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Nov. 4 2009 - 9:11 pm | 643 views | 9 recommendations | 111 comments

Goldman One-Ups Gordon Gekko, Says Jesus Embraced Greed

“The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,” Goldman’s Griffiths said Oct. 20, his voice echoing around the gold-mosaic walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral, whose 365-feet-high dome towers over the City, London’s financial district. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.”

via Profit `Not Satanic,’ Barclays Says, After Goldman Invokes Jesus – Bloomberg.com.

I didn’t believe this story was true at first — thought it had to be a spoof. But it turns out to be true. The great banks of the world have gone on a p.r. counteroffensive in Europe, and are sending spokescrooks in shiny suits into churches to persuade the masses that Christ would have approved of the latest round of obscene bonuses.

Goldman Sachs international adviser Brian Griffiths explains it this way: that Christ’s famous injunction to love others as one would love oneself actually means that one should love oneself as one would love oneself. This seemingly baffling outburst by a Goldman executive in what appears to have been a prepared speech — someone actually wrote this, and thought about it, before saying it out loud — gets even weirder when one tries to figure out what could possibly have motivated this person, and by extension his employer Goldman Sachs, to make such statements in such a place as St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Because there are only a couple of possibilities, and both of them are equally unnerving. One is that they know how preposterous this is and are just saying this shit because they think enough people will fall for it that it will end up being a net plus, optics-wise.

I seriously doubt this and think the converse is much more likely: that they actually believe this to be true, or are trying to believe it is true, and by making the case publicly hope to persuade the world to see the light (and just maybe reaffirm to themselves in the process) and embrace the Orwellian propositions that greed is love and taking is sharing.

It’s not hard to imagine how they could actually believe this stuff. Absolutely the dumbest people in the world, always and without fail, are intellectuals. Anyone who has ever sat in with a bunch of Yalie grad students while they discuss Kafka– they’ve read every book in the world about him, right down to the nineteen different Marxist critical interpretations of The Castle, but it’s somehow eluded them that Kafka’s stories are funny — knows what I mean.

It’s a particular kind of mental disability. This is dumbness that doesn’t know how to connect the information coming in from their other sensory organs, i.e. from the outside world, to whatever flowery kaleidoscope of overwrought horseshit their professors sent hurtling on a permanent lifelong spin-cycle in their empty skulls back when they were eighteen.

We all go through the same phase at the same age and most all of us fall for more than a few dumb ideas in the same way. The difference is that most of us normal people end up having soon after to go out into the world, where we get rudely introduced to the fact that life is mean and unforgiving and confusing as hell and that if you try to go through it leaning on some neat, gift-wrapped package of intellectual theories given to you by some preening old clown in a cardigan, you will very quickly become ridiculous and incompetent to manage your own life.

You’ll notice it, your friends will notice it, the opposite sex will notice it, and certainly the meritocracy known as the capitalist job market will know it.

This is true in every case, with one big exception. If you happen to be a rich dweeb who went to the right schools and hung around with the same group of people your whole life, and those people actually run the world, well, then, you’re in the very happy position of having your own bullshit adolescent belief system become self-reinforcing.

You think that reality coincides with your beliefs because your beliefs are true, whereas in truth it’s because you spend all your time with people who believe the same nonsense you do, and generations of your cultural ancestors just happen to have built very high walls all around you fools to keep reality from getting in and spoiling things.

Nothing else explains people like Alan Greenspan and Megan McArdle and all those other idiotic Ayn Rand devotees, big and small, who continually go out there in public and flog pseudo-religious beliefs about the self-correcting free-market as a cure-all for anything and everything, even as evidence to the contrary rains down from the sky like volcanic ash.  These people actually believe this shit and they believe it with the imbecilic ferocity of teenagers, even the ones who are 190 years old like Greenspan (who incidentally finally conceded a “flaw” in his thinking, but only after the entire world exploded and even all the reality-proof friendly data sources he had relied upon for his whole life told him his ideas were fucked), and it’s nearly impossible to get them to let so much as a sliver of their belief systems go.

There are lots of different varieties of evil in the world. On the extreme end of the spectrum you’ve probably got your Ted Bundy-at-Lake-Sammamish brand of evil, torturers and such, people who actually take pleasure in the suffering of others. You look at people like that and they defy rational explanation; you have to just chalk that up to the universe basically being a horrifying place where there’s either no God at at all or a God who’s just incompetent and/or explaining himself really, really badly.

On the other end of the spectrum, not nearly as evil comparably but still pretty bad, are people like this clown from Goldman. They lie to themselves and think up elaborate reasons to do the bad acts they were already hoping to do anyway. Some day, when historians finish peeling back all the different onion-layers of this financial disaster we’re living out right now, they’re going to find at the heart of it all this social Darwinist mantra wherein a very small group of overeducated twerps agreed to believe that stealing every last dime they could get their hands on was something other than what it looks and sounds like to the rest of us. That protective delusion was the first of the many luxuries they bought with all the money they stole, and see if it isn’t the last they agree to give up. What a bunch of assholes!


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  1. collapse expand

    jesus must be turning ’round in his grave!

  2. collapse expand

    “…whatever flowery kaleidoscope of overwrought horseshit their professors sent hurtling on a permanent lifelong spin-cycle in their empty skulls back when they were eighteen…”

    That’s just some lustrous prose. I love this fucking blog.

  3. collapse expand

    “The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,”

    Sure! And when he said “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” he probably meant that you should torture tykes before taking them to church. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” simply meant that rich people have to have a really big needle made – preferably by some of the aforementioned tykes – so they can walk a camel through the eye on their way to heaven. And “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake,” is obviously a blessing upon the wallstreet dickheads, protecting them from people like you, Matt!

  4. collapse expand

    That is some serious Marie Antoinette bullshit right there. These objectivist pinheads are 5% unemployment away from public beheading and they have the nerve to spew crap like this?

  5. collapse expand

    Wow. WOW. That guy is insane.

    Apparently, he didn’t hear the sermon about Jesus overturning the money changers tables in the temple. And the camel through the eye of a needle/rich man into the kingdom of heaven analogy.

    You’re right about people surrounding themselves with like thinkers and then starting to believe that everything they say and think must be true. I struggle with that myself. It’s easier to get along with people who think like us, and it’s not easy to be challenged on your beliefs. Still, it’s something we all must do, or we risk becoming idiots like this guy.

  6. collapse expand

    Too bad we couldn’t follow Goldman Sachs employees from the day they get hired until the day Goldman turns them into crooks…..Goldman has to be internally run like a cult

  7. collapse expand

    They must have some spiffy lightning arrester undershorts.

    Seriously, this reminds me of how fundamentalism married capitalism in a knee-jerk response to the threat of “godless communism” back in the ’50s and ’60s. The religious conservatives lost their compass at some point, and authoritarian capitalism and deregulation somehow became God’s preferred economic model, despite what the gospels and the book of Acts said.

    After reading what these bankers did in taking it straight to the churches like that, I wonder now if any of it was orchestrated back then and fundamentalists were deliberately duped.

