Bus tours of AIG executives' homes

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79 Responses to “Bus tours of AIG executives' homes”

  1. mdh says:

    @55 – exactly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Herdzcatz @ #75,

    “Class warfare” is what the rich folks call it when the poor folks start fighting back. For the last 30 years at least, we’ve had “class massacres’ perpetrated by the rich against the poor, but I suspect you never had a problem with that.

  3. christineapp says:

    There’s just one tiny problem – these are NOT “the same folks” who caused all the problems in the unit – Liddy said that over and over again in the Wed hearing; the Washington Post writes, in this article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/18/AR2009031804104.html?hpid=topnews):

    The handful of souls who championed the firm’s now-infamous credit-default swaps are, by nearly every account, long since departed. Those left behind to clean up the mess, the majority of whom never lost a dime for AIG, now feel they have been sold out by their Congress and their president.

    But why should this mob care about facts? Why should this rabble actually bother they have the right targets before they go on their pitchfork-brandishing witchhunt? All they want is a sacrificial lamb. Any victim will do.

  4. The Unusual Suspect says:

    Maybe AIG should hire Blackwater for it’s corporate security?

    http://gawker.com/5175745/aig-corporate-securitys-tips-for-surviving-an-angry-mob

  5. mdh says:

    these are NOT “the same folks” who caused all the problems in the unit

    nope. These are their golf partners.

    Why should this rabble actually bother they have the right targets before they go on their pitchfork-brandishing witchhunt?

    Who are the right targets? The mob (the same mob that just pulled the ungrateful jerks from the river) wants full names and swiss bank account numbers.

    If they’re going to drink our milkshake, take even just a sip, then they’re going to finish the whole damn thing.

  6. Ugly Canuck says:

    The “outrage” over these bonuses is a distraction from the real crimes:which are far larger in scope.
    Link:

    http://pensionpulse.blogspot.com/2009/03/mother-of-all-stealth-scams.html

    They are after yer pension savings….and yer social-security and medicare.

  7. mdh says:

    to paraphrase a recent president:

    responsibility is hard work.

  8. slavin says:

    @ Christineapp it’s curious that of all things, this is the first post you’ve commented. I’m not saying you were sent here, paid to post such a comment, which is part of every large company’s communications budget. But the thought crosses my mind, in part because you go to greater lengths than many to take an unpopular stand, with quotes and links. You might just be contrarian, outraged and punctilious. Possible.

    Putting all that aside, the question isn’t necessarily whether these particular executives were personally responsible for the chaos. Another question would be why the billions of dollars that went to subsidize and stabilize AIG should find its way into executive pockets in such sizable chunks. These individuals may or may not have been responsible for causing the conditions that required a bailout. But they are personally diverting the funds provided to relieve it. The money didn’t go into AIG to pay for those houses in Connecticut — it was, down the line, for all the other homes across the country.

    People are looking for witches, indeed, except that it’s not magic that brought sickness to the village; behind the pitchforks and venom, there’s some math. 185 billion federal dollars in, of which 165 million immediately went out in lump sums to executives as performance-based rewards. “Those left behind to clean up the mess” might just deserve respect, indeed. But not 165 million dollars worth of bonus respect, paid out in one week.

    But I do applaud your use of rhetoric in using the word “victim” for the recipients of multi-million dollar bonuses constructed from federal bailout funds. It would be easy to read that and feel like the anger should be redirected to, well, nowhere in particular.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know why people are angry with the employees that got what they bargained for from their employer and not at their congressmen who gave the employer the money with no strings attached.

  10. jlborghead says:

    Pitchforks and torches will be provided at the registration table. Please do not light your torch until after we have departed the bus.

  11. sisterbeer says:

    #71, that sucks. I’m sorry to hear it.

  12. evawes says:

    Ummmm…. shouldn’t you be also having a bus tour of the politicians who let AIG payout the bonuses?

    Whatever you think of it ethically, they were doing what they have been doing for years – their jobs – and if you believe some of the arguments: if they didn’t, there would have been an employee shitstorm.

