New Civilization News: Now, About Bill Ayers...    
 Now, About Bill Ayers...38 comments
picture9 Nov 2008 @ 11:47, by Richard Carlson

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control---these three alone lead to sovereign power.

---Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Growing older, I love only quietness:
who needs be concerned with the things of this world?
Looking back, what better plan than this:
returning to the grove.

---Li Po

...on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

---John Keats

Photo of Bill Ayers by Chris Walker of The Chicago Tribune.

Some of us have been on a particularly pink Cloud Nine since Barack Hussein Obama was elected the next President of the United States. But this is 5 days later and here are the Sunday papers. If we haven't been jolted out of our reverie yet by the reactions of people not sharing it, it should happen today.

I was not a total convert to Senator Obama, even after being in the midst of one of his ecstatic rallies, but I ended up on the team knocking door-to-door on Election Day. While wearing an Obama button, I nevertheless saw myself as enabling both friend and foe to get to the polls if they wanted to. While cautious and frankly very worried about the shotgun fringe around here, who loudly refused to vote for any of those liars anywhere, I wasn't prepared for the aftermath among Republicans, Libertarians, Evangelicals and those even farther to the right.

I don't think I've seen, after any of the elections in my lifetime, the opposition explode in such disarray. I snuck a listen to rightwing AM radio Wednesday night, and heard Sean Hannity blasting the Republican Party as a bunch of phonies, too scared to stand up for any of the real conservative values. Evangelicals at work, particularly those with single-issue concerns about abortion, haven't spoken to me since Tuesday. I wrote a piece honoring folk singer/songwriter Holly Near, posted it on the Internet (I was trying to change the subject) and the comment thread blew up into flames and personal invective about Obama. As I look around at other blogs and comment pages to analysis, I see I wasn't alone in having this happen.

Yesterday the UK Guardian published an article with the subtitle "The Right Tears Itself Apart In Pinning Blame For McCain's Defeat." It begins,

"As the implosion of the defeated Republican campaign continued yesterday, the landscape of American conservatism was dotted with signs that these were very strange times indeed.

"Rush Limbaugh, behemoth of rightwing radio, took to the airwaves to declare war on two enemies: Barack Obama and the Republican party. Bloggers at, an internet hub for conservatives, announced a boycott of Fox News and John McCain's aides fell over one another to leak embarrassing details about the campaign to the press.

"Liberals, indulging in what the writer Andrew Sullivan termed 'Palinfreude', were presented with a smorgasbord, ranging from the tale of how McCain's pro-Palin foreign policy adviser had his Blackberry confiscated in the closing days of the race, to how the party had paid for Todd Palin's silk boxer shorts."

This morning The New York Times is carrying opinion columns not only from the usual Sunday commentators Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, but from their other writers too, like Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof---and even more, including Al Gore. And there are the blogs in there and other columns too, all about the election...and what's next. Take your choice~~~ [link]

What I decided to do was open space for the most extreme rants anybody's still got bottled up. Let's just get it all out and hope that after a few days of venting, we can return to the business of our everyday with normal composure and focus. The Republicans pinned a lot of their attack on a supposed underground relationship and influence with Chicago resident, professor, and activist Bill Ayers. As far as I know, Mr. Ayers said nothing in public about all this during the campaign. Now he does. What do you think?

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been
Friday 07 November 2008
by: Bill Ayers, In These Times
Bill Ayers looks back on a surreal campaign season.

Whew! What was all that mess? I'm still in a daze, sorting it all out, decompressing.

Pass the Vitamin C.

For the past few years, I have gone about my business, hanging out with my kids and, now, my grandchildren, taking care of our elders (they moved in as the kids moved out), going to work, teaching and writing. And every day, I participate in the never-ending effort to build a powerful and irresistible movement for peace and social justice.

In years past, I would now and then - often unpredictably - appear in the newspapers or on TV, sometimes with a reference to Fugitive Days, my 2001 memoir of the exhilarating and difficult years of resistance against the American war in Vietnam. It was a time when the world was in flames, revolution was in the air, and the serial assassinations of black leaders disrupted our utopian dreams.

These media episodes of fleeting notoriety always led to some extravagant and fantastic assertions about what I did, what I might have said and what I probably believe now.

It was always a bit surreal. Then came this political season.

During the primary, the blogosphere was full of chatter about my relationship with President-elect Barack Obama. We had served together on the board of the Woods Foundation and knew one another as neighbors in Chicago's Hyde Park. In 1996, at a coffee gathering that my wife, Bernardine Dohrn, and I held for him, I made a $200 donation to his campaign for the Illinois State Senate.

Obama's political rivals and enemies thought they saw an opportunity to deepen a dishonest perception that he is somehow un-American, alien, linked to radical ideas, a closet terrorist who sympathizes with extremism - and they pounced.

Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-N.Y.) campaign provided the script, which included guilt by association, demonization of people Obama knew (or might have known), creepy questions about his background and dark hints about hidden secrets yet to be uncovered.

On March 13, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), apparently in an attempt to reassure the base,- sat down for an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. McCain was not yet aware of the narrative Hannity had been spinning for months, and so Hannity filled him in: Ayers is an unrepentant "terrorist," he explained, "On 9/11, of all days, he had an article where he bragged about bombing our Pentagon, bombing the Capitol and bombing New York City police headquarters. ... He said, 'I regret not doing more.'"

McCain couldn't believe it.

Neither could I.

