Journalism Review columnist--with embellishments on investigative reporting by real journalists.

Mitchell dragged in Nazerali as part of his preexisting agenda, which was to prove that there is a kind of comic-book global conspiracy that resulted in Al Qaeda joining forces with the Mafia to sabotage the world markets in 2008. That's part of Byrne's quasi-libertarian ideological conviction that Wall Street banks aren't to blame for the financial crisis (except to the extent that they criticize him).

So here's what happened:

It seems that two respected financial journalists, Chris Byron and Lee Webb, had written a lot about Nazerali a few years ago, Byron in Red Herring and Webb in Stockwatch. (Ironically, Webb himself has been smeared by Byrne's website; see comments.) Here is an example of the work these two reporters have done on this guy, most of which is long offline.

It's good work but, well, old. So what Mitchell did, to make it new, was to make stuff up, irresponsibly linking Nazerali to Al Qaeda, the Mafia, and the nonexistent terrorist conspiracy to take down the U.S. markets. (It's not the banks, you see, it's them.)

I must say that in three decades in journalism I have never seen a more egregious case of libel by anyone. As I pointed out in a post on some of Mitchell's earlier "work" a couple of years ago, he is incredibly sloppy on basic facts, and just simply makes stuff up. His tenure at CJR was also a disaster; see here and here for a sampling.

Mitchell, in the course of his blundering around the imaginary world of Mafia stock market conspiracies, at one point in his "research" stumbled into some firms and people whom I wrote about many years ago at BusinessWeek, and for my book Born to Steal.

Mitchell contended in one of his missives that a certain person in charge of stock clearing at Penson Financial was a top exec at "Adler Coleman, best known for being the clearing firm to the Genovese Mafia family." In fact he was not in charge of stock clearing for Penson and it was ridiculous to say that Adler Coleman cleared trades for a Mafia family.

According to my reporting for BusinessWeek in 1996, which Mitchell plagiarized, one of Adler's clients, Hanover Sterling, had ties to the Genovese crime family. But it's absurd to claim that Adler cleared directly for a crime family, or to associate Adler with a crime family when most of the officials there probably had no idea of the mob involvement.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. This guy is a real piece of work.

Nazerali got the same treatment from the delusional, fantasist Mitchell, and now Byrne is going to have to pay a few million bucks to make him go away. This is a good example of Mitchell's technique, which is to warm over the work of real reporters, embellish and make stuff up. The person he targeted at Penson could have sued for libel for this ridiculous fabrication but didn't, as is typical for most of Deep Capture's victims -- until Nazerali came along.

Apparently it never occurred to Byrne that he could be sued for libel, and in Canada, even though Nazerali sued Red Herring for libel, in Canada. This decision in the case does not bode well for Byrne, though I would hesitate to draw any conclusions from that.

What I do know is that no matter the outcome of the previous suit, won, lost or settled (the case never came to trial), this time Nazerali has a winner. Unlike Byron, Mitchell is not a journalist but a parody of one. And he is sued in a jurisdiction that is almost ridiculously favorable to plaintiffs, as evidenced by the court order shutting down Deep Capture.

What this means is that Byrne's goose is cooked, and he knows it, if this case is heard on the merits.

He talked bravely about "going a few rounds" with Nazerali in a message board post that violated the court injunction against such statements. But unless he is completely demented -- a possibility that can't be completely excluded -- he knows that this case will be a loser for him. His boy Mitchell will be roasted like a Peking Duck if it were to ever to come to trial, and in his moments of clarity he may actually realize that.

The bottom line is that Byrne is going to work diligently to get this case thrown out of court as soon as possible on technical grounds, his posturing to the contrary notwithstanding. Except for that message board post, you can expect nothing further from Byrne on the suit or Nazerali. I think the libel suit explains Byrne issuing a press release, obediently picked up by the Salt Lake City papers, on a routine delay in his suit against Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

It's the coward's way out, of course. But it's the only path that makes logical sense -- especially if Overstock itself gets dragged in. Someone has called his bluff, and Byrne simply cannot afford to fight this one for the simple reason that he will lose.

Byrne has only no choice but to run. The only question is whether the Canadian court will let him.

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Click here to pre-order the book from Amazon.com, and here to pre-order from Barnes & Noble.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne Defies Court Order

Conspitracy theorist/fantasist Mark Mitchell, Deep Capture blog


The libel suit against Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne is getting more interesting by the moment. Yesterday I pointed out that Byrne posted a message on a bulletin board implying that the defendant in the case, a Canadian stock promoter named Ali Nazerali, was a criminal.


