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Live Chat: Robert Scheer on the Goldman Hearings

Posted on Apr 29, 2010

(Page 3)

12:00 Robert Scheer

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:00:41 GMT


 (To Bob) Well, to begin with, we should demand that this government stick true to its own announced principle of slowing the revolving door between big business and government. For God’s sake, the chief of staff in the Treasury Dept. to Geithner was the top Goldman Sachs lobbyist before he was given this incredibly important job in the administration.

12:00 Comment From Philby

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:00:52 GMT

Comment: What is the likelihood that criminal prosecutions can be made against Goldman execs?

12:02 Comment From Bucko


Square, Site wide

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:02:10 GMT

Comment: What about increased required reserve ratios as pseudo consumer exchange protections rather than increased bureaucracy. Canada doesn’t have anything like what is trying to be pushed through and they managed to keep the most stable banking system in the world.

12:02 Robert Scheer

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:02:33 GMT


 (In reply to Philby) I think if there are any, they will be against small fry. The big guys know how to wall themselves off from responsibility as Blankfein indicated in his testimony when he kept saying “I don’t know the details,” or “I wasn’t in the loop on that.” What happened with Goldman Sachs is that underlings were encouraged to make a lot of money by any means, but just don’t tell us the details of how are you doing it.

12:03 Truthdig Pete

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:03:44 GMT


 (For people just joining us, questions are on a delay to give Bob a chance to answer them, but we’re trying to get to everyone.)

12:04 Comment From P. T.

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:04:15 GMT

Comment: I go with the theory that when there is a lack of profitable investment opportunities in the real economy, surplus capital drifts toward financial speculation.

12:04 Robert Scheer

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:04:17 GMT


 I’m all in favor of bigger capital requirements. But if what you’re taking issue with is the need for consumer protection, then I think you’re wrong, and I disagree that Canada does not have consumer protection built into their whole government. The loans that were made on subprime and others were outrageous, as are the interest obligations tacked on to credit cards that represent loan sharking, clearly usurious when they rise into the 30th percentiles, as they do on credit cards granted to students. So yes, I believe in a strong agency to protect consumer interests.

12:04 Comment From P. T.

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:04:20 GMT

Comment: Unless some people go to jail, the firms will pay the fines and go right back to their scams.

12:04 Comment From PeterKWF

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:04:24 GMT

Comment: How, in fact, was Goldman “betting” that the securities would fail—how does that work?

12:04 Comment From PeterKWF

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:04:31 GMT

Comment: Thanks

12:06 Robert Scheer

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:06:04 GMT


 When they put together the ABACUS package, it is now quite clear from the information that has emerged that they were guided by Paulson to pick the items in the package that would be bet on. And they were warned by the first group that they went to, which turned them down, that the mortgages in the package were so lousy that they could not in good conscience sell them. The issue here is that Goldman seems to have concealed the role of Paulson, which wanted a package that would go south, and sold it to others as a good deal. If that doesn’t break the law, then the law needs to be changed.

12:06 Comment From PeterKWF

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:06:09 GMT

Comment: Is it too late to close the barn door? Given the level of lobbying and campaign contributions going to both sides, what are the chances that meaningful changes will be put into place?

12:06 Robert Scheer

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:06:31 GMT


 OK! That’s why we are doing this chat!

12:08 Comment From P. T.

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:08:20 GMT

Comment: One other factor is that bond rating firms were being paid by Goldman Sachs to rate its bonds—a conflict of interest.

12:09 Robert Scheer

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:09:11 GMT


 And hopefully not just Truthdig, but HuffPo, the Nation, and tens of thousands of other sites on the Internet getting people to be vigilant about the swindles that have occurred and will occur if they are not vigilant. People’s eyes glaze over. The stuff is designed by brilliant people to be boring, confusing, obtuse so that we won’t see what’s going on. But we have to learn how to cut through that deception and I think, increasingly, the public is getting wise because they’re feeling the pain. And let me add, I loved the Senate hearing yesterday. I watched every minute, taking notes, I though Carl Levin did an incredible job. and the others were very good.

12:10 Truthdig Pete

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:10:08 GMT


 Times up

12:10 Truthdig Pete

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:10:19 GMT


 Thanks everyone!

12:10 Robert Scheer

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:10:21 GMT


 Thanks, everyone. See you next week

12:10 Comment From Guinevere

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:10:25 GMT

Comment: Thanks, Robert!

12:10 Comment From Guest

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:10:47 GMT

Comment: Thank you!

12:11 Comment From Bucko

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 20:11:16 GMT

Comment: Thanks, very informative!

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By Werner Simon, May 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I used to think commenting like this served a positive purpose! At 77 and increasigly irascible, I note all political sites offer this venting into thin air democratic expression technique. It could increase member donations and I’m sure every cent is more than welcome. Other than that its an endless avalanche of preaching to the choir verbosity!!!!

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By ron_woodward, May 1, 2010 at 12:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The American does not become upset until he loses his job to outsourcing, his home to a sub-prime mortgage scheme or his daughter to a sex trafficking ring. Goldman Sachs works 24/7 to fleece the American of his net worth. It is an uneven fight. Goldman buys immunity from prosecution by devoting a tiny fraction of its ill-gotten gain to campaign contributions.
Since Wall Street continues to kill the country, the proper name for their activities is subversion. In time of war this escalates to treason invoking the death penalty.
It’s the least we can do.

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By orange, April 30, 2010 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Everything hearing the Democrats have held for the last decade has been nothing but show-boating.

You can believe its real when you see these guys from GS wearing orange-jump suits.

You can believe its real when you see their mansions and their yachts being seized. When you see the FBI putting as much effort into tracing and seizing their offshore accounts as they do into tracking ‘terrorist’ money.

You can believe its real when the government of the people of the United States of America goes after this money to refund its citizens what was stolen from them.

When you see them sitting there in their thousand dollar suits and then getting back on their private jets to fly back home to their mansions, then the only thing you need to know is that they paid Obama and the Democrats a lot of money to stay out of jail.

My guess is that the current threats are just a combination of political theater and a money-contribution shakedown to remind these guys who they have to pay off to stay out of jail.

If you want real action, stop voting for the candidates with millions of wall street dollars in their account (aka ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans’)

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By Steve Wimer, April 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hate to be cynical, but I have little faith that the system will be cleaned up.  Lobbyists have a way of inserting loopholes, that no one notices, until after the fact.  Do you think anything really meaningful will come of this?  By the way, I love your work.

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By jack, April 30, 2010 at 2:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course they can be prosecuted, if there’s the political will - frankly, it appears
that it’s all smoke and mirrors - an exercise to placate working-class rage -
Obama’s boys gotta do this theatre - but that’s all it is - after all, Wall St. bought
and paid for him - he’s not going to bite the claw that feeds him - moreover, this
is one more distraction from the endless Global War Of Terror - and who profits
from that? Right! Wall St., City of London - The Global Finance Oligarchy.
Nothing’s changed.

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