What If Instead of GM, We Started Calling Them Terri Schiavo Motorworks?

Mitch McConnell and company voted repeatedly to pay these guys to… not shoot at us:

The Iraqi government plans to cut salaries for the estimated 100,000 members of the Awakening movement whose revolt against Al Qaeda in Iraq played a key role in bringing about the sharp fall in violence in Iraq.

The move is certain to aggravate building tensions between the Sunni volunteer force and the Shiite-led government, which assumed responsibility for the Awakening movement from the U.S. military earlier this month.

The U.S. military, which calls the movement the Sons of Iraq, had been paying members $300 a month to carry guns and protect their neighborhoods against Al Qaeda.

Starting this month, Awakening members will be paid 300,000 Iraqi dinars, or about $250 a month, according to government spokesman Tahseen al-Sheikhly. Awakening leaders, who had been earning $400 to $600, will also receive the lower salary.

And these guys:

Insurance giant AIG was given $152 billion in bailout money by the federal government since nearly collapsing in September. Now the company is planning to take millions of that money and hand it over to employees in a program that sounds a lot like bonuses.

AIG’s new CEO is only taking a single dollar for his compensation this year and the top 60 executives won’t be getting bonuses. But that hasn’t stopped AIG from finding a creative way to keep some of their top employees in what they’re calling “retention payments,” reports CBS News correspondent Priya David.

To some it seems like business-as-usual end-of-the-year bonuses.

But $15 billion to the auto industry, one of the last industries in the country that actually makes something, is a violation of core principles.

You don’t have to be crazy to wonder if the $15 billion will save anything- I don’t have much hope it will. I still don’t know if any of them other than Ford are really in a position to survive. We might very well be pissing away $15 billion dollars if we do eventually aid them. Right now I see the options as do nothing, and let them die, or do something, and they might live. For all I know, it may be too late:

General Motors Corp. said Friday it will temporarily close 20 factories across North America and make sweeping cuts to its vehicle production as it tries to adjust to dramatically weaker automobile demand.

GM said it will cut 250,000 vehicles from its production schedule for the first quarter of 2009, which includes a cut of 60,000 vehicles announced last week. Normal production would be around 750,000 cars and trucks for the quarter, spokesman Tony Sapienza said.

Many plants will be shut down for the whole month of January, he said, and all told, the factories will be closed for 30 percent of the quarter.

“We’re adjusting pretty dramatically,” spokesman Chris Lee said.

The move affects most of GM’s plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. During the shutdowns, employees will be temporarily laid off and receive a portion of their normal pay from the company. They can also apply for state unemployment benefits, Lee said.

They may already be dead.

On the other hand, you do have to be crazy to be able to pretend that somehow any principles are at stake other than union busting, which, I guess, is a principle in and of itself:

An action alert circulated among Senate Republicans on Wednesday called for Republicans to “stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor.”

In doing so, analysts said, Republicans were planting the seeds for a fundraising appeal to big business — other than the Big Three, of course — as they gear up for a major political fight next year over expected legislation that would make it easier for unions to organize.


Mitch McConnell and the Republicans
(a more complete list here) who all voted against this bill but for the financial bailout will all earn 160k and the best benefits package in the country, but are going to let an entire industry die because some autoworkers make more money than Bob Corker thinks they should. You might call that class warfare. I don’t like the idea of bailouts any more than anyone else, but now is not a time for misguided “principles.”

What about the billions we just flat out “lost” in Iraq ($9 billion, to be exact)? Here is another $2 billion down the crapper:

I don’t want to hear it about the $15 billion dollars and your principles. I just don’t. Especially when the chain reaction to suppliers and dealerships and what not could have a devastating impact on an already battered and beaten economy. A couple weeks ago someone in the comments asked- If you were told terrorists were going to attack our economy and we could lose 2 million jobs, but you could possibly stop it by spending 15 billion dollars on a new system of defense, do you think the government would?

I think I know the answer to that. But I am not a crazy Republican Senator from the new confederacy.

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187 replies
  1. 1
    salvage says:

    To be fair, that bomber was totally cool looking, sure it was a pointless boondoggle but damn it was straight out of GI Joe, I made a half dozen models of it when I was a kid, that has to count for something.

  2. 2
    garyb50 says:

    Mitch McConnell is a hideous pustule.

  3. 3
    TenguPhule says:

    Perhaps this could be couched in terms even Republicans could understand.

    "Thirty Five Billion Dollars is a small price to pay for you to continue breathing."

    If 3 million people lose their jobs, at least some of them are going to go after the people who ruined their lives.

  4. 4
    Laura W says:

    I don’t know if I have the mental energy tonight to read all the intelligent posts and comments from today. (Insert snark here.)
    I think this title probably summarizes this piece nicely, however.
    5 paws up for the title.

  5. 5
    Incertus says:

    The really ironic thing, I think, is that Dubya, if he taps the TARP to keep the Big 3 going, might well wind up saving his party, and that’s pretty wild considering the damage he’s done to it over the last eight years.

  6. 6
    demkat620 says:

    Expect more of this over the next four years as the new Hoover Party just does nothing other than try to burn it all down.

  7. 7
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    building tensions between the Sunni volunteer force and the Shiite-led government,

    That started a while ago. before Columbus got lost and washed ashore. It happened before the Magna Carta was drafted in 1215, and about the time John Mccain was a wee lad. It is a non sequitur and has been from day one. The Iraqi’s will settle the pecking order in Iraq in their time frame, and if history is any indication, it won’t be with a smile and a handshake. One big waste has been George Bush bloody adventure in Iraq.

    What is happening right this moment is going to dictate the path America will take for the foreseeable future. MCconnell and his merry band of wingnut fools are playing with dynamite, and apparently are to stupid to realize it. They think they are preserving conservative capitalistic ideology, but they are setting the table for a level of Government intrusion in private lives that could actually bring their socialism boogey man into reality.

  8. 8
    JL says:

    John, They spent 700 billion to save Wall Street and GM’s total debt is 62 billion.

    If you were told terrorists were going to attack our economy and we could lose 2 million jobs, but you could possibly stop it by spending 15 billion dollars on a new system of defense, do you think the government would?

    I don’t think that the repubs necessary want to bust unions, but I do think that they are not concerned about good paying jobs for the middle class. The one thing that the repubs want to do away with is the legacy and pensions. Congress needs to lead by example and forego their pensions.

  9. 9
    Keith says:

    To be fair, that bomber was totally cool looking

    Ditto for the YF-23 and the Comanche helicopter. Yet the Osprey is still flying…sorta.

  10. 10

    I don’t know, John. For somebody who claimed only a few weeks ago not to know anything about the auto bailout, you seem to be getting it right most of the time.

    I think it’s time we investigated what you knew, and when you knew it. There are unanswered questions.

  11. 11
    dand says:

    What I do not think people realize is the cascade effect on our remaining industrial base. Autos go, parts suppliers go, companies that use those parts and materials in other products cannot buy competitive replacements anymore – gone. I doubt that those transplants will stick around as their costs here begin to rise while their governments are supporting them at home.

    I do not know where it would stop.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    @Incertus: I doubt it. Bush might spare the industry for a few more months but, like John points out, they’re dinosaurs post-asteroid. On the way out.

    Meanwhile, the resulting fallout – and which side of the crater each party was standing on – will be etched in the minds of millions of Midwesterners. This union bashing won’t be soon forgotten, especially by the unions. And I don’t think Big Business will smile too fondly on the Republican Party either. Government is supposed to sweep in and bail you out when you fuck up, but the Big 3 management suddenly isn’t getting special treatment after years of funneling the GOP millions in campaign contributions. How well will that sit with Exxon or Oracle or GE when they realize that the "Party of Big Business" only has your back when you pass a handful of arbitrary political purity tests?

    The Republicans sold a landmark American industry down the river on a matter of "principle". If Walmart gets unionized, will the Waldens be next on the GOP shit list? :-p

  13. 13
    Helena Handbag says:

    Thanks for this, John. I am so pissed at these Senate Republican bozos, acting more as agents of foreign corporations than representatives of US citizens. My nephew works his ass off in a Ford plant in Kansas City to support his family. In the summer that plant gets to to 105 or 110 degrees inside, but they deliver water down the line and keep working. the plant shuts down for a week for deer season and a week for retooling in July–two weeks of vacation per year with the dates chosen for you, big whoop. He has excellent benefits for a blue collar worker, but nothing compared to those offered to either of his Senators or to the professors at his daughter’s college. Yes, he’s able (mostly) to afford to send a kid to college. This is what outrages Mitch McChinless and his crowd–how dare the little people organize for wages that allow them a decent living!

