May 4th, 2009

Look for the Union label—in the newpaper and auto industry meltdowns (and the Obama solution for the latter)

Unions have figured prominently in the talks concerning the fates of two moribund companies in two troubled American industries: the Boston Globe and Chrysler. The first dispute is happening without intervention from the federal government, while the second is proceeding with the assistance of the Obama administration’s tender mercies.

Let’s see how it’s all going. The WaPo announces that the Globe’s parent company the NY Times has now threatened to close the Globe within 60 days, announcing that it will file a notice of intent as required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification law (that’s a lot of newspapers in one sentence, isn’t it?).

The action may just be a bargaining chip designed to force the recalcitrant Globe unions to their knees; the unions think so, calling it a “bullying” tactic. Or the Times may really mean it—after all, there’s no love lost between New York and Boston (as former Globe columnist Eileen McNamara says, the Times “has treated New England’s largest newspaper like a cheap whore. It pimped her out for profit during the booming 1990s and then pillaged her when times got tough…”).

Well, what’s a newspaper to do? Fail to react by making cuts when times (or The Times) get rough?

Yesterday I wrote about some of the market forces that have pummeled not just the Times and the Globe, but newspapers around the country. These papers have also lost some of their ability to react flexibly to changing economic realities because of the growth and power of the unions involved.

If you look carefully at the WaPo article, you’ll see this interesting paragraph at the very end [emphasis mine]:

The Globe quoted the head of the Teamsters local, which represents the newspaper’s drivers, as saying his union had come up with the $2.5 million in salary and benefit cuts demanded by the company. But the Times Co. is also said to be seeking to eliminate seniority rules and lifetime job guarantees for some union members.

I’m trying to think of other professions with lifetime job guarantees, and all I can come up with are tenure for professors and teachers, and members of the Supreme Court. Is it usual for these to be offered to newspaper employees? And what’s the history of this policy at the Globe? Here’s a bit of background:

All full-time Globe employees hired before Jan. 1, 1992, were given lifetime job guarantees and are not subject to layoffs, according to the Guild contract. Currently, 195 of the Guild’s 700 members have lifetime jobs, including [union President] Totten and three other top Guild leaders.

This article goes into the present situation in greater depth. Which Globe unions are involved? It seems that drivers lack such guarantees, pressmen have them but won’t say exactly how many of their members qualify, and mailers revealed that 145 out of a total of their 245 members are guaranteed jobs for life.

Some concessions were recently made on this score by unions in a meeting that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. The article is murky about exactly what they might be.

I’m not anti-union; I understand that, historically, they protected workers who needed protecting, and gave some power to the previously powerless. But, as with so many things, there’s been an over-correction, resulting in a situation in which the unions are not necessarily doing their members any favors in the long run. If a company’s hands are tied with unrealistic and over-the-top union benefits (such as lifetime guarantees appear to be), everyone will go down with the ship. In such a situation lifetime guarantees are worth exactly nothing—because the company itself will be dead.

Once the government enters the picture, however, all bets are off. This brings us to the second situation: Chysler. President Obama showed his dramatically pro-union nature very clearly during the campaign, at least to anyone who was listening. He cannot afford to waver; unions are the source of a great deal of his money and his voters, and he’s come through for them in the Chrysler negotiations, big time.

Megan McArdle sarcastically details what’s been going on (and remember, Ms. McArdle supported Obama, so you can hardly call her a biased conservative):

Hedge fund managers, you see, have a civic duty to lose large amounts of other peoples’ money in order to ensure that the UAW makes as few sacrifices as possible in a bankruptcy…Which brings us to the real question, which is, when did it become the government’s job to intervene in the bankruptcy process to move junior creditors who belong to favored political constituencies to the front of the line? Leave aside the moral point that these people lent money under a given set of rules, and now the government wants to intervene in our extremely well-functioning (and generous) bankruptcy regime solely in order to save a favored Democratic interest group.

No, leave that aside for the nonce, and let’s pretend that the most important thing in the world, far more interesting than stupid concepts like the rule of law, is saving unions. What do you think this is going to do to the supply of credit for industries with powerful unions?

In order to understand just how unusual and lopsided the UAW/Chrysler deal is, just read the NY Times on the subject. Calling it the “Cadillac of bankruptcies” (and here I thought Cadillac was a GM product)—at least where the unions are concerned—the Times points out that the UAW:

…has received upfront protection from the Treasury Department for its pension plan and the fund that will take over responsibility for retiree medical benefits. Moreover, that fund, called the voluntary employee beneficiary association, or VEBA, will control 55 percent of the equity in the new Chrysler once it emerges from bankruptcy, and hold a seat on the Chrysler board.

