Monday, March 23, 2009

Fire In The Belly


Pardonez moi, laze and germs!

Wondering if another dose of cheap beer and Thai curry would be the best for this reflux situation. My stomach has been damned upset after reading the revelations, ummmm, revealed in the Rolling Stone's excellent naming-of-the-names article The Big Takeover by Matt Taibbi.

Shit, I thought *I* had a fire in the belly over the financial meltdown. I was tame, I was moderate.

The bastards were "punching a hole in the fabric of the universe!" say Taibbi!

People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.


By the fall of 2007, it was evident that AIGFP's portfolio had turned poisonous, but like every good Wall Street huckster, [Joseph] Cassano [phone number: 555 5555, email:] schemed to keep his insane, Earth-swallowing gamble hidden from public view. That August, balls bulging, he announced to investors on a conference call that "it is hard for us, without being flippant, to even see a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing $1 in any of those transactions." As he spoke, his CDS portfolio was racking up $352 million in losses. When the growing credit crunch prompted senior AIG executives to re-examine its liabilities, a company accountant named Joseph St. Denis became "gravely concerned" about the CDS deals and their potential for mass destruction. Cassano responded by personally forcing the poor sap out of the firm, telling him he was "deliberately excluded" from the financial review for fear that he might "pollute the process."

The following February, when AIG posted $11.5 billion in annual losses, it announced the resignation of Cassano as head of AIGFP, saying an auditor had found a "material weakness" in the CDS portfolio. But amazingly, the company not only allowed Cassano to keep $34 million in bonuses, it kept him on as a consultant for $1 million a month. In fact, Cassano remained on the payroll and kept collecting his monthly million through the end of September 2008, even after taxpayers had been forced to hand AIG $85 billion to patch up his fuck-ups. When asked in October why the company still retained Cassano at his $1 million-a-month rate despite his role in the probable downfall of Western civilization, CEO Martin Sullivan told Congress with a straight face that AIG wanted to "retain the 20-year knowledge that Mr. Cassano had." (Cassano, who is apparently hiding out in his lavish town house near Harrods in London, could not be reached for comment.) [My emphasis]

Those of you planning a plotico/economic coup should take note of the name "Joseph Cassano". He was one of those "short, bald managers of otherwise boring financial bureaucracies [who] start seeing Brad Pitt in the mirror." Patient Zero, says Taibbi. He's the guy who ran AIG's Financial Planning section, the guy who popularized and really pushed the Credit Default Swaps idea whne he realized that Phil Gramm's (another name to remember) deregulation act meant that he (Cassano) could do what he liked with them, the guy who sacked anyone who pointed to the huge holes in the his numbers, the guy who ripped us all off...

Well it's nice to know exactly WHO to be pissed off with.

Like, Goldman-Sachs.

In my previous whinge I complained about not-knowing where the money for AIG's bailout was going. Well, now (I) we know. Both Henry Paulson and Edward Liddy, who set-up the bailout for AIG, are ex-employees of... Wonder who the biggest creditor of AIG is?


They are the ones getting the money. Robbing everybody, bringing down capitalism.

Up against the wall...


Hat-tip to Chris Myrick.

1 comment:

Skippy-san said...

The part about "rolling your eyes-you don't get it" is so true. I work with some conservative people and they all are adamant that "a contract is a contract".

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