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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week

So let's recap, shall we? A TV Azteca company refuses to pay a debt. Then that debt is acquired by TV Azteca's chairman. Then -- lo and behold! -- all of a sudden TV Azteca falls over itself paying this debt to TV Azteca's chairman.

Even Dumber than this whole scenario is Salinas' reaction to the unfolding events. After first denying any connection to Codisco, he eventually admitted "indirect" ownership. And on Tuesday he defended the deals that he previously hid: "The transactions discussed in the SEC press release benefited Unefon, TV Azteca and their shareholders, and I stand behind them," a press release quoted him as saying.

And if indeed patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, Salinas got extremely patriotic Tuesday. "It's absurd for the SEC to use a Mexican company and Mexican citizens to try to impose U.S. regulations in an extraterritorial manner, unilaterally ignoring international laws and the Mexican legal framework," said Salinas, wrapping himself comfortably in the local flag. "It is these irresponsible and arbitrary SEC actions, not the Unefon debt transactions, which are adversely affecting both minority and majority shareholders."

Hmmm. Insult the SEC if you will, but we were always under the impression that if you wanted to raise money in the U.S. markets, you had to play by U.S. rules. And we marvel at the utter nuttiness of the idea that it isn't Salinas' self-dealing, but the SEC's reaction to it, which has hurt minority shareholders. If Salinas believes that related-party deals with financial vehicles controlled by a senior executive is a great idea, we'd like to introduce him to a company named Enron.

4. Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?

Delta Air Lines (DAL) revealed a fascinating new business strategy this week: mutually assured destruction.

The air carrier -- which, like most of the other carriers that haven't filed for bankruptcy yet, is perilously close to Chapter 11 -- announced a radical price-cutting strategy Wednesday. Delta is cutting its most expensive fares by up to 50%, and it's eliminating various restrictions on ticket purchases, such as the traditional Saturday night stay-over required to land a cheap fare.

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