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6/27/02

VIEW FROM THE MOUNT

Sober Thought Provoking Essays
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and the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE . . .

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Some folks rail against other folks, because other folks have what some folks would be glad of. - Henry Fielding

Steward of the Public Trust

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Is this Martha a wicked witch?

Martha Stewart, is a public figure, but her accountability does not extend to becoming a trustee, for the well being of the economy. Her responsibility is to her stock holders, her customers and fulfilling her business obligations. With the recent hullabaloo over insinuations that she benefited from inside information on a stock sale of ImClone, we are supposed to believe that this diva of wall street is an incarnation of Jay Gould. Well, you don't have to like Martha, but you sure don’t have to take delight in the 'national sport' that revolves around an executioner press.

Allegations that seem to point to her culpability, don't tell the real tale of economic trust. The entire notion that insiders are endowed with special charges that proprietary knowledge risks criminality by the mere slip of a lip, is symptomatic of the "rush to judgment" that rules this 'PC' culture. Why is this a story to begin with? Will a mere transaction of less than 4,000 shares ruin an economy? Should Ms. Stewart be tarred and feathered for using etiquette banned by the SEC? Or are we supposed to hang Martha's stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, from the highest tree for getting her out of a down market?

Many will say the law must be enforced. But that attitude misses the mark in the nature of markets and the realities of the current conditions. Wall Street does not operate to fund sound investments. It is the ultimate gamble that the Monte Carlo Casino could only dream of controlling the same odds. But our entire economy and commercial way of life depends on roller coaster deviations, which are more the reflection of manipulations, than mere independent market decisions.

Let's be honest about this actuality. The Martha caper is a diversion from real economic issues. What we all should be concerned about is - The Coming US Dollar Implosion. But the media and the financial press wants you to be consumed with the decor and color scheme that Ms. Steward will use to enhance her jail cell. The current state of financial coverage is virtually non existent, even with all the continuous coverage on cable. The case for thoughtful economic analysis is ignored by most of the public. The idea that money matters are difficult to understand is absurd. There certainly are complexities involved in specific subjects, but why do people go out of their way to protect their ignorance?

KISS - let's keep it simple stupid - but not dull . . .

When the dollar loses value in relationship to other currencies, YOU the consumer have less purchasing power! HELLO ???  Did you hear that and do you understand the concept? What advantages that corporations may gain from more competitive foreign sales will not filter down into your family budget. The scam that the trickle down will run into your account is like believing that insider trading is an abnormality. Now my next visit to Europe will cost me more - in U.S. Federal Reserve Notes. We hope you already understand that the reality of a U.S. Dollar is a myth. So why should you accept the nonsense that you are fed, that it really isn't bad when the dollar slips in value?

Domestic manufactures use this opportunity to increase their margins (that means the price to you) when your currency is under assault. What a deal! When we warn about record balance of payment deficits, most disregard that they are a prime cause of the crash in the dollar. What you will hear from the press is that this abnormality will correct itself with the increase in U.S. sales to foreign buyers, now that the dollar is weak. What they conceal from you is that the level of costs to you, will inflate as it will take more dollars to secure the same purchase.

So we experience the worst of all worlds. A reduction brake on domestic jobs that are unrelated to international trade, higher charges on native commerce because of increased margins, and inflated prices on foreign products because the dollar has lost its relative value. This translates into a fall in "true purchasing power" in wages with the slow down in the economy.

But why should you care? It's more interesting to hear the speculation as to what Martha said to her friend Dr. Bart Pasternak, his estranged wife, what they said and when did they know it and what trades did they make - just as the Drudge Report!

The voyeurism rage that dominates the 24 hours news cycle is now extended into the spectator watch. Too bad that half the energies are not redirected into the Marc Rich trades? No, she must be punished - just look at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia share price.

The market always corrects . . . but when will they rectifiy the excesses in the currency markets that has destroyed Japan to a beggars economy and threatens to do the same for America?

The action against Sam Waksal, the former ImClone CEO recently arrested on insider-trading charges is understandable, since he has a fiduciary duty to his company. So why is a Marc Rich allowed to skate the wheels of accountability? Well we all should know the answer that his friends in high places, were involved with their own insider deals with him. Poor Martha, was just sipping white wine and taking the Palmer Vineyards Tour with her Hamptons set. Her big wigs were just yuppies . . .

Divert the focus from the crucial issues. Explain them as too complex for the general society to understand. Down play their significance and feed the public a steady diet of trivia that raises their own level of envy and satisfaction in the fall of an icon.

All the time the dollar, the market and your economic security and future goes into the tank. The vat it sinks into will have the smell of a "Value Added Tax" before it tastes likes the intoxicating bubbles of Champagne. Martha has lost a fortune over this snafu, but her shareholder are the real victims in the crash of the companies' stock price. The American public are the ultimate losers in the collapse of the dollar, so why won't they direct their energies on a universal issue that effects all of us? Maybe it is because the diva is a more appealing target . . .

SARTRE - June 27, 2002

There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.
 - Erich Fromm

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