“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."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rick Wagoner should have told Obama to kiss his ass.

But then Rick Wagoner is no Jimmy Hoffa.

I have no opinion as to what kind of CEO Rick Wagoner is or to be precise, was. GM is a mess, but so is Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota for that matter. If the stockholders or board of directors at GM wanted Wagoner out of there, they have that responsibility. The President of the United States has no such constitutional right. Obama would not have the balls to take on the president of the UAW or AFSCME or the New York Times. I doubt we will hear much from civil libertarians, but we should hear from serious conservatives. We shall see.


  1. This is what you get when you go crying to the government for a bailout. Same thing happens when you're a hardware store owner who goes to Tony Soprano for $25,000 to get you through your unlucky streak. Next thing you know he's a "partner" in your business and he sends his soldiers in to eat you out like a termite.

  2. Wouldn't mind eating you out, Xena.

  3. They had Wagoner over a barrel. Things being as bad as they are, the Board of Directors would probably have fired him to get at the money.

  4. She might lop your head off with that sword.

  5. The company has to have some "fresh eyes." Somebody HAS to come in and cut some car lines, and get some life pumped back into that corpse.

    Next step is that bunch of deadbeats, loosely referred to as The Board of Directors. If anyone can find them. They seem to have disappeared a couple of years, ago.

    How would you like to be a guy named "Nardelli," right now?

  6. But neither automaker has finished the cost-cutting overhaul dictated by the terms of their December bailout launched by the Bush administration that set a March 31 deadline for determining whether the companies can be saved.

    Analysts say that presents a dilemma for the Obama administration.

    GM and Chrysler employ almost 160,000 U.S. workers and allowing the automakers to fail would cause widespread hardship, especially in the industrial-belt Midwest, at a time when the economy remains mired in recession.

    Forced Out

  7. Where's Lee Iacocca?

    Just heard on the radio the government is saying GM has to merge with somebody else, that's the new demand. Think I heard that right.

    The fear of bankruptcy seems to be that car sales will fall even further. Think I heard something about govt funds backing the warranties in that case.

    What a mess.

    Who would merge with GM?

  8. Washington DC and Barack Obama are going to run GM. I get it.

  9. The company has to have some "fresh eyes."

    I vote for Amory Lovins.

  10. The same Barack Obama that ran and sold his Chrysler 300 when the press started looking.

  11. WASHINGTON — The White House on Sunday pushed out the chairman of General Motors and instructed Chrysler to form a partnership with the Italian automaker Fiat within 30 days as conditions for receiving another much-needed round of government aid...The decision to ask G.M.’s chairman and chief executive, Rick Wagoner, to resign caught Detroit and Washington by surprise, and it underscored the Obama administration’s determination to keep a tight rein on the companies it is bailing out — a level of government involvement in business perhaps not seen since the Great Depression.

  12. No problem there? Nothing? Just another day in Paradise.

  13. Never, never, I repeat never fucking surrender.

  14. The percieved wisdom, back in the day, was that the Soviet Union "was to big to fail"

    Wasn't it bigger than either GM or Citigroup?

  15. And fail
    it did.

    As the story of Goliath exemplifies, size and success are not always synergenic. In fact there is an old truism:
    The bigger they are,
    the harder the fall

  16. Should the POTUS be hiring and firing CEO's of US corporations?

  17. The President of the United States, I'd think not.

    But the President of America,
    there's not any reason why not.

  18. 150 Proof apocalypse--

    1. whiskey:

    Like I said, it’s highly probable that Pakistan will fall into the AQ/Taliban hands in a few months at most. We are looking at probably:

    *Open rebellion in the Spring/Summer, with the final collapse of the regime and a new Islamist government hostile to the US and allied openly with the Taliban and AQ, threatening America with nukes if we don’t withdraw.

    *Fighting, heavy at times, during the fall, as Winter approaches.

    *Nuclear strikes on American held positions as our troops run out of supplies and the Taliban/AQ/Pakistani forces seek to force surrender.

    *A humiliating surrender of our forces there in Afghanistan, after long and exhaustive fighting, mostly without air cover, and another Bataan Death March from which few survive.

    *A President Obama, announcing that the Military has failed, seeking to disband the military and create his own forces, loyal personally to him.

    *Obama’s plans “foiled” if that is the right word for it, by nuclear attacks that destroy NYC and perhaps Atlanta, prompting some sort of preservation by desperate, angry, and fearful Americans. “Emergency Impeachment” or whatever it’s called, and Lincoln-type martial law over most of the nation, followed on by various strategic nuclear strikes at enemies (all nuclear Muslim nations, or those with ambitions, and probably also North Korea).

