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19 November 2008

The spiel...

I am on the list for GM suppliers.  I found this message very interesting.  Much like the financial crisis, little is understood about the problems plaguing the automotive industry.  Like it or not, a sizable portion of our economy relies on this industry.  We depend on it for mobility, jobs and upstream and downstream industries.  I thought it best to share to give some additional insight as to how our nation relies on the free flow of capital.


From: GM Supplier Discount [mailto:GM_Supplier_Discount@email.generalmotors.bfi0.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 10:02 PM
Subject: An urgent message to GM suppliers

Because our futures are linked, I want you to know that General Motors is doing everything possible to deal with the impact the financial crisis is having on the domestic auto industry. Yet despite our successful efforts to restructure, reduce costs and enhance liquidity, we are facing an uphill battle with the current administration and Congress in securing a bridge loan.

That's why we need your help now. Simply put, we need you to join us to let Congress know that a bridge loan to help U.S. automakers also helps strengthen the U.S. economy and preserve millions of American jobs.

Despite what you may be hearing, we are not asking Congress for a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.

The consequences of the domestic auto industry collapsing would far exceed the $25 billion loan needed to bridge the current crisis. According to a recent study by the Center for Automotive Research:

• One in 10 American jobs depends on U.S. automakers
• Nearly 3 million jobs are at immediate risk
• U.S. personal income could be reduced by $150 billion
• The tax revenue lost over 3 years would be more than $156 billion

Discussions are now underway in Washington, D.C., concerning loans to support U.S. carmakers. I am asking you to support this vital effort by contacting your representatives.

Please take a few minutes to call your representatives by dialing 1-866-471-5332. Just state your name and address, and your message will reach your legislators. You can review a script that will help you state your support at gmfactsandfiction.com. Under the "Mobilize Now" section, click on "I'm a Supplier." If you would rather e-mail your representatives, use the link "I'm a Concerned American."

Please share this information with friends and family using the link on the site.

Thank you for helping keep our economy viable.

Sincerely,

Troy Clarke

The marks of General Motors, its divisions, slogans, emblems, vehicle model names, vehicle body designs and other marks appearing in this email are the trademarks and/or service marks of General Motors Corporation, its subsidiaries, affiliates or licensors. ©2008 GM Corp. Buckle up, America!

General Motors Corporation
100 Renaissance Center
482-A00-MAR
Detroit, MI 48265

17 November 2008

None dare call it Conspiracy...

My good friend (okay, she’s a blog –bug) Lana Walker has made good on a little wager we had in February.  During the cold, dark winter of the primary season our wager consisted of her assertions that the media was “blocking” information on Ron Paul and that once the election was over a huge public backlash would ensue.  Who would have guessed that the global economy would be on the brink of collapse due to actions taken by the Carter administration in 1977?

 

Well, I simply made the assertion that no conspiracy existed.  I follow a simple rule, no secret can exist which is known by more than one person.  The alternate corollary is that the ONLY way to keep a secret between two people is to make sure one of them is dead.  In the interests of fair play, and full disclosure, my predictions are here.  What was my killing line? 

 

There is a real risk the economy will improve

 

I think I need to return my MBA.  Clearly, I don’t know what I am talking about.  But enough about me, let’s talk about conspiracies.

 

These are the stuff of legend, whether it is the uncaring gods, toying with our lives, or the hidden puppet masters of a clandestine world government, we love to imagine someone has got their hand on the tiller.  The internet is a rich feeding ground for all the various fantasies of the population of the planet.  You can find conspiracies about almost anything.  There are Coca-Cola plots, sinister “chemtrails” saturating our atmosphere, Lemurian myths, Big Pharma (or oil, or the military industrial complex, or the RIAA, or anyone!) working to suppress the “true” nature of whatever it is someone is supporting.

 

There are NO areas exempt from good on a little wager conspiracy theories.  I would submit that most organized religion is an extrapolated form of conspiracy theory.  However, that’s beside the point.  The reality is that conspiracy theories are just that, guesses and predictions to explain circumstances and situations.  They may be driven by a kernel of truth or they may simply be paranoid delusions brought about my mental illness.  What has proven itself time after time is that they simply don’t exist. 

 

Some more astute readers will Google various “true” conspiracy theories and present them, smugly, as fact.  The CIA’s MKULTRA mind control experimentation is credited by many to be proof that these things exist.  The reality is far from compelling.  It represented a small program, sanctioned by the government, in which individuals were subjected to LSD and other drugs in the quest for a perfect truth serum or mind control chemical.  The project was indeed secret, however, its overall influence was small.  Finally, its eventual discovery and exposure eliminates the underpinning framework that conspiracists promote, that these programs are “undiscoverable”.

 

Whatever your take, I would encourage you to apply Occam’s Razor to the posits of anyone promoting an alternate view to current events of contemporary history.  First ask yourself, which is the most likely occurrence?  Second, how likely would the alternate possibility be able to remain concealed from view?  Finally, what motivates the promoter of these views.  A frank and objective answer to each of these questions will guard you against falling for most of the ensnaring hogwash running rampant in our society.

