AIG Hearing: Roll The Dice On Today’s Testimony

At some point, doesn’t the entire financial brouhaha and ensuing mess begin to feel like a Monopoly game gone to the crapper? A few thoughts before today’s House Financial Services committee hearing with AIG execs beginning at 10 am ET.  

C-Span3 will have live coverage and we will as well.

– The problems do not start nor do they end with AIG. So whatever heated up kabuki members of Congress have planned today for the cameras? A little reminder: it’s what they DO once those cameras are turned off that matters most.

This from the WaPo needs reading from every thinking member of the committee BEFORE the hearing:

After all, if the government hadn’t stepped in, AIG would have gone bankrupt and those whiz-bang traders could have lined up with all the other unsecured creditors at the bankruptcy court to see how much money they might receive three or four years down the road. And the government could still put the company into bankruptcy anytime it chooses.

Moreover, the Justice Department would surely have been within its rights to launch an extensive civil and criminal investigation into whether those bonuses were granted as part of an ongoing conspiracy to defraud shareholders — a conspiracy in which the traders were knowing participants. As part of that investigation, prosecutors could have also prepared a public report to the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and Congress listing the names and home addresses of all the traders who were slated to receive the bonuses, along with a detailed description of their role in creating the mess that brought down the company. There could even be a chart listing their salaries, bonuses and other perks over the past decade.

That goes for every other company trying to feed at the public trough who does not get the fact that it should no longer be self-enriching-priority-numero-uno business as usual.

David Leonhardt takes it several steps further.  A must read.  Never, ever thought I’d see an argument for a more progressive tax on upper income brackets on the Business pages of the NYTimes.

– Dear hypocrites like Mitch McConnell, who rubber stamped every economic deregulation down the pike for years and now wants us to hold them all blameless: Here’s a word for ya, and one you are familiar with in spades (YouTube): no.  As Duncan asks, is it possible for them to stop genuflecting before cash to try and gin up their own faux populism?   Maybe.  But I sure as hell wouldn’t buy it for a second given their long track record of market worship and "screw you, I got mine" policies, would you?

– Felix Salmon takes a stab at unravelling the AIG bailout.

– The WSJ takes it a step further down the hedge fund road.

– Finally, I don’t think we’ll be seeing this theme in AIG ads in the future — unless it ends with the kid running screaming out of the room in terror: 


 
128 Responses to "AIG Hearing: Roll The Dice On Today’s Testimony"
Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 05:53 am 1

Dude, where’s MY bonus?!?


KayInMaine | Wednesday March 18, 2009 05:57 am 2

If the CEO shows up in a private jet, I hope someone slits it’s tires. Spit.


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 05:59 am 3

Morning Christy,
this is gonna be a doozie


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:00 am 4

I own a business .
If I totally fuck it up ,do I qualify for a bonus or a bail-out ?


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:02 am 5

CSPAN radio lady- Geithner’s going to take the bonus money out of the money we send to AIG.
So the guys who blew the place up still get to keep their bonuses. Mises the point entirely, and makes no sense.


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:03 am 6

you betcha!


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:07 am 7

*Flings Monopoly board off the table*


Knut | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:07 am 8

Good Morning, Christy and all the pups. The AIG business is spinning out of control, and nobody knows where the pieces are going to land. This is the first full-blown crisis facing the new administration. We will see what kind of leadership mettle President Obama is made of in the next ten days or so. The cracks in the facade of American (and British) financial capitalism are getting longer and larger. I don’t think the general American public had any inkling up to now how much money and perks flows to the tiny sliver at the top of the business community. They understood that people who own big companies like microsoft make and earn big money. But they had no idea the level of perks that pass to upper management.

The first time I discovered how sweet it is at the top was when I stayed a couple of weeks with my brother-in-law in Brussels, when he was a top executive (but hardly the very top) at SWIFT. Good salary, paid car (choice of Mercedes, BMW or Volvo); kids education at $50,000 a pop per year; two paid vacations for everybody back to Canada a year; a house paid for that was like a chateau. All this in addition to a more than comfortable base salary. To him and his family, it was all normal. And that’s the way the AIG execs see the world. But the American people were not let in on the dirty little secret.

