“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"What is good for General Motors is good for America." - Possible Bankruptcy

GM simply cannot build enough cars to get itself out of the mess it is in. If GM goes down, Chrysler and Ford will have no choice but to follow. There will be a cascade of suppliers and service businesses who will have to reorganize.

The government will take over the legacy pension obligations. More pressure will be put on housing and employment. The downward spiral will continue.

GM considering Chapter 11 filing, new company: report
Sat Feb 14, 2009

CHICAGO (Reuters) - General Motors Corp, nearing a Tuesday deadline to present a viability plan to the U.S. government, is considering as one option a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that would create a new company, the Wall Street Journal said in its Saturday edition.

"One plan includes a Chapter 11 filing that would assemble all of GM's viable assets, including some U.S. brands and international operations, into a new company," the newspaper said. "The undesirable assets would be liquidated or sold under protection of a bankruptcy court. Contracts with bondholders, unions, dealers and suppliers would also be reworked."

Citing "people familiar with the matter," the story said that GM could also ask for additional government funds to stave off a bankruptcy filing.

GM declined to comment, the story said.

General Motors and Chrysler LLC face a Tuesday deadline to file restructuring plans to the government in exchange for receiving $17.4 billion in federal loans.

Automakers have struggled as U.S. auto sales have tumbled amid a recessionary economy. U.S. auto sales in January tumbled to a 27-year low.

GM has been in talks with bondholders and the United Auto Workers union to get an agreement on a restructuring that would wipe out about $28 billion in debt for the auto maker, sources have told Reuters. However, it appears unlikely a deal could be reached by the Tuesday deadline, they said.

GM has already announced plans to cut 10,000 salaried workers worldwide, or 14 percent of its staff, impose pay cuts for most remaining white-collar U.S. workers and has offered buyouts to its 62,000 U.S. workers represented by the UAW.

In addition, it is trying to sell its Hummer SUV and Swedish Saab brands and is reviewing the status of its Saturn brand.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)


  1. Chapter 11 would be more favorable for GM than accepting bailout money. Reorganization is probably their best choice.

    Chapter 7 may be the best choice for millions of overly indebted Americans who find themselves in holes and circumstances that they will never climb out of. It wouldn't surprise me if we see a major reform of bankruptcy laws and credit practices which remove the stigma and the hardship of recovery.

  2. A bankrputcy judge must be one of the most powerful people in the country.

    We should never have let Japan make cars. Should have said, you can turn them to military purposes.

    (just kidding, I think)


    President Obama's White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is hijacking the Census Bureau to redistrict the 2010 Census to the Democrat's advantage.

    Last week, the White House announced an unprecedented plan to move authority over the upcoming Census from the Commerce Department to the White House. The Census is supposed to be a nonpartisan process, but the administration is using Chicago-style politics to unjustly give Democrats an advantage in future elections.

    It's in everyone's interest to have the Census process - which is the basis for drawing up Congressional districts - remain non-political.

    We need your help to call foul on this incredibly inappropriate move.

    Please stand with Senate Republicans and voice your concern over Rahm Emanuel's plan to use the Census as a political tool. You can make yourself heard by forwarding this email to your friends and encouraging them to join the NRSC and make a donation of $25 or more. We need a show of strength right now to show the Democrat's that we won't let them take over the Census for their personal gain


    Also have another Bill Bryson book about Australia....Ask "Trish"(blog person) if she has read it?

    Also have book about retiring outside the US that is interesting.

    From my wife. Australia on the mind.

    You ever read that one by Bryson, Trish?

  3. Mississippi Passes Legislation Protecting Gun Owners During Martial Law
    February 11, 2009

    Mississippi lawmakers have passed a bill to protect the state’s residents during martial law. On the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi website, Phil Bryant announces the passage of SB 2036. The legislation “restricts the power of a peace officer to confiscate firearms and ammunitions in an emergency or during a time of martial law,” according to the website.

    Senator Merle Flowers

    It is significant that Lieutenant Governor Bryant mentions the law applies to martial law.

    Mississippi senator Merle Flowers authored the bill and referred it to the Judiciary on January 6. It passed the Senate on February 4. According to the Mississippi bill status website, the act amends Section 33-7-303 of Mississippi Code of 1972 and “explicitly restrict the power to confiscate firearms and ammunitions in an emergency.”

    Mississippi passes the law reaffirming the Second Amendment at approximately the same time a number of states are introducing and passing resolutions and bills declaring sovereignty from the federal government and buttressing the Tenth Amendment.

  4. From my wife. Australia on the mind.

    You ever read that one by Bryson, Trish?

    - Bob

    I did, bob.

    Good, but not nearly as good as those in which he can and could draw upon his own, lengthy, intimate experience.

  5. That is: England and the middle US.

  6. "I'm encouraged by President Obama's positions on medical marijuana, needle exchange and other drug policy issues, and Chief Kerlikowske seems like an effective advocate for carrying out that enlightened, progressive agenda."

    Police Guy From Seattle To Be New Drug Czar

    Pass out the needles, while Mexico implodes and

    "a little state control wouldn’t hurt anybody”

    Says Jerry Brown
    on the Michael Savage Show.

    Third most popular show in the country now, we can't have that.

  7. Me, I'm returning to southeast AZ, when all is said and done.

  8. There is nothing, nothing in the world, like that endless sky.

  9. And to wrap up the news--

    The website of a New York TV network whose aim is to improve American perceptions of Islam was shut down this morning, two days after its founder admitted to the beheading of his wife.

    Simple Case Of Domestic Violence

    That's it for me today, can't take anymore.


    We still don't know where we'll end up, maybe right here. Could be worse.

  10. We still don't know where we'll end up, maybe right here. Could be worse.

    Sat Feb 14, 03:29:00 PM EST

    That it could.

  11. Today it seems, "What's good for Vegas is good for the country"

    Never mind a medical school in Boise.

  12. First yellowjacket of the year just flew in the window, but I got the little bastard.

  13. Seems like socialism has descended upon America, comrades!

  14. We call it "Casino Socialism" Comrade.

    The earliest sign that I know of concerning its coming, in literature, was in the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    where it is said

    There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

    And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. .

    A perceptive witness might have detected its comint sooner.

    We have great plans for our new Las Vegas trains, Comrade, connecting lines to Phoenix, San Francisco, even Salt Lake City!

    Think of it! Madness in any direction, Comrade!

  15. Actually, I'm in favor of the bullet train. It'll give us a chance to see how it works.

    If it'll work anywhere, it'll be between LV, and LA. The traffic between the two is unbelievable.

  16. As for GM, I think they're bluffing. Of course, sometimes when you bluff you get "called."

  17. That's always a "Revoltin" development.

  18. And when the Government itself files Chapter 7 ...

    A financial reorganization, new currency and rewritten obligations.

    It is not so far fetched, amigos.

  19. Admittedly, it's a good pretty place for it, in that X number of people want to go from A to B and return, and there's not much out there to get in the way of it, but I can't figure why the US Government would want to encourage gambling. Well, I know why, Harry wants it, that's why. But I don't want to chip in my little contribution. Let the states of Nevada and California build it, if that's what they want to do.

    Why California would want to chip in to scoot their folks over to Nevada to lose their money there, while they could just as well lose it at home, I couldn't answer. Logically, anyway.

  20. In addition, it is trying to sell its Hummer SUV and Swedish Saab brands and is reviewing the status of its Saturn brand.

    When the Chevy, Pontiac, Cadillac & Buick brands become available ...
    Break GM back down by selling pff the more valuable component divisions.

    Chevrolet out of Chapter 7 and General Motors, with new ownership could be an exciting option.

    As with the Banks, break them down until no individual cog in the machine is "to big to fail".
    GM, broken up, could be more valuable than the whole conglomerate is today.

  21. 4. fear Obama:

    What about that poor woman that needed her car pd. for and rent money?


    My Dad used to say it is better to laugh at a problem than cry.


    Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House in D.C.; One from Chicago Illinois, one from Tennessee, and a third from Kentucky. They all go with a White House official to examine the fence

    The Tennessee contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well”, he says, “I figure the job will run about $900.00: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

    The Kentucky contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700.00: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

    The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.00″

    The official, incredulous, whispers back, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys,
    How did you come up with such a high figure?”

    The Chicago Illinois contractor whispers back, “$1000.00 for me,
    $1000 for you, and we hire that guy over there from Kentucky to fix the fence.”

    ‘Done!’ replies Nancy!

    Don’t laugh!

  22. Sorry, I laughed. In fact, I'm still laughing.

    Now, if you could have just worked that Giant Paloose Worm into the story it would have been a "classik."

  23. Speaking of which...

    I was invited to a book club meeting the other night.

    Did not have high hopes.

    Not. Your. Average. Book. Club.

