Cynical Synapse

Tue, 25 Nov 2008

Clinton as Secretary of State? Obama’s First Faux Pas

Filed under: People, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 11:21 pm

OMG! I didn’t think Obama was a credible presidential candidate by virtue of his being a first-term Senator from Illinois. Now he’s picked New York’s junior Senator, the Wicked Witch of the East, to be Secretary of State! She’s annoying, obnoxious, and inexperienced.

Has everyone forgotten she moved to New York just to run for Senate? Has everyone forgotten Hilary’s most dramatic foreign policy experience is the sniper fire she didn’t really come under in Bosnia, 1996? Does anyone not see she’s just an opportunist, willing to say whatever she thinks people want to hear?

During the campaign, Clinton trashed Obama’s foreign policy experience. Yet, she really had none of her own! In fact, Hillary wasn’t even on the short list in October.

Beyond such tame locations as Bosnia, Clinton’s foreign policy expertise appears to miss the intricacies conditions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is the hotspot of the Global War on Terrorism these days. How this plays out is key to the next US president’s term.

In October, Mark Nickolas saw Hillary, at best, as a second-tier candidate for Health and Human Services or as a third choice for Attorney General. So, how does she end up with Secretary of State? How much change is Obama really looking for?

Mon, 24 Nov 2008

Why Does Citigroup Get $25 Billion But Big 3 Don’t?

Filed under: Bailout, Business, Cars, Detroit, Economy, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 9:39 pm

Detailed Plan?

Congress told the auto company CEOs they needed a detailed plan on what they planned to do with a $25 billion loan. They also have to show how the loan will return the companies to profitability. Did Citigroup come up with such a plan over the weekend? Citigroup got another $2O+ billion on top of the $25 billion they got last month. What’s up with that?

Some have suggested there’s an East Coast bias. I suspect it has more do to with the financial industry has given way more to politicians of both parties than the auto industry has. Is that why Wall Street denizens still get bonuses but auto workers have to give up benefits?

The Big 3 = Detroit

I’m rather concerned at a recurring theme in blog and news articles that refer to the Big 3 (GM, Ford, and Chrylser) as “Detroit” or the “Detroit automakers.” Make no mistake: this is much farther reaching than most care to admit. GM has manufacturing plants in 29 states; Ford and Chrysler each operate in about a dozen states. Each has plants in both Canada and Mexico. So, this is not a Detroit thing, even just considering direct employment.

Beyond direct employment in the design and manufacture of vehicles, there is a dealer network and a host of suppliers that touches all 50 states. And, don’t forget the ancillary businesses, like the local diner, that exist to support, or because of, a plant’s operations. Oh, and a minor detail: the taxes all those jobs generate.

Anyone live in a town where a major employer just closed up shop? Anyone have a friend, neighbor, or relative who got laid off or fired because the employer down-sized or moved? The potential job losses at stake with one or more of the Big 3 going belly-up is huge: 1-3 million. If that happens, the current recession will last for years. Walmart doesn’t have enough low-paying, part-time jobs to put 3 million people to work. So, like it or not, we need the Big 3 right now for the sake of our economy.

Not Meeting Consumer Demands

Funny how no one complained about the Big 3’s focus on trucks and SUVs until 2008. What happened? Oh, yeah. Gas prices shot up over $4 for a brief period. Now, all of the sudden, it’s the fault of the Big 3 and their “refusal” to make cars ordinary people want. Excuse me, but until this year, the Big 3’s profits came from those trucks and SUVs. They’ve each always had small cars but they never enjoyed much market share.

It’s not fair to make product mix a part of the rescue plan. Even the leanest design trail takes a good 5 to 6 years from concept to market. It takes several months to a year or more to adjust manufacturing capacity. Until the recent gas crisis, the Big 3 were providing the vehicles American consumers wanted. Just because consumers have suddenly changed their minds doesn’t mean the Big 3 refused to make small cars. The credit crisis is as much to blame as anything for the Big 3’s current situation.

As for quality, US-designed cars account for a quarter of the top 20 brands. Mercury and Ford are in the top 10, with Cadillac, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Lincoln, and Buick joining in the top 20. This does not indicate an industry that lacks quality and customer focus.

