Friday, December 19, 2008

Auto-matic Response

How much do the wingnuts like Malkinvania hate the UAW? Their brilliant idea is, no joke:
Instead of wringing their hands, I’d like to see fiscal conservatives in Congress put their money where their mouths are and file suit against this illegal, unconstitutional bailout.
That's right. Sue the US Government for the auto bailout. The reasoning? The auto bailout uses TARP funds. TARP funds are for "financial institutions". Treating GM and Chrysler's finance arms as "financial institutions" for this purpose is the worst thing Bush has ever done as far as these folks are concerned, instead of letting the horrible, terrible UAW die screaming and taking millions of jobs with them. It's so bad in fact Congress should sue Bush for this unconstitutional use of unchecked executive power.

Stop and think about this. Congress should sue Bush, she says. Not over illegal wiretapping. Not over torture. Not over Scooter Libby, not over Iraq, not over Afghanistan, not over Gonzo's US Attorney firings, nor any of the dozens of scandals over the last eight years. No, the outrage that prompted Michelle Malkin to say that Congress should stand up to the President is the outrage of refusing to kill the UAW.

Nothing that Bush has done before warranted being sued by Congress in her eyes. Nothing. Not a single thing. Until, in a lame-ass attempt to punt and spare the atomized wreckage of his "legacy", Bush went too far in his use of executive power for even Malkinvania to handle by committing the unforgiveable sin of failing to put a couple million Americans out of work by destroying an iconic American industry.

I salute you, Madam Malkinvania. Your infinite lack of humanity has even shocked and surprised the most cynical of observers such as myself.

I Got Your Resignation Right Here

Blago To Entire Known Universe: Screw you, die in a fire.
In an unwavering statement of innocence, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Friday he will be vindicated of criminal corruption charges and has no intention of letting what he called a "political lynch mob" force him from his job. "I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath. I have done nothing wrong," Blagojevich said, speaking for about three minutes in his first official public comments since his arrest last week on federal corruption charges.

The Democrat is accused, among other things, of plotting to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.

"I'm not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob," Blagojevich said.

Nope. Not going away aaaaaaaanytime soon.

A Generally Revolting Situation

Via Steven D at the Frog Pond, an article by Gareth Porter on the Pentagon's plan for Iraq should frighten pretty much everyone. The bottom line? General Petraeus, General Odierno, and Secretary Gates have no plans whatsoever to obey their Commander-In-Chief come January.
United States military leaders and Pentagon officials have made it clear through public statements and deliberately leaked stories in recent weeks that they plan to violate a central provision of the US-Iraq withdrawal agreement requiring the complete pullout of all US combat troops from Iraqi cities by mid-2009 by reclassifying combat troops as support troops.

The scheme to engage in chicanery in labeling US troops represents both open defiance of an agreement which the US military has never accepted and a way of blocking president-elect Barack Obama's proposed plan for withdrawal of all US combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of his taking office.

By redesignating tens of thousands of combat troops as support troops, those officials apparently hope to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Obama to insist on getting all combat troops of the country by mid-2010.
So, by classifying tens of thousands of combat troops as support troops, no troop withdrawals will be made, and there's not a thing anyone can do about it. Confident that they have Obama in a corner politically and that domestically, the President will have his hands more than full, they figure Obama won't want to fight this battle at all.
A source close to the Obama transition team has told Inter Press Service that Obama had made the decision for a frankly political reason. Obama and his advisers believed the administration would be politically vulnerable on national security and viewed the Gates nomination as a way of blunting political criticism of its policies.

The Gates decision was followed immediately by the leak of a major element in the military plan to push back against a 16-month withdrawal plan - a scheme to keep US combat troops in Iraqi cities after mid-2009, in defiance of the terms of the withdrawal agreement.

The New York Times first revealed that "Pentagon planners" were proposing the "relabeling" of US combat units as "training and support" units in a December 4 story. The Times story also revealed that Pentagon planners were projecting that as many as 70,000 US troops would be maintained in Iraq "for a substantial time even beyond 2011", despite the agreement's explicit requirement that all US troops would have to be withdrawn by then.

Odierno provided a further hint on December 13 that the US military intended to ignore the provision of the agreement requiring withdrawal of all US combat troops from cities and towns by the end of May 2009. Odierno told reporters flatly that US troops would not move from numerous security posts in cities beyond next summer's deadline for their removal, saying, "We believe that's part of our transition teams."

His spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel James Hutton, explained that these "transition teams" would consist of "enablers" rather than "combat forces", and that this would be consistent with the withdrawal agreement.

But both Odierno's and Hutton's remarks were clearly based on the Pentagon plan for the "relabeling" of US combat forces as support forces in order to evade a key constraint in the pact that the Times had reported earlier.
Gates, Odierno and Petraeus are telling Obama to go to hell. Surely the GOP will back any play like this that the Pentagon and Gates make, saying that Obama should support out troops, listen to our commanders on the ground, etc. Should Obama wade into this one, they figure they will cut him off at the knees in the middle of the worst economic crisis in 75 years.

But wade in he must. Our republic is at stake here. If the generals win this battle, then we will never be out of Iraq, not in your lifetime. Obama will have to make it clear to the Pentagon that America intends to honor its agreement. If he does not, then we're under a military junta in all but name, with the neocons and the GOP war hawks running the country for good.

Dear America:

"Obama is totally clean, but the Blagojevich thing might mean that maybe he's actually the most corrupt politician in history, and it's his own damn fault for not making me 100% sure he's guilt-free on this. Therefore, until he proves a negative, I reserve the right to treat him as Worse Than Bush."

--Joe Conason,

Fate In The Balance

Rumors around the Big Three are swirling today. One one hand, some are reporting a bailout deal is imminent and could come as soon as today. On the other hand, there's plenty of reporting that there's no deal coming and automakers like GM are facing an "orderly bankruptcy":
General Motors is likely to file for bankruptcy protection with government backing, giving bondholders a recovery of more than 25 cents on the dollar, according to Moody's Investors Service.

There is a 70 percent probability that the restructuring plan for U.S. automakers will consist of a prepackaged bankruptcy financed by government loans to get GM and Chrysler through to 2009, Moody's said in a report dated Dec. 15. Under that scenario, bondholders would be likely to lose less than 75 percent of their investment, Moody's said.

Either way, there are a lot of sectors of the economy in dire trouble. If Toyota is expected to be posting its first ever yearly loss today, you know things are bad for the automakers...all of them.

[UPDATE] Bush is apparently making a major automaker bailout announcement at 9 AM.

[UPDATE 2] The bailout is on, $17.4 billion in bridge loans.
The federal government will provide $13.4 billion in loans to automakers General Motors and Chrysler, the White House said Friday.

"Allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action," President Bush said Friday morning.

"The terms and conditions of the financing provided by the Treasury Department will facilitate restructuring of our domestic auto industry, prevent disorderly bankruptcies during a time of economic difficulty, and protect the taxpayer by ensuring that only financially viable firms receive financing," according to a statement released by the White House.

An additional $4 billion may be available in February, the Bush administration said.

A senior administration official briefing reporters said he expects that GM and Chrysler officials will be signing the loan papers to access the cash later Friday morning.

GM and Chrysler have until March 31 to prove financial viability, or the loans are called in.

We'll see where this goes. The fate of the Big Three is now in Obama's hands.


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