(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Sometimes a person or organization becomes so powerful and Evil that they appear cartoonish.
It might seem impossible to find a similar character outside of a James Bond movie. After all, who really wants to take over the world and has a plan to do it, right?
So attributing truly Evil intentions to a public organization, and voicing those concerns, automatically puts one into the land of tinfoil-hat, konspiracy lunatics.
And yet there is an ongoing theft taking place in global finance on such a scale that is threatening the concept of democracy itself, and Goldman Sachs has their fingerprints all over the crime scene.
At what point do we suspend our disbelief and embrace reality? These guys really are Evil.
“We are doing God’s work.”
– Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs
The Independent had a great graphic recently that displayed the New Reality in Europe.
As the financial crisis has deepened in Europe, Goldman Sachs has taken over the halls of power.
For those of you new to this scenario (or a member of the Cult of the Free Market), that might sound like an altruistic company moving in to clean up the mess the politicians made.
But there is nothing altruistic about it. Goldman Sachs has massive exposure to troubled European debt ($4.16 Billion), and now they have people in place to make certain that they do not take losses on those bets.
Goldman Sachs is expanding its influence in Europe so fast that there is open speculation where they might stage their next coup d’etat.
In England, Goldman Sachs was able to manage a sweetheart deal with the taxman, who decided they didn’t need to consult a single lawyer before letting Goldman walk on a failed tax avoidance scheme.
The IMF strategy chief in charge of working with Europe’s bailouts over the past year was a former Vice Chairman at Goldman Sachs International.
While a conflict of interest exists, that doesn’t make Goldman Sachs Evil.
What makes them Evil is that Goldman Sachs helped create the crisis.
Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government to mask the true extent of its deficit with the help of a derivatives deal that legally circumvented the EU Maastricht deficit rules. At some point the so-called cross currency swaps will mature, and swell the country’s already bloated deficit.
OK, so that’s underhanded. But does that qualify as Evil? Not exactly. What makes it Evil is what Goldman Sachs was doing behind the scenes.
While it arranged the swaps, Goldman also sought to buy insurance on Greek debt and engage in other trades to protect itself against the risk of a default on those swaps. Eventually, Goldman sold the swaps to the national bank of Greece.
So they helped hide the Greek debt problem until it blew up, while betting against Greece, and when Greece finally imploded they put one of their guys in charge of “cleaning it up”.
If that doesn’t sound shady, what does?
What it really sounds like is very familiar.
Life imitating art
A couple years ago Andy Borowitz published a short news spoof titled Goldman Sachs in Talks to Acquire Treasury Department. Like most humor, it was funny because it was true.
The Goldman spokesman said that the merger would create efficiencies for both entities: “We already have so many employees and so much money flowing back and forth, this would just streamline things.”
Mr. Hestron said the only challenge facing Goldman in completing the merger “is trying to figure out which parts of the Treasury Dept. we don’t already own.”
By the time Borowitz published the article, the connections between Goldman Sachs and the Treasury Department were already well known to any member of the public that was paying attention.
THIS summer, when the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., sought help navigating the Wall Street meltdown, he turned to his old firm, Goldman Sachs, snagging a handful of former bankers and other experts in corporate restructurings.
In September, after the government bailed out the American International Group, the faltering insurance giant, for $85 billion, Mr. Paulson helped select a director from Goldman’s own board to lead A.I.G.
And earlier this month, when Mr. Paulson needed someone to oversee the government’s proposed $700 billion bailout fund, he again recruited someone with a Goldman pedigree, giving the post to a 35-year-old former investment banker who, before coming to the Treasury Department, had little background in housing finance.
All those connections come with benefits. Well-paying benefits.
While Goldman Sachs was getting bailed out by the Federal Reserve in 2008, Stephen Friedman was sitting on the New York Federal Reserve board AND was purchasing stock in Goldman Sachs.
When the Treasury Department was considering bailing out AIG, who was making “two dozen” personal calls to the Treasury Secretary? Why the CEO of Goldman Sachs, of course. And who benefited the most from the AIG bailout? Why Goldman Sachs, of course.
The biggest beneficiary of the AIG money was Goldman, which received $12.9 billion.
That makes Goldman Sachs unethical, but not necessarily Evil. What makes them Evil is that they bet against the debt that they sold AIG.
Goldman Sachs underwrote $17.2 billion of CDOs for AIG, more than any other firm.
Knowing precisely the garbage it had underwritten (our assertion), Goldman bought billions in credit default swaps that would rise in value as AIG stumbled (fact)
AIG ultimately paid Goldman – with taxpayer dollars confiscated by many former Goldmanites in the Treasury – the full value of their default contracts: $14 billion.
$2.9 Billion of the bailout money Goldman Sachs kept for themselves.
After these tax-payer funded bailouts filled their coffers, Goldman Sachs then handed out enormous bonuses to the thieves they employed, bonuses even larger than the bailout money they received,
Goldman Sachs made money on both ends of a bad trade.
A bit of Goldman Sachs news that fell through the cracks during the AIG bailout was Goldman being forced to pay Enron creditors $7 million for selling bad debt weeks before Enron’s collapse in 2001.
It was a Goldman Sachs man, Mark Carney, that helped tank Russia’s economy in the 1990’s.
These policies ended in a severe economic collapse, which just happened to profit Goldman Sachs tens of millions of dollars. In spite of their involvement in a 1.25 billion dollar bail-out of the Russian government, Goldman Sachs appears to have been betting against success.
The year following the AIG bailout, a Goldman Sachs director was linked to insider trading.
Goldman Sachs has been engaging in Evil for a very long time, and it is continuing.
Florida just ordered Goldman Sachs to pay $20 million for lying to investors.
Goldman is currently charged with securities fraud and it is linked to the company president.
Goldman Sachs is also being sued by pension funds for misleading statements (i.e. fraud) in regards to the bankrupt MFGlobal.
MFGlobal, run by former Goldman Sachs co-CEO and former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, declared bankruptcy Oct. 31, having sunk the majority of its investments into toxic European sovereign debt.
Of course Goldman Sachs didn’t just knowingly sell bad debt to AIG. They did it to their own clients without disclosing that they would profits from their client’s losses.
When does a non-Evil company conspire to profit from the demise of its clients?
Of course Goldman Sachs doesn’t need traditional clients anymore – their only real “client” is the treasury department of countries.
If the 2008-2009 bailout was a prelude of what to expect, Europe should be the main attraction.
So why am I bothering with this essay? It’s not like anyone will be defending Goldman Sachs, and much of this is well known.
I am writing it because some people refuse to acknowledge that these guys must be STOPPED. Concrete action must be taken or they will just make things worse for everyone. Simply not enabling them is not enough. Reacting to their thefts is not enough.
We have to be proactive. This is a criminal organization that is operating above the law, without fear of punishment. They own the lawmakers and regulators and they know it.
They are transitioning away from their main business – fraud – to moving to something bigger, something new, something troubling that can only be compared to the Robber Barons of the middle ages.
Goldman Sachs now operates as a global destabilizing force that is a danger to democracy. Their actions bring social unrest across continents, and they are getting worse.
The reason I write this essay is because I think some people are still in denial about the dangers Goldman Sachs represent.