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Florida Blogger in David-and-Goliath Battle with Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs, NYC, from Telegraph UK

Goldman Sachs, NYC, from Telegraph UK

On Saturday, April 11, The Daily Telegraph reported that investment giant Goldman Sachs has retained Chadbourne & Parke, a Wall Street law firm, to shut down the website of Mike Morgan, a Florida blogger and registered investment advisor.

Morgan, who just set up his blog in late March, is currently gathering volunteers to help him research the bank’s influence on the U.S. Government and the stock market. Morgan’s website is here. He has scheduled a conference call and “webinar” for tomorrow night, April 15 at 6PM for volunteers who want to help him research Goldman Sachs, their role the the financial meltdown, and their possible manipulation of the stock market through their dealings with AIG. He also wants to call attention to Goldman Sachs’ influence on the government through their large donations to politicians such as President Barack Obama and Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. Morgan discloses that he did lose money from his investments with Goldman Sachs.

From the Telegraph:

According to Chadbourne & Parke’s letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site “violates several of Goldman Sachs’ intellectual property rights” and also “implies a relationship” with the bank itself.

Unsurprisingly for a man who has conjoined the bank’s name with the Number of the Beast – although he jokingly points out that 666 was also the S&P500’s bear-market bottom – Mr Morgan is unlikely to go down without a fight.

He claims he has followed all legal requirements to own and operate the website – and that the header of the site clearly states that the content has not been approved by the bank.

Morgan has tangled with another large corporation over internet issues.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Morgan explained how he went through a similar battle with US homebuilder Lennar a few years ago after he set up a website to collect information on what he alleged was shoddy workmanship in its homes. The pair eventually settled out of court.

Morgan sought legal advice before setting up his new website, but he also has other domain names registered in case Goldman Sachs does manage to shut down the one he is currently using.

Today this story was also reported by ABC News.

ABC talked to William G. Pecau, a trademark attorney, who said that

As long as Morgan isn’t trying to make money off the site and he’s not claiming that the site is somehow affiliated with Goldman, “generally there’s not a lot you can do about it,” Pecau, a partner at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, said.

Another expert told ABC that Goldman Sachs risks calling more public attention to themselves and their role in the financial crisis:

Paul Levy of Public Citizen Litigation Group, a public interest law firm, says that fighting the sites can have an unintended effect — a company’s attempt to shut down a gripe site can generate news coverage that ultimately benefits the gripe site.

“My guess is that there’s more attention paid to the criticism of Goldman Sachs on the Web site than before,” Levy said.

Let’s hope Goldman Sachs keeps pushing this. Before long there will be busloads of protesters showing up in front of their executives’ homes.

Yesterday, according to Forbes, Goldman Sachs

reported profits of $3.39 a share, well ahead of the $1.64 consensus estimate, and said it is planning a $5.0 billion public offering of common stock. Proceeds from the sale will go toward repaying Goldman’s Troubled Asset Relief Program loans.

There is a lot of skepticism about this earnings report. As Dakinikat reported yesterday banks are apparently estimating the value of mortgages at ninety-one cents on the dollar, a ludicrous amount. Furthermore,

Goldman Sachs began fiscal 2009 on Jan. 1 instead of Dec. 1 of last year. So December fell into sort of a grey zone that wasn’t as profitable; the bank lost $1 billion, or $2.15 per share, in the month…

Dakinikat will have to confirm this, but to me that suggests the bank may be reporting on just two months earnings and dropping out the heavy losses they suffered in December of last year. Finally, there are legitimate questions as to Goldman Sachs profiting through the use of taxpayers money. Rememember Goldman Sachs got a double dip–a infusion of TARP funds, plus 12 billion funneled to them through the AIG bailout.

Even more outrageous, Goldman Sachs now plans to use this questionable earnings report to raise $5 billion through a common stock offering in order to pay back the TARP loan and avoid further government inquiries.

As Karl Denninger of The Market Ticker points out, Goldman Sachs and other investment banks that are now claiming profits have been using taxpayer money.

