Saturday, March 21, 2009

Propaganda Is A "Toxic Asset"

We have written about business propaganda being used every day and every where in the US, since about the first world war.

Recently the use of business propaganda in the main stream media (MSM) has brought us the oft repeated phrase "toxic asset".

The dictionary defines an asset as:
as⋅set –noun

1. a useful and desirable thing or quality ...

2. a single item of ownership having exchange value.

3. assets, ... items of ownership convertible into cash ...

Investopedia Commentary ... Assets are bought to increase the value of a firm or benefit the firm's operations ... something that can generate cash flow ...
(Online Dictionary, emphasis added). The definition of "toxic" is:
tox⋅ic –adjective

1. of, pertaining to, affected with, or caused by a toxin or poison: a toxic condition.

2. acting as or having the effect of a poison; poisonous: a toxic drug.

–noun
3. a toxic chemical or other substance.
(Online Dictionary, emphasis added). The news media promulgate the dichotomy "toxic asset" so as to deceive the public into believing junk is not junk, and that a toxic product has value.

They do this hoping we won't go ballistic when the government wants to use our taxpayer dollars to pay for junk.

One professor calls this doublespeak, and has written a book "Why No One Knows What Anyone Is Saying Anymore". He points out:
With doublespeak, banks don't have "bad loans" or "bad debts"; they have "nonperforming assets" or "nonperforming credits" which are "rolled over" or "rescheduled." Corporations never lose money; they just experience "negative cash flow," "deficit enhancement," "net profit revenue deficiencies," or "negative contributions to profits."
(William Lutz, Rutgers University). What is forgotten is that this propaganda is toxic and those who use it are doomed to eventually become deceived by it.

Homeless in Guantanamo

It was not supposed to happen this way.

President Obama was supposed to have to face a cadre of conservative judges that now make up the majority in the federal system.

Perhaps he figured that keeping Bob Gates on as Secretary of Defense would help him interface with the increasingly right leaning judiciary.

Who knows? But drums are beating which indicate that Gates may be in conflict with some in the judiciary over the homeless Uighur people which the courts do not feel should be held any longer.

Some of the Uighur prisoners have filed a motion to hold Gates in contempt because he has not complied with a court order in their favor.

Wrongfully detaining them in the first place has now made them homeless since the government does not want to release them in the US, and no other country wants them either.

China would take them and torture them but new policies rule out that option. Eat your heart out Dick Cheney.

Friday, March 20, 2009

AIG Iraq

From previous articles it is clear that AIG is a company that is not afraid to try new things.

Look at AIG Global Marine @ Iraq for example. Or other AIG endeavors in Iraq.

AIG has advertised that it has extensive capacity to handle many Iraq reconstruction and other financial endeavours.

It is interesting that this information is found on Iraq Coalition Org website:
AIG member companies have the capacity and expertise to handle the insurance needs of contractors and companies doing business in Iraq. There will be a variety of unique coverages needed in this effort. Listed below are some of the core coverages AIG member companies can provide. A more extensive list of products and services can be provided as individually required.
(Iraq Coalition, PDF). It must have worried AIG to know that that area of Iraqi "business endeavours" landed some Bush II officials in prison for a long time:
Bob Stein, the comptroller of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, received the longest sentence of any Bush official (as of yet) - nine years in prison for money laundering, conspiracy and bribery ... some of the money ... was cash in suitcases ...
(BBC, Wikipedia). And they must have been especially concerned to find that their bonus payments of $165 million, which drove the USA crazy, is dwarfed by Iraq reconstruction fraud that would shame even Bernie Madoff:
In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn (£88bn) in a US -directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The exact sum missing may never be clear, but a report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) suggests it may exceed $50bn, making it an even bigger theft than Bernard Madoff's notorious Ponzi scheme.
(British Independent). Yes, to be associated with large scale business endeavors in such a fraud rich environment, especially since they have banks in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Switzerland, was surely something they avoided like the plague.

That may not be the case, however, if the investigation of AIG's charges to taxpayers for federal contractors in Iraq, including KBR of Haliburton / Cheney "fame".

The Freedom Is Back In FOIA

President Obama and AG Holder have made it clear that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is once again for real.

In a memorandum sent to all administrative agencies AG Holder said:
A Presumption of Openness

As President Obama instructed in his January 21 FOIA Memorandum, "The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails." This presumption has two important implications.

