Auto bailouts to gardening by chance

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By Wendy Binnie

Regarding the great motorcar company bailouts; to start with, Chrysler has made it clear that it no longer intends to manufacture its own and intends to import Chinese cars; nothing for them. The general public is so-so about GM’s Detroit “bombs” over the years and wondered if they would ever get their act together. If one has read Delorean’s book about GM, it leaves no doubt about their inability to understand the marketplace and respond to it.

Now the word is that GM is placing its hopes on the new Chevy Volt. Wasn’t Chevy usually a brand for the middle class? Not a high-end upgrade like Cadillac? This entry which is scheduled for an introduction in 2010, with only a small handful of cars being manufactured, is said to offer up to 40 miles on a single charge which is not a round trip commute for most people.

Also, the asking price is going to be in the $40,000 range – that puts it up with a low-end Lexus. Does anyone feel like forking out $40k for a Chevy to begin with? Anyone willing to spend that much would surely consider a really quality product like an Accord or basic Lexus.

Out of the top three, only Ford deserves a break. The reason: Ford has converted many of its plants to “green.” They have also produced the only truly world car with facilities around the globe producing parts that are universal.

And they have gone a long way to converting to greater efficiencies and higher productivity. They are the most deserving of a bailout or bridge loan. What’s more, they are really trying to be responsive.

Nevertheless, considering the failure of the automotive industry to respond to Congress’ challenge to come up with a viable plan, they should all be sent back to the drawing board and a new “automotive czar” installed in Washington to guide them in what they must do to qualify for loans. No more handouts because the world is coming to an end.

If necessary, replace the antediluvian thinkers that have characterized these car companies for so long. It is long past the time for change, and if they don’t play ball, they should go to the rear of the line or else let labor buy them out and work with Congress and the president to install a whole need breed of forward thinking entrepreneurs who can move Detroit out of the horse and buggy age once and for all. Under those circumstances, helping them out in some capacity would not constitute too much of a stretch.

Unasked-for Advice

Never, ever again vote for anyone who constantly reminds you that they routinely commune with God. This is a golden rule. They are either misguided, crazy and or are possessed of egos so huge there is literally no end to them, nor room for common sense.

The Japanese are right; if you screw up and your screw-up is big enough, you need to fall on your sword. But first of all, you have to understand that you screwed up. In listening to our president make jokes before going home to the sleep of the innocent is frightening, this man is nuttier than a loon.

And we have always had good reason to be scared, very scared of him. The scariest part is that he doesn’t know he’s screwed up. Yes, in his mind, he may agree that he had a few off days; but most of the time, in his mind, he believes that he was right on target.

In the movie, Being There, the late great Peter Sellers without even trying, convinces his patron and most world leaders and statesmen that he is a genius. A discussion over potential replacements for the presidency after the death of his patron’s billionaire mover and shaker husband, a distinguished bunch of them agree, “Chauncey Gardiner for president.” Oblivious to all this, Chance (a simple-minded gardener) wanders through the estate.

Ever the gardener, he straightens out a bush and then walks off across the surface of a small lake. We now see Chauncey physically walking on water, he pauses, dips his umbrella into the water under his feet as if testing its depth, turns, smiles, then continues to walk on the water as the billionaire’s quote "life is a state of mind" is read out in the background.

It would really be nice if someone had leveled with Bush a long time ago, but nobody got that close unless they were part of the Emperor Has No Clothes crowd. The trouble is that no matter how dumb the responses, how irrelevant, how misguided, our esteemed media still plays it straight.

Where is the ridicule? Where is the irony? Where is the insight? Can they all possibly be that dumb? We know that there are camp followers out there who know he has been a disaster since day-one; but they have all drunk the Kool Aid; participants in this unholy scheme to prove that it is the rest of us who have lost our moorings.

K Street’s tactic of repetition worked well. And so we all go around depressed, knowing that some things are wrong but altogether unwilling to admit the truth to ourselves or our neighbors.

One might think of this kind of malady as arrested development or some kind of incipient disorder where a negative virus gets sucked into your system and destroys your ability to think until you are left as a husk. Although not yet diagnosed, one suspects that at least 20 percent of the Republican Party meets these criteria without even having to probe.

We have sucked the proverbial wind for eight years. Some feel that approximately 2,400 days ago, we deposited our brains at the train station locker and lost the key.

Either that or we have gotten sick and died and consequently Bush has not had to deal with our kind in any serious way. So the myth is perpetuated.

Now, things are about to change. Hopefully, Bush has done all he can to bring about Armageddon and that in the end, nobody is going to rise up; instead we’re going to get back to science and innovation and use our energies to become number one in the world again. We will send people out and instead of threatening them, we will make friends and establish our bona-fides once again.

… As I was saying …

Wendy England Binnie, a novelist and op-ed columnist, lives in Oak Trace Villas. Contact her at smcnews@earthlink.net.