Attention, Goldman haters, the Times has a big piece on Paulson’s interaction with his former company.
“I operated very consistently within the ethic guidelines I had as secretary of the Treasury,” Mr. Paulson responded, adding that he asked for an ethics waiver for his interactions with his old firm “when it became clear that we had some very significant issues with Goldman Sachs.”
Mr. Paulson did not say when he received a waiver, but copies of two waivers he received — from the White House counsel’s office and the Treasury Department — show they were issued on the afternoon of Sept. 17, 2008.[….]
During the week of the A.I.G. bailout alone, Mr. Paulson and Mr. Blankfein spoke two dozen times, the calendars show, far more frequently than Mr. Paulson did with other Wall Street executives.
On Sept. 17, the day Mr. Paulson secured his waivers, he and Mr. Blankfein spoke five times. Two of the calls occurred before Mr. Paulson’s waivers were granted.
All my friends in the finance world say two things about Paulson’s big decisions: (1) letting Lehman fail was catastrophically stupid and (2) the bail-out prevented a 1929-style meltdown. Former Lehman employees seem to believe that Paulson let Lehman fail in part because Goldman has always hated Lehman (their own hatred of Goldman likely colors their views, of course). Everyone believes that the bail-out benefitted Goldman immensely. In any case, whatever one thinks of the wisdom of Paulson’s moves, it’s a fact his two biggest decisions killed one of Goldman’s biggest rivals and used government money to enrich Goldman. One move was hands-off, the other was interventionist, but both benefitted Goldman.
I’m not a Goldman conspiracy theorist, but I can certainly see why a lot of people are.
Update. “Conspiracy theorist” may sound more derogatory than what I mean. (I don’t think of it as derogatory and describe myself as a “conspiracy theorist” about various things, including the Kennedy assassination and corporate ownership of media.) What I mean is that I’m not ready to go the full Taibbi when it comes to Goldman.
A “conspiracy theory” is not a “conspiracy theory” when it involves the suggestions that institutional actors do exactly what their institutional incentives would have them do.
How on Earth did we get into a universe in which that is a “conspiracy theory”? Instead we prefer to rely upon “complete reliance upon faith in the words of powerful actors” theory? Really?
No need for elaborate conspiracy theories here. It’s just your everyday, garden variety corruption and cronyism, except on a much larger scale.
goldman apparently has been considering suing matt taibbi for his rolling stone article. mymymy, who knew those big boyz were such delicate flowers; frankly, judging the reaction of gs to taibbi confirms for me how right on target taibbi was.
@linda: I could imagine Taibbi being very interested if the case allowed for discovery.
You don’t have to be a “conspiracy theorist” to postulate that Paulson had(has) a conflict of interest operating in the fair, unbiased execution of his government duties. Pointing out that there is overwhelming evidence of such a conflict is only telling the truth. Oh, wait a minute, there’s no such thing as truth anymore, just “points-of-view”.
Did the stuff about front running the market through flash trades and Sigma X come out after the Taibbi article?
Left Coast Tom
If the smallest of the investment banks couldn’t be allowed to fail then, presumably, nobody could. In which case we should stop having them “compete”, since we can’t let them be accountable for failure, and instead have them function as public utilities. WIth their employees paid accordingly.
Either that or we should find a way to let them fail.
Sheesh, people are just willfully obtuse about this Goldman stuff. “Conspiracy theory” my ass, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. People don’t want to admit the full magnitude to themselves b/c of all the nasty things it says about America in 2009, but the facts are all out there in plain view.
I mean, the incredible brazenness of GS and all these people is, to my mind, the most telling part of the story: they know they can do whatever they want and nothing will ever happen. Partly b/c of this line of obtuse shit where people are being all sensible and moderate about being stolen from. We should be stringing these assholes up in the street.
i was thinking the same thing … :-)
did you see those flash trades have attracted the attention of congress and the sec.
