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Archive for March 17th, 2009

by Geezer Power

TPM

By Elana Schor – March 16, 2009, 2:52PM

I just spoke with Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), a freshman on the House Financial Services Committee who’s become a fast-rising star thanks to his tenacious advocacy for transparency in bailout lending by the Federal Reserve.

Grayson joined fellow Democrats as well as Republicans in blasting AIG for its refusal to give up hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus payments. He painted the government’s choice as a stark one, using the metaphor of treating a wound versus amputating a limb.

“It’s not clear to me at all that we’re taking the correct approach by allowing AIG to continue to operate, regardless of who owns it,” Grayson told me. “At this point, ownership is becoming an amorphous concern when comes to a company that borrows millions and millions without any prospect of paying it back. … Do we continue to allow the bleeding or not?”

Converting AIG from a ward of the state in all but name to an outright arm of the government would be a politically controversial move, given the level of apprehension in Washington over calls to nationalize failing banks.

But Grayson views the dilemma facing lawmakers as a common-sense decision: AIG executives who made more than a million dollars while running the company into the ground should immediately be fired. “The people who caused the problem are not going to be able to solve it,” he said.

Article

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Cuomo Reveals AIG Details: 73 Employees Got Multi-Million-Dollar Bonuses

Huffington Post- Marcus Baram

March 17, 2009 01:22

AIG’s assertion that it had no choice but to make multi-million dollar bonus payments was undercut this afternoon by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who revealed new details about the now-infamous pay packages.

Cuomo reveals that 73 individuals received bonuses of $1 million or more, with one recipient getting a bonus of more than $6.4 million.

In particular, Cuomo takes aim at AIG’s rationale for distributing more than $160 million in retention payments to members of its Financial Products subsidiary, “the unit of AIG that was principally responsible for the firm’s meltdown,” according to a letter sent by Cuomo to Barney Frank, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.

Though AIG has stressed that payments were essential to retain individuals at Financial Products vital to unwinding the subsidiary business, Cuomo notes that “numerous individuals who received large ‘retention’ bonuses are no longer at the firm.”

Cuomo’s office also learned more details about the bonuses:

• The top recipient received more than $6.4 million;
• The top seven bonus recipients received more than $4 million each;
• The top ten bonus recipients received a combined $42 million;
• 22 individuals received bonuses of $2 million or more, and combined they
received more than $72 million;
• 73 individuals received bonuses of $1 million or more; and
• Eleven of the individuals who received “retention” bonuses of $1 million
or more are no longer working at AIG, including one who received $4.6
million;

Again, these payments were all made to individuals in the subsidiary whose performance
led to crushing losses and the near failure of AIG. Thus, last week, AIG made more than 73
millionaires in the unit which lost so much money that it brought the firm to its knees, forcing taxpayer bailout. Something is deeply wrong with this outcome. I hope the Committee will
address it head on.

We have also now obtained the contracts under which AIG decided to make these
payments. The contracts shockingly contain a provision that required most individuals’ bonuses to be 100% of their 2007 bonuses. Thus, in the Spring of last year, AIG chose to lock in bonuses for 2008 at 2007 levels despite obvious signs that 2008 performance would be disastrous in comparison to the year before. My Office has thus begun to closely examine the circumstances under which the plan was created.

READ THE LETTER: HERE

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Kucinich requests investigation into ‘executive assassination ring’

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Monday March 16, 2009

After comments made by a New Yorker journalist about Vice President Dick Cheney’s alleged involvement in a “executive assassination ring” abroad, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called Monday for a formal congressional probe.

Kucinich’s call was concomitant with a letter he sent to House Oversight Chairman Edolphus Towns.

Describing the allegation, Kucinich writes, “Mr. Hersh made the allegation before an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, March 10, 2009” in which “he stated, ‘Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office… Congress has no oversight of it.'”

Hersh’s claim is detailed here in an earlier piece by Raw Story.

“If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight,” Kucinich adds. “Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth.”

The 62-year-old lawmaker and former Democratic presidential candidate is known for his bold and liberal moves. In April 2007, he filed an impeachment resolution against Vice President Cheney over manipulating evidence about Iraq’s weapons program prior to the US invasion. The measure was blocked by the Democratic leadership. He also presented articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush in June 2008, but that effort again went nowhere.

Hersh, the New Yorker journalist who made the claim, also revealed US preparations for a possible Iran strike that was later sidelined, and is also known for revealing the My Lai massacre during Vietnam.


The full text of Kucinich’s letter follows: HERE

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stpatrick

History of Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick was born to Catholic parents about 385 in Britain. His father was a nobleman and a deacon. But Saint Patrick’s privileged life came to an end at age 16 when he was captured by slave raiders from Ireland. With a large group of prisoners, Saint Patrick was transported to the then pagan island.

Sold as a slave to a king in the northeast, Saint Patrick had the lonely task of tending the pigs and sheep. In the midst of these harsh living conditions, Patrick’s faith flourished as he turned to God in prayer.

After being held captive for six years, Saint Patrick heard a voice in his sleep say, “Soon you will go back to your homeland.” A short time later, he heard the same voice say, “Your ship is ready.”

Trusting in God, Saint Patrick set out on a 200-mile journey through unknown territory. When he arrived at the ship, the captain at first refused to take him. But Patrick prayed to God for help, and the captain changed his mind. Then began a lifetime of dedicating his life to becoming a priest. He envisioned returning to Ireland to teach the Irish about Christianity.

During his 30 years in Ireland, Saint Patrick founded more than 300 churches and baptized more than 120,000 people. Yet he still encountered much opposition, “Daily I expect either murder, robbery, or enslavement,” he wrote in his Confessions. He escaped from 12 attempts on his life. Saint Patrick died a natural death on March 17, 461.

By the end of the 7th century, many legends had developed about Saint Patrick. One, of course, says he charmed all the snakes in Ireland and led them to the sea to drown. Another, probably the most popular, is that Saint Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to unbelievers. This is probably why shamrocks, now Ireland’s national flower, are worn by the Irish on St Patrick’s Day.


Enya- Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)

From- Wikipedia:

Enya (born Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin [4] on 17 May 1961 in Gaoth Dobhair, also known as Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland) is an Irish singer, instrumentalist and composer. Her name is sometimes presented in the media as Enya Brennan, while Enya is an approximate transcription of how Eithne is pronounced in her native Irish, in the Donegal dialect.[5]

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