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Monday, September 19, 2011

General Motors Contract, Economics or Politics?

General Motors and the United Automobile Workers have agreed to a tentative four-year contract that includes a signing bonus and improved benefits, the two sides said.

Full terms of the deal, struck late Friday, were not announced. The UAW said workers will get better pension and health-care benefits and a greater opportunity to share in company profits if they increase. General Motors Co. will increase entry-level pay by $2 to $3 an hour as part of a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract with the United Auto Workers, said two people familiar with the accord.

Starting pay will increase to about $16 an hour from $14 and rise to about $19 an hour from a previous maximum of $16, said the people who asked not to be identified disclosing details before they have been presented to union members for ratification. UAW President Bob King had said getting those workers a middle-class lifestyle was his highest priority.

89 comments:

  1. The $3 trillion in deficit reduction that Obama unveils in the Rose Garden represents a populist turn for the White House. It seems to me that his new stimulus is heavily tilted to private and public unions and this GM settlement looks to be me to be more of the same.

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  2. .

    $16 per hour. $33k per year. Hardly a get rich quick wage.

    What will be interesting is how the UAW treats Ford who didn't take a government bailout and against whom the UAW still retains the right to strike.

    .

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  3. Quirk said...
    .

    $16 per hour. $33k per year. Hardly a get rich quick wage.


    that is an unloaded pay...

    add in "work rules", paid health insurance, vacation, overtime & pension for starters....

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  4. Quirk said...
    .

    $16 per hour. $33k per year. Hardly a get rich quick wage.

    ---

    They're practicing the same methods as the Teacher's Unions.

    Starting pay, less than stellar, but you just stick around at least two years, and you cannot ever loose your job, plus benefits worthy of "The Rich" reporting more than 250 k income.
    ...largely those small businesses providing jobs, growth, and wealth, for the rest of us.

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  5. .

    add in "work rules", paid health insurance, vacation, overtime & pension for starters....


    Nonsense.

    Of course there is more to it than the base wage I quoted. They do get health insurance, so do many people in the US. Vacation? The 33k was based on 52 weeks. Overtime. Do you expect hourly workers to work for free? Pensions? I don't know all the details but the auto copmpanies are moving away from fixed pensions for new hires and moving to 401k's.

    Complain all you want but we are better off as a country having these guys working than sitting at home collecting unemployment.

    .

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  6. .

    Starting pay, less than stellar, but you just stick around at least two years,...


    I assume it is a four year contract the same as the last one. At which time, they will negotiate again.

    .

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  7. .

    You can choose your poison.

    On one side, you have Boehner and the GOP saying no tax increases.

    On the other side you have Obama with his eliminate loopholes and a minimum tax on the rich.

    You have the GOP supporting the rich and tax loopholes that allow them to pay a lower tax percentage than the median. And you have Obama's FICA tax decreases to help small businesses and the middle class while at the same time he is providing benefits to the unions and his other favorites (Obamacare waivers for instance).

    Pure populist politics? Sure.

    Myself, I would rather have the benefits go to people who would spend the extra money and put it back into the economy rather than have it going to those who would take it, put it in treasuries,and collect their 2%.

    .

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  8. Yeah, much respect for contracts in this adminstration:

    Like the respect they had for GM Bondholders.

    Like the respect they had for taxpayers when "reworking" the loans to his billionaire crony contributor @ Solyndra.

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  9. We have your same old tired Bullshit, making all things equal, or worse than equal, when refering to the biggest rip off artists of our time.

    My ass.
    Make that:
    You're and ass.

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  10. I've yet to be paid my first dollar of overtime.

    Thank God.

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  11. "over time"

    Define that to the giggles of those starting a new small business.

    ...or even many of those running an OLD small business!

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  12. .

    Yeah, much respect for contracts in this adminstration:

    Like the respect they had for GM Bondholders.

    Like the respect they had for taxpayers when "reworking" the loans to his billionaire crony contributor @ Solyndra.

    --------------

    We have your same old tired Bullshit, making all things equal, or worse than equal, when refering to the biggest rip off artists of our time.

    My ass.
    Make that:
    You're and ass.



    -------------

    A rather general rant Dougo. Hard to say whether it was about Obama or about me. When you stop foaming at the mouth, take your nitro pill, try to call down to the point you can make a specific charge, and offer it up so I can respond.

    .

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  13. Ha ha.

    Nice attention to detail on the Solyndra and Bondholder cites.

    Like NONE.

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  14. Rather vacuous and fatuous, old man.

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  15. .

    "over time"

    Define that to the giggles of those starting a new small business.

    ...or even many of those running an OLD small business!



    Those starting a new business know what's involved in starting a new business. They are willing to put in the extra hours in anticipation that eventually the extra hours will result in them 'making it'.

    Likewise, in a lot of the start up companies, techs in silicon valley for instance, new hires are willing to work without being paid overtime in anticipation that they will receive bonuses and stock options. Eventually rewards for the hard work will come.

    Compare that to the hourly person working in an auto factory or an Ace Hardware. Now, if your work salary rather than hourly you have a chance for both bonuses and stock options and in those cases many work the extra hours without overtime.

    The fact that you never received overtime pay sounds a little like sour grapes to me.

    .

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  16. .

    Ha ha.

    Nice attention to detail on the Solyndra and Bondholder cites.

    Like NONE.





    As I said a rather general rant.

    Solandra? What has that to do with either the GM contract or Obama's speech on the economy?

    As far as I can see zip.

    The GM bondholders? Irrelevant at this time. We are two years past that point.

    However, whereas I can see you complaining that the Obama deal on GM favored the UAW; I believe you are blowing wind if you think the bondholders would have gotten a better deal in a regular bankruptcy given the state of GM and the broader auto industry at the time. Talk about owning toxic assets.

    .

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  17. Yeah, that's why I said
    "Thank God"
    I musta been
    "Just kidding"
    ...in your mind.

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  18. "As far as I can see zip."

    Yes, that is as far as you can see.
    Indeed.

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  19. .

    Rather vacuous and fatuous, old man.


    Finally, a statement from the Maui Man that is both relevant and clear.

    Try to keep up the good work.

    .

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  20. "Eventually rewards for the hard work will come.

    Compare that to the hourly person working in an auto factory or an Ace Hardware.
    "

    Rewards MAY come.
    No gaurantees.
    Like life.
    ...outside the unions.

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  21. Too bad you did not hone your insight like you do your sarcasm.
    /sarc off,
    or whatever the fuck "they" say.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Somehow I never put folks working at the local Ace in the same pew as UAW "workers."

    Silly me.

    ReplyDelete
  23. .

    "The Story of the Fox and the Grapes"


    Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked, 'Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! Thank god, I don't need any sour grapes.'


    Cognitive dissonance from the island of Maui.


    :)


    .

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  24. .

    Silly me.


    Hey, you said it, not me.


    .

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  25. "However, whereas I can see you complaining that the Obama deal on GM favored the UAW; I believe you are blowing wind if you think the bondholders would have gotten a better deal in a regular bankruptcy given the state of GM and the broader auto industry at the time. Talk about owning toxic assets."

    Yeah, if the law might not produce the outcome that you or I might like, let's just ignore it.

    Repeatedly.

    As a matter of course.

    It's the Chicago way, after all.

    Just "gettin what we asked for."

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  26. .

    Speaking seriously, I have stated here before my opposition to public sector unions as well as the reasons for that opposition. However, in my opinion, the rise of unions in the private sector are one of the main reasons for improvement in wages and living conditions of the middle class.

    At the peak of their influence did they push to hard for short term gain instead of looking forward to the long term? Yes. But in doing that they were no different than the captains of industry that they faced off against. For many years, it turned out to be a co-dependant relationship until reality caught up with both sides.

    Today, I can stil see the rationale for criticizing the public sector unions. Complaining about private sector unions? Not so much. They represent only 7% of private sector workers and over recent years that percentage has be dropping.

    .

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  27. .

    Yeah, if the law might not produce the outcome that you or I might like, let's just ignore it.


    Help those bondholders out. Take it to Scotus.

    .

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  28. Complain all you want but we are better off as a country having these guys working than sitting at home collecting unemployment.

    I wish the government felt as strongly for the potential Boeing workers (non-union) in South Carolina to get their pay and benefits.

    The dollar cost of union labor is minimal compared to the issue of seniority and work rules. Slugs will eventially kill any non-govt union operation.

