We confess right up front, we are guilty of capitalizing on the economic crisis. We have fallen into the trap of a mob mentality. When you look into the mob, you can see me on the third row from the front, last person on the left. Fortunately for all of us, Atticus Finch and his children are between the mob and AIG CEO Edward Liddy. The use of the Rovian Dark Arts by almost everyone has resulted in rabid mobs running the news media. Truth and Justice are lost.
The media, left, right, and mainstream, lost significant viewers after the election last November. All of us, including TheFiresidePost.com, have been chasing our tails – circling any available victim. With really big and important issues on the table, we have focused on the small, the trivial. We have to admit that Congress has fed our appetite for controversy.
Case in point:
Edward Liddy, the retired CEO of Allstate Insurance, came out of retirement to orchestrate an orderly dismantling of AIG. AIG is the insurance giant that insured the sub prime mortgages with no cash reserve to cover the loses. CEO Liddy agreed to work for $1 per year. The real criminals who put our global economy at risk have taken their loot and are on the lamb in the Bahamas. Congress called Liddy to testify about $165 million in ‘retention bonuses’ paid to AIG execs.
Liddy rode his white horse to Washington and stood his ground against the dragon breath of the Congressional inquisition. Congressional breath has a lot of hot air, but no fire in the belly. Liddy was challenged all day to keep his cool amidst the flailing congressmen. Liddy answered all questions with calm intellect. He actually made sense to this writer.
Two issues were at question. $170 Billion in bailout money, and $165 Million in retention bonuses.
On the issue of $170 Billion:
Liddy calmly said that AIG has actually received $30 Billion in TARP funds and a $38 Billion loan from the FDIC – for a total of around $80 Billion. The $170 Billion is the amount approved, not the amount actually used.
On the issue of $165 Million in bonuses:
Libby explained that the retention bonuses were exactly that, designed to retain the talent of specific individuals. Each of these execs were handed a set of toxic AIG Books to be worked down to non threatening assets. As each of the execs finished their job, cleaning up the books to the satisfaction of Liddy, they were given their bonus. The execs were retained until they completed their task, then granted their bonus. Libby emphasized that no merit bonuses have been paid.
Eleven of the execs left after receiving their bonus. So the Congress and the Media blathered through foaming anger that the execs were paid and not retained. Again, Liddy explained that these people finished their task – then received their reward.
What is at stake?:
Liddy explained that when he took over as CEO six months ago AIG had $2.7 Trillion in threatened liabilities. That amount has now been reduced to $1.6 Trillion. Liddy estimated that it would take two to three years, depending on global markets, to completely eliminate the threat. Our economy is at considerable risk if AIG fails. Liddy explained that he is dismantling AIG and selling the component parts with the intention of returning the bailout money to the U. S. Treasury. The current process is designed to soften the blow of a hard fall.
Liddy was quite articulate and provided very useful information in understanding the nature of AIG, what went wrong, and what is happening to alleviate the problem. But it seems no one is listening.
Liddy testified before congress earlier in the week – and I have not seen one accurate expose on his testimony. Nearly every cable talking head show, every network TV newscast, every written word on paper and on the internet has championed the mob mentality of Rovian Dark Arts. Even during the congressional hearings, Liddy answered questions only to be faced with the same question later – by a different congressman. These folks did not care to hear the truth – they were only interested in their thirty second sound bite on the evening news.
The media, whatever that is, has not cared to address the truth. There is no profit in the boring truth. Is this mentality any different than the driving force behind the corruption at AIG? We think not.
The Rovian Dark Arts were honed to perfection by Karl Rove in the 2000 election of George W. Bush. Rove helped Bush win the nomination by trashing John McCain, even suggesting that Cindy McCain had produced a black child – how despicable. But the idea is simple – confuse the facts with gory, juicy, tabloid nonsense.
It seems the entire media has taken the Rovian Dark Arts mainstream. Newspapers are closing around the country – because the print media has traditionally been thoughtful and insightful in their reporting. The new test of successful news reporting is measured by Neilson or Gallup. Ratings Rule. Internet news is measured by hit and page views. Quality has been discarded in favor of quantity.
The Rovian Dark Arts have gone mainstream.