    F them and the Mercedes they rode in on.

  14. 14
    demimondian says:

    @Incertus: Wow, ‘Cert. You’ve got some excellent commenters.

  15. 15
    Incertus says:

    @dand: That doesn’t take the cascade far enough. Those people who are out of work won’t be able to go out to eat, so look at losses in the restaurant business in those areas. Some won’t be able to pay their mortgages, so chalk up another hit to an already staggering housing industry. Other retail and service industries in those areas will fail as well, and all because Republican Senators wanted to bust the UAW.

  16. 16

    Oh dand, relax. They can make all that stuff in China.

    There are plenty of McDonalds jobs in Ohio and Michigan. The unions can certainly organize those workers.

    Pretty soon we will all be eating $29.95 hamburgers and putting money into our private Social Security stock accounts, and thanking our Republican overlords.

  17. 17
    demimondian says:

    @Helena Handbag: I’d be damned surprised if the profs at the university have anything like the bennies your nephew has. As a rule, even tenured profs are very poorly compensated. Nowadays, in fact, many university lecturers are temps, who get no benefits at all.

  18. 18
    Incertus says:

    @demimondian: Yeah, I know. I considered deleting it for a second, but I decided it was too close to performance art.

  19. 19
    TenguPhule says:

    What I do not think people realize is the cascade effect on our remaining industrial base. Autos go, parts suppliers go, companies that use those parts and materials in other products cannot buy competitive replacements anymore – gone.

    Criminal Understatement.

    It would be an avalanche on par with any disaster flick.

    Parts would go, Dealers would go, Mechanics would be up shit creek, all of the services and goods those people buy dries up…pretty soon everyone realizes that yeah, those union jobs did matter as the effects roll further down.

    Pretty soon all you’re left with is haves and have nots.

    And then the haves discover too late that they taste good with a little seasoning over an open flame.

  20. 20
    Radon Chong says:

    I will never understand why Harry Reid doesn’t make the Republicans actually stand up and talk for days on end. If they won’t pass cloture, make them fillibuster. Otherwise nobody is going to understand what happened.

  21. 21
    demimondian says:

    @dand: Hey, what have you got against -creative- complete destruction?

  22. 22
    Helena Handbag says:

    And wait until we taxpayers have to pick up the pensions and healthcare of those millions of workers! Shelby, etal are still the smirking fools they were 5 years ago; the current financial disasters, that they helped to engineer, certainly don’t seem to have fazed them. You have to wonder if Naomi Klein has it right–that this is what they have intended all along.

  23. 23
    Mark S says:

    @Incertus: Yeah, I think you’re exactly right. It scares the hell out of me that Bush had been the only halfway sane Republican for the past 4 months.

    There is no electoral map in existence where the GOP can win the presidency without winning Ohio. This latest stupidity from the Senate GOP would ensure them not winning anywhere in the Midwest for thirty years. These guys are really too dumb. It’s really bad when even Bush can see the light.

    And that was a great post title.

  24. 24
  25. 25

    An action alert circulated among Senate Republicans on Wednesday called for Republicans to “stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor.”

    Yep. Over thar in RealAmerica(TM) millions of workers (and voters) are "organized labor." That sounds a lot like "community organizer" so best to stomp on it, hard.

    I don’t get it. Who the hell are they expecting to vote for them in the future? You can say big business will love this, but big business don’t vote. And if big business has laid off all of its workers, it can’t encourage them to vote either.

  26. 26
    Keith says:

    As a rule, even tenured profs are very poorly compensated.

    How poorly would that be? 10 years ago, a tenured dept chair of philosophy at my U. made about 75k, and for the business school, it was higher. Granted, it’s not 6 figs, but it’s not grade-school poor, either.

  27. 27
    Warrenite says:

    I work and live within a couple of miles of the GM Tech Ctr. and the chit chat today was how GM was in on this to bust the union up then resume car making using much cheaper labor and of course getting rid of those pesky pensioners. I guess we’ll see what we see because none of us can see any bright future here. I wonder if any of the many southern transplants who came up north for the good jobs will return to their native states such as Kentucky, Tennessee, etc.

  28. 28
    JL says:

    @Warrenite: Congress needs to give up their pensions and lead by example. Where’s Corker stand on this. The government is in debt and it’s their duty to do this. They could also buy health insurance on the open market like the rest of us.

  29. 29
    JL says:

    Since our government is in debt, maybe not only Congress, but the military and other civil service should give up their pension. Hey the government’s balance sheet is much worse than GM. Somebody needs to call the Repubs and suggest this.

  30. 30
    Incertus says:

    @Keith: Now admittedly, I work at one of the most poorly compensated schools in one of the most poorly compensated states (and I’m trying to change that, but the economic downturn has caused most of the jobs I applied for this year to disappear for lack of funding), but a starting tenure-line faculty member in the English department here will make $40K a year. That’s in Boca Raton, FL, mind you, which isn’t exactly a cheap place to live in. We haven’t had a raise in two years, and we were offered a 1% with a one-time $1,000 bonus this year.

  31. 31
    Gus says:

    @Incertus: Wow, ‘Cert. You’ve got some excellent commenters.

    That may be the funniest (as in most insane) blog comment I’ve ever read.

  32. 32
    Warrenite says:

    JL Quit making sense will ya. I will be calling the repukes next week. I needed the weekend to relax and compose myself so I don’t sound like a screaming idiot when I do call. I’ll be taking the 18 Senators names and numbers with me to work to pass along as well. I really don’t think it will help but I have a feeling I’ll feel a little better. Wish me luck in keeping a civil toungue.

  33. 33
    Warrenite says:

    Oops, that would be tongue. As you can see relaxation started about 45 minutes ago.

  34. 34
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Keith:
    I’m an academic. The Biz Schools, Law Schools, and Med Schools pay huge, the rest of us not so much. The average for profs of history is 60k and that includes folks at the Ivies and 1st tier research institution. We also work, contrary to popular belief, on average of 50 hrs a week. Some state schools, like Vermont, starting for a history prof on a tenure trace is mid 30s at smaller LA colleges low to mid 40s. Plus retirement is TIAA-CREF, which is a 401kish deal, and like everybody else mine dropped god-knows how much, I cannot look anymore. Meanwhile the admin grow by leaps and bounds in size and pay. It’s the same damn thing as the "real" world. The workers get screwed and management enriches itself. Solidarity isn’t just a slogan, ya know, it’s a way of life.
    [or what incertus said]

  35. 35
    comrade rawshark says:

    I don’t get it. Who the hell are they expecting to vote for them in the future?

    The same idiots who vote for them now. Even if they get laid off it will happen on Obama’s watch and Rush and FOX and the rest of the right’s media arm will make sure no one has a chance to hear it wasn’t a dems fault. It’ll be ‘you’d have a job if you weren’t in a union’.

  36. 36
    Joshua Norton says:

    Sorry, but from now on, all Republicans are guilty until proven innocent. Even their most innocent-sounding motives are completely nefarious. Just remember, no matter what’s coming out of their mouth, they’re looking for a way to screw you – and not in a way that you’d enjoy.

  37. 37
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Incertus: And plus, catholics do suck.

  38. 38
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    And, whatismore, every word of this is true.

  39. 39
    Mike G says:

    I don’t think that the repubs necessary want to bust unions

    Yes they do. It’s a high priority for the kind of cheap-labor plantation-mentality business Repigs who still cling to the lizard-brain party in the former slave states.

  40. 40
    demimondian says:

    @Keith: Let me put it this way.

    Back in the day, I was on the faculty of the leading department in my field. I left academia, and hold a far less prestigious position at A Large Software Company.

    I make something more than five times as much than I did before. In modern terms, my current salary is about half-again what those "well compensated" Business, Medicine, and Law profs do at the local university right now. Unlike them, I also get annual bonuses and stock grant and options, which more than double my net annual income. My benefits are stellar, and much better than theirs, although not as good as those of my (unionized) neighbors who work on the lines at A Large Aerospace Company.

    And before you say that I’m a star (which I’m actually not; I’m certainly a competitive hire, but I’m not in the top tier of earners) — a new programmer here, straight out of college, earns more than $75K base salary *to start*, and can easily expect to earn $90K within five years.

    (If you don’t love it, though, don’t send your resume. We work 70 hour weeks here, even during a downturn. This is a brutal business.)