    Obama got elected as the Nation’s “Shaman” and female-oriented healer. As such he’s abjured violence, being mean to people (except icky middle class White guys) and the rest of the Oprah and View agenda, which is his own. He’s even growing organic vegetables in a garden in the White House. As such, the actual reality of the Dead Kennedy’s “California Uber Alles” is not President Brown but President Obama, who embodies all the New Age nastiness of Jerry Brown and all of the post-Christian self-loathing of nation and military common among the View and Oprah crowd.

    Of course Obama expects to “win” by talking, hasn’t really big speeches got him the Presidency? Aren’t women and WASPY rich Yuppie Radicals like Bill Ayers impressed by it?

    Heck, it’s tailor made for Obama — talk talk talk while his bet on Pakistan’s corrupt and inept President pays off less than Bush’s on Musharraf.

    Remember, when not if the Taliban/AQ control Pakistan, it’s a two-fer. One they wipe out our forces in Afghanistan (does anyone think that Obama, who was born a Muslim, who was raised a Muslim, who has many Muslim relatives, and who has said he would side with Muslims over America if it came to that) would do whatever it takes to save our guys in Afghanistan? Please. He cant’ wait for another Alamo. He’d probably be dancing in the White House.

    It's amazing, Gates saying, well, we'd consider shooting a Nork missile down if it was headed for al-Doug.

    Maybe Whiskey is dead on target.

  19. I quess we can say Obama threw Wagoner under the GM Hybrid Bus

  20. This is a putsch by Obama to set a precedent to establish public health care for the laid-off auto workers. It will be putsch to get a government designed auto fleet which are two of Obam's agenda. It will be followed by a third, a government established education program to re-educate the auto workers.

    Obama is cementing in his vision into the political structure of US society. No problem? Nothing?

  21. Why Rufus is wrong:
    With 500 Million Pelosi Units losing their jobs each month, there will be no turn around in Real Estate prices anytime soon.
    Article below explains situation in Calif, with unemployement heading toward 12% half of all Real Estate sales were foreclosures at rock bottom prices.
    Be sure to click the Chart link to see the "Magnitude" of the "Bounce" in sales!

    Deconstructing the American Dream. The Shifting Financial and Societal Goals of a Country Mired in Debt.

    Earlier in the week, the media was running the great news about the jump in existing and new home sales (the cornerstone of the American dream).
    Let us take a look at that chart:

    Well the reason existing home sales “shot up” was that nearly 50 percent of all homes sold are foreclosure resales at rock bottom prices. In fact, the median price of a home sold in February of 2009 was $165,400 nationwide. Compare that to the median for 2006 of $221,900. That is a 25 percent drop and we are still moving lower.

    Make no mistake, we may be reaching a bottom in regards to home sales. Yet the other bottom will be in home prices, which will come much later. And the way prices are measured will be deceiving to many in the next few years. Currently, many of the organic sold homes still find Pollyanna sellers thinking they’ll get higher prices.

    Many of these folks are coming to terms with the market and discounting prices. Yet these prices are higher than the rock bottom foreclosure resale prices. So once these homes start flooding the market when psychology breaks, you will see the median price going up. We have yet to see that. In fact, seeing a trend in the median price upward will be the sign of a true bottom. And I think most of us are looking at a price bottom, not a home sale bottom.

    The L.A. Times featured an article with another UCLA forecast predicting a gloomy 2009 and 2010 for California.
    Basically they are saying unemployment will reach close to 12 percent in the state and problems are going to be around for sometime.

    Looks like they are saying 2011 may be a bottom. Sounds similar to my 10 reasons why California won’t hit a bottom until 2011 that was published on August of 2008.

  22. Rufus Link
    Pockets of "strength" push U.S. housing market rebound
    Despite all the "green shoots", an anemic outlook prevails.

    "Once stabilization does occur, we expect a long period of relatively flat activity and not a robust rebound," said Goldman Sachs in a recent research note.

  23. Exclusive: AIG Was Responsible For The Banks' January & February Profitability
    Posted by Tyler Durden at 6:35 PM

    Zero Hedge is rarely speechless, but after receiving this email from a correlation desk trader, we simply had to hold a moment of silence for the phenomenal scam that continues unabated in the financial markets..

  24. Max Keiser: "Let Them Have Stained Carpets" - Obama's Marie Antoinette Moment

    Obama met with banking industry 'titans,' as the Washington Post calls them.

