“UnAmerican Activities; The UnVirtuous Goldman”

It is a time of turmoil, a time of unrest, of upheaval. ‘It is the best of times, It is the worst of times.’

Especially for the economy!

The American people are struggling, weighed down by a mountain of debt, unemployment, stagnant wages, declining home prices, and foreclosures. The middle-class is eroding at the fastest pace since The Great Depression.

Though greed is at the heart of the meltdown, UnAmerican Activities have created and perpetuated this biting financial morass.

Most, if not all, of the current economic crisis has been the result of the risks and failures of financial institutions. Unfortunately, hardworking Americans are paying the price.

At the head of the turmoil, the cause of the pain most Americans are feeling, stands Goldman Sachs who seems to be successful no matter what happens in the economy. A beacon of success, a pillar of financial stability, a company to be admired and emulated! Not really. There are several reasons for their success, many not as noble as one would suspect.

Goldman has made billions ‘betting against America.’

For the last year banks, insurance, and mortgage companies have been under attack. And for good reason. More recently the majority of the vitriolic attacks have been directed at Goldman Sachs.

Goldman executives have whined about the attacks being an attack on Jews; the result of anti-semitic sentiment. They whined while sliding their hands in our pockets.But it has nothing to do with Goldman’s Jewishness and everything to do with their complicity in the destruction of America’s economy.

It has to do with Goldman ‘betting against America;’ their ‘UnAmerican Activities.’

Since the meltdown began, just over a year ago, Goldman has participated in three events that, when closely scrutinized, smell of spoiled lox and cream cheese; extremely nefarious in nature. The stench is undeniable. They’ve had some high level and well connected accomplices, including the Bush administration.

The first nefarious act, involving payments to counterparties of AIG, was an egregious miscarriage of fiduciary responsibility on the part of the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the New York Fed. And Goldman Sachs was a grateful and willing recipient.

It is widely reported now that Goldman Sachs, along with 8 other major banks, received 100 cents on the dollar from AIG after the insurance giant received $85 billion from TARP funds; the bailout from incompetent members of Congress using taxpayer funds. The nine (9) domestic and foreign banks received $66 billion of taxpayer money laundered through AIG.

Goldman’s share was $12.9 billion. It was a heavy bet on CDS’s, Credit Default Swaps—a bet for failure—a ‘bet against America.’ But it paid off handsomely for Goldman Sachs without consequence.

In March I wrote an Op-Ed, “The Real Crime at AIG,” which was sent to the New York Times. It described and discussed the illegal issuance of the laundered taxpayer funds to the nine banks.

Though the counterparty reimbursement is the largest payoff of Goldman’s recent UnAmerican Activities, it is not the onlybet against America’ made by the investment bank. Goldman has a history of making questionable bets, many that have destroyed hard-working American’s lives while lining the pockets of the predatory investment firm.

In a hard-hitting exposé, “The Great American Bubble Machine,” in the July issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Matt Taibbi describes more than 100 years of Goldman’s self-serving, less than noble, unprincipled, duplicity in damaging bubbles.

Goldman, or one of it’s entities, has played a major role in The Great Depression; the tech bubble, intimately referred to as the dot.com bubble; the highly overheated housing market; last year’s spike in oil prices; and the current financial meltdown as a result of CDO’s (Collateralized Debt Obligations) and CDS’s (Credit Default Swaps).

Goldman was the reason that Americans paid over $4 a gallon for gas last summer.

Mr. Taibbi chronicles Goldman Sachs’ involvement in each of these catastrophic events, and identifies the reasons Goldman has escaped unscathed, despite each event costing good patriotic citizens huge chunks of their American Dream; sometimes all of it.

Goldman’s second, and recent, UnAmerican Activity involves small businesses throughout the country.

CIT, the largest lender to small businesses in the nation, filed bankruptcy a few weeks ago. The bankruptcy caused a major disruption in the business community, especially in the retail sector.

Though Goldman is an investor in CIT they bet on CIT’s failure as well and stand to make more money on failure than they would make on CIT’s success. Goldman had $400 million invested in CIT. They had $1,000 million invested in their failure in the form of an insurance policy—a hedge against the loss of their investment. A billion dollar bet on CIT’s failure? UnPatriotic? You bet!  This is the same type of investment that created the global financial meltdown the world is still trying to recover from.

Goldman Sachs ‘bet against America,’ against more than a million small businesses, against the backbone of America’s entrepreneurial spirit.

But, Goldman doesn’t stop there. They would rather rub their ‘UnAmerican Activities’ in the faces of those they’ve stolen from by announcing huge bonuses to their associates while hard-working Americans struggle on “Main Street.”

The struggle most Americans are facing was engineered and cultivated by Goldman Sachs and others over the last 30 years.

The bonuses Goldman is prepared to pay far exceed the compensatory value of the risks taken to make their windfall profits over the last two quarters. It is way more than the profit Goldman made on all of its investments this year.

