Taibbi Sparks Goldman Firestorm

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,117

Is Lloyd Blankfein actually Darth Vader? The scathing article published earlier this week in Rolling Stone makes a compelling case that has the web churning out conspiracy theories right and left. In case you missed it, here is the article:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/2912731...

But what may have started as a brush fire is now starting to rage, with primetime coverage of the Goldman "scandal" and some pretty blatant plagiarism on the part of Glenn Beck:

I'm a big fan of conspiracy theories, personally, because most of them are really creative. But you have to admit, where there's smoke there is usually fire, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was some truth in all this.

In either case, Goldman's tepid apologies for "participating in the market euphoria" aren't getting them much sympathy.

Comments (29)

Jul 17, 2009

I don't know, even for a conspiracy theory the original article sounded a bit hysterical. Although some of the points he raised about Goldmanites in positions of power were interesting.

Jul 17, 2009

What a bunch of tools. Since when did it become wrong to make money?

"Banking - It is what it is"

Jul 17, 2009

And that rolling stones article is lol worthy, does anyone even care what those freaks have to say?:s

"Banking - It is what it is"

Jul 17, 2009

Did the article appear in the section that shows photos of Brodie Jenner & other useless celebrities? Or was it in the music section - adjacent to the reviews of the new Young Jizzy album?

Jul 17, 2009

Not just a little sensitive about criticism from the outside, are we boys?

Here's a little history lesson for those who would dismiss Rolling Stone as a simple celebrity rag magazine. Rolling Stone has a storied past of exposing corporate and government corruption and generally being an infected thorn in the side of those in power, and for that Jann Wenner and his crew are to be commended.

Before most of you were even an itch in your daddy's pants, Rolling Stone was a near-constant kick in the balls to the Nixon administration, and published some of the seminal works of legendary journalists like Hunter S. Thompson and others.

In an age where true journalism is gasping its last breaths, and being replaced with the mindless corporate pablum that any third-rate PR agency could crank out in ten minutes, I for one am glad that there are guys like Matt Taibbi out there. If for no other reason than to make the free ride these fucking politicians and corporate greedheads get to take just a little less comfortable.

The WSO Guide to Understanding TARP

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Jul 17, 2009

Edmundo, the problem is that the villainization of Wall Street is a one-way street. While its easy to blame Wall Street for the world's problems, its much more difficult to understand the interconnectedness of all the entities which made this current bubble burst possible. Whats more is that your lay-American is too stupid and short-sighted to understand that this is not Apocalypse, its just a cycle and its the economy correcting itself. This is not the first down cycle, it will not be the last and it probably won't be the most severe. Articles like this do nothing to present the other side of the story or allocate any blame whatsoever to people like Joe the Plumber who's driving a 70K Escalade and owes back taxes. Whats more, its people like Taibbi who are so outspoken about greed and corruption and lack of accountability, yet its these same people that have contributed to this. It was such a big fucking deal that Geithner owed back taxes, while I'm sure a ton of these hippie faggot journalist probably do too.

FYI... IMO, the Rolling Stones is a has been. Its about as relevant in today's society as Slash. The only people that read that are people who have a sentimental connection to it from their younger days. Quite simply, no one gives a fuck.

Not to mention that Taibbi is a mindless shit stain. The Goldman alum connections are laughable at best. Its one of the most successful and storied financial institutions in the world, so it is only fitting that some of the best and brightest worked there, became all-stars, and moved on. Someone should write a similar article about the Illuminati effect at Harvard/Yale/Princeton, since you could easily draw a spider-web all over the globe connecting HYP alums at the multinational corporation heads and heads of state; then throw into the mix Chinese and Russian statesmen educated at HYP and their governments connections to Iran, and select scientists suspected of contributing to nuclear research in and their connections to HYP alums and you've got a global entity seeking to destroy the world, all spearheaded from HYP. I'm sure there is a underground tunnel connecting the 3 schools in a secret meeting placed where the walls are lined with the skulls of lesser men.

Jul 17, 2009

You know I'm no populist, and I certainly don't blame Goldman for asking for an inch and then taking ten miles in the execution of their business plan. But a lot of this stuff can't be dismissed as, "Well, we're the smartest guys in the world, so of course we're in charge."

Several of the examples in the article point to out-and-out collusion (Friedman getting a conflict of interest exemption? Are you kidding me? Goldman being granted bona fide hedger status? C'mon.). Again, I don't fault the bank for taking every penny they could get, but I think it's naive to think there wasn't corruption involved.

Of course I blame Johnny Lunchbucket for getting in over his head. But we can't be so sensitive when our industry's dirty laundry gets aired. And I think it's just the beginning. I'm betting the media decides to make plenty of hay over the $700,000 per employee bonus pool Goldman is putting together.

The WSO Guide to Understanding TARP

Jul 17, 2009
Edmundo Braverman:

Several of the examples in the article point to out-and-out collusion (Friedman getting a conflict of interest exemption? Are you kidding me? Goldman being granted bona fide hedger status? C'mon.). Again, I don't fault the bank for taking every penny they could get, but I think it's naive to think there wasn't corruption involved.

There definitely is corruption involved. But no more corruption than any other large Fortune 500 corporation is benefactor to. The only difference is, just like 2 years ago it became in to wear trucker hats, now its in to demonize wall street. I welcomed the trucker hat, because it allowed me the ability to spot flaming douche bags from blocks away, now I engage in conversation with someone and only later realize this is the same dick wad I saw 2 years ago rocking an air brushed I LOVE ASHTON KUTCHER hat when I hear him demanding we prosecute Goldman Sachs for war crimes.

America will eventually go down. And it will start when we begin chastising people for being successful. There is no more greed or corruption than anywhere else. In fact, there is far more greed and corruption elsewhere. I don't read the Rolling Stones, but I'm curious to know what they had to say about Chenny-Haliburton-Iraq connection. That however is far more corrupt and disgraceful than the going ons on Capital Hill, Wall Street or Corporate America.

Jul 17, 2009

I've never understood this need to flip out at anyone who would possibly speak against the world of banking. I think the article makes some interesting points and is not something that should be denounced as populist crap. Taibbi is the man and I'm glad he's writing this kind of stuff (no one else on any sort of remotely national stage seems to).

Also, I'm pretty sure that Geithner owing back taxes is a big deal and whether or not some "hippie faggot journalist probably does too" is irrelevant. Working for Goldman or whatever other firm does not make you above the law and sure as hell doesn't make you better than anyone else. In fact, Marcus, I'm not sure how Taibbi contributed to this mess we're in at all, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

People on here need to take a step back and have some perspective.

Jul 17, 2009
TheKing:

In fact, Marcus, I'm not sure how Taibbi contributed to this mess we're in at all, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

I'm speaking in general here. Everyone you meet is saying "I spent my money responsibily and didn't live outside my means, why should i have to pay for this?"

Obviously people's judgment of living within their means isn't quite up to snuff. Its kind of like 85% of people thinking they are better than the average driver.

I didn't say being a public official or a Goldmanite makes you above the law, I'm talking about all the hypocrisy. The guy who makes $500-1,000K a year and owes $10K isn't pulling one over on on the system, he's just been negligent of his responsibilities.

Taibbi is contributing to this mess by doing what EVERY OTHER PERSON in the media is doing. So while some of you may believe he is such a trailblazer, just because he uses phrases like "shit loads of money" and "that asshole Thain" doesn't mean he's not full of the same bullshit the rest of the media is full of. He's just using slightly edgier rhetoric and being very specific in his accusations. He's doing exactly what everyone else is doing, which is pointing the finger at everyone but the general public (i.e. his readers) which is propagating a mentality of scapegoating and lack of accountability. I'm not saying Wall Street isn't partly responsible, I'm saying they are not solely responsible. And failing to hold people accountable and babying them by blaming everyone else for their failures as decision making adults, is only going to encourage similar behavior in the future. And when things get messy, they'll find someone else to blame and the media and politicians will think of something.

Jul 17, 2009

Marcus - spot on about the evil web. You could form a web like that with other institutions as well - the US Army, McKinsey, the fucking Beatles Fab Club. Edmundo. You must be 55 years old if you associate Rolling Stone with Journalism. In the 70s, Pete Marivich was an incredible basketball player. Now he's fucking dead. And so is Rolling Stone's legitimacy. It truly is nothing more than a celebrity rag and fact sheet for garbage hip hop and emo bullsit. I don't care how good it was during your disco dancing college years. Now people will associate Goldman with the bank in "The International" (solid movie btw).