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  29. Doubling down on failure:

    Obama wants 14 new loans to "green jobs" projects just like Solyndra.

    He wants $3 in real job-killing taxes for each $1 of phantom spending cuts.

    He threatens a veto if he doesn't get his $1.5 trillion tax hike.
    --
    "The trouble with quotes on the Internet is you never know whether they're true or not." - Abraham Lincoln.

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  30. The only reason Ford didn't need a bailout was because they mismanaged their way to the lead of the race to rock bottom a few years earlier, reaching that point when there was still private credit available. If Ford had been less incompetent and had postponed their arrival to rock bottom as long and GM and Chrysler did, they'd've been right there with 'em hoping for a bailout because the option Ford took in 2006 just wasn't available in 2008.

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  31. .

    I wish the government felt as strongly for the potential Boeing workers (non-union) in South Carolina to get their pay and benefits.

    You talk of an NLRB position I disagree with. It is one Congress has called NLRB on. But there has been no NLRB ruling yet. There has been no appeals process since there has been no ruling. There have been no court decision on the ruling that hasn't been made yet. I can wait to complain about the decision once it has been finalized.

    .

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  32. The dollar cost of union labor is minimal compared to the issue of seniority and work rules

    Companies used to value older workers that were loyal, put in their time and collected their pay. Now older workers are considered a toxic asset, the first thing to go when times get tough, the quickest way to productivity gains.

    I find it amusing that the same people who complain about stagnant wages among the middle class complain about people making more money after thirty years with the same company.

    .

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  33. .

    Some people say Ford brought in new management that made wise and prescient decisions, others call it luck (hard to say whether they are talking good or bad luck).

    .

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  34. A slug is not a senior worker. One of the best employees that I ever had was a 70 year old truck driver. A slug is someone that rests behind union cover and you have to lay-off better workers with less seniority to get to the one you would prefer to layoff.

    There is no inconsistency in the desirability of having a well paid workforce but wanting to get a fair return for what you paid.

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  35. "However, in my opinion, the rise of unions in the private sector are one of the main reasons for improvement in wages and living conditions of the middle class."

    What tripe.
    It's not YOUR opinion, it's crap you've heard for 50 years that you repeat as "your opinion."

    The main reasons for improvement in wages and living conditions for everyone were improved methods of exploiting resources, inventions and technology, education, better health, etc etc.

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  36. Damn, I'm glad Teresita brought a little historical perspective to bear by quoting one of our greatest presidents.

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  37. .

    The dollar cost of union labor is minimal compared to the issue of seniority and work rules. Slugs will eventially kill any non-govt union operation.


    The two sentences kind of rolled into each other.

    Apologies if I misread your meaning.

    .

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  38. .

    What tripe.
    It's not YOUR opinion, it's crap you've heard for 50 years that you repeat as "your opinion."



    Please don't tell me what my opinion is you little twerp.

    I used to think like you until I grew up and faced reality.

    .

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  39. "I can wait to complain about the decision once it has been finalized."

    ---

    Yeah, we won't know the effect of the present situation on Boeing, Airbus, the unemployed workers, the economy, the future of aircraft manufacturing in this country, and etc until you guys tell us what is.

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  40. You'd be happier at the Daily Kos.

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  41. .

    The main reasons for improvement in wages and living conditions for everyone were improved methods of exploiting resources, inventions and technology, education, better health, etc etc..

    Of course, the things you mention helped improve living standards for the working class. But what you and I were talking about, dipshit, was private sector unions and the roll they played in our economy.

    I was in a union for about 1 1/2 years when I was around 20. At the time I didn't like it. The rest of my working life was spent on the other side of the table.

    What happened in the years you mentioned was that I noticed that as union wages went up they helped lift overall wages including mine while I was on salary and those of non-union hourly workers.

    .

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  42. As it is written,
    let it be so.
    Amen

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  43. No reply to my Boeing comment, however.
    Don't worry, we'll live w/o it.

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  44. .

    You'd be happier at the Daily Kos.


    And you'd be happier playing Chip Diller trying to get accepted by the Omegas in Animal House.

    Dougo (with his ass up in the air): "Thank you sir, may I have another"


    I've yet to be paid my first dollar of overtime.

    Thank God.




