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Monday, November 16, 2009

How Goldman Sachs jerks America around

Always has, and always will -- including the next ripoff, carbon credits. At least, so says a smart guy named Matt Taibbi. He concludes:

It's not always easy to accept the reality of what we now routinely allow these people to get away with; there's a kind of collective denial that kicks in when a country goes through what America has gone through lately, when a people lose as much prestige and status as we have in the past few years. You can't really register the fact that you're no longer a citizen of a thriving first-world democracy, that you're no longer above getting robbed in broad daylight, because like an amputee, you can still sort of feel things that are no longer there.

But this is it. This is the world we live in now. And in this world, some of us have to play by the rules, while others get a note from the principal excusing them from homework till the end of time, plus 10 billion free dollars in a paper bag to buy lunch. It's a gangster state, running on gangster economics, and even prices can't be trusted anymore; there are hidden taxes in every buck you pay. And maybe we can't stop it, but we should at least know where it's all going.

Sounds about right to me.

Comments (17)

Wow. Incredible article; thanks for the link Jack.

Taibbi is a rare treat in these days of stenographers posing as journalists. Not only can he break down these very complex (to me anyway - my eyes tend to glaze over at the mention of market derivatives and the like) subjects, but he gives us some history and context as well. That's what I call real investigative journalism.

On the downside, now my anger and disgust with this whole economic mess is more keenly focused on Goldman-Sachs and its allumni - a large number of whom are now working in Obama's administration. Great. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Oh yeah - although I do believe we need to address glbal warming and am not one of "the deniers," as another site is fond of saying, I always thought the whole cap-and-trade thing sounded like BS even though I didn't really understand it before. Good to know my gut is still right sometimes.

The prophets are laughing their ass off on the way to the bannk:

"o what has Al Gore gained from his Big Green escapades?

According to public disclosure information, Gore was worth somewhere between $1 million and $2 million in 2000. Not quite eight years later, Gore is estimated to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million. While I ordinarily would applaud such financial gains from such a short period of time, I can’t help but to question just how it happened. When you look out at what Al Gore has done, it’s evident that he figured out on a way to capitalize on the creation of Big Green while becoming the official doomsday prophet that has helped to build Big Green into the monetary powerhouse that it has become.

In any other industry this would be considered a severe conflict of interest. In essence, Al Gore has helped to create a fictitious catastrophe, then told everybody what the solutions have to be, and then put himself in a position to capitalize on the hype. It’s not only seriously dishonest, but many people and industries are going to suffer in the wake of this hype while Gore and Big Green bring in millions (and in some cases, billions) of dollars in green money."

Profiteering on military contracts will look like amateur hour compared to what's going to happen with carbon credits. And the world's worst abusers and polluters won't even play along. Guess who comes out on behind.....well, it's not Al.

Heh...."on behind"....there's a pre-coffee Freudian slip if I've ever seen one....whoops.

Or join in at NYSE: GS

Matt Taibbi is the new Hunter S. Thompson, just more coherent and sober. One of the only decent journos out there right now.

Is he related to Bill McDonald?

Just finished his "Dead Elephants" book published a couple of years ago. I felt sick and powerless for the future of our country when I put the book down. All he did was simply describe what happened in congress and executive branch from 2001-2006. I dunno if a sequel would be any better?

Taibbi nails it.

Climate destruction is a real double-edged sword for the gangsters in the FIRE sector (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate), because responding to it seriously means a comprehensive rethink of how we use energy and materials . . . or, if you're one of the gangsters, it means an opportunity to sell and impose a system of pollution credits to the rubes with the promise that those will be the sugar that makes the medicine go down easy.

The real solution that would make a dent is a carbon tax applied to fossil fuels upstream at the mine or well head (or import terminal), with carbon tariffs applied to imported goods that are set according to how much fossil energy they embody.