I think you misread Taibbi about Goldman. His basic point boils down to exactly what you said, that Goldman benefited more then others from the bailout, that they have special connections in government that consistently help them, and that the financial system is broken. Really, there was nothing outrageous about his piece at all.
Well, even if you were; just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that someone isn’t actually following you.
The Other Steve
Even the people at Lehman Brothers admit one thing… The executive management was out of touch and unavailable. apparently the CEO was quite the Bridge player as was the people who worked under him. They were off playing Bridge tournaments the weeks that the market and their company was collapsing.
I fully expect that played a signifigant role in the fact that they received no aid.
Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity, or something like that.
I think the whole thing was messy for two reasons: Figuring out how to shovel $4 trillion into corporations to prevent a complete global catastrophe is fucking complex; Because of our insane fear of socialism, we avoided some fairly obvious, simple solutions.
We vacillated back and forth between overly libertarian responses (let them fail!) and oddly moderate interventions (here’s some money, but no regulations).
Welcome to our sucky political system.
What I mean is that I’m not ready to go the full Taibbi when it comes to Goldman.
I am. GS has profited immensely from others’ misery while pulling the levers of power in both parties to profit from a meltdown they helped create. They have made Obama’s “change” mantra a joke. The only ‘change” is that the Demos are the political players now, not the Repubs. Consider this except from Frank Rich’s NYT piece today:
[T]here is real reason for longer-term worry in the form of a persistent, anecdotal drift toward disillusionment among some of the president’s supporters. And not merely those on the left. This concern was perhaps best articulated by an Obama voter, a real estate agent in Virginia, featured on the front page of The Washington Post last week. “Nothing’s changed for the common guy,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been punked.” She cited in particular the billions of dollars in bailouts given to banks that still “act like they’re broke.”
* * * *
[Obama’s] first questionable post-victory step was to assemble an old boys’ club of Robert Rubin protégés and Goldman-Citi alumni as the White House economic team, including a Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, who failed in his watchdog role at the New York Fed as Wall Street’s latest bubble first inflated and then burst. The questions about Geithner’s role in adjudicating the subsequent bailouts aren’t going away, and neither is the angry public sense that the fix is still in. We just learned that nine of those bailed-out banks — which in total received $175 billion of taxpayers’ money, but as yet have repaid only $50 billion — are awarding a total of $32.6 billion in bonuses for 2009.
At his recent presser Obama was pathetic in dealing with this issue. I thought I was listening to Bush.
The Kennedy assassination? Eep. :(
Aren’t you a scientist?
Bob In Pacifica
What’s wrong with conspiracy theory? Conspiracies happen. Many of them are criminal conspiracies, many of them involve looting money from public institutions, some of them involve people getting killed. Where’s Jack Abramoff playing tennis these days? What’s Gus Boulis doing?
It’s hard to look at the whole Iraq invasion thing, look at the deliberate lies promoted by the Bush Administration and not see it as a huge criminal conspiracy wherein large profits were made, many thousands of innocent people were killed, millions others displaced from their homes, etc. And yet it’s not being prosecuted. So one could say, theoretically, that large conspiracies such as foisting wars on countries and draining their national treasuries for the benefit of a select few, and then NOT PROSECUTING the parties responsible, are also conspiracies. Justice, and its select disbursement, is a conspiracy.
A long time ago some folks promoted that “all men are created equal” but we know that that not only wasn’t the way things were back then but nowadays the economic inequality among people in the U.S. is as great as it’s ever been. That is, the government itself, or the society that controls our government, has functioned in a conspiracy to unequally distribute wealth. Rules are constantly being written and rewritten, laws that catch the biggest thieves are not enforced. Wars are fought on behalf of corporate interests and financed by the rest of us. That is, societies are conspiracies to distribute wealth unequally. One can draw that creating an underclass is just a subset of that conspiracy, that the racism and the drug wars are just the means by which whole segments of society are devalued and thus made weaker and more malleable to the interests of the rich and powerful. That goes for both the heroin addict in the ghetto and the racist tweaker with his bathtub meth lab.
