Tag: Matt Taibbi

The Apolitical Quest For Justice

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Who would have ever thought that these two would ever be on the same page.

Did You Hear the One About the Bankers?

by Thomas L. Friedman

Our Congress today is a forum for legalized bribery. One consumer group using information from Opensecrets.org calculates that the financial services industry, including real estate, spent $2.3 billion on federal campaign contributions from 1990 to 2010, which was more than the health care, energy, defense, agriculture and transportation industries combined. Why are there 61 members on the House Committee on Financial Services? So many congressmen want to be in a position to sell votes to Wall Street.

We can’t afford this any longer. We need to focus on four reforms that don’t require new bureaucracies to implement. 1) If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big and needs to be broken up. We can’t risk another trillion-dollar bailout. 2) If your bank’s deposits are federally insured by U.S. taxpayers, you can’t do any proprietary trading with those deposits – period. 3) Derivatives have to be traded on transparent exchanges where we can see if another A.I.G. is building up enormous risk. 4) Finally, an idea from the blogosphere: U.S. congressmen should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms that they’re taking money from. The public needs to know.

Capitalism and free markets are the best engines for generating growth and relieving poverty – provided they are balanced with meaningful transparency, regulation and oversight. We lost that balance in the last decade. If we don’t get it back – and there is now a tidal wave of money resisting that – we will have another crisis. And, if that happens, the cry for justice could turn ugly. Free advice to the financial services industry: Stick to being bulls. Stop being pigs.

Wall Street Isn’t Winning – It’s Cheating

by Matt Taibbi

Can anyone imagine a common thief being caught by police and sentenced to pay back half of what he took? Just one low-ranking individual in that case was charged (case pending), and no individual had to reach into his pocket to help cover the fine. The settlement Goldman paid to to the government was about 1/24th of what Goldman received from the government just in the AIG bailout. And that was the toughest “punishment” the government dished out to a bank in the wake of 2008.

The point being: we have a massive police force in America that outside of lower Manhattan prosecutes crime and imprisons citizens with record-setting, factory-level efficiency, eclipsing the incarceration rates of most of history’s more notorious police states and communist countries.

But the bankers on Wall Street don’t live in that heavily-policed country. There are maybe 1000 SEC agents policing that sector of the economy, plus a handful of FBI agents. There are nearly that many police officers stationed around the polite crowd at Zucotti park.

These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don’t want handouts. It’s not a class uprising and they don’t want civil war — they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It’s amazing that some people think that that’s asking a lot.

Wonders will never cease

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 13

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

Keith Olbermann interviewed Matt Taibbi of Rolling about the movement and the lack of media attention.

Occupy Wall St. may be gaining strength but it’s not without its critics on the left. Many have applauded the movements support of the 99% in the lower rings of the ladder who will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption if the 1% on the top but the group had indeed yet to articulate any specific demands. While it may be performing a crucial roll in helpng to educate the uninformed abouthow they have been victimized by Wall St. and the “To Big To Fail” banks, the deliberate, almost lack of organization, the self-styles leaderless resistance movement and its refusal to articulate demands, could both hamper its growth and slow its being taken as seriously as it would like to be.

Glenn Greenwald also weighed in on the reasons for the scorn for the protest:

It’s unsurprising that establishment media outlets have been condescending, dismissive and scornful of the ongoing protests on Wall Street.  Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishment-serving institutions and their loyalists.  That’s just the nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, an inevitable by-product of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives (which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) are going to be hostile to those challenges.  As the virtually universal disdain in these same circles for WikiLeaks (and, before that, for the Iraq War protests) demonstrated: the more effectively adversarial it is, the more establishment hostility it’s going to provoke.

Nor is it surprising that much of the most vocal criticisms of the Wall Street protests has come from some self-identified progressives, who one might think would be instinctively sympathetic to the substantive message of the protesters.  In an excellent analysis entitled “Why Establishment Media & the Power Elite Loathe Occupy Wall Street,” Kevin Gosztola chronicles how many of the most scornful criticisms have come from Democratic partisans who — like the politicians to whom they devote their fealty — feign populist opposition to Wall Street for political gain.

One of the chief complaints, besides the “leaderless” and lack of a list of specific demands, that has been heard coming from the left is attire, as Kevin Gosztola noted in his FDL article:

Liberals have shown scorn, too, suggesting the occupation is not a “Main Street production” or that the protesters aren’t dressed properly and should wear suits cause the civil rights movement would not have won if they hadn’t worn decent clothing.

Even the liberal Mother Jones was critical:

Liberals have shown scorn, too, suggesting the occupation is not a “Main Street production” or that the protesters aren’t dressed properly and should wear suits cause the civil rights movement would not have won if they hadn’t worn decent clothing.

Both articles, Greenwald’s and Gosztola’s, need to be read in full to understand not just the reasons that the media is ignoring this movement but why and how Occupy Wall St. happened and continues.

Occupy Wall St. Is now spreading across the country:

‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest slowly spreads across the United States

The protest spread to other cities over the weekend.

A small group of “Occupy Los Angeles” demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to show their support for the protesters in New York City.

