"The People Vs. Goldman Sachs" - Taibbi's Magnum Opus

Tyler Durden's picture

By Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone Magazine

The People vs. Goldman Sachs

They weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money
than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers,
in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They
came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.

Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate
subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the
criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know
exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel
Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman
executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their
clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall
Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at
the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn't leave much
doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.

The great and powerful Oz of Wall Street was not the only target of Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse,
the 650-page report just released by the Senate Subcommittee on
Investigations, chaired by Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, alongside
Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Their unusually scathing bipartisan
report also includes case studies of Washington Mutual and Deutsche
Bank, providing a panoramic portrait of a bubble era that produced the
most destructive crime spree in our history — "a million fraud cases a
year" is how one former regulator puts it. But the mountain of evidence
collected against Goldman by Levin's small, 15-desk office of
investigators — details of gross, baldfaced fraud delivered up in such
quantities as to almost serve as a kind of sarcastic challenge to the
curiously impassive Justice Department — stands as the most important
symbol of Wall Street's aristocratic impunity and prosecutorial immunity
produced since the crash of 2008.

To date, there has been only one successful prosecution of a financial
big fish from the mortgage bubble, and that was Lee Farkas, a Florida
lender who was just convicted on a smorgasbord of fraud charges and now
faces life in prison. But Farkas, sadly, is just an exception proving
the rule: Like Bernie Madoff, his comically excessive crime spree (which
involved such lunacies as kiting checks to his own bank and selling
loans that didn't exist) was almost completely unconnected to the
systematic corruption that led to the crisis. What's more, many of the
earlier criminals in the chain of corruption — from subprime lenders
like Countrywide, who herded old ladies and ghetto families into bad
loans, to rapacious banks like Washington Mutual, who pawned off
fraudulent mortgages on investors — wound up going belly up, sunk by
their own greed.

But Goldman, as the Levin report makes clear, remains an ascendant
company precisely because it used its canny perception of an upcoming
disaster (one which it helped create, incidentally) as an opportunity to
enrich itself, not only at the expense of clients but ultimately,
through the bailouts and the collateral damage of the wrecked economy,
at the expense of society. The bank seemed to count on the unwillingness
or inability of federal regulators to stop them — and when called to
Washington last year to explain their behavior, Goldman executives
brazenly misled Congress, apparently confident that their perjury would
carry no serious consequences. Thus, while much of the Levin report
describes past history, the Goldman section describes an ongoing?
crime — a powerful, well-connected firm, with the ear of the president
and the Treasury, that appears to have conquered the entire regulatory
structure and stands now on the precipice of officially getting away
with one of the biggest financial crimes in history.

Defenders of Goldman have been quick to insist that while the bank may
have had a few ethical slips here and there, its only real offense was
being too good at making money. We now know, unequivocally, that this is
bullshit. Goldman isn't a pudgy housewife who broke her diet with a few
Nilla Wafers between meals — it's an advanced-stage, 1,100-pound
medical emergency who hasn't left his apartment in six years, and is
found by paramedics buried up to his eyes in cupcake wrappers and pizza
boxes. If the evidence in the Levin report is ignored, then Goldman will
have achieved a kind of corrupt-enterprise nirvana. Caught, but still
free: above the law.


When it came time for Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein to testify, the banker
hedged and stammered like a brain-addled boxer who couldn't quite
follow the questions. When Levin asked how Blankfein felt about the fact
that Goldman collected $13 billion from U.S. taxpayers through the AIG
bailout, the CEO deflected over and over, insisting that Goldman would
somehow have made that money anyway through its private insurance
policies on AIG. When Levin pressed Blankfein, pointing out that he
hadn't answered the question, Blankfein simply peered at Levin like he
didn't understand.


This isn't just a matter of a few seedy guys stealing a few bucks. This
is America: Corporate stealing is practically the national pastime, and
Goldman Sachs is far from the only company to get away with doing it.
But the prominence of this bank and the high-profile nature of its
confrontation with a powerful Senate committee makes this a political
story as well. If the Justice Department fails to give the American
people a chance to judge this case — if Goldman skates without so much
as a trial — it will confirm once and for all the embarrassing truth:
that the law in America is subjective, and crime is defined not by what
you did, but by who you are.

Read the full thing here

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Sudden Debt's picture

Cigarets don't cause cancer!!!!!

Pladizow's picture

And this is why I will never play the Wall Street game again!

No stocks, No bonds, No CD's, No MF's, No ETF's!

Anything created and sold by Wallstreet is for the purpose of benefiting Wallstreet.