Not too shabby—especially compared to similar situations:

Labor and restructuring lawyers said such a comprehensive deal going into bankruptcy was rare.

“This is extraordinary, truly extraordinary,” said Mary Jo Dowd, a partner in the financial and bankruptcy restructuring practice at Arent Fox in Washington. “I never would have thought a year ago that this would occur. These are truly unusual times.”

Asked if he could recall any other union that fared as well, David L. Gregory, a labor law professor at St. John’s University, replied: “Nobody’s even close.”

Yes, the UAW has made some concessions. But they are small (the Times notes that members retain “healthy wages and benefits”) compared to what has been demanded of the creditors whom Obama is busy bad-mouthing and “not standing behind” in his continuing effort to demonize the rich. Now basic contract law goes down the tube as he refuses to favor these creditors in the proper and agree-on order when bankruptcy occurs, and he disses them for not being self-sacrificing enough. Of course, the unions aren’t required to be so noble; only the vile rich people (who in many cases happen to stand in a fiduciary relationship regarding the investments of people who aren’t so rich) are required to be martyrs to Obama’s welfare state.

And it seems that as Chrysler goes, so goes GM:

“This confirms the fear, which right along has been that the Obama administration is more sensitive or beholden to the unions than the bondholders,” Fridson [CEO of a credit investment firm] said. “It makes it clear that GM bondholders aren’t likely to be able to work out anything outside of bankruptcy.”…

The bondholders shouldn’t be surprised that the unions are getting preference over investors in an Obama administration, Egan [president of Egan-Jones Ratings Co] said.

“If the government is providing money to these entities, they’re going to be looking out for labor’s interest first and foremost,” he said. “You may claim it’s unfair, but that’s the political reality and the time and cost of suing the federal government is prohibitive in most cases.”

In other words, Obama holds the power and will wield it in favor of the unions, so resistance is futile. The long-term dampening effect on investment in these companies doesn’t seem to bother our President, who appears to believe that a government-managed company favoring its workers above all else (sound familiar? I hear it’s been tried) is what we need in order to prosper.

And he’s counting on many of his supporters to be jubilant about the news—and on the rest of them to be too busy or too disinterested to follow the twistings and turnings of these complex events.

38 Responses to “Look for the Union label—in the newpaper and auto industry meltdowns (and the Obama solution for the latter)”

  1. Trimegistus Says:

    Anyone opposed to unions should be glad of this: the United Autoworkers will not exist in another decade because there won’t be any automobile manufacturing in the United States. The Big Three will go down the tubes, and the Japanese would rather close their American plants (or move them to Mexico) than take on the same millstone which is dragging down GM and Chrysler right now.

    There’s a reason the public employee unions are now the majority: government is the only industry the government has been unable to destroy.

  2. DirtyJobsGUy Says:

    I run into a lot of skilled trades in my business (the independent power industry). Almost universally their attitude is that if a site has a union, it management was really screwed up. They do not view it as a good thing at all. You are correct that a union shop is a dying shop.

    The other thing to note is the attitude of revenge that comes out in all these places from the unions and the left. There is never a attitude of “well the prior management screwed up, but here we are and how to we fix things”. It’s always a message of how much they thought they were “owed”. Only a line to the taxpayer’s pockets will keep these guy’s happy.

  3. Oldflyer Says:

    Just read that hedge funds are suing; citing an opinion by Justice Brandeis that purportedly protects creditors rights in bankruptcy under the 5th amendment to the Constitution.

    Appears they are calling Obama’s bluff.

    I don’t know that there are too many good guys in all of this; but I do know that I hate government bullying and theft intended solely to protect their supporters at the expense of others.

    Good luck to the little guys.

  4. dane Says:

    Neo,

    One correction if I may. Not only supreme court judges but Most federal judges are appointed for life.

    Justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the courts of appeals and the district courts, and judges of the Court of International Trade, are appointed under Article III of the Constitution by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. Article III judges are appointed for life, and they can only be removed through the impeachment process.

    Bankruptcy judges and magistrate judges are appointed for defined terms.

  5. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    A little research has shown me that the murky idea I had about just what “Fascism” is reflects the fact that 60= years after the fall of Il Duce there is still much controversy and no consensus among academics about even a definition.

    Fascism, whose ideas were in great fashion in both Europe and America during the 1920′ and 1930s, was touted as a “Third Way” between communism and capitalism.