Competitive Labor Costs

This is, admittedly, an issue. But it is one the Big 3 and the United Auto Workers are working on. Would you want next year’s pay cut by 30% compared to this year? I suspect not. Would you want unemployment benefits eliminated without warning? Probably not if you were dependent on them.

In the 2007 contract, the UAW and the Big 3 agreed to sweeping changes. These including shifting retiree health care to the union, limiting Jobs Bank time to 2 years, and a two-tiered wage structure. The benefits of some of these changes will begin to accrue next year.

Bailout vs. Loan

“Bailout” carries with it a negative connotation. While you could apply the term to the present circumstances, it’s really a loan. Unlike the Wall Street bailout, there’s an expectation the taxpayers will be reimbursed for the money advanced the auto makers.

Few people batted an eye regarding the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street banks. In 5 business days, not only was that a good deal, but the Senate stacked another $100 billion of pork on top of it. But a $25 billion loan to the auto industry? Why such wailing and gnashing of teeth? I’m confused. Where’s Citigroup’s plan? Why is their executive compensation not under scrutiny?

Even though it makes no real product, $700 billion is ok for an industry that created the current economic crisis through greed and questionable practices. But an industry with tangible products and manufacturing plant doesn’t even deserve 1/28 of the Wall Street bailout in the interests of 3 million jobs? Seems penny wise and dollar foolish to me.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008

What’s Good for the Auto Industry is Good for US

Filed under: Business, Economy, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 9:36 pm

I’m not necessarily a pro-auto industry person, but I live in metro Detroit. It’s no secret the auto industry is a significant component of the local economy. That extends, pretty much, to the entire state, which is partly why Michiganians snicker when they hear Gov. Granholm is one of President-elect Obama’s economic advisors. Don’t forget, also, this is the state that shut down government because the Governor and Legislature couldn’t agree on the budget. But I digress.

Regardless of your viewpoint on it, we are a nation at war. In the 21st century, top-notch militaries need vehicles, communications and computers, and weapons. Does anybody remember the National Guardsman asking then SecDef Rumseld where the up-armored vehicles were? Today, up-armored vehicles are the norm and many are the mine-resistant, ambush protected (MRAP). In fact, MRAPs come in about a half-dozen versions, each from a different manufacturer. The vehicles were developed in only a few years, near light speed by Pentagon standards. Granted, the MRAPs aren’t made by the Big 3 auto makers, but one, Navistar International, was a struggling truck company around 1980.

In any case, the point is US manufacturing capability was able to step up to the challenge. During WW II, Detroit was known as the Arsenal of Democracy. The need is no less critical today because the military operates in vehicles. Beyond the national defense concerns, the auto industry accounts for about 10% of the jobs in the US economy. It’s not just GM, Ford, and Chrysler we’re talking about here. Hundreds of suppliers, from Big 3 spinoffs Delta and Visteon to small and disadvantaged owner businesses, provide lots of components, including seats and trim, moldings, and other components. And it’s not just suppliers. If the Big 3, or a supplier, lay off workers, Joe’s Donut Shop loses customers and, maybe, goes belly-up.

So, the auto execs aren’t playing Chicken Little here. Yes, the auto companies are still dealing with some legacy largese, but that was the “American Dream” back in the day. So, it’s not entirely their fault. And the present squeeze on the auto industry is directly related to the Wall Street meltdown. Hardly a second thought about $700 billion bailout ($800+ billion after the Senate’s earmarks were added), but there’s a hue and cry to not help the auto industry. Excuse me?

As President-elect Obama is fond of saying, let’s be clear about this. First, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson apparently doesn’t have a plan for the Wall Street bailout. From buying up so-called toxic investments, now he wants to just buy a stake in troubled banks. Once spent, that money’s gone. The Big 3 aren’t looking for a bailout. They’re asking for a bridge loan to get them through the crisis de-regulation and financial corporate greed created. Back in 1979, Chrysler was saved from failure by just such loan guarantees. They made good on them. Wall Street and the banks have no such track record.

People like to say the Big 3 are in the situation they’re in because they focused on selling trucks and SUVs. I’m sure that’s part of it, but up until this year, that’s what consumers wanted. Hello—basic economics. If that’s what the customer wants, that’s what companies make. The problem is, when no one foresaw $4 gasoline, the automakers couldn’t be ready with 35+ mpg little cars. It takes years to design, test, and get safety approvals for a car model. The fact they’re on that road says something on their behalf. But, we need to remember it’s not a snap-of-the fingers thing to change from big vehicles to small vehicles.

Regarding the UAW and restructuring, I can only say the UAW has been a partner in working to reduce costs and manage so-called legacy costs, like healthcare and pensions. By no means am I a pro-union guy, but the UAW has not been silent and they have shared the pain. As for restructuring, which some seem to think is key to the auto industry’s survival, I’m rather dubious. First, parts spinoffs Delphi and Visteon have either been in bankruptcy or been bailed out by their previous parents, or both. As a contractor working for one of the Big 3, I watched two or three restructurings which seemed to me to amount to changing letterhead and signs. Does anybody remember when GM was facing negative publicity for using the same engine across brand names? You can’t expect streamlined operations while also expecting uniquely designed and manufactured components unless we just want one brand name. And GM and Chrysler have both done away with a brand name to reduce reduncancy. So, we don’t want just the Chevy variant or the Lincoln offering. Consumers want to be able to choose.

Hardly without even blinking, in fact with an extra $100+ billion, the Wall Street Bailout sailed through Congress in 5 business days, totaling over $800 billion. You could also add into that the $200 billion Congress approved in July to help homeowners. That’s money that we don’t have—and have to borrow—that’s just gone. Why so much angst over the $25 billion bridge loan for the auto industry? That’s less than 2.5% of the total financial disaster spending spree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for October 2008, auto manufacturers employed 842,600 people, with another 1,820,600 making a living off vehicle and parts sales. With those figures, the auto industry accounts for 2.7 million jobs compared to only 1.8 in the financial sector. $700 billion plus or $25 billion. You do the math. Which is the better deal?

Not sure where you stand? Economist Jeffrey Post is pro while economist Gary Becker is opposed. Remember, though, the ripple effect extends to every corner of the country, wherever there’s a dealership or auto parts store. It’s not just a Detroit thing. And it’s not just the Big 3.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008

Everything’s Starting Too Early

Filed under: Behavior, Business, Economy, holidays, Life, People — cynicalsynapse @ 7:35 pm

As a society, we seem to have become more and more impatient. I suppose there are arguments on both sides either proving or disproving the “short attention span” theory. This is the theory that says Johnny learned his alphabet from short snippets on children’s TV brought to you by the letter K. Here’s a case in point. The just-ended presidential campaign began 2 freaking years ago. So, either people today can hang with two years’ worth of politicians spewing whatever they think will get them elected. Or, we don’t remember the guy or gal said something entirely different last week, which didn’t match what was said two weeks ago, which doesn’t even resemble the first statement two years ago. Your choice.

It used to be “Christmas in July” meant that something good happened either unexpectedly or before the Christmas season. I think it won’t be too long before Christmas decorations go on the shelves right after Independence Day. That seasonal aisle in the drug store changes right over to the next holiday as soon as one finishes.

Christmas shopping season traditionally began the Friday after Thanksgiving. That’s been pulled forward now to right after Halloween. That’s too early! Christmas music is playing on the radio already! After you’ve heard those songs over and over, you begin to dislike them. This stuff is anti-holiday spirit.

Ok, so the retailers are trying to make up from drops in sales due to the economy. I seriously doubt extending the shopping season. That’s like saying an earthquake just puts new features on the earth’s surface. People with jobs and money will buy presents just like always. People whose jobs are at risk will be more frugal, perhaps only buying stuff on sale. And people suffering from the Wall Street fiasco and closed factories can’t afford non-essentials no matter how long the retailers try to entice them.

Too bad there’s such a short time between Christmas and New Year’s. We’d probably all like to see champagne on sale for a month or two. Either because we want to be optimistic, like New Year’s suggests, or because we want to forget the present state of things. Bet we’ll see the Presidents’ Day sale stuff right after New Year’s though.