On the campaign trail, McCain immediately got on message. I became a prop, a cartoon character created to be pummeled.

When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got hold of it, the attack went viral. At a now-famous Oct. 4 rally, she said Obama was Ïpallin' around with terrorists.- (I pictured us sharing a milkshake with two straws.)

The crowd began chanting, "Kill him!" "Kill him"- It was downhill from there.

My voicemail filled up with hate messages. They were mostly from men, all venting and sweating and breathing heavily. A few threats: "Watch out!" and "You deserve to be shot." And some e-mails, like this one I got from "I'm coming to get you and when I do, I'll water-board you."

The police lieutenant who came to copy down those threats deadpanned that he hoped the guy who was going to shoot me got there before the guy who was going to water-board me, since it would be most foul to be tortured and then shot. (We have been pals ever since he was first assigned to investigate threats made against me in 1987, after I was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.)

The good news was that every time McCain or Palin mentioned my name, they lost a point or two in the polls. The cartoon invented to hurt Obama was now poking holes in the rapidly sinking McCain-Palin ship.

That '60s Show

On Aug. 28, Stephen Colbert, the faux right-wing commentator from Comedy Central who channels Bill O'Reilly on steroids, observed:

"To this day, when our country holds a presidential election, we judge the candidates through the lens of the 1960s. ... We all know Obama is cozy with William Ayers a '60s radical who planted a bomb in the capital building and then later went on to even more heinous crimes by becoming a college professor. ... Let us keep fighting the culture wars of our grandparents. The '60s are a political gift that keeps on giving."

It was inevitable. McCain would bet the house on a dishonest and largely discredited vision of the '60s, which was the defining decade for him. He built his political career on being a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The '60s - as myth and symbol - is much abused: the downfall of civilization in one account, a time of defeat and humiliation in a second, and a perfect moment of righteous opposition, peace and love in a third.

The idea that the 2008 election may be the last time in American political life that the '60s plays any role whatsoever is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, let's get over the nostalgia and move on. On the other, the lessons we might have learned from the black freedom movement and from the resistance against the Vietnam War have never been learned. To achieve this would require that we face history fully and honestly, something this nation has never done.

The war in Vietnam was an illegal invasion and occupation, much of it conducted as a war of terror against the civilian population. The U.S. military killed millions of Vietnamese in air raids - like the one conducted by McCain - and entire areas of the country were designated free-fire zones, where American pilots indiscriminately dropped surplus ordinance - an immoral enterprise by any measure.

What Is Really Important

McCain and Palin - or as our late friend Studs Terkel put it, "Joe McCarthy in drag" - would like to bury the '60s. The '60s, after all, was a time of rejecting obedience and conformity in favor of initiative and courage. The '60s pushed us to a deeper appreciation of the humanity of every human being. And that is the threat it poses to the right wing, hence the attacks and all the guilt by association.

McCain and Palin demanded to "know the full extent" of the Obama-Ayers "relationship" so that they can know if Obama, as Palin put it, "is telling the truth to the American people or not."

This is just plain stupid.

Obama has continually been asked to defend something that ought to be at democracy's heart: the importance of talking to as many people as possible in this complicated and wildly diverse society, of listening with the possibility of learning something new, and of speaking with the possibility of persuading or influencing others.

The McCain-Palin attacks not only involved guilt by association, they also assumed that one must apply a political litmus test to begin a conversation.

On Oct. 4, Palin described her supporters as those who "see America as the greatest force for good in this world" and as a "beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy." But Obama, she said, "Is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America." In other words, there are "real" Americans - and then there are the rest of us.

In a robust and sophisticated democracy, political leaders - and all of us - ought to seek ways to talk with many people who hold dissenting, or even radical, ideas. Lacking that simple and yet essential capacity to question authority, we might still be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings today.

Maybe we could welcome our current situation - torn by another illegal war, as it was in the '60s - as an opportunity to search for the new.

Perhaps we might think of ourselves not as passive consumers of politics but as fully mobilized political actors. Perhaps we might think of our various efforts now, as we did then, as more than a single campaign, but rather as our movement-in-the-making.

We might find hope in the growth of opposition to war and occupation worldwide. Or we might be inspired by the growing movements for reparations and prison abolition, or the rising immigrant rights movement and the stirrings of working people everywhere, or by gay and lesbian and transgender people courageously pressing for full recognition.

Yet hope - my hope, our hope - resides in a simple self-evident truth: the future is unknown, and it is also entirely unknowable.

History is always in the making. It's up to us. It is up to me and to you. Nothing is predetermined. That makes our moment on this earth both hopeful and all the more urgent - we must find ways to become real actors, to become authentic subjects in our own history.

We may not be able to will a movement into being, but neither can we sit idly for a movement to spring full-grown, as from the head of Zeus.

We have to agitate for democracy and egalitarianism, press harder for human rights, learn to build a new society through our self-transformations and our limited everyday struggles.

At the turn of the last century, Eugene Debs, the great Socialist Party leader from Terre Haute, Ind., told a group of workers in Chicago, "If I could lead you into the Promised Land, I would not do it, because someone else would come along and lead you out."

In this time of new beginnings and rising expectations, it is even more urgent that we figure out how to become the people we have been waiting to be.


Bill Ayers is a Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of "Fugitive Days" (Beacon) and co-author, with Bernardine Dohrn, of "Race Course: Against White Supremacy" (Third World Press).


