Archive for April, 2009

Chrysler Bankrupt

Well, I suppose we all knew it was going to happen, though most expected it would be GM that would hit the courts for protection first. Mind you, given the attitude of the Chrysler CEO and Execs in recent hearings, one could already tell they were bankrupt, least in character & integrity.

A bankruptcy filing by Chrysler is widely expected to happen shortly after a group of about 40 hedge funds opposed a plan that would reduce the automaker’s $6.9 billion US in secured debt. A group of four banks that together hold about 70 per cent of that debt are in support of the plan. ( source – CBC News )

Billions of dollars of our money is being given to these dinosaurs of the auto industry. Chrysler is expected to have a whopping 35% of its shares or equity purchased by Fiat, while the Canadian / Ontario Government gets about 2%

Now, something doesn’t smell right here.  Just how much is Fiat giving vs. how much we have given?

Then too, let us examine the whole concept of the Auto Industry Bailout by Harper.  The goal was to save jobs, right? To that end the CAW was basically ORDERED to make huge concessions, not just on wages, but on the side perks, such as pension plan contributions, health premiums.

They did as Ordered.

And the result, is Chrysler is in Bankruptcy protection, GM is probably rushing to follow suit, even though it is closing hundred of dealerships, phasing out Pontiac production in Canada, and oh yeah, eliminating about 60% of its hourly wage earners in Cananda, while only turfing less than 30% in the USA. Great deal you made there, Mr Harper.

So Mr. Harper, tell me again what makes you a good Economist? Prime Minister? Canadian?

I don’t know, but when will someone take a real leadership role in this economic mess? Big Business has screwed us royally, and has placed the entire world economy into jeopardy, with its greed and free trade bullshit. I don’t see Ignatieff, Layton or May doing much better, but I wonder, how deep are those pockets of these so called Captains of Industry? I mean why else would every single blasted leader be willing to piss away billions of our money, risk our wrath, for a group of greedy, insensitive, morally bankrupt, business leaders, if the payoff wasn’t worth it?

I know, I sound bitter, but damn it, it is common sense. One doesn’t need to be an economist to figure it out. Small Business generates more new jobs, more high paying jobs too, and is far more stable, than these big conglomerates. They constantly provide real growth, to our economy, when given the chance.

The very people, who this throwing of taxpayer money is supposed to help, are being fired, laid off, or made redundent. How is that helping our economy, or is it a way to force a lower standard of living on the masses?

The idea was good, but impracticle. Bailing out companies that allowed themselves to be in this situation, was stupid, ill conceived. That also is assuming, that they truly are in dire straits. It didn’t seem to impact the bonus money paid out to the executives, or the increased perks they all managed to secure for themselves, and yet our world leaders fawn over them, like they are Gods or something.

What is rather ironic, is that the very people doing the most ass kissing to them, are the Conservatives, whose mantra of Less Government seems to have somehow, disappeared. Harper who promised PRUDENT action, is now throwing billions of dollars into the Corporate Coffers, and in return, we get plant closurers, lay offs, and an unemployment of 8%, while he allows immigrant farm workers into the country.

It is idiotic, dangerous,and yet I have to say, Harper isn’t the only one acting like this. You have virtually every world leader, giving in to the insane demands of these giant corporations, who have caused this mess, to begin with.

I don’t get it. But you know, I would like my money back Mr. Harper. I’d rather see my billions of tax dollars spent on Canadians, and in a way that will let them keep their jobs, their dignity, their pride. If that means we pay more for Canadian Made goods, so be it. I’d rather keep my money in Canada, so my health care isn’t eroded, so my education isn’t depreciated, and my welfare programs gutted.

I don’t want to buy a gun, for protection, I want my Police to do that, and do it well. I don’t want my Emergency Room swamped with cases of Flue and other Pandemics, because you are too gutless to stand up for me, with the Gun Lobbyists, and the Mexican Government.

Enough Mr. Harper, go back to your fake religious think tanks where they taught you that 1 + 1 equals 3.

 In the real world, 1+1 still equals 2.

At least not if the referendum passes.

The NDP are pushing passage of this ‘ New Way to Vote ‘ and frankly I don’t see why any political party should support it. To begin with, it is confusing, secondly it waters down the importance of my vote.  No matter what the ‘ eggheads ‘ may say, it is the simple truth.

The NDP call it POWERING UP THE VOTE, but honestly they should call it FIXING THE RACE.

The old principle, of  ‘ one person, one vote ‘ is based on giving everyone a real say in who represents them. The proposed new model, says we can get a chance to vote for more than one person, and actually influence which party wins an election, overall.  That is directly opposite to what we do now.

In some instances, it does indeed become a popularity contest, though in the past it was perhaps less that, than it is today, thanks to the attack politics of people like Stephen Harper, George Bush, Carol James, and Gordon Campbell.  Of course there always was the Bennet line of how voting NDP was a vote for Unionism, versus Free Enterprise, which polarized this province to where you can’t tell it from say Florida or Texas anymore.

I like to be able to vote for the person in my riding, not for a collection of people, as would be the case if this referendum passes. I want someone ACCOUNTABLE TO ME, NOT TO EVERYONE IN THE CITY.

Nor do I buy into the argument that if it takes X number of votes to get elected, that those votes over that number, are wasted votes.

What this referendum proposes is to vote by party, rather than by individual, and that simply isn’t how I think it should be. I mean take a look at horse racing. If you have a hunch you will pick a winner, and if they win, you get a nice tidy payout. ON the other hand, say you aren’t certain he can win, but could finish either in first or second. Again you get that choice, but hey, your payout is less if the horse does place first or second. You also can choose to water it down, hedge your reward by saying the horse could make it to first, second, or third, but your payout drop a hell of a lot, if it does come in.

AND THAT IS WHAT THIS PROPOSED VOTING SYSTEM DOES. IT HEDGES THE PARTY BET, RATHER THAN CHOOSING THE BEST MAN/WOMAN FOR THE JOB OF REPRESENTING ME.

Until this election, our MLA was Rob Fleming. He is NDP. I like him, and he’s done a good job representing our riding. I would most likely have voted for him this time around, if the boundaries hadn’t been changed, to where he is no longer our MLA. 

Under the proposed new system, our MLA would be more than one person, representing the entire city or region. Now assume for one minute, that all the winning candidates live in Oak Bay, none live in Vic West or Esquimalt. How am I, who may live in that district, supposed to expect that someone who doesn’t live in my area, will be able to help me in problems unique to my area?

What problems could Vic West have, that Oak Bay wouldn’t? 

How about education. Vic West is more blue collar than Oak Bay that is more suit and tie, and retired. If Education gets regionalized, as the previosu NDP Government tried, and to some extend the current one, without an active and strident voice, it could pass. It hasn’t in the past, because local MLA’s from poorer districts objected, and in a way that got their leader’s attention. It put their seat at risk.

That always gets the attention of a politician.

Under this proposed new system, that gets negated, and frankly, it further divides those who have, vs. those who haven’t. And that really isn’t the kind of system I want governing my Province, or nation.

On the surface, it seems like we get to select more of who we want, than now. However, the truth is, how many people who are die hard Liberals, or die hard NDP, going to split their choices? Just look at our National standings, where we have had three consecutive minority governmens. It is because some of us felt safe to vote for a different party, without tipping the balance of power from us, to one party.

While it isn’t ideal, it works. What the new system does is reward parties, which makes election campaigns one sided. The part that has the most money, can run the most ads, will win, because people will simply choose a party vs a local candidate. The ability for local candidates to raise money, becomes less, as their chances for election now rests on the party, not on their abilities, and that simply isn’t right.

Consider this, many people do not appreciate the leadershp qualities of Carol James. I dont, but I have a Rob Fleming sign up, because he did a good job here, should be allowed to continue that job. Carol James on the other hand, is someone I would never vote for, and now that our riding has been adjusted, I am looking at Ida Chong as our MLA.

Under the proposed system, those who like their local MLA, would also be voting for Carol James. There is no offset, because it is based on a magical line, drawn in the sand of electability.  The new system spews out a magic number, and those who get over that number, get to pass the results on, to someone else.

