Saturday, December 13, 2008

When Bob Reich Agrees With The Loonies

TPM Cafe yesterday:
A new Civil War is breaking out when it comes to automaking in America, and it was evident in the lineup yesterday of senators for and against bailing out Detroit. Japanese, Korean, and German automakers are now building 18 auto assembly plants in the United States, none of which is unionized. Kentucky (home to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell) already has Toyota's biggest auto assembly plant outside Japan. Tennessee (home to Senate Rep. Bob Corker, who came up with the "chapter 11" bailout amendment which was the basis for an attempted compromise yesterday) houses Nissan's North American headquarters. Alabama (Senate Rep. Richard Shelby) hosts a range of foreign automakers.

There's no reason to suppose the good citizens of Kentucky, Tennessee, or Alabama are particularly excited at the prospect of handing over their taxpayer money to competing firms and their workforces, especially since almost every one of these states already gave foreign firms big tax-payer supported inducements to come and create jobs there.

Besides, southern Republican are not particularly enamored with the UAW, which has steadfastly bankrolled Democrats who have taken on Republicans. (The new Congress will have at least six new Democrats from formerly Republican districts, all of whom received at least $40K from the UAW.)

Corker's compromise -- which he'll push again in the new Congress -- would force the UAW to match the wages of foreign, mostly non-unionized autoworkers in the South. This would essentially make the UAW irrelevant. Why have a union if you can get the same deal without one?
It's nice to be validated, but the real shame here is that our little tiny blog was pointing this out days ago; and as respected (or infamous) as Reich is, his piece is being published not in The Times, but on the blogs, whom still don't play to much more than single digits of the electorate-at-large.

I do have one little disagreement though:
But Republicans also know that the Big Three and their suppliers are spread out over the battle-ground states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Minnesota. Republicans don't dare give up these states or alienate their citizens. So here's where political compromise comes in.
What about this campaign of political violence has suggested this?? The GOP in this fight has done nothing but denigrate unions and union membership for the past 4 weeks of the auto bailout drama. Any unionized worker in these rust belt states that votes for a Republican in the future should be ashamed of themselves.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Hard truths

Thom Hartman on Olberman with that Schuster guy:

"We've gone from the nation with the most exports of finished goods, the largest number of people owing us money to the nation that imports the most manufactured goods and the deepest in debt. That's the definition of a third world country. This is the end result of Reaganomics."


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You’re Right – It Is Personal

This whole auto industry failure; union busting; kill the economy; families starving thing, does hit home, and I cannot separate my personal feelings from my intellectual opposition to what the GOP is doing. I feel it now the same way that I felt it as a little girl – and it frightens me.

Click "read more" to find out why.

My dad is from Tennessee. He grew up extremely poor, his family was basically “share croppers” – they never owned a thing. They lived in a shack on the land that they took care of. My dad quit school in the 6th grade so that he could go to work in the tobacco fields and help to take care of his family.

The army saved his life. He gained 40 pounds in his three months of basic. He said that it was the first time that he got good meals and good sleep. He had worked so hard for so many years that basic friggin’ training was a reprieve. The army also brought him west. The Army took him out of Tennessee and away from that life of share cropping; it also brought him to a union state with union jobs.

Dad worked for a Chevy dealership as a mechanic for 40 years, (except for a couple of years in the late 1970’s.) Dad had worked his way up to Service Manager. (I remember what a big deal that it was for my daddy to go to work wearing a tie. I recall looking in the closet at his was so extraordinary. Dad also no longer came home covered in grease.)

In the late 1970’s dad’s dealership went non-union. I will never forget what it was like, walking the picket lines with my family. The talks broke down, the union dissolved, my dad was fired.

He worked for a couple of different independent mechanic shops – but he could not make enough money, nor did he have any benefits. About this time mom, who had also worked for some auto dealerships and done miscellaneous odd jobs to help us survive over the years, started working nights as a custodian for the school district. She had to do this, the job offered benefits which my dad no longer had.

Dad was eventually hired back, at the same dealership, on the bench. On the bench means that he was once again an auto mechanic. No more ties, no more clean fingernails.