As they find out, the anger is going to be palpable, and as we all know, it’s not good to act on anger. It is going to take all of President Obama’s skill to keep the lid on.

All for now. I’m off to Paris tomorrow for a three-month teaching stint. Looking forward to the view of here from over there. Change of perspective.


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:08 am 9

(Would rather be playing Edna Krabopoly anyway…)


barbara | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:11 am 10
In response to billybugs @ 4

Only if you’re personally raking in millions of buckeroos.

There is something about that Monopoly picture that somehow reflects changing times and impermanence. Cheesy plastic houses and hotels. Remember the ones that were sturdy little wooden gameboard pieces? Yes, I’m an old fart, living in the past.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:11 am 11
In response to Knut @ 8

Have a wonderful time teaching in Paris. One of these days, I’ll finally get there for a visit — I have heard it’s gorgeous this time of year, so do enjoy yourself!


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:13 am 12

Here’s a word for ya, and one you are familiar with in spades

lol! ain’t that the truth.


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:14 am 13
In response to Knut @ 8

lucky you!


foothillsmike | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:16 am 14

Why is it that when we talk about homeowners who are in trouble the term “moral hazard” always enters the conversation but when we talk about the financial institutions the notion of morality goes out the window.


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:17 am 15
In response to barbara @ 10

I remember wooden Monopoly houses and the metal tokens were more substantial as well 1


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:17 am 16
In response to barbara @ 10

Did you know they have a new electronic version of Monopoly? Instead of all the paper money, each players gets their own atm. My favorite part of the old version was the set up. Counting out all the money.


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:17 am 17
In response to barbara @ 10

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:18 am 18
In response to foothillsmike @ 14

Because the financial institutions are home to folks who regularly give large campaign donations?

Because “screw you, I got mine” applies only to the lower classes?

Because it isn’t really about morality at all for them?

I could keep on going… *G*


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:18 am 19
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 1

Good Morning Christy and Puppies.

If I had a billion, I’d give it to you, -um- I think. Wow, that greed thing is powerful, ain’t it?!

Why else would all those nice people take our money and run.

On you huskies! Mush! Run em down. Then…. what?

Stay tuned, I guess.


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:19 am 20
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 17

little boxes !!!


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:20 am 21
In response to foothillsmike @ 14

You’re right. It’s all greed and selfishness. Both sides. I think we will be hearing about the morality of the big guns moral failures though. The little people are furious. Let’s see, shall we?


goldstandard | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:21 am 22

It’s Geithner that should be giving testimony under oath. According to the WaPo article, Geithner only found out about the bonuses a week ago when according to a write up in the WSJ he actually negotiated these bonuses packages while still being the head of the NY Federal Reserve Bank. Something doesn’t pass the smell test here.


Knut | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:21 am 23

Thinking more about the outrage. The United States public are having one of those ‘recognition’ moments, and what they are starting to recognize is that they live in a plutocracy, not a democracy. That realization is very unsettling to a people who always thought that, despite obvious inequalities, the United States was an essentially fair society, such unfairnesses as could not be explained away being visited on coloured people. But now the unfairness is being visited on the core. It is very hard to know how this will break, but the situation is ripe for a populist demagogue. The main obstacle to his or her emergence is the MSM, which because it fronts for the plutocrats, is not going to give an anti-plutocrat a platform. But should Obama become overtly social democratic, they very well might.

We have seen this scenario play out in other countries in other times.


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:22 am 24

I could never get into Monopoly. The cringe factor was too strong even young. Money should be at work, DOING something for the world, not just an end in and of itself.

But that’s just me. You knew I was kinda weird, didn’t ya?


Bluetoe2 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:22 am 25

Going to Paris gives one a good perspective on the U.S.. Too many Americans live in a bubble giving them a very myopic world view. Go to Paris in May or June.


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:22 am 26
In response to demi @ 16

‘players gets their own atm’

To prepare us for a cash free society!