    I’m actually scared about this story. Not just for the fact that clearly people are going to get hurt – seriously, what other reason is there for this bus tour to exist other than anger and revenge
    (Nothing, its not about curiosity or sending some nice message). I’m more scared for our decent into mob-mentality. Whatever happened to due process? I’m being serious here. We can’t want the return to proper due process in the world (or America – I’m in Australia), but then act like we should make judgements and then act on them.

    The names of these executives should NOT be released until things have been dealt with.

  13. evawes says:

    “Though the thought of questionable business ethics resulting in a corporate yes-man’s death is somewhat refreshing.”

    Holy fuck man. This is the problem now – it was once just the questionable business ethics, now its about how we react and deal with it. I just wrote about due process. This is completely fucked.

  14. BastardNamban says:

    @ Takuan #10, thanks for that link. Everyone here should read it before taking up tar & pitchforks.

    Don’t get me wrong, I HATE AIG. Scathing, flesh-ripping scorn, the same kind close to what I feel towards Bush & Cheney. But what Bush & Cheney did far outweighs these bastards. Still- realize that not everyone who works for a bad employer is bad themselves. Takuan’s article put a human face on the enemy. I’m sure there are plenty of fearing innocents there, and they are good people. If my travels around the world have taught me anything, it’s that there are always good people, often where you don’t expect to find them.

    But mercy aside, there is too much latent rage in the USA. Too much from the actions of the last 8 years, too much after seeing, as a whole, WallStreet hold America ransom. And so I’ll be damned if I will shed a tear of sympathy for the system. Innocent people might suffer, in the end, and that must be avoided at all costs. But the system they collectively represent is what is going to be the backdraft catching firewall for the American people. We need something to rage at right now, the rage of a lost decade, the rage of lost dreams, lost hope, and lost retirement. Whole people have lost their life savings thanks to these assholes on Wallstreet- the bad ones.

    And so it will come down- everything. Innocents will end up being caught in the crossfire, but maybe all the better to remind Americans personally the terrible impact of our own greed on our own people. This will be the Berlin Wall for my generation.

    I, for one, can’t wait to see the meek tear that f*cker down, and shake the very core of these damn greedy bankers and the ghosts of neo-con past.

  15. sisterbeer says:

    #13, SLAVIN, you mean you think CHRISTINEAPP is being paid to post here just like the people protesting outside AIG’s Manhattan office are being paid? Please. Put your foil hat back on.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Be carefull near these homes. These folks can hire top notch security pros with extensive Law Enforcement and Special Operations experience. You sure you want to do this?

  17. newe1344 says:

    @EVAWES
    “just” the questionable business ethics? just…
    Are you kidding me? Do you really think that someone who helps take part in tanking the global economy “only” practiced questionably business ethics? They’ve done alot more than that! I’ve personally noticed a rise in road rage. People are stressed out. Some are moving to tent cities, others are forced to find other solutions. Some people will snap…when they do, I’m sure it won’t be on the execs who did this, it will be on someone who didn’t deserve it.

    Maybe pitchforks aren’t the right answer. However, this situation will cause alot more indirect harm than people realize…even death. That rides square on the shoulders of the people who did this and don’t care. I would personally like to see the day when the leaders of this country, corporate or otherwise, excercise a little more caution for fear of “the people”.

  18. Hamish MacDonald says:

    XKCD did a lovely job today of putting the bonuses into their proper perspective against the bailout:

    http://xkcd.com/558/

  19. Mindpowered says:

    Note:

    “About $3.6 billion in Merrill Lynch & Co. bonuses wouldn’t be affected by the new legislation because they were paid before Dec. 31.”

    or

    “The tax wouldn’t apply to any bonus returned to a company, or to commissions or fringe benefits.”

    and finally

    “It wouldn’t apply to foreign workers of U.S. companies.”

    This legislation will do absolutely nothing to get any money back from anyone. Especially considering the office which wrote these contracts was based in London, England.

    “The House vote absolutely reflects public outrage,” said Barry Burden, director of graduate studies in political science at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “It is populism at its most intense.”

  20. MALICIOUS DISORDER says:

    It’s not America anymore…
    we have to stop the government

  21. clenchner says:

    If anybody wants to join the NY Working Families Party, meet us at our Brooklyn HQ. Only thing is – our cars are full up, so you have to bring your own! Sign up here: http://action.workingfamiliesparty.org/t/3865/signUp.jsp?key=2219

  22. clenchner says:

    #17
    “I, for one, can’t wait to see the meek tear that f*cker down, and shake the very core of these damn greedy bankers and the ghosts of neo-con past.”

