Blue United States wallpaper and a News Round-up

Tapping AIG Furor, Regulators Seek Power to Seize Nonbanks

While the power seems likely to be granted by Congress, it’s unclear which wing of the government would be given the authority. Mr. Geithner proposed that any emergency action be based on a determination by the Treasury secretary along with the Federal Reserve and the federal regulator overseeing the company.

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee said that discussions were still ongoing as to what agency would have the ultimate control of those non-bank financial services companies, but he mentioned the FDIC in the possible mix. Since the FDIC is the least politicsized and has a history of solid performance dating back to The New Deal, I’m leaning toward them. This was an interesting aspect of the AIG mess that I had not heard before,

Still, Messrs. Bernanke and Geithner on Tuesday faced continued criticism over other decisions on AIG and the wider government financial-rescue efforts. Mr. Bernanke was asked repeatedly about the tens of billions of dollars AIG has paid out to major banks, including foreign institutions, using government money. He maintained that AIG needed to meet its obligations to prevent a default that he said would cause “chaos in financial markets.” He also noted that European governments have bailed out their banks without distinguishing between European and American creditors.

That revelation takes some of the wind out of some of my own populist outrage. Still, that AIG paid Goldman-Sacks full value for its investments stinks when tax payers are the ones guaranteeing the pay out. One reporter asked president Obama about Americans making sacrifices. One could ask why Goldman couldn’t have scarified some profit via AIG via the bail-out. On the subject of sacrifices, this e-mail from an executive VP at AIG,

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

That’s the thing about a certain kind of crude outrage, it assumes everyone is guilty. Still Mr. DeSantis might not understand how lucky he is compared to the more then ten percent of the work force expected to be unemployed in the next year. He can afford to not just quit your job, but donate hundreds of thousands to charity. And he is quitting because, well, his feelings were hurt, not because his factory closed. He and some other employees in the same boat could have called the NYT or CNBC where they probably would have been glad to let them air out their grievances. This is an interesting side note about DeSantis, who comes from a working class background,

You and I have never met or spoken to each other, so I’d like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute’s generous financial aid enabled me to attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.

Which is all great. Though it is another nail in that right-wing coffin that claims investments in people don’t pay off. He received some aid, but got a solid career going and has paid that aid back in taxes, which in turn allows the same opportunity for someone else from a modest economic background.

Bush missing from USA Today/Gallup poll response options to question about AIG bonuses

A USA Today/Gallup poll question about who was to blame for the AIG bonuses left out the Bush administration as a suggested response, despite the administration’s decision to give AIG billions in aid without requiring that the company withhold the bonuses.

The AP has a Ron Fournier problem


McCain wanted an ideologically reliable hack. Fournier has established himself as an AP hack and he doesn’t disappoint in this article. First, note all the teleprompter mentions. Those are reflections of the wingnut meme that Obama is literally an empty suit without one.

All presidents make their opening remarks at press conferences suing a teleprompter. Most pols from both parties that make speeches from a TV studio use them. Its another chapter in the its OK when Republicans do it, but proves Obama isn’t such a brilliant orator after all. It was just a coincidence that Obama beat McCain in three debates. If the Associated Press’s Ron Fournier, friend to Mccain and supporter of Karl Rove wants to rattle off right-wing talking points he got off Rush Limbaugh, that’s fine. Just identify himself, not as a news analyst, but a far Right pundit.

Obama ‘Overexposed’: The Media’s New New Obsession

So, for weeks and weeks and weeks, the White House has been inundated with a clarion call from the media: “Why have you not fixed the economy yet? You better explain it soon! Oh My God, look at the Dow Jones! It falls, because of you, and your lack of a solution.” So, President Barack Obama went on the Tonight Show, and did an interview with 60 Minutes, and will do another news conference tonight. These appearances will help Obama advance an explanation of his bank bailout program, and offer reporters a chance to publicly question the president. One would think that this would be a good thing. But NO! God, no! Doesn’t Obama realize that he’s risking over-exposure, with all the explaining and answering questions and being a public figure? How dare he?

That’s the recent message that’s been advancing through the press. After Obama appeared on a rival network’s late night show, CBS’s Chris Wragge was given to wonderment: “The Obama blitz, the President’s appearing everywhere, but is his media tour taking attention away from his message?”

Two media appearances and one special news conference is far from overexposure, especially considering that the President is making an attempt to talk to the American people about their urgent concerns during a national crisis. He could pull a Cheney and hide in a unknown location or pull a Bush and go cut some brush on a fake ranch. The last administration’s attitude was they were the deciders, everybody shut up and leave  them them alone. On the other hand Obama might well do better explaining his message if he had all the surrogates the Bushies had. Obama doesn’t have a whole network like Fox pushing his message everyday. Conversely, Bush didn’t have a whole network (Fox) twisting, falsifying and spinning everything he said, while Obama does have that layer of noise to break through.

Blue United States wallpaper