    • collapse expand

      Authoritarians tend to flock together, sometimes warily, but sometimes with great gusto. Big money also may have appealed to them as some kind of bulwark against communism, some kind of proof of capitalism’s superiority, and a weapon to use against the commies. Some say we won the cold war by out-spending the Soviets (not sure we can do the same about the Chinese). Maybe another thing that appealed to the religious right about money, back then, was they hoped it would give them the clout to keep forcing their beliefs down people’s throats, especially in the rising age of “God is dead”, a threat similar to, if not identical in their minds, to communism. So far, the tactic seems to have worked for them–their big money has been of great help in enabling them to achieve those agendas, but that ride seems to be slowing down to an inevitable stop.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Good points. And if by “weapon” you mean something they could use to go “in yer face, ya dirty commies!” I can see that.

        Maybe that’s how they got off the rails — they hated commies so much that they embraced avarice and ostentatious affluence and even authoritarianism (as a counter to communism’s supposed anarchism) just to piss them off.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    A college boyfriend went on to fulfill his OCD need to get rich by becoming a Goldman partner. I vividly remember him saying around the tender age of 20, “My parents taught us never to do anything that didn’t directly benefit us.”

    As wholly appalled as I was at the time, I’m far more sickened now. That directive, writ large, has had an incalculable cost to so many good people who have never thought in their lives to be so wretchedly selfish.

    And p.s.? I can 100% guarantee that Jesus didn’t have jack to do with it.

  9. collapse expand

    For God so loved the world that He gave the Invisible Hand, that whosoever believeth in It shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

  10. collapse expand

    He said very little about gay people in the actual gospels, but boy, that Jesus said a lot about how bad it was to get rich off of the sweat of others’ brows.

    How come this keeps getting reversed?

  11. collapse expand

    Exploiting Teh Jesus is proof positive Goldman execs are heinous crooks. The worst criminals always miraculously find Jesus the moment they enter prison. Goldman execs not only get to keep their freedom, they travel right past Go with the God exploitation and declare themselves to be like Jesus.

    Only a Wall Street asshole would try that, surpassing even your average serial killer.

  12. collapse expand

    Actually, I think St. Paul’s Cathedral is the perfect place to spout such bullshit, given the history of the Catholic/Anglican church.

    I’d love to believe that the Goldman guy like him really do believe the baloney they’re saying, but I don’t.

    Greenspan’s self-correcting market statement is true. To my knowledge, he never said that the market correction would occur smoothly on its own without government/fed intervention.

    What he didn’t say, but is implied in every public statement made by an economist, is that all market participants have the same power to influence the market. That is obviously not true.

    The housing market did self-correct. The only problem here is that when house prices were on the rise nobody questioned as to why houses are really worth more. Only now that housing prices are coming back down to rational levels people are pissed.

  13. collapse expand

    “he didn’t hear the sermon about Jesus overturning the money changers tables in the temple”

    and attacking them with a whip. My dad never tires of reminding me about this. According to him, that was the only time that Jesus ever actually got angry and violent.

    oh what I would give to see ol’ J.C. brandishing a cat o’ nine tails, driving the banksters into the East River

    actually, that reminds me – maybe the Legion is a better analogy for our banking class: a herd of pigs possessed by satanic demons

  14. collapse expand

    Would love to hear your voice on the corrupt way bonds are muni bonds are marketed.

    SEC/JP Morgan just settled for $700 million(too little) for pay to play in Jefferson Co ALabama.

    Bank of America is settled with DoJ in 2007 for tooling with bonds with CDR.

    You were out there on CDS and CDO’s. You can be ahead of the curve on this topic, too.

  15. collapse expand
    deleted account

    hey Mike..

    mIKE? oh.. you mean Michael..
    yeah.. Michael Douglas.
    yeah – what do you want Olga?

    I have a script, with a new tag line – a sequel is what i want

    which part? I am lost. i have done many movies.. you know?

    Of course Mr. Douglas. I was born in USSR.. and i wasnt even born when the movies was on. buT mom and dad heard it – and we migrated from USSR

    which movie – which line?

    Wall Street. That famous one liner… thats not even a sentence

    Oh you mean – that line -> GREED IS GOOD ?.. yeah. ok.. i c now .. what about it ?

    well, i have a squel for that movie.. you see Mr . Douglas

    Olga, you can call me Mike..
    OK.. mike, you see – thats so 80s and this = nt 80s… your 80s one liner made my parents move from USSR ..

    but now i am 22.. and this aint USSR – this is the era of the TARP …

    yeah.. i heard.. what about it ? tell me more… i may do it…but movie – thats a lot of work.. and ..

    oh oh Mike.. I just made it all easy for you.. you know -i am from the lost generation – so. wehn we speak ., we dont say YOU – we do texting and stuff.. so.. we like, say how R U

    Olga youare a beautiful girl.. but you are confusing me..

    Oh sorry Mike.. I just got it all done.. and i dropped a LETTER from your line – that quote..

    what?

    yeah – check this out Mike ->
    in 80s => Greed is Good

    and now-> just drop O — from that line and what you get? Mike?

    what is this Olga -? some kind of test?NO seriously MR. dOUGLAS.. just do it and see for yourself..

    G R E E D IS G O O D

    i you remove an O – >from the above – what do u get >

    GREED IS GOD ???

    yeah.. Mike.. thats’ what you get Mike..
    Thats proposterous Olga.. do u know how many are jobless and the recession is so bad.. John Travvolta isnt buying more planes in his hangar

    but Mike..in 8Os Greed was Good.. and that explained some stuff in the usa but a lot of that was interpreted differently in other parts of the world.. with many isms going in parallel..

    so.. that was a good explanation..

    BUt Olga thats preposterous .. Greed cannot be equated to GOD- for God’s sake.. whosoever came up with this line should be barred and what not..

    Oh but that came from GOLDMAN and the last \name is SACS

    hmmmm…. and how is the producer?

    well.. the script is done..
    who is the director ? – the Goldman guys

    art director – theater ? – > THE DC provides

    OK.. but who is financier ?

    OH Mike – thats the least of your worries..Its we the people – the same ones who financed the TARP

    cheers
    Olga Shulman Lednichenko
    :) :(

  16. collapse expand
    deleted account

    mIKE? oh.. you mean Michael..
    yeah.. Michael Douglas.
    yeah – what do you want Olga?
    I have a script, with a new tag line – a sequel is what i want

    which part? I am lost. i have done many movies.. you know?

    Of course Mr. Douglas. I was born in USSR.. and i wasnt even born when the movies was on. buT mom and dad heard it – and we migrated from USSR

    which movie – which line?

    Wall Street. That famous one liner… thats not even a sentence

    Oh you mean – that line -> GREED IS GOOD ?.. yeah. ok.. i c now .. what about it ?

    well, i have a squel for that movie.. you see Mr . Douglas

    Olga, you can call me Mike..
    OK.. mike, you see – thats so 80s and this = nt 80s… your 80s one liner made my parents move from USSR ..

    but now i am 22.. and this aint USSR – this is the era of the TARP …

    yeah.. i heard.. what about it ? tell me more… i may do it…but movie – thats a lot of work.. and ..

    oh oh Mike.. I just made it all easy for you.. you know -i am from the lost generation – so. wehn we speak ., we dont say YOU – we do texting and stuff.. so.. we like, say how R U

    Olga youare a beautiful girl.. but you are confusing me..

    Oh sorry Mike.. I just got it all done.. and i dropped a LETTER from your line – that quote..

    what?

    yeah – check this out Mike ->in 80s => Greed is Good

    and now-> just drop O — from that line and what you get? Mike?

    what is this Olga -? some kind of test?