For the next 20 years dad worked as a mechanic. He finally retired, at age 65, one of the longest working employees at the dealership. He outworked the original owner’s son, who took over and retired while dad bent over cars and dolly’d under cars and had fucking computerized vehicles overtake auto mechanics (the technology changed so dramatically that the older mechanics just could not do it anymore – btw, when dad started working at the dealership, the owner’s son was still in High School.)

Meanwhile, mom worked her way up at the school district and eventually became a crew chief of a unit that went from school to school resurfacing the hardwood floors. She also worked on the board of her union, serving various volunteer positions.

After 20 years the district killed her position, dissolved her crew, and she had to take a seniority cut and go back to work in one of the schools. She worked nights for close to 30 years and put up with crap from students that no one should ever have to put up with. She was union – that is the only reason that her job was saved at all. She was union and had to put up with the crap that she did, but at least she had a job and she had benefits.

So, this whole anti-union, anti-American auto industry, Tennessee union-busting Senator, kill-the-American-dream-and-make-families-starve Bullshit really hits home. These bastards who sit in their offices making decisions that affect millions of people need to realize that these people are not numbers, they are not statistics, they are real people who are just trying to eat and take care of their families. They are trying to save their homes and be able to turn on the heat in the winter.

I remember when money was scarce and I remember not being able to turn on the heat. Luckily, for my family, we raised our own beef, had chickens for eggs, went hunting for venison in the fall, went fishing in the spring and had an enormous garden where we grew our own vegetables and had fruit trees out back. Our cellar and freezer were full – we were spoiled in that way and grateful for the plentiful food that we had…but we were always a paycheck away from losing it all. I never understood as a kid what a difference that growing and raising our food meant; not until adulthood brought grocery bills and an understanding of what my parents did.

Ya, you’re right, it is personal - I wish that it were personal for the Senators in DC.

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Troll bait - auto bailout edition

Here you go, trolls. Your very own free speech zone. Aren't you lucky? Can't say we never gave you anything.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Those Southern fucks killed the bill.

Those gawddammed Southern Senators - who hate the unions and love their foreign automaker's plants - killed the auto bailout bill.

How these bastards think that they can get away with this is beyond me. Do they think that we will not remember? Do they think that we will allow them to kill manufacturing, American Manufacturing, and not come after them when they are up for re-election? Do they really think that President Obama, with his army of friggin' email organizers, will allow them to run for re-election without us going door to door and reminding everyone that they killed the unions, manufacturing and brought on the next Republican Great Depression!?

Dammit, Dammit, Dammit!

Please, call the Congress tomorrow. Make three calls. Call both your Senators and your Representative and tell them what you want.

The Bastards.

UPDATE: Support the auto industry here, and at the UAW

UPDATE 2: (by id) The Senate vote, by yea or nay. Courtesy of dday, who says:
The 52 votes don't include Biden, Kerry (in Europe, I believe), Kennedy and Wyden (?). Add in those 4 plus Reid (who voted no for procedural reasons) and you're 3 votes away. Lame ducks Gordon Smith, John Sununu and Series of Toobz Stevens sat this out by not voting. Merkley, Shaheen and Begich would be likely to vote yes, and add in Biden and Obama's successors (whenever that is) and you have more than the votes needed to pass this come Jan. 6 when the new Congress is sworn in
So the automakers have to hold on for 25 more days as the new Congress will convene on January 6th.

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Sleeper Part 2?

Nothing disgusts me more than sexual abuse of kids under the age of 18. Now, a repulsive story out of Texas about sexual abuse of powerless teen males at a juvenile detention center. What bothers me the most about it, complaints were filed, test conducted, investigations carried out, "DNA samples collected" and yet, two years have passed since there has been any action on this case.
When Dwight Harris, executive director of the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), appeared before the Senate Finance Committee at the Capitol on February 1 to discuss his agency’s fiscal needs for the next biennium, he came prepared for some tough questions. It has been a difficult year for the troubled agency, which oversees the system of correctional facilities for boys and young men known as state schools. Last summer, federal agents investigated allegations of abuse following a riot at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg. The findings of that investigation are still pending, as is a multimillion-dollar civil rights lawsuit filed by several students. Statewide, the agency suffered a 48 percent turnover rate among staff last year. The recidivism rate for inmates, Harris told the panel, is hovering around 50 percent. Yet Harris was clearly not prepared when Sen. Juan Hinojosa, a Democrat from McAllen, asked about an alleged case of sex abuse by staff members at the West Texas State School in the rural town of Pyote west of Odessa.

The incident was a particularly ugly one, though few people outside the Permian Basin have ever heard of it. Following an investigation by the Texas Rangers and the FBI in February and March 2005, two of the highest-ranking officials at the school—the assistant superintendent, Ray Brookins, and the principal, John Paul Hernandez—were accused of having sexual relations with several students over an extended period. Both men denied the allegations, but investigators collected dozens of statements from students and staff, conducted polygraph tests on students, and collected DNA samples from semen-stained carpet and furniture at the school, according to a TYC inspector who assisted with the investigation. Yet there has been virtually no mention of the case in the media since the two men resigned nearly two years ago, nor have there been any arrests. Harris told the Senate panel that the investigation was closed. He also asserted it was the agency that alerted the Texas Rangers to the case and that his staff had done everything in their power to address the problems at Pyote...

Time to go after Texas Governor Rick Perry. His inaction is criminal.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick all knew about the acts of sexual violence being perpetrated on youthful offenders at the Texas Youth Commission as early as last fall.
But none bothered to act until this week.

Of course the corruption doesn't end there, our good buddy, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales knew at the same time as Gov. Perry what was happening and did nothing.

I guess they figure that will prevent those young criminals from ever doing anything wrong again. And sick adult men in positions of power get away with criminal behavior again. A sick fucking world we live in!

h/t McCamy Taylor at DU

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Crazy Has Only Just Begun.

Cesca, of HuffingtonPost, has summed it up nicely. I've taken the liberty to post it here.

Bob Cesca: Obama Unfairly Tainted by Crimes He Didn't Commit

We've seen this before: specious attempts to connect Barack Obama with corrupt or controversial figures in Chicago, followed, then, by a Republican and establishment media outcry for the president-elect to denounce and reject them. It appears as if in this post-Bushie universe, the president-elect doesn't have to be involved in corruption in order to be pegged as corrupt. Indeed, he can be entirely and vigorously declared to be absolutely corruption-free and still be tagged with the red letter "T" for "taint." This is what we can expect for the next four years. The crazy has only just begun.

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Obama’s First Scandal

The RNC demands to know “what did Obama know, and when did he know it?!?!”

The media has had their tits in wringers for two days now. All that the talking heads seem to be able to do is express their abject horror about how Blagojevich is the most corrupt politician ever [and he is a Democrat in Chicago and there are all kinds of webs and strings and common friends of Blagojevich and Obama.] There has been more insinuating on the TeeVees the last two days, than one usually receives in a topless bar in Canada.

It is worse than guilt by association; it is The Hunting of the President – The Sequel.

Id talked about this not long ago. We have actually discussed in several threads how this will be “the 90s on meth.” I am afraid that it might be worse. If we allow them even an inch on the rope that they are tying into a noose, if we let them draw even one line on their map to the witch hunt, it will easily get out of control. We have to stop this now…even before the oath. We cannot allow the Right Wing nuts to control the narrative. We have to quit bringing knives to gunfights and quit putting our faith in “the process.”

The process has changed and it is time that we Liberals figure out what game that we are really playing. We can’t allow goals to be scored while we are still trying to figure out the rules. It is a whole new ballgame now. One need only look at the hypocrisy of the “Great Chicago Scandal of 2008!” Consider that were actual connections between Right Wing Queen Palin and seven-time convicted felon Ted Stevens and we never saw the media reporting on these connections or even mentioning Stevens and Palin in the same sentence. The standard is so double that it has been divided into something that is not even a standard at all.

We might have to lower our standards a little to figure it out; I am not advocating immorality or the ends justify the means. All that I am saying is that when we are swimming around with a bunch of bottom feeders we cannot always expect to use the sunlight to see.

I do agree that Coyote is right, laugh at the bastards and call their absurdity what it is. I also think that we need additional strategies. I see things getting awfully ugly – the Right is digging in their heels and they are hanging on tight. They will not give up their hundred year rule wet-dream easily, they just won’t.

