December 12, 2008 archive
Dec 12 2008
Dec 12 2008
We are writing to inform you that though we’d like to take steps to save the economy, allowing you to keep a roof over your head and food in your children’s mouths, we’ve been informed that your gardener, Cruz, makes $18 dollars an hour, which far exceeds the pay for gardeners in your human competitor countries like China and South Korea.
Therefore we must insist you inform Cruz that unless he willingly cuts his salary in half and gives up his single family dwelling for housing more consistent with that of your competitors (see above right) we are going to be forced to use your tax refund to fund AIG’s “Mercedes For Millionaires” program.
Dec 12 2008
The LA Times reports Bush considering use of Wall Street bailout funds to aid auto industry. George W. “Bush was considering using money from the Wall Street bailout fund to help prevent the collapse of U.S. automakers after White House-backed legislation to provide $14 billion in emergency loans died in the Senate, administration officials said today.”
McClatchy Newspapers add “The White House reluctantly said Friday morning that it would consider using money from the controversial financial-rescue fund to help ailing automakers, just hours after late-night talks to rescue U.S. automakers from potential bankruptcy collapsed on Capitol Hill.”
For weeks, lawmakers and the White House have battled over the use of money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. That $700 billion Wall Street rescue fund, which Congress approved in October, was designed to help stabilize the banking sector, but congressional Democrats have wanted to tap it for a $14 billion bridge loan to Detroit’s Big Three automakers.
The administration has insisted instead on using an energy-efficiency loan approved for carmakers, but the failure of Senate negotiations over a bailout for the automakers late Thursday night left the administration in a bind.
Although it’s opposed using TARP funds, it now must choose between the lesser of two evils. Does it use money designated for the banking system to save automakers, setting a precedent for other industries to seek these funds? Or does it risk allowing carmakers to go bankrupt amid a deepening recession?
And the NY Times reports Senate Republican blame the U.A.W. over bailout failure. “Senator Bob Corker, a Republican of Tennessee, suggested the fault lay with the U.A.W.’s president, Ron Gettelfinger, whose union declined to agree to allow wage concessions in 2009 as part of a deal.”
The NY Times reports North Korea nuclear talks collapse.
A final push by President Bush to complete an agreement to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program collapsed Thursday, leaving the confrontation with one of the world’s most isolated and intractable nations to the administration of President-elect Barack Obama.
Four days of negotiations in Beijing ended in an impasse after North Korea refused to agree to a system of verifying that it had ended all nuclear activity, which it had pledged to do. Among other things, the North Koreans have objected to allowing soil and air samples to be taken near nuclear facilities and sent overseas for testing.
Another failure of the Bush administration. As I wrote back in September in North Korea restarts nuclear program so much for Bush’s one foreign policy “triumph”.
Four at Four continues with the gutting of the Endangered Species Act, Bettie Page, and bonus video of a working model of the Antikythera machine.
Dec 12 2008
This morning in Docudharma Times, Mishima noted that polls indicate
That Americans believe that the big 3 shouldn’t be bailed out. Do they understand the residual effects it will have upon the economy if they are allowed to fail? It doesn’t appear so.
The “reasons” why many Americans do not support the bailout are mixed. I think these are the main “reasons” that I’ve heard:
Anger over the Wall Street bailout
Anger over Detroit vehicle selection (electric car versus SUV)
Anger over rich automaker executives
Anger over “overpaid” union workers
So, what’s behind this anger?
Dec 12 2008
What happened at that Chicago manufacturing plant brought back alot of memories of how extremely talented workers fought for what they knew were their rights, decent wages for their labor, on the job safety, trading wages for benefits like health and welfare directly and much much more. Fights that shouldn’t have really happened in a real model of capitalism where all should share directly in the quality and growth of their work and the companies they work for.
We need to return to that pride in company and product, quality products and customer service, correcting the defaults, and growth for all, owners, workers, and investors.
Dec 12 2008
Thanks for giving me this opportunity to speak directly to America. I have a question that has burned my very soul in its need to be asked.
“Are you FREAKING STUPID or WHAT?”
I don’t mean to be insulting. Really I don’t. I’ve met many of you in my 45 and 10/12ths years functioning as an American Citizen. Individually, I have yet to meet one person in my years on this planet that doesn’t at least have a functioning clue what is in THEIR OWN INTERESTS yet, collectively you don’t seem to have a clue.
This isn’t being condescending. I am painfully aware of my lack of education, my inferior societal position as a middle aged, overweight housewife keying away on a minuscule lefty blog.
This is just utter confusion at how COLLECTIVELY you do everything in your power to act directly against your own interests.
I’m sorry. I asked it badly before. What I really should have said is this:
“Are you FUCKING STUPID or WHAT?”
