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Smoke, mirrors and financial accounting

How did the basket-cases of the US banking industry manage to post such, relatively, healthy results?

It's all done by sleight of hand, as Dealbook helpfully explains.

I particularly liked Goldman Sachs' stunt of simply eliminating a bad month from its quarterly report. That's financial genius at work.

Are US banking executives so schooled in the art of deception that they can no longer distinguish fact from fiction or right from wrong? Or is the honest-to-goodness truth just too awful to contemplate?

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