    Instead of handcuffing them and bringing them up on charges of fraud and racketeering, however, Obama asked the bankers politely to try to restrain themselves from spending their ill-gotten gains so conspicuously (isn't that what the ring leader always tells the others after a heist in the movies)?

    The president held himself up as an example, saying that he had not yet renovated the Oval Office and was still using George W. Bush's furniture, even noting the stains on the carpet. He urged the banks to show comparable "constraint and responsibility," adding that the nation had undergone a cultural shift.

    So let me get this straight. Banking elite, and other government insiders, defrauded savings accounts, pension funds, charitable funds and municipal funds here and around the globe by trading in worthless financial instruments; they manipulated markets and destroyed legitimate businesses along the way; and THEN, when that wasn't enough, they plundered the public purse in the chaos and panic surrounding the crash that they themselves caused.

    And the President asks them to kindly refrain from buying new carpet?

    These people are not titans. These people are racketeers. And should be treated accordingly. Or at the very least, not be invited to sit in on privileged government meetings determining bailout policy that they then profit from!

    Webster's definition of 'titan': "one that stands out for greatness of achievement"

    Webster's definition of 'racketeer': "one who obtains money by an illegal enterprise usually involving intimidation"

    Remember when Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson threatened the taxpayer with a market meltdown if we didn't give bankers $700 billion. And $180 billion to AIG. And $5 trillion to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And, what is it? $3 trillion now on the Fed balance sheet? And every step along the way, we were told if they didn't take this money from us, everything would crash.

    Of course, this state of racketeering continues because the same racketeers have taken control of our government as reported in The Atlantic:

    The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government--a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises.

    And in his experience in emerging economy crises the former IMF economist, Simon Johnson, found that most crises were brought about by the same sort of corrupt insider risk taking and moral hazard that happened in the US under the 'Greenspan put'. The crash, however, would turn into a full scale sovereign meltdown because the politicians refused to "squeeze" the oligarchs.

    . .. at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or--here's a classic Kremlin bailout technique--the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk--at least until the riots grow too large.

    Sound familiar?

    President Obama. Step away from the Goldman Sachs banker and smell the Revolution brewing! People are angry. "Squeeze" the oligarchs.

    My suggestion: RICO

  25. Doug: "Well the reason existing home sales “shot up” was that nearly 50 percent of all homes sold are foreclosure resales at rock bottom prices"

    Good, that inventory has to be whittled down as a necessary prelude to the normalization of the housing market.

  26. Yeah,
    Like a GM Bankruptcy would lead to labor Normalcy after UAW Lunacy.

    GM was struck 15 TIMES (!) in the 90's!

  27. Freedom Too Potent for Eunichistan:

    ...any prospective tenants worried about another terrorist attack
    “might balk at a name with such potent ideological symbolism.”

    Freedom to Name That Tower

    March 28, 2009
    A few years ago, former Gov. George Pataki of New York declared that the tallest skyscraper planned for the World Trade Center site should be seen as “a freedom tower.” So Freedom Tower became the structure’s name — and also its burden. As David Dunlap notes in The Times, any prospective tenants worried about another terrorist attack “might balk at a name with such potent ideological symbolism.”

    Now, quietly and sensibly, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is promoting the place as One World Trade Center, its legal address, as it seeks to market leases in the building.

  28. Mr. Wagoner would have tried to get GM into bankruptcy protection. Then all GM contracts could have been re-negotiated. That includes labor contracts.

    That's why Obama did what he did. Obama - or one of his handlers - is that clever and evil.

    Hope more people see just how ominous this government interference in business really is.

  29. 2164th wrote:

    "If the stockholders or board of directors at GM wanted Wagoner out of there, they have that responsibility. "

    I think you may be mistaken about the nature of corporate governance. Stockholders have very little power and control. The Board of Directors on the other hand have much power. This article by Carl Icahn is well worth the read and illuminates the sorry state of Corporate America. Here is his concluding paragraph:

    "We can hope that the government’s experience with A.I.G. will demonstrate to Congress how little power shareholders actually have, and how important corporate governance reform is. It is time to remove the many devices that managements use to entrench their power, and give shareholders real power. The “ownership” rights that the government, as a shareholder, is now talking about are the same ones that activist shareholders have been demanding for years."

    2164th, while I share your concern about the US government formally running companies how do you square this with your stated opinions that the gov. should be bailing out the companies? Do you think they should simply be handed money to continue with no restrictions?

  30. Too many believe GM was not doing fine in the Marketplace.
    It was.
    The Killer was the $2,000 per car expense of UAW retirement costs.

    ...last year when they were still selling as many cars as Toyota.
    This year it's probably $5,000!

