The Genie is Out of the Bottle
It's been quite a weekend for Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor for Britain's highest-circulating newspaper the Daily Telegraph. His coverage of the entire fiancial crisis has been absolutely first-rate, with a tireless supply of perspective and investigative reporting that has contributed enormously to the greater public's understanding of these unprecedented events. As a student of Anthropology among other disciplines, I always admired the groundbreaking work by his father E.E. Evans-Pritchard, who helped pioneer major theoretical reforms for modern anthropological practice. Some of his writings sit above my head as I sit here and blog for you.
Just as we are whipped up into a rally-fed frenzy of fantasy green shoots, along he came with an article last week which included a lengthy series of shocking quotations attributed to a certain private-sector participant in the TARP program. Evans-Pritchard quoted the individual as calling the program a "sham", forecasting a "catastrophic increase in the number of LBO’s (leveraged buyouts) going into default". and suggesting that "the only way out is to debase the currency, but that is going to lead to some very high inflation three years down the road". I read the story on the Telegraph website, but by the time I went to write about it, the link no longer produced the article ... it had been pulled.
I have seen no explanation forthcoming from the Daily Telegraph for why the article was pulled from the website. Given the potential public-relations implications of such a scalding critique potentially emanating from a participant in the program, I am not entirely surprised to see the article disappear, but I am surprised at the lack of public inquiry into the matter from either the mainstream press or the broader public. I, for one, would like an explanation. One blogger who posted text of the original article that matches what I read before the piece disappeared, claims to have received a communication on behalf of the quoted individual, claiming that the article in question "fabricated, misquoted, and misstated" his position.
Disclosure: By reporting to you what I have seen on the web, and providing links, I make no claims about the material contained in those links, and leave it to Fools to conduct their own research into the matter and form their own conclusions about what may or may not have transpired. Furthermore, by reporting that quotes as summarized above were thus attributed in the original article as I read it before it ceased to appear, I make no claims whatsoever as to the veracity of said attribution. Since I have encountered no public notice of retraction nor any other such explanation for the article's failure to load, I have no verifiable reason to suspect that the article has been removed for any reason other than the possible reasons listed on the Telegraph's "Error 404" page.
Well, one might think that potentially fueling an international uproar of speculation about what might or might not have been said at the Qatar Global Investment Forum would have some business editors laying low for a couple of days... but not Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. He came out today with another article blasting the U.S. fiscal response to the present crisis, building off of a BBC report that cited the chief finance spokesman for Japan's opposition party saying that it would invest only in yen-denominated U.S. bonds rather than accepting the risk of dollar devaluation. The article also boldly claims that China "suspects that Washington is engineering a stealth default on America's debt by the trickery of quantitative easing".
Are you intrigued? I am! Where's the press? Where is the critical thinking? Where are we on our government's list of priorities? What is the real future of the American economy and the incurably impaired U.S. dollar? I believe the answers are clear, and I believe that much was revealed in recent days to the less-than-casual observer.
This is the most important time in any of our lives to walk with our eyes open, no mater how unpleasant the resulting conclusions may be. It's much more fun to believe in green shoots, until they turn out to be lies.
Be careful, Fools!
P.S. - Have you listened to the Bloomberg radio interview with Jim Sinclair that I posted last week?