Thursday Reads

Good Morning!

Yesterday, Dakinikat wrote a very thoughtful post about the upside-down “morality” that has taken over the Republican Party since the Reagan years. The basis for the post was the op-ed in the NYT yesterday by former executive Greg Smith: Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs.

I thought it was rather courageous of Smith to go public with his moral concerns about the Goldman “culture.” But quite a few writers are mocking him for it. For example, Sara Ball put up a post at Vanity Fair called Why I Am Leaving Pinkberry. She bills it as “parody,” but what’s her point. I don’t even think her piece qualifies as satire. Here’s a bit of it:

TODAY is my last day at the Turtle Bay-area branch of Pinkberry—you know, the one on 54th Street between 2nd and 3rd? After almost 13 months with this company—at first as a summer job while at U.S.C., then in apprenticeships at New York’s Columbus Circle and Bleecker St. branches—I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its personnel, and its flavor inventory. And I can honestly say today that I am really sick of frozen yogurt.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interest of our customers continue to be sidelined in the way we, the firm, think about making money. Day in and day out, we are so worried about the line building up, we don’t even ask people how they’re doing anymore. You can forget about spelling their name correctly on the order label. And these customer-service problems will only get worse if this unseasonably warm weather keeps up. Sometimes, in the back room, I’ve heard my colleagues call our patrons “polar bears”—since they get hungrier and sadder as the sky gets sunnier, their yogurt melting out from underneath them.

It isn’t even slightly funny. Goldman Sachs played a huge role in global financial crisis and is almost single=handedly responsible for the ongoing nightmare in Greece. Here’s another parody that makes a bit more sense in light of the evil that Goldman has perpetrated: Why I Am Leaving the Empire, by Darth Vader.

Matt Taibbi, at least, thinks the Smith piece is important enough to take seriously.

The resignation will have an effect on Goldman’s business. The firm’s share price opened this morning at 124.52; it’s down to 120.72 as of this writing (it dropped two percent while I was writing this blog), and it will probably dive further. Why? Because you can stack all the exposés on Goldman you want by degenerates like me and the McClatchy group, and you can even have a Senate subcommittee call for your executives to be tried for perjury, but that doesn’t necessarily move the Street.

But when one of the firm’s own partners is saying out loud that his company liked to “rip the eyeballs out” of “muppets” like you, then you start to wonder if maybe this firm is the best choice for managing your money. Hence we see headlines this morning like this item from “Greg Smith Quits, Should Clients Fire Goldman Sachs?”

Of course Goldman immediately set out to smear their former partner, Greg Smith, with the help of the Wall Street Journal, as Taibbi notes. I wouldn’t be surprised if those “parodies” were part of Goldman’s smear tactics.

As I suspected, the soldier who recently committed mass murder in Afghanistan had previously suffered traumatic brain injury. He may also have PTSD, as do many veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq (and Vietnam).

The U.S. Army staff sergeant who allegedly murdered 16 Afghan civilians in a dead-of-night spasm of shooting, stabbing and fire-setting is reported to have suffered a traumatic brain injury during a deployment to Iraq in 2010….

Research on traumatic brain injury has established a clear link between brain trauma and irritable, aggressive behavior that can be explosive, often without apparent warning or provocation. Sometimes, brain injury magnifies a victim’s longstanding tendency toward irritability, depression or hostility. Some brain traumas bring personality changes in their wake, causing even laid-back types to become irascible and impatient.

For many patients, particularly those who have sustained injury to their brain’s prefrontal cortex, the mechanisms that allow most of us to put the “brakes” on aggressive or inappropriate impulses do not function as well.

The injury happened in 2010, and yet he was deployed to another combat zone! Why? Because the military doesn’t want a draft army. Because then they’d have to deal with the kinds of protests that happened during the Vietnam nightmare. They want a “professional” army, and since they can’t find as much cannon fodder as they’d like, they send the same people back again and again into combat. It’s a perfect recipe for creating psychological disorders that, if not addresed, may lead people to act out violently. Read more at Danger Room, here and here. Joseph Cannon also has published a useful comment from one of his readers on this subject.

