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Thursday: High Noon at the Banker Corral

Simon Johnson is saying we’re headed for a showdown with the bankers. The forbearance strategy that Obama is using is going to prolong the problem and cost us a lot more money in the form of much higher taxes if Treasury does not force the bankers to back down. Incredibly, the finance industry, especially Goldman-Sachs, is making the situation worse:

In the case of Goldman, the explicit intention is to pay back TARP funds and to escape all government-imposed limitations on compensation. This would obviously be good for Goldman and the people who run it. Anything that strengthens their advantage over competitors and increases market share will presumably raise their profits and compensation, making it easier to attract even more good people.
Such developments would worsen the business prospects of other large banks and potentially threaten their financial situation. The government’s forbearance strategy is fragile unless big banks do as the supervisors tell them. But Goldman and other major players apparently think they have so much political power- and this may be more about connections on Capitol Hill than links with the administration- that they can ignore the supervisors.

Go read the whole thing. Goldman is playing a global game of Monopoly with the potential for devastating consequences for all of us. Now that I think of it, didn’t Hank Paulsen hate Lehman Brothers? And wasn’t he the former CEO of Goldman? Is bankruptcy the way G-S is eliminating their competition? Something strange and unsavory is going on with G-S and the other banks that feels like out of control aggressive avarice.
And who are the people on Capitol Hill who refuse to put a stop to it all? Frank? Dodd?
Johnson says there’s no time like the present to engage the Department of Justice to enforce and prosecute antitrust laws. So, who is standing in the way of a showdown?

86 Responses

  1. RD,

    Goldman Sachs is running our government. For Johnson to claim that the influence is only through ties with Congresspeople is silly. Obama’s administration is infused with Goldman Sachs alums.

    I hope you saw my post from Tuesday about the blogger who is trying investigate Goldman Sachs’ influence on the government and Wall St. Any one who has time should try to help him with his research.

    • did the treasury dept (oh, wait, that would be geithner) see this coming or not??

      did government get gamed or did they set the whole thng up?

      • I think it was a team effort. They both took part in gaming the people

        • The msm spin is all about those evil banks and how the O people just got taken for a ride.

          which is exactly the message of the fake protest group run by O supporters.

          what a coincidence.

  2. Why are we the only ones who can see what is happening? What has happened?

    • We are not seeing the world through hope-colored glasses.

    • We are among the very few who prefer facing realities, unhappy and disappointing and frustrating as they may be.

    • Because we don’t have to admit we were wrong in order to see what’s happening.

  3. it may too scary to contemplate?

    I’m ready to go hide under the covers. . .

  4. bb,


    it’s one of my new hideouts!

    • That’s the place. Did you see my post? Joseph Cannon wrote about it too. We need to make this go viral!!

  5. No, no, not you Murphy – can’t picture you hiding away. 😕

  6. Murphy,

    This guy is great too.


  7. I was just over at HuffPo looking at the pictures from the tea parties and found the following captions underneath them (posted by the webpage):

    A sign saying nothing more than “Obama: Socialist Pig” has a caption saying that some signs were violent. What is violent about that?

    A sign saying “Why do you hate white collar workers” with a picture of a shirt and tie has a caption saying that some signs brought race into the picture. That strikes me as ridiculous.

    I’m sure there were some violent or racist signs, but the one shown were not exemplars.

    This kind of thing makes me wonder what kind of prism the folks over there filter reality through.

    • Their job is propaganda and disinformation… they are an organ of the Ministry of Information, and all that.

    • Don’t you remember the “hate rallies” they accused McCain & Palin of hosting? It’s the same M.O. to discredit any and all BO critics. I heard today that the only tea party footage they showed on the news included right wing stereotypes (eg: bitter, clingy types), and the same talking points Pelosi was spouting were parroted by the MSM. The news is just a PR arm of the O Admin now, it’s so blatant. They literally recite the same phrases.

      • I. Hate. The. F’ing. M. S. M.

        I really, really do – with very few exceptions.

        • Ditto. I can’t watch any of them anymore–they are toxic manipulators. Being away from it for over a year, when I hear it now, it is offensive to the ear–the mewling, pandering, lying, condescending, smug, hypocrites. Can’t stand ’em.

      • except for FOX……FOX though decided to revise history. You’d think that they’d all along saw protesting as patriotic(rather than something the dirty rotten terrorist loving hippies did to protest the Iraq war). TV is full of propaganda and I am sick to death of it.

      • I just read on Afrocity’s blog that Pelosi was complaining about the RIGHT’S “astroturfing” tactics!?!?!?!?!? How infuriating is THAT?! Maybe Axelrod gave her a crash course. The hypocrisy makes me insaaaaane!

