Wall Street

Robert De Niro plays an oddly convincing Madoff in HBO’s ‘Wizard of Lies’

This image released by HBO shows Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth Madoff, left, and Robert De Niro as Berni
Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth Madoff and Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff in “The Wizard of Lies,” premiering Saturday on HBO (Craig Blankenhorn / Associated Press)

The $65-billion Ponzi scheme run by Wall Street luminary Bernie Madoff claimed many victims.

Widows, in-laws and even Holocaust survivors were bilked out of their life savings in one of the largest financial frauds in U.S. history.

When Madoff was thrown in prison in 2009, the media and public wanted reparations, if not blood, looking to his family for restitution.

But if you’re to believe HBO’s drama “The Wizard of Lies,” which premieres Saturday, Madoff’s sons and wife were also victims of his deception — and paid dearly for his sins (The film is TV’s second Madoff-centered project. ABC in February 2016 aired the original movie “Madoff,” starring Richard Dreyfuss.)

Based on a book of the same name by New York Times financial reporter Diana Henriques, the Barry Levinson-directed film, which is a little over two hours, opens in 2008, when Madoff (Robert De Niro) admits to sons Mark and Andrew (Alessandro Nivola and Nathan Darrow) that he’s been moving money around in a billion-dollar shell game.

Despite the fact they also work in the same Wall Street firm as their father, they appear utterly blindsided by his admission.

Ruth (Michelle Pfeiffer), Madoff’s wife of 50 years, is also flummoxed, apparently so removed from her husband’s misdeeds — and the world he works in — she doesn’t even know what the term “Ponzi scheme” means.

It’s a level of cluelessness that’s as hard to believe now as it was in 2009, when Madoff was sent to prison on a 150-year sentence.

But “The Wizard of Wall Street” isn’t about getting to the truth (did they or didn’t they know?). It’s about the broken family bonds behind the scandal.

The Madoffs were already a dysfunctional lot before the FBI…

Snap CEO on Facebook threat: ‘Just because Yahoo has a search box, it doesn’t mean they’re Google’

On Snap’s first earnings call as a public company Wednesday, Wall Street had a particularly burning question for Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel: “Does Facebook scare you?” asked Richard Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG.

Following an earnings report that came in below analysts’ expectations on sales, profit and user growth—prompting Snap stock to plummet nearly 25% after-hours towards its IPO price of $17—26-year-old CEO Spiegel laughed at the question.

Greenfield had prefaced his query by noting that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had announced a new camera feature with augmented reality last month, positioning the social media company in direct competition with Snapchat, which describes itself as a camera company.

“At the end of…

Twitter says less abuse is being reported across its site

Image: bloomberg/getty images

Twitter may be having its best day ever, or at least in quite a while.

Just about everybody — but especially Wall Street (aka Twitter’s worst enemy) — expected to see slow user growth and a downturn on Twitter’s revenue.

And yet, the unexpected happened. Twitter… had a good quarter?!

The highlight is the return of user growth. Twitter added 9 million monthly active users over the quarter. That’s 7 million more than expected. The site broke out its growth in the United States, emphasizing that it added 3 million users in its home country.

Even the bad news wasn’t that bad. For the first time since going public in 2013, Twitter’s quarterly revenue declined. Yes, that’s not good, but analysts (and myself) were expecting a really, really bad day for Twitter. We were expecting to be disappointed, per usual.

And yet, Twitter surprised.

Growth cont’d to be broad based: DAU growth accel’d in 7 of top 10 global mkts, w/ particular strength in US, where we also added 3M MAU seq

— TwitterIR (@TwitterIR) April 26, 2017

Twitter reported $548 million in revenue over the last three months compared to the $511.9 million that was expected by Wall Street. They beat expectations by more than $36 million.

Beyond financials and user growth, Twitter reported that it’s solving one of its major problems: abuse on the platform.

$TWTR: We’ve removed a lot of abusive accounts and “as a result, we’re seeing less abuse reported across the service.”

— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) April 26, 2017

According to Twitter, they are seeing “less abuse reported across the service.” That statistic comes even as Twitter increases the number of reporting tools and their effectiveness. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey humbly admitted he’s far from done.

“There’s a lot more to do but we’re on the right path,” Dorsey told investors on a public earnings call Wednesday.

Wall Street is happy. Twitter’s stock, which has fallen to a pitiful price…

How Much Does Wall Street Give Back?

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A small fraction of Wall Street’s capital actually goes into business investment in the real economy

A growing number of voices forcefully argues that the relationship between “Wall Street” and the real economy is tilted in favor of the bankers. Big Think contributor Matt Taibbi sees parallels between the Russian Oligarchs and Wall Street today.

How Wall Street Is Like the Russian Oligarchy Matt Taibbi

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How Wall Street Is Like the Russian Oligarchy

Matt Taibbi

Journalist

01:28

So what economic rationale does Wall Street offer for such an extensive “financialization” of society?

They argue that the financial sector is the most efficient and unbiased allocator of resources to the broader economy. It supposedly does so by quickly and efficiently diverting money to worthy projects in the real world. These might include helping small, medium and large business start new ventures, raise money to invest, create well-paying jobs, and so forth.

Retry later 

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