Boy, nothing beats a strong cup of coffee on Sunday morning.
Before I go totally anarchistic on you, there are some posts at Bradblog about Sibel Edmonds being deposed. Interesting reading. Try to guess who’s being blackmailed and who’s being bribed by the Turkish government. And what’s Dennis Hastert up to these days?
“Full Taibbi” is a phrase with legs. One wishes more journalists were inclined towards it.
a full nelson may be illegal in wrestling, but i’ll back a full tiabbi any day of the week on any topic
The Grand Panjandrum AKA Americans for America
Ethics waivers … Heh. It just popped into my head that is precisely what John Yoo provided the Bush/Cheney regime w.r.t. the Geneva Convention. Not surprising though, is it?
Actually, probably not.
I think it’s reasonable to assume that in a libel action against Rolling Stone, Goldman would be deemed to be a “public figure.” if Goldman is a public figure, then in order to prevail Goldman would have to prove “actual malice'” which is defined as “reckless disregard for truth.” the focus in discovery will be on Taibbi’s sourcing, and Rolling Stone’s fact-checking and related internal processes. Whether any of what he wrote is actually true almost doesn’t matter. And because what’s at issue in the case defines the permissible scope of discovery, the fishing expedition you seem to be hoping for isn’t likely to be allowed.
The Kennedy assassination?
I don’t find it plausible that Oswald acted alone, given the strangeness of the ballistic report and the lack of evidence about his skill as a marksman. I think there was probably another shooter.
Brick Oven Bill
Joe the Plumber is taking a nice ‘both political parties are corrupt’ tack these days. In the name of transparency, President Obama should appoint Joe the Plumber as a special investigator to look into the links between Goldman Sachs and the government. The President was very, very friendly to Joe when he was trying to get his vote. Hopefully, this was not just for imagery purposes, and that the President really does like Joe, and feels comfortable around him.
Joe should be given a budget of $10 million, and be given full access. Joe should assign Matt Taibbi as a lead assistant. Joe would get to the bottom of this.
Oswald was a United States Marine. Of course he could shoot.
Remember when, “The government is wire tapping all your phones” and “The government has a network of secret prisons set up to hold foreign dissidents” and “All the voting machines are rigged by corporations run by opposition parties” were crazy conspiracy theories nobody would believe?
Remember how that all started floating out the window around 2001?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely love to see some Goldman Executive busted on camera with brief cases full of money getting handed to him under a table by folks from the Treasury. It would warm my heart to know, definitively, that we have a mountain of prosecutable evidence of trillions of dollars of fraud and theft. But at a certain point, the “innocent until proven guilty” gets used a bit thin.
Are you referring to two minute (Emmanuel) Goldman haters?
If going “the full Taibbi” means doing the research, connecting the dots and tying it all to a coherent, reasonable narrative, maybe “the full Taibbi” is the thing our current media lacks.
Oh, and not being afraid to call bullshit.
kommrade reproductive vigor
What I mean is that I’m not ready to go the full Taibbi when it comes to Goldman.
You will be young John. You will be.
@DougJ: I just thought it was ridiculously suspicious that Oswald gets gunned down by Jack Ruby two days after his capture.
I mean, maybe he was the only shooter. Maybe he was part of a team. Maybe he really was a patsy. But the whole story is covered in mob ties and intrigue. I mean, if you believe Dr. George Tiller died because one guy just woke up in the morning and decided to go gun nuts with no organizational backing whatsoever, I guess it’s safe to conclude Kennedy was the victim of a lone rogue gunman without any ties either.
I think that where people get hung up on the “conspiracy theory” idea is that it’s often applied both to people who actually planned for a specific outcome and people who exploited a situation to their benefit. I doubt that Goldman Sachs had a master plan that spelled out all of their moves. I do think that they exploited weaknesses in the system and their own contacts to benefit from the collapse that was going to happen anyway.