There’s another enlightening article at Reuters: Lawmakers press Pentagon on massacre suspect’s brain injury

The Army staff sergeant accused in Sunday’s shooting served three deployments to Iraq before he was sent to Afghanistan last year. The soldier, whose name has not been disclosed publicly, was treated for a traumatic brain injury suffered in a vehicle rollover in 2010 in Iraq, according to a U.S. official.

Representative Bill Pascrell, founder of a U.S. congressional task force on brain injuries, wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting details of the accused soldier’s injury, diagnosis, and when and how he was returned to combat duty.

“I am trying to find out basically whether there was a premature ‘OK’ on this guy,” Pascrell, a Democrat, said in a telephone interview.

“This is not to excuse any heinous acts; we are all sickened by it. But dammit, we all have an obligation to prevent these things,” Pascrell said. “If this soldier fell through the cracks, does that mean that others have?

Good questions! And very good reasons to get our troops out of Afghanistan ASAP. This country will be paying for these wars for a generation. Many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, like Vietnam veterans before them, will act out their psychological problems back here through suicide, murder, child abuse, spouse abuse, alcoholism and drug addiction. I’d love to go down to Congress and explain that these are human beings, not cannon fodder. End these endless wars!! Drug addiction and substance abuse is becoming a big problem in the states, if you are addicted or know someone who needs help, please visit this article about group therapy rehab.

I’ve been meaning to mention another post by Joseph Cannon. I suppose everyone has read it by now, but I haven’t seen any discussion of it at Sky Dancing. In a post about several topics, Cannon linked to an article speculating on the surprising death of Andrew Breitbart.

The Fix wonders why the corporate media has so zealously avoided asking the obvious questions about Breitbart’s death. What drugs was he using? I began to suspect something fishy as soon as I heard that the family was emphasizing that the death was from “natural causes.” Later Breitbart’s father-in-law, actor Orson Bean said it was assumed to be a heart attack. But how many 43-year-old men die from heart attacks? After the autopsy, no cause of death was announced, pending toxicology tests. If Breitbart had a heart attack, why didn’t they report damage to the heart? Or maybe they want to learn whether a drug caused a heart attack. Anyway, go read the article. It’s very interesting. When someone suffers from drug addiction the best way to help them is to take them to a rehab center, learn more about rehab programs on

Apparently Breitbart suffered from ADHD and probably was taking Adderall, an amphetamine (speed). He had confessed to heavy drinking and cocaine use in college, and he was reportedly still a heavy drinker who often seemed to to lose control. I for one will be very interested to learn the results of those toxicology tests.

Here’s a heartbreaking report of a young victim of the international war on women: Moroccan girl commits suicide after being forced to marry her rapist.

A 16-year-old Moroccan girl has committed suicide after a judge ordered her to marry her rapist, according to Moroccan media reports.

Last year Amina’s parents filed charges against their daughter’s rapist, a man 10 years older than her but it was only recently that a judge in the northern city of Tangier decided that instead of punishing him, the two must be married.

The court’s decision to forcibly marry Amina to her rapist was supposed to “resolve” the damage of sexual violation against her, but it led to more suffering in the unwelcoming home of her rapist/husband’s family.

Traumatized by the painful experience of rape, Amina decided to end her life by consuming rat poison in the house of her husband’s family, according to the Moroccan daily al-Massae.

Horrifying, isn’t it? But it’s really not that far away from the advice of Opus-Dei-style theocrat Rick Santorum to rape victims who become pregnant:

SANTORUM: Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.

I know this hasn’t been a very cheerful post, so I’ll end on a positive note. Via Raw Story, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a complaint with the IRS against Grover Norquist.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate whether Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and its president Grover Norquist violated federal law by filing a tax return that left out more than half the political activity ATR conducted in 2010. ATR disclosed more than $4.2 million in independent expenditures to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), but asserted on its 2010 tax return that it spent only $1.85 million on political activities.

“Grover Norquist’s numbers just don’t add up,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Americans for Tax Reform spent millions of dollars in 2010 trying to defeat candidates who disagreed with its agenda, then left most of that spending off its own tax return. Perhaps Mr. Norquist should sign a pledge that he won’t lie to the IRS about his group’s political activity.”