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The U in UAW - As In, "It's You They Want Dead"

Big Three

Here's the latest from Digby:
So the Republicans have thrown a roadblock in front of the auto bridge loan. There is no longer any doubt that they want the Big Three to fold by the end of the year. . .

This is really beyond destructive. These people are willing to take down the entire economy so they can bust the unions and prop up a completely discredited ideology with the bodies of middle class Americans who are losing everything.
Here's the post from Stoller she quotes a great deal from. Both are highly recommended reading.

I don't have a dog in this fight nor any real ideological position on the bailout, but I think it's wholly honest to believe that this is not just about killing the Three, but killing the UAW as well as strategically advancing the auto companies invested in Right to Work states. But Digby's probably off on her assessment of racism though - I'd want to see what the racial hiring composition comparison between non-union and Southern plants & unionized Northern plants is first.

This is a very dangerous game for the GOP. They have to play now before the inaugeration, they have to win in some fashion that props up their supporters and their sugar daddies, and they have to win in someway that doesn't cause everyone else whom doesn't instantly hate a Republican to keep their 'independence' intact.

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Retention Program?

American International Group Inc., whose bonuses are under fire from U.S. lawmakers, offered cash awards to an additional 38 executives in a 'Retention Program' with payments of as much as $4 million. The incentives range from $92,500 to $4 million for employees earning salaries between $160,000 and $1 million, Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy explained in a letter to Representative Elijah Cummings.

The New York-based insurer had disclosed that 130 managers would get the awards and that one executive would get $3 million. AIG, which received a U.S. rescue package of more than $152 billion, has been criticized for saying it will eliminate bonuses for senior executives while still planning to hand out “cash awards” that double or triple the salaries of some managers.

The payments, designed to keep top employees at AIG, will hence forth be called Retention money.

Changing the wording has become an art form today.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Disagree

Even after the reprieve of two movies today, I am already bored with the whole Blagojevich crap.

I found this interesting though.

Jane Hamsher thinks that if Caroline Kennedy wants the NY Senate Seat, then she should campaign for it.

I get her point. I do. She says that we do not need political dynasties, blah, blattity, blah. The thing is though that the Kennedys already are a political dynasty. We can't stop that. It already happened, years before I was born.

I say, get over it. If New York does not mind, then neither do I. Also, it is only for two years and then she will have to campaign for it.

Caroline Kennedy is a progressive and everything that she has done she has done with humility and honor. Give it to her. Or not. Truth is, it is not up to us, it is up to the Governor of New York. That is what our laws say. I'll abide with whatever Patterson does. I won't complain or cheer. Honestly, with Bush still in office for another 41 days, we have a whole lot of other shit to worry about.

What do you think?

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What a maroon!

Zachary Roth has the gory details:

Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois' U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife.

Of course, corruption is suddenly bad again now that the Dems are in charge. Funny how that works, huh? And again, it's Fitzgerald going after the corrupt. Doesn't Obama have something for him in his admin?

Update: Rahm Brought Down Blago! Really, they're going to have to flat out lie if they want to pin Blago on Obama.

The governor, accused of seeking cash for the political appointment of Obama's Senate replacement, is not a close associate of the President-elect. Indeed, in the affidavit, Blagojevich called Obama a "motherfucker" for wanting him to appoint an official that the governor either did not like or wouldn't receive money from. Local news reports, meanwhile, suggest that it was Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel who blew the whistle on the governor.

Update #2: Rahm Story Bogus!

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Open Thread

What to talk about today. Obama citizenship case will not be heard by SCOTUS. People are still dying in Iraq. Little bu$h is still pResident for another 40 some odd 42 days. And I'm still pissed at paradox for not explaining what P-Dip did wrong. Here's an open thread.And here is the rest of it.

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Monday, December 8, 2008


Farewell to our home base, The Left Coaster. Paradox has decided that he'll delete anyone who hurts his feelings, even long time supporters. Let us bow our heads, and mourn the passing of a once-great blog. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, even on the blogs. Goodbye, TLC - you'll be missed.