    I, like most of the rest of America for the last 20 years have witnessed the loss of jobs associated with a couple of things.

    One is job loss tied to globalization. The other is job loss associated with productivity growth. That productivity increase was spurred by many of the technological improvements you mentioned above. However, much of it was fueled by cutting jobs.

    As jobs were cut, the people who were left were asked to do the jobs of those let go. If they wanted to keep their jobs they did it.

    When I retired, it was from a managerial position where I was working 60 hours a week, often on weekends. I wasn't getting paid any overtime.

    So don't talk to me about my opinions you little shit. My opinions were formed over a working life of over 40 years.

    If you want to buy into the crap coming out of the GOP that's your opinion. Don't tell me what my opinions are formed from.

    .

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  45. .

    No reply to my Boeing comment, however.
    Don't worry, we'll live w/o it.



    You dumb shit. If you can't figure out an answer, you don't deserve one.

    Boeing has invested millions in their new plant in SC. They continue to spend millions. They have identified workers there.

    The NLRB has challenged the move. I disagree with them bringing the challenge. Do I worry about it? No. In my opinion, there is no way they will stop Boeing from setting up their SC plant.

    They are already being challenged by Congress and they haven't even issued a ruling yet. If they do make a ruling against Boeing, there is an appeal process it has to go through. If that still goes against Boeing, Boeing can take it to court. Given where this thing stands right now, I don't see the company losing.

    If you want to piss and moan go ahead. As I said, I can wait.

    If Boeing loses on this deal, I'll gladly admit I was wrong.

    .

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  46. They are losing money and competitive standing right now, dumbass!

    ---

    "When I retired, it was from a managerial position where I was working 60 hours a week, often on weekends. I wasn't getting paid any overtime."

    That's what my wife is doing right now.
    I'll tell her you think we should change our opinions about unions.
    I'll say a grown up told me so.

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  47. You wouldn't call me a "little shit" if you knew what they were formed from.

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  48. Even so, I still have no idea why they so reliably clog the toilet.

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  49. .

    They are losing money and competitive standing right now, dumbass!


    There are plenty of reasons they are losing money and competitive standing right now that have nothing to do with the SC plant. Try reading the papers.

    .

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  50. .

    That's what my wife is doing right now.
    I'll tell her you think we should change our opinions about unions.
    I'll say a grown up told me so.



    Good. I'm sure she will be happy that you are making some progress albeit slowly.

    .

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  51. Obama's Solyndra scandal reeks of the Chicago Way

    John Kass, September 18, 2011
    The Solyndra scandal cost at least a half-billion public dollars.
    It is plaguing President Barack Obama. And it's being billed as a Washington story.

    But back in Obama's political hometown, those of us familiar with the Chicago Way can see something else in Solyndra — something that the Washington crowd calls "optics."

    In fact, it's not just a Washington saga — it has all the elements of a Chicago City Hall story, except with more zeros...

    ...I love the use of "optics." It's one of those bloodless words finding favor these days.
    "Optics" suggests bureaucrats might think in terms of symbolism, political hieroglyphs, in grand vistas, rather than in hard numbers, like the $535,000,000 that went poof.

    But it's not their money, is it? It's ours.

    So this is not about Washington optics after all. The Solyndra scandal is about the Washington smell of things.

    Those of us from Chicago know exactly what it smells like. And It doesn't smell fresh and green.

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  52. President Obama’s “sophisticated policy” towards Israel has created a gap through which the Palestinian state is now going to slip. The US promises to veto a UN vote to recognize Palestine, but the mere fact it has gotten so far has now created a slippery slope down which some future politician is going to tumble down.

    The very fact that Palestine has to ask the UN for a State means they aren't ready for prime time. Israel simply declared independence on the day before the British Mandate expired, and that was that. It was recognized by the United States eleven minutes later, and the Soviet Union three days after that. Of course they had to fight for their independence, but that's the way those things go. Israel will never return to the 1967 borders, and no Palestinian leader can accept anything less than the 1967 borders without being targeted for assassination by his own people. So the "peace process" will never end and the subsidies from the US and EU will keep flowing. Kim Jong-Il wishes he had a business model this profitable.

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  53. "There are plenty of reasons they are losing money and competitive standing right now that have nothing to do with the SC plant. Try reading the papers."