    NO seriously MR. dOUGLAS.. just do it and see for yourself..

    G R E E D IS G O O D

    i you remove an O – >from the above – what do u get >

    GREED IS GOD ???

    yeah.. Mike.. thats’ what you get Mike..

    Thats proposterous Olga.. do u know how many are jobless and the recession is so bad.. John Travvolta isnt buying more planes in his hangar

    but Mike..in 8Os Greed was Good.. and that explained some stuff in the usa but a lot of that was interpreted differently in other parts of the world.. with many isms going in parallel..

    so.. that was a good explanation..

    BUt Olga thats preposterous .. Greed cannot be equated to GOD- for God’s sake.. whosoever came up with this line should be barred and what not..

    Oh but that came from GOLDMAN and the last \name is SACS

    hmmmm…. and how is the producer?

    well.. the script is done..

    who is the director ?

    – the Goldman guys

    art director – theater ?

    – > THE DC provides

    OK.. but who is financier ?

    OH Mike – thats the least of your worries..Its we the people – the same ones who financed the TARP

    cheers
    Olga Shulman Lednichenkoyeah.. Mike.. thats’ what you get Mike..

    Thats proposterous Olga.. do u know how many are jobless and the recession is so bad.. John Travvolta isnt buying more planes in his hangar

    but Mike..in 8Os Greed was Good.. and that explained some stuff in the usa but a lot of that was interpreted differently in other parts of the world.. with many isms going in parallel..

    so.. that was a good explanation..

    BUt Olga thats preposterous .. Greed cannot be equated to GOD- for God’s sake.. whosoever came up with this line should be barred and what not..

    Oh but that came from GOLDMAN and the last \name is SACS

    hmmmm…. and how is the producer?

    • collapse expand
      deleted account

      well.. the script is done..

      who is the director ?

      – the Goldman guys

      art director – theater ?

      – > THE DC provides

      OK.. but who is financier ?

      OH Mike – thats the least of your worries..Its we the people – the same ones who financed the TARP

      cheers
      Olga Shulman Lednichenko

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  17. collapse expand

    Your analysis is spot-on.

    Shorter Brian Griffiths: gods and clods.

  18. collapse expand

    It’s the big lie – to paraphrase Goebbels:
    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, *you* will eventually come to believe it.

    I wouldn’t wish their cognitive dissonance on a Monkey on a Rock, although I might wish it on them.

  19. collapse expand

    OK, that’s it. Now they’re being invited to speak in major cathedrals to spew stuff like this?? They’re trying to insinuate themselves into religion itself, and recruit the Christian/Catholic world as an army to follow an inversion of what some consider Jesus’ primary teaching, in order to put gobs of money into the pockets of outfits like Goldman. This is about as big, on the genuine conspiracy meter, as it can get. What makes me think that, unfettered, eventually, they might not be after more than “just” all the money and power in the world? Think Morlock vs Eloi.

  20. collapse expand

    Interesting. Some individual at Goldman says that “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.” and you go all fire over it. What is your profession? Journalist. What is wrong with journalists in general? Well is it that they are uneducated unelected individuals who spout on all they like about anything they find with impunity? You can run around in circles confusing a whole nation if you have enough readership, never apologising or looking back to see if there is any merit in the drivel that you post.

    What you wrote appears to be very much in that line of business you are in.

    Do you have any alternatives or do you profess to be able to counterargument what Mr goldman said? Not really. In fact the contrary it seems, after reading what you had to say. You confirm yourself that as you leave the sheltered life of Uni and hit the real world, a certain level of realism sets in that you might not be the greatest gift to mankind, that in fact your magnificence is not so appreciated out there. You find a job and make your means. You watch and ingrain yourself with the stupor offered by television and start believing you should be able to live the life of Mr Goldman. Anything else would be unfair. Bitterness sinks in and you nitpick anything anyone ever said to the contrary.

    What about alternatives? What do you believe make you happy? If you too could afford the materialistic lifestyle offered as an executive of Goldman, maybe you’d be happy then? How do we achieve this for you? Any ideas? No? None offered in your blog. Maybe we should resort to socialism. That way everyone can be equal. That is the only ideal I could tentatively see you offer your readership. That would make sense would it not. Send us all back to the Sovietunion. Less standard deviation from the median. Fewer rich. Some immensly richer, but overall we’d all be mediocrity.

    What else could be wrong with your reporting here? Could it be that you have totally misunderstood why places like Goldman exists? Perhaps Goldman didn’t come into the existance because of the free market…maybe it was something else? Had that ever occurred to you?

    The only reason you are given the opportunity to nitpick on some idiot from Goldman telling you what you already know from real life, yet you rebel against it is because you don’t live in a free market economy. Your belief that you do and that your country (US?) is a free democrasy is what got us here in the first place. Unfortunately there is no easy way out. You and your fellow electorate just elected a supreme keynesian president who is destined to go to history as the biggest buffon after your last one. He is a wall st man, he figures as the nr 1 or nr 2 beneficiary of campaign funding from AIG, Freddie and a whole swathe of the other wonderful quasi govermental sponsored enterprises your “democrasy” is so full of. Maybe lehman brothers never spent a cent on him. That may well be all you needed to know.

    Oh and I think it is brilliant that all your commentators laud themselves and take offense that some people click together and come up with nonsense all the time while living without critique. Wow. Get a mirror out boys and girls and look at yourself!!!!!!!!!!

    AB

    • collapse expand

      austrianbanker, you completely missed the point. It’s not that the Goldman representative was pushing self-interest, but that he said Jesus pushed self-interest. If a journalist is unqualified to remark upon that, then perhaps too is a banker. Maybe the Pope can weigh in?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      AustrianBanker you addressed NONE of Matt Taibbi’s points. Your post smacks of the belief system defense, which means that he must have hit close to home.

      But because you decided to pipe up, I will address YOUR points.

      “What is wrong with journalists in general? Well is it that they are uneducated unelected individuals who spout on all they like about anything they find with impunity?”

      Uneducated? Aren’t there degrees in Jounralism?

      “Do you have any alternatives or do you profess to be able to counterargument what Mr goldman said? Not really. In fact the contrary it seems, after reading what you had to say. You confirm yourself that as you leave the sheltered life of Uni and hit the real world, a certain level of realism sets in that you might not be the greatest gift to mankind, that in fact your magnificence is not so appreciated out there.”

      LMAO
      I suggest you read Matt Taibbi’s bio before throwing out accusations like “sheltered”. I’ll give you a hint, dude lived in f&#$ing RUSSIA not during a nice time either (as if anytime in the last 50 years has been NICE in Russia).

      “What about alternatives? What do you believe make you happy? If you too could afford the materialistic lifestyle offered as an executive of Goldman, maybe you’d be happy then? How do we achieve this for you? Any ideas? No? None offered in your blog. Maybe we should resort to socialism. That way everyone can be equal. That is the only ideal I could tentatively see you offer your readership.”

      I love how you pretend there is not middleground between CEOs making 500x what their workers make and Communist Russia.

      “What else could be wrong with your reporting here? Could it be that you have totally misunderstood why places like Goldman exists? Perhaps Goldman didn’t come into the existance because of the free market…maybe it was something else? Had that ever occurred to you?”

      He never said Goldman exists because of the free market.