    That might not be the official strategy, but yes. That’s how some folks feel. A lot of folks. Hrm. Most of the country even.

  23. FoetusNail says:

    Maybe the torches should be drowned and the pitchforks returned to the barn.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/03/25/business/econwatch/entry4891431.shtml

  24. aj says:

    This is definitely a diversionary tactic. What much more serious problem is being hidden by this piece of Two Minutes Hate? Is it that without being paid by AIG (<- the taxpayer), the counterparties would also have failed?

  25. Teller says:

    “The protest is an attempt to let people suffering from loss of jobs or homes tell their stories directly to AIG executives,” said organizer Jon Green…

    Oh, that’s different than I thought. I thought it was an attempt to intimidate the crap out of these folks and their families where they live so they’d refuse to accept the money.

  26. Enoch_Root says:

    I feel like the anger is a bit misdirected. The guys who pushed risky securities at AIG are long gone now. These bonuses were specifically protected by an amendment pushed by Chris Dodd and passsed by congressional Democrats (I know its shocking) and Dodd’s now saying it was Obama and the treasury that asked him to push the amendment.

    While all the “enlightened” commenters above who are salivating for mob rule are embarrassing themselves on the internet. Lets stop and remember that that money was already wasted the second we bought AIG. Collectively we purchased the least profitable company in the history of the world. Technically a company can’t get as unprofitable as they are because of bankruptcy law.

    At the very least the 160 million in bonuses might actually stimulate the economy if they get spent. The rest of it is going to buying up worthless securities. Anyone now all these a-holes at AIG are out the door and we own the least profitable company in history with now corporate leadership bad or otherwise.

    governments should not by private companies

  27. Mindpowered says:

    And of course GM and Chrysler are just pissing away the money

    ““It could be considerably higher, I won’t deny that,” Rattner said, when asked whether U.S. aid sought could rise to $30 billion or $40 billion.

    (Steven Rattner, the U.S. Treasury’s chief auto adviser)”

    Is there are word about them?

    Can we tour their homes?

  28. RobertinBellevue says:

    It’s always funny to see how a conversation devolves quickly into assumptions and name-calling when you simply point out a fact that someone doesn’t like. Who mentioned Republicans? Who mentioned anything else other than what’s been reported in the general media? Who said I was or wasn’t black?

    Learn to debate with facts and class or go back to Kindergarten and start over again. Circular arguments are like trying to fit round pegs into square holes. It might look like it fits but it doesn’t belong.

    To the moderator – let’s try to keep this as a dialog and omit personal attacks from making this news story any more than what it is outside of the facts. The tour site itself stated that the second stop was at ACORN headquarters. Interesting point.

  29. pauldavis says:

    @25: you’re peddling inaccuracies. There is no clear evidence (or really any evidence at all) that Dodd pushed an amendment that specifically targetted these bonuses, and Geithner has explicitly and clearly denied that there was any effort by the administration to push such an amendment.

    As for your comments on the wisdom of purchasing AIG, presumably your alternative involved allowing it to go bankrupt and thus terminate overnight any confidence by the rest of the world in the ability of the US to meet its financial contracts and obligations.

    As the days tick by with this story, I am coming around to feeling less and less outrage about these bonuses in particular and the culture of entitlement that surrounds them. These particular bonuses appear to be mostly or entirely retention bonuses paid to convince people to continue (or even start) working for AIG at a time when there were (and remain) lots of reasons to jump. The real problem is not that they were promised retention bonuses, which may really have been necessary to enable AIG to have people around (it may not have been to – thats a more subtle discussion), but much more that these bonuses are “required” to be so huge relative to the median income of other Americans.

  30. dbrown says:

    Greenwich is not going to take this sitting down. Years ago, the local police used to run the New York proles coming to play PowerBall out of town. How they try to circle their wagons will be instructive, short term and long term.

  31. chris says:

    How about a tour of the politician’s homes that pushed all this bailout stuff?

    Oh wait, we’re supposed to be mad at the employees who got bailouts.

