# AIG bonus outrage has employees living in fear

• News
Staff Emeritus
This is so wrong! People may not agree with the bonuses, and people may be angry about the bonuses, but is absolutely wrong to be threatening AIG employees over their compensation. Guilt by association is wrong, and threatening someone is criminal (terrorism)!

There a legal remedies, or one can write one's congress person or senator to complain, but threatening people is unacceptable.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090320/ap_on_re_us/aig_outrage_security [Broken]
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Pillars of the community are now pariahs fearing for their safety in a ritzy area of Connecticut home to many executives at American International Group Inc., hit with a backlash over bonuses it paid to top brass even as it accepted federal bailout money.

The payouts to executives appear to have helped put a face on the economic struggles the country faces, and the anger targeting AIG is palpable. Death threats have been pouring in since the brouhaha broke, the company said, and its workers are taking no chances.

"It's scary," one executive said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution. "People are very, very nervous for their security."

The financial products division is in Wilton in Fairfield County, and many of the company's leaders live in large homes on the "Gold Coast," an area known more for golf courses and sweeping views of Long Island Sound than for the police cars that now regularly patrol the well-kept streets.

. . . .

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russ_watters
Mentor
This is one crazy issue, that's for sure. I, however, love it because it exposes so many character flaws in people, in particular hypocrisy and immorality. Everyone involved has dirty hands and most of the general public holds opinions based on irrationality and knee-jerk reactions.

On other hand, China is particularly afraid for these kind of events (social instability). Few days ago, some gang killed an 18 yrs old Chinese soldier and robbed his gun and some other things (it's illegal to posses guns).
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7954712.stm
(there have been many other relevant news about concerns about instability and current crisis)

But, as expected ...

The general population is furious about our economic situation, and this is a first opportunity to actually blame someone directly, regardless if the facts are true or not.

And whatever the legal remedies are, people still feel there is an element of rewarding failure.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!

I was surprised to see Colbert calling for people to attack with pitchforks. That seemed incredibly irresponsible to me. And while I don't approve of the personal threats, the corporate crooks who engineered this crisis deserve to live in fear. If these were different times, they would all likely be dead by now; or at least tarred and feathered and run out of their homes.

This is so wrong! People may not agree with the bonuses, and people may be angry about the bonuses, but is absolutely wrong to be threatening AIG employees over their compensation. Guilt by association is wrong, and threatening someone is criminal (terrorism)!

There a legal remedies, or one can write one's congress person or senator to complain, but threatening people is unacceptable.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090320/ap_on_re_us/aig_outrage_security [Broken]
I heard some of Liddy's interview before congress. It was pretty disgusting they way that he was treated. A senator asked for the names of the persons who received bonuses and Liddy read a letter from a man who said that he wanted a list of the names so he could find them and strangle them all with piano wire. The senator responded that it might be some kind of justice. That same senator spoke to Liddy condescendingly and as if he were personally responsible for the failure of AIG. Liddy stated he took offense and the senator told him he had meant to offend.
Congress are acting like a bunch of children. Someone ought to put a boars head on a pike in chambers.

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misgfool
Guilt by association is wrong, and threatening someone is criminal (terrorism)!
I'm quite displeased, that you should choose to use the word "terrorism" in with such a light heart.

LowlyPion
Homework Helper
Congress are acting like a bunch of children.
They are playing to the gallery. Re-election for some is not that far away, and choosing between having their heads put on poles outside the Gates of the Capitol, I'm sure they are more than willing to throw AIG executives into the meat grinders first.

On the one hand the culture of compensation that has arisen, detached from risk considerations, coupled with impotent regulation nurtured by systematic budget cuts in the misguided idea that less government regulation is always better, created an open feedback loop, that saw compensations soar based wholly on immediate results without regard to risk.

The bubble has popped. The lights are on and at the very least the executives are standing about with barely a pair of bvd's among them. Caught so obviously in the open, Congress is more than willing to direct the public fire in their direction, because better to be shooting at them than Congress.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I heard some of Liddy's interview before congress. It was pretty disgusting they way that he was treated. A senator asked for the names of the persons who received bonuses and Liddy read a letter from a man who said that he wanted a list of the names so he could find them and strangle them all with piano wire. The senator responded that it might be some kind of justice. That same senator spoke to Liddy condescendingly and as if he were personally responsible for the failure of AIG. Liddy stated he took offense and the senator told him he had meant to offend.
Congress are acting like a bunch of children. Someone ought to put a boars head on a pike in chambers.
What gets me is that this was a judgement call; that if the bonuses were not given, the potential cost of lawsuits far outweighed the cost of simply giving the bonuses. It was probably the logical thing to do. Unfortunately it has become the focal point for the anger over this whole mess.

Congress should not be wasting their time one this, but the public outrage gives them no choice. I also agree that Congress is not acting responsibly here. They are playing defense as they passed the bill in the first place.

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LowlyPion
Homework Helper
Congress should not be wasting their time one this, but the public outrage gives them no choice. I also agree that Congress is not acting responsibly here. They are playing defense as they passed the bill in the first place.
Look at it this way. If they are fussing around making a mess over $165M at least they aren't mucking things up making$165B, or $1.65T decisions. Judge Gideon J. Tucker 1866. said: No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session. They are playing to the gallery. Re-election for some is not that far away, and choosing between having their heads put on poles outside the Gates of the Capitol, I'm sure they are more than willing to throw AIG executives into the meat grinders first. Congress should not be wasting their time one this, but the public outrage gives them no choice. I also agree that Congress is not acting responsibly here. They are playing defense as they passed the bill in the first place. I'm just disappointed. Though I'm not sure why. I don't really have any reason to have expected anything else. I guess I'm really more disappointed in Obama for riding the wave of public opinion. I'd have expected him to be more even handed. He's a lawyer, he ought to know how sticky a situation this is and be able to express that to the public (he's been a prof too!) while still assuring them that something will be done. He might have commended those who chose to return their bonuses. He said of Geithner "I don’t think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him" and could easily say the same about Liddy who's dealing with his plate for one dollar a year, as a service to his country. Oh well. We'll see. Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Look at it this way. If they are fussing around making a mess over$165M at least they aren't mucking things up making $165B, or$1.65T decisions.
If they spent more time doing what they are supposed to be doing, maybe they wouldn't screw up the important stuff.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I'm just disappointed. Though I'm not sure why. I don't really have any reason to have expected anything else. I guess I'm really more disappointed in Obama for riding the wave of public opinion. I'd have expected him to be more even handed. He's a lawyer, he ought to know how sticky a situation this is and be able to express that to the public (he's been a prof too!) while still assuring them that something will be done. He might have commended those who chose to return their bonuses. He said of Geithner "I don’t think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him" and could easily say the same about Liddy who's dealing with his plate for one dollar a year, as a service to his country.
Oh well. We'll see.
From what I've seen, Obama is trying to put this into the proper perspective. But perhaps he should have said more. The thing to remember about him is that he doesn't get emotional. He probably figures this will blow over and he has bigger things to worry about, in which case I would agree.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Monica Crowley rarely makes intersting points, but tonight on the Mclaughlin Group, she did. She suggested that not only are the people who made the bomb the most able to diffuse it, which may or may not be true IMO, but also that they have the information that could torpedo AIG if they run to the competition. Now that may be true.

LowlyPion
Homework Helper
Monica Crowley rarely makes intersting points, but tonight on the Mclaughlin Group, she did. She suggested that not only are the people who made the bomb the most able to diffuse it, which may or may not be true IMO, but also that they have the information that could torpedo AIG if they run to the competition. Now that may be true.
I'm not so convinced about that. These quants have apparently built a house of cards based on bogus risk management. (We know it's bogus, because whatever their worst case scenario, we are way past that now.)