TruthOut also posted the article, and the comments there have been fast and furious. This one, by a VietNam veteran particularly stands out~~~

Mr. Ayers, As a Vietnam
Sat, 11/08/2008 - 04:13 — hourglass (not verified)
Mr. Ayers, As a Vietnam veteran let me add my thanks for having the courage to see wrong as wrong and trying to agitate to right it. I was terrorized by my government and the support for the war by my fellow Americans throughout my high school years. As my family slipped into a ruinous split up, I had a choice to go to jail or Vietnam or give up my citizenship. I managed some college courses on my own, but then my gov again changed the rules for deferment - within months I was wearing green. I live in Asia now and returned to Vietnam last year to lay some ghosts to rest and offer prayers for the forgiveness of my countrymen. The country smelled differently. Fresh fruits and vegetables were everywhere. Korean and Japanese company presence was everywhere. Everyone was busy with life and not with fear and death. Now that our actions in Iraq have insured that religious fundies will be in control, I wonder how long the American conscience will allow the Iraqis - who also never threatened us - to live with the fear and death we have brought them too in the name of freedom and democracy? p.s. As Gore Vidal recently noted, the myth of the hero McCain is of McCain's own making. p.s.s He's right. I was there.


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9 Nov 2008 @ 14:25 by vaxen : .

9 Nov 2008 @ 20:18 by sindy @ : Freedom
I am venting as you have notice in my journal and other sites.. I can see what is behind the picture that is not being said..interesting how it is easy to use race/religion/money and all other as a scape to changes. My question is was man created to vote for jobs/health and all living conditions? when we all have to die phyiscally what's the use living when you still "feel" limited.. such tension goes to my heart.. SORRY AM SPEAKING OUT.. AND IF I RECALL THE BIG FEAR IS THOSE THAT SPEAK OUT DIE.. I RATHER DIE THAN SURRENDER TO THIS GAME OF FALSE LIVING.................on the cloak of nihursag.. we are watching  

9 Nov 2008 @ 20:37 by a-d : Dear Sindy
What journal is yours? I would like to see what you are "venting" (about) -besides what you reveal here. Your BIG Question here seems to me to be: "what's the purpose of living (at all ) if one has to die to die is always a question of separating one's intangible part from one's tangible) anyway??? Well... there really isn't any tangible and intangible!.....ONCE we understand the Laws of Cosmic Physics! Humanity has chosen by its own accord to be/come a mortal Man when S/he could have chosen to re-main a Cosmic non-dying Being!.... You are right; IF Mankind don't very soon start to grasp intellectually (to begin with) this very question , we will give up and choose annihilation! Want to "see" more of this Truth? Let me know and I will share with you what I have come to "see" / understand. /w/ Love A-d  

9 Nov 2008 @ 20:58 by a-d : Dear Jazzo,
I see this blog as very envigorating & from time to time a little challening!... hehehe... But what makes me really sad is that especially on this blog Vaxen's never ending Love for Humanity and all the WORK that he has --and still do- in order to bring forth the shit, done by the people, who want nothing but destruction, because that is all they can digest spiritually; the fact that the people responding to and on this blog, especially, seem to admire those people!... those, who have by now, all but destroyed humanity, admired by those (here) who no desire what so ever, to actually change anything themselves in FAVOR of & for LIFE, pooh pooh'ing those who are working for a truly Better World, by exposing the old shit, so repeating the shitting can be possible!!...

ALL the Blood, Sweat and Tears you've been going through, Vax, almost always falling short here!... talking to people who choose a mind-set denser than concrete bricks in dead walls! Just know that there's a ton of NCN Members who come to this blog "JUST TO READ VAXEN'S COMMENTS" -as many of them have told me, and they actually get the message every time! and would be crying in the desert all alone, euphemistically speaking, if it wasn't for your never ending Loving support by your actual Fact Reports about the cruel ones, that keeps vindicating all these members and THEIR own observations! I truly want to thank you Vax, for all your efforts and never giving up, despite all the shit thrown at you (very much on this site!....)
NOBODY is forced to read any comments, are they?... and certainly not forced to misinterpret almost everyone they read!....Now whaddddzup with that? People who call vaxen arrogant, WHAT will they call Obama once he has handed the very last bit of America what's still left to be handed over, to his HANDLERS???????......
I can only shake my head in disbelief!


BTW,Jazzo, there's is only one TRUE Solution and way to end all that which you bring forth, for instance, in this latest post (again)!.... and that is for humanity to grow up, put an end to game/s (and the rules) that has not worked!....THEY WILL NEVER START WORKING ANY DIFFERENT!!!Apples won't turn into Oranges just because "you" so wish!

Yet, there is SOMETHING in you Jazzo, that keeps you looking for a real solution, isn't there? Well, it's been put in your face a hundred times already! Any more confusion; just ask! and we'll try to share and clarify. HOW do you think WE saw through the S---? By people sharing with us!.... and going over and over and over these issues, till we had a break through; and an AHA-Moment, in old days called "Revelation".
We are all made in the same Workshop!... and we are ALL made in God's Image!... then SOMETHING REALLY WEIRD HAPPENS to everyone of us!... we are seduced by those who got emotionally wounded as Babies!... believe it --or not, but... this is all the very Truth!  