  41. 41
    Punchy says:

    Lotz o’ chi-chi-chattah on deh bolgz that Corkz and his Repub. ilk are tryin to protect their Japaneze car plants by ontenshunlly fucking GM

  42. 42
    BC says:

    No one has touched on this, but I have a sense that the Republicans have decided the South is their base and they are going to do everything in their power to empower their base. This has a South vs Union feel to me – remember, the Confederate states seceded before Lincoln took office, not after. I think the southern senators are trying to destroy the country before Obama is inaugurated much as their idolized ancestors did to Lincoln. Valkyrie, anyone?

  43. 43
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    The BTD has another bone to pick with Senor Cole. I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about though as it’s too deep for my meager resources, Or that he is just full of shit, as usual/ I am "affronted" by that.

  44. 44
    tomjones says:

    My brother-in-law works for Chrysler as a liaison between corporate and the dealers. He also happens to appear to be a semi-wingnut Republican. I wonder if it has sunk in yet that his party is trying its level best to destroy his career and wreck his family, which includes three of the sweetest little girls one can imagine.

    I hate these fuckers (that is, Republicans; the in-laws are pretty cool).

  45. 45

    This is a brutal business

    So, Malware Inc. is just another Death March project shop?

    My favorite projects have been the ones where we had to work on Christmas day. Good times!

  46. 46
    The Moar You Know says:

    @tomjones: He’ll find a way to blame the UAW instead. The GOP has their denial system honed to a razor’s edge of perfection.

  47. 47
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @ JL
    Yeah, fuck you. We’ve earned our pensions dick. When your job does as much damage tot he body as ours, then you might be able to have that conversation.

    And screw the rest of you for not calling that bullshit out.

  48. 48
    Church Lady says:

    I doubt Coker is trying to kill GM. There is a huge Saturn plant in Tennesee (Springhill) and a Ford plant here as well.

  49. 49

    I’m afraid I lost my temper last night. I don’t think the online newspapers will be picking that one up. I generally stay away from profanity, but the Senate last night left me lacking appropriate vocabulary.

  50. 50
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:

    Didn’t see that. So I’ll call it out now. It’s a really really bad idea JL, to even think about tampering with Military Pensions for soldiers, sailors and marines, from what the country (Bush) has put them thru. The only tampering for vet and military benefits should be to increase them,

  51. 51
    Incertus says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man: I suspect JL was being more than a little tongue-in-cheek.

  52. 52

    The Congress balked at interfering with Wall Street compensation whatsoever (despite the whining about bonuses as an afterthought) but they want to micromanage union salaries (again with no restrictions of executive compensation)?

    WTF?

  53. 53
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Church Lady:
    I think the argument is Coker is trying to kill the Union and if GM goes on life support in order to kill the Union he does not care.

  54. 54
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Incertus:

    If that;s the case, which I doubt, then JL needs to be educated that the GOP doesn’t give a shit about military personnel once they leave the military (IE fight their bullshit wars). They would probably jump at the idea of cutting bens/

  55. 55
    Incertus says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse: Well, they’ve already done it, all the while talking about how much they love and support the troops, so it’s not like this would be a new idea to them. Compare the state of the VA under Clinton to the state it’s in now and you’ll see a world of difference. Why? Republican Congress and Republican President.

  56. 56
    John Cole says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man: Well, to be honest Cassidy, I don’t think you are any more entitled to the pension promised you than the guys who worked for 30-40 years for GM and are about to get fucked. I appreciate folks who serve, and sometimes wonder if the biggest mistake I ever made was getting off active duty, but I simply don’t understand why it is ok for your pension to be snug as a bug in a rug but other folks who worked their whole lives, paid their dues, and did what was asked of them should get screwed.

    And I think that was JL’s point- what would the reaction be around the country if we took away the pension for folks who served in the military? There would be rioting, that is what would happen.

    But somehow, for some fucked up reason, it is ok when it happens to union members.

  57. 57
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Incertus:

    I know. that’s where I get my medical care.

  58. 58
    dbrown says:

    So we spent tens of billions on this B-2 (and don’t forget the useless F-22); yet, our soldiers in Iraq don’t have armor on their vehicles and their body armor sucks and if they are injured they are almost SOL by the lack of benefits. Makes sense for rich cock sucking repub-a-thugs and their defense companies that make these billion dollar babies that look so sexy and does jack-shit

  59. 59
    JL says:

    Everybody earns their pensions but the repubs think that pensions should be cut for the auto company. Congress needs to cut their pension first.

  60. 60
    tavella says:

    @dand: What I do not think people realize is the cascade effect on our remaining industrial base. Autos go, parts suppliers go, companies that use those parts and materials in other products cannot buy competitive replacements anymore – gone. I doubt that those transplants will stick around as their costs here begin to rise while their governments are supporting them at home.

    I do not know where it would stop.

    And the thing is, it’s already begun. Part of the way that GM and Chrysler have been holding on so far is by stiffing their suppliers. And their suppliers can’t hold on; over on another board I’m on, one of the posters works… worked… for one of the parts suppliers. Meeting today: they are shutting down. He’s out today, everyone else is gone within a 60-90 day shut down period.

    Bush may be pissing around, "considering" how to use the TARP money, but the avalanche may have already started. And if the suppliers fail, Ford may go down with the other two; hard to make cars without parts.

  61. 61
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @LanceThruster: That’s pretty much the question that everyone I know IRL is asking.

  62. 62
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @JL:

    Congress needs to cut their pension first.

    That’s a win. Nobody should get screwed out of their pensions, but on this I’m four square with Cassidy that military persons should be the last to sacrifice. Auto workers, even the best of them, haven’t been shot at off an on for the past 6 years. No brainer iMHO

  63. 63
    TenguPhule says:

    Well, to be honest Cassidy, I don’t think you are any more entitled to the pension promised you than the guys who worked for 30-40 years for GM and are about to get fucked

    Seconded.

    If we lose ours, you should lose yours.

  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:

    Auto workers, even the best of them, haven’t been shot at off an on for the past 6 years. No brainer iMHO

    No brains indeed.

    Think about what the unions had to go through to get those benefits the first time before saying stupid shit like that.

  65. 65
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @TenguPhule:

    No brains indeed.

    Fuck you tengue. You don’t care so much about autoworkers, you just hate the military.

  66. 66
    JL says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse: The military was just to prove a point. Pensions are part of the employment contract. What the repubs tried to do last night was include retired GM workers’ pensions in their dealings. I am now receiving a pension, fortunately not from an auto company.

  67. 67
    TenguPhule says:

    Everybody earns their pensions but the repubs think that pensions should be cut for the auto company. Congress needs to cut their pension first.

    Amen. Then they’re healthcare.

    It should be a government law that legislators get exactly what they dish out to everyone else: same benefits and medical as a normal 40 hour worker: 2 weeks vacation, co-pays and a shitty 401k

  68. 68
    demimondian says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat: You betcha. It’s why we get payed the less-small bucks.

    Besides, it could be worse. I could work at TheWorldsLargestGamePublisher, which releases such titles as _Sp*re_ and _Ma??en the 13th, part seventeen_. Malware Inc is brutal, but at least they pay us on time.

  69. 69
    Josh Hueco says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    I disagree. The core truth we’ve lost sight of over the last few decades is that all work is honorable, whether you’re a soldier, tomato picker, or software engineer.

  70. 70
    demimondian says:

    @TenguPhule: Hell, no. Every lobbyist should get the same health care that the line workers for the most egregiously abusive of their clients receives.

    I’d love to see the guy who, say, represents the meat packing industry.

  71. 71
    demimondian says:

    @Josh Hueco: What the man said.

  72. 72
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @JL:

    The military was just to prove a point.

    My apologies then, I misunderstood what you were saying.

  73. 73
    Jody says:

    I’d agree that the military should be the last to sacrifice if, you know, they weren’t the last bastion of homophobic bigotry in our civil service.

    But then, as a gay guy that couldn’t serve, maybe I’m a little bitter.

    But I digress.

    They ALL earned their pensions, and the fact that we’re reduced to sniping about who should get cut off is nauseating. Plays right into the hands of the union busters, it does.

  74. 74
    TenguPhule says:

    You don’t care so much about autoworkers, you just hate the military.

    You forgot the mandatory Godwin.

  75. 75
    t jasper parnell says:

    It’s us against them and there are more of us

    The US population is represented along the length of the football field, arranged in order of income.
    Median US family income (the family at the 50 yard line) is ~$40,000 (a stack of $100 bills 1.6 inches high.)

