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Goldman Sachs Tries To Shut Down Dissident Blogger

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the maybe-they'd-like-a-different-number dept.

Censorship 161

The Narrative Fallacy sends along a piece from the Telegraph on efforts by Goldman Sachs to silence a blogger who is posting commentary critical of the bank. "Goldman Sachs has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website goldmansachs666.com. According to the C&D letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site 'violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights' and also 'implies a relationship' with the bank itself. Morgan claims he has followed all legal requirements to own and operate the website and that the header of the site clearly states that the content has not been approved by the bank. In a post entitled Goldman Sachs vs Mike Morgan, the blogger predicts that the fight will probably end up in court. He went through a similar battle with US home builder Lennar a few years ago after he set up a website to collect information on what he alleged was shoddy workmanship in its homes. 'Since I went through this with Lennar, I've had advice from some of the best intellectual property lawyers, and I know exactly what I can and can't do. We're not going to back down from this.'"

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161 comments

Um.... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#27545895)

Why do companies go to these great lengths to censor these people? Its a lot more effective to let the bloggers blog in relative obscurity then to make a big deal of it and then increase the pagerank of their blog. Pursing these types of cases only leads people to believe you do have something to hide, and that something to hide just got a lot higher up on Google by threatening to sue them....

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27545903)

Some people still haven't heard about the Streisand effect.

Re:Um.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27545919)

We should try to cover up the existence of the Streisand Effect. Then everyone would know about it.

Re:Um.... (-1, Redundant)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 5 years ago | (#27546051)

Then there would be a Streisand Effect on the Streisand Effect.

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546679)

Then there would be a Streisand Effect on the Streisand Effect.

Thank you for explaining the joke. Say, aren't you also the guy who explained "ya see, it's because the chicken was over there before, and it didn't want to be there, so it had to cross the road in order to be on the other side. Get it?"

Re:Um.... (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | about 5 years ago | (#27546589)

The first rule of Steisand Effect is you don't talk about the Steisand Effect. The second rule of Steisand Effect is...YOU DONT TALK ABOUT THE STREISAND EFFECT!

Re:Um.... (5, Insightful)

Gerzel (240421) | about 5 years ago | (#27546079)

Because most of the time it isn't more effective to let them blog in obscurity.

I'd be willing to bet that most people blowing whistles or posting such sites have not crossed every "t" and dotted every "i" and do have some legal leverage that companies can use to shut them down and in many cases wipe them out. Most fold quietly and are never heard from or else are destroyed by legal fees. These bussinesses would not pursue these practices if they were not effective in most cases.

Sending a scary legal-looking letter especially to a young or low-wage person is more than enough to get them to shut down and shut up what ever they are doing that you don't like. Often you can get the person to sign something to have them give up more rights while they are scared and thus have even more power over them once and if they ever come to their senses.

Re:Um.... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546109)

You have obviously not read the description at all.

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546273)

I fear that you assume that businesses normally have good sense. In fact they frequently have no sense at all and in one case in which I am deeply familiar a business was run by a well dressed and well spoken individual who not only lacked ability and experience but was stark raving nuts. It was entertaining watching what the guy would do next. In one case he was dragged off to jail for punching at cops in the middle of the street because during an emergency they dared route traffic over his parking lot. In another case there was a fancy sink and water cooler unit that needed repair and we had seven different repairmen called to do the job. The owner offended the first six so badly that it took seven just to make a simple repair as all six before him walked off the job.

Re:Um.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546477)

The people that do this to other people ought to get mugged in an alley.

Re:Um.... (1)

Renraku (518261) | about 5 years ago | (#27546741)

Actually scaring someone into signing a contract that they don't understand invalidates the contract.

Example: What you're doing is illegal. Sign this paper and we'll go away. Ha! Now if you keep doing it we'll sue you since you signed a contract saying that you wouldn't do that!

Re:Um.... (2, Informative)

Matt Perry (793115) | about 5 years ago | (#27546213)

Why do companies go to these great lengths to censor these people? Its a lot more effective to let the bloggers blog in relative obscurity then to make a big deal of it and then increase the pagerank of their blog.

Did you mean "then" or "than"? Your post is interpreted differently with either word. You said "then" which makes this read as they left him to blog in obscurity and now they have decided to make a big deal about it which means they are doing the most effective thing, according to you.

Re:Um.... (4, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#27546319)

Why do companies go to these great lengths to censor these people?

Because it used to work. This was before the internet reached most of the people in the country, though.

-jcr

For a number of reasons ... (4, Interesting)

golodh (893453) | about 5 years ago | (#27547033)

There are two mechanisms at work: one psychological, one institutional.

First of all, there are psychological factors. It's not the company that responds, it's certain individuals that do. Individual who set policy, or individuals who carry out said policy.

People who set policy, i.e. people at the top of the food chain in business usually didn't get there by being kind, timid, passive, open-minded, self-effacing and objective. Instead they tend to have much larger egos than the norm and also tend to be more much agressive towards others than usual (usually in the guise of being "effective" "goal-oriented", "focused", and "exercising management authority"). They obviously must be smart enough to get away with being agressive, or they won't be successful. Oh, and by the way, I'm extremely happy that Business offers such people a constructive outlet for their energy and aggression. Because otherwise it would go into Crime or Politics (or both).