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:23 am 27
In response to billybugs @ 20

Bring on the Pete!
Are you familiar with all the verses of This Land Is Your Land? He say’s there’s a sign that says No Trespassing, and on the other side, it didn’t say nothin’.
It’s back to our hippie roots these days big time.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:24 am 28
In response to goldstandard @ 22

demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:25 am 29
In response to billybugs @ 26

Yes! And, with a soundtrack of electronic beeps and bonks and a voice that says You are now bankrupt.


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:26 am 30

for your listening pleasure !!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN3rN59


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:27 am 31

I can’t imagine anything less exciting than the prospect of hearing Geithner address a Congressional committee. The last time I heard him speak before Congress my intelligence chip melted.


CalGeorge | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:27 am 32

I refuse to comment until I receive my commenter retention bonus.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:28 am 33
In response to alank @ 31

It is a bit like watching paint dry, isn’t it? Really cheap paint that doesn’t give you good coverage, though.


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:29 am 34

Christy and anyone else:

I thought I saw or dreamed yesterday that there was some pretty fierce criticism of Barney Frank for his part in writing legislation removing/loosening regulations governing the financial industry.

We’re working so steadily at home here right now, I can’t even remember if it was real or imagined.

Was that the truth, or was it some sniping by repugs? Anyone?


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:29 am 35
In response to billybugs @ 30

oh bummer bb, that linky doesn’t work. Could sure use something good to listen to right about now.


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:29 am 36
In response to Knut @ 23

Perhaps a teachable moment? I hope.


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:29 am 37
In response to billybugs @ 30

I can’t play any utubes right now. Computers got a memory problem. Is it Pete?


GregOPauls | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:30 am 38

Guithner will speak to Poluser and she will look like she understands everything. Both will have that dumb look on their face.


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:30 am 39

On a technical issue, your comment box has overflow settings that bring forth the scrollbars on the right and bottom edges of the form. Just thought I’d mench.


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:31 am 40
In response to demi @ 37

yup and my link don’t work and I get get the right one to post !!


klynn | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:31 am 41

I guess I am cynical. I think some saw the $$$ available from the first and second baby boomers retirement accounts. I think someone saw a way to pitch the American Dream of owning a home to many in a risk bracket that in the past would not have qualified. I think some saw the big picture of connecting the two together to play with $$$.

I think some had a grand ‘ol time playing with peoples’ money and debt and they knew the risks were so big, we would HAVE to bail them out. Now it is time to find out who the “we” is and arrest them.

I do not see disconnected finance run out of control everywhere. Paulson knows the end game.

These are bad times to admit you are a risk analyst in banking and insurance.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:31 am 42
In response to alank @ 39

No idea what you are talking about, but I will pass it along to tech people who likely will know.


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:33 am 43
In response to alank @ 31

Is that a slap at yourself or at Geitner? Is he that bad? Does he have to be entertaining to be good. Is there any hint his ideas are constructive and could produce results? I gather the jury is out. Yes? No? (foregoing is not snark)


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:33 am 44
In response to GregOPauls @ 38

No need to be rude. And Pelosi is not on that committee. Membership list here.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:35 am 45
In response to Adie @ 43

I don’t think entertainment was the focus there — I think it was veracity, thoroughness, and fact that transparency ought to be valued over convoluted claptrap — which is pretty much how the last Geithner appearance felt to me.


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:35 am 46

don’t mind me. i’m invisible. i can go anywhere without causing a ripple in the lake when it’s this roiled up.


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:36 am 47

Maybe it only shows up on Firefox for Mac. I’ll go look on Windoze…


cbl2 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:36 am 48

Mornin’ All,

civil and criminal investigation into whether those bonuses were granted as part of an ongoing conspiracy to defraud shareholders — a conspiracy in which the traders were knowing participants.

fyi – per TPM, AIGFPG was criminally charged in 04 –

Cassano’s AIGFP for helping PNC Financial Services conceal assets from off its books… According to a “brokercheck report” put out by the financial regulatory agency FINRA, and unearthed by the blog Zero Hedge, the Justice Department in 2004 criminally charged Cassano’s unit with helping another firm, PNC Financial Services, to conceal certain assets from its books.
In the end, AIG came to a settlement with DOJ and SEC, in which it paid a very hefty fine — $80 million

can you imagine how blatantly criminal your sh* had to be to be investigated by Bush DOJ ?!?!?


