Monday, October 24, 2005

Market forces

Patrick Cockburn, in a story in the Indy on Sunday behind a pay barrier, writes about the weakness of the Iraqi government:
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Prime Minister, recently wanted to visit President Jalal Talabani, whose house is five minutes drive from the Green Zone. Mr al-Jaafari was told by his Western security men that he must delay the visit for a day because it would take 24 hours to arrange for him to travel safely even half a mile from the Green Zone.
He also notes that because Iraqi army commanders were given cash to pay their men, the army in reality is half the size of the army on paper, maybe 40,000. Also, of the 115 battalions, only 1 is not segregated along ethnic/sectarian lines.

Given Bill “Kitty Killer” Frist’s profiting, despite a supposed blind trust, by selling HCA stock at its height, just before the bottom fell out, the New Yorker reports on a study by a group of researchers at Georgia State into investments by senators, and guess what, they’re very very good market analysts, beating the market by an average of 12% per year (in 6,000 stock transactions 1993-8). Funny, that.

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