"I was clearly not happy that we in effect left Scooter hanging in the wind, which I don't think was appropriate." - Dick Cheney
Word of the bonuses last week stirred such deep consternation inside the Obama administration that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the firm they were unacceptable and demanded they be renegotiated, a senior administration official said. But the bonuses will go forward because lawyers said the firm was contractually obligated to pay them." These bonuses are a contractual obligation to the London office where the Financial Products division is, that wrote over $1 trillion in bad products that put A.I.G. over the edge.
And its not just the bonuses, but the secrecy of A.I.G. in not telling anyone where the bailout money has gone. From a NY Times editorial, Following the AIG Money: "The bailouts of American International Group are also rescues of its trading partners — banks and other financial firms — that would have lost out if the insurer had been allowed to fail. But even after four bailouts between last September and this March, no one knows with certainty who those partners are or how much of the bailout money, now totaling $160 billion, has gone to make them whole."
And this quick commentary from TPM's Josh Marshall: "As noted in other contexts, beggars can't be choosers. It's really too rich for AIG to continually come back to the government asking for billions of dollars and tell us it's tough luck when we ask for revisions that should be no brainers. The folks running AIG's financial products division should be happy to escape this mess without criminal indictments. And that's not hyperbole. When you look at what they were doing, foolish or high-risk behavior are inadequate descriptors. It really amounts to fraud." Fraud should be punished, the people responsible taken to court. I know that many folks don't like a heavy hand from government, but for awhile that may just be what's needed until we clean house and get our economic and regulatory system back to functional, honest entities. So, get rid of the people running A.I.G. and the other major companies we've had to bail out, get rid of their board of directors, and let's get some responsible people running them so we don't have to wake up and read about incredibly stupid decisions they've made...
I had been waiting to see what the Obama administration was going to do specifically for small businesses, which I consider to be the lifeblood of the economy. I go out of my way to find local businesses to deal with before I look to a large chain. From the NY Times: "The broad package of measures to be announced Monday includes $730 million from the stimulus plan that will immediately reduce small-business lending fees and increase the government guarantee on some Small Business Administration loans to 90 percent. The government also will take aggressive steps to boost bank liquidity with more than $10 billion aimed at unfreezing the secondary credit market, according to officials briefed on the plan who demanded anonymity to avoid pre-empting the president's announcement.
''It's a huge step in the right direction,'' Giovanni Coratolo, director of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Saturday. ''In this economy, having the least amount of risk for banks will incentivize banks to lend to small businesses. A lot of small businesses will benefit from this.''
And now, we flip over to news of Darth Vader, that wheelchair ridin', shotgun totin' , torturing SOB, the ex-Vice President of the United States. Dick Cheney is like a human shark, he can only move forward without doubts or introspection. This quality is what George Bush needed when he first became President, but I think he grew tired of it by the end. Now Cheney is accusing the administration of endangering the US by getting rid of the interrogation techniques that can only be done by bona fide sadists. CNN reports from an interview this morning on Cheney's thoughts on torture: "Asked whether he thought those moves had made the United States less safe, Cheney said he did. "I think those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoy, of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11," he said on State of the Union. "I think it's a great success story. It was done legally, it was done in accordance with our constitutional practices and principles…"
In his honor, here are some vintage late night Dick Cheney jokes:
"Dick Cheney again this week was in the hospital. He was experiencing discomfort in his leg. And the doctor asked Cheney if he stretches. Cheney said, 'Are you kidding? I linked 9/11 with Saddam Hussein.'" --Bill Maher
"People are saying Scooter Libby is taking the fall for Cheney. Personally, I think Libby got off easy -- usually when you take one for Cheney, it's a shot in the face" --Jay Leno
"Afghanistan reported a record opium crop. I think that explains why Dick Cheney came back from his trip saying, 'Hey, they greeted us with flowers. And they blew my mind'." --Bill Maher
"The Taliban tried to blow up Dick Cheney. ... He was never in danger -- at the time of the attack, he was safely asleep in his coffin. ... I just hope that this attempt on his life doesn't turn him bitter, vicious, and paranoid." --Bill Maher
"Dick Cheney said he felt terrible about shooting a 78-year-old man, but on the bright side, it did give him a great idea about how to fix Social Security." --Bill Maher
"To the vice president's credit, he did own up to it. On FOX News he said the fault was his, he can't blame anybody else. Boy, it's amazing, the only time you get accountability out of this administration is when they are actually holding a smoking gun." --Bill Maher
"There is a little discrepancy about what happened on this hunt, because Ann Armstrong, the woman who has this ranch, said there was no alcohol involved, and Dick Cheney said he had one beer. So apparently, Dick Cheney can't keep his rifle, his story, or his daughter straight." --Bill Maher
"What I don't understand about this whole thing is that the guy who got shot, this is his statement today, he said my family and I are deeply sorry (his face got in the way) for everything the vice president and his family had to go through this weekend. Wow, that is one loyal Republican. He also referred to the buckshot wound in his face as 1,000 points of light." --Bill Maher
"Dick Cheney and his buddies go down there hunting in Texas, and Dick Cheney guns down a guy. And they're hunting quail, and the quail disappeared. They vanished. And reports now that they're hiding in the mountainous area near Pakistan" --David Letterman
"In an interview on Fox News, Dick Cheney took full responsibility for shooting a fellow hunter. Then surprisingly, he broke down and admitted to killing two drifters in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1989." --Jay Leno
"They were in a car, they drive along, they get out of the car, he shoots his friend in the face, then they get back in the car and they go hide for 18 hours. That's not hunting ... that's an episode of 'The Sopranos'" --Jay Leno
"See, this is why Republicans have to commit white collar crimes to steal money. They're just not good with guns, they don't know how to handle them." --Jay Leno
"Today, President Bush says he is standing behind the vice president. Way behind him." --Jay Leno
"I'm surprised Dick Cheney loves to hunt so much. The five times the government tried to give him a gun, he got a deferment." --Jay Leno
"What a nightmare I had last night. I dreamed I was at a Washington party and I had to choose between Dick Cheney taking me on a hunting trip or Ted Kennedy driving me home." --Jay Leno
"I think Cheney is starting to lose it. After he shot the guy he screamed, 'Anyone else want to call domestic wire tapping illegal?'" --Jay Leno
"The former chef of the White House has written a tell-all book. For example, he says that Dick Cheney, Vice President, his favorite dish is a dish called Chicken Gitmo. It's chicken bound and gagged on a bed of rice." --David Letterman
"We finally have a scandal in this election: Lesbogate. Bob Schieffer asked a question about is homosexuality a choice, and Kerry mention Cheney's daughter. The Cheneys are now furious at him. They say they are very proud of her daughter. They are so proud, she should never, ever be mentioned in public." -Bill Maher
"Dick Cheney said that if John Kerry wins, there will be another attack. Then Cheney said, if Bush wins, I'll call it off." -Conan O'Brien