It is like you win the lottery that has a jackpot of $10 Million. Someone else had the same numbers you selected, so the two of you split the prize. Add a third person who was just as clairvoyent, and the prize is watered down to being split among the three of you.  Now that is fair, when it comes to a game of chance, right?

However, what if a limit was set, that said no matter what the jackpot is, you can only get X amount?  Say the pot goes up to $10 Million, but the limit is $5 Million.  You win, and NO ONE ELSE HAS THAT WINNING NUMBER COMBINATION.  So instead of you getting it all, they do a second draw, and for that, there is a limit less than $5 Million.  So the second person gets that limit, but because the pot was higher than the second limit, a third draw takes place, making a third winner, out of the pot.

HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT TWO OTHERS WHO WEREN’T AS LUCKY AS YOU, GOT PART OF WHAT YOU WON?

The prize here, is to be a member of the legislature. To suddenly have your victory shared with others, who you may or may not agree with, kind of takes away from your win, but it also makes those who voted for you, feel a bit cheated, a bit robbed. Or worse, how about you lose, because while you may have won in a smaller riding, the larger group never even considered your candidacy, and passed their second & third choices to others?

My values aren’t yours, may not be the same as those in Oak Bay or Broadmead, but if they have more peope voting party lines, than the rest of the city does, well, instead of electing two members, they could elect all of them, leaving me and those like me, out in the cold.

THAT ISN’T DEMOCRACY.

The outbreak of Swine Flu has claimed about 150 lives in Mexico, and we have 6 reported cases here in Canada, last time I checked. Our health agency is predicting we can expect many more cases, including some fatalities, as well. Now isn’t that comforting to know, while the Harper Government says it WILL NOT RESTRICT migrant farm workers coming here, from Mexico.

Thousands of Mexican workers needed for Canada’s growing season will have their temperature taken before being allowed to enter the country, in light of the swine flu outbreak, Canadian officials indicated Monday. ( source – CBC News )

First off, with unemployment at about 8%, how come we are in need of migrant farm workers? Is the Harper Government really going to say that there aren’t enough out of work Canadians, to fill those jobs? Or is it that those jobs are underpaid, way underpaid, and so in order to protect the company profits, we’ll let Canadians go on Welfare, but bring in cheap Mexican labor instead?

And how is taking one’s temperature going to tell if they are carriers of the Swine Flu or not? Even if those taking the temperature are Doctors? If it was that simple, then how come it took so long before we were notified of this outbreak? How come it took Doctors here, and in the USA & elsewhere, so long to confirm a Swine Flu outbreak?

Obvious answer is, taking a temperature DOES NOT TELL YOU. Yet here is the Harper Government, sending two doctors to do just that, in order to pretend they are protecting our health, when the truth is, they are doing it for show, so they can justify allowing cheap labor into Canada, irrespective of the potential health risks.

Canadians should expect to see more severe cases of swine flu — including some deaths from the virus — as the outbreak spreads, the country’s chief public health officer warned Monday. ( source – CBC News )

While the Government issues a travel advisory, we let in Mexican laborers, without even knowing if they are coming from the infected regions of Mexico. Like just how callous and stupid is that? Kind of reminds me of our Agriculture Minister Ritz, and his jokes during the Listeria Outbreak from Maple Leaf Foods.

Wonder if he has any new jokes for this new round of impending deaths?

Seems that the Harper Regime is more concerned about winning Quebec votes, than it is in protecting us, the people.

Even the buffoons in the stock markets are worried what this could do, but not because it will kill people, but will effect trade. The EU is considering travel advisories for Mexico, the USA, and possibly Canada, due to the outbreak, while Harper allows in Mexican workers. Something is out of whack here, and I don’t think it is me.

Business is replaceable, because if it dies out, goes bankrupt, something else will come along and take it’s place. If people are put out of work, they will find a new job, eventually, but when people DIE, they aren’t replaced. To put it in terms even the Harper Conservatives might understand, they lose a potential voter, a potential campaign worker, contributor. They also lose tax revenue.

Maybe it is time to stop putting things simply on a dollar and cent level, to stop equating the value of a human life to profits & losses, but instead to focus on making those lives, more meaningful, more productive. One sure fire way, is to do your best to not let them become infected by potentially deadly viruses, like the Swine Flu.

Power, give me more power.

Hydro electric power that is, and it is a hot issue in British Columbia. Carol James and the NDP are opposed to the ambitious Liberal program, that sets out private licenses to firms, to produce small power outlets. They call it the Run of the River Projects which oddly enough, was started by none other than Mike Harcourt’s NDP government.

The B.C. Liberals have been promoting run-of-the-river projects as a green alternative to more power megaprojects. It’s part of the party’s ambitious agenda to cut greenhouse gas emissions and get more independent power producers sending energy to BC Hydro’s grid.

The New Democrats want a moratorium on such power projects, and their leader, Carole James, has accused the Liberals of selling off the province’s rivers and says there hasn’t been enough public consultation on the projects. ( source – CBC News )

This is one reason I don’t like Carol James. While I am not enamored by this scheme of the Campbell Liberals, I also think Carol James should be honest and upfront, that this was a project begun by her own party. I mean on the surface, the concept does seem valid, which even she admits.  It is HOW one goes about it, that is really at issue here, which our Premier seems to be sidestepping.

There is no doubt in my mind, that the Campbell Liberals are too much like the Social Credit of old, and are too aligned with big business. I mean, the BC Rail fiasco surely should be amble evidence of that. BC Ferries is another example, but while Campbell is too tight with business, James is way off on the deep end with Labor. By that I mean the Teacher’s Union & Nurses Union, which really, are too powerful.

The coaliton of Gordon Campbell under the Liberal Party really is a misnomer. He and his party are more akin to the Harper styled Conservatives, but British Columbia has been too americanized, politically speaking. I refer to having basically a two party system here, because the other parties, have never really taken off, and perhaps it is time we added a third voice into our legislature?

Jane Sterk & the Green Party seem a bit more on track, with a more reasoned approach to the issues, versus the ‘take it or leave it’ approach both, Gordon Campbell & Carol James, offer.

To me, these projects need to be carefully examined. Not just the individual license being requested, but the overall program in any region of the Province. There can be too many in one small area, which might not have the desired environmental effect. On the other hand, can one trust the NDP, anymore than the Liberals, to insure that full & proper disclosure is made available?

And what about real environmental impact studies? Can one trust James or Campbell to not have it slanted to their own philosophy? It is an issue of TRUST, but the way these two leaders operate, a third party is starting to make more sense, than ever before. Especially when it comes to protecting our natural resouces.

What do we get for our bailout?

GM Canada is planning to cut its hourly employees from about 10,000 last year, to about 4400 by 2014.  A whopping 60% roughly of its hourly employees, salaried employees are also on the block. Meanwhile, down home in the United States, GM is planning to cut its hourly employees there by, well about a third.  From 61000 to 40000.

GM Canada said its hourly wage workforce is expected to decline from 10,300 in 2008 to 4,400 in 2014. The Canadian division said it will also make further cuts to its salaried staff.

GM said its 82-year-old Pontiac division is being eliminated as it concentrates on its Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC brands. ( source – CBC News )

Now, for all those GM workers that made huge concession in their wages, their pensions, their health care, you have to wonder, how do they feel right now, knowing that 6 out of 10 of them, will no longer be working for GM?

You also have to wonder, just what does Flaherty & Harper think, knowing they have given GM so many tax cuts, and BILLIONS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS, that frankly it didn’t save a damn job?

Does anyone really believe now, that giving bailout money to GM was a good move? Did it save any jobs, like those 40%?  IF that is the case, maybe letting GM go down the drink would have been kinder, than prolonging the agony the remaining people will have?

Is the presence of the Big Three Auto Makers doomed in Canada?

Makes you wonder if the writing isn’t on the wall by this announcement, and now that Chrysler has its pot of gold, will they be next in line to send a large number of Canadian Jobs into the NON EXISTENT FILE?