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No child left behind...by the military

John Travers was striding purposefully into the Westfield mall in Wheaton, Maryland, for some back-to-school shopping before starting his junior year at Bowling Green State University. When I asked him whether he'd ever talked to a military recruiter, Travers, a 19-year-old African American with a buzz cut, a crisp white T-shirt, and a diamond stud in his left ear, smiled wryly. "To get to lunch in my high school, you had to pass recruiters," he said. "It was overwhelming." Then he added, "I thought the recruiters had too much information about me. They called me, but I never gave them my phone number." Nor did he give the recruiters his email address, Social Security number, or details about his ethnicity, shopping habits, or college plans. Yet they probably knew all that, too. In the past few years, the military has mounted a virtual invasion into the lives of young Americans. Using data mining, stealth websites, career tests, and sophisticated marketing software, the Pentagon is harvesting and analyzing information on everything from high school students' GPAs and SAT scores to which video games they play. Before an Army recruiter even picks up the phone to call a prospect like Travers, the soldier may know more about the kid's habits than do his own parents.

The military has long struggled to find more effective ways to reach potential enlistees; for every new GI it signed up last year, the Army spent $24,500 on recruitment. (In contrast, four-year colleges spend an average of $2,000 per incoming student.) Recruiters hit pay dirt in 2002, when then-Rep. (now Sen.) David Vitter (R-La.) slipped a provision into the No Child Left Behind Act that requires high schools to give recruiters the names and contact details of all juniors and seniors. Schools that fail to comply risk losing their NCLB funding. This little-known regulation effectively transformed President George W. Bush's signature education bill into the most aggressive military recruitment tool since the draft. Students may sign an opt-out form—but not all school districts let them know about it.

Yet NCLB is just the tip of the data iceberg. In 2005, privacy advocates discovered that the Pentagon had spent the past two years quietly amassing records from Selective Service, state DMVs, and data brokers to create a database of tens of millions of young adults and teens, some as young as 15. The massive data-mining project is overseen by the Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies program, whose website has described the database, which now holds 34 million names, as "arguably the largest repository of 16-25-year-old youth data in the country." The JAMRS database is in turn run by Equifax, the credit reporting giant.MORE
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Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately -- but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who's Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors.

The language was written by the GOP and filed as a "motion to recommit" in the House, where it passed 345-75.
POGO is reaching out to its members to identify other companies who have engaged in the type of misconduct that would make them ineligible for federal funds.
Grayson then intends to file that list in the legislative history that goes along with the bill so that judges can reference it when determining whether a company should be denied federal funds.

Political Animal underlines the obvious:

The next question, of course, is why ACORN's problems with voter-registration materials are extremely important, while Lockheed Martin's and Northrop Gumman's bad habits are not only considered uninteresting -- to conservatives, to lawmakers, to news outlets -- but largely verboten as a topic of conversation.

*in the meantime, goes to bed howling with laughter*
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(D) Rep Barney Frank SLAMS Women Comparing Obama To Hitler At Town Hall

He does some fucked up shit, sometimes, but when he's on, he's ON!!!!!

EDIT: [personal profile] voz_latina brings me back to earth. He is quite a virulent trans hater.
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Fucking malicious poisonous ignoramus racist viper-in-human-form white woman tells Jewish man talking about universal healthcare in Israel "Heil Hitler!" Full incident from [livejournal.com profile] karnythia commenters

Here is the entire exchange between Pamela Pilger and Samuel Blum. Pilger shouted "Heil Hitler" while Blum was giving an interview to Eyewitness News. Blum is Jewish.

All ye minority people who are telling me that the Republicans are good for us? FU. I ain't going NOWHERE near a party that boasts these POS fuckers. The party is racistly rotten from top to bottom even if its policies weren't solely for the further enrichment of the rich. Also, you blasted narrowminded ignoramus, MY TAX DOLLARS, WHICH I WORKED MY ASS FOR, SHOULD DAMN WELL PAY FOR ABORTIONS.