“Corporate interests seem to be controlling both parties,” one protester told LAActivist.com. “The ‘little man,’ the ‘American every man,’ just isn’t getting their voice heard. When you need $35,000 to donate to a campaign to get your voice heard, to have a meeting, that’s not democracy.”

“Occupy Los Angeles” protesters plan to begin a demonstration at City Hall on October 1. The “Occupy Los Angeles” Facebook page had nearly 2,000 likes as of Tuesday afternoon.

Another demonstration popped up in Chicago over the weekend. Around 20 “Occupy Chicago” protesters gathered at Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, on Friday and then marched to the Federal Reserve Bank. Some protesters have remained camped out in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and the organizers said the “occupation” had grown from 4 people to about 50.

Other “occupation” protests are being planned for Detroit, Denver, Cleveland, Boston, Phoenix, Seattle, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. The site occupytogether.org has been set up in hopes of coordinating the protests.

I have a message for the the so-called “Left”:

Get off your butts and get behind this movement because unless you are part of the 1%, they are YOU.

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Matt Taibbi asks this interesting question in the current issue of Rolling Stone, and answers…

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy – but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.

And after describing the chummy atmosphere of an all-day conference attended by “1,500 or so of the country’s leading lawyers who represent Wall Street, as well as some of the government’s top cops from both the SEC and the Justice Department,” where the best and brightest of the million-dollar lawyers who represent Wall Street were Assistant U.S. Attorneys or “prosecutors” for the SEC only yesterday, before they started collecting their deferred bribes, Taibbi gets right down to the nitty-gritty…  

But the real fireworks came when Khuzami, the SEC’s director of enforcement, talked about a new “cooperation initiative” the agency had recently unveiled, in which executives are being offered incentives to report fraud they have witnessed or committed. From now on, Khuzami said, when corporate lawyers like the ones he was addressing want to know if their Wall Street clients are going to be charged by the Justice Department before deciding whether to come forward, all they have to do is ask the SEC.

“We are going to try to get those individuals answers,” Khuzami announced, as to “whether or not there is criminal interest in the case – so that defense counsel can have as much information as possible in deciding whether or not to choose to sign up their client.”

Aguirre, listening in the crowd, couldn’t believe Khuzami’s brazenness. The SEC’s enforcement director was saying, in essence, that firms like Goldman Sachs and AIG and Lehman Brothers will henceforth be able to get the SEC to act as a middleman between them and the Justice Department, negotiating fines as a way out of jail time. Khuzami was basically outlining a four-step system for banks and their executives to buy their way out of prison. “First, the SEC and Wall Street player make an agreement on a fine that the player will pay to the SEC,” Aguirre says. “Then the Justice Department commits itself to pass, so that the player knows he’s ‘safe.’ Third, the player pays the SEC – and fourth, the player gets a pass from the Justice Department.”

So the “incentives” which the SEC offers cooperating Wall Street insiders include immunity from prosecution by the Justice Department, but they can wait until the SEC tips them off that prosecution is imminent, before they come forward.

This is a reward for whistle-blowing that only gets paid when the DOJ has already made its case, and the “cooperating witness” is useless, but he or she gets a free pass anyway.

And that isn’t speculation from some left-wing conspiracy theorist in a tin-foil hat.

It’s right out of the mouth of Robert Khuzami, the Director of Enforcement for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.


Sadly, well, yeah, it sort of is! (Updated by some Greek bastard)

The wily liberals finally come clean on Obama and their own damn selves:


You didn’t really expect hope and change, did you?

Shorter Brad “Ich bin der Prozess” @Sadly, No!:

Barack Obama’s failings are OUR fault!

As the realizations begin sinking in, the excuses for Barack Obama’s loathsome and herculean efforts to prop up the status quo of the ruling class at all costs-and I do mean ALL COSTS, human and financial–are variegated and mind-numbing.  Not to mention schtupid and counterproductive.

Taibbi’s spanking the President on his massively corrupt Wall Street bail-out should cause the man to resign in disgrace.  Immediately.  Taxpayers could be on the hook for $24 trillion in gambling losses?  With no percentage in any upside, strong anti-reform measures, and potentially on the hook for further, ongoing, crippling gambling losses?  While we lose our livelihoods, homes, pensions, public services, AND get shafted on mandated private health insurance?  Maybe Brad fundamentally disagrees with Taibbi’s painfully accurate assessment of the President:

I basically agree with everything the guy says

Leider, nein.    Like many others, Brad is just relieved that Obama is not the second coming of Dick Cheney or Anton Chigur.  And that’s good enough for him.  I guess he’s still got his job.  And his home.  And his health insurance.  Your expecting anything more than not expanding torture to a mall near you  is not really Obama’s fault.  It’s our fault.  For reading the man’s signals wrong.

At the end of his Rolling Stone article, Taibbi asks

What’s most troubling is that we don’t know if Obama has changed, or if the influence of Wall Street is simply a fundamental and ineradicable element of our electoral system. What we do know is that Barack Obama pulled a bait-and-switch on us. If it were any other politician, we wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe it’s our fault, for thinking he was different.

To which Brad aka Joseph K “I am one who is on trial here!” responds:

Well, yeah, it sort of is.

