MATT TAIBBI and/or THE DAILY BELL: REGULATIONS, GOLDMAN SACHS, CENTRAL BANKING and the ELITE?

In the [Ayn] Randian ethos, called objectivism, the only real morality is self-interest, and society is divided into groups who are efficiently self-interested (ie, the rich) and the “parasites” and “moochers” who wish to take their earnings through taxes, which are an unjust use of force in Randian politics. Rand believed government had virtually no natural role in society. She conceded that police were necessary, but was such a fervent believer in laissez-faire capitalism she refused to accept any need for economic regulation—which is a fancy way of saying we only need law enforcement for unsophisticated criminals.
Matt Taibbi

I’ve quoted journalist Matt Taibbi a couple of times in my blog. He writes wittily and well, and scathingly, about Goldman Sachs and their revolving door to State Power and back again, what they lobby, who they’ve screwed and why they laugh in the face of hearings, etc (and the big bonuses keep coming).

Taibbi further concludes that they need to be profoundly regulated, as if Goldman Sachs is a huge part of the actual current economic problem, and that reigning them in a smidge might solve it.

LIKE RINGIN’ A BELL

Some intense Libertarians writing a journal called The Daily Bell agree with Taibbi’s utter distaste for Goldman Sachs, but have equal distaste for Taibbi’s belief that Goldman Sachs are the actual problem.

The Daily Bell is interesting, for sure, and give important alternative views from a libertarian position, but may be just a little too enamoured of Ayn Rand’s humourless free market abstractions for my commitment.

Also, if I read them correctly, the Daily Bell believes that Western economic domination is largely in the hands of a group of elites (interesting?) whose lineages may date back thousand years or more (dubious, no?). I think that one perhaps shouldn’t follow that historical line too stridently—enticing as it is for so many in our current powerless position to change history in the present.

For when we push that thinking too hard, with such loose historical data, so many end up trying to spot David Icke‘s reptilian shape-shifting elite—from Kris Kristofferson to Brian Mulroney to Queen Elizabeth—and then, is not all lost? Albeit, Icke’s reptilian theories are somehow no farther gone than the Federal Reserve’s leaders’ monetary theories all over the mainstream headlines that tell us—we, the sheeple—that, say, tens of trillions of dollars in debts and the endless printing of money make sense or that they (the Fed), nor anyone else, could have seen this economic collapse coming—when my dad saw it coming.

But either way, hearing the Libertarian counterpoint to the Left-Liberal Taibbi position makes for good thinking, and offers something for everyone (or at least a lot), as P.T. Barnum used to say. It also shows, whatever angle we believe, frustration and anger continues to grow against the economic manipulations that go on infinitely and aggressively—so often for the benefit of only a certain few…

From The Daily Bell:

Taibbi is just like Simon Johnson [recent Chief Economist of the notorious IMF] in our book (see other article, this issue of the Bell)—blasting Wall Street and Goldman in particular without any regard to the larger frame of reference in which Goldman functions

This, to me, feels like a super important and highly relevant point from The Daily Bell, although truly grasping how ‘the system’ is run remains for me mind-bogglingly impossible. All of these damn theorists/ideologues are so monolithic—as are the Fed and Goldman Sachs—in their pronouncements (in a stunningly diverse world) of how the world is or should be run, economically—and are certain of their certainty. How can anyone be sure after 4 billion years of evolutionary change, 200,000 years of anatomically modern human activity, and peoples’ ongoing commitment to McDonald’s as a viable food source? Further, through their classical Western education and inherited colonialist instincts, these theorists generally have no sense of Eastern thought or indigenous ideas whatsoever, leaving out remarkable amounts of wisdom and potential.

Such analysis [as Taibbi's] at this point in time is beyond naïve in our opinion. It verges on the manipulative. Does Taibbi really believe that the US government retains some sort of collective moral purity that is absent on Wall Street? No, Washington DC and Goldman Sachs are two sides of the same coin…

American Founding Fathers generally understood (maybe with the exception of Alexander Hamilton) that the best government is the government that governs least. Matt Taibbi, who is a very talented journalist and writer, seems only to understand that government should act as a “boot stamping on the face of Goldman Sachs—forever.” (Apologies to George Orwell.)…

…how can someone as bright as Taibbi not understand that Wall Street itself is a creature of central banking. Without central banks money flows and economic euphorias brought on by the over-printing of money, Wall Street would likely not exist as such an attractive money magnet. Add in regulation, beginning in the 1930s after the great depression, and you have monstrous mish-mash that empowers the powerful, concentrates capital in certain investment entities and generally works to strip Americans of their wealth and hopes once every business cycle (every 10-20 years). The regulatory structure of America, when combined with mercantilist* central banking itself, is the prime facilitator of this horrid system.

According to the Daily Bell:

Mercantilism is the use of the state to fulfill ones personal objectives and self interest. The use of the state, conflating private with public, allows the individual or small group to obtain clout that would otherwise not be feasible.

MERCANTILISM, the realizing of private goals for individuals or small groups through public means, has a long and ancient history, doubtless as long as humankind itself. From the beginning of the Neolithic when humankind invented cities, humans sought mercantilist advantage.

The question, of course, is who is really working for the Elite? We know Goldman Sach’s is—d-uh. But Taibbi or the Daily Bell, or both? Or neither? The Bell could be full-fledged elitists doing a double agent provocateur thing, possibly working together with Taibbi and Goldman Sach’s, to conflagrate and obfuscate the median focus of hegemonical bombast and her derivatives. Think about it—and watch your back, but only if you’re flexible.

And so we continue on, learning, and hopefully deciphering between how much real power we don’t have, and how much real power we do have, and having the wisdom to know the difference. Man, this armchair can get damn uncomfortable.

