Sen. Grassley to AIG execs: quit or commit ritual suicide


Sen. Charles Grassley (R. Iowa) thinks AIG execs shouldn't be taking bonuses. Instead, they should resign or kill themselves. He said:

...the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology.
Lisa Katayama of Tokyo Mango's response:
There's a major distinction that Grassley should be aware of here -- Japanese execs who fuck up kill themselves when they feel that their shame is too heavy for them to carry on living; in the AIG case, clearly the execs are acting completely shameless even after all the screwing up they did.


  1. If those execs are gonna start sluicing themselves then this is an important juncture to note some Japanese suicide etiquette (for real!):

    When jumping in front of the train, always remove your shoes first and place them neatly on the yellow (or white) safety line. This lets everyone know that you jumped and weren’t pushed and also ensures you don’t embarrass yourself when entering the house of the after-life with your shoes on.

    from Daro in Tokyo

  2. But they already have committed suicide in a sense. I think AIG will eventually go under.

    Obama can express all the outrage over AIG bonuses he wants, but it’s just a smokescreen for giving these idiots the bailout money at all. No money should be going to these guys anymore. There’s more headed their way and there should not be.

    Let AIG go under and let its idiot employees do whatever they want with swords. The government should let AIG sink and offer its help to the smaller companies threatened by it’s collapse.

    AIG is a dead horse.

  3. So is Grassley, or any other politician, gonna give back, I guess to the treasury?, the money that AIG gave him this past year? I saw earlier he got about $26k from them in 2007-2008 alone. And if AIG bought him, and now the taxpayers own AIG, does that mean that we the people own Grassley now? :)

  4. Just heard this on npr. I’m not sure I want them killing themselves but their “shut up and give us money or this whole country’s going down” attitude is certainly worthy of a smack in the face.

    I was talking this situation over with some people I know that work in homeland. These folks are generally pro big business, pro Bush Doctrine, pro bomb-anyone-for-any-reason. I asked them what would be the reaction of this country if instead of inept investors Al Queda had managed to manipulate the market and create this financial mess. They laughingly all agreed that in a short time the noonday skies over Pakistan would turn black from all the American ordinance in the air. But when I asked why the top 50 people at AIG haven’t been charged with treason or economic terrorism they fell all over themselves trying to defend these guys because “this was different”. I was really disappointed.

  5. And in all seriousness, if I were a Congress watching a president give money to AIG, knowing its recent behavior and potential for criminal charges, I would flat out impeach him. Immediately.

    I see no difference between the criminality of giving away taxpayer money to a criminal organization and the criminality of the Bush administration. None whatsoever.

    I voted for Obama, but a scam is a scam is a scam.

  6. Nothing AIG has done in years is consistent with trying to save their company OR it’s reputation.

    This is a confidence game.

  7. Be careful: Obama didn’t do this. The AIG bailout money was given in Sept. 2008 by the Fed directly to AIG under a depression-era law that hasn’t been used since 1932. Congress didn’t get to vote on it – they just dropped their jaws in astonishment like everyone else. Yes, they (including then-Senator Obama) did then believe Bush’s panic-mongering and vote in big bank bailouts. Bad on them. But President Obama hasn’t given anyone anything yet.

    But I have no idea why the same administration idiots who were behind the big bank bailouts are still working for Obama. That certainly isn’t the ‘change’ I voted for. But it’s too early to pin the blame on him for anything that’s going on now. We’ll see what happens over the next few months.

  8. Airship,

    I’m not sure you’re right. I believe Obama did authorize a payment to AIG. Easily checked. But yes, CNN reported it in one of their articles today.

  9. MSNBC article: Obama administration is working to put ‘strict limits’ on next 30 billion installment headed for the company.

    30 billion. To a bunch of criminals. Obama.

    Go figure. Or go impeach. Which do you pick?

    I’m frankly sick of jackasses getting to be President.

  10. alessandro – as the ‘executive’, Obama is the one who ‘executes’ the will of the legislature, which in 2008 authorized the payment you’re discussing.

