Saturday, March 21, 2009
Some congressional democrats
Now it's Joe Nocera, NY Times.....
You know you're a democrat in trouble when the NY Times isn't carrying your water, let alone fantasizing about showering with you, anymore..........
How does outing these executives fix skewed compensation incentives, which have created that unjustified sense of entitlement that pervades Wall Street? No, it’s mostly about using subpoena power to satisfy the public’s thirst for blood. (In light of the death threats, when Mr. Cuomo received the list of A.I.G. bonus recipients on Thursday, he promised to consider “individual security” and “privacy rights” in deciding whether to publicize the names.)
Then there was that awful Congressional hearing on Wednesday, in which A.I.G.’s newly installed chief executive, Edward Liddy, was forced to listen to one outraged member of Congress after another rail about bonuses — and obsess about when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner learned about them — while ignoring far more troubling problems surrounding the A.I.G. rescue.
Oh, and let’s not forget the bill that was passed on Thursday by the House of Representatives. It would tax at a 90 percent rate bonus payments made to anyone who earned over $250,000 at any financial institution receiving significant bailout funds. Should it become law, it will affect tens of thousands of employees who had absolutely nothing to do with creating the crisis, and who are trying to help fix their companies.
Meanwhile, the real culprits — like Joseph J. Cassano, the former head of A.I.G.’s financial products division— are counting their money in “retirement.” Nobody on Capitol Hill seems much interested in getting that money back. (And the bill does nothing about bonuses that were paid before 2009, meaning that most of those egregious Merrill Lynch bonuses, paid at the end of last year, will not be touched.)
By week’s end, I was more depressed about the financial crisis than I’ve been since last September. Back then, the issue was the disintegration of the financial system, as the Lehman bankruptcy set off a terrible chain reaction. Now I’m worried that the political response is making the crisis worse. The Obama administration appears to have lost its grip on Congress, while the Treasury Department always seems caught off guard by bad news.
And Congress, with its howls of rage, its chaotic, episodic reaction to the crisis, and its shameless playing to the crowds, is out of control. This week, the body politic ran off the rails.There are times when anger is cathartic. There are other times when anger makes a bad situation worse. “We need to stop committing economic arson,” Bert Ely, a banking consultant, said to me this week. That is what Congress committed: economic arson.
A true must read here....
I want to make sure I have this right. Our current economic problems stem from excessive and unbridled consumption. But in order to correct these problems, we need to make sure we consume more than what we currently do.
Is that about right?
My only regret in leaving the gym is that now I have to pay to go in there and blow her some crap for her vote on the 90% AIG tax......
Are you kidding me?
Within a week of going to the Cincinnati Tea Party, she goes to Washington and votes for this mockery of law?
Her quote from the Tea party
"I bet there's 5,000 people here and they're mad, just as I'm mad. They have a right to be mad at the unbridled spending that's happening in Washington,"
Actually Jean, I'm mad because we have a bunch of ding dongs, derelicts and douche bags in congress voting on what appeases the masses instead of voting like a normal, coherent thinking person. And your vote on this just confirmed that you are one of them.
As Marvin Lewis would say "I see better than I hear". I hear you say you are a fiscal hawk, yet I see you vote for a sales tax increase.
I hear you parade around as a fiscal conservative yet I see you seek to confiscate money from people who may or may not have have had anything to do with AIG's troubles.
Remember you voted for the 2nd TARP bill, that doesn't make you a conservative.
Me thinks you are just another in a long line of idiots to man the house of representatives. With this vote, you have just lowered yourself to life form of a senator.
I'm done with her and I don't care if a democrat takes her spot.
You be able to get on a 7:00 train in Detroit arrive in Chicago by noon where you can shoot and kill a high school kid, then be home in time for dinner.
Sounds like a great idea. Well, except that there may be no one left in Detroit by the time it's finished...
Some congressional democrats
Today is Peggy Noonan............
He is willowy when people yearn for solid, reed-like where they hope for substantial, a bright older brother when they want Papa, cool where they probably prefer warmth. All of which may or may not hurt Barack Obama in time. Lincoln was rawboned, prone to the blues and freakishly tall, with a new-grown beard that refused to become an assertion and remained, for four years, a mere and constant follicular attempt. And he did OK.
Such impressions—coolness, slightness—can come to matter only if they capture or express some larger or more meaningful truth. At the moment they connect, for me, to something insubstantial and weightless in the administration's economic pronouncements and policies. The president seems everywhere and nowhere, not fully focused on the matters at hand. He's trying to keep up with the news cycle with less and less to say. "I am angry" about AIG's bonuses. The administration seems buffeted, ad hoc. Policy seems makeshift, provisional. James K. Galbraith captures some of this in The Washington Monthly: "The president has an economic program. But there is, so far, no clear statement of the thinking behind the program."
