martedì 5 maggio 2009
'Goldman Conspiracy:' Bogle's 'pathological mutation?'
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- Prediction: The new movie "Public Enemies" will be a mega-blockbuster. Not because everybody loves "Pirates of the Caribbean" star Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, star of "Terminator: Salvation" and "Dark Knight."
No, it'll be a blockbuster because we get a chance to cheer for a new dark antihero, the infamous Depression era gangster, machine-gun-toting John Dillinger: Cheer because this new Dillinger is doing what we all secretly want to do -- rip off our corrupt banking system, turn the tables on the guys who have been ripping us off for too long.
Dillinger must be the guy former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt had in mind when he told Fortune: "America's investors have been ripped off as massively as a bank being held up by a guy with a gun and a mask." That was the last recession. Today, it's a heck of a lot worse in the "Great Recession:" Bad banks, financial weapons of mass destruction, AK-47 derivatives.
Video: Goldman connection at N.Y. Fed
When Goldman Sachs became a bank holding company late last year, New York Fed official Stephen Friedman inadvertently found himself in violation of charter rules. Kate Kelly reports on his efforts to receive a waiver and potential conflicts of interests.
Yes, this time the banks are the gangsters. They're robbing Main Street's Treasury. And it's an inside job. Hank Paulson, the "Goldman Conspiracy's" Trojan Horse, plays a "Dillinger," leading a much bigger conspiracy, the "Happy Conspiracy," that robbed America's 300 million citizens and taxpayers. They made off with trillions, while our "guards," a clueless Congress, laid down their guns and surrendered the keys to the vault. See previous Paul B. Farrell.
The "Happy Conspiracy?" Yes, that's what Vanguard founder Jack Bogle calls Wall Street in his bestseller, "The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism." He sees Wall Street as a "pathological mutation" of capitalism. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" no longer drives "capitalism in a healthy, positive direction." Instead, Bogle sees the invisible hands of this elite "Happy Conspiracy" running capitalism to serve its own selfish, greedy agenda:
"Over the past century, a gradual move from owners' capitalism -- providing the lion's share of the rewards of investment to those who put up the money and risk their own capital -- has culminated in an extreme version of managers' capitalism -- providing vastly disproportionate rewards to those whom we have trusted to manage our enterprises in the interest of their owners."
Today, the "Goldman Conspiracy" is the visible hand of Bogle's invisible "Happy Conspiracy" that's "ripping us off as massively as a bank being held up by a guy with a gun and a mask." Except today: No masks, no guns. Congress just writes blank checks.
The plot's so hot we read all 1,243 comments, emails and links to related Web sites, such as goldman666.com, that were posted on our earlier discussion of this topic. See previous Paul B. Farrell.
What emerged has the makings of what may be the next mega-successful long-running television series. Here are some plot points for the first season:
Episode 1. 'Goldman Conspiracy' as the new Mafia Godfather
Readers are mad as hell: One simply passed on "the inscription on the very first page of Mario Puzo's "The Godfather:" "Behind every great fortune, is a great crime.' So who'll play the new Godfather? How about Michael Chiklis, the corrupt cop in "The Shield?"
Episode 2. 'Goldman Conspiracy' hires Barney Frank guy as lobbyist
Great drama, like "The Sopranos?" A reader sent this Economic Policy Journal report: "The Goldman Sachs relationship with Congress has just gotten even more intimate. Goldman has grown another tentacle, designed to grab directly at the House Financial Services Committee chair Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. The new top lobbyist, Michael Paese, was recently the top staffer to Frank. He has been a registered lobbyist for the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association since he left Frank's committee in September." Like Damages and Dexter, you can't just make up a juicy plot like this.
Episode 3. 'Goldman Conspiracy' amassing power to rule the world?
One reader said it all: "This is not about political parties, political movements, or control of political theory. This is about power! Pure, in your face, control of every asset and wealth variable in this world. Goldman Sachs and co-conspirators have control and in the best position for control of much of the world's investments and assets." And many don't like what they see: "Stop the looting. Start the prosecutions. Now!" Unfortunately Goldman is real and more dangerous than the conspiracies Jack Bauer destroys in "24."
Episode 4. 'Goldman Conspiracy' is manipulating stock market
"Something smells fishy in the market. And the aroma seems to be coming from Goldman Sachs," says John Crudele in the New York Post. Stocks prices soaring. "So, who's moving the market?" Not the little guy. "Professional traders, with Goldman Sachs leading the way." NYSE numbers show "Goldman did twice the number of so-called big program trades during the week of April 13," over a billion shares, creating "a historic rally despite the fact that the economy continues to be in serious trouble." Then he tells us why: Because the "Goldman Conspiracy" is using TARP and Fed money, churning the markets. They are "gambling with taxpayer money."
Episode 5. 'Goldman Conspiracy' Cartel? Plutocracy? Dictatorship?
"The Goldman Cartel like the Drug Cartel, like the mafia, like communism. Americans fell asleep at the wheel. We have crashed. We were brainwashed that America was good. We pledge allegiance to the flag, etc." Yes many like this reader were angry, ready to fight, near rebellion, because "now we are a fascist nation, maybe worse."