As a result, while they are successful, life shows them on a daily basis that their thinking is correct, their opinions are valuable, and that their approach to life is the right one.

Now consider what happens when you contradict someone like that. Consider first what it means exactly to contradict someone like that. You and he (or she) are in a business setting, and both are vying for a "group position", i.e. who leads the thinking of whatever group is listening at that time on the issue at hand. And the subject under consideration isn't the weather either, it's (as in the case of the blog on Morgan Sachs) about company policy. Policy as set out and supported over a period of time by themselves.

With that in mind think of how this contradicting opinion (and the one doing the contradicting) will be perceived. There are no credits for answering that the perception will be that of a threat, if not a challenge.

So lets reformulate our original and fairly neutral description of "contradicting" a executive of a firm like that.

I believe the way to formulate it that does justice to the depth of emotion and self-interest would be: "you issue a public challenge to an executive, implying that he is at best incompetent and unethical, and at worst a crook"

Now about the institutional factors. Consider that high-ranking individuals impact their environment in various ways. First of all, they lead, and they can't do that without some authority. Only the very rarest of individuals can lead purely through their influence, and without exercising authority. The norm is that you shape your environment through selection (read hire-and-fire), rewards, promotions to support and protect your general ideas and the "image" of what you do and what you stand for. In its positive form it's called "Esprit de corps". It's what e.g. the Armed Forces insist on instilling in recruits. They do that because it makes the social coherence of the organization stronger. But in its negative form it can also degenerate into group think, bullying, and abuse (e.g. Nazism, Communism, Party doctrine, Scientology, and even religious abuse at the Airforce Acacdemy (see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4091956.stm) [bbc.co.uk]).

Now PR officials are a prime example of guards of a firm's public image (i.e. what others think of a firm and its actions). It's their job to be aware of the public image and to steer it in the way the firms wants it to be through propaganda. Lawyers are another example. Apart from their more mundane tasks of drawing up contracts they are specialists in the enforceable obligations in our society operates. Rules on topics like intellectual property, slander, defamation, torts, compensation for damages, etc..

Now do you understand the reaction of such companies? Their first-response mechanism is PR. Their secondary response are legal threats. Their tertiary response is litigation. All motivated by extremely aggressive and self-confident people who direct a lot of money and therefore wield a lot of power and who perceive the dissonant opinion as a threat to their personal position. Of course they get nasty!

striesand effect (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#27545921)

when will lawyer types understand the world is more complex than litigation. even if sachs win this it's too late, they've given him all the credibility he needs just by reacting to it.

if they just ignored it and called it blatantly untrue, he'd slip off the radar never to been seen again. the other side to this is that there are lots of guys like this blogger who take up causes like this just to try get their 15 minutes. this guy strikes me as one of this self rightgeous types.

Re:striesand effect (4, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 years ago | (#27546175)

"when will lawyer types understand the world is more complex than litigation."

I'm sure lawyers understand that better than most.

Re:striesand effect (5, Informative)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about 5 years ago | (#27546177)

it's not often the lawyers' choice. Goldman Sachs consults Chadbourne & Parke on the best courses of action. if the law firm is doing its job correctly, they will give Goldman Sachs a number of different options they could take. but ultimately, it's up to Goldman Sachs as the client to choose what path to take. in short, the lawyer types DO understand that there's more than just litigation, but clients may not necessarily know, or even want, those other options.

Re:striesand effect (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#27546205)

call me jaded, don't i don't see lawyers not advising legal action. that's simply not what we see happening in the courts these days.

Re:striesand effect (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 5 years ago | (#27546311)

I had an injury on city property.

A good lawyer and a friend advised me that unless the city is at extreme fault (ie: negligent or like) that is was near worthless to pursue a case. I could simply say that they weren't negligent, so I took his advice.

Re:striesand effect (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546381)

Of course you don't see the lawyers advising against legal action in courts.

They are against going to court in the first place!

Re:striesand effect (1)

qbzzt (11136) | about 5 years ago | (#27546573)

call me jaded, don't i don't see lawyers not advising legal action.

I call you jaded. Goldman Sachs is probably a long term customer of Chadbourne & Parke. It is in the law office's best interest to give good advice to such a client - even if it means forgoing the fees from one specific case.

Re:striesand effect (4, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | about 5 years ago | (#27546567)

Goldman Sachs probably has a PR department. It's the job of the PR department to weigh in and say this is not worth doing.

Lawyers are experts on how things would appear to a judge and a jury - not how the rest of the world would perceive them. Often the best legal course is a really bad PR course.

Re:striesand effect (2, Insightful)

Saysys (976276) | about 5 years ago | (#27546289)

It does not matter if it is right or wrong to the lawyers.

What matters is how much they can convince GS to pay them for the privilege of making GoldmanSachs look bad.

Re:striesand effect (1)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#27546323)

when will lawyer types understand the world is more complex than litigation.

Lawyers bill by the hour. Win or lose, it's worth it for the lawyer to pursue it.

-jcr

Re:striesand effect (1)

pod (1103) | about 5 years ago | (#27546455)

Oh I don't know, I think it works just fine.

If they do battle and win, the guys life is basically ruined and bankrupt. If he throws in the towel early, they win too. If they lose, it's just status quo.

Everyone knows how expensive a legal defense can be, and how expensive a settlement can be when punitive damages are considered. By keeping these cases public and visible, it acts as a deterrent. Many people, when faced with a legal challenge and potential costs will just shut up and move on with their life.

Re:striesand effect (1)

ElectricRook (264648) | about 5 years ago | (#27546577)

You're missing the important perspective where this is a win-win.

The Law-Firm made money, the Lawyer made money, and Goldman-Sachs... Well - two-outta-three ain't bad.

Re:striesand effect (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 years ago | (#27546689)

They wouldn't be ignoring it if they made a statement about it at all. Calling it blatantly untrue would be that statement.

There is also terms like trademark in which you have to protect it else it becomes extremely difficult to protect in the future. They may not really have a choice in matters like that. We also got to see the website quite nicely after the disclaimers came up. I'm suspecting that this slashvertisment was designed to create the impression that the C&D letter was unfounded in the first place. I somehow doubt that was originally true. He even mentions in one entry where he has had experience with this before.

I'm not really going to bother with reading the entire site to see if there is anything worth of value on it. From what I can tell, it's a couple of biased and misinformed letters to congress critters and a few opinions that border libel. I would be asking why this even made the front page of slashdot until I remembered the been through this before skit. I'm willing to be the guy has a small cult following that promoted it to the top of the stack.

Streisand Effect for Goldman Sachs (4, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 5 years ago | (#27545925)

This will cause a major Streisand Effect for Goldman Sachs. Now everyone will know what they want hidden.

It seems to me the banks are largely in control of the country, not the government or the people.

We need to transfer money to and from Europe and Brazil. We discovered that the banks: 1) Determine the exchange rate themselves; some banks won't even tell you their exchange rate in advance. 2) Charge a large fixed fee. 3) Charge a percentage of the money transferred.

More of the many abuses by banks: (3, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 5 years ago | (#27545991)

Here are just a few more of the many abuses by banks:

The Federal Reserve Bank is not federal. There is nothing in reserve. It is not a bank. Three lies in the title! "The Fed" is controlled by the big banks.

Someone associated with the big banks, acting for "The Fed", determines the interest rate that will be paid on savings. There are often news stories saying how brilliant he is for lowering the interest rate, which allows the banks higher income, and means that those who save money get less interest.

Retirement savings accounts (IRAs): 1) IRAs are given a lower interest rate. 2) When IRA CDs are renewed automatically, it is always at a lower interest rate, taking advantage of people who are extremely busy before the renewal date, and don't have time to research a better rate at a different bank.

Credit Cards: 1) Credit card rules are changed any time the bank wants, with little prior notice. 2) Changes in the rules are hidden in complicated language.

Savings accounts: 1) Banks advertise a high rate, then lower the rate later, with very little or no notice. 2) Accounts don't show the interest rate. 3) Banks advertise phrases like "Great Rate" and then give an especially poor rate, depending on the lack of ability of most people to do research.

Bank Representatives: 1) Banks hire support people who have no power other than to waste time. 2) Online email support people press a button and give pre-recorded answers that have no relevance to the issue raised.

Re:More of the many abuses by banks: (4, Insightful)

ip_fired (730445) | about 5 years ago | (#27546169)

Someone associated with the big banks, acting for "The Fed", determines the interest rate that will be paid on savings. There are often news stories saying how brilliant he is for lowering the interest rate, which allows the banks higher income, and means that those who save money get less interest.

Huh? Banks determine the interest rate that they will pay you. It's on your monthly statement. If banks need more money, they'll offer a higher interest rate to entice people to transfer more money over to them. If you want a fixed rate, you need to get a CD, which will lock you into a rate. By using a savings account which you can withdraw from, you get less. Less risk (because your cash is liquid), less reward.

The interest rate you are talking about is the inter-bank lending rate, where banks will make very short term loans to each other (overnight, or a few days) so that they have the requisite amount of cash to meet the needs of their depositors. It doesn't always effect the rates at which you can lend at.

In response to your other gripes:
IRAs) Don't invest in CDs. Put your money in managed funds that will get you better returns without you having to do all of the research.
Credit Cards) Don't buy what you can't afford. It doesn't matter what interest rate you have on the card if you pay it off in full each month.
Savings Accounts) Move your money out when the bank lowers the rate. Move it into something with a higher return if you can afford to have it be locked up for a while.
Bank Representatives) Not sure what bank you're with that causes you think this, but it isn't true of all banks. Start shopping around a bit more.

Re:More of the many abuses by banks: (1)

myspace-cn (1094627) | about 5 years ago | (#27546503)

And TAXPAYERS should surround Washington DC and Wall Street, disrupt traffic and run these motherfuckers out of town on a rail. Pitch Forks and Torches.

Haven't you fucking had enough of this shit?!

Re:More of the many abuses by banks: (3, Interesting)

pod (1103) | about 5 years ago | (#27546507)

That was at best an extremely poor choice of words on the parent's part.

The FED rate is the rate the FED will lend to large banks at. The parent IS correct in that, effectively, the FED has nothing in reserve, and any money it lends is basically created out of thin air. The way it influences (and benefits) these banks is that the lower the rate, the more will be lent and borrowed, and anything they get from the FED they will multiply 10x through the magic of fractional reserve banking.