…these firms are in the markets trading with money that literally is not theirs. As regulated banks these firms are trading, effectively, with funds that you and I guarantee through our taxes, exercising the privilege of government-granted monopolies that has a legitimate foundation – the utility function of fractional reserve banking – and leveraging it into the public equity and credit markets.

That’s outrageous and it is what Glass-Steagall was intended to and did prevent, because this sort of nonsense leads directly to public losses (as we have now seen to the tune of many trillions of dollars.)

I speculate daily in the markets. I see nothing wrong with it. But I speculate with my money, not yours, and there is something VERY WRONG with people being able to speculate with YOUR MONEY that you have not intentionally and explicitly put at risk.

Denninger notes: that despite the fact that most Americans opposed the bailouts to begin with, the government has stolen $700 billion from us in the original TARP and added on

…some $8-12 trillion in additional “commitments and loans” for which he had no representation or voice, as those “commitments” were made by The Fed and affiliated agencies, which Congress has refused to exercise control over, despite having the clear Constitutional mandate to do so.

This is over $40,000 per man, woman and child in this country, and it was stolen from you quite literally at gunpoint for the explicit purpose of preventing the banksters responsible for this mess suffering the loss of their shirts, their homes, their yachts and their bonuses.

And he points out that this doesn’t take into account that we are poorer because of the Feds devaluation of the dollar as well as higher banking fees and credit card interest rates.

Let’s not ever forget that Goldman Sachs was the number one contributor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and that current and former Goldman Sachs employees are hip deep in what the government has been doing.

The banks and politicians are literally robbing us of our futures and destroying our beloved country. I say more power to Mike Morgan in his fight with Goldman Sachs. What can we do about it? Well Mike Morgan and other bloggers who are investigating the big banks may have one answer.

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110 Responses

  1. God love the Sunshine State. We are the gift that keeps on giving.

    • I wish the guy well. I might even check out the conference call if I have time or at least listen to the podcast later.

      • I’m watching CNBC right now and their all over Goldman possibly manipulating their first q earnings right now. This is an amazing everyman story.

        • I wonder if the IRS would be okay with Americans switching their “fiscal year”? If we can just shave a couple of thousand off then our family could qualify for EITC. Whaatta ya think? 😉

        • Problem is, most Americans (those who bother with the news) hear about or read headlines proclaiming GS’s great first quarter earnings and that’s that. They never hear the rest of the story, so the notion that everything’s coming up roses gets planted in their minds. Try ripping that baby’s roots out. The MSM will kill you. If GS doesn’t get there first.

          • That’s why we need to get make this news go viral. Tell people you know that we’re being robbed and manipulated. People ended up finding out about AIG that way.

          • The problem isn’t just knowledge, it’s an inability to even get our government to be responsive. IKt isn’t like the government has cared that we were opposed to the bailout of opposed to FISA or any other of the myriads of things people were aware of.

          • So why are the O-approval ratings still fairly high? Why do we read headlines on RCP stating “America trusts Obama” (per Politico)? If enough people were ferreting out the real news, that trust level would be tanking. Very few Americans even know what FISA stands for, much less how Obama voted on it.

            I do agree that our govt. is no longer responsive. It’s pretty much a closed system, a revolving door which has fostered immense amounts of double dealing. No wonder Obama believes he can get away with just about anything.

          • There seems to be some sort of disconnect between people and the policies they make. People like Obama but don’t like his policies, in much the same way they liked Bush but disagreed with his policies.

          • The disconnect is largely to the MSM’s constant shielding of Obama and his corporatist agenda, and a concomitant refusal to spell things out in clear terms. There are many issues which can be made comprehensible, but this wouldn’t suit certain agendas, such as that of Wall Street and the banksters, not to mention the DOJ. We are living through a massive transfer of wealth and a near complete sell-out of the interests of everyday people. The longer the latter are kept in the dark, the worse this country will fare. This is such a simple truth that it’s positively maddening to witness the astounding depth and breadth of the cover-ups.