    But hey, sloppy thinking is nothing new.

  11. You can only say “Let them eat cake” for so long before they strap you to a guillotine and lop off your head.

  12. MDH,

    Congress ‘authorized’ the payments. It doesn’t force them to be made. The Executive makes the payments at its discretion.

    Sloppy thinking indeed.

  13. A lump sum was given to Treasury to spend essentially as it sees fit. The legislative branch does not make the payments or decide who gets them.

    Obama does.

  14. Yes Obama is at fault for approving a bailout for a corporate / economic juggernaut of problems 10 or 20 or 50 years in the making…

    America’s ‘king’ is Wall Street, and the rich people (most descended from the Mayflower) that run it.

    If anyone’s interested, I have a trace from Lehman to Enron to ‘junk bonds’ as a starting point…

  15. Since the Dodd Amendment requires that the bonuses be paid, I’m not sure this is all Bush’s fault here; there’s a legal requirement to uphold the bonuses put into contracts before the middle of February because they’re exempted from the other requirements of that Amendment.

    The end results of Mr. Dodd’s huge contributions from AIG put on display here.

  16. allesandro – you’re calling for the impeachment of a man you believed in 4 and a half months ago.

    Please do excuse me while I discount your opinion out of hand and half-ass my rebuttals.

  17. “I see no difference between the criminality of giving away taxpayer money to a criminal organization and the criminality of the Bush administration.”

    I do. Torture, One million Iraq’s and 4,000 of US’s finest dead to enrich the pockets of Cheney, Bush and the rest of the cabal, an end to habeas, spying on every sign American.

    Theft, even in the massive amounts we’re talking about, doesn’t really measure up to that.

  18. You can only say “Let them eat cake” for so long before they strap you to a guillotine and lop off your head.

    If only these executives had such diplomacy. This time around their dismissals have been more along the lines of “suck it.”

  19. AIG execs are playing chicken with the American people: “Pay us or the economy collapses”.
    The only other rogue nation that continues to emply this technique is North Korea. They rattle their sabers and ultimately, the US or S. Korea relent and send foreign aid money their way.

    AIG should be allowed to fail, promptly and cleanly with plenty of government oversight. Let the cards fall. The place is rotten to its core and cannot be salvaged.

    I thought antitrust laws existed to prevent this exact sort of scenario – letting a corporation get so large that its very existence becomes a potential threat to the nation at large.

  20. Noen,

    They’re still dying. Every day. And the torture goes on – they just ship them to other places to do it. And Obama is supporting the eavesdropping and immunity for the eavesdroppers. Get real. I am immune to hero worship of Obama. It’s a bad way to go. Heroes don’t run for President. They become firemen. I ain’t buyin’ the savior crap about this man. He’s a good guy on most counts, but if he gives 30 billion or more to AIG, it’s all over. He’s busted. Outed.

    Let him prove he’s not owned by AIG. We’ll see.

    Can you face the fact that diplomacy and tact result in more long term gains than radical change?

    He’s only been in office officially since January 20th. Which means less than 2 months.

    Give the guy a chance before damning him. He has 8 years (and maybe even more) of B.S. to wade through.

  22. generally in Japan execs kill themselves to spare their families dishonor, and to ensure their wife/children will be taken care of by the insurance payout (which usually doesn’t exclude suicide in Japan)

  23. Obama was in the senate when this festival started, he easily “owns” 1% of these bailouts from “the previous administration.”

    Sen. Dodd and Franks where deeply involved in crafting the financial bailout (without oversight) that they now run around blaming the previous administration for.

    The Dodd ammendment to specifically protected exactly these bonuses is called the Dodd amendment for a reason.

    The treasury has known about these bonuses FOR MONTHS, their suprise and frustration is, to say the least, suprising.

    President Obama has signed of on AT LEAST $30B for AIG, doesn’t THAT stick to him?