Fri, 14 Nov 2008

Kinder and Gentler Chavez

Filed under: Hugo Chavez, Oil, Paradoxes, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 7:14 pm

Much as I despise Hugo Chavez, he’s taken on a decidedly different approach since the US elections. Two weeks ago, this is the man who blamed everything bad on the “Yanqis.” Today, he’s interested in diplomatic solutions.

Last weekend, US State Department officials expelled 12 Venezuelan diplomats after failing to follow the protocol for relocating the Houston consulate. Personally, this seems like a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense, but I guess that in geopolitical affairs, anything can be strategic. And, in view of strained relations between Venezuela and the US, one would reasonably expect this to be a serious issue.

To give some perspective, this is a situation that has been a technicality since at least early October. No one paid it much mind until the State Department told the Venezuelan diplomats to go home. Since Houston is the Home of Big Oil, and Chavez hates the US anyway, you’d expect quite a diatribe from Venezuela. On the contrary, Chavez fired the Consul for not following the rules. A Venezuelan got sacked for not following US rules?

I still personally hate Hugo and won’t buy Citgo products because it’s Venezuelan owned. But the man’s shown he’s not stupid. He’s hedging his bets to see what happens with the new administration. Maybe the Russians aren’t such great friends after all and the Cold War wasn’t so far off the mark.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008

Less Animosity from Chavez

Filed under: Economy, Gas Prices, Hugo Chavez, Michigan, Oil, Patriotism, People, Politics, Racism — cynicalsynapse @ 9:54 pm

With gas prices under $2 per gallon (something I never thought we’d see again back in the $4 a gallon days), I figured Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez must just be beside himself. Now, remember Venezuela is a significant oil producer on the world market, and one of the founding members of OPEC. Never mind Chavez’ strongly anti-American rhetoric of the last year or so.

From Venezuela’s view, change has moved north. The implication is Obama is more Chavez-friendly. I didn’t see that on Obama’s website. In fact, I don’t recall Obama saying anything about Chavez or Venezuela during the campaign. That leads me to believe Venezuela’s statement is based solely on the fact Obama is the Democratic candidate.

Make no mistake: Venezuela and Chavez are not our friends. That doesn’t mean we can’t have cordial relations; only what they say shouldn’t be taken at face value. You be the judge from the text of the Venezuelan release.

There were a lot of comments on Jonathan Martin’s blog. Here’s my response to some of them:
I agree. Chavez is huffing and puffing to put his spin on the election results. He’s also feeling the waters to see how Obama will respond. And he’s using this as an excuse to take a softer line. I suspect that has as much to do with gasline having fallent to under 2 bucks a gallon, meaning Hugo’s take from Citgo has fallen like a rock.

@Bison:
What’s your point? Jonathan Martin had very little commentary; rather, he posted Chavez’ press release. It doesn’t matter who’s POTUS, Chavez is still a radical demagogue. His statement is intended just as much to boost his credibility with his people and the surrounding South American countries he’s trying to exert influence over. Make no mistake. There’s nothing benevolent about Hugo Chavez.

@ThanksHugo:
Ok, Blacks are all happy Barack got elected. I understand that. Personally, race is not a factor for me. But I really get annoyed with people trying to play up the “half black” aspect. Who cares? Is that supposed to make it alright for White people? That comes across to me as extremely racist.

@the guy who was too chicken to give any kind of a name that says Obama will play Chavez like a violin:
I’m not convinced Obama has the experience to play anyone like a violin. And, while I don’t like or trust Chavez one bit, I recognize he’s no fool. We’re too ethnocentric to realize he is regionally significant. Venezuela is an OPEC member. And Russian interests in Chavez and Venezuela are simply Russian huffing and puffing by bringing a military presence to the western hemisphere. It’s like they’re saying the Monroe Doctrine doesn’t count anymore. It’s just a different version of when the Soviets would probe US airspace with their Bear bombers.

@GoodRiddance:
Obama’s so-called landslide is in Electoral votes (365-162) but the popular vote varies by about 6-1/2% (52.7%-46.0%). That’s not “check the chads” close, but it’s no landslide. Don’t forget there are nuts at both ends of the spectrum. You just sound like a poor winner.

@Frankie D:
I wish it was that simple. Although I doubt Chavez is sincere, we could have good relations with Venezuela. What’s different in the 21st Century is non-state actors have a voice. No country attacked us on 9/11, it was a radical terrorist group. Those are, as you put it, ‘enemies’ we can’t talk to. They don’t care; they’re extremists. They don’t have a country, they don’t have tangible assets or influence like legitimate states. They have only their own secret agenda and the ability to corrupt the disenfranchised.

Aside from your broad generalization, it certainly makes sense to open dialog with Chavez. We avoided nuclear confrontation with the Soviets for 50 years that way. But Chavez is not the only thing going on in diplomatic relations.

@Imchanged:
Gag me with a spoon. Obama’s a first term US Senator. He’s a newbie. I hope he’s up to the challenge of the economic crisis and the issues on which the Global War on Terror is based. Whether you agree with the Iraq War or not, there is no mistaking this country was attacked on 9/11. Even Biden said Obama will be tested. I hope he passes.

It actually boils down to whether he surrounds himself with good people. That was Bush’s downfall—he surrounded himself with yes men.

@HugoKnows:
That’s a bizzare comment. Do you have any statistics on Venezuelan illegals? There can’t possibly be enough of them to “destabilize the regime!”

@luis T:
You’re right. We’ll still have an oil dependence well beyond Obama’s term. Most of the issues facing the next president, from economics to Global War on Terrorism to energy are not one-term issues. Folks need to remember, too, the President (or a candidate) can say great and wonderful things, but Congress (House and Senate) have to agree before it can really happen.

@dotmafia:
I ignored your first anti-Republican diatribe and incorrect characterization of “right-wing nutjobs.” The second one was over the top. Nazis are right-wing nutjobs. Please help me understand the difference between a right-wing hate group and someone as mean-spirited as you seem to be. Does being a left-wing nutjob make it ok?

@Frederik:
Please don’t start the 2012 election already! I was sick of this one two years ago! All bets are off until we see what kind of job Obama does anyway.

@RightWinger:
Your comment is just ignorant and makes me think of the “You might be a redneck…” jokes. I suppose you’re in favor of the Wall Stree bailouts? It’s okay to take care of greedy businesses, but to hell with people, eh? Will your story change if you lose your job unexpectedly or become disabled? You should be ashamed of mislabeling everyone who is trying but needs help with the slur of that small percentage of people who work the system.

@BigBlkGr8Dane:
Not sure what you’re trying to say. Socialism and controlled economies don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. We fought WW II, allied with the Soviet Union’s controlled economic state, not to end Socialism (or controlled economies), but because Hitler and his allies spread their lust for conquest far and wide. Would the US have gotten involved in WW II if the Japanese hadn’t attacked Pearl Harbor?

@Bolivar:
CIA isn’t trying to destroy Venezuelan democracy or gain control of their oil. If we just wanted the oil, why would we have let the Iraqis keep control of theirs? And make no mistake—Chavez has his agenda and he could care less if ours matches his or not.

@Santos:
An interesting perspective. Did Chavez actually make a difference? Or did he inherit circumstances that will end up serving Venezuela? What keeps the Venezuelan economy going? Other bloggers claim there are shortages and Venezuela’s not doing so well.

@hb:
Dude, you need some serious help with grammar and word usage. But you make a good point in that we must treat other countries as equals whether we agree with them or not (or them with us).

@guy who was too chicken to use a name who says Obama got elected because the media didn’t report his ideology:
Where’s your proof? Before the election, I went to Obama’s website and it had way more points of interest than I wanted to wade through. I live in Michigan; our economy is in a serious crisis (not the Wall Street kind). I don’t see anything Marxist in Obama’s plan.

@last guy who was too chicken to use a name:
And this is different from any other election how?

C’mon, folks. You can be a petty political drone, spouting anti-right or anti-left crap, or you can look at what’s best for the country and advocate for that. This is the 21st Century and single-party folks are not thinking big picture. This is more important now than it ever was before!

Wed, 12 Nov 2008

Just Say No to AIG and Undeserved Bonuses

Filed under: Business, Duh, Economy, Legal, Life, Politics, Rants — cynicalsynapse @ 6:52 pm

During all the stories about extravagant AIG ventures to luxury resorts and such, there has also been an undercurrent that the original $85 billion bailout’s not enough. Well, sure enough, just as AIG asks for another $40 billion, executives went to another resort. By now it should be obvious AIG executives are dishonest, greedy, and not to be trusted! Don’t give them another dime! In fact, take back what’s already been promised from the public coffers.

The deal being worked on behalf of AIG looks almost as much like the sort of shell game AIG itself played to get itself into this mess. Because of AIG’s spectacular incompetence, the US taxpayer is going to pony up about $20 billion for bad investments due to extremely risky greed on AIG’s part.

According to AIG spokespeople, this is another one of those “essential to the business” events, one which so-called other sponsors will pick up 90% of the $343.000 cost. Then why all the secrecy? According to ABC 12, which broke the story, resort personnel couldn’t even say AIG. In fact, no less than AIG’s CEO justified the expenditure.

The added $40 billion for AIG is coming out of the $700 billion bailout. Just how is not unlike the financial shenanigans that created the crisis in the first place. The Government cut the original $85 billion loan to $60 billion and replaced a $37.8 billion loan guarantee with a $52 billion aid package. AIG also has access to another $20.9 billion through the Fed’s so-called commercial paper program.

What’s truly astounding is the bailout banks still plan to pay bonuses to top executives. About $26.6 billion worth! When I worked in private industry, bonuses were dependent on the company making money. And, they did not exist on the basis of taxpayer bailouts! If the company failed to make a profit, then there should be no bonuses. And, by definition, if the company taps into the Wall Street bailout, it didn’t make a profit so no one earned a bonus.

Mon, 10 Nov 2008

Counties Cost-Shift Ice Control to Drivers

Filed under: Behavior, Cars, Detroit, Driving, Economy, Life, Michigan, People, Rants — cynicalsynapse @ 9:57 pm

Accidents and spinouts along I-96 in Detroit

I’m generally frustrated every winter with Oakland County’s poor job at snow and ice removal during the winter months. This morning was particularly pathetic with the first icy/snowy condition of the winter season. As is usually the case, it wasn’t a surprise—it was just a failure to take action, or a purposeful cost-shift from spreading salt to letting citizens and insurance companies deal with the cost of damage. The result was dozens of accidents that read like a winter storm school closing list.

During my commute this morning, I didn’t see a single salt truck. Not in Oakland, Livingston, or Ingham Counties, the 3 counties I traverse. But roads were fine in Livingston and Ingham. Why? Oakland County is the 4th wealthiest so why can’t we get basic services, like snow and ice removal? How can Livingston County consistently do a better job?

Yes, I realize driver behavior is a contributing factor. There are those that would end up in the ditch no matter how efficient the Road Commission was. But, the fact the Road Commission for Oakland County was totally absent this morning, is telling. Why do they wait until after rush hour to take care of snow and ice removal? Oakland County owes the public a better deal for their tax dollars. Livingston County proves it can be done.

Lest anyone think this isn’t really such a big deal, fender benders are just the tip of the iceberg. Today’s slippery roads cost a Detroit man his life. And don’t forget dozens of fender benders and the lost time due to traffic snarls add up to considerable economic loss in and of themselves. Things the Road Commissions could care less about. But I’ll bet the police and fire departments know how much time they spent on the highways this morning.

Fri, 07 Nov 2008

Physics and Politics

Filed under: Behavior, Economy, Life, Michigan, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 4:27 pm

One of the concepts in physics is inertia—an object in motion tends to stay in motion. It applies to politics, in what I would call the Lemming effect. People tend to vote either for the incumbent just because he’s the incumbent or along party lines just because he’s that party’s candidate. There is a saying that sums up the dangers of this: “if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you will continue to get what you’ve always got.” In other words, keeping the incumbents will yield more of the same.