    • Why do you hate white collar workers?

      Because just because I have a white collar job and a white collar education, those assholes think I’m one of them. They should see their faces when they find out my whole family is lunchbuckets.

      And they’re the losers who give lip service to Americans working their way up the class ladder! Howyadoin, I’m one of those Americans. A Bunker with a Master’s degree in physics. Watching their smug, prissy faces twist up when they find out that one of them snuck into their little intellectual enclave and had the gall to outperform them is like — well, it’s like watching them try to reconcile that a white trash southern french-fry-loving Bubba like Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar. “How DARE those LOWER CLASSES be smarter than me!” is what they’re thinking.

  8. Off-topic: I get tired of the whole “teabagging is the R-word” thing, and then showing signs that mimick people like Arnold (Gary Coleman) as “proof”.

    Were these people also screaming the R-word when Bush was compared to Alfred E Newman…and fer gawsh sakes …Curious George, the monkey?

    For me, comparing a black or white person to a stupider version of the same race from pop culture is not the R word.

    Just venting.

    • I really am not paying that much mind to it. It seems rather juvenile to me. I toyed with going to a tea party. The closest was 40 miles over and the emphasis seemed to be on taxes(which I don’t agree are too high) rather than on poor representation so I abstained. I am talking to my neighbors though(conservatives) and finding common ground where I can.

      • The really pathetic part of all this is that the bots were (supposedly) all over Barky for “reaching across the aisle!” and “working with the Republicans!” and “finding common ground!”

        Now that PUMAs are doing it, we’re evil.

        • Meh….evil……uneducated…..whatever

          from where I am sitting they have become what they loathed, an echo chamber for the 30 second soundbite. Instead of protecting ideals, they are busy hailing an imperfect person(as we all are). My question to them is what do they become when Barack Obama is gone in at most 7 1/2 years? They sold their principles to get him elected so then what?

          • I went to the Tea Party in St. Louis. The rally started with a prayer then the pledge of allegiance. There were four local speakers. The crowd was est. between 6and 7 thousand. Many signs were displayed. None were offensive that I saw. To tell the truth, I was surprised only by the polite cheers. I’m more upset than that crowd. It was a beautiful night to be out. Decided the I am a true Independent after all. I can’t do the party allegiance thing any more.

          • By seven and a half years from now, the corruption will have sunk in and soaked in just fine — they’ll sleep like babies.

            The whole time they were complaining about the Repubs stealing elections and fighting illegal wars, they weren’t speaking from principle. They were just sulking because their side hadn’t done it first. They’ve been corrupt and without principle for the past eight years, only we didn’t know it. Another seven and a half won’t matter.

      • The issue is not that taxes are too high now, but what will happen to them if this bail out mania falls to the taxpayers in the future (coupled with BO’s budget).

        • No, not really. Evidently the cigarette tax is evil and unfair because they should be allowed to do what they want(although I will give at least 2 of the gals I spoke to credit for consistency since they are at least pro choice)and not have it pay to cover other peoples children. Furthermore, when I read further some of them are for forcing sterilization on the poor(its the stick) while another suggested paying them to not have kids(carrot) to reduce paying for social programs like SCHIP(even as I pointed out that the expansion was something the majority wanted and was aware that it would mean increasing cigarettes). They asked why not alcohol(apparently unaware that there is an excise on alcohol)

          They also complained about sales tax(even as I pointed out this was a state tax, not a federal one). They really would have hated Dak’s Pigiou tax on gas, since they were already complaining about it.

          I have no doubt they will complain about future taxes. I have to wonder where they were though when I was protesting sending people over to Iraq to the tune of billions.

          Taxes are a necessary evil. Nobody likes them. That being said, nobody likes not eating safe food, not breathing clean air, not riding on roads and bridges that will collapse(except these gals since they pooh poohed the idea when I brought up the fact that our infrastructure needed to be paid for).

          • Infrastructure taxes and paying off bankers and investors for highly suspicious bail out fund structures are not the same thing. I don’t support BO’s voodoo economics to justify the manic spending in the midst of a crisis. His rationalization for “cutting the deficit” has been proven to be fraudulent (eg: cutting the deficit = what we would have saved if we’d stayed in Iraq for 10 years and continued to spend at the highest level. That’s sort of like the delegates he was awarded in MI for the people who ‘might have voted for him if they could have.’). I don’t trust him–period. There is no way we can sustain this level of bail out mania and pay for the social programs without taxing the hell out of everyone. He has not adequately explained this, and I think the overall instinct of the tea parties is genuine. There are always people who only have a little bit of knowledge, and it’s often inaccurate (on both sides), but that does not mean that the impulse of distrust for this administration is not legitimate.