First, an agency should not withhold information simply because it may do so legally. I strongly encourage agencies to make discretionary disclosures of information. An agency should not withhold records merely because it can demonstrate, as a technical matter, that the records fall within the scope of a FOIA exemption.

Second, whenever an agency determines that it cannot make full disclosure of a requested record, it must consider whether it can make partial disclosure. Agencies should always be mindful that the FOIA requires them to take reasonable steps to segregate and release nonexempt information. Even if some parts of a record must be withheld, other parts either may not be covered by a statutory exemption, or may be covered only in a technical sense unrelated to the actual impact of disclosure.
(DOJ Website, Holder Memo, PDF). Ladies and gentlemen, start your inquiries.

Election Officials' Lack of Integrity

In Clay County, Kentucky, the election officials were evidently corrupted by the toxins within power.

A federal grand jury has indicted them for election crimes. A spokesman for the Kentucky state government stated:
“The allegations as detailed in the U.S. Attorney’s indictments, if found to be true, represent a great injustice to the citizens of Clay County. Our office appreciates the U.S. Attorney taking these allegations seriously and working with us to rid our state of election fraud. Our office cooperated with authorities on this matter, including referring voting irregularities from the 2006 primary elections to law enforcement officials. We hope that the judicial system will work expeditiously on this matter so that the dark cloud of suspicion hanging over these elections will not affect future elections.”
(Les Fugate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State).

UPDATE: Here is a link to the indictment (PDF) which describes the parties and the charges against them.

AIG Liquidity Corporation & Family

We have been doing a series on the AIG family of corporations. The Banque, the international, and the one in the spotlight.

According to SEC filings, AIG Liquidity Corp. was created in 1992 as a Delaware corporation. It was a subsidiary to AIG.

That SEC filing says all capital stock is initially owned by AIG which was shown as a money making business ("AIG and its consolidated subsidiaries"), an average of 3.53 pct. "ratio of earnings to fixed charges" from 1998 to June 30, 2003.

A later SEC Filing in 2004 repeats those figures, and sets forth PricewaterhouseCooper as experts on that issue. Other online sources show the optimism continued through 2006.

After Greenberg was ousted from the company in 2007 and J.J. Cassano was put in the lead of the financial products division, things began to change.

Cassano, among other things, discontinued the hedging that Greenberg had kept in place. That means that a major shield of protection was removed.

Perhaps Cassano really did believe his own smoke that the shield was not needed:
"It is hard for us, without being flippant, to even see a scenario within any kind of [rhyme] or reason that would see us losing one dollar in any of those transactions," he told investors.
(Out on the False Front, Daily News link). But it was not too very long before reality burned through the smoke and Moody was downgrading AIG:
New York, September 15, 2008 -- Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the senior unsecured debt rating of American Internation Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG) to A2 from Aa3 in light of the continuing deterioration in the US housing market and the consequent impact on the group's liquidity and capital position due to its related investment and derivitive exposures. The company's long-term and Prime-1 short-term ratings were placed on review for possible further downgrade.
(Moody's Notice, pdf). This shows the danger inherent in business propaganda. Those who practice it are eventually caught in its web and they can't get out.

Update: AIG Iraq.

First Day of Spring 2009

Spring means different things to different people.

The winter of poppy cultivation had come to Afghanistan shortly before 2001.

On October 7, 2001, military strikes against Afghanistan were launched by the United States and an international coalition that included Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany and France.

The poppy cultivation had been almost completely removed from Afghan culture by the time that the invasion took place.

It did not take long for Afghan poppy cultivation to spring up again. By 2002 the spring of poppy cultivation was returning strong.

By 2006 Afghanistan was leading the world in poppy cultivation once again:
U.N. figures to be released in September are expected to show that Afghanistan's poppy production has risen up to 15 percent since 2006 and that the country now accounts for 95 percent of the world's crop, 3 percentage points more than last year, officials familiar with preliminary statistics told The Associated Press.
(Washington Post). An increase in heroin addiction and drug wars was the inevitable result.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Banque AIG & Family

The "G" in AIG signifies a Group, or perhaps a Gang, depending on how one looks at it, or who is looking at it.

One of the G's in AIG is Banque AIG, which does business in Europe, Asia, and the middle east.

Generally it does primarily internet financial reports under the radar, and only for financial business customers, not to private individuals.