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:38 am 49
In response to Adie @ 43

In my view, if your dead-set on obfuscating, that you do it with a bit of elan, so that at least it’s entertaining if not informative.


cbl2 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:39 am 50
In response to Adie @ 34

you weren’t dreaming :D

http://firedoglake.com/2008/10…..-the-bill/


Kassandra | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:40 am 51

MO!


SouthernDragon | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:40 am 52

Ah, one of my favourite trolls has joined us.


Kassandra | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:41 am 53

The kid in that commercial for AIG is so wound up his shoulders are around his ears! Where are the child labors laws??????


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:42 am 54
In response to Adie @ 46

G’Morning Adie.
It happens to me sometimes. I don’t think it’s personal at all.
Have a good one. :)


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:43 am 55
In response to Kassandra @ 53

I think that’s called acting, since he’s supposed to look tense for most of the commercial and then relax at the end…but I might be wrong.


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:44 am 56

I can see the (incipient) scrollbars mentioned above on my Windoze version of Firefox.


IrishJIm | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:44 am 57

I just had a thought. If Congress and my Government can pass a law granting retroactive immunity for violating the law and my constitutional rights, a simple retroactive law allowing the government to sieze the bonuses should not be a major obstacle at all.


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:44 am 58

Question for Christy or some other behind the curtain person:
Can I log on to FDL from another computer with my same username and password?
Am going out of town for 4 days.


selise | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:45 am 59

It is very hard to know how this will break, but the situation is ripe for a populist demagogue

this is what i have been saying for awhile now. the situation here and globally very dangerous and i beg, seriously beg, people here not to in anyway support or amplify right wing populist rhetoric of any kind.

please.


SouthernDragon | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:45 am 60
In response to demi @ 58

Yes.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:45 am 61
In response to alank @ 56

Hmmmmm…I don’t have them on the iMAC with Safari, but I have a larger screen. It does, however, allow me to widen the comment box to the size I want it to be in my version.

In any case, I’ll mention it to the tech folks. Is it a problem for you — or just odd that they are there? Need to know how to put this on the priority fix-it list…


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:46 am 62
In response to demi @ 58

Yes — it’s not tied to any particular computer.


SouthernDragon | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:46 am 63
In response to selise @ 59

Yes, ma’am.


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:46 am 64

The kid in the commercial I think is cloned from Annie Hall.


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:46 am 65

Thanks Christy. Sorry to be so clueless. It’s amazing how quickly one falls behind during crises like this. Sorry to hear Geitner’s not looking terribly effective. Paulson’s no good. Bernanke??? Isn’t there anyone.

This truly seems a Humpty Dumpty moment, with everyone groping around and moaning in helpless fury. No precedent for this level of greed plus lack of regulative control plus electronic toys that allow the bandits to proceed at light speed.

CAN it be fixed? No one has a clue? So we can expect a day of huffing, puffing, and posturing, but not much enlightenment or productive thought at the hearings, my inner troll suspects.

Groan.

Deep thanks to all pups keeping track of this mess and doing what you can. I’ve read some marvelous posts at the Lake lately, and am proud of our community for all of your efforts. I’ll try to keep up as best I can.


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:46 am 66
In response to alank @ 47

I have the bars on my Macbook


cbl2 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:47 am 67
In response to Adie @ 43

the jury may indeed still be out – but so is the Coleman jury :D

as you may recall, many of the more informed voices here were disappointed in the selection of Geitner for Treas.

total insider, with only one job outside the beltway, may have even mucked up some of the Japanese Banking recovery.

was head of NY Fed when Paulson shook the nation down and signed on to everything Paulson wanted – more importantly didn’t want, like accountability and oversight

further, he continues to step on it with his TALF plan – Ian wrote about it day before yesterday and I happen to catch DLC’er Harold Ford touting same plan on the teevee yesterday – Ian and Masaccio make it clear even to financial illiterates like myself, that TALF is the wronnnnng way to go


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:48 am 68

Thank Yew. Going to San Diego to see my daughter who will be there on a business trip. Imagine me sitting by the pool with a hat, sunglasses and her lap top. Big time, Bill. Big time.


frandor55 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:48 am 69

Geithner takes us all for a bunch of rubes, and he is mostly right, unfortunatley. He ’s such a creature of Wall St that he takes it for granted that the banking/corporate elite deserve the rareified lifestyles that most of us can only imagine.

For him there are two Americas and it is not be seriously questioned.


selise | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:48 am 70
In response to alank @ 31

I can’t imagine anything less exciting than the prospect of hearing Geithner address a Congressional committee. The last time I heard him speak before Congress my intelligence chip melted.

our congress has been pretty useless and it’s been extremely frustrating that for the most part it’s only been a couple of batshit crazy republicans who’ve asked good questions and really demanded answers.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:49 am 71
In response to cbl2 @ 67

Geithener got the dreaded “full confidence in him” comment from Obama yesterday, if I recall correctly — or maybe it was spokesperson Robert Gibbs saying it on Obama’s behalf. So much info running across my brain at once these days, it’s tough to keep it all properly catalogued without having to research anew…


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:50 am 72
In response to demi @ 68

Have a great trip! ;->

Hey. Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird are hard at work sweeping cobwebs outta the corners and making plans to build . It IS spring. At least that’s something.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:50 am 73
In response to selise @ 70

I am looking forward to some Alan Grayson questions today. Something tells me he’ll be prepared for this particular hearing. *g*

And that could at least be both enlightening and amusing…


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:51 am 74
In response to cbl2 @ 67

Pretty sure we have more coming up on that, too. Just not sure when it will run…


SouthernDragon | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:51 am 75
In response to cbl2 @ 67

To say nothing of the fact that none of these people see anything inherently wrong with the system. We hear about personal greed, misdeeds, etc., but nothing about the system being devised to enrich just those people who have enriched themselves and their associates as the expense of everyone else.


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:52 am 76

I think it was Gibbs who said that. But, you don’t have to have “full confidence” in me. That might make me worried. *g*


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:52 am 77
In response to demi @ 68

Ahhhhhhh….have a wonderful time. I could use some sipping beverages by the pool with nothing to do time. Enjoy!


cbl2 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:52 am 78

already doubled down on my mid-sunday afternoon marker in the resigns-in-the-best-interests-of-the-nation’s-recovery pool :D

“Tim Geitner is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:53 am 79

oh goodie, love him.
so refreshing.


selise | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:53 am 80
In response to SouthernDragon @ 63

thank you!

and good morning to you SD and all pups.

for anyone who missed it, especially good interviews on democracy now! this morning. first part was on the aig and the economy with robert kuttner and ralph nader and the biggest interview was with mark danner on the icrc report and torture in the bush administration.


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:53 am 81

Re 61:

It’s not something that impairs the blog. It’s just something that shouldn’t be present. I see what you mean about dragging the corner in Safari. I could see the incipient scrollbars on Safari as well. On Windoze Firefox, the up and down arrows are visible. Everything is grayed out (inactive).

Another thing I notice that is a real bug is the erratic behavior of the reply link, which seems to come and go at will.


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:54 am 82
In response to Adie @ 72

A pair of bluebirds stopped by the yard just the other day ,here in central Massachusetts


frandor55 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:54 am 83
In response to selise @ 70

Apparently the “retainment” bonuses provision was stuck in the bill by someone(s) in the House or maybe the Senate? Whether it’s the WH, Pelosi or Reid they are all ratfucks on this particualr incident.
Pure unadulterated 100% Kabuki.


cbl2 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:55 am 84

oh, and p.s. to Jane Hamsher

a little loosely related o/t

Word is that Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces and a staunch superdelegate for presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, is in line for a top post at the State Department, most likely for the undersecretary for arms control and nonproliferation slot

linky


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:56 am 85
In response to cbl2 @ 84

Oh, she heard that one already. *G*


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:57 am 86
In response to cbl2 @ 67

Thanks to you and everyone else for the quick rundown. VERY helpful. You guys are the BEST!!!


