Thursday, 19 March 2009

THE HOUSE FINANCIAL AFFAIRS DISGRACE

Ken Berwitz

The house financial affairs committee met yesterday to attack and insult Edward Liddy; a good man who accepted a thankless job. 

I don't know how he put up with it.  If it were me in that seat, I'd have told them all to go eff themselves and walked out. 

I'll show you why I say that.  But, first, a quick timeline to refresh your memory:

-July 14th, 2008 :  Barney Frank (or, as I call him, Barney Fudd) is asked about Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae.  He says:

"I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They're not the best investments these days from the long-term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward.

They're in a housing market. I do think their prospects going forward are very solid. And in fact, we're going to do some things that are going to improve them.

-September 16th :  The government lends AIG 85 billion dollars.  This is approved by the Democratic congress and signed by the Republican President. 

Congress did not address the bonuses at all.  Not one stipulation about them.  The loans, therefore, remain contractual obligations.  

In fact, Senator Chris Dodd, or Chris Dudd as I call him, added language that specifically protected those bonuses - something he subsequently denied doing, and now is admitting to (nice show of integrity, senator.  I don't call you Dudd for nothing);

-September 18 :  Two days after the government money was lent without preconditions, Edward Liddy, a hugely successful corporate executive, was appointed to head AIG.  Mr. Liddy was good enough to come out of retirement and take this job - at a salary of $1 per year.  That's right $1.  He did it entirely as a good samaritan.

Obviously, Mr. Liddy had nothing to do with agreeing to the bonuses.  They were in place before he joined the company.  And, since congress didn't address the bonuses at all, Liddy had no legal basis for denying them. 

If the money came with specific stipulations preventing bonuses from being paid, AIG could have been forced to choose between getting the loan or trying to negotiate the bonuses away.  But congress gave the company no reason to make that choice. 

Who's fault is that? Liddy's or congress? 

And didn't every Democrat on the house financial affairs committee vote in favor of the loan?  Did even one of them try to stop bonuses from being paid? 

-March 11, 2009 :   A $410 billion dollar spending bill, inundated with almost 9,000 earmarks, which had been passed by the Democratic congress, is signed into law by the Democratic President.  The earmarks total almost $8 billion dollars.  The President ran on a promise that he would not sign legislation that had earmarks.

Now let's fast-forward to yesterday. 

The house financial services committee, chaired by Barney Fudd, demanded that Mr. Liddy attend the meeting and be questioned by committee members. 

When Mr. Liddy came in, instead of being treated with even minimal respect, he was relentlessly attacked and insulted by the committee's members - most especially its Democrats.  Mr. Liddy was treated as though he personally negotiated and agreed to the bonuses he was contractually obligated to give out.

The "high point" of this public lynching was when committee member stephen lynch (D-MA), who may be the single most repugnant jerk on the committee (and any committee with Barney Fudd on it makes that a special challenge), unleashed a five minute tirade, during which he called Liddy "stupid", "arrogant" and a bunch of other names based on his presumption that Liddy was responsible for the bonuses. 

Incredible!  Every sarcasm and every insult lynch tossed was directed at the wrong man !  What an idiot lynch made of himself!!!!!!!!!

But lynch wasn't through.  After his repulsive torquemada imitation, based 100% on his own ignorance, he disdainfully asked Mr. Liddy "Do you have anything to say for yourself". 

Mr. Liddy said: 

"Yes sir, I do.   You have generously used the word 'you' in that construct.  As I mentioned, these contracts were all put together before I was at AIG.  I would not have done these contracts this way.  And this whole arrangement, if it existed, would have looked a whole lot different. So I really do, I really take offense sir, at the use of the word....

...at which point lynch broke in and sneered "Well, offense was intended, so you take it rightfully sir"

In other words, lynch made a five minute speech personally insulting Edward Liddy for agreeing to bonuses he had exactly nothing to do with.  And then, upon being reminded that Liddy was the wrong man, tossed an even stupider insult (if that's possible). 

You can watch the video of lynch make a complete idiot of himself by clicking here.

 Congratulations to the voters in the 9th district of Massachusetts, for electing this amazingly pompous, nasty ignoramus to represent them.

Incidentally, lynch's district abuts Barney Fudd's.  Maybe there's something in the water in that part of Massachusetts.

I could go on, and talk about what a horse's ass Fudd made of himself too, along with other members of his committee, but I think you get the idea.

So why is this happening?  Why are we being diverted to this three ring circus over 165 millon or so dollars in legal, agreed-upon bonuses.

-Is it so that we aren't thinking about Barney Fudd's involvement in the Fanny Mae/Freddy Mac disaster?