For middle east business, Banque AIG tapped a well known individual:
Banque AIG, a subsidiary of AIG Financial Products Corp. (AIG-FP), today announced that Fawaz Homoud has joined its London-based marketing team. Mr. Homoud will lead Banque AIG's marketing efforts in the Middle East region, a new and important initiative for Banque AIG.

In this role, Mr. Homoud will originate and develop new business opportunities for Banque AIG in the Middle East across a range of financial products and asset classes, including credit, commodities, rates, equity and related combinations.

Prior to joining Banque AIG, Mr. Homoud worked as co-head of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) distribution at Nomura where he focused on a wide range of fixed income products. Before this, Mr. Homoud served in a similar capacity at Bear Stearns and began his career as a Portfolio Manager at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. "The combination of Banque AIG's broad product mix and focused, solutions-based approach is truly unique. I am convinced that our platform is well-positioned to develop a successful, long-term presence in the Middle East region," said Mr. Homoud.

"Fawaz's experience both on the buy and sell side and his knowledge of the region provide a valuable addition to our team," noted Mauro Gabriele, President Directeur General of Banque AIG. "We look forward to working with him to provide market-leading financial solutions to corporate, sovereign and institutional clients throughout the Middle East."
(EIN, Mar 30, 2007, emphasis added). Banque AIG acquired personnel from The Number One Bank In The UAE [they hid it so: Wayback Machine Version] by hiring Mr. Homoud.

The UAE is the number one business partner [they "lost" the link, so here is the Wayback Machine Version] in the middle east and Jebel Ali in Dubai is the US Navy’s busiest overseas port-of-call we must add.

A while back we did an article showing that taxpayer dollars are finding their way to the middle east via AIG bailout money thru other paths.

We can now see, via Banque AIG, that there are multiple pathways from AIG to the middle east.

But since banking is now part of the equation, we can discuss the subject of a "smart grid". That is, money flowing both ways, because banks are a two way connection having connections to and from there.

When we consider that UBS is one of the connections, and that Banque AIG has ending connections at secret accounts in Switzerland, the Swiss hidden account connection is a must for consideration.

One connection lists AIG Private Bank as a player. Notice what the Swiss AIG private bank could offer:
Private Banking in Switzerland is regarded as the safest and most prestigious banking in the world, used by royalty, movie stars, sports stars and the super rich. The services offered by SwissPrivateBank.com are offered to High Net Worth Individuals, Corporations and Businesses.

We provide international private swiss bank accounts, asset protection, commercial and business banking and investment strategies for international clients.
(Swiss Private Bank, emphasis added). How convenient.

Remember when Bush II was looking for the "missing WMD" in his office? Well, tons upon tons of cash was also lost. Did it end up with the Swiss on behalf of "General Madoff" one wonders?

Have we found where it might have gone to and/or come from?

There are more AIG companies to consider.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Out On The False Front

We who are students of Noam Chomsky are always wondering whether the news we are fed is legit or just more propaganda as usual.

In that light, several stories are worth considering and worthy of serious consideration.

One of the stories which deserves praise pins AIG woes on Joseph Cassano:
He was a political science major, Class of 1977, and he seemed to be on the way to do his borough proud when he went to work on Wall Street.

He instead gave new meaning to a saying among Brooklyn crooks who forayed into Manhattan during his father's tenure as a cop.

"Manhattan make it and Brooklyn take it."

Joseph Cassano started out at Drexel Burnham Lambert under Michael Milken, "the Junk Bond King." Drexel imploded in 1990 and Milken landed in prison.

AIG promptly hired a team of Drexel people to start a Financial Products unit, Cassano among them. Cassano became the head and began dealing in securities known as "credit default swaps" out of one office in Wilton, Conn., and another in England, dubbed "the London casino."

The cop's kid jetted between a house in Westport, Conn., and an $8 million townhouse in London that AIG provided.
(Daily News, 3/17/09, emphasis added). We have written recently about how criminality is getting into high places habitually.

And we have suggested that we rethink some of our national practices and become more unafraid to prosecute international white collar crime.

Here are more links and quotes about Joseph J. Cassano:
The insurance giant’s London unit was known as A.I.G. Financial Products, or A.I.G.F.P. It was run with almost complete autonomy, and with an iron hand, by Joseph J. Cassano, according to current and former A.I.G. employees.