  31. fromwembleypark's got it:

    The Admin wants to save all those Union jobs @ outrageous cost.

  32. Well, doug, that is the primary impetus behind the bailout - save the jobs and all the money that flows from them.

    Yes, the legacy costs, health care, pensions ect. are huge burdens upon the company. What do you propose - kicking them to the curb and not honoring the contracts that business chieftains at the Auto companies negotiated? Should the taxpayer pay the health benefits and pensions?

    I do find it ironic that many yammer on about their car lines, no small cars, no gas efficient vehicles ect. and they howl about how unprofitable they are when over the past number of years the vehicles that produced the most profit for them were those that the market wanted - big SUV's and trucks. If they wouldn't have been selling those beasts over the last bunch of years their balance sheets would be even more horrible.

  33. GM--not Geithner Motors--

    Government Motors

    should have expected that

    stocks way down, could say that's what the darts indicated

  34. If they wouldn't have been selling those beasts over the last bunch of years their balance sheets would be even more horrible.

    Nonsense. Their balance sheets are horrible because they have zero credibility and zero mind share. I wouldn't drive a GM even it was given to me for free. And I'm not the only one. The GM brand is finished. There's only so many times that you can fsck your customers and get away with it.

  35. Bankruptcy is Bankruptcy Ash,
    the remnants are distributed by law.
    Far superior to furthering the farce by law and Taxpayer's MONEY.

  36. Mat the revolutionary says the customers were fucked.
    Having never been one.
    I say we all were fucked by the UAW.
    ...a small affair compared to the Multigenerational Fuck performed by the NEA.

  37. GM sold cars around the World,
    ...just like Toyota.
    The Two largest, most sucessful car manufacturing companies in the World.

  38. So Chrysler will merge with Fiat.
    Then, next go around, they'll both file bankruptcy.

  39. Yeah, Chrysler merged with who, before, Mercedes?
    ...anyway, the Krauts screwed us.

  40. Doug, they are trying to prevent them going into bankruptcy because if they do loads of dominoes will fall. Still, I think that is probably the best route for them to go myself.

  41. Buy your Fiat w/Fiat Currency!

  42. Ash,
    After decades of debt and greed, it ain't gonna be a walk in the park no way.

    ...speaking of parks:
    Wembly Park is HIGHLY un-PC!

  43. GM sold cars around the World

    BS. You will see no Pontiacs Buicks Cadillacs Chevrolets in Israel. You will see a Volvo or maybe an old Opel, but even these brands are now infected with the GM stigma. There's not a car brand on Earth that has such piss poor mind share, and deservedly so. Ok, maybe Lada.

  44. "How I went from Community Organiser to POTUS and Corporate Titan in Ten Years!"

  45. You see new Buicks in China,
    and New Opels in Germany and the rest of Europe.
    Israel ain't the biggest, or only, market in the World.

  46. The Number 1 Global Car Company had no Mind Share!
    Pass the Bong, Che.

  47. The Number 1 Global Car Company had no Mind Share!

    You will see no Pontiacs Buicks Cadillacs Chevrolets outside the US.

  48. And even in the US they're loosing market share. The only thing that saves them are the rental companies.

  49. The fscks at GM and Chrysler in December were given til March 31 to meet certain goals. They did not. Surprise, surprise.

  50. Exactly!
    Obama Admin World Class Standards Setters!

    ...and Mat.

  51. Standards:
    "You don't have enough Hybrids and Sub-Minis that People Won't Buy."
    You Lose!

  52. I love my Impala; and I don't have to burn Jihadi oil (which I would in all rice-burners.)

    It's just their "niche" isn't big enough for all those plants (outdated, for sure) and Models.

    Pontiac, or Buick has to go. No reason for GMC trucks, and Chevy trucks. etc.

  53. Gallegher is talking to Daniel Hannan!

  54. I think the government caused the housing mess and should have stabilized it at a mush lesser cost than it has.

    Obama is using the financial fiasco as a foil to get his leftist agenda permanently implanted in the US political system.

  55. Can't say Rahm didn't warn us!

  56. naw, the housing mess was just the spark that ignited the gaseous leverage bubble...

  57. Obama Admin World Class Standards Setters!

    Fine. Let them go somewhere else.

  58. You see new Buicks in China,

    No, what you see is a lot of idiotic hype about Buicks in China. The Chinese are very smart, they took the worst of the worst and introduced it to the Chinese market to permanently poison mind share towards American cars. And of course the idiots at GM are happy to oblige.

  59. Ash said,
    "naw, the housing mess was just the spark that ignited the gaseous leverage bubble..."
    In all things.

