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Boomerette hits emergency room west of Baghdad
Today's Headlines
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Africa Subsaharan
UN accuses rebels, militia of war crimes in Congo
Rebels and pro-government militiamen executed civilians this week in two waves of terror that the top U.N envoy to Congo said Saturday amount to war crimes--ones that highlight the inability of undermanned U.N. peacekeepers to protect civilians.

Meanwhile, Congo's army advanced toward rebel lines Saturday, with renewed fighting near the provincial capital of Goma threatening a fragile cease-fire.

Fighting broke out Friday near Kibati, about six miles (10 kilometers) north of Goma. By Saturday morning the army had moved more than half a mile (at least one kilometer) north into a no man's land that had been unpatrolled since the rebels called a cease-fire 10 days ago after routing the army.

U.N. envoy Alan Doss said "war crimes that we cannot tolerate" were committed at Kiwanja, by rebel leader Laurent Nkunda's fighters and by Mai Mai militiamen supporting the government.

U.N. investigators on Friday visited 11 graves containing what villagers said were 26 bodies, U.N. spokeswoman Sylvie van den Wildenberg said. New York-based Human Rights Watch said the death toll could be higher.

"We are getting reports of more than 50 dead, but we are still in the process of confirming that information," Anneke Van Woudenberg, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press.

Van den Wildenberg and Dietrich said it appeared the rebels committed many more executions than the militia.

U.N. peacekeepers have a well-established base in Kiwanja, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Goma, but it has only 120 soldiers in the town of 30,000 to 50,000.

They were pinned down under crossfire for some of the first day of the killings Tuesday, and were hampered because militiamen were hiding in houses among civilians, military spokesman Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich told The Associated Press.

Peacekeepers also were trying to deter rebel attacks on two other towns, Nyanzale and Kikuku, on Wednesday when the killings in Kiwanja continued, he said.

The peacekeepers carried out small patrols in Kiwanja and were fired at by militia, he said. The peacekeepers returned fire.

"It's very difficult to protect thousands of civilians, especially at night," Dietrich said.

Doss told a news conference, "Sadly we can't protect every person in the Kivus (provinces)."

Regional leaders at a summit Friday in Nairobi condemned the peacekeepers' failure to protect civilians--the primary mandate of the 17,000-man force in Congo, a country the size of Western Europe where dozens of armed groups daily perpetrate gross human rights abuses.

An AP reporter in Kiwanja on Thursday saw the bodies of two men lying on the main road where they had been shot, less than a mile (1 1/2 kilometers) from the U.N. camp.

Witnesses said rebels had targeted people from the Nande tribe, from which the Mai Mai draws most of its fighters.

On Friday, six relatives wrapped the body of 49-year-old Zawadi Katsuva in a tarpaulin and carried it to a shallow grave in the back yard of his home. It is not known how many such victims may go uncounted, as Congolese bury their dead as soon possible because of the tropical heat.

Katsuva's brother Willem Kambale, 66, said he watched more than 20 rebels come to the house, demand money and a mobile phone and, when they did not get either, shoot his brother behind the left ear.

U.N. officials say residents suffered two waves of terror: first the Mai Mai militia came and killed people it accused of supporting the rebels; then the rebels won control and killed those they charged had supported the militia.

The rebels also looted and burned homes and a hotel, witnesses said.

They killed many victims execution style, with bullets to the head, residents told the AP. Some residents said the rebels dressed the dead, most of them young men, in military uniforms.

"It's not justice," Kiwanja municipal judge Jean Katembo said. The rebels "kill people with no respect for the law."

Rebel leader Nkunda already is accused of crimes against humanity, and Congo's government issued an international arrest warrant against him after he defected from the army in 2004. It cites war crimes including massacres of civilians in 2002, when he was still in the army, and in 2004 when he took his rebellion to eastern Bukavu town.

Nkunda has accused the government of committing war crimes.

More than 250,000 people have been forced from their homes since Nkunda launched a new offensive Aug. 28 and captured large swaths of eastern Congo as the army retreated. The conflict is fueled by ethnic hatred left over from the 1994 slaughter of a half-million Tutsis in Rwanda. Nkunda first said he was fighting to protect minority Tutsis from Rwandan Hutu rebels who participated in the genocide and then fled to Congo.

Lately he has said he is fighting to "liberate" all Congo from an allegedly corrupt government.

Thousands more refugees were on the move again Saturday. Some have been on the run for weeks, hefting bundles of belongings, children and goats as they try to keep ahead of the violence.

They trudged past hundreds of soldiers guarding the road toward Goma. Among them, AP reporters saw Portuguese-speaking black soldiers wearing green berets with pins in the shape of a map of Angola. Doss said Saturday he did not have direct independent confirmation that Angolan soldiers were in Congo.

The presence of Angolans in the volatile region could be seen as a provocation by neighboring Rwanda, raising tensions and fears that Congo's conflicts could again spill over its borders.

Congo asked Angola for support Oct. 29, as the rebels advanced toward Goma, which is on the border with Rwanda.
Posted by: Fred || 11/09/2008 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

Myanmar building up troops on Banglaborder
Tension between Bangladesh and Myanmar intensified Friday as Myanmar started reinforcing border troops after talks in Myanmar over disputed waters in the Bay of Bengal failed.
This should be friggin' hilarious.
Posted by: Fred || 11/09/2008 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I'll be rooting for them both to lose, which is an entirely possible outcome. India decides it needs sea access for its northeast and decides to separating the beligerents with a neutral zone it controls.
Posted by: phil_b || 11/09/2008 0:25 Comments || Top||

#2  We should supply both sides so it lasts longer.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 11/09/2008 4:01 Comments || Top||

#3  Seized main bearings.... in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
Posted by: .5MT || 11/09/2008 21:21 Comments || Top||



Posted by: JosephMendiola || 11/09/2008 21:23 Comments || Top||

80 hurt in Awami League factional clashes in 3 districts
More than 80 people were injured as Awami League factions clashed over finalising the panels of candidates for the upcoming parliamentary polls in Patuakhali, Noakhali and Comilla yesterday.
Posted by: Fred || 11/09/2008 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Georgia fired first shot, say UK monitors
Two former British military officers are expected to give crucial evidence against Georgia when an international inquiry is convened to establish who started the country's bloody five-day war with Russia in August.

Ryan Grist, a former British Army captain, and Stephen Young, a former RAF wing commander, are said to have concluded that, before the Russian bombardment began, Georgian rockets and artillery were hitting civilian areas in the breakaway region of South Ossetia every 15 or 20 seconds. Their accounts seem likely to undermine the American-backed claims of President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia that his little country was the innocent victim of Russian aggression and acted solely in self-defence.

During the war both Grist and Young were senior figures in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The organisation had deployed teams of unarmed monitors to try to reduce tension over South Ossetia, which had split from Georgia in a separatist struggle in the early 1990s with Russia's support.

