Category Archives: Matt Taibbi
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Taibbi has a new book out if you don’t know. Its called “Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America.”.I do plan to purchase his book, but thankfully Matt is publishing bits and pieces of it at Alternet. I do snicker at the title of his book as I too refer to most politicians as Grifters and/or Carpetbaggers. The chapter subtitle currently on Alternet: By rallying behind dingbats and morons like Palin and Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party has made anti-intellectualism its rallying cry.
I firmly believe that this fuckery started, in earnest, during the 08 election by the biggest and one of THE most ignorant wingtards of them all-Sarah Palin. Being a well-read, smart and/or college-educated person is bad according to the Nutter U folks like Palin, Bachmann and that idiot extraordinaire from TX, Louie-voters shouldn’t be able to elect senators- Gohmert. These assholes love to tout their belief in the Constitution, yet they really don’t understand it and would remove basic rights that all Americans have enjoyed, some for over two hundred years. But I am rambling, so here is a small excerpt from Matt Taibbi’s book where he discusses The Grifter Class and why the extreme right love them to death:
So long as this stuff is not widely understood by the public, the Grifter class is going to skate on almost anything it does — because the tendency of most voters, in particular conservative voters, is to assume that Wall Street makes its money engaging in normal capitalist business and that any attempt to restrain that sector of the economy is thinly disguised socialism.
That’s why it’s so brilliant for the Tea Party to put forward as its leaders some of the most egregiously stupid morons on our great green earth. By rallying behind dingbats like Palin and Michele Bachmann — the Minnesota congresswoman who thought the movie Aladdin promoted witchcraft and insisted global warming wasn’t a threat because “carbon dioxide is natural” — the Tea Party has made anti-intellectualism itself a rallying cry. The Tea Party is arguing against the very idea that it’s even necessary to ask the kinds of questions you need to ask to grasp bubble economics.
Bachmann is the perfect symbol of the Dumb and Dumber approach to high finance. She makes a great show of saying things that would get a kindergartner busted to the special ed bus — shrieking, for instance, that AmeriCorps was a plot to force children into liberal “reeducation camps” (Bachmann’s own son, incidentally, was a teacher in an AmeriCorps program), or claiming that the U.S. economy was “100 percent private” before Barack Obama’s election (she would later say Obama in his first year and a half managed to seize control of “51 percent of the American economy”).
Earlier in the article, Taibbi admits that understanding economics and the financial world is hard if you don’t have a degree or expertise in that area. I will be the first to admit that I rely on various sources to explain different parts of the economic world to me. But that said…teabaggers don’t even try to understand the economic system or issue, they just buy into whatever bullshit the R’s spew from their pieholes. Sadly, two of the most vocal fuckwits, one just reelected, Palin and Bachmann, have no friggin clue about how anything works. The final passage from the Alternet reprint of Taibbi’s book excerpt:
Our world isn’t about ideology anymore. It’s about complexity. We live in a complex bureaucratic state with complex laws and complex business practices, and the few organizations with the corporate will power to master these complexities will inevitably own the political power. On the other hand, movements like the Tea Party more than anything else reflect a widespread longing for simpler times and simple solutions — just throw the U.S. Constitution at the whole mess and everything will be jake. For immigration, build a big fence. Abolish the Federal Reserve, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education. At times the overt longing for simple answers that you get from Tea Party leaders is so earnest and touching, it almost makes you forget how insane most of them are.(emphasis mine)
Life in general isn’t simple anymore. Raising children in this decade is a horror story that makes me glad my only spawn is 31 years old and on his own. Cooking dinner and hoping to hell you aren’t poisoning your loved ones. Feeding your pets and then worrying that they just ate something that will kill them. The Corporatocracy is always finding ways to get us to give them our money, be it cheap goods from China or Vietnam, extending credit and then jacking the fuck out of the interest rates, crying wolf about their bad investments or, like the Chamber of Commerce, telling us that anything Obama or the liberals want is pure, unadulterated socialism that will bring the US to it’s collective knees.