Did she really think that after telling him Heil Hitler, she was gonna get ANYWHERE with the whole "obama hates Israel!!!!!" argument? Really????????
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So, ladies and gentlemen. The swine flu cometh. And it sure doesn't help for us not to have a CDC director, what in the world is Congress waiting on? Oh, that's right, the Republicans don't want to confirm Kathleen Sibelius because she is pro-abortion. Why thanks a lot, assholes. But well, surely we are up-to date on Pandemic preparedness right? I mean, we are the richest country in the world...

You know what I'm gonna say, right?

When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year's emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse -- with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.

Here is Republican Senator Susan Collinsfrom Daily Kos

Meantime the Obsidian Wingslinks to another quotation of Senator Susan Collins, in which she wondered

COLLINS: There is funding to help improve our preparedness for a pandemic flu. There is funding to help improve cyber-security. What does that have to do with an economic stimulus package?

And not only is she boasting about killing it on her website, her idea of using her clout as Ranking Member of the Homeland Security committee is...to put out a press release touting her accumulation of money for Maine's homeland security, money which includes funds for pandemic preparedness. And that's it.

This BS of course, comes right after fellow Republican idjit Bobby Jindal questioned the efficacy of funds set aside for volcano monitoring, only to have the Mount Redoubt volcano erupt in Alaska one month later

And these dumbbells were actually voted into office? Anyone surprised at the state of the country now?

EDIT: Oh yes, and one more thing. Remember Governor Perry of Texas who wants to secede form the United States?Well, now that pandemic-potential flu is nicking at his state's heels, the federal government's money, made up of all those onerous taxes, is astonishingly attractive all of a sudden. If it wasn't for the fact that people tend to suffer and die as a result of these lunkheaded, selfish polices, I would be very amused.

PPS: Here is a list of posts on Daily Kos on how the feds have been preparing for possible pandemics:THE ACLU, Pandemics and You, Flu and You Part One Two, Three and Four
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Warren County to Obama: Keep your ‘filthy money’

LEBANON — Warren County is saying “no thank you” to federal stimulus funds.

The county is the only one in the state that has rejected stimulus money for transportation improvements, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Commissioners rejected $373,000 in stimulus money to buy three new transit buses and upgrade their fleet, citing their opposition of deficit spending for buses and vans.

“I’ll let Warren County go broke before taking any of Obama’s filthy money,” Commissioner Mike Kilburn said.

ODOT spokesman Scott Varner said the money was specifically for transit improvements in rural areas to improve transportation for disabled people, seniors and others needing access to health care and educational opportunities.

"I'm tired of paying for people who don't have," Kilburn said. "As Reagan said, 'Government is not the answer, it's the problem.'"MORE
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Representative Betty Brown Doesn’t “Want to Learn Chinese” to Say Your Name

Racialicious breaks it down

The Houston Chronicle notes
“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.
Brown later told Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”
In reading over this article, three things jumped to mind:
Issue One: Problem was, most of these people were already using two names:
Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver’s license on school registrations.

Issue Two:
Ko, brought up people of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean descent. They all got lumped into “Chinese” when she gave her answer.


You all KNOW what she had to say on the matter of course?

Berry said Democrats are trying to blow Brown’s comments out of proportion because polls show most voters support requiring identification for voting. Berry said the Democrats are using racial rhetoric to inflame partisan feelings against the bill.

“They want this to just be about race,” Berry said.

As usual.
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Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn): Health Care is a "privilege" (Remind me again why Repubulicans are good for our country? )

The MSNBC anchor was almost taken aback by the "privilege" remark and asked Wamp to explain. "If you have cancer right now do you see it as a privilege to get some treatment?"

"I was just about to say, for some people it's a right but for everyone frankly it's not necessarily a right," he said. "Half the people uninsured today choose to remain uninsured. Half of them don't have any choice, but half of them choose to what's called 'go naked' and take the risk of getting sick. They end up in the emergency room costing you and me a whole lot more money."

And of course, illegal immigrants!!!!!!111111111 Does anyone get the impression that a fulcoad of Republicans, and a sizeable number of Democrats, don't consider anyone an American unless they are rich (and white)?

Victory For Single Payer?

Having initially excluded all advocates for single payer national healthcare from the White House Summit on Healthcare Reform, and after protest from activists, the Obama administration reconsidered and invited Rep John Conyers, author of HR 676 the single payer bill pending in Congress, and also a representative of Physicians for a National Health Care Program, to the summit attended by over 120 people Thursday.
Dr. Quentin Young, the founder and National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, explores Obama's views on single payer and the battle for healthcare reform.

Is Single Payer a Possiblity?

President Obama says healthcare is no longer just a moral imperative but a fiscal imperative. And to make the necessary changes he has vowed to fight the lobbyists and special interests. But in the middle of a financial crisis will healthcare reform happen? And will single payer advocates have a seat at the table?
Monica Sanchez of the Campaign for America's Future, Adam Thompson, Senior Health Care Policy Analyst at the Progressive States Network, California Nurses Association member Martha Kuhl, and Dr. Walter Tsou of Physicians for a National Health Program on the Sebelius pick and healthcare reform under Barack Obama.
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The party of the Rich, for the Rich doesn't like fiscal conservativism when it hurts their constituency. Who knew?

This is one of those strange stories in which Democrats want to spend less money and make a federal system more efficient, and conservatives are livid. The situation is pretty straightforward. When Clinton was elected, the student-loan system was burdened by a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. Higher-ed students would get a loan from a private lender, but it was effectively a no-risk system -- the federal government would guarantee the loan in the event of default. The industry was getting government subsidies to provide a service the government could perform for less. Clinton wanted to streamline the process and make it cost less -- the government would make the loan, cut out the middleman, and save billions.
Conservatives and loan industry lobbyists went nuts, forcing Clinton to backtrack. The eventual compromise led to two types of student loans -- direct loans and guaranteed loans. Colleges were allowed to choose the system they preferred. (They preferred the direct loans until lenders started bribing college-loan administrators.)
Sixteen years later, the Obama administration wants to save $4 billion a year, end subsidies to lenders, and make the process more efficient. The White House and Department of Education have apparently come to the conclusion that there's no point in laundering loans through lenders, who make a tidy profit, for no reason.
And once again, conservatives are livid. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.) railed against a "government takeover of the private-sector-based student loan program."Matthew Yglesias explains their stupidity

In terms of stating the bleeding obvious
The notion that cutting taxes somehow — magically — increases government revenues is a myth that won’t die. “The claim that tax cuts pay for themselves…is contradicted by the historical record,” reported the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which showed that revenues grew twice as fast in the 1990s, when taxes were raised, than in the 1980s, when taxes were cut. FactCheck.org called a claim like Hutchison’s “highly misleading” and stated the obvious fact that “we can’t have both lower taxes and fatter government coffers.”
You know, these tax cut arguments hold about the same water as an employer telling employees they'll make more money if their salary's cut. Which arguments hold about the same amount of water as a collander does. MORE

More Republican fuckwittery

So, to review, the Senate today approved an amendment to a bill about D.C. voting rights prohibiting the FCC from bringing back an old broadcast policy that the FCC wasn't considering and which the Obama administration does not support. Congress at its finest.
But since it passed overwhelmingly, at least we won't have to hear the right complain about this anymore, right? If only it were that simple. The measure would still have to be approved by the House, which isn't interested in holding a vote.
In response to the DeMint/Thune measure, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) proposed "a rival amendment that he said essentially reaffirmed existing law, which calls for the FCC to encourage diverse media ownership." It passed 57 to 41. Despite the fact that Durbin's measure simply re-stated current law, every Republican in the Senate voted against it.
DeMint told reporters that Democratic efforts to legally encourage diverse media ownership open a "back door to censorship."
I have no idea what DeMint is talking about. Come to think of it, neither does he.

