In business terminology Luck= A Prepared Mind. However, when you make the rules and shape the outcome, luck can become the normal, even banal. Matt Taibbi’s reporting in Rolling Stone, ”The Great American Bubble Machine”, is like a bad rash, that won’t quite go away. He asserts that Goldman-Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression, inflating the bubbles, timing the disaster and then profiting on the busts.
” The basic scam in the Internet Age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. Companies that weren’t much more than pot-fueled ideas scrawled on napkins by up-too-late bong-smokers were taken public via IPOs, hyped in the media and sold to the public for megamillions. It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out 50-story windows and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement.”
Increasingly, Goldman-Sachs, against its will, is becoming a media phenomenon due to its symbolism as a ”king rat” as it accumulates wealth while most suffer. And the public has reason to wonder why the financial institution emerged unscathed and healthy from the crisis, as well as posing questions on decades long intimate ties with the White House. These include damage control public relations on $2000 unpaid veterinary bills for stray cats on its property and a $100 million annual fund to help small business in which applicants are directed to a recorded message.It was revealed the loot will go to Goldman executives as compensation for investor education and community development. Apparently, coffee and baked goods will be served at the meetings.
Last Month in London, CEO Lloyd Blankfein took a wade into the Jordan River with the apostles, though in all likelihood the Judas Iscariot metaphor may be more fitting for the banker born in a $10,000 suit. At the time Blankfein was only considered 50% ethical and was perhaps miffed at only being allowed in the Jordan up to his waist. :’‘Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, told the Sunday Times of London he is “doing God’s work.” And Goldman international advisor Brian Griffiths was even more explicit in aligning his work in high finance to the “message” of the Gospels: “The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,” Mr. Griffiths was reported as saying. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.” ( Charles Lewis, National Post )
In the past, the banking problem, assumed near Broadway theater perfection with the electrifying hearings of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, held in the early days of the New Deal presidency of Rooosevelt. These hearings have taken their name from the committee counsel, Ferdinand Pecora, a former assistant district attorney from New York who, starting in January 1933, was chief counsel for the investigation. Under Pecora’s expert, relentless and blistering questioning, the Senate committee unearthed a secret financial history of the 1920s, demystifying the assorted frauds, scams and abuses that culminated in the 1929 crash. ‘‘The riveting confrontation between Pecora and the Wall Street grandees was so theatrically apt it might have been concocted by Hollywood. The combative Pecora was the perfect foil to the posh bankers who paraded before the microphones. Born in Sicily, the son of an immigrant cobbler, Pecora had campaigned for Teddy Roosevelt and been imbued with the crusading fervor of the Progressive Era. As a prosecutor in the 1920s, he had shut down more than 100 “bucket shops” — seamy, fly-by-night brokerage houses — and this had tutored him in the shady side of Wall Street.”
”Such was the furor over the Morgan testimony that Senator Carter Glass of Virginia shook his head and sighed, “We are having a circus, and the only things lacking now are peanuts and colored lemonade.” Seizing on the comment, a press agent for the Ringling Brothers Circus took advantage of a pause in the hearings to pop Lya Graf, a midget in a blue satin dress, on the lap of the portly and surprised J. P. Morgan Jr. The committee chairman, Senator Duncan Fletcher of Florida, pleaded with newspapers not to print the pictures, which only made them rush to do so.
The photo of Morgan with a circus midget planted on his lap became the signature shot of the hearings, emblematic of Wall Street’s fallen state. An embittered J. P. Morgan Jr. said Pecora had “the manners of a prosecuting attorney who is trying to convict a horse thief. Nonetheless, memories are short, and in the parlance of Nietzsche, the theory of ”eternal recurrence’‘ hold great currency among
l Street elites. As a media phenomenon, the backlash is creating the equivalent of calls for a return to public hangings. One of the more popular activist sites is GoldmanSachs666.com. Fittingly, the folk tale of King Solomon and the gold ring inscribed ”this too shall pass’‘ may also be on orbit to make its eternal recurrence.