Can't the poor guy just eat his waffle and vote present?
From the other Limbaugh, Rush that is.....
You want to hear something disgusting? You want to hear something that will make you ashamed of your fellow citizens? New York Times today: "'Scorn Trails AIG Executives, Even in Their Driveways' -- The AIG executive who was nicknamed 'Jackpot Jimmy' by a New York tabloid walked up the driveway toward his bay-windowed house in Fairfield, Conn., on Thursday afternoon. 'How do I feel?' repeating the question he'd just been asked." The media's outside his house, asking him questions. "I feel horrible. This has been a complete invasion of privacy." Hey, Jimmy, who did you vote for? I wonder who James Haas voted for. I wonder who he gave money to. I don't know, I'm just asking.
Mr. Haas walked on, his pink shirt a burst of color on a slate-gray afternoon. The words came haltingly. 'You have to understand,' he said, 'there are kids involved, there have been death threats. ...' His voice trailed off. It looked as if he was fighting back tears. 'I didn't have anything to do with those credit problems,' said Mr. Haas, 47. 'I told Mr. Liddy' -- Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of AIG, the insurance giant -- 'I would rescind my retention contract.' He ended the conversation with a request: 'Leave my neighbors alone.' Too late. Jean Wieson, who has lived down the block for 24 years, had stopped her car in front of Mr. Haas' house before he arrived home. She was angry about the millions of dollars in bonuses paid to its executives. 'It makes me absolutely sick,' she said. 'It's despicable. It's disgusting what these people have done. They should be forced to give every cent back.'" Ms. Wieson, a convenient dupe. Why can't she get mad at the real criminal waste and spending of her own elected officials who are spending her and her family into a debt that they will never see the end of.
Here's the deal, apparently, it's such a sin in this country to be rich and paid well you are going to need to move. Then all these douchebags on the dole are going to say, "Where the hell is John Galt?"
You don't have to be an old Washington hand to spot the telltale signs of a presidency and an administration in serious trouble. There's nothing new about these clues. The inability to get their stories straight--that's a hardy perennial of high-level officials caught in the vise of political embarrassment. A president who skips town to avoid the White House press corps and speak directly to the American people--we've sure seen that before. So in a sense the AIG mess has touched off nothing more than business as usual.
What goes on in Washington usually comes across as background noise to the public, but not this time. Bonuses for AIG executives are like the infamous Bridge to Nowhere--an issue that's broken through outside Washington. And we know it's become a major political problem for the president because he and his administration act as if it has. Here are five signs of this:
1. His allies are moving to protect the president. In a political emergency, this is the highest obligation of everyone in the administration. The president must be distanced as far as possible from decisions that led to the problem, even if he is made to look out-of-touch or actually incompetent.
In the AIG case, Obama is like a cuckolded spouse, portrayed by administration officials as the last person to learn about the bonuses, though he signed the economic stimulus legislation with a provision assuring they'd be paid. A front-page account in the Washington Post played along, absolving the entire administration of blame. Attributed t o "government and company officials," the story said Federal Reserve officials were at fault, having failed to alert anyone in the administration, much less Obama, in a timely fashion.Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said he didn't tell the White House until March 12, two days after he learned of bonuses totaling $165 million and the day before the checks went out. What could Obama do? He was "stunned," the president told Jay Leno last week. Obama said he takes full responsibility for the mess. Then he went on to blame others.
More at The Weekly Standard
Where in the hell is CBS news when it comes to this democratic corruption.....
As we suffer through the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, it seems that aside from constantly vilifying the banks, CEO’s, and “corporate greed,” President Barack Obama and most of the mainstream media that has fallen in love with him aren’t really interested in accountability or figuring out exactly how we now find ourselves in this untenable position.Curious, to say the least.For months, our new president has talked about the need for transparency and bipartisanship. Except on this subject, there is very little transparency. Coupled with that, you have major media outlets like NBC News, CBS News, ABC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times -- all powerful organizations who pride themselves on their investigative abilities -- who basically refuse to have their reporters look into what role Democrats like Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, president and former White House economics policy makers Larry Summers and Robert Rubin, and others played in the economic meltdown.By way of evidence, one need look no further than Frank’s appearance on the March 16th edition of “The Today Show” on NBC where Meredith Vieira helped the Massachusetts Democrat bash AIG, while never once asking him about his role in blocking the needed reforms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.To be sure, you will hear our new president and his supporters in the media blame former President George W. Bush, Republicans in general, and, of course, those evil bankers for a crisis that has wiped out trillions in savings and devastated the lives of millions of Americans.As a conservative, I agree that the former president, a number of Republicans, and some bankers played a real role in this financial train wreck. It would be delusional not to say so. But, as an American, I find it very troubling that Obama, Democratic congressional leaders, and their allies in the media find no fault with Democrats. None. Not only is such conduct irresponsible, it’s dangerous.Why is it that, with their budgets of millions of dollars, the big mainstream media outlets refuse to investigate this story? Is this not the biggest economic story in the history of these media outlets? Don’t they have an obligation as journalists to follow each and every fact to its natural conclusion? Isn’t that supposedly their only reason for being?
