Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

CORRUPTION CROSSES PARTY LINES

Treasury Secretary Geithner (left) shakes hands with Sen. Christopher Dodd

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) is in trouble. National media yesterday reported that Sen. Dodd admitted "that he had been involved in key legislative changes that helped pave the way for AIG to pay controversial bonuses to its employees."

His hometown newspaper, Hartford Courant, reported "In a retreat from earlier statements, Dodd said Wednesday that U.S. Treasury Department officials had approached him last month, urging him to modify an amendment to the federal stimulus bill that capped bonuses for executives at companies receiving aid. On Tuesday, Dodd said that he was not a member of the conference committee that crafted the final compromise bill and said that the exception had not been in the bill as he drafted it. But late Wednesday, Dodd admitted in an interview with CNN that he had been involved in the change."

Dodd said he "agreed reluctantly" to the changes because Obama administration officials "were insistent." He refused to disclose which administration "officials" asked him to make the changes that benefited executives at AIG who were awarded massive bonuses at taxpayer expense.

We could speculate who it was that convinced Sen. Dodd to make these changes. Was it Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? After all he worked for two Republican administrations and for Henry Kissinger's private consulting firm. Geithner orchestrated the recent bailouts of Citigroup and AIG.

Maybe it was President Obama himself who asked Sen. Dodd to change the legislation so it would benefit AIG. We know that during the recent presidential campaign Obama raised the most money in US history. Obama got nearly $7 million in campaign donations from Wall Street investment firms.

Just to illustrate the point here are the top 10 recipients of AIG campaign donations for 2008:

1) Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) $103,100
2) Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) $101,332
3) Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) $59,499
4) Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) $35,965
5) Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) $24,750
6) Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) $20,850
7) Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) $19,975
8) Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) $19,750
9) Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) $18,500
10) Former N.Y. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R-N.Y.) $13,200
Source: Center for Responsive Politics

Notice how many Democrats are in the top 10. It goes to show that Washington corruption is an equal opportunity business.

Keep your eyes on the ball. This story is likely not over.

IMPORTANT ADDENDUM TO THE STORY:

In Monday's Washington Post the Obama administration signals their opposition to the legislation passed in the House last week that would tax 90% of the bonuses paid to AIG.

"I think the president would be concerned that this bill may have some problems in going too far -- the House bill may go too far in terms of some -- some legal issues, constitutional validity, using the tax code to surgically punish a small group," Jared Bernstein, the top economic adviser to Vice President Biden, said on ABC's This Week. "That may be a dangerous way to go."

Excuse me - talk about going to far! These corporate fat cat bonuses are about as far as you can go. What is Obama drinking over there at the White House? Is he not hearing (or caring about) the cacophony of voices across the country expressing utter outrage at these bonuses?

Obama says he was angry about the AIG bonuses but now he is backing off doing anything about them.....this ain't going to go over well with the public. Obama is leaving himself open to right-wing populism on this one......watch out, the hope and change express is coming off the tracks.

His left hand and right hand are not in sync.

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