On the night war broke out, Grist was the senior OSCE official in Georgia. He was in charge of unarmed monitors who became trapped by the fighting. Based on their observations, Grist briefed European Union diplomats in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, with his assessment of the conflict.

Grist, who resigned from the OSCE shortly afterwards, has told The New York Times it was Georgia that launched the first military strikes against Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital. "It was clear to me that the [Georgian] attack was completely indiscriminate and disproportionate to any, if indeed there had been any, provocation," he said. "The attack was clearly, in my mind, an indiscriminate attack on the town, as a town."

Last month Young gave a similar briefing to visiting military attachés, in which he reportedly supported the monitors' assessment that there had been little or no shelling of Georgian villages on the night Saakashvili's troops mounted an onslaught on Tskhinvali in which scores of civilians and Russian peacekeepers died. "If there had been heavy shelling in areas that Georgia claimed were shelled, then our people would have heard it, and they didn't," Young reportedly said. "They heard only occasional small-arms fire."

Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister who helped broker the ceasefire that ended the war and has been a fierce critic of the Russian invasion of Georgia, is tomorrow due to announce a commission of inquiry into the conflict at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The inquiry will be chaired by a Swiss expert as a mark of independence and will try to establish who was to blame for the conflict. European and OSCE sources say it is likely to seek evidence from the two former British officers.

The inquiry comes as the EU softens its hardline position towards Russia amid mounting European scepticism about Saakashvili's judgment.
And that's why this news is coming out now.
Europe is preparing to resume negotiations with Moscow this month on a new partnership and cooperation agreement, which it froze when Russia invaded Georgia, routed its army and recognised the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway region.

Although Grist and Young know only part of the picture, their evidence appears to support Russia's claim that the Georgian attack was well underway by the time their troops and armour crossed the border in a huge counter-strike.

Georgia attacked South Ossetia on the night of August 7-8. In the afternoon an OSCE patrol had seen Georgian artillery and Grad rocket launchers massing just outside the enclave. At 6pm the monitors were told of suspected Georgian shelling of a village.

Georgia declared a unilateral ceasefire. But at 11pm it announced that Georgian villages were being shelled and began a military operation to "restore constitutional order" in South Ossetia. Soon afterwards the Georgian bombardment of Tskhinvali began. By 12.35am the OSCE monitors had recorded more than 100 rockets or shells exploding in Tskhinvali.

Russia sent in troops and armour, saying they were there to protect its peacekeepers and the civilian population. The invasion attracted worldwide condemnation and led to a deterioration in relations between Moscow and the West. Many western leaders depicted Russia as an expansionist giant determined to crush its tiny neighbour. They rallied to Georgia's defence amid calls for it to be rapidly admitted to Nato, Saakashvili's most fervent wish.

The president argued that Russia had attacked Georgia because "we want to be free" and that his country was fighting a defensive war.

Critical to his argument was his claim that he had ordered the Georgian army to attack South Ossetia in self-defence after mobile telephone intercepts from the Russian border revealed that Russian army vehicles were entering Georgian territory through the Roki tunnel. "We wanted to stop the Russian troops before they could reach Georgian villages," Saakashvili said. "When our tanks moved toward Tskhinvali, the Russians bombed the city. They were the ones -- not us -- who reduced it to rubble."

Russia counters that the war began at 11.30pm, when Saakashvili ordered an attack, well before any Russian combat troops and armour crossed the border through the tunnel.
Posted by: john frum || 11/09/2008 09:52 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6484 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Gloat, gloat.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 11/09/2008 11:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Goat, not gloat, as in "being played"
Posted by: Frank G || 11/09/2008 12:15 Comments || Top||

#3  And Russian ships who needed 60 hours to amke the trip, arrived fully loaded to Gerorgian coast just 48 hours after that first shot.
Posted by: JFM || 11/09/2008 12:26 Comments || Top||

#4  You sure you want to adopt that attitude Mr G?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 11/09/2008 14:58 Comments || Top||

#5  And Russian ships who needed 60 hours to amke the trip, arrived fully loaded to Gerorgian coast just 48 hours after that first shot.

Wow! That proves that Condi's friend didn't really fire on civilians and then lied about it!
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 11/09/2008 14:59 Comments || Top||

#6  definitely, Mr. G. The Russian's wouldn't ever possibly lie, now would they? Heritage aside, you've gotta be less of a booster and quit defending the undefensible - a grasping empire-building Putin?
Posted by: Frank G || 11/09/2008 15:18 Comments || Top||

#7  Gloat, gloat.

Posted by: Milton Fandango || 11/09/2008 15:35 Comments || Top||

#8  or indefensible

/my own pedantic asshole correction urges
Posted by: Frank G || 11/09/2008 15:40 Comments || Top||

#9  I see you do want to adopt this attitude.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 11/09/2008 15:48 Comments || Top||

#10  affirmative. Apologetics for overreaching wanna-be tsars is unacceptable, I mean, after all, you're not one of those on his death-list, are you?
Posted by: Frank G || 11/09/2008 16:18 Comments || Top||

#11  Zionism it's the saving grace of deh Russ.
Posted by: .5MT || 11/09/2008 21:23 Comments || Top||

Twenty die on Russian submarine
This may be the Nerpa, an Akula-2 SSN which is rumored to leased next year to India
At least 20 people have died in an incident involving the failure of a fire extinguishing system on a Russian nuclear submarine, local media report. Russian Pacific Fleet spokesman Igor Dygalo said both sailors and shipyard workers died in the incident, which occurred during sea trials. He said the submarine itself had not been damaged and there had been no radiation leaks.

Military prosecutors are investigating the incident. The submarine, whose name and class have not been revealed, has been ordered to suspend sea trials and return to port in the far eastern Primorye territory, Capt Dygalo said. "I declare with full responsibility that the reactor compartment on the nuclear-powered submarine is working normally and the radiation background is normal," he said, quoted by Itar-Tass news agency. There were 208 people on board at the time, 81 of whom were servicemen. Twenty-one injured people have been evacuated from the submarine, sources at the fleet said.
I read in the Iran Press account of the incident that it was an accident with the fire extinguisher system.
Reports say the incident occurred in the nose of the vessel. The nuclear reactor, which is in the stern, was not affected. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is being kept fully informed about the incident, his press service said. Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Kolmakov and Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Vysotsky are flying to the scene of the incident.

Russia's worst submarine disaster happened in August 2000, when the nuclear-powered Kursk sank in the Barents Sea. All 118 people on board died.
Posted by: john frum || 11/09/2008 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  That's how they roll.
Posted by: Last Breath Farm Resident || 11/09/2008 0:25 Comments || Top||

#2  If there were 208 people in that sub they must have been packed in like sardines. Maybe someone hit the button with his elbow.