SouthernDragon | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:57 am 87
In response to selise @ 80

I’ll catch it between panels. Yesterday’s show wasn’t any slouch either.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:57 am 88
In response to alank @ 81

Yeah — that one we’ve been trying to troubleshoot for a few weeks — can’t find the error buried int he code yet. But they are working on it.


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:58 am 89

Christy
is there any chance we can ever find out conflict of interest investments that members of Congress have?

We can see who donates to their campaigns, but how many own Goldman Sachs stock or AIG stock, for instance?


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:58 am 90

Here’s a little green irony. I’d much prefer to take the train down there. A nice relaxed ride, reading and looking out the window, but it’s cheaper to drive. Until that job comes through, the screeplay sells or I win the lottery – which is impossible since I don’t play – I have to pinch every penny. That’s another reason I’m so excited to get this trip. The gas will be all I have to buy.


selise | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:58 am 91

your brain is probably trying to protect you from excessive pain. from the nyt (ht jimwhite):

New York’s efforts against A.I.G. have overshadowed those of the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, the official who is responsible for the financial bailout, along with the Federal Reserve. The White House and Treasury have been besieged by questions about why Mr. Geithner did not know sooner about the bonus payments due this month, and whether he could have done more to stop them, prompting White House officials to assert President Obama’s continued confidence in Mr. Geithner.

“He more than has the president’s complete confidence,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff. As angry as the president is at the news about A.I.G., which he learned Thursday, Mr. Emanuel said, “his main priority is getting the financial system stabilized, and he believes this is a big distraction in that effort.”


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:59 am 92
In response to billybugs @ 82

;->


dick c | Wednesday March 18, 2009 06:59 am 93

I’m starting to think these AIGFP bonuses may be hush money. Were there specific actions taken by people in govt, or others at AIG and elsewhere that removed “burdensome” restraints on the activities of AIGFP? I wouldn’t be surprised if this was all gamed out well before Cassano started on with AIGFP. If the ability to plunder was foreseen, and worked toward as a goal, then I would be surprised if others at AIGFP weren’t aware of damning details.


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:00 am 94
In response to cbl2 @ 84

Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:01 am 95
In response to selise @ 91

Oh, jeebus. Yeah. Probably. Ugh…Rahm.


CalGeorge | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:02 am 96

Liddy claims they attract the best and the brightest.

They attract the sleaziest and the greediest. That’s because the Wall Street bonus system attracts the sleaziest and greediest.

The lure of huge bonuses is what drove the behavior of the individuals who drove AIG into the ground.

Bonuses brought down Wall Street.


selise | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:02 am 97
In response to frandor55 @ 83

bernie sanders was good on the original tarp legislation. the rest of the senate sucked.

in the house there were a few good ones, but none in the leadership.

the more i watch our D congress the more i am learning to despise them. very sad.


cbl2 | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:02 am 98
In response to Elliott @ 89

saw a link on that yesterday – within the context of the next winger meme rollout – of course Goopers had rec’d more $$$ than Dems – I’ll see if I can find it for ya


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:03 am 99
In response to demi @ 90

I love taking the train. I took the train from Pittsburgh up to NYC when we had that meet and greet with President Clinton and it was just awesome to sit there and relax and watch the scenery roll by with a cuppa tea and a book.

I wish we’d get our act together in this country and make our rail system not only workable but more economical so that people used it more. It’s as though the entire system is designed to fail by making it too expensive for most people in most routes. Oh…wait…


SouthernDragon | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:03 am 100

Shifting to light speed to C-Span 3. Engage.