    So it's just fine for the government to kick them in the back when they're down.
    Not to mention the country.
    That'll teach em!

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  54. .

    So it's just fine for the government to kick them in the back when they're down.
    Not to mention the country.
    That'll teach em!



    Try reading my posts instead of just bloviating.

    I said a couple times or more that I disagree with the NLRB's position.

    .

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  55. Jumping in here, didn't see this in a quick scan of previous comments, please excuse if al Bob or someone else has already brought it up.

    Gutsy wrangler, huge horse save boy from charging grizzly


    .

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  56. .

    “This was a case of us being in the wrong place as a bear was already in the act of chasing its natural prey. He was probably more persistent because he was really hungry.”

    Wild story Gnossos.

    You mentioned Bob. He was trying to bait me into talking about the story where the grizzly was killed by a hunter whose buddy had been killed by the bear.

    The implication being that it had to do in some way with our positions on the wolf hunt in Idaho. What Bob didn't mention was that the guys were part of a party of four out hunting black bear and that they had seen signs of grizzlies earlier in the day and that was the reason they were hunting in pairs.

    Also, Bob failed to mention the bear was wounded as one of the hunters shot the grizzly thinking it was a black bear even though to get a bear license you have to go through training to identitfy grizzlies since they are an endangered species.

    So after shooting the bear and seeing him run off, the hunters waited until they thought it was dead and started tracking it. But the bear wasn't dead and when he saw the hunters coming for him he did what I assume bears do, he fought back.


    Score:

    Hunters: 1
    Bears: 1

    Naturally, you don't want to see anyone hurt. However, trying to blame the bear for attacking when two yahoos come up and start shooting at him strikes me as a little weird.

    .

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  57. Doug wailed:

    ""When I retired, it was from a managerial position where I was working 60 hours a week, often on weekends. I wasn't getting paid any overtime."

    That's what my wife is doing right now.





    jeeze, maybe your wife could use the protection of a union seeing how she is being exploited so.

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  58. That little Gal has just got to be one of the Greatest Horse Riders of All Time.

    That story is just awe-inspiring.


    Her, and that horse are, truly, a match made in Valhalla.

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  59. She also dedicated her energy to numerous philanthropic causes. The Hopes donated 80 acres of land in Palm Springs, Calif., to be used for the Eisenhower Medical Center, which opened in 1971.

    The couple had been married 69 years when Bob Hope died in 2003 at the age of 100. Their son Anthony also passed away in 2004.

    Dolores Hope will be buried next to her husband at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery in Los Angeles. A private funeral service for family has been planned for Friday.

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  60. Having Democrats control the Senate and the Oval Office is like having two wolves and a sheep vote on what's for dinner.

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  61. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) complained that "the plan calls for larger agriculture cuts than are necessary or appropriate." And oil-state Democrats such as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) are likely to have problems with taking away tax breaks from the oil industry.

    Obama framed his proposal as a request to a congressional supercommittee that is charged by law with negotiating by the end of November at least $1.2 trillion of deficit cuts over 10 years. The proposal, which calls for the supercommittee to expand its mission by paying for a jobs package and coming up with more deficit cuts, gives the joint committee a new challenge and ran into immediate objections from one of the 12 members.

    "With the Select Committee's deadline looming, we do not have time to waste on political games and pushing big tax increases that will only make our economy weaker for all Americans," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said in a statement.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Remember Bill Clinton, Al Gore, when they tried to close their own deficit? The Republicans during that debate predicted the end of the world as we knew it. During the debate that led to the 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the Republicans promised that it would lead to a depression that would make the Great Depression appear to be an era of rampant prosperity by comparison. They told us that we would suffer like 1923 Germany, with unemployment in the 30% range and bread lines stretching to infinity.

    It passed without a single Republican vote. In the Senate it required Al Gore's tiebreaker. And how did those Republican predictions of certain doom turn out?

    Well, they turned out to be (how shall I say it?) somewhat inaccurate. Instead of a frightening depression, we instead, because of the tax increases (retroactive, by the way, and their retroactivity was upheld in court), had the longest unbroken period of growth and prosperity we have ever known. Unemployment fell into the 2% range. Growth rose and remained stable. The deficit was wiped out, replaced with huge and growing surpluses. The dollar became once more the world's strongest currency. Our prosperity spread worldwide and we knew the greatest period of world peace that mankind has ever experienced, even during the Pax Romana.

    Then came Bush and his stolen election, and his tax cuts, and his Supreme Court appointments, and the rest is a rather tragic history of America's downfall in every area of world leadership, social, economic, political, diplomatic, and military.

    And it happened all because our rich wanted to get pointlessly even richer at the expense of all other considerations, and our government allowed it.

    I hope Obama sticks by his guns here but I have little faith that it will turn out that way. The Great Capitulator has always capitulated before despite his lofty rhetoric. I believe that his words are meant for us progressives, to give us false hope and keep us docile until it is too late to replace him on the Democratic ticket, rather than a reliable indicator of what he intends actually to do in any area of policy.

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  63. Obama’s speech was obviously anything but a blueprint designed to produce bipartisan consensus. For now, those days are over.

    Instead, the president has decided he must win the battle for public opinion in the debate between his vision and that of the Republicans if he hopes to win a second term in office.

    He believes the American people are with him on the broad outlines and values he espoused Monday. The campaign that began on Sept. 8 in the House chamber continued Monday in the Rose Garden, with a weakened president fighting to win that battle.

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  64. Ash, Asher, can Ashest be far behind?

    Just having fun, your comment is well taken Asher.

    ReplyDelete
  65. A rogue trader at one of the world's largest banks (USA Inc., second in economic power only to China Inc.) has been exposed as the biggest fraudster in the history of mankind. The fraud – conservatively estimated at $38.6 billion,

    Others believe it could be at least 20 times bigger once his secret trading accounts in a file mysteriously marked "Stimulus Package" are fully investigated – comfortably exceeds the paltry $2.3 billion losses run up by UBS trader Kweku Adoboli.
    Though full details of the Uber Rogue Trader – known only by his initials B.O. – have yet to be released, he is believed to be either of Hawaiian or Kenyan birth, with a plausible speaking manner and a deceptive aura of competence and gravitas. He is said to be "coolly unrepentant" about his crime, which, he claims, he was only doing to provide "hope and change" to his 200 million victims.
    The fraud appears to have centred around an arcane taxpayer-swindling system first devised by Kenneth Lay of Enron known as "Clean tech" or "green jobs." B.O. – who joined the bank in January 2009 – is believed to have persuaded colleagues and shareholders that he could boost the institution's flagging profits by spending $38.6 billion on a "loan guarantee program" for clean tech start up companies. He also claimed that in the process he would create "65,000 jobs".
    Correctly anticipating that in the open market no one would actually want to buy such overpriced, economically inefficient energy as solar or wind, B.O. hit on the ingenious scam of ramping up demand by spreading misleading rumours. He persuaded high-placed friends at institutions including NASA, the EPA and the IPCC to promote junk-science data grotesquely exaggerating the dangers of carbon based energy and the benefits of "renewable" energy. BO then poured sums of up to half a billion dollars into Ponzi schemes – aka Green Tech – run by sympathetic friends.

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  66. Ordinarily, I'd be all for compromise. But with the GOP having gone stark raving mad, this is not the time to be doing it. Democrats should take up centrist positions, explain to the public that these positions are keeping with precedent with policies in the past, and then hold their ground come hell or high water.

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  67. Doug said...
    You'd be happier at the Daily Kos.

    Mon Sep 19, 04:13:00 PM EDT


    I disagree, you have balance here. Honestly the fact is one party has managed to shift so far to the right and paid absolutely no price for it at the polls. As I read in a recent article, American people are opinion followers, not opinion leaders. So when Fox News and Republican figures are the ones projecting an air of absolute confidence and certainty, voters gravitate toward them. From what I have seen here, no one gravitates towards anything singular, quite the opposite.

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  68. Admittedly, the Republicans are despicable, self-serving scum, but Obama, and the Dems shot all their bullets in their arrogant, and high-handed Healthcare coup.

    Now, the White House, and both houses of congress are going to be taken over by the most reactionary forces of the most reactionary political party in the history of the Republic (okay, that last part was pure, unprovable hyperbole; so sue me.)

    The Dems will be lucky to come out of the next election with enough Senators (40) to mount a filibuster.