Tax-exempt organizations such as ATR are required to report on their annual tax returns the amount they spent on political activities. This information helps the IRS determine whether a tax-exempt organization is complying with its tax-exempt status and provides at least some transparency for groups involved in politics. Reporting inaccurate information can result in civil penalties and criminal prosecution.

I don’t know if anything will come of it, but it’s sure worth a try. Those are my reading suggestions for today. What do you recommend?

29 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Man, I didn’t know Dak wrote about the morality issue yesterday…my internet not working, I couldn’t read it. I gotta go read it now…before this DSL craps out again.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I was out all day yesterday, but I was able to read yours and Dak’s posts last night. They were both excellent!

      • dakinikat says:

        Thanks! I found a “satire” piece on slate immediately after I wrote that piece. I noticed Fox was ridiculing it the op ed too this morning while I was channel surfing. Investment banks are only as good as their reputation so I still think this could be damaging to them. They have huge institutional customers. Maybe some of them will connect the dots and speak out.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The “satire” pieces are everywhere now. This has to have been generated from Goldman, because there’s really nothing funny about the original piece.

      • dakinikat says:

        The market spoke yesterday:

        Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) saw $2.15 billion of its market value wiped out after an employee assailed Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein’s management and the firm’s treatment of clients, sparking debate across Wall Street.

        The shares dropped 3.4 percent in New York trading yesterday, the third-biggest decline in the 81-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index, after London-based Greg Smith made the accusations in a New York Times op-ed piece.

      • dakinikat says:

        What this says to me is that the entire banking system, from Citi to Goldman (which itself is trading at just 0.92 times book value), is locked into a vicious cycle of short-term greed, where everybody from traders to shareholders is trying to get their money out as quickly as possible, and regulators are fighting a rear-guard action trying to prevent them from doing so. It’s fundamentally dysfunctional and adversarial, with bankers pitted against both regulators and their own clients. And yet at least at the biggest banks, like Citi and Goldman, it might ultimately help to shrink them down to less dangerous size.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Thank you for linking the Joe Cannon articles…I didn’t see them. And the “satire” piece about the yogurt is ridiculous. I think you are right about this smear campaign Goldman is using. Great post BB, I missed all this and I’m so glad you posted on it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Cannon has been on fire lately.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Well, I guess that little rest he took did some good…thanks again. And those stories about the girl in Morocco and Brietbart…had not seen those either.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Breitbart, was too angry, that is a fact and he was partying hard even once with Ann Coulter I believe. One thing the article didn’t mention is that anger can also kill you and it manifests itself in a variety of medical ailments too.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    There is something inherently wrong with Rick Saintorum.

    What makes his position any different than those who practice Sharia Law?

    This “god’s will” crapola is insane. A loving, benign deity has decided to “bless” some poor victim by forcing her to submit to an egregious act just for the purpose of “blessing” her?

    Does this make sense? Where was this supreme being when she needed protection from the monster who claimed her as an object?

    The thinking is irrational, based on superstition, and senseless.

  4. Woman Voter says:

    I hope people begin to examine the cost, the HUMAN cost of the never ending wars and finally begin to TAX the 1% that benefit from these wars, while the rest of the country is going broke. It has been 10 years and there is not WAR TAX to cover the wars and no one is speaking about the BACK DOOR DRAFT (sending the same folks into harms way…calling up the part-time military Reserve people to hide the shortage of no out right draft) using the Reserves.

    We can’t continue to hide the trauma, the mismanagement of war budget and the continued expenditures in Iraq despite the fact that they claim the war is over (budget remained the same). One hidden fact is the lack of services for returning military service people, they have to come home and fight for services (Often giving up and end up homeless) and often not receiving them.

    At the Occupy events I was surprised by the high number of veterans, young veterans that found a unity in OWS and felt they were wanted and needed. In essence, when they return home they are on their own, there are no services for them. One reason I wanted the Public Option was that it would allow service veterans to receive medical services close to home and not in another state far away from their communities and loved ones. Often the medical care is more successful if you have people close supporting and loving you, motivating you to go on and live.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Voices of Veterans | Occupy Wall Street Video
      November 2, 2011: US Veterans march to Occupy Wall Street to voice their support for the occupiers and the 99%.

