I was reading this very dispiriting article in the Times about how folks in the administration have known about the AIG bonuses for months, how the folks at AIG are now saying they'd never have done any of it without the go-ahead from the Treasury and -- best of all -- how the plan to get AIG to pay the bonus money back appears to involve giving AIG still more taxpayer money which they can then hand back to us as 'repayment', while the new bonused execs (bonees?) get to keep the money anyway.

But all was not lost. Because I found out a little more about AIG Financial Products, my new obsession.

We've already told you about Joseph Cassano, former head of AIGFP, the guy who ran the operation as they were busy making tons of money blowing up AIG and the global economy.

Inter alia, the Times article reports the division is now run by Gerry Pasciucco, a former vice chairman of Morgan Stanley. On the left, you can see a recent photograph of Mr. Pasciucco from a party in Belle Haven, sporting a Che Guevara t-shirt, blue blazer and handkerchief, with some sort of sporting drink I'm unable to identify (possibly a mojito?).

Given how AIGFP helped bring global capitalism to its knees, the choice of t-shirt might suggest a role for internal subversion few have yet considered. But it is important to note that AIG CEO Edward Liddy brought Pascuicco in last November, after the collapse, "with instructions to wind down the unit." So it seems that Pascuicco's role has been to sort through the rubble rather than build the bomb.

But I digress. There's an issue I've been meaning to raise with AIGFP that may be relevant to various of the questions we've been discussing today. First, it's located in London. What that means for what law governs the different questions about the bonuses? I'm not sure. Second, as the Times notes, this is a derivatives trading shop located in London. How many of the people working there are US citizens? Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's a global economy. It's a company (a division of AIG) operating in the UK. But I suspect it may play some role in the resistance to identifying who the bonees are.


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Comment by Smitty on March 26, 2009 at 8:26pm
Anyone who thought the new administration wasn't serious about fighting terrorism better just sit down and STFU! The new sheriff and his gang of euphemizers who won't discuss shooting straight have shown their mettle. They will put the fear of God Allah Teleprompter Jesus into those Islamist terrorists Disaster causing men overseas who keep blowing up creating localized incidents of an explosive nature where innocents are slaughtered inconvenienced in a big way.

WTF people? Do they really think they can change a few words and all of a sudden we are no longer at war with deranged devotees of Islam who are pretty sure what they are up to. They have no qualms about their Global Jihad to impose Sharia law and create a new Caliphate. Sorry for the straight talk there I wouldn't want to offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable.

I wish this wasn't symptomatic of the mindset of our moral betters on the left, but I have lived among them enough to know that they really believe the bad guys are simply chafed that we call them what they are names. And if we would quit classifying people who do evil things as evil then we wouldn't have to hear the word evil and voila bunnies, unicorns and decaf soy lattes for everyone. To call them dangerously naive is an understatement and these are the folks who are going to negotiate with Ahm-a-nuttah-job, Putin and the Chinese? We are in deep shite.
Comment by David Allen on March 20, 2009 at 9:23am
There is a saying in Latin America that would seem to apply: “Tengo una remera del Che Guevara y no sé por qué.” (“I have a Che Guevara T-shirt and I don’t know why.”)
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on March 19, 2009 at 4:03pm
Just as you were writing this comment, I was putting up a blog post about the Constitutional problems with the current Congressional response.
Comment by Randy Herkelrath on March 19, 2009 at 3:57pm
There's blame enough for everyone connected with the AIG. How 'bout a bit for Obama's treasury secretary, who just admitted resonsibility for the loophole that allowed them to pay the bonuses. Of course it was also on his watch as the head of the NY Fed that most of the issues began anyway.

While the bonuses bother me, I find the actions in congress to be far more disturbing. Attempting to legislate taxation focused on a small group of people is simply insane. After all they did such a good job on the AMT. This is just plan wrong. And don't forget these are the guys that added 5B in pork to the so-called stimulus bill. How about passing a law requiring congress to pay that back.

How about requiring a treasury secretary, who runs the IRS, to actually pay his back taxes?

How about some honesty from a president who says he'll cut off pork barrel spending and then signs a bill with 5B of nice crispy bacon included within it.

There are certainly problems with Wall Street. There are also problems in Washington. I, personally, am ready for a 'change'. A nice viable third party would be nice, one that understands that the phrase fiscal responsibility is more than campaign rhetoric.
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on March 19, 2009 at 10:03am
There's a great thing about someone wearing a Che t-shirt. Should I decide to shoot between the eyes, now I have a choice.
Comment by Chris Gammon on March 18, 2009 at 8:15pm
A money-mogul wearing a Che t-shirt. Someone left the irony on! Hey, bend your fanny over once again. Fanny-Mae and Freddie-Mac is handing out $600,000 bonuses too. I don't mind companies paying bonuses, as long as I'm not forced to buy their product. In the case of AIG and F-M/F-M, I am forced to buy.

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