 

Now excuse me, I need to order one of those  free Amish Heaters!

11 November 2008

Valour-IT...


The Valour-IT Veterans Day fundraiser, a friendly competition among blogs, will run through November 27, 2008 (Thanksgiving). At the urging of Boston Maggie, I am signing up on the Navy team!

You may go to the fundraiser site (Fundraiser Home) to donate on behalf of your favorite service. Connectivity is critical to the morale of the troops and families who support them in theater.

Go Navy!

05 November 2008

This is Sparta...


UNCLASSIFIED//


NAVADMIN 318/08


MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N00/NOV//


SUBJ/NAVY ETHOS//


1. IN THE 2007-2008 CNO GUIDANCE, I DIRECTED THE
DEVELOPMENT OF A NAVY ETHOS THAT WOULD REFLECT THE VALUES INTEGRAL TO
MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR ACTIVE AND RESERVE SAILORS AND NAVY CIVILIANS, NO
MATTER THE ASSIGNED UNIT, COMMAND, OR COMMUNITY.


2. AFTER GATHERING INPUT ACROSS THE NAVY FOR THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS, THE
NAVY ETHOS HAS BEEN APPROVED. THE FINAL PRODUCT IS THE RESULT OF COMMENTS
FROM THOUSANDS OF ACTIVE AND RESERVE SAILORS AND NAVY CIVILIANS FROM AROUND
THE GLOBE ON THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES AND VALUES THE NAVY EMPLOYS DAILY TO
WIN WARS AND BUILD AND MAINTAIN SECURITY AND STABILITY.


3. AN ETHOS IDENTIFIES DISTINGUISHING CHARACTER, CULTURE, OR BELIEFS OF A
GROUP OR INSTITUTION. NAVY ETHOS IS DESIGNED TO COMMUNICATE A SET OF
BELIEFS APPROPRIATE AND IMPORTANT TO THE MORE THAN 400,000 MILITARY AND
180,000 CIVILIAN PERSONNEL WHO SHARE A COMMON BOND OF SERVICE IN THE NAVY,
REGARDLESS OF BACKGROUND, PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, OR POSITION.

4. THE NAVY ETHOS:
-- WE ARE THE UNITED STATES NAVY, OUR NATION'S SEA POWER - READY GUARDIANS
OF PEACE, VICTORIOUS IN WAR.
-- WE ARE PROFESSIONAL SAILORS AND CIVILIANS - A DIVERSE AND AGILE FORCE
EXEMPLIFYING THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF SERVICE TO OUR NATION, AT HOME AND
ABROAD, AT SEA AND ASHORE.
-- INTEGRITY IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR CONDUCT; RESPECT FOR OTHERS IS
FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR CHARACTER; DECISIVE LEADERSHIP IS CRUCIAL TO OUR SUCCESS.
-- WE ARE A TEAM, DISCIPLINED AND WELL-PREPARED, COMMITTED TO MISSION
ACCOMPLISHMENT. WE DO NOT WAVER IN OUR DEDICATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO OUR
SHIPMATES AND FAMILIES.
-- WE ARE PATRIOTS, FORGED BY THE NAVY'S CORE VALUES OF HONOR, COURAGE AND
COMMITMENT. IN TIMES OF WAR AND PEACE, OUR ACTIONS REFLECT OUR PROUD
HERITAGE AND TRADITION.
-- WE DEFEND OUR NATION AND PREVAIL IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY WITH STRENGTH,
DETERMINATION, AND DIGNITY.
-- WE ARE THE UNITED STATES NAVY.


5. RELEASED BY ADMIRAL G. ROUGHEAD, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.//

America 1, Media 0...



One hundred and thirty-six million American citizens cast their vote for the next president of the United States. Unlike the election of 2004, their votes were each cast for a candidate, rather than characterized as against. Each vote represented the manifestation of what those individuals believed was right for the country.



Our process then distills these votes into an electoral representation and allocates them to the various candidates.



President-elect Barack Obama will serve as the 44th President of the United States. I am disappointed that my candidate, Senator John McCain did not win, but I am overjoyed by the process. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the energy and enthusiasm of the voters was inspiring. There was engagement in our political process, an engagement repeated more than 136,000,000 times across the nation.



As a dear friend, and fellow servant of the Constitution, Mud-Shark commented.



WE win.



That’s the collective WE. The American people, not the special interests, the unions, the corporations (although they are representations of the people) won last night.



So who lost?



The media.



For days and weeks they pandered to our most base instincts. There were cries about underlying racism, the Bradley effect, and general stereotyping of the American public and by extension the voter. There were continuing vilifications of the usual suspects (the present administration, big business and Wall Street).



And yet, at the end of the day – none of that was real or true. The people made their choice regardless of race or gender. Notwithstanding Tina Fey’s deadly interpretation of Governor Sarah Palin, tens of millions of Americans made their choice in her favor. Joe Biden’s repeated gaffes were overlooked as even more people voiced their confidence in his running mate.