Yes, I adore, respect and admire Matt. Yes, I think he knows what he is talking about, all the friggin time. The first few paragraphs of his latest RS article:
Once again a key piece of news has passed virtually without comment.
While the entire nation argues over nonsense like the WTC Mosque, Rick Sanchez, and, yes, blue-red culture war stuff like the Tea Party, congress yesterday quietly took a knee on the “carried interest” tax question. In doing so they decided not to take a vote on changes already approved by both houses that would scale back perhaps the most preposterous tax break in the entire federal code, one that leaves hedge-fund gazillionaires like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson paying less than half the top tax rate paid by most middle and upper-middle class Americans.
The carried interest tax break is a classic example of how in America constituencies with the means and the bureaucratic endurance to get what they want slowly hack away at the government over time, carving out exemptions to their civic responsibilities while ordinary people suck the proverbial egg. A 100% or 200% tax break for hedge fund and private equity billionaires is not the sort of thing that one passes instantly, by standing up in front of big campaign crowds and urging on a mob; it takes a long time and a lot of behind-the-scenes baby steps.
It just jacks my jaw how the Wall Streeters and the Corporatocracy buy the assholes in Congress so damn easily…regardless of party affiliation. I really love the next paragraph. Taibbi really does his homework it seems:
The capital-gains-cut movement was opposed by of all people Ronald Reagan, who in 1986 signed into law a thing called the Tax Reform Act that that ended capital gains exemptions and left all types of income taxed at the same rates. Some conservatives have never forgiven Reagan for this move. In any case, over the next 20 years, the capital gains cuts were gradually restored. Clinton in 1997 passed the Taxpayer Relief Act that cut the top rate from 28% to 20%. Then Bush came into office and with his famous monster cuts slashed the capital gains rate even further, to 15%. Bush also reduced taxes on dividends to the same rate as capital gains, 15%.
Saint Ronnie opposed this thinly disguised corporate welfare/top 2 precenter’s handout? Are you shitting me dude? OMFG….I think my head is going to explode. Read it m’dear readers…read the whole writeup here.
And before anyone asks….yes my laptop is still dead and that asshole from Norton is now not returning my calls.
O’Neill last week wrote a long farewell letter (he’s been moved to Goldman Sachs Asset Management, also the presumed new post-Dodd-Frank home of Goldman’s prop traders), using the anniversary of 9/11 as occasion to reflect on his changed professional status.
Was O’Neill moved by the memory of 9/11 to reflect upon the meaningless of wealth and profit compared to life, good health, and family? Did he look back at all that death and suffering and find himself moved to silent reflection?
Nah. What O’Neill did instead was look back at 9/11 and recall that that was the event that led him to make his famous “BRIC” call — a prediction that in the wake of 9/11 the economic influence of the United States would wane and emerging nations like Brazil, Russia, India and China would rise to take its place. O’Neill’s BRIC theory became the cornerstone of Goldman’s economic policy last decade. It worked out well for them. It was, as O’Neill, a Brit, would say — a good show! It was the righteousness of this prediction that O’Neill chose to remember on the anniversary of 9/11:
1. 9/11 and the state of the world. As many of you probably know, the atrocity of that day was one of the key forces that led me to conceive of the BRIC theme. Through its horror, it suggested to me that for globalization and the world economy to thrive, we all needed to accept a world in which different social and political philosophies could sit side by side. Luckily, and despite the staggering challenges we have been through since, by and large, that seems to be the case. Of course, as much as many negatively inclined commentators allude to the poor performance of the major economies and major markets, since 9 years ago, many emerging markets, led by the BRIC nations, have enjoyed spectacular rallies.
I still wonder why most of these fuckers aren’t wearing prison orange…I really do. The fact that he brags on how well all ‘the markets’ have done since the original 9/11 really takes a big set of brass ones.