10 Nov 2008 @ 09:58 by jazzolog : If You Click *sindy's* Name
just above, you'll travel to one of her journals. She has several going around the Internet presently, although her use of gifs and gadgets is a bit daunting. Her profile still exists at NCN, but she's not logged in for 5 years. Previously *sindy* was one of the most "sparkling" personalities among the originals at this site. At first I didn't understand her at all, but eventually I came to bathe in her every utterance with invigorating results. I believe lately she has been upset about how much time and energy we Yanks have been putting into this election, at the expense she thinks of more spiritual things.

I notice in the article I put a link to the New York Times Opinion page---which I realize now was stupid since it changes every day. You still can find the columns from yesterday on it, in a little box at the lower right of the page---but of course they'll go away...and then you have to pay to read the archive.  

10 Nov 2008 @ 20:24 by mowrey @ : thriving on a tiff
Holy Flat Foot Floogie, Pops, you have Evangelicals at work? What's goin' on up there on the hill? I've heard rumors of Evangelicals in our midst but after 25 yrs in Athens have still yet to meet one. Thank Jah.  

10 Nov 2008 @ 20:26 by vaxen : .

10 Nov 2008 @ 21:36 by a-d : THANK YOU!
Vax! Excellent writing/Thinking by Charlie Reese!
and thanks for the Naomi Wolf link as well.

Has anybody here watched the "Mad As Hell"-speech in (the movie) "Network".The REAL TRUTH about "Politics"; "Democratic this" & "Republican that" is spelled out very loud and clear!...

NOBODY on this Planet --after seeing these and (maybe a few other Truth Docs, like Zeitgeist 1 & Zeitgeist Addendum can any longer with straight face go on as if Politics was something real and with real value for anyone beside the CROOKS, sorry,.. "politicians" themselves!  

10 Nov 2008 @ 22:35 by ursula : Palin
FYI - tonight on Foxnews, Greta interviews Palin - get the facts from Sarah for yourself.  

10 Nov 2008 @ 22:53 by jazzolog : Inuendo
Yes well...pfap, harrumph...Vax has caught me in a clever cleftstick of a dilemma. His taste in skirts however veers radically from mine...although I definitely admit Palin should have some sort of show of her own. *sindy's* recent symbol for herself is the dolphin...hence, the diving-in metaphor. As for the invigorating part, I might refer you to an essay I wrote about her 5 years ago---and a realtime in-person visit pulled off by the lady who got me into this site in the first place, Kay Simmons. You have to go to another site to read it...but there is an actual picture of *sindy* there (Kay's on the left). There are other photos of her on the Internet but, Vax, you must be among the illuminati to know about them. Heh heh.

Now Mowrey, if you have yet to meet an Evangelical in Athens County, I must say ol' OU is even more ivory towered than I thought! Just stop by the main office on "the hill" and ask anyone behind the counter who offers to help for guidance. If they refer you to an office down the hall, say, "No...I mean real Guidance." Prepare for rebirth.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 04:37 by ursula : Jazz
What you have posted about Palin are lies and slander, and you could be liable for spreading these lies about her. I don't think you will give her the respect to hear her out for yourself, but know that she has said they are untrue, Greta has grilled someone in the offices and was told that none of these things that Palin allegedly said were said. Enough bashing the woman. If you don't like her political stances, then discuss them for real from knowledge of who she really is and what she believes and says, not the fabricated stories about her.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 11:05 by jazzolog : Sluggers Up To Bat
Immediately upon President-Elect Obama's victory, all kinds of columnists and bloggers started analyzing stuff...and sending in their agendas. I waded through a ton of it, but could have waited safely until this past weekend when many of the big names stepped up to the plate. Some, like Al Gore, might get invited into the Cabinet, as environmentalists petition for a "climate czar." (Not sure I like that idea though.)

Let me refer you to a few, and I'll start inside Vanity Fair, which showed up at our mailbox yesterday---and may seem very peculiar, since it's known as a fashion design magazine. But under Graydon Carter's editorship, VF has been relentless in presenting progressive and protesting articles---including 2 "green" issues in the past couple years. Never mind how the pages smell, here's Mr. Carter's opening volley (edited) entitled The Eight-Year Itch~~~

"By the time you read this, we will have elected a new president whose predecessor will have left him with one of history’s most daunting grab bags of challenges. We’re fighting a long and bloody war on two major fronts. The country’s debt has mushroomed to the point where the National Debt Clock in New York is going to have to be replaced because the old one can only accommodate a 14-digit figure. Our court system, environment, infrastructure, and reputation are in varying states of disarray, disrepair, or disrepute. And as icing on a really dismal cake, we have made a catastrophic mess of the one area of human endeavor where the U.S. was held in some esteem—finance....

"I got a decent laugh on Bill Maher’s HBO show a few years ago when I said that President Bush explains issues as if he were talking to a dim three-year-old, because that’s how the issues were explained to him. His early commentary on the financial crisis only drove this point home. At a White House press conference, he prefaced his remarks on the failure of Lehman Brothers and the near collapse of A.I.G. by saying, 'It turns out that there’s a lot of interlinks throughout the financial system.' Turns out? What sort of admission is that from our 'first M.B.A. president'? 'At first I thought we could deal with this,' he stumbled on. 'And then obviously A.I.G. came along, and Lehman came along, and it was—it declared bankruptcy; then A.I.G. came along and it—the house of cards was much bigger, beyond—started to stretch beyond just Wall Street, in the sense of the effects of failure.' Based on the muddled speech patterns of our current president, his father, and, more recently, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, it’s really beginning to seem as if English has become a second language for high-ranking Republicans.