At this point I'd be concerned that whatever they come up with would be just as flimsy, and who knows maybe even fraudulent to the extent that we may have already seen.

The idea that they need a bonus to unravel the mess they have made in lieu of say not throwing their butts in jail seems a bit over the top on the self indulgence scale, and way short of their taking social responsibility for what they have wrought.

I'm reminded of what happened to the guys in China that thought up the grand idea about killing all the birds, so they would have more grain yield. After a day long coordinated eradication campaign, they largely succeeded in eradicating large numbers of birds. The only problem of course was the bugs ate more crop the following year than the birds had been ... and the guys that thought the plan up ended in the fields spraying bugs.

russ_watters
Mentor
What gets me is that this was a judgement call; that if the bonuses were not given, the potential cost of lawsuits far outweighed the cost of simply giving the bonuses. It was probably the logical thing to do. Unfortunately it has become the focal point for the anger over this whole mess.
Yeah, that's part of the weirdness. It doesn't sound like the decision was made for underhanded reasons (unless Dodd is lying, which is possible since he did before...) since there really are some sticky legal issues with it.
Congress should not be wasting their time one this, but the public outrage gives them no choice. I also agree that Congress is not acting responsibly here. They are playing defense as they passed the bill in the first place.
I'm not sure if the anger is being generated by the public or by Congress, but it doesn't much matter to me - Congress needs to be better than this.

Staff Emeritus
I'm quite displeased, that you should choose to use the word "terrorism" in with such a light heart.
Um - I'm not using the term lightheartedly. Contacting someone and threatening their lives is by definition "terrorism". One doesn't need to attack (battery) or commit some other act to engage in terrorism.

I hope the government investigates and prosecutes anyone who has sent a threatening email or made a threatening phone call.

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!

I was surprised to see Colbert calling for people to attack with pitchforks. That seemed incredibly irresponsible to me. And while I don't approve of the personal threats, the corporate crooks who engineered this crisis deserve to live in fear. If these were different times, they would all likely be dead by now; or at least tarred and feathered and run out of their homes.
I was thinking last night that the situation is beginning to sound like the French Revolution.

I'm not sure if the anger is being generated by the public or by Congress, but it doesn't much matter to me - Congress needs to be better than this.
I think Congress and the public are stoking the other's ire. Congress definitely needs to be better than that.

I'm pleased that the senate republicans are being a voice of moderation.

The bailouts are loans in almost every way. That being said, I wonder how it could have been so simple for our government to lend our money without certain provisions to protect it. In a loan situation, the lender names the terms and the borrower accepts them. I ask the question, why didn't the terms of the loan specify that the money wasn't to be spent on merit compensation and bonuses? It seems to me that this not only would have made the most sense, but would also have kept us out of this trouble we have gotten ourselves into.

The trouble I'm referring to is Congress stomping on the shreds of The Constitution. As I'm sure we all know, it is unconstitutional to single out a small group and levy such amazing taxes against them. While it may seem somewhat just, it only runs skin deep. What Congress has done is created precedence. Much like any ruling in court, this situation will most likely be referenced in the future when similar attempts to violate The Constitution are made. There are other implications to be discussed as well. For instance, what are we to think of our government when they so openly violate everything which they are sworn to uphold?

What the hell is happening to this country? Either everyone in our government is bought-and-paid-for, or they have trouble using their brains. Neither puts us in a very good situation.

misgfool
Um - I'm not using the term lightheartedly. Contacting someone and threatening their lives is by definition "terrorism". One doesn't need to attack (battery) or commit some other act to engage in terrorism.
Would you call a woman threatening a man's life in a domestic dispute a terrorist? Should she be sent to a detention camp for an unspecified period of time and tortured to reveal the evil master plan?