Jul 17, 2009

I don't remember the exact context, but some time back I was reading an article about how someone had decoded a message written in bible which prophesied some catastrophe or another.

After reading this someone else had sought out to disprove such 'encoded' messages. This individual figured out a similar type of pattern and decoded a message in a well known book War and Peace or something, prophesying the JFK assassination.

Bottom line, as long as there is someone who wants to believe it, there will always be some type of "compelling" evidence to confirm people's suspicions.

I don't believe Goldman Sachs is the Company al la Prison Break, or whatever other movies reference such an entity. The fact that such a concept exists in fantasy is a testament to the fact that people want to believe it (like aliens and God).

Jul 17, 2009

...I think Taibbi has some solid points about general corruption and how the big banks have more or less raped the little guy for a ton of money and then had their pals in the government bail them out. To sit back and say that Joe the Plumber is equally at fault with big banks like Goldman Sachs is irresponsibile and wrong. Not to mention, Joe the Plumber (or whoever) doesn't get a bailout when he's about to go bankrupt.

I don't see why anyone is getting so emotional over this. Scratch that, I don't get why people get so homotional whenever the banks/hedge funds/PE firms/etc. are criticized in general.

Jul 17, 2009
TheKing:

Scratch that, I don't get why people get so homotional whenever the banks/hedge funds/PE firms/etc. are criticized in general.

I have a theory about that (surprise, surprise!).

I think the most vocal supporters of the banks, and the guys that get their feathers ruffled the most when a hit piece comes out about the industry, are the junior bankers who can see the prize, but can't quite reach it yet. I'm not talking about the newbies, who are as clueless as the general public. I'm talking about the guy who has been in the business three or four years, and is maybe starting to make a little real money, but who has also caught a glimpse or two of the man behind the curtain, and the bloom is coming off of the rose.

This is the guy who is starting to realize that it's a scam, that he's basically an air salesman, but who also sees the fame and fortune at the top of the pile and doesn't want the party to end until he has his bite of the apple. In other words, he's spent considerable time and money, sacrificed lifestyle and family, and he'll be damned if anything is going to expose the system before he gets PAID.

So when a piece like this comes out and exposes fairly obvious corruption, collusion, and the other types of general skulduggery that can cause the biscuit wheels to fall off the gravy train, these guys get really, really nervous. I know. I've been there.

The WSO Guide to Understanding TARP

Jul 17, 2009

Classic part of the second video around the 4 minute mark where he suggests Goldman is so morally bankrupt that they'd have taken Auschwitz public and sold the shares to their families and friends.

Well reasoned and high-minded debate.

----------------------------------------------------------
The WSO Guide to Understanding TARP

Jul 17, 2009

This was a good overview of the good points Taibbi makes.

It's important to realize and differentiate between unfair competitive advantage, vs. making money. What are you angry at? Yes, when joe-schmoe reads that Goldman made more money than he/she can imagine, they will be pissed. But they're angry because a bank is making a lot of money. That's obviously wrong in an of itself. But even then, you've gotta ask: are you mad that Goldman was indirectly bailed out? (yes, if AIG had been let go, Goldman would have gone under, along with a good deal of the system).

http://www.businessinsider.com/okay-this-time-matt...
Just worth reading. It's important to realize 1. yes, those who are angry at Goldman are a bit naive/uninformed/maybe just hate capitalism, but that it's important to remember these profits are the result of a major prop-up.

Jul 17, 2009
Alphaholic:

(yes, if AIG had been let go, Goldman would have gone under, along with a good deal of the system).

First of all, I agree with your post completely. After doing all the research for the TARP Guide, however, I'm not sure the AIG bailout saved Goldman Sachs. Based on what I've found, Goldman was already okay and the AIG bailout was more just icing on the cake. Now, I'm not disputing that AIG going under would have killed many other market participants, even a few majors, but I think Goldman would have survived.

The WSO Guide to Understanding TARP

Jul 17, 2009

What Marcus said.