"This election has told us a lot about who we are and who we will become. We used to be a nation of citizens. To our political and business leaders, we have more recently been valued only as 'the American Consumer'—a fat-assed mass of easily swayed, single-issue, over-leveraged dimwits. The Sarah Palin contingent is a particularly ugly subset of all of this; her sort mines the worst in Americans, rather than the best. The Palin voters said they liked her because she is just like them—and indeed she is: small-minded, unforgiving, xenophobic. They liked the moose thing (who doesn’t?), and the fact that she did well on Saturday Night Live. So did Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, but that doesn’t make them qualified to be a heartbeat away from the highest office in the land. Come to think of it, given what we’ve endured these past eight years, a Fey-Poehler ticket in 2012 is not the worst idea."

Continuing on the economy, hopefully you checked out Paul Krugman's column Sunday on his recommendations to Barack Obama. He continues this morning however, and gets more explicit~~~

"Suddenly, everything old is New Deal again. Reagan is out; F.D.R. is in. Still, how much guidance does the Roosevelt era really offer for today’s world?

"The answer is, a lot. But Barack Obama should learn from F.D.R.’s failures as well as from his achievements: the truth is that the New Deal wasn’t as successful in the short run as it was in the long run. And the reason for F.D.R.’s limited short-run success, which almost undid his whole program, was the fact that his economic policies were too cautious.

"About the New Deal’s long-run achievements: the institutions F.D.R. built have proved both durable and essential. Indeed, those institutions remain the bedrock of our nation’s economic stability. Imagine how much worse the financial crisis would be if the New Deal hadn’t insured most bank deposits. Imagine how insecure older Americans would feel right now if Republicans had managed to dismantle Social Security.

"Can Mr. Obama achieve something comparable? Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s new chief of staff, has declared that 'you don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste.' Progressives hope that the Obama administration, like the New Deal, will respond to the current economic and financial crisis by creating institutions, especially a universal health care system, that will change the shape of American society for generations to come."

Ted Kennedy took the opportunity in the Washington Post on Sundy to urge for health care. Hopefully the majority of this nation is caring wholeheartedly about this senator, who continues to inspire and lead~~~

"The story of America has been a journey toward being a fairer and more just nation. We have encountered many barriers along the way, and at times we have stumbled. But again and again, we have come together to surmount the obstacles in our path and realize more fully the promise of America.

"Last month, the nation took another major step along this path, when Congress approved historic legislation to end discrimination in health care against the millions of Americans who struggle with mental illnesses. This new law ensures that illnesses of the mind are treated the same as illnesses of the body in insurance coverage.

"It took more than a decade to enact mental health parity legislation. In the end, the stalemate was broken when insurance companies, employers and doctors all agreed with patients that the flawed system of mental-health-care insurance was intolerable. They finally sat down and reached an agreement that is now the law of the land.

"Our success in achieving mental health parity after years of deadlock is a good omen for broad reform of our overall health-care system. And despite the current economic downturn, we must forge ahead with this urgent priority. The system is broken. And it's no longer just patients demanding change. Businesses, doctors and even many insurance companies are demanding it as well."

On to the environment, here's Bill McKibben, writing in Yale Environment 360~~~

"And so our eight-year interlude from reality draws to a close, and the job of cleaning up begins. The trouble is, we’re not just cleaning up after a failed presidency. We’re cleaning up after a two-century binge.

"Barack Obama has won an historic victory, and with it the right to take office under the most difficult circumstances since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Maybe more difficult, because while both FDR and Obama had financial meltdowns to deal with, Obama also faces the meltdown meltdown — the rapid disintegration of the planet's climate system that threatens to challenge the very foundations of our civilization.

"Do you think that sounds melodramatic? Let me give it to you from the abstract of a scientific paper written earlier this year by one of the people who now work for Mr. Obama, NASA scientist James Hansen. 'If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleo-climate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 [in the atmosphere] will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm [parts per million] to at most 350 ppm.' In other words, if we keep increasing carbon any longer, the earth itself will make our efforts moot.

"Hansen's calculation is a scientifically grounded way of saying: Everything must change at once. To meet his target, before enough feedback loops
kick in to irrevocably warm the planet, Hansen says fossil-fuel combustion, particularly coal, must cease around the planet by about 2030, and that it must happen sooner in the industrialized nations. As the climate observer, and tireless blogger, Joe Romm observed when Hansen's paper was published, it means that 'we need to go straight to the government-led WWII-style effort for the whole planet that is sustained for decades.' (Well, back to FDR, what do you know.).

Much of the mess of the past half dozen years is blamed on "faulty intelligence" according to the Bush administration. We'll not look for obvious jokes in that excuse, but instead refer to Ray McGovern. His career as a CIA analyst spanned seven administrations and included responsibility for chairing NIEs, as well as preparing and presenting the President's Daily Brief. At this article he outlines 8 major priorities for our next president, in particular regard to the CIA~~~

Finally, we have all the bailouts---more hundreds of billions spent every day. Naomi Klein wrote a huge article for Rolling Stone, which already she is updating as the cash pours out. She calls it The New Trough: The Wall Street bailout looks a lot like Iraq — a "free-fraud zone" where private contractors cash in on the mess they helped create. Keep checking the online version~~~  

11 Nov 2008 @ 11:23 by ursula : One day
I hope you finally know what you're talking about - actually THINK for yourself and go to the source instead of relying on jealous, insecure, lying people who don't know the people about whom they write. Interesting that you keep magnetizing yourself to b.s. articles that bash women and you seem to relish in posting them.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 16:01 by quinty : It seems to me,
rusyn, that with this invective of a personal nature you're the one who's deflecting reason. Because Jazzo criticizes Palin he's a woman "basher?" Those who disagree are "jealous, insecure, lying people?"

