The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.— Matt Taibbi
The most unconventional Matt Taibbi quotes that are proven to give you inner joy
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game.
Criminal justice, as it pertains to the Goldmans and Morgan Stanleys of the world, is not adversarial combat, with cops and crooks duking it out in interrogation rooms and courthouses. Instead, it's a cocktail party between friends and colleagues who from month to month and year to year are constantly switching sides and trading hats.
The print magazine and print journalism industry is obviously in a great deal of trouble, and one of the things that happened when this business started to give way to the Internet and to broadcast television is that a lot of organizations started cutting specifically investigative journalism and they also started cutting fact-checkers.
'American Sniper' is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism. The only thing that forces us to take it seriously is the extraordinary fact that an almost exactly similar worldview consumed the walnut-sized mind of the president who got us into the war in question.
'Nobody goes to jail.' This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world's wealth - and nobody went to jail.
Amendments occupy a great deal of most legislators' time, particularly those lawmakers in the minority. Members of Congress do author major bills, but more commonly they make minor adjustments to the bigger bill.
In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.
Obviously the commercial news media tries to get you worked up and terrified so you'll buy products that they're advertising.
Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It's about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.
I'm a product of an East Coast liberal arts educational system.
Obviously, people who commit crimes should be punished.
Even people who steal socks and 'Snow White' videos should probably do time if they have priors, especially serious priors. But the punishment has to fit the crime, and the standard has to be the same for everyone.
Being a wiseass in a groupthink environment is like throwing an egg at a bulldozer.
Private equity firms aren't necessarily evil by definition.
There are many stories of successful turnarounds fueled by private equity, often involving multiple floundering businesses that are rolled into a single entity, eliminating duplicative overhead.
Washington politicians basically view the People as a capricious and dangerous enemy, a dumb mob whose only interesting quality happens to be their power to take away politicians' jobs... When the government sees its people as the enemy, sooner or later that feeling gets to be mutual. And that's when the real weirdness begins.
Within the cult of Wall Street that forged Mitt Romney, making money justifies any behavior, no matter how venal.
Mike Huckabee represents something that is either tremendously encouraging or deeply disturbing, depending on your point of view: a marriage of Christian fundamentalism with economic populism.
There is a reason it used to be a crime in the Confederate states to teach a slave to read: Literacy is power.
Unquestionably, however, something else is at work, something that cuts deeper into the American psyche. We have a profound hatred of the weak and the poor, and a corresponding groveling terror before the rich and successful, and we're building a bureaucracy to match those feelings.
The new America, instead, is fast becoming a vast ghetto in which all of us, conservatives and progressives, are being bled dry by a relatively tiny oligarchy of extremely clever financial criminals and their castrato henchmen in government, whose job is to be good actors on TV and put on a good show.
The moral angle to the foreclosure crisis - and, of course, in capitalism we're not supposed to be concerned with the moral stuff, but let's mention it anyway - shows a culture that is slowly giving in to a futuristic nightmare ideology of computerized greed and unchecked financial violence.
Organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.
There are times when American politics seems like little more than two groups in a fever to prevent each other from trespassing upon their respective soothing versions of unreality
If anything, the bailouts actually hindered lending, as banks became more like house pets that grow fat and lazy on two guaranteed meals a day than wild animals that have to go out into the jungle and hunt for opportunities in order to eat.
In other countries they have histories with revolutions and class movements.
In America, people don't like to think of themselves like being in a lower class. They all like to think of themselves as potential millionaires.
The failure to work out sensible budgets makes it impossible for government agencies to make long-term plans, and instead leaves them scrambling to spend money in the short term.
In the Tea Party narrative, victory at the polls means a new American revolution, one that will "take our country back" from everyone they disapprove of. But what they dont realize is, there's a catch: This is America, and we have an entrenched oligarchical system in place that insulates us all from any meaningful political change.
The threat posed by Bank of America isn't just financial - it's a full-blown assault on the American dream. Where's the incentive to play fair and do well, when what we see rewarded at the highest levels of society is failure, stupidity, incompetence and meanness? If this is what winning in our system looks like, who doesn't want to be a loser?
I mean, people who say that the Tea Party isn't a grassroots movement, I think, are incorrect. I think in some respects, it is a grassroots movement.
What we have now is a situation where politicians get a whole bunch of money from mainly business interests. Then once they hold that office, they spend all their time in office paying back over and over again those campaign contributions through various favors and contracts and that sort of thing.
One loves one's country the way one loves a family member.
And sometimes that family member does really embarrassing, shitty things. But you still love them.
It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists.
What they are, in truth, are narcissists.
Over the years, many in the public have become numb to news of financial corruption, partly because too many of these stories involve banker-on-banker crime.
You can have somebody living next door to you and you can live in a completely different world from that person, which is definitely something we've never experienced before. So I think just because of the media landscape and the way we get our information now, we're more atomized and isolated from each other than ever before.
The basic scam in the Internet age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out fiftieth-story windows, and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement.
In the years just after 9/11, even being breathed on by a suspected terrorist could land you in extralegal detention for the rest of your life.
Like wars, forest fires and bad marriages, really stupid laws are much easier to begin than they are to end.
The joy of being a consumer is that it doesnt require thought, responsibility, self-awareness or shame: All you have to do is obey the first urge that gurgles up from your stomach. And then obey the next. And the next. And the next.
John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades in Washington, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich.
Once you give an NFL player permission to have thoughts, you invite all kinds of mischief.
To Wall Street, a firm like BP isn't just a profitable energy company with lots of assets like oil rigs and pipelines and gas stations - it's also a corporation that routinely borrows hundreds of millions of dollars to keep its business up and running.
Critics say the OWS protesters hate the rich.
Come on! Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners. But that's just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning - they're cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more.
People are beginning to become disturbingly comfortable with a kind of official hypocrisy. Bizarrely, for instance, we've become numb to the idea that rights aren't absolute but are enjoyed on a kind of sliding scale.
What the mortgage bubble was all about was big banks like Goldman Sachs taking big bundles of subprime mortgages that were lent out largely to low-income, highly risky borrowers, and applying this kind of magic-pixie-dust math to these bundles of securities and slapping AAA ratings on them.
For the broadcast business to be successful, viewers need to be not merely interested in our political melodramas, they have to be in an absolute state about them - emotionally invested in the outcome and frightened not to watch what happens next.
Since the end of the Cold War, America has been grasping left and right for an identity.
Contracting corruption has been around since the construction of the Appian Way.
I think America has the best assholes in the world.
I defy the Belgians or the Japanese to produce something like a Donald Trump.
Why is JP Morgan getting so much heat? Maybe because it is a massive international crime syndicate.
When I heard the book (Thomas Friedman's latest) was actually coming out, I started to worry. Among other things, I knew I would be asked to write the review. The usual ratio of Friedman criticism is 2:1, i.e., two human words to make sense of each single word of Friedmanese. Friedman is such a genius of literary incompetence that even his most innocent passages invite feature-length essays.