STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Just Goldman?
By Staff News & Analysis - May 17, 2010

An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Government Including Elena Kagan … This essay shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and its units (like the Goldman-Robert Rubin-funded Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution) in the Obama government. These names are in addition to those compiled on an older such list and published here at FDL. In the future, I will combine the names here and those on the earlier article but I urge readers to look at the earlier list too (links below). Combined, this is the largest and most comprehensive list of such ties yet published. For readability and clarity, I have NOT included many of the details and links that are found in the earlier article so as to make this one less repetitive and easier to read. So, if you want more documentation, please look at my earlier diary here at Firedoglake called "A List of Goldman Sachs People (Goldman CEO, Lloyd Blankfein pictured left) in the Obama Government: Names Attached To The Giant Squid's Tentacles" published on April 27, 2010. – FireDogLake

Dominant Social Theme: Blame Goldman over and over and then shoot it.

Free-Market Analysis: FireDogLake is not exactly mainstream media, but it is a powerful liberal-progressive voice and the energetic writers there have compiled a fairly thoroughgoing list of Goldman Sachs personnel that are involved one way or another with the presidency of Barack Obama. So what's wrong with that? Who could have an issue here? Well, we do. We've offered up several previous articles on this subject, including this one here, most recently: Goldman Sachs the Anti-Christ.

Attempts (populist, progressive or conservative) to blame a single individual or group (even government group) for the current tragic state of the West economically and geopolitically are at least to a degree missing the point, in our humble estimation. They may even make things worse by confusing the situation with somewhat simplistic analyses. That often happens, especially in these generous days of "Net analysis.

Wall Street still gets the blame in popular US culture for setting off the Great Depression, for instance, when there is considerable evidence that the Depression was generated at least in part by the sociopathic determination of the British elite to return the pound to pre-World War One dominance. (The only way to do this was to inflate the heck out of the dollar, and the rest is history …)

It is easier to blame a single group for current problems than to examine the larger issue of how the system itself has failed. And writers can build reputations as "muckrakers" if they attack the right corporate target at the right time. Rolling Stone magazine's Mike Taibbi certainly won acclaim when he wrote a scathing article about Goldman Sachs last year.

Yet often such denunciations prove facile and even simplistic. Purposefully or not, they are part of a dominant social theme of sorts, in our opinion, a promotion leading people away from an understanding of a larger reality. Our impression of the article and its research has not been improved since we received a feedback from libertarian journalist Lila Rajiva. (You can see it down-a-ways in the feedback queue of Goldman Sachs Anti-Christ article.) She writes: "Taibbi took his thesis from my work (without credit) and also I believe one part from the work of Mark Faulk (without credit) and Patrick Byrne (with credit, because he could scarcely avoid doing so, as Byrne is very well known)."

Later on, in the same feedback, she writes to us: "[Taibbi] has repeated all the liberal memes intended to keep the empire intact and distract from the real threats: 1) The investigation of 9-11; 2) The investigation of Madoff; 3) The role of private equity, hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds in manipulating the markets and the media; 4) The role of the Fed and monetarism … The banks and Goldman Sachs are only one part of the story. Ellen Brown has also fallen into the same trap of thinking this is a black and white drama of corrupt banks versus the people and their governments. This is analysis that is not only simple minded, it is downright dangerous and not worthy of anyone who understands economics. [Punctuation ours]."

We couldn't have written the above better ourselves (and actually we do express such sentiments regularly, though more generally). It is an informed and precise explanation of exactly why these Taibbi-type analyses can be dismaying. It begins to sound, again, like the early 1930s when Congress held hearings to fulminate against Wall Street greed and corruption (given that was none, apparently, in Congress). These hearings resulted in the Wall Street that, at least to a degree, we know today. Not much of an improvement in our estimation.

The FireDogLake article does provide us with one unique twist – in that an article in a progressive milieu now acknowledges that government has been well-penetrated by sophisticated private industry seeking to pull certain levers of power to advance its self-interest. But instead of calling this process what it is – mercantilist – the article seems to imply that this is a unique situation.

Goldman, we learn, was responsible for the Great Depression, for Enron, presumably for the current financial crisis and every other major disaster in between. Not JP Morgan? Not Lazard? Not the Federal Reserve? Not the Bank of England? Not the European central bank? No other private banks? Not the Black European Nobility? Not the Jesuitical fringe? Not any firm or merchant bank in London's odd and formidable, ancient construct, the so-called "City?" Not any element of the Israeli elite or its enablers? Are all of these power centers, many of them predating Goldman, somehow now Goldman outliers and remedial projects?