Ah well, obviously all reason ends here. And there's no proceeding. How can it when this is what one has to face?

I have an extremely low opinion of Palin. It has nothing to do with her sex but what she has demonstrated about her character, knowledge, and cunning intelligence. And her character may soon be tested again since she claimed last night she never stepped foot in Nieman Marcus. Somebody is lying. It's either Palin or the McCain people who claim she went on this buying spree.

What a beautiful panorama she (or McCain rather) brought to this country.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 20:08 by ursula : Yes somebody is lying
and it isn't Palin. What you probably heard last night is what you've read from people out to find a scapegoat for the Republicans losing, or to make sure Palin wasn't going to win. These are not based on any fact, and furthermore, there is no person who has come forward to say any of this happened, so it's all talk without proof, but you're still willing to believe it. What does that say about you? You tell me when Palin would even have the time to shop for herself while on the campaign trail. To focus on the clothes is petty, it is irrelevent. And that you only focus on what she is wearing and not anybody else running for office shows bias and sexism. Yup. Clear. And you use words about her like cunning - gad are you trying to put her down. How was she cunning, Quinty? She's not the one hiding anything like Obama is. You seem to need to find a reason to keep hating Palin, so you'd rather believe lies spread by a phantom than what Palin is saying. You can't give her one iota of credit or find something positive in her. That says to me you are biased and closed.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 20:46 by quinty : Well,
I wouldn't say I only focus on her clothes. (Which are tasteless enough, but that's neither here nor there.) But it was the Republicans, after all, who put that story out. And while she was claiming to be the all American downhome soccer mom she was lavishly spending campaign money on her wardrobe in Nieman Marcus.

That's what the RNC put out, not me. Argue it with them. But if this is all true then there's nothing "irrelevant" about this selfish display of hypocrisy. Nor did it have anything to do with how anyone else dressed or who who was a fashion plate.

But there's already a great deal on the record, on tape and video, which makes her look pretty shallow. And apart from the numerous gaffs (on tape) there were also the dirty Rovian tactics appealing to the baser side of her audiences. As the Secret Service revealed yesterday or the day before yesterday the number of death threats against Obama went up when she went into her deeply negative attacks.

As for "trying to put her down," that's pretty easy to do. She offers a great assist just by behaving the way she does. If you don't want anyone to put her down then you should perhaps suggest to her to behave a little differently? Once again, the issue is hers, not mine. After all, not everyone is a blind or uncritical follower of Palin.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 20:53 by ursula : No
There are many very bright and aware people who like Palin, and you suggesting that people who like her (not follow her) are blind shows another bias of yours. You are saying that because Palin is pretty, she's stupid. You haven't really listened to anything she's said. Have you seen me do a thread on how ugly Michelle Obama dresses? Or that she wishes she looked as good as Palin and Cindy? And women, shame on you for allowing this sexist attitude and joining in on it. That's it Quinty, I read you loud and clear and how much you need to believe lies and hate this woman. You can't find one kind thing to say about her, even one truth about her - biased. You want to have your biases - you need to hate and refuse to see how often she talks about finding solutions not through violence, but coming together through talking and finding a common denominator. Something you can't seem to do.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 21:21 by quinty : I didn't say
that everyone who likes her is "blind."

I simply said that there appear to be some who have gone over the edge. Nor do I have any "need" to "hate" this woman. And why is it that obvious criticisms of her become "lies?"

As for "finding solutions not through violence" she didn't speak out that way on the campaign trail. Ask the Secret Service. Ask Carl Rove. Ask the audience members who sometimes shouted out “Kill!”

Now that last sentence of yours wasn't really a very nice thing to say. That I don't share your precious opinion and adoration of Palin makes me a blind misogynist? (You brought sexism up above. Is it unreasonable on my part to suspect it still hovers here?) Such assaults make me wonder if you resort to invective as an easy rhetorical device?

Will I insult you now that I'm ending this? Naw. Why do that. It would only be nasty and wouldn't serve anything. But I will say you are very wrong about Palin.

And that, as far as I'm concerned, is enough.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 22:17 by ursula : Your opinion
doesn't mean it's fact. My final word to you here on this topic.  

11 Nov 2008 @ 22:35 by vaxen : .

12 Nov 2008 @ 09:34 by jazzolog : Show Her The Door
The New York Times
November 12, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Boxers, Briefs or Silks?

Sarah Palin represents a huge historic leap forward for women.

When Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton ran, their fates were inextricably linked with their gender. If they failed, many women felt, there was an X through the whole X chromosome. A blot on the female copybook.

If not this woman now, Hillary’s supporters would ardently ask me, what woman ever?

But Sarah Palin can come across as utterly unready to lead the world — or even find the world on a map — and that doesn’t reflect poorly on the rest of us.

It only means that she doesn’t have enough mind grapes or thoughtsicles, as Tracy Morgan refers to brain droppings on “30 Rock,” to be president soon.

(It’s W., Cheney and Edward Liddy, the C.E.O. of A.I.G. — who can’t seem to stop the conga line of bailout beneficiaries from going on luxury retreats, even though taxpayers have to keep ponying up — who may have clinched the case that overprivileged white men are biologically or cognitively unsuited to hold higher office.)

