Posts Tagged ‘Big Three Automakers’

It’s Not the Marketing, Democrats, It’s the Product. SOCIALISM STINKS!

November 4, 2010
New, Improved Socialism!!

NEW! IMPROVED! BUY NOW, OR JUMP IN MASS GRAVE!

Those of us above a certain age remember when TV ads trumpeted a “new, improved” cereal or dish detergent. All the proof we had of newness or improvement was the package, which had new, snazzy colors and maybe a cool, new shape. Sure enough, the words, “NEW!” and “IMPROVED!” are there, right on the label.

Of course the new product often came with a new, improved, higher price.

When we opened the new, improved package, we often found the same, old product inside, or an old product with irrelevant tweaks and tunes that left us with same ole’ same ole’. The marketing department obviously ran the show in these enterprises, and the product research and development department was AWOL or irrelevant.

It doesn’t matter whose picture you put on the box – Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot — socialism is a failed product that has been repackaged countless times over the last 150 years. It has never worked, and despite a death toll of well over a hundred million innocent people in a seemingly endless series of ruthless and bloody “marketing campaigns,” it keeps coming back.

The latest attempt at socialism, advanced by Democrats and RINOs, is a hideous parade of defective products:  Obamacare, Government Motors, Cap and Tax, and union pension bailouts, to name but a few. President Obama, in a post-mid-term election presser intended to explain away the blunt rejection of the same old product with his latest packaging, stubbornly refused to understand the meaning of the election results.

The problem, he said, was with the message. It was just bad marketing.

As the Gipper famously said, “There you go, again.”

No, Dear Leader, the problem isn’t the marketing. The product – socialism — stinks, has always stunk, and always will stink. No amount of marketing, packaging, promotion, rebates, coupons or discounts will sell socialism, because it is an inherently defective product.

Socialist regimes always have to threaten their customers with death or imprisonment to get them to buy it, and they inevitably have to carry out those threats, if their regimes last long enough.

Whether or not it is imported from China, socialism is easily broken into sharp-edged, poisonous choking hazards, and ultimately, it is a threat to health, safety and, especially, to freedom.

It’s not new, it’s not improved, and we aren’t buying.

Hey, Glenn Beck: Is There a “Reichstag Fire” in Our Future?

July 23, 2009

I’m a reasonably faithful Glenn Beck Program listener, or, as you call us, a “sick, twisted freak.” There are many reasons why I became a member of your audience. In addition to being informative and thought provoking, you are often funny – LMAO, ROTFL funny. When you and your crew get a bit silly, the humor flows freely, and I love it.

I really appreciate you recommendation of The 5000 Year Leap as reading material, and I am about finished with my first pass through your modernized adaptation of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

I am currently preoccupied with one of the recurring themes of your program (at least the radio show, which I listen to on XM radio) that isn’t laughable. It is obvious that it is very important to you to discourage your listeners from any impulse to gather up the “pitchforks and torches” and descend upon the castle, demanding that the authorities hand over the monster. I understand it’s your way of admonishing us not to follow the example of Timothy McVeigh.

I take your point. One of many things I am not is a trained soldier. Another thing I am not is a cold-blooded murderer. McVeigh was both, and I do not regret his execution. I do regret that we did not have more time to interrogate him as to his accomplices, other than Terry Nichols. Did he have ties to Iraqi intelligence, as alleged by Jayna Davis in The Third Terrorist? Was his hatred of the US government his only motivation, or were there others? We may find out some day, but not from McVeigh. I agree with the quote from you I found on her Website, that we need a 9/11-style Commission on the Oklahoma City bombing.

Anyway, Glenn, I repeat: I take your point. I have not been recruited into revolutionary violence by Glenn Beck, or anyone else. I do not feel on the verge of becoming a serial killer, a guerrilla, a bandito, or a freedom fighter toting RPGs and EIDs.

Morality apart, you explain your practical opposition to “taking up arms”: it will give the Obama administration, sinking in the polls and facing disenchantment among the gullible, and new skepticism from unexpected directions, including among former friends – a pretext to leap right over the intermediate stage of socialism/corporate fascism, right into a dictatorship that has much more in common with the last century’s grand utopian experiments than with anything good that “hope and change” could bring about.

It is not just a very great leap from a “mandatory voluntary” Obama Youth Corps, the nationalization of health care and the giants of the auto and financial industries (except for a few close friends and generous campaign contributors), to the wholesale and explicit, rather than piecemeal and implicit, suspension of the Constitution – and to martial law.

