Today's Note from a Madman
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
"Bottom-Line" Vs. The "Bread-Line"
General Motors is going to make unemployed 30,000 presently employed people in the next three years. GM is also going to close 12 car and parts factories in that time frame as well.
Does anyone want to buy my almost-new 2005 Chevy Cobalt?
The company is, however, going to offer an "early retirement package" to those who qualify. One wonders if that "package" will consist of enough to live on in the "golden years". The savings (of money) will gain GM an extra $7 billion dollars to put into the bank accounts of already-rich stockholders and chairman Rick Wagoner (sounds like an SUV name, doesn't it?).
The "good news", because that is how the Bush administration (through the likes of the commerce and treasury departments) will term it, is that the economy is in an upswing. GM's shares rose a whole 10 cents on the NYSE right after the announcement was made. They'll point to the strength of the market and the increase of profits (or decrease of deficit - something the Bush administration knows all too much about) that GM's investors are "earning".
The mere fact that 30,000 people will be put out of work; and up to 12 towns will become ghost towns; and people will have to file for bankruptcy because their homes have devalued and their neighbors have moved out have no bearing on GM's decision in the least. (yeah, right)
So much for the "Human Factor."
It's the bottom line and the bread line. The former is for the ultra-rich friends of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and his other cronies; the latter is for the rest of US.
"The decisions we are announcing today were very difficult to reach because of their impact on our employees and the communities where we live and work. But these actions are necessary for GM to get its costs in line with our major global competitors."
So much for domestically manufactured cars and trucks. So much for the largest health care provider putting its considerable weight behind a real effort to provide some sort of universal health care plan right here in the US. The one issue I thought GM would stand up to is Universal Health Care, but they just punked out.
How much money is enough money? Only the chairmen of the boards know for sure.
What if GM said they were going to expand production in the US? What if GM said they were going to hire more people and make a better, more easily affordable product right here in the USA? What if GM, which was one of the pioneers in Hybrid development but the last one to offer it commercially really took the helm in the Hydrogen cell Auto market and manufactured an affordable H-Cell car right here in the US? Wouldn't that initial short term loss be a great long term gain?
GM thinks that cutting and running, as so many other former US manufacturers have done is the answer. It isn't.
Tell me, Mr. Wagoner... What are your plans for the current, living GM retirees and the promises your car company made to them in the form of Health care and Pensions? Is the American tax-payer going to have to bail you out and make their lives less livable in the process?
IS THERE NO MORE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR OUR FELLOW MAN IN THE US ANYMORE?
America used to offer everyone a shot. Today, all we get is a shot in the rear.
Getting Out of Iraq
"We don't stay in countries where we're not wanted. So
if the provisional government, the interim government were to ask us to leave,
we would leave,"
-L. Paul Bremmer, as the administrative head of Iraq
"Were this interim government to say to us, 'We really think we can handle this on our own, it would be better if you were to leave,' we would leave,"
-Colin Powell, as Secretary of State
"If we are not invited, we will not desire to remain against the will of a legitimate government,"
-Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (at the time of the quote, Italy had its former government in power and troops in Iraq)
"we are only in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. If they asked us to leave we would do so."
-Brisitch Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Everyone, and I mean everyone in the Bush White House, and their counterparts in the nations that constitute "The Coalition of the Willing", as well as the other ultra-rich "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party leaders said that if the leaders of Iraq wanted US out, the we would leave.
So here's your chance GW. Put your money where your mouth is. The duly elected, legitimate leaders of Iraq want US out, or at least a timetable as to when a pullout might begin. Do something about it. Say something about it. Make a comment. They are giving you an out and still you remain silent. Go on... ask somebody who actually reads a newspaper (excluding the Washington Times and the New York Post).
We are "calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces ... control the borders and the security situation"
-A statement released by Iraqi leaders in a forum sponsored by the arab League in Cairo, Egypt
"By the middle of next year we will be 75 percent done in building our forces and by the end of next year it will be fully ready,"
-Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr
GREAT! We're all set. We know when they're going to be ready so let's get this ball rolling.
"Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships,"
-The document released by the Iraqi leaders
They're even condemning terrorism! Let's get out of there. They are telling US that they're ready, and we did give our word, so what are we waiting for?
Too bad they still think it's "OK" to kill the
Children of America.
"...it is in the best interests of the Iraqi people,"
-Harith al-Dhari, leader of the Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni Organization
The Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites are all on board. Shouldn't you be on board too, Mr. Bush?
Okay... now for how I really feel...