This case sounds more like typical bloodlust and revenge. In the worst case terrorists can have large scale destructive (ideological) goals. More importantly any actions can be justified against terrorism, since it contains the whole spectrum of different cases. The more you use the term terrorism, the more freedoms are lost.

Yes, we all know the dangers of scare tactics and overwhelming propaganda. I promise you that Astronuc is smart enough to know it, too. Sorry if I'm stepping beyond my boundaries, but this thread has been derailed since the 4th post, and I'd like to see some real discussion on the actual topic.

Would you call a woman threatening a man's life in a domestic dispute a terrorist? Should she be sent to a detention camp for an unspecified period of time and tortured to reveal the evil master plan?

This case sounds more like typical bloodlust and revenge. In the worst case terrorists can have large scale destructive (ideological) goals. More importantly any actions can be justified against terrorism, since it contains the whole spectrum of different cases. The more you use the term terrorism, the more freedoms are lost.
You go too far.

Staff Emeritus
Would you call a woman threatening a man's life in a domestic dispute a terrorist? Should she be sent to a detention camp for an unspecified period of time and tortured to reveal the evil master plan?
Now, this is getting silly. In a domestic dispute, both parties know each other. In the heat of the moment, both might say words out of anger. Either party can obtain a restraining order against the other, or seek legal intervention.

But the case in point is that strangers are contacting AIG employees and threatening them. That's criminal. There's no excuse for such behavior.

This case sounds more like typical bloodlust and revenge. In the worst case terrorists can have large scale destructive (ideological) goals.
Yes in the worst case - but I'm not talking about a worst case.

I actually had a friend in college who was arrested and charged on one count of 'domestic terrorism' because he threatened his girlfriend. He was very drunk and upset at the time, and only after the fact (and his arrest) did he realize the stupidity of his action. A restraining order was filed against him.

More importantly any actions can be justified against terrorism, since it contains the whole spectrum of different cases.
Hopefully, people use good judgement and common sense.

The more you use the term terrorism, the more freedoms are lost.
That seems to be an over-reaction.

The bottom line is - no matter upset or angry one gets, one shouldn't be threatening anyone, especially when does not even know the other person or the circumstances.

From a 1995 study by the Rand Corp. "Domestic Terrorism A National Assessment of
State and Local Preparedness", MR505, 1995 for the Dept of Justice.
In sum, terrorism is violence, or the threat of violence, calculated to create an
atmosphere of fear and alarm. These acts are designed to coerce others into taking
actions they would otherwise not undertake or to refrain from taking actions that
they desire to take.
I think that definition fits the intent of the threats against AIG employees.

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Would you call a woman threatening a man's life in a domestic dispute a terrorist? Should she be sent to a detention camp for an unspecified period of time and tortured to reveal the evil master plan?

This case sounds more like typical bloodlust and revenge. In the worst case terrorists can have large scale destructive (ideological) goals. More importantly any actions can be justified against terrorism, since it contains the whole spectrum of different cases. The more you use the term terrorism, the more freedoms are lost.
So if KKK members, or just bigots in general, start making calls to black families in their neighbourhood threatening their safety we should not consider this terrorism? How about pro-lifer nuts (note: 'nuts' is being used as a qualifier here to distinguish from prolifers in general) who call and threaten the lives of abortion clinic workers? Maybe when religeous fanatics start making death threats to cartoonists over depictions of their prophets we can suddenly switch gears and call that terrorism?

The term existed and was legitimately used long before the Bush Administration. To relegate these threats to the catagory of say harassment, along side overzealous creditors and crazy exs who want imaginary possessions back, only serves to diminish the very real abuse that these people are suffering. And why? Just because it leaves a sour taste in your mouth due to a politician who is no longer in office?

Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I'm not so convinced about that. These quants have apparently built a house of cards based on bogus risk management. (We know it's bogus, because whatever their worst case scenario, we are way past that now.)
Your justification for the label 'bogus' makes no sense.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus