28 March 2009

In defense of liberty

Timothy Geithner, 9th President of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY: 17 NOV 2003 - 23 JAN 2009.

Gerry Pasciucco hired by AIG to close Financial Products division, WaPo 21 FEB 2009:

Then there is the thorny issue of the employees who remain at Financial Products. They are literally working themselves out of a job. As each set of business falls away, so do the people working on it.

"In a situation like this, it's hard to keep everybody on task, motivated, focused. People know they are going to be out of jobs," Pasciucco said. "So they are constantly doing that calculus in their heads, as to what's left in terms of what I get paid here? What can I get paid in a new career? When should I start my new career?"

For the better part of two decades, Financial Products had been a place where workers raked in princely sums, even by Wall Street standards.

Since the collapse, many Financial Products employees have lost nearly two-thirds of their compensation under the firm's deferred payment plan, in which bonuses are doled out over several years based on the firm's profitability.

"It's like the stock going to zero," Pasciucco said. "It's been wiped out."

Still, employees who stick around are eligible for hundreds of millions of dollars in retention payments -- half next month and the rest in March 2010 -- a practice that has roiled some members of Congress and further stoked public anger. Executives say the payments are justified because few people possess the expertise to handle the mind-bending transactions at Financial Products.

NY Office of the Attorney General tells AIG to hand over names of individuals receiving bonuses: Letter of 16 MAR 2009 -

We have requested the list of individuals who are to receive payments under this retention plan, as well as their positions at the firm, and it is surprising that you have yet to provide this information. Covering up the details of these payments breeds further cynicism and distrust in our already shaken financial system.

In addition, we also now request a description of each individual's job description and performance at AIG Financial Products. Please also provide whatever contracts you now claim obligate you to make these payments. Moreover, you should immediately provide us with a list of who negotiated these contracts and who developed this retention plan so we can begin to investigate the circumstances surrounding these questionable bonus arrangements. Finally, we demand an immediate status report as to whether the payments under the retention plan have been made.

We need this information immediately in order to investigate and determine: (l) whether any of the individuals receiving such payments were involved in the conduct that led to AIG's demise and subsequent bailout; (2) whether, as you claim, such individuals are truly required to unwind AIG Financial Product's positions; (3) whether such contracts may be unenforceable for fraud or other reasons; and (4) whether any of the retention payments may be considered fraudulent conveyances under New York law.

From Fox News, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) 16 MAR 2009:

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley suggested on Monday that AIG executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves.


"I suggest, you know, obviously, maybe they ought to be removed," Grassley said. "But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.

"And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology."

Grassley spokesman Casey Mills said the senator is not calling for AIG executives to kill themselves, but said those who accept tax dollars and spend them on travel and bonuses do so irresponsibly.

Timothy Geithner demands money back from AIG, Congress springs into action: CNN 18 MAR 2009 -

Sens. Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are the chairman and top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, respectively. They said companies would not be allowed to restructure the payments to those executives through deferred compensation to avoid the tax.

Grassley and Baucus said all retention bonuses would be subject to a 35 percent excise tax for excessive compensation to be paid by the company and an additional 35 percent tax to be paid by the individual.

AIG contributions to candidates from 1998-2008 we find, on pg. 3 from OpenSecrets.org and the Center for Responsible Politics:

Baucus, Max (D-Mont)

Grassley, Chuck (R-Iowa)

For the last 10 years from AIG, the sum total of contributions to politicians:

  1. Chris Dodd (D-Conn): $281,038
  2. George W. Bush (R-TX): $234,560 (Total)
  3. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): $111,875
  4. Barack Obama (D-IL): $110,332
  5. John McCain (R-AZ): $99,249
  6. Max Baucus (D-Mont): $90,000
  7. John Kerry (D-MA): $85,000
  8. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn): $75,400
  9. John Sununu (R-NH): $69,049
  10. Hillary Clinton (D-NY): $61,515

If you add Bill and Hillary Clinton together they then go right under Max Baucus.