    Bubble after Bubble.
    Ponzi Scheme after Ponzi Scheme.
    "Investments" in Fraud on top of Fraud.

  60. Mat,
    How was the Number 1 Car Manufacturer
    able to finagle that title

    ...without selling a shitload of cars?

  61. "No, what you see is a lot of idiotic hype about Buicks in China. The Chinese are very smart, they took the worst of the worst and introduced it to the Chinese market to permanently poison mind share towards American cars. And of course the idiots at GM are happy to oblige."
    Area 51 redux!

  62. Fiat--Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino

    Pontiac, or Buick has to go. No reason for GMC trucks, and Chevy trucks. etc.

    The old idea was a car for every class. Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Chevy, right down the line.

    Never did understand that, exactly. Most of them were made on the same frames, etc.

    Never did understand having GMC and Chevy trucks, identical.

    Never made any sense to me.

  63. Very simple, Doug. Three years planned obsolescence, and reliance on the endless pool of American fools.

  64. 'Starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee'...

    Not sure whether this makes me feel more confident, or not...

  65. Three years planned obsolescence

    Non-sense, my 1960 Ford F-600 still purrs like the day it was born.

    Look at all the '56 Chevys still running around Havana!

  66. Toyotas used to be pieces of crap. We called 'em toilettas. Then they caught up with American cars, forged ahead, now we've evened it up, maybe even a little ahead in some ways.

    All the cars have gotten better over the decades.

    This Nissan we have has 150,000 miles now, and runs just like new.

    In the old days, 100,000 miles and most cars were finished.

  67. This Nissan we have..

    And that says it all, does it not?

  68. Hmm,..

    Unless GM pulls a rabbit out of its hat by Tuesday, it is headed for restructuring, with 60 days financing provided by taxpayers. Moreover, You can kiss Chrysler goodbye completely unless Fiat is dumb enough to take it over. Many Chrysler dealers are likely to blow up on this news. However, given there is too much auto capacity, Chrysler going under is an overall good thing. Those directly involved will not see it that way.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of auto discounts are available after this announcement.

    Credit Event Triggered

    One last point: This will be a "credit event" triggering payouts on credit default swap bets.

    I have reported before that GM has a $trillion or so in credit default swaps written on it (but my information on this is well over a year old). If banks stocks rally tomorrow (or even if they simply do not collapse), you will know that banks are fully hedged or on the right side of those swaps.

    However, given the swaps dwarf GM bonds, it is virtually guaranteed that someone is on the wrong side of them.


    Instead of the "denies bailout funds" headline story later changed to "Obama conditions bailout funds for automakers", The New York Times presents a story that can be interpreted differently: U.S. Moves to Overhaul Ailing Carmakers.

  69. The fact is, anyone that's stuck with UAW labor has no chance of competing with non-union labor in a dynamically changing environment.

    It's not the hourly cost; it's the inability to quickly shut down plants, and Re-tool.

    The kiss of death was extremely gyrating gasoline prices (which aren't over, btw.)

  70. We had a little Chevy something or other until it got crashed, it was good too.

  71. A lot of Americans can trace their lineage to the back seat of a Chevy. Most especially, "Baby-boomers."

    Having said that, this is the first time "This" Babyboomer ever took fuel (economy, type) into consideration when buying a vehicle. Maybe we're getting old.

    I, also, didn't want to go out in a jihadi-supporting, rice burner. (the baby boomers have always been "romantic," you know.)

    But, our influence is on the wane. Youth WILL be served. (we haven't, yet, told them that they got their start in the back seat of a "Chevy," also.

    GM will be, if anything, a "niche" company. Chevy, Cadillac, a truck, maybe, a corvette (maybe.)

  72. Kensington Runestone

    Swedes and Norwegians say Columbus was a johnny come lately.

    "We were here first."

    And, long before that...Kennewick Man....

  73. In Homeowners' Latest Woe, Banks Are Skipping Foreclosures -

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Mercy James thought she had lost her rental property here to foreclosure. A date for a sheriff's sale had been set, and notices about the foreclosure process were piling up in her mailbox.

    Ms. James had the tenants move out, and soon her white house at the corner of Thomas and Maple Streets fell into the hands of looters and vandals, and then, into disrepair. Dejected and broke, Ms. James said she salvaged but a lesson from her loss.

    So imagine her surprise when the City of South Bend contacted her recently, demanding that she resume maintenance on the property. The sheriff's sale had been canceled at the last minute, leaving the property title — and a world of trouble — in her name.

    "I thought, 'What kind of game is this?' " Ms. James, 41, said while picking at trash at the house, now so worthless the city plans to demolish it — another bill for which she will be liable.