Pete xo

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2 Responses to “MATT TAIBBI and/or THE DAILY BELL: REGULATIONS, GOLDMAN SACHS, CENTRAL BANKING and the ELITE?”

  1. This was a generous and clear comment back from the Daily Bell, on their site, with regard to my tongue in cheek comments on the Daily Bell and Taibbi:

    Thanks … your articles are well written and obviously sincere. You seem like a thoughtful person struggling with the idea of free-markets and the idea of an Anglo-American power elite that (in our opinion) decisively influences Western culture by having at least partial control at mainstream educational, media and governmental institutions.

    We will make two points in response to your Bell/Taibbi article:

    1) Marginal utility, the dividing line between classical and neo-classical economics, shows us clearly that regulations are price fixes – as they do not allow the market to provide its price-generating function. Thus EVERY LAW that is made distorts the markets and generates unintended, and negative consequences (for some at the expense of others.) This is a difficult concept to grasp, and equally difficult to deal with once understood (given that we inhabit regulatory democracies as fish swim in the sea).

    2) The unraveling of the global warming scam shows clearly how the power elite works. It is not necessary to have wholesale, overt control over Western institutions. One can achieve this control by using the Western intelligence model and having agents of influence where it counts – at certain universities, NGOs, journals, newspapers, magazines, etc. Thus, even an argument like global warming can first be introduced and then, through serial promotions, made into an overwhelming, unstoppable dominant social theme, affecting all aspects of life. The global warming meme – and its current unraveling – provides us with a CASE STUDY of how these operations work. The methodology has been applied systematically by power elite functionaries to support central banking, wars, money-stuff, even the formulation of justice itself which has departed far from its common-law roots.

    As far as being “double agents” of the elite … well, we will let our writing speak for itself, just as your fine blog provides its own information and arguments. The nice part about writing is that what is provided by the printed page exists on its own, independently of other attributes. You can agree or disagree with Bell arguments – just as we can with yours – by reading what we have written.

    We are not Rand-ites by the way. To conflate with Rand with Mises and the subtle but magnificent concepts of Human Action in our opinion is like comparing martial-marching music to Beethoven or Bach.

    Our position on Icke is that he is a kind of modern William Blake offering up an intriguing metaphor within an elaborate cosmogony, though, clever man, he will never admit to doing so.

    http://www.thedailybell.com/905/David-Icke-Reptilian-Humans-Earths-Artificial-Moon.html

  2. Lila Rajiva says:

    Hi -

    You cite from The Daily Bell’s article on Taibbi and Goldman Sachs but don’t link the actual piece.

    Here it is
    http://www.thedailybell.com/1035/Goldman-Sachs-the-Anti-Christ.html

    If you drop down to the comments, you will see this from me

    Posted by Lila Rajiva on 5/10/2010 12:21:05 AM

    I think you will find it interesting to read what I’ve written about Taibbi.

    He is a part (wittingly or not) of a disinformation campaign…

    His entire thesis is lifted from my work, published in 2006, 2007, and 2008, part of a book I was writing on Goldman Sachs, from a libertarian perspective. I could go into more detail about that campaign, as I’ve been analyzing it for a while, but space is short here.

    MATERIAL WHICH HE PLAGIARIZED:

    “Why It’s Time to Sell Goldman,” Money Week, July 2006
    “Hanky Panky at the Counting House,” Dissident Voice, 2006
    “Was the IMF involved in Gold Price Manipulation,” DV, 2006

    The first pieced described Goldman’s fraudulent practices, from laddering to spinning and abusive derivatives, as well as its infiltration of the government and its Rolodex of alumni in the capital markets.

    “Fairy Tales from Grimm that Just Got Grimmer,” Dissident Voice, 2007

    “Bunk: The Art of Writing Without Thinking”/”Malcolm Gladwell and Lay-Away Thinking,” DV, April 2007

    “Lipstick on An AIG,” Counterpunch, Sept 19 2008 – corrupt ties between AIG and Goldman

    “The Paulson Putsch,” Lew Rockwell, Sept 2008

    “Three Card Capitalists,” Lew Rockwell, Sept 2008

    The piece on Malcolm Gladwell in April 2007 warned that something catastrophic was in the works for the capital markets. It describes Goldman Sachs’s involvement with Enron and with oil derivatives.

    “Putting Lipstick on an AIG,” Lew Rockwell, September 19, 2008 spotted a corrupt tie between AIG and Goldman, and was published a week ahead of Naked Capitalism blog, and more than a week before the New York Times (both of whom I am certain used the leads in it). The piece described how Goldman Sachs had prettified Fannie and Freddie’s books, and had also acted with serious conflicts of interest over AIG.

    “The Paulson Pu(t)sch,” Lew Rockwell, September 25, 2008 ( was the first article to systematically question Goldman Sachs’ role in the banking crisis and Hank Paulson’s credibility.

    The piece analyzed the crisis correctly as interbank cannibalism and a financial terrorist attack on the capital markets, and pointed out the role of Paulson and other Goldman Sachs alumni in undermining regulations on reserves and on the uptick rule, analysis borne out subsequently.

    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).

    The truth is by late 2008, everyone was critiquing Goldman Sachs and the establishment feared the outrage would get out of hand.

    It was only when the tea parties started up and the nanonthermite evidence surfaced in 2009 that Taibbi took up the drum beat and spun the story..and the outrage… the way the establishment wanted it to go.

    He 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.

    Lila Rajiva

    The Daily Bell then responded in a further post:
    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.”

    http://www.thedailybell.com/1054/Just-Goldman.html

    Thanks for your post.

    Lila Rajiva

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