Chrysler Closing Conspiracy?

I admit, that when I first read the reports that the Chrysler dealership closings disproportionately targeted GOP donors, I did think "Well, of course...I'll bet most car dealers are Republicans anyhow..."

I might have left it at that and remained skeptical of any mass conspiracy, except for some more specific details about how some big-wigs in Democratic circles essentially had all their competition wiped off the map in several markets....

The Mysterious Case of RLJ

In Smith's research, one company kept popping up on the list of dealerships remaining open. The company is RLJ-McLarty-Landers, which owns six Chrysler dealerships. All six dealerships are on "the safe list."

RLJ's owners "are Steve Landers (long-time car dealer, 4th-generation dealer), Thomas "Mack" McLarty (former Chief of Staff for President Clinton), and Robert Johnson (founder of Black Entertainment Television and co-owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats)... McLarty campaigned for Obama in 2008, and Johnson has given countless amounts of money to Democrats over the years."


All other factors being equal, what are the odds that RLJ's dealerships would remain open while all other area dealerships would be shuttered?

In fact it seems that RLJ delearships in 5 markets will have *all* of their local competition shuttered. And we are not talking about just one competitor here. In each market RLJ will see 2, 3, and even 4 other dealerships closed, leaving them the only place to buy (or service) Chrysler-related brands. This is nicely illustrated by Doug Ross at the link above.

One has to wonder, as people dig through and analyze the lists of "safe" and "closing" dealerships, how many more of these instances will be found.....


Tax the Rich*!

*I think the new definition of utopia is where everyone is defined as "rich", and taxed appropriately...

Don't worry, remember the President promised that ordinary citizens won't see "one dime" of higher taxes....unless of course you are a glutton and consume gasoline, electricity, natural gas, food, government services, etc....


Speakeasys of Capitalism

I think I need to start up business plans for a network of speakeasys where people can talk about and practice capitalism....
"This is America. We have a free enterprise system that has worked spectacularly for us for two hundred plus years. When it fails it fixes itself. Most importantly, it is not an owned lackey of the oval office to be scolded for disobedience by the President."

Read the whole thing here.

Two Hundred & Thirty Three years....well, it was a good run....

Hat Tip to Peter Robinson and Instapundit.


Could Obama Help Turn Indiana Red Again?

"Remember how President Obama blamed Chrysler's bankruptcy filing last month on "a small group of speculators" who turned down Treasury's $2 billion final offer for their $6.9 billion in debt?"

It appears that the list of evil 'speculators' included the likes of retired Indiana State Policemen, retired Indiana Teachers, and Indiana motorists.

Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock revealed this week that his state's police and teacher pension funds have lost millions of dollars in the Chrysler "restructuring." Indiana's State Police Fund and Major Moves Construction Fund, which finances roads and bridges, together lost more than $1 million. And the Teacher's Retirement Fund "suffered, at a minimum, a loss of $4.6 million due to the action of the Federal government," reports Mr. Mourdock.

Attention RNC, NRSC, & NRCC....if you don't go into Indiana with adds that directly link Obama and his 'Gangster Government' tactics to the losses at state pension funds....you would be complete idiots. And don't wait until 2010...start TV ads now.

Indiana used to be a Red State, and only voted for Obama by a little more than 28K votes out of 2.7 mil votes cast. Use his actions that have directly hurt the 'speculators' in Indiana's retired population and turn Indiana RED again....

And you think that Indiana will be the only state where pension funds have been roughed up by the hoods from Pennsylvania Ave, you have been asleep. I am quite sure this could be an effective tactic to elect Senator Giuliani....


The Wrong Change for Afghanistan

Last week there was news and discussion about how the replacement of one 4-star General with another 4-star General would affect the future of the war in Afghanistan.

However, it may be more important to explore how that war will be affected by the replacement of a Major by at 2LT, and a Captain by a Corporal.

The perplexing news comes from frontline blogger Vampire 06, at Afghanistan Shrugged:
"Today, I was informed that my team will be replaced in a matter of weeks by a team from the Georgia National Guard. Not so bad on the surface, but the hazardous rocks lay below the calm exterior. The team is commanded by a Second Lieutenant (2LT) and his Non-commissioned Ofiicer in Charge is a Sergeant (E5). The remainder of the team is made up of E5s and below. Not exactly the experience rich combination that you’re looking for in a Combat Advisor Team. In fact my S3, CPT Brain is being replaced by a Corporal.

At this point I have to shake my head and wonder, “What the ..?”

Is this what we’ve come to?

Does the building of the ANA mean so little that this is what we’re committing to the fight?

Is this the surge that’s supposed to win the war and bring us all home?

I’m perplexed, pissed off and to be perfectly honest depressed. Ask any former advisor and they’ll tell you that this is a difficult mission that we put every ounce of our souls into, with the hope that one day the ANA/ANP will get it and we can go home. It’s built on your judgment, knowledge and experience and your ability to communicate them effectively.

Now, some genius has decided that we should have 2LTs advising ANA Battalion Commanders on how to plan, support and employ their Kandaks in combat. That alone will be perceived as an insult in an Army where rank means a great deal. Who the hell thought this one up?

By the way this is occurring throughout eastern Afghanistan, right against the Pak border. A border with a country that is gradually melting down and the Taliban is attempting to consolidate. Is this the time to bring in your least experienced team?"

We can change the warriors at the top all we want to find the right strategic leadership, but if we skimp on finding the right warriors for some specific tactical missions on the ground, then we are doing more harm than good.


The Rise of Obamany Hall

The other day I heard someone on the radio make a correlation between the actions of the infamous Tammany Hall, and those of the new Obama administration.

Tammany Hall was described as "an engine for graft and political corruption". With the patronage flowing freely to Democratic Party enclaves such as the UAW, SEIU, and ACORN, one can certainly see the similarities.

George Will makes a key observation..."The administration's central activity -- the political allocation of wealth and opportunity -- is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption."

Decades from now political science students may well study the ascendancy of the most powerful political machine ever know to this country.

And we were here to see it's emergence.

Say hello to Obamany Hall. I call dibs on the name....


Obama's Two Americas

Remember John Edwards? I think he ran for President....

Anyhow, he had this class envy meme he used to push, about how there were "Two Americas".

"One America that does the work, another that reaps the reward" he would say....as if America's rich only lounged by the pool while someone working their second minimum-wage job served them grapes and chocolate truffles before riding home on the cross town bus.

Well, perhaps Mr Edwards will find the gumption to run for President again in 2012, so that he can direct his angst at the newly emerging "Two Americas".

Those politically connected groups who have markers to cash in -- Obama's Winners

And American consumers and capitalists -- Obama's Losers

The first group has what the second group wants ($), and the Obama Administration is going to help them get it. Michael Barrone recently coined this as "Gangster Government"

But is was Newt Gingrich who has coined the new political classes of Obama's Winners & Obama's Losers. Newt says "...the Obama Administration has elevated rewarding some Americans and punishing others to a governing philosophy."

Lets take a quick look at some....
Winners: The United Auto Workers
Loser: The Rule of Law

Winners: The People Who Are Evading Responsibility for Chrysler’s Bankruptcy
Losers: Consumers Who Want to Buy Good American Cars

Winners: Government Favored “Green Industries”
Losers: Anyone Who Heats a Home, Drives a Car or Has a Job

Winners: Terrorists and Anti-Americanism Worldwide
Losers: The New Neighbors of Terrorists and The American Tax-Payers

Winners: Anyone the President Deems Deserving of Judicial “Empathy”
Losers: Everyone Else

Winners: Professional “Community Organizers” and Other Government Activists
Losers: Young Americans Who Want to Chose Their Own Careers

Check out the entire article for the details behind this list of Winners and Losers...


Inflation Survival Bleg

We have been hearing a lot recently about inflation storms brewing over the horizon. Worse yet, the storms could in fact become hyperinflation. Many fear that the recent excessive growth in the money supply will make hyperinflation inevitable. Unfortunately I have not seen any major discussions on how individuals handle such events?

Thus, the question I have for anyone who might read this.....

What can the Average Joe (ie average consumer and investor) do *right now* to prepare for the effects of inflation, and even the ravages of hyperinflation???

Are there simple and effective steps to take ahead of time (of which I am seeing nothing reported), or do I need to go to Amazon and buy all the survival books that Instapundit has mentioned recently??

I am a bit worried about the effects of recent action on the future economy, and I don't want to be one of the masses who ask "Why weren't we warned about this?"


Stagnating Stimulus

Remember all those months ago, when it was a life-or-death imperative that Congress and the President just *had* to pass that "Stimulus" bill?

The President stated "
The time for talk is over, the time for action is now."

He implied that the rush was needed to stem the tide of job losses:
"This isn't some abstract debate. Last week, we learned that many of America's largest corporations are planning to lay off tens of thousands of workers. Today we learned that last week, the number of new unemployment claims jumped to 626,000. Tomorrow, we're expecting another dismal jobs report on top of the 2.6 million jobs that we lost last year. We've lost half a million jobs each month for the last two months."

So, if this huge spending bill was required quickly to staunch the outflow of jobs....why are the jobs still leaving us 2.5 months after the signing of the bill?? I thought we were going to get jobs as far as the eye could see...

All we have thus far is a bad trend...

One might ask, since we have spent $787 Billion to stimulate the economy (over $1 Trillion after interest)....where's the beef?

Well, one reason that we have not seen improvement as we pass the magical rubicon that is "The Enchanted First 100 Days of the Obama Reign of Benevolence"® is the fact that only $72 Billion of those magical $787 Billion stimulus dollars have been "made available". Less than 10% of the bill's total outlay. Hard to be stimulative at 10¢ on the dollar. However, what is even worse, is that federal agencies have only "Paid Out" ~25% of that $72 Billion.

How do we know this? Because the government's own website tells us so.....

So, as the employment figures slide towards Carter-esque territory, the "Stimulus" bill that we were forced to swallow without debate and without due diligence because we just had to have it right then....is doing
nothing towards its alleged goal of "saving or creating 4 million jobs".

Perhaps it is just me, but if this is what "Stimulus" looks like, then maybe we could have at least had a couple more weeks of debate and 'sunshine' before we saddled our kids and grand-kids with unprecedented debt.

A quick summary:
- Economy flounders; Unemployment spikes
- "We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime..."
- Unemployment goes up...
- It will be too late "if we don't take dramatic action as soon as possible..."
- "Stimulus" Passes....
- One month later, 0.8% of "Stimulus" funds spent; Unemployment goes up again...
- Two months later, 1.9% of "Stimulus" funds spent; Unemployment continues to go up...

So much for the urgent need for a "Stimulus". Its as if there were some ulterior motive....

This is not the Hope & Change I didn't vote for.....


Census off to a Good Start...Not!

What with ACORN on the case, when I read the Instapundit lede "Census Worker Accused Of Inappropriate Questions", I wasn't envisioning questions of a sexually suggestive nature.

I was expecting something more along the lines of "Do you own any guns?"; "If so, where are your guns, and can I go there and count them?"


"Who did you vote for in the last election?"

Some questions I am in favor of, which would not doubt be deemed "inappropriate" by those who are running the Census out fo the West Wing:

"Are you an American citizen?" and "If not, are you here legally?"

Hey, I can dream can't I?