AIG and Barney Frank: VDH’s modest proposal

March 16, 2009

Like me, Victor Hanson was not impressed with Barney Frank’s outrage over the AIG bonuses. Dr. Hanson has a reasonable suggestion for Frank and friends – in that case, give back AIG’s political donations:

A modest suggestion? Let us agree on the following: No more corporate fat cats partying, jetting, and bonusing around after their tottering companies got federal cash; and all congressional-people and senators who took any contributions from any corporate or quasi-government entity that is a recipient of federal bailout money, must pay that money back, plus interest, to the government. After all, as in the Madoff mess, these congressional-people usually got the cash at a time when their benefactors were already in trouble, albeit hiding their fraudulent or unethical practices through cooked statements and high living. So please, Representative Frank, Senator Dodd, and all the rest — give back all that campaign cash to our government, and then in silence endure what you helped to conceive.

I’m sure they’ll get right on it, Professor. Winking

(hat tip: Blue Crab Boulevard, where Gaius thinks the administration’s outrage is conveniently tied to their poll numbers. I wouldn’t be surprised.)


‘Cuda watch: early moves?

March 16, 2009

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be the keynote speaker at a major Republican fundraiser in June, according to The Atlantic.

First, you take some time to rest, recuperate, and tend to Alaska’s business after a grueling campaign. Next, reintroduce yourself to the Party honchos and remind them why you’re so popular with the Republican "base." Then, when the time is right, the ‘Cuda strikes.



Bring on 2012. Cowboy

(hat tip: Flap)


Breathtaking hypocrisy

March 16, 2009

Not that I approve of the bonuses paid to AIG execs, but it takes amazing brass for someone like Barney Frank to say this in public:

"These people may have a right to their bonuses. They don’t have a right to their jobs forever," Frank said on NBC’s "Today" show.

"[I]t does appear to me we’re rewarding incompetence," he added. "Forget about the legal matter here for a second. These bonuses are going to people who screwed this thing up enormously, who made terrible decisions."

A disgusted Frank said that "some of these people, maybe they should choose between keeping their bonus and keeping their jobs. You can’t fire a man for having his legal rights, but I’m ready to look and say, this guy gets a bonus? This is a guy who cost us x billion dollars. Let him live off his bonus and no salary for the future."

Really. How upstanding of you, Congressman Frank. I’m sure, therefore, your next move will be to resign, since you were one of the incompetents who caused this problem in the first place!

The collapse of AIG and other financial institutions arose from investments in toxic securities made of bundled high-risk mortgages bought from banks and sold into the market by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a policy expanded and accelerated under the Democratic Clinton administration. Frank, Chris Dodd, Maxine Waters, and a host of other liberal Democrats not only created the policies that lead to the financial crisis, they fought every attempt to bring the system under control, even crying "racism" when all else failed.

(For more on the Democrats’ role in this mess, go here and here.)

I’m not saying Wall Street execs don’t bear a share of the blame for what befell their companies, but for Frank to sit there and pretend he’s a defender of the public’s interest when he’s nothing more than a sanctimonious statist who happily encouraged the very policies that created this train wreck … well, to call it an "outrageous hypocrisy" would be the understatement of the year. Angry

With apologies to Allahpundit, an exit question: if Barney Frank is so offended by the bonuses paid to AIG execs, does this mean he’ll go after the huge salaries paid to Fannie Mae execs, such as Franklin Raines? After all, they were in charge when all these toxic mortgages were sold into the market, and they were rewarded for it. It wouldn’t matter to Barney that these people were appointed by a Democratic administration, or that Raines is best-buddies with The One, would it?

Yeah, me neither. Oh go on

(hat tip: Michelle Malkin)


Religion of Tolerance watch

March 16, 2009

Advancing the cause of fundamental human rights, including Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Islamic states at the United Nations Human Rights Council* in Geneva have circulated a petition calling for the criminalization of any criticism of Islam:

The Islamic states circulated a new resolution at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday that would criminalize defamation of Islam as a human rights violation and encourage the imposition of Shari’a.

According to the nonbinding governmental resolution, titled "Combating Defamation of Religions," anything deemed insulting to Islamic sensitivities would be banned as a "serious affront to human dignity" and a blatant violation of religious freedom.

The resolution would attempt to influence "local, national, regional and international levels" to incorporate such guarantees of this perceived freedom in their "legal and constitutional systems."

"It is a covert package coordinated by Pakistan against the West," said Leon Saltiel, director of communications at the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, on Thursday. "They think there is too much liberty and freedom of expression in the Western world, which therefore defames religion."

Note that the resolution is aimed as much at liberal Muslim reformers in Islamic countries as it is at us infidels.

Free speech? Whaddat? I dont know

Cultural jihad? Be serious. Oh go on

Clash of civilizations? Never heard of it. Not listening

*(Orwell would be proud of this name.)


Buyer’s remorse

March 16, 2009

That's the feeling you get when you regret buying something: maybe you don't need it, or you paid too much for it, or it doesn't work the way you wanted it to. Many moderate Democrats and Republicans are already experiencing that after voting for Obama, and now even liberal Democrats are starting to wonder. As Michael Goodwin writes in Sunday's New York Daily News, More Than a Bad Day: Worries grow that Barack Obama & Co. have a competence problem:

Which brings us to the heart of the matter: the doubts about Obama himself. His famous eloquence is wearing thin through daily exposure and because his actions are often disconnected from his words. His lack of administrative experience is showing.

His promises and policies contradict each other often enough that evidence of hypocrisy is ceasing to be news. Remember the pledges about bipartisanship and high ethics? They're so last year.

The beat goes on. Last week, Obama brazenly gave a speech about earmark reform just after he quietly signed a $410 billion spending bill that had about 9,000 earmarks in it. He denounced Bush's habit of disregarding pieces of laws he didn't like, so-called signing statements, then issued one himself.

And in an absolute jaw-dropper, he told business leaders, "I don't like the idea of spending more government money, nor am I interested in expanding government's role."

No wonder Americans are confused. Our President is, too.

It's getting harder and harder to ignore the elephant in the living room: Obama really doesn't know what he's doing, nor did he know what he was asking for when he ran for the job. While the problem at the heart of our financial crisis is the weakness in the banking system, PBO is doing everything but dealing with it: while trying to ram through a massive expansion of the federal government into the private sector, he has let 17 crucial jobs go unfilled at the Treasury Department, which should be the point agency in any recovery effort. It's gotten so bad that the British are complaining there' no one in the Treasury to answer the phones.

And that's just one example of bumbling among so many.

I hate to say "I told you so," (No, you don't. You love it. –Tito It's true, I do.) but a lot of us were warning this guy wasn't ready by measure of experience or character: the lack of executive experience, the absence of any major legislative accomplishments in either Illinois or D.C., and his unsavory (to say the least) associates in Chicago and his willingness to benefit by ignoring corruption…

We tried to tell you, but you didn't want to listen. Not listening

(hat tip: Blue Crab Boulevard)

LINKS: Ed Morrissey says "Told you so," too.