A onetime executive with Drexel Burnham Lambert — the investment bank made famous in the 1980s by the junk bond king Michael R. Milken, who later pleaded guilty to six felony charges — Mr. Cassano helped start the London unit in 1987.

The unit became profitable enough that analysts considered Mr. Cassano a dark horse candidate to succeed Maurice R. Greenberg, the longtime chief executive who shaped A.I.G. in his own image until he was ousted amid an accounting scandal three years ago.
(NY Times, 9/27/08). And of all places there is talk on a Workmen's Compensation site:
One of the many fascinating sidebars in the decline and fall of the AIG empire is the saga of Joe Cassano. He was the genius behind AIG's Financial Products Unit, which insured high risk sub-prime mortgage deals. In other words, he is the man most responsible for AIG's abrupt demise.
(Workers Comp Insider, 10/8/08). The big dose of poison was taken in 2005, when AIG became unhedged and therefore unhinged:
Blame former AIG executive Joseph Cassano--and the lack of oversight by AIG's senior executives and board of directors--for blowing up the largest insurance company in the world.

How'd they do it? The answer is clearly spelled out in the footnotes to AIG's (nyse: AIG - news - people ) 2007 consolidated financial statement. "In most cases AIGFP (American International Group Financial Products) does not hedge its exposures related to credit default swaps it has written."

By the close of 2007, AIG held $562 billion risky and dangerous unhedged credit default swap (CDS) contracts on its books. That amounted to more than half of all AIG's assets. AIGFP, managed by Joseph Cassano, until he was pushed out in early 2008, was the dangerous operation singled out by The New York Times Sunday as the "small, freewheeling unit" that "brought AIG to its knees."

Croesus was informed Saturday that these complex contracts were hedged until former Chairman Hank Greenberg was ousted from his post in April 2005.
(Forbes, 9/28/08). If we can find these pieces of information I am sure the media can. And have.

His name is not on TV, nor has the congress mentioned the name. Everyone is bad mouthing Liddy and Geitner.

Check out Banque AIG and follow it to Switzerland.

Therefore we must ask why is it being covered up?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Judicial Code of Conduct

For the first time since 1992 The Code of Conduct for United States Judges has been updated.

The new code of ethics will take effect on July 1, 2009.

The code is composed of several canons as follows:


CANON 1: A JUDGE SHOULD UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY

CANON 2: A JUDGE SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL ACTIVITIES

CANON 3: A JUDGE SHOULD PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE FAIRLY, IMPARTIALLY AND DILIGENTLY

CANON 4: A JUDGE MAY ENGAGE IN EXTRAJUDICIAL ACTIVITIES THAT ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE OBLIGATIONS OF JUDICIAL OFFICE

CANON 5: A JUDGE SHOULD REFRAIN FROM POLITICAL ACTIVITY
(New Code of Conduct, PDF). Two of the canons are worthy of further note.

The second and fifth canons.

Justice Scalia of the US Supreme Court went on a hunting trip with a litigant in a case then before that court. That litigant was Dick Cheney. It did not look good.

He has also said "get over it" when he is asked about Bush v Gore and other bitter discourse, the case that decided who would be president in 2000, and of course in effect decided that Bush should be president.

That behavior of Justice Scalia would now violate Canon 2 and Canon 5 in the opinion of many people.

We can only hope that Justice Scalia will get over it and forego further appearances of impropriety.

The first test may be the Coleman v Franken senate election case now moving towards the US Supreme Court from the Minnesota State Supreme Court.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day From AIG

We have green, green, green, and buildings, land, capital, and personnel in hundreds of countries and jurisdictions.

We appreciate your green, America, so do our derivatives employees who have received green millions and green millions and more green millions. Money green.

For years we have taken your green, their green, and everybody else's green, and we are now trying to find where we put it.

People were once green with envy, now they are green with rage. Money green.

What up dawg, doncha luv us anymore?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Here Come De Conservative Judges

Will they be activists?

We hear over and over ad nausem from the republican pundits and congress people that the one thing they never want is "activist judges".

Following that we next hear from them that "judges should interpret the law, not make the law". They do not seem to realize that to interpret a statute of congress is to make case law which is just as good as legislative law once the case is decided.