    –The family on the 95 yard line earns about $100,000 per year, a stack of $100 bills about 4 inches high.

    –At the 99 yard line the income is about $300,000, a stack of $100 bills about a foot high.

    –The curve reaches $1 million (a 40 inch high stack of $100 bills) one foot from the goal line.

    –From there it keeps going up…it goes up 50 km (~30 miles) on this scale!

  76. 76
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @ JL
    A lot gets lost in translation. Apologies all around.

    @ John
    It isn’t okay and I’m glad UAW stuck to their guns. They shouldn’t have to give up shit because of the jokers running the show. I have always voted pro-union and will never stop.

  77. 77
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Josh Hueco:

    What we’ve lost sight of is, as a country, not paying attention enough to the intentions of the people we vote into power. Now that the shit is hitting the fan, folks are actually looking up from their apathy and pliability from huckster wingnuts, who absolutely only honor the law of the jungle, or, I got mine now fuck you. When you put people like that in charge, things will go bad, and they have.

    And I just plain don’t agree with you or Cole or whoever that the military is like the auto industry or bankers, doctors or any other profession. that’s just me, I guess.

  78. 78

    But somehow, for some fucked up reason, it is ok when it happens to union members.

    I’m down with everybody who served or worked in expectation of a pension …. getting that pension as promised. That goes for Cassidy and anybody else, public or private sector.

    It strikes me as cynical, dishonest YOYO government to sit by while employers are stuck with providing healthcare access, stonewalling all attempts to shift that burden where it belongs, onto the public sector, and then coming along later and telling pensioners Fuck You, we are putting your former employer into liquidation and there goes your benefits and we have no plans to give a shit at any time in the forseeable future.

    If I am mis-stating the Republican position on this, please show me the error of my ways. Maybe I missed a Limbaugh broadcast.

  79. 79
    TenguPhule says:

    If I am mis-stating the Republican position on this, please show me the error of my ways. Maybe I missed a Limbaugh broadcast.

    You left out the part where they blame the victim.

  80. 80
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Jody:

    They ALL earned their pensions, and the fact that we’re reduced to sniping about who should get cut off is nauseating. Plays right into the hands of the union busters, it does.

    You are right. I will say it again. You are right.

  81. 81
    JL says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat: Unfortunately, it won’t just be the unions who lose their pensions. During the last eight years, the Bush administration relaxed the rules on funding of pensions.

  82. 82
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @TenguPhule:

    that’s the wrong end of the political spectrum for you

  83. 83
    TenguPhule says:

    They ALL earned their pensions, and the fact that we’re reduced to sniping about who should get cut off is nauseating. Plays right into the hands of the union busters, it does.

    You’re right.

    And yes, I’m being an asshole again.

  84. 84
    Josh Hueco says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    I hear what you’re saying, but I would argue that there are a lot of occupations, not just soldiering, that are essential to the well-being of society and therefore deserve just compensation, including benefits. My problem with what you said is that I don’t think we should make, as the only occupation worth honoring with a pension, a field of work that’s dangerous and deadly and should only be used as a last resort. I’m guessing that that’s not what you’d like to see either, but I don’t like what it implies, even though I’m sure that’s not what you meant.

  85. 85
    t jasper parnell says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:
    Bingo.

    Abstract. – Personal income distribution in the USA has a well-defined two-class structure. The majority of population (97–99%) belongs to the lower class characterized by the exponential Boltzmann-Gibbs (“thermal”) distribution, whereas the upper class (1–3% of the population) has a Pareto power law (“superthermal”) distribution. By analyzing income data for 1983–2001, we show that the “thermal” part is stationary in time, save for a gradual increase of the effective temperature, whereas the “superthermal” tail swells and shrinks following the stock market. We discuss the concept of equilibrium inequality in a society, based on the principle
    of maximal entropy, and quantitatively show that it applies to the majority of population.

    Source:A. Christian Silva and Victor M. Yakovenko "Temporal evolution of the “thermal” and “superthermal” income classes in the USA during 1983–2001," EUROPHYSICS LETTERS, 69 (2), (2005) pp. 304–310 [via Lcurve above)

  86. 86
    TenguPhule says:

    During the last eight years, the Bush administration relaxed the rules on funding of pensions.

    And yet his pension is guaranteed for life.

    Go figure.

  87. 87
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Mrs. Fuckhead got me some salt cured country ham for Thanksgiving and it finally got here yesterday. Made some fresh buttermilk biscuits this evening to go with it. So very good.

  88. 88

    And yet his pension is guaranteed for life.

    Go figure.

    Simple. It’s called Catch 22, Yossarian.

  89. 89
    Darcy says:

    Now’s as good a time as any to introduce a new MUP (that’s magical unity puppy, for those of you just tuning in.) So sorry for the interruption. Please carry on.

  90. 90
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    That’s a strawman your arguing with. I said nor implied no such sentiment.

  91. 91
    Darcy says:

    Jeez, sorry. Here’s the link.

  92. 92
    Darcy says:

    And because I seem to have killed the thread, here’s another.

  93. 93
    sparky says:

    two observations:
    the GOP is trying to get rid of the UAW for political (game) reasons, not ideological. it doesn’t hurt them to paste a veneer of ideology on it but it’s just politics to them, which is one of the reasons the US ended up with GWB in the first place.

    second, it may be that there’s a more telling contrast (WRT the US political system in a time of economic turmoil) than the one between the current governor of Ill. and John P. Altgeld, but somebody else will have to tell me what it is.

  94. 94
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Josh Hueco:

    See if I can avoid screwing this comment up.

    I hear what you’re saying, but I would argue that there are a lot of occupations, not just soldiering, that are essential to the well-being of society and therefore deserve just compensation, including benefits. My problem with what you said is that I don’t think we should make, as the only occupation worth honoring with a pension, a field of work that’s dangerous and deadly and should only be used as a last resort. I’m guessing that that’s not what you’d like to see either, but I don’t like what it implies, even though I’m sure that’s not what you meant.

    It doesn’t imply anything. What I said is that NO ONE deserves to have their pension forfeited BECAUSE THEY EARNED IT. But, at least for me, the last to lose them should be the military. Obviously you and others disagree.

  95. 95
    Josh Hueco says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    To clarify, I didn’t mean that you said that only soldiers should have their earned pensions honored. I was just responding to what I saw was an implication of what you said, even though I knew you didn’t mean it or would agree with it.

  96. 96
    sparky says:

    ah, the joys of moderation!

  97. 97
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Josh Hueco:

    I was just responding to what I saw was an implication of what you said,

    If your going to allege an implication like that Josh (and I’m not sure what that implication is), then you need to provide the quote that caused you to make it. A little explanation for your thinking as to why would be nice too.

  98. 98
    El Cid says:

    If there were just a 50 percent contraction in the auto industry, nearly 2.5 million jobs would be lost in the first year, resulting in $125 billion less in personal income before a partial rebound in later years, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. State and federal coffers would lose $50 billion from lost tax dollars, the center said.

    and

    The electronics industry also would suffer, with about 20 percent of the value of vehicles tied up in high-technology features, said David Cole, chairman of the automotive research center. Most decision makers don’t understand how intricately woven the automotive supply chain is, he said… "One single (supplier) company could take out the entire industry, both domestic and international," Cole said.

    From McClatchy DC.
    .

    On the other hand, maybe a Depression could be fun. It sure would help me forget all my anger at GM for having lousy corrupt leadership making bad decisions, ably assisted by several Presidents and Congress which subsidized (via tax breaks) the production of heavy SUV’s and trucks and postponed fuel efficiency standards. Damn unions.

  99. 99
    MikeJ says:

    On the other hand, maybe a Depression could be fun.

    Is Baz Luhrmann the Busby Berkeley of our age? Will George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson star in a series of films as a wisecracking, hard drinking detective couple?

  100. 100
    robotButler says:

    FYI, I posted this on reddit:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.....ttack_the/

    Along with this counter-question:
    "What if terrorists were planning to bomb a meeting of union workers, but we could stop them by spending a few dollars on increased police protection for the meeting. Would Republicans vote for that?"

  101. 101
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    You insisted that

    I’m four square with Cassidy that military persons should be the last to sacrifice.

    and argued that

    I just plain don’t agree with you or Cole or whoever that the military is like the auto industry or bankers, doctors or any other profession.

    The implication here is that soldiers should be the last to sacrifice because they rank above other professions on some scale or another.