Remind me again why any sane person wants to be a part of this wretched set of humanity?
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Sanford Offers Unemployed South Carolina Resident ‘Prayers’ Instead Of Stimulus Funds
Following the lead of a number of his fellow Republican governors, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) has given some indication that he will not accept some of the money slated for South Carolina in the $787 billion economic recovery bill President Obama signed into law last week. “At times it sounds like the Soviet grain quotas of Stalin’s time,” Sanford said yesterday on Fox News.
On C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, Sanford received a call from a Charleston resident who said he lost his job because he has been taking care of mother and sister, both of whom have serious illnesses. The caller told Sanford he is “wrong” to decline the money. “A lot of people in South Carolina are hurting. And if this money can come and help us out we need it.” In response, Sanford could offer him only his prayers:
CALLER: I hope you all are not playing politics with this. People in South Carolina are hurting. You know how unemployment rates are high right now and going up higher. We are running out of money in the unemployment bank — we need money for that, the people that need help. And I’m one of them, I can’t get no help. […]
SANFORD: Well I’d say hello to Charleston because its home and I’d say hello to this fellow this morning and say that my prayers are going to be with him and his family because it sounds like he is in an awfully tough spot.
Watch it:

And THIS is supposed to be the party of morals and god. Common decency? Compassion? Some idea of serving in the public's interests??? The cold-hearted, evil, ideologue. I hope his prayers choke him, the fucking Scrooge!

EDIT: Oh yeah.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has said he'll reject some of unemployment insurance from the federal stimulus package. Not to be outdone, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) said he'll not only reject unemployment insurance, but will also "not take $42 million in funding for green buildings."
Yes, because there's nothing worse than paying construction crews to make buildings more energy efficient.
There's apparently a race among some far-right Republican governors -- all of whom are already eyeing the 2012 presidential race -- to see who can be slightly crazier than the other. Jindal is clearly a contender, and Sarah Palin and Mississippi's Haley Barbour are obviously in the mix, but Sanford seems especially driven to get out in front of the pack.
It's leading him to make unusually ridiculous decisions affecting the people in his state, while making truly odd policy prescriptions.
Sanford, asked about the stimulus, said he would probably reject some of the funds. "I think it's a bad idea," he said of the package. "Period. Exclamation point."
"Good medicine to the wrong patient ultimately makes the patient sicker," Sanford continued. "What we're dealing with here is a fundamental misdiagnosis of the problem."


Think Progress: At Least 22 Lawmakers Have Touted The Money From The Recovery Package They Voted Against Sen: Mike Crapo (R-ID); Kit Bond (R-MO); Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Bob Bennett (R-UT)
Rep: Frank Lucas (R-OK); Greg Walden (R-OR); Glenn Thompson (R-PA); Leonard Lance (R-NJ); John Mica (R-FL); Don Young (R-AK) Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO); Ken Calvert (R-CA); Pete Hoekstra (R-MI); Adam Putnam (R-FL); Cliff Stearns (R-FL); Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL); Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL); Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL); Tom Rooney (R-FL); Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL); Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Honorary Republican: Heath Shuler (D-NC)

Can we toss the Blue Dogs and the fundamentalist nutcases of the Republican party off a cruise unto some remote tropical island?
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Via: commenter on Firedoglake

Bruce Cockburn- The Trouble With Normal (3:35)

Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage
Planet lurches to the right as ideologies engage
Suddenly it's repression, moratorium on rights
What did they think the politics of panic would invite?
Person in the street shrugs -- "Security comes first"
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Callous men in business costume speak computerese
Play pinball with the 3rd world trying to keep it on its knees
Their single crop starvation plans put sugar in your tea
And the local 3rd world's kept on reservations you don't see
"It'll all go back to normal if we put our nation first"
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Fashionable fascism dominates the scene
When ends don't meet it's easier to justify the means
Tenants get the dregs and landlords get the cream
As the grinding devolution of the democratic dream
Brings us men in gas masks dancing while the shells burst
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse
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Bush's Final F.U.

In early December, the administration finalized a rule that allows the industry to dump waste from mountaintop mining into neighboring streams and valleys, a practice opposed by the governors of both Tennessee and Kentucky. “This makes it legal to use the most harmful coal-mining technology available,” says Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Factory farms are getting two major Christmas presents from Bush this year. Circumventing the Clean Water Act, the administration has approved last-minute regulations that will allow animal waste from factory farms to seep, unmonitored, into America’s waterways. The regulation leaves it up to the farms themselves to decide whether their pollution is dangerous enough to require them to apply for a permit.
In October, two weeks after consulting with industry lobbyists, the White House exempted more than 100 major polluters from monitoring their emissions of lead, a deadly neurotoxin. Seemingly hellbent on a more toxic future, the administration will also allow industry to treat 3 billion pounds of hazardous waste as “recycling” each year, and to burn another 200 million pounds of hazardous waste reclassified as “fuel,” increasing cancer-causing air pollution. The rule change is a reward to unrepentant polluters: Nearly 90 percent of the factories that will be permitted to burn toxic waste have already been cited for violating existing environmental protections.