Iraq is a mess... a quagmire, and it is by the buffoonery of the administration of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and the ultra-rich supporters in the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party. I truly do believe that people like Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney, who are making a "killing" (pun intended) selling off the natural resources of Iraq are very happy with the current situation there.. As a result of that belief, I don't think the occupation of Iraq was the result of stupidity. after all, CAN ANYONE REALLY BE THAT STUPID?
I have felt for some time now that many in the Bush administration's ulterior motives have been to remove Saddam Hussein and take over the oil rich country; rebuild it using their no-bid contractors like Halliburton; sell arms to the US Government; and provide "sub-contractors" for a profit. Its a Win-Lose situation... A win for the lobbyists and contributors to the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party ultra rich elites and a loss for the US middle class who is financing most of it.
Can we leave Iraq now? By the words of GW and his cronies, we now have to.
... and More
Iraq's interior minister, Bayan Jabr, said American-led
forces should be able to leave Iraq by the end of next year, adding that
the one-year extension of the mandate for the multinational force in Iraq by the
United Nations Security Council earlier this month could be the last, The
Associated Press reported.” NYT, 11/22/05
Is it my imagination or did Iraqi’s just give the Bush Administration cover and a way out of Iraq that saves face? Is it a “coincide” that their timetable closely matches the mid-term elections (plus a one year extension which would probably only go into affect/be requested after the date of the elections)? Or does this represent what the Iraqi’s thought up themselves based on their desires or were they influenced by Rumsfeld whispering into their ears? What seems most likely to you!
These days I have come to always ask – what’s in it for the interested parties before I swallow it hook, line, and sinker. With all the “coincidences” I think this is a political hook, line, and sinker that the U.S. planted so the Bush gang can save face in drawing down troops. That being said, if it results in drawing down our troops leading to an eventual pullout in the not to distant future, it doesn’t matter how the politics fall. Ultimately, most of the American people will see through it all.
Robert F. Kennedy would have 80 this year. Here is
a segment of a speech that's so painfully appropriate for our times. A tear
comes to my eyes everytime I think of him and what our nation could have been if
he became President:
"For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, this poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.
"This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all. I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family , then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies---to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered.
"We learn, at the last, to look on our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear--only a common desire to retreat from each other--only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this there are no final answers. Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what program to enact. The question is whether we can find in our midst and in our own hearts that leadership of human purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.
"We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of all. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be enobled or enriched by hatred or revenge. Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land."
-Robert F. Kennedy, Candidate for President of the United States, 1968
-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane
Nixon and Bush
In 1974, Parisians stopped all the US visitors on the street and shook their hands, congratulating us on our exposure and prosecution of Watergate. "That would never happen in Europe," some said. "You Americans are so brave, so confident in your democracy that you can correct its problems publicly."
That was then, this is now.
If foreigners are exaggerating, then Americans are underestimating the danger. Because Americans don't read history, very little is known in this country about the insidious gradual nature of how a tyranny takes over a nation. There are definitely pointers in that direction, and we've gone pretty far along the path. Much depends on the mass media, where the basic issues of lies and truth are of grave concern. If people don't hear what's happening, or get a 1-sided whitewashed opinion of events, we are definitely on the royal road to ruin. If the Internet is silenced, reporters fired for dissenting from the party line and telling the truth, and a news monopoly fosters--instead of critiques--a growing one-party theocratic imperialist state with all the branches of government Republican/NeoCon/Fundamentalist, how can mere word of mouth prevent a rapid descent into fascism?
We must also concern ourselves with two other problems I've mentioned before.
First, the militias have been dormant; why should they protest an administration that plays to their paranoid views, but what will they do if a liberal administration supersedes this one? Remember Oklahoma City and the anthrax scare, where liberals were the target.
Second, under present conditions the oil crisis and stagflation can only worsen. Are Americans so lazy and spoiled that they have decided to prefer imperialist conquest of the world, no matter how high the cost, to tightening their belts? I'm not thinking conspiracy, just a general unconscious assumption that anything must be better than giving up all those fun, distracting toys.
I wish I could be more optimistic about the answers.
Revealing Quote of the Day
"As we agreed, the Congress will include this funding in the upcoming emergency appropriations bill to fund the recovery and rebuilding efforts for hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The bill we send to the president for signature will include the $125 million,"
-House speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), regarding the 9/11 money that the Bush administration "stole" from New York City
So this is how it begins, Hastert, answering an obvious plea from Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) from Staten Island (a very RED part of a very BLUE city and state) and the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party need to start protecting their majority. I say anything that gets the money to where it is needed most is just fine with me. Expect to see a lot of these "pleas" by Republican legislators in the coming year. They're going to need help and they're going to get it. The problem is this: what are they going to owe later to those who help them now?
It's a scary question.
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