    Start the 5 minutes hate now…

  32. Kevin Kenny says:

    The “torches and pitchforks” mentality that I see here is alarming. I suspect that it isn’t going to stop until the mob starts hanging the poor working stiff who cleaned an AIG executive’s toilet – after all, he was a “collaborator.” Some such person will be the Salim Ahmed Hamdan of the banking backlash.

  33. batu b says:

    why THIS outrage? why NOW? of all the things to be mad about the past several years, this one seems to have really taken hold of the mobimaginatino.

  34. Glossolalia Black says:

    I dunno, man, I have a populist soul and will cop to it in a heartbeat, but this pitchfork and torch talk is making me a bit nervous. They brought pitchforks and torches to lynchings, too, and people at lynchings are never really thinking all that clearly, to put it lightly.

  35. Anonymous says:

    This seems like a really bad idea. ACORN could find better ways to channel the outrage into political action. This bus tour will make it much harder to get the names of executives from companies that have abused the public trust, and rightly so.

  36. igpajo says:

    I won’t be surprised if someone actually get’s tarred and feathered.

  37. Gilbert Wham says:

    #4: Would police fire into a crowd under those conditions?

    You need to ask?

  38. Anonymous says:

    For those who feel sorry for AIG? My entire retirement was invested with them. My employer’s benefits representative insisted upon AIG and AIG only. Do I feel sorry for them? Hardly….

  39. mdh says:

    PaulDavis – These particular bonuses appear to be mostly or entirely retention bonuses paid to convince people to continue (or even start) working for AIG at a time when there were (and remain) lots of reasons to jump

    You are incorrect. Many of the recipients cashed the checks and left anyhow, within the week.

  40. danlalan says:

    The outrage is now because now people are beginning to be frightened…someone pulled back the curtain and it turns out that the people running this huge imaginary machine we call the economy are evil trolls who have been so busy stuffing money in thier pockets the damn things gone wonkey…and pretty much everyones life depends one the machine actually working. I am sorry for anyone in the financial sector who is honest, diligent and competent right now, but if you lie down with dogs………

  41. RobertinBellevue says:

    No one seems to have pointed out that the tour groups are picking some of the people up at the ACORN offices in Bridgeport (WTF?). Aren’t these the same people who signed up a lot of dead or missing voters in the last election and are now getting prosecuted for it? Real community outreach. Maybe when they get some of these “rich” AIG executives out of their houses and neighborhoods, they can also help find financing for some of their members to buy those homes and move ‘em in.

  42. p0zitr0n says:

    If this bus tour causes alarm and distress, while invading the privacy of these wretched people, is it not terrorism of a kind?

  43. mdh says:

    People should be more outraged about the trillions of dollars in wasteful spending coming out of the White House than legal contracts made between a company and it’s employees.

    Because we can’t possibly do both?

    FYI – Barney Frank IS MY ELECTED PITCHFORK.

  44. Teller says:

    Batu B: I guess because it’s the one thing in this entire economic mess everyone can fully understand.

  45. Teller says:

    Oh yeah, and the bus tour is chickenshit.

  46. mdh says:

    Aren’t these the same people who signed up a lot of dead or missing voters in the last election and are now getting prosecuted for it?

    Your studied misunderstanding of the ACORN situation is laudable. Your bonus will arrive next week.

    (p.s. the people being prosecuted were street-level turned in by ACORN for faking voter registrations to get paid (piecework-like), and not higher-ups caught by someone else – as you imply)

  47. mdh says:

    Maybe when they get some of these “rich” AIG executives out of their houses and neighborhoods, they can also help find financing for some of their members to buy those homes and move ‘em in.

    Yesssss. Yesssss….. fear the black man.

  48. kengor says:

    You know, you could make a few bucks selling paper bags pre-filled with dogshit at these bus tours.

    Sold strictly as a novelty, of course.

    Not responsible for the misuse, etc, you know.

    Matches/lighters cost extra.

  49. clenchner says:

    #50
    Stop lying about ACORN. They signed tons of new voters, sorted the paperwork, and placed the crazy looking ones in a special box marked ‘we think these might be a problem.’ The LAW forces them to turn in every single completed form, even if it does say ‘Mickey Mouse.’