But what is different about this election from previous? In 2004 we reelected George W. Bush over John Kerry. In 2000 Al Gore was beaten in an electoral showdown. It was a tough process, requiring the exercise of contingencies almost never used. Nonetheless, it was the process and subsequent analysis by numerous investigations revealed no wrongdoing or illegal activities.



The country will rally around the new President in 2009 because that is the right thing to do. There will certainly be those who continually cast criticism on his administration, but that is expected in the give and take of politics. What will NOT happen is the ridiculous disavowals which took place after 2000 and 2004.



Why?



Frankly, the members of the Republican party are better losers. It is my contention that they acknowledge their duty and commitment to our election process. We did not see this in 2000 or 2004. A cottage industry arose to denounce the elected President as “illegitimate”. This was wrong. It reflected poorly upon us as a nation and flew in the face of the covenants upon which our country is founded.



One of my good friends still clings to this belief. That somehow the process was “hijacked” in 2000 and 2004. That the electorate was “fooled” or manipulated by the machinations of Karl Rove. When Barack Obama thanked his campaign strategist in his acceptance speech, should we infer nefarious activity behind the scenes?



No.



Barack Obama ran a relentless, efficient and effective campaign. End of story. His message convinced more of America than John McCain’s. Voters may be driven by self-interest (who isn’t), under- or mis-informed at times, but they are not stupid. They never have been. We didn’t suddenly send the population of the United States off to college at the end of 2004 in order to prepare them for this election.



What is equally disturbing is an opinion voiced by Citizen Prime this morning. She was worried that if the election were close (McCain popular versus an Obama electoral), there would be civil unrest. Sadly, many people probably believed that this was possible.



Who led us to these terrible stereotypes of our fellow citizens?



It is the media. In their quest for the most sensational, salable story, they will latch onto the most base and low view of our society. The adage of “if it bleeds it leads” was coined in newsrooms across the country. Despite the peripheral reporting of extreme events, the candidate’s campaigns were focused, fair and tough.



I ruefully shook my head to listen to the collective media pundits’ professed surprise that everything went as smoothly as it did. That somehow we overcame the worst traits they attributed to us to make our choice. Miraculously, they mused, America had lived up to its founding father’s expectations.



What self serving bullshit.



We live up to our ideals every four years. The smooth, non-violent transfer of power is a process which has served the Republic for more than two centuries. The rules don’t change.



It’s time we recognize that as a people.



Country first.



04 November 2008

E-day...



At last.



At long last.



The day many Americans have waited for since 2000. Today is the de facto day when the current administration cedes control of the government to its successor. No matter who wins (disclosure – I voted for McCain) there will be substantial change in Washington, DC.



I think the campaigns were conducted well. I think the media slant towards Obama was disgraceful. There will be an endless series of post mortems on this election, some of which will be very good and useful. Many of which will be partisan whining or gloating. I shall avoid the latter.



CBS has posted a few questions to ponder about the election. I do not intend to watch anything on television about the race tonight. I will prefer to read about it on the morrow in The World’s Worst NewspaperTM, also known as the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The new President and almost certainly overwhelmingly Democratic controlled congress will step into a number of challenges.



1) The conflict in Iraq is almost done, it appears we have been victorious. How do we manage this transition properly?



2) Afghanistan requires more attention and non-military support – including a lot of diplomatic support from Pakistan.



3) Iran remains troubling, although there may be more posturing here than credible threat. They have been hit by oil price collapse and the dearth of capital.



4) The economy. This elephant in the room is an unbelievable item to tackle. Some changes seem easy – fix mark to market accounting. Other challenges are much more daunting – how to revise the tax code fairly. Senator Obama’s plan, as is, will make things worse.



5) The environment. Some would classify me as an AGW denialist. I have personally spoken to real climate scientists who are convinced of AGW (anthropogenic global warming) and others who are more reserved. Bottom line, maintaining our environment is critical to our survival – fishing grounds, potable water and the like are essential. A sound energy policy (alternate fuels, nuclear power, R&D credit) is a key component to this issue.



6) Everything else. These include health care, immigration and foreign issues like Russia and Africa. We need to allocate the appropriate resources in these areas. Health care needs support (McCain’s tax credit is preferable to Obama’s bureaucracy) in the area of funding, tort reform and more preventative approaches. Immigration requires a flexible policy, acknowledgement of illegals in country (some type of amnesty / path to citizenship / guest worker) approach.



Russia may solve itself via the economic crisis and their misstep in Georgia. Africa requires some UN / US involvement which would include armed forces. Diplomacy has failed in the Congo and Sudan. Millions of innocent people are at risk and must be protected.



Other than that, the next four years should be a cake walk!



I will also admonish those whose only existence seems to be to decry the present administration to take a step back and take an objective look. There is much to fault the current administration for in its tenure. But a lot of the criticism is either erroneous or undeserved.



At least after today I can talk about it in the past tense.