So what is the current nature of the judiciary? Different to say the least:
Here's the core constitutional fact: a progressive president and Congress now face a conservative judiciary, for the first time since 1937. Obama's ambitious agenda, if enacted, must go before federal courts—where judges can rewrite or strike down key provisions.
(Newsweek, italics added). For the first time in over seven decades, seventy years, or 35 congresses, the judiciary is decidedly "conservative".

We will have to wait to find out what that means to those federal judges.

The next post in this series is here.

Bob Dylan's New "Non-Mystical" Album

The old timer just can't get enough of them sugar crisps.

The album will be released in April of this year.

Dylan talks about it with Bill Flanagan.

Here is one of my favorite Dylan tunes (which is not on the new album):
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead
(Masters of War, Bob Dylan). Listen to Eddie Vedder sing it with his soul, as Dylan did.

Check out these interviews with Dylan, a rarity.

I like it where the interviewer says "you have sold over a hundred million records" and Bob answers "Its a mystery to me too". Maybe he still doesn't get it that he is or was a Seer sometimes.

UnAmerican International Group

Yesterday we wondered about the "American" in AIG because AIG does not seem to care about what Americans think about it.

AIG China [hacked see wayback machine] has language on its home page that tells us as much about what is going on with AIG as the powers that be are telling us.

"We can't ..." is the only message at the moment that isn't greek.

We are being informed that AIG is sending bail out money to foreign nations or foreign banks.

What are the governments of those nations doing to help the AIG - Foreign ...

Why are US taxpayer dollars going to help foreign AIG's?

Here is a partial list of those getting US taxpayer dollars:
Deutsche Bank, Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, Wachovia, Calyon, Rabobank, Société Générale, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank, Dresdner Bank AG, UBS, Barclays, Bank of Montreal
Note that UBS is the one helping the very rich hide their money (thousands upon thousands of them) so they don't have to pay taxes like the rest of us.

When looking thru the Dresdner Bank AG info link you will come across The Carlyle Group fingerprints.

Which is Bush II family fingerprints going way back to Prescott Bush who did banking business with the NAZI party of Hitler's infamy.

The bottom line here is that taxpayer dollars are not flowing directly to US Companies who need it but out to foreign banks that have dealings with people who have caused our problems.

The past Treasury Secretary Paulson, who landed hundred of millions of dollars in capital gains from Goldman Sachs, without paying any taxes, directed how the TARP and AIG funds would begin to flow. This was just prior to the Bush II regime's end.

It seems like a payback or pay off or something of that nature that those taxpayer funds would flow to foreign banks and foreign locations that have been "good" to the Bush II regime and family business for decades.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"American" International Group - AIG

Many are beginning to experience distrust any time they see a business with the name "American" in it.

And AIG is acting like it is anything but "American".

Lets face it, if something is "American" it has the interests of the American people at heart.

Just what business is AIG in that the government "can't do anything about" them giving out $165 million in bonuses? AIG received $165 billion in bailout money and the government put a new CEO in place of the old one. The government can fire people but can't stop bonuses?

Something is fishy in Denmark:
The AIG companies were one of the very few U.S. companies to have their origins in China when their founder, C.V. Starr, formed American Asiatic Underwriters in Shanghai.
(About AIG, emphasis added [the Chinese hacked that page, a wayback machine link for 2007 is here; also verify here, and here]). So AIG is originally a Chinese company that is now neighbor to Dick Cheney's Halliburton in Dubai.

Where it has the name AIG Dubai [the site with that URL has changed since the feds bailed them out, so to see some things they were into, here is a wayback machine copy of the page, also check out this and this].

To top that off the mystery extends to "operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions" (AIG About, [wayback machine shows it used to be like this, note the "Global Business Network"]).

Lets face it, when they are this brazen and Obama administration officials and the congress are slithering around stuttering to the press on Sunday morning, explaining their missing spines, we do not have a government for the people and of the people any more.

No wonder Larry Summers, on Face The Nation today, talked like a weasel who was an apologist in the fashion of the neoCon robber baron mouth pieces.

International conglomerates from foreign nations are running the show now, and Larry tells us there is nothing we can do about it because of "contracts".

Was he trying to tell us there would be "contracts" out on him if he did not toe the line and play his part?

UPDATE LINK

Dan Z Plunger & War Zone H

This post was moved to make room for next year's posts.

Open Thread


What is on your mind?

Message of Science & Religion - Western

This post has been moved to the Ecocosmology Blog.