I'll only but the truth = PM's!

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it" - Frederic Bastiat.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

+ $1500 Pladizow.


How many times do we have to wail and gnash our teeth?

NO ONE of significance has gone to jail!

NONE of our financial problems have been solved!

But, WTF, no one at .gov cares.  Probably on the take.

Enlisting into the Tinfoil Hat Brigade alst week was the smartest thing I'eve ever done!  Serenity and enlightenment have come to me...

macholatte's picture

Taibbi tells us nothing we didn't already know/suspect, yet it is aggravating to see it laid out so nice and clean. Like gazing at a bloody sheet covering a dead body. You know what's under it but don't want to look.

I find this article and its reference to the failure of .gov to protect and defend the sheeple most interesting after the Obama campaigned in El Paso yesterday. They have gotten away with the biggest crimes in history and have no shame anymore. Things really are out in the open. The lying, the cheating and the stealing. Do, say, sell anything and everything to get re-elected. There is no prosecution of Government Sachs for obvious reasons.

 The most important words ever spoken: Follow the money.


Cleanclog's picture

Taibbi is close to taking his life in his hands - brave man.  His increasing number of enemies are very powerful.  Been a while since a real journalist continues to research and report.  Of course no MSM will pick him up, but being self-respecting, he wouldn't work for them anymore anyway.  He is actually working "for us".  Go Matt!!!

dark pools of soros's picture

He worked with Ames to create the Exile in Russia until Putin ran him out..  he doesn't scare easy

cxl9's picture

Excellent book. Taibbi knows how far he can go and stay alive. As fearless as he seemed in Russia, he admits in Exile that there were certain people so powerful and dangerous that he wouldn't even print their names, much less write damning articles about them.

In America, nothing will come of this. The corruption is too pervasive and systemic. The powerful people know they have nothing to fear from Taibbi and his entertaining articles. He will not come to harm because they know he can't hurt them.

Kali's picture

Unfortunately, too true.  Otherwise, there would be far more "disappeared".  That is what is so frightening.  They are scared of nothing.

LeBalance's picture

Tsk, tsk, that really is a situation in need of Balancing, eh?

Maniac Researcher's picture

Again, knowing Taibbi personally, I think he'd smirk all the more that a bunch of bigoted, self-aggrandizing, extreme libertarians are praising him. We used to really get quite a kick out of lampooning the gold, guns, and bunker wingnut crowd back in Buffalo. The irony is too delicious not comment on.

WaterWings's picture

How does it feel to be on the wrong side vis-a-vis natural rights? More specifically, to sockpuppet yourself for a paycheck?

Maniac Researcher's picture

A) Your lazy, non sequitur challenge about natural rights is coming out of nowhere here. You want to stake a position and debate it? Try using more than one sentence...or stick to the shallow end, you dolt.

B) ...sounds like someone needs to hold on to a conspiracy theory in order to convince themselves that a point they don't like is invalid -- yes, the best way to have an honest discussion is to accuse everyone who says something you don't want to hear of being a paid operative. That isn't childish, paranoid, and stupid at all. Not in the least.

WaterWings's picture

I've just happened to notice your negative, provocative (considering the audience) shtick more than a few times - it's formulaic.

Bananamerican's picture

" We used to really get quite a kick out of lampooning the gold, guns, and bunker wingnut crowd..."

again, who's driving this car and where are we headed?

Oh regional Indian's picture

More like who's driving the car and where are the rails headed?

I think the first three bogies are already free falling, we just happen to be near the end of th etrain and cannto see it.




Michael's picture

Elizabeth Warren Makes Timmy Geithner Squirm Over AIG and Goldman Sachs Bailouts


Gold is like Kyptronite to Federal Reserve paper money notes. Silver is like Garlic to the Bernank vampire.

Kings, Queens & Soup Tureens.

Barack Obama is a soup tureen. George Soros a wanna be king is a soup tureen. Ted Turner, Bill Gates, and Opra are soup tureens. George Bush is a soup tureen. Hillary and Bill Clinton are soup tureens.  Understand the concept?

I don't know how to get it,

Back 2 Good (Video)


velobabe's picture

ORI, i tried to leave a comment on your blog in regards to this article. i really liked it. maybe it is my ability to re log into your comment section. you and lemons ROCK†

Maniac Researcher's picture

A good question. But it has nothing to do with my comment about Taibbi.

Newsflash: no one cares about a bunch of hateful assholes [ie ZH] yelling the sky is falling. The sky may in fact, be falling; but why should anyone care about the proposed remedies for the situation from a group of people who can't help constantly putting down women, throwing around homophobic epithets, indulging themselves in violent, bile filled anti-Semitism, cynically bashing people who live in crushing poverty, who joke about rape, etc etc etc.