    City officials and housing advocates here and in cities as varied as Buffalo, Kansas City, Mo., and Jacksonville, Fla., say they are seeing an unsettling development: Banks are quietly declining to take possession of properties at the end of the foreclosure process, most often because the cost of the ordeal — from legal fees to maintenance — exceeds the diminishing value of the real estate.

    The so-called bank walkaways rarely mean relief for the property owners, caught unaware months after the fact, and often mean additional financial burdens and bureaucratic headaches. Technically, they still owe on the mortgage, but as a practicality, rarely would a mortgage holder receive any more payments on the loan. The way mortgages are bundled and resold, it can be enormously time-consuming just trying to determine what company holds the loan on a property thought to be in foreclosure.

    In Ms. James's case, the company that was most recently servicing her loan is now defunct. Its parent company filed for bankruptcy and dissolved. And the original bank that sold her the loan said it could not find a record of it.

    "It is what some of us think is the next wave of the crisis," said Kermit Lind, a clinical professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and an expert on foreclosure law.

    For older industrial cities like South Bend, hard times in the mortgage market began before the recent national downturn, as did the problem of bank walkaways. In the case of Ms. James, a home health care administrator, the foreclosure proceedings began in the summer of 2007, when she could not keep up with the adjustable rate on her mortgage.

  74. Shouts & Murmurs: Tails of Manhattan: Humor: The New Yorker

    by Woody Allen

  75. :)

    Why should a decent citizen like himself, a dentist, a mensch who deserved to relive life as a soaring eagle or ensconced in the lap of some sexy socialite getting his fur stroked, come back ignominiously as an entrée on a menu?

    Why? Why?!!!

  76. "It's not death I worry about, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

    Woody Allen

  77. Financial Institutions, Market Cap, 1999-2009

  78. The Chinezies are investing heavily in productive infrastructure such as rail, solar, higher education. The US is investing heavily in the bailouts of trillion dollar ponzi schemes with taxpayers money. Nice.

  79. Chevy Malibu Ranked #1 In JD Powers Rankings

    Beats out Lexus, Mercedes, etc. etc etc.

    GM makes better cars.

  80. Well, anyway, beats out comparably priced cars. Actually came in right behind Lexus, Mercedes, which cost three times as much.

  81. Yes, Bob. If JD Powers says it is so, then it must be so.

    I see they also scored the 2006 Hyundai Elantra higher than the Honda Civic, and the 2006 Pontiac Vibe is higher.

  82. And they sell millions of them, bob.

  83. You can't argue with JD Powers. He's not taking money from the Japanese.

    Years in the car ratings industry, noted for objectivity, diligence, and close inspections.

  84. And I'd add, does the Japanese Government stand behind Toyota warranties? Does the German Government stand behind Mercedes warranties?

    Hell, no.

    But here you have not only GM, but Uncle Sam behind your car!

    Beat that, if you can.

  85. As I said befoere the election, the Federals will pickup some of those legacy costs that GM has loaded upon it. Same for Ford and Toyota, though Toyota does not even have those costs, yet.

    Especially the Health Costs of those not currently employed.
    Those laid off or retired.

    Maybe for all the employees, too.

    Having to "fix" Health Care, to save US manufacturing from foreign competition.

    And you wanted Obama to work even harder, duece.

    Look to their Goals, not yours.
    Then it all makes sense, in a twisted way.

  86. And I'd add, does the Japanese Government stand behind Toyota warranties?

    They don't need to.

    Anyway, there's only one way to settle this. You should go and buy the Malibu. I know that my neighbor who worked at a GM dealership, used to come home with a different GM car every week or so. She's now retired, and in her driveway, for the last 6 months, is parked a used 1990's Toyota. You do the math.

  87. In both Germany and Japan, bob, the Government picks up the Health Care costs.
    Current and legacy.
    Those Governments are already partnered up with their manufacturers, more so than Uncle Sam has ever partnered with US auto makers.

    So Uncle Sam will give you a warrenty, California's government is paying tax refunds with some kind of paper promise.
    Both will have the same value.
    Uncle Sam is broke, bob.

    In more ways than one.

  88. Investigative Journalism Being Reborn Through the Web?

    Combating the stigma that investigative journalism is dead or dying, the Huffington Post has just launched a new venture to bankroll a group of investigative journalists to take a look into stories about the nation's economy..

    An investigation of the scamsters at JD Powers wouldn't be a bad idea either.

  89. Under a Flourescent Moon

  90. Russia Backs Return To Gold Standard

    Put a little Russian discipline into world financial matters.