Now it emerges that, by so doing, Byrne defied a court order, issued by the court last week, prohibiting him from making statements about Nazerali anywhere on the Internet. See the summary above, from the British Columbia courts website. The injunction prohibits Byrne from making comments about Nazerali at his Deep Capture libel factory "or elsewhere."

Here, see for yourself (people getting this blog via email will need to click on the hyperlink):

Injunction Against Patrick Byrne Et Al in Libel Suit

Other interesting details from the order: the domain name cannot be transferred, and Google is not supposed to include Deep Capture in search results, which so far hasn't happened.

This would be pretty draconian if it happened to a journalistic organization. But Deep Capture is a corporate p.r. outfit, as the Society of Business Editors and Writers pointed out in a letter to Byrne (see below), proudly posted on Deep Capture.



I don't think Byrne understands that this is not the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is investigating him for financial fraud, or the Oakland court where Overstock is on trial for consumer fraud. This is a Canadian court where a resident of Canada has filed suit against him for making stuff up. Behavior like this is called "contempt of court." But even that isn't quite as important as the malice and recklessness that it demonstrates.

And just think: this costly legal mess originated because Mark Mitchell, the disgraced former journalist working for Byrne, recycled some old stories about Nazerali -- without attribution or credit -- and embellished them. Darned if I know why Columbia Journalism Review dispensed with his services.

Stay tuned. Next logical step, I would think: adding Overstock.com, which does business in Canada, to the lawsuit.

The comments section to this article contains an interesting post on the horrid position Byrne's defiance places Overstock's inert board of directors.

A copy of the lawsuit is below:

Libel Suit against Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne and Mark Mitchell

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Click here to pre-order the book from Amazon.com, and here to pre-order from Barnes & Noble.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Patrick Byrne to Libel Plaintiff: Drop Dead


Byrne at work making life easy for Nazerali's lawyers

UPDATE: Judd Bagley, a defendant in this suit, copped a plea to eight drug felonies in April 2013. See "Closing the File on a Criminal and Junkie Named Judd Bagley," March 30, 2015.

After three days of silence about the libel suit that has shuttered his Deep Capture stock market conspracy website, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne surfaced today on the Investor Village message boards. He had a message for the gentleman suing him, which can be summed up thusly: Drop dead.

In a post entitled, "That's the spirit, Ali Nazerali!". Byrne said: "Gosh, I go off-line for a few days of R&R and look what happens. It looks like Ali Nazerali wants to go a few rounds. Happy to oblige."

Since Byrne is likely to be paying for the privilege, I'm sure that Nazerali will be happy to oblige as well.

What's interesting about his post is that he includes a news article describing Nazerali as a "controversial Vancouver penny stock promoter" and, somewhat incongruously, the text of an executive order blocking property of transnational criminal organizations.

The problem with this post is that it pretty strongly implies that Nazerali is a member of a transnational criminal organization and/or that he is involved in transnational criminal operations.

Now, that's fine and dandy if you're making stuff up about, say, me -- as his toadies Judd Bagley and Mark Mitchell have done. I can't afford to sue him, and as a journalist I'd have considerable qualms about doing so. But here you have a man who clearly can, and is in the process of doing so, and is not only doing so but has succeeded in at least temporarily shutting his website.

Yes, Nazerali is a controversial penny stock promoter. But that does not give Byrne the right to claim that he is a member of a transational criminal organization, or to contend, as he did in Deep Capture, that he is affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Mafia. It's fine to make that claim over a few beers at a bar in Provo, but when you do so on the web, it is going to cost you -- when you are sued in Canada.

As best as I can tell, Mitchell recycled old coverage that Nazerali received some years ago, juicing it with stuff he made up. The aim, as best I can tell, was to create an entire imaginary universe of stock promoters who didn't promote shocks but actually naked-shorted them. (That is, of course, the crime of the century.) And, if Byrne's recklessness in printing that rubbish wasn't already evident, Byrne has just done an excellent job of showing the kind of malice for which punitive damages are granted.

Yes, we all know: Byrne is "nucking futs." He is about to learn, in a very protracted fashion, that insanity is no defense to a libel suit.

In a comment to yesterday's item that wound up in the junk filter, Byrne's deputy at Overstock, Bagley, said that the "Streisand Effect" will ultimately make this all worthwhile for him and Byrne. (I.e., suing gives publicity to the libelous statements.) If I were Byrne, I would be more concerned about the "Henry Ford-Westbrook Pegler Effect." Successful libel suits ruined the reputation of Jew-baiting industrialist Henry Ford and destroyed the career (and finances) of red-baiting columnist Westbrook Pegler. Byrne is an ant by comparison.