The Fix - White House Cheat Sheet by Chris Cillizza WaPo 18 MAR 2009:

After two unsuccessful attempts by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to deal with the growing chorus of questions from the podium, the administration released a time line of events indicating when they became aware of the AIG bonuses.

Last Tuesday -- March 10 -- was when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner first heard about the bonuses. The next evening Geithner spoke with AIG CEO Edward Liddy to express his dismay over the situation and tasked his legal team with finding a way not to stop the bonuses. On Thursday, Geithner told "senior aides" at the White House about the AIG bonuses and later in the day President Obama was informed. Geithner spent the weekend trying to re-negotiate the bonuses with Liddy -- to no apparent end.

Timothy Geithner pushed for bonus loophole: CNN 19 MAR 2009 -

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN Thursday his department asked Sen. Chris Dodd to include a loophole in the stimulus bill that allowed bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.

In an interview with CNN’s Ali Velshi, Geithner said the Treasury Department was particularly concerned the government would face lawsuits if bonus contracts were breached.

Watch: Geithner on AIG bonuses

Dodd admitted to CNN Wednesday he’d added the controversial provision after a Treasury official pushed for it. Earlier in the week, Dodd had said he had not played any role in the addition of the loophole.

Geithner told Velshi Thursday he takes full responsibility for the situation.

What did he know and when did he forget it? Many in Government Knew Weeks Ago About AIG Bonuses, NYT 20 MAR 2009:

Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, responded by saying that executive pay in the financial industry had gotten “out of whack” in recent years, and pledged to crack down on exorbitant pay at companies like A.I.G. that were being bailed out with billons of taxpayer dollars.

The exchange took place before the House Ways and Means Committee on March 3 — one week before Mr. Geithner claims he first learned that the failed insurance company was about to pay a round of bonuses that have since caused a political uproar.

A Treasury spokesman, Isaac Baker, said in a statement on Thursday night, “Although Congressman Crowley raised the issue of the bonuses two weeks ago, Secretary Geithner was not aware of the timing or full extent of the contractual retention payments or the other bonus programs until his staff brought them to his attention on March 10.”

Mr. Baker said that after Mr. Geithner had been briefed on the bonuses, he called Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G., and “insisted that they be renegotiated and restructured, in light of the extraordinary assistance being provided by taxpayers.”


Career staff officials at the Treasury, Fed and Federal Reserve Bank of New York exchanged e-mail messages about the A.I.G. bonus program as early as late February, according to a person familiar with the matter. A.I.G. itself revealed the bonus plan in regulatory filings last September.

In November, when the bailout of A.I.G. was restructured, Treasury and Fed officials negotiated the terms under which A.I.G. could make the retention payments. And in December, Democratic lawmakers sought a hearing about the payments.

A.I.G., which incurred staggering losses through its sale of complex financial instruments tied to mortgage-backed securities, has received more than $170 billion in capital infusions, loans and credit lines from the federal government since last September, and is about to get $30 billion more.

A.I.G. executives have insisted that they informed the New York Fed about the bonus plan, and that they assumed the New York Fed was informing the Treasury.


As early as December, two Democratic lawmakers had vociferously and repeatedly complained about the bonuses, and one of them went so far as to demand the resignation of A.I.G.’s chief executive.

But both Mr. Geithner, and the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke, were preoccupied at the time with multiple crises. The nation’s banks were reeling from as much as $2 trillion in mortgage-related losses. The recession was deepening and unemployment was soaring.

Mr. Bernanke’s team at the Fed and Mr. Geithner’s team at Treasury, moreover, were reluctant to impose what they viewed as “punitive” and possibly self-defeating pay restrictions on companies being bailed out.

In early February, Mr. Geithner opposed a provision in the economic stimulus bill that would have slapped a steep tax on the kind of bonuses that A.I.G. was about to pay.