    She's now retired, and in her driveway, for the last 6 months, is parked a used 1990's Toyota. You do the math.

    heh, and in my driveway is a used Nissan:)

  91. “What we're trying to let them know is that we want to have a successful U.S. auto industry,” the president told Bob Schieffer on CBS’ Face the Nation yesterday.


    Meanhwile, Bob Nardelli, who’s best known for fleecing Home Depot of $210 million when he quit as its CEO, will remain as Chrysler’s chief.


    “We think we can have a successful U.S. auto industry,” the former community organizer turned leader of the free world continued on CBS. “But it's got to be one that's realistically designed to weather this storm and to emerge at the other end much more lean, mean and competitive than it currently is.

    Accurate Analysts Dissed

  92. Another gunman, identified as Hazrat Gull, was seized by security forces as he tried to flee by scaling a wall. Police said that he came from the town of Miran Shah in South Waziristan, one of the lawless northern tribal areas considered the centre of al-Qaeda and Taleban activities.

    Pakistan has endured scores of suicide bombings in recent years, but the two recent attacks on Lahore suggest that militants are adopting new tactics by engaging in daring gunbattles in the country’s main urban centres.

    Intelligence sources said that southern Punjab had become the main recruiting centre for militant groups with links to Pakistan’s intelligence service that continued to operate despite being outlawed.

    Onslaught in Lahore

  93. I've thought about it, and I agree with what Obama's done.

  94. But with Obama having publicly identified himself with the credit, Rangel will certainly come under significant pressure to reconsider his position.

    Crucially, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., voiced support for the measure Monday evening after a meeting between the House Democratic Caucus and Obama.

    Pelosi said the credit could get enacted without legislation. A senior aide to the Speaker said the president could redirect unspent money from the economic stimulus plan to fund the tax credit.

    Bill in Congress

  95. Two of Al Gore's held in North Korea.

    Interrogation Underway in North Korea of Captured ‘Current TV’ Reporters

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea's state-run news agency says two American reporters detained earlier this month will be tried for illegal entry and hostile acts.
    The Korean Central News Agency said in a report early Tuesday that an initial investigation confirms the two entered the country illegally.

    The report says an investigation continues and that preparations for indictments and trial are under way.

    Current TV's Laura Ling and Euna Lee were detained March 17 near North Korea's northeastern border with China. The two work for former Vice President Al Gore's San Francisco-based online media venture Current TV.

    Will Al fire up the Gulfstream, fly to the rescue? Will Hillary's 'smart diplomacy' smack down the Nork's dirty finger?

    What about Obumble? These two work for his environmental guru, after all.

    What if there are show trials? What if they confess to some nefarious plot?

  96. I agree we shouldn't let GM and Chrysler go under totally, just not sure of the best way to accomplish that end.

  97. That's all of us, Bob. However, obabma's stragegy makes sense to me.

  98. At approx. 4:15 p.m.
    March 28th in the city of Stockbridge Ga.

    The people of Georgia returned an Indictment against Barack Hussein Obama!

    Stockbridge, Georgia- The questions over the eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to occupy his current position as President of the United States continue to be raised. After being presented with evidence in the matter, a citizens' grand jury convened by Carl Swensson in Georgia has returned an indictment against Barack Hussein Obama aka Barry Soetoro aka Barry Sutoro.

    Reportedly the sealed indictment, scheduled to be delivered to prosecutors on Monday, includes counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. "It's a done deal, and the people of the State of Georgia demand action on this matter," said Carl Swensson after the grand jury proceedings had finished. "I can't comment on this other than to say that the sealed indictment will be delivered to prosecutors on Monday."

    Obviously, where this goes remains to be seen, but it's one more sign that citizens are waking up and demanding that the allegations of fraud and forgery surrounding the eligibility of Obama be investigated.

    Where this goes remains to be seen....

  99. I've thought about it and it is the beginning of a statist power grab. It is only the beginning. It is coercion and is as naive as the Bush Administration believing they could run Iraq.

  100. In Obama's defense he does state that he doesn't want the auto companies to be wards of the State. Once they start dictating terms, though, it is tough to see a way forward where they won't be wards of the State.

  101. Where does the Constitution stand on this?

  102. Where does the Constitution stand on this?

    Flat on its back, with the courts of today.

  103. The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.

    - Thomas Jefferson

  104. The Federals own 20% of the real estate in the Country, there is no authorization for that, beyond the Commerce Clasues.

    They can outlaw plants that are grown at home and never transported or sold, because of the Commerce Clause.