  102. 102
    Josh Hueco says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    If your going to allege an implication like that Josh (and I’m not sure what that implication is), then you need to provide the quote that caused you to make it. A little explanation for your thinking as to why would be nice too.

    but on this I’m four square with Cassidy that military persons should be the last to sacrifice. Auto workers, even the best of them, haven’t been shot at off an on for the past 6 years. No brainer iMHO

    The implication I read into your statement is that, in a world of increasingly limited financial resources, one should have to spend years literally putting their life on the line in order to earn an ironclad pension. I disagree with that implication. I know you want all workers who’ve earned their pension paid, regardless of what they’ve done.

  103. 103
    Mary says:

    I am a technical maladroit or I would attempt to do this miss. Some one needs a big counter somewhere on the internet of how many auto industry related jobs have been lost while the Republican Neros fiddled.

    We here that XYZ major company will layoff fifteen hundred employees only because the reporting is easy and the number has impact. Tonight on NPR they said 700 automobile dealerships have closed this year. At a conservative 30 employees per dealership, that is over 2000 jobs lost right there, add parts distributors, manufacturers, the big three and it will add up really quickly and as it keeps spinning like the national debt counter in Times Square, maybe someone will get it.

    On an ironic note, in the 59th minute of his 11th hour, Bush’s legacy may be made in laying the groundwork to save the domestic auto industry.

  104. 104
    El Cid says:

    @MikeJ:

    Will George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson star in a series of films as a wisecracking, hard drinking detective couple?

    Or will many of us via hard drinking simply imagine we’re seeing such series of films?

  105. 105
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell: @Josh Hueco:
    Ok, I was going to drop this nonsense, but if you two want to keep it going, then here we go.

    Here is your blockquote of what you claim I said Jasper.

    I just plain don’t agree with you or Cole or whoever that the military is like the auto industry or bankers, doctors or any other profession.

    If your going to make an allegation, then goddamnit don’t chop off the part of my statement that mitigates your charge. Here is my full quote.

    That’s a win. Nobody should get screwed out of their pensions, but on this I’m four square with Cassidy that military persons should be the last to sacrifice. Auto workers, even the best of them, haven’t been shot at off an on for the past 6 years. No brainer iMHO

    and josh

    The implication here is that soldiers should be the last to sacrifice because they rank above other professions on some scale or another.

    I did not imply any damn thing about rank. But otherwise there is no need to call it an implication. I was stating quite clearly and forthrightly, that the military and veterans should be the last to sacrifice with their benefits. Nothing implied. And that is for the simple reason that they have done the most sacrificing for this country. Low wages, constant combat deployments, broken families, all sorts of related mental and physical disabilities, low pay, and often long term continued sacrifice with their mental and physical health. Long after they leave the military. This is what I firmly believe and that belief does not diminish any other profession one iota. No implication, no apologies, and if that bothers you, then tough shit.

    And if it gets to the point of soup lines and despair in this country, and a breakdown in social order, i suspect you will be grateful that their is a military and it is well fed.

  106. 106
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:
    I didn’t say you were wrong to argue that the military sacrificed more, nor did I say that claiming the military stands above the rest "diminishes any other profession."

    I was pointing out that you did, in fact, argue that "they have done the most sacrificing for this country" and, consequently, "should be the last to sacrifice" more by losing "their benefits." The implication, which is not a negative term, is that you think the military sacrificed more and thus deserves its benefits etc more than everyone else.

    As it turns out, I think this position is wrong but not evil, mendacious, or any other such. So, I don’t want an apology. I was trying to show where your argument could lead a rational reader to think that you, you know, think that the military has a greater justification for receiving all it was promised because it did more to deserve that which it was promised.

    And, for the record, should there be "soup lines . . . and a breakdown in the social order" it is unclear, to me in any event, why I should be "grateful that there is a military and it is well fed" inasmuch as it would be fed by, and perhaps loyal to, the very pricks who got us into that state or it would have set itself up as our new overlords, neither hypothetical situation fills me with gratitude.

  107. 107
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    I wasn’t suggesting that our pension is any more important than any other profession. I took exception to the "trim the budget" part. Personally, if you give 20-30 years to an institution and they promised a pension in return, they better deliver.

    On the flipside, if only us military folk got paid union wages…

  108. 108
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @ Jasper

    Trust me, you’d be surprised where our loyalties lie. I believe we have sacrificed more for less than anyone in this country. But that is a difference of opinion. But, when it comes down to it, most of our family members are union and low/ middle class.

  109. 109
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:

    On the flipside, if only us military folk got paid union wages…

    Nothing stopping ya from deactivating and competing for a real job, right? And if you wanna stay military and make better than union, there’s always Blackwater.

  110. 110
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:
    I would expect the military to side with the rest of us inasmuch as it is the rest of us. This is not my point. We’re in this together and we’re getting screwed together and making claims about which of those who have been screwed have been screwed more is counter-productive, if the goal is to stop the screwed from getting screwed, isn’t it?

  111. 111
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Yeah, those mortars, bullets, VBIEDS and IED’s are so fake…

    And of course the getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to do PT, or working 12-18 hour days on a regular basis….com do my job, I dare ya.

  112. 112
    The Other Steve says:

    The Republicans are playing political games. Strike out at UAW, say fuck you to the auto companies.

    They know Bush will come and bail them out using funding from TARP, so there is no real risk of something bad happening.

    It also helps Bush not look so bad, which is a big agenda item of his in his last few months.

  113. 113
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man: Sorry, meant a job with "real" pay. But it was sorta cool being on the receiving end of yer I’m-such-a-badass-military-dude schtick. Bravo.

  114. 114
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @t jasper parnell: I prettymuch said that earlier. I’m not interested in debating "who sacrifices more". That isn’t the topic. While I do think I have sacrificed more in my years in the Army, than your average citizen, in the end, everyone should get their promised pension. That’s why any one of us gives 20 or 30 years to the same company and that’s why we have unions to protect those workers.

    But the implication that us military folk wouldn’t side with our blue collar and poor roots (as most of us come from) is absurd.

  115. 115
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    and perhaps loyal to, the very pricks who got us into that state or it would have set itself up as our new overlords, neither hypothetical situation fills me with gratitude.

    Here is, I think, the undercurrent of what you, and some others have really been arguing. It is what I see as the implication in what YOU are saying. You associate the military and it’s involvement say in Iraq, with republicans in general, and George Bush Cheney and the neocons specifically. And therefore see them as culpable to some degree for the neocons actions. This is disappointing and untrue. You assume that military loyalty will fall to the wingnuts in such a situation and the opposite is likely true. There are right wing assholes in the military, but by and large they are people loyal to the constitution they swore to uphold when they joined and are not overly ideological. What you are saying that in a situation like a breakdown in social order you would rather fend for yourself as there would be no other choice, rather than trust a soldier. You could be right, but more likely wrong, and you would not like fending for yourself, at all.

    And my saying that the military should be the last to sacrifice loss of benefits in bad times, and you saying that implies I am dissing other professions is just bullshit. But you can believe what you want.

  116. 116
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I’m not a badass. I’m just good at my job.

  117. 117
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:
    Actually no it’s not. Look up, for example, the story of the Bonus Army.

  118. 118
    Josh Hueco says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:
    I accidentally chopped off part of your comment when doing the paste into the combox. No mitigating was intended. Parnell’s also articulating the argument better than I did.

  119. 119
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:
    As I said: Bonus Army.

  120. 120
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man: That’s prolly good, cuz you suck at commenting. :)

  121. 121
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    What you are saying that in a situation like a breakdown in social order you would rather fend for yourself as there would be no other choice, rather than trust a soldier. You could be right, but more likely wrong, and you would not like fending for yourself, at all.

    Interesting story. During group, our counselor who is a former Federal Officer and trained in hostage negotiation, said that during the course, the instructors teach that in a hostage/ crisis situation, look for Soldiers/ former Soldiers as they are most likely gonna weather it better.

  122. 122
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    As it turns out, I think this position is wrong but not evil, mendacious, or any other such. So, I don’t want an apology

    so nice of you to clear me of evil. And also letting me off the hook at giving you an apology. You are so kind.

    Fuck you very much for the absolution.

  123. 123
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @t jasper parnell: I meant our current military. The majority of us, including our Officers, come from blue collar and lower middle class backgrounds. We’re not the social elite. And yes, we do have a fair number of people that identify Republican, I have met very few "conservatives".

    Followed the link. There isa huge difference between a gathering of citizens and a gathering of former combat troops. You might want the military around to keep that peaceful.