Here's the reason. It's hard. And since TV news is populated with attractive, blonde, bimbos, hard is just not going to get done by them.
And because hard takes more effort than ripping an AP piece off the wire, newspapers won't touch it.
But really how hard could it be. Just get some info on Chris Dodd's Irish "cottage". That should be enough.
Allegedly, she wanted to profile a blog post on The Moderate Voice but I never saw a piece on there so I don't know what happened.
In any event, what struck me funny about our email exchange was this comment from her......
"So - while I love the premise of the question re: who will this person vote for, and I think it's a valid one applied to the people you select - knowing of course that you could throw in some white collar criminals who live in urban areas too, yes?"
Well, Jill, honey, this post is just for you.....
Who did they vote for?
R. Allen Sanford
Collectively, these guys stole upwards of about 100 billion dollars from various pensions and personal accounts.
But let's even go the extra mile. With Richard Holbrooke, Jamie Gorelick, Franklin Raines et al.
It's a regular Who's Who at an upper west side cocktail party.
So Jill. Who did they vote for?
Friday, March 20, 2009
Now it's Richard Holbrooke.........
Obama's special envoy Richard Holbrooke served on A.I.G.'s board when the company a) went "over a cliff," and b) approved the now-controversial bonuses. But he'll survive. It's not like he also got special loan deals from Countrywide as a "Friend of Angelo." .... Oh, wait! ... I don't want to know where Holbrooke was when Enron was going down. ... P.S.: Will the White House now have to force three perfectly well-qualified assistant secretaries to withdraw for triviial resume blemishes in order to make up for keeping Holbrooke on? ... [Can we say this is "strike three" if you count each Countrywide loan separately?--ed If you count each Countrywide loan separately it's strike six.] 4:33 A.M.
What would happen if the democratic party was the party of rich, well healed, Wall Street guys?
This story is just breaking. Hank Morris, a top confidant of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, has been indicted for pension fraud for using political connections to steer N.Y. State Pension Fund business for a fee:The ties between Morris and Schumer go back over a decade, to a time when Schumer considered running for Governor of New York. Schumer defended Morris as troubles regarding the Pension Fund began to swirl in 2007:
A political consultant and a former deputy comptroller pled not guilty this morning to enterprise corruption and other charges stemming from an alleged state pension fund scandal.
Hank Morris and David Loglisci were arrested and arraigned this morning in a Manhattan court on 123 counts of enterprise corruption and other felonies.
Prosecutors allege the two engaged in a three-year criminal enterprise to pocket more than $35 million in middleman fees.
They are the first to be charged in a case that took nearly two years to uncover.
State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office investigated whether financial firms were using politically-connected consultants in an effort to get business with the state pension fund.
Morris is a top political consultant to former Comptroller Alan Hevesi and Senator Charles Schumer.
Another reminder in case you ever needed one
Maybe because as a college student our house owned 1) Ford Pinto 2) Chevy Vega 3) AMC Gremlin.
When my one roommate's Gremlin blew up, he replaced it with an AMC Hornet. The other roommate's Vega cracked a block and we pushed to a place where we knew it would be towed so he could abandon it. I had to drive my Pinto back from Cincinnati to Lancaster in second gear because that was the only one I had.
So I have to question any list of the ten cars that ruined Detroit with a skeptical eye when it's missing three of those beauties.
Chevrolet Vega (1970s).Ford Mustang II (1970s).
Chevrolet Nova (1970s).Dodge Omni (1970s–1980s).
Oldsmobile Cutlass and 98 diesels (1980s).
Buick Skylark (1980s, similar to Chevy Citation, Pontiac Phoenix, and Oldsmobile Omega).Dodge Neon (introduced in 1994).
Chevy Lumina (1990s).Pontiac Aztek (2001–2005).
Pontiac Montana (late 1990s/early 2000s, similar to Chevy Venture and Oldsmobile Silhouette).
Case in point......
We are not making this up:
Barack Obama was elected commander in chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history.
This achievement and the overall promise of his historic administration caused the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. to name him "Newsmaker of the Year."
The president is to receive the award from the federation of black community newspapers in a White House ceremony this afternoon.
The Obama White House has closed the press award ceremony to the press.
From the president's official schedule:
"Later in the afternoon, the President and the First Lady will attend a reception with the National Newspaper Publisher Association in the State Dining Room, where they will be presented the Newsmaker of the Year award. This event is closed press."