The price of this bullshit is utimately paid by the citizens of Jefferson county. From Democracy Now, via Crooks and Liars, we get a nightmare situation that should be considered criminal activity..and was on several levels. From Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article:
If you want to know what life in the Third World is like, just ask Lisa Pack, an administrative assistant who works in the roads and transportation department in Jefferson County, Alabama. Pack got rudely introduced to life in post-crisis America last August, when word came down that she and 1,000 of her fellow public employees would have to take a little unpaid vacation for a while. The county, it turned out, was more than $5 billion in debt — meaning that courthouses, jails and sheriff’s precincts had to be closed so that Wall Street banks could be paid.
It’s a horror story of course, complete with carpetbagging Wall Streeter’s and corrupt officials and businessmen. What took down this county? A new sewer system. From the RS article:
And once the giant shit machine was built and the note on all that fancy construction started to come due, Wall Street came back to the local politicians and doubled down on the scam. They showed up in droves to help the poor, broke citizens of Jefferson County cut their toilet finance charges using a blizzard of incomprehensible swaps and refinance schemes — schemes that only served to postpone the repayment date a year or two while sinking the county deeper into debt. In the end, every time Jefferson County so much as breathed near one of the banks, it got charged millions in fees. There was so much money to be made bilking these dizzy Southerners that banks like JP Morgan spent millions paying middlemen who bribed — yes, that’s right, bribed, criminally bribed — the county commissioners and their buddies just to keep their business. Hell, the money was so good, JP Morgan at one point even paid Goldman Sachs $3 million just to back the fuck off, so they could have the rubes of Jefferson County to fleece all for themselves.
Once you follow that trail and understand what took place in Jefferson County, there’s really no room left for illusions. We live in a gangster state, and our days of laughing at other countries are over. It’s our turn to get laughed at. In Birmingham, lots of people have gone to jail for the crime: More than 20 local officials and businessmen have been convicted of corruption in federal court. Last October, right around the time that Lisa Pack went back to work at reduced hours, Birmingham’s mayor was convicted of fraud and money-laundering for taking bribes funneled to him by Wall Street bankers — everything from Rolex watches to Ferragamo suits to cash. But those who greenlighted the bribes and profited most from the scam remain largely untouched. “It never gets back to JP Morgan,” says Pack.
Makes you physically ill doesn’t it? Taibbi’s article is a great read…even if it did make me want to throw-up. Below is the Democracy Now interview w/Taibbi.
Matt’s latest piece is a wonderful bitchslap of the AIG carpetbaggers. He is responding to the recent NYT OpEd by one of their employees…actually former employee. Executive VP Jake DeSantis. Jake was a big wig in the Financial Products division…you know, the one that created the credit default swaps bullshit. It’s a must read! Just a small tidbit:
Are we supposed to believe that Jake DeSantis knew nothing about Joe Cassano’s CDS deals? If your boss and the top guys in your firm were all making a killing selling anything at all — whether it was rubber kayaks, generic Levitra or credit default swaps — you really wouldn’t bother to find out what that thing they were selling was? You’d really just mind your own business, sit at your cubicle and put your faith in the guys up top to fill you in if there was something you needed to know?
This would be a believable claim for an employee of some other wing of AIG, a company with well over 100,000 employees. But DeSantis works for tiny, 377-person AIGFP, a unit that had only two offices — one in London and one in Greenwich, Conn.
And we’re talking about financial professionals, the most shameless group of tirelessly envious gossips ever to walk the face of the earth. The likelihood that Cassano would pull in $280 million for himself, and his equally greedy, hopelessly jealous employees wouldn’t know not only exactly how he made that money but every last ugly detail about his life — from what skank he’s sleeping with to what side of his trousers he hangs on — is almost zero.
I know plenty of people who work in this world, and I’ve met very few who didn’t hate with every cell in their bodies anyone in their own companies who made more money than they did or got bigger bonuses at Christmastime. Gossiping about each others’ bonuses, and bitching about each others’ compensation, is the national pastime for these people.
So forgive me if I don’t buy this story that poor Jake and his buddies didn’t know about Cassano’s CDS business.
Get em Matt!!! Bitchslap the living shit out of these punks. Taibbi is one of the best journalists out there..I can never get enough of him.