Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 18th, 2009

Eyes on prize: AIG billions went to TARP beneficiaries

Posted by Charles II on March 18, 2009

Eliot Spitzer, Slate (via t/o):

Everybody is rushing to condemn AIG’s bonuses, but this simple scandal is obscuring the real disgrace at the insurance giant: Why are AIG’s counterparties getting paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars?

For the answer to this question, we need to go back to the very first decision to bail out AIG, made, we are told, by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, then-New York Fed official Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last fall. Post-Lehman’s collapse, they feared a systemic failure could be triggered by AIG’s inability to pay the counterparties to all the sophisticated instruments AIG had sold. And who were AIG’s trading partners? No shock here: Goldman, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and on it goes. So now we know for sure what we already surmised: The AIG bailout has been a way to hide an enormous second round of cash to the same group that had received TARP money already.

It’s true. The bonuses are tens of millions.

Eyes, prize.

via t/o, we also learn from Dow Jones that the AIG money may have bailed out hedge funds, which are very definitely not acceptable as recipients of federal aid.

Posted in corruption | Comments Off on Eyes on prize: AIG billions went to TARP beneficiaries

Feds targeted ACORN in pre-election raid

Posted by Charles II on March 18, 2009

Brad Jacobson, Rawstory hits one out of the park:

Federal agencies were involved in the decision to raid the office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Nevada last October, just weeks before Election Day, the offices of Nevada’s Secretary of State and Attorney General say.

The allegations raise questions of whether politics played a part in the raid and calls into question assertions by the US Attorney’s office that they were uninvolved. Federal guidelines instruct agencies investigating election fraud to avoid action that might impact the elective process.

[Utah Gov.] Gibbons’ use of the ACORN raid to possibly further a political agenda is similar to other cases of alleged political prosecutions, such as the case of Mississippi lawyer Paul Minor and the use of his indictments and conviction to paint Democrats as corrupt.

Posted in Busheviks, election theft | 1 Comment »

The iPhone 3.0: Why It Will Rule

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 18, 2009

As Philip Elmer-DeWitt says (after listing several new features – including cut/copy/paste and Flash – that are slated to come to the iPhone):

Owners of competing smartphones snicker when they read these lists; Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Mobile and Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry have had many of these features for years. According to one report, Apple’s primary motivation for introducing the improvements now is to head off competition from the forthcoming Palm (PALM) Pre.

But what none of the competing smartphones have is an SDK that’s as easy to use as Apple’s or an App Store that makes marketing and distributing applications so painless — and profitable.

This is why the iPhone is going to win out. That, and having a touch screen instead of a physical keyboard. They don’t have to spend millions retooling every six months when a new model comes out.

Posted in technology, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The iPhone 3.0: Why It Will Rule

Palin sabotages Alaska pipeline

Posted by Charles II on March 18, 2009

Via Mudflats, we learn of this Portfolio article by Joe McGinniss:

“I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history,” Palin said at the Republican convention. “And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural-gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.”

During the vice-presidential debate, she said it again: “We’re building a nearly $40 billion natural-gas pipeline, which is North America’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever.”

And to Katie Couric, she said, “We should have started 10 years ago,  but better late than never.”

To many outside of Alaska, it may therefore come as a surprise to learn that not only does such a pipeline not exist, but—even as Alaska’s deep winter darkness gives way to the first light of spring—the prospect that it will be built within Sarah Palin’s lifetime grows dimmer by the day. …

By writing the rules in a way that excluded the oil companies from the process, Palin—although she gained the short-term approval-rating points that made her seem attractive to McCain last summer—all but assured that the “largest private-sector infrastructure project in North America” would never be anything more than her personal field of dreams.

Posted in Oil, Sarah Palin | 2 Comments »

A Possible Turnaround?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 18, 2009

While everyone’s looking at the bright shiny object called AIG, I’ve pulled my gaze back a touch to see some other things in my peripherial vision:

Citigroup, Bank of America and Chase all reported last week that they’d been operating in the black since the start of the year. Granted, that’s only two months, but it’s two months more than they’d managed at the end of the year.

Housing starts have risen slightly, further boosting a stock market that has gained several hundred points in the last week.

I’m touching wood as I type this, but we may finally be seeing some beneficial results from the various bailouts and the planned stimulus spending.

Posted in bailout, banking, big money, economy | 9 Comments »

 
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