Per a comment on another thread, if they used a "noble gas" system then they may have died from lack of oxygen. Halon was the super-duper system for a while (displaced air including oxygen and no damage to anything in the room) until a few folks killed themselves in closed rooms.
Posted by: tipover || 11/09/2008 0:38 Comments || Top||

If we really want to rattle the Russian cage, offer to lease a Los Angeles class boat to the Indians. I understand we have several that were decommissioned before their time just because we didn't want to refuel them. The Indians could pay for that and get a submarine with which to learn.

Posted by: Steve White || 11/09/2008 1:05 Comments || Top||

#4  Naval Reactors would have to be disbanded for that to happen.
Posted by: .5MT || 11/09/2008 4:31 Comments || Top||

#5  The death of soldiers, sailors, Marines, or airmen always makes me sad, no matter where they come from.
Posted by: Besoeker || 11/09/2008 6:31 Comments || Top||

#6  The Chakra, which the Russian Navy calls the Nerpa was on trials off Viadivostok when the fire extinguishing system accidentally triggered off suffocating the crew.

At the time of accident, there were total 208 personnel including 81 Russian Navy personnel on board the submarine. No Indian crew was on board defence sources told India Today.

The first Indian crew were to leave New Delhi for Vladivostok next week to start training on the submarine. The chakra was to be handed over to the Indian last year but delayed due to technical glitches. It is to be included in the Navy on August 15, 2009, though this accident has now cast a question mark on this date.
Posted by: john frum || 11/09/2008 7:13 Comments || Top||

#7  experts reacting to preliminary reports of the accident on board the Nerpa say it could have been the result of an accidental discharge of deadly Freon gas used in the AFFF system to combat serious fires on submarines.

Every Russian submarine has three types of fire fighting systems. Portable extinguishers which use water and chemicals to douse small fires and need no breathing apparatus for operation, a fixed VPL system which uses water and chemicals for medium fires which has hoses in every compartment but needs no breathing apparatus for operation.

Aqueous Film Forming Foam or AFFF system used to combat Class B fires on submarines by providing a barrier between the burning substance and oxygen uses a deadly Freon mixture which kills instantly. This is released only when the compartment is fully engulfed in fire. It is released after the compartment is vacated and sealed. The chemical is then released from an adjacent compartment to completely smother the fire. The crew can enter the compartment, wearing breathing apparatus, only after the fire is doused and the compartment ventilated for a few hours.
Posted by: john frum || 11/09/2008 7:17 Comments || Top||

#8  All those extra people coming on board did not bring their own "extra" PPE with them. When the accident happened, a very deadly game of musical-PPE ensued.
Posted by: Minister of funny walks || 11/09/2008 11:59 Comments || Top||

#9  Will someone "in the know" explain what PPE is?

Posted by: Frozen Al || 11/09/2008 13:52 Comments || Top||

#10  personal protective equipment - OSHA required for certain jobs, like confined spaces, etc.
Posted by: Frank G || 11/09/2008 14:05 Comments || Top||


Wel-l-l, methinks the plans of Indian Generals, Admirals, + Politicos may now change after this incident???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 11/09/2008 18:58 Comments || Top||

Russian Submarine's fire safety system kills 20

* 20 people killed in Russian sub accident
* Firefighting system released deadly gas
* "Victims didn't notice gas until too late"

TWENTY people died of gas poisoning and another 22 were injured in an accident on a Russian nuclear submarine in the Sea of Japan that revived memories of the Kursk submarine disaster in 2000.

The submarine's nuclear reactor was not damaged and background radiation levels in the naval testing zone where the accident occurred were "normal," a naval spokesman said.

"During sea trials of a nuclear-powered submarine of the Pacific Fleet the firefighting system went off unsanctioned, killing over 20 people, including servicemen and workers," said Captain Igor Dygalo, the navy's spokesman.

The high-speed attack submarine was being tested after a construction process that began in 1991 and became bogged down after the Soviet collapse.

State media said the vessel had been due to be delivered to India's navy.

Officials said three naval officers and 17 civilians had died in the accident. Capt Dygalo said the victims included servicemen and shipyard workers who had been participating in the trials.

Autopsies showed the victims died from inhaling freon gas released into part of the submarine when its fire extinguishing system activated for reasons that are unclear, news agencies quoted Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the federal investigative committee, as saying.

Although the crew were issued with portable breathing devices, "it's probable the submariners didn't notice the inflow of gas and when they felt it, it was already too late," RIA Novosti quoted an unidentified official at navy headquarters as saying.

The injured were evacuated from the stricken submarine aboard an accompanying ship and were taken to hospital to be treated for poisoning, Pacific Fleet hospital officials said. Their lives were not thought to be in danger.

The toll of dead and injured made the accident the worst involving a Russian submarine since the 2000 Kursk disaster, when 118 crewmen died.

The submarine itself returned to the port of Bolshoi Kamen, site of a large refitting shipyard, where the bodies of the dead were offloaded, a spokesman for the shipyard said.

Television pictures showed the hulking vessel, more than 100m in length and with a bulbous tail section housing its sonar array, heading for the port.

The accident occurred yesterday and Capt Dygalo said President Dmitry Medvedev had been briefed by Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and had ordered a "full and meticulous" investigation.

Capt Dygalo did not identify the submarine involved.

However, a source in the Amur shipyard administration named the vessel as the K-152 Nerpa, a submarine of the Project 971 Shchuka-B type, or Akula-class by NATO classification, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The Nerpa was to be leased to the Indian navy, with New Delhi reportedly paying $US2 billion for the lease of two Akula-class submarines, with the option of eventually buying them.

In October officials from the Amur shipyard reported the launch of sea trials for the 8140-tonne Nerpa.

The Echo of Moscow radio station reported that the shipyard had been beset by problems including failure to pay workers since the arrest of a shareholder last December. It said this had led to a decline in standards.

Federal investigators opened a criminal probe into the accident, Interfax news agency reported.

Capt Dygalo said that the submarine itself was not damaged and there was no radiation leak.

A total of 208 people were aboard the submarine, of whom 81 were servicemen while the others were naval technicians and specialists.

Following the Kursk disaster in 2000, in which a vast nuclear submarine sank in the Barents Sea after an explosion on board, the Kremlin was harshly criticised for its sluggish and secretive response.

In addition to the Kursk disaster, Russia has seen a string of mishaps with its naval submarines.

Nine sailors died aboard a K-159 submarine that sank in the Barents Sea in August 2003 while being towed to port for decommissioning.