This is bad because it distorts the economy. By artificially lowering rates and encouraging capital borrowing, businesses misallocate their assets and efforts, anticipating economic conditions that are ultimately fake (because real capital is only created through savings, not the printing press), and that will lead to losses when the real condition is revealed (the classic boom/bust cycle).

No a good choice of words, but basically correct. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 5 years ago | (#27546789)

Thanks for the clarification. However, the Federal Reserve does, basically, decide the interest rate that will be offered by banks. Many banks are offering less than 1% interest, below the rate of inflation, encouraged by the actions of the Federal Reserve.

Re:More of the many abuses by banks: (4, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 years ago | (#27547081)

That's sort of true and not at the same time.

The fed actually holds a percentage of the money other banks own from deposits. Your local bank (or national/international conglomerate acting as a local bank) is required to keep so much of their deposits in reserve to account for normal withdraws and banking needs. The ratio usually is different for times deposits like a CD but for normal account deposits it's around 10% (last time I checked).

Now, here is where the fed comes in to play. The local banks don't really have the facilities or security to hold the entire amount of reserves. If a bank has 10 billion deposited (on paper), it needs to keep 1 billion in reserve. Most banks can don't have the capacity to keep more then a couple million on hand so the rest gets stored at the reserve. They transfer a portion of this (what they are capable of securing on site subtracted from the CRR applicable to the banks specifics) to one of the twelve district reserve banks. They do this for a small fee which is generally charged as the FDIC insurance. When the reserve lends money, they lend this money as their own and collect the interest on it.

They can do this essentially because 15 banks may have more then enough money deposited to cover the normal needs of all the banks in their district plus interbank lending. They aren't creating it our of thin air, they are using other people's money as their own for the purpose of stabilizing the monetary flow.

This can go awry and cause some disasters like when banks state trading loans and counting them as asset packages for the purpose of their reserve ratios (part of what got us into trouble recently). However, the system itself isn't inherently flawed or bad as you suggest. What this does is allow wealth and value to be created without the constant need to monitor the health of the economy. It doesn't really distort it as much as it keeps it stable. And best of all, it allows wealth to be created without causing inflation.

Now what I mean by wealth to be created without causing inflation is best explained in a short story/example. In a fixed system, there is a static amount of currency. When someone holds 90 percent of that currency, there is only 10 percent of it left for the community. The result is that people get paid less for their work and have to pay more for their goods and services they purchase. But with this reserve system and the ability to use other people's money, then you or I could do something of value and create wealth without lowing the amount of money in circulation or causing inflation. What happens is that if there was $100 in the entire country and $60 was in the hands or bank accounts of 2 of the 10 people living there, then when you convert your time and labor into value by going into the woods, cutting down a tree, cutting planks from that tree and manufacture rocking chairs or furniture or whatever, your not limited to selling them for the excess of the $5 the remaining 8 people control. Instead, they can temporarily use $2 each from the 2 with all the money and now you have your $5 plus $16 from the other 7 people with $5 and one of the 2 with $30 each. The effect is that the economy now has roughly $114-$116 and you purchase more stuff to better your life. This pays someone else more, allows them to do something to create wealth, purchase more, and the process repeats. At some point in time, they print more money to represent the actual value or wealth in the economy and you never knew it was short or in excess for that brief period of time.

This is a necessity with a fiat currency. It can be abused though. But that is actually rare. It is a little more complicated then I just attempted to explain but most people who attempt to understand it don't ever look at the good side of it and assume the bad because they can't see the benefits. I would say that this is because most people borrow to purchase things they can't afford that will eventually decrease in value (car, boats, big screen TVs, so on) instead of borrow to make money. It's the benefits that allowed most of the wealth in this or most other nations in the last century to be realized. Real capitol is created by creating wealth which is little more then value that someone else wants. You can borrow to reach that goal but to many businesses bet on it with too much risk in the amount of wealth. You can see that when companies were complaining that they couldn't "borrow money" to meet payroll which is most likely too much risk. But taking a loan for 80% of the costs to open a new factory or upgrade an existing one that will return 25% of the costs in increased efficiency is well within respectable risks.

Re:More of the many abuses by banks: (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#27546191)

"The Fed" is owned (ed. note: no, I mean owned, not pwned, but pwned seems to apply too) by the big banks.

There fixed it for you.

Re:Streisand Effect for Goldman Sachs (No Issue) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546105)

I don't think the fact that there is a Streisand Effect matters here. That is slashdot trying to rationalize a decision made by lawyers for a large corporation. The guy is free to set up another site and post stuff that does not constitute infringement.

It doesn't matter what the blogger says here, that is not the main point of this C & D action. No tinfoil hat needed for this one- just a company protecting its copyright.

Look at it from Goldman's point of view: if they don't protect their trademarks they can easily lose them, which means they lose a lot of money. This is standard business protocol, nothing about this action screams "we're going to censor him at any cost."

Re:Streisand Effect for Goldman Sachs (1)

ip_fired (730445) | about 5 years ago | (#27546217)

If you're going to be transferring large amounts of money, sign up for a site like FXAll.com where banks will compete with each other and you can pick the best exchange rate for you. It's a market, no one institution is setting the rate. But the bank that you do the trade with will add a spread on the rate that they give you to cover the cost of doing the trade with you.

Streisand , Goldman Sachs -- All JEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546775)

The DAVID STAR.