In another last-minute shift, the administration has rewritten rules to make it harder for workers to take time off for serious medical conditions under the Family and Medical Leave Act.In addition, the administration has upped the number of hours that long-haul truckers can be on the road. The new rule — nearly identical to one struck down by a federal appeals court last year — allows trucking companies to put their drivers behind the wheel for 11 hours a day, with only 34 hours of downtime between hauls. The move is virtually certain to kill more motorists: Large-truck crashes already kill 4,800 drivers and injure another 76,000 every year.

In a rule that went into effect on December 8th, the administration also limited vision and dental care for more than 50 million low-income Americans who rely on Medicaid. “This means the states are going to have to pick up the tab or cut the services at a time when a majority of states are in a deficit situation,” says Bass of OMB Watch. “It’s a horrible time to do this.” To make matters worse, the administration has also raised co-payments for Medicaid, forcing families on poverty wages to pay up to 10 percent of the cost for doctor visits and medicine. One study suggests that co-payments could cause Medicaid patients to skip nearly a fifth of all prescription-drug treatments.

Under midnight regulations, the administration is seeking to lock in the domestic spying it began even before 9/11. One rule under consideration would roll back Watergate-era prohibitions barring state and local law enforcement from spying on Americans and sharing that information with U.S. intelligence agencies.

And its going be fucking hard to overturn:

John Podesta, the transition chief for the Obama administration, has vowed that the new president will leverage his "executive authority" to fight Bush's last-minute rule changes. But according to experts who study midnight regulations, there's surprisingly little an incoming executive can do to overturn such rules. The Bush administration succeeded in repealing just three percent of the regulations finalized before Bill Clinton left office in 2001. "Midnight regulations under Bush are being executed early and with great intent," says Bass of OMB Watch. "And that intent is to lock the next administration into these regulations, making it very difficult for Obama to undo what Bush just did."

To protect the new rules against repeal, the Bush administration began amping up its last-gasp regulatory process back in May. The goal was to have all new regulations finalized by November 1st, providing enough time to accommodate the 60-day cooling-off period required before major rule changes — those that create an economic impact greater than $100 million — can be implemented.

Now, however, the administration has fallen behind schedule — so it's gaming the system to push through its rules. In several cases, the Office of Management and Budget has fudged the numbers to classify rules that could have billion-dollar consequences as "non-major" — allowing any changes made through mid-December to take effect in just 30 days, before Obama is inaugurated. The administration's determination of what constitutes a major change is not subject to review in court, and the White House knows it: Spokesman Tony Fratto crowed that the 60-day deadline is "irrelevant to our process."MORE

Thanks a LOT, Republicans. Thanks a LOT. The only consolation I have at the mo' is that a fucking lot of you are going to feel it, right along with us traitorous, ungodly, unAmerican libruls. You see, funny thing about Ayers and Wright. You all screamed about them left and right. How wicked they were. How they are terrorists. How they hate America. Etc. etc. And yet, your evangelical president. The one who came to power on "compassionate conservatism" . Has and IS fucking over millions of Americans. In ways that will be far-reaching and and damned hard to contain, much less eradicate. Unto your own children's children. Much, much, MUCH more damage than those guys would EVER have done. And yet. They are the enemy. And Obama, the black guy. Is teh one you are scared of. Fucking ignorant fools.
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UAW busting, Southern style:Foreign carmakers are enlisting the help of GOP senators from states in the South to break the union.

However, an internal Toyota report, leaked to the Detroit Free Press last year, reveals that the company wants to slash $300 million out of its rising labor costs by 2011. The report indicated that Toyota no longer wants to "tie [itself] so closely to the U.S. auto industry." Instead, the company intends to benchmark the prevailing manufacturing wage in the state in which a plant is located. The Free Press reported that in Kentucky, where the company is headquartered, this wage is $12.64 an hour, according to federal labor statistics, less than half Toyota's $30-an-hour wage.

If the companies, with the support of their senators, can wipe out or greatly weaken the UAW, they will be free to implement their plan.

Bill Ford v. Larry King: Village Idiocy about the Auto Industry

Interesting segment on Larry King Live with Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford last night that I thought would get more attention today:
KING: What about the UAW in all of this? FORD: Well, the UAW obviously has been our partner through all of this. Have they made mistakes and have we made mistakes? Of course. The UAW has come a long way. I think their leader, Ron Gettelfinger, is an excellent leader and he really understands our business. In this last contract, he gave up a lot. He’s also indicated they’re willing to come to the table to do more. And so for anybody to blame the UAW as the sole reason for this is frankly wrong.
One other thing is, when I look at the people who work in our plants, I don’t think of them as UAW. I think of them as Ford employees, Ford employees who take tremendous pride in building quality and safety into our products. If you ask someone in our plant, where do they work, they say I work at Ford. To me, everybody who works in our plant is part of our extended family.
Here's Larry King completely missing the fact that most developed nations are backing their auto industries--and so it's no big surprise that any American car companies might need credit.
KING: Why do you need the line of credit?
FORD: We're saying we don't need it now, but we're saying, if the global economy does not pick up, you know, it would be, basically, a line of credit that we could draw upon. Larry, it's interesting because this slowdown now is happening in Europe, Asia and South America. And governments around the world are lining up to support their auto industries.
Here's Larry King repeating the ignorant assumption that Ford ought to be rooting for GM's downfall.
KING: Would it frankly benefit you if GM and Chrysler went under?
FORD: No, because the dislocation to the supply base that we all rely upon would be massive. Our suppliers are not in terrific shape. By the way, those same suppliers also supply the Japanese and European transplants as well. It wouldn't just be us affected.
Here's Larry King getting reminded that Ford cars in other markets--because they respond to sound policy like gas taxes--are very efficient (making the argument I've made--that we need a gas tax).
FORD: Because it's interesting, as gasoline was low here, it was taxed and much higher in other parts of the world, particularly Europe, but also in Asia. And as a result, we made small cars in Asia and in Europe and in South America and we made money doing so. Now we're bringing those vehicles here to the U.S.
So what's interesting is, while we stuck with that business model here, because of the price of gasoline, we were pursuing a very different strategy in Europe and South America and Asia, and we were growing and profitable. We're bringing those vehicles here now.
KING: I keep forgetting how global you are.

President Bush: Employees of American Companies Must Get Paid Less than Employees of Foreign Companies!

Yet then Bush throws in the demands that Republicans made--without noting that this was basically an ideological ploy to break the union, all the while demanding that employees of American-owned companies make significantly less than the employees of Japanese-owned companies.
Targets: The terms and conditions established by Treasury will include additional targets that were the subject of Congressional negotiations but did not come to a vote, including:
  • Reduce debts by 2/3 via a debt for equity exchange.
  • Make one-half of VEBA payments in the form of stock.
  • Eliminate the jobs bank. Work rules that are competitive with transplant auto manufacturers by 12/31/09.
  • Wages that are competitive with those of transplant auto manufacturers by 12/31/09.
These terms and conditions would be non-binding in the sense that negotiations can deviate from the quantitative targets above, providing that the firm reports the reasons for these deviations and makes the business case to achieve long-term viability in spite of the deviations.
In addition, the firm will be required to conclude new agreements with its other major stakeholders, including dealers and suppliers, by March 31, 2009.
Remember, the measure the Republicans were using to measure "wages that are competitive with those of transplant auto manufacturers" was the lizard lie number--the $73/hour, the number that includes legacy costs, the payments to retiree pensions. Otherwise, there would be no reason to make this stipulation--because if you use the real wage number, and not the lizard lie number, American manufacturer wages are already competitive with the transplants!!MORE
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Lets talk paychecks
Deb already pointed out that the average line worker makes only about $28 an hour (or $56,000 per year). I don't think many people would try to argue that $56,000 is too much for a family with a couple of kids, a mortgage, and the usual needs of a typical American family. Bill Kav noted:
Several Senators have used a figure of $73 per hour to describe UAW labor rates. The actual UAW rates vary, from $14 per hour for new workers at the Big Three to $33 per hour for skilled trades workers. The Republican $73 per hour figure includes not only adding in benefits, but also adding a hefty additional total of ALL current retirees benefits from contracts of years gone by, divided by the number of current workers (a much smaller workforce). Somehow, this figure made it seem as if current workers were rolling in clover at a huge hourly salary— which none of them are actually drawing.
In stark contrast:
[E]xecutives have been redistributing shareholder wealth to themselves -- while the company headed toward a cliff -- and the executive-friendly board allowed them to do it.