If A.I.G.’s plan to pay out an additional $165 million in bonuses came as a surprise to Mr. Geithner, it did not come as a surprise to staff at the Treasury, the Federal Reserve in Washington or the New York Fed.

Staff at all three agencies had been in daily communication with each other about A.I.G. ever since the Fed agreed to lend the company $85 billion in September in exchange for almost 80 percent of the company.

In late November, after A.I.G.’s plight became worse and the Treasury jumped in with a $40 billion capital infusion, the three agencies negotiated cuts in bonuses and salaries for many of the company’s top executives.

Officials at the New York Fed carried out the most direct oversight of A.I.G., and they were well aware of the coming bonus payments, said a person familiar with the matter.

ACORN bus tour of rage chronicled at NYT where press outnumber 'protesters' with pre-printed signs on 21 MAR 2009:

The exotic land was a residential neighborhood here in one of the wealthiest places in America, Fairfield County, where, at the end of a cul-de-sac a short walk away, an A.I.G. executive lived. The pastor, the steelworker and about 40 others slowly made their way up the street, past the house with the four-car garage, as an international press corps numbering about 50 chronicled every step.

Jake Desantis, Executive VP at AIG resigns in open letter, via NYT 24 MAR 2009:

Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.

The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.

Federal Reserve seeking more power: Tapping AIG Furor, Regulators Seek Power to Seize Nonbanks, Online WSJ 25 MAR 2009 -

The government's top financial regulators are channeling widespread outrage over retention bonuses at American International Group Inc. to quickly win authority they have sought for much of the past year to seize nonbank companies and freeze their contracts.

The House Financial Services Committee plans to vote as early as next week on legislation that would give the government that authority. Federal officials already have such power over banks. The Obama administration is pushing for fast action on the issue, even before Congress tackles a broader overhaul of financial regulation.

Political 'activists' threaten the lives of private citizens doing something legally under contract:  NBC Connecticut - 26 MAR 2009 - Threats to AIG: "We Will Get Your Children".


  1. Timothy Geithner was head of the NY Fed during the entire time of 'lax regulators',
  2. Timothy Geithner knew that bonuses were in the bailouts, starting in SEP 2008,
  3. Senators Baucus and Grassley get PO'd over an amendment put in by Senator Dodd at the OK of Timothy Geithner,
  4. Timothy Geithner can't keep his story straight on what he knew and when he knew it,
  5. All bonuses were under the supervision of the Federal Reserve since SEP 2008,
  6. All bonuses are legal contracts that the US Government has approved,
  7. All money to pay such bonuses via AIG went through due diligence and prior warning by AIG starting in SEP 2008,
  8. All money paid to AIG is obligated by the Federal Government in proper payment of contractual agreements,
  9. Andrew Cuomo at the same time unleashes an extortion plot against AIG executives to force repayment of bonuses,
  10. ACORN has been cited in numerous voter registration fraud cases, pushing low interest loans via its housing unit, lobbying DC lawmakers, contributing to political campaigns to back its political agenda, was founded by embezzlers, aided and abetted illegal trespass of buildings, undercuts local organizers to hog the spotlight for itself to cut deals good for it and not the locals, aided Barack Obama's rise to power in Chicago, uses intimidation tactics against local politicians, garners tens of millions in grants via Barack Obama's Senate earmarks, and prevents Union organizing within its own structure and fights unionization, stages 'protests' at banks to get money in loans to those who can't repay them, has a political unit to 'help' people who cannot repay their home loans, (all of which I looked at with this article),
  11. With threats to AIG executives and faux protests, President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner seek 'more power' to go after non-banking firms after demonstrating such non-skills already loaned to them,
  12. The power to do so is not granted to Congress by the US Constitution and even the Federal Reserve is not on the best of grounds considering US Political history and prior views of Constitutional limits on what government may or may not own even temporarily.