    There is much more clarity about just what exactly “Economic Fascism”* is all about, and “Economic Fascism” is exactly what Obama & Co. is very quickly constructing; can full-blown, across the board Fascism be far behind?

    * One recent article summed up the definition of Economic Fascism by listing some of it’s main characteristics as being (see http://tinyurl.com/pchj):

    The idea that Government should be the master, not the servant, of the people.

    Government interventions in the economy by some sort of “central planning board” such as the just created White House “National Economic Security Council,” directed toward certain objectives and in a coordinated manner in order to, as the current Secretary of Labor Commerce Robert Reich advocated, create order in the “untidy marketplace.”

    Private property and business ownership are permitted, but are controlled by a government-business partnership in which the government is always the controlling partner.

    Corporatism i.e corporate welfare.

    Close collaboration between business and government.

    “The Road to Serfdom” is exactly the road I see Obama & Co. frog marching us down.

  6. SteveH Says:

    Unions and their effects on industry are a microcosim of where the whole country is heading. Understanding theres only a beneficial place at the top of the gravy pyramid for about 10% of “the collective”. The rest of the collective is around merely to subsidize those privledged few.

  7. Tom Says:

    Tough prospect for Ford: its UAW employees are going to own its Detroit competitors. A curious arrangement from which will spring very little good.

    But when I need my next vehicle it will be a Ford.

  8. Mr. Frank Says:

    How will citizens be coerced into buying Chrysler and GM cars? What happens when the people refuse to buy? The knowledge that the union and the government own those companies won’t be good for sales.

  9. Artfldgr Says:

    How does anyone think these guys get to do what they want and then not have to face laws, or even the prior system? they are showing that if you side with them, not even law will affect you if they can do anything. that, and the money, will insure that by the time 18 months are up, there will be so many interested and benifiting parties, that reversing the course, or even getting it back is not possible without an outside intervention by… well without us there is no outside intervention.

    basically he is telling all these groups to pull out the stops, for now is the time of reconing and when the ious can be turned in.

    acorn gets its pay off, the unions get theres, and everyone gets the example that if you join obama, real soon, even law will not be able to stop things.

    or do you think this is really about just the banks, the houses, the creditors, the ceos, wall street, etc.. all at once

  10. Artfldgr Says:

    WH Reporters Stand For Obama, But Not For Bush?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VAfJyzN3ak

    I wonder if they realize that this is the attitude of a stalinist (one who wishes to emulate that leader):

    “Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs”.
    J. Stalin

  11. Occam's Beard Says:

    Many on the left defend the UAW and blame GM management, but the most dynamic and able managers avoid unionized industries like the plague. So, to some extent, lousy management is at least partially connected to unionization as well.

  12. sears poncho Says:

    I wonder if bankruptcy wasn’t where this was going to go the whole time, and this is just so much theater. As the articles cited point out, the UAW is already taken care of in terms of money. When it comes to who they union is going to endorse and vote for in coming elections, where are they going to go?

  13. Wm Lawrence Says:

    The analogy I use is that of a cow dying of parasitosis and the veterinarian is transfusing blood into the animal in an attempt to not to save the cow, but to save the tapeworm.

  14. Occam's Beard Says:

    The wise man does immediately what the fool does eventually.

  15. SteveH Says:

    “”How will citizens be coerced into buying Chrysler and GM cars?
    Mr Frank”"

    You make foreign cars prohibitively expensive. I bet Toyotas having lots of late night meetings since the messiah got elected.

  16. davidt Says:

    “”How will citizens be coerced into buying Chrysler and GM cars?
    Mr Frank””… The ‘Government’ will buy them.

  17. rickl Says:

    I’m familiar with the saying, “Never attribute to a conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence”, but the Obama administration is stretching my credulity.

    Everything he has done since taking office will have the effect of crippling the U.S. economy and driving business–
    and investment–and jobs–away. Every. Single. Thing.

    There is NO way this isn’t deliberate. And I think I understand the reason: It is difficult to control people who are confident, self-reliant, and prosperous, as the American middle class has traditionally been. But if you can make people fearful, desperate, and destitute, then you’ve got them. You OWN them. They will do whatever you tell them to.

    This is what the Left has planned for us, the American people. This is monstrous evil.

    Obama, his handlers, and his minions are our mortal enemies, and it is time that they be treated as such. It is either us or them.