      I wonder if anyone in the media took the time to listen to veterans saying that ten years of war …never ending war has to end and that they are suffering with many illnesses and not receiving care. I didn’t see it on the evening news, so why wear flag pins if they don’t do care for those they send to war or their families. END THE WARS!

  5. Allie says:

    Thank you for the information about the Army staff argeant’s injuries. My immediate reaction was disgust at what he’d done, of course – but there is always usually more to the story.

    If you google “serial killers and frontal lobe injury” you get a slew of articles about the correlation bwteen the two. I had read that years ago with regard to the L.A. Hllside Stranglers. And apparently a huge percentage of confessed kiillers in prison have frontal lobe damage.

    It’s a good defense I would think – but I wouldn’t bet a nickel the army will do right by this guy and admit their culpability.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It probably won’t work as a defense. This guy is going away for life if he doesn’t get the death penalty. It’s a foregone conclusion.

  6. Woman Voter says:

    Video: N.C. state senate candidate Bivins Hollar
    This video has been removed from YouTube.

    Read more here:

    OMG, dear lord, this guy is plotting to kill people in South Africa and posting videos on youtube. What does he have planned for us here? Oh, and he is a DEMOCRAT! The war on the poor, the war on women and now the war on anyone of color???

    Good lord, he even says to round black people up, starve them/shoot them to take over the land in South Africa. I know some times, even I would say (at times) to not be paranoid…but this guy is running for state office…planning to kill people in South Africa, with some other person in the room, communicating with some other people that I guess agree with him???

    Why isn’t the FBI interviewing this guy? Is this not an international plot he is doing here, with MAPS to boot. I feel like throwing up…

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    This is disgusting!

    As I the dust bunnies play hide and seek in the corners, I am engrossed in reading “Snowchild” to the point that I am over halfway through the book already.

    Going to make some lunch and return to Jack and Mabel as the world outside continues to implode.

    A much needed escape from the chaos.

  8. dakinikat says:


    PA GOP Governor Defends Ultrasounds Bill: Tells Concerned Women ‘You Just Have To Close Your Eyes’

    • bostonboomer says:


      • Minkoff Minx says:

        What an ass!

        Speaking of Ass, specifically a frothy one: Rick Santorum | Internet Pornography | Vigorous Crackdown | The Daily Caller

        Internet pornography could conceivably become a thing of the past if Rick Santorum is elected president.

        The unapologetic social conservative, currently in second place behind Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, has promised to crack down on the distribution of pornography if elected.

        Santorum says in a statement posted to his website, “The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws.”

        If elected, he promises to “vigorously” enforce laws that “prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.”

        Although the idea of Santorum vanquishing Internet pornography may seem far-fetched, a serious effort to combat online smut might actually be successful, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told The Daily Caller.

        Read more:

        And look at the articles title.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      ‘You Just Have To Close Your Eyes’
      sounds exactly like what a rapist will tell their victim…

      • Woman Voter says:

        Man sounds like a sicko.

      • northwestrain says:

        The asshat can’t even use the words for the ladyparts — the asshat points to HIS body — rather than use the words.

        If these fracking Republican not quite human Neanderthals insist on writing laws that include rape by government — then the creeps had better use the correct words — like VAGINA — and rape.

        After the civil war my Pennsylvania ancestors packed up and moved , , , , to Kansas. Both states are doing their best to declare women as reproductive tanks. Two states that need a major boycott —

  9. dakinikat says:

    The fruits of austerity:

    Greek jobless rate hit new record in Q4

  10. northwestrain says:

    Veterans were a major factor in waking up the US to the horrors of the Vietnam war.

    And now veterans are giving the unvarnished truth of what is really happening. Many of today’s vets joined the military so that they could get a college degree. Brain injury puts an end to many dreams.

    I know a lot of skydancers will be voting for 0bama — I can’t because of his role in the continued occupation of Afghanistan and his war crimes. No matter what my state will go blue.

    There needs to be some way to vote against the GOP — but at the same time mount a major protest to the damage 0bama is doing to the military etc. etc.

    0bama has got to know that the votes do not mean approval for business as usual.

    Just like he is playing for the women’s vote NOW– but once he gets that vote — he is completely deaf to women’s rights are human rights.