    The Federals can take control of companies or dictate industrial policy through use of the Commerce Clause and tax policy.

    There is NOTHING NEW to what they are doing. They have tried and tried again, just that this time, they'll more than likely get 'er done.

    Persistence, Lester Crown has been working on this project since 1968.

  105. The Federals own 20% of the real estate in the Country

    I'll maintain till my dying day, the National Forests are a good thing, even if the management has been less than perfect.

    Get out and hike around a bit.

    If they were privately owned, you'd be gated out.

    Like this-

    No Trespassing
    Private Property

  106. It's not all Forest, bob.

    Even if it was, there is no legal reason for it. The Federal District is defined by the Constitution, it is not 20% of the land in the country, but a piece just 10 miles square.

    Decry the "statist' takeover, now, when it has been the trend for the last 60 years and more.

    Remember Ike, who eveyone liked, he gave the warning, it went unheeded.

  107. The Federals own..

    You are the Federals. If you are not the Federals then secede.

  108. It should be privately owned, and fenced. No reason not to have it that way. No reason for collective ownership of the land, why that is as communal as it could possibly be.

    I've seen lots and lots of it, bob.
    It'd fetch the money you boys want to spend on that F22 and the maintaince of that 12th carrier group.

    Cut expenses and/or sell somethin', that's what bankrupts have to do.

    But which no one wants to admit.

  109. It should be privately owned, and fenced.

    You're sick. You really are.

  110. Sell that land, then bail out the banks and insurance companies that are to big to fail.

    Rather than burden the future generations, with trillions in debt, just so bob can fish and hike without paying for the privilege.

  111. Go to Texas, there almost all the land is privately held.

    Here is the map of Federal lands, in Texas and this one is of New York.

    Almost all the land is privately held and generates tax revenue to the local governments

    Why should The people of California not have those green areas paying property taxes, too.

    Why that arguement,in Idaho would cut property tax rates, considerably.

  112. The entire country, at a glance

    Tell me how that map does not exemplify a "statist" power grab that makes Obama's attempt look tame, by comparison.

  113. Why should The people of California not have those green areas paying property taxes, too.

    One has nothing to do with the other. It doesn't matter how much money the gov collects, if it is managed poorly the gov will always overspend.

  114. 650 million acres, that are held out of private hands by the land grabbing Federals.

  115. Has everything to do with rights and privilege.

    Texas to California, the fact that there is an artifical land shortage, in California and Arizona led to the boom/bust, just as mush as Barney Frank and GW Bush extending home ownership to the unqualified.

  116. Has everything to do with rights and privilege.

    Compare Texas to California, the fact that there is an artifical land shortage, in California led to the boom/bust, just as much, if not more, as Barney Frank and GW Bush extending home ownership to the unqualified.

  117. So what's the complaint, there isn't enough land for developers to build on?

  118. Dallas-Fort Worth home sales fall 18%
    News for Dallas, Texas ...In December, the median single-family home sales price in the area was $138500, ... is that home values overall have fallen just modestly in North Texas. ...

    While in California ...
    California Real Estate Prices - SVDaily.comJan 9, 2009
    ... The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during November 2008 was $285680, a 41.8 percent decrease from ...

    The price of materials is constant, Texas to California, the price and availability of the land is not. There is an artifical shortage created by the Federals in Ca, that is not seen in Texas.

    Where the land is privately owned.

    The land issue makes GM pale by comparison, as far a statist power grab is concerned.

  119. No, mat, the Federals maintain a land shortage, in CA, which drives up the price of the land available. See it all the time, in NV, AZ and CA, Idaho, too.

    Artifically raises the price of the housing. Which is why those States lead in foreclosures.
    While Texas lags in that regard.

  120. The price of materials is constant, Texas to California, the price and availability of the land is not.

    The price of materials and labour is not constant. Neither is the profit that the developers generate. There was no shortage in housing. This whole phenomenon was nothing but a speculative bubble.

  121. No, mat, the Federals maintain a land shortage

    Your argument is nonsense. If your argument had any merit, New York City would have led the country in foreclosures, because that's where a real shortage of land exists.

  122. Btw, if you want to grab more taxes, why not just increase the tax rate?

  123. There is a great deal of popular support for our National Forests, etc. Just the other day some of the Owyhee Desert was set aside. This had support from all across the political spectrum.

    The Frank Church Wilderness, the same way.

    No one I've ever known has wanted to put the Forests up for private sale. Better managed, yes, sold to the uber-rich---NO.

    It's our heritage, for us ALL.

  124. If we have a land shortage in Idaho I've yet to hear about it, certainly not in my area.