the CAMP ENRON Report

... gateway to the next Progressive Era?

Some say it's nothing but a train wreck ... roll in the big cranes, clear the track, see what the crew's been smoking. If I thought so, I'd not be writing this ... and if they thought so, they'd not be drumming so hard.

For a brief orientation, see this
Welcome to Camp Enron

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Camp Enron Archives
01/01/2002 - 02/01/2002 02/01/2002 - 03/01/2002 03/01/2002 - 04/01/2002 04/01/2002 - 05/01/2002 05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003

(2) All "major" articles of older material have now been imported, some with updates worth perusing. We'll keep it all on the main page for a while, will add a few loose pieces of history, will trim the main page and index the archives for convenience later.


free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ... taking an imposing analytic toolkit out of the box, over the wall and into the street ... with callous disregard for accepted wisdom and standard English

reading the tea leaves from original angles, we've led with uncannily prescient takes on the federal surplus, the dotcom crash, the "Energy Crisis", the Afghan campaign, the federal deficit.

More where those came from ... stay tuned.

For brief orientation, see this
Welcome to CP

... gateway to the next Progressive Era?

For a brief orientation, see this
Welcome to Camp Enron

Many thanks to Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs, still shouting 'cross the Potomac at QuasiPundit. Early Camp Enron material can be found in QP's Dispatches department.
Wednesday, July 10, 2002

--- Bush's Corp Crime Speech: Hood Ornament or Bid for Suite Cred? ---

Wall Street's using the P-word openly now. How much credit for today's rout goes to GWB's tepidly inspirational speech Tuesday on Wall Street? How much goes to the embarrassingly unembarrassed testimony of Andersen's former WorldCom engagement partner Monday on Capitol Hill? And how much goes to the what Paul O'Neill describes as the "organic quality" of market dynamics?

You can make a case for "organic". This market stinks.

Treasury Sec. O'Neill and Commerce Sec. Don Evans took questions at a CNBC "Town Hall" telecast today. The Bush team is bullish on outrage. Evans: "I'm outraged." O'Neill: "People are legitimately outraged."

They're even more bullish on buck-passing. How can we restore investor confidence? Evans: "tell them they can have faith in the system" to weed out the few bad apples. O'Neill, by the way, still thinks they know how to privatize Social Security (even though the privatization task force crapped out even before the numbers went bad).

Andersen's guard dog fielded question after question almost disinterestedly, untroubled by his firm's failure to look for trouble -- even in retrospect -- on the WorldCom account. He refused to acknowledge any responsibility. He failed to concede they might have found the problem if they'd done this or that differently ... acted as if he didn't even think it an interesting question. I know he's been coached to avoid potentially damaging admissions, but this sends a damaging message to the whole market.

Some obsevers hail the new Corporate Fraud Task Force as the most significant announcement in GWB's program. Will Larry Thompson's duties as head of the DOJCFTF interfere with his duties as head of DOJ's Enron Task Force?

The Force gets no new $$$, no new staffing, no new authority. Members include DOJ's Thompson and Chertoff, Treasury's O'Neill, SEC's Pitt, FBI's Mueller, as well as the heads of FERC and CFTC. Upshot: they'll never get a meeting together, or all the meeting will be done by designees.

On the plus side, the task force "sends a powerful signal". NYT's Floyd Norris notes the SEC has historically had trouble getting DOJ to move on criminal referrals, and fraud is notoriously difficult to prosecute, even harder to convict.

Later on CNBC's Kudlow and Cramer, NY AG Eliot Spitzer TEES OFF MIGHTILY on Harvey Pitt: "every time I turn around he's up on Capitol HIll trying to cut my jurisdiction" ... SEC's revised rules on security analyst / banker independence are "Swiss cheese". Spitzer's a good lawyer, and used language I don't think a good lawyer uses against somebody who's cooperation will be needed again and again.

Senate Assistant Minority Leader Don Nickles (R-OK) gave the GOP counterpoint. The important thing now is to "avoid overregulation" ... a couple of bad apples "bent the rules" ... bringing up the Sarbanes bill (which Gramm thought he had blocked) is "political" ... calls for Pitt's head are "political". PREDICTION UPDATE: Lott will not repeat as Minority Leader, and Nickles will not be his replacement.

Standard & Poor's kicked seven non-US firms out of the S&P 500, making it an all-US Big Cap index (and incidentally weighting it more heavily to financials, less heavily to commodities). "All US" is an odd concept in a world of increasingly global big cap's. [Note to self: find out if this includes US firms with make-believe Bermuda addresses.]

Across the pond, Alcatel is now officially junk. Irish pharma Elan is junk, with accounting "troubles". Out of our regular orbit, if you hadn't noticed, Latin America is going in the crapper. (Brazil's industrial output fell 5% in a month.) What if all these little troubles glom together? Could it be ... Big Trouble?