Where are we headed? There are better places to have that discussion than here. You want to call my comment trolling - that's your prerogative. I call it exposing hypocrisy.

Imminent Crucible's picture

"a bunch of hateful assholes"

Now that's what I call "rich irony".

FEDbuster's picture

Still, he should stay out of hot tubs, small aircraft and always stand 10 feet back at the subway platform.  You need to be careful when you are cooking calamari.

i-dog's picture

"He will not come to harm because they know he can't hurt them."

Indeed. They generally don't 'terminate' critics ... they just ridicule them or destroy them professionally. They only 'terminate' insiders who turn on them and tell tales, as a lesson to others to keep quiet.

Ergo, if someone has a mysterious hot tub accident, or slips off a high balcony, then go back over what they have said to find out what beans they actually spilled. :)

lynnybee's picture

 "  Taibbi is close to taking his life in his hands - brave man. "  ....... or, maybe he'll get a PULITZER PRIZE !!   The damn government is too corrupt to take them on, somebody has to do it !   Bunch of scamming paper pushers, bunch of crooks, take taxpayer dollars !     Only a bunch of cowards would "take money" to bail themselves out.....bunch of cowards who didn't have the guts to go bankrupt .

Hephasteus's picture

Taibbi is a shill jumping in front of something trying to steer it.

He smirks during his interviews. He's as safe as he could possibly be.

He's 100 percent died in the wool manipulative sociopath.

RockyRacoon's picture

So... what he writes is incorrect, or not?   I don't get your point here.   You just don't like Taibbi as a person, a journalist, a human being... what?   If he were not writing these stories who would you prefer do it?   Would he/she/they be better at it?   If so, why are they not writing it?   Just what the hell is your point?

Hephasteus's picture

My point is it's swap. You got to understand bankers and how they express themselves in psychology always. It's a swap and an alignment. Agree with people on one issue then align them on another issue. It's exactly what happened to The Daily Show. While he was ahead of the crowd and pulling in viewers then he simply dropped it all and went back to his old show. Then he started getting the main stream media pump. It's how the whole world works. Engage and align engage and align.

I've never read his work and I've never seen him and watching him in one interview reveals the amount of humility or sensitivity he's working with. The guys a sociopath. With the same smirk as madoff. It's simply a response to the energy. Few people care about these guys many understand the world would be better off without them and there is little sympathy for them because given any they'd abuse it just like they've been doing. Their glib superficialness is simply how they respond to the loss of power and influence.

dark pools of soros's picture

they guy's been through hell and back.. perhaps he doesn't care if he dies and that is where the smirks come from..  he did the same back when he worked on Real Time after the Exile days..  but if you never read the Exile publications back when they were being released, in those times in Russia, you can't judge him from what you see now.  Back then he didn't even release his real name from the shit he was pulling over there...  Only Ames was the frontman.



Hephasteus's picture

Well dpsoros. Thank you for responding. I don't know exactly what it is that is bugging me so much about this guy and this post but I just got a huge clue about it and about what bugs me about the media in general. I went in a bit ago and the clock was glaring 11:11 and I just got enraged.

11:11 is presented by the new age groups as some sort of digital awakening. What disturbs me so much about that is having watched the computer industry for so long it's an absolutely vial horrible hot bed of lies and deceipt. From their reasonings for technology changes to their extension of what the vial phone company started to their aiding and abedting accounting fraud by burying it in mountains of data.

You see scientific methodology is taught to us as truth. It works by experimenting and other people doing the same experiments and verifying or contradicting each other. There's very few things about science that are repeatable. But we are programmed to think this is the methodology that we use to search for truth.

Then we get the electronics revolution and IT revolution. It starts out small but teaches us to accept programming. 3 channels all report more or less the same thing and they keep harping and harping over news agencies fact checking and due dilligence so we begin to trust it. Now we have all these news sources and 58 cable channels.  We got senators parroting the rich pay all the taxes when you can't fact check that with the IRS. We got suspicious people without the equipment or maybe even the skill to conduct research but there's always plenty of money and friends to help out for some.

I know it seems rambling or unconnected but as we approach 11:11 I'm becoming more and more aware of the programming nature of this Disinformation Technology. I don't know what this guy is up to or how it fits into any bigger picture. I just know I have a monster distrust for him right now. I don't know if it's his fault or if he should be blamed. I just know people are about to shit all over everybodies hard disk. A flurry of disinformation overload that could possibly be similar to a UV eeprom eraser getting people ready to accept new programming.

BTW the price of gold and silver is a big lie. Programmed by the bullshitting machines. Each with bullshitting central bankers happy to get whatever information the senator or whatever your country calls it just asked for.

Bananamerican's picture

"He's 100 percent died in the wool manipulative sociopath"

wow Hephasteus! and FUUUUCKKK YOUUUUU

Hephasteus's picture

"He's 100 percent died in the wool manipulative sociopath"

wow Hephasteus! and FUUUUCKKK YOUUUUU

Only if you smirk while your doing it.

J Robert Burgoyne's picture

What disturbs me so much about that is having watched the computer industry for so long it's an absolutely vial horrible hot bed of lies and deceipt. 

That's why there's open-source software.

Hephasteus's picture

Sure thing. Open source. Who works on the kernel for that?

Could it be. Apple, IBM, Intel, etc etc etc.

Sure linus was a second leutenant in the army in ballistics calculation but do you think he has as much say as needed with these people? Does he have a linux box full of drop tables hooked up to a mchine gun? Who leads the X windows project. Apple.

Who does security enhanced linux? You got it. Spooks.

You just can't get these assholes out of your life. How do you think these trolls know to come here and hammer the forums? Is it a 6th sense? Nope.

dark pools of soros's picture

i used to think new age got squashed by MSM but then recall that I hardly paid any attention to MSM back in the late 80s and early 90s..  its all still there if you tune out the noise.. and those 11:11 and other pairings are like tuning a guitar just right..  it's a harmony sync type of thing..  when you are not wasting your life, you tend to notice them more and more

i-dog's picture

"A flurry of disinformation overload that could possibly be similar to a UV eeprom eraser getting people ready to accept new programming."

+1. You nailed it ... and it started in earnest on May 1.

Hephasteus's picture

At least someone else is paying attention.

May is shaping up to be the biggest bullshit month in history.

Kali's picture

lol, there is the Heph we know and love!

Guy Fawkes Mulder's picture

I'm tentatively with Heph and with Maniac Researcher on their characterizations of Matt Taibbi.

For what that's worth.

The truth is out there... but it has precious little bearing on what humans think.

RockyRacoon's picture

You judge a man by his "smirk"?   I'm going to ask what you thought of Dubya.

Hephasteus's picture

Dubya. I absolutely hate everyone in the bush family. I can't stand them in the slightest. I don't care about politics or follow politics and never paid any attention to it at all. I got a call during the reelect first bush campaign and I actually ranted the lady out on the phone.

I don't know talibi. I don't know what kind of shape main stream media is in and I don't have any proof. I just don't like the way rolling stone was in the middle of the general goes off the reservation. And I don't like the way this is being handled. If you want to be connected to large groups and do big things. Then when something like this goes down these people should be destroyed mentally and emotionally and physically. But Lloyd is swimming laps, not suffering at all. So what's protecting him besides a level of narcism that is unimaginable by most people.

BobPaulson's picture

Had a wicked trophy wife too.

Destrier's picture

If Taibbi is so brave, where is he on Fannie Mae?  Now THAT was the real criminal conspiracy of well connected political figures who successfully looted the US Treasury while destroying the housing market.  Anybody responsible gone to jail?

Dugald's picture

"and crime is defined not by what you did, but by who you are. "

Tell me a country that is any different and we will cast off and move there pronto!

Ned Zeppelin's picture

There's a name for this: corruption, and it permeates the whole system, starting from Obama down.   Time to start over.  

RockyRacoon's picture

How 'bout rounding up Bush & Co. as well?

BobPaulson's picture

Where is Robespierre when you need him?

FluffyCone's picture

Someone needs to pull a "Seal Team 6" on Lloyd's butt.

nowhereman's picture

Looks like the Corleone family has been successful in making the family business legit.

FreeNewEnergy's picture

Just for you DoChen, Seinfeld montage, "Serenity Now" - only 45 seconds.


DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Thanks FreeNE!

The Serenity that the Bearing now feels is unhampered by such things as financial malfeasance and 15% BSBC medical insurance increases, because of his recent enlistment in the THB.

The vodka helps too...

shanman's picture

I'm with you.  Cash only from now on.  No more stocks, ETF's or mutual funds (funny how that abbreviates to MF .....)


Learning to trade futures for an hour or two a day and completely out of the market at the close.  


Fabulous teachers & mentors at:  http://www.hindsighttrading.com/page/videoplayer/Intro010611.flv