The magnificent socialist utopian experiments of the 1900s killed more people and wasted more wealth and resources in a single century than all the socio-political systems tried in all the rest of recorded history (with the possible exception of the first thousand years of political Islam – accurate stats on that are hard to come by). There is no reason to believe that this latest bunch of unaccountable, self-righteous, arrogant ideologues would do any less damage than their failed predecessors.

That would not keep them from trying, of course.

But, Glenn, what makes you think an armed uprising among some serious believers on the right would be necessary to provide the pretext for dictatorship? Have you not read about the Reichstag Fire? One man could do it.

A lone Dutchman, Marinus van der Lubbe, was caught at the scene of the Reichstag fire, confessed, and described in detail his procedure for spreading fire in the old structure. British intelligence agent Denis Sefton Delmer, who wrote that he was on the scene at that fire in 1933, reports his conclusion that van der Lubbe was plausibly the lone arsonist responsible for the destruction of the historic German parliament building. Delmer says senior fire investigators reenacted the attack following van der Lubber’s detailed account, and found that one man could have quite easily done the deed. Other evidence gathered after the fire tended to support the “lone arsonist” theory.

The truth became less and less important, even before the smoke cleared. The Nazis pounced on the event to accuse the Communists of committing the attack as the signal to begin a concerted, premeditated terror campaign, including “dynamiting, incendiarism and mass murder” all over the country.

The Soviet Communists fabricated and spread legends to convince the public that in the immediate aftermath of the fire, the building had been found to be crawling with Nazi Stormtroopers, who were supposed to have spread the fire so quickly, and, implausibly, hung around to watch it burn. Delmer, under his cover as a reporter in that period before open conflict between Britain and Germany, asserts that he entered the building in the wake of Hitler and his entourage as soon as the fire was under control, and that there were no Stormtroopers in evidence.

None of the Communists’ efforts to capitalize on  the event  mattered, either, because Hitler and Goering, his adroit propaganda minister, successfully used the event to persuade the Germans to give the Nazis extraordinary authority over them — only for the duration of the emergency, of course – which his party used to round up the Communists and any other opposing political leadership, and to curtail free speech and opposition political activity nation-wide.

Hitler only had to invoke the Germans’ historic animosity toward Russia to justify his “conclusion” that the Soviet Communist political apparatus was on the verge of attempting a coup d’état. That van der Lubbe was a different brand of Communist – one with lasting hostility toward the Soviets – mattered not at all. The Germans reacted by allowing Hitler to stage his own coup d’état, without firing a shot. The Third Reich, and the War of Revenge, The Great Patriotic War, or World War II — depending on the version of history by which you choose to describe it – followed shortly.

History, as is often repeated, has a way of repeating itself. If the history presented by Mr. Delmer is accurate, one man, a small cadre, a group of government agents or, say, some “community organizers” could light the American Reichstag Fire, if the benefits seem to outweigh the risks, or – just for a bit of evil fun. The key factor in the succession of events isn’t the exact nature of the initial act, but the reaction to it by authority, and the willingness of the media to question or swallow the “official” explanation that best fits the political agenda.

With people such as Rahm Emanuel in positions of influence in the Obama White House, it’s unlikely that Emanuel’s maxim that, “[y]ou never want a serious crisis to go to waste” would be ignored for long.

All it takes is a crisis – real, imagined or staged. Is our Reichstag Fire smoldering at this moment?

Does it even have to be a “manmade disaster? Nope. How about a natural one that affects most of the country, like a New Madrid earthquake that crumbles every bridge over the Mississippi, or a huge solar flare that wipes out the national electrical infrastructure? Neither event would be unprecedented. Nature has served this continent both dishes before.

And, if nature won’t step up and provide a “serious crisis,” how about the Iranians, with their “peaceful” nuclear power, that, for some reason, requires the parallel development of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs)? Those wacky, nuclear North Koreans can’t be counted out, either.

If so, Glenn, then what? You, Rush and Sean will disappear from the airwaves, and we sick, twisted freaks will be on our own. It forces one to think the unthinkable, doesn’t it?

“If the kid next door jumped off a bridge, would you?”