      “The only reason you are given the opportunity to nitpick on some idiot from Goldman telling you what you already know from real life, yet you rebel against it is because you don’t live in a free market economy. Your belief that you do and that your country (US?) is a free democrasy is what got us here in the first place. Unfortunately there is no easy way out. You and your fellow electorate just elected a supreme keynesian president who is destined to go to history as the biggest buffon after your last one. He is a wall st man, he figures as the nr 1 or nr 2 beneficiary of campaign funding from AIG, Freddie and a whole swathe of the other wonderful quasi govermental sponsored enterprises your “democrasy” is so full of. Maybe lehman brothers never spent a cent on him. That may well be all you needed to know.”

      You should probably read previous articles in which Taibbi ridicules how UNCAPITALISTIC this system truly is.

      “Oh and I think it is brilliant that all your commentators laud themselves and take offense that some people click together and come up with nonsense all the time while living without critique. Wow. Get a mirror out boys and girls and look at yourself!”

      Its funny how you rag on a university setting as being “sheltered”. Please name a setting that is more diverse than a College or University……

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      “Perhaps Goldman didn’t come into the existance because of the free market…maybe it was something else? Had that ever occurred to you?” [...] “Your belief that you do [live in a free market economy] and that your country (US?) is a free democrasy is what got us here in the first place.”

      In other words, not all instances of inequality are justified by making everyone better off.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Easy on the Socratic method, there, Austrian. You’re going to wear out your question mark key.

      Your post only really makes sense if I read it to myself in the voice of Stewie, the murderous baby from Family Guy.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Calling Obama “Keynesian” belies your ignorance about economics. Keynes would not have surrounded himself with an economic advisor (Summers), Secretary of the Treasury (Geithner), and Fed Chair (Bernanke) who are all free-market Friedmanite Randroids. These Chicago Economists grew up following Greenspan around doing whatever he said (privatize and deregulate, primarily). Hilariously, they also have worked to write and fight for legislative loopholes that guarantee profits for giant multinational corporations. In their world I guess “free-market” means that once you gather together enough money, wholesale purchase of the government is natural market activity. I also suppose that in their world, the absolute failure of various free-market experiments all over the world just means that the markets weren’t quite free enough.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      There is something to AB’s comments. Libertarians argue that the free market economics cannot be blamed for America’s economic woes since we don’t have a free market economy and never have. We have a ‘corporatist’ economy, they say. Government backed bailouts of Wall Street go against the tenets of the free market, so it would make no sense to blame capitalism for what happened, etc. etc. I don’t necessarily buy any of this, but I think the left has to come up with a better response to these arguments. Simply blaming the unregulated free market doesn’t quite cut it against a libertarian critique.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        The trouble is that AB made a ton of assumptions about Taibbi’s stances when AB clearly hasn’t read alot of him. In previous Columns Taibbi has remarked that our system bears hardly any resemblance to a free market as envisioned by Adam Smith…..

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          I think AB was in part responding to the liberal circle-jerk atmosphere of the comments section (which sort of reinforced Taibbi’s point about groupthink). I read Taibbi on a regular basis and typically agree with him, but I don’t remember him taking on the true free market believers like Ron Paul. Could be wrong…

          In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        I agree with this point. The comment, obviously belonging to someone who believes in the Austrian School of Economics, has some decent points. The Austrian School was equally as critical of George Bush as they are of Obama and their reasoning is sound. We really should listen more to Ron Paul. Although he has some ridiculously crazy ideas, he has some very good ideas as well. This poster does not do justice to Libertarians. Also, Obama certainly does have a Keynesian world view and his economic advisers do not believe in the free market. Anyone who suggests ANY bailout does not believe in the free market.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Please note that this clown, austrianbanker, is feeding into a popular MainStreamMedia (pop culture) meme at the moment, namely, that they, the banksters, were performing “brainwork” and doing “big deals”.

      Ignoring that their supposed “brainwork” (I doubt if one in a thousand could actually comprehend a bivariate Gaussian cupola function) and “big deals” were disassembling the economies of the USA, Iceland, Latvia, UK, Australia, etc., and laying waste the their fraudulent banking systems’ scams.

      Fraud is fraud and criminal behavior is criminal behavior. And anti-meritocracy IS NOT real meritocracy, clown!

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Obama is hardly a “supreme” Keynesian. His stimulus, which is laudable, and has kept us from a full fledged depression was not big enough, and many true Keynesians, such as Stieglitz and Krugman have pointed out. He is a timid Keynesian by any measure, and is certainly in bed with Wall St. as his appointments of Geithner and Summers demonstrated, not to mention his very half-hearted, anemic efforts to re-regulate the Wall St. bankster behemoths. Both The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999
      and The Commodities Futures Modernization Act in 2000 must be UNDONE. (Glass-Steagall firewall between investment banks and commercial banks must be reinstated, and cdfault swaps and other exotic instruments that have been the instruments (addictive drugs and fiendish inventions) of the gambling speculative frenzy must be strongly regulated. Where is Obama’s voice on this? Barely heard, so far. Where is his action? MIA. We need a new FDR!

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Well, one of the benefits of the Web is that now uneducated, unelected individuals like you and I are able spout on all they like about anything they find with impunity.

      I’m not sure exactly why I’m responding to this. Maybe because the alternative is doing real work. Or perhaps it’s because I sense a reasonably rare brand of muddled contrarianism in your thinking–some sort of Teutonic libertarian free-market fundamentalist who thinks Greenspan is a commie for chairing the Federal Reserve. Or even just because this kind of comment sits like a fat, stinking turd at the bottom of a comment space, and no one wants to touch it until until someone else cleans it up.

      In any case, rather than address your closely argued critique of Taibbi’s economic position, I’d just like to point out the starkness of your ignorance vis a vis his experiences and beliefs. If you knew anything about his previous work you’d know that he’s someone who has consistently put himself in uncomfortable places and situations in order to do firsthand reporting. And if you had even a passing familiarity with his recent writings on Goldman, then you’d realize that he has been consistently arguing that entities like Goldman arise precisely from a breakdown of perfect markets, rational behavior, and perfect information. Or that he is a consistent critic of US democracy.

      But of course you haven’t. You’re a rather curious sort of troll, aren’t you? I wonder what Google search term you came in off of, simmering with your resentments and convoluted idiom.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Eat shit Adolph

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      austrianwanker says:

      “But if you are the journalist man and not doing work in factory for hours and hours why do say things that you are saying? Why are you not becoming stupid banker in a bank like me am? After all when we do not like Capitalism then we can only like the Socialism and I do not like this Socialism because my professor and my friends tell me that I don’t like Stalin. Go away Stalin.”

      Does anyone ever wonder if this is the kind of incoherent drawl one would be confronted with if you genuinely asked a member of the Soviet nomenklatura their opinion of the future of Communism in the late eighties?

      I mean the notion that this form of government is the best there is seems rather silly when confronted with, not simply massive layoffs, wage cuts and over-levereged debt. Best government for whom?

      Something tells me that austrianwanker has vested interests… perhaps its all that shady wanking he’s been doing at the public’s expense.

      Austrianwanker… you have to come to understand: wanking is not a real career. Wanking is not the real world. Wanking is something you think up in your head. You dig?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Uh, what? I’ve never had an argument with an Austrian before except for the time when I sparred with an Arnold Schwarzenegger Soundboard after I’d had a few drinks, and you and Arnie stayed on topic about the same amount.

