Most of you will probably agree that when you want to get a serious message out the (financial services) masses, the best medium through which to send it is a place where your news is served with a dash of Kneale and a pinch of MMC's tits. That's why on September 17 of last year, John Mack called up Lloyd Blankfein and asked him to appear, hand in hand, on CNBC. The two men (believed) they were under attack by the shorts, and needed to go on the offensive. Unfortunately, such a broadcast never came to pass, due to the indirect influence of a certain Italian-American investigative journalist (more on that later), and they had to settle for a letter to the paradoxically named Chris Cox. But let's backtrack for a sec, and examine the mental state the Knife was in when he came up with the idea to give it to the shorts live. Obviously he was under a lot of stress during those fateful days in September, and while he probably wasn't ready to laugh at it at the time, will likely now join us as we review some of the sound bites that came out of his and his lieutenants mouth re: getting the Dick Fuld end of the stick.
Where is that little shit, David Einhorn, huh? When I find that pipqueak I'm gonna rip his urethra out through his throat. They can't do this to us!
While Mack was beginning to believe that the hedge funds were conspiring against the firm--"This is what they did to Dick [Fuld, of Lehman Brothers]!" he roared, referring to the Monday implosion of Lehman--there was fresh evidence that some of them actually did need the cash. Funds that had accounts at Lehman's London office couldn't get at them and came begging to Morgan Stanley and Goldman.
Can't we make citizen's arrest or something?!?
"It's outrageous what's going on here," Mack almost shouted, arguing that the raid on Morgan Stanley's stock was "immoral if not illegal."
We can't "blame" them but we can imply that the source of their power is derived from sucking the essence out of newborns and sacrificing live goats following a bestial rituals on the first of each month. That's not an urban myth-- know a guy who saw it happen at least once.
Colm Kelleher, Morgan Stanley's 51-year-old C.F.O., was more fatalistic--the short-sellers couldn't be stopped, he believed, or even necessarily blamed. They were market creatures, doing what they had to do to survive. "They are cold-blooded reptiles," he told Mack. "They eat what's in front of them."
I repeat: they can't do this to us! We gotta cut them off at the knees! Colm, go get my gun!
Tom Nides, Mack's chief administrative officer, thought they needed to go on the offensive. He encouraged his boss to start working the phones in Washington and impress upon them the need to put in place a ban on short-selling. "We've got to shut down these assholes!" he told Mack.
But how? The only way we can get people to listen: a TV address that starts out "Hi, I'm John Mack. Hi, I'm Lloyd Blankfein. I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about a serious issue that affects us all-- incontinence. Also: short sellers. And ends with a duet even Dancing With The Stars would be proud to broadcast.
Desperate for an ally, Mack contacted his most serious rival, Lloyd Blankfein, of Goldman. "Lloyd, you guys are in the same boat as I am." He asked Blankfein to appear on CNBC with him, as a show of force.
While the 53-year-old Goldman C.E.O. kept a television in his office, he was so disgusted with what he believed was CNBC's Charlie Gasparino's "rumor-mongering" that he had turned it off in protest. "That's not my thing," he told Mack. "I don't do TV."