AIG–A Steaming Pile Of Crap!

Even as the company was pleading the federal government for another $40 billion dollars in loans, AIG sent top executives to a secret gathering at a luxury resort in Phoenix last week.

Reporters for abc15.com (KNXV) caught the AIG executives on hidden cameras poolside and leaving the spa at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, despite apparent efforts by the company to disguise its involvement.

“AIG made significant efforts to disguise the conference, making sure there were no AIG logos or signs anywhere on the property,” KNXV reported.

A hotel employee told KNXV reporter Josh Bernstein, “We can’t even say the word [AIG].”

A company spokesperson, Nick Ashooh, confirmed AIG instructed the hotel to make sure there were no AIG signs or mention of the company by staff.

“We’re trying to avoid confrontation, keep our profile low,” said Ashooh. “Some of our employees have been harassed.”

“What do they have to hide,” asked Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who said he had been promised by AIG CEO Edward Liddy that the company would stop such “junkets.”

“They came to us and said they were drowning and needed help. A person who is drowning doesn’t jump up and start partying,” said Congressman Cummings.

Eventually the American people will wake up and demand that these sons-a-bitches just craswl in their hole and die.  Their money is being pissed away while they scratch to find mortgage money.  I realize that everyone is trying to convince me that the saving of a/holes like AIG is for the good of the country, but it is stabbing the people in the back.

View Of Military Service Improves

First of all, it is Veterans Day and I wish to take this opportunity of thank any of my readers that are serving or have served in the military of the US.  This is your day and thank you.  Have a burger and beer for me.

And now we will move on.  As reported in the Christian Science Monitor.

The American public’s increased uncertainty about military service, as casualties mounted from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has for the first time in several years begun to abate.

It’s not exactly clear what is causing the new trend. But military experts and defense officials speculate that the decline in casualties in Iraq and an economic downturn at home mean more Americans see themselves joining the military or supporting someone who does.

The changing perceptions could be crucial for the next presidency, as the nation considers expanding the military even more to meet demands around the world. President-elect Barack Obama has hinted that military service is a centerpiece of his idea of national service.

Over the long term, if the trend holds, it could help increase the overall quality of the force and potentially improve upon its ethnic and economic diversity.

While the military continues to rate highly in public opinion polls – consistently above other national institutions – far fewer Americans are actually interested in joining it or seeing their son or daughter do so. And since 2003 when the US invaded Iraq, the willingness of American youth to serve in the military has decreased significantly.

Economy Just Sucks!

More and more corporations are failing and where is the bailout money?  People are lossing their jobs and families are losing their homes and children go to bed huingry–where is the help that the $700 billion was suppose to provide.

This is our economy and quite possibly its future.

— Facing pressure from vendors and consumers who aren’t spending, Circuit City Stores Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection Monday as it heads into the busy holiday season with hopes that the move will help it survive.

Under Chapter 11 protection, the nation’s second-biggest electronics retailer can keep operating while it develops a reorganization plan. Its Canadian operations also filed for similar protection.

The company also said it cut 700 more jobs at its Richmond, Va., headquarters, after announcing a week ago that it would close 20 percent of its stores and lay off thousands of workers.

Package delivery company DHL may have conquered the world, but it admitted on Nov. 10 that it couldn’t conquer the U.S. The unit of Germany’s Deutsche Post announced it will stop making express deliveries within the U.S., close all of its 18 main distribution hubs there, and lay off all but a few thousand of its remaining 13,000 U.S. workers.

General Motors shares plunged more than 30 percent Monday after an analyst forecast their price would fall to zero, saying that even if there is a government bailout of the auto giant, shareholders would not benefit

“We are lowering our target on GM equity to zero dollars,” the Deutsche Bank report said.

“Even if GM succeeds in averting a bankruptcy, we believe that the company’s future path is likely to be bankruptcy-like,” it said.

I keep asking and never get an answer–where is the bailout of Main Street?  The US is spending plkenty of taxpayer money only to prop up corporations and job loss is growing, foreslosures are growing, nothing is helping “Main Street”.

The Rumble In Jerusalem

Israeli police have had to restore order at one of Christianity’s holiest sites after a mass brawl broke out between monks in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Fighting erupted between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Christ’s crucifixion.

Two monks from each side were detained as dozens of worshippers traded kicks and punches at the shrine, said police.

Trouble flared as Armenians prepared to mark the annual Feast of the Cross.

Shocked pilgrims looked on as decorations and tapestries were toppled during Sunday’s clash.

Dressed in the vestments of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian denominations, rival monks threw punches and anything they could lay their hands on.

The Greeks blamed the Armenians for not recognising their rights inside the holy site, while the Armenians said the Greeks had violated one of their traditional ceremonies.

An Armenian clergyman said the Greek clergy had tried to place one of their monks inside the Edicule, an ancient structure which is said to encase the tomb of Jesus.

“What is happening here is a violation of status quo. The Greeks have tried so many times to put their monk inside the tomb but they don’t have the right to when the Armenians are celebrating the feast,” he said.

The Armenians had been preparing to commemorate the 4th Century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.

A Greek clergyman said: “We protested peacefully, we stood here in the middle and we claimed that we shall not leave the procession finished unless they leave our guardian be inside. This didn’t happen and in that moment the police interfered.”

Six Christian sects share control of the ancient church and the BBC’s Wyre Davies in Jerusalem says confrontations between them are not uncommon, but rarely descend into violence.

And you only thought the Muslims were the silly ones for fighting each other.

Is The Honeymoon Over Already?

The media is already finding fault with the Obama choices, especially the Emanuel appointment.  After one appointment, the Obama administration is being labelled as partisan and that he, Obama, is a lair, when he said that he wanted to work with the Repubs in a bi-partisan way.  After one appointment the morning media is trying to define the whole presidency.

Looks like the partisanship is not gone, looks like the political hatred that started with the Reagan years is not dead.  Is it setting the tone for the future or just sour grapes?

Some in the media have gone so far as to say that there would have bewen an outrage if McCain had won and appointed DeLay as his chief of staff.  I will agree with them on that…..but not because of partisanship but because DeLay is a lair, a crook and left the Hill in disgrace.  Not a very good comparison, but I guess that is the best they can do, for alot of them are in jail or disgraced.

Appears the media has decided that bi-partisanship is not to their liking, they much prefer the drama of partisan  fighting.  Some want to condemn before it even starts, showing their true colors.  I am certain that if McCain had won, he would have been given a better write up his first couple of days.

I am sorry to burst the fragile bubble, but Emanuel may be the best at the job.  Why?  He knows the White House, he knows the Conress, he knows politics and he is intelligent and competent.  Qualities that him a natural for the job of chief of staff.

Washington needs change, the media seems to not want that to occur–they need the drama—ratings you know?

Watch What You Grab!

I apologize for this story, it just fell into my lap and it just begs to be written.

A decision to allow transsexual men in Sweden to get prosthetic penises free of charge from local health authorities has drawn criticism because the prostheses on offer don’t get erect.

Starting on January 1st, 2009 transsexual men (men who were born as females but have undergone sex-change operations) will, with a note from a doctor, be able to receive a prosthetic penis from a plastic surgeon at no cost, according to Ottar, a magazine published by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU).

The move is meant to correct what has long been considered a glaring case of gender bias against transsexual men when it comes to the support they receive to help them fit into society following sex change surgery.

While transsexual women have long been eligible for publicly funded wigs, breast implants, and hair removal operations, transsexual men have previously been without any corresponding cosmetic adjustment assistance.

Swedish health authorities justify their decision to only fund fake penises for cosmetic rather than functional purposes because of regulations which prohibit the use of taxpayer money to pay for products or procedures considered to be sexual aids.

Because, like Viagra, functioning fake penises help sexual performance, they do not qualify for public funds.

AIG Gets Another Hand Job

From David Goldman of CNNMoney.com

Troubled insurer American International Group got a reworked $152.5 billion deal from the federal government Monday, as the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department made significant changes to the terms of the company’s original bailout.

The Fed announced that it will reduce AIG’s original $85 billion bridge loan to $60 billion, and it will cut the interest rate by 5.5 percentage points.