Now why would a media outlet host a function "closed to the press"? If it is seemingly an event to simply get some award, what the hell is the big damn deal? Why would a respectable media group even allow such a qualifier for an event?
A long time ago, baseball beat writers were employees of the team and not the paper.
In order to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, papers began employing the writers. What became the net effect of the change? Nothing? Why?
Because in order for a beat writer to get a scoop on "the big story", they become the whores of various people in the locker room with their own agendas. As a result, ninety-nine percent the stories being proffered by beat writers are about as inane as that of a press release from the ball team.
The same is true here. The traditional news mediums will carry the water for Obama no matter how poorly he treats them because they all want that one touch with greatness. They will whore themselves out in order to "get the big scoop". All the while, Team Obama just abuses them like a pimp abuses his whores.
And people wonder why newspapers are going under.....
If you are a Hamilton, Butler or Warren county resident getting food stamps despite having a paid off home, you are not welcome.
If you voted for Obama, you are not welcome; that includes you David Brooks, Kathleen Parker and Chris Buckley.
However, if you pay the taxes that will pay your neighbor's mortgage (the mortgage you never got to review before he signed it) and/or you are not going to be a Treasury Dept. appointee soon. You are most certainly welcome.
That should leave us with quite a small and intimate crowd.
First it was President Obama trying to break all precedent and run the 2010 census from within the White House. While the administration finally backed down from that politicization of the census, it clearly hasn't learned its lesson. Now it is having ACORN officially "partner" with the Census to help count the number of Americans in the country. It's like Santa trusting a child to tell him how many times he or she has been good in the past year.
We could write a book on the false voter registrations submitted by ACORN. There are bizarre stories, such as one from Cleveland, where ACORN employees reregistered the same individual 77 times, even though the individual kept on telling the ACORN workers that he was already registered. But ACORN's people kept offering to bribe him with cigarettes or money to get him to fill out another form. Similar examples from across the United States are too numerous to count.
King County (Seattle) election officials were forced to remove 1,762 voter registrations submitted by one group of ACORN employees. Five employees were sentenced to jail. The Delaware County Times noted that out of 2,000 fraudulent voter registration forms in that Pennsylvania county, nearly every single one was filed by ACORN. Chicago had 10,000 false registrations. Criminal indictments and convictions have been leveled in numerous states.
These Obamunists are getting more ridiculous by the day....
What about Bill Moyers, D, PBS.
Should the first name on this list of inquiries be Bill Moyers? Repeated attempts to get the precise details of the financials between Moyers and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have been rebuffed for years. Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard explored this situation in some depth back in 2002, eliciting this irritated quote from Moyers about his public funding:
When I asked Moyers if he sees any irony in the fact that he's a wealthy man owing in no small part to his long association with public television, the MVP of PBS told me that he's no different from any other public servant--fireman, policeman, or teacher. But when I reminded him that their salaries are matters of public record, he once again reverted to the status of private contractor.
"I make the same disclosures any privately held company makes," he insisted. "I am an independent producer who has made a decent living, by choice in public television as opposed to commercial television. I'm not Enron."
Well, as of today, the hounds are loosed. In the world of Barney and Andy everyone has a right to know who gets public money of any kind and how much. So, what's up with PBS, NPR and its parent Corporation for Public Broadcasting? Are they the AIG of the media? Are they still ladling out monies above the caps? And isn't time for Bill Moyers to do the right thing like those scoundrels on Wall Street? If they take the bucks, we need the info or Andrew Cuomo will sue and Barney Frank will issue subpoenas. Go to it, gentlemen.
I guess he gets a liberal reprieve for outing homos back in the 1960's
Well except paying them.
Today's tax scumbag if Pete Stark, D, Paradise............
On the same day the House whooped through a 90% surtax on some bonuses, Bloomberg News reported that Democratic Rep. Pete Stark, a House eminento from California, may have been improperly claiming residency in Maryland to get a tax break. As you might guess, Maryland's tax bite isn't as deep as wonderful California's. This follows on news reports last week that Democratic New York Congressman Eliot Engel has been told by Maryland authorities he too may not claim his suburban Maryland home as his primary residence for tax purposes. The AP noted, "Engel isn't the only politician who's been found to be improperly receiving the credit. Another Congressman, some U.S. Senators and several Maryland legislators have also been tripped up by the requirements."
Oh my. If New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank are going to try to make public the names of bonus recipients to help mobs demonstrate in front of individuals' homes, perhaps Maryland's tax authorities could do the same for out-of-state politicians who've turned the state into their personal Liechtenstein. No doubt millions of average Joes living in such tax hells as New York and California would love to work on the taxpayers' dime in Washington and live in a low-tax jurisdiction nearby.
The first appearance by a sitting president on "The Tonight Show" may well end up being the last.