    Sen. Dodd got over $100K from AIG, as did (then) Sen. Obama…

    What I truely find amazing is how this $165M is distracting everyone from the $1T+ in bailouts.

    What is truely

  24. The fundamentally scary thing here is:
    companies could start adopting the idea of running a place till it needs a bailout as a strategic management decision. We set this strong precedent in bailing out Chrysler – which proved to have, for a while, brought itself back to profitability. But today, bailouts are just an additional source of funding prior to complete collapse. Just another way for execs to leave with an extra million dollars.

    It’s a kind of subsidy that violates everything we tout about living in a free market. At this very moment, the US is acting in a manner that is arguably no different than a socialist regime.

  25. Yes #22, when can I start damning a president? Is there a really good point to trusting a president? The entire foundation of our government is based upon distrust of a president. The fact of my voting for Obama has no relationship whatsoever to my opinion of him in office. I am fully disconnected from my voting self. This enormous trust of President Obama worries me. If he were trustworthy, I think he would have gotten on television the other day and said it was over for helping AIG. There’s no reason to give those people any money. Anyone who gives it to them is a fool or worse.

    I will say this, George W. Bush should be in prison. Obama should simply be viewed with a healthy skepticism. But if he gives 30 billion to AIG, forget it. I’m done. Impeachment all the way. I love the word, impeachment.

    We impeach people for staining nice blue dresses and then being gentlemen about it. Why not impeach for 30 billion dollars? Should have impeached Bush for Iraq. Impeachment is our only defense against criminality in the White House. It should be used with gleeful abandon.

  26. The fact of my voting for Obama has no relationship whatsoever to my opinion of him in office. I am fully disconnected from my voting self.

    So, you take no responsibility for your own actions, but demand accountability in others.


  27. @23: Let me clarify: Insurance in Japan doesn’t do squat for you if you off yourself before expiration date, as the families of many stupid husbands have found out. That’s why Japanase families fight tooth and claw to gete their bread-earner’s suicide classified as work related stress problem or an accident (yes, “falling” in front of the train, “falling” from the tall building, “accidentally mixing” up household chemicals etc.) Many times sympathetic cops are in on it and helps the family out by noting down cause of death as accident.


  28. Suicides of Japanese executives are very, very rare these days (I live in Japan and I read the news and they would mention it if it happened), but it is true that they usually resign at the least sign of a scandal.

  29. perhaps a new domestic terror underground will be born. Heads of large corporations might start dropping from sniper bullets, with the assassin disappearing into a population disinterested in helping police catch them. I see a good script in there… perhaps a graphic novel…

  30. @32- What a great idea– give the people with the money to hire lots of mercenaries no reason at all to even remotely follow the rule of law, and every reason to oppress the population for their own safety. Hello, feudal system.

  31. MDH #29, you are not showing any subtlety of thought. Think about what I’m saying there. My vote for Obama was a logical choice for me. I’m psychotically liberal. I’m left of the port side of an aircraft carrier. So I vote for someone like Obama. But the day after I cast my vote I start watching my candidate even more closely. When he or she takes office I basically turn somewhat against them. It’s a distrust of the power of the presidency. People who take no responsibility for their actions defend their choices all the way to doomsday. I don’t. I make bad choices all the time. But I’m not a politician, so I don’t have to be foolishly consistent.

    Read Emerson since you haven’t yet.

  32. Alessandro Cima said:

    We impeach people for staining nice blue dresses and then being gentlemen about it.

    There’s being a gentleman and there’s lying to a federal grand jury – the President I assume you are referring to did the latter while attempting the former. The transcript from President Clinton’s Grand Jury deposition makes interesting reading – specifically how the prosecutor had the President repeat and acknowlege his responsibilty to tell the truth and the penalties for lying under oath.

    I believe he lost his license to practice law as a result of his efforts at being a gentleman regarding the intern he had sexual realtions with in the oval office.

    When the boss at the local trucking company does that to an intern, it’s sexual harrassment, when the President does it, it’s a casual indiscretion?

