Category Archives: Republican Party

Mitt Romney Gave Bonuses In Order To Deplete Bain’s Cash, & Get Federal Bailout

You want bonuses, Wall Street style? Here are the ones Mitt Romney handed out at Bain in order to extort a government bailout for a failing company. It’s simply unbelievable. Tim Dickinson of RollingStone writes about it in an Aug. 29 column, having deciphered over 500 pages, heavily redacted, from Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests concerning Bain, in the early 1990s when Mitt Romney was working there for the second time.

This is after Romney was given his little berth at Bain Capital. The parent company, Bain & Co., asked Romney to step back in and handle restructuring Bain’s considerable debt. This was 1991, and Bain was doing horribly, and putting Romney in charge did not solve things; the negotiations he attempted with their creditors were not successful. The creditors, you know, just wanted to be paid.

Therefore — since the FDIC had a significant stake in Bain — Romney threatened to basically ruin the company if the government didn’t help them out with money. He told the FDIC and the other companies Bain owed money to that he planned to hand out very large bonuses to the executives and management, thus depleting the cash reserves, if all the creditors would not agree to reduce Bain’s debt by 65%. He wanted to pay just 35 cents on the dollar of what Bain owed.

According to the paperwork, Romney was permitted to hand out bonuses regardless of performance.

And the debt-restructuring agreement said ALL the creditors had to say a change to 35 cents on the dollar was okay, or he’d carry out his bonus plan.

But a few of the creditors thought it was a bluff, and they called it. They refused. So he gave out bonuses large enough to alarm analysts, who advised the federal government that they believed Bain was headed for trouble.

Matt Taibbi, also in RollingStone, explains Romney’s business actions: Mitt was “looting the cash reserves.” Interesting that he did this as a general strategy and not simply when in takeover mode against another firm. In this instance, it was the serious, adult version of a child threatening to hold his breath until he gets what he wants. When adults do it, they’re typically threatening to blow up something. And Romney was threatening to destroy Bain if the government didn’t step in and take care of them financially.

That first threat did not achieve what he’d wanted. So he tried again, announcing he’d do another bonus round of cash to management if all Bain’s creditors didn’t agree to — a new amount — 30 cents on the dollar for what Bain owed. As was evident in the documents, the FDIC was facing significant losses to the value of their piece of Bain. Analysts told the federal government that at this point in time (Aug. 1992) that Bain had defaulted on the revenue targets of the loan agreement they had, and was headed toward bankruptcy. They said Bain & Company had “no value as a going concern.”

Bain got its bailout, of $10 million, and it is difficult to believe the FDIC didn’t pressure the other creditors to sign on to the debt agreement, in which Bain only had to pay its creditors 30 cents on the dollar. Because by this time Romney had already awarded that second round of bonuses.

He’d just extorted the U.S. government successfully.

Bonuses On Wall Street Sink In Importance; Rick Santorum Wants To Cook Us For Dinner. Tentacles and Protein Strings.

Wall Street bonuses — which are obviously a metaphor for the unfair reward system currently in place for huge sectors of society today — are hard to keep uppermost in my mind, because of the Republican presidential candidates, who are utterly mad.
Or else they’re just aliens. You think?

I have to consider the possibility. Others already have reached firm conclusions for themselves on the matter, for instance:
But I have to do my own fact-checking. Or at least rumor-checking. So okay, quickly. On Ted Rall’s latest cartoon, in the link above, he quotes:

“We’re not here to serve the Earth. That is not the objective. Man is the objective.” — Rick Santorum

So the salient parts of the quote actually are:

“We’re…here to serve… Man.”

Too many cooks spoil the election.

How predictable! And like a fool here I was, twirling towards freedom.

I think I caught a glimpse of the Republican candidates the other day, when my water bowl was being refilled and the cell door hung ajar behind the guard. They — the candidates — look different now and their disguises are off. If you can picture an orange pyramid about 8 feet tall made of spongy flesh, and thick tentacles writhing out of its top, you’ve got it. And don’t forget the skinny arms, sticking out from either side.

The Strain on Medicare.

Did Wall Street suggest that Rick Santorum open his mouth and start talking about all this religious stuff? Someone did. It’s a great way to channel the talk and attention away from the fact that the miscreants, or I should just say criminals, of the ruined economy aren’t in jail yet, and financial regulations haven’t yet been enacted that will prevent more of the same crimes.

I refuse to let the current stupid anti-contraception debate-posing-as-a-religious-liberty-debate, which the Republicans have unleashed in front of the media, prevent my seeing the economical sins they continue to commit. (Just to throw some religion at you.)