  24. What. kind. of. book. club. was. it?

  25. As with the Banks, break them down until no individual cog in the machine is "to big to fail".
    GM, broken up, could be more valuable than the whole conglomerate is today.


    I've been saying the same already months back. Break them up and specialize them to specific markets.

  26. Pontiac/Buick/Saturn/Saab/
    = useless crap

  27. That's. What. I. Was. Going. To. Ask.

    And. Did. You. Have. Low. Hopes. For. The. Club? The. Book? The. Other. Night? Or. The. Meeting?

    Giant Palouse Earthworm

    Every time I read about the great worm, they seem to get a little longer. Now, they're talking 3 feet.

  28. It. Was. A. Book. You. Club. Someone. With. On. The. Head.

  29. Did they "Git. Nekkid?"

    Did. You?

  30. I didn't know the book under discussion. Never heard of it. I went in blind. I very often do that. It's a guilt thing..."Would you like to come to --?" "Sure!"

    It was the members themselves. You probably could have had much the same discussion with twelve well-read women in Peoria. In fact, I know you could. But the personal and familial resumes...holy shit. (We bureaucratic functionaries are easily impressed.)

    Dinner was nice. First time I've had real, decent ham in a long time. The potatoes au gratin were too heavy on the nutmeg, though. Small oversight.

  31. "This worm is the stuff that legends and fairytales are made of. A pity we're losing it," said Paulson.

    By Golly, I'll agree with that.

    Giant Worm Denied Protection

    We need to get a few of these critters in court, and put 'em under oath!

    I betcha an amero though, that they end up getting the protection.

    The picture of of some of the original Palouse Prairie.

    What makes it so 'valuable' I don't know. It does have a few species or rarer flowers on it for a few months in the spring. I was supposed to have gotten a listing of these but haven't.

  32. See, rufus, I knew that's what you were thinking.

  33. I. Wanna. Join. Two.

    You. Read. Brail?

    The lady told me where the trees are up the old road in the picture two above was Palouse Prairie too.

    I actually don't think any of it can be considered 'prairie' at all, as the whole place was forested, for the most part.

  34. When I get the next book on the list, bob, I'll let you know.

    You can read it and I'll convey your thoughts at the April meeting.

  35. Ok. Can't be in Spanish, unless it has lots and lots of pictures.

  36. If I kin jine I'll bring my Sam. Cooke. records.

  37. Come to think of it, I'm not joinin' a wimmins book club unless Rufus is there, I can only handle a few at a time. Books or wimmin. When you got both, you got trouble.

  38. They're all internationals, though based here. And it's all English.

    I'll keep you posted.

  39. Farewell Bob Lutz, General Motors' anti-hybrid, anti-electric muscle car man

    from The Conscious Consumer on Yahoo! Green
    by Jim Motavalli

    I for one am not all that sorry to see Bob Lutz finally throwing in the towel. The General Motors vice chairman is the wrong person to lead GM in the new century. When it comes to green cars, he tried to toe the company line, but it was plain that he just didn't get it.

    He constantly disparaged even the concept of hybrid cars (at least until GM started building them), proclaimed that there was no business case for the Toyota Prius (now the company's third best-selling model), and announced that global warming is a "crock of s---," and that methane from cows is actually a bigger problem.

    At a car show (before GM introduced its fuel-cell platform, no less), we were treated to a home video of the now 77-year-old Lutz, a former fighter pilot, buzzing around in his very own jet-fuel-guzzling Eastern Bloc warbird. Journalists loved him, because he was always good for a macho-sounding, "car guy" quote.

    According to Business Week, in 2007 Bob Lutz charged GM more for private planes—$190,000—than did either Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner ($45,000) or President and COO Fritz Henderson (just $21,000).

    In January, when he still had a job, Lutz told NPR radio, "I've never quite been in this situation before of getting a massive pay cut, no bonus, no longer allowed to stay in decent hotels, no corporate airplane. I have to stand in line at the Northwest counter. I've never quite experienced this before. I'll let you know a year from now what it's like." But he didn't last a year. Standing in line at the Northwest counter was evidently too much for him.

    The cars closest to Lutz's heart are retro-styled muscle cars, a dead end for domestic automakers. At Chrysler, he turned the Dodge Viper concept car into vivid reality. Yes, the '59 Corvette was a beautiful car, ideal for taking MaryLou to the sock hop, but nostalgia won't rebuild the auto industry.

