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.
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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
Today is a huge day for finance nerds: it's as if a very famous wrestler were stepping into a cage with another very famous wrestler (sorry, I'm not a wrestling nerd). Anyway, this afternoon Goldman Sachs's top executives will appear before the Senate subcommittee that's trying to determine why, exactly, the econopocalypse happened.
But Goldman Sachs finds it awfully interesting that they're being called before this particular Senate panel less than two weeks after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges accusing the bank of defrauding investors by selling them a CDO investment called Abacus 2007-Ac1, even as the hedge fund that built Abacus out of crappy, overleveraged housing loans bet against it.
What did the Senate know and when did they know it? Is this whole thing a conspiracy to make Goldman Sachs take the fall for everything that's happened? Lloyd Blankfein seems to think so…
In prepared testimony, Blankfein reiterated that his firm was simply trying to balance its mortgage investments and did not bet heavily against the housing market — known as shorting — or against the interests of its clients.
"We didn't have a massive short against the housing market and we certainly did not bet against our clients," Blankfein said, adding that Goldman lost $1.2 billion on housing investments in 2007 and 2008.
See? They lost $1.2 billion of their own money. What more evidence do we need that Goldman isn't at fault for the mortgage crisis? It's like if you shot yourself in the foot while attempting an armed robbery. That doesn't make you a perp.
That makes you the victim.
Tags: Banks, Economy, Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, Money, Senate
As you may have heard, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently defended bankers, calling himself a blue collar guy who is doing God's work. And it's true, the bank CEOs are acting much like God. Particularly the God in the book of Job. So take heart, everyone. You may lose your family and possessions and be smited with boils, but as long as your faith in Lloyd Blankfein never wavers, you'll get to live to 140.
The Colbert Report airs Monday through Thursday at 11:30pm / 10:30c.
Tags: Banks, Barack Obama, Economy, Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, Video