Friday, August 22, 2008

Global No Confidence Vote: Big Three Card Monty

Not too much equivocation on it: the big three automakers are facing imminent demise and are playing the Too Big To Fail card. They are asking Congress for $50 billion in loans.
General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler LLC and U.S. auto-parts makers are seeking $50 billion in government-backed loans, double their initial request, to develop and build more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The U.S. automakers and the suppliers want Congress to appropriate $3.75 billion needed to back $25 billion in U.S. loans approved in last year's energy bill and add $25 billion in new loans over subsequent years, according to people familiar with the strategy. The industry is also seeking fewer restrictions on how the funding is used, the people said today.

Make no mistake, this is an election year gambit to save the US automobile industry from bankruptcy. These companies have hemorrhaged tens of billions of dollars in the last year, and now they are depending on US taxpayer dollars to bail them out, just like the banks, just like the airlines, just like the entire manufacturing sector...
GM and Ford lost $24.1 billion in the second quarter as consumers, battered by record gasoline prices, abandoned the trucks that provide most of U.S. companies' profit and embraced cars that benefit overseas competitors such as Honda Motor Co. U.S. auto sales may drop to a 15-year low this year and fall even more in 2009, analysts have said.

``Next year is going to be a make-or-break year in terms of survival,'' said Mirko Mikelic, senior portfolio manager at Fifth Third Asset Management in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which oversees $22 billion in assets, including GM and Ford bonds. ``Any help like these government loans would be a huge boost.''

Standard & Poor's said Aug. 19 that U.S. light-vehicle sales will fall to 14.2 million units this year from 16.1 million in 2007 and drop again to 14.1 million next year. The ratings company said there is a 20 percent chance that this year's sales will be as low as 13.6 million and 11.7 million next, presenting an ``overwhelming challenge'' for U.S.-based companies.

"It takes money to make money" versus "Throwing good money after bad." Here's the question: Should the Fed bail out the auto industry in the US? Of course in an election year they will. What's $50 billion when you owe the world $10 trillion, anyway?

``Our plans, which require significant investments, are at risk because of limited access to capital,'' said Greg Martin, a spokesman for Detroit-based GM. He declined to comment on whether GM is seeking more than the original $25 billion. ``This program will open capital that is necessary to make sure our transformational plans continue at full speed and give us the best chance to succeed.''

Mike Moran, a spokesman for Deaborn, Michigan-based Ford, said the automaker had no comment on any funding beyond the $25 billion already approved.

``The priority is to get the appropriation that has already been approved,'' said Linda Becker, a spokeswoman for privately held Chrysler, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. ``Conversations as to why or how we should expand that amount are ongoing.''

Congress needs to appropriate about $3.75 billion to cover the upfront cost of the government loans, according to a July 25 estimate in a letter to House and Senate leaders. The letter was sent by 71 members of Congress urging support on the issue.

Does anyone honestly think these companies will be able to pay the government back? After all, if Bear Stearns gets a rescue deal, why not GM and Ford? Why not any company valued at or above the market value of Bear Stearns?

``This is a horrible idea, another transfer of funds to failed ventures,'' said David Littmann, senior economist for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan, which describes itself as a supporter of free-market ideals. ``If this were a good idea, the market would price the debt accordingly and give them the money.''
It's funny how the free market is inviolable unless a major corporation makes massive mistakes like making a product they knew was going to be obsolete.

And yet despeite the fact the Fed can't afford it, they will get bailed out. It's an election year, and the auto lobby will assure these loans happen.

The airlines will be next, certainly.

But in the end, who will bail out the American taxpayer?

Be prepared.

Cross-posted over at the Frog Pond.

Good Bayh, Kaine!

MSNBC says Tim Kaine and Evan Bayh are out, the announcement is coming tomorrow morning, and the smart money is now on Joe Biden. I can't say I'm sorry to see these two not get the nod.

