Archive for November, 2008

Auto Chiefs To Carpool To Washington For Their Next Beggary
November 25, 2008

From today’s Globe

DETROIT – After being skewered by Congress and lampooned on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” the CEOs of Detroit’s three automakers may end up making their return trip to Washington by car as they seek a federal bailout.

If that’s how they manage things in Detroit it’s no wonder their industry is in dire straits.

The Detroit area’s auto industry, whose livelihood depends on the health of Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., spent the weekend e-mailing and discussing how to set up a car caravan to seek help from Congress.

A car caravan? Is that supposed to be something like a mobile Hooverville? Guys who make tens of millions of dollars a year screwing up the environment and buying politicians are going to perform their imitation of poor people begging for money by being chauffeured to Washington in luxury cars? (You know these clowns won’t be driving themselves.)

If they were smart they would have just shut up and flown business class to their next begging. But they’ve shown over the years that they aren’t smart except in the limited ways mentioned above (screwing the environment and buying pols).

In fairness The Lion notes that the story attributes the idea not to the CEOs of the Big Three but to suppliers, collateral businesses, and the UAW. But given the amount of financial incest in the industry, it’s fair to believe that the CEOs may well have had something to do with the buzz.

They’ll pull a transparent, cheap PR stunt to suck taxpayer dollars out of Washington to pay for their stupidity and failures.

It beggars belief.

(Tell the truth now. How many of you saw that last line coming?)

The story does not mention how the chief honchos of the financial industry biggies like AIG and CitiGroup managed to get to their hearings. Probably in corporate jets, but nobody complained about that. Of course they’re so wired into the politicians and the Bushies like Paulson and Bernanke that they probably only had to have their third assistant secretaries make a couple of phone calls to get the money.

Yes, it beggars belief, and it will beggar the country whether the taxpayers, scratch that – the taxpayers have had no say in this disaster – the politicians give away the money or do nothing.

One thing’s sure – someone should be going to jail, and it’s equally sure that no one will.

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Delusions Of Wall Street And Paulson Will Cost You Big Money (And Your Job, Your House, Your Wife, Your Car, Your Kids…)
November 22, 2008

Robert Reich spews some sanity over at TPM about the bailout shenanigans Bush and his pals are foisting on you.

Mookie R.I.P 11.20.2008
November 20, 2008

 

Mookie (2)

He liked when I rubbed my finger under his chin.

Afghan Sovereignty Is New Fodder For State Department Comedians
November 18, 2008

The Taliban in Afghanistan have rejected a chance at peace talks with President Hamid Karzai’s government.

Karzai offered Sunday to provide security for Taliban leader Mullah Omar if he enters negotiations and said the United States and other Western nations could leave Afghanistan or oust him if they disagree.

The Taliban replied that they’re not going to talk while foreign troops operate in their country, and say they will continue the war against the foreigners and the Karzai government.

And the United States response to this attempt at a colloquy by the sovereign government of Afghanistan?

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack questioned Karzai’s security guarantee.

“One can’t imagine the circumstances where you have the senior leadership of the Taliban – that there would be any safe passage with respect to US forces. Certainly, it’s hard to imagine those circumstances,” McCormack said.

Is it any wonder the Taliban smell blood in the water, weakness in Karzai, and will never trust foreigners? They see Karzai as a creature of Bush, Rice, and babblers like McCormack. In fact, Bush et al see Karzai the same way the Taliban do.

So much for democracy and sovereignty in that country. Or we could just say that another country has fallen to Bushiness.

Two Clawdie Awards Today For Auto Bailout Dissections
November 18, 2008

Today, for the first time ever, The Lion awards two simultaneous Clawdie awards to letter writers in today’s Boston Globe.

The first goes to the following letter:

GENERAL MOTORS needs a bailout. We need its constructive capacity to work for a better America. But the management and marketing segment that has been getting it wrong for decades should face the judgment of the market. We do not need the people who dismantled the Los Angeles light rail system merely to increase the market for their inefficient products. We do not need the people who decided to profit from adding lead to gasoline, thereby poisoning our air. We do not need the people who decided to put a military vehicle on public roads. We do not need the people who helped kill the electric car.

The stockholders have been largely wiped out, and the workers are being thrown overboard. What GM seeks to bail out intact is exactly the part that should be cut loose.

Public monies should serve the public purpose. We need energy-efficient transportation that the country and the planet can afford.
STEPHEN STRICKLER, Lexington

Bravo! Let’s expose the Ozian wizards and hang them out to dry.

And the second goes to:

THE DAY Barack Obama supports a bailout of Detroit, he loses all claim to being an agent of change and becomes just another Washington politician.

America needs automotive manufacturing jobs, but the auto industry has shown no signs that it can provide them. No industry has been so poorly managed, so resistant to change, and so unresponsive to its customers and employees. Let it fail in hopes that a reorganized entity or Honda and Toyota can get the job done.
PHILIP INGWERSEN, Exeter, N.H.

Are you listening, Mr. Obama?

One of the points supporters of the auto industry bailout harp on is the loss of many jobs if the Big Three fail. But that ignores the fact the country will want to buy just as many cars no matter who makes them.

Foreign manufacturers are already building cars in factories in the United States, cars that are more fuel efficient than anything coming out of the Big Three.

Does anyone think they won’t step up and increase production to meet the demand caused by the failure of the American firms?

Yes, there will be economic dislocations. Yes, jobs will be lost. And in time those jobs will be recreated by manufacturers who are smarter and better than the management of the Big Three has been.

Continuing on the path the Big Three have laid out for the last hundred years is nothing more than a sure disaster. Giving them money to continue their ways would be foolish. Even if the government imposes so-called conditions on the loans, American management has shown itself adept at ignoring the public good and the laws, so we can be pretty sure they’ll wiggle out of whatever conditions legislators in hock to the industry decide to impose.