    It is, perhaps, nostalgia that keeps the automakers fighting fuel-economy regulations and California's greenhouse gas law. There seems to be an illusion that if the regulators will just go away, Bruce Springsteen's glory days will be back, and we'll be back in our suicide machines, "chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin' out over the line." GM will have a new Impala every year again, and Ford will have a V-8-powered hit comparable to the Mustang.

    But the auto industry's future is electric. GM VP Larry Burns is one company executive who gets that. Let's hope that, beyond the rhetoric he's forced into with the $13.4 billion bailout hanging over his head, CEO Rick Wagoner gets it, too.


    Bob Lutz, what a putz.


  41. Are you familiar with anything beyond the Bad, Bad Suit era?

  42. "This Video Is Not Available In Your Country."

  43. Let's put it this way: I don't know why they ever bothered making another car after the 68' GTO.

    Ooh, Baby, Baby

  44. I got tears in my eyes. Little GTO

  45. A poker-playing buddy of mine was producer/manager, or somesuch, for these guys. You think he had any money? Beach Boys

  46. We all have our own songs, rufus.

    Music is the only art form that we process emotionally, instantaneously and entirely.

  47. And I was just gonna post that song.

  48. This one made me go get a bud light. Unchained Melody

  49. One last sound. Rufus's theme song from the early years. You were on my mind (I thought I had troubles, Then! Ha.

  50. Oh, okay, one more The Seekers

    Have a good one folks. I'm going to go get drunk and listen to music from my youth. I'm in a melancholy mood, tonite.


  52. Except, I can't leave without posting this one. I wonder how many young black people will ever understand how much they owe to this group. PPM Blowin in the Wind

  53. Trish, we came within an inch of posting the exact same song (different artists) at the exact same time.

  54. Nite, Rufus and Trish.

    I was just listening.

  55. Nite, Bob. Just remember, if we can get through This we can get through ANYTHING.

    The "take-away," of course is: The Right Country has to win the War.

  56. This is a picture of one of our locals, Margo Aragon, a Nez Perce, who had a tv show here in the morning for a long time. Her first husband died, then she was gone.

    HaH! Married the first Native American in space, named John Harrington.

    Article in today's fishwrap says "I pretty much thought I'd never marry again. I'd had it."

    Met him somehow when he came through the area on a bicycle trip, and she offered to drive him around for three days.

    "By the third day I felt married to him," she said. "How do you fell married when you've never met?"

    She's a heck of a good person, wish them well. I think her first husband was white,he had some awful disease.

    Just a local interest story, with a happy ending.

    (except for the first husband I quess)

    1. Ms. Aragon isn't Nez Perce, or Native American at all. She's Portuguese.

  57. A group of tribal leaders walked toward him from the other side of the structure, led by space shuttle mission specialist John Harrington, a member of the Chickasaw tribe and the first American Indian to fly in space.

    One Small Step For The Hualipai

  58. Caution: Zombie Economy Ahead
    The Japanese example must not be repeated.

    Computer hackers managed to hijack a digital road sign in Austin, Texas, the other day and change its message to “Zombies Ahead.”

    It was a whimsical warning for that stretch of Texas road, but could have served as a deadly earnest statement about the U.S. economy. “Zombie banks” was the term for Japanese financial institutions propped up by government in the 1990s despite their basic insolvency after a real-estate bubble. These unprofitable banks, in a financial revenge of the living dead, cast a decade-long pall over Japan.

    At the time, American officials like Pres. Barack Obama’s economic guru Larry Summers urged the Japanese to give up on failed institutions. Instead, Japan pumped 12 percent of its gross domestic product into saving the banks and got a “lost decade” of economic stagnation in return. Economic analysts across the board agree that the Japanese example must not be repeated, even as our lawmakers stumble into repeating it.

  59. Where. Have. All. The. Flowers. Gone?.

  60. Where have all the flowers gone?
    Gone to leis, everyone.
    When will we ever learn.

    Why have scientists begun to substitute liberals for rats in their experiments? Because there are more of them and there are just some things you can't make a rat do. from the comments

    Found some comments that agree with each other, and, more importantly, with me:)

    Senator Stevens Got Screwed By The 'Justice' Department

    So says the article. All these government agencies are getting politicized, now we got Obama in charge of the FBI, IRS not to mention Census.

  61. Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down

    Instead of moving toward greater transparency, the emirates seem to be moving in the other direction. A new draft media law would make it a crime to damage the country’s reputation or economy, punishable by fines of up to 1 million dirhams (about $272,000). Some say it is already having a chilling effect on reporting about the crisis.