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So, anything happen while I was away?  Not to worry, Overstock fans, the loyal shareholder base will have this bid back up quickly, what with none of those pesky non-borrowing shorts to get in the way…

Now we come to a rather disjointed section whose slender common thread seems to be to introduce us to the generically named Market Reform Movement.  It starts, oddly enough, with a description of Patrick Byrne nominal day job, CEO of Overstock.Com, which Mitchell rather left-handedly describes as “at least for a while” looking like a potentially serious competitor to Amazon.  As in, not anymore of course.  Of course that didn’t stop Byrne from asserting that Overstock deserved to be valued as richly as Amazon, despite small issues like Amazon having long ago gotten over its chronic money-losing tendencies and Overstock, not so much.

The Market Reform Movement is described as a product of an era where “you don’t have to be entirely normal to make a positive difference in the world”.  Although what happens when your definition of a “positive difference” is part of what’s abnormal about you, is a question not addressed.  (The answer, sadly, is all-too-frequently such miscarriages as the so-called “9/11 Truth” movement — but that’s a subject for another blog, or should I say many other blogs.)

The section then swerves into an aside about the identity of the “Easter Bunny”, who also refers to himself as “Bob O’Brien” (to the great annoyance, no doubt, of the CNBC commentator of the same name), and the need to protect it.  The whole thing seems a bit much, given that Patrick Byrne has not been martyred in any of the many ways he has predicted over the years, nor has anything foul befallen Phil Saunders, the individual most commonly named as the man behind the long ears, who Mitchell partway names himself but then stops short in an “aren’t I just bursting with integrity by not repeating the full story” way.  And then, he just dismisses the whole matter with a “whatever” as if he wasn’t the one who went off on that tangent in the first place.

And then, something funny happens: Mitchell declares Byrne’s whole movement “mainstream”.  (Please note that this was written well before SEC Chairman Cox unaccountably gave it his rub.)  Members of Congress (who, as we know, never jump on a bandwagon they don’t fully understand), “brave” individuals inside the SEC, the US Chamber of Commerce (whose reputation is not the least bit sullied by the number of its prominent members found to be engaged in stock fraud), famous trial lawyers (see Congress), respected economists (as if there exists a market theory not embraced by a gaggle of them), and “recovering stockbrokers” (poor Mark — how was he to know that stockbrokers were about to be portrayed as victims in this whole scheme?) are listed as the membership that establishes it as mainstream.  Missing from that list is any segment of the media, but of course that just makes them all part of the conspiracy.

All of the above come together on a single conclusion: hundreds of companies have been victimized by this grand conspiracy, yet not one can be named that was even a marginally healthy and fraud-free business before the short-sellers invaded and took it down.

And that is where this most-awkward-thus-far of sections leaves it.

Next week: Mitchell gets naked.


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