The US Justice Department has settled with the banking giant HSBC for $1.92 billion dollars for money-laundering. Here are Matt Taibbi's and Glenn Greenwald's takes on it
Let's find as many suckers as we can as fast as we can, because we'll only make more money as more and more shit hits the fan.
The People vs. Goldman Sachs. Matt Taibbi's latest magnum opus (previous coverage) lays out the full case for federal prosecutions against the Vampire Squid according to Sen. Carl Levin's Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. [Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse 650 page pdf].
Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs? The Real Housewives of Wall Street (via) [more inside]
Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that." I put down my notebook. "Just that?" "That's right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."
I’d like to see at least one firm get blown out of business as a consequence of financially supporting the network that is telling America that its black president wants to kill white babies. Matt Taibbi takes on the Fox Network's systematic racial demonization and the Tea Party phenomenon.
"What happened here in Jefferson County would turn out to be the perfect metaphor for the peculiar alchemy of modern oligarchical capitalism: A mob of corrupt local officials and morally absent financiers got together to build a giant device that converted human shit into billions of dollars of profit for Wall Street" - "Looting Main Street" Matt Taibbi takes an in-depth look into how finance, deregulation, corruption, synthetic rate swaps, and greed decimated Birmingham, AL. [more inside]
"The reality is that the post-bailout era in which Goldman [Sachs] thrived has turned out to be a chaotic frenzy of high-stakes con-artistry, with taxpayers and clients bilked out of billions using a dizzying array of old-school hustles that, but for their ponderous complexity, would have fit well in slick grifter movies like The Sting and Matchstick Men. There's even a term in con-man lingo for what some of the banks are doing right now, with all their cosmetic gestures of scaling back bonuses and giving to charities. In the grifter world, calming down a mark so he doesn't call the cops is known as the "Cool Off.""
The Baffler, storied zine of cultural and political analysis and criticism, is back, and excerpts of the latest issue are now online, including a review of Rod Blagojevich's memoir by Matt Taibbi, as well as articles by Christian Parenti and Walter Benn Michaels. [more inside]
Matt Taibbi takes a look at the health care reform circus in Congress. It doesn't come off looking much better than Goldman Sachs. (more inside) [more inside]
“Josephine had practically every desirable personal characteristic, except wisdom and mercy.” Gee, that sounds like she actually isn’t a nice person at all! Gary Brecher (previously) reviews Banquo’s Ghosts, a political-minded spy thriller from National Review editor Richard Lowry and novelist Keith Korman. Lowry describes it as an "episode of “24″ written by Proust. " [more inside]
Matt Taibbifilter: Among other things, the GAO report noted that the entire OTS had only one insurance specialist on staff — and this despite the fact that it was the primary regulator for the world's largest insurer! This week's MeFi stories have generally failed to explain the reasoning that caused the recession, even though Jon Stewart was basically on the mark. Now, Rolling Stone's only reporter lays it all out The Big Takeover, a typical combination of zealous snark and the overlooked, damning facts needed to clear up a ridiculously complicated story.
A review of Thomas Friedman's latest book, Flat, Hot, and Crowded, by Matt Taibbi.
Matt Taibbi goes undercover in one of pastor John Hagee's "Encounter" weekends. Yes, the Hagee who recently endorsed John McCain. Published in Rolling Stone, and a part of Taibbi's forthcoming book The Great Derangement.
"You’re more worried about friction on the 'Desperate Housewives' set than the lack of health coverage at your tedious, soul-destroying job. You have no idea what is going on in the world, and you’re fine with that. You are why democracy doesn’t work." YOU are #16 on The Beast's 50 Most Loathsome People in America list.
The Worst Congress Ever. How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps. By Matt Taibbi. [Via TalkLeft.]
A contrarian review of Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat" - "It is a tale of a man who walks 10 feet in front of his house armed with a late-model Blackberry and comes back home five minutes later to gush to his wife that hospitals now use the internet to outsource the reading of CAT scans." Having watched Friedman flog this book on seemingly dozens of talk shows in the last month, I can't say I disagree...
Most Americans don't know their left wingers from their right wingers. And no, its not about hockey or chicken parts.
At D.C. protests, a few hundred thousand go missing - "Like most young Americans, I've been trained to think of protests and demonstrations as something shameful and vaguely embarrassing-something one outgrows, like Journey albums, or those hour-long showers you took when you were eleven and twelve." Stinging dead-on reportage about the media's coverage of the anti-war movement, from Matt Taibbi.