Oh, and the Kennedy ballistics report only makes no sense if you think that John Connolly was sitting directly behind and on the same level as Kennedy. Looking at the car, it’s clear that he was not in a direct line with Kennedy and that their seats did not line up as many conspiracy theorists have mistakenly claimed.
It’s very difficult to type a coherent comment when 8-week-old kittens keep jumping on the keyboard. Also.
“But at a certain point, the “innocent until proven guilty” gets used a bit thin.”
Suppose some drug distribution ring causes a box with a couple of pounds of cocaine in it to be shipped to you, with the idea that they will collect if from your front porch between the time it is delivered and the time you get home from work. Now suppose that the box is damaged in transit, and the carrier sees what’s inside and calls DEA. One assumes that when you are arrested for conspiracy to distribute drugs, you would want to have the benefit of the presumption of innocence.
Civil liberties are binary: either everybody has them or nobody has them.
It’s one thing to say that you, personally, don’t require that every element of the offense be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to believe that someone or some institution is crooked. It’s quite another to suggest that some people or some institutions should be deprived of fundamental Constitutional rights simple because … well, because you don’t like them.
@Left Coast Tom:
From your lips to FSM’s noodly appendages.
What exactly is an “ethics waiver” anyway? Isn’t asking for one (excuse me, several) just an open admission that you’re going to do something that is considered wrong? Why would that be permitted – if its unethical than its unethical, regardless of circumstances.
@Creamy Goodness: Aren’t you a scientist?
which, speaking as a chemist, i assert is NOT the same.
Where have you been? Years of ridiculing people who had the temerity to question why certain otherwise inexplicable situations existed led to ‘conspiracy nut’ becoming the perfect frame – it automatically dismisses all argument and further questioning.
Yes, that’s right. Why even bother looking? Dick Cheney was Chairman of Halliburton. So what? Somebody had to be. Blackwater received no bid contracts in Iraq. So? Prince and family have ties with right wing groups? So fucking what – it doesn’t mean anything and isn’t even worth asking about.
That’s a little simplistic. Does the concept of “appearance of impropriety” mean anything to you?
An ethics waiver is a determination that because of unusual circumstances, a particular official’s participation in a particular process is sufficiently important that it outweighs any potential appearance of impropriety that might result from that participation. And that’s all it is. It is not intended to be a get out of jail free card if there is actual impropriety. If Paulson actually did something wrong, he can and should be accountable for it. But the smell arising from his simply being in the room was determined by someone whose job it is to make such determinations to not justify kicking him out of the room. You are entirely free to second-guess that call.
@Creamy Goodness: It’s not controversial that there was a second shooter or that there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. The Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House concluded: “Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy.” However, in the full report, I believe they conclude that the second shooter, shooting from the grassy knoll, missed.
Also, from the summary, “The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.”
I’m not sure Taibbi has gone the full Taibbi on Goldman, but maybe I misunderstand what you’re getting at, exactly. From one of his Friday blog posts:
DougJ- I’m actually curious what kind of evidence you would need to sense a conspiracy.
Their longterm rival bankrupted- check
Goldman boys in every branch of government- check
Bailout of AIG makes billions for Goldman- check
Low rate loans and guarantees from the Fed allow Goldman to make billions- check
No regulations put in place to increase scrutiny- check
Computer programs exist allowing Goldman to frontrun and pay no price when caught- check
I could go on and on. What kind of evidence would you need? Tim Geithner in the study with a pipe?
No supposing about it. It happened last summer to the mayor of Berwyn heights, MD.
Weed instead of cocaine, but everything else in your theoretical case occurred in this example.
Oh, and the Kennedy ballistics report only makes no sense if you think that John Connolly [sic] was sitting directly behind and on the same level as Kennedy. Looking at the car, it’s clear that he was not in a direct line with Kennedy and that their seats did not line up as many conspiracy theorists have mistakenly claimed.
Uh, not clear on what you’re trying to say here. Connally was in the front seat, Kennedy was in the back. You’d have to be a really stupid conspiracy theorist to maintain that Connally “was sitting directly behind and on the same level as Kennedy.”