      HERE’S THE TOPIC:

      A Goldman-Sachs executive preached in a House Of The Lord that Jesus believed greed was good.

      If you’re going to continue your quote-unquote “rebuttal”, I suggest you do it here or here:

      http://www.realmofdarkness.net/sounds/arnold/arnold-soundboard-4.htm
      http://www.crocopuffs.com/soundboard/arnold.html
      http://www.collegeslackers.com/soundboard/arnold_schwarzenegger

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Wow, how unbelievably misguided little faithfuls you are. Matt is the good guy. He is a journalist after all. He is credible. He has a blog. He can write anything he likes to discredit what anyone else said with impunity. Griffiths is an evil banker. Need I say more? I stand by that remark. I am keeping this to the point. But let’s reiterate what Matt said, since you are obviously missing the point in how Matt is taking you into his dreamworld where he can then say or do whatever he likes after breaking down your critical faculties:

        “I didn’t believe this story was true at first — thought it had to be a spoof. But it turns out to be true.”

        Let’s analyse what this means or should mean right? First Matt is stating that he didn’t think it was true. Then he says it turns out it is actually true. In one paragraph he has lured you in and he is then free to continue putting words in the mouth of Mr Griffiths:

        “Goldman Sachs international adviser Brian Griffiths explains it this way: that Christ’s famous injunction to love others as one would love oneself actually means that one should love oneself as one would love oneself. This seemingly baffling outburst by a Goldman executive in what appears to have been a prepared speech — someone actually wrote this, and thought about it, before saying it out loud — gets even weirder when one tries to figure out what could possibly have motivated this person, and by extension his employer Goldman Sachs, to make such statements in such a place as St. Paul’s Cathedral.”

        He has your attention now, right? The evil little banker who lives in a mansion sucking the blood sweat and tears from all you commoners and then speaks up in St Pauls to defend it by invoking Jesus! What a blasphemous man, let’s get the rope out and do some hung drawn and quartered.

        Let’s stop to ask ourselves what due dilligence Matt did to corroborate that in fact this came to pass? Did he call up Mr Griffiths and ask him, did you say or mean this? No probably not. Is there another source confirming that this is the case? Is it referenced? No. One could start there and wonder, is there any substance? Bloomberg seems to say there is. Bloomberg is another journalistic dump though, could they be trusted?

        This is the problem you guys don’t get. Journalists are lazy, opinionated, like to argue, like to take a few words here and there and make an elephant of it all in their SELF INTEREST to promote themselves as the good guy, to get RECOGNITION. Hey, this is interesting isn’t it? Suddenly we are actually back to the subject again. Could Matt be writing this, in an egostical way to promote his own agenda? I don’t know. As you have correctly pointed out, I am not a follower or reader of Matt. Not by any stretch as this was the first I read. But I can see through the charade of being the good guy and see how the bullshit swells after a few paragpraphs of sucking you into someones line of thinking. Classical propaganda techniques. Maybe this is a sign Matt actually does have some education, I don’t know.

        Anyhow. I will stop short here by telling you what really happened in St Pauls. Shock horror.

        Griffiths NEVER SAID WHAT HE IS ACCUSED OF.

        This is a shocker right? If Matt had bothered to go to the source he would have found out that Bloomies had it wrong. Bloomies took a sentence and altered it to make news.

        This is what he really said (in the context of discussing Adam Smith’s idea of self interest):

        “…but I don’t think of self interest as something bad. I think that the injuction of Jesus to love our neighbours as ourself is a RECOGNITION of self interest…”

        RECOGNITION not ENDORSEMENT.

        Observe the difference between this and what Matt and Bloomies are commenting upon. Is this now a news story? No it is not. It’s a DUCK.

        Will Matt now apologise to his readers for being a twat for not checking his sources before writing his vitriol over Goldman? I doubt it!

        I suggest if you really are keen to understand the context in which this comment was made, that you go and LISTEN to it yourself. It is a good debate and you will come to learn that Mr Griffiths said something you could all agree to and in fact has a much more positive attitude than Matt is giving him credit.

        The talk starts at 05:30, Griffiths starts speaking at 14:05. The sentence above is at 15:00.

        http://www.stpauls.co.uk/Learning-Education/St-Pauls-Institute/2009-Programme-Money-Integrity-and-Wellbeing

        http://www.stpauls.co.uk/Files/downloads/stpauls%20institute%202009%20session%203%20-%2020%20october.mp3

        Finally, do a google search on “matt taibbi goldman”. The extent of vitriol is so immense that the jesus article doesn’t even make it to the top. Sectarian bitterness defined.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          …So your first page-long comment ranted against Matt’s post without ever once addressing the core point he was making, and when I called you on it you THEN went on a page-long rant that the core point wasn’t true, which had nothing to do with your original comment?

          A.D.D. much?

          Again I recommend that you pull up an Arnold Schwarzenegger Soundboard to spar with.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          This rant contains more of what should have been said the 1st time – specifically, the link to the full debate. I checked the article to which I linked (also Bloomberg) and noticed that it’s been updated, leaving out the incorrect use of “endorsement” instead of recognition.

          It seemed quite clearly in rant #1 that you wanted to slam Matt T. in every way with your own suppositions: he’s uneducated, a bad journalist, blah blah. You have read some of his writing; you can see Taibbi’s pretty good about source checking. Or perhaps you know where all of the falsehoods are; can you refute them? Or do you just not like the tenor of his writing style? Perhaps your rant was an attempt at an homage toward his digs?

          Matt’s been one of the voices in journalism that will say things that are glossed over or lied about by other forms of media, thus he has some ardent followers. I am glad that you posted in the sense that this shouldn’t be an echo chamber. However, you might just get to the heart of the matter so there’ll be no cause (note I did not say “absolutely no”; I’m not that foolhardy) for those who participate here to give you flack.

          From my perspective, I get that the debate took place in St. Paul’s, but I find it disgusting that religion – whether it’s Christianity, New Age, etc. – is now being used (out of context – see *)to support the kind of profiteering in which GS has taken part. The parts that I excerpted below do paint Lord Griffiths in a better light than the original screwed up “quotation.” *A resulting issue with this debate is that Goldman execs were using snippets of what transpired here to use religion to justify the way their business is managed. I promise you that I have a good memory, and I heard this on NPR – either news or morning marketplace – so not a perfect memory, but I am unable to find the passage that I heard. (If you really want, I’ll keep looking.) So, the news organization’s cascading incorrect information is one thing; GS picking up on it is another icky thing.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            1) I don’t see how you can claim that he is good at checking sources. He didn’t make any effort at all in doing so this time. The fact of the matter is that the audio from the debate was available before Matt commented. If he had searched and listened himself to the debate he would IMHO concluded that there was nothing to write about. This was not a news item and by making it one he wasted all of your time and effort. Some here appear to argue that it is not about what happened but more a matter of principal, which makes the matter even more absurd.

            2) I provided the link to the audio file. There is no need for you to speculate or to refer to some other authoritative source. You can listen yourself and judge whether the name calling of Jesus was relevant to the discussion being held or not.

            3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

            4) As far as the confusion between the item being discussed and what I said about Matt. This was a retort on Matts own diatribe in his post. I am sorry if I offendeed anyone by commenting on that, it seems this hurt lots of feelings … must not attempt to offend you or the sectarian leader himself next time.

            5) I am in good company when it comes to being in contempt of poor journalism.

            http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/solzhenitsyn/harvard1978.html

            In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            austrianbanker,

            1st, I’m replying to my post because I can’t seem to reply to yours.

            I was wondering if you would come back here and respond, and was curious to your response. I must admit that what you wrote was not what I expected. Perhaps there’s something lost in translation, or perhaps because so many have reacted negatively to you, you decided that I was still saying that everything Matt was saying was all correct. (?)

            So, to be clear, I was basically supporting your post, but giving you some reason as to why you may have rankled some of the others here. Here’s the break down:

            Supporting you:

            “This rant contains more of what should have been said the 1st time – specifically, the link to the full debate.” [note also: I'm taking note of your audio link, and I did listen to it.]

            “I am glad that you posted in the sense that this shouldn’t be an echo chamber.”

            Here’s where I wondered if you had more instances where Matt had made fact errors:

            “You have read some of his writing; you can see Taibbi’s pretty good about source checking. Or perhaps you know where all of the falsehoods are; can you refute them? ”

            So my question here is NOT was Matt on the money with his original post, because you’ve already given the audio link, and the Bloomberg article I cited made an update to correct itself, so the original source was screwed up and Matt erred in going there 1st. I felt no need to point this out, as you had already done so. I also posted about the Bloomberg article BEFORE yo posted the audio file, NOT after. Or did you check the date/time of my older post?

            My question was about prior articles that he had written. Did you find factual errors in them too? If so, what are they? If you’ve read them, as have I and others here, then you must have some insight. At this point, I have no evidence in the articles on Goldman Sachs and U.S. health care that lacked integrity. If you can say otherwise, here’s your chance.

            [Yes, I also wondered, "Or do you just not like the tenor of his writing style? Perhaps your rant was an attempt at an homage toward his digs?" I wondered this in case you had nothing else to dispute in Matt's writings or interviews.]

            Thanks for the “argument from authority” link. Sorry, though, it does not apply to me, unless you need further clarification of my English.

            Thanks also for the link to Solzhenitsyn’s speech. I’m not entirely sure it supports you, but I will help you out. No, Matt didn’t apologize, but he went on with the quote from Blankfein to which I also referred (see reply to my original post which was supposed to be a reply to my reply to you – oh, poo on my replying). OK, you have something there. However, I’m not sure that Solzhenitsyn in1978 realized that publications do print error rebuffing in 1 of 2 places: 1. In small print at the bottom of page one, or sometimes later (the former is better) or 2. On the editorial page, when someone has sent the information directly to the editor.

            I will say that in general, Matt is one of the guys who collects his facts. That doesn’t make him infallible, just generally a good source – colorful language at no extra charge.

            I do feel that Goldman Sach’s tendency to justify their actions with anything – the situation, we were saving you, religion – is a problem. To be sure we’re clear here: Griffiths did not make such a claim; Blankfein did. Blankfein speaks more for GS than Griffiths, so yes I find that offensive. Given the company’s general arrogance toward those suffering in the fallout of bad bad financial practices, I have a hard time believing is was just an “off the cuff” remark any more than Blankfein referring to himself as a “blue collar guy.”

            As for your comment here:

            “must not attempt to offend you or the sectarian leader himself next time.”

            I would love to think you’re being genuine so that I won’t think you’re being sarcastic with me. I was not offended by your remarks. I’m not sure how you sensed that from my response to you. Can you point out what I said that showed that I was offended?

            To sum up – yes, post with your differences. If you want to be snarky, go ahead, just don’t attribute snarkiness where it doesn’t belong, and expect some people to come back at you with more snark. I am doing my nest not to be snarky here, but to clarify. If you think otherwise, feel free to point that out as well.

            Lastly, my point in this post is not so much to defend Matt Taibbi, but to make you’re as fastidious about your posting and rebuttals as you wish Matt to be, and to make sure you actually understand what my response entailed.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            Let’s stick with the topic, don’t expand it to something it isn’t about. I haven’t commented on any of the other GS people running around passing comments as I am not about apologising for their views. My commentary was just about this post by Matt and nobody and nothing else.

            The title says Jesus embraced greed. Suddenly we have gone from talking about self interest to greed. This is journalism at its best. You take something out of context and warp it around and suddenly you have a totally new and different discussion. This is what Solzhenitsyn took offense to back in 1978 and nothing much has really changed from then, it has even gotten worse as this particular event is evidence of. I like the fact that people can blog and voice their opinion on the Internet, it’s fantastic. However, it comes with a set of responsibilities and Matt showed he enjoys the limelight but cares nothing for his responsibility to check facts before opening mouth to speak. My point about the link was that it took me close to no time at all to find it. I therefore find that it is inexcusable to waste everybody’s time over something which wasn’t news. Media publishing retractions. Well as you seem to want to point out, Bloomberg changed their article when it was pointed out that it was wrong. How come they made the mistake? Did it matter that they fixed it? Evidently not. Media everywhere now believes that some person at GS (who I don’t know or have met) is some kind of weirdo spouting that Jesus preached that greed was good. But that never happened. BTW, Bloomberg changed it because I asked them to change it. It’s that simple. If I or someone else had not bothered to point out that it was wrong, I’m sure it would have stayed the way it was.

            Anyway, that’s one half of my criticism. The other half is that the way Matt is talking this story and then adding his own views on what self interest is all about is showing how uneducated he is. In Matt’s view self interest has no place on the market and that’s not what Jesus meant at all. But if you analyse the subject you will find that both are true. If you care nothing for yourself you will care nothing about your neighbour. This seems impossible but look around you, the world is full of places with bad culture where violence and economic activity is at an all time high/low.

            Self interest in the economy is a pillar of its existance. Adam Smith knew this and so did a whole lot of very intelligent people. Without the contributions of these we would indeed not be sitting here and typing these arguments back and forth. The market would simply not exist without self interest. This is what the discussion in St Pauls was all about. It is a good discussion and why don’t you listen to it and dispell any myth Matt has given you that this was blasphemous and an insult to each and everyone of us outside the financial gravy pots.

            AB

            In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            >This is what the discussion in St Pauls was all about. It is a good discussion and why don’t you listen to it and dispell any myth Matt has given you that this was blasphemous and an insult to each and everyone of us outside the financial gravy pots.

            Read my posts, or do you understand english? I listened to the discussion at St. Paul’s. I had to listen from the beginning even to find the spot you originally mentioned due to the fact that the link you provided did not have clock time.

            Since I’m becoming increasingly convinced you are determined my post is an echo of everyone else’s or you need a better translator, I’ll keep it to this.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          To gypsysister. I am really puzzled by your reply. How can you accuse me of not understanding English and blame me for having to listen to the whole thing?

          I gave the timings in my second post on this blog:

          “The talk starts at 05:30, Griffiths starts speaking at 14:05. The sentence above is at 15:00.”

          And then after having listened to it, you have absolutely nothing more to say. I find this even more astonishing!

          In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Awareness of our connectedness to each other, and to a higher universal consciousness, paying attention through prayer or meditation to our true and innate spirituality, that allows us to open our hearts to others and to life.

      We are creatures of love. Go to a third world country, stay with a local family, enjoy what being a human is really all about.

      The thing is, when kind people, just going about their business trying to live life and get along with each other, encounter a bully, they may tend to let the bully just have their say and hope that he will be influenced by their example. However, when the bully starts using our spirituality to condone their abuse of us, it has to be the last straw. We have to start to stand up to them. We have to call a spade a spade, we can’t worry about being polite any more. Why? Because we have families and children we are trying to provide for and keep safe, with some sort of prospects for a decent future.

      It’s not about capitalism, or freedom. It’s about stealing and lying and cheating and corruption. It’s about a disconnectedness from God and from our fellow man. It’s about living in fear, trying to get yours, not trusting anyone. People on a spiritual path or who just plain have faith, lose that fear, and so, can and do live in peace together. That’s what Jesus and Buddha and other enlightened ones teach us, God’s children.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  21. collapse expand

    You know, it reminds me of the parable showing Christ had a sense of humor. As he tossed the last of the money changers from the Temple, he winked and said, “……hey, Pal. Got two tens for a five.”

    I’d say I was shocked, or dismayed at GS comments, but I’m not. It’s just more of the same. Like cancer that invades, and then kills the host, these knuckledraggers won’t be satisfied until the entire economy collapses under it’s own weight (again). Then what? Will they distribute cash to all of us as some game, seeing how long it will take to steal it back?

    This ends with blood in streets. You cannot steal all hope from an average man, and expect him to sit on the curb, family at his side, waiting for instructions from the politicians. He won’t stand for it.

  22. collapse expand

    MR. GREENSPAN: I made a mistake in presuming that the self- interest of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such (as that ?) they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms. And it’s been my experience, having worked both as a regulator for 18 years and similar quantities in the private sector, especially 10 years at a major international bank, that the loan officers of those institutions knew far more about the risks involved in the people to whom they lent money than I saw even our best regulators at the Fed capable of doing.
    So the problem here is, something which looked to be a very solid edifice, and indeed a critical pillar to market competition and free markets, did break down. And I think that, as I said, shocked me.
    I still do not fully understand why it happened. And obviously, to the extent that I figure out where it happened and why, I will change my views. And if the facts change, I will change.

  23. collapse expand

    Let us just pause for a moment to consider what it must be like for Alan Greenspan, who’s in his 80s, to realize in these final moments of a long life that his entire belief system since early adulthood is and has always been tragically wrong.

    This is my idea of hell, actual, eternal hell. Greenspan may die with this horrifying realization as his final thought. Really, no kidding.

    I’m middle-aged, and though I’ve never bought into anything like Greenspan’s awful philosophy, the thought of such a horrid death has me busily re-examining some of my beliefs, such as they are. In general, it’s probably a good idea to do an annual spring cleaning of ideas.

  24. collapse expand

    So what are you saying Taibbi? If religion is the opiate of the people, for Goldmanites it’s more like a bump of coke?

    This is some good shit…

    Nothing else explains people like Alan Greenspan and Megan McArdle and all those other idiotic Ayn Rand devotees, big and small, who continually go out there in public and flog pseudo-religious beliefs about the self-correcting free-market as a cure-all for anything and everything, even as evidence to the contrary rains down from the sky like volcanic ash.

  25. collapse expand

    This kind of thinking is straight out of Jeff Sharlett’s book _The Family_. Turns out this guy is *probably* connected to The Family. Although this might be at best a tenuous connection, he spoke at the funeral of one Wallace Haines, who is a well-known member of The Family.

    http://www.wallacehaines.com/inmemoryof.htm

    The “Jesus loves the free market” stuff is *exactly* their schtick.

  26. collapse expand

    I think it’s really generous, the level of inequality Mr. Griffiths is willing to tolerate. We all have our cross to bear, after all.

  27. collapse expand

    These Wall Street ass-clowns are completely reality proof, it boggles the mind.

    FWIW: Here is a brief interesting article from PsyBlog which demonstrates some people’s ability for self-deception.
    http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/10/the-truth-about-self-deception.php

  28. collapse expand

    The sad thing about Megan McCardle et al is that their defense of the banking establishment seems generally disinterested. I’m sure there are some fringe benefits to adopting a contrarian posture against the general anti-financial sector angst of the masses, but it’s not as if M.M. is on the Goldman payroll. Maybe I’m just naive, but it seems obvious – corporate behemoths like Goldman are the entities which prevent the actual operation of the free markets so many of these tepid corporatists revere.

  29. collapse expand

    “If Jesus should come, knock at your door
    Would you let him come in, take from your store
    Would you turn him away, with nothing to eat
    Or would you leave him to die like a tramp on the street”

  30. collapse expand

    You lose me when you set up a straw man argument to suit your Utopian agenda. Fraud and corruption are NOT synonymous with capitalism!

    “When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed…

    “Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper… Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: ‘Account overdrawn.’”

    …End the Fed.

  31. collapse expand

    “Nothing else explains people like Alan Greenspan and Megan McArdle and all those other idiotic Ayn Rand devotees, big and small, who continually go out there in public and flog pseudo-religious beliefs about the self-correcting free-market as a cure-all for anything and everything, even as evidence to the contrary rains down from the sky like volcanic ash.”

    First let me say that I wholeheartedly agree to this statement, insofar as I understand the term “devotee” to indicate willingness to suspend one’s disbelief.

    To be fair, however, those people have co-opted Rand in the same way the eugenics movement co-opted Darwin and contemporary conservatives have co-opted Jesus. (That is to say, by taking many many things out of context.) Their interpretation of Rand approximates what she actually advocated about as accurately as our current economic environment approximates free-market capitalism.

  32. collapse expand

    I was going to say something but just realized that I’m speechless.

  33. collapse expand

    Matt,

    it sounds to me as if you’re describing not stupidity so much as arrogance.

    I recently came across a vivid illustration of this particular stripe of it a video of an interview with Lewis Lapham, former editor of Harpers. He was describing a CIA job interview he’d had with in the ’50s as a recent Yale graduate. The first question they asked him, as he tells, was “You are standing on the thirteenth tee at the National Golf Club links in Southampton. What club do you hit?”

    The second question was “It is late August, six o’clock in the evening and you are on your final tack into the Hay Harbor Yacht Club on Fisher’s Island. What tack are you on?”

    The third question was “Does Minxie Haines wear a slip?” Minxie (Lapham tells) “was the great nymphomaniac figure of the Ivy League circuit in the fifties.”

    These were, to state the obvious, the shibboleths needed to enter the club. Lapham gave the correct answers and then excused himself and left.

    As for co-opting Jesus Christ as part of a financial hustle, is there a grifter move with a longer pedigree?

    p.s. & btw: On Tuesday this week, Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, was at Rutgers to give a talk on financial market manipulation, naked short selling, etc. Your name was almost conspicuously absent, although his presentation did include a picture of the R.S. cover of the issue with “Naked Swindle” as a contrast to the financial coverage of the Joe Noceras/Bethany McLean (i.e. in the tank) variety.

  34. collapse expand

    Sounds like an Ayn-Rand-virus infected his brain and never left. Most of us go through an Ayn Rand phase when we are teens, breaking away from dependency on our parents into independence; most of us quickly go beyond it in college-age years, when we understand that we are more than independent; we are INTER-dependent. The banksters and other plutocratic elites seem to have arrested development. The absurdity of their adolescent “greed is good” hyper-individualism, denying the very existence of community, (or the absurd rationalizing that avarice is GOOD for the community) is laid bare in this completely twisted interpretation of the message of the great Sage of Love, Christ.

