Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Frederick Douglass's descendants speak on this 4th of July

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Andrew Sullivan posted this very interesting chart on how many American corporations/businesses are run by the government and how many are not. It decidedly puts to rest the hysterical squawkings of the apoplectic righties and their paranoia that we've become a Socialist country. As usual, the radical right doesn't know what they're talking about, except that when their idiot mouthpieces tell them what to think, they think it and talk it without investigating whether or not it is true.

Reality has nothing to do with their uninformed hysteria. It's really embarrassing how incredibly gullible and totally misled they are.
Congratulations New Hampshire! Another New England state does the right thing! Yay!


Arthurstone said...

Monday's NY Times (Pravda to 'conservatives' despite the daily ads for Tiffanys et. al.) ran an Op-Ed piece by a former Bush Administration regarding GM. In the entire piece the only parties at fault were the Gov't. & the UAW. Not a peep about poorly designed, poorly engineered cars no one with a lick of sense would buy. As usual the clowns in charge, sorry, the executives who made lousy decisions one after another in every conceivable area of the company's operations (from design to labor relations to marketing & development) didn't merit a peep from this conservative mouthpiece, a 'scholar' at the American Enterprise Institute named James Glassman.

It's all the fault of guvment & the unions. Always. Even with union membership at roughly 14% of the workforce it's still labor unions who are to blame for whatever ails industry.

Shaw Kenawe said...

It's the same situation with regard to the Obama administration. The extremists blame all the financial problems, social failings, and international ills on the Obama administration without thinking about who was in complete power for 6 of the last 8 years.

Because the radical extremists don't bother to check the veracity of the charges, they believe no one else does.


Bob Qat said...

I gather you noticed that there has been some formerly free enterprises which have been socialized? This is new on the American scene. The US economic practice used to promote fitness, not indolence.

This is an old thing if the idea is to prevent a useless corporation from going into oblivion. The question you should ask yourself is, "Does acquiring the assets of a useless, dying company make sense?"

Arthurstone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arthurstone said...

I'd prefer the gummint buy Google. Or Walmart. Or Microsoft. Let's make a buck on the road to collectivism. 8>)

dmarks said...

Arthur: There's plenty of blame to go around. Including unions and government (yes, that is how it is spelled). But management, execs, and non-union workers have a major (huge) share of the blame, and it is erroneous to leave that out.

Jobe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christopher said...

"But management, execs, and non-union workers have a major (huge) share of the blame, and it is erroneous to leave that out."

There you go again, dmarks.

Your contempt for working people is as deep as the Grand Canyon.

I hold, and I defy anyone to disprove me, that we have the most productive workers on earth.

Americans are far more productive than workers in the EU, Japan, or India and we're more innovative too.

The question before us, why does dmarks hate American workers?


dmarks said...

"There you go again, dmarks."

Yes, once again putting things into perspective.

"Your contempt for working people is as deep as the Grand Canyon."

I have shown none. In fact, I named "management, execs" before I named other workers.

"The question before us, why does dmarks hate American workers?"

I don't. You have shown us a perfect example of a straw-man attack. But if you had any bit of reading comprehension, you might have asked me first why I hate management and execs. That would have made a slight bit of more sense.

Back to the topic. This percentage is low. But it could be better. It's like murder-rate statistics. Sure, it is low, compared to the number of people that aren't murdered. But it is always good to see if there is some way to reduce it.

Ruth said...

GM and AIG are great examples of why more government control is needed, in which corporate directors shut out stockholder interests which they hold offices intended to represent. The government is there to prevent, not enable, theft.

Christopher said...

Oh, I see, dmarks.

It's the order of the items in a series that connote significance.

Returning to perspective, my post is no "straw-man attack," far from it.

I was merely taking you at your word and your words were very clear -- order in appearance or not.

You said:

"But management, execs, and non-union workers have a major (huge) share of the blame, and it is erroneous to leave that out."

I stand by my comment. We, have the most productive and innovative workers in the world.

Why do you hate American workers?

Shaw Kenawe said...


It's difficult to take what you claim seriously when it has been documented that not a few CEOs of our large corporations make up to 500% more in salary and perks, and in some cases even higher, than the non-management work force.

A tad bit greedy, no?

Capt. Fogg said...

As long as we're talking about straw man arguments, is there an engineer or even a mechanic amongst the car experts here? Maybe someone else who has spent a lifetime with cars?

For the benefit of the guy who doesn't own a car and hates all cars: my last three "poorly designed, poorly engineered" GM cars have given me better service than any amongst the 30 or so cars I've owned in the last 50 years. Show me a Toyota that does 190 mph and gets 30 mpg, never rusts, accelerates, turns and stops faster than anything else, dominates international sports car racing and can be expected to run well over 100,000 miles without significant repair. Just where did you get your engineering degree?

I get tired of people repeating empty memes and mantras and assuring us that everything is better anywhere else and coffee tastes much better when you give it a fake foreign name.

Why do you hate American products so much and why should anyone listen to you?

Yes, yes, you had a '68 Buick or a '72 Chrysler so you know everything, but I could sell my 3 year old GM car in Europe for what I paid for it new - don't try that with your Hyundai -- oh that's right -- you don't actually drive.

dmarks said...

Christopher asked: "Why do you hate American workers?"

Why are you beating your wife, Christopher? If you can ask nonsequitur questions, I can too.

Shaw: I said that execs have a huge share of the blame. Execs includes CEO's. Yet, you say it is difficult to take what I say seriously, and you yourself go on and detail part of the CEO problem.

Arthurstone said...

Well, well, well Captain Fogg.

Sadly I have spent more time in my life with cars than I'd care to admit (earned my drivers license 38 years ago). And while I don't presently own a car I do drive on occasion. Zipcar. Toyotas. Hondas. Saabs.

But thanks for the stroll down memory lane. I recall my first car. A 1967 Mustang. Not bad. Not at all good. But far less economical and far worse handling than the 1961 Karmann Ghia I bought a couple years later. At the time my mother drove what remains the worst car I'd experienced up until then and remains in the top two today. A 1972 Ford Pinto. My god what a disaster that was. A two door economy car with passenger & driver doors so large one could scarcely open them parked uphill. What a marvel of design that thing was. Along with a 2001 Buick Park Regal (a preposterous boat if ever one were built & my father's last car) they are memorable for their not to be topped combination of poor, user-unfriendly design, crap performance and unbelievably lousy handling.

Two cars in my lifetime stand out as stellar. A 1974 VW Superbeetle I bought used in 1975 for $2,100 with 10K miles, drove for ten years and sold in 1985 for $2,400 with 110K miles on it. One battery replacement. Tires. Oil changes & tune ups. Utterly reliable. The other was a 1996 Infiniti G20 I leased for three years. Great, great car. Fun to drive. Great handling. Wonderful economy and it would do 120 with it's little 4 cylinder. Leather and a remarkable stereo. Close behind was a 1983 VW GTI. Easily the most fun to drive. Very quick and exceedingly nimble.

Roasted coffee from foreign producers used to be by far the best but the US has closed that gap substantially. Caffee Umbria (Seattle) is quite nice. Of course since we don't actually grow any coffee it's ALL foreign anyway.

And speaking of those pesky unions. A family friend's daughter has worked at Starbucks for the past year or so earning money toward college. She had been promoted and trained to be a store manager. When she showed up this very morning to start her new duties she was informed that Starbucks had just discovered she was headed to college in the fall and had they known they never would have promoted her and trained her. So, thank you very much but she can continue as a barrista at reduced hours. Nothing performance related. Strictly on the basis of the 'discovery' of her future plans. Of course her resume included the information but apparently someone either didn't notice or needed a pretext for a change of plan. Fortunately for Alex, the young woman, her Starbucks is a franchise operation located in a Safeway and those workers are members of the Retail Clerks Union.

Should be interesting. I'll be curious what the story really is and how it plays out.

dmarks said...

I did wonder what Capt. Fogg meant about US-grown coffee. But sure enough, I looked just now and there is a lot grown in Hawaii. Probably not enough to take over the market, though.

Yes, those Karman Ghias were problematic. And the 1970s were known for "sport coupes" with two-doors so large and heavy that you could barely move them at times.

Arthurstone said...

Hawaii grows just enough coffee (Kona) to occupy a niche at the high end price point as a bit of a novelty. Like Jamaican Blue Mountain it is usually overpriced and often not very good.

Actually Arabica beans are the highest quality and while originally from Arabia they grow elsewhere. Rustica is the other type of bean and, I believe, is used in mass market coffees.

Where the beans come from is far less important than how the roaster handles them.

Dave Miller said...

From socialism to cars to coffee.

Too much free time today guys?

Arthur I have had some real good Kona, but sadly, you are correct in that most of what people drink today labeled as Kona is a blend of chaf.

Like scotch, I prefer my Kona unblended.

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Just so everyone knows, in addition to being a current Union member, and former negotiating rep and local vice president, among other things, I have some experience with lots of stuff.

Captain: I sold cars for about 9 years. From 1987 to 1996. Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs and Chryslers were piles of shit. Cadillacs were crap. The Lincoln Town Car was a far better built car than any Cadillac. For some reason, Buicks were quality vehicles. Don't know why the rest of the GM lineup sucked. Toyota was a better car than Honda. Fords didn't have the eye appeal of GM and others, but they were good cars going into the 90's.

Dmarks: labor can only build as good a product as management lets them through quality design and parts. For you or anyone else to blame Unions for what you consider cheapness or lack of competitiveness is disingenuous and/or just blind parroting of one of the right's talking heads.

Arthurstone said...


Anyone can ruin good beans.

Take Starbucks for example. Over-roasted & burnt tasting. But acceptable in a pinch.

Say at the airport when the option is Mountain Dew.

dmarks said...

Mostly Kind said:

"labor can only build as good a product as management lets them through quality design and parts."

And the company can only roll out a car as good as the design if the line-workers are doing what they are supposed to. Fat chance this is going to happen when basic management decisions are derailed by an outside political organization whose Job 1 that has a higher priority of extorting political donations.

"For you or anyone else to blame Unions for what you consider cheapness or lack of competitiveness is disingenuous and/or just blind parroting of one of the right's talking heads."

The last part was just a diversionary version of "I do not like what you say". I can just as easily do the misleading "you are parroting a talking head" thing to you as well. But I don't. It is just an attempt to avoid discussing raised issues.

How about low build quality? Parts that fall off and panels that don't fit? That's lousy work on the line level, and the UAW so often resists accountability or changes in work rules and merit-pay type initiatives that ensure a higher quality product: better work on the factory line.

Hyundai, once barely better than a Yugo, instituted a policy of making people directly accountable for the flaws they were responsible for. Something they were easily able to do without having the UAW interfere with such basic management decisions. This is one of the reasons they kept improving and eventually pulled ahead of all the Big 3.

The workers win with this type of operation, too: while UAW factories are forced to fire workers by the tens of thousands, the trend with automakers free of UAW interference has been to hire more and more American workers.

Even now, plants with the UAW in place that have a good qualiity product are the exception, rather than the rule (see the Flat Rock Mazda-Ford plant).

Yes, unions are definitely one of the problems that tanked the Big 3. Not the only problem, but one of the problems nonetheless. Along with execs and management.

This might change. After the auto company reorganization, the UAW pretty much owns Chrysler and GM. Maybe they will now consider it more important to build a quality product.

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Parts that fall off and panels that don't fit. The Union guy didn't order the parts that fell off and panels that didn't fit Dmarks. The Union guy didn't design with cheapening and cutting quality as job one. He/she was put on the line and did the best he could with what he was given.

You obviously no nothing of contracts and work rules Dmarks. Allow me to explain. Management has the right to create work and safety rules in order to maintain efficiency and productivity. Work and safety rules are pretty much standard language in contracts so there isn't much negotiation involved. It's basically do the job and use the safety equipment we tell you to, how we tell you to use it, or you're subject to suspension or termination.

Personally as a Union man, I'm proud of the job our guys did negotiating with the big three. As a stockholder in one of the big three(Ford) it pisses me off that management were weak. Their weakness and poor business decisions cost the domestic auto industry. (In reality, the big three are not the entire domestic auto industry. Honda, Toyota and others have big plants that employ thousands.)

The toughest guy I ever went up against was a former Union Rep who left for a management position. This dude knew his stuff better than any human resources professional or MBA I ever met. So you know what? It's a damn good thing the Unions will have a large ownership stake in the car companies. It has to be better than what they have now. To my knowlege, none of the CEO's or high level management of these companies ever had to work on a car lot or in the factory.

dmarks said...

"He/she was put on the line and did the best he could with what he was given."

Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. But in a system where seniority (just showing up) is valued more than excellence, it really does not matter if he does the best or not, does it?

"Management has the right to create work and safety rules in order to maintain efficiency and productivity."

Does this include merit pay?

"So you know what? It's a damn good thing the Unions will have a large ownership stake in the car companies."

I'm not sure I approve of how it got to be this way, but I don't think it is a bad thing.

"It has to be better than what they have now."

The adversarial situation within a company can't ever be a good thing. With the unions in charge, maybe this can improve.

It's not certain, though: workers who work for labor unions have had strikes and unfair-labor-practice claims against their bosses who happen to be union bigwigs.

"To my knowlege, none of the CEO's or high level management of these companies ever had to work on a car lot or in the factory."

It happens sometimes, but it is not common. I remember when it made the news several years ago when a GM CEO was chosen who was actually a car guy. Amazing. an auto company CEO who was for once a car guy!

Christopher said...

"Why are you beating your wife, Christopher?"

Thoughts of violence against women, dmarks?