Blue State Views


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Satire?

As Iron Knee writes about the cartoon below:

This is one of those comics that you think can't be true, but then again … some of the ideas that have been proposed recently seem like someone was just trying to see how crazy an idea they could get away with. Like billions in dollars in bonuses being handed out by companies that were about to go bankrupt. WTF? Are they just trying to demonstrate conclusively that they own the US government, media, and us?

Story-3
 



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As Iron Knee writes about the cartoon below:

This is one of those comics that you think can't be true, but then again … some of the ideas that have been proposed recently seem like someone was just trying to see how crazy an idea they could get away with. Like billions in dollars in bonuses being handed out by companies that were about to go bankrupt. WTF? Are they just trying to demonstrate conclusively that they own the US government, media, and us?

Story-3
 



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Anger is IN

Gail Collins has perfect pitch in her column in today's New York Times.  You owe it to yourself to read this.   Very funny — and so true.  Here are some excerpts:

Angry. So very, very angry. Unable to speak due to mega-anger washing
over every pore and fiber of my being. Anger is in. (Hope’s so …
January.)

I am extremely angry at Tim Geithner for being such a baby that he
couldn’t scare a bunch of American International Group quants into
forgoing their bonuses. We need a Treasury secretary so terrifying that
if you were stuck in an elevator alone with him, you would just
automatically hand over your wallet and credit cards.
. . .
Geithner claims nobody warned him that this bonus scandal was coming
down the pike. Is it because he doesn’t have any assistants? It appears
there’s nobody in the world of finance who wants to accept a top-level
Treasury job if it means letting the White House accountants go over
their tax returns. Geithner is walking around listening to the hallways
echo, like the only kid at boarding school who didn’t get invited home
for Christmas.I hate everybody in the world of finance. Also accountants, since it’s tax time.
. . .
Let’s complain about Barack Obama. Why doesn’t he sound angrier?
Doesn’t he understand that his job right now is to be the Great Venter?

Sure he keeps saying he’s
mad. But you can tell that he secretly thinks it’s crazy to obsess
about $165 million in bonuses in a company that’s still got $1.6
trillion in toxic assets to unravel. “I don’t want to quell that anger.
I want to channel our anger in a constructive way,” he said on
Wednesday. Everybody knows constructively channeled anger doesn’t
really count. It’s like diet pizza.

If John McCain were
president, you can bet that we’d be getting outrage 24-7. McCain would
be so angry that we’d be scared that he’d have a coronary or invade a
new country. The New York Post would be running “Calm Down, Mr.
President” headlines.

Except, of course, the whole reason we
elected Barack Obama was because when the economy started melting down,
Obama seemed sane and calm while McCain appeared to be a loopy visitor
from the Planet of the Overwrought.


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AIG: The bonus or your job, not both

There's not much point in rehashing the vileness and baseness of the scumbags at AIG.  Maybe it's the case, as some assert, that AIG had to dole out millions of taxpayer dollars to its corrupt and incompetent executives because of "contractual obligations."  But I like the suggestion of a consultant, noted in this morning's Wall Street Journal, that if AIG wanted to try to avoid making the payments, it "could tell employees that if they chose not to take the bonus, they could keep their jobs."  After all, he said, "There's a lot of people looking for work on Wall Street."   [Barney agrees.]


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“Citiboobs”

Maureen Dowd is not a great writer, but she's a great columnist.  She dishes out snark better than anyone. What's not to love?  In today's column she rips into the mindless culture of excess at Citigroup.  More on Dowd's fun in a moment.

First, let's be clear: Citigroup is a horrible, vile institution, probably the worst of all the big banks.  It ran itself into the ground by taking on deeply troubled "assets" and by paying its executives (domestic and expat) way too much money.  The bonuses and perks paid out to these feckless meatheads were outrageous enough before the bank took billions in taxpayer bailout money; the bonuses and perks paid out after that are simply criminal (or should be).  And rather than cut into their bonuses and perks, the bank's fatcats chose to layoff 75,000 employees in 2008.  Why share in the pain if you can make others bear most of it?