What is it called when threats, intimidation and harassment up to and including death threats are deployed to gain unwarranted and unconstitutional power for the State by threatening individuals and private firms?


When the government can target such a small subset of individuals for punitive taxation on legally garnered funds allowed by the government, they can target individuals.  To do so in coercive means utilizing faux outrage to garner more power is Fascism.

The patina of private ownership is left, but the State then controls who does and does not have the right to own ANYTHING.

That is an abrogation of liberty.

These actions are not only illegal they are unconstitutional.

As happened to make the Revolution: Government did not listen to its citizens nor give them voice into what could be done in the way of government and taxation; Government imposed its will on its citizens to make them subjects; Government sought to stifle dissent; Government sought to disarm the population; Government got a Revolution for liberty and freedom against it.

In those days it was called Tyrannical and Despotic, we now refine those means to be Fascism and Communism.

In using such means it is government 'Crossing the Rubicon' against individual liberty and freedom, and overstepping its bounds.

And now there is this (H/t nicedeb via AoSHQ): Obama volunteers hunt budget support in Birmingham, Alabama grassroots campaign, The Birmingham News, 22 MAR 2009-

Volunteers fanned out across the Birmingham area and Alabama Saturday to pump up enthusiasm for President Barack Obama's budget proposal in much the same way they did to win over voters during the presidential campaign.

About 30 volunteers in Birmingham canvassed shopping areas and other high-traffic locations to talk about the need for health care reform, an education overhaul and environmentally friendly energy development.

"If we don't change these three things in the next 10 to 15 years, America is over as we know it," Chris DeHaven, told the group of volunteers before they went their separate ways.

Obama's plan faces criticism from Republicans and others who say it's too expensive. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report Friday saying Obama's agenda would cause huge budget deficits, forcing the country to borrow $9.3 trillion in the next decade.

Those who gathered at Kelly Ingram Park in downtown Birmingham were urged to enlist others who share Obama's vision and to stay away from trying to convert naysayers.

"We're looking for supporters," said DeHaven of Hoover, one of the event's organizers. "We're not looking for a fight. That will come later, when we have an army."

Asking for private citizens from the Presidency to canvass in a political way for purely partisan legislation is seeking to dictate to the population what it 'should' do.  Notice that they are to shy away from 'dialogue'.  These people want a monologue where they tell YOU what to do and think.

In a previous era these people went by shirt color designation: Black Shirts for Mussolini, Red Shirts for Stalin, and Brown Shirts for Hitler.

First they come to dictate.  Then they come to intimidate.  Then they start 'liquidating' those who disagree with them.

It is not Jacksonians who give up dialogue.

But we sure, as hell, know what to do with those who DO when they have an 'army' to fight.

Ask the Nazis.

Ask Imperial Japan.

Empire builders and dictators and their sycophants are not welcomed to monologue with me.

Do notice that it is not the Jacksonians who raise talk of 'armies' to 'change America'.

As Jacksonians have told folks for decades: "We did not start this fight.  But we sure, as Hell, will END IT."

That is the first, last and only warning those who seek those ends will ever get.

I am prepared to defend my liberty.

I do suggest that you be prepared to defend yours from those who will no longer listen to you and who only know the language of threats, intimidation and denigration of you as a citizen.


K T Cat said...

This whole AIG thing has been a clinic on how not to manage a company. Just what they plan to do after everyone quits is beyond me.

A Jacksonian said...

Just put it through bankruptcy and let it re-organize and shed the useless stuff.

Same with GM, Chrysler... anyone who got a bailout needs to re-organize and go through bankruptcy. A few might shutter their windows and lock up, but those will then be held by creditors. That is the known and viable solution, as it is a process that is well documented. Nothing is too big too fail. And the moment it does get that way it is a threat to liberty and really shouldn't need any support on its own... maybe even get broken up to help things along.

But supported?

In a failed business plan?

Why on earth do that?