          • No they aren’t I can completely understand being angry at legislators for not even bothering to read legislation they were voting on and not listening when the majority of the country said they wanted a discussion not just a blanket bailout.

            That being said these women seemed more angry at the tax aspect rather than at the fact that the legislators seem to believe they can play their constituency.

            If we did indeed pay too much in taxes, we wouldn’t have the huge deficit we have. Instead what we seem to have is a country full of folk who want their cake and want to eat it too(low taxes and still have all the amenities).

  9. I found a blog that is airing all info on G-S – they are expecting to be sued. As a public service, here they are

  10. I’m in moderation.

  11. My shoulder’s going to be OK. It’s just a spur and all I need is some physical therapy and Aleve – No surgery!!

  12. Completely OT, but it seems that the Scottish Guardian has found a 1999 recording of Susan Boyle. She sang “Cry Me A River” for a charity CD, and they’ve posted the audio on their website.

    Nope, the Britain’s Got Talent Appearance was not a one-song fluke: this lady has some PIPES! Go have a listen:


    • Oops. The daily record, not the guardian.

      • She has an incredible gift. I hope to hear a lot more out of her. I could be partial, but its no surprise this “average” Scottish spinster has pipes and some to spare. I have quite a few albums in my collection of singers no one has ever heard of and never will.

    • Thanks for the link. Good grief that woman is so good it’s almost painful to listen to her. How could a talent like that be a secret until now?

      • This is what we hope for when we watch talent shows. That someone without the contacts or ability to build a career in the traditional ways will show up and blow us away.

      • She has been taking care of her ill mother for years, and her mom just passed away in the last year or two. She said she got the courage to audition as a tribute to her mom.

    • She’s got a lovely voice. This is a recording of her singing Cry Me a River and she’s just as awesome singing a torch song. The emotion pours through her voice.

      • I have a big thing for old torch songs. This is freaking gorgeous.

        • Me too. In the 8th grade, we had a choir teacher who had us sing them (wouldn’t that make a fun video if such a thing existed) So they always seem like home to me.

    • I think she’s adorable. I watched a clip online from CBS today and Patti Lupone said she cried when she heard her on You Tube, and said she “has pluck.” Susan is so wonderfully unpolished, she doesn’t even look at the camera. After Barky’s fraudulent teleprompter preaching, it’s so refreshing to see someone so humble and authentic.

  13. There is no doubt about it. The woman can sing. Thanks for the link.

    • What a wonderful link; what a wonderful story. It is not just her voice; it is all of her—her humanity, her humor, her pain and her joy shine through.

  14. Susan Boyle, Barack Obama, Goldman Sachs. The human condition. Authenticity, real talent and heart just can’t be bamboozled, hoodwinked or bought.

    • Amen.

    • But so many were bamboozled by Obama–propaganda and an uninformed public is a dangerous combination.

      • But he was an Axelrod PR/marketing campaign. Susan Boyle is the real deal!

        She is not a rerun of Deval Patrick’s Hope+Change(TM) campaign. “Words, just words!” The advantage was having a female opponent, so Axelrod would have the white male afraid of the smart woman feel guiltless by voting for the male who is AA or who has half-African genes.

        I agree, Susan Boyle is beautiful, heartwarming, and immensely talented. She in the category of special special human being, as is Hillary Clinton. Their shining
        spirit is contagious and inspirational.

        • Even now, with all this attention being focused on her, she is grounded, humble and sweet. She is saying, “It’s just baby steps right now…I’d like to have a musical career, but I’ll just take one step at a time, and see where it goes.”

          The report with wmcb’s link says she was mildly brain damaged at birth and was bullied in school for being shy and quiet. What a story.

  15. I came across something somewhere in MSM land which referenced YouTube of Simon Cowell getting biffed upside the head by Susan Boyle’s singing… so she has gone VIRAL for sure!

    • 11,000,000 hits so far!

      • Over 15 and half million hits as of now, and there are multiple You Tubes of her

        She must be better known than Jenny Lind was in her day!

  16. John Ziegler, the guy who made the documentary about the media treatment of Sarah Palin was arrested for asking question outside the place where Katie Couric was getting the Walter Cronkite award for journalism.


  17. Is that Puma brainstorming thread still running?

    Someone asked to say what I was getting out of PUMA as a conservative and I wanted to respond.

    • Afrocity,

      You should be getting an invitation soon to write a front page post. I’m really looking forward to it.

      As far as I know the thread is still going and there will be a follow-up once Dakinikat goes over all the reactions.