Six lines. Six triangles. Six vertex. SIX SIX SIX.

Babs' Law in Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27545933)

Idiots.
I just bookmarked it and now will visit it daily.
[sarcasm]Death to the "internationalist Zionist conspiracy".[/sarcasm]

Signal To Noise Ratio (5, Interesting)

conner_bw (120497) | about 5 years ago | (#27545939)

Alright, I read the blog, and I'm going to postulate the following:

Goldman Sachs, fully aware of the Streisand effect [wikipedia.org], is specifically targeting this blog because it's horribly written and bordering on schizophrenic lunacy.

By doing so it will attract a lot of attention, hordes people will flock to read it, and go "huh?".

Whatever Goldman Sachs is doing, it's going to get buried in a pile of stuff they aren't doing.

This is the same as Alien conspiracies in the 90's - So much bullshit and misinformation, interest eventually peaked, and then most people got bored and forgot about it.

Covering tracks.

Right as Rain (3, Insightful)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | about 5 years ago | (#27545969)

But you know, even if you are right, being an asshole still shines through. You always have to consider the messenger.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (1, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | about 5 years ago | (#27545993)

Either that, or they've figured that the old adage "No press is bad press" might be true and that this is a hell of lot cheaper than a real advertising campaign.

Gets the name out in the mainstream media.

Um... what? (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | about 5 years ago | (#27546235)

I don't want to troll here, but I ask quite honestly, do you even know what Goldman Sachs is?

They are a vast and influential investment bank with a worldwide presence. They were one of the top few campaign contributors to both Obama and McCain, and their former execs occupy high positions in the US Treasury department.

They have considerably less need to "get their name out in the mainstream media" than those scrappy little startups called McDonalds and Coca-Cola.

Re:Um... what? (1)

Zerth (26112) | about 5 years ago | (#27546343)

They have considerably less need to "get their name out in the mainstream media" than those scrappy little startups called McDonalds and Coca-Cola.

.

And yet they advertise, despite being one of the world's highest firms and consistantly outgrowing its competitors. True, it has never really used TV advertisments, but I still get print pieces and see newspaper ads for GS about new products(20+% of their revenue is from products that didn't exists last decade). Hell, they've been doing ads in COLOR for almost 10 years now:)

But GS recently posted losses for the first time ever. If they want to get back to profitability and avoid getting mired in this economy, they'll go looking for the next "20% of revenue" and they might need to go slumming in "the public" to do it.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (1)

metlin (258108) | about 5 years ago | (#27546713)

Seriously? Please tell me you are kidding, and that you're not really a moron asking that question.

What do you think Goldman Sachs is, a company that sells gold teeth on late night TV?

Get their name out to mainstream media indeed.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (4, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 years ago | (#27546007)

Since it is hosted with Google, I wonder if *they* will fold under threats from G.S.?

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | about 5 years ago | (#27546081)

Whatever Goldman Sachs is doing, it's going to get buried in a pile of stuff they aren't doing.

This is the same as Alien conspiracies in the 90's - So much bullshit and misinformation, interest eventually peaked, and then most people got bored and forgot about it.

OK, I'll bite....what was real about aliens in the 90's that was buried beneath all the bullshit?

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546133)

The "real" part is the tax money that was used, also the least important topic in retrospect.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#27546253)

I'm sure there are plenty of top-secret spy plane sightings and god knows what else buried in the mounds of UFO bullshit.

Good look separating the worthwhile from the shit though.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 5 years ago | (#27546411)

I believe what they are trying to cover under the UFO BS is Aurora [abovetopsecret.com]. The reason I say that is they fly the damned thing over rural states like mine(AR) when it is cloudy, probably testing out those noisy but bad ass engines. The damned thing sounds like a cross between a freight train and a jet and if the sky is clear and calm at dawn you will see the "donuts on a rope" exhaust trail the thing leaves behind. It has got to be the noisiest "secret" I have ever heard.

But what better way to cover up Aurora than have every nutjob with an abduction story on hard copy so that everyone is looking for little green men instead of super expensive hypersonic combat aircraft? You have to admit, you couldn't cook up a better disinformation campaign if you tried. But with Goldman Sachs there are plenty of eyes on them after the bailout. What better way to cover up the truck full of money you are sneaking out the back than to promote some paranoid whackjob with the Streisand Effect? The only way Goldman Sachs will get caught is if some whistleblower manages to sneak some seriously damaging paperwork to Wikileaks. Otherwise they are just going to laugh all the way to the bank.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546913)

Believe me if you want, or don't -- but I'm an Aerospace Engineer, whose career focus has been on high-speed propulsion and aerodynamics. Aurora, at least as its been described by aviation "enthusiasts" (not engineers!) doesn't exist. There's no scramjet-powered or PDE-powered sustained hypersonic cruise vehicle. The closest we have is the X-51 , which has yet to fly, and is a testbed. The X-43A was also an experimental aircraft, and of course the Russians have flown axisymmetric test scramjets before.

The "donuts-on-a-rope" == PDE crowd are mistaken. I'm not a climate scientist, but I've seen those types of clouds form in broad daylight in Southern California. More importantly, I've worked at one of the companies that was in the PDE business until recently, and I can tell you that engine would not produce such an exhaust formation. Moreover, if you seriously think such an engine would be able to produce enough thrust while operating at such a low frequency so as for you to be able to distinguish individual pulses like that, you are mistaken.

