However whatever what one may conclude about the dubious ethics of Goldman-Sachs,CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s appearance among lawmakers on Capitol Hill was at least long on entertainment as was his entire troupe of well rehearsed players as seen by their choreographed remarks sung in perfect harmony. ”We’d like to teach the world to sing”. Coca Cola would be proud.While that old standby ”the American taxpayer” got short changed by the big short, Blankfein and his interlocutors took their song and dance routine to almost American Idol status.While American auto executives were roasted for flying to Washington, few were concerned that ”Helicopter” Ben Bernanke, the lord of liquidity may have punted in the incorrigible Blankfein from the White House heli-pad.
”Viniar played word games with the politicians – “it was the big short offsetting the big long,” he said of the bank’s bet on the housing market – while Broderick attempted to send the somewhat ageing politicians to sleep with talk of “limits structures” and “risk systems”. The pair’s main objective seemed to be to follow the script and to protect the firm’s mantra – that it places clients first – while giving away as little new information as possible.
Far from gripping thus far. But then, after all that wait, came the big event – Goldman’s chairman Lloyd Blankfein.
And like the star who couldn’t fail his fans, Blankfein duly delivered. The bank has no moral obligation to tell its clients when it is betting against them, was the gist.” ( telegraph.co.uk)
After Goldman-Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s testimony before a Senate sub-committee on Capitol Hill, on April 27th, it may be possible to conclude he had been a victim of extraterrestrial abduction.There is compelling evidence given the deeply etched ”Goldman” imprint on the psyche of this person leaving an impression bordering on the other-worldly and an outer limit to the extent that the viewer and listener is being abducted and used as a metaphor in turn, for their greater experience.Perhaps the entire event was part of a programmed illusion and a virtual experience in time and motion.
As entertainment, it went beyond expectations of what one could expect to be produced by a close encounter of the third kind. It was a tremendous performance by all involved, which, despite appearances more closely resembled J. B. Priestly’s ”The Good Companions” than gut-wrenching financial reform. Everything seemed to go according to script for all the key players. Goldman Sachs, the world’s most profitable securities firm, was alone among 79 stocks of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Financial Index in posting a gain yesterday. In fact its market value rose $549 million. Compared to the $700 + billion TARP bailout, pretty small change.
“Both sides got what they wanted,” said Robert Hillman, a securities law professor at the University of California, Davis. “The Senate probably did what it felt it had to do, which was bring Goldman people up and embarrass them. For Goldman, the goal was to demonstrate that they had not engaged in fraud or illegal conduct. They probably succeeded in that.” In addition to this collusion of interests, the issue of executive compensation continues to arouse anger; as obscene as Blankfein’s compensation of $60 million is the fact he is a whipping boy and perhaps sacrifice for his own select clients who entrust this son of a Manhattan postal clerk and receptionist to make them even wealthier at the expense of the ”middle-class”, for whom by and large, the bankers speak a language, though nominally English, is almost completely incomprehensible to them. It was all a dog and pony show, since the issue of impending legislation had been settled in advance. Blankfein, was selected as the Financial Times person of the year for steering Goldman through the crisis, and his jaunty public persona which asserted on one occasion that he was ”doing God’s work”; A technically legal, more pro-active Bernard Madoff. Goldman-Sachs was described by the Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”. Democracy pays and it must be fervently defended, at all costs; especially if you don’t have to pay for it.
”Astronomer Carl Sagan wrote about the theory that the alien abduction experience is remarkably similar to tales of demon abduction common throughout history. “…most of the central elements of the alien abduction account are present, including sexually obsessive non-humans who live in the sky, walk through walls, communicate telepathically, and perform breeding experiments on the human species. Unless we believe that demons really exist, how can we understand so strange a belief system, embraced by the whole Western world (including those considered the wisest among us), reinforced by personal experience in every generation, and taught by Church and State? Is there any real alternative besides a shared delusion based on common brain wiring and chemistry?”
”The e-mails, including communications from Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, show that employees discussed how to “arm” salespeople to shed bonds the firm found too risky to hold. The e-mails were released yesterday by Senator Carl Levin in connection with a hearing where current and former managers testified about the firm’s role in the financial crisis. In one of the e-mails, Blankfein asked whether employees were doing enough to sell bonds backed by home loans including subprime mortgages.
“Could/should we have cleaned up these books before and are we doing enough right now to sell off cats and dogs in other books throughout the division,” Blankfein, 55, wrote in an e- mail dated Feb. 11, 2007. Questioned about the e-mail at yesterday’s hearing, Blankfein told senators that his comment didn’t represent an opinion of the bonds. “When I use the expression ‘cats and dogs’ I mean miscellaneous stuff,” he said. “This is part of my normal point about aged inventory. Part of the discipline of our business is to manage risk and sell inventory.” ( bloomberg.com)
NORFOLK, Virginia — Eleven indicted Somali pirates dropped a bombshell in a U.S. court today, revealing that their entire piracy operation is a subsidiary of banking giant Goldman Sachs.
There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when the leader of the pirates announced, “We are doing God’s work. We work for Lloyd Blankfein.”The pirate, who said he earned a bonus of $48 million in dubloons last year, elaborated on the nature of the Somalis’ work for Goldman, explaining that the pirates attacked ships that Goldman had already shorted.”We were functioning as investment bankers, only every day was casual Friday,” the pirate said.
The pirate acknowledged that they merged their operations with Goldman in late 2008 to take advantage of the more relaxed regulations governing bankers as opposed to pirates, “plus to get our share of the bailout money.” In the aftermath of the shocking revelations, government prosecutors were scrambling to see if they still had a case against the Somali pirates, who would now be treated as bankers in the eyes of the law.”There are lots of laws that could bring these guys down if they were, in fact, pirates,” one government source said. “But if they’re bankers, our hands are tied.” ( Andy Borowitz )