Palin told Greta Van Susteren Monday on Fox News that her faith will guide her on a 2012 run. “I’m like, O.K., God, if there is an open door for me somewhere — this is what I always pray — don’t let me miss the open door,” she said. “Show me where the open door is, even if it’s cracked open a little bit, maybe I’ll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it.”

The Alaska governor, who now thinks she is even bigger than her vast state, has certainly not missed an opportunity to throw open the door to the national press this week, letting them hang in her Wasilla kitchen as she makes moose chili and cake and baby formula and hefty servings of spin.

After her brutal transformation by the McCain campaign into a shopaholic, whack-job diva — “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast,” as one angry McCain aide characterized it to Newsweek — Palin is now trying to unmake that makeover and morph from uptown cloistered girl back to down-home accessible girl.

Just hanging in the kitchen with her family and a bunch of camera crews, washing lettuce and washing John McCain and his tattling, gossiping sewing circle of aides right out of her fluffed-up hair. The same McCain aides who blasted the press as sexist for wondering if Palin was hopelessly over her head swiveled around and blasted Palin to the press as hopelessly over her head. The snippy McCain snipers once loved Palin’s sassy ability to burn Barack Obama and Joe Biden with snide little remarks.

So let’s see how they like the burn turned on them? She said that the anonymous aides scapegoating her were “cowardly” “mean-spirited,” “immature,” “unprofessional” and “jerks.”

She’s right. And where was the usually gallant John McCain during all this? Usually Republicans protect their own. There was plenty W. didn’t know during his coaching sessions when he was running for president, but it never leaked out from staffers.

And yet, Palin still seems disturbingly unconcerned about how much she does not know.

Calling Tina Fey. Here’s Palin defending herself on the contention that she got confused about Africa:

“My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.”

And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”

Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, told The Associated Press over the weekend that his daughter was “frantically” trying to sort out the clothes she got as Eliza Knowlittle so she could send them back.

“You know,” Heath said, “the kids lose underwear, and everything has to be accounted for.”

As Michael Shear reported in The Washington Post, on top of the $150,000 first cited in F.E.C. filings, Palin spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on more clothes, makeup and jewelry for herself and her family, including $40,000 in luxury goods for the First Dude. The campaign was charged for silk boxers, spray tanners and 13 suitcases to carry the designer duds, Shear reported, adding that one source said, “She was still receiving shipments of custom-designed underpinnings up to her ‘Saturday Night Live’ performance” in October. Silk boxers and custom-designed underpinnings? Sounds like Sarah and Todd were treating the vice presidential run as a second honeymoon.

Palin should follow her own reformer precedent and put the borrowed underpinnings on eBay. The windfall would undergird her new presidential bid.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

"The current occupant of the White House, however, has sedulously prepared for his successor the biggest shit sandwich the world has ever seen, and there is naturally some concern that Mr. Obama might choke on it."

---from the Kunsler link just above

About sums it up...although "choke" may not be the best word. The content of this sandwich isn't a pretzel after all.  

12 Nov 2008 @ 14:45 by vaxen : It's...
all in the plan. Welcome to the new Communist States of America. Well, not so new as a few, like FDR, actually did pave the way for Obama Rama and his slide ... into that open sewer which is Washington D.C. Trilateral diarrheia in the kitchen sink. Musta been all those Moose burgers...

Wonder if Raila Odinga will be sleeping over any time soon at the, ahem, White House? Fortunately Obama/Odinga didn't succeed so...maybe not. Eventually they'll all walk those 'planks' as Tavistock garners more larder for the Queens handlers in the City of London (Not the same as London England). The world was one in Durins' day...

It'll be won in ours. Fighting star wars by way of deception.

Be-Tachbūlōt Ta`aseh Lekhā Milchāmāh "For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war." - Proverbs XXIV, 6

Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici  

12 Nov 2008 @ 15:44 by quinty : The direct pipeline

"I’m like, O.K., God, if there is an open door for me somewhere — this is what I always pray — don’t let me miss the open door,” she said. “Show me where the open door is, even if it’s cracked open a little bit, maybe I’ll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it.”

That phrase!

Has she got the mind of a seven year old who believes God is personally opening doors for her? As if the doors were especially for her? And that all she has to do is pray and God will cue her in before she misses the door?

The puerile, limited scope of vision of that self-centered attitude is nothing short of phenomenal. Were she merely a neighbor with kitchy plastic representations of the Holy Family out on her front lawn (with maybe a few plaster ducks and geese and rabbits) that would be one thing. But she wants to be President of the United States! Why?

Because she wants it? It’s just another door God put before her. Oh, wheeeeeeee!  

12 Nov 2008 @ 20:41 by ursula : It's called spirituality, Quinty
Don't let her miss the open door. What is wrong with asking guidance from God? I do it all of the time, myself. That IS my higher self, it is all of our higher selves, it is our Source. Ahh, maybe that's it - you don't believe in the Source? But, by all means, go right ahead and keep whining about her, knock her for beliving in God, again. Every president, by the way, has been religious enough to attend church services. Obama attended Wright's church for over 20 years! AND he prays to God, too. Jazz goes to church. There is a Christmas tree on the lawn and an Easter egg hunt at the White House. These things are religious. In fact, during this past election it seemed a requirement to be religious, but only of the "right religion". She fits right in, in that way. Now this counry isn't ready for a woman president, it isn't ready for a Jewish president, or a Mormon, or a Buddhist. Lots of biases.  