    So after being super careful to isolate the likely bad forms, dishonest folks defame ACORN for voter craziness. I bet not one of those slamming ACORN had anything bad to say about Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004.

    Refuglican liars attacking ACORN to deflect anger away from AIG. Must have run out of useful things to do.

  50. eustace says:

    There’s something surreal about this. This is a political party doing this? It’s pretty over the top, innit?

  51. T0AD says:

    What a diversion tactic that the politicians are using with AIG. Lets scream and complain about 157 million dollars in bonuses, and hope everyone forgets that we gave them hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars that will never be recuperated. And for what because they are to big to fail. How about we decide they are to mismanaged to save.

    Its like evolution. The very large animals in nature typically go extinct because its to hard to sustain there appetites. What we need is new companies to pop up and work on a more local level than all this global multinational Frankenstein’s monster companies.

  52. mdh says:

    Robertinbellville – When you have a fact, bring it up. Casting aspersions to cover the whiff of bullshit you left from your first comment doesn’t make you right, nor will it make you feel better.

    Bringing ACORN into this conversation brought racial presidential politics to the table, and you did that.

    On top of that you lied.

  53. JJR1971 says:

    As a former low-level, front-line AIG employee the headlines make me reluctant to mention in public that I used to work for them on and off for the better part of 10 years, from the late 1990s until well into the early 2000s. Our subsidiary branch in Houston did good work, providing customer support and medical travel assistance services to travel insurance policyholders. We got the feeling the main NYC office regarded us with contempt, kind of like the funny looking red-haired stepchild. We also felt like the suits in NYC (we never wore suits in our Houston office) never understood our operations and kept sending us pinheads in pinstripes to meddle in our affairs and to suck down a huge salary while contributing next to nothing to the organization. We managed to persevere despite upper management missteps and bumbling, and despite declining staff quality owing to a lack of promotion and slow salary growth making it almost impossible to keep the best people on the job that we started with in the late 1990s. Enough high quality old timers like me stayed on to keep things running and lead by example.

    I’m mad about the bailout and the executive bonuses, but I’m also glad my friends back in Houston haven’t been tossed out on the street yet, too. Not everyone who worked/works for AIG are smucks. Face to face these days, though, I’m about as loath to admit former association with AIG as someone might be in admitting they used to be a cult member.

  54. newe1344 says:

    hmmm… I would go, maybe they have donuts? Seriously, though 90% tax on thier bonuses when we are talking about millions? I’m sure it won’t pay the rent will it…

  55. yannish says:

    Yea! Don’t forget to choke up while slinging the pitchfork. We don’t want to you to tire too soon. Kidding…sorta

  56. scalleywag says:

    Come on, this is a little over the top. Sounds like lynch mob mentality. People should be more outraged about the trillions of dollars in wasteful spending coming out of the White House than legal contracts made between a company and it’s employees. Sure it’s disgusting, but who gave the authority for this to happen and then LIED about it? Congress and the administration. When does the bus go to Capital Hill?

  57. mdh says:

    Circular arguments are like trying to fit round pegs into square holes.

    I know, and I grow tired of the rehashed arguments that ACORN has a agenda.

    OF COURSE THEY DO. And you’re trashing that agenda – but not on it’s merits – rather through specious and disproven allegations of co-ordinated voter fraud.

    At this point, on this board, using ACORN as a codeword IS a racist comment, and you will be treated as such.

    The tour site itself stated that the second stop was at ACORN headquarters.

    Yes, they’re one of the organizers.

    My, what a thick plot you’ve uncovered. What crooks they must be.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Don’t try to apply logic. They are this weeks subject for the two-minutes’ hate. Last week was Rush, next week we will have another.

  59. Timothy Hutton says:

    What could possibly go wrong?

    BTW, the political party is an AFL-CIO front:

    Where does your funding come from?

    Some of our funding comes from affiliated community groups and unions. But most of the funding for our grassroots operation comes from regular people like you.

  60. herdzcatz says:

    And the class war begins. Beware, for YOU, too, may have more money than SOMEBODY else who feels you don’t deserve it… and maybe you DON’T… and maybe YOUR name and address will ALSO be fed to Congress and the media… and no one will care… except those who seek justice and maybe a little revenge…

  61. mdh says:

    To the moderator –

    playing the ref’s: -1 internet.