          • Waaah, why am I in moderation again? There is absolutely nothing in my last post for spammy to object to. Help!

          • Why should anyone in Congress or the WH care what the people think? The majority of voters will just re-elect their incumbent anyway. Why should Dodd, Frank, Pelosi or Obama care?

            The American people roused from their slumber to elect the Dems in 2006 based on what turned out to be lies and broken promises. So what happens in 2008, they vote for Obama.

            Why should they care, they don’t have to.

      • you know their doing a $5b offering to try to get out of the TARP agreement ?

        • Apparently everything is negotiable or so says the free market.

        • I thought that no one could get out of TARP? Sort of like a roach motel, you check in but you can’t check out?

          • I think it’s pretty clear that Goldman Sachs has special status with the Obama administration.

        • I added another line to make it clear. It’s at the end of the paragraph that begins with Dakinikat. Thanks!

          • Actually, I’d have to check with my brother-in-law the tax attorney or my sister the CPA on that one. I’m not sure how they get away with that.

          • BB:

            I don’t know if you understand financial reporting.

            Floyd Norris over at the NYTimes explains the subterfuge:

            Where’s December?: Goldman Sachs reported a profit of $1.8 billion in the first quarter, and plans to sell $5 billion in stock and get out of the government’s clutches, if it can.

            How did it do that? One way was to hide a lot of losses in not-so-plain sight.

            Goldman’s 2008 fiscal year ended Nov. 30. This year the company is switching to a calendar year. The leaves December as an orphan month, one that will be largely ignored. In Goldman’s earnings statement, and in most of the news reports, the quarter ended March 31 is compared to the quarter last year that ended in February.

            The orphan month featured — surprise — lots of write-offs. The pretax loss was $1.3 billion, and the after-tax loss was $780 million.

            Would the firm have had a profit if it had stuck to its old calendar, and had to include December and exclude March?

            It looks like GS cleverlyt and conveniently changed their 1st fiscal quarter between 2008 and 2009 (Dec-Jan-Feb to Jan-Feb-Mar).

            Dec ’08 was supposed to be the 1st month of GS 09 fiscal year. That’s when they had these massive losses and huge write-offs.

            So, these guys just made Dec disappear. Tata!!!

          • I’m doing the best I can, MABlue. I know I’m a novice.

        • Dak – I was laid low with a bad back and a cold and now noticed that the threads you started about “action” are no longer here – I also missed the broadcast – it seems I’m out of the loop – I hope we are still working on it.

  2. What’s up with the cannonfire link? Is that a joke left over from April First? I don’t need a cannon.

    • After a brouhaha over what constitutes antisemitism RD took Cannonfire off the blogrol(it was a concession to those offended by his position on Israel). She still respects Joseph and finds him insightful on many topics but decided it was best not to link him. He still comes over from time to time and is still linked to in posts from time to time when relevant.

  3. I am in moderation at 12:37pm A moderator might want to check out my question.

  4. bb, I’m impressed by your prolific and varied posts!

  5. Surprise, surprise. The Dow has crashed., immediately following Obama’s speech/ Bernanke will speak and try to get it out of the ditch

  6. Oops!!!

    I screwed up all my “blockquotes” and “bold”. I hope the comment is still intelligible.

    • it is … what I want to know is how are they getting away with that?

      • They bought the President.

      • The same way Halliburton and insurance companies “got away with” things during the Bush administration. Anything can be bought in a capitilist economy, including willing accomplices when it comes to looting the American taxpayer.

        • George Soros bought a big chunk of Halliburton in 2006 FYI. So guess who really won’t be bringing any troops home after all. And wasn’t 2006 the year the Democraps became the majority in congress? STOP blaming everything on Bush! Lets stick up for AMERICA not the Dems or Repubs, both parties are the enemy of our freedom.

    • Don’t feel bad, I don’t even know how to do them, so as to run the risk of scr@wing them up. Oops, hope spammy doesn’t get me.