In 2005, a mini-submarine of the Pacific Fleet got snared underwater in a fishing net, requiring the help of a British rescue team that arrived many hours later as the vessel's oxygen supplies were dwindling.
Posted by: Oztralian || 11/09/2008 19:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6502 views] Top|| File under:


Meanwhile BATMAN, on another BAT CHANNEL:

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 11/09/2008 20:49 Comments || Top||

#2  I highly doubt that the program will be aborted. India cannot acquire another nuclear submarine on short notice. Russia is their sole vendor of opportunity.
Posted by: Milton Fandango || 11/09/2008 21:15 Comments || Top||


Posted by: JosephMendiola || 11/09/2008 21:57 Comments || Top||

China announces $586 billion stimulus plan
Expect China to be front and centre in dealing with the worldwide economic down turn. How it's handled will be the difference between a short term recession or a long term depression.
China unveiled a $586 billion stimulus package Sunday in its biggest move to inoculate the world's fourth-largest economy against the global financial crisis. The Cabinet approved a plan to invest the money in infrastructure and social welfare by the end of 2010, a statement on the government's Web site said.

Some of the money will come from the private sector. The statement did not say how much of the spending is on new projects and how much is for ventures already in the pipeline that will be speeded up.

China's export-driven economy is starting to feel the pinch of weakening U.S. and European economies, and the government has already cut key interest rates three times in less than two months in a bid to spur economic expansion. Economic growth slowed to 9 percent in the third quarter, the lowest level in five years and a sharp decline from last year's 11.9 percent.

That is considered dangerously slow for a government that needs to create jobs for millions of new workers who enter the economy every year and to satisfy a public that has come to expect steadily rising incomes.

Exports have been growing at an annual rate of more than 20 percent but analysts expect that may fall as low as zero in coming months as global demand weakens.

The International Monetary Fund has urged governments to adopt economic stimulus packages and, in some cases, to cut interest rates further, to counteract the slowdown.

China joins other major economies such as the U.S., Japan and Germany which have already introduced their own stimulus plans. The U.S. allocated $168 billion earlier this year for tax rebates to individuals and tax breaks for businesses. Germany set aside $29 billion for tax breaks on new cars and credit assistance for companies. Japan allotted $275 billion for loans to small- and mid-sized businesses and discounts on highway tolls among other measures.

On Wednesday, finance officials from the G-20 group of major wealthy and developing nations convene in Washington to discuss a strategy for strengthening the global economy. Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to attend.

China's statement said the Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, had "decided to adopt active fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policies."

The statement said the spending would focus on 10 areas. They included picking up the pace of spending on low-cost housing -- an urgent need in many parts of the country -- as well as increased spending on rural infrastructure. Money will also be poured into new railways, roads and airports. Spending on health and education will be increased, as well as on environmental protection and technology.

Spending on rebuilding disaster areas, such as Sichuan province where 70,000 people were killed and millions left homeless by a massive earthquake in May, will also be accelerated. That includes $2.93 billion planned for next year that will be moved up to the fourth quarter of this year.

The statement said rural and urban incomes would be increased. Credit limits for commercial banks will also be removed to channel more lending to priority projects and rural development, it said. Reform of the value-added tax system will cut taxes by $17.5 billion for enterprises, the statement said.
Posted by: tipper || 11/09/2008 16:03 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6483 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Economic growth slowed to 9 percent in the third quarter, the lowest level in five years and a sharp decline from last year's 11.9 percent.

If we had a growth rate of 9%, we would be ecstatic. We used to manufacture much of the stuff we now import from them.
Posted by: JohnQC || 11/09/2008 16:47 Comments || Top||

#2  How about sending a few dollars our way?
Posted by: ed || 11/09/2008 19:05 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 11/09/2008 21:08 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
US Secret Service climbs on ......we blame Palin bandwagon.
Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign. The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric. But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.
And of course no one can actually find anyone who yelled these things about Obama at a rally. This was disproven a month ago but it's now part of the 'narrative' to tear Palin down.
The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin's credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.
So hopes the MSM ...
Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."

Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.
None of the aides are named, and to be clear, Senator McCain did a nice job of losing the election all on his own.
That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africawas a continent rather than a country.
Leaks that the MSM is happy to spread ...
The advisers have branded her a "diva" and a "whack job" and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

In a bid to salvage her reputation Mrs Palin came out firing in an interview with CNN, dismissing the anonymous leakers in unpresidential language as "jerks" who had taken "questions or comments I made in debate prep out of context."

She said: "I consider it cowardly. It's not true. That's cruel, it's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news that's not fair and not right."

She was not asked about her incendiary rhetoric against Mr Obama. But she did deny the spending spree claims, saying the clothes in question had been returned to the Republican National Committee. "Those are the RNC's clothes, they're not my clothes. I asked for anything more than maybe a diet Dr Pepper once in a while. These are false allegations."

Speaking as she returned to her native Alaska, Mrs Palin claimed to be baffled by what she claims was sexism on the national stage. "Here in Alaska that double standard isn't applied because these guys know that Alaskan women are pretty tough, on a par with the men in terms of being outdoors, working hard," she said. "They're commercial fishermen, they're pilots, they're working up on the North slopein the oil fields. You see equality in Alaska. I think that was a bit of as surprise on the national level."
New day, new handler, new story and we're stick'n with it! Just remember boys, the Renegade could have been der Hilderbeast redux.
Posted by: Besoeker || 11/09/2008 08:06 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6481 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I don't know if this sh*tstorm is a deliberate attempt to push her supporters out of the GOP (self-selection purge?) or just elitist asses falling back on what they know best, but if this doesn't quit it's going to relegate the GOP to the outer darkness for a long time. I know it's making me think twice about voting GOP going forward (not that I'll ever vot Dem again).
Posted by: xbalanke || 11/09/2008 12:59 Comments || Top||

#2  Heaven forbid the GOP VP candidate criticize Teh One! Any criticism might raise the negatives on the messiah! That is verboten!

What a piece of journalistic trash
Posted by: Frank G || 11/09/2008 13:22 Comments || Top||

#3  More "anonymous" sources. If real sources and members of Secret Service, they should be fired for unprofessional conduct. If the reporters are lying THEY should be fired.
Posted by: tipover || 11/09/2008 13:22 Comments || Top||

#4  The Country Club Republicans always felt uncomfortable with Reagan, but couldn't argue with success. They have been trying ever since to take the party back from "the great unwashed" from flyover country.

Sarah Palin is just the latest obstacle to get in their way. These "inside the beltway" Republicans hate Palin just as much as their Democrat counterparts. This is just an attempt to make her radioactive for the 2012 elections.

Posted by: Frozen Al || 11/09/2008 13:47 Comments || Top||

#5  The country club republorcans not only cost us the election with their bailout crap, they got the knives sharpened for us all beforehand.

We CAN'T work with these people; we're gonna have to start a new party of our own.

And as I said before, I got the _perfect_ name for it.

The Belle Moose party.
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 11/09/2008 14:03 Comments || Top||

#6  The Belle Moose Party--that's funny. Palin was swimming with sharks in both parties. She seemed to me like a good person that didn't know everything but could learn--that was refreshing for a change instead of a lot of blowhard windbags pontificating from D.C.
Posted by: JohnQC || 11/09/2008 14:43 Comments || Top||

#7  Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

Gee, I have no Idea.

Posted by: bigjim-ky || 11/09/2008 16:13 Comments || Top||

#8  Thing From Snowy Mountain,
How about a Nationalist party?
Posted by: bigjim-ky || 11/09/2008 16:15 Comments || Top||

#9  TFSM - I would be happy to support a new party, but I've got a better name for it - the American Constitutionalist Party, with the primary policy issue the adherence to the Constitution as it was written and amended. Of course, I'd love to do away with several of the amendments, especially the 17th.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 11/09/2008 16:33 Comments || Top||

#10  I guess it was asking for a diet Dr. Pepper that pissed off anonymous aides. Palin worked hard during the campaign--something that maybe these same incompetent aides should done. She is a good woman that doesn't deserve what she got. These gutless no-name aides should go screw themselves. They are scapegoating and looking for cover for their own inadequacies.
Posted by: JohnQC || 11/09/2008 16:36 Comments || Top||

#11  I want these anonymous backstabbing c**ksuckers named and banished from all future campaigns. Who needs them? They ran a terrible campaign, including Johnny Mac, who can't bestir himself to defend Palin, but was snap-responding in a nanosecond to anyone who mentioned "hussein", "wright", "ayers", "socialist", etc....
Posted by: Frank G || 11/09/2008 16:41 Comments || Top||

#12  I think the insiders know who the unnamed aides are, and I don't think they'll work a national campaign ever again.
Posted by: Steve White || 11/09/2008 17:43 Comments || Top||

#13  Give this one a try.

Posted by: Hellfish || 11/09/2008 19:15 Comments || Top||

#14  Third parties only ensure that the other side wins. You have to work to take control of one of the two dominant parties. That's what the Marxists and Socialists did with the Democratic Party.
Posted by: ed || 11/09/2008 19:26 Comments || Top||

#15  I'm guessing that the Axle-guy and the In-the-tank-media have absolutely nothing to do with these anonymous sources....because if the 2012 campaign has already, commenced, then the Jindal smears are pending.

The Palin slime attacks are a measure of just how much any Repub candidate will have to endure.

The Tank has already decided that their candidate will bear no scrutiny, while the opposition must be destroyed.
Posted by: Skunky Glins 5*** || 11/09/2008 19:51 Comments || Top||

#16  "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

Maybe because YOU hate US! Stupid bitch.

Posted by: OldSpook || 11/09/2008 22:11 Comments || Top||

#17  Bottom line for the GOP:

It turned out a far LOWER percentage and a far lower NUMBER of its voters than 4 years ago.

REpublicans simply did NOT show up.

Thanks JOhn McCain - and thank you RNC f***wits for letting New Hampshire Democrats and the MSM choose our candidate for us.


Put New Hampshire at the BACK of the line, and put important swing states like PA, OH, FL, CO (and now VA) first.
Posted by: OldSpook || 11/09/2008 22:14 Comments || Top||

#18  OK, I'm officially extremely skeptical about the USSS advising the Obama family as claimed. It doesn't pass the smell test - how would the USSS actually assess the motivation of threats? Did people making threats cite (incorrect) reports of shouted statements at Palin rallies? Excuse me? Just doesn't add up.

To make things far, far more bitter - in the '04 campaign, I have heard from a friend who shared sat at a luncheon next to a high-ranking USSS offical in October of that year, the presidential protection operation faced the most severe threat environment it has ever faced. Spending and personnel were surged to deal with it.

That's right - the national hysteria of BDS, whipped up by a despicable irresponsible opposition, and a contemptible media, and a demented popular culture, resulted in a hot environment for GWB during his last campaign. If you were in the US that year, this DOES pass the smell test.

I don't doubt that Obama will bring out a particular element of insane idiots (as opposed to other elements, who other president would bring out), and I hope/trust the USSS will squash them like bugs. Obama's security, like that of his predecessors, remains a vital national interest.

But it would be nice if a former USSS official would blow the whistle on this B.S., and let people know how their casual adoption of BDS helped result in a real threat to our president four years ago.
Posted by: Verlaine || 11/09/2008 22:22 Comments || Top||

#19  That's what the Marxists and Socialists did with the Democratic Party.

A minor quibble, it is NOT the Democratic Party. It is the Democrat Party, big difference.
Posted by: Gomez Unusoting2230 || 11/09/2008 23:05 Comments || Top||

#20  The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign,

Consider the source - Newsweek - the propaganda arm of the Socialist Democratic Party. Must be feeling the pressure of competition from MSNBC for Leftist of the Year award so had to come up with something!
Posted by: CrazyFool || 11/09/2008 23:31 Comments || Top||

Iran economists slam president in open letter
Iran's confrontational attitude toward the rest of the world is costing the country dearly in lost trade and investment, according to a letter signed by 60 economists published on Saturday.

The open letter, the latest addressed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and published by the semi-official Ilna news agency, denounced the "heavy price paid by the country over the negative consequences of government policy."

In particular, it spoke of the "misguided trade policy and the policy of tension with the rest of the world, which has deprived Iran of opportunities for trade and foreign investment."

It said the sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council over Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment had added billions of dollars in extra costs to the country's foreign trade.

The letter, signed by economists from major universities around the country, criticizes what it calls "extremist idealism," an "undue haste in acting" and the "absence of cost assessment on economic programs."

Ahmadinejad swept to power in 2005 on a populist campaign of ploughing huge amounts of cash into local infrastructure and granting low-interest business loans to create jobs.

He has come under fire over those policies, and that has resulted in several key economic figures being sacked, including the central bank head and economy minister.

Economists have lamented a focus on encouraging consumption that has seen imports surge, rather than investing in domestic industry and saving for the future.

Posted by: Fred || 11/09/2008 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Iran

#1  $60 / barrel oil may accomplish what years of diplomacy couldn't. If we're lucky, Imadinnerjacket and the Mad Mullahs may say hello to the Shah.
Posted by: DMFD || 11/09/2008 20:40 Comments || Top||

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes
Hat tip Instapundit
Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. 'They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.'
Probably means a kw/hour
Deal claims to have more than 100 firm orders, largely from the oil and electricity industries, but says the company is also targeting developing countries and isolated communities. 'It's leapfrog technology,' he said.
Take that oil ticks!
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 11/09/2008 11:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6488 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Jump on it. This is fantastic!
Posted by: newc || 11/09/2008 13:52 Comments || Top||

#2  Color me skeptical. If they don't have demonstration models now, they won't be shipping anything in five years. And if they ever do have an actual product the cost will be more like $250MM/unit after litigation related expense.
Posted by: Classical_Liberal || 11/09/2008 16:29 Comments || Top||

#3  I'll believe it when I see it. The numbers sound more like wild promotional marketing than engineering numbers, and there are a whole lot of unanswered questions like where does the waste heat go and who pays for the fuel reprocessing and disposal.

"Probably means a kw/hour"
No, I think they do mean 10 cents a watt. $250 per home would allow each home 2,500 watts. Not enough for my modest home, but it may be enough in parts of the UK.
Posted by: Darrell || 11/09/2008 16:47 Comments || Top||

#4  I had to dig around on the Hyperion web site, but eventually I found it in a press release:
"Each unit produces 70 MWt, or 27 MWe when connected to a steam turbine - enough to provide electricity for 20,000 average American-size homes or the industrial equivalent."

So the price they're touting is just a heat source: steam turbines, condensers, generators, etc. are not included.

Don't get too excited.
Posted by: Darrell || 11/09/2008 16:54 Comments || Top||

#5  The wife and I were flying out to the left coast to visit the daughter in October. I picked up the October 2008 issue of Discovery and was thumbing through it. The following excerpt caught my attention:

"...an obscure piece of technology known as the vanadium redox flow battery. This unusual battery was invented more than 20 years ago by Maria Skyllas-Kazacos, a tenacious professor of electro chemistry at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The vanadium battery has a marvelous advantage over lithium-ion and most other types of batteries. It can absorb and release huge amounts of electricity at the drop of a hat and do so over and over, making it ideal for smoothing out the flow from wind turbines and solar cells.
Posted by: JohnQC || 11/09/2008 17:11 Comments || Top||

#6  Excellent, wonder if she has a patent on that reflux-battery, if not why not?
Posted by: .5MT || 11/09/2008 21:38 Comments || Top||

Home Front Economy
Regulators shut banks in Texas, California
Regulators shut down Houston-based Franklin Bank and Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles on Friday, bringing the number of failures of federally insured banks this year to 19.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Franklin Bank, which had $5.1 billion in assets and $3.7 billion in deposits as of Sept. 30, and of Security Pacific Bank, with $561.1 million in assets and $450.1 million in deposits as of Oct. 17.

The co-founder and chairman of parent Franklin Bank Corp. (FBTX) (FBTX), Lewis Ranieri, is credited with inventing mortgage-backed securities two decades ago, but apparently was unable to save his own company from getting ensnared in the home-loan bust.

The bank's failure is a bitter irony because it is the mortgage securitization business of which Ranieri is known as a pioneer - the repackaging of home loans as bonds that are sold to investors - that was at the heart of the mortgage and credit crises. Last spring, the audit committee of the company's board found in an investigation certain weaknesses in accounting, disclosure and other issues relating to residential real estate loans.

Franklin Bank Corp. just Sunday said it had received proposals for transactions to strengthen Franklin Bank's capital position and was keeping regulators informed of the talks' progress.

The FDIC said all of Franklin Bank's deposits will be assumed by Prosperity Bank of El Campo, Texas. Its 46 offices will reopen as branches of Prosperity Bank with their normal business hours, including those that open on Saturday. In addition to assuming Franklin Bank's deposits, Prosperity Bank also will acquire about $850 million of the failed bank's assets.

Parent company Franklin Bank Corp. just Sunday said it had received proposals for transactions to strengthen Franklin Bank's capital position and was keeping regulators informed of the talks' progress.

Meanwhile, all of Security Pacific's deposits will be assumed by Pacific Western Bank of Los Angeles. Its four offices will reopen Monday as branches of Pacific Western, a unit of PacWest Bancorp. (PACW) (PACW) In addition, Pacific Western will purchase around $51.8 million of Security Pacific's assets.

The FDIC will retain the remaining assets of the two banks for eventual sale.

The agency said depositors of Franklin Bank and Security Pacific Bank will continue to have full access to their deposits, which will continue to be insured by the FDIC.

The FDIC estimated that the resolution of Franklin Bank will cost the federal deposit insurance fund between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion, while that of Security Pacific Bank will cost the fund $210 million.

Regular deposit accounts are now insured up to $250,000 as part of the new financial rescue law enacted in early October. The limit on individual retirement accounts held in banks remains at $250,000.

The 19 bank failures so far this year compare with three for all of 2007 and are more than in the previous five years combined. It's expected that many more banks won't survive the next year of economic tumult. The pressures of tumbling home prices, rising mortgage foreclosures and tighter credit have been battering many banks, large and small, across the nation.

The failures this year include that of Seattle-based thrift Washington Mutual Inc. in late September, the biggest bank collapse in history. It had $307 billion in assets. In July another big savings and loan, IndyMac Bank based in Pasadena, Calif., failed and was seized by regulators with about $32 billion in assets.

The FDIC estimates that through 2013 there will be about $40 billion in losses to the deposit insurance fund, including an $8.9 billion loss from the failure of IndyMac Bank. The FDIC is raising insurance premiums paid by banks and thrifts to replenish its fund, which now stands at around $45.2 billion, below the minimum target level set by Congress and the lowest level since 2003.

In addition, the FDIC may guarantee nearly $2 trillion in U.S. banks' debt and deposit accounts in an effort to break the crippling logjam in bank-to-bank lending.

Well over half of the roughly 8,500 federally-insured banks and savings and loans are expected to tap the FDIC's temporary guarantees. The agency will provide as much as $1.4 trillion in insurance for more than three years for loans between banks, guaranteeing the new debt in the event the issuing bank fails or its holding company files for bankruptcy.

Of the 8,500 FDIC-insured banks, 117 were considered to be in trouble in the second quarter - the highest level in about five years and up from 90 in the first quarter. The agency doesn't disclose the banks' names.
Posted by: Fred || 11/09/2008 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

Congress seeks car industry bailout
Democratic congressmen call on the Bush administration to offer more financial assistance to US automakers in the face of a nationwide recession.
Let Bambi do it and take the heat.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote a Letter to US Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson on Saturday, urging that the government should include the auto industry in the USD 700b bailout plan.

A downward spiral in auto sales resulting from lower purchasing power among Americans - who are more concerned with paying their mortgage and feeding their families than buying new cars - has led to the cut of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US.

"A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our economy, and the livelihood of the automobile sector's work force," the letter read. "The economic downturn and the crisis in our financial markets further imperiled our domestic automobile industry and its work force," it said.

Officials from top automating companies of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler LLC as well as the president of the United Auto Workers held talks with congressional leaders on Thursday to discuss the prospect of an additional USD 50b loan.

General Motors, the biggest US automaker, said on Friday that about 3,600 workers would be laid off indefinitely beginning early next year as the automaker slows down production at 10 of its assembly plants. The second-largest American automaker, Ford also announced it would slash more than 2,000 white collar jobs.

This is while speculations of a possible General Motors-Chrysler merger, raised last week, would result in the loss of some 200,000 jobs throughout the United State.
Posted by: Fred || 11/09/2008 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6479 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Drop the CAFE standards. Simple. More contrived demtard economic crisis.
Posted by: Last Breath Farm Resident || 11/09/2008 0:22 Comments || Top||

#2  --- From the Detroit News 7 Nov: "General Motors Corp. and Cerberus Capital Management LP have called off talks about a possible deal to transfer Chrysler LLC's automotive operations to GM."
--- I think way more than 200,000 jobs are at stake. Add in the domestic parts makers dependent on US automakers and also the retirees drawing pensions from them.
--- In my opinion, it's too late for changes in the CAFE standards to help the automakers. One thing that might help within a short time frame is dropping extreme air quality restrictions, the ones that prevent Ford from selling its Ford Transit Van with 2.2L turbodiesel that gets 40-50 mpg in the USA. I'd buy one tomorrow if it were available. Ford does plan to sell the Transit with a 2 L gas engine that gets all of 20 mpg, no thanks, I'll pass on that one. Air quality nationwide should improve due to loss of industrial activity and decreased commuter traffic.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 11/09/2008 3:24 Comments || Top||

#3  Another thing that might help is letting the Big 3 and UAW go BK and letting non-union successors compete in the world market. It has been widely known for 20 years that there would be over capacity in the auto industry. The weakest are dying. Why should I pay for their life support?
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 11/09/2008 4:09 Comments || Top||

#4  Nationalization of the auto industry is not the answer. Yes imports have taken their toll, but it's a bit late to do anything about that.
Everybody needs a car, I have 3. They either make a car that people will buy or they end up like the Polaroid camera, B&W TV and the Studebaker!

Posted by: Besoeker || 11/09/2008 6:48 Comments || Top||

#5  Loan 'em $50 billion, merge 'em and call it American Motors.
Posted by: .5MT || 11/09/2008 8:07 Comments || Top||

#6  Then put Romney in charge. That worked well last time.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 11/09/2008 8:13 Comments || Top||

#7  Loan 'em $50 billion, merge 'em and call it American Motors.

Shudder. The return of the Pacer and Gremlin
Posted by: Beavis || 11/09/2008 8:33 Comments || Top||

#8  The Japanese are building cars and parts in America. It's not a domestic production issue. It's a combination of the UAW killing the goose that laid the golden egg, senior management who treated the operation as 'how many (poorly engineered and built) units could they push out the assembly line door', and institutional investors who's only interest was immediate return [shades of subprime]. All can join the dinosaurs on a absolutely terrible corporate model that is truly uncompetitive.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 11/09/2008 9:28 Comments || Top||

#9  the Chrysler bailout of 79 (signed in 80) did work and the govt ended up making money (in current accounts the profit was $350M on an 'investment' of $1.8B), I'm not sure about in constant dollars) but

- it required substantial union givebacks
- it required executive pay cuts
- it required a new series of better cars (the so called k cars that had 40-75% better mpg than the 79 fleet average)
- it required Chrysler to sell their profitable defense subsidiary
Posted by: mhw || 11/09/2008 10:53 Comments || Top||

#10  We are watching the destruction of not just a couple of car companies, but an entire social system in the Detroit area comprising the automobile companies and their suppliers, the unions, the excessive pay and fringes, and a large group of hide-bound managers running ossified organizations.

It's being replaced by a system of younger, leaner, non-unionized, and more nimble companies in the southern states which pay half the wage and have minimal fringes. These companies are also unfairly subsidized by the states involved - another non-level playing field, similar to foreign competition.

It doesn't appear possible to morph Detroit's social model into the new one. Creative destruction is required, with governmentally mandated 'damping' and safety nets to allow more gradual social adjustment without excessive overshoot and upheaval.

I don't see a government with socialist tendencies being able to manage the transition successfully. Central planning which doesn't involve competitive forces just doesn't work, particularly when the planners (like Congress) are amateurs.
Posted by: KBK || 11/09/2008 11:20 Comments || Top||

#11  A thought from Neil Cavuto on Fridays show...make the bailout contingent on the executives resigning their positions with NO golden parachutes for cushions 'cause they obviously did not manage the companies well in the past. Implemnt this and see how many executives still want the bailout.
Posted by: WolfDog || 11/09/2008 12:19 Comments || Top||

#12  CAFE standards have nothing to do with their current problems. They make over-priced crap cars with little to no innovation. The SUV/large truck market implosion has been happening in slow motion for the past 2 years. They should have seen the writing on the wall and started making changes then to be ready now. Of course the unions are killing them from the inside as well. Best to let them die now and hope something better arises from the ashes.
Posted by: AllahHateMe || 11/09/2008 12:49 Comments || Top||

#13  We might also point out that the benefits of conglomeration continue to work just as well today as they did for Freddy Ling. If there were multiple car companies, say Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac and Saturn, and one of them went titzup the others wouldn't be effected. Instead all of the automotive eggs are in one basket, none of them have to compete against the others, and management is not only ossified but in many cases hereditary.

Chrysler going under doesn't really effect Chevy and Ford. None of the "big three" going under is going to effect Toyota or Nissan or KIA, anymore than Daewoo going under effected the rest.

The same applies to the insurance companies, who've been spending way too much time acquiring each other, and to the banks, who've been doing even more of it. It applies to tech companies, to the tire companies -- remember when Kelly tires were domestically produced? -- and to airlines. Single point of failure, as any engineer will attest, will result in catastrophic failure if it goes, and it's always just a matter of time until it goes.

There were good reasons Teddy Roosevelt fought the monopolies, and what we're seeing is lots of them right here.
Posted by: Fred || 11/09/2008 12:57 Comments || Top||

#14  The Detroit Lions are 0-8 (prolly 0-9 as of this post). They employed that perennial loser Matt Millen for yrs w/out result (actually the result was the worst NFL record over the past 15 yrs). The Lions are owned by the Ford family, is there any wonder that their NFL franchise is a mirror image of their auto company?
Posted by: Broadhead6 || 11/09/2008 15:21 Comments || Top||

#15  My Honda way mainly made at Marysville Ohio. Higher quality than any American car I have owned other than an ancient Fury of my youth.

The US companies are being bled to death by their short-sighted unions.

A bailout will only serve to put money in the pockets of businesses that do nto deserve it and from there into union coffers.

NO to the automotive bailout.

Posted by: OldSpook || 11/09/2008 16:56 Comments || Top||

#16  CAFE standards, what there is, helped to soften Detroit's downturn. It's the big $40-50K SUV sales that are off 60% while Detroit is adding $15-20K small fuel efficient car plants. If CAFE were 5mph higher, the US auto industry would be in better shape.

This downturn is different that previous. The US auto market is saturated w/ most 2 adult families having 2-4 cars parked at their house. They can go a long time before they have to replace a vehicle.