  18. “How They Hated Bush” & other things | The Anchoress Says:

    [...] does the press know what’s going on? I think perhaps they don’t, really. Or, they just don’t care because Obama looks so good on their wall, doesn’t he have a [...]

  19. Occam's Beard Says:

    rickl, I’m with you in spirit, but still adhering to the stupidity and incompetence explanation. I frankly don’t think that Obama & Co. are intelligent enough to do all this to screw up things up intentionally. What is in some respects more frightening is the notion that this is their idea of sound policy.

  20. Rob De Witt Says:

    I’m afraid I lean more towards conspiracy than incompetence. How long do you suppose George Soros has been selling short on Chrysler and GM? The stink of corruption in the Dem leadership has been noticed even in Russia – http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-0/

    Al Gore has ballooned his personal fortune from less than $2 million to over $100 million by investing in the “Green” economy since 2000, while the Dems are forcing “Cap and Trade.” The execrable Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Franklin Raines and a host of others have grown obscenely rich off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while blaming Republicans for the housing meltdown.

    It’s very difficult, if not naive, to attribute this confluence of cupidity solely to incompetence. This is a concerted effort to destroy the economy while rewarding the criminals.

    On the original point, there’s no reason to apologize for “being anti-unions,” neo. Unions have long since become what they were formed to prevent.

  21. br549 Says:

    IMO, too much has gone on, in one direction, within the last 100 days or less, for it to have been an accident, for it to have come about from an administration and a congress of naive ideologues.

    The “bailout papers” simply could not have been, and therefore – to me – were not written in the few days between the Bush offering and what actually passed as the stimulus package. There is no way. It’s been in the pipeline a long time, and lay waiting for an Obama or a Hillary to win the presidency.

    I was listening to Imus yesterday morning while driving to a meeting out of town. He let Carville say what he pleased without protest, attempt at correction, or proof of his statements. That must have been part of the agreement after the nappy headed incident, that allowed him back on the radio. Imus does good things for cancer kids. He wants to continue that highly commendable operation. But he sold his soul, and sold the rest of us out, in the process. A Churchill statement I remember reading is “In war, truth is the first casualty”. That’s not a direct quote, and I can’t find the source at the moment. But I will continue to look for it.

    OK, so Glenn Beck is ADHD. Seems pretty obvious to me, as one who is also ADHD. But he is hitting a nerve somewhere, or the Carville’s of the world wouldn’t be so down on him. Including Imus. Even O’Reilly is kind of down on Beck. But that’s because he is afraid Beck will unseat him viewer wise. What a wus. At the end of his day, O’Reilly is his own message.

    Listening to Carville and Imus, one would think Limbaugh is the most hated person in America. One would think “teabaggers” were all 65 and over. Sorry, saw the photos of all the teabag protests I could find. Not true. But Imus didn’t do much to correct Carville. Imus is scared of Carville, scared of the left. Isn’t he, basically, one of them?

    Much of what is said by contributors to this blog is easy enough to see. I firmly believe the observations by you folks, and by neo herself, to be about on the mark with accuracy rivaling anyone, anywhere.
    Provided one has the eyes to see. You realize, of course, Carville would not approve. I am amazed by the brain power that continues to enter day in and day out.

    I continue though, to protest against those who would have artfldgr “edited for brevity”. Is there a bandwith limitation? I doubt it. If his posts are too long, skip over them. You don’t have to read them. Is scrolling down too much trouble?
    “I demand my right to read brief posts!”
    Well, “I demand my right to read artfldgr unedited.”
    Actually, as long as a post is civil, I would like to see any and every post left as written. I await snarky responses about starting my own blog. Well, I’m not capable, or worthy. I admit that.

    Long and short, a serious third party must be born. Alas, that will make all established groups hate this new minority. But this new minority will be one of ideas and ideals. It will cross all known boundaries of race, color, creed, for it has nothing to do with any of those things. The immediately before stated things are perpetuated by the left. I find it very interesting Jackson and Sharpton, and their ilk have slipped into oblivion since Obama has become the selected one.
    I say selected because in a one on one bar fight, with the democrat voter as judge, Hillary would have kicked Obama’s ass. What’s up with all that still remains to be seen.

    I wish Sarah Palin was president.

  22. SteveH Says:

    I don’t see a third party as an answer. People looking for a handout need to be met by as many people as possible simply not looking for a handout. All the nuanced ideas and positions have to take a back seat right now to this fundamental task.

  23. Scottie Says:

    Having grown up in a state that was a “right to work” state, I always managed to get by without having much association with unions or their membership.