You shouldn’t look away from the economy, either.
Or from your need for health care coverage.

On the health care front, I’ve been trying to listen to the inner facts that I heard first from very right-wing, hardworking doctors. There’s some scary things to think about;, and everybody — right, left, green, libertarian, smurf, communist, all — should be concerned.

Just focusing for now on Medicare.

Doctors whose practices consist largely of Medicare patients are worried, because they see so many people who’ve been on Medicare for decades but are not that old; some are people who retired very early in their careers. Yes… think about early-retirers. Some, whose early retirement was based on a formerly-healthy retirement pension and/or savings, now sadly shrunken due to the cratering of the economy, really need Medicare, especially if they haven’t been able to afford to buy supplemental insurance at all. (But of course Medicare isn’t available to them until they’re the right age.)

And then there are the spouses of all retired people, many of whom never contributed much directly to Medicare themselves. People who didn’t work outside the home, and all that.

Add to this the fact that we’re living longer.

The typical Medicare recipient may now be using far, far more in medical care money than he contributed in an entire lifetime. This is what some doctors are saying. They may be absolutely correct; after all, they’re the ones who send the bills to Medicare for their own reimbursement. (It would be excellent to find some clear stats on this, like what procedures are common at certain ages, and how long people tend to live after retirement. I must get busy.)

It’s something to worry about. It means that medical costs have to be brought into a manageable range. And it means we have to somehow make the future of Medicare a fair thing for those who will be depending upon it in years to come.

It also means that income taxes for ALL of us should go up. Yes, probably the middle class too. No, not the poor. They’re poor! And all those outrageous tax loopholes for corporations and the rich should be closed. And financial transactions in the stock market MUST be taxed (I mean, who exactly decided they shouldn’t be??). And corporate taxes SHOULD GO UP. Capital gains should be taxed at MUCH MORE than 15% — maybe they should be taxed at the same rate as regular income, hey what a thought.

And finally, tax revenue must be diverted from something else it is currently being spent hugely on…. Hmmm, what could that be? (cough-war-cough)

Yes….. heroic efforts should be undertaken to fund health care. You see, it means staying alive. We all like to be alive. Without being alive, we have no fun.

Wall Street Firms Have Occupied US. (Maybe We Should Eject Them)

Which should I be more enraged about — the lack of effect of the OccupyWallStreet movement, or the ever-imminent shutdown of the federal government?

Ted Rall was pretty hard on the mostly-young people taking part in the nonviolent occupation of Wall Street, which is winding down now in the park nearby, having been forced off the main street by violence from the police. Ted’s point was good, though: Why announce you’re going to be nonviolent, when the police routinely taser nonviolent protestors now? Let the police keep their distance a little longer, for fear of a riot beginning. As it was, the NYPD knew they could come in easily with plastic ziplocks for handcuffs, tasers, a minimum of effort, and pepper spray all these people who were not going to do anything about it. The protestors were dead in the water.

Why is it that each succcessive item used in crowd control becomes more harmful? Tasers are used everyday instead of oh, bothering to use one’s hands, and tasers cause a lot of pain, and occasionally heart stoppage; plastic ziplocks are much tighter than any handcuff could be, since that’s how they work — having to be completely tight around the person’s wrists, while handcuffs don’t have to — so ziplocks can cut off circulation, can bruise and cause nerve damage.

In former years, when protestors went limp and nonresistant, it meant the officers had to lift and carry people. Now it means they’ll use electricity on you until you get up on your own damn feet. Also, your hands will go numb. It’s possible they’ll hit you with their fists (as we see in the videos from the OccupyWallStreet group) if you can’t get up on your own. Even if they don’t hit you, you’ll very likely feel the taser a few more times.

This is as bad, or worse, than the early 60s. The taser has simply replaced the billyclub.

It’s maddening when you realize the police are really the foot-soldiers of the big banks and hedge fund companies. That’s who they effectively protect. It is now in the public interest to have fewer police on the street.

We’ll Meet You On The Edge

And now the federal government is about to shut down, again. But the battle is changed. It is now clear that each time the Republican Party does this, we should be insisting on a proper and complete bill, not some “bipartisan” thing, or a bill that’s entirely in the right-wing, billionaire big-bankers’ favor. Let us become brinksmen too. Let the government shut down, this time and every time after this, so we can actually fight for proper funding of jobs, health care, Social Security, and the stuff we need the government to be taking care of.