I know. That’s why I chose it as my “hypothetical.”
That’s apparent, John. But how do you explain the knife and gunshot wounds?
The Sheriff's a Ni-
Oswald acted alone. (link currently down for some reason, but Google says it was up as recently as the 5th)
Between Oswald not having the common courtesy to charge the motorcade while shouting ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis’ and a federal investigation commission starring such intellectual heavyweights as Gerald Ford and Arlen Specter, its no wonder there’s doubt. Its just not the truth.
@The Sheriff’s a Ni-:
[. . .] link currently down for some reason, but Google says it was up as recently as the 5th)
ZOMG! He was silenced. Do I detect a conspiracy here?
It’s not controversial that there was a second shooter or that there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy.
Well, in some sense, I agree with that. Kennedy conspiracy theories are revealed as transparent nonsense the instant you apply scientific skepticism to the evidence. They’re as whack as Intelligent Design. Just because a lot of people/voters want to believe that there’s a greater purpose behind it all, imposing a comfortable human-centric narrative on various chunks of problematic history, doesn’t mean such a purpose exists.
I’m disappointed, DougJ.
I don’t mean to disparage the charge that there has been criminal collusion between Goldman Sachs and the Treasury Department. I haven’t seen anything yet that crossed the line from incestuous to illegal, but clearly conspiracies are as common in government as they are elsewhere. See the Nixon White House for the most spectacular example, but also consider the Madoff operation, or the myriad examples of cops lying under oath to protect each other.
Plus, as a taxpayer, I’m mad as hell about bailing out these failing fucks and I want to see them punished.
“Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity, or something like that.”
I’ve always hated that expression. People tend to assume that there’s some profound wisdom in anything with a clever slogan. Perhaps that’s true at lower levels, but we’re talking about the people who control the wealth of this country. The way I see it, power will do everything it can to gain more power. If something happens that benefits someone who already has a great deal of power, that person was probably instrumental in making it happen. These guys don’t get rich by wait for opportunities to present themselves. They are proactive in making sure that things go their way.
@Creamy Goodness: I wrote the comment you responded to, not DougJ.
The US House of Representatives set up a committee to investigate the assassination. In an official Congressional report, the committee concluded that “Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy… The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” (emphasis added)
To wave your hands with an amazon.com link and disregard scientific evidence – not sketchy evidence, but evidence analyzed and accepted by a Congressional committee investigating the assassination – is a lot like linking to a copy of the Bible to refute evolution.
The complete Congressional report is online at the National Archives.
Also, they don’t get where they are by being stupid, so that sort of cuts down on that possibility. Doesn’t eliminate it, though. Hubris can bring back the stupid.
No, it’s not that Oswald didn’t act alone it’s that he didn’t act at all. If you visit the book depository you will see that from the window of the corner room he would have had a clear shot at the approaching motorcade before it turned and began moving away from him at a 45 degree angle. What shooter would pass up the chance for a head-on shot only to wait for a much more difficult shot as the target moved away?
After the turn he would have had to time his shot much more precisely to allow for the speed of the car and the bullet and even the wind and then as Oliver Stone pointed out there was a tree in the way. Supposedly he used the corner room to depravedly eat cold friend chicken while waiting to assassinate the President, inexplicably wasting the opportunity to shoot from there. Go to the depository to see for your self that the claim that Oswald did it is a big bunch of hooey.
JFK was one of my favorite films, and it does get you thinking black helicopter. However Vincent Bugliosi and Gerald Posner definitively put this case to rest in their books.
A criminal conspiracy to ensure the survival and obscene benefit of one corporation over another is one thing, especially when former execs are in place to do the saving.
A paranoid conspiracy hypothesis that does nothing but anomaly hunts, and asks questions, fails to provide answers or corroborate the inevitable conclusions of its varied claims lies in a different category. Massive CTs always collapse under the weight of their own claims.