12 Nov 2008 @ 21:34 by a-d : Our Spirituality
is our ABILITY to CO-CREATE in HARMONY with LIFE -as I see it, together with many, many others, most likely Sarah and Rusyn and Obama,as well, whom at least for now I also see as a very Spiritual person and the very near Future will indeed tell how Spiritual he really is, meaning how high --or low-- his vibrations really are)-- (But I don't want to talk for anyone but myself.)

Talking with "GOd" the Source of our Higher aspect; The Observer in us. Depending on our own compassion for Life (how willing we are to extend our good wishes to others) determines our Love vibration/ frequency)...
Cheney is one of the people with the lowest vibrations, I have ever witnessed; very LOW Love and hence Co-creativity ability.(He must be one of the most vengeful and begrudging people I have ever seen!) This is the reason why people like him have to steal ANYthing from life energy from their GEOPHYSICAL Surroundings; People,Animals,Environment & Nature overall, both physically and emotionally raping all around them, because their own CHANNEL to the/ir own LIFE SOURCE is totally blocked by all their negative ideas about others ( so this is how they psycically try to sustain their own very lacking life energy ) They STEAL/RAPE everything from others.
Most of us do what Rusyn said "Talk with God". What could be more natural and spontaneous, than talking with/to y/our own LIFE SOURCE and Creative Aspect!?!?!?!?... *!*
Humanity is only now starting to touch the more CORRECT Psychology of ourselves!  

12 Nov 2008 @ 23:54 by quinty : When I lived in San Francisco
I often walked by the Powell Street Landing. This is where the cable cars turned on Market Street to go back up Nob Hill, and was always crowded with tourists. And, of course, street preachers were drawn there since those standing in line waiting offered a "captive" audience.

What huge ongoing Bible waving shouting matches they would sometimes get into with each other, condemning each other to eternal damnation, Hell and suffering over some slight disagreement on the meaning of a line of Scripture. It was embarrassing and awful watching these noisy fights, there in front of all the tourists as each tried to exert his will and ego over the other. With God, of course, backing each up.

Are you telling me that these sermons were the same as those quoted by Saint Matthew?

(Once again rusyn, you made it insulting and personal. Is that how you deal with those who see things quite differently from you? I can understand the impulse since it’s offers an easy form of ascendence and superiority. And it’s quick and easy to grasp and gratifying. But so long as Palin remains ambitious there will be many of us who continue to “whine” about her shameless ambitions. An even more moronic and self centered version of Bush is not very inviting.)  

12 Nov 2008 @ 23:59 by ursula : blank
error error error  

13 Nov 2008 @ 00:00 by ursula : Ahem
you should talk - read your own posts, Quinty. Particularly your last one. If that's not whining, I don't know what is. You sure are insulting to Palin. What else is personal and insulting about what I wrote? Not a thing.  

13 Nov 2008 @ 00:14 by quinty : Well,
I guess you've won.

It all comes down to name calling.

"Uhumpf! Me a 'whiner?' How dare you! God is on my side, not yours!" Reminds me of those street preachers, pitting will against will, exerting themselves over each other, in deadly combat, trying to come out on top. Over what?

You can have the last word on this. (Last insult?) Anyone reading must be interested only in the psycho/dramatic aspects of this by now. Certainly not the original topic.  

13 Nov 2008 @ 00:44 by martha : hahahaha
I find it all entertaining! (no one wins quinty)
Goddess is on everyone's side!
Gee you should know by now quinty that NCN is the place to always go off topic! And you are not a whiner, you are a sigher! (tongue in cheek Jazzy)
And oopsy doodle rusyn is repeating herself. My guess is that NCN took too long and she accidently reposted and added more in the process....hahahaha
Hey Jazzy are you sure we aren't actually in a sitcom but don't know it. Sorta like Twilight Zone!

And just to remind some of you:

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.

Martha Washington (1732 - 1802)  

13 Nov 2008 @ 06:03 by ursula : Hoaxes
Jazz, you really need to check your sources before posting crap. It is your blog and you can post any crap you like, but to pass it off as true is not right, in my opinion. Whatever happened to responsible journalism?

Here's an interesting news item:

NEW YORK -- MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.

David Shuster, an anchor for the cable news network, said on air Monday that Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, had come forth and identified himself as the source of a FOX News Channel story saying Palin had mistakenly believed Africa was a country instead of a continent.

Eisenstadt identifies himself on a blog as a senior fellow at the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. Yet neither he nor the institute exist; each is part of a hoax dreamed up by a filmmaker named Eitan Gorlin and his partner, Dan Mirvish, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Eisenstadt claim had mistakenly been delivered to Shuster by a producer and was used in a political discussion Monday afternoon, MSNBC said.

"The story was not properly vetted and should not have made air," said Jeremy Gaines, network spokesman. "We recognized the error almost immediately and ran a correction on air within minutes."

Gaines told the Times that someone in the network's newsroom had presumed the information solid because it was passed along in an e-mail from a colleague.

The hoax was limited to the identity of the source in the story about Palin -- not the FOX News story itself. While Palin has denied that she mistook Africa for a country, the veracity of that report was not put in question by the revelation that Eisenstadt is a phony.

Eisenstadt's "work" had been quoted and debunked before. The Huffington Post said it had cited Eisenstadt in July on a story regarding the Hilton family and McCain.