    Besides, the blue dress wasn’t that pretty either (or are you just trying to be a gentleman about it?)…

  33. #35,

    It ain’t the dress, it’s the girl, dude. But yes, call me a hypocrite (it’s another word I like) but I fully supported Mr. Clinton in his sex lies. Oh yes, sex lies are the ones I like. Any President who lies about sex is okay in my book. You know, a good southern gentleman always lies about sex. It’s just the only way. Open honest sex is for prime time television. Hell, Ken Starr lies about sex all the time doesn’t he? I could almost swear he does. I’m pretty darned sure… Or did you miss that?

    And as for harassment, hmmm, I dunno, but I’d sure like a good intern now and then if I were a president. Yum!

    For sure, that blue dress ain’t worth no 30 billion dollars. You’re right on that count.

  34. @38 Takuan- Assuming you’re comparing US citizens now to medieval peasantry, sure. Anyone threatened to lop your head off for lese majeste recently?

  35. @allesandro – Read Emerson since you haven’t yet.

    haven’t re-read, yet.

    If you voted for Obama, and you think him impeachable, and you’re angry, then you have to admit you are culpable AND responsible.

    Mistakes were made. Agreed, raise the alarm!

    Obama is trusting the people who made HUGE mistakes that got us into this mess, right?

    But are you (the maker of a recent HUGE mistake, that got us into this mess) the best qualified to solve the problem? Or should you catch your breath and listen a little more?

    hobgoblins indeed.

    “The louder he spoke of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons”. –rwe

  36. #41,

    Come on now. I said Obama would be impeachable if he gives AIG another 30 billion. Will he or won’t he?

    What HUGE mistake? Obama? Really? Do you take my recent posts for regret about Obama? Good grief! I must not be expressing myself clearly! Shame on me! Surely the HUGE mistake would have been McCain and the dimwit from Alaska. Most certainly.

    But that doesn’t mean I would put up with giving AIG another dime. Not a chance.

    And please, don’t quote the great writer. Don’t quote. I hate that more than anything in the world. Quotes are so easy and so dangerous. Say it and just let it breath under the surface. That’s how you do it.

  37. Let them take their bonuses with one condition- who they are, what they do, what their salary is and what their bonus is, etc should be a matter of public record. Then every single newspaper and evening news broadcast needs to devote a nightly segment to these assholes. Show their faces, follow them down the street, show where they golf, where they go on vacation, what clubs they belong to, what boards they sit on. US taxpayers own 79% of AIG, they are public employees now. Shame the fuck out of them, nationwide.

    At the same time, do flattering profiles of the “selfless, upright” people who decided “I don’t know if I want to be famous for being a walking colostomy bag” and didn’t take their bonus or gave their bonus back. Let them go home to their houses in Greenwich and get slapped on the back for being a model to all of us.

    Don’t think they don’t care what other people think. The whole reason they do what they do is to impress others. Robbing the treasury puts them in the category of arms dealers, drug smugglers and gangsters- they will be shunned by “people of quality”.


    @22- Out of curiosity, can you give us a date at which point damning can begin?

    I’d say 2 years in would be the best point. So January 21, 2011, start complaining.

    Otherwise, I think he’s done a great job for less than 60 days in office.

  39. AIG is going to go down. hence the large golden parachutes ” bonus ” money.

    At least that is what I would think will happen when it loses 500k a minute.

    I got an idea, lets turn AIG buildings into prisons! kill 2 birds with one stone. We can keep dumping endless money into ideals that wont work.

  40. Remember, every time a bell rings an AIG exec gets a new bonus. They are contractually obligated. It says so.

  41. All the contractual obligation BS is easy to get around. Just tax it at 100%. Presto, no change in contract and no fecking bonus.