Leen | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:03 am 101

That guy just said “our magnificant Reps” hogwash. Many are the paid front guys for these AIG thieves


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:03 am 102

demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:03 am 103
In response to demi @ 90

PS…I forgot the obvious…my FDL retention bonus. (Just staying on topic. :)


jayt | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:04 am 104

…today’s House Financial Services committee hearing with AIG execs beginning at 10 am ET.

Today? BWAHAHAHAA!

I am so digging karma in general right now.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:05 am 105

Gregg’s up with a note from Jane’s delivery of the petition and letters this morning


Adie | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:05 am 106

I gotta go…. getting “those” looks from my honey. He needs ice for his knee (replacement just a few short weeks ago), and then we get back to work.

Goodwill gets another pile of goodies today, plus used-book store etc. etc. etc.

I’ve gone to the local liquor store so many times for more boxes, I’m getting stares and weird questions, raised eyebrows and the like.

Sign me, Undeterred and as yet unbeaten….. We WILL get out of here, AND sell our house. somehow…. *slips into harness*

luv to all Pups! ;->


billybugs | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:06 am 107

To all those directly involved in righting this wrong keep the pressure on !
This is an outrage and those involved should be held accountable .

My better half requests some screen time I must go now

Good Bye !


ekunin | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:06 am 108

C. Northcote Parkinson, the observer of bureaucracies, noted that the larger the appropriation the less it is debated. I know from experience it’s true. The outrage over retention bonuses proves the point. The bonuses are less than one percent of the money dumped into AIG. That doesn’t make them right, but why not get upset about the bailouts generally? We don’t because we lose our nerve on the big stuff. It’s why Obama is supposedly considering expanding the war in Pakistan. A general tell him it’s a smart move, and he is too unsure to tell the general he’s full of it. We are in doo doo so deep, the old rules go out the window. Humpty Dumpty can’t be put back together again. I wonder how long it will take for us to see that.


jayt | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:06 am 109

I took the train from Pittsburgh up to NYC when we had that meet and greet with President Clinton and it was just awesome…

name-dropper.

*g*


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:06 am 110

oh blessed news, opening statements limited to 20 minutes each side!


selise | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:06 am 111
In response to SouthernDragon @ 87

yesterday’s program on democracy now!:

- Headlines for March 17, 2009

- Report: Communities of Color Bear Heaviest Burden in Recession

- “Engaging the Muslim World”–Middle East Analyst Juan Cole on US Policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Beyond

- Lawyers’ Group Urges Bush Be Arrested or Barred from Canada in First Trip Abroad Since Leaving Office

and tomorrow, i think i heard, is tariq ali on pakistan.

amy goodman is a national treasure. we are so lucky to have her and democracy now! for a real daily news program.


Leen | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:07 am 112

Christy you pointed out how important it is to watch what congress members do behind the camera…today we will watch them perform for the public watching. How they follow through is the important piece. We are watching.

Will the public get the names of the people ripping taxpayers off?


Elliott | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:07 am 113

JamesJoyce | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:08 am 114

It is time for the “American People” to exercise rights, duties, and obligations, secured by our forefathers in the horrors of war. When our rights and liberties are being stolen and given away to corporate elites more concerned with profit and consolidation of power than with the welfare of the republic, while holding the governed hostage to protect their self interest, to the detriment and chagrin of the people we must act. Inaction is suicide…..

Is Bin Lauden winning the war on terror? Has he used the inherent nature of capitalism and greed against us so now we eat our own? When one views the realities of our economy one thing is clear…. Americans are fighting thee war and it seems the “enemy from within” as feared by Jefferson, corporate elites and aristocrats usurping law under the color of law in the lust for endless profit are using “Bin Lauden” and his quest to destroy America, as a facade to extract vast fortunes and liberty from the American people! hey have succeeded.

Now tight money is by design. Banks….. Insurance….. Wall Street……. all status quo corporate interests control every aspect of American life. Corporate servitude and slavery are only differentiated by severity and the utilities to persuade compliance………………

I thought America did not negotiate with terrorists while taking hostages….