Maybe I can help you out a little here. Let me help you do some very simplistic MATH!
Dec 12 2008
I know we mostly talk about federal politics and policies here because that’s what we all have in common. But for me, this economic crisis just got REAL serious this week and its breaking on a state and local level. I have to admit that, for the first time since this mess started, my stomach is in knots – its getting ugly out here. So I wanted to write about what I’m seeing and invite you to fill in the picture of how its unfolding in your area.
The news this week in Minnesota has shifted a bit from the recount between Franken and Coleman to the state budget deficit. Our state operates on a fiscal year of July to June. For the budget year we are currently in – the forecast is for a $426 million deficit (that’s in a budget of just over $30 billion). What that means is that the Governor and Legislature have to come up with $426 million in cuts to the CURRENT budget – and we’re already halfway through the spending year.
In Minnesota, social services, corrections and courts are managed by Counties instead of the State. Cities, Counties, and Local School Districts depend on property taxes, as well as federal and state aid. The State collects income and sales taxes and then supports Cities, Counties, and Local School Districts with local government aid. They make two payments a year on this with the second payment of $280 million due December 26th. The easiest way for the State to take a big stab at making up for this huge current deficit is to reduce/eliminate this payment. So that’s whats likely to happen in the next week.
Dec 12 2008
Killing The UAW
By Killing The Auto Bailout
Senate Abandons Automaker Bailout Bid
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: December 11, 2008
WASHINGTON – The Senate on Thursday night abandoned efforts to fashion a government rescue of the American automobile industry, as Senate Republicans refused to support a bill endorsed by the White House and Congressional Democrats.
The failure to reach agreement on Capitol Hill raised a specter of financial collapse for General Motors and Chrysler, which say they may not be able to survive through this month.
After Senate Republicans balked at supporting a $14 billion auto rescue plan approved by the House on Wednesday, negotiators worked late into Thursday evening to broker a deal, but deadlocked over Republican demands for steep cuts in pay and benefits by the United Automobile Workers union in 2009.
World markets slump as US car industry bail-out fails
guardian.co.uk, Friday 12 December 2008 08.28 GMT
Stockmarkets tumbled around the world after a $14bn (£10bn) bail-out package for the struggling US automotive industry collapsed last night.
The London market followed Asian shares into the red. The FTSE 100 index fell 176 points to 4212 in early trading, a drop of nearly 4%.
A partisan dispute over union wage cuts in the US Senate derailed a last-ditch effort to revive the emergency aid for US carmakers before the end of the year. The breakdown left the car industry – which employs 3 million people – in limbo. General Motors and Chrysler have warned that they will go bankrupt this month if they do not receive $14bn in taxpayer funds.
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, called the breakdown a “a loss for the country”. “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It’s not going to be a pleasant sight,” he said.
U.S. keeps silent as Afghan ally removes war crime evidence
By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers
DASHT-E LEILI, Afghanistan – Seven years ago, a convoy of container trucks rumbled across northern Afghanistan loaded with a human cargo of suspected Taliban and al Qaida members who’d surrendered to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Afghan warlord and a key U.S. ally in ousting the Taliban regime.
When the trucks arrived at a prison in the town of Sheberghan, near Dostum’s headquarters, they were filled with corpses. Most of the prisoners had suffocated, and others had been killed by bullets that Dostum’s militiamen had fired into the metal containers.
Dec 12 2008
Muse in the Morning
State of the Onion XXVI
Dec 12 2008
Here are the current Circuit Breaker Rules.
As you will certainly know by this time, the Senate has failed to invoke cloture on the Bridge Loan Bill by a 35 – 52 vote and Harry Reid has declared himself the failure he is and is adjourning the Senate for the holiday.
You can expect GM to declare bankruptcy by Monday and thousands of parts suppliers to do the same by Christmas.
The overnight markets in Asia are already tanking and you can expect selling pressure to move west with the dawn. If Dow futures are not down over 400 points by opening bell I’ll eat my hat.
I expect it will go downhill from there.
Trading halts for 1 hour with a 1100 point drop before 2 pm. If there is a 2200 point drop before 1 pm there will be a 2 hour halt.
If the DJIA loses 3350 points, regardless of time, the market will close.
This is a very real possibility.
If you have equity it’s too late to sell now, all you can do is hang on and see if things get better, but this is bad.
Late updates from Firedog Lake-
Auto Bill Fails: Market Bails By: Ian Welsh Thursday December 11, 2008 9:00 pm
White House May Just Lend Auto Companies the Money Through TARP By: Ian Welsh Thursday December 11, 2008 9:20 pm
Wire Business News Update below.