In addition, the Treasury will use its special authority under last month’s $700 billion bailout law – the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program – to purchase $40 billion in preferred stock.

The new bailout was worked out between government officials and AIG executives over the weekend. AIG was having difficulty paying back its original bridge loan, which it intended to use to sell off many of its subsidiaries to restore the company to a stable condition. But the credit crisis has proven to be a difficult environment to spin off assets.

To keep the company operational, and to ensure that the government gets repaid and can eventually divest from the company, the Fed will also create a new program that will purchase up to $22.5 billion of AIG’s troubled mortgage-backed securities. It will also post $30 billion to backstop its credit default swap agreements, taking place of a $37.8 billion lending facility it previously offered the company.

Like many other financial institutions, AIG’s mortgage-backed securities have turned into “toxic” balance sheet assets. The government, by purchasing the troubled assets and backstopping its credit default swap agreements, hopes investors will stop requesting collateral increases so the company can focus on spinning off its other companies.

Many taxpayers have expressed anger at the government’s bailout, saying it rewards risky and unscrupulous behavior of corporations. But Liddy said taxpayers have much to benefit from an equity stake in AIG.

To protect taxpayers, the Treasury said its $40 billion capital injection into AIG is not part of the $250 billion that was set aside for equity purchase of banks. Rather, the funds came from an additional $100 billion that President Bush requested. As a result, the transaction’s “one-off” status allowed the government to impose more stringent criteria on executive compensation than on banks receiving Treasury assistance.

As part of the new deal announced Monday, Treasury will limit “golden parachutes” (but they still get their money)  and freeze the size of the annual bonus pool for the top 70 company execs. Most banks participating in the Treasury program face compensation curbs on only their top five executives.

AIG has come under fire from lawmakers and state officials for seeking to make big payouts to former executives and planning pricey corporate events after receiving the federal loans.

In mid-September, AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) teetered on collapse, pressured by the effects of the credit crisis. Worried that the company’s failure would domino through the rest of the financial system, the government provided AIG with an $85 billion bridge loan. Later, the Fed gave the insurer $37.8 billion line of credit, and made available $20.9 billion in a debt purchasing facility.

Under the new plan, AIG has borrowed the full $40 billion from the Treasury to pay off the $37.8 billion from the Fed. It has drawn down $21 billion of its reduced $60 billion bridge loan, and it has borrowed $15.3 billion of the $20.9 billion it can borrow from the Fed’s Commercial Paper Funding Facility.

Have you people had enough of this crap yet?  (Comment mine and mine alone)

Will The GOP Implode?

Infighting has broken out in the Republican Party after its defeat in the presidential election, with Sarah Palin coming under intense fire.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are divided over whether to move further to the right or become more bipartisan.

House Minority Leader John Boehner said it was “time for the losing to stop”.

Mr Boehner, who is to seek two more years as the Republican leader in the House, added: “My commitment to you is that it will.”

His comments come against a backdrop of backstabbing within the defeated McCain campaign.

Senator Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, was quoted by the Associated Press this week calling for party leaders to “embrace a bold new direction” or step aside.

The party’s image had been tainted by “scandals and broken promises”, he said, adding: “We have got to clean up, reform and rebuild the Republican party before we can ask Americans to trust us again.”

Nonetheless, RNC chairman Mike Duncan said the party had plenty of rising stars and that it was wrong to see Tuesday’s election results as “the death rattle of American conservatism”.

Meanwhile, a number of prominent Republicans are already making moves to position themselves for a fight for the party’s presidential candidacy in 2012.

Mitt Romney, who lost out to Mr McCain in this year’s primaries, has restarted his political action committee.

Mrs Palin, meanwhile, has indicated that she intends to stay on the national political scene, saying “I’m not doing this for naught.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal may also be laying the groundwork for a run in 2012.

My personal opinion is that the GOP has done this before and will survive.  But will it survive as a far right party or a more center party is the question that needs to be answered.  As it stands today, the GOP is a regional party of white rural voters….if it cannot do any better than that it is a doomed party.