    @Just Some Fuckhead:Well, if you ever are a victim of severe trauma, I’m the guy you want near you to respond. My bedside manner sucks, but I can save your life and get you to the hospital.

  124. 124
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:
    My point, to the extent I have one, is this: we can disagree about who deserves what more without it being a matter of life or death, apology or no apology. It is a disagreement about the inherent value of this or that set of actions over the long haul by this or that group. You insist that the military does more, did more, and suffered and therefore ought be the last to to face further suffering. Fine. I think you are wrong. So what? You brought up the idea of an apology; I was making the point that our disagreement is not one that requires an apology because, you know, disagreeing about a state of affairs does not equal making the point that the other side has offended against truth, justice, and the American Way.

  125. 125
    Silver says:

    So, to review:

    If you’re a person who kills brown people because a guy in a uniform told you to do it, you get a pension.

    If you work on an assembly line, you’re a worthless piece of shit. Mostly because you don’t kill brown people. No pension for you!

    American in a nutshell, there…

  126. 126
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    Well, golly Jasper, if we travel back in time to 1932 and run into Gen Mccarther then you may have a point. This is 2008 and things are a little different, and besides, I said you might be right, no one knows for sure, till it happens. But, OK , we differ, you want to take away military benefits first cause they love republicans, and I don’t. Difference of opinion. At least we’re getting to the crux of things.

  127. 127
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:
    I understand what you are arguing, and, again, I agree that it is reasonable to expect those who are getting screwed to side with their fellow screwees. I was pointing out, however, that it is not "absurd" to think that the military, in moments of domestic crisis, sides with those in power. It happened and happens all the time.

  128. 128
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @Silver: You forgot raping the brown women. That and bayoneting the babies and peeing on their dinner plates. That was the best part.

  129. 129
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    you want to take away military benefits first cause they love republicans, and I don’t.

    When did I say or imply this? To be clear, no I don’t. I want those of us who are getting screwed to act as if we are those of who are getting screwed and to stand together to avoid further screwing by those who screw us.

  130. 130
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man: That’s good to know Cassidy. I live across the street from the largest naval station in the world in a neighborhood full of Republican SEALs so it could happen, it could happen.. heh.

  131. 131
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @t jasper parnell: Yes but your argument forgets two very important details:

    1) The military culture back then was very different. It was an Officer driven Army who came almost exclusively from higher classes and military academies. Not all of course, but a much higher percentage.

    2) There is a significant difference between a quasi-aggressive gathering of factory workers and a quasi-aggressive gathering of combat veterans. I seriously doubt that you can argue in good faith that the two are equal. I seriously doubt that the police would try to engage the latter.

  132. 132
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    In regards to military personnel being more deserving of a pension since they dodged bullets or otherwise put themselves in harm’s way, even military brass doesn’t believe that. If you spend a four year enlistment dodging bullets and decide to leave the service, you ain’t getting squat, as an example.

    Pensions are for the same reason in the service and in the corporate world, to get you hang around in generally unrewarding conditions for relatively modest pay long after you have died inside. That’s it.

  133. 133
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    My point, to the extent I have one, is this: we can disagree about who deserves what more without it being a matter of life or death, apology or no apology. It is a disagreement about the inherent value of this or that set of actions over the long haul by this or that group. You insist that the military does more, did more, and suffered and therefore ought be the last to to face further suffering

    This precisely what I was saying all along and you and Hueco were trying to read into it that I thought other professions were less honorable as Hueco put it, and you on some worthyness scale. The calculus was not difficult to fathom in my remarks. That NO ONE should lose their benefits, but for the reasons I state, the military should be the last to if it came to that.

  134. 134
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:
    It is most assuredly true that time marches one; however, there all manner of cases where one would expect the military to side with the screwed and they don’t. There are, to be sure, an equal number of cases where the military doesn’t [side with the screwers]. My point was and is that it is not "absurd" to think that members of the military blinded, perhaps, by wrongly defined notions of what duty, honor, and country mean might side with the wrong side. The men who put down the Bonus Army were more like those they attacked then those who led them. On the other hand, those who led Louis XVI from Versailles show that the opposite can also be the case. So to, one could argue, that the Kornilov Revolt, Noske’s Boys and etc show the same dynamic: some do and some don’t because some see their interest as lying on side and others see it as lying on the other.

  135. 135
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:
    Arguing that one group ought to be the last because it did more is to argue that there is a "worthyness scale," isn’t it? To argue that there is a worthyness scale is to argue that one group is more worthy than another, ana? Which means, doesn’t it, that groups are being ranked, no?

  136. 136
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    When did I say or imply this?

    LOL

    And when did I say that other professions were less honorable or less worthy on some scale. I put that remark in to show you how the implication game can be played all sorts of ways, especially when preconceived notions are at play. You didn’t say first, but you argue that I’m wrong for saying the Mil should be last. Then when should it have it’s pensions taken away?, Next to last, the middle, or maybe first. Without a designation I’m free to say you implied to any one of those spots. And when you jump my remark to something like a comparison of honorability, you are essentially doing the same thing.

  137. 137
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    My point was and is that it is not "absurd" to think that members of the military blinded, perhaps, by wrongly defined notions of what duty, honor, and country mean might side with the wrong side.

    Can you give another example, preferably modern, of the US Military? Our military is very unique in this world.

    Also, the "notions" you described above are a little difficult to get wrong. In matters of defending the Constitution and all we have sworn to protect, it is a very black and white picture. These are not vague concepts.

  138. 138
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:
    To repeat:

    Arguing that one group ought to be the last because it did more is to argue that there is a "worthyness scale," isn’t it? To argue that there is a worthyness scale is to argue that one group is more worthy than another, ana? Which means, doesn’t it, that groups are being ranked, no?

  139. 139
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:

    Can you give another example, preferably modern, of the US Military? Our military is very unique in this world.

    1) Can you provide another example of economic collapse in the US leading to a situation within which the US Military has been asked to "police" its citizenry?

    2) In what sense do you mean the US military is unique? Citizen soldiers? Constitutional commitment? Surely you cannot mean to argue that, for example, the UK’s army is made up of serfs.

  140. 140
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    Without a designation I’m free to say you implied to any one of those spots.

    Free to say, most certainly, but able to prove, more difficult.

    And when you jump my remark to something like a comparison of honorability, you are essentially doing the same thing.

    Did I use honor? I think, if I recall correctly, that I pointed out that you insisted that because of our military’s very real sacrifice they ought come first should push come to shove. My position is and remains that we the screwed ought to all come first relative to they the screwers.

  141. 141
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @t jasper parnell: Oh no…you’ve made your argument using the vague "military". Considering that we’re talking of the US military, I believe you need to give another example, as your first one is questionable, at best.

    #2: Yes, we are uniquely different from the rest of the world for many reasons, but that’s another topic for another day.

  142. 142
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:

    Also, the "notions" you described above are a little difficult to get wrong.

    Well, no. Those who, for example, insist on a "unitary presidency" or the legitimacy of torture do not do so, I would suggest, because they have no notions of honor,duty, etc but rather because they have a mistaken notion of honor, duty, etc.

  143. 143
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:
    Sorry, you want examples of other militaries engaging in behavior that is not in their interest? Tianamen Square, the Soviet Union 1924-1989, East Germany 1953, 56, and 68, Myanmar, North Korea, Germany 1933-1945, Vichy France 1941-44.

    As to it being a topic for another day, nope. What makes us special?

  144. 144
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    i said this earlier and I’ll repeat it with explanation. I do not believe the military as an institution can be ranked with civilian for really any reason. It is a different world and those that have been in know this fact. It has it’s own judicial system and penal codes and the basic rules that govern it are not comparable to the outside. A for instance, if you don’t show up for work, you can be arrested and incarcerated. If you leave in a combat zone, you can be tried and shot for treason, theoretically. It has it’s own health care system, etc ..

    I’ll put it to you directly, the military has a single purpose and that is to protect our soil from invaders and from possible insurrection. So in that sense, as in an institution it is in a rank of it’s own. And for those purposes, it is not only more important, but vital. There is no other civilian institution that can perform this function, none. So it cannot be compared, or ranked, AS AN INSTITUTION with the civilian world. That does not mean it’s members are better people or rank higher as citizens, but the institution does.

    Have at it leftists, flame me.

  145. 145
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:

    believe you need to give another example, as your first one is questionable, at best.

    Sorry, I may have misunderstood, do you mean that highlighting the most famous example of the US military, i.e., its soldiers, acting against its economic interest is vague or questionable? Could you explain why?

  146. 146
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    I’ll put it to you directly, the military has a single purpose and that is to protect our soil from invaders and from possible insurrection.

    But this cannot be correct, at least the use of "single," the military fulfills and has fulfilled a variety of purposes. Cuba in 1895 presented no threat to America and yet the military went there and suppressed the Cubans who had all but thrown the Spanish out. And surely you don’t mean to argue that Iran posed an immediate threat to America. Plus what if the insurrection is, you know, right?

  147. 147
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    Free to say, most certainly, but able to prove, more difficult.

    No harder to prove than for you to disprove, if your not going to say which level the military should sacrifice. but your next missive pretty much answers the question.

    My position is and remains that we the screwed ought to all come first relative to they the screwers.

    Ok, this is what I’m wasting my friday night on. You see the military as part and parcel of "the screwers" as you put it. I suspect your referring to their overlord gop owners. This is bullshit and you are whiny leftist military hater. I have nothing more to say to you on this topic.

  148. 148
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Wow, did Stuck just come outta the closet as a rightwinger??

  149. 149
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @t jasper parnell: Yes, I’m looking for another example of the US military siding against the US civilians. I believe the Bonus Army cite is not applicable for the stated reasons. So, I would like to see another example of our modern military, that would lead you to believe in some manner that they would happily take part in the subjugation of the American citizenry.

    Well, for one size, in respect to your comparison to the Brits. Our demographic is much wider and has a great deal more variation in it, but that’s to be expected. The biggest difference is the training of our NCO’s and our NCOES system, which is pretty unique to a modern military. The amount of time and money we invest in training our NCO Corp makes a significant difference in effective warfighting. Even our Western Allies have a much more Officer influenced military than we do. There are more, but I’d prefer to stick to you citing a better example to prove your point.

  150. 150
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    Ok, this is what I’m wasting my friday night on. You see the military as part and parcel of "the screwers" as you put it.

    No,no I don’t and I consider them part of the screwed.

    No harder to prove than for you to disprove,

    Actually, no if you want to argue that my argue is such and such then the onus falls on you to use my words to prove that I said what you said I said.

  151. 151
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: No, he’s speaking in nuance instead of black and white "us vs. them" simplicity.

  152. 152
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Wow, did Stuck just come outta the closet as a rightwinger??

    That’s right, I’ve had you fooled from day one. Now kiss my polynidal cyst fuckhead.

  153. 153
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:

    believe the Bonus Army cite is not applicable for the stated reasons

    Sorry, I cannot find any "reasons" just an assertion that it isn’t applicable because

    I believe you need to give another example, as your first one is questionable, at best.

    It would be easier if you explained why your assertion of uniqueness makes this questionable. For example, you might explain how NCOcentricism makes the US different from any other military every by detailing the NCO training. It is not for nothing that the idea that NCOs run the army is a truism among military historians. After all in the wake of Versailles the Germans made the decision to hang on to NCOs even if it meant letting everyone else go.

  154. 154
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:

    Yes, I’m looking for another example of the US military siding against the US civilians.

    As I said, provide another example of economic collapse. We don’t know what the American military will or would do because the situation hasn’t arisen. Making claims that it will or won’t do something is a fool’s errand. My point is and remains that under a certain set of circumstance some in the military will do one thing and others another. There is nothing intrinsic to military training or notions of honor, duty, etc that predetermine what this or that group will do. I have suggested that a survey of the other militaries’ behaviors [in moments of social stress] suggests that what they have or have not done indicates that it is difficult to maintain that we can know what its members understand as in their interests.

  155. 155
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    No,no I don’t and I consider them part of the screwed.

    If your not going to have the balls to stand by what you say then it might be better to just not say anything. Stop prevaricating about what you believe, and defend it, or not. Whatever.

  156. 156
    TenguPhule says:

    That does not mean it’s members are better people or rank higher as citizens, but the institution does.

    We must save the banks because even if they’re filled with a lot of shitty people, the institutions must be preserved at all costs.

    Same shit, different day.

  157. 157
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    Sorry, I cannot find any "reasons" just an assertion that it isn’t applicable because

    comment 131 by me

    It would be easier if you explained why your assertion of uniqueness makes this questionable.

    Stephen: The Almight says, "Don’t change the subject, just answer the fuckin’ question."

  158. 158
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:
    Sorry, when did I say the military, understood as its soldiers, was the screwers? The fact that I think their screwing is more or less worthy than the screwing of the other screwed doesn’t mean I think they are part of the problem. It might help the conversation, although who knows it might not, if instead of assuming I am some kind of a "lefty" who hates the military, which you cannot know because you know nothing about me, you try and consider that it is possible to reject the notion that the soldiers are special because of the naked nature of the screwing they get by those who screw us the screwees. Or, failing that, you might try and show where it was that I claimed that, you know, the soldiers are the tools of the screwers, as opposed to showing that in the past some soldiers have acted in the interests of those I consider the screwers because they thought, wrongly I think, that their interests lay with the screwers and not the screwees.

  159. 159
    TenguPhule says:

    That NO ONE should lose their benefits, but for the reasons I state, the military should be the last to if it came to that.

    Comrade, all animals are equal. But some animals are more equal then others.

  160. 160
    t jasper parnell says:

    ?@Cassidy the Racist White Man:
    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:
    If this is the best you can do, i.e., an assertion that military culture was "different" back then, I am less than convinced. How is it different? What exactly makes this military or these NCOs trained in such a way that you are certain that when or if push came to shove they would understand their interests as lying with the screwed? I, in my naive way, hope that this would be the case; however, in my cynicism arising from a host of historical examples of the military and any number of other screwed behaving opposite of the way they ought, recognize that there is no certainty here. Please do enlightened me as to the roots of your certainty.

  161. 161

    My position is and remains that we the screwed ought to all come first relative to they the screwers.

    Sorry, I have to weigh in on that point. We have civilian control of the military in this country. If there is any screwing going on, it’s because a civilian authority brought it about.

    Or did I misread what you meant?

    Or are we going to argue over some murky example, like …. Kent State? In fact, that’s a good example now that I think of it. The military would not have been there if not for the civilian authority.

    Kent’s Mayor Leroy Satrom declared a state of emergency on May 2 and, later that afternoon, asked Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes to send the National Guard to Kent to help maintain order.

    What happened there was tragic, and notwithstanding the fact that I am a DFH and true lefty, I wasn’t there and I don’t know exactly why the shooting happened, but whatever the explanation is, it isn’t because the military was the screwer. It’s because the civilian authority ordered military protection for the campus, and things got out of hand.

  162. 162
    t jasper parnell says:

    @t jasper parnell:
    I meant no more or less.

  163. 163
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    in my cynicism arising from a host of historical examples of the military

    Which ones? It’s a simple question. You’ve made one citation for the US military, which we are talking about, and it is from an entirely different era, and it involved a gathering of former combat soldiers, not your average every day citizens. So, your one citation of US Soldiers turning on the populace is questionably relevant at best.

    Or you can admit that your stalling, as you have no such examples to support your vague cynicisms.

    The bottom line is that we follow orders. And some of us have followed orders despite being illegal. But the majority of us would not turn on our fellow citizens in deference to our "overlords". The citizens are our people. They are our mothers and sisters, and fathers, as well as policemen, school teachers, auto workers, etc. The military is where we came to try and get a better life than the ones our parents had, getting screwed over by corporate shitheads.

  164. 164
    t jasper parnell says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:
    No, you are exactly right. The civilian leadership screws the military in exactly the same way that the leaders of our economy screw the worker. We are the screwed whether worker or soldier. I thought this was obvious. Sorry for any confusion.

    My secondary point, however, is that sometimes because of either training or ideological commitment the military acts in the interests of the screwers. Not because they are evil or bad or whathaveyou, anymore than a worker who rejects a union is evil or bad or whathaveyou, but because they understand their interest differently.

    Objectively, based on who has the money, America is divided between 2-3 percent who have the dough, i.e., the screwers, and 98-97 percent who are those who have not, i.e., the screwed.

  165. 165
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    Or are we going to argue over some murky example, like …. Kent State?

    Even this could be argued as part of a different era culturally (within the military) as it happenned before we transitioned to a volunteer army. But I wasn’t their either and am not familiar with how the national Guard worked back then.

  166. 166

    but because they understand their interest differently.

    I think that overcomplicates matters. The military has to think and act in a military context. It’s not the same context as the civilian context.

