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Class War For Idiots / February 3, 2010

millman1

It’s that time of the year again when AIG’s executive bonuses are announced…and as every American raised on sitcoms knows, this means it’s that time in the show when the plot-twist causes the audience to gasp, and the camera cuts to a close-up of [NAME OF HORMONALLY-CAPABLE ACTOR-OF-COLOR] who delivers the viewer-pleasing catchphrase: “It’s outraaaaageous!”

And this year we weren’t disappointed: Ken Feinberg, the pay czar that couldn’t, yesterday denounced AIG’s reported $100 million bonus payout to the taxpayer-subsidized executives, calling it “outrageous.” However, as much as the bonus payout kept Feinberg and the rest of Obama’s economic team up at night, denouncing the injustice of it all, sadly, there just ain’t a doggone cottonpickin’ thing he can do about it. We’re a nation of laws, Feinberg told ABC this morning:

“These bonuses are the result of contracts entered into before the Tarp law was even implemented. These are old grandfather contracts that have the legal force of law,” Feinberg said on Good Morning America.

Whatchoo talkin’bout Kenneth!

jj walker2

If’n you think you’ve heard that line before, folks, that’s because you have. March 2009, to be exact. That’s when the first AIG bonus scandal briefly erupted, and Obama’s economy czar Larry Summers went on another ABC show, This Week, to drop the new catchphrase on host George Stephanopoulos:

President Barack Obama’s top economics adviser, Lawrence Summers, said that insurance giant American International Group’s plan to award senior executives hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and retention pay is “outrageous.”

“There are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last 18 months, but what’s happened at AIG is the most outrageous,” said Summers, chairman of the White House National Economic Council, during an appearance on “This Week” Sunday.

Dy-noh-mite!

Like poor Kenny Feinberg, much as it pained Larry Summers, his hands were tied by a higher moral calling–our nation’s laws. And hey, who’s gonna argue with that, huh? What are yuh, a lawbreaker or something?

Summers argued today that the Obama administration has sought to limit the AIG bonuses.

“We are a country of law. There are contracts. The government cannot just abrogate contracts. Every legal step possible to limit those bonuses is being taken by Secretary Geithner and by the Federal Reserve system,” Summers said.

“What the Obama administration has done, based on the advice of attorneys, is done everything that it can to, within the law and within the tradition of upholding law that we have in this country, to limit these bonuses. And they have as a result of Secretary Geithner’s efforts been scaled back,” he said.

I got it! I got it! And I gots ta–OW!–reeeport it!

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

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24 Comments

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  • 1. Seymour Butz  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Does this mean Larry Summers and Ken Feinberg will intervene if the deadbeat hippie who owes me for two dime bags of the chronic doesn’t pay up? Does the sanctity of contract mean nothing?

  • 2. franc black  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Just glad that over the years the worst of the tricksters settled in the warmer climes and not up here in Canada.
    It’s cold here, but we benefit in other ways.

    At some point, the USA will have to renege on its debt, disband into smaller units, and plow forward once again.

    I say we let Alaska become a Territory; Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the rest of the northern layer join existing Canadian provinces. Membership includes Health care, efforts at Peace, and solid public education. Oh yeah, you can keep your hunting rifles if you simply register them.

  • 3. Rubicon  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Isn’t Gitmo still open? “Nation of laws”, “the government cannot just abbrogate contracts”. Bullshit! Don’t we own 80% of AIG stock? Or is it the non-voting fuck me up the ass common stock? Just rendition one or two of the top bonus earners from AIG. Watch the other bonuses get “returned voluntarily”. And while you’re at it, send Summers’ fat ass for some water boarding. Or maybe just aerobics, bet that’d be torture for him.

  • 4. Wenjo  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Outraged that these exec’s did something we told them they could do. So outraged that we will let these same companies finance the advertising for our future elections. It’s an abomination!

  • 5. 16 Shells from a 30.06  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    The glorious master class will always have excuses for why fucking us over is what’s called for. The Rubicon here is that we-the-people believe them.

  • 6. Brian  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    and yet labor unions are forced to renegotiate their contracts all the time.
    legally protected salaries and benefits are for the wealthy only.

  • 7. Alexius  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the invitation, franc black. I’ve been advocating for Michigan to secede and join Canada for a long time. If Wisconsin and Minnesota come along, Canada will have two of the Great Lakes wholly within its borders and halfsies on the other three.

    I’ll happily register the armory and adopt Canadian style “socialism”. Hell, i’ve even do the real Canadian thing and tattoo the flag somewhere on my body.

  • 8. Jane  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I’m another Michigander all for joining the Great White North. I think the Great Lakes states need to break off before the Southwest decides to siphon all our water away. I understand the Canadians are just as good as plundering natural resources as Americans, but free health care? Sign me up!

    Regarding corporate bonuses, why don’t lefties advocate mass debt default? Because it would actually work?

  • 9. motorfirebox  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Jane, mass debt default would, I think, trigger a *real* financial crash due to the derivatives which ride on those debts.

  • 10. Geoduck  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Canada, heck. I think that us in Washington state, British Columbia and Oregon could do pretty well as an independent country. Hydroelectric power, good farm land, a tech base. Cut a deal with Alaska for oil, and we’re set..

  • 11. GRG  |  February 4th, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Why do you think the powers that be were so frantic about insisting that AIG and the like were “too big to fail,” then using that notion to effectively prevent anyone from discussing that thing that every other business in trouble has ever faced, i.e. bankruptcy.

    Remember, bankruptcy does not mean an instant cessation of business or any of that…just ask most of the nation’s airlines, who regularly drift in and out of bankruptcy (and you would think that national airlines are at least as important as banks, and are also thus “too big to fail”). No, the problem is that if these banks used the age-old, well-settled-in-law solution of bankruptcy like the rest of us, then it would open their business shenanigans up to review by trustees and courts which might be harder to buy off, and there would be every LEGAL right to review and adjust contracts, including in particular ridiculous, untied-to-reality compensation packages.

    So yes, under well-established American law there is every ability to review and “re-negotiate” these contracts…well, unless you’re blessed by being “too big to fail….”

  • 12. Carl the Druid  |  February 4th, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Washington state, British Columbia and Oregon as an independent country?

    pfffttt. You guys would be constantly raided by renegade Chinese pirates all the time. If not Chinese then other international pirates. No Navy equals no defense. Besides Alaska would be so easy for the Russians or Chinese to get and the liberals in Cali block drilling for those 5 – 10 billion barrels RIGHT off their coast.

    The pacific states can break off the the liberals will always do something to ruin it.

  • 13. Carl the Druid  |  February 4th, 2010 at 7:51 am

    “I think the Great Lakes states need to break off before the Southwest decides to siphon all our water away.”

    Are you retarded or just a f%ck head? none of the great lakes water goes to the south west it goes down south.

  • 14. Jane  |  February 4th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    It’s about Great Lakes water being diverted, not where the water flows naturally, dumbshit.

    “In October 2007, then-presidential candidate Bill Richardson of New Mexico called for a national water policy to consider redistributing water to needy areas — saying the West was suffering needlessly while places like Wisconsin were “awash in water.”

    Richardson had a point: We are awash in water compared to the rest of the nation. The Great Lakes contain 6 quadrillion gallons of surface water — about 20 percent of the available fresh water in the world.

    A University of Alabama professor, around the same time, unveiled a detailed plan to pipe Great Lakes water to the arid sun belt, and a Georgia congressman proposed a federal commission to oversee all water matters, including those involving the Great Lakes.”

    http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2008/03/water_is_the_great_lakes_areas.html

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/great-lakes-journal-whiskeys-for-drinking-waters-for-fightin/19065634/

    Whether the water can be diverted to the southwest is not the point. The point is protecting the Great Lakes from anyone who wants to divert it elsewhere, treefag.

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  • 16. Rubicon  |  February 4th, 2010 at 11:51 am

    @Jane: Regarding corporate bonuses, why don’t lefties advocate mass debt default? Because it would actually work?

    Mostly because those “lefties” are feeding at the same trough of dough as the “righties”. These political crack ho’s will suck any dick to get their fix.

    Re derivatives, my usual analogy is one where you have your house, and you have an insurance policy on that house in case of fire. But imagine that 10 (or 100) other parties also have an insurance policy that pays out if your house catches fire. I can bet you sooner or later, your house is going to catch fire because it’s in someone’s best interest.

    As for the derivatives behind the debts, yes, defaulting would call those into play. However, derivatives are complete made-up and useless. We have something like $60 Quadrillion in worldwide derivatives. The entire value of property, goods, production, etc on the whole planet is only some $100 Trillion or so (forgive me if I left out the valuation on your ultra rare Frampton Comes Alive 8-track). So we have claims of 600x more value than there actually is on the planet. If your pension fund has bought some of these derivatives, they will have to admit that they have nothing. Bankers, pigs and like lower forms of life do not like to admit they have nothing.

  • 17. Raymond Cline  |  February 4th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Ames you can seal your legacy by organizing some sort of mass rally against Larry Summers, or at least do to him what Dan Savage did to Santorum.

  • 18. badnewswade  |  February 10th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    You know what? I’m coming round to the opinion that the system works. The public get everything they deserve.

    They deserve to get fleeced by fat cats and politicians, they deserve to get sent off to die in pointless wars, they deserve to drive cars that go flat out and smash them into brick walls at 100 miles an hour. They deserve everything they get and more.

    I’ll give you an example. I just posted a link to the campaign for a “robin hood” tax on banking transactions. Straight away you had “it’ll trickle down to us”… “they’ll just put up bank charges”… and even “they should sort out all the benefits fraudsters”. And these fuckwits are my fucking friends for fucks sake.

    The public? Bunch of stupid, right wing arseholes who swallow every piece of insane, nonsensical propaganda as if it was gospel. Fuck them. Fuck them in the ear.

  • 19. adolphhitler  |  February 10th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    @13 and 14..you’re both dumb shits…great lakes water flows north east down the st lawernce…all we have to do is build a pipeline from the mississippi or missouri to the colorado and the whole fucking country can move to the southwest

  • 20. adolphhitler  |  February 10th, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    p.s….have you canadians thought of all the black, ghetto gangbangers that will come with the michigan deal?…better hang on to those unregistered guns

  • 21. paul cripps  |  February 10th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    you fuckin americans are amazing. most of you are fat, stupid, non book reading fuckwits. you watch fag action heroes from hollywood for a couple of hours in a theatre just so you can pretend your not complete pussies. 10s of millions of you think the planet is around 5000 years old ,are you fucking kidding me, and what about the millions of rapture inbreds. why would your elite not fuck you over , you are gift.stop complaing and take it in the arse like you deserve you weak pricks.

  • 22. adolphhitler  |  February 11th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    @21…dear paul, i hate it when you are right…sarah palin and the rest of the jesus freaks may take us down

  • 23. Antonio B.  |  February 12th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Ames, I worship you. I am willing to wait as many days or weeks for your new story as it takes!

  • 24. Antonio B.  |  February 12th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    You Make Me Smile


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