President Obama, in his taping with Jay Leno Thursday afternoon, attempted to yuk it up with the funnyman, and ended up insulting the disabled.
Towards the end of his approximately 40-minute appearance, the president talked about how he's gotten better at bowling and has been practicing in the White House bowling alley.
He bowled a 129, the president said.
"That's very good, Mr. President," Leno said sarcastically.
It's "like the Special Olympics or something," the president said.
When asked about the remark, the White House said the president did not intend to offend.
"The president made an off-hand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics," White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said. "He thinks the Special Olympics is a wonderful program that gives an opportunity for people with disabilities from around the world."
More at Tapper, the only media member not looking to service the president's member.....
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wal-Mart Stores Inc is awarding approximately $2 billion to its U.S. hourly employees through financial incentives, including handing out $933.6 million in bonuses on Thursday, after the world's largest retailer gained market share amid a recession.
In a memo to Wal-Mart employees obtained by Reuters, Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke said the retailer is awarding roughly $2 billion to U.S. hourly employees, which includes $933.6 million in bonuses, $788.8 million in profit sharing and 401(k) contributions, millions of dollars in merchandise discounts, and contributions to its employee stock purchase plan.
The Walmart management would do anything to undermine the unions, even paying their employees more than union shops.
Kansas lawmakers want to know whether a Johnson County nonprofit used its political connections to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to get a special funding increase last fall.
But a hearing into the matter Wednesday left lawmakers with more questions than answers.
Lenexa-based Community Living Opportunities was awarded nearly $713,000 in extra Medicaid funds. The group serves developmentally disabled Kansans, primarily in Johnson and Douglas counties.
At the time, the agency’s board of directors included Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates, a Sebelius confidant, and his former law partner, Dan Biles, whom Sebelius appointed to the state Supreme Court this year. Lew Perkins, the University of Kansas athletic director, also serves on the board. Biles has since stepped down from the board.
The allegations come as Sebelius, a Democrat, awaits U.S. Senate confirmation to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicaid.
I've gone through my pick and I have Louisville winning it all.
For me, that's like picking the Taliban or Duke as a national champion.
Regardless, despite a winning streak of three straight pools in the early nineties (I was even banned from the pool in year four), I've pretty much been out of it by the end of the first weekend ever since.
So this year, I went with the Bizarro Gordon Strategy. Who ever Gordon would pick on a toss up game, I'm taking the opposite.
That mean the PAC - 10 better kick ass this year.
Some congressional democrats
Today it's Nina Easton..........
Trying to decipher where President Obama really stands on free trade can be like trying to trace the U.S.-Mexico border with a Google map. There are words, and there are actions - but there is mostly that long squiggly line in between.
Here are the words: "Trade is an important engine for economic growth," Obama declared during last week's visit by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. One month earlier, as NAFTA partner and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper stood at his side, he said, "We have to be very careful about any signals of protectionism."
Here are the actions: a "Buy America" provision in his stimulus bill; and in the omnibus spending bill he just signed, the cancellation of a NAFTA-created pilot program allowing limited fleets of regulated Mexican trucks to use U.S. highways.
And here are the squiggles: The Buy America provision was watered down to make it virtually toothless. And earlier this week, when Mexico threatened to retaliate over the trucking cancellation by imposing tariffs on U.S. goods, the White House insisted the program isn't kaput - it's just, well, being refined.
The Mexican government clearly didn't find the White House's latest squiggle to be a satisfying response. On Wednesday, the country released a list of products - ranging from Christmas trees to pet food and toilet paper - that would be subject to retaliatory tariffs. That sounds pretty close to the kind of trade war President Obama has insisted he's eager to avoid.
Sen. Chris Dodd for the first time Wednesday acknowledged he was instrumental in creating legislation that cleared the way for disgraced executives at taxpayer-rescued AIG to walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
The Connecticut Democrat also had to explain the receipt of more than $100,000 in campaign donations from AIG workers, including some from Leonid Shekhtman of Redding.
Dodd vowed to return any tainted contributions from company executives, but that issue will likely be dwarfed by the huge AIG executive bonuses.
In an interview Wednesday afternoon, the senator said he had hoped an amendment he drafted to limit executive pay under last year's Targeted Asset Relief Program would have ruled out hefty bonuses.
"I thought we covered that," Dodd said. His amendment passed the Senate, but was later relaxed by the conference panel that works out differences between versions of legislation passed in the two chambers of Congress.
But later Wednesday, Dodd told CNN he agreed to change his amendment -- at the request of the Obama administration -- to ensure that previously enacted bonus contracts would be honored, despite billions of dollars that would go to bailout beneficiaries.
"The alternative was losing the amendment entirely," he told the network. Administration officials feared that without the language the bailout measure would be deluged with lawsuits.
Now if he'll just give up that million dollar Irish Cottage, his sweetheart mortgage deals, etc, we'll call it even.
It was a day of outrage on Capitol Hill. Outrage that AIG, recipient of almost $180 billion in federal bailout money, is paying out $165 million in "retention awards" to hundreds of employees, including 73 bonuses of $1 million or more and 11 payments to people who no longer work for AIG.more.....
As CBS News and others have documented, that outrage is disingenuous coming from lawmakers who have known about the pending bonuses for months.
In particular, it's disingenuous coming from anyone who voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (a.k.a. the Obama stimulus package). The stimulus bill included provisions to limit executive compensation at companies receiving federal bailout money. But it also stated explicitly that the limits would not apply to bonuses agreed to prior to Feb. 11, 2009.
For several days, news organizations have been trying to determine who put that clause in the bill. The Treasury Department, reeling from the bad PR associated with propping up AIG while letting the bonuses go forward, pointed its finger at Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.The administration official said the Treasury Department did its own legal analysis and concluded that those contracts could not be broken. The official noted that even a provision recently pushed through Congress by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, had an exemption for such bonus agreements already in place.The Treasury's linking Dodd to the provision allowing the bonuses is true, but, again, disingenuous and misleading.
Dodd put the amendment in the stimulus bill limiting executive compensation with no grandfather clause. Under pressure from the Obama administration and the Treasury Department (the same Treasury Department pointing its finger at Dodd), he was forced to add the grandfather clause or abandon his amendment altogether.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Service Employees International Union, considered the most influential union in the nation, has notified the union that represents about 220 of its national field staff and organizers that 75 of them are being laid off. In return, the workers' union, which goes by the somewhat postmodern name of the Union of Union Representatives, has filed unfair labor practices charges against SEIU with the National Labor Relations Board. The staff union's leaders say that SEIU is engaging in the same kind of practices that some businesses use — laying off workers without proper notice, contracting out work to temp firms, banning union activities and reclassifying workers to reduce union numbers.
"It's completely hypocritical," said staff union President Malcolm Harris. "This is the union that's been at the forefront of progressive issues, around ensuring that working people and working families are taken care of, but when it comes to the people that work for SEIU, they haven't set the same standards."
SEIU officials say the layoffs are part of a long-running plan to reallocate resources. Its national office will devote more of its resources to lobbying and communications in Washington to take advantage of Democrats' ascendance. Most organizing would be left to local chapters, where officials say they have identified dozens of openings for the laid-off staff.
"This is not a financial issue," said SEIU President Andy Stern. "We need to respond to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity our members created by helping elect President Obama."
More specifically, why is the SEIU laying people off?:
Harris said his union's understanding is that the layoffs are the result of budget troubles faced by SEIU, which, on top of the California dispute, spent $80 million during the 2008 election and is planning to spend tens of millions more to advocate on behalf of Obama's health-care plan and card check.
From Big Hollywood.....
I’ve been searching for the video of Obama accidentally reading Irish PM Brian Cowen’s speech yesterday. He even thanks himself at the end! Apparently his teleprompter went loopy.
If this were GWB, the video would be everywhere, yet I can’t find a clip on the Internet of a public press conference that took place yesterday. It will come out, but this is amazing.
Thank Sky News for doing its job:
Mr Cowen stopped, turned to the president and said: “That’s your speech.”
A laughing Mr Obama returned to the podium to take over but it seems the script had finally been switched and the US president ended up thanking himself for inviting everyone to the party.
Mr Obama is an accomplished orator but is becoming known in America as the “teleprompt president” over his reliance on the machine when he gives a speech.
Be afraid everyone, be very afraid.Update: 10:30 am PST: Still no video released. This is the third Obama gaffe with no video. First the wrong door incident at the White House, then the helicopter head bump and now this. A dangerous precedent is being set here. If any other politician made this kind of blunder it would be everywhere
Some how I'm guessing that if Sarah Palin did the same thing, there'd be plenty of Youtube videos out there......
Meet Gerry Pasciucco (second from the right)
Old Gerry heads the AIG Financial Products Unit, aka the group responsible for bankrupting the country.
From the American Thinker
The gentleman second from the right in the picture below, Gerry Pasciucco, heads the AIG Financial Products unit. "We learned over the weekend", reads a letter dated March 17 from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to Rep. Barney Frank, that AIG had, last Friday, distributed more than $160 million in retention payments (bonuses) to members of its Financial Products Subsidiary, the unit of AIG that was principally responsible for the firm's meltdown."Nice to see he loves Che, probably what makes him an Obama supporter.....
After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.
Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.
The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.
So riddle me this Batman. How is it that we can entrust a multi ton incendiary device loaded with hundreds of innocent people to a guy who can't carry a gun on board to protect said incendiary device from evil doers?
So I'm not really sure what being a "follower" of this blogs actually means. I just know that we have seven of them now.
Regardless, I appreciate each of you folks who signed up to follow the blog.
After tax season, I'll come up with some way to make that worth your while. Maybe I'll get congress to offer up some AIG bailout bonuses for each of you.
And maybe I'll remember that facebook password so I can have some friends.
The White House on Tuesday struggled to explain how it was caught short on the AIG bonus scandal, after promising unprecedented transparency and accountability in the new administration.
“I don’t have a particular tick-tock in front of me,” spokesman Robert Gibbs said, in an hourlong briefing dominated by questions about AIG.
Instead, Gibbs tried to shift focus to looking forward at how the administration would prevent similar embarrassments in the future.
“I am confident the oversight process is working,” he said.
By their own admission, the White House was not aware of the AIG bonus programs until last week, and Gibbs could not say when President Barack Obama became personally aware of the bonuses. The spokesman also did not know whether the Treasury Department or the Federal Reserve has oversight of the massive insurer.
Gibbs did say the president “has complete confidence” in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, an increasingly embattled figure at the center of a spiraling financial and public relations mess.
White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, appearing on CNBC, repeated the administration’s refrain about the “outrageous” bonuses and also dodged a question about who knew what, and when. “Geithner, as soon as he learned about these bonuses, was focused on them, was in touch with the company, was making clear the government’s expectations within the law,” Summers said.
AIG, recipient of $180 billion in federal bailout funds, is in the process of paying out $165 million in employee bonuses. The company claims it is obligated to make the payouts under contracts signed in April 2008.
Even before the AIG scandal erupted, a poll by the Pew Research Center found 87 percent were either angry or bothered by the federally funded bank bailout. Several polls have found an erosion of support for Obama’s economic policies, even as his personal popularity remains strong.
For Obama, the AIG scandal marks a stark transitional moment between what the new administration promised to do, and what the realities of governance will permit them to do.
After briefly addressing the bonus issue on Monday, Obama retreated to a series of semiprivate events Tuesday and took no questions from reporters. He left Gibbs to deal with a press corps increasingly in clamor for answers — and not getting many.
Barack Obama even needs a teleprompter to get mad.
On St. Patrick’s Day, the president spoke a bit of Gaelic, dyed the White House fountains green and talked about his distant relatives in the tiny Irish town of Moneygall, aptly named since money and gall are the two topics now consuming him.
But Mr. Obama is still having trouble summoning a suitable flash of Irish temper at the gall of the corrupt money magicians who continue to make our greenbacks disappear into their bottomless well. He’s got to lop off some heads.
As he watches the fury of ordinary Americans bubble up at those who continue to plunder our economy, he should keep in mind one of my dad’s favorite Gaelic sayings: “Never bolt the door with a boiled carrot.”
His lofty team of economic rivals is looking more like a team of small forwards and shooting guards. At the White House on Monday, the president read reporters some tough talk from the teleprompter about the chuckleheads at A.I.G., accusing them of “recklessness and greed.”But it was his own boiled carrots who acted shocked at bonuses that they should have known were coming, and should have dismantled before handing A.I.G. another $30 billion two weeks ago. It is bad enough that the billions are being laundered through A.I.G. to the likes of bailout double-dippers Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of America, not to mention foreign banks.
Today is some congressional democrats..........
Barack Obama’s Big Bang Theory of Governance is starting to face its first big test among the new president’s fellow Democrats.
At the White House Tuesday morning, Obama began the day with a sharp push-back against the idea that his far-reaching agenda on health care, energy and other initiatives is too much, too soon.
As Obama’s remarks echoed on Capitol Hill, it soon became clear that the skeptics are not just Republicans.
There is rising doubt among Democrats — particularly moderates already concerned about the big costs and deficits called for in Obama’s budget — that either Obama or Washington have enough bandwidth this year to stimulate the economy, overhaul the failed financial sector and move on to a far-reaching domestic agenda.
“From the standpoint of the Congress, there’s only so much that we can absorb and do at one time,” Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told POLITICO Tuesday. “To maintain a schedule like the one we’ve got at this moment, throughout the year, I don’t know if it will be healthy.”
Democrats’ comments were muted, with few directly criticizing Obama for being too ambitious. But several lawmakers made clear that they have trouble with Obama’s logic that deep economic troubles make it more urgent, not less, to take on expensive projects such as health care and education reform.
I also noticed the number of people in my neighborhood who, like me, get up every morning and roll out of our driveways every single day at 6:30 am to make a buck.
So I'm wondering who carried which demographic. In last year's election, which candidate took the "up at 2:45 am on a school night shooting at each other on a freeway" voters and which candidate took the "get up at 6:00 am to go to work" voting block?