    The concept always struck me as a bit kooky – if you don’t like your working conditions, find another job!

    It now seems that those states with the heaviest union representation are the very states that have a lot of economic problems at the moment.

    The current UAW success in acquiring controlling interests in Chrysler and GM is the outcome of a contest for control of those companies that goes back decades, and the UAW has finally *won* the contest with generous help from Obama.

    The problem is I suspect it will be a Pyhric victory for them as people turn away from GM and Chrysler and buy Ford and Japanese products.

    And no worries about higher taxes on *import* cars – all of these companies that are considered “foreign” actually have plants in the US and are building cars right here.

    This could very well be the last gasp for the UAW, in that they won the ultimate victory for themselves, but are left sitting alone in the rubble wondering why nobody is buying their product.

  24. sergey Says:

    This seems to be an example of a general picture: neither pure democracy nor pure meritocracy, like depicted in Plato “republic”, are stable, viable and compatible with freedom, but only some combination, or compromiss, of these two extremes.

  25. Tom Says:

    Rob:
    “Confluence of cupidity”- Now there’s an alliterative phrase for the ages. Great!

    I think it will take an armed rebellion to unseat the corruption visited upon us by ballot. And I do not see that happening. Let’s face it: the good ol’ USA has become what it is, and there’s no real prospect for reversal. A military coup won’t happen either. That saved Chile, but it won’t save us- our armed forces are too committed to civilian authority to salvage our Constitution.

  26. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    In doing some research on Fascism, I was reading Jonah Goldberg’s 2007 book “Liberal Fascism,” and ran across this statement:

    “Crisis is routinely identified as a core mechanism of fascism because it short-circuits debate and democratic deliberation.” p. 43.

    And isn’t such a “Crisis” exactly the mechanism that Obama has used to ram through his revolutionary budgets and proposals, one by one, in record time, through the Democratic controlled Congress? I, too, believe that these proposals were long since carefully drafted and sequenced, and waiting in a stack in a drawer somewhere to be introduced, long before Obama ever became President. Thus, I see all of Obama’s major moves as carefully choreographed—as well choreographed as a gifted orator, malignant narcissist and likely front man, who is a lazy, ill-educated, inexperienced Marxist ideologue (and probably something of a crypto-Muslim, too), and a historical illiterate, with a tin ear to boot, can craft them.

    The problem with forming a Third Party to oppose Obama and the current ruinous policies of both the Democratic and Republican parties is that, because of the advantages in funding, organization and propaganda that the existing two parties have, the deck is pretty thoroughly stacked against being able to create a Third party that is strong and organized enough to win.

    The rise of “Tea Parties”—uncharacteristically, I showed up in the rain with my handmade sign at one myself on April 15th–shows that there is growing discontent and latent energy there, but building and harnessing that energy, crafting some sort of platform that the disparate groups of people who are showing up—and from what I saw they range all across the spectrum in age, race, income and agenda—can unite behind, while at the same time avoiding being captured, used and/or co-opted by the existing political establishment—several local politicians and one potential candidate addressed the crowd at the Tea Party I went to—is going to be quite a trick. Trying to form all of the separate Tea Party efforts into a strong, major, viable political force brings to mind the phrase “herding cats.”

    Unfortunately, too, Obama & Co. have gotten inside of everyone’s “OODA loop” *i.e. they have jumped the gun on everyone, and with their extraordinarily accelerated timetable of actions will have gotten the key parts of their radically transforming, nascent Socialism/Fascism/Tyranny in place before those opposed to these changes have barely identified them as an existential threat, much less organized against them Thus, for instance, there are calls on the Internet for new major Tea Party demonstrations to take place on July 4th –whose bright idea was this?, or on September 12th–long after the major damage will probably have been done–when there should have been urgent calls for creating a sense of momentum by a series of immediate, weekly, escalating post April 15th demonstrations all over the country and in Washington, D. C.