    Both parties are so out of sync with reality that about all we can pray for is a gridlocked government that can't do much more damage than it has already.

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  69. I was going to do another post, but think I will let this one ride.

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  70. Did Desert Rat and Bob go camping?

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  71. They musta died, the poor dears. We had a bang-up post about young girls, masterfully riding powerful stallions, and "Bear Cutting," and neither showed up. Where do we send the flowers?

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  72. I was out and about all day, and I missed all the happenings. But, from looking at the data, it seems that the Traders are finally acknowledging the inevitability of the "dip," and selling Commodities, accordingly.

    This will be an interesting couple of months for me. I'm curious as to whether gasoline can break below the $3.00 level, and barring that, if getting below $3.25 will be enough to brake the descent.

    The nightmare, of course, would be the scenario of a recession in the OECD, and gasoline/diesel prices remaining above the "inflation-inducing" level.

    My "gut" is telling me that it's going to be close, this time, but that we will probably edge slightly lower than $3.00/gal for gasoline, thus mitigating the fall to a level only slightly below 0.0%.

    Of course, this is just the end of the "Second" Inning. The game has a long way to go.

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  73. Convicted Delaware killer Capano dies in prison

    By Larry King
    INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

    Thomas J. Capano, 61, a rich and influential Wilmington lawyer who fell from the halls of power to a death-row cell for murdering his former mistress, died behind bars Monday.

    Capano was found in his cell at the state prison near Smyrna, Del., where he was serving a life sentence for the 1996 murder of Anne Marie Fahey. His original death sentence was overturned in 2006.

    The slaying of Fahey, 30, the scheduling secretary for Gov. Thomas Carper, became a sordid yet riveting tale that resonated far beyond Wilmington, inspiring at least four books and a TV miniseries.

    At the center of the drama was Capano, scion of a Wilmington family whose father, an immigrant carpenter, turned construction into wealth.

    Capano, one of four sons, became a managing partner of the Saul Ewing law firm and a player in Delaware politics, advising the powerful and serving as Gov. Mike Castle's general counsel in the early 1990s.

    In private, though, the married father of four was a manipulative and jealous philanderer, prosecutors said, choosing paramours he sensed were vulnerable. Among them was Fahey, 17 years his junior, a tall and vivacious but insecure woman who struggled with anorexia.

    On June 27, 1996, Capano took Fahey to dinner at Panorama, a Philadelphia restaurant, trying to persuade her to resume an affair she had ended the previous fall. A month earlier, Fahey wrote in her diary that she had brought "closure" to her relationship with Capano, describing him as a "controlling, manipulative, insecure, jealous maniac."

    Later than night, prosecutors said, Capano shot Fahey to death in a large house he had rented after separating from his wife of 23 years.

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  74. Capano, who was serving a life sentence, has been held in solitary confinement since his November 1997 arrest.

    Capano was found unresponsive in his cell at about 12:30 p.m. by an officer performing a routine security check, prison spokesman John R. Painter said.

    Foul play was not suspected in Capano’s death, Painter said. His body was turned over to the medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death.

    L. Vincent Ramunno, Capano’s brother-in-law, said the prison warden notified him about Capano's death shortly before 2 p.m.

    “He probably had a heart attack,’’ said Ramunno, who said Capano had recently told family members he might have had some minor heart attacks and had been given an electrocardiogram. Capano had gained a lot of weight on his once-slender frame during his years in prison, which Ramunno attributed to lack of exercise and medications the inmate took for various conditions.

    Fahey’s brother Robert pointed out that Capano never expressed any remorse for taking his youngest sister’s life at age 30.

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  75. Fahey had dated the married father of four girls for nearly three years before he shot her to death on June 27, 1996, at his Wilmington home, then put her corpse in an oversized fishing cooler he had bought months earlier. The next morning Capano convinced his younger brother Gerard to go with him to Stone Harbor, N.J., where they used Gerard’s fishing boat, The Summer Wind, to dispose of her body in the Atlantic Ocean.

    Her body was never found. For nearly a year and half, her disappearance was a high-profile mystery that captivated people in Delaware and across the country.

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  76. I had an interesting visit with my banker, today. He told me that he had come to the conclusion that the key level was $3.25/gal (this is, if you'll recall, the level I said broke the camel's back in late February.)