As for the unions, they’ll whine and bitch and moan, but they’re just another part of the problem. Their benefits are part of the reason the industry is sinking. When health benefits amount to around $1500 per car, there’s a problem. And an argument for national single-payer health insurance for everyone.

There will be jobs for autoworkers and workers in associated industries if the Big Three fail. Maybe not right away, maybe not where the workers want to be, maybe not with the all the same benefits and suchlike, but there will be a market, there will be manufacturing, and there will be jobs. Maybe the boys in Washington should be pointing the taxpayers’ money at supporting the workers during the interim and helping other auto manufacturers ramp up production instead of bailing out the failed and destructive management of GM, Chrysler, and Ford.

[Full disclosure: The Lion drives a Ford Focus and likes it.]

Sixty-Four Percent Of Republicans Are Suicidal, Intend To Kill Themselves in 2012
November 16, 2008

Here’s the polling results showing the Republicans will attempt a mass, lemming-like suicide in 2012, and that conclusively demonstrates that as a group they have the intelligence of rodents but aren’t anywhere near as cute.

America The Socialist, Europe The Land Of Rugged Individualism
November 16, 2008

You think America is the land of rugged individuals battling against the evils of socialism?

Guess what? You’re wrong. You’ve got it backwards, you mollycoddled bastard.

Take a look at this story in today’s Globe.

And while you’re at it, keep in mind all the public tax money that’s spent to finance and build private sports stadiums in America. Talk about privatizing profit and socializing risk…

U.S. Captures Another Key Insurgent To Feed To George Bush
November 16, 2008

The lead paragraph in an AP story in the Globe today reads:

Afghan and coalition forces captured an insurgent leader in eastern Afghanistan, and in a separate operation 10 militants were killed in a firefight, the US military said yesterday.

Translating this story into reality would produce:

The United States bombed another wedding party in Afghanistan yesterday, killing ten celebrants. Someplace else the United States caught a guy the military thinks it can get away with calling a ‘key insurgent leader’, thus making the military look like it’s accomplishing something.

Be that as it may, is anyone keeping track of all the so-called key insurgent leaders the United States has captured (and apparently tortured and brutalized and killed) since the country started its dumbass wars in the Islamic countries?

There have been a bunch, and it seems like these foreign devils conveniently manage to get themselves caught whenever George Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s egos need propping up so they can suck more money out of the people for their wars or when they need to shut down another civil liberty or arrange for one of their buddies in the corporate world to make a killing off the wars.

In any event, despite the capture of all those key leaders, those evil Muslim fanatics just keep on coming, don’t they? They just keep fighting, and keep getting better at it.

They’ve learned how to kill Americans no matter what the situation, and they’ve learned how to play Americans for money and weapons.

The United States has been reduced to helping terrorists slaughter civilians, in effect saying “Well, harumph, we had to kill the entire wedding party with a couple of bombs because someone told us there were some insurgents in that area and the insurgents want us to get out of their country. Sorry about the dead women and children. We’ll send you some money.”

Perhaps someone could explain the difference between a terrorist car bomb and an American high-tech bomb to the relatives of the dead kids? Oh, wait, no time for that… the relatives are getting their guns and going hunting for American troops.

Imagine that. Or imagine that the people in Washington running these travesties had any imagination or intellect to imagine such things. Never mind. They don’t. If something or someone disagrees with their blinkered view of reality (which, according to the psychos in the White House, they create) they just bomb the crap out of it and call it a terrorist. Or a key insurgent leader. No matter that it was four years old and attending its uncle’s wedding.

The Understatement Of The Century
November 16, 2008

In today’s Globe there’s a story by Jennifer Loven of the AP about the ‘US-led economic summit’ held in Washington.

One paragraph notes that ‘it will be difficult for much progress to be made while Bush is still in office’, attributing the thought to Representative Barney Frank, who followed it up with what has to be the hallmark of the first decade of the twenty-first century in America.

“This has got to wait for Obama,” Frank said. “Bush is sort of resisting reality.”

Descriptions of George Bush’s actions the last eight years don’t get much more misunderestimatedly understated than that.

As an aside, The Lion notes that the emergency summit meeting of twenty-one nations accomplished nothing other than publishing a list of so-called action items, none of which are, apparently, actionable.

Obama Wins Second Prize…
November 5, 2008

There’s an old joke about a contest in which first prize is a weekend in Buzzards Bay (pick your own awful spot), and second prize is two weeks in Buzzards Bay.

Senator Obama just won second prize, the mess that the Republicans have created and that Bush continues to pile on with destructive executive orders now that he’s been repudiated.

But The Lion gives the Senator credit for not tossing out a bunch of tired bromides in his victory speech last night. He told us there’s a hard row ahead, that it’s not going to be easy, that he’s not a savior. Nice to finally find a politician with his head on straight after these years of twisted loonies.

Three things from last night’s events stand out in The Lion’s mind.

The first was the crowd at McCain’s concession reading. White to the last person. A small pond of white. Sad white faces who weren’t smart enough to see this coming on the day they brought the first slaves over from Africa a few centuries ago.

The second was Jesse Jackson standing in the Obama crowd, listening to the Senator speak. Tears filled his eyes. The Lion doubts he was thinking about cutting off Obama’s nuts this time. And his tears weren’t as copious as Oprah Winfrey’s, but you could see the long road of Jackson’s life in those tears, from Martin Luther King to Barack Obama.

And the third thing was The Lion’s tears as he watched all this. But if you tell anybody The Lion will snip the cable to your keyboard. After all, The Lion has a reputation to maintain.