    * “It has become an important concept in both business and military strategy. According to Boyd, decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage.” (see the WIKI definition and information at http://tinyurl.com/5w6vqc),

  27. Artfldgr Says:

    lies wear out, the truth never does. so they have to manufacture new lies eventually as the truth POISONS the old lies. And we are so stupid we let them because of the principal of duckspeak! Which is what I tried to explain. But as long as we think we are too smart for such things, we let them happen! Everything is always put in terms of children to evoke our protected response. they deny we have programming, that way we don’t recognize that they are playing with that programming, how can they play with what we don’t believe exists?

    that is if we beleive we have no natural programming, then when they do something to play off of things, we dont get it. like aways evoking the children… if we realized we have natures, we would be even more angry as to their made up bs designs and propagandic games.

    but since we dont ahve natures, what then would we be guarding from them?

    for a material entity, the belief in something is equivalent to that actual something existing!!!

    the ONLY time that this is a problem is if reality is allowed to intrude and they are forced to make some kind of choice between the inner reality they constructed and the outer reality they expeirence. depending on confidence, humiltiy, trust, etc… is what they will then side with.

    so we do not stop them from screwing with our heads becasue we beleive that we have no natures, and so there is no bumps in our minds for them to grab on to. but we do have bumps, which is why we converge on the things they dont like… like family, children, morals, etc…

    time to wake up and believe the truth…

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    br549: There are a number of reasons I edit “Artfldgr’s” comments.

    The first is that, although you are correct—people can just scroll past them if they’re not interested in reading them or think them too long—that makes it harder for people to read the comments in general, and I have an interest in making things flow more smoothly.

    My editing his comments for length is actually a tribute to the fact that I don’t want to delete them, because I think Artfldgr has some very interesting things to say and a unique point of view. But the extreme length of some of his comments makes it very difficult to read them; I edit them for ease of reading, and I usually cut them off at a point at which I think the rest is somewhat redundant.

    I find that, since the comments have been shortened, more people are reading his words rather than fewer, and they are responding on substantive issues rather than just saying “Artfldgr, stop posting such interminable comments!”

  29. br549 Says:

    I understand, and it is not you of whom I speak. And least of all do I expect you or anyone else on your blog to care what I think, much less be influenced by it.

    I’m not sure, to be honest, what my problem is with one demanding another be ‘edited”.

  30. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Artfldgr says “lies wear out, the truth never does.”

    Unfortunately, I think that it is rather the case that Lies, especially lies taught in our schools, spoken and endorsed by our intellectuals, politicians, artists, entertainers and other opinion makers, and broadcast by the MSM 24/7 and, moreover, lies that are tailored to be the lies we want to hear, that allow us to take the comfortable, easy way out, are far more powerful and easily accepted and believed than the Truth.

    I present two examples of choices. I have laid out the opposing choices in very stark contrast. No doubt many will see, rather, an infinite series of grays and gradations, but I think that, in each instance, one extreme captures the essence of the truth rather than the other.

    Tell me, if you were presented with two radically different pictures of our current situation vis-à-vis Islam; the first picture is that Islam is not our enemy, that the current “occasional” conflicts are of no real or lasting consequence, are minor misunderstandings that can be settled by patience, understanding and negotiation, small criminal acts by fanatics that do not require any real attention by us or any extraordinary actions by us to combat them—criminal matters for the police–and that, in fact, to call attention to and get all excited about such small incidents marks us as backward and lacking in the correct attitudes toward diversity, multiculturalism and the “Other” that civilized, educated, sophisticated people should have, or, the second picture that shows Islam to be an existential threat, with a long and easily traced “backtrail” of bloody Jihad that is 14 centuries long, an Islam whose religiously sanctioned ambition is to consume, dominate, conquer and rule the world and is, thus, a mortal threat to every unbeliever and to every non-Muslim society on the face of this Earth, a Jihad and Muslims that are violently attacking and also more subtly via “stealth Jihad” intimidating and subverting unbelievers and their societies on a daily basis in every corner of the world, an existential threat that requires our closest attention and that will demand the most extraordinary investigation and knowledge, vigilance and ultimate exertions to destroy it; an attention and exertions that—to be successful—will probably have to transform our societies and each of our lives in profound ways, and require the utmost in sacrifice, concentration and exertion by many of us.

    Which picture would you be more receptive to?

    Or, how about one picture of Obama as the new “Messiah” a transformative “light worker” heralding and ushering in a new era of “Hope” and Change” in America and human history, a steady, knowledgeable hand at the helm, an era in which all of the mistakes, all of the injustices, all of the deficiencies of the past will be faced head on and corrected; the new era of the “free lunch,” or a picture of Obama as a manipulative, ruthless, bumbling, ill-informed con artist, a would be tyrant who is quickly “transforming” America all right, but transforming it in to an America controlled by its government, in which our freedoms are being legislated away, our free, capitalist economy destroyed, and our patrimony and that of our children is squandered as Obama and the Democrats erect a dictatorial government, a colossus, by the most benign interpretation a Socialist or quasi-Socialist “nanny state,’ by the least benign a Fascist Tyranny.