For example, General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner's 2007 pay ($14 million) breaks down to $7,000 per hour (based on a 2000-hour year). Yes, you read that correctly -- and that was a year that GM had $38 billion in losses.

If the average autoworker makes $28 per hour, then Mr. Wagoner's hourly pay could have instead paid 250 average GM workers -- people directly involved in making products that make money for GM shareholders.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally's 2007 pay was $21 million, which amounts to $10,500 per hour. A year earlier, Ford had record losses of $12 billion. Mr. Mulally's hourly pay could have instead paid 375 average Ford workers.

It doesn't stop with CEOs. Four of Ford's vice presidents were paid $39 million in 2007, an average of $9.75 million each or $4,875 per hour. The total hourly pay of all four execs combined could have instead paid 696 average autoworkers.

I don't have access to compensation data for the dozens -- or hundreds -- of other execs at GM and Ford... (BN-Pol)

But wait! There's more:MORE

Read more... )
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GOP: 'Action Alert - Auto Bailout'

1. This is the democrats first opportunity to payoff organized labor after the election. This is a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.

Naturally. Cause destroying the unions takes precedence over saving the jobs of 3 million Americans.

Ladies and Gentlemen? The CANADIANS are bailing out the Big Three.

U.S. and Canadian governments say they will ride to the rescue of the beleaguered Detroit auto makers, hoping to head off a catastrophic collapse of Chrysler LLC or General Motors Corp. that would cascade throughout the North American economy.

Ottawa and Ontario will provide an estimated $3.4-billion to the Canadian units of the Detroit Three, while U.S. President George W. Bush will throw a $14-billion (U.S.) lifeline to their parent companies.


[Canadian Industry Minister Tony] Clement would not provide a specific figure, but he said the amount of money in the Canadian bailout represents this country's one-fifth share of the Detroit Three's North American vehicle production and on Canada maintaining that percentage.

“Clearly, this amount of money is meant to be, as the U.S. is finding out, a way to keep the doors open for the domestic auto sector while they continue their long-term planning,” he said.MORE

Rachel Maddow on the Republican Senators Interests in Union breaking and supporting foreign auto makers over our own unionized workers.

Part Two

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In and article subtitled A bipartisan Senate report calls decisions made by the former Defense secretary a 'direct cause' of inhumane treatment of prisoners of war. Other Bush officials also are faulted, the Los Angeles Times reported that a bipartisan Senate report puts a great deal of blame for prisoner abuse on former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
The report, which was endorsed by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the most forceful denunciation to date of the role that Rumsfeld and other top officials played in the prisoner abuse scandals of the last five years. In several of its findings, the document also challenged the frequent assertions of senior Bush administration officials that the most egregious cases of prisoner mistreatment were isolated incidents of appalling conduct by U.S. troops.
...The document aimed its harshest criticism at Rumsfeld's decision in December 2002 to authorize the use of aggressive interrogation techniques at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The New York Times adds:
The abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the report says, "was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own" but grew out of interrogation policies approved by Mr. Rumsfeld and other top officials "conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees." By the time of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Mr. Rumsfeld had formally withdrawn approval for use of the harshest techniques, which he authorized in December 2002 and then ruled out a month later. But the report said that those methods, including the use of stress positions and forced nudity, continued to spread through the military detention system. It added that their use "damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority."


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