Ali Nazerali may not be a choir boy, but Byrne had better be prepared to either prove that he is everything he says about him -- or be crushed.

Canada is a nightmare for news organizations that have produced honest, truthful news articles that displease people. I can only imagine the kind of hell it is going to be for a corporate p.r. operation that makes stuff up. And make no mistake about it: the corporation involved is Overstock.com, a publicly traded company whose shareholders are as yet unaware of the mess they've just been pulled into.

Meanwhile, it is going to be ka-ching at law firms throughout Vancouver, as Byrne's legal fees (for both defendant and plaintiff) mount up. He is truly what the Republican candidates call a "job creator" -- for lawyers.

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Click here to pre-order the book from Amazon.com, and here to pre-order from Barnes & Noble.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Court Shuts Patrick Byrne's 'Deep Capture' Libel Factory


Patrick Byrne's website has a new look

UPDATE: Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne and his hireling Mark Mitchell lost the Nazerali lawsuit in May 2016. Details can be found here.

More evidence emerged yesterday that Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne definitely made a serious boo-boo when he published fairy tales about a Canadian stock promoter in his Deep Capture astroturf website. A Canadian court has issued an injunction shutting down the site.

The details are described here.

As I pointed out in my blog post yesterday, Byrne, his hireling Mark Mitchell, and other defendants (including his web host, GoDaddy), were sued by a stock promoter named Altaf Nazerali, who was named by Mitchell in a nutty conspiracy theory linking him with every crime since Jack the Ripper.

I have no idea why Byrne & Co. targeted Nazerali. His Middle Eastern name? Whatever the reason, they picked the wrong victim.

Conspiracy theorist/fantasist Mark Mitchell, Deep Capture blog

What makes this suit interesting is that we don't often see libel suits in which the defendant just simply makes stuff up from top to bottom. It's one thing to make mistakes or to exaggerate, but it's not every day that a court gets before it a libel suit in which stuff is simply fabricated without a shred of evidence. I'd say that blanking of the website is just the prelude to what is likely to be a messy and costly (for Byrne) bit of litigation.

I almost feel sorry for Mitchell. He's clearly a troubled person, and I don't want to poke fun, but I honestly don't think he has any idea of the ordeal that is ahead of him. I know a fellow who was the defendant in a libel suit who was subjected to two weeks of grueling cross-examination in a pre-trial deposition. The other side's lawyers probed his private life in grim detail. And in that case he was dealing with an American court, the plaintiff was guilty as hell, and he was telling the truth!

The same is true for any other person or entity associated with the site, including Byrne's loyal hatchet person Judd Bagley, a former company spokesman who was moved back to Overstock in late 2010, and former message board stalker Evan Karpak, who remains a principal of Deep Capture LLC and was, inexplicably, not named in the lawsuit. An oversight, I'm sure, that can be rectified in due course.

In Canadian courts, the usual burden is reversed and the defendant has to prove the truth of the libelous statements. Good luck, Mark.

So far, a single Canadian judge has shown considerably more fortitude in dealing with Byrne & Co. than the SEC, which ended an investigation into his financial-statement fabrications inconclusively, and has another probe dragging along for months without action.

The Deep Capture fictions are now dealt with, at least for the time being, but the fictions in his oft-restated financial statements remain unresolved and unpunished.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. I presume the website was shut by its web host, and of course there's nothing to prevent Byrne from moving the content to Iran or wherever -- or return DC to Overstock's own servers, where it used to be -- all the while bleating about how his right to make stuff up about people has been infringed by dastardly Canadians. The judge is just going to love that.

Golly, I wonder if Overstock or Byrne have any Canadian assets, or expect to have any in the future? Given the paper-thin corporate veil, and the interrelationship between Overstock and Deep Capture, it's going to be fun to see that litigated if Byrne should default. If he decides not to take it on the lam, I certainly expect to see an "O.co Coliseum" arising within proximity of the courthouse in Vancouver, as it has in Oakland.

For Overstock, this is looking more and more like a disclosable event, not that the fine print in the securities law has ever meant anything to Byrne. Stay tuned to this channel for more developments.

Meanwhile, I assume that certain Canadian lawyers are focusing on the links between Deep Capture and Overstock, a subject I have explored in the past. (See also this detailed blog post by Sam Antar.) Overstock is fast running out of cash, but it is a tempting target nonetheless.

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Pre-order by clicking here.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Patrick Byrne Fails to Celebrate Deep Capture Libel Suit


Byrne: About to learn a lesson in Canadian libel law.
For years I've been following the exploits of the publicity-hungry CEO of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, famous for blaming his company's failing fortunes on a "Sith Lord," and for setting up an astroturf website, called Deep Capture, to libel and harass his critics, myself included.