One bailout condition (while it was "only" $25B) was that new plants must produce vehicles that get 25% better mileage than the ones they are replacing in their class. That's nice, but I think that gives Detroit incentive to produce the same over sized vehicles with smaller engines.
Posted by: ed || 11/09/2008 18:13 Comments || Top||

#17  The large SUV/Pickups were a golden goose for the GM and Ford. As long as the F150 and Silverado were the best selling vehicles in America, you cannot blame their manufacturers from trying to protect that market.

Toyota and Nissan have tried to get into that game but the additional capital investment for engines, transmissions, axles, required to build the big trucks has always held them back. Outside of America, Canada, and Mexico, this type of product is non-existent.

Last year GM and Ford sold close to 3 million of the full size truck and its variants. It was not their fault that gas prices went through the roof, making big vehicles expensive to run. It was not their fault that the housing crisis killed the small contractor business, who buy millions of trucks annually. It was not their fault that the credit crunch has killed sales altogether, even though the "buy now, no money down' has corrupted the entire consumer business.

And it was not their fault that consumers bought those large vehicles in droves but now complain they cannot get a multi-purpose vehicle that gets 40 miles to the gallon. GM did not create the Laws of Physics.

Even the NHTSA admits that raising the CAFE limits and pushing smaller vehicles on the driving public will result in higher accident fatality levels.

Disclaimer: As a retired GM engineer who spent close to 40 years building large trucks in a plant that is scheduled to close within a few months, I do have a personal interest in the future success of GM. For over 30 years, we could not keep up with the demand for trucks, working 3 shifts and Saturdays to move the product. Suddenly within 3 months the plant closes. How does anybody can anticipate change of that magnitude.
Posted by: Skunky Glins 5*** || 11/09/2008 19:17 Comments || Top||

#18  I quit buying Detroit's cars four years ago because I was tired of quality problems and high maintenance costs. The minivan that needed a new transmission every 20 to 30 thousand miles was the final straw, even though I didn't have to pay for the first two replacements. Detroit never quite got the engineering thing right, never quite got the quality thing right, and never quite the customer service thing right. But the UAW members still collected high wages and benefits and the executives still got big compensation packages. I've been hearing them sing the blues for decades. It was never them: it was the imports, it was CAFE standards... hell, it was even seat belts and airbags. I don't want to hear it anymore. Some or all of the biggies need to fold and the survivors need to slash salaries and benefits all the way to the top. After four years with a made-in-USA Japanese company product, I don't foresee ever buying from Detroit again.
Posted by: Darrell || 11/09/2008 20:12 Comments || Top||

#19  I put a dollar into a vending machine last week and it didn't give me a soda. I think Congress should give me a bailout too. Just a few million bucks would be about right.
Posted by: DMFD || 11/09/2008 20:19 Comments || Top||

#20  I've noted my beloved F150 truck. I'm happy, the quality's great, at 70K miles. Trouble is, I bought it in Dec 2003 (my Xmas gift to me) - paid off soon, running great, and no reason to replace.

the bitching and moaning about domestic quality is news to me.
Posted by: Frank G || 11/09/2008 20:44 Comments || Top||

#21  was not their fault that gas prices went through the roof, making big vehicles expensive to run. It was not their fault that the housing crisis killed the small contractor business, who buy millions of trucks annually. It was not their fault that the credit crunch has killed sales altogether, even though the "buy now, no money down' has corrupted the entire consumer business.

It's no ones fault. Bad things happen to fat slow people. Now, pork-chops or grease-burger? It's all on me, have all you want, it's free.
Posted by: .5MT || 11/09/2008 21:33 Comments || Top||

#22  #1 seller?

Honda Civic.

Just poassed the F150.
Posted by: OldSpook || 11/09/2008 22:26 Comments || Top||

#23  Frank G, yeah, they got the trucks right. Problem is....not everyone wants or needs a truck or something built on a truck platform. They were fat, dumb and happy on the profit margin and saw no reason to make decent but less profitable cars. And here we are.

It's not that Americans can't build a good car. Our Subaru Legacy (built in Indiana) is terrific and we couldn't be happier. You can run all the catchy ads you want, I am not going to pay hard earned cash for a bucket of bolts that will barely keep running after my last payment.

If, and that's a big if, Detroit ever got their crap together and built a decent family truckster, the customers will come back. Problem is, they have known that Americans don't believe their product is worth it and have refused to get serious for decades. Tossing cash at them ain't gonna get rid of the rot under the hood.
Posted by: Cornsilk Blondie || 11/09/2008 22:35 Comments || Top||

B.O. plots strategy amid dismal economic news
US President-elect Barack Obama on Friday prepared to meet his economic lieutenants on a day of more dismal news for US workers while his aides dampened expectations of imminent Cabinet announcements. After the meeting with his high-powered advisory panel, the Democrat held the first news conference since his election triumph Tuesday over Republican John McCain, which was still in progress when The Daily Star went to press.

Obama will inherit a recession-bound economy when he succeeds President George W. Bush on January 20, after the government said the US unemployment rate rose to its highest level since 1994 in October, at 6.5 percent. The Labor Department said 240,000 jobs had been cut in October, the 10th straight month of job losses, and new revisions meant that a whopping 651,000 workers have lost their livelihoods in the past three months alone.

Ahead of the advisory meeting, speculation was rife that the president-elect would move quickly to reassure jittery markets by announcing his pick for Treasury secretary.

But Obama's aides said there would be "no personnel announcements" on Friday, following Thursday's selection of pro-Israeli Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel as his White House chief of staff.

Obama started his third day as president-elect with a parent-teacher meeting at his two daughters' school with his wife Michelle, a reminder that the next First Family will be the youngest in decades. He was to hold more meetings to plan his transition to the White House, receive a now-daily classified intelligence briefing from the CIA, and record the weekly Democratic radio address airing Saturday.
Posted by: Fred || 11/09/2008 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The Governor of Michigan? What a joke.
Posted by: Last Breath Farm Resident || 11/09/2008 0:24 Comments || Top||

#2  Yeah, this is what they are planning.

RALEIGH — Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers’ personal retirement accounts — including 401(k)s and IRAs — and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.
Posted by: crosspatch || 11/09/2008 1:14 Comments || Top||

#3  Notice the government statistics will get revised, most likely to show that things are much worse than they initially appeared to be.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 11/09/2008 3:29 Comments || Top||

#4  If your question is about the Gummit 401G Plan, Just say DA PLAN.

I think you said "DA PLAN." If that is correct, say "Yassa." Lets see, you ALREADY have a military pension, and I see here you have $ 350K in our Gummit Consolidated Bailout 401G pension fund, so.......

You qualify for reduced benefit Social Security at age 91. If you has any other questions. Just say "Mo Help."

Hi, My name is Julie McConnell.... I have your file in front of me, how can I help you?

Posted by: Besoeker || 11/09/2008 6:25 Comments || Top||

#5  I wouldn't worry too much about this, don't think you could get many people from either party on board for it.
Posted by: bigjim-ky || 11/09/2008 18:23 Comments || Top||

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