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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Goldman Sachs: The Great Robber Broker

Matt Taibbi / Rolling Stone:
Wall Street's Bailout Hustle -- Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren't just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy - they're re-creating the conditions for another crash

On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America's pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman's role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a "bailout tax" on banks. Maybe this wasn't the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. "In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines," he said, "I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative." ...

Secret AIG Document Shows Goldman Sachs Minted Most Toxic CDOs -- When a congressional panel convened a hearing on the government rescue of American International Group Inc. in January, the public scolding of Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner got the most attention.

Lawmakers said the former head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank had presided over a backdoor bailout of Wall Street firms and a coverup. Geithner countered that he had acted properly to avert the collapse of the financial system.

A potentially more important development slipped by with less notice, Bloomberg Markets reports in its April issue. Representative Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, placed into the hearing record a five-page document itemizing the mortgage securities on which banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA had bought $62.1 billion in credit-default swaps from AIG...
Zero Hedge:
For Those Who Chose Not To Heed My Warning About Buying Products From Name Brand Wall Street Banks -- Some of the top secret AIG bailout info is out. Guess who's at the heart of it, making money by creating straight trash, selling it to its clients then buying insurance to benefit from its inevitable crash? I have been warning about Goldman's ability to sell trash to its clients for some time now.

This is not a short post, for it is packed with a lot of supporting information, analysis and data... For everyone else who may be looking for deeper investigative analysis and the unbridled TRUTH for a change, please continue on...

I noted that Goldman often peddled horrible advice and products to clients that repeatedely lost tons of money, yet Goldman is still considered the best and the brightest on the Street...
Naked Capitalism:
When is a Fraud Not a Fraud? (Greece-Goldman Edition) -- The short answer to the question in the headline is “When there are no rules.”

A headline in a current Bloomberg story illustrates the problem: “Goldman Sachs, Greece Didn’t Disclose Swap, Investors ‘Fooled’.”

“Fooled” is an unusual choice of words, particularly when applied to to presumed grown-ups like institutional investors and international overseers. Bloomberg seems to be mincing around the more obvious F-words, like “fraud” (as in defrauded) or “fleeced.”

Although there is a considerable amount of well-warranted consternation about how Goldman sold swaps to Greece that allowed it to mask how bad its deteriorating finances were from the EU budget police, there has been perilous little discussion of why the fact that this was permissible says there is something very wrong with the rules in place...
Credit Writedowns:
Inside the mind of an investment banker: Greece, Goldman and derivatives
NY Post:
Goldman’s Rehab -- Cranks up p.r. engine to turn sinners into saints ZUMA Press

Lloyd Blankfein is starting to worry about his legacy.

The 55-year-old chief executive of Goldman Sachs — three-plus years into his tenure — recently turned to a Texas corporate p.r. firm to buff the image of the tarnished Wall Street powerhouse.

Turning to outside consultants to gauge a firm’s “perception in the marketplace” is unusual for the 140-year-old firm. But that’s what you do, even if you are Masters of the Universe, when the national and international media accuse you of engineering and profiting from a back-door rescue of AIG, of using cash from a taxpayer bailout and cheap Federal Reserve financing to help finance lavish bonuses, and taking down the entire Greek economy...
Business Week:
Lovable Lloyd -- What can we do to make normal Americans more properly appreciative of Goldman? A few ideas...

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia