Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An uninformed mob is practicing McCarthy-style guilt by association, abetted by a failure to report on the AIG Bonuses.

Guilt by association without any shred of evidence is as wrong coming from the online Progressive netroots community as it was from "Tail gunner" Joe McCarthy or is today from Rush Limbaugh and effectively the whole damned House Congressional delegation. It is especially prevalent in the TV so-called news community and in most talk radio, left or right. I find it suffuses everything in discussion on Talking points Memo, too. Something that surprises and saddens me. It's time for it to stop, and for a little real reporting on AIG as it is today along with a lot more logic to begin to appear in the discussions of AIG and the totally mischaracterized "bonus issue!"

I consider myself part of the Progressive online community, a member who generally but not always supports the positions of the Democratic Party because nothing I have seen from Conservatives is either rational or useful. My key issue is the critical need in this nation for universal healthcare, but my training has been in economics, business, military and mostly political history. When Edward Liddy testified to Congress on the AIG mess, I was initially ready to come down on AIG Chairman Liddy as though he were another overpaid over privileged Tobacco Executive selling poison and refusing to admit wrongdoing because it would hurt his pocket book. Instead, I saw a capable, quiet rational man who had come out of retirement to try to deal with the disaster created at and through AIG by others. As Liddy tried to make his explanation to the posturing, uncomprehending louts on the Hearing committee I found that it was Congress that deserves opprobrium. No one listened to Liddy when he told them that the individuals responsible for the Credit default Swaps mess were gone.

Yet I saw, and still see, no evidence that he was lying. Nor can I see that he had any reason to. He was retired, for Christ's sake. He is getting $1 a year for taking the abuse.

I have also watched the distrusting online Progressive community attacking Chairman Edward Liddy as untruthful and untrustworthy with great vigor, and when I earlier posted a TPM cafe blog to defend his testimony it was ignored in favor of Liddy-bashing. Yet,

I saw and still see no evidence to support the assumption that Chairman Liddy was not telling the complete truth in his Congressional testimony.
I see nothing but incomprehension, anger and distrust either online or in the media.

When do we get a little real reporting into what the Executives at AIGFP really do, and what they were actually involved in the Credit Default Swap fiasco? Has anyone bothered to actually report on what the bonuses were supposed to reward the recipients for doing? Every piece of (limited) information I have seen says they were NOT BEING REWARDED FOR SALES. AIGFP is not selling product any more, and hasn't since January 2008 at least. I have written AIG's Public Relations department and gotten no response. Probably they are in a bunker mentality and trust no one now. I don't blame them.

The same kinds of questions applies to the executives like Jake DeSantis who remain at AIGFP and are helping to wind it down by maintaining the investments that are the only asset of that organization. I see no evidence that those individuals had anything at all to do with creating those assets. I don't even see anyone bothering to try to report on the current AIGFP. Everyone there now is just assumed to be Evil! They are being punished simply for working in the same office as Joe Cossano and his Michael Milken acolytes as they took their poisonous work to AIG and trashed a great insurance company.

Now one of them, Jake DeSantis, has gotten tired of being bashed for stuff others did and being demonized as the American public and the general media are doing to all individuals from AIG who carry or carried the job title "Executive." He has resigned from AIG and the New York Times has published his letter yesterday. It is very much worth reading. Here is the beginning:

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

He accuses government officials of persecuting him, and he is right. But I have listened to radio and TV "news" personalities stating the common wisdom of the media as though it were reporting doing exactly the same thing.

When does the mob back off and let someone speak of reality? Is there still any reporting function going on in America? I have seen no evidence of it. Just blowhards on TV and people spewing what they seem to think is their rightful anger on line. Even the NPR reporters speak only gossip from the reporting community - a community which has now sunk into uselessness.

I was used to much better when major newspapers existed and TV was just an admitted provider of headlines and images instead of claiming to report news. Our society lost a lot when CBS fired its last newsman, Dan Rather, abandoned the news business and replaced him with an over aged entertainer who still has no clue regarding what news is or should be.

It’s time to stop kicking people for associating with failure. Someone do some real reporting, or tell me how to get the information out of AIG. I used to delegate that kind of work to reporters, but I guess there are none any more.

No comments: