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  1. #1
    countybear's Avatar
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    A Countybear Rant: Bureaucratic Cancer.

    A (TOTALLY NONPARTISAN) Countybear Rant... (really, I mean it)...

    Time for another growl from the den. Nothing wakes me up from my hibernation like idiocy.

    AIG (American International Group), the U.S.'s largest insurance conglomerate, was the first to the corporate welfare window when it slid open. Actually, AIG in a large part opened that window, and (as was little known by the public), stuck a prop in it. Your tax dollars at work; some $152 Billion (yes, with a "B"), dollars have been and are being shoveled into AIG, (initially an $85 billion line of credit, then a second deal was struck to replace the first, which literally purchases the failing company by transferring an 79% stock equity to the ownership of the federal government, (notice I didn't say the people, but the 'government').

    Here's a company that posted a near $25 billion loss in one quarter, and who's impending failure spurred an avalanche of nationalization, with Uncle Sam rushing to the rescue. Think that the drama of the $14 billion bridge-loan to the private plane flying executives of the 'big three' automakers was a ridiculous farce yet? Congress is making GM/Ford/Chrysler execs jump through flaming hoops for $14 Billion, but the bankers got the brother-in-law deal, veritably tiny oversight and 'controls', and they are still flying high in their corporate jets, I assure you. What's $14 Billion, Mr. and Mrs. Senator? Ah, the people are now watching, so let's grandstand and pass the buck (but not literally)... The difference with this and the banks? The people weren't watching so much then, were they? Bankers are too far separated from the face of the people, while Ford, GM, and Chrysler are eyed every day. So now, the Congress is a champion of the people, as long as the people forget that they just handed out deficit-exploding amounts to the bankers...

    AIG's response was a commitment that its CEO would accept a token $1 compensation for the next year, and its 60 top executives would not receive bonuses and would also adhere to 'strict compensation limits'. I wonder if they'll be riding in Chevrolet Volts and eat at Wendy's too? Nah...

    Undoubtedly, AIG doesn't see any problem though, with paying $440,000 for a retreat event for some of their California 'top performers', (how good can a $25 Billion loss be considered, performance-wise?) Also, AIG is OK with a special employee retention program paying sizable lump sum disbursements for the 'upper echelon' at the failing company, (ranging from $92,000.00 to $4 million), to keep them from leaving their 'essential' positions for another year. No, these aren't bonuses for performance, per se', they are payments to keep these folks 'in their seat'. These 'non-bonus' bonuses in some cases add up to double and triple their actual salaries. Initially, AIG was to pay such sums to 130, but now, 168 employees will be receiving these 'retention' checks. Just don't call them bonuses, because that would be something they said they weren't going to do.. OK?

    Who is questioning this practice and bringing it to light? Why, the Congress, of course... I can't help but think that we've got the wolves from the barbershop, standing over the hen house full of freshly-hatched golden eggs, provided of course, by you and I. Hey, its the holidays, the season of giving, isn't it?

    And what about deficits? Wasn't it you same Congressmen and women who just a few months ago were pulling your hair out over deficit spending and leaving debts to our children? Here's a news bulletin, folks, if you print more, it just means less...

    Ron Paul's statements regarding 'nationalization' might sound like Robert Byrd yelling "BRUTALITY!", but the message is clear, in-your-face, and cannot be ignored. The government is rollercoastering down the path of the socialization of the American economy, all while many countries who have traditionally been the most socialized in the world, are cutting taxes, transitioning to free markets, and reducing government spending. Those typically referring to themselves as 'progressives' are proposing and supporting some of the most regressive moves ever in our history. "Its time for another New Deal!!" they cry, when all we are really being handed is the promise of a much worse fate then even the original new deal dealt us. The free market isn't really free anymore, and these latest developments only serve as more golden chains wrapped around the feet of the people.

    Our government is manufacturing its own 'ministries'. We will have the Ministry of Insurance, The Ministry of Investment, The Ministry of Mortgages, The Ministry of Health care, The Ministry of Automobile Manufacturing, The Ministry of 'Fairness' in Information, The Ministry of Homeland Security, and from their pulpits will spew more propaganda, more regulation, more 'standards' of conduct in production and business practices.. in short, we are dashing for a finish line where capitalism, opportunities, civil liberties, and personal responsibility will be only memories of a kinder, gentler era.

    Where is our Orwell-ian sensitivity? Not gone, but certainly in intensive care, and mostly due to the residual hype behind the fond promise of a single word - CHANGE. Yes, Virginia, even before the Emperor of change dons his new finely tailored, and albeit transparent robes, we are seeing CHANGE in this country in vastly new and perhaps never-before imaginable ways. The Jeffersons, Hamiltons, Paynes, and Hancocks of our history are rolling in their graves at the speed of sound, and we are so deafened by the din of our media that we cannot hear the rumble of the underground sonic booms.

    When you 'own' something, you generally have some say-so over how, when, and where it is used. You, by nature of the concept of ownership, receive the benefit of the property owned, and such is the right and entitlement of 'ownership'. I'll again refer to my earlier mention of the 'federal government' 'owning' equity stock in AIG, and remind you that although we once considered our government an extension of the people who empower it, such is absolutely no longer the case. Our government is now a self-supporting, self-serving, self-aggrandizing, overbearing, despotic, and unilaterally self-actuating entity. The concept of 'serving' the people is now seemingly completely foreign. If you disagree, let me ask you: What expectation do you have of sharing in an ownership interest of AIG? What expectation do you have of receiving benefit from the 'big three' automakers, should they be funneled a flow of your faithfully paid taxes as well? Need a new car? Could you better afford one if you didn't dole out 20-30% of your wages a month?

    Now, let me qualify this, I am speaking directly to what I consider real taxpayers. I do not mean those that pay $100 a year in withholding only to receive $6000 in windfall every March or April, courtesy of the poor bastards who pay more than a fair share and at the behest of those who demand that wealth be re-distributed. How whorish and inconceivably ridiculous is it to spew hatred and promises of punitive tax increases for the wealthiest Americans (when espousing such rhetoric serves your political purposes), then in reality feed the very same corporate cash cows who you claim to despise more wealth as soon as your political purposes are served?

    Also, how asinine is it to force private businesses in a given industry to conform with strict and prohibitive standards, imposed upon them under a plan literally designed to re-invent their market over minority-espoused concepts (such as extremist environmentalism), without providing even the first real and viable market incentive to sway the consumers themselves to gravitate toward a desire of the new standards? You are prescribing failure for the manufacturers, and standing in line to rescue them in a plan akin to a hostile takeover. Are you dying to drive a tiny cramped go-cart of a car that only a dealership can service, that runs 45 mph for a range of 40 miles, and pay $10,000 more for it? Not I and no, thank you. I very much like my full-size crew cab pickup, and I'm not embarrassed to say so. When your go-cart runs out of juice, I'll be happy to guzzle a few more gallons pulling you to the next coal-powered electrical outlet. And you will damn-well appreciate it, too.

    Notice that I have made nearly -0- inference of party affiliations here. Not Neo-cons, Liberals, Democrats, Republicans, Nationalists, and not even the Al Franken-stein Blabberist Party. I care less to lay blame on any but the government-serving political elite federalist power mongers, et al. I point my nimble fingers at all who believe that they are the salvation of this country, when, in fact they are its primary illness, and should be excised like the cancer that they are by the voices and votes of the people whose backs they rode into their mahogany-paneled offices on.

    Here's perhaps the most ridiculous point of the despicable game that's being played in the beltway; that what is being doled out by government is the enough cash to literally grant hundreds of thousands of dollars to each and every taxpayer in America. Really, do the math yourself. How could anyone dare not realize just how absolutely huge, fat, bloated, overbearing, putrid, gaseous, elitist, and self-serving our government has become?

    I used cancer as the illness we are infected with, which in essence is a rampant, abnormal cellular growth which invades the body's organs, choking off lifeblood and interfering with the body's designed and natural functions. The disease is also terribly painful. Over our recent history, our government has been that type of malady, it has actively used funding as a means by which to exert control over America's traditionally private institutions and is supplanting the normal ebb and flow of our once-free society. It is gradually, furtively, and firmly seizing control of once self-controlled destiny, altering it into an untenable bureaucratic mass of regulation, control, and interference with our individual lives. The price must be paid. It is terribly painful, and it is a gradual, but definitive death of the natural scheme of a democratic republic in that it chokes the life out of the backbone of the grand American design, a free market, capitalist economy. The ultimate irony is, that this is being done all at our own expense. We are feeding the disease, voting for it, hyping it, cheering it, loving it, and slowly dying by its hands.

    Are we all hibernating? At what point do we all wake up? Hopefully before it is too late to reverse the prognosis. I fear that it may well be. It took years of smoke and mirrors to fool Americans into believing that government is the solution to our problems, and I fear twice as long for us to realize that what our government has become, is the problem.

    We now return you to your regularly-scheduled mass of lies, hype, and hysteria...

    /rant off

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
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    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  2. #2
    BigDawg's Avatar
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    Another great post.


    And no we the people will never see a single red cent of our tax dollars going to "help" these private companies.
    "An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper


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  3. #3
    irishmick's Avatar
    irishmick is offline Do not mistake my kindness for weakness.
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    I love your rants...they're always spot on.
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  4. #4
    countybear's Avatar
    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    Had to edit. There was just a little bit more to say...

    (and thanks for the kind comments).

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.
    - Lovelace

    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  5. #5
    CTR man's Avatar
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    There's nothing like a great countybear rant in the morning.


    Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.

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    In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.









  6. #6
    Retmilleo909 is offline Banned
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    A great post and rant by CB which makes me angrier than a hornet.

  7. #7
    Odd's Avatar
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    Awhile back I had a conversation with a far left friend of mine. This was just before the first bailout and he jumped up and down, almost literally, that the CHANGE coming wasn't socialism. "It isn't by definition because the government doesn't control production!"

    Now we're probably getting a Car Czar. If he wasn't off his meds, quite literally this time, I'd ask him if it fits the definition yet.

    The car issue bothers me in a unique way. You see, I like cars. I also like the potential of electric cars. Maybe I drank the Kool-aid, but they make sense to me. Not from a "save the polar bears, stop CO2 emissions" standpoint though. For me it's about preserving finite resources, wider energy alternatives, energy independence - as it applies to energy markets, foreign policy and national security alike. Where electric fits, use that. Where alcohol based fuels fit use that. Where petroleum based fuels work best use that. The discussion should be about more and better options, not fewer.

    Micro-cars with lousy performance may give some greenies wet dreams, but that's not what I'm looking for. An electric car capable of lighting up all four tires yet still getting the equivalent of 200mpg in per mile cost is more my style. When the power goes out I want to plug my space heater in and run it off the battery, even if that means the range extender burns some fossil fuels overnight to do it. Better to burn a dino than be cold as one, even if it does make Al Gore cry.

    That's awhile down the road though and what's available today isn't all that great. Still, when I see a hypothetical vehicle like the go-cart described I want to challenge it, ask "And quite rightly you shouldn't be embarrassed to like your full size crew-cab, but wouldn't you like it even better if ... ?" and offer some Kool-aid of my own.

    Thanks Car Czar supporters for taking that discussion away from me. It seems a pretty safe bet that mandated hybrids/electrics/whatever they dream up won't be more likable. What should be a market and technology driven discussion will become anything but. And it irritates me to no end that the nature of the conversation about alternative designs necessarily becomes one about politics as the worst fears of those who don't want electric tuna-tins on wheels becomes reality. A reality that will set us back rather than move us forward.

  8. #8
    countybear's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Odd View Post
    Awhile back I had a conversation with a far left friend of mine. This was just before the first bailout and he jumped up and down, almost literally, that the CHANGE coming wasn't socialism. "It isn't by definition because the government doesn't control production!"
    Refer your friend to the nearest library or internet-capable computer, have him Google "CAFE standards", if he doesn't think that it is the U.S. Government, (or more specifically, the appointed oversight by both NHTSA and the EPA), who hold the leash of the automakers, and who exert massive pressures on production control. Government-imposed fines for non-compliance of CAFE standards are mindboggling.

    If he can read, also have him explore the 9th Circus Court's own brand of 'environmental expertise' when they decided that the newer, more stringent environmental standards were not 'stringent enough'...

    Now we're probably getting a Car Czar. If he wasn't off his meds, quite literally this time, I'd ask him if it fits the definition yet.
    Yep...

    The car issue bothers me in a unique way. You see, I like cars. I also like the potential of electric cars. Maybe I drank the Kool-aid, but they make sense to me. Not from a "save the polar bears, stop CO2 emissions" standpoint though. For me it's about preserving finite resources, wider energy alternatives, energy independence - as it applies to energy markets, foreign policy and national security alike. Where electric fits, use that. Where alcohol based fuels fit use that. Where petroleum based fuels work best use that. The discussion should be about more and better options, not fewer.
    The market should dictate the gravitation to alternative energy sources, not the government. The government's influence on the market should always be positive, but unfortunately, the fatcats of the beltway know only one way to do things: by force.

    Micro-cars with lousy performance may give some greenies wet dreams, but that's not what I'm looking for. An electric car capable of lighting up all four tires yet still getting the equivalent of 200mpg in per mile cost is more my style. When the power goes out I want to plug my space heater in and run it off the battery, even if that means the range extender burns some fossil fuels overnight to do it. Better to burn a dino than be cold as one, even if it does make Al Gore cry.

    That's awhile down the road though and what's available today isn't all that great. Still, when I see a hypothetical vehicle like the go-cart described I want to challenge it, ask "And quite rightly you shouldn't be embarrassed to like your full size crew-cab, but wouldn't you like it even better if ... ?" and offer some Kool-aid of my own.
    Technology will produce alternatives, but forcing it down the throats of the manufacturers, without there being any market incentives fosters exactly the type of financial crisis that we currently face. Are CAFE standards (or other sophmoric government knee-jerk reactions) the only factor in what plagues the domestic automakers? No. Are they at least a figurative nail in the fiscal coffin for the automobile market? Absolutely, because government is forcing the automakers to balance their production between what the market's demand is, and what the government's requirements dictate. Government is forcing the production of vehicles which are less desirable, more expensive, and difficult to sell to the typical consumer, and we wonder why the manufacturers are taking a bath?

    While we are talking about coffins, let us take a moment and look at 'grave' reality. What does government intrusion into private manufacturing sectors really cost us, personally? I invite you to read the statistics for crash fatalities between the time of the CAFE mandates (adopted in 1975, implemented in 1978), the time that their progression leveled off and the engineering safety lag-time for producing better collision energy absorption in lighter, smaller vehicles was finally realized and many flaws addressed and abated (1992-1993). I'll give you a quick summary, if you really don't want to do the calculations, and to do that, I'll cite the experts themselves:

    A National Research Council report found that the standards implemented in the 1970s and 1980s "probably resulted in an additional 1,300 to 2,600 traffic fatalities in 1993.[9] A Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study found that CAFE standards led to "2,200 to 3,900 additional fatalities to motorists per year.[38] The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 2007 data show a correlation of about 250-500 fatalities per year, per MPG.[39]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpora...e_Fuel_Economy

    Where was the outcry? Probably trampled under the stampede of Greenpeacers to an Al Gore Rally...

    If this does not tell America that human life is truly meaningless to these people in the name of the almighty vote, the almighty pulpit, and the almighty dollar, nothing that I can say or quote; no picture could I paint or capture; and no amount of real-life revelation is possible to you. You are as intellectually dead and pragmatically un-resurrectable as these numbered victims of the 'progressive', fat-government socialist's quest for ultimate power.

    Thanks Car Czar supporters for taking that discussion away from me. It seems a pretty safe bet that mandated hybrids/electrics/whatever they dream up won't be more likable. What should be a market and technology driven discussion will become anything but. And it irritates me to no end that the nature of the conversation about alternative designs necessarily becomes one about politics as the worst fears of those who don't want electric tuna-tins on wheels becomes reality. A reality that will set us back rather than move us forward.
    The reality is that this is a political discussion. It is, because the government made it a political agenda. Had market incentives been put in place to enrich the demand for alternative energy-powered vehicles, rather than 'like it or lump it' penalties thrown in the laps of the manufacturers, then the market could have made a more traditional, gradual, engineering-sound, and strategic transition. The magic bullet is spurring free-enterprise and allowing capitalism to take its natural 'supply and demand' course, not charging through the doors of the plants and slapping the accountants around, that's seemingly the UAW's job.

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.
    - Lovelace

    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  9. #9
    Odd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by countybear View Post
    Had market incentives been put in place to enrich the demand for alternative energy-powered vehicles, rather than 'like it or lump it' penalties thrown in the laps of the manufacturers, then the market could have made a more traditional, gradual, engineering-sound, and strategic transition.
    What type of market incentives would you favor?

    I don't mean to sidetrack your rant into being about cars. We're in agreement; the go-cart description just gave me the opening to vent some frustration of my own. Forcing people to do or buy something usually carries a backlash and that's very much the case here. A smaller Ministry exercised force with the effect nearly twenty years later still being negative.

    People hear electric car and often the EV-1 that the California Air Resources Board mandated GM make comes to mind. It's no wonder automakers are gun shy about saying the word electric in front of many audiences. Heck, the EV-1 was a cool toy at the time and I can see why some people would want one, but that's not what the broader public wants. Worse, that is now the public perception of what an electric car must be which scares people off while giving political pundits something tangible to lambast. That attempt to force "progress" instead has hindered it.

  10. #10
    countybear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd View Post
    What type of market incentives would you favor?
    I'd far more favor a cappable, and residual individual tax credit to offset the increased initial price and maintenance costs of hybrid vehicles. Growth in public acceptance and popularity could be spurred that way, creating a more natural curve for market demand expansion. The people have a means thereby to play on an even field while acquainting themselves with the hybrid concept. The government gets what it wants, the consumer learns the advantages and benefits of new technology (while assistance is available to offset prohibitive initial technology costs, there is also a natural tendency for price deflation with the expansion of popularity and availability). Best perhaps, is that the manufacturers are balanced in growth by meeting an increasing consumer demand, which, in turn gives them profitability avenues while stimulating them to advance and capitalize the technology.

    I don't mean to sidetrack your rant into being about cars. We're in agreement; the go-cart description just gave me the opening to vent some frustration of my own. Forcing people to do or buy something usually carries a backlash and that's very much the case here. A smaller Ministry exercised force with the effect nearly twenty years later still being negative.
    I'm not into government 'force', I believe that incentives work much better, especially when those incentives go into demand-side stimulus, rather than supply-side mandate.

    People hear electric car and often the EV-1 that the California Air Resources Board mandated GM make comes to mind. It's no wonder automakers are gun shy about saying the word electric in front of many audiences. Heck, the EV-1 was a cool toy at the time and I can see why some people would want one, but that's not what the broader public wants. Worse, that is now the public perception of what an electric car must be which scares people off while giving political pundits something tangible to lambast. That attempt to force "progress" instead has hindered it.
    Whenever government 'forces' an agenda, it always hinders the natural course of its progress. You just (in a nutshell) re-stated (and even illustrated) my point, exactly.

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.
    - Lovelace

    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by some Odd guy View Post
    When the power goes out I want to plug my space heater in and run it off the battery, even if that means the range extender burns some fossil fuels overnight to do it. Better to burn a dino than be cold as one, even if it does make Al Gore cry.
    Seems there is someone else in the world as loony as myself and I can't help smile at his application. Necessity truly is the mother of invention, or jury rigging in this case. A Prius battled global warming (after all this cold snap is proof of such, right? ) while getting 0 mpg!

    The newspaper reports that John Sweeney, a resident who lost power, “ran his refrigerator, freezer, TV, woodstove fan and several lights through his Prius, for three days, on roughly five gallons of gas.”

    Said Mr. Sweeney, in an e-mail message to The Press: “When it looked like we were going to be without power for awhile, I dug out an inverter (which takes 12v DC and creates 120v AC from it) and wired it into our Prius.”
    Talk about a market incentive. People across this nation who have been freezing without power would gladly have burned a few gallons of gas for some comfort. Toyota should run with this to show there's a unique utility other cars don't currently offer - unless you leave it running 24/7 with much greater fuel cost, safety issues and law breaking. Maybe some bright boy in the Ford marketing department will use this to promote the 2010 Fusion hybrid.

    Doesn't change anything in the politics, just a cool story about using so-called (mis-marketed, imo) "green tech" in an anything but green way. I guess it does further illustrate how people are better motivated by self interest than the intent of those making (or forcing) a product on them though.

    Mostly I just thought it was a cool story

 

 

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