Given Byrne's propensity for self-promotion--with this far-right Milton Friedman fan toting a camera crew to Liberty Plaza to glom on to the Occupy Wall Street movement--I was surprised that he failed to issue a gloating press release to celebrate a libel suit that has been brought against Byrne, Deep Capture and Mark Mitchell, the disgraced former Columbia Journalism Review editor who now works for Byrne.

The suit, brought in Vancouver, Canada, was filed by one of the dozens of victims of Byrne's libel machine, a stock promoter by the name of Altaf Nazerali who was the subject of lurid accusations by Byrne minions on the Deep Capture website.

Byrne, who once "celebrated" one of his many SEC subpoenas, has been uncharacteristically silent, though a hysterical post on the Deep Capture site a few weeks back indicated that he had been contacted about the impending suit. Whether his lawyers will continue to keep his trap shut is anyone's guess.

According to an item that appeared today on Canada's Stockwatch, "Nazerali claims that the site portrays him as a criminal and a fraud artist, among other things. The site linked him with an Osama bin Laden associate and with members of the Mafia."
Conspiracy theorist/fantasist Mark Mitchell, Deep Capture blog

Among the defendants, according to Stockwatch, are Mitchell, Byrne, Deep Capture LLC -- the corporate shell Byrne created to house his astroturf site -- and High Plains Investments LLC. Since High Plains, a hedge fund wholly owned by Byrne, is considered a related company to Overstock.com, this raises the question of whether Byrne is obliged to disclose it in the company's filings.

Whatever. I only know this much: Canada's libel laws are similar to Britain's, in that they are heavily pro-plaintiff. Byrne had apparently gotten used to libeling low-income journalists in the U.S. He stepped out of his league when he went after a well-heeled business exec in Canada who lacks most journalists' qualms (and lack of resources) when it comes to filing libel suits.

That's the problem with bullies, I guess. Sometimes they pick on the wrong victim.

I hope, for his sake, that Byrne's trust fund is alive and well, and that big daddy's money is continuing to flow into his account. Defending libel suits is a costly proposition, easily running into the millions, and I have a funny feeling Byrne hasn't got libel insurance. I also believe (though don't hold me to it) that under Canadian libel law, the loser has to pay the winner's legal fees. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Mark Mitchell responds in the comments section, and I sur-respond.

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Pre-order by clicking here.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ant-Semitism at the Occupy Wall Street Rally?


I saw this same nut six days before the protests began

There has been some disturbing chatter on the Internet about anti-Semitism at the Occupy Wall Street protests in downtown Manhattan. It's discussed in this post on Daniel Sieradski's blog.

This is potentially dangerous stuff. If the OWS protests are hijacked by people with agendas, it could totally discredit the movement.

However, it seems to be a lot of nothing so far. I've seen no signs of anything like that myself, and I thought this post today on a right-wing blog was particularly unfair. It shows an anti-Semitic demonstrator at the OWS holding up a "Hitler's Bankers" sign.

It so happens I saw this same idiot in front of Trinity Church, at Wall Street and Broadway, on Sept. 11 -- six days before the Occupy Wall Street protest began. He was being ignored, which by the way is the best way to deal with a lone crackpot.

Any mass demonstration in New York City is going to draw nuts, and this one is no exception. But, the Internet being as it is, you can expect that any lone crackpots are going to get a great deal of attention.

According to Sieradski's blog, there were High Holiday services at Zuccotti Park.

I had more thoughts on Occupy Wall Street in my CNBC appearance on Friday, archived here.

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Pre-order by clicking here.

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Friday, October 07, 2011

A Grassroots Protest Comes to Wall Street

I appeared on CNBC's Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo today to discuss the Wall Street protests, and how they reflect deep-rooted, widespread — and amply justified — anger at the major banks.

A video of the segment can be found here.

This is a genuine grassroots movement, and as Paul Krugman pointed out today, it's refreshing to see a protest that targets the right people and institutions.

I'd urge everybody in the New York area to come down to Zuccotti Park and see this protest first-hand. It's not a bunch of anarchists and crackpots but consists of hundreds of idealistic people who are unhappy with the state of the nation and want to change it. I wasn't at Woodstock but I imagine this is what that must have been like (without the nudity and mud).

I noticed that the book collection that they have at the park contained no copies of my famous anti-Wall Street manifesto, Wall Street Versus America! Some kind soul should order up some copies and have them delivered there.

© 2011 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
------------------------------
AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, will be published by St. Martin's Press on Feb. 28, 2012. Pre-order by clicking here.

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