You know what they say, "First, they came for the sellers of collateralized mortgage obligations, who made bets against the same securities they sold to clients." Oh, they don't say that? Because it never, ever happens?
The Justice Department says after a "careful review" it has determined there is no basis for bringing a criminal prosecution against Goldman Sachs or its employees in regard to allegations set forth in a congressional report.
In an unsigned statement from the Justice Department issued Thursday night, it said the department conducted an exhaustive review for more than a year examining allegations in the Levin-Coburn Report.
Headed by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, the 635-page report in 2011 singled out Goldman and Deutsche Bank as examples of Wall Street firms that reaped huge profits by marketing securities backed by subprime mortgages as safe investments to clients, even as the banks bet against these very same securities.
In fairness to Goldman, it's simply not true that top executives haven't been punished for wrecking millions of livelihoods. Mark Patterson, a former Goldman Sachs V.P., is currently Treasury chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is former Goldman partner Gary Gensler.
Sounds problematic? It's a case of you say tomato, I say tomahto. You say, "revolving door cronyism," Goldman says "creative community service sentencing."
Photo by Jin Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Tags: Crime, Department of Justice, Goldman Sachs, SEC
It's no secret that everybody's favorite person to talk to is the guy who spends two decades smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and then one day decides to quit because he can't feel his lungs anymore and suddenly realizes it's time to lecture any person he sees lighting one up at a barbecue. People love that guy! He is, almost without exception, considered the very finest in humanity! ("Please, former smoker guy, tell me more about how I should live my life!" – you and everyone else.)
You know what, though? I think we just found a very very close second place guy…
"Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it."
That's Greg Smith, former executive director of Goldman Sachs, burning and salting the bridge fields of his former life in very much the same way that regular people address their grievances with past employers: on the New York Times Op-Ed page.
You see, Smith just recently got around to ending a 12-year career working for one of the most materialistic elitist paragons of objectivist thought in the history of human civilization. Why? Well, apparently, some of the people working there call their clients "muppets." Or something…
Tags: Economy, Goldman Sachs, Money
The big financial institutions got off easy with today's regulatory bill. It feels like just yesterday that Stephen was calling for CEOs to be stripped naked and locked together in a Thunderdome scenario with screaming taxpayer spectators.
Tags: Economy, Goldman Sachs, New Old News, Senate, Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
As Jon Stewart pointed out on last night's Daily Show, one of the primary figures in the Goldman Sachs fraud case is named Fabrice Tourre and goes by the nickname "Fabulous Fab." You know, I don't think we're going to get any real substantial financial reform anytime soon; I'm not that naïve. But can we all at least agree to make some sort of edict that if a guy is named Fabrice and he works in the upper echelons of a financial juggernaut, his self-assigned nickname has to be "Prudent Fab" or "Level-Headed Fab" or at least "Slightly Above Average, But I Really Don't Like to Toot My Own Horn Fab"?
Stephen Colbert's take can be found below.
For quick summaries of recent episodes, be sure to visit Intel's Daily Show in :60 Seconds page.
Tags: Carl Levin, Claire McCaskill, Fabrice Tourre, Goldman Sachs, Jon Stewart, Jon Tester, Lloyd Blankfein, Senate, The Daily Show, Video
Carl Levin (D-MI): We are gathered here today because you are the worst people on earth, and also because a little grandstanding never hurts going in to a midterm election. I will begin. You are the worst people on earth.
Susan Collins (R-ME): There is an R after my name, so even though I agree with Carl, I will use gentler words like "unseemly" and "unsettling." You boys are cads.
Claire McCaskill (D-MO): If it's all right with everyone, I'd like to make the first of many gambling analogies. John Ensign specifically asked us to do a lot of those, I'm not sure why.
Fabrice "Fab Fab" Tourre, former VP, Goldman: My lawyers have instructed me to be as bland and evasive as possible. I will say that this week has been a a real bummer.
Carl Levin: Now I'm going to read some emails aloud. You sold clients securities that you were shorting. How did you guys get comfortable with the source of these securities? How did you guys get comfortable-
Daniel Sparks, former head of mortgages, Goldman: I don't- we don't-
Carl Levin: How did you guys get comfortable with that?