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:08 am 115
In response to jayt @ 109

Alas, I don’t exactly get to take the train very often, given that I live in the middle of frickin’ nowhere. *G*


ratcityreprobate | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:10 am 116

It is beginning to look like AIG is Obama’s Katrina and Geithner is his Brownie.


Leen | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:12 am 117

Sestak ……..most the the brain damaged veterans will heal “except 90,000″ Jesus Mary and Joseph…are you listening Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rummy? “90,ooo” brain damaged for life all based on a “pack of lies” Heaven help us


ekunin | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:12 am 118
In response to JamesJoyce @ 114

Ok James, what’s our next move?


demi | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:13 am 119

MSNBC’s got it live too. Right now anyway.


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:16 am 120

It probably has something to do with user permissions getting bunged up somehow. The multi-user wp is a bit dodgy compared to the mothership product.


Crosstimbers | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:29 am 121

At some point, doesn’t the entire financial brouhaha and ensuing mess begin to feel like a Monopoly game gone to the crapper?

Back in the dark ages, monopoly was one of the games we played a lot, during long hot, boring, pre-airconditioner summer days. In order to keep the other side in the game, we often had to move away from pure market principles and stark economic justice, and allow the other party to land on property without paying. Lately, it’s seemed to me that we’re having to do that on a national basis in order to “keep the game going.” Anyway, it’s the analogy I gave an ultra-conservative friend when he complained about helping losers with their mortgages when he’s played by the rules with his.


JamesJoyce | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:33 am 122
In response to ekunin @ 118

Remember when the “POWER” went out in Manhattan? THE WAVE OF AMERICAN HUMANITY, walking home?

Maybe that wave of humanity should shut down Gaul Street for a few days.

If that does not send a message….. what will Ekunin?


Crosstimbers | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:44 am 123
In response to Crosstimbers @ 121

“…complained about helping losers with their mortgages when he’s played by the rules with his.”

The word losers should have been in parenthesis. It was his, not mine.


Crosstimbers | Wednesday March 18, 2009 07:46 am 124
In response to Crosstimbers @ 123

geez. It didn’t take the correction, just the quote. The point was that the word losers should have been in parentheses.


ekunin | Wednesday March 18, 2009 08:02 am 125
In response to JamesJoyce @ 122

How do we organize it? We are not using the internet to organize other than in a hierarchical manner. Moveon with all its surveys is basically a means for raising money spent by an executive committee. Suppose in NYC everyone left their apartments and stood outside? Not only would people get to know each other, it makes a powerful statement. We have to lose the hierarchical state of mind and take responsibility and we need a way to get in touch with each other. The problem is we don’t know where anyone stands. Election results are ambiguous. We need a way to eliminate the ambiguity.


alank | Wednesday March 18, 2009 08:07 am 126

One further technical note about the erratic “Reply” link (in case Christy decides to review the comments further here):

The following from the stylesheet looks very odd:

html body .diggit br {
display: none;
}

I’m thinking that body should not be there. Nor html.


GregOPauls | Wednesday March 18, 2009 08:34 am 127

Peloser tells illegal immigrants that work site raids are un-American.
This genies must go.


tejanarusa | Wednesday March 18, 2009 12:44 pm 128

Yeah, on NPR Talk of the Nation’s “Poltiical Junkie” segment today, Neal Conan joked w/ Ken Rudin that the Pres. had now twice given Geithner “the dreaded full confidence” expression, “usually the kiss of death.”

I hope so. I think. Just dunno who would be better. I suspect they’ll feel that they must choose someone with Wall St experience.

And y’know, back in Roosevelt’s time, FDR was criticized for choosing Joe Kennedy as the first (I think) head of the SEC-setting the fox to watch the chickens, etc.
But on the principle of “set a thief to catch a thief,” (my the cliches are flowing fast), I understand he did a pretty good job.

I was hoping Geithner might be the same sort, but apparently not.
Maybe, unlike Joe K, he isn’t cynical enough, unable to switch sides.


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