  7. OT. I just heard that someone here, just threw himself out of a second floor, town hall window, right onto the mayor’s car.
    He fractured his leg, but pulled himself up and tried to throw himself out again from a third floor window where he was stopped.

    He was out of work. He had managed to find a three month contract which had not been renewed.

    • & he probably doesn’t have health insurance for his broken leg. Poor guy.

      Meanwhile, Obama is shooting his mouth off about economic recovery.

    • He got back up there on a broken leg? I’m impressed with his determination.

    • That’s horrible! I guess we’ll be seeing this a lot.

    • OMG, how much more of this do we have to see before someone out there starts telling the truth about the economic misery out here on the ground?

    • I hope he is given the help he needs. Back in Feb. a man shot his five kids (all under age 10), his wife and himself. He had also lost his job.

  8. Just heard on the radio that BO gave a talk at Georgetown touting his unprecedented and valiant economic measures taken to correct the economic crisis, and that we are now seeing the beginnings of a recovery, blah blah blah. I am so OVER this guy and his constant lying.

  9. Moderator: comment was eaten (in response to Laurie at 3:45 p.m.)

  10. Sent to my facebook account for all to see. It’s time for other bloggers to fight back against this corruption.

    • Yes, I sent him an offer of my assistance in the matter along with some good legal eagle tip that could be helpful once the 18th comes. He should also contact the
      Electronic Frontier Foundation
      http://www.eff.org/about
      to give them an FYI and see if some of their members are up for the fight and willing to pull in their resources.

    • Thank you, scrubs!

  11. this is terrific, BB – we should give him as much support as possible – thanks! 🙂

  12. Heh, heh. I was just watching Fox News (the only pure American news network we get down here in Oz) and they were talking about the tea parties for tomorrow. They had a female Democrat from Louisiana talking about the one she is hosting. It was great. I wish I was going to her party.

    I bet she supported Hillary, too.

  13. Thanks for the link Catarina

    • Joanelle, when I first saw your new avatar, I couldn’t quite figure out, why you would combine Stars&Stripes with the EU flag. 😕

      Then I googled Betsy Ross and read about her and your flagavatar. Nice. That was all new to me.

    • awww, that didn’t work. I’ll try another …

      EU flag

      … let’s see how that goes

    • Oh Kay then, I’ll just have to tell you (if you weren’t aware), that the EU flag is similar o he 13 star part of Betsy Ross’ flag, only it has just 12 stars.

      Sorry for the “spamming”. 😦

      • It’s funny that everyone else can seemingly see my new gravatar but me!

        • Still? Someone recommended “clearing your computer’s cache” and rebooting as a solution to this.

  14. Apparently, BO & the Admin. are all over the news talking about how the STIMULUS IS WORKING!

    Also: I am blissfully MSM-free, but I spoke to my mom, and she was ranting, because all they are talking about, 24/7, is the stupid dog. This country is seriously in trouble.

    • The ongoing Story Of The Dog and the charming photo with O and the kiddies and the Easter Bunny in this morning’s paper make me want to spew. Obama is about as cuddly as a box of nails, but the MSM are determined to sell him as Mr. Nice. Gaaaaaaaahhhhh.

  15. CODEPINK AND DAILY KOS ACTION CALENDAR: LETS CRASH THEIR TEA PARY

    DAILY KOS
    by tedshubris

    So tomorrow, “WSFR” is going to send a cameraman and on air news personality out into the field to cover this “teabagging” phenomenon.

    We’re going to ask open ended questions that seem to have a slight conservative bent to (hopefully) get them to open up and just start ranting. Then, we take any examples of racism, hatred, ignorance, and stupidity that we catch on camera and make a little movie out of it. Probably a YouTube special

    http://countusout.wordpress.com/

    • Sort of like the rac*sm, hatred, ignorance and stupidity they spew here?

      • Turn a camera on dkos, they’ll find all the racism, ignorance, hatred and stupidity they can handle.

        Shame on code pink who should know better. These teabag people may be conservative, but they’re not militias, they’re not threatening anybody, and they’re not setting public policy. Code pink has experience being called an ti american and terro rists for exercising their first amendment rights, now they have nothing better to do than bully and harass private citizens who disagree with them. Our fellow citizens are not our ene mies, grow up and maybe concentrate on ending the war or running the government or advocating your positive vision.

        • they aren’t even all “conservative” As evidenced by the La. rep above who is a Democrat.

          • Huffpo is disgusting today–the entire site is one big effort to mock people who are just exercising their rights as citizens. I don’t agree with their tax complaints, but I do agree with their attitudes toward the bank bailouts. It makes me sick to see so-called progressives making fun of them.

          • Huffpo is a really nasty site-and always “holier than thou”, and sanctimonious with it.

    • Typical adolescent Cheeto post… “teabagging” instead of “tea parties”… Can we have three claps of the hands for originality here???

    • I’m hearing this anti tea party stuff is being coordinated from the usual suspects at the WH. They’re a bit worried about it. Not unlike the Rush stuff they were doing. They think it will be a good distraction at the same time they try to stop this effort. So codepink and dkos are just following the talking points here as are the usual clowns at msnbc.

      • It’s so typical, “action alert.” last I checked, an action alert is usually like “this bill is in imminent danger of passing, call your congressperson,” not “oh noes, emergency, people don’t worship the messiah, let’s go act like juvenile asses.” top 10 ways to figure out if you are a useless upper class twit.

  16. OT: This woman, Susan Boyle from Britains got talent is great:

    Something to raise your spirits from the bad economy and BO blathering out both sides of his mouth.

    • Dandy: Thank you so much for that–wonderful! 🙂

      Everybody: take a moment to watch this. It’s really touching, funny, and uplifting. We can all use more of that these days.

    • I saw it on TV earlier — it IS great. Thanks for sharing it.

    • I ‘ve been listening to that clip all day. Very uplifting …. she sings from the heart and sets them all back on thier heels. Love it

  17. This reader comment from the NYTimes thread on the marvelous O-economy is too good to miss. Hope it’s okay to copy the entire comment here (there’s no way to directly link to it). This is perfect!

    Condensed version of Obama Speech #374:

    “We could be starting to perhaps see some recovery. But I can’t tell you for certain that the worst is over with. Do not forget that I inherited this problem, but if we all can rally together and blame the previous administration, I can almost be certain that we may face even darker days ahead, even though we are possibly starting to perhaps see a glimmer of light that many see as hope and an end to the downward spiral.

    Always remember that once the worst is over, it will get better, until it actually becomes good. Then good will one day turn into really good, and then it will stay really good for future generations, at which time it could become better than really good. This is when our hard work and dedication will finally pay off, as it ultimately turns from better than really good to the best.

    Which is why investing trillions for goodness now is the way to avoid badness for our children. Passing my first stimulus bill is why 95% of Americans have extra pocket change that they could spend, provided 95% of Americans shop at the Dollar Store.

    Don’t worry about the rising unemployment numbers, as another 4 million jobs will once again be saved or created thru careful investment of another trillion dollar stimulus bill. Did I mention that I inherited this problem?

    And that is why we need to more cars in America, built by Americans, for Americans, so they can drive somewhere in America. Thank you, and God bless the Treasury Department and Wall Street.”

    …and they actually pay somebody to write his speeches?

    — Mr Smith, Ditho, TX

  18. It seems that Spitzer had AIG’s number before the September ’08 debacle. More attention should be paid here. Where is theMSM?

    • Yea, I’ve been noticing lately that Spitzer seemed to be on the AIG warpath and then bang, he got outed. The timing does look interesting in retrospect.

  19. OT, but I had to let you all know the latest on the ridiculous soap opera unfolding in NY’s 20th District race. I commented on the Franken thread about it earlier. The GOP has been doing everything in its power to delay and obstruct the counting of the absentee votes, hoping to financially exhaust the Dems, and disenfranchise as many voters as possible. Here’s the latest report from an attorney that is supervising the recount:

    Well, I don’t know if you heard by now but the challenges by Tedisco just keep getting more and more insane. Today, they decided to challenge the absentee ballot of Kirsten Gillibrand. Yes, our sitting US Senator and former congresswoman from the 20th CD. Go to http://www.thealbanyproject.com/ to read more about it—it’s on most of the blogs by now. We almost fell over when we heard. Ok, so let’s see how dumb this was—challenge a woman who has an 80% approval rating by both Dems and Reps. in the district; do it the day before you are due back in court before the judge to argue that the Rep. challenges are reasonable and preventing fraud; when they challenged her ballot, they also challenged the veracity of her absentee application—basically, they are calling her a liar; and let’s bring more attention to this race so that everyone can now see how ridiculous the Reps. are acting. This was perhaps the dumbest thing they could have done—even the Rep. voters here are criticizing Tedisco.

  20. hi everyone whats new

  21. Sigh, so when will we see B0 running on
    a beach with the dog?

    (Sorry if the tiny url doesn’t work. I don’t seem to have much luck with that, but the picture shows – of course – JFK running on a beach. With a dog.

    • Hey Pips!

      It’s nice to see you posting again.

      I suspect that this is the picture you were wanted, although it’s of RFK, not JFK.

      The whole Obama=Kennedy business is beyond ridiculous. I was extremely grateful last year that the one Kennedy for whom I had the most respect, RFK, Jr., remained loyal to Hillary throughout the primary.

  22. I just noticed that Joseph Cannon posted on this and he has created an ad on his site to call attention to Morgan’s fight:

    “Goldman Sachs 666”

    LOL! “It’s big, it’s evil, And you’re paying for it”

    http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2009/04/goldman-sachs-another-case-of-website.html

  23. Pirates attack another American flagged ship.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,515875,00.html

    In defiance of President Barack Obama’s vow to halt their banditry, pirates have seized four vessels and over 75 hostages off the Horn of Africa since Sunday’s dramatic rescue of an American freighter captain.

    One pirate declared Wednesday they are grabbing more ships and hostages to prove they are not intimidated by Obama’s pledge.

    “Our latest hijackings are meant to show that no one can deter us from protecting our waters from the enemy because we believe in dying for our land,” Omar Dahir Idle told The Associated Press by telephone from the Somali port of Harardhere.

    The Liberty Sun’s American crew was not injured in the latest attack but the vessel sustained some damage, owner Liberty Maritime Corp. said.

    • Escalation may elicit a coordinated response from several countries. They are calling attention to their distress.

  24. Has anyone here commented on or read about John Rockefeller and Olympia Snow’s introduced bill to give the President unprecedented powers over the Internet? What is happening to this blogger could happen to lots of people if that legislation is passed. Even the Koolaid drinkers are upset. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/04/should-obama-control-internet

    • I’ve heard about it. Thanks for the link.

    • Heaven forbid the sippy cuppers lose their ability to post insipid comments on how “great” Obama is.(rolling eyes)

    • OT I heard Hillary on a BBC broadcast early this a.m. She was talking about North Korea. She sounded so authoritative, rational and positive. She was right. She can let her light shine wherever she is!

  25. Thanks for the link to Morgan’s site. I still want somebosy to look into The World Bank. Thats where Bush sent Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of Iraq invasion and the first gulf war. Bush appointed him President of The World Bank in 2005. He was at one time an investment banker for Goldman Sachs. He lost that job in 2007, caught by nepotism, only to be replaced in 2007 by Robert Zoelick. Zoelick was actually CHAIRMAN of Goldman Sachs. That means that Goldman Sachs had their hand in the cookie jar of nations worldwide, not just in the US. Zoelick is still there although Obama could replace him. Why hasn’t he?

    • Interesting. Why don’t you start researching the World Bank then? Anyone can investigate using the internet. If you find interesting stuff, we might publish it here. Let me know.

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