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Posts Tagged ‘Goldman Sachs

“One can never read too little of bad, or too much of good books”*…

 

Just in time for summer reading…

Goldman Sachs: financial giant, hotbed of enthusiasm for subprime mortgages, and hapless recipient of your hard-earned money. Who better to tell you what to read?

Well, now they are telling you what to read, in the form of a recently-published recommended book list. We’re talking about people who incurred $550 million in fines for schemes to turn a profit on the civilization-threatening financial crisis they themselves had helped create, and the line between genius and chutzpah is notoriously hard to draw, so, yeah, I’d like to know what’s on these folks’ bedside tables.

First things first, and no big shock: they’re really into capitalism…

More at “Don’t know what to read? Let Goldman Sachs tell you.”  The list is here.

[Image above, sourced here]

* Arthur Schopenhauer

As we pack for the beach, we might recall that it was on this date in 1937 that Sylvan Goldman introduced the first shopping cart in his Humpty Dumpty grocery store in Oklahoma City.

 source

 

Written by LW

June 4, 2016 at 1:01 am

All the news that’s fit to spit…

Your correspondent is an admirer of the stylings of Matt Taibbi; consider, e.g., “The Great Bubble Machine,” wherein Taibbi compares Goldman Sachs to “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

So one can imagine the delight of discovering that, thanks to New York Magazine, one can play along with the Master:

Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi… is perhaps best known for is his willingness to say Bad Things about Important People in a Colorful Way. This talent is on copious display in his new book, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, which is ostensibly about how America is becoming “a vast ghetto in which all of us … are being bled dry by a relatively tiny oligarchy of extremely clever financial criminals and their castrato henchmen in government” but mostly serves as a 252-page delivery mechanism for ad hominem insults*… we’ve put together a quiz using some of his most vivid descriptions of public figures. See how many you can figure out!

It’s a particularly-challenging game in that so many of the questions have several answers that could easily be correct.  An example:

Try to “Match the Matt Taibbi Insult to the Public Figure.”

* New York’s opinion, not your correspondent’s (though the insults are in fact epic)…

As we Question Authority, we might recall that it was on this date in 2005 that Kenny G, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, and Tom Petty performed at the Rainbow Room on a bill topped by Aerosmith and 50 Cent for a private bat mitzvah.  The doting dad who sprang for the lavish coming-of-age-fest (at which, in addition to the entertainment, guests were treated to gift bags containing over $1,000 of personal electronics) was defense contractor David H. Brooks, CEO of DHB Industries, a Long Island company that manufactured body armor for the United States military.

Two years after the lavish event, Brooks was served with a 71-page federal indictment featuring charges of insider trading, tax evasion and raiding his company’s coffers for personal gain– including for the $10 million he used to pay for his daughter’s soiree.  Other questionable items charged to the company (thus, via cost-plus contracts, to the Government): pornographic videos for his son, plastic surgery for his wife, a burial plot for his mother, prostitutes for his employees– and, for himself, a $100,000 American-flag belt buckle encrusted with rubies, sapphires and diamonds.

Steven Tyler singing to Our Miss Brooks at her Bat Mitzvah (source)

One-upping Gordon Gekko…

source

“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.

The ever-incisive Matt Taibbi ponders this pontification:  “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.”

Taibbi’s piece, which explores how it is that someone could reach this kind of conclusion (spoiler alert:  it’s to do with a self-interested understanding of “free market” ideology) is well worth reading in full.  Here, let me just reprise his all-too-apt conclusion:

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!

By way of context, research company TNS reports that “around half of American, British and German respondents reported that they would not be able to come up with $2,000 in 30 days from savings, borrowing, friends or family” if faced with an emergency…  and then there’s the real poverty in the world that we can and must more aggressively address.

As we recover our composure, we might recall that it was on this date in 1789 that Benjamin Franklin remarked, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  (In fact the first recorded utterance of that sentiment in English was by Daniel Defoe in The Political History of the Devil, 1726: “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed”…  before that [pace Goldman] there was Jesus:  “render unto Caesar…”  One wonders what the front-runners and mortgage pushers at the top of the financial heap will make of that…)

Uncle Ben

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