    Was also pleasantly surprised to find out that he is a huge fan of the idea that our Co. should be a "Net Energy Exporter." It seems he had, also, done a considerable amount of research on NW Ms's potential in Wind, Solar, and Biomass. And, he just can't get over the idea of that big, powerful river out there not being utilized at all.

    The guy I had dealt with for years has left the bank, and this was the first chance I'd had to chat with this young man. There might be hope for us yet.

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  77. Yikes, 1:00. Big Day, tomorrow. G'nite.

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  78. .

    Bob and Rat be Busy.

    During the last five months, undercover investigators bought illegal pesticides in shops on Madison, Mott, South Eldridge and Pike Streets in Chinatown, and in Moscow, Idaho the officials said.

    Ten of those arrested last week were charged in state court and will be prosecuted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office; two others — one identified in court papers as a wholesaler of the illegal pesticides, the other a grocery store owner who was charged with selling thousands of packets of the products to undercover investigators — will be prosecuted in federal court by the office of the United States attorney in Manhattan. The alleged ringleader of the operation, a farmer and landlord in Moscow, is a defendant identified only as “Bob”. Bob faces up to four years in prison for importation of illegal hazardous materials and bad poetry. We have been unable to talk to Mr. Bob, but his lawyer, a Mr. D. Rat from Arizona told reporters that his client is incompetent to stand trial at this time and will plead not guilty...



    The Big Cheese Taken Into Custody in Moscow, Idaho

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  79. .

    In an update on the previous story, the attorney for Bob, Mr. D. Rat indicated that he is not, in fact, a licensed lawyer in Arizona nor Idaho. He did state, however, that he has spent numerous nights in various Holiday Inns and that he is an expert on constitutional law having spent a number of years googling various Wiki articles and obscure opinions on the subject.

    Most of the defense's evidence for the incompetance plea will be centered on Bob's body of posts covering a period of several years on an obscure blog called the Elephant Bar.

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  80. .

    From the Denver Post


    The Denver Post has just received an exclusive interview with the man known only as 'Bob' who is being held in solitary confinement in the sole jail cell of the Moscow, Idaho police station.

    Bob was moved there from a room at the Ten Star Motel across the street as soon as Teddy "Two Fingers" Rothison sobered up and was released this morning.

    Our reporter indicated that Bob was unrepentant and kept shouting about civil rights, capital gains taxes, being able to shoot bears whenever and wherever he wanted, someone named Claus, a pretty woman up in the cedars, and wolves.

    Eventually, our reporter was able to bring the conversation back to his alleged connection with the pesticides.

    Bob indicated that he is a well educated and well read upstanding life-long resident of Moscow. He states he is a landlord and a farmer (although he was unable to spell windrow after repeated attempts).

    He further stated that although his family founded Moscow and brought it to prominance, he is constantly being persecuted by Idaho Fish and Game, the Moscow City Council, and the Zoning Commission.

    When the conversation again came back to the pesticides, Bob admitted he discovered the formula for the illegal pesticide "Wolf-Bane" while suffering an overdose of booze and painkiller he was taking for a prostate condition. He was sitting on his front porch reading what he thought was a collection of Walt Whitman's poems but which in reality turned out to be an old copy of The Merck Index.

    Luckily, he past out before being able to ingest the brew but he was able to see its effect on his neighbors dog the next morning. From the death of the dog which had obviously sipped the Wolf Bane, Bob was able to judge the effect it would have on the wolves that were alleged to be in the neighborhood.

    From there it was merely a matter of marketing the brew with hopes of some day being able to purchase another saddle for his daughter, an avid equestrian.

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  81. .

    Denver Post (update)


    The Denver Post has received a hand-written "injunction" ordering the paper to 'cease and desist' publication of our exclusive interview with Bob, the Prince of Poison, in Moscow, Idaho.

    The order signed by The Honorable D. Rat, indicates that our interview conflicts with the terms of an exclusive contract currently being negotiated between representatives of Mr. Bob and the HLN network for sole rights to commentary on the trial as well as an upcoming special to be hosted by Nancy Grace as soon as she is booted off Dancing With The Stars.

    The Denver Post has officially rejected Mr. Rat's demands on 1st Amendment grounds.

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