Thursday, April 02, 2009

This Will Piss You Off...

Think The AIG Bonuses Angered You?  Wait ’til You Read This.
Because You Keep Allowing Them Their So Easily Accomplished Theft.

“And This Is The Type Of Stuff The AIG Scandal Was Meant to Hide.”


In its last days as an independent company, Merrill gave performance-based bonuses exclusively to employees earning $300,000 a year or more and holding a rank of vice president or higher, according to their financial statements.  $3.62 billion was handed out to these executives - a sum equal to 36.2 percent of the $10 billion in taxpayer funds that were allocated to Merrill as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) before the bonuses were paid.  [Told you it’d piss you off.  It DID piss you off - Right?]

[ h/t to The Smirking Chimp Blog for the above.  Full original article at linked here. ]

Video Quote of the Day via Crooks and Liars

As their website makes clear, FPI [Foreign Policy Initiative] intends to re-brand and mainstream-ize neoconservatism as a “reasonable” and “moderate” — and of course “serious” — alternative to the rising tide of isolationist sentiment in American politics (the fact that no such tide of isolationist sentiment is rising in American politics is entirely beside the point.)  This strategy was evidenced in the morning’s first panel, as Robert Kagan praised President Obama’s “gutsy and correct decision” on Afghanistan, but warned that “the United States is at a tipping point between desire to maintain extensive engagement in the world, as it has done since World War II, and the temptation to pull back…[Obama] has decided to maintain the commitment.”

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =  <  B e l o w  T h e  F o l d  >  = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

A “Below The Fold” Bonus Article...

Is Obama's Car Czar Plotting to Crush the Auto Unions?

By David Sirota, posted March 1, 2009.
Obama put corporate raider Steve Rattner in charge of overseeing the
auto industry and his “plan” seems to be to crush the autoworkers.

Remember Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street?  Specifically, remember how Gekko’s en- tire scheme for the airline industry was based on crushing the blue-collar union that Bud Fox’s dad (Martin Sheen) was part of?  Welcome to a real life version of that story, starring corporate raider Steve Rattner, who President Obama appointed to head the White House team now overseeing the auto industry (and don’t say you weren't warned).

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Rattner’s strategy is to use the government’s leverage to try to specifically crush auto workers and force them to accept even more contract concessions than they’ve already agreed to:

DETROIT -- President Barack Obama’s recovery plan for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC appears to take aim at union retirees, a usually reliable Democratic constituency.  After studying the plight of the companies, the president’s auto task force concluded GM and Chrysler’s survival is dependent on greater concessions from the United Auto Workers union.

The White House has total leverage over the situation because the UAW knows that if the indus- try doesn’t get the loans it needs, it will be forced into bankruptcy court, where judges will shred labor contracts (somehow, AIG bonus contracts are sacrosanct, but union worker contracts can be shredded in a heartbeat).  Indeed, many analysts believe this is the administration’s ultimate goal.

IMHO, The most immoral part of this is the specific targeting of retirees.

As opposed to younger workers, retirees often can’t get another job or go back to work because of obvious physical limitations.  As one retiree said, “What 85-year-old can go out and get another job?”

I'm not saying that the auto industry’s legacy costs are sustainable - not at all.  But I am saying that when you put Gordon Gekko in control of government policy overseeing an industry, you are inevitably going to get a policy that assumes workers are the big problem.  If you had a different kind of team, you may have a policy that says, for instance, we have to create a robust universal health care system before throwing retirees off their existing health care.

Last I checked, we have enough money to create that system just lying around ready to be handed out to Rattner’s Wall Street friends.  Hell, $8 trillion will get us a damn good universal health care system, won’t it?  Yes, it will - but it will also buy a lot of yachts for AIG execs, and when you have Gordon Gekko making public policy yachts come before health care.

David Sirota is a best-selling author whose newest book, "The Uprising," was just released this month. He is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network -- both nonpartisan organizations. His blog is at

[ Above title is direct link link to the original article. ]


At 4/02/2009 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Just fucking goddamned wow.

At 7/19/2009 8:51 AM, Anonymous Gary said...

The "Czar" title is partly bullshit that should be dumped. I hate to play into even MORE Right WIng anti-Liberal word games.

One, we don't have czars. Czars were pre-communist Kings. It's a department head. It's just a euphemism from back when Reagan created a "drug czar" to have sweeping enforcement and policy authority within the Executive Branch. I believe that meant "head of the DEA".

Unaccountable power of Agencies in the Executive IS a legitimate problem libertarians have raised -- there are no checks by Congress. ESPECIALLY the DEA, which has basically granted all Law Enforcement permission to ignore the Bill of Rights.

But "Obama's 34 Czars" just means he hired 34 managers. The term "czar" does not mean that he's a "communist dictator".

Two, every President can hire staff, without approval of Congress. (I heard that weird argument.)

Three, it's appropriate for the government to manage bankruptcies. That's how it works.

Four, it's true that the Auto Industry is so large that it makes sense for Government to step in and fix things .... for "national security" for chrissakes, if you want to put it under that umbrella. Bush put everything under "national security", including tax cuts for already wealthy billionaires despite the absence of any crisis.

I'm not against "too much power" per se.

But hiring a Wall Street specialist in Mergers and Acquisitions --- fully-liberated corporate finance capitalism at it's greatest --- to manage Auto Industry bankrupcty is destined to be a full frontal attack on Union Workers.

How long before the govt starts hunting down and shooting "renegade" union workers like in South America and like the US a few decades ago in the 1930s?? (Look up Black Legion and General Motors)

Will Fox News cheer on the hunters and killers? You Betcha!!


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