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"This is how you clowns are spending EIGHTY BILLION DOLLARS of taxpayer money, whining to comedy blogs?"

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There are probably more effective ways for bailout beneficiary AIG to spend its time than sending multiple e-mails to Wonkette.

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  1. I thought we were talking about Wonkette here. What comedy blog?

  2. Uh, I hate to be a wet blanket here, but those emails looked like the professional work of an in-house corporate communications employee. Are they wasting their time talking to Wonkette? Sure, but I don’t really see an issue; it’s not like that person is flying to London and renegotiating billions of CDSs. I don’t read Wonkette so I admittedly don’t know the flavor of her blog, but her responses are childish and rather fucking dumb.

    Color me umimpressed.

  3. Wonkette isn’t Wonkette. It’s a brand now, and the editors there, well, there not Wonkette.

  4. I’m with Eric S. on this. The emails are just “busy work” from poor stooge who was probably told by his superiors to google “AIG” and run interference.

    I would have been more impressed had he sent a Church of Scientology-style letter filled with dubious legal threats.

  5. Wonkette was bad, her replacements are far worse. I expected crazy lawyer threats or drunk misspelled rants, not standard corporate PR. How is this interesting in the least?

  6. Seriously, I hate to add to the chorus, but I must: this is a non-issue, and Wonkette sucks more than it did when Ana Marie ran the joint. I really respect Dave Weigel’s journalism, but I was a little embarrassed for him when he was subbing over there.

  7. If I read the emails from AIG correctly, they were spending money on stuff that might be considered a form of advertising, but have reconsidered these expenditures and are in the process of cancelling these contracts when they can legally do so, at the renewal date.

    I read the emails from Wonkette correctly, they are annoying cunts who don’t understand, or don’t care, that you can’t just unilaterally cancel legal contracts prior to their scheduled termination date without getting your ass hauled into court and sued.

  8. Eric S. | November 25, 2008, 7:14pm | #

    Uh, I hate to be a wet blanket here, but those emails looked like the professional work of an in-house corporate communications employee. Are they wasting their time talking to Wonkette? Sure, but I don’t really see an issue; it’s not like that person is flying to London and renegotiating billions of CDSs. I don’t read Wonkette so I admittedly don’t know the flavor of her blog, but her responses are childish and rather fucking dumb.

    Color me umimpressed.

    Totally agree. Apparently no one here thinks it was anything but some uber-liberal idea that they were sticking it to “the man”. Teh evil copruashuns! they sent me email! Repressing my activism!

    I mean, the site was publishing misleading information, the company made an honest effort to let them know the details, and the whining wonkettesters all considered it some kind of bullying or “gotcha!” moment. its not even pathetic, its just boring. The boobs at that site wouldnt be able to explain how insurance companies even work. But they know they are *evil*….!

  9. GILMORE: You have to admit it’s a little funny that they pay a team to correct their public image. And they could have avoided the need for such a team by, you know, not paying for a shitload of unnecessary things to begin with.

  10. I agree with the others – this is a non-issue, I would fully expect any well run corporation to respond in a similar manner. The Wonkette folks are the ones who are being stupid and ridiculous here.

    I’m a little embarrassed to have Reason posting about this in this blog. Don’t discredit yourselves by posting this bit of Wonkette inanity, especially when there are plenty of legitimate reasons to oppose the AIG bailout.

  11. Oh dear, heaven forbid we say anything bad about a corporation that received billions in tax payer money.

    Get a grip

  12. I just can’t get my dander up about this. It’s not that it isn’t terrible, it’s just that I’ve come to expect this.

  13. Bingo | November 25, 2008, 8:20pm | #

    GILMORE: You have to admit it’s a little funny that they pay a team to correct their public image.

    yeah, why would they do that… when liberal bloggers describe them as Satanic, and we would hope that one day they’d be able to be spun back into the private markets?….

    meaning, with people mischaracterizing their spending of public bailout financing… why would they NOT have a flunky or two making sure they weren’t getting demonized in the “press”…? its absolute de facto responsibility of the firm, not a ‘public image’ problem. that scar has already been left. they’re trying to manage severe damage control. expecting anything less is absurd.

  14. Nope, still not feeling the anger.

  15. PAc | November 25, 2008, 9:09pm | #

    Oh dear, heaven forbid we say anything bad about a corporation that received billions in tax payer money.

    Get a grip

    Yes – but where’s the analysis of AIG’s specific business failures? it’s just childish giggling over PR. Dumb as rocks. Has no value other than some kind of retarded, economically illiterate shoddenfreude.

  16. It’s not my fault they need PR. Spending taxpayer money to try to get out the message that it was somehow justified to take taxpayer money is something I have little sympathy for.