It's a virtual certainty that the U.S. Government has "black" aircraft programs that are supersonic. But airbreathing hypersonic cruise is not a real capability that these aircraft have.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 5 years ago | (#27547095)

Do I have a clue whether it is super or hyper sonic? Nope, all i can tell you is the bitch is LOUD. And freight trains don't go plowing over your head with that jet WOOOSH either. I have a buddy that works at LRAFB that says they like to do fly overs of the planes at LRAFB because our town is small but it is also lit up like an Xmas tree and it has tons of military and retired military so we don't complain when they get noisy.

Maybe that is why the black ops pilots like us too? Hell if I know. I just wish they'd find a way to put a muffler of some sort on that mother, because she sure is loud as hell. Living so close to the base all my life and having friends there and family that's retired Air Force I've got to check out just about every type of plane the USA has officially got, from the C130(can't believe the amount of cargo space they got in those) to the F4 to the F15. pretty much everything but the Raptor, which I don't think is flying nationally yet. And whatever this new mother is, it is an order of magnitude louder than anything I've seen or heard us fly before. So maybe you're right and it is supersonic not hypersonic. As far as the donuts on a rope I can't remember ever seeing them except on the mornings after the new superbitch flies over.

What I CAN tell you is that mother from the sounds it makes and how quick it passes overhead is FAST and LOUD. Of course after seeing how long they denied the Goblin I doubt any of us will know for decades unless they crash the thing in a populated area. I just hope it ain't that damned loud on the flight deck because if it is I feel sorry for the guys that gotta service that mother.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546125)

I only skimmed the first couple entries, but it's a fact that:
  1. Henry Paulson, former treasury secretary and key architect of the bailout plan, is a former CEO of Goldman Sachs.
  2. Goldman Sachs has receieved 10 billion in TARP money.
  3. Goldman Sachs has received 12-20 billion in additional monies via the AIG bailout.

The more people who know that the better.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (2, Interesting)

Adult film producer (866485) | about 5 years ago | (#27546711)

Throw this one there too... Edward Liddy of AIG (remember him on tv a few weeks ago in front of congress) has a $3 million stake in Goldman Sachs, he quit his job with Goldman before taking the $1/year job with AIG.. and now AIG is funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to Goldman. No conflict of interest there.

Re:Signal To Noise Ratio (0, Offtopic)

unlametheweak (1102159) | about 5 years ago | (#27546155)

This is the same as Alien conspiracies in the 90's - So much bullshit and misinformation, interest eventually peaked, and then most people got bored and forgot about it.

So you're one of those alien conspiracy deniers. It's people like you who make all the evidence look bogus. Nice try. Why don't you admit that you are in cahoots with the aliens?

It would be more interesting if ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 5 years ago | (#27545945)

... these bloggers would just not use the name of the company in their domain name. Instead, choose a name that is descriptive of the evil actions. Then merely identify what company is being referred to. And that opens up the ability to reference more than one company, too.

bad law (3, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | about 5 years ago | (#27545949)

The C and D letter itself undermines its argument. It notes that Goldmann Sachs owns the trademark "in the financial services market". Trademarks are restricted to particular market segments. The fact that Goldmann Sachs owns that trademark in the financial services market does not prevent others from using the same trademark in other market segments. If you want to start a chain of "Goldmann Sachs Cheeseburgers", you are free to do so. So, not only is GoldmannSachs666 clearly distinct from GoldmannSachs, but since it isn't in the financial services market, it wouldn't infringe even if it weren't distinct.

Re:bad law (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 5 years ago | (#27545979)

That is most certainly a valid defense. But defenses cost money and the big evil corporations know this. It would be better for these gripe bloggers to use a name that gives the evil corporation no opportunity in this regard. Just use a domain name that describes the bad actions and identify the bad actors in the content. Then the first C & D has to be something like "stop saying that" or whatever.

Re:bad law (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#27546129)

The C and D letter itself undermines its argument. It notes that Goldmann Sachs owns the trademark "in the financial services market". Trademarks are restricted to particular market segments.

So what market segment is the blogger in? By criticising a company in the financial services segment don't they operate in the same segment?

Re:bad law (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 5 years ago | (#27546167)

He isn't in the financial services market if he isn't offering financial services. Since he isn't selling anything, he isn't really in any market, but if you have to specify one, it is presumably journalism.

Re:bad law (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 years ago | (#27547113)

So if I took out the domain Belmolis22.whatever and criticized your slashdot posts, I would be in a different market?

Well, lets put it another way. Lets say I created a magazing called "Goldmann Sachs blurbs" and ran stories about Goldmann Sachs' business, their actions, and how the government is favoring them. Would I be in the same market or not? Could you see where if I wrote false or misleading information in the Onion style of news would weaken their trademark just a little? I would hope so because that's essentially what this guy did. By the nature of what he is writing about- focusing on Goldmann Sachs- he has entered the market enough to make an impact on their name, journalism or not.

This is probably going to be one of those cases that goes to court and a judge will rule that the blogger isn't the press and people will take it out of context. About the only think that puts him that far would be the domain I would think though. If he didn't use the name in the domain- his case would be a lot more to his favor.

Re:bad law (1)

Quothz (683368) | about 5 years ago | (#27546557)

Trademarks are restricted to particular market segments.