  62. kaosmonkey says:

    AIG execs are the new Lynndie England. All this anger is righteous but, in my opinion, misdirected.

  63. Timothy Hutton says:

    JTEGNELL said:

    These executives are the victims of vicious, scathing hate mail, samples of which were read before Congress to the horror of all listening.

    Barney Frank was unimpressed – he felt the need to know trumped their expectation of privacy or safety… He wouldn’t accept the list under any non-disclosure agreement.

    What a prince.

  64. RobertinBellevue says:

    To MDH – Ah Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! I rest my case!

  65. Takuan says:

    hmmm… I hope no innocents are hurt. But this is inevitable. Perhaps it will serve as a safety release valve rather than a point of ignition for the stake. I know if I had a home on that list I’d sell it immediately (they’re uninsurable now already).

    If I wanted to use the anger in the land tactically now, I’d make sure any heavy contributors to the republican party found their way into similar public scrutiny. The anger of the people is dangerous tiger to ride though.

  66. Takuan says:

    I see my last question answered – perhaps.

  67. InsertFingerHere says:

    I swear someone is going to actually hunt down and kill an AIG ‘executive’.. and then this whole hate thing is going to get nasty.

    Though the thought of questionable business ethics resulting in a corporate yes-man’s death is somewhat refreshing.

    I bet we’ll see more bold ‘consumer’ protests in the future, where it’s good service and fair treatment that is a rallying issue. Then what.. police show up and protect.. who… shitty companies? Would police fire into a crowd under those conditions?

  68. MadMolecule says:

    The problem here is that while “the curtain’s been pulled back,” all that we’re seeing behind it is a different curtain, one designed by airtime-hungry politicians and sensationalist media.

    For one thing, these “bonuses” are less than one-tenth of one percent of the bailout money AIG is receiving. Many of the executives receiving them are voluntarily giving them back, and many of the payments aren’t even for decision-makers; they’re for IT guys, administrative assistants, etc.

    For another, the word “bonus” means something different at financial institutions than it does to you and me. For financial executives, a “bonus” is not an unexpected reward for good work; it’s a regular, expected part of their income. For many of these people, so-called “bonuses” constitute half to two-thirds of their income, and this is the accepted mode of business in this industry. President Obama (for whom I enthusiastically voted) knows this damn well and I wish he’d admit it.

    Finally, and most importantly, AIG is contractually obligated to make these payments, via contracts that existed before any of this went down. People who say AIG should be “stopped” from paying these bonuses are basically saying that the government should capriciously nullify valid, binding contracts.

    Pacta sunt servanda–”agreements must be kept”–is one of the most basic and utterly neccessary building blocks of a functioning society. To demand that AIG be stopped from paying these “bonuses” is to say that since AIG is receiving taxpayer money, it shouldn’t have to fulfill its contracts. Which is insane.

    The assholes at AIG who caused this whole mess are, accoding to Takuan’s NYT link above, “long gone.” I assume that anyone going on this bus tour has never had a coworker who stole from the company, whether they knew about it or not.

  69. Antinous / Moderator says:

    1) If you want me, use my summoning name. 2) You better hope that you drew that pentagram correctly.

  70. jtegnell says:

    I, frankly, feel sorry for them.

    These executives are the victims of vicious, scathing hate mail, samples of which were read before Congress to the horror of all listening.

    How can this go on? How low can American letter-writers and email-writers go? Have they no shame?

  71. nehpetsE says:

    I lurv Barney Frank.

    just saying.

  72. mdh says:

    I think the execs should have to tour the tent city in Sacramento.

  73. Super Nate says:

    Remember when a small Danish newspaper received massive death threats and riots raged throughout the middle east over a cartoon of Mohammad? Wasn’t it largely believed that the local governments were fanning the flames to the best of their abilities to distract an angry public from their recent failures?

    …Just saying.

  74. Takuan says:

    ah there’s a good chap, help me with this petrol can…
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/21/business/21merrill.html?hp

  75. Takuan says:

    I’m curious; how does the demographic from the bottom of the ladder in the voted-for-Bush-twice camp view these executives? Not the well-to-do republicans, rather those that forge their political identity from blind hatred and paranoid prejudice?

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