Use the carbon tax money to eliminate taxes on wages, savings, and investing (as opposed to arbitrage and speculation) and watch hundreds of billions and billions flow away from non-productive financial games and high waste/high energy consumption and into useful high efficiency and conservation, all without the dipwads like Randy Leonard straining their little brains to pick winners (which they are very bad at doing).

But the deck is very strongly stacked against us doing anything sensible like that. The liberals are too welded to the fantasy of "sustainable growth" and the Tea Baggers are too busy attacking cartoon Al Gore, and everybody else is too busy hoping for some form of business as usual to continue until they clock out.

So it appears that we're simply going to watch the rest of the experiment unfold, even as we and our children have filled the test tube to the brim.

Thanks for the compliment about Matt Taibbi. Some Monday mornings I wake up knowing I have to write around 50 jokes by noon and I just feel more fogged in than Bill Belichick. Your comment really picked up my spirits.
Have you ever met Chris Rock or at least seen him walk right by you? He glows. You can practically see an aura around him.
Matt Taibbi is the same way on TV. He glows with brilliance.
I do not glow - never have. Maybe as a kid, but not now. That light went out a long time ago.
If you like Matt Taibbi's writing, check into his biography. I'll just throw one detail out there: As a young man he played professional basketball in Mongolia. Really.
As far as Goldman Sachs, it's always frustrating when the Timber Army interprets any wariness about the PGE Park deal as an anti-soccer thing.
It's an anti-Goldman Sachs thing. That's where the former head of Goldman Sachs made the money to give his son, Merritt Paulson to do a deal here. Of course, Henry Paulson is 20% owner - these people demand a cut even if they're just setting up their own kid.
Matt wrote, "The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

That's who our "brain trust" at city hall has us involved with here. Thanks Randy and Sam. Way to bring the leadership.

The new issue of "Funny Times" just arrived, with a cover cartoon by Portland's own Matt Weurker captioned "The Difference Between Pirates and Bankers" -- it shows a little Goldman-Sachs dingy loaded with treasure chests with some Paulson looking folks rowing away from three huge sinking hulks (AIG, Bear, and Lehman), while on a pirate vessel nearby one pirate is saying to another "Sink your OWN ships and keep the loot?" while the other says "Arrrgggh, harsh."

If a crime takes place in broad daylight and everyone knows it but no one lifts a finger, did a crime really take place?

Same with the torture "debate" during the last administration. Why did we even spend so much time talking about it if literally nothing was going to happen? Less than nothing...

Do people forget who is permitting banks to do these things? It's not Goldman Sachs - it's the federal government.
Bernie Madoff - made $65 million disappear. Meanwhile, the Congress persecuting those like him make $1.5 TRILLION disappear with NO repercussions.

The following bits of wisdom come to mind.

It's good to have friends in high places...

A fool and his money soon part...

There's no honor among thieves...

too bad them ol teabaggers can't read... [this] , it might focus their righteous
displeasure where it belongs

While it is true that Goldman sucks in more ways than Mr Taibbi has noted, that monstrous fraternity does not exist in isolation. JPM Chase, headed by Obama's best bud Jamie Dimon, plays in the same arena of power. Indeed, it was Goldman that was allegedly seeking a buyer for WaMu last summer while Dimon was colluding with the FDIC's gossip-monger Sheila Bair to steal the solvent WaMu for him. Mr Taibbi hasn't told us much about JPM or Dimon.

Mr Dimon, in a Washington Post OpEd last Friday, has offered his rumination upon how not to constrain either Goldman or JPM:
Many of the 111 comments are worth perusing.

Clearly, Mr Dimon's essay does not offer us much help on how to limit the extremely undemocratic power of either Goldman or JPM.

Just today, Goldman has proffered $500mill in an obvious effort to improve its image:

But what's $500mill from a too-big-to-fail that has profited so much from taxpayers? A rather round and modest amount. Certainly much less than the bonuses awarded its senior management.

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