    I still can’t get myself truly angry. Quick, someone try to justify an Auto Industry Bailout!

  17. and I do believe the correct spelling is “Schadenfreude”.

  18. “Shoddenfreude” is likely accidental, but I read it as a brilliant mash-up of “schadenfreude” and “shoddy journalism.” I vote to keep it.

  19. Yes, our tax money is going to subsidize Manchester *f-ing* United…the Yankees of England…

    *Hangs himself with his Leeds United scarf*

  20. Totally GILMORE; We need to destroy fiscal responsibility in order to save fiscal responsibility!

    Or not, and just let functionally retarded and poorly managed companies fail

  21. economist | November 25, 2008, 9:30pm | #

    and I do believe the correct spelling is “Schadenfreude”.

    My spell checker is extremely middle class. It finds demanding requirements for etymological precision to be excessive, and lets slide furrin (foreign?) foringnerish soundin’ worlds. Real americans sneer on proper spellers.

    ,,,

    or, i just am lazy

  22. “Yes, our tax money is going to subsidize Manchester *f-ing* United…the Yankees of England…

    *Hangs himself with his Leeds United scarf*”
    What the f*** are you talking about?

  23. “or, i just am lazy”
    nthng wron wit that *callsforbedpan*.

  24. Take it your not an English football fan?

    As one of the 3 white male Americans that are, I was jokingly griping about the fact that AIG sponsor Manchester United (a team I hate)


  25. Bingo | November 25, 2008, 9:35pm | #

    Totally GILMORE; We need to destroy fiscal responsibility in order to save fiscal responsibility!

    No, but you fail to address the difference between bailing out a company to resolve its current contractual responsibilities, and actually directly funding dumb shit. Yes, the bailout will be used on current operational obligations, but obviously the co is cutting this stuff as fast as it can. i havent seen anything about them “resigning” spending deals on marketing efforts? so the whole bitch is basically nonsensical. its complaining that companies have existing obligations with marketing contracts that have not yet expired. Is that exciting journalism? hardly. Its retarded giggling about ‘big companies’ being fucked. To which an average informed person would respond, “no. duh.”

  26. I’ve lost my anger. I can’t get angry anymore. The one thing that I enjoyed doing every day is no longer possible. I can’t go on.

  27. we are eliminating all costs associated with marketing, advertising and hospitality.

    Sending emails about your company’s business plans is marketing. Maybe the employee who wrote the email did this in his spare time.

  28. “so the whole bitch is basically nonsensical. its complaining that companies have existing obligations with marketing contracts that have not yet expired”

    Agreed. AIG picked up sponsoring Manchester United (one of wonkettes gripes) well before their troubles became apparent and it probably seemed like money worth spending since Man U have a gabillion fans world wide that will see the adverts on the jerseys every game.

  29. jk | November 25, 2008, 9:51pm | #

    we are eliminating all costs associated with marketing, advertising and hospitality.

    Sending emails about your company’s business plans is marketing

  30. Open tags my baby yeah !!!

  31. I think y’all are missing the point. There is no arguing with a thief. These scumbags ripped off billions of dollars. My money.

    Anyone connected in any way to that company should STFU and hide. They deserve public shaming in the medieval style. I don’t care if they are advertising with sports teams, paying off old hooker debts or buying hair gel with my money. The time for civilized little stipulations and polite PR is way past, and an insult to people who don’t steal for a living.

  32. Rick H. | November 25, 2008, 11:34pm | #

    I think y’all are missing the point. There is no arguing with a thief. These scumbags ripped off billions of dollars. My money.

    No, they’re the people you “gave” your money to.

    Investment banks were the agents of the public and the incentives provided by the tax system put in place by the public administration.

    if you want to blame some one for fiscal irresponsibility, look at the average american consumer. they have reaped all the benefits from the “stealing”, and will now enjoy the “payback”.

    you have to understand the idea of value being destroyed. thats what happened. Created – then destroyed value. No one “stole” shit. money lost is money lost for all. No one is walking away with all the money shitting out of the system. 50% of the value of Citi is gone in a week. Is that someone stealing something? Its a ignorant notion of finance to think of value destruction as “theft”.

  33. Gilmore,
    The point isn’t that they tanked, it’s that they got bailed out with billions of taxpayer dollars.

  34. I smell a profound misunderstanding of economics.

  35. As an employee of a mid-sized insurance company in NYC that is a direct competitor of AIG, and did not receive any bailouts, and whose stock has held its own quite nicely throughout all of this, I’m still feeling a little mirthful about their troubles. Ironically, I was recently speculating with a coworker that we’d probably be bought out by AIG in the next year or so; a week later we were giving them billions of dollars. C’est la vie.

  36. SIV,
    How so?

  37. economist | November 25, 2008, 11:52pm | #

    Gilmore,
    The point isn’t that they tanked, it’s that they got bailed out with billions of taxpayer dollars.

