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Msg  19452 of 44281  at  6/17/2008 9:07:55 PM  by


Shooting Fish in a Barrel Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Hey Sports Fans,

I came home from work early with a toothache. I see so many people defend me here. That's nice. I wonder if even you defenders get how nonsensical are most of the attacks. As far as I can tell, whenever there is some unknown, the bad guys invent the worst interpretation possible, knowing no one here (including them) knows the truth on that point. They have wiggle room, and they wiggle.

So for those supporters who do wonder what the truth is on these points the miscreants raise, I'll fill some squares in here.  None of these trip any Reg FD issues, I think it is safe to say.

1) In the early days of Overstock I got a lot out of reading message boards. Both supporters and detractors posted things that I had not seen or thought of, and was able to take to heart. Call it, "The Power of the Swarm." In fact, there was a short-oriented analyst that posted his analysis of something (I forget what it was) that was actually really valuable, and we changed what we were doing based on it. Then the organized hedge fund choagies showed up, and clogged, and it became less and less valuable on that score. Still, I tend to come to Investor Village at least once/week, and while I do not read every post, I do skim and still occasionally find useful thoughts.
    I  think I have all of these people on Ignore, yet occasionally I respond to one. How is that? From reading your interchanges with them. If it looks from reading your posts that one of the miscreants has said something interesting, I use the "In response to" feature, or else just sign out so that all the ignored messages appear. I did that today, see what they are clogging about, and will throw up some answers. It feels odd doing so, because it is hard to believe anyone would fall for their crapola, but I might as well give my supporters the ammunition.

2) "Gag order"? There is no gag order. In Overstock II (that is, our case against the Prime Brokers), some documents will be turned over in discovery marked "Highly confidential," and are for attorneys' eyes only.  That is pretty normal, I think, and in any case, fine by me. Probably even for the best, because otherwise, I would someday write something on DeepCapture that they would say I learned through discovery, and I do not want that to happen.

3) The "1,000 companies" question?  The miscreants ask for examples. If you give one like "Taser" they say something like, "It does not count because it did not go under." If one gives as an example a company that did go under, they say, "That does not count because it is a crappy company: see, it went under!" In other words, no data disconfirms their theory. When someone holds a theory which no data can disconfirm, it is not a theory, it is  dogma.
    The truth is, the range of responsible estimates themselves vary all over. Bob Drummond's piece in Bloomberg ("Games Short Sellers Play") said that hundreds of companies are victimized each month. Robert Shapiro has given numbers ranging in the hundreds to a thousand or more. Those in the industry who are on my side (and there are many) widely describe that number as being a vast underestimate. One could argue that any company that went BK while on the Reg SHO list is possibly an example, just as one could argue that anyone who dies in a hospital where some psychopath had poisoned the food is possibly a murder victim (some would have died anyway, some wouldn't have, but one should still not poison hospital food, right?).
    But I return to the point they have dodged here.  My response to all their hooey is, "Could be. Or maybe not. Let us see the data." When the regulator is refusing to release data on the grounds that it could crack the system, it does not fill me, for one, with confidence.

3) From my brief acquaintance with their current claims they cannot seem to make up their minds about whether I tout the stock or not. I have a clip around here somewhere I'll have to dig up. It is Jim Cramer, in 2004 or 2005, claiming that I was manipulating OSTK because I was always under-promising then trouncing the numbers. Then the Party Line became that I was touting the stock by "promising" high numbers that I did not deliver.  Again, their theory is that I manipulate OSTK, and the data they adduce in support of their theory is either that we surpass expectations, or miss them. A theory that is confirmed by all possible data is not a theory, it's dogma.

4) Somebody quoted a miscreant saying something to the effect that I had to know no one would believe me about saying the stock was risky (I cannot find the post now). Again, that's just dumb. I think I'm the most transparent CEO around, and when I said that this was a risky and manipulated stock, I meant it. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I don't even understand the miscreant's claim: what Machiavellian purpose might I have been pursuing by saying that?

5) Seedy bars and CNBC fax machines - As I mentioned in DeepCapture, I had two witnesses to the conversation where a threat was conveyed. And that was just the beginning: the threats are fully documented.  And I stand by the fax machine comment 100% (and in fact, have confirmed it with another source). It is hilarious to me that miscreants quote that as though it were given that one should reject it a priori. It sure seems to have touched a nerve with CNBC. But no, I am not going to reveal publicly who told me that: as a journalist I must protect my sources. People can decide for themselves whether to believe me or not on that one.

6) If any of you good guys ever want me to give you ammunition by answering some of their accusations, please feel free to ask. Just post a question here and drop me an email to draw my attention to it. As long as I can answer while staying within the four corners of Reg FD, I will.

7) I have one great misgiving hovering over all this tit-for-tat, and that is, it plays into their agenda of clogging the discourse. In my view, all of their stuff reads like Sam Antar. It amounts to,  "In 2002 you said that you don't like blue but I saw you in a blue shirt last week and you carried the book Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon and your eyes are blue so does that mean you don't like what you are reading and how do you answer the charge that you are prejudiced against Native Americans?" It is total gibberish unworthy of response. You have to ask yourselves, why are they doing it? And I think it is all part of their scheme to clog away any understanding of what this fight is really about.

What is this fight about? Stealing from a recent blog, these are the claims I began making publicly in 2005:

a) The SEC had grown inappropriately close to Wall Street (which SEC Senior Investigator Gary Aguirre and a Senate Judiciary Committee report have since confirmed);

b) The New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was a corrupt finger-puppet (subsequent events have confirmed the corruption, and I am waiting for anyone in the press to see the “finger-puppet” implication of Spitzer’s favorite girl, Ashlee, living rent-free in the summer home of Spitzer’s biggest donor, Jim Chanos);

c) Certain hedge funds had grown inappropriately close to certain journalists of the financial press (which CNBC’s own Jim Cramer has since confirmed);

d) As a result of the indolence of the SEC, New York Attorney General, and financial press, a circle of hedge funds were taking down companies through:

When the miscreants go on their chants about how I make claims I do not back up, I would suggest you stick that in their face, rather than play their game of arguing about which companies that were poisoned deserved it.


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Msg # Subject Author Recs Date Posted
19453 Re: Shooting Fish in a Barrel Shooting Fish in a Barrel HANGMAN COMING 0 6/17/2008 9:21:30 PM
19454 Re: Shooting Fish in a Barrel Shooting Fish in a Barrel aok1903 2 6/17/2008 9:22:47 PM
19456 Re: Shooting Fish in a Barrel Shooting Fish in a Barrel bigboyfloyd 0 6/17/2008 10:17:21 PM
19461 Re: Shooting Fish in a Barrel Shooting Fish in a Barrel rashomon 1 6/17/2008 11:03:54 PM
19462 Re: Shooting Fish in a Barrel Shooting Fish in a Barrel DarlJDumont 1 6/17/2008 11:09:53 PM
19481 Re: Shooting Fish in a Barrel Shooting Fish in a Barrel medchal 1 6/18/2008 10:09:57 AM
19501 Maybe he put two fingers on each side of his head, to put it in quotes. DarlJDumont 0 6/18/2008 11:57:48 AM

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