The Sheriff's a Ni-
I often encounter an apparent weird assumption whereby liberals and lefties blogging or writing in magazines are assumed to be clever enough to figure out how a major institution could pursue a variety of methods to use power to its own advantage and / or riches, but the actual people at the heads of these major institutions are simply unable to process such complicated ideas themselves.
I remember it being rather haughtily dismissed by some people around me when I mentioned some analysis I had heard from more leftish sources about how it looked like Enron and other power companies were gaming and manipulating the California market, and then many years later exactly that was shown.
This isn’t just about the phrase “conspiracy theory” (which is an annoying phrase, anyway), or any discussions of “conspiracy”, it’s its opposite — institutional innocence theory, by which we are supposed to assume that powerful people and institutions will not follow their obvious incentives using the obvious means at their disposal if that would suggest that they were doing something consciously and which they knew very well to be wrong or harmful.
Our norm must be “institutional / actor innocence theory”, in which things happen as a product of thoughtlessness, of lack of planning, of the weird convergence of unexpected events.
Simultaneously, we must assume that people in high positions of institutional authority are boundlessly capable folk who merit such authority and the rewards which come with it, when they do good.
When they appear to be doing good, they’re supremely powerful institutional leaders who know what they’re doing and knew how to masterfully bring about good results based on long-term planning.
When they appear to be doing ill, they’re actually just small parts of an immense cog who were barely aware of what was going on in their own officers, much less others, and couldn’t plan their way out of wet tissue bags.
Michael Parenti once remarked, discussing foreign policy and how it looked once the U.S. declassified its records, that it was ‘amazing how many things go from being dismissed as “lefty conspiracy theory” and “fringe” talk to being “old and long-proven news that we don’t need to bring up again” without ever really having made it to the front page.’
I’ve got better things to do with my time than mud wrestle with JFK conspiracy nuts. The Amazon link to Gerald Posner’s Case Closed is there for those who consider themselves skeptics, either because they haven’t made up their minds or because they have but it’s always fun to see garbage theories thoroughly dismantled. It’s not there to persuade those who are already beyond hope.
@The Sheriff’s a Ni-: The committee relied on experts to come to its conclusions.
Professor Mark Weiss of Queens College had earlier served on an expert panel appointed by Judge John J. Sirica to analyze the Watergate tapes in conjunction with the grand jury investigation. BBN had also served on this panel. Earlier, BBN had “pioneered the technique of using sound recordings to determine the timing and direction of gunfire in an analysis of a tape that was recorded during the shootings at Kent State University in 1970. In a criminal case brought against members of the National Guard by the Department of Justice, the analysis of the tape by BBN, combined with photographs taken at the time of the shootings, were used by the prosecution in its presentation to a grand jury to help establish which guardsmen were the first to fire shots.”
Weiss and his research associate Aschkenasy were assisted by the NYPD. Their findings:
“Since Weiss and Aschkenasy were able to obtain a match to within +-1/1,000 of a second, the probability that such a match could occur by random chance was slight. Specifically, they mathematically computed that, with a certainty factor of 95 percent or better, there was a shot fired at the Presidential limousine from the grassy knoll.
“[BBN chief scientist] Barger independently reviewed the analysis performed by Weiss and Aschkenasy and concluded that their analytical procedures were correct.”
I’m surprised you still like JFK after having read Case Closed.
The most memorable passage from that book for me was the end of the chapter where Posner details how Jim Garrison ruined Clay Shaw’s life with his bogus, politically motivated prosecution. In the concluding paragraph, Posner points out how Oliver Stone dragged Shaw out of the grave decades later for another thrashing, compounding the injustice.
FWIW, even if you are one of those focusing on theories around JFK’s murder, an example such as that, even if it were truly a larger conspiracy, would have absolutely nothing to do with the Goldman-Sachs example, because we’re dealing with a situation in which both institutional actors and their motivations and their methods are comparatively clearly known.