Daniel Sparks: I'm not sure what you're-
Carl Levin: Yes you are, you're just being bland and evasive. Never mind, I have a new phrase I want to repeat. "Crap pools." This was in a Goldman email. Crap pools. Crap pools? Crap pools! Do you recollect that?
Daniel Sparks: Um, I- what page is that- hmm. So much paper. I can't find it.
Carl Levin: Moving right along. "Shitty deal." That's from another email. I can cuss all I want, on TV, this is great. Shitty deal. Shitty deal.
Susan Collins: I want to ask a lofty ethical-sounding question that has zero relevance in the context of how Wall Street actually works. Do you have a duty to act in the best interests of your clients? I want to know so I can help defeat regulatory reform that might impose such a duty.
Daniel Sparks: We, uh, we want to do well.
Joshua Birnbaum, former MD, structured products, Goldman: I'll be the guy who says yes, we do.
Fab Fab: We're a market-maker. We provide liquidity. I can say other finance words too.
Susan Collins: I am going to ask you a lengthy but specific question, Fab. All you need to do is answer it.
Fab Fab: Okay. You mentioned an email? Which email is that? I don't have that in front of me.
Susan Collins: This is from your email on the 26th, at the bottom of the page.
Fab Fab: Oh, I- no, I do have it. Can you repeat your lengthy but specific question? Slowly, this time. Maybe pause for a minute or two between each sentence.
Susan Collins: You little fucker.
Carl Levin: Fucker! Fucker! Fucker!
Claire McCaskill: Shitty deal! Shitty deal! Sorry, mom.
Tom Coburn (R-OK): Just sticking my head in to say I think y'all should be able to short whatever you want. High-five, boys. Make the checks out to Coburn for Senate.
John Ensign (R-NV): I'm on! Knock knock.
Everybody: Who's there?
John Ensign: Nevada. I can't help but notice that you're comparing Wall Street to Las Vegas. What's up with that? In Vegas you know the odds. On Wall Street they manipulate the odds while you're playing. Thank you, you've been great.
David Viniar, CFO, Goldman: That's a tough act to follow.
Carl Levin: Tell me about your big short, David. Your big short on the housing market.
David Viniar: Well, big short and big long.
Carl Levin: Big short.
David Viniar: Big long.
Carl Levin: Crap pools. Shitty deals.
David Viniar: That's very unfortunate to have on email.
David Viniar: I just meant I don't like the swear words. So many swear words.
Carl Levin: Hiiiiii, Lloyd.
Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman: Hi Carl.
Carl Levin: I am going to talk about how you created and sold investments that you were betting against. Admit you did that.
Lloyd Blankfein: I am going to talk about Goldman's role as a market-maker, which means we simply provide a mechanism for people to buy and sell assets that have been created. This will ensure that I avoid your question. It will also ensure that you avoid my answer. We live in different contexts.
Carl Levin: Put it in a human context.
Lloyd Blankfein: Are you kidding? Why do you think I went into i-banking?
John McCain: My friends, what is a synthetic CDO? How come no one has asked that, ever?
Carl Levin: Oh shitty deals, you guys, I forgot to mention AIG! Lloyd, AIG. You took taxpayer money from AIG. Admit you did that.
Lloyd Blankfein: AIG paid us what they owed us.
Carl Levin: With bailout money that came from taxpayers' pockets.
Lloyd Blankfein: We weren't the ones who passed bailout legislation.
Carl Levin: I wouldn't put it past you.
Lloyd Blankfein: I- oh, never mind.
Carl Levin: It's been almost eleven hours. Everyone's welcome to leave at this point. Not you, Lloyd. I want to see you in the cloakroom. I'm not done with you yet. Shitty deals. Crap pools.
Lloyd Blankfein: You are absolutely adorable.
Tags: Banks, Carl Levin, Claire McCaskill, Economy, Fabrice Tourre, Goldman Sachs, John Ensign, John McCain, Lloyd Blankfein, Susan Collins, Tom Coburn