What's a capitalist to do?

AIG's Joe Cassano - An American Tragedy

By Numerian

What’s a capitalist to do when he loses $500 billion and almost single-handedly destroys the global economy? In Japan you would bow deeply in public and express the deepest possible remorse and shame, that is if you already had not committed seppuku. In America, where the Ayn Rand ethos of objectivism reigns supreme, you weasel your way out of any explanation or regret, while riding off in the sunset with your undeserved fortune.

Michael Lewis Discusses Wall Street's Continued Failures

Of note is the fact that they still have yet to fix any of the underlying problems that resulted in what is nothing more than trillion dollar welfare checks for the bankers:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

"The leaders on Wall Street completely lost any sense of their responsibility to the society," Lewis said. "And if you know you're gonna blow up AIG by putting $20 billion of bad subprime mortgage risk into it even though it's gonna be very profitable for you, you should stop and say this shouldn't be done."

You would think that Wall Street and the bankers would feel some sense of shame because they are living on welfare. But the absurd size of their welfare checks eases their pain and I am sure they would like to thank you for keeping them in the money as you go without. (H/T to Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars)

If success breeds success...

What do you think this kind of crappy inbreeding results in?

(Bloomberg) -- American International Group Inc.
named Peter Hancock, described by a former employer as an
“architect” of the derivatives business, to oversee finance
and risk, including the insurer’s money-losing credit-default
swap unit.

Hancock spent 20 years at a predecessor to JPMorgan Chase &
Co., where he established the derivatives group and served as
chief financial officer, New York-based AIG said in a statement
today. Hancock, who most recently was vice chairman at KeyCorp
responsible for national banking, will report to AIG Chief
Executive Officer Robert Benmosche.

Hancock “is one of the people that basically developed the
credit-default swaps market at JPMorgan in the mid-1990s,” said
Ed Grebeck, CEO of Stamford, Connecticut-based debt-consulting
firm Tempus Advisors and an instructor at New York University on
derivatives. “Given that he was one of the pioneers, it’s
probably the first good appointment that any one of these
bailed-out firms has made.”

Those prankster shadow bank CEOs... They sure know where to put the right people to bury their body of crimes. What? You're not laughing??? You little people have no sense of humor. Maybe you'll like this joke a little more?

Open Thread - Timothy Geithner Toast?

Elizabeth Warren pursues Oversight, through TARP Maze

originally posted 2009-04-12 21:29:02 -0500, bumped by carol

Elizabeth Warren was appointed chair of a newly created Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), which is charged with keeping tabs on the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector - including Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

Warren however, has had some "Trouble" getting straight forward answers ... as she explained to the Boston Globe:

Keeping tabs on the bailout

By Elizabeth Warren -- April 12, 2009

    Elizabeth Warren: There's a major problem and a minor problem. The minor problem is documentation. I've spent four weeks now looking for someone who can give me the details of the stress test so that we can do an independent evaluation of whether the stress test is any good.

    We get: "someone will call [you] right back." Only the call doesn't come. The major problem is ...

Yes suree bobby ... the GOP vultures and sharks are circling in CT (with 4/2/09 UPDATE)


Has not been a good week for Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut (one of two of my Senators) and as I might suspect the CT GOP and GOP at large must be salivating at the notion that they may actually have a chance to win the next time Dodd runs for office.

Dodd's polls were down even before this week's AIG debacle, uh no ... uh yes ... but it was them, I mean talk about a meltdown before your eyes, even Chernobyl didn't go as quick.

Now We Know What AIG says, We Still Need To Know The Answer "What The Hell Is the Real Story?"

So, now we know, two thirds of the bail out money which went to AIG between October and the end of December wasn’t intended for AIG at all, but was passed through to others. The list includes Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Societé Generale, and many others. And, if that wasn’t enough to make you choke on your coffee this morning, there’s the additional fuel of the AIG bonus story. OMG, this is just like totally over the top.

There’s a lot of outrage about this which is kind of being stoked by the media, and there’s some useful commentaries which are dealing with parts of the story. These three from Robert Kuttner Robert Reich and the America’s Future blog are ones to take cognizance of, I think. In Kuttner's view Obama's financial team is leading him to destruction. Reich raises his voice against the corruption, and so do the folks over at Progressive Breakfast in their morning release.
The outrage is directed at the upfront particulars, the bonuses and the pass-through laundering of bail-out funds. I think though there is a picture beginning to emerge of the structure of the Paulson-Bernanke bailout which raises a whole range of other issues. The banks continue to insist that their assets will come good with a rebound in the economy, and therefore their current pricing structure should be preserved.Yves Smith provided a major service this morning over at Naked Capitalism when she made available Bruce Krasting's discussion of the AIG bonusses and Tyler Durden's guest post on bailout spotting.

Hey, Bernanke! Tell Us Please! Where Are You Burying the Loot?

Fed Chairman Bernanke went to the Senate Budget Committee yesterday to testify. The Senators asked him at least four times, and in different ways, where he is burying the loot that is being shovelled his way. And, at least four times, he refused to answer.

Why do "Free" Markets, cost SO much?

If Free Markets are the supposed Engine of Growth,

Why do they always seem to lead to a "money grab",
a greedy "land rush", with the Tax payer ALWAYS picking up the Bill?

Why do the Rich, always manage to get richer?

While those who "play by the rules", just manage to get "pink slips" and foreclosure notices?

And an endless pile of Bills?

While We Read This: Bailout for AIG swells to more than $150B

Which you can read here, and the stock was tanking, guess what AIG execs were up to.

Oh Ya Another 'It's Paaartiiii Time!!'

Another AIG Resort "Junket": Top Execs Caught on Tape

KNXV Discovers $343,000 Secret Gathering, AIG Signs and Logos Hidden

ABC News just had the report on their World News Tonight show.


Ain't no party like an AIG party

originally posted 2008-10-08 06:54:32 - bumped, cho

AIG executives thank you for financing their trip to such a beautiful resort :)

They want you to know that your money paid for a wonderful retreat!! They have been exhausted from their role in deflating your 401k for their own enrichment - boy did they need this luxurious getaway. You (and your children and grandchildren) are so generous to pay for it!

AIG Executive to be Sentenced for Fraud Conviction

promoted - cho

In the flurry of financial crisis stories, the media has neglected to mention the recent conviction of an AIG executive for accounting fraud. The crime is for "side letters" - much like the off-book arrangements that figured centrally in the Enron debacle.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

Reuters, 9/5/08:

The defendants were convicted (this past Feburary) in connection with a reinsurance deal that prosecutors said misled AIG investors because it enabled the company to improperly inflate its loss reserves, painting an artificially bright picture of its financial results. AIG previously acknowledged accounting improprieties and restated $3.8 billion in earnings from 2000 through 2004 and agreed to a $1.64 billion regulatory settlement in 2006.

It’s good to know that someone bearing responsibility for this mess is going to jail. The AIG failure is probably the result of ginormous fraud schemes, with the bursting subprime mortgage bubble only a contributing factor. It defies credulity that over a trillion in assets reported earlier this year were all wiped out by the mortgage mess, given the regulations governing investment of insurance company assets. There's more to the story.

There was a sentencing hearing early this month in Connecticut, where the case was tried. From Bloomberg News 9/6/08:

The executives were convicted for using a sham transaction in 2000 to help AIG add $500 million in loss reserves, a key indicator of an insurer's health. Jurors convicted Ferguson, 66; Monrad, 53; Garand, 61, a former senior vice president; Graham, 60, a former General Re assistant general counsel; and Christian Milton, 60, AIG's former head of reinsurance.

Back to Reuters (linked above)::

In a sentencing memorandum filed late on Friday, prosecutors argued that sentences for the five defendants should be stiffer than the range of 168 months to 210 months calculated in a pre-sentence report.

The government also said losses to AIG investors could be estimated at more than $400 million -- with the government's expert calculating fraud-related losses as much as $1.4 billion -- a factor that should enhance the defendants' sentences.

International Herald Tribune, 9/12/08:

The former officers were accused of breaching fiduciary duties by redirecting insurance business that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in commissions to another company they controlled.

Simultaneously, Maurice Greenberg, AIG's former chief executive and one of the former officers, began the first of what is expected to be three grueling days of depositions in a civil lawsuit brought against him by the office of the New York State attorney general, Andrew Cuomo. The lawsuit accuses Greenberg of devising transactions to make AIG's financial condition look stronger.

AIG's board removed Greenberg in 2005, after regulators served AIG with subpoenas.

The Fundamentally Political Nature of the Present Financial Crisis: The Constitutional Moment Arrives

In an extraordinarily important article today The Constitutional Moment Arrives, Stirling Newberry observes that

The key question is this: the American tax payers just bought the banking system. We are going to pay, with interest, upwards of three trillion dollars for it. A relative bargain actually. The question is what we are going to do with it now that we own it.

Let Wall Street Burn

At the cost of your future, the U.S. financial system is being saved. For a half century, the United States has been unable to find a hundred billion or so a year to fund general healthcare, but now that financial powerhouses like Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and AIG are crumbling, the U.S. Treasury can magically procure trillions of dollars in promises without so much as a nit of resistance in either chamber of the U.S. Congress.