And Edmundo, our country is full of finger pointers, with the inability to think very deeply. That's the audience intended for the Taibbi article, whether there are elements of truth to it or not. Look at the government actions of the past 9 years. "Government take care of me," sincerely- the public.

We put up with less civil liberties in exchange for security (doesn't matter if security actually is better, we'll just feel that way)--subscribe gay rights, drinking age, and other civil lib issues to the same psychology. We prop up institutions, rather than feel the necessary pain, and LEARN from our mistakes. We point our fingers, and construct flawed realities of events that have occured to excuse ourselves from our situations (hi, Taibbi's article!). The point is, there is a deeper problem here.

My country is full of fragile babies.

Jul 17, 2009
h.e.pennypacker:

What Marcus said.

And Edmundo, our country is full of finger pointers, with the inability to think very deeply. That's the audience intended for the Taibbi article, whether there are elements of truth to it or not. Look at the government actions of the past 9 years. "Government take care of me," sincerely- the public.

We put up with less civil liberties in exchange for security (doesn't matter if security actually is better, we'll just feel that way)--subscribe gay rights, drinking age, and other civil lib issues to the same psychology. We prop up institutions, rather than feel the necessary pain, and LEARN from our mistakes. We point our fingers, and construct flawed realities of events that have occured to excuse ourselves from our situations (hi, Taibbi's article!). The point is, there is a deeper problem here.

My country is full of fragile babies.

While I agree to an extent, it almost sounds as though you are saying "quit crying about Goldman Sachs" and completely discounting what amounts to us (the tax payer) funding Goldman's "record profit" and record "bonuses." All of which wouldn't have existed if it weren't for bailouts, TARP, etc.

Jul 17, 2009

Yeah, I am saying "quit crying about Goldman Sachs," because almost any other company would have taken the government's help, as well. It's in their interest to. What we should be "crying" about is what pushed the bailing out to happend, and that starts at "the public", ironically. It's the general need for "the public" to have the government always intervening in our lives in the name of security, whether it's actually good for us or not. With that in mind, a crisis like the one we're in resulted in bail outs, which created some winners and losers. Big picture, people. "We" are the problem.

Jul 17, 2009

Someone tell him no one is going to read 7 pages of that crap.

Jul 17, 2009
<span class=keyword_link><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/sac-capital rel=nofollow>SAC</a></span>:

Someone tell him no one is going to read 7 pages of that crap.

I'll try to find the picture book version for you.

The WSO Guide to Understanding TARP

Jul 17, 2009

So what does it does it mean to all current and prospective bankers at Goldman Sachs if the firm is indeed corrupt and duped the government into giving them billions in taxpayer dollars? Should that affect one's decision as to whether or not they should work there?

As an analyst or other junior level guy, you're just trying to do a good job so you will get a fat bonus. Politics doesn't factor into it.

I'd say that GS didn't mastermind the bailout, but they certainly weren't upset that the government gave them the opportunity to take the money. Like many things, it was probably pressure from GS, and politicians trying to look good.

Jul 18, 2009

Taibbi might have more credibility in my eyes if his article had an ounce of journalistic integrity and didn't read like a ranting diatribe. Truly sad that this passes for "journalism."

Jul 18, 2009

This article rips apart his story. Worth the 5 minute read.

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/...

Jul 19, 2009

"Paulson let goldman's BIGGEST competitor - LEHMAN - fail"...lol ok.

"Blankenfein"

Not getting his facts straight makes this guy the biggest failure as a journalist.

"If the government is going to be giving away money, it's our fiduciary responsibility to take it on behalf of our investors,"

"If the government is going to be giving away money, it's our fiduciary responsibility to take it on behalf of our investors,"

Jul 20, 2009

If you can honestly take a look at the situation and not see that Goldman basically just made subsidized profits which were in part created by former Goldman guys who work at the highest levels of government, then you are either a retard or are in denial for some reason.

If you do see it and defend it, than you're an asshole. Better yet, if you're so happy to see Goldman rape the tax payer, I've got an idea: get out your check book, fill out a check to L. Blankfein, and send it his way. No fuckin' reason our tax dollars should be going to padding Blankfein and pal's checking accounts.

Jul 21, 2009
Comment