Update from Id: Principal writers, check your email. I've started an email discussion on what, if anything, we should do. If you have posting privileges, want to be part of the discussion, and did not get this email, let us know. Specifically - I can't find Milo's email address.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

David Fucking Gregory?

Are you gawddamned kidding me?!

Look, I get it, Brokaw was killing MTP. I know that in his "attempt" to be fair he overdid the whole Right-Wing friggin' stance on everything; and that this was the last thing that the American people wanted, but you do not fix that by going even further to the Right.

Jeebus, NBC. What.Are.You.Thinking!!??

David friggin' Gregory has killed your 6 pm programming with his "Race to the Whitehouse" show, AKA "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." Now, you really want to put the last nail in the coffin of MTP?! You really want MTP to die with Tim?!

Admittedly, I loved Tim Russert. I really did. I cried for 3 days when he died.

I just think that the talent to choose from was a much greater pool than the likes of gawddamned David Gregory. Any friggin' body would have been better.

My vote was for Phil Donahue or Bill Moyers. At this point though - anyone but Gregory would do.

Jeebus. It feels like the end of an era.

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Honesty to Return to the Veterans Administration?

General (Ret.) Eric Shinseki is named to lead the Veterans Administration. Anyone who disagreed with and was fired because of Rumsfield and Wolfowitz earns my respect. That means he is a straight shooter, no bullshit. He also happens to be a 2 tour Veteran of Vietnam who lost part of his foot stepping on a land mine. The first Asian-American 4 star General and leader of the Joints Chief of Staff.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has this to say about Shinseki:

"IAVA applauds President-elect Obama and the transition team for making this historic selection. General Shinseki has a record of courage and honesty, and is a bold choice to lead the VA into the future. The President-elect has demonstrated an understanding of the urgency of the issues facing America's veterans by making this announcement early. General Shinseki is widely-respected, honest and experienced. He is a man that has always put patriotism ahead of politics, and is held in high regard by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. IAVA looks forward to supporting him to implement the historic change that is needed at the VA.

As a wounded, decorated, combat veteran, and the first Asian American in US History to be a four-star general, General Shinseki, has the potential to be an effective and dedicated advocate for veterans of all generations.

This is a critical time for veterans. One in five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing serious mental health injuries like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression. Wounded veterans are waiting months, sometimes years, to receive disability benefits. The struggling U.S. economy is hitting new veterans especially hard. And the new GI Bill, which will make college affordable to every veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, must be implemented by August 2009.

General Shinseki has a monumental task before him. To address these issues will require real leadership that encourages active VA outreach and transparency. We encourage General Shinseki to move quickly to add Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to key positions in his senior staff.

President-elect Obama made veterans' issues a priority in his campaign, and Michelle Obama has called military families one of the issues she cares most about. We look forward to working closely with General Shinseki and the new Administration to ensure every veteran in this country gets the care and support they have earned."
And here is the rest of it.

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Car Czar?

Can we please lose the word Czar? Nixon named the first Government Czar in 1973. Since then we have had an Energy Czar, Health Care Czar, War Czar, Drug Czar, Aids Czar, Security Czar and even a Border Czar. The power and authority of this Country is turning America into a Czardom.

First of all, the connotations aren’t good. Czars were Russian despots, often decadent and often shot for their sins. Czar describes a job that’s not easily done. Few czars have been successful at their czarist tasks, probably through no fault of their own. It’s an ill-defined position that either falls of its own weight or, worse, leads to the creation of a huge bureaucracy (like the Energy Department) where none is needed.

So, please President Elect Obama, do not name a 'Car Czar,' as rumored.

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We Shall See

“I strongly believe there should be a single, clear standard for interrogation across the federal government, and that this standard should comply with the Geneva Convention, the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and U.S. law. I plan to introduce legislation in January that would close Guantanamo, make the Army Field Manual the single standard for interrogations, prohibit contractors from being used to carry out interrogations and provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with access to detainees. If the incoming administration decides to propose an alternative to this legislation, I am willing to hear its views. But I believe we must put an end to coercive interrogations by the C.I.A.” Diane Feinstein on Thursday.

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Thanks for the invite everyone. I accept your offer and will try to add something of value now and then. Nice to be blogging with the best from TLC.

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