    The Messiah picture requires us to just sit back, eat our “free lunch” and “feel the love,” the Tyranny picture requires us to investigate and learn, to strenuously exert ourselves, to fight for our freedom and our lives. Which picture do you think more people would be receptive to?

  31. neo-neocon Says:

    br549: well, since the comments section here is important to me, I do care about people’s opinions. Of course, in the final analysis, I make my own decisions. But I do take into consideration what people are saying.

    One other fact in this case is that Artfldgr himself has on several occasions written in his own comments that he is trying to make them shorter, because he realizes that length is a problem.

    By the way, I have sympathy with those who like to write at length. Many bloggers have very short posts, and they attract a lot of readers because their work is short and snappy and easy to assimilate. Every now and then I write something short. But my general tendency is to like to tell a more complete tale, so I’ve accepted that many of my posts will be long, and I’ll only attract people with more patience and time.

  32. strcpy Says:

    “This could very well be the last gasp for the UAW, in that they won the ultimate victory for themselves, but are left sitting alone in the rubble wondering why nobody is buying their product.”

    I actually rather assume that they are getting ready to turn back into what they were initially created to fight.

    First off they are highly used to getting their way and their members following along blindly. I’m sure they see no reason why this will not continue.

    Next, even when they have opposition, they are quite good at screwing their own members – see the amount of transparency with union dues and that no one knows where that money goes (uh hu) – couple that with their members buying that hook line and sinker.

    Now, they are in the position of having those dues, having the corporate profits, and being in total control of *both* ends (are they going to organize a strike against themselves?) I expect them to run it into the group within a VERY short period of time. I also fully expect the union heads to make out like thieves (though fully legal thieves) whilst letting the workers they are supposed to protect left hanging.

    This is irrespective of if sales drop or not (I rather suspect that most will not care one whit who owns/manages the company – if sales drop it will be from them cutting corners and expecting everything else to stay the same). Plus after it all falls the Japanese companies will not hire the workers – they will not allow any unions to form nor do they want the type of person that would want this to occur (and if they all got together unofficially and strike then the plants just let them leave and go elsewhere – too many want those jobs for the company to allow crazy “concessions”).

    Were it not for me living here I would be watching the implosion with great fascination. This will end in violence (and I mean “this” in a broad sense, not just this one incident) as things start to collapse under the strain, I do not know if we have enough collective will to stop it before that point once it is obvious to everyone – I more expect around half the population to make a panicked grab for everything they can, 1/4 to wring their hands and do nothing but whine, and 1/4 to harden up to weather the storm. Sadly I also think that McCain wouldn’t have done much better either.

  33. Amused Cynic » Blog Archive » “It’s not fascism when WE do it…” Says:

    [...] Neo-neocon has a depressingly thorough wrap-up of the UAW/Chrysler takeover. [...]

  34. Artfldgr Says:

    br549,
    Thank you very much for saying something, for if i defend myself, how does that look?

    Neo edits my posts well.. she realizes that i tend to start well, make a great point, then try to drive the nail thorugh the other side of the wood. (sorry bronx sci debating team was brutal :) )

    I have more than one time seen the size of my posts, and have asked her to slice em.

    this is something that comes from me recognizing that on some level the complainers are correct, but not to the degree that i should leave, stop writing, make soundbites, etc.

    brevity that does not cost is always welcome.

    but its actually people like you that help me put up with the snarky ones to which i think your mostly focusing on. a percentage of them who really dont care either way but realize if i am TOO polite, they can get me to abandon my own interests..

    since the ones interested in what i write, like erudition of a substance kind (even if too substantial in volume), then maybe i might direct them to some really pleasurable, and pertinent writing..

    pick up a copy of “the art of worldly wisdom”, written in 1637 by Balthasar Gracian.. (translated to english by joseph jacobs in 1882)..

    you can imagine that the whole text is what a good father would teach his son or daughter when they are about to go out into the world.

    and just so you realize that these fools you speak of (not neo the others), have little effect on me given that i know a lot more and understand a lot more than they..

    for your enjoyment i leave you with three quotes from that writing that should (i hope) make you grin.

    Go armed against Discourtesy,

    and against perfidy, presumption, and all other kinds of folly. There is much of it in the world, and prudence lies in avoiding a meeting with it. Arm yourself each day before the mirror of attention with the weapons of defence. Thus you will beat down the attacks of folly. Be prepared for the occasion, and do not expose your reputationto vulgar contingencies. Armed with prudence, a man cannot be disarmed by impertinence. The road of human intercourse is difficult, for it is full of ruts which may jolt our credit. Best to take a byway, taking Ulysses as a model of shrewdness. Feigned misunderstanding is of great value in such matters. Aided by politeness it helps us over all, and is often the only way out of difficulties.

