Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 





Stephen P. Pizzo: Lloyd Blankfein, Pin-Striped Cockroaches and High Functioning Sociopaths
Friday, 23 April 2010 06:36
by Stephen P. Pizzo

High-functioning sociopaths were my journalistic bread and butter. I guess you could say, white collar crooks have been good to me — sort of like how garbage is good for trash collectors or cancer is good for doctors. I spent almost three decades following these financial termites around and writing about their twisted exploits. And, in all that time, not one of these guys, not Charlie Keating to Michael Milken to Ivan Boesky, thought they’d done a thing wrong. Not one of the hundreds of crooks who, back in the 1980s, looted around a thousand S&L into insolvency, saw themselves as anything than a victim themselves.

To a person, they’d stand there amidst the still smoking wreckage of a — by then "former thrift” - and tell me with a straight face and genuine passion — that the reason — the ONLY reason — things went so badly was because federal regulators had stopped them before their phony-baloney deals could fully mature:
“If they’d just let the (deal/project/loan/bond sales/refi/ loan adjustments — fill in the blank,) go forward, everyone, including the S&L, would have made a bundle.”
It was, in the sociopath’s view — the losses were caused by regulators and their intrusiveness that caused their worthy plans to go off track.

Of course, in the dimension most of us live in — the non-sociopath dimension — the truth was exactly the opposite of that. The truth was (and remains) that regulations and regulators had been cut by members of congress on the take and what regulations remained were not aggressively enforced by the regulators that remained. (And you know — when the cat’s away..... )

During the S&L crisis we learned many of the deals that went bad were phony from the get go. But the loses were real. We were “lucky,” as taxpayers, to get out of that mess for only about $165 billion. And where did most of that money go? Into the pockets and off-shore accounts of the most successful of that era’s high-functioning sociopaths. (Even after Mike Milken paid court-ordered restitution of nearly $1 billion, he still had over $900 million left in his personal checking accounts.)

In 1991 I testified before Congress begging them not to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, the depression era law that banned banks from commingling their operations with Wall Street investment houses. . In conversations with members of the committee later I begged them; “Please, don’t repeal this law until someone can prove to you that the laws of human nature have been repealed first.” They repealed it anyway and, well, we’re all living the consequences now.

Here’s the bottom line: There are two kinds of financial service workers:

- Real ones, who make an honest living making honest investments for honest customers.


- High-functioning sociopaths, who would view the financial services sector exactly the same way the Vikings viewed their 10th-century victims.

Remember that, and hope that congress remembers it too before they make another $23 trillion “mistake.”

Oh, and remember that too as you read the piece below from the Financial Times. Because its about one of the biggest of the latest crop of high-functioning sociopaths.

It makes me weary to know that a quarter century after I started writing about these kind of pin-striped cockroaches they are still singing the same song, and way too many folks are still willing to listen to them. They belong in jail, with their own kind.


Goldman: SEC Attacks 'Hurt America' 

Financial Times — April 22, 2010

Lloyd Blankfein on Wednesday attacked the Securities & Exchange Commission’s fraud charges in telephone calls to clients as Goldman escalated its campaign to stem the damage to the bank’s reputation.

One person who received a call from the Goldman chief said he was told the regulator’s case against the bank was politically motivated and would ultimately “hurt America”.

Mr Blankfein mounted the campaign to bolster the confidence of its business partners in the wake of the SEC charges that the bank had sold investors a security designed to fail.

In conversations with private equity executives and others, Mr Blankfein left clients with the impression that he was eager to fight the charges in court. The SEC has requested a jury trial.

“He was very aggressive,” said one person called by Mr Blankfein on Wednesday. “He feels that the government is out to kill them, that they are under attack and the whole thing is totally political.”

Mr Blankfein said the SEC action “hurts America”, this person said.

Read more here.

More from this author:
Predictions for 2007 (6995 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo The War: Jenna & Barbara Bush will not be part of their dad's troop surge. Ditto for any member of the Cheney clan. ...
White House Chess (6525 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo The Washington media spent the holidays trying to guess what the President's new plan for Iraq might be. Meanwhile in the...
Fine Mess You Got Us Into This Time (8174 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo At the moment all the focus is on what George W. Bush is going to do about the mess he's made of Iraq. But the larger...
New Lies Forward (6407 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo Well it's a new year, and you know what that means... time to update the administration's list of stated reasons for it's...
The GOP's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Scam (7000 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo Traditional conservative, William F. Buckley was once asked how he would describe a “liberal.” He thought for...
Related Articles:
Three Strikes and Stephen Harper is Out (8261 Hits)
by Chris Cook Though there are a myriad of reasons Canadians should have a quick end to the public service career of Mr. Harper -...
James Petras' New Book: The Power of Israel in the United States - Book Review by Stephen Lendman (25122 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He's a noted academic figure on the US...
Eva Golinger - Bush vs. Chavez - Book Review by Stephen Lendman (14621 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman Eva Golinger's eagerly awaited new book is now out - but only for those able to read and understand Spanish as it's not ...
Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar's New Book: Perilous Power - Book Review by Stephen Lendman (12451 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman Noam Chomsky needs no introduction. He's MIT Institute Professor Emeritus of linguistics and a leading anti-war critic and...
Dangling from a high (4964 Hits)
Click for full image after page loads David Howell was born in 1972 in Elmhurst, Illinois. He started drawing shortly afterwards. In...

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger