"AIG." If there's a more despicable acronym in the American vernacular, I'm afraid to know what it might be. I'm pretty sure it probably somehow involves Justin Bieber, but hey, I digress. It's been a while since AIG did anything newsworthy -- I'm sure they aren't complaining about that, either -- but these past twenty-four hours have definitely thrust one of America's most-hated companies back into the spotlight.
As you're most likely aware, the federal government (and by extension, the American taxpayers) gave AIG a total of $182 billion in bailout money during the economic collapse. And if you watch television with some regularity, you're probably aware that AIG just put out a new TV ad, thanking America (it's actually titled "Thank You America," as clever as that is) for the bailout and making a point of mentioning how they recently finished paying back the full amount, with interest, to the tune of $205 billion.
Pretty awesome, huh? Regardless of your political views, AIG infuriated most Americans with their nonsensical behavior. They used bailout money to pay for lavish corporate retreats, insulting executive bonuses... most of us wouldn't call it "money well spent" by any means. But hey, at least they paid it back, right? And oh, there's that "Thank You America" commercial on TV, too. So they're appreciative of the help they got, and humbled by it, and we can feel good about helping them... right?
Well, not so fast. This afternoon, AIG's executive board considered a proposed $85 billion lawsuit against the federal government -- you know, the government that bailed them out? -- claiming that by receiving the bailout... the bailout they ASKED for... the government somehow managed to violated their human rights. Nope, I'm not kidding. I'm a professional political satirist, and I couldn't make up something that silly! They inevitably decided not to sue, though. I'm expecting their new commercial, titled "You're Welcome America," to show up on my TV any day now.
Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but me personally? I'm pretty sick of AIG. I do believe the bailouts worked in staving off a depression, and if I had a time machine, I wouldn't throw those dice to find out if I'm wrong. But AIG as a company is just about as scummy as scummy can get. I only wish there were something we, the American people, could do to feel better about the whole situation.
That's where my White House petition comes into play. I'm petitioning the White House to force AIG to mass-produce voodoo dolls, each of which sports the AIG logo, which AIG must then distribute, at their own expense, to every adult in the United States. Stick needles in the crotch, don't stick needles in the crotch... this is the sort of decision each American citizen must make for themselves. And yes, the petition is totally real and accepting votes right now. As of my writing this, it has a total of five signatures already, so at least I know I'm not alone in wishing this would happen!
Is the petition super-serious? Not really. But it sends a non-violent message (well, I guess the non-violence bit is a matter of interpretation) to AIG, informing them that those of us who sign it don't approve of what they're doing. And come on, you think it's at least a little funny, certainly funny enough to warrant your digital signature, right? And the White House can't complain, because political satirists making silly petitions only brings in more people who are signing the real ones. Or at least that's how I'm justifying it. So it's not a waste of government bandwidth... that makes it totally legit!