    • Christ, PLEASE RESPOND. I want to know this more than I want a margarita right now. Where did you perceive the overlap?

  18. This is how bad the Obama propaganda machine has gotten. My 83-year-old mother just called to ask me what teabagging is. A friend of hers called her to see if she knew.

    • OM& BB… were you able to let her in on it?!?

      • To tell you the truth, I only had a general idea of what it is. I looked it up in the urban dictionary and read it to her. We agreed that she shouldn’t tell my dad. We don’t want him to keel over in shock. He’s a lot more squeamish than my mom.


    • Anderson Cooper made it into a lewd joke. So much for the right to protest freely in a democracy.

  19. Hello all I am so very sorry but I have been house and pet sitting for since maudy thursday..for my fav sis in law and my brother they have the cutest little english setter rescue named Tebow….

    he kept me up all night and wanted to play all day I dont have the energy or a 7 and 12 yr old girl so I had to catch sleep when ever.

    I am kinda rested so I am back….

    {{{{Afrocity}}}} we at PUMA are a big tent please I have so missed you!

    • Fuzzy!!!!!

      Where have you been? I’ve missed you!

      • trying to keep my sanity and a small puppy from soiling my sister in laws new refinished hard wood floors -LOL I am back I am convinced more and more each day that I am surrounded by brilliance here in the PUMA movement!

  20. I am so honored and humbled to have dakinikat mention my idea of core principle for PUMA I am so willing to help anyone write these down….I just hope I am not like Mr Adams from 1776….

    “…if Im the one to do it they will run their quill pens through it….”

    I would love an be so honored to help in this process because I believe that you should take ownership in your ideas and assist in the birthing of this new concept an Idea for a new and brilliant PUMA age…we are tring to birth here.

    We can be successful where our founding fathers failed (probably because they were all men) and shame our detractors in to doing the right thing and preserving our republic with out civil or revolutionary war.

    We are the people no one was expecting but whom every one will be be glad of when the jobe is done!

  21. I am so glad to be home I missed you all!

  22. My Blog tonight talks about Media Coverage on the Tea Parties and Aid to Africa from a conservative POV.


    • The book sounds cool. I’m curious as to what she says in it. There has to be more than one way of looking at that whole concept, and it’s so obvious a new one’s needed.

  23. fuzzy!

    • you have so been in my thoughts and I am almost in tears to see you back amoung us…and as my momma would say darlin pull a chair up and pass the biscuits its jubilee time!

      I cannot believe the Press is so juvenile as to may sexist jokes about the teaparties?

      I am sure if they would have acted the same way in 1773 in Boston Mass…we would not be worrying about our current president as our Prime Minister in London would set the political tone for the press….Oh and Mr Obama would not exsist as Kenya would still be a backwater colony of the British Crowne!

      • I needed time to find political self. Coming out as anything is not easy.

        • you are telling me? I told my mom at her fav restraunt the “Hong Kong Buffett” in the parking lot after the meal…(did not want to spoil her appitite)….she was a bid drama queen…but hey we are good now!

  24. I also cannot believe all these banks we bailed out are now reporting profits….

    These profits cannot be real no way they must be “paper” profits or accounting profits or as I like to call them “Enron Profits” if these banks are really making money now I want our money back! NOW!

    Oh and us that refunded TARP money to compete directly with the banks by opening up credit to us little guys!

    • The site above suggested that Goldman’s was the result of double dipping….they were able to get money out of AIG to cover their bad assets as well as TARP money.

  25. It is time for US to do to Goldman what was done to Standard Oil in the last century….break it up into 22 independent companies and force them to each compete against each other…..oh and prevent any single stockholder fund or syndicate form aquiring more than 4.5% of any one company.

  26. Thanks to Simon Jonson for the further public airing of this issue in print and on public radio.. Given the practical and political realities of the current situation, the “antitrust” type solution for the very large banks appears to this layman to be a possible solution. And, or course, that would have to include regulation for derivative packages with risk beyond what the purchasing entities could cover. It seems that there has been a collective forgetting that the bubble and crash of 1929 in that more primitive time associated with low stock margin rates of the bubble phase. And during that era the markets were largely internal and there was real increase of physical productivity to build the recovery on.

    Money is basically a tool. We do not eat money; or use to build our houses or transportation connivances or medical support etc. It is only an agreed upon promissory note for exchange for the real goods and services that provide the needs in our lives. If we can legislate against monopolistic practice for oil, or cars, as GM was once threatened with, then surely it can be done for banking. The banking sector is just a part of the overall system. The bankers must be brought into fully responsible function.

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