-Is it so that we aren't thinking about the Democratic congress passing the legislation which loaned AIG this money without any stipulations regarding the bonuses that would be paid out?

-Is it so that we aren't thinking about the 9,000 earmarks in last week's $410 billion dollar spending package?

Yep, turn 'em into a howling mob over that $165 million, and you can hide the hundreds upon hundreds of billions you're responsible for.

Keep 'em ignorant and you own 'em.


TAX CHEAT PETE, THE CHARLIE RANGEL WANNABE

Ken Berwitz

From www.bloomberg.com, via The American Thinker:

the seemingly endless list of Congressional tax cheats

Rosslyn Smith
According to
Bloomberg, yet another Congressman is cheating on his state property taxes.  Representative Fortney H. "Pete" Stark, Jr. the second-ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, has been claiming as his primary residence a waterfront home in Maryland for purposes of that state's property tax credit.    

Homeowners in Maryland qualify for the tax credit for residences they use "for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver's license, and filing income tax returns," according to the Maryland Assessment Procedures Manual.

Bloomberg reports that Stark, age 77 is registered to vote in California's 13th congressional district using the address of is wife's parents.  Both Stark and his wife also hold California driver's licenses.

charles rangel, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, is a serial tax cheat who should have resigned from congress or been ousted, and should be in jail right now.

Apparently his second in command is no better.

But, as Democrats, media gave rangel's scandals the two-days-and-out treatment, and I doubt you'll see much of anything about stark, except from Bloomberg.

It's good to be a Democrat.........


CENSORING THE WORD "TERRORIST"????

Ken Berwitz

There are so many bad things happening in Barack Obama's fledgling administration that it is genuinely hard to keep up.

Here is another of them, courtesy of Tim Graham at www.newsbusters.org:

Obama-Speak: Homeland Security Secretary Replaces 'Terrorism' With the Term 'Man-Caused Disaster'

Even as President Obama compares bankers to suicide bombers, his Homeland Security Secretary is suggesting the T-word, terrorism, is too inflammatory and representative of old-fashioned "politics of fear." She's announced a new term: "man-caused disaster." From an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel:  

SPIEGEL: Madame Secretary, in your first testimony to the US Congress as Homeland Security Secretary you never mentioned the word "terrorism." Does Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pose a threat to your country?

NAPOLITANO: Of course it does. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word "terrorism," I referred to "man-caused" disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.

But what if the suicide bomber is a female? Isn't it sexist to use "man-caused disaster"?

We're demonstrating preparedness for all risks that can occur by not calling terrorists terrorists????????

In the past I've written positively about Janet Napolitano because, as Governor of Arizona, she took a strong stand on illegal immigration.

But, reading this, it's hard not to question her intelligence, her competence and maybe her sanity.

Does she call housewives "domestic engineers" too?

BOBW A MAN CAUSED DISASTER CAN BE THE RAPING OF A FOREST TO BUILD SOMETHING THE RAPE CAUSES A LANDSLIDE THAT KILLS 3000 PEOPLE- ARE WE SAYING HERE IT IS THE SAME AS INTENTIONALLY TAKING A PLANE INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER THAT THIS TOO IS A MAN CAUSED DISASTER WHO THE HELL ARE WE KIDDING HERE A F-------ING TERRORIST IS A F---ING TERRORIST- GET F-----ING REAL MR. OBAMA OR OSAMA- KINDA RYMES (03/19/09)


THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES ON A BILL OF ATTAINDER

Ken Berwitz

Bill of Attainder

Definition: A legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial.

The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed."

All they are missing is hoods and torches.

From the Associated Press:

House to vote on 90 percent tax for AIG bonuses

WASHINGTON The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money.

"We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent," said Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel said the bill would apply to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others, while excluding community banks and other smaller companies that have received less bailout money.

House Democratic leaders unveiled the bill as the head of embattled American International Group Inc., which has received $182 billion in bailout money, testified about $165 million in bonuses paid out in the past week to about 400 employees in its Financial Products unit.

Edward Liddy, who was brought in last year by the government to run AIG, told a House subcommittee Wednesday that the company was contractually obligated to pay the bonuses but that some of the recipients have begun returning all or part of them.

Liddy said that on Tuesday, he had "asked those who have received retention payments in excess of $100,000 or more to return at least half of those payments." Some have "already stepped forward and returned 100 percent," he added.

Lawmakers rushed to the microphones after word of the bonuses was leaked out by the government over the weekend. Bills were quickly drawn up in both the House and Senate to impose heavy new taxes on them.

The top two members of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday announced a bill that would impose a 35 percent excise tax on the companies paying the bonuses and a 35 percent excise tax on the employees receiving them. The taxes would apply to all companies receiving government bailout money, but they are clearly geared toward AIG.

