On Long or Short Capital’s Criminal Liability

by Pleb, Esq.

Inserting the html for this picture was billed for 2 hours and $1600The next sentence will discuss what the memo will discuss. This memo discusses the risk of criminal liability for those who work at Long or Short Capital. Nothing gives me any reason to suspect that our staff are involved in criminal activity, but the Government’s recent waiver of certain optional social conventions and niceties (i.e. “the law”) means those who work at this firm may be subject to just about any treatment, except for waterboarding in Gitmo (waterboarding via rendition to Saudi Arabia remains above board).

The Government has discarded our traditional notions of due process and fair play and replaced them with a shower of golden benefits from a much older, yet somehow much more progressive rule, Force Majeure.

Force Majeure, from the french La Force Majeure is a legal term of art meaning “because we say so.” In the past, it described the principle that some forces of nature (such as wars, hurricanes, and leaders of unparalleled charisma and photogenic qualities) cannot be resisted, and all normal legal obligations and rights are therefore waived in its face. The doctrine was used as a defense against some poor sucker trying to enforce a contract. The new meaning, however, encompasses the power to re-write contracts. As the eminent commentators on Force Majeure Thomas Jefferson and Mao Tse Tung observed, “power comes from the barrel of a gun.”

Although some may disagree with Force Majeure as a guiding principle for the regulation of life and business generally, surely it is cause for celebration that the tiresome old Hegelian dialectic (Editor’s note: don’t worry if you don’t know what this means, not even lawyers do) has matured and reached its terminus. There’s no more back and forth and no more evolution of belief systems. Instead, the dialectic is looking down the barrel of an AK-47, trying not to crap its Frankfurt School underpants in its Nietzschean Lederhosen, and is being told to “shut the [bleep] up and eat your [bleep]ing vegetables, if you know what’s good for you.”

Recent examples of the exercise of Force Majeure abound. Just the other morning, a law was passed (aka “a press conference talking point”) outlawing the Federal bankruptcy code. Hedge fund managers dissented, noting that when seniority of debt was outlawed, only outlaws would hold senior debt, to which the White House Press Secretary replied, “that’s *so* true.” In another instance, somebody slipped a handful of Roofies into Chrysler’s drink at the Detroit Auto Show, after which it was forced to have sex in a very uncomfortable place (the back of a Pontiac) by some guys from the local Consolidated Union and their swarthy Italian buddy, Fiat, who settled for Daimler’s sloppy seconds.

You’ll do fine once you get used to the new rules. Things aren’t as bad as you think, we should revel in the fact that we have such an effective government under such a charismatic leader, President Ben Bernanke and his amiable bearded smugness. The idea of the Government rewriting your contracts in an ex parte and ex post facto manner seems unprecedented, but I’m sure you’ll adapt to that once you’re used to dealing with a Government that, as Judge Dredd would put it, is Judge Jury and Executor.

Now will you send up somebody to get the severed horse’s head out of my office? The process server brought this thing in attached to an summons cordially inviting you to testify before Senate Banking, and it is beginning to stink. He mentioned something about excessive management compensation and embezzlement, also creative accounting, but I’m not an lawyer accountant. It was difficult to hear him over the whir of my money counting machine.

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  1. Cory
    May 7th, 2009 | 3:07 pm


  2. May 7th, 2009 | 3:43 pm

    Money counting machine? Have you figured out a way to apply Force Majure to divorce precedings?

  3. Pleb
    May 7th, 2009 | 4:25 pm

    Yes, but Force Majeure v. Ex Wife is the classic case of Irresistable Force Meets Irrational Object. You tried the talking cure for 9 years; what makes you think 5 minutes with you doing your best Kimbo Slice impersonation is going to get through to her? It’s a deadlock, and the only way to break the deadlock is to pay your lawyer far, far more than she pays hers. The billing disparity results from your status as an invasive prey species in the Cougar’s natural habitat, a big room packed with middle aged, upper middle class men and a couple cute young guys who work for the Sheriff.

    The African antelope may be happy because the sun is shining, the plains are shimmering, and he is free to stand around and graze to his heart’s content. But ultimately he’s just filler for somebody else’s dinner plate. You my friend are like the antelope, except not as photogenic and believe me, nobody wants to pay $7,000 to go see you slaughtered by the hyenas.

    I hope this isn’t making you depressed or anything.

  4. May 7th, 2009 | 9:53 pm

    Yea, so basically what you’re saying is that theres no hedge for marriage.

    Got it.

  5. Pleb
    May 8th, 2009 | 8:50 am

    Anal yst – not exactly. There are some hedges but they are sector specific and they aren’t available to all investors.

    For instance, you can protect portions of the financial sector using the PreNup Derivative [Symb: PNpD]. The problem is this has adverse affects on the Domestic Nookie Supply Fund [Symb: ()]. You can hedge Nookie with an investment in Mistress [Symb: 8-D] but this raises the risk that your wife will invest in Shotgun [Symb: ∞] (a very reliable but dangerous investment) or squander your wealth on Poolboy [Symb: HmBO].

  6. May 8th, 2009 | 10:29 am

    @ Pleb

    Isn’t the symbol for Shotgun, “Ø?”

    Also, the PreNup Derivative, while customarily offering very strong protection, is often difficult to negotiate and implement.

  7. Bean Counter
    May 8th, 2009 | 12:15 pm


    What about the risk that the wife instead chooses to invest in Divorce Lawyer [Symb: SHRK] which will result in a 50% reduction of your portfolio?

  8. AKAL
    May 8th, 2009 | 4:09 pm

    The symbol for Shotgun depends on the number of barrels about to be unloaded on you.