Call it thought of the day
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
A Pennsylvania defense research center regularly consulted with two "handlers" close to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) as it collected nearly $250 million in federal funding through the lawmaker, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post and sources familiar with the funding requests. The center then channeled a significant portion of the funding to companies that were among Murtha's campaign supporters.
This from all places..... Daily Kos..........
But while the ire of Congress and the media focus are on the $165 million that AIG paid out in bonuses to their executives, the president is hoping you won’t notice the $100 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars that AIG paid out to other banks, including $58 billion to foreign banks and $36 billion given to French and German banks alone.
The Obama administration is allowing AIG to bail out the rest of the world with your tax dollars.
So by all means, the president is happy to have you railing at “evil” but relatively small potatoes AIG executive bonuses, as it points your outrage away from his own far more costly executive abuses.
And of course, the re-distributor-in-chief hopes you won’t notice where much of the rest of the AIG bailout cash is being spent.
While $58 billion of your tax dollars — or more accurately, your children’s tax dollars — are being used to pay foreign banks, a substantial portion of that money ($43.5 billion) is being used to pay American banks, including Goldman Sachs, Merill Lynch, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wachovia, Morgan Stanley, AIG International, and JP Morgan.
The following recipients of President Obama’s trickle-down-to-my-donors bailout plan rank among his top 20 contributors to his 2008 presidential election campaign, according to Open Secrets:
Goldman Sachs: $955,473
JP Morgan Chase & Co.: $646,058
Morgan Stanley: $485,823
Three other banks that were significant contributors to Obama received money through AIG:
Bank of America: $274,493
Lehman Brothers, which did not survive long enough to join the list of banks leaching off the work of the American taxpayer, also gave the Obama campaign $276,088.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm said today she would support a graduated state income tax in return for eliminating a much-criticized surcharge in the Michigan Business Tax.
Granholm said she has talked with legislators and business people about a constitutional amendment to change Michigan's flat income tax -- now at 4.35% -- to a graduated tax in which more affluent taxpayers would pay a larger percentage than lower income taxpayers.
Granholm said such a plan would need overwhelming support because it would require a statewide ballot to amend the constitution. Business groups and conservative tax advocates have long opposed a graduated income tax, while liberals have supported the concept.
Probably why Michigan is an armpit today.
To the right is a schedule reporting the circulation increases since 1990.
Is it a coincidence that the more liberal the paper the larger the circulation drop?
I think not.
When papers quit carrying the water for all things democrat, they'll start the process of gaining readers again.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Over at Open Secrets.org they have the campaign contributions listed from employees of the famed company.
And guess who comes in first? Well, at least, during the years all this mess was going on?
|Cycle||Total||Democrats||Republicans||% to Dems||% to Repubs||Individuals||PACs||Soft (Indivs)||Soft (Orgs)|
Now obviously, AIG contributions mirror the party in power.
But ask yourself this question, what are democrats doing for AIG that makes it appetizing for them to give to democrats.
I'm guessing Barney and Chris know......
[T]he movie industry ... is pleading in state capitals across the country for most-favored-tax status. Hollywood productions are highly mobile and can film just about anywhere. So they have taken to shopping around the country -- and the world -- for the most lucrative tax avoidance deal.
According to the Motion Picture Association of America, nearly 40 states have corporate tax carve outs or generous cash rebates to lure movie studios to their states. ...
The Hollywood studios are ruthless profit maximizers and are expert at playing state suitors against one another. In the midst of California's recent $42 billion budget showdown, producers threatened to leave the state if the legislature didn't offer more inducements. So lawmakers in Sacramento gave the industry a new $250 million deal to stay put. ...
Of course, this is the same Hollywood film industry whose members fund causes and candidates that favor raising taxes on everyone else. ...
The movie industry's tax machinations are irrefutable evidence that low tax rates do affect business decisions. As a general principle, however, states shouldn't chase smoke stacks or film production crews with specific tax breaks. It makes much more sense for cities, states and the federal government to lower tax rates for everyone. New York City can survive without Alec Baldwin and "30 Rock," but it can't function without the thousands of small businesses that pay taxes without the benefit of lobbyists and loopholes.
1) Rhode Island
6) New York
What did the article attribute the frauds to?
Rhode Island topped the list of most troubled states, trailed by Florida, which held the number one slot in 2007. Reports of fraud in Rhode Island were three times what was expected given the number of loans made there.
Next on the list were Illinois, Georgia and Maryland, which landed among the top 10 for the first time in the study's 11-year history and stood out as having the highest percentage of fraud on tax returns and financial statements. It shot up from the 15th slot in 2007.
"With fewer loan originations today, the data suggest that the economic downturn may have created more desperation, causing more people than ever before to try to commit mortgage fraud," said Denise James, one of the study's authors.
But see I see 8 states that supported Obama in the past election. Could it be that democrats are just lyin', cheatin', assholes?
Read the rest here.....