Episode 6. 'Goldman Conspiracy' repeating record 2006-07 earnings
In "Goldman Sachs boosts risk-taking at the fastest pace on Wall Street," Bloomberg's Christine Harper writes: CEO "Blankfein has shown no inclination to change the business model that helped Goldman Sachs set industry records for earnings and pay in 2006 and 2007." At the November peak of the credit crisis, he said "nothing that happened this year altered the core of what Goldman Sachs is ... we won't stop doing the things that made us a leading investment bank." Harper added: "First-quarter revenue-per-employee and compensation figures bear that out ... Each of the firm's 27,898 employees brought in, on average, $338,017 in revenue" while "compensation and benefits at Goldman Sachs totaled $4.71 billion in the quarter, an average of $168,829 per employee."
Episode 7. 'Goldman Conspiracy' sneaks in another Trojan Horse
Another reader added this: Gary Gensler, another long-time partner in the "Goldman Conspiracy," is Obama's nominee for chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Maybe the "Goldman Conspiracy" really does "own" Washington.
Episode 8. 'Goldman Conspiracy' operates like Las Vegas casino
New York Observer columnist Michael Thomas imagines the Wall Street/Washington merger operating as a "publicly owned casino" where "every grifter, sharpie, shark imaginable" gets to play with our money. "This stinks. Stinks to high heaven. Stinks all the way from Wall Street to K Street, whence you can be sure significant funds have been routed to Congress" as political payoff. And it paid off last week in killing a bill to let bankruptcy courts renegotiate over a million mortgages held by underwater homeowners. The bill was defeated by lobbyists for the same banks taxpayers gave trillions to. The L.A. Times reported that the Consumer Federation of America attributed the defeat to the "bankers continuing clout and to the fact that they are major financial players in campaign contributions, to Democrats as well as Republicans." Remember the fun in TV's Vegas?
Episode 9. 'Goldman Conspiracy' is gambling with taxpayer money
The New York Times reported in "After off year Wall Street pay bouncing back" that average pay is again around $570,000 at the "Goldman Conspiracy" branch of the "Happy Conspiracy." What a comeback: They were virtually insolvent six months ago till Paulson secretly arranged a $50 billion lifeline in a combo of TARP, Fed credits and the AIG bailout. His old "Goldman Conspiracy" buddies then doctored their balance sheets and it was back to "business as usual," echoing the action in "Prison Break."
Episode 10. 'Goldman Conspiracy' expands in shadowy twilight zone
The Fed and Treasury are loaded with Goldman alums, as one reader pointed out, adding three more to Paulson and Neel Kashkari: "Treasury Chief of Staff Mark Patterson, New York Fed President William Dudley and New York Fed Chair Stephen Friedman were once executives, directors or lobbyists for Goldman Sachs." How many more? We have entered "The Twilight Zone," Wall Street's version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
Episode 11. 'Goldman Conspiracy:' No comparison to founding fathers
Another reader criticized the false choice: "The difference between our founding fathers and the Goldman Gang is the fact that the former risked their own fortunes while the latter risked yours and mine. These two groups shouldn't even be mentioned in the same paragraph. I vote RICO." Another saw no "change" when it comes to the "Goldman Conspiracy" running our government from the shadows: "It is apparent that Washington lobbyists will not be outlawed, nor Goldman Sachs alumni refused government rule, so nothing will change." Apparently "change" is a great campaign slogan, as long as the "Goldman Conspiracy" gets more control. Think "Terminator" but with no "Salvation."
Episode 12. 'Goldman Conspiracy' really is taking over the world
"How far does 'The Goldman Conspiracy' reach? Truth is stranger than fiction," writes one reader. "The Federal Opposition Leader in Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, potentially the next Prime Minister, is a Goldman Sachs alumni. Spooky!" Yes, he was Chairman, Goldman Sachs Australia. We already reported Goldman Trojans in the Bank of Canada and Bank of Italy, and now see Britain's Independent reporting that Paul Deighton, a Goldman banker, is now planner for the 2012 Olympics; Gavyn Davies, a longtime Goldman economist, was chairman of the BBC network; and Duncan Niederauer, John Thain's former deputy at Goldman, was later with Thain modernizing the NYSE.
Episode 13. 'Goldman Conspiracy' ... can't beat 'em? So, join 'em!
"Goldman people are everywhere" observes a reader. "Perhaps we should all buy Goldman stock? Join the party instead of watching from afar. I think it is very scary, no point in having a stock market anymore." Worse, no point in voting, doesn't matter!
Thirteen episodes are often the number a network buys for a new series. But expect lots more. This one's guaranteed to go on through at least three more seasons to the 2012 election ... probably indefinitely, because the "Goldman Conspiracy" is secretly expanding beyond Washington ... taking over the networks ... Hollywood ...EU ... UN ... ultimately the universe.Yes, the "Goldman Conspiracy" franchise is more powerful than "Bond," "Batman," "24," "Bourne," "Raiders," "Die Hard" and "The Terminator." See it! Buy it!