December 20, 2008

Somebody named Stephen Collins, a lobbyist for the auto industry (his title is actually, “President, Automotive Trade Policy Council,” but I feel comfortable in calling him a lobbyist), wrote a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, this week. He was responding to a WSJ editorial of December 6, which was critical of the then-proposed auto industry bailout.

His argument is that several states’ legislatures  have given preferential treatment to foreign automakers to relocate in their states. These big favors are often in the form of tax breaks that add up to hundreds of thousands of tax dollars per job created, according to Collins, and that’s why we shouldn’t wince too much at giving GM, Chrysler and Ford a “bridge loan” that they probably, or maybe, will pay back.

Ah, yes, the “two wrongs make a right” argument. AKA, the “But Mom, all the other kids in second grade are going to the nude drug sex party at Barack’s house!” argument. If that argument works here, where does it end? Just because government did one, or a hundred unconstitutional and stupid things, does that make it OK for them to do a hundred more?

Let’s get real.

If our tax structure weren’t rigged to punish success, choke business, feed government-addicted voters and get career political hacks re-elected again and again, we wouldn’t need to offer tax incentives, or any other kind of corporate welfare, to get people to build factories and make things. Foreign manufacturers would be elbowing each other in the ribs to be first in line to build factories here. Groups of American investors would get together and build manufacturing plants, and cars would advance in quality and decline in cost the way personal computers have over the past twenty years.

There would be hundreds of car brands, in thousands of different models and configurations. A company that made junk would be out of the market in months, or reincarnated (hah) quickly with new management and new ideas to get new market share. Innovators would take advantage of the advances in carbon composites for light, strong bodies, and high-tech alloys for fuel-sipping engines. Emerging battery technology and increasingly efficient electric motors would give internal combustion engines a run for their money, and entirely new powerplants would challenge both.

Have a look at the early history of the US auto industry, before the Big Three, when dozens of car manufacturers were springing up around the country.  Factories that had made stage coaches and carriages began to build the first horseless carriages. They ranged in cost and complexity from spindly, one-lungers with no suspension and wooden seats, to magnificent, motorized living rooms and land yachts like the Auburn, Cord and Deusenberg.

Economic downturns and and an increasingly grasping and power-hungry federal government, spawning the federal income tax and an exploding cancer of regulation, and not the market failure of individual products, brought about the consolidation of this raucus, cutthroat competition into three lumbering, and eventually, clumsy and inefficient behemoths.

Add to the mix the rise of the United Auto Workers Union, which became a parallel management structure in all three businesses, with its own greedy bureaucracy and sacred cows to feed, and you have the recipe for the current disaster.

What will “bridge loans,” or bailouts, or whatever you want to call them — huge sacks of money, confiscated by threat of force by government, from people foolish enough to work for a living, do to change this situation?

Nothing. Nothing short of a revolution will restore the American entrepreneurial spirit and economic freedom that gave birth to the automotive boom of the beginning of the last century.  May it happen soon.

Olbermann’s Flatulent Rap on Those “$70 an Hour Autoworkers”

December 6, 2008

Keith Olbermann is an ignorant blowhard and an Obama sycophant, so nobody should really waste any time on what he has to say (and the great majority  of us don’t), but he set me off with this rant, which has been memorialized, not surprisingly, on uaw.org. Understand, I never watch PMSNBSNPR, or wherever he hangs out, but this article was pointed out to me by my brother, a retired GM electrician, who is following the whole bailout scene with understandable interest.

In what I understand is typical Olbermanic fashion, Herr Olbermann sets up a straw dog, and bravely, forthrightly,  righteously, knocks it down. He claims some awful, mean people said UAW autoworkers make “$70 an hour,”  thanks to the idiotic and self-destructive contracts between the Big Three auto companies and the United Auto Workers over the years.

I never heard anyone claim the $70 (or $72, I heard that, too) was any autoworker’s hourly wage.  The way I heard it was that $70/hr. was their COST to their employer in wages, plus all the bennies, plus what GM was paying the job bank employees to braid their nose hairs, get Masters Degrees in Underwater Basketweaving, etc., plus, plus, plus — averaged among the workers who are actually, or allegedly,  involved in building cars. (Parenthetically, I wonder how much it is if you add in all the union execs make, and will retire on, plus the union lawyers, lobbyists, thugs, arm-twisters and car scratchers, plus their political contributions and bribes to every Democrat since Carter that’s run for president…)

Thing is, thanks to the lowlifes at the top at GM, and the lowlifes at the top at the UAW, working together to screw everybody else in the world blind for decades, and set themselves up to retire like Saudi royalty in the process  — plus a great deal of help from the regulators and taxwriters at the federal government — it costs too damn much to make cars at UAW plants.  Since they can’t get people to pay what a car costs, plus some profit, they are on the ropes.