In the US, at least, you are mistaken. I'm not a lawyer, but the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 makes it pretty clear that injunctive relief (as opposed to damages) does not rely upon competition within a market if the trademark has achieved certain requirements for fame:

Subject to the principles of equity, the owner of a famous mark that is distinctive, inherently or through acquired distinctiveness, shall be entitled to an injunction against another person who, at any time after the owner's mark has become famous, commences use of a mark or trade name in commerce that is likely to cause dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment of the famous mark, regardless of the presence or absence of actual or likely confusion, of competition, or of actual economic injury.

However, TDRA has a specific exclusion for criticism:

The following shall not be actionable as dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment under this subsection:

...(ii) identifying and parodying, criticizing, or commenting upon the famous mark owner or the goods or services of the famous mark owner

Re:bad law (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 5 years ago | (#27546875)

No, I'm not mistaken. Trademarks are registered for specific market segments. The "famous mark" provision that you cite allows holders of some marks to claim the mark outside the registered segment(s), but most marks don't fall into this category. It is intended for marks that are not only well known but associated with diverse market segments, e.g. "Sears". Even if Goldman Sachs is very well known in the financial services area, the fact that it is restricted to this one market segment and, for that matter, is unknown to people who know nothing about financial services, militate rather strongly against "famous mark" status.

Sale on Intellectual Property (1)

steelbr2 (542916) | about 5 years ago | (#27545973)

Goldman Sachs domains for sale buy your goldmansachs###.com domain today!!
Buy now, cash in on their IP.

Goldman is going to lose (1)

basementman (1475159) | about 5 years ago | (#27546027)

They are going to lose just like paypal did to paypalsucks.com

Oh yeah, and paypal really grinds my gears.

Re:Goldman is going to lose (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546437)

Paypal's operation so shady, you expect them to be running numbers games, call girls, and speakeasys.

Actually, I take that back. It was kind of insulting to proprietors of illegal gambling houses, brothels, and underground bars.

Why do they try to stop him? (4, Interesting)

surfingmarmot (858550) | about 5 years ago | (#27546215)

People try to make sense of GS catapulting this guy to fame to their detriment when they should properly just keep him in the shadows. Isn't it obvious why? One small Word, one big object: EGO The people who run Goldman-Sachs are used to running everything--including the Fed, Congress, and the Presidency. They have saddled everyone of us with a debt of $165,000 for the bail out (so far) and most of that money goes into their pockets in bonuses, guarantees for their failed investments, and other devious ways they bilk people for cash. It sticks in their craw that some little nobody on the net can flip them the bird and blow raspberries at them and be untouchable. And they just cannot accept that. Their egos cannot stand it.

Re:Why do they try to stop him? (2, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27546547)

They have saddled everyone of us with a debt of $165,000 for the bail out (so far) and most of that money goes into their pockets in bonuses, guarantees for their failed investments, and other devious ways they bilk people for cash.

You're way off in your figures. As you can see from this nifty little chart [wsj.com], the entire Federal Reserve balance sheet is only about $2 trillion. Include $700 billion for TARP and $787 billion for the stimulus, and it adds up to $3.487 trillion. Divide that by 250 million people in the United States, and you get $13,948 per person. And Goldman Sachs was only a small portion of that.

Personally I think we should have let them fail. When politicians say, "You must do X or the economy will collapse!" it sounds too much like "you must do X or the terrorists will win!"

Re:Why do they try to stop him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546693)

The number that's more than three times as large that gets cited is the maximum commitment on the allocated programs. See here for the breakdown between maximum and allotted:
http://www.didthebailoutwork.com/ [didthebailoutwork.com]
That site is a little out of date... the numbers are much higher now.

People don't understand that the bulk of the securities being purchased are tranched securities, so they may well be valueless even if they're nominally "mortgage" securities. Land does not go to zero, but tranched securities do... that's the whole idea behind the concept. So it's probably fair to put the total losses to the taxpayer at somewhere between halfway between the current commitment and the maximum commitment. Around $6 trillion or so (the exact number frankly doesn't matter, and it will grow).

There are only 154.5 million potential earners in the United States, including those currently unemployed. This places the commitment per earner (these are the only people who can bear the burden of paying off the debt, for the most part) at just under $40,000. That is the current value of the incurred debt. What most of the sites that tout higher numbers do is estimate how much it will ultimately cost to service the incurred debt. At 5% interest per annum, paid over 30 years, the total cost of the bailout per worker is roughly $77,000.

If you make less charitable assumptions, you can easily see where people get numbers over $100,000 per person for the bailout.

Re:Why do they try to stop him? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27546803)

The number that's more than three times as large that gets cited is the maximum commitment on the allocated programs.

Yes, but that's not fair. I haven't come close to maxing out my credit cards yet, so I shouldn't be blamed for having a high credit limit. Likewise the government shouldn't be blamed for money it hasn't spent yet. They've done enough that can be legitimately criticized, no need to use hyperbole.

If you are going to look into the future, you need to also consider money that's going to get paid back. Not all of that money is in mortgage backed securities. The money in the commercial paper program is almost guaranteed to get paid back. Also banks like Goldman Sachs are trying to pay back the TARP funds as soon as possible.