In Michigan’s case, voters gave 74-year-old Sen. Carl Levin (D) another 6 years in office and returned 87% of incumbents in the US House to Washington. Of these, 7 are Republicans and 6 are Democrats, so it’s not the “Obama effect.” It’s just momentum and a spineless—or mindless&electorate—no paybacks for the worthless politicos from the people in Michigan. And why would Detroiters, who most likely won’t benefit themselves from the $800+ billion (and growing) Wall Street bailout/pork conspiracy, vote overwhelmingly (74%) to keep Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in office? At first, Kilpatrick voted against the bailout, but switched her vote after the Senate added another $100 billion in pork. Like the Wall Street bailout, or any of its dripping fat pork, will do anything to help average Detroiters. I’m not surprised conservative West Michigan kept Rep. Hoekstra on the public payroll, even if he voted against a mere $700 billion, but $800 billion plus was good enough for a yes vote. Those sheeple just voted straight Republican. Kudos to Oakland County voters who dumped turncoat Rep. Joe Knollenberg on his ass, though.

There is a small bright spot. The turncoat Joe Knollenberg (R), who voted no on the Wall Street bailout on Monday but yes on Friday, got tossed out on his ass! In generally Republican Oakland County, no less! I’m proud to live in a county of thinking people, even if they did re-elect L. Brooks Patterson as County Executive.

Unfortunately, despite the State Legislature’s ineptitude with the 2008 budget, Michigan voters gave every incumbent in the State House a second chance. Term limits is the only thing that gives us 48 new representatives. The State House is solidly Democrat at 68 to 43 Republicans (19 of whom are new). What part of they failed to do their jobs didn’t the sheeple understand? Oh, well. When convicted felon Sen. Ted Stevens (AK-R) can be reelected, why would anything surprise?

With Obama’s win, odds are term-limited Gov. Jennifer Granholm will be leaving office 2 years early. She who coached Sen. Biden before the debate and campaigned for Obama in Florida. I’m not sure what the point of Michigan’s governor stumping in Florida was, but that’s pretty transparent on her part. In fact, the process has already begun, with Obama asking Jennifer to join his panel of economic advisors. I sure hope the other 16 members have a better record of fiscal management, considering Michigan’s economic disaster. My money’s on her being named Ambassadorship to Canada, like former Gov. Jim Blanchard before her. Seems perfect to me, since she’s Canadian-born anyway. The only question is will Michigan be better off with Lt. Gov. John Cherry at the helm.

Tue, 04 Nov 2008

Payback Time

Filed under: Michigan, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 4:52 am

Certainly you’re planning to vote. Otherwise, you’ve got no basis for complaining about anything. So, if you’re happy with things, vote for whoever. But if you’re not, vote for anyone who is not already in the political machine. There’s not much difference between the Democrats and Republicans other than the labels they apply to each other.

As for the political candidates, don’t forget that both major parties have written off Michigan during their campaigns. First, Obama took his name off the primary ballot. Ok, so this was because the Democratic National Committee was upet with Michigan’s early, unsanctioned primary. First, what gives the DNC the right to have any say in Michigan’s vote? Second, during the primary, why did Barrack pull his name, but Hillary didn’t? Both were trying to game the system. So, the hell with Barrack Obama. He dissed Michigan in early 2008. Never mind the Democrats.

But, the Republicans dont get a by, either. Why did McCain decide Michigan didn’t matter? I just don’t appreciate that.

As far as other offices go, if you’re happy with things as they are, fine. Vote as yo see fit. But if you’re not, vote for those who are not current office holders. The incumbents are responsible for they way things are now.

  • US Senators—These are the guys that added over a billion in pork to the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. In Michigan, Sen. Carl Levin voted for and Sen. Stabenow against.
  • US Representatives—Three turncoats voted no on the $700 billion bailout but voted yes after the Senate added its pork: Hoekstra, Knollenberg, and Kilpatrick. Why? Ehlers, Kamp, Kildee, Upton, Sander Levin, and Dingel voted for both times.
  • State Legislators—They’re the second highest paid state legislature in the country and they couldn’t do their job last year and almost blew it again this year. They have all year to figure out the budget and last year’s near-shutdown of state government is just inexcusable.

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