President Barack Obama, who took office just under two months ago, told reporters Wednesday that his administration was not responsible for a lack of federal supervision of AIG that preceded the company's demise.

But Obama added, "The buck stops with me."

Obama said his administration was consulting with Congress on creating a new "resolution authority" to seize giant institutions like AIG including all their toxic assets whose collapse in normal bankruptcy could cause calamity in the financial markets.

Republicans have pointed their criticism at Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, questioning how much he know about the bonuses in advance and efforts by the administration to stop them. And they complained anew about being locked out of discussions earlier this year when Democrats decided to jettison a provision in the economic stimulus bill that would have revoked the payments.

"The fact is that the bill the president signed, which protected the AIG bonuses and others, was written behind closed doors by Democratic leaders of the House and Senate. There was no transparency," said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

Let's make no mistake about this.  It is a COVER-UP.

These sacks of excrement are the ones who voted for AIG's bailout without any stipulation regarding bonuses.  These are the ones who insisted that a vote be taken without time for anyone to read what they were voting for. 

And these are the ones who now, after the fact, don't like what they voted for so they are going to ignore the constitution and try to pass a bill of attainder to get the money back. 

Instead of apologizing for their own incompetence, they are going to use the constitution as a doormat in an effort to divert responsibility for their actions.

Beyond the fact that it is unconstitutional, and little other than a coverup for their own malfeasance, the fact that serial tax-cheat charles rangel is spearheading this effort is actually turning my stomach.

And, by the way, WHY should AIG employees receiving these bonuses be treated this way?  What did they do wrong?  They agreed to a compensation package that included the bonuses.  When the government bailed out AIG it didn't demand that they be rescinded, did it?  

Whether we like the amount or not (and I assure you that I don't), AIG and the employees agreed to and contracted for those bonuses.  They are as entitled to them as any congressperson is entitled to his/her salary.

And since the congress has done nothing but screw up for years, up to and including allowing the AIG bonuses, will they vote a 90% tax on their salaries?  How about on the countless perks they get as congresspeople, which I've blogged about in the past?  Don't expect that vote any time soon.

This unconstitutional singling out of AIG employees may make "the people" happy for a day or two - until they realize what is actually being done and what kind of precedent it sets.  But if there is any justice in the world, it will then cause one of the biggest backlashes in political history. 

It takes time, but most folks eventually realize that what goes around comes around.  Today it's AIG executives.  But tomorrow it might be people they care about -- maybe even themselves.

That realization can't come soon enough.

free` Rep. Thaddeus McCotter Pwns Democrats over AIG Fake Outrage... video>>>> mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/196888.php He nails the Dems for what they did and mentions the bill of attainder on the house floor. (03/19/09)


AS THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS PUNISHES AIG EXECUTIVES.....

Ken Berwitz

From Byron York, then of National Review:

Former Clintonites, Franklin Raine$ and Jamie Gorelick, Enriched Themselves at FNMA

NRO: Politics and the Fannie Mae Piggy Bank Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelick, and some very cooked books

By Byron York

From 1998 to 2004, the years covered by the OFHEO investigation, it was headed by former Clinton budget director Franklin Raines, whose top management team included former Clinton Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick, sometimes mentioned as a future attorney general in a Democratic administration. During that period, the report says, Raines and his team grossly overstated Fannie Maes earnings to the tune of $10.6 billion for the purpose of paying themselves big bonuses. By deliberately and intentionally manipulating accounting to hit earnings targets, the report says, senior management maximized the bonuses and other executive compensation they received, at the expense of shareholders.

Investigators found that of the $90.12 million Raines was paid in that six-year period, more than $52 million came from EPS bonuses. Director Franklin Raines made $90 million in bonuses.

Gorelicks situation was similar. OFHEO found that she took home $26.46 million in the period from 1998 to 2002 (she left in that year, so she wasnt there for the entire period under investigation). Of that figure, nearly $15 million came from EPS bonuses.

Of course, it wasnt legit.

Franklin Raines is also closely connected to Obama.

Franklin Raines

Franklin Raines

Jamie Gorelick

Jamie Gorelick

 
As the house vents its righteous anger at the AIG executives who are not accused of any wrongdoing, but dare to expect that the bonuses they agreed to and contracted for be paid....
 
...., is it going to do anything about these DEMOCRATS who made tens of millions of dollars in bonuses by cooking Fannie Mae's books for the purpose of padding how many millions they got?
 
Didn't Fannie Mae collapse even worse than AIG?  Aren't these the people under whose "leadership" it happened?
 