In addition, the Federal Reserve doesn't need to pay interest. They make up money out of thin air.

Re:Why do they try to stop him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546619)

Total bailout exceeds 4 TRILLION dollars.

Wow, did anyone RTFB? (3, Informative)

pongo000 (97357) | about 5 years ago | (#27546301)

Disclosure: Yes, I am short Goldman Sachs stock. I believe this company is evil and should not exist. We need to begin to break up companies that have as much control over world finances as Goldman Sachs.

Let me see if I get this right:

1. Short GS stock
2. Blog about how evil GS is
3. ???
4. Profit!

There's only one problem with this plan: GS stock has been rising [msn.com] since the start of the year. No wonder the guy believes GS "should not exist": Should GS stock continue to rise, there's no limit to how much the guy can lose.

(For those who have no clue what I'm talking about: "Shorting a stock" basically involves selling stock you don't own. Your only obligation is to return the stock you "borrowed." If you can buy said stock at a lower price than the price you sold it at, you profit on the difference. If the stock becomes worthless, you basically pocket whatever profit you made from the sale of stock you never owned in the first place.)

Re:Wow, did anyone RTFB? (1)

grimw (1253370) | about 5 years ago | (#27546369)

Of course there's a limit to how much he can lose. He can't lose any more cash than he decided to short, multiplied by how much he leveraged. If he decides not to put in more money when his brokerage asks for more money, they will just sell his shares and collect the cash.

Re:Wow, did anyone RTFB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546581)

You seem to be a little confused. If he shorted GS stocks - he has no shares to sell. He is obligated to buy the stocks he borrowed and then sold. (shorted) and as the original poster suggested - his loss is potentially unlimited.

Re:Wow, did anyone RTFB? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 5 years ago | (#27546637)

Do you know what "short" means? It isn't the same as put options.

Say GS shares jump to $500 each tomorrow, guess how much cash he loses if he is forced to cover (by not being able to maintain margin requirements, for example). Say they jump to $5000? Say the US dollar goes all Zimbabwe overnight and they jump to $50000?

He can't lose any more money that the assets he owns, since he can file for bankruptcy, but that's the only limit. Unless he's hedged, say with some way out of the money call options, then he has a maximum loss level - but that's explicitly separate hedging and not due to some limit on losses from shorts.

Re:Wow, did anyone RTFB? (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | about 5 years ago | (#27546783)

Well, he was partially right, in that if you short, your broker will probably initiate a forced cover when you run out of cash in the account. You can lose whatever your initial proceeds were from the stock sale, plus the cash you have in your brokerage account.

Re:Wow, did anyone RTFB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546897)

Of course brokers can limit what you can and cannot do with one of their accounts however they see fit, but more than likely you can lose more than the total equity in your account from short selling for the simple fact that you're probably doing it with a margin account which inherently will allow you to do that.

Re:Wow, did anyone RTFB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546537)

He's probably already covered and hasn't ever lost much due to setting tight stops. Financials have been getting hammered by shorters and GS is no exception. If you don't believe me watch them reinstate the uptick rule, or possibly ban shorting very soon.

Re:Wow, did anyone RTFB? (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | about 5 years ago | (#27546809)

His mistake was shorting the stock instead of buying put options. Never short stock, is my theory.

Just look at it this way: If you short 100 shares of company XYZ at $6.00 and cover at $4.00, you've made $200. If you buy one 6.00 put when the stock is $6.00 and you sell the put when the stock is $4.00, you've made almost $200. Essentially by buying a put instead, you've greatly limited your downside risk at the expense of slightly less profit and a more limited time constraint.

It's clear that this blogger doesn't know what he's doing.

Re:Wow, did anyone RTFB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546939)

Well, if he shorted GS stock, and the govt bails him out, this is wrong, in a way. He made an accurate prediction about the health of GS, and was right (or they wouldn't need a bailout).

Having Worked There.... (1)

AtlasBatterie (1530325) | about 5 years ago | (#27546435)

I wonder what would happen if I stood on a street corner and shrieked that fact like a banshee, and gave interviews telling everyone how awesome The Firm is while throwing feces. If I wasn't gainfully employed...

It's GS (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 5 years ago | (#27546651)

They essentially own the US government. See how many people in positions of power are ex-GS.

It doesn't matter if the law isn't on their side, they are completely above the law anyway.

Of course, this particular web site seems to be a collection of paranoid rantings, which is strange given the amount of obvious dirt that exists on GS (last year's financial bailouts are a case in point, how much did GS make from them and who was running Treasury at the time again?)

Paranoids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27546675)

I used to work in Goldman Sachs, IT dept. They were paying IRRATIONALLY high salaries. As a result, employees became PARANOIDS due to lack of job security.

Ties Between Goldman Sachs & Obama Administrat (5, Interesting)

Nova Express (100383) | about 5 years ago | (#27546703)

I suspect that many Slashdotters are unaware of the numerous deep ties between Goldman Sachs and the Obama Administration. A few for instances:

This above list is by no means exhaustive. Nor are the sources cited above (The Huffington Post, The Nation, etc.) exactly known for their fierce and unstinting criticism of Obama.

oh, really? (1)

superwiz (655733) | about 5 years ago | (#27546799)

they think that the site implies relationship with goldman despite the 666 at the end? are they then implying that 666 is an appropriate manner to label them?
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