Chapter 6. Power to the Blogosphere

All economic movements, by their very nature, are motivated by crowd psychology.

Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

By the end of July 2008, Heyman had drawn up our complaint against Wachovia. A check had been forwarded as a retainer, plus $1,800 to be held in escrow to cover the FINRA arbitration filing. It was a terse, well-documented complaint. I called Heyman at his office and complimented him. It felt good having taken another step forward.

"It's a strong case," he said. We chatted for a while. "Still writing for blogs?"

I knew it was coming. "No comment."

"You're sticking your neck out."

"I am not going quietly into the dark night. Why should I?"

Heyman's retainer was a necessary bite. You pay for what you need and just suck it up. It was strange having to pay a five-figure retainer in order to get back money that belonged free and clear to us. We had no choice. Wachovia showed no hint of ever giving up the money unless forced to do so.

The FINRA filing fee was especially galling. It was on the order of paying a gang of thugs whose mission was to break my kneecaps. FINRA arbitration was like a bad joke at the expense of tens of thousands of consumers. The bank-financed organization is often mistaken for a government watchdog; it is anything but. The organization is a front, a so-called self-regulator, run by and for the well-being of its corporate sponsors.

Ordinary investors watched from the sidelines as the ...

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