Ok,now the big question:  Do you expect to see congress levying a 90% tax on the bonuses given to this sorry pair of...er....Obama supporters?  Of course you don't.
 
Can you not see how fraudulent the AIG witch hunt is?


PATHETIC, CORRUPT TOAD ALERT

Ken Berwitz

I admit that, in this congress, my title doesn't narrow things down much.  But I'm talking about pathetic, corrupt toad royalty here.

In other words, john murtha.

Here is the beginning of an article by Ken Silverstein of Harper's Magazine which provides chapter and verse of how this horrid little toad operates.  I urge you to click on the link and read it all:

Congressman Murthas Friends Team Up on Big Biodefense project

By Ken Silverstein

As has been widely reported, two firms with close links to Congressman John Murthalobby shop PMA Group and defense contractor Kuchera Defense Systemshave recently been raided by the feds. Now the Washington Post reports that a Pennsylvania defense research center regularly consulted with two handlers close to [Murtha] as it collected nearly $250 million in federal funding through the lawmaker. The research center is called the Electro-Optics Center, and it operates under the auspices of Pennsylvania State University.

As Ive written before, Congressman Murtha has a pretty simple modus operandi: He steers taxpayer money to the companies and institutions that support his campaigns, and to those that hire lobbyists of which he approvesoften his friends or former staffers. Theres been no report of Mr. Murthas profiting personally, the New York Times has written. But the Murtha operationwhich has become a model for other entrepreneurial lawmakersis a gross example of quid pro quo Washington.

It is sickening that the people of murtha's west Pennsylvania district keep electing him to office.  Maybe this will finally wake a few of them up.


IRAN'S FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Ken Berwitz

Iran is a fundamentalist Muslim country.  It is led by mahmoud ahmadinejad - who General Assembly President miguel d'escoto brockmann accuses the USA of demonizing.

Here, from Agence France-Presse, is an update on how freedom of speech is making in this poor, demonized land: 

Iran blogger jailed for Khamenei insult dies
Mar 19 06:50 AM US/Eastern
A young Iranian blogger jailed in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for insulting supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died, his lawyer told AFP on Thursday.

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said that although there is not yet an official report about the death on Wednesday of Omid Mir Sayafi, "officials in the prison said that he committed suicide."

He demanded "an immediate inquiry and an autopsy into why he died."

"Dr Firouzi called me from the jail to say Omid had a slowed heartbeat and he had taken him to the infirmary, but that doctors there did not take this seriously and said he was faking it," Dadkhah said.

He added Firouzi reported that Sayafi had also been very depressed.

The blogger, aged around 25, was sentenced in February to 30 months in jail for insulting Khamenei and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic.

Sayafi was first arrested in April last year and released on bail after 41 days before being detained again this year.

Iran has launched a crackdown on bloggers and Internet users deemed to be hostile to the authorities and their Islamic values.

What did Mr. Dadkhah die for?  He died for doing exactly what I do.  Blogging his opinions. 

Like the article says, Iran has launched a crackdown on people like Dadkhah, because they have the temerity to think differently than the way they're supposed to.

And who defines the way they are supposed to think?  Why Mr. Demonization himself, mahmoud ahmadinejad.

Someone better tell brockmann.  He'll need time to work on his rationalization for this one.  There's got to be a way to blame the USA, there's just got to be....


ANOTHER EPISODE OF..."GUESS THAT PARTY!!"

Ken Berwitz

First, here is the Associated Press story in its entirety:

Former top NM senator, co-defendant sentenced in corruption case

Associated Press - March 17, 2009 8:45 PM ET

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Former New Mexico state Senate leader Manny Aragon broke down in tears today before being sentenced to five and a half years in prison for his role in a corruption case that stained his long career of public service.

Aragon also was fined $750,000 -- the bulk of which he already has forfeited to the government -- and he was ordered to pay at least $649,000 in restitution.

Aragon pleaded guilty last year to three federal felony counts of conspiracy and mail fraud in a scheme to defraud the state of nearly $4.4 million in the construction of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse in Albuquerque.

Co-defendant Raul Parra, an engineer, was also sentenced today to 46 months in prison. He must pay a $10,000 fine and $601,000 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Greg Fouratt declared today that "the era of picking the taxpayers' pockets is over."

Ok, there's the article.  Now....

GUESS THAT PARTY!!

But, you say, no party is mentioned.  So it is impossible to know whether Manny Aragon is a Republican or a Democrat.

Well, is there a political party that the Associated Press never seems to mention when the story involves political corruption?

That's right.  He's a Democrat.  Congratulations on your insight.

And congratulations to the AP for again burying party affiliation when the miscreant is a Democrat.  If there's one thing you are really good at, this is it.


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