Brinksmanship 2.0

Wall Street Has SuperPACs, So Labor Should Have SuperPACs. AFL-CIO Takes A Step In That Direction.

As Wall Street firms toss bonuses to their employees, so does the NFL in similar fashion award enormous signing bonuses and contracts to big talent players. Just the other day, the NFL announced they’d be giving Michael Vick a $100 million contract to stay on as Eagles QB.

A day before this was announced, there came a different sort of event: The AFL-CIO had just welcomed the NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA) into its loving embrace. The NFL players’ union has joined the AFL-CIO. Why now, one might well ask.

In what way do the interests of a group of seasonal workers — many of whom are multimillionaires — dovetail with the interests of the regular workers who make up the rest of the union? It’s a reasonable question.
We do understand that the players union includes not only the millionaire brats and the quarterback divas, it also includes those earning far, far less; and it is a large group of people for whom permanent disability is a significant risk.

But today the NFL just announced it has agreed to pay Michael Vick $100 million. Why does he need union representation — and why is he in one at all, when his employment situation is so many light years away from that of the rank-and-file worker?

Consider what it means. The largest union in America has just annexed a whole bunch of rich people. Those rich people, the star players, make their big money from labor negotiations. Some rich people actually will have to care about how labor gets treated!

Furthermore, Rachel Maddow made clear on her show a week or so ago how Labor and the Democratic Party rise together — when they rise, that is. Historically, the growth of Democratic power was because Labor supported it wholeheartedly; and Labor did well when the Democratic Party was able to carry out its platforms.

So now there’s some important movement occurring. Does this have something to do with superPACs? Are the football players going to help save labor? If so, this may be a really good deal for us. The position of the middle class working person is precarious in every way, and he needs the help of somebody strong. Not necessarily physically strong, but why not?

The strength of NFL players could be symbolic. Think about it.

If some big NFL players were to show up to support another workers’ group demonstration or strike, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have the cameras see on our side. Picture it: Tired, striking health care workers (for example), standing in the rain with their picket signs, shuffling back and forth in front of the hospital entrance, … and suddenly a column of enormous athletes in jerseys marches up and they arrange themselves behind the strikers, and stand there with their enormous arms folded across their chests… just like in Revenge of the Nerds, when the older (and athletic, and black) Tri-Lambs show up to support their scrawny nerd brothers! What a day that would be!

When the 2012 presidential campaign begins in earnest, will our big strong brothers (Brothers in Labor!) be around to show support for the working man, giving a much-needed boost to the party trying to fight the Big Banks, the Wall Street firms, the Phil Gramms, the Koch brothers, and all the super-rich who hate ordinary people?

If so, that’s when I’d start idolizing football players.

Ed Rendell and New Deal Jobs. Spending is Happiness.

Here in Pittsburgh, suddenly there are multiple bridge and road rebuilding projects going on at the same time, so driving from one end of town to another requires at least one major detour. I now realize the assigning of money to do the work must have been done before Governor Tom Corbett took office. I think, given his druthers, he would wait and wait, until he’d gotten some jails privatized or something before loosening up cash for repairs. He detests spending as much as he seems to detest prison inmates; at least, apparently, those in Dauphin County Prison, and wouldn’t mind if they suffered some more in order for the state to get money.

I had expected to be falling into one river or another, soon, from a collapsing bridge. We have so many.

But former Governor Ed Rendell, who tonight was on the Rachel Maddow Show, made my poor heart leap because he is indicating the road we can take to fix the entire economy: He suggested that we start immediately to fix the roads and bridges and stuff — sort of like Roosevelt did after the Depression. Jobs programs. In fact, he obviously set in motion some helpful money here before leaving office, because work is going on right now.

I can drive around town and see some beautiful examples of Works Program buildings from FDR’s legacy: for example, the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. It’s used for classes, for university offices, meetings, events, cultural activities, you name it. Things were built that were useful and lasting.

Such a route is precisely what people like Paul Krugman have been saying urgently was the answer. That yeah, we actually do have to spend our way out of the hole we’re in. When a powerhouse like Rendell says now that this is what we have to do — now that the artificial crisis of the debt ceiling is over, now that the presidential candidates are lining up like beauty contestants and being found very ugly — it carries possibility. It carries an air of reason. I guess timing is everything.

Wall Street Stocks Falling; Debt Ceiling Deal. Brinksmanship, and Patting Obama’s Hand.

For once, Wall Street stocks are beaming truth out to the rest of us. The stock market is falling, because it’s perfectly clear that the deal struck betwixt Obama and the two houses of Congress is a lousy one and will do us harm in the near future.