    You can’t ask the military to act as if it is not the military. You can’t put military people in situations and ask them not to respond in accordance with their training and military judgment.

  167. 167
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man:
    My 143 together with your claim that "And some of us have followed orders despite being illegal. But the majority of us would not turn on our fellow citizens in deference to our ‘overlords’" indicates that we as much like the past as ever.

  168. 168
    t jasper parnell says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:
    But surely this is my larger point. If push comes to shove and the military acts on its training, it could — assuming that those against who it is asked to act are more like its members and seek ends that aid all — act against its interests in a non-military sense.

  169. 169
    t jasper parnell says:

    @t jasper parnell:
    Just to be clear, here, not that it will but that it could and that the behavior of militaries in the past suggests that acting against the interests of its soldiers is one reason why discipline is so important to the military. Discipline, I hasten to point out, that arises not because soldiers are screwers but rather the opposite.

  170. 170

    @t jasper parnell:

    Yes, but I am saying, the "interests" thing confuses the issue. I think the military context is more about mission than about "interests."

    Maybe we aren’t using "interests" in the same way? I am using it in the sense that, in my own job, for example, I have to put the mission, the job, ahead of my interests, or even the interests of my department. The military context is going to have to do that to an even greater extent.

    Right? Are we talking about the same thing here?

  171. 171
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    I guess i get worked up about this topic because of when I was in the military during the early 70’s. I was drafted, but volunteered to be a Rigger (air drop supply) because they said that there was a shortage and they were needed desperately for you know where, and my hand went up. I don’t know why because I didn’t want to be there and didn’t want to fight anyone or get myself killed. Just weeks earlier, I got my ass drug out of the Admissions building by the cops at my univ during a sittin. Although the peace agreement was signed and I didn’t have to go to SE asia it was Insane times and it didn’t help being treated like a leper by my civilian friends and the public at large. Unresolved anger issues about those times I suppose. Jody had it right earlier. Silly argument. I do have a soft spot for how the military is treated and soldiers in particular. I don’t take back anything I’ve said on this topic tonight, but regret the anger.

  172. 172
    t jasper parnell says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:
    Yes, the definition of interest is the key. We all have different sets of interests, professional, personal,familial, etc. How we understand these interests is key to figuring out how to act. My larger point is that if we the screwed understand ourselves as a discreet group we have a better chance of opposing the screwers, who seek to divide us by appealing to particular interests. My specific point was that it is silly and ahistorical to argue that the military will do the right thing; because the "right" thing isn’t easily understood.

  173. 173

    if we the screwed understand ourselves as a discreet group we have a better chance of opposing the screwers, who seek to divide us by appealing to particular interests.

    By screwers, I mean the Baptists.

    :)

  174. 174
    t jasper parnell says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:

    By screwers, I mean the Baptists.

    Yes, just so. And so, to bed.

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:
    Nice talking to you. Honest.

  175. 175

    Yes, just so. And so, to bed.

    Hagn.

  176. 176
    Tattoosydney says:

    @MikeJ:

    Is Baz Luhrmann the Busby Berkeley of our age?

    No. Have you SEEN "Australia"? Ugh.

  177. 177

    TZ, is there a reason that even YOU can’t follow my simple instructions on multiple paragraph blockquoting?

    Everyone else: for all the wonderful arguments that ensue on this blog, and the level of snark and intellect we engage in here, I have to tell you that you people suck on knowing the differences between There, Their and They’re.

  178. 178

    Oh, and add to that the differences between Here and Hear. I see that butchered quite often too.

  179. 179

    Cassidy, the military performs a service to protect the country, and the citizens in it. If you were an honorable man you would stop flinging yourself on pedestals and be more self-deprecating. Protect, honor and serve the people of this nation and stop putting yourself above others. Your military service is used as an anvil against others around here, and for that I think you deserve no special favors.

  180. 180
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    I have to tell you that you people suck on knowing the differences between There, Their and They’re.

    Oh, and add to that the differences between Here and Hear. I see that butchered quite often too.

    You can add Lose, Losing, Loose and Loosing to that list. Same with Your and You’re. Oh, and to, too and two. Also.

    :D

    Great post John, you knocked it right out of the stands.

  181. 181

    Um, yeah. They hate unions that much. I wonder how many layoffs would have ensued had we not bailed out Wall Street in comparison to what’s going to happen to auto workers and related industry workers. Sincerely, I wonder what that figure would be. Anybody know?

  182. 182

    Oh, and, haven’t we been building those stealth bombers for like years and years? Regardless of what new bells and whistles this thing might have had, is there some reason they have not yet perfected getting these things off the ground without crashing and burning? Seems like that would be top priority. But then we junk billions of dollars worth of fully functioning equipment in Iraq, so what the fuck.

  183. 183
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    The banks and Wall Street are saying that they need to pay bonuses out of the bailout money to help retain the ‘valuable’ services of management and the upper echelons, and pay dividends out of that same bailout money so people ‘keep the faith’ that the financial industry is sound. How about that being just dandy with the powers that be? These same rich assholes think that blue collar workers make too much money and their jobs aren’t worth saving.

    Exactly who are the elitists? People who believe (more like pretend) that making money with money is a valuable skill? Or people who believe that it is honorable to work with your hands to make something that people can actually use for something useful. People who go out to work every day risking more than a paper cut at work, all to make their life a bit better to live.

    This country is upside down, and the Republicans are quite happy with it. Rich and greedy is great, as long as you deserve it (read: successfully stole it). Everyone else is disposable and their jobs are sold off to the lowest bidder. Where incompetence is rewarded and competence is derided as an elitist affectation.

    Republicans are out to destroy this country, they just don’t care about anything but their ’causes’. If a whole American industry and its sub-industries collapses, as long as it stops unions then it’s fine with them. Want to take it to the next step Repubs? How about prison guard unions? Why not go after them? There are some unions out there, like the prison guards, who vote predominantly Republican. How about it Repubs? Are prison guards overpaid, or any other group that predominantly votes Republican that is represented by a union? If you are going to kill unions, kill them all and lets just see how popular you are afterward.

    Take them on then. Go for it, make sure that you Republicans completely destroy the middle class in this country. All we need are the rich and the poor, the haves and the have nots. The rich get ginormous salaries, golden parachutes, unlimited medical coverage, generous pensions and government bailouts. The poor get to work for the rich and be damned happy that at least they get that. We get the table scraps, whatever falls on the floor and whatever is in the garbage.

    That is the Republican utopia, the late 1800’s. When you could pay a worker next to nothing, work (or beat) that worker to death and

  184. 184
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @CIRCVS MAXIMVS MMVIII: I said very specifically that no ones pension deserves to be shit canned over another. That is the topic we are discussing. So, either read everything written, or blow it out your ass. I also stated that I think Soldiers and service members do sacrifice more than the public at large, but also qualified that as a personal opinion and didn’t bring it up again. Reading comprehension will do wonders for you, but why start now right?

    @t jasper parnell: After reading what was written after I went to bed, I do understand where you are coming from, but as stated you don’t have a historical example of the modern US military acting in such a manner to give any kind of basis for your fears, other than an inherent prejudice against us. Doing the "right thing" is the cornerstone of our culture, and while I’m sure you can find plenty of examples of those who do not, individually and institutionally, I can give the same number of examples anecdotally every day. What you don’t seem to understand is that very rarely do we act in our own interests. As hat/cat stated earlier, we do things within a military context.

    Ex: it was not in my own personal interest to go to Iraq; the whole dying thing being a dealkiller. But, it was my job, and I passionately believe that every Soldier deserves the absolute best medical care I can provide. I did some crazy, stupid things based on that belief that were not in my self interest. You’ll notice I leave out courageous, because 1) I was frickin’ terrified and 2) it isn’t brave to do your job.

    Secondly, it is not in my best interest to go back, but I volunteered for it. I called my branch manager and volunteered for an assignment that guarantees I will be back in Iraq by summer of next year. But, I believe in the mission (MTT) and I can directly contribute to keeping some Soldiers from having to go back.

    This is not a "yay me" anecdote, but hopefully you see that we try to do the right thing every day, over our own self-interest, as I am not unique in the military.

    Bottom line: those getting screwed are our people. It’s our mom’s and dad’s who sacrificed for us to have a better life. Do you really think we’d side against them if society goes through a massive breakdown?

  185. 185

    […] mentioned this in an earlier post, when I noted that the main reason the GOP appears to have spiked the auto bailout is because Sen. […]

  186. 186
    Cassidy says:

    back to the top

  187. 187

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