  35. collapse expand

    Sir Isaac Newton was in charge of the royal mint and at the same time was intending to transmute lead into gold when he ‘re-discovered’ Hooke’s law that went to history with the name of gravitational law and attributed to him, but that was nothing compared to Karzai’s alchemy metamorphosing (in Kafka’s sense) from a cheat and a rogue partner of the infamous Cheney in world bound piratical enterprises into a confident full fledged western style democratic President.

    Reality is much more fantastic than fiction.

    Amazing !

    So, what Karzai and Newton have to do with Lord Jesus ?

    Well: “Do not call the name of the Lord in vain!” the true scripture says, after all the Old Testament says that Abraham used his wife as a prostitute who changed her name from Sarai to Sarah when she repented after her pseudo brother and husband went rich with Egyptian stolen wealth.

    Do not count apples and oranges together, you, Mat, should have learned at school, therefore, please do not mix Lord Jesus with your own confused and misleading thoughts.

    The truth is that the recent Gaza holocaust in which an open city with no shelters and absolutely defenseless was bombed from the safety of the air using USA-UK provided weapons and phosphorous.

    It is time for true mediators to enter the frail in order to end the Jewish onslaught of the Palestinian people with USA – UK’s complicity.

  36. collapse expand

    High, this comments comes from a german guy who really loves Matt Taibbi articles and who especially read this comment and the original one from Blooberg. We also have a couple of “smart” guys over here in germany. I would like to recall the fact, that Deutsche Bank was the second winner in the AIG bailout desaster, they got about 9 billion dollars, right after Goldman Sachs.
    I am always interested in the way those people think. And when I read the banker’s church speach in London, I was really embarrassed about what he said. By the way, we hear the same words in our country from the great money makers. In the first critical phase of the crisis they all shut their mouse, but now we have a new really conservative government and all those bailout masters give their comments and praise themselves as if they were the guys we waited for to help us.
    I also want to mention that the British Church itself is in great trouble, because their own employees lost a great deal of the priests rents.
    Now they only have 416 million pounds, but they have to pay out 800 million pounds. Seems that Jesus doesn’t even like priest bankers.

  37. collapse expand

    The portion you quoted is really telling – in a not good way that exudes arrogance, but at least Lord Griffiths had a few other things to say that weren’t so off kilter.

    >Goldman Sachs Group Inc., based in New York, set aside $16.7 billion for compensation and benefits in the first nine months of 2009, up 46 percent from a year earlier and enough to pay each worker $527,192 for the period. The amount set aside this year is just shy of the all-time high $16.9 billion allocated in the first three quarters of 2007. Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally in New York declined to comment.

    >Banks in the U.K. and U.S. have been pressured by lawmakers to contain compensation after bailouts of financial firms by national governments. Goldman Sachs repaid $10 billion plus dividends to the U.S. government this year, and resumed allocating billions of dollars for year-end bonuses after slashing compensation last year when the firm reported its first quarterly loss.

    >Griffiths, 67, called on bankers to boost their charitable giving to help improve the financial industry’s reputation following a worldwide crisis.

    >‘Much Is Expected’

    >“To whom much is given much is expected,” he said. “There is a sense that if you make money you are expected to give.”

    >Griffiths said that banks should hire and promote people based on criteria beyond how much money they could or did make.

    >“It was the failed moral compass of bankers which was primarily responsible for why we had this crisis,” he said. “The question is: what can we do in the culture of institutions to make them behave in a more socially responsible way?”

    (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a8upOpH5Q3Tw)

    One the one hand, Griffiths isn’t all bad. On the other, wtf?

  38. collapse expand

    Goldman Sachs ‘Shooting Fish in a Barrel’

    Posted: 05 Nov 2009 06:37 AM PST

    Those who take risk do not always win. A variety of mathematical models dealing with risk address and negate the chance of almost uniform success by one party. While those on Wall Street would promote the overwhelming risks in the industry, I would maintain that Wall Street circa 2009 is not in the risk business. How so? Let’s review results from the firm regarded as the best at managing risk, that is Goldman Sachs.

    The Financial Times provides insights into the Goldman Sachs ‘casino’ in writing this morning, Goldman Benefits From Trading Bonanza:

    Traders at Goldman Sachs recorded only one daily loss in the third quarter, highlighting the trading bonanza sweeping Wall Street as central banks continue to pump billions of dollars into the financial system.

    The performance – revealed on Wednesday in a regulatory filing – compares with two losing trading days in the previous quarter and confirms that the authorities’ drive to revive markets after the crisis is yielding huge windfalls for some banks.

    Before the crisis, banks regularly recorded trading losses on several days in a quarter.

    Goldman made more than $100m in profits on 36 of the 65 days in the three months to September and recorded more than $50m in profit on more than eight out of 10 trading days, the filing shows.

    To lose money on a total of only three days over the last two quarters defies rules of logic, assuming that markets are free, fair, and balanced. Even in Vegas the house doesn’t win at that rate. The question begs then as to the nature of the supposed risks being taken by Goldman and every other Wall Street firm. Beyond the risks, we also need to question the very nature of the markets themselves. When a firm makes money 98% to 99% of the time, don’t tell me they’re taking risk. They are doing nothing more than ’shooting fish in a barrel.’ How so?

    Let’s revisit what Larry Fink, the king of Wall Street himself, said about the risks, or lack thereof, taken within the financial industry. I addressed Fink’s assessment this past July in writing, “The King of Wall Street Takes on the Casinos”:

    Revenues and profits are a function of volumes and margins.

    Any businessman worth his salt works tirelessly at increasing his own volume and margin while necessarily narrowing those of his competition. I see a classic case of these competitive forces at work this morning in a report from the Financial Times, BlackRock Chief Attacks Wall Street Earnings:

    Larry Fink, BlackRock’s founder and chief executive, on Tuesday took aim at the “luxurious” trading profits enjoyed by Wall Street banks, saying that they have taken advantage of reduced competition to charge their customers more for even basic trades.

    “There are fewer players. There is very little capital being committed by these dealers,” Mr Fink said.

    Little doubt The King of Wall Street, Larry Fink is irked by the ransom being charged by those running the Wall street ‘casinos.’ The king says as much in stating:

    “They’re just taking the spread between the bid and the ask [the price gap between buyers and sellers] and they are making very luxurious returns,” he added.

    In layman’s terms, the King is denigrating those working the Wall Street ‘casinos’ as the equivalent of toll takers on the Triborough Bridge. Who likes paying increased tolls? Nobody, and especially not a king.

    The size of the tolls and the regularity with which they are being collected by Goldman Sachs does not equate with risk-taking. This dynamic is totally consistent with behaviors and revenues generated in an oligopoly.

    Oligopolies are fabulous for those running the business, but certainly not healthy for customers and the public at large.

    Wall Street and Goldman Sachs in the risk business? I don’t think so.

    LD

    from Sense on Cents

  39. collapse expand

    Well, there’s certainly something to be said when the best argument here supporting the Goldman position is:

    Sonny, that’s just the way the world works, and you’re just jealous and stupid.

  40. collapse expand

    My favorite part is at the end, from the good bishop of London, Richard Chartres: “They have a duty to be extravagantly generous, because to those to whom much has been given much will be required.”

    He’d be more than happy to cash that cheque.

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