This is more of a discussion of exactly what, if any, actions of GS might be viewed as ‘criminal’ rather than ‘merely’ nation-destroying pretty-much-thievery, and whether or not the GS actors were aware of the effects their actions might have, and if prior members of those GS institutional positions who moved into government retained their prior motivations and acted upon them.
JC:I’m actually curious what kind of evidence you would need to sense a conspiracy.
There is a difference between having the intuition that there is a GS conspiracy, and allowing oneself to believe it. Having a high evidentiary threshold before believing conspiracy theories is a useful method for keeping the madness at bay. There is a good useful heuristic, variously called Hanlon’s Razor, or the mainstream British version “cock-up before conspiracy”. (Or my formulation “principle of least conspiracy” which hasn’t gained any traction). The main issue with application of this heuristic to GS is that GS is clearly competent.
@Bill Arnold: Actually, there’s an opposite approach — you resolve not to begin with an assumption of institutional and actor naivete and innocence by GS, because that’s philosophically silly and unjustified.
Our choices in the world are much broader than “rejecting conspiracy theory” and “for no justified reason beginning with the presumption of GS innocence or good will”.
Of course sane, calm people would reject the assumption that GS was to be treated as a good-willed innocent actor out of hand — to do anything else would be to utterly disregard the most basics of institutional operation and easily known incentives.
calm people would reject the assumption that GS was to be treated as a good-willed innocent actor out of hand—to do anything else would be to utterly disregard the most basics of institutional operation and easily known incentives.
Yes, agreed. What I don’t believe without sufficient evidence is that they (or any organization with similar fundamental motivations) habitually engage in behavior that might get them seriously investigated for wrongdoing, e.g. by law enforcement. That could be bad for profits.
This is not inconsistent with believing that an organization (or industry) is a vampire leech (squid), mostly staffed by non-productive professionals.
@Bill Arnold: I think that’s a reasonable standard. Because at that point, we’re still talking about actors’ and institutions’ ability to assess their incentives and disincentives.
“The full Taibbi”? Jesus Fuck, how many times does he have to say it?
With regard to this argument that it was somehow incorrect to single out Goldman Sachs for attack, I’ve been pretty clear all along in saying two things:
One, that it’s obviously hyperbolic to say that Goldman alone was responsible for the financial crisis, and that in no way was this piece intended to absolve any other banks of blame. I’ve said that over and over again, in virtually every interview I’ve given, and written it here on this site numerous times. Again, we picked Goldman because they were a major player in all the recent financial catastrophes, and because the bank was uniquely suited to provide an illustrative example to ordinary people of how Wall Street has abused its financial and political power in the last two decades.
Two, that even if Goldman wasn’t the only guilty party, and we somehow undersold the role played by other banks/institutions – who cares? Why is “But other banks did all this stuff, too!” a defense for anything? Is this fifth grade?
Gasparino makes it sound like the fact that we picked on Goldman alone was a major, important part of the article, but in my mind it’s a completely inconsequential, almost irrelevant issue. Whether or not Goldman executives are more or less scummy than, say, Morgan Stanley executives is something those assholes can argue about among themselves, while their yachts are at anchor. The only question that actually matters here is, was it wrong to say that Goldman played a major role in the recent financial catastrophes?
You are forgetting that the issue of malice does not arise if what Taibbi has written is the truth. This means that discovery into RS and Taibbi could be delayed while discovery and evidentiary hearings proceed on the first issue of whether Taibbi’s article is truthful. I don’t even want to think about the jurisdiction, venue, and choice of law issues that have to be sorted out here.
Well, I’m a card-carrying Goldman Hater an’ proud of it…
In high school, I had a Poli Sci teacher who was an out-and -out Trotskyite. I have no idea how he kept a job in the San Diego Unified School district, but he was a pretty darn good teacher. One of his favorite sayings was, “it’s always worse than it seems”. Some decades later, it’s still one of mine.
You may feel free to call me a “conspiracy theorist” as long as you don’t mind being called a “coincidence theorist.”