The smarter money may be on Hillary.

The crazy nutbar money? The Goracle. Wouldn't THAT be something...A Veep with actual experience.

But 99% it will be one of those three. (.99% Kathleen Sebelius, .0099% Chet Edwards. Obama's proven he has a good poker face and his camp has good message discipline.)

What's my last hedge? Jack Reed.

We'll know in a few hours.

Less QQ, More High Velocity Kinetic Tungsten Rods

Why nuke somebody when you can use Trident missiles to spike people with rebar at ballistic speeds?
The plan backed by the panel calls for putting up to four non-explosive "dispersible kinetic energy projectiles" atop each missile. Each GPS-guided projectile would contain about 1,000 tungsten rods that would strike the target at a mile a second (a fuse could spew them more widely across the ground, with less impact, or let all 250 pounds hit the same point for maximum destruction). The force of a single rod, the report says, would be similar to that of a hefty 50-caliber bullet. The lack of any explosive would generate precise mayhem, "comparable to the type of limited damage caused by meteor strikes," it adds.
I'm sure there's a nice big fat overpriced weapon system contract in there for some quality, quality pork.

The Outta Nowhere Pick

...for Obama's Veep? Waco Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas. Here's more on the Lone Star Long Shot:
Among his credentials, Edwards is chairman of the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. His district previously included Fort Hood, and the Waco Democrat is frequently pressed into service as a surrogate for the party on military issues.

Potential liabilities include Edwards vote in favor of the war in Iraq, which may not sit well with the party's liberal base. He is a low-profile member of Congress, whose selection may not give Obama's ever-tightening race against Republican John McCain the immediate boost the party is looking for.

Edwards is a native of Corpus Christi and graduate of Texas A&M University and Harvard Business School. His Central Texas congressional district includes President Bush's Crawford ranch.

Edwards is a favorite of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who praised his "extraordinary credentials" on ABC's "This Week" on Aug. 3 and said: "I hope he will be the nominee."

One Democratic official with knowledge of the conversation said Obama told Pelosi recently that she would be pleased with the choice. Other Democratic officials said he was on the short list. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Obama's selection process.

Edwards is well-known in Texas but does not have a national profile.

Asked about Pelosi's praise, Edwards said in July that he "cannot imagine that many Americans would not consider it a privilege" to be considered a vice presidential contender.

Pro-war favorite of Nancy Pelosi? Yeah, that gets a "meh" outta me at best. If you're going to go with somebody who voted for Iraq, stick with Hillary or something. Evan Bayh in a cowboy hat's not doin' it for me.

PS: Your Veep should not have the same last name as the guy who had an affair on his wife while she was diagnosed with cancer. Just sayin. Barry Hussein Obama kinda has enough unwanted name recognition problem as it is.

Just A Regular Guy With Eight Domociles

At the bottom of the Politico story on McSame's eight houses is this little tidbit:
The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain's tax returns.

The additional cash supports an "increase in the number of employees," the McCain aide told Politico. The aide did not answer a question about whether the growing staff stemmed from addition of new properties to the family's real estate portfolio.
Dude can spend $273,000 on butlers and maids in a year. How much did you make in 2007? Was it enough to spend $273,000 on household employees? I'm betting not. But Obama is the out of touch elitist, and McSame, with his ability to spend more on maids then your family makes in a year, is a regular American guy.

So What Could Go Wrong?

And here I was after the whole Hillary acceptance thing thinking, "OK, at least there's not anybody McSame could pick that could help him against Obama/Hillary."

And then reality comes in and takes my donut.
People close to the campaign also floated a wild-card choice, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq. They said it was not beyond the realm of possibility that Mr. McCain would ask him to join the ticket, although General Petraeus has no experience in elective government and has said repeatedly that he is not interested in the vice presidency. … The adviser said the campaign was putting forth his name in part in a bid for attention.

Petraeus has publicly said he'd never run for office. Of course, there is no "never" in politics. If you thought criticizing McSame was something the Village wouldn't put up with, VP Petraeus would literally make the ticket bulletproof, all the while McSame's surrogates would attack Obama for not being the General That Won Iraq.

By God, Goddess, Sikkar the Lightbringer and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, McSame/Petraeus would win in a frickin' landslide.

Step 5: Acceptance

If even Digby thinks "Sounds like Hillary to me" then maybe it's time to honestly begin my mental preparations for the Dream Ticket as reality. John Amato over at Crooks and Liars agrees:
I don’t care about the power structure in DC. I want to win the White House. And if Hillary helps Obama–then I’m cool with it. And Obama can handle it too. But, it’s his call and we’ll all support whoever he chooses. It’s his party now…We’ll find out soon.
Maybe there's just no avoiding what the Hillbloggers have been saying for months now: Only Hillary Can Help Obama. Perhaps the reason that Obama's camp has actually succeeded in this endeavour is it's been Hillary all along. The biggest strike against Hillary has been Michelle Obama -- she has all but publicly said she will not tolerate her after Hillary opened the door for McSame to attack Obama on Stupid GOP Talking Points -- but if she's somehow convinced (with Bill's help) Michelle that it's Hillary as Veep or McCain in the White House, it just may be crazy enough to work.

I don't know. From an honest and objective perspective, I can truly say I see the reasons why Obama would select Hillary Clinton, and why he would not. From a non-objective POV, Obama sucks if he does this and it's a terrible idea, he can win without her, the notion he needs Hillary plays directly into the Village narrative of bullcrap.

But the bottom line is if he doesn't win, it doesn't matter. You do what you have to do to stop McSame.

Keys To The Kingdom

AmericaBlog's John A thinks this idea would kick ass at the convention next week...and he's right.

Andy Rooney Time

Why is it no matter what the actual information is, it's always spun by the Village as one or more of the following three things:
  1. Good news for the McSame campaign
  2. Bad news for the Obama campaign
  3. Yet another reason Obama needs Hillary as his veep
Somebody 'splain that to me. Go on, pick any of the campaign news stories, polls, statements, etc. over the last two months, and you will find the Village Idiots saying it's another opening chance for underdog McSame to tighten the race, another reason presumptuous arrogant pompous Obama has to worry about his many problems, and yet further proof that Hillary is the really the dark horse (but obvious) choice for Obama's VP because of all she brings to the table. Case in point, CNN this morning, combining all three. Here's the opening lede:
Sen. Barack Obama called some people on his shortlist for the vice presidential slot Thursday night to tell them he had not selected them as a running mate, a highly placed Democratic Party source said.
Pretty neutral...Now, here's where it goes:
A dark horse contender, Sen. Hillary Clinton, re-entered the conversation this week following a poll indicating that nearly half of her supporters have yet to embrace Obama.

The Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll out Wednesday night shows that 52 percent of Clinton supporters said they will vote for Obama. Twenty-one percent favor Republican John McCain, while 27 percent are undecided or say they will vote for "someone else.''

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The former first lady was considered one of the top VP contenders shortly after she ended her White House run in June, but rumors of lingering tension between the former rivals and word that her name would be placed in nomination at the convention are partially to blame for kicking her out of the top tier among political observers.

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Clinton is the smart choice because she is the only person who would help Obama get more votes.

"And if he's going to say, 'One people, one nation,' he can raise the banner of unity with her as his vice presidential running mate," he said Thursday on "American Morning."

You got the trifecta there: Good for McSame, Bad for Obama, Hillary for Veep. Hell, it's even got Ralph Nader. By CNN's own admission, Hillary's not on Obama's short list for veep and has not been on his short list for some why the hell is she in this story about people actually ON Obama's short list for Veep?

This is what I mean about the Village. I am really hoping the narrative changes soon. I doubt it will.


Related Posts with Thumbnails