  42. I voted for Obama. I didn’t buy into the “change!” bullshit rhetoric, but I knew he was at least intelligent, he could be reasoned with. He could bow to public pressure unlike Bush, because I think he truly believes himself to be an honest man of some kind…

    But I echo Alessandro’s sentiment- doesn’t matter who you vote for. Vote for the best, hope for the best, but NEVER TRUST anyone in power- trust is earned. Obama can have my trust after 5 years or so of erasing my deep hatred & cynicism at the president and Congress, after the way they have destroyed civil liberties in this country for the last 8 years.

    That said, I hope AIG burns. Burns to the f$*king ground. I don’t mean metaphorically- I mean I hope Americans march on Wall Street, and literally burn the whole damn thing down. Then, find those actually responsible for this mess, the exact people only, and export THEM to a blacksite, like they’ve done with innocents here and elsewhere, and let THEM be tortured, without laws. Throw everyone at FOX news in there too. They seemed to champion this shit as “necessary” when it was suspected “terrorists”.

    Finally, I hope the American people realize an even bigger criminal than Madoff exists- GW Bush, and Americans crucify him in front of the White house, and end the modern USA farce of a “government”, stealing from the people, and giving it to failing criminals. Punish those responsible, and start running the country with a new Congress, a shaken but wiser Obama, and RULE OF LAW.

  43. Suicide? I see no reason why the public need wait for them to make up their minds.

    An eco-friendly hybrid with a flatbed and a guillotine could be purchased thousands of times over with that bonus cash.

    (Disclaimer: I stole this idea from a Jack Chick tract)

  44. @45

    that is absolutely the best idea I have heard on this issue. Why aren’t media outlets doing just that? Is it a legal issue for them to make public the information on the assholes accepting these bonuses?

  45. Remember folks, this is all due to the “deregulation will save the day” scam that allowed these capitalists-in-name-only to profit from a rigged system. Deregulation was the beloved “tort reform”of its day, for any youngsters out there. Very, very popular.

    So, now, the Republicans are in the catbird seat, aghast with indignation at the socialism going on in our great capitalist country. Never mind that they were instrumental in setting up the house of cards (along with some Republican wanna-bes with Democratic labels) that imploded. Never mind that they coasted during the last decade on hot topic issues like abortion, gay marriage, etc while letting their business friends have their way with our economy.

    People are getting antsy about the bailouts, not realizing that “privatization of profit, socialization of risk” was built into the system. If something was too big to fail, it was because it was designed that way! Maybe I’m upset because I’ve sat through too many quarterly briefings where executives reminded lowly employees that America was a meritocracy where, if you just tried harder to meet some arbitrary number, you’d be rewarded. But, that system didn’t apply to those in charge.

  46. Again: The money AIG has received so far, it got last Sept. from the Fed under an old 1932 law that Congress (including Obama) had no chance at all to vote on. That’s where the bonus money is coming from.

    More money seems to be on the way, and that decision IS the responsibility of the current administration.

    Personally, I think the Obama administration (which I voted for) has drunk the Kool-Aid. I’m willing to give them some rope before I start calling for impeachment. After all, if we’re going to impeach anyone we should at least do it in chronological order. Bush first.

    But as the pundit said, “I got a baaaaaaad feelin’ ’bout dis!”

  47. #54 – You’re conveniently ignoring the fact that equally culpable is the Executive, at various times in the last 30 years using the Community Reinvestment Act as a hammer to force banks to give risky loans, which were then partially bought up by Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, governmental-cum-quasigovernmental agencies. Also to blame is congress, since those two agencies are staffed by political appointees by congress, essentially, and not necessarily people who know what they’re doing.

    Fanny and Freddy were the start of the collapse, and they were sitting on almost $2trillion in bad loans before the crash. The only way banks could expand and carry on normal business was to keep giving riskier and riskier loans to meet their CRA obligations. In a lot of ways the federal government didn’t give any other choice if the banks wanted to grow.

    There’s plenty of blame to share, and the feds are screaming loudly to cover up the fact that they share in it. The roots of the problem go back to at least Johnson, probably farther.