It’s not exactly baffling that it turned out that way.

I want Olbermann (or anybody at the UAW Website, for that matter) to explain how a taxpayer-funded “bridge loan” (oh, sure, they’ll pay it back, wink-wink) is going to make things any different.

If a lot of people take cuts in pay and benefits, and some people get laid off, and some people start paying more of their own health care costs, and the unions stop collecting dues so line workers get to keep more of what they make to pay for their own health care (har, har, snort), they can reduce the cost of building a car. Can they design and build cars that people want to buy, at a cost they are willing to pay? Will billions in tax money make that happen?

Will workers with the “GM attitude” (we who grew up in the Midwest’s GM culture know what that means) stop being dead weights, ghost employees, drunks and saboteurs, and start working as if their jobs depended, to some tiny degree, on their productivity? Oooh. That’s a big one. That might take a few more billions.

Would any of the above be more likely to happen after a tax-funded bailout? Or is it more likely after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization that throws everything back on the table and everybody understands they either make it work, or take a walk?

Chrysler got a big bailout, back in the Carter era. Did it cause them to get lean and mean, and start kicking Japanese and European carmaker ass? Apparently not. They’re in line to climb in Uncle Santa Claus’s lap again, and whisper their wish lists in his ear, this time joined by Ford and GM.

Courtesy of TIME Magazine, August 24, 1979, here’s a little refresher on the last time a bailout was tried on a Big Three automaker:

“The Carter Administration decided last week that now was the time to come to the aid of the nation’s most beleaguered major company. After weeks of rising pressure for a federal fix for the multiplying problems of Chrysler Corp., Treasury Secretary G. William Miller produced—and Jimmy Carter approved —a Government bailout. It was designed to prevent the nation’s No. 3 automaker (1978 sales: $13.6 billion) from sliding into a bankruptcy that could have put many thousands out of work and sent a shudder through U.S. financial markets.

“Beamed Chrysler Chairman John Riccardo ‘We are extremely encouraged. This fits the bill.’

[…]

“Treasury aides were understood to be thinking of $500 million to $750 million over a limited period.”

[…]

That’s $500 to $700 mil in 1979 dollars. Wonder what that would buy today, thirty years later? What did it buy, back then? It didn’t buy a solvent, successful, competitive Chrysler.

It’s thirty years later. Somebody, please tell me, why is this time different?

Deliver Me from Dinosaur Bailouts

November 19, 2008

Pat Buchanan recently wrote that he would like to see the Big Three “American” auto companies get the bailout of taxpayers’ money that is being discussed.   He says the Republicans will suffer if they don’t support it.

Pat, the Big Three Dinosaurs are no more “American” companies than Toyota — maybe even less so. Check the parts content and manufacturing locations on your “American” car, before you make such an unfounded assertion.

Get back to me when Big Three execs start acting as if the location of their corporate offices really mattered to them. Would they care if they went to sleep in Dearborn and woke up to Taiwan or Brussels? Not if they got to take their perks with them. Let their stockholders dump them in favor of people who care about America, and have them get back to me.

The Big Three execs are entitled to their grotesque (from my perspective) bonuses and golden parachutes, if their stockholders are dumb enough to put up with their incredibly bad decisions, and enough customers are dumb enough to pay for them as part of the price of a car. They are NOT entitled to taxpayers’ money, unless they start selling something taxpayers want to buy. If not, screw ’em.

Also, Pat, please tell me: Why should taxpayers help the UAW recover its hundreds of millions of dollars spent to elect BHO, by subsidizing their members’ union dues? They got their guy. Screw them, too.

An American company CAN come back from the dead. If its employees and retirees want to badly enough, let them pull out their own wallets.  Let them break up and buy their companies out of bankruptcy, make sacrifices, and begin making products Americans (and the world) want. Look at Harley Davidson, if you want to know how that is done.

Let us taxpayers keep the bailout money, and invest in automotive start-ups that use automated manufacturing, advanced materials, non-union labor, superior technology and real market knowledge to build cars Americans and others will buy.

The Big Three Dinosaurs? The tar pits are this way.