Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 25, 2009



Contrary to our earlier report, the provision for a commission to study the creation of a national draft was dropped from legislation providing for an expanded Americorps and Peace Corps. The provision has been reintroduced as HR1444.


- Goldman Sachs has been everywhere in the crisis, yet has almost entirely escaped critical public attention. Goldman Sachs alumni have been in the forefront of the government's response to the crisis under both the present and former presidential administrations. . . What Goldman giveth, Goldman also taketh away. While little is known about where the AIG bailout money went, we do know that Goldman Sachs received $12.9 billion of it. As one Wall Street insider recently observed to The Examiner: "This is an investment bank that earned more than $12 billion and paid its CEO $68 million in 2007. Even in 2008, this self-proclaimed home to the 'Masters of the Universe' paid out more than $10 billion in compensation and received its own $10 billion in taxpayer funding." Congress ought to stop swatting at AIG bonus gnats and take on the real masters of the bailouts.

Real Clear Politics - No wonder Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn) went wobbly last week when asked about his February amendment ratifying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to executives at insurance giant AIG. Dodd has been one of the company's favorite recipients of campaign contributions. But it turns out that Senator Dodd's wife has also benefited from past connections to AIG as well. From 2001-2004, Jackie Clegg Dodd served as an "outside" director of IPC Holdings, Ltd., a Bermuda-based company controlled by AIG. IPC, which provides property casualty catastrophe insurance coverage, was formed in 1993 . . . In 2001, in addition to a public offering of 15 million shares of stock that raised $380 million, IPC raised more than $109 million through a simultaneous private placement sale of 5.6 million shares of stock to AIG - giving AIG a 20% stake in IPC. (AIG sold its 13.397 million shares in IPC in August, 2006.)

Daily Beast -
The New York Times reports that, last year, the top 25 hedge fund managers made $11.6 billion. Leading the way was James Simons of Renaissance Technologies, who made $2.5 billion. John Paulson of Paulson & Company was next, with a rake of $2 billion. John D. Arnold, who is in his early 30s, made $1.5 billion, while George Soros made $1.1 billion. Wall Street may want to hold the champagne, however: "In a year when losses were recorded at two of every three hedge funds, pay for many of these managers was down by several million, and the overall pool of earnings was about half the $22.5 billion the top 25 earned in 2007."

Ken Silverstein, Harpers -
Gary Gensler, the former Goldman Sachs employee and derivatives cheerleader who President Obama nominated to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Gensler's nomination sailed through the Senate Agricultural Committee but Senator Bernie Sanders has placed a hold on the nomination (as has a second senator who is as yet unnamed). A statement from Sanders's office said: "While Mr. Gensler is clearly an intelligent and knowledgeable person, I cannot support his nomination. Mr. Gensler worked with Sen. Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan to exempt credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of A.I.G. and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history. He supported Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which allowed banks like Citigroup to become "too big to fail." He worked to deregulate electronic energy trading, which led to the downfall of Enron and the spike in energy prices."


The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that an intoxicated man who started his car remotely and then sat behind the wheel without ever driving the vehicle can still be prosecuted from driving under the influence. The chief justice wrote, "The defendant clearly undertook the first act in a sequence of steps necessary to set in motion the motive power of a vehicle," The man, who could got to prison for a year, has a wife and two children. Said Jessica Cyr, "I don't know what I'm going to do. I've got no job. My husband won't be able to work. If I turn my heat on, the boiler leaks. . . . I can't believe it."

Reuters - Turkish police providing security for a water crisis forum in Istanbul say the cheapest way to keep protesters at bay is to use water cannons. . . Turkish police, who on Monday fired water canons and tear gas to disperse protesters gathered at the start of the forum, told state-run Anatolian they prefer to use water because it is cheaper than tear gas.


Slashdot - After receiving a Rule 11 Sanctions Motion in a Houston, Texas, case, UMG Recordings v. Lanzoni, the RIAA lawyers thought better of proceeding, and agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case 'with prejudice', which means it is over and cannot be brought again. The defendant's motion papers detailed some of the RIAA's litigation history against innocent individuals, such as Capitol Records v. Foster and Atlantic Recording v. Andersen, and argued that the awarding of attorneys fees in those cases has not sufficiently deterred repetition of the misconduct, so that a stronger remedy - Rule 11 sanctions - is now called for."


The Chinese,
according to Xinhua News Agency, are using 'tailor made' abortion pills to reduce the number of gerbils in the western part of the country. The pills allegedly don't affect other animals. Gerbils are being blamed for the desertification of the area being they use up too much grass.




Anonymous m said...

"The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that an intoxicated man who started his car remotely and then sat behind the wheel without ever driving the vehicle can still be prosecuted from driving under the influence."

In some States you can be prosecuted for DUI while inebriated behind the driver's seat without the engine running. Also, for cutting your grass on a riding mower even if you never go off your own property. Next weeks crime will consist of having a drink, and then discussing driving.

March 26, 2009 10:18 AM  
Anonymous crash and burn said...

"The Fed cannot monetize new Treasury issues without the word getting out. If and when this happens, the US dollar’s exchange value is likely to drop while interest rates and inflation rise.

To avoid a crisis of this magnitude, the US needs to focus on saving the dollar as reserve currency. As I previously emphasized, this requires reducing US budget and trade deficits.

Despite the near-term budget costs of ending the occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, terminating these pointless military adventures would produce immediate large out-year budget savings. Closing many foreign military bases and cutting a gratuitously large military budget would produce more out-year savings. The Obama administration’s belief that it can continue with Bush’s wars of aggression while it engages in a massive economic bailout indicates a lack of seriousness about America’s predicament.

Rome eventually understood that its imperial frontiers exceeded its resources and pulled back. This realization has yet to dawn on Washington."
Paul Craig Roberts

p.S., This is exactly what Ron Paul proposed, but for his honesty, the Dems libeled him as a racist And the Mo. State Police say his supporters are terrorists.

March 26, 2009 2:01 PM  

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