    You still arent living up to your namesake.

    The point about whether AIG is or isnt Satan doesnt matter to me.

    Name any bank not burned by current conditions, to the point of near insolvency.

  38. No one is walking away with all the money shitting out of the system.

    I’ll believe that when I see upper management foregoing their bonuses this Christmas.

  39. Susquehanna?

  40. I was responding to your 11:43 post in which you claimed that those complaining about “theft” are only complaining about normal market forces ie the disappearance of inflated value. I merely pointed out that their indignation focused on the bailout, not the failure of AIG per se.

  41. And I don’t think AIG is Satan. Their executives do what most human beings do when the chips are down: they found a way to cover their sorry asses while screwing others over.

  42. I am not defending bailouts.

    full stop.

    I’d be happier if they all went bust and i had 20% more market share overnight.

  43. “I am not defending bailouts.”
    Never said you were. Simply pointing out that one of your posts missed the point it was responding to.

  44. what are you talking about? Executive comp? sideshow to a sideshow in my opinion. what point was missed. havent seen any arguments from you that specifically reference anything. forgive me for being lazy, it’s late.

  45. economist,

    It isn’t you.Consumers didn’t create the credit that is being destroyed.

  46. “I’ll believe that when I see upper management foregoing their bonuses this Christmas.”

    Did you read the emails? No bonuses and $1 salaries? I’m not trying to defend AIG here, they should have been allowed to fail. But come one, let’s make real complaints.

  47. That was such a golden opportunity to grill the AIG rep, and instead they wasted it on that stupid nonsense.

  48. Wonkette sucks more than it did when Ana Marie ran the joint.

    How so?

    She was a snotty little twat, and now it’s a collection of snotty little twats. What difference is there?

    -jcr

  49. Hmm.

    I am torn between the fact that Wonkette is about as funny as deep frying your scrotum, and my inate hate of Manchester United.

    What to do?

  50. Ana Marie Cocks is a filthy filthy girl. I miss her terribly.

  51. I have to go with “What’s the point” on this one. This could have been funny, but it would have taken something more than a pissy attitude from the Wonkette guy. I mean, the PR guys are like crash test dummies. To reach the threshold of “funny” you can’t just kneecap them with a tire iron. In fact, I’m not sure any amount of beating would rise to actual humour… but I think someone more clever and witty than I could have worked them long enough to get something more than this.

  52. spending EIGHTY BILLION DOLLARS of taxpayer money

    I can’t help but wonder if any of the serial commenters here work for government agencies or companies that accept government money, thereby wasting taxpayers’ cash by typing crackpot responses to other crackpots* instead of doing their actual jobs.

    *Full disclosure: I’m a crackpot too, but I accept no public funding.

  53. People still read Wonkette? Really? Are they the same people who still watch SNL?

  54. Not to quibble, but didn’t AIG bump up their bailout to $150B?

  55. GILMORE,

    Thousands of banks are nowhere near insolvency because they kept to sane loan practices. Mostly small local banks. And BB&T.

  56. Okay, maybe “hundreds”. I dont know how many small banks actually exist.

  57. Just checked, BB&T participated in the capital purchase program, they sold $3.1B in preferred stock to treasury. Im kinda surprised, Im wondering if they were one of the large banks that was “forced” to participate. From the article on it, that money increased their Tier 1 capital ratio from 9.4% to 12.4% with 6% being the fed safety threshold, so they were well above that.

    Their total capital ratio went from 14.4% to 17.4% with 10% being the minimum government ratio.

    Also from the article, the preferred shares pay 5% dividend for first 5 years and 9% for years 6-10 if not redeemed before then. Im guessing BB&T sees getting that money at 5% as a good deal and will redeem the shares 5 years from now.

    BB&T EPS did fall from $0.78 to $0.65 between the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Nothing suggesting insolvency.

    BB&T is mostly located in areas that did not have a huge increase in housing prices and hence didnt have a huge crash either.

    I will point out I am a BB&T customer. They bought out Bank of Louisville a few years back and I havent seen a reason to change from them yet.

  58. Rob C

    ignore EPS with banks

    See price to book value ratios.

  59. GILMORE,

    Im trying to figure out how price to book applies to internal issues. Depending on an external number for your ratio tells me nothing. The number is low because all bank stocks have dropped in price, whether good or bad. Has nothing to do with solvency issues – whats the point? And what should the number be if Im wrong about that?

    BTW, their ptob it 1.17, bank industry is 1.16, but both are way below sector and market, but thats what I would expect.

  60. GILMORE,

    What about price to tangible book? Is that more or less useful that price to book?

    In this case
    BB&T 2.33
    Industry 1.29

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