Then the news came out earlier this week that these clueless ignoranuses who run Citigroup were about to upgrade their corporate jet to the tune of $50 million — this, on top of the news that John Thain (over at Bank  of America) had remodeled his office for the tidy little sum of $1.2 million.  Really.  What is wrong with all these people?  Even if their own internal compasses are so flawed as to fail to warn them that such actions are simply wrongheaded, don't these banks employ fleets of PR people whose job is to protect them from the "optics" of such boneheaded moves?  Good lord.  (Incidentally, Citigroup only dropped the plan for the new jet after the Obama Administration made its extreme displeasure evident.)

All of which brings me back to Maureen Dowd and her gift for snark, which sets my heart aflutter.  Here's her column.  I hope you enjoy it, as I did:

As President Obama spreads his New Testament balm over the capital, I’m longing for a bit of Old Testament wrath.

Couldn’t he throw down his BlackBerry tablet and smash it in anger over
the feckless financiers, the gods of gold and their idols — in this
case not a gilt calf but an $87,000 area rug, a cache of diamond
Tiffany and Cartier watches and a French-made luxury corporate jet?

Now that we’re nationalizing, couldn’t we fire any obtuse bankers and
auto executives who cling to perks and bonuses even as the economy is
following John Thain down his antique commode?

How could
Citigroup be so dumb as to go ahead with plans to get a new $50 million
corporate jet, the exclusive Dassault Falcon 7X seating 12, after
losing $28.5 billion in the past 15 months and receiving $345 billion
in government investments and guarantees?

(Now I get why a $400
payment I recently sent to pay off my Citibank Visa was mistakenly
applied to my sister-in-law’s Citibank Mastercard account.)

The
“Citiboobs” — as The New York Post, which broke the news, calls them —
watched as the car chieftains got in trouble for flying their private
jets to Washington to ask for bailouts, and the A.I.G. moguls got
dragged before Congress for spending their bailout on California spa
treatments. But the boobs still didn’t get the message.

Continue reading


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Shoot the Greedy Bankers

Well, that would be my solution.  Punishment, with the benefit of future deterrence. 

Nothing makes me quite as crazy (not even stupid Republicans like Rush "I want Obama to fail" Limbaugh) as these morally and ethically bankrupt CEOs like Merrill Lynch's John Thain, who continued to enrich themselves and their banking buddies off of taxpayers' bailout money after their own incompetence and greed had sent their institutions into deadly tailspins.

Frank Rich's column in today's New York Times is, depending on how you look at it, either a salve for agitated hearts like mine, or a handful of salt, guaranteed to raise blood pressure.  Sample:

Yet the values of the bubble remain entrenched even as Obama
takes office. In the upper echelons, we can find fresh examples of
greed and irresponsibility daily even without dipping into the growing
pool of those money “managers” who spirited victims to Bernie Madoff.

Last
week’s object lesson was John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill
Lynch. He was lionized as a rare Wall Street savior as recently as
September, when he helped seal the deal that sped his teetering firm
into the safe embrace of Bank of America on the same weekend Lehman Brothers died. Since then we’ve learned that even as he was laying off Merrill employees by the thousands, he was lobbying (unsuccessfully) for a personal bonus as high as $30 million and spending $1.22 million of company cash on refurbishing his office, an instantly notorious $1,405 trashcan included.

Thain resigned on Thursday. Only then did we learn that he doled out billions
in secret, last-minute bonuses to his staff last month, just before
Bank of America took over and just before the government ponied up a
second bailout to cover Merrill’s unexpected $15 billion fourth-quarter
loss. So far American taxpayers have spent $45 billion on this mess, and that’s only our down payment.

Where do you suppose I go to volunteer for the firing squad?