    Keep a Store of Sarcasms, and know how to use them.

    This is the point of greatest tact in human intercourse. Such sarcasms are often thrown out to test men’s moods, and by their means one often obtains the most subtle and penetrating touchstone of the heart. Other sarcasms are malicious, insolent, poisoned by envy or envenomed by passion, unexpected flashes which destroy at once all favour and esteem. Struck by the slightest word of this kind, many fall away from the closest intimacy with superiors or inferiors which could not be the slightest shaken by a whole conspiracy of popular insinuation or private malevolence. Other sarcasms, on the other hand, work favourably, confirming and assisting one’s reputation. But the greater the skill with which they are launched, the greater the caution with which they should be received and the foresight with which they should he foreseen. For here a knowledge of the evil is in itself a means of defence, and a shot foreseen always misses its mark.

    and on the subject of those that do what you report… and see properly as an injustice..

    Know that there are vulgar Natures everywhere,

    even in Corinth itself, even in the highest families. Every one may try the experiment within his own gates. But there is also such a thing as vulgar opposition to vulgarity, which is worse. This special kind shares all the qualities of the common kind, just as bits of a broken glass: but this kind is still more pernicious; it speaks folly, blames impertinently, is a disciple of ignorance, a patron of folly, and past master of scandal; you need not notice what it says, still less what it thinks. It is important to know vulgarity in order to avoid it, whether it is subjective or objective. For all folly is vulgarity, and the vulgar consist of fools.

    :)

  35. Artfldgr Says:

    neo,
    thank you for a compliment that really really cheered up my day.

    and since i am big on balthazar, here is a plum for thought about obama

    Distinguish the Man of Words from the Man of Deeds.

    Discrimination here is as important as in the case of friends, persons, and employments, which have all many varieties. Bad words even without bad deeds are bad enough: good words with bad deeds are worse. One cannot dine off words, which are wind, nor off politeness, whichis but polite deceit. To catch birds with a mirror is the ideal snare. It is the vain alone who take their wages in windy words. Words should be the pledges of work, and, like pawn-tickets, have their market price. Trees that bear leaves but not fruit have usually no pith. Know them for what they are, of no use except for shade.

    Do not indulge in the Eccentricities of Folly.

    Like vain, presumptuous, egotistical, untrustworthy, capricious, obstinate, fanciful, theatrical,whimsical, inquisitive, paradoxical, sectarian people and all kinds of one-sided persons: they are all monstrosities of impertinence. All deformity of mind is more obnoxious than that of the body, because it contravenes a higher beauty. Yet who can assist such a complete confusion of mind? Where self-control is wanting, there is no room for others’ guidance. Instead of paying attention to other people’s real derision, men of this kind blind themselves with the unfounded assumption of their imaginary applause.

    and finally…

    Do not die of the Fools’ Disease.

    The wise generally die after they have lost their reason: fools before they have found it. To die of the fools’ disease is to die of too much thought. Some die because they think and feel too much: others live because they do not think and feel: these are fools because they do not die of sorrow, the others because they do. A fool is he that dies of too much knowledge: thus some die because they are tooknowing, others because they are not knowing enough. Yet though many die like fools, few die fools.

    there is much wisdom from those dead guys…
    i like to go back to them… they are an anchor in a sea of chaotic thoughts.

    thanks for the compliment neo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Artfl, I used to complain about length but no longer do. I do like your posts, though I seldom finish them.

    As you are (mostly) among friends, you can try an extreme educational tactic on yourself, and we’ll tell you if we got the point. Limit yourself to three sentences, then post.

    Think of it as having a brilliant but harsh editor – I think the comment section here qualifies on both counts.

  37. Ares Says:

    I have a great idea! Let’s put the weight of burden that the banks and auto industry have created for themselves on the back of American taxpayers! Then, when they aren’t looking, we’ll sell the debt to foreigners and hope we can pay it later! As long as the American people keep paying their taxes without demanding to have a say in where it goes, then our government can continue its irresponsible, immoral behavior.

  38. Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » Time for an afternoon roundup Says:

    [...] House puts UAW ahead of property rights, via Instapundit. Look for the union label, says Neoneocon. It’s enough to make Obi’s Sister post about the bully in the big [...]

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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