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Little Big Man on the NYSE

View from the Mount

Sober Thought Provoking Essays

When the white man discover this county Indians were running it
No taxes no debt, women did all the work
 White man thought he could improve on a system like this . . .
Old Cherokee saying

Little Big Man on the NYSE

Dick - smoken that grass will loose your hair
They give the wampum then take it away . . .

According to Old Lodge Skins:  "This will be the first time I have ever faced the whites as an enemy. I have always believed they had a reason for what they did and I still do. They are strange and do not seem to know where the center of the world is. And because of that, I have never liked them but never hated them either. However, recently they have been behaving badly towards the Human Beings. Therefore, we must rub them out." When Jack Crabb was adopted into a Cheyenne tribe, who knew that the spirit of his adopted grandfather would foretell Custer's Last Stand at Little Big Horn. From the 1970 movie, Little Big Man, Dick Grasso might learn an important lesson.

The New York Stock Exchange is in turmoil, not because of the mammoth compensation for the resigned head of the tribe, but because it lost its way in search of an incessant happy hunting ground. That other “little big man” survived the wrath of the cavalry.  Jack saved his own life by saying to the horsemen: “God save George Washington”. So what would the father of our country say about an exchange that breeds greed more often than a new-sprung papoose?

The rightful purpose of any stock market is to raise funds to finance new business ventures and to increase capital to expand existing partnerships. The ordained nature of a public company is that shareholders are the intended owners and the enterprise exists to conduct commerce. When cherry trees are clear cut, you won’t plant a thriving Mount Vernon on Wall Street. The real skirmish is more with imbibed braves than simply counting the loot.  Inbreeding within a culture that operates upon the false parameter that making money is what the markets are all about, caused the trail of tears for the rest of the last Cheyenne that lost their fortune with the expansion of carpetbaggers.

Be honest and stand up as did the young George. Tell the truth, admit the offense. The New York Stock Exchange is the extreme closed shop. In an era where specialists hang onto their privileged position in making a markets, we see the auction taken to levels of decimals when it use to be a fraction. If efficiency was the rule, computer trading and NASDAQ would reign. Not so, the prevailing chief on the street is still the Big Board.

Dick Grasso is no Geronimo. By all calculated standards his leadership has been superior. However; the fact that analysts, hedge fund managers, stock totters and insider traders grew rich and loved the bubble, doesn’t means that prosperity came to the wilderness. Scalps taken from defenseless settlers, is a sign of success for the savages. Pilgrims in search of a heaven on earth are treated as squatters, because the land is owned by the Corporate/State axis. The NYSE is an icon of Capitalism, while it stifles Free Enterprise. When a real hero of American business, TJ Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor says on the Neil Cavuto program that the exchange has forced disclosure and reporting requirements upon his company, but operates as a secret club for brokerage firms, we get the real story. Investment bankers that pray to their saint - JP Morgan - seek their afterlife salvation within the consortium.

On the same FOX News, “Your World”, from an interview with James Needham, former NYSE Chairman:

CAVUTO: You say Dick Grasso has to go. Why?

NEEDHAM: “Well, I think it’s pretty apparent at this point that he has done a very fine job for us, but the truth of the matter is that his board hasn’t been of assistance to him. They’ve come up with these cockamamie ideas on compensation and they just misled him.

You’re supposed to have a board that supports you and gives you good ideas and prevents you from getting into trouble, and Dick didn’t have that kind of treatment. That’s why I feel the way I do. He goes because it’s just too late to save him, and the board goes because they showed incompetence at this time.”

Here is the question that good old George Washington would answer. Is the incompetence of the NYSE board due to a departure of business as usual, or because they were stewards at the time, when their self serving actions were exposed?

In the spirit of full disclosure, the sale of our business was to a NYSE company that enhanced our retirement. Notwithstanding, taking the cash; the reality of being underwritten for a public float would have been infeasible. The clique for the cabal doesn’t allow mavericks to get financing from the exchange. Since the fundamental function of creating financing has been abandoned for the fun sport of playing the horses, the odds of beating the casino are slim. The point is that there should be no house that runs a stud poker game. All they should do is to raise money to stake the prospector. The business of trading steeds, is a function that would best serve the public if it was separated from the Kudlow’s and Cramer’s.

Proposals from Hank Paulson, Goldman Sachs CEO, that would prohibit securities industry directors from sitting on the NYSE Board, allowing them instead to form an advisory committee with no governance or voting power, are just a start. At least it is finally acknowledged openly, that there is an inherent conflict of interest currently embedded in the Big Board's structure - namely that its board members are regulated by the Exchange itself. The correct solution is not more regulation, but separation of functions into segregated entities.

Grasso was a big man in promoting and distancing the NYSE from other competitors. He can hardly be assailed for not performing. On the contrary, he could contribute to a systematic dismantling of a culture that turned on him. The little ‘man’ is actually the big gorilla itself. A cartel that actually favors the big government model, because it puts down the little free enterprise start ups that might take market share away from the behemoths that acquire and merge with each other, behind closed doors.

Don’t fall for the slick cardsharp. The sharks swim in broad sight on a street paved with illusion. Crazy Horse is out gunned against this army of suits. Grasso is being tabbed as a fall guy to avert attention from the core avarice that has supplanted the mission for legitimate profits. Like Jack Crabb, Grasso is now tarred-and-feathered. Will he join a new regulator as an act of revenge against the exchange? Will he make a stand at the battle for the little guy or will he still support the big tin horns? Jack was saved at Custer’s last stand and found himself back with Old Lodge Skins. History is yet to be recorded on a warrior named Dick.

SARTRE - September 19, 2003

A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky - Crazy Horse

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