Now I get what Obama really meant by “The Audacity of Hope,” subtitled, “The Recklessness.”    

I suppose the evisceration of Nuremberg is my fault too.  And torture.  And lying about Afghanistan.  While accepting a peace prize.   Well, yeah, maybe I should go to jail for abetting war crimes.  Can anyone tell me what is the procedure for prosecuting myself?   The rules are kind of opaque around here anymore.  A little help?  Anyone?  Please?

You didn’t really expect hope and change, did you?

Sadly, yes.

By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.

Franz Kafka

Taibbi: Werewolf Grills Federal Reserve Stooge

Just watch the video after reading the contents of this link by Matt Taibbi.  I’ve lifted a paragraph from Mr. Taibbi so you have a better understanding of exactly what you’re watching.

I have personal experience with… well, let’s call it the unique personality of Alan Grayson. In his capacity as an attorney he once basically threatened to have me dismembered and have my body parts dumped in a tin canister and fired into the center of a burning supernova. And that’s actually underselling the real language he used. We were having a disagreement about the use of information given to me by a certain source in a story about military contracting, and in the middle of what had been a normal contentious argument between two sane adults, dude suddenly assumed this crazy monster-voice and just went medieval on me. He was roaring into the telephone about how he was going to crush me, how I was going to wish I had never messed with him, how I didn’t know who the hell I was dealing with, and so on. One phrase I remember in particular was, “I am going to strip the bark off of you!” It came totally out of the blue and it was like being on the telephone with a metamorphosing werewolf – the whole performance genuinely freaked me out. I may even have peed a little, I can’t remember.

Now, ask yourselves this: are you or are you not glad that this guy seems to be on our side?

Elizabeth Warren: Lobbying on behalf of the American People

We have been told that Wall Street Investment firms are “Too big to Fail” — But that does NOT Mean they are “Too Big for Accountability”!

The Question boils down to,

Who Does the Congress Represent anyways

The American People, or the Global Bankers (and their Lobbyists) ?

And Will the People bother to care about Wall Street Regulation this time around?

Since I’m assuming we will, here’s some essential background on the Wall Street Meltdown mess:

Credit Default Swap (CDS)

What Does Credit Default Swap (CDS) Mean?

A swap designed to transfer the credit exposure of fixed income products between parties.


CDS’s are an easy way to transfer Credit Risk — Check!

Goldman Sachs Sucks Our Marrow

“Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough.”

– Jan Willem Van De Wetering

The battle has now been joined by the Great Satan (aka Goldman Sachs) as the brilliant Matt Taibbi piece has fortunatly gone viral thanks to bloggers. When the pigs on Wall Street, their legal armies and on call public relations propagandists turn into pirannhas as they are with this piece the fuckers are on the run. The seige on CNBC’s drooling house baboon Jim ‘Mad Money’ Cramer that was kicked off by comedian Jon Stewart was beaten back with a disinformation laden blitzkrieg and the money changers regained control of the temple. It’s all been the hogwash of the GREEN SHOOTS ever since. And despite the dismal news contained in yesterday’s jobs report the long weekend couldn’t come at a more fortuitous time as the four flushing,gold plated cocksuckers will regroup once again and launch a saturation bombing campaign of more goddammed lies.

“The great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”

Writing in the the current print issue of Rolling Stone, journalist Matt Taibbi exposes Goldman Sachs, the “world’s most powerful investment bank”, for the “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money” that it truly is.

In “The Great American Bubble Machine”, Taibbi outlines how Goldman Sachs has either influenced, shaped, or simply created five market bubbles since 1929 and how now, the bankers are planning to use the greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade scheme as their penultimate bubble.

While I do not agree with some of the conclusions he makes, there is enough in his 9,700 word essay that can make the blood boil.

“The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere,” he begins. But, “any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything.”

Yeah, that’s a damned shame, too. I feel really badly for the guy.

Matt Taibbi can be a bit out there, and he’s not really correct about the Commodities Future Modernization Act or how come derivatives are unregulated (partly because they are too new, and partly because of not the Republicans, but Greenspan, who argued that they shouldn’t be and at the time was the great and all-powerful Oz of the economy – btw, Ron Paul and the anti-Federal Reserve extremists are looking a bit better now, ain’t they?), but this exchange is utterly priceless.  

A billion here, a billion there….

Unless a photo of  Obama holding a white baby in a Pakistani motel emerges, we should have a new President in 2009.  Martha Reeves’ royalties for “Dancin’ In the Street” will go through the roof in November.

But, what’s gonna be #1 with a bullet in 2009-10-11-12.

You are aware that what Barack Obama says he’s gonna do is not necessarily what’s gonna happen? Right? There’s 535 other politicians plus a horde of lobbyist with monkey wrenches in hand and billions of bucks earned the old fashioned way (foreclosing on our homes) that must be considered.  And Barack is a politician after all and sometimes what politicians say turn out to be false promises lies different from what they actually do.

Recently, I wrote a McCain piece at DKos and I committed the cardinal sin of blogging.  I failed to look at both sides of the coin, and I learned that maybe there are not two different sides of this coin.

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