What is “balanced”? That’s how the president described the plan he extended to Boehner. But it was all negatives with no positives. I’d hate to see Obama try to jump-start a car.

And speaking of brinksmanship —

All governing is done on the edge, now.

It would be really nice to have a government that acted responsibly.

I just got another of those political emails that come to you after they find out you have opinions. This one, immediately after the signing of this atrocious debt ceiling fiasco, was asking me to pat Obama on the, uh, hand, I guess; they wanted a donation because he’d helped, supposedly, to force automakers to start making cars that can get 54.5 miles per gallon. (They will start making them, I think, several years from now.) I responded to the automail asking, How about you don’t bother us with this sh__t that should have happened a decade ago? Why didn’t the president invoke the Constitutional option and raise the debt ceiling without awarding the Republicans all these budget cuts that’ll hurt us later?

I shouldn’t write things like that — although I did receive a very polite autoreply thanking me. Because the car thing should have happened two decades ago.

Wall Street Bone? Us.

Wall Street Bonuses are the metaphor for what’s wrong with our current society. But sometimes they’re the literal thing that’s wrong.

Bonuses for wrongdoers! Bonuses for thieves!

Bonuses for con men!

The money’s going the wrong way.

I have often thought that the difference between liberal and conservative is one of humanity. Conservative politics in these latter years are aimed at avoiding giving money to the poor or middle class.

It’s a class war, now, that we’re living in. I do wish the Tea Partiers would wake up and see it. They’re acting against their own interests, because I think the vast majority of them are not wealthy but very upset, middle-class people. They aren’t my enemy; the politicians, ultra-wealthy, lobbyists and former politicians (like Dick Armey) actively pushing this class war are.

Among Republicans running for office we have some beasts like Sharron Angle, running for Senate hoping to displace Harry Reid: Michele Rollins, running for a House seat representing Delaware; and Tom Corbett, running for governor of Pennsylvania. From OpenLeft Blog and other blogs collecting quotes I know there are many more of like mind, so what follows seems to be a Republican platform position.

Here are quotes from each about the unemployed. They are not sound bites coming out of context. Each candidate has uttered these sentiments in other words repeatedly to the media.

They don’t feel merely that unemployment benefits should be limited; they see benefits as a problem, and the unemployed as lazy and opportunistic. Corbett obviously believes the unemployed are scamming the government.

Angle: … “the unemployed are spoiled.”

Rollins: Jobless benefits make people “continue to do nothing.”

Corbett: “One of the issues, and I hear it repeatedly – one of the individuals said, ‘I can’t get workers. People don’t want to come back to work while they still have unemployment.’’ He said.  “They’re literally telling him, ‘I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.’ That’s becoming a problem.”
Corbett added, “The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are going to sit there and – I’ve literally had construction companies tell me, I can’t get people to come back to work until…they say, I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.”

As Freud would ask, How does this make you feel?
Are you perfectly safe in your employment? Are you well-off, or have a huge savings to fall back on?

Or are you like most of the country, just working and hoping your work does not disappear, to leave you on nothing but unemployment? After about 3 years of this financial recession mess, we have learned who is really to blame for it, and it isn’t us. It’s Wall Street and the financial wizards whose black webs extend through Wall Street and most of our banks, our mortgage companies, our pensions, our savings instruments, our what-have-you. We know this, from several years’ worth of reporting by the media, and investigation by the media and the government, and from outright admissions by mortgage companies and banks.

Meanwhile, the Republican song is all about leaving alone all these huge corporations which raped the environment and destroyed the livelihoods of the people who lived off the shoreline or fishing the waters, etc. Leave them alone. And the Wall Street thugs who ruined the economy (but not their own personal economies) then reaped riches because they shorted the right markets in time — leave them alone too. Leave Lloyd Blankfein, Hank Greenberg, Richard Fuld, little Fabrice Tourre alone. Leave them to heaven.

Because apparently what the Republican Party admires is their bald theft, gutsy self-aggrandizement, greed, gumption, aggression, egotism, and blind thrusting aside of the populace to make room for themselves. There has been no cleverness, no genius in the things created by the financial sector that have led to this recession/depression; there were only fraud, greed, and aggression. They destroyed institutions and our financial system.

And now that so many are unemployed as a result, well, that’s the unemployed person’s own stupid fault. And the taxes they paid into the system should be denied them in the form of unemployment benefits, because it would be better to save the money for, oh, maybe another bank bailout.

This is the Republican Way. What a lot we have to look forward to if they win certain of these elections.