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 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-Oct-2010
24-Oct-10 News -- The mysterious case of David Kotok

Web Log - October, 2010

24-Oct-10 News -- The mysterious case of David Kotok

Palestinians will give the peace process more time

The mysterious case of John Mauldin and David Kotok

Last week I posted an article, "19-Oct-10 News -- Analyst John Mauldin is turned by the foreclosure issue," in which I quoted a newsletter from financial analyst John Mauldin.

In that newsletter, Mauldin quoted a lengthy personal letter that he received from another financial analyst, David Kotok.

Kotok, in turn, quotes an e-mail message he received "from sources that are in the financial services business and with whom I have a personal relationship. The original text was laced with expletives and I would not use it in the form I received it." He adds that, "The writer shall remain anonymous." Kotok also put the text of the message on his own web site.

Well, apparently Kotok took the text from the web site of yet another financial analyst, Gonzalo Lira. Lira accuses Kotok of plagiarism, and provides links to support the charge, and then accuses Kotok of trying to cover it up.

Lira adds, "If Mr. Kotok would so foolishly plagiarize from an obscure, insignificant blogger in order to look good—and then lie about it to cover his tracks—then one has to wonder what other actions he would commit, in order to look good."

I can see ways that this could have been an innocent mistake by Kotok, or even that he himself was duped by the person who sent him the e-mail message, but Lira seems convinced that it was deliberate plagiarism.

I remember how I used to be really harshly castigated, 4-5 years ago, for talking about widespread fraud, and how a lot of people in real estate and banking were crooks. Some people were furious with me for being so accusatory, especially of Generation-Xers, and some people thought I was mentally ill (which I may well be). One person said, "You think everyone's a crook? You're really sick."

And yet, here we are in 2010, and everything I said 4-5 years ago was an understatement. As can be seen from yesterday's posting, "23-Oct-10 News -- Foreclosure crisis will cost $10 trillion," the amount of widespread fraud among the bankers and the government regulators is beyond belief.

I was particularly struck by the William Black's statistics: During the 1980s savings and loan crisis, thousands of people were criminally referred by regulators, while during this crisis, which is 40 times bigger, not one single criminal referral has been made. And the FBI is actually in league with the Mortgage Bankers Association, the perpetrators of the fraud.

And what really gets me is that these bankers still think they deserve million dollar bonuses. These f-----g b-----ds still believe that they're doing such a good job at screwing the public that they should receive unlimited rewards for doing so.

It sounds almost like a teenager ranting when I say that Wall Street and Washington are being run by crooks and liars, but the level of fraud and corruption going on today isn't remotely close to anything that's happened in my lifetime.

So, did David Kotok intentionally plagiarize from Gonzalo Lira? Ten years ago, I would have given Kotok the benefit of the doubt. But today I could easily believe that he's a crook screwing his clients. What does he say about price/earnings ratios? That might tell us something about him.

Additional links

An Israeli anti-settlement group is saying that since the since settlement moratorium expired on September 26, Jewish settlers have begun building 600 settlement homes -- four times the rate as before the moratorium. Both the U.S. and the U.N have condemned the settlement building. VOA

A top Palestinian Authority negotiator says that the Palestinians have not abandoned the peace process, and are not ready to fulfill previous threats, including the threat to ask the United Nations for an international mandate for a Palestinian state based on Israel's pre-1967 borders. Nor has Mahmoud Abbas stepped down as Palestinian president, as he had threatened to do if the moratorium were not extended. The Palestinians will give the Obama administration additional time to bring about a compromise solution. Jerusalem Post

From 2004 - Poor neighborhood in Haiti
From 2004 - Poor neighborhood in Haiti

The picture on the right was part of the article that I wrote on Haiti in 2004. Haiti's environment has never improved since then, and became much worse after the recent earthquake flattened much of the country. Now, a deadly epidemic of cholera is spreading rapidly through Haiti, and has killed almost 200 people already. Miami Herald

China has started an online mapping service to compete with google maps, and other mapping services. will particularly focus on China's geography. Bloomberg

As the law to raise France's retirement age from 60 to 62 nears passage, France is being hit by the worst strikes in 15 years. The city of Marseille is almost completely shut down, with garbage filling the streets, petrol unavailable, streets blockaded by abandoned cars, and ships unable to dock. A poll of French people shows that a majority support the strike -- but oppose shutting down the services that they personally depend on. Telegraph

As Russia's economy deteriorates, it is becoming increasingly depending on economic integration with China. However, new strains are emerging in military relationships between Russia and China, especially as China pirates Russia's weapons designs and invades Russia's markets. Jamestown Foundation

Relations between Japan and China remain tense, as anti-Japan riots and demonstrations continue in China. Japan Times

Why can't middle-aged women have long hair? NY Times

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Oct-10 News -- The mysterious case of David Kotok thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Oct-2010) Permanent Link
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