This is all at least highly questionable from our libertarian point of view. Previously, we wrote of Taibbi's work regarding Goldman, "Taibbi is just like Simon Johnson … blasting Wall Street and Goldman in particular without any regard to the larger frame of reference in which Goldman functions. Such analysis at this point in time is beyond naïve in our opinion. It verges on the manipulative."

While we're on the subject, let's take a paragraph or two to remind our readers and feedbackers once more about the ongoing ridiculousness of making the removal of Glass-Steagall a significant cause in the recent financial crisis. The crisis (as we and others in the alternative/libertarian press have written) is a failure of the West's mercantilist/central banking-initiated fiat money system. It has nothing to do with regulatory issues, or not at its core.

Over and over we read that Congressional action to allow banks to both fund business offerings and then to market them to savers was a terrible mistake. But in a free-market, any type of freely-entered-into private arrangement is welcome. If bankers want to lend while standing on their collective heads, they should be able to do so. The problems of Wall Street stem from over-regulation and from a massive concentration of order flow that was engineered by private interests with the help of the federal government after the Civil War. The idea that if only the federal government hadn't tampered with the sacred truth of Glass-Steagall (as manufactured by the US Congress in the 1930s) we wouldn't have these problems today, is just as simplistic as blaming Goldman by its lonesome for the Great Depression or the current financial crisis.

So … we will continue to fight the good fight to focus the alternative press and its viewers on the single most powerful problem facing the world today. That problem is not government itself, not even the power elite and their fear-based promotions. The problem at the root of it all is mercantilism – the ability of private enterprise to seize the levers of government power and through the passage of laws and regulations guarantee formidable profits for themselves and their associates.

There is no doubt Goldman Sachs' corporate culture is skilled at doing this. We would even travel beyond this statement (and we have in the past) and state that Goldman may be a corporate vehicle of choice in the US (or one of them) for this sort of practice. But as we understand it, the power elite in aggregate owns or controls many of the multinationals in the world – and the legislatures and military of many countries as well. The wealth of this small group of families and individuals – and their banking, corporate and foundational assets – must be in the hundreds of trillions, or so the speculation goes.

Ultimately Goldman Sachs is an organization, and one seemingly with a fairly high turnover. The participants in the firm, even the leaders, leave regularly to pursue other ventures (often in government unfortunately). But is it more than a tool of sorts? To imply or outright state, as this FireDogLake article seems to, that Goldman itself (or its "Jews") are responsible for planning most or all of the financial trouble in the world is questionable indeed.

The problem is not "the Jews" – certainly not in aggregate. ("The Jews," in most of their millions merely constitute more victims. One only has to look at the sad modern history of this people to see that.) The problem is not Goldman. The systemic problem is a power elite controlled system of mercantilism … and the endless addition of more laws, more regulators, more enforcers, more police and more jails to save the West from its future economic and sociopolitical meltdown that only aggravate the calamity.

The progressive press, in our estimation, tries to blame individuals or certain corporations (Enron comes to mind, and now Goldman) to distract from the larger issue, which is the corruption of civil society itself by this horrid, pernicious mercantilism. The world (certainly the West), when one gets to know it – or has the misfortune of contemplating it for too long – is corrupt from top to bottom. The culture of corruption has been ongoing for at least a century or longer and has enveloped the world's international organizations and treaties, its corporations and even some of its private industry, its academies and think tanks of note, its military endeavors, its legislators and legislatures, its media and even much of the Internet (though not all thank goodness).

All of the entities just mentioned have become instruments of propaganda, at least to a degree. They seem to be tools – bought and paid for – to be wielded in the implementation of the power-elite's dominant social themes, the great, fear-based promotions that regularly sweep over the globe like vast, turgid surges of volcanic ash. Here's a suggestion: The idea that one firm (Goldman) or one small group of implementers (Goldman financiers) can be behind the Western world's woes is a distraction from serious analysis.

Woe to West, dear readers! The eloquent, existential angst of the 20th century (expressed by brilliant philosophers) was a direct result in our opinion of the visceral psychic comprehension that something had gone badly wrong with instrumentalities of civil society. No one knew, though many suspected. Money power was mentioned, but only in a whisper. Today, thanks to the Internet, it is in fact shouted about.

After Thoughts

There is (just so we don't leave anyone in suspense) an Anglo-American elite with European roots, a supposed intermingling of royal and industrial families and Venetian bankers probably tracing their antecedents back to Rome and beyond, perhaps even apocryphally to Babylon. These families and individuals apparently believe they are born to rule and that normal human laws do not apply to them. They may have their own forms of worship, certainly their own exclusive customs, and likely don't work for a living (not in the traditional sense), not even at Goldman Sachs. If anything, Goldman Sachs works for them.

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