    None of it could have happened without derivatives, which aren’t normally an unhealthy thing, but then again none of it would have happened if they didn’t *have* to make bad loans due to years of rewriting the CRA, or the well-intentioned push to get everyone into a home, risk be damned, by various presidents.

  48. Jack, when asked how long we have to wait before our new President can lay claim to the budget woes we are currently enjoyning said:

    I’d say 2 years in would be the best point. So January 21, 2011, start complaining.

    So let’s see, then Clinton “owned” the 9/11/2001 attacks since they fell within the first two years of Bush’s administration? (It wasn’t Bush’s fault, he inherited the attacks!?)

  49. WAREAGLE asked:

    Is it a legal issue for them to make public the information on the assholes accepting these bonuses?

    Well, it hasn’t been disclosed yet, but a good place to start might be the folks from AIG that gave Sen. Dodd $100K+ and Sen. Obama $100K last year… Their names ARE public record.

  50. @54, damnit, you beat me to the “privatize profit, socialize cost” argument. Good job. And I also agree the the deregulation fervor has certainly made this problem what it is today. Conglomeration to the point that an institution is “too big to fail” never made much sense to me. After all, isn’t that what regulation was for (reference the splitting up of the Bell System).

    As an example, after the 911 attacks when the airlines were whining and begging for help because people were too scared to fly they should have been left to rot (or reorganize under new management).

    The point I am making here is that under “capitalism” failure is always an option for the simple fact that in a free market system somebody is always going to be able to step to the plate (and people/businesses will always fail). The second law of thermodynamics has always seemed applicable in this regard, money/wealth/resources cannot be destroyed; only converted. Somebody surely would have come in to buy the jets or the rights to terminals/routes; if they were viewed as being a viable investment. Such is the lot of AIG and all the other financial institutions that are on the verge of “failure”. Meaning the “if you couldn’t do the job right, somebody else might be able to do better”. Bringing us to the concept of US taxpayers being the ones to step to the plate. I personally don’t think that the government (being itself rather inept) should be the one to do this but surely there is somebody out there that can.

    So ultimately I think that these firms should be allowed to fail and others allowed to take them over. Or did I just prove to myself one more time that this whole ball of wax is why I am not a capitalist. In my opinion, none of this would be happening if we were a lot more anarcho-syndicalist or at least a little more self-reliant and geared more toward our local economy.

    Invest in yourselves and your communities, and let a bunch of multinationals go screw themselves, not you and yours.

  51. An update from the New York Times:

    In the letter, Mr. Geithner confirmed that the government would subtract $165 million — the amount of the bonuses — from the latest $30 billion loan to A.I.G. that would bring the total loans to $200 billion (minus $165 Million, right? ed.), from the original $85 billion.

    Mr. Geithner reiterated the Treasury position that lawyers inside and out of government had agreed that “it would be legally difficult to prevent these contractually mandated payments.”

    That position was being questioned at the Capitol. Congressional Republicans, eager to implicate Democrats, initially blamed Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who heads the banking committee, for adding to the economic recovery package an amendment that cracked down on bonuses at companies getting bailout money, but that exempted bonuses protected by contracts, like A.I.G.’s.

    Mr. Dodd, in turn, responded Tuesday with a statement saying that the exemption actually had been inserted at the insistence of Treasury during Congress’s final legislative negotiations.
    [Emphasis Added]

    So to re-cap, Mr. Geithner said he will deduct $165 Million from the next $30 Billion Loan they send A.I.G., making the next loan $29,835,000,000 (not $30B), and Senator Dodd is blaming the mean Treasury Department for his amendment that protects bonuses. Wouldn’t that be President Obama’s/Mr. Geithner’s Treasury, since the amendment post-dates President Obama taking office?)…

  52. Allesandro, You mis-quote him but ask me not to accurately quote him. You denigrate your own decisions but then say I misunderstand you. You call for impeachment, but back away from your own words.

    You speak of subtlety, but have none.

    Just put a cork in it, bub, you’re doing your cause no favors here.

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