Like the payment to counterparties of AIG, which has yet to be thoroughly investigated, any bonuses paid to Goldman associates must be subject to complete clawback; 100 cents on the dollar if the risky investments cause systemic meltdown of the financial system in the future.

Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd Blankfein, sees Goldman as “doing Gods work.” In a moment of narcissism, Mr. Blankfein, stated in an interview with John Arlidge, “I’m Doing God’s Work.’ Meet Mr. Goldman Sachs.” of The Sunday Times of London, that they are part of a virtuous cycle; “we have a social purpose.”

What the Anointed One doesn’t understand is that his company, along with others, have destroyed that cycle; disrupted the balance so thoroughly with their greed that the very businesses they professed to help grow in this rapturous cycle—are dying.

To invoke the Lords name in defense of their illicit activity is sacrilege.

In “Virtuous Bankers? Really!?!” Maureen Dowd describes Goldman’s self-absorbed obsession with money, and their utter disregard for the affect their failed investments have on those who fall into their trap—their complete and selfish disregard for the health of this nation.

Goldman’s CEO apologized for his arrogant and insensitive remarks. As a sign of good faith and form of apology, and as a result of sage advice from Warren Buffett, he introduced a program to benefit small businesses. Too little, too late? The half a billion dollar effort to turn wine into water was received with skepticism; an attempt to absolve Goldman of their indiscretions. Five hundred million dollars ($500,000,000) would only serve as a down payment for decades of sins.

Thomas Jefferson warned the people about banks, and their strangle of the economy, in a letter to Albert Gallatin, then Secretary of the Treasury, in 1802. Prescient words of wisdom from our third President.

Goldman represents the worst in predatory capitalism. Not even the integrity of Warren Buffett can help them overcome their sullied reputation.  Their rapacious behavior cannot go unpunished.

If we are to survive Goldman’s destructive practices we must take the tiger by the tail and spin it around until they can’t see straight.

First we must address the collusion that is unarguably at the center of their ‘UnAmerican Activities.’

Their competitors were destroyed—Bear Stearns sold to JPMorgan Chase at bargain basement prices, Lehman Brothers allowed to go bankrupt—with the help of Henry Paulsen, Goldman’s ex-CEO, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, and Timothy Geithner, now Secretary of the Treasury in the Obama Administration.

These three gentlemen were supposed to protect the public, but none seemed to care about the public at all. It was obviously more important to them to protect the banks; their buddies in the financial sectors, Goldman. They failed to impose any restrictions or oversight on the money they handed to these well dressed con men and charlatans.

When pressed they all pontificate that their actions were necessary to save us from some ‘great something.’ But those actions appear to have only benefitted the Goldman’s, Citi’s, AIG’s, Chase’s and their investors. Their actions have done nothing, or very little, for the American people.

So Goldman continues—unmonitored, under-regulated, uninhibited—to take the same potentially destructive risks that will again leave the economy in shambles, expecting to be rescued by a more than accommodating government.

They’ve already been given far too much and have demonstrated they will continue to ‘bet against America’ if it means they will make a profit and be allowed to dispense unGodly bonuses.

They’re getting rich on American’s pain.

The outrage of the American public has been rising for a year and with it increasing calls to action. The people have begun making pleas to Congress for help. Requests are becoming louder for Congress to protect us from the predatory practices of the Goldman’s and others.

But, re-regulation has been excruciatingly slow and things that have been passed are weak. Americans are losing their homes, jobs, purchasing power and self-esteem.

It’s time for those responsible for the deleterious deregulation to begin the process, and move rapidly, to break up the big banks: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. We can no longer afford the co-mingling of deposits and investments. Big banks can not be trusted to do the right thing with their depositors money. We can no longer support the ‘Too Big to Fail’ model, or the potential risks to the economy they pose.

A responsive and caring Congress would move to correct the wrongs they created when they, effectively, repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. A responsible Congress would launch a thorough, hard-hitting investigation of the aforementioned activities of Goldman including: payment received from the AIG bailout; the hedge against CIT; possible collusion with Hank Paulson on the Lehman Brothers and AIG decisions; their part in creating the securitized packages that destroyed the housing market; the dishonesty in packaging and selling the securitized packages to unknowing investors; their relationship with rating agencies in falsely rating those instruments; and any collusion or involvement of Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner in any of the questionable activities.

These steps alone could send hundreds of Goldman executives, and executives from other financial institutions, to prison. This would represent a big step in cleaning up the corrupt and secretive financial system.

The next important move would be to aggressively re-regulate the toxic instruments banks continue to hold on their books, sell, and use much to the detriment of the economy.

Once Goldman Sachs is broken up the systematic take-over should continue, bank by bank, to return the financial system to a healthier balance; one that would let true capitalism begin to grow in a more stable, greedless, safer financial environment.

We can’t let entities like Goldman Sachs continue to ‘bet against America,’ if we have any hope of surviving this economic turmoil.

Goldman’s ‘UnAmerican Activities’ are bad for this country—bad for Americans.

We need to do something about it and we need to do it Now!

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