Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Getting Caught Is The Only No-No

We have been pointing out the strange and anti-American scenario where war profiteers own the news media, and therefore can more easily form public opinion.

These posts are showing patterns which indicate that something is greatly wrong with this picture.

In this post we are going to focus on mystery financial patterns that have shown up in similar business scenarios.

Looking back, we can see that the primary action which made Bernard Madoff most famous to the everyday citizen was getting caught.

Until that happened, he was just a mysterously successful investor businessman who had his propaganda down very well:
But the mystery broker turns out to be none other than Bernard L. Madoff -- a highly successful and controversial figure on Wall Street, but until now not known as an ace money manager.
(Wall Street Journal, emphasis added). When some expert and astute observers warned that his financial reports were not probable, everyone said "sour grapes" and "it is envy" and thus Madoff went about his "legitimate business" undeterred.

In fact, in the WSJ article cited above, like the sheriff who had Jesse James in a cell but didn't realize it, instead pointing out the cool guns and outfit he was carrying and wearing, the WSJ went on to say:
Mr. Madoff's firm can execute trades so quickly and cheaply that it actually pays other brokerage firms a penny a share to execute their customers' orders, profiting from the spread between bid and asked prices that most stocks trade for.
(ibid). We have pointed out that the same pattern was visible for years leading up to the Enron debacle:
Enron Corp. was named today the “Most Innovative Company in America” for the sixth consecutive year by Fortune magazine.
(One Offspring of Propaganda). That was the story up until the time Enron evaporated, and the only thing left was vapors of disbelief wafting around amongst the cries of anguish of those who Enron financially destroyed.

The same pattern has been showing itself in GE, and it trickles down to those who fancy themselves as journalists in GE's puppet media. The pattern had been spotted in 2002, however, by the real media:
Two weeks before his inauguration, Mr. Bush invited Jack Welch [GE], Ken Lay [Enron] and a bevy of C.E.O.'s down to Texas, and he has always run the White House by the cardinal rules in their playbook. A chief executive can do no wrong.
(NYT, Frank Rich, emphasis added). This was the party to plan the end of the age of robber barons, and then begin the age of plunder.

We pointed out how the military was hurting for money from congress, which works to cover their ponzi scheme (enough money must be coming in from a legitimate source in such schemes to dampen suspicion), and how the Bush wars solved that problem for them.

I was doing some fishing on an educational website, and I came across an interesting discussion by Christopher Oster and Ken Brown, both were staff reporters of The Wall Street Journal.

Both were able observers who had noticed the same "mystery financial figures" in the financial reports of GE, AIG, Enron, and others. We know that AIG and Enron went down not too long after that, so their suspicions certainly merit further consideration. Notice their focus:
New York-based AIG falls into the realm of black-box companies both because of its sheer size and because it is in the insurance industry, which itself is rife with black-box issues.
Shining one of its famous light bulbs onto its financial statements would help explain one of the great mysteries of the stock market -- how GE has managed to produce steady earnings growth for better than two decades even though many of its businesses are cyclical in nature.
As Wall Street started asking more questions last year about how energy companies were accounting for their trading-floor gains, Williams's then-chief executive, Keith E. Bailey, moved to distance his company from Enron and its opaque accounting, its related-party transactions and what Mr. Bailey described as Enron's aggressive appetite for risk.
(NYU, emphasis). Note that these observations were made before the facts hit the fan, companies went down, and the public gasped at the facts but did not grasp them.

A lot of the "mystery" of how companies closely tied to the Pentagon outflow of money continue along oblivious to the norms of accounting is not really a mystery:
"According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," Rumsfeld admitted.

$2.3 trillion — that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million.

"We know it's gone. But we don't know what they spent it on," said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Minnery, a former Marine turned whistle-blower, is risking his job by speaking out for the first time about the millions he noticed were missing from one defense agency's balance sheets. Minnery tried to follow the money trail, even crisscrossing the country looking for records.

"The director looked at me and said 'Why do you care about this stuff?' It took me aback, you know? My supervisor asking me why I care about doing a good job," said Minnery.

He was reassigned and says officials then covered up the problem by just writing it off.
(CBS Evening News). What is being suggested is that foggy accounting at the Pentagon and foggy accounting at GE showing "mysterious profits" are not mysteries but instead are, as Church Lady says, "convenient".

Like when GE and The Carlyle Group get together to get all mavericky with tax dollars originally in the U.S. Treasury.

The SEC internal watchdog reports incompetent agency actions at times when financial ponzi scheme is obvious (Hat tip to Mark). Also found a piece detailing GE being fined by the SEC for improper accounting.

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