Heads I Win Tails You Lose Open Diary

It's good to be a plutocrat:


Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout has haunted him on the campaign trail, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio. There, in September, the Obama campaign launched television ads blasting Romney’s November 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” But Romney has done a good job of concealing, until now, the fact that he and his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.

Hmm? How?


It all starts with Delphi Automotive, a former General Motors subsidiary whose auto parts remain essential to GM’s production lines. No bailout of GM—or Chrysler, for that matter—could have been successful without saving Delphi. So, in addition to making massive loans to automakers in 2009, the federal government sent, directly or indirectly, more than $12.9 billion to Delphi—and to the hedge funds that had gained control over it.

Oh. Hedge funds. Bain?


One of the hedge funds profiting from that bailout—
$1.28 billion so far—is Elliott Management, directed by 
Paul Singer.

Okay. Elliott Management. The Romneys were investors, then?


That leaves one final question: Exactly how much did the Romneys make off the auto bailout? Queries to the campaign and the Romneys’ trustee have gone unanswered. And Romney has yet to disclose the crucial year of his tax returns, 2009. But whatever the tally, it was one sweet deal. The Romneys were invested with Elliott Management by the end of 2010, before Delphi was publicly traded. So, in effect, they got Delphi stock at Singer’s initial dirt-cheap price. When Delphi’s owners took the company public in November 2011, the Romneys were in—and they hit the jackpot.

Shouldn't the math be simple? Isn't it in the Romneys' tax filings?


In their 2011 and 2012 Federal Financial Disclosure filing, Ann Romney’s trust lists “more than $1 million” invested with Elliott. This is the description for all of her big investments—the minimal disclosure required by law.



Well, just give us a number.


It is reasonable to assume that Singer treated the Romneys the same as his other investors, with a third of their portfolio invested in Delphi by the time of the 2011 initial public offering. This means that with an investment of at least $1 million, their smallest possible gain when Delphi went public would have been $10.2 million, plus another $10.2 million for each million handed to Singer—all gains made possible by the auto bailout.



But that’s just the beginning. Since the November 2011 IPO, Delphi’s stock has roared upward, boosting the Romneys’ Delphi windfall from $10.2 million to $15.3 million for each million they invested with Singer.


But what if the Romneys invested a bit more with Singer: let’s say a mere 3 percent of their reported net worth, or 
$7.5 million? (After all, ABC News reported—and Romney didn’t deny—that he invested “a huge chunk of his vast wealth” with Singer.) Then their take from the auto bailout so far would reach a stunning $115 million.

Well fine. Rich dude invests money with other rich dudes and they all get richer. Anything else?


Nevertheless, even if the Romneys were blind to their initial investment in Elliott, they would have known by the beginning of 2010 that they had a massive position in Delphi and would make a fortune from the bailout and TARP funds. Delphi is not a minor investment for Singer; it is his main holding. To invest in Elliott is essentially a “Delphi play”: that is, investing with Singer means buying a piece of the auto bailout.



Mitt Romney may indeed have wanted to let Detroit die. But if the auto industry was going to be bailed out after all, the Romneys apparently couldn’t resist getting in on a piece of 
the action.

Oh, right. He was against the auto company bailout before he profited from it. 


Lots of other good stuff at the link about off-shoring Delphi jobs to China, some union busting, some pension fund raiding, the usual. Also some fascinating stuff about the deal making involved.


A Settlers of Catan style game set in the world of Private Equity would be a hoot. 





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The Stuff Of Legends

M Scott Eiland's picture

On Thursday, a high school football coach found his team with the ball on the fifty yard line, three points behind with time for one play in regulation. Most sane coaches at any level of football would call the Hail Mary here and hope for the best. This coach decided to send his place kicker out to attempt a 67 yard field goal--4 yards longer than the legendary NFL mark and equaling the longest ever kicked anywhere, at *any* level. Well, since I'm telling this story you can guess what happened:

Austin Rehkow--living legend at 17.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

This is a big deal

stinerman's picture

Although not as big of a deal as you might think.  At least in Ohio, you get a tee to place the ball on when you place kick.  I can't tell from the video if there is a tee or not (it's not like a kickoff tee):




Either way it helps out a lot.  I'm not trying ot take away from what the kid did.  I'm just saying that a 67 yard field goal in high school is not the same as a 67 yard field goal in the pros.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

480p is the best the AP can do?

brutusettu's picture

The field goal tee is just inside the hash at the 43 and the kicker picks it up at about the 8 second mark.


----The high school ball is smaller (I assume lighter too) than the NFL ball.

Didn't Look Like It From The Video

M Scott Eiland's picture

But even without a tee, not having three hundred pound plus behemoths who can run sub 4.8 40s coming at you makes kicking in places other than the NFL a different thing. Still, that's a powerful leg for a 17 year old.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Memo To Dr. Drexler's "Social Circle"

M Scott Eiland's picture

You might not want to invite your friend Peggy to any more parties; apparently, she's a real blabbermouth.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

A Profoundly Shocking Event

M Scott Eiland's picture

Wherein I find myself in complete agreement with one Glenn Greenwald: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is a stupendously clueless human being. Not being aware of the "kill list" is, for a major political figure in the United States in late 2012, akin to not knowing that gravity makes things fall down. When I started calling her "Debbie the D****it," I never dreamed it was *this* bad. People that stupid should have minders to keep them from randomly swallowing small inedible objects.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).



I liked the interviewers response.


Wasserman-Schultz: I'm happy to answer any serious questions. I have no idea what you're talking about. [walks away]


Interviewer: Of course you don't. Idiots. F'in idiots. 

I'll Say It, It is Good That Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is Smart


..what a douche is Glenn Greenwald.


The Stupidity is on him, not Debbie, who I grant you is a phenomenally unattractive women...but her response was just about perfect.


Greenwald knows this but decides instead to make her ignorant and out of whole cloth too. He's lost my respect.


No one I believe has spoken authoritatively from the Administration on the "Kill List." No one ever will.


Certainly Ms. Wasserman-Schultz has not authority to speak on this.


She was ambushed with an unanswerable question.


Even to admit that she could not speak to the question of the alleged "Kill List," would be a back door admission of its existence.


Glenn can blovate all he wants...but I know what he is up to.


Debbie did just fine, thank you very  much.


I thought you guys had more sophistication than to fall for this.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Uggeda uggeda uggeda

Bird Dog's picture

That was the cartoon sound of my head turning in surprise.

I'm with GG on this one. It's not like the kill list was some obscure issue, and she's an inside-the-beltway pol, congresscritter, spokesperson for her party and chief cheerleader for Obama. Her answer made herself out to be the idiot and dishonest twit that she is.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

OK, Criticism is Easy....Frame Your Answer to this Question


Best Wishes, Traveller

She could have framed it


the same way (for example) Jordan framed it here:  it's not a kill list, it's simply a list of valid military targets in a war zone,  which the President can examine and prioritize as Commander in Chief.


I think there are lot of problems with that framing, and that "unconstitutional kill list" is a better description, but at least it doesn't sound ignorant.



But my read is she looked at the non-mainstream name on the interviewer's mic and camera, heard the conspiracy sounding "secret kill list," and rolled her eyes sincerely. 


You may be right that she was playing dumb, but there are very stupid people in power, and it's not so implausible.


As for Greenwald, you should give him the same credit you're extending to Wasserman-Schultz. Perhaps he knew full well that playing dumb was her attempt to discredit the kill list talk.


Now you're required to give him credit for playing dumb in order to discredit her. 

Nice Try, Traveler

M Scott Eiland's picture

There's a stock phrase that would communicate "I'm not going to talk about this" without saying "I'm a f***ing shill and/or moron." That phrase is, "No comment." She didn't use it. Game over.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

No Scott, Even "No Comment," Coveys Way Too Much...


...implied information.


Even a hint at something like this the World would jump on to the detriment of the United States.


That is why I am surprised how really perfect her answer was.


You will note, and note well, that the reporter was not in the face of the Head of the Republican National Committee asking about his support for a 6,000 name "Kill List," do you?


Greenwald wants blood in the water; that's his business, but he is being extraordinarily dishonest in the entire piece.


So he's a douche.


Thank you very much.


Best Wishes, Traveller

That's Ridiculous

M Scott Eiland's picture

This is out there already, and a political operative saying "no comment" is as close to being un-newsworthy as anything can be. This desperate attempt at defense of someone who has already proven to be deeply stupid and who will be unceremoniously booted after the election in any event is unworthy, my friend.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

So Wasserman-Schultz's dishonesty = good


but greenwald's = douche? 


Personally, I share Greenwald's disdain re: a unilateral power to execute even US citizens w/out due process.


Am I expected not to point out that Obama decided to wipe his a&& with the Constitution his 1st term b/c an election is a few weeks away?

No, Not at All...But Honesty Would Compel the Admission...



...that there has been only one instance that we know where a US Citizen has been killed. This is not a kill list...you are making assumptions that are not warranted by the evidence. The correct assumption would be that each instance is treated as Ad Hoc and on its own individual terms. There is in fact, no Kill List, as such.


The killing of three US citizens, one a 16-year-old boy, in targeted drone strikes last year were unlawful and violated their constitutional rights by not affording them due process, according to a lawsuit filed by their relatives on Wednesday.

Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was placed on a CIA "kill list" last year, died in a targeted strike in Yemen on 30 September that also killed Samir Khan, an alleged propagandist for al-Qaida, in the Arabian Pensinsula. Al-Awlaki's teenage son, Abdulrahman, was killed in a separate strike 200 miles away in which six others died two weeks later.


This is going to court, we will see, but as things stand now, only Anwar al-Awlaki was specifically targeted. There was no evidence that his son was a separate target.




You're going to have to choose your defense


Whether (a) Wasserman-Schultz was right and savvy not to acknowledge a kill list even though it exists; or (b) there is no kill list to acknowledge.


This has to stop somewhere, and I can't have you adding a third if I go after the first two.

State of Oregon 13, Opponents 0

M Scott Eiland's picture

Apparently, the last best hope for keeping the SEC (aka the Evil Empire) from wandering off with another title rests in the state of Oregon, which contains the only two undefeated teams left in the Pac 12. Oregon still needs to get past USC, Cal, Colorado and Stanford (2 tough opponents, 2 weaker ones), and Oregon State needs to get by Stanford, Washington, Arizona State and Cal (1 tough, 1 somewhat less tough, and 2 weaker ones), but if they can manage that they will meet in the "Civil War" game on November 24 with a combined 21-0 record and ready to send a team rocketing into the fray for the BCS title game.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

We can agree on that

stinerman's picture

I think the SEC is the best overall football conference, but they are not far and away the best.  I like seeing the other conferences in the hunt.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

A Bit of a Criticism of Ambassador Stevens...Puzzlement


Sept. 10-11

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens arrives in Benghazi and holds meetings on and off the consulate grounds on Sept. 10. He spends the night, and for the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks holds meetings inside the compound only


Where was he coming back from? And if he had real concerns about security, why did he return at all, and not wait until September 12, for example?


I put this in the only recent open thread, because I don't want this question under the political threads...this is an honest observation and question.


What do other people think of this?


Best Wishes, Traveller


Actually it's good


to have an ambassador that placed his duty higher than his personal safety.   Haven't read up on this as obsessively as some people here, but I'd assume his "field work" was trying to get the various militias and citizens' committees running eastern Libya to fully sign on with the new national government.  Despite my dislike for the whole Libya intervention,  that seems like a decent thing to be working on.

Yeah, that's a good point Eeyn.


Hell, he might.have just been looking to get some good Chinese. But he got out, got around and hustled at personal risk. I think we can all respect that.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

He Does Seem to Have Been Extraordinarily Committed...




...he spoke Arabic, and seems to have the genuine respect of most of the local population. Which is of course what made him especially dangerous to Islamists.


All good things, and you point is well noted...he belonged at the tip of the diplomatic spear.


I have also heard that Mr. Stevens was gay.


This doesn't matter to me, but I wonder if this somehow inures to the special benefit of the gay community?


Gay pride parades, etc?




Best Wishes, Traveller



Ahmadinejad's October surprise

Bird Dog's picture


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I'll believe in those Iranian talks [ADD]

Jay C's picture

when I see their attendees filing in and shaking hands with each other on television, on a credible network - like the BBC or Al-Jazeera.


That said, if this does pan out, it is a Big You-Know-What, as Joe Biden would say: proof that international cooperation in imposing a serious sanctions regime CAN work on "rogue" nuclear wannabees. But that's a big "if". Of course, the mullahs can always try to BS their way out of the pressure; but I don't think the sanctions are going to be lifted or eased (except perhaps  trivially, for effect) unless there is substantive progress - and a serious inspections programs put in place and agreed to. But it just may pan out: no one is going to want to go back to Square One, when said square has a target painted on it....


ETA: I'll believe in them IF they happen at all: apparently the White House has denied that talks will be taking place. A braking malfunction at the rumor-mill??

It will be interesting to see how republicans


respond to the news.


Will they behave like adults or try to exploit it for partisan advantage. Open question.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

The Mature Response Would Be:

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Since the Iranians allegedly aren't committing to anything until after the election, and the Obama Administration has denied that anything has been agreed to, the rumor is meaningless--and likely intended to meddle in our election process.* If the Obama Administration wishes to say otherwise, that's their responsibility to do so, and to explain why an apparently highly conditional offer is meaningful. That's all for now."'

IMO, the Obama Administration is rolling the dice by leaking a rumor that they can simultaneously openly deny, thereby trying to get votes from the peace at all costs types while not losing them from voters who strongly support Israel. Of course, if this backfires it could work in just the opposite way, and wouldn't *that* be tragic.

*--unidentified Obama Administration officials are the source, you say? Shocking!

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Interesting point


that so far there doesn't seem to be any Iranian source for this rumor.  The closest thing I can find in a quick search of IRNA and PressTV is this,  which doesn't seem particularly encouraging.  OTOH their press is under restrictions and of course their private position may be different from their public one.

Also. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .in such talks would the Iranians be allowing any inspections to prove that their willingness to negotiate wasn't just a fancy version of "please give us more time to build bombs when we know that the Israelis won't be able to blow our facilities to Hades?" Without such assurances, any "peace process" would be a sham and would drag on as long as the Iranians felt like doing so.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Take a look at a map MSE


Short of using nukes the Israeli's probably don't have the ability to take out Irans program without a lot of US assistance. If they tried to go it alone they very well might lose a large part of their air force in the process since they only have two tankers. Something as simple as a mechanical failure in one of them could be catastrophic. Launching an unprovoked nuclear first strike would be disastrous for them as well. Not only would they lose US support they would wind up pissing off China and Russia as well. 

I dunno, Floater


We know the Israelis could reach Jisr Diyala in 1981.  There are two things between Jisr Diyala and the Iranian border; an Iraqi base (oddly enough where Peyton Bradley Manning was) and sand.  Throw in a little Desert 1 inspiration minus the Desert 1 disaster and the Israelis could pull it off w/o US help. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 



It's important to realize that there is considerable opposition to a strike, a bombing campaign, from the Israeli military, and even from within Netanyahu's cabinet.


Trav is right that any serious assessment has to ponder the long term effects.


There are no good options, but bombing would empower the regime, which is the opposite of the desired outcome.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

MA, my response was to the nature of 'can'


not 'should'.  Can Israel move aircraft, fuel, munitions and ground personnel to the deserts in east Iraq/west Iran, stage and conduct air operations for a limited duration and recover what they can't afford to lose?  I think it's possible solely from a 'can' standpoint. Whether or not they should do this is an entirely different ball of wax. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I don't follow...


Are you talking about a ground operation against Iranian nuclear facilities, with a staging base inside Iran or Iraq? Are you talking about using helicopters?


Because I don't think even Bibi is thinking about that. Israeli boots on the ground? Pretty radical idea, to put it mildly...

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Iraq Would Never Allow This (Israel on their Soil)..nt



That Might Matter, If They Were Asked

M Scott Eiland's picture

And yes, the wisdom of such a course of action could certainly be questioned.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Iran's a big country Darth


And there are multiple dispersed facilities with most of them at least twice the distance from Israel as Jisr Diyala and some further. Hardened buried facilities which would need need more than one strike. The strike planes would need midair refueling and a tanker problem would mean they wouldn't be making it back to Israel. I suppose they could land at a US base in Iraq if there was a problem but that would constitute US help.


No Israel can't pull this off alone. A more likely scenario is they start it and hope the US gets dragged along into finishing it.

The Problem Would be the Aftermath...for Decades...



...even were the strike entirely successful, I sense that this would only guarantee a Nuclear Strike against Israel...in say 2031.


Memories and revenge are a specialty in the Middle East...if you could give me some reassurances in this regard, I might be with you, otherwise, probably not.


Because I know a certain future.



As Opposed To Their Sweet Toleration Of Israel's Existence. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .for the past sixty-five years? I pity the Islamic world if they genuinely succeed in their avowed goal to destroy Israel--because the retaliation from the grave won't be pretty.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

But Scott, That Actually Cuts the Other Way...


...it has been sixty-five years. Maybe they can go another 65. And, butcher he may be, but Asad has never seriously tried to take the Golan back. The Golan, the West Bank, from my farmer's eyes, is about the only land worth having in the area. I mean specifically the land along the Jordan.


I sincerely think that Israel would give up most of the West Bank and many Settlements, but water rights to The  Jordan, Never. I've looked at all the peace maps and Israel always holds on to a narrow strip of the Jordan.


Now then Jordan, the country, they do have reciprocal water rights treaties with Israel with regards to the Jordan River....I wish I knew something about this area of the law.


I seriously think that this is the true sticking point.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Trav, I have no reassurances


I'm merely addressing what can/may be done, not what should be done.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Even more interesting to see how Obama


responds.  Will he use this opportunity* to get some progress on the issue, and describe the opening as the result of his policies;  or will he play hard guy,  describe it as just another Iranian ploy,  in order to avoid being called an appeaser?


*In reality it's not much of an opportunity.  It's not clear yet whether all the Iranian factions have signed on,  A'jad is a lame duck, and there's no overlap between what we want and what they would agree to.  At a minimum they would expect total removal of sanctions if they cave on the nuclear issue,  and the US Congress will not do that.

It's an opening


nothing more than that at this point, with all the qualifications you list.


But an opening that likely wouldn't be available to a president eager to subsume the entirety of US policy in the region to what Bibi Netanyahoo might desire.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

As of few hours ago, even less of an opening


As Jay C points out, the White House is denying they have agreed to any talks.

So, basically


the election is essentially tied and whoever wins the 3rd debate will edge his way to victory?


Have I got that right?



Romney is still toast,  and I hope this increases your appreciation for the Electoral College.  As Hanks's recent maps show, Romney can be ahead in national polls and still lose.  He's got to run the table on all the truly tied states and then pick off Ohio from Obama.  Not very likely.  Unless there's some kind of major ass kicking in the third debate it won't be very relevant.  Both campaigns would be better off spending their money buying off county election commissioners in Ohio.

Anyway, you have only yourself to blame for it being close.  Johnson was taking 10% in OH a while back, mostly from Romney, now he's down to 2%, no doubt due to your very convincing hit piece.

He's got 251 EVs according to Nate Silver's forecast


So it looks to me like Romney could take the election with a debate win that isn't narrow, but also isn't as severe an a$$ kicking as his 1st win.


Johnson may have been pulling votes away from Romney in OH, but he was pulling them at a greater # from Obama in CO and the southeast. So I'm not sure it was in the left's interest to encourage its die hard civil libertarians to head over to Johnson's camp.


I like how my diary ended with "Do not vote for Johnson" and the first comment title is "I'm voting for Johnson." You F'in people will not listen.  


Poor trade


Obama can win without CO but Romney cannot win without OH (or some other large midwestern state).  Anyway I'm no longer sure the left has many die hard civil libertarians.  I believe Greenwald but can't think of many others.


Edit:  There's a big difference between 251 and 270 when you consider how few EVs are genuinely up for grabs.  There's no way to make up the 19 w/o switching over a major midwestern state.

A poll released today in OH had Obama up by one


OH is probably winnable, esp. when you factor in that we have a Republican governor. 

Obama Needs +2 in Ohio


+1 is within fraud range.


Having said that, I think Obama will win Ohio, and lose Florida. And I've been thinking this for months.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Photo of the day

Bird Dog's picture

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

It was neither

Bird Dog's picture

At Stars & Stripes, victims of Maj. Hasan are offended that his shooting spree was considered "workplace violence" instead of a "terror attack". It was neither. Hasan did his shooting at a military base, so it was an al Qaeda military strike. The soldiers at Fort Hood were in a combat situation once Hasan opened fire. But there's another reason for their ire.

Because the incident is not considered an act of terrorism, the victims do not get combat-related special compensation that provides disability pay for medically retired servicemembers. Manning, who was shot six times, was recently denied such benefits.
The victims are also ineligible for Purple Hearts or medals for valor.

Ridiculous on the part of our military.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

BD, I don't know that there is such a thing


as special compensation for combat related injuries.  Say SGT Schmidt and SGT Schmo lose their left legs from the knee down.  SGT Schmo from an IED in A-stan and SGT Schmidt through an accident related to stateside duties.  They would both be considered disabled veterans and get certain pay and benefits but so long as both injuries were considered 'in the line of duty' I don't think SGT Schmo gets anything more than SGT Schmidt.  I could be wrong, and I'll be the first to say I'm no expert on this but as far as I know, to the Army an injury is an injury and so long as it's considered in the line of duty there's no special anything involved. 

Also they may get a medal for valor if valor was demonstrated.  The Soldier's Medal, higher than a Bronze Star with V device, is appropriate if valor was demonstrated.  Fair point on the Purple Heart and  I hope this is just bureaucratic inertia.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

The Article Says "The Government" Made That Decision

M Scott Eiland's picture

Who is the party ultimately responsible for making the asinine ruling that this was simple "workplace violence"?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

One Might Assume


DOD policy wrt to fratricide on facilities determined not to be in combat zones and not acts of terror probably fall into the "workplace violence" category, by default.


Fort Hood was not in a combat zone.


So what makes the attack an act of terror, as defined by the DOD?


If making that determination is too difficult (politics; rigorousness of the DOD's definition of "act of terror"; whatever), then the simplest thing to do is offer the victims and their families comparable benefits, deny it's a precedent, and move on.



By my definition it wasn't an act of terror because civilians were not targeted.


That said, I don't see it as workplace violence either, since the reasons for the shooting were not personal, but religious or ideological.


I would declare that Fort Hood had become a combat zone during the period of the shootings.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

And Who Has The Power To Offer Such A Waiver? -nt-

M Scott Eiland's picture


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

An "Al-Qaeda military strike"??

Jay C's picture

RLY? I'll grant that the point in your comment is about half-right: defining the Fort Hood shooting as an incident of "workplace violence" does seem to trivialize the seriousness of the event: and also that "act of terrorism" also seems to be something of a stretching of definitions, but "Al-Qaeda military strike"? I realize Wikipedia isn't The Last Authoritative Word on everything, but a quick glance at the Ft Hood page sez:


However in November 2009, after examining the e-mails and previous terrorism investigations, the FBI had found no information to indicate Hasan had any co-conspirators or was part of a broader terrorist plot. One year after the Fort Hood shooting, the motivations of the perpetrator were not yet established; government agencies still had not officially linked Hasan to any radical terrorist groups.

And indeed, a quick perusal of the timeline of Maj. Hasan's descent into violence shows that "Al-Qaeda"s main involvement seems to have been a lot of after-the-fact grandstanding and cheering-on: despite Hasan's correspondence with Anwar al-Awlaki (Good Riddance Be Unto Him), classifying his rampage as a "military strike" - despite the uniforms worn by his targets - seems yet another "neither".


That said, though, I wholeheartedly agree with:


Ridiculous on the part of our military.

Cutting benefits over (apparently) definitional minutiae like this just seems petty. Typical for government, but petty nevertheless.

He's a militant Islamist,

Bird Dog's picture

inspired by the teachings of al-Awlaki, who was al Qaeda, who shouted "Allahu Akhbar" while shooting soldiers, and who executed jihad against the Great Satan's army. Yeah, I'd call it a military strike.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Completely agree


if it turns out that the alleged coordination with Al-Awlaki was real,  in which case the proper charge for Hasan would be treason, not murder.   The denial of benefits is awful.

Politicized unemployment claim numbers?

Bird Dog's picture

Perhaps so, thanks to the politicized secretary of California's Employment Development Dept.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009



With all the scrutiny those numbers undergo -- especially in a political election season -- it seems pretty unlikely that the politicized political appointee appointed by the politically elected political leader of the regional polity who runs the department would fudge the numbers.


The political risks are too high.

Republicans furious over Paul Ryan's fake soup kitchen photo op.


Furious, that is, with the soup kitchen

WASHINGTON -- In the wake of Rep. Paul Ryan's embarrassing soup kitchen photo-op last week, the organization that runs the facility tells The Huffington Post that donors have begun pulling their money out of the Youngstown, Ohio charity.

Ryan may have suffered a few late-night jokes, but the fallout for the soup kitchen appears to be far more bruising. Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, confirmed that donors have begun an exodus in protest over Ryan's embarrassment. The monetary losses have been big. "It appears to be a substantial amount," Antal said. "You can rest assured there has been a substantial backlash."


Antal's charity represents the kind of organization that conservative Republicans might champion. But that was before the Ryan incident went viral a few days ago. According to The Washington Post, Antal said that the moment should never have happened. He told the newspaper that the photo-op was not authorized and that the campaign had “ramrodded their way” inside.

Ryan supporters have now targeted Antal and his soup kitchen, Antal said, including making hundreds of angry phone calls. Some members of Antal's volunteer staff have had to endure the barrage as well, he said. "The sad part is a lot of [the callers] want to hide behind anonymity," he said, adding that if someone leaves their name and number he has tried to return their call. In addition to phone calls, people have posted a few choice words on the charity's Facebook wall, including statements like "I hope you lose your tax [sic] emempt status," Anyone who is thinking about donations to you should think twice" and "Shame on you Brian Antal!"


On the phone with HuffPost, Antal seemed worn out by all the vitriol. "Honesty, I really don't need any more attention," he said. "I really just want this to go away."


Antal said doesn't understand why donors would take out their frustration over the incident on those who can't afford to pay for their own meals. "I'm a volunteer,' he said. "I receive zero compensation. Withholding donations is only going to hurt the over 100,000 we serve annually."

I am sincerely embarrassed to share a country and a nationality with people who would do something like this...tribal nitwits who would try to bankrupt a charity just because that charity inadvertently exposed their asshat candidate's douchebag campaign tricks.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I don't think you're embarrassed


Are you really running around blushing because of this?  Anyhoo, it looks like there's perhaps a little more to the story.   According to the link below Ryan's staff asked in advance and was given permission to visit the soup kitchen contra the 'ram rodding' claim.  Hell, when has a visiting bigwig from either party, intent on having a bout of baby kissing, ever hurt a charity or been considered an endorsement.  Antal had an opportunity to publicize his soup kitchen and help the needy further but he handled the situation like a prick and PO'd local donors.



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

They were given permission by a volunteer


even though it doesn't seem the permission was hers to give. Charity groups that rely on private contributions, like this one, tend to go way out of their way to avoid the appearance of endorsing particular candidates, parties or positions for the exact reason that you're seeing now. Donors might tend to resent any apparent endorsement of policies/candidates they disagree with, and take their money elsewhere. 


If the guy hadn't said anything, it's possible he could have lost some local Democrat donors over Ryan's baby kissing stunt. Or I guess bum kissing? Either way, the campaign put him in a tough position, after barging in and using his soup kitchen like an Olin Mills studio. 


I agree that this Anton guy could have handled it better, but on the other hand I'm grateful that there are amateurs like him out there (i.e. real people) who are willing to expose some of the unmitigated BS campaigns get up to when they stage events around the country. It's an amusing and yes embarrassing look up the sigmoidoscope into the inner workings of our magnificent political system.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Jordan, you partisan slip is showing


You said "...lost some local Democrat donors over Ryan's baby kissing stunt." but what I think you meant was "...tribal nitwits who would try to bankrupt a charity..."

As far as baby kissing goes, it and the staged photo-op are time-honored traditions of both parties.  I'd prefer to leave it alone.  They are harmless enough.  To put the shoe on the other foot, Y'know when the POTUS does one of those 'I share your pain (joy, couch, lunch..whatever) the media leaves his rather impressive security detail out of the shots.  Nothing wrong with doing it either way I suppose so long as either way is done for both (all) parties.


In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

It's a time honored stunt, but not at a church,


or a bank, or some other place that claims to serve the entire public without political distinctions. That's the point here.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

It clearly wasn't in the same league


as Romneys staged photo op with the coal miners. You know mandatory attendance but you don't get paid.

Hey Hank, small tech issue


I'm getting a script error on different machines on different servers.  The URL from the error message is below.  Anyone else getting anything like this?



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

On Bird Dog's diary?


If so, I've removed the offending URL. No time to figure out the details, but the error is gone now.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Thanks, it was on BD's diary.


I just dropped the comment here in an open diary.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

That's the downside of embedding

HankP's picture

if the other guys mess up, we inherit it.


EDIT:  Oops, sorry for the post, didn't see the other diary.

I blame it all on the Internet

Designated Scapegoat

M Scott Eiland's picture

In getting swept in four games by the resurgent Detroit Tigers--who from the way that the Cardinals are smiting the Giants tonight are going to be looking at an ancient grudge match in the World Series--the Yankees hit well under .200 as a team (with only the also resurgent Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez putting up good numbers at the plate), and their ace pitcher blew up on the mound in the do or die Game 4. In spite of that glaring *team* failure, the ire of Yankee Fan desperately trying to avoid the obvious conclusion that their team is aging and increasingly full of holes is going to be completely focused on Alex Rodriguez, who was benched for the last two games of the series in spite of the fact that other hitters in the lineup were just as bad as he was, if not worse. Here's a free clue to Yankee Fan: if you succeed in getting some sucker--er, team to take ARod off your hands (while the Yankee payroll eats at least $100 million over five years from the appalling contract that Scott Boras conned Yankee management into accepting after the 2007 season), the Yankees are still going to be an aging team with obvious holes that are only getting worse--and you won't have ARod to kick around any more while you deal with it.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I don't think that's really true

TXG1112's picture

While I will admit that a few fans may think this way, all the fans I know have a realistic assessment of the team and aren't just blaming A-Rod. Cano, Swisher and Granderson were just as bad. I suspect that A-Rod isn't going anywhere for the time being and will play better next year. He was injured this year and I don't think he ever really recovered. He'll never be what he was in his prime (will any of us?) but I think he will be able to provide some value, even if it doesn't match what he's being paid. People were quick to write off Jeter last year and he had a career year.


The pitching was excellent, had they managed to generate some offense they would have been very competitive, so I feel pretty good about next year all things considered. 



--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

The bounce is fading

mmghosh's picture

post Climategate.

For the first time since 2008, more than half of Americans (54%) believe global warming is caused mostly by human activities, an increase of 8 points since March 2012. Americans who say it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment have declined to 30 percent (from 37% in March).

Excellent news.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Yankees Are Politely Rolling Over And Dying In Detroit

M Scott Eiland's picture

It's up to the Cardinals now to set up the fourth round of "Cardinals vs. Tigers in the World Series": two of the three previous incarnations went the full seven games.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Least Surprising News Ever

M Scott Eiland's picture

Soledad O' Brien still a d****it, still openly shilling for Obama.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Put her on your obituary list


That'll show her.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias


M Scott Eiland's picture

2 hours to get your Forvm Pick'vm picks in before deadline.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


M Scott Eiland's picture

Two more whiffs for the week.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Are you guys getting alert emails?

HankP's picture

I set it up that way, and I get them.

I blame it all on the Internet




Shouldn't that be "la jeringa bolsas"? nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

I Set Mine For Two Days Out, And Get Them Fine

M Scott Eiland's picture

I only make these comments because you can see who hasn't posted their picks yet because of the missing dashes (Stinerman's not in either, but he said he dropped out and I take him at his word).

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Greg Palast?

Bird Dog's picture

The man with credibility problems and hackneyed conspiracy theories?

A couple things. He underplays the blind trust issue. If you have one, you have no say in what the trustee decides to invest in or sell. That said, the rich do have superior access to guys like Singer.

Two, Palast's comment about the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp is false. It is not government funded, so the $5.6 billion was not paid by taxpayers. This leads me to question his other conclusions.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Good Catch on the PGBC Funding


Palast -- or his editors -- should have spotted that.


Nevertheless, it's still $5.6 billion of liability offloaded to the government.

Offloaded to the government?

Bird Dog's picture

No, not really. PBGC is a non-profit corporation that is owned by the government but it's an insurance fund not unlike FDIC. You wouldn't say that an FDIC takeover of a failing bank is an offloading of that bank's liabilities to the government. PBGC gets its revenues from insurance premiums, assets from the funds they took over, investment income and recoveries of unfunded pension liabilities from plan sponsors' bankruptcy estates. None of those four revenue sources involve taxpayer dollars.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Right! We Agree on the Funding!


But the PBGC remains part of the federal government, even if it's funding comes from the sources you note.


PBGC is headed by a Director who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Board of Directors consists of the Secretaries of Labor, Commerce and Treasury, with the Secretary of Labor as Chair.



The Corporation is aided by a seven-member Advisory Committee appointed by the President of the United States to represent the interests of labor, employers, and the general public. ERISA outlines several specific responsibilities for PBGC's Advisory Committee, including advising on policies and procedures for PBGC's investments, the trusteeship of terminated plans, and on other matters as determined by PBGC.



You wouldn't say that an FDIC takeover of a failing bank is an offloading of that bank's liabilities to the government.

Sure I would. Why wouldn't anybody? It's an agency of the federal government. 


So long as the corporation has the assets and revenue...

Bird Dog's picture

...to cover, and there is no indication that the PBGC has such issues, then the libability is covered by the corporation's revenue and asset base, just like with any other insurance company.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Love the new icon

stinerman's picture

No sarcasm intended.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

Me Too

M Scott Eiland's picture

Funny thing is, I can't help liking Joe, even though I want him to lose and think his meds need to be amped up something fierce. As the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, he was the only Democrat (and one of the few Senators of either party) who remained honorable during the entire proceedings, lending whatever limited residue of dignity that was retained by that rancid proceeding. Plus, to borrow the tired cliche, yeah--he looks like someone you'd like to have a beer or eight with.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

That's How It Works


Except this insurance company is operated and managed by the Federal government.

Just like the FDIC, FNMA and FHLMC

HankP's picture

if things get bad enough the government will backstop them.


I blame it all on the Internet

Romney doesn't have a blind trust

HankP's picture

it's run by his personal lawyer and has invested $10 million in Tagg Romney's firm. That's not a blind trust.

I blame it all on the Internet

Up at the Top of The Browser Window


the breadcrumbs lead to "notyou's blog", which may be technically correct, but it hurts my eyes.


Can you drop some custom code in so instead it reads "notyour blog"?



Sorry, won't do it

HankP's picture

that's part of the core code, and I'd have to modify PHP files to change it. That also means I'd have to do the same modification every time there's an update, which is about once a month. I'm already in the process of planning an upgrade to drupal v7, your request isn't worth the time I'd have to devote to it.


I blame it all on the Internet



your request isn't worth the time I'd have to devote to it.


A simple no would have sufficed.

Nothing personal

HankP's picture

just trying to explain why rather than simply saying "no".


But yes, I grew up outside NYC so I tend to be a bit blunt.

I blame it all on the Internet

Hank can you fix it so that Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love"


plays for everyone reading the site whenever I post a comment? Just the opening riff would be fine.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I did that once

HankP's picture

I embedded a song in a diary. I don't think I ever got more complaints and threats than anything else I've ever done on the internet.

I blame it all on the Internet

Something a lot of people don't understand

HankP's picture

is that if you're wealthy (for these purposes let's say someone who can write a check for $100K - $1M without breaking a sweat) there are tons of investment opportunities that average people never hear of and will never get to participate in. I have some friends who are wealthy and they tell me about these kinds of opportunities from time to time, and I've even taken advantage of a few of them. Nothing is an absolute guarantee but a lot of these deals are structured and hedged so that it's virtually impossible to lose money on them. IPOs where shares are granted only to the wealthiest or most well-connected of investors. The list goes on.


Coupling that kind of financial access with political power, well, that's what the GOP has been about for the past 30 years. Democrats have been in on some of it too, but not to the extent the GOP has. Weird little rule changes that make no sense unless you're aware of the investment vehicles some people have put together that depend on them. People are correct in feeling that the game is stacked against them.

I blame it all on the Internet

That's Odd

M Scott Eiland's picture

I thought from portside comments here that opposing something that would (or did) benefit a candidate was a sign that candidate had integrity (the example usually pointed to is Mr. Kerry in 2004)? Is having Obama down 7 points in the latest Gallup poll of likely voters occasion for changing the rules on that?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

That's a Good One


Of course, it might be the case that government bailout plus bankruptcy made the deal more complex than the non-government bankruptcy buyout deal Romney advocated, since the Obama policy brought another significant stakeholder into the negotiations.


Fortunately for Elliott's investors, the government's negotiators were not as savvy as the PE negotiators were (go figure), and everything worked out fine in the end.


Whatever. Still plenty in the linked article with which the portside can dress up the plutocrat sign dangling from Romney's neck.

What do you do if


something hurts you financially but benefits you politically?  I'm pretty sure Recent Mitt is more into winning elections than hoarding cash.  He certainly blew enough of his own fortune on his 2008 run.


Lots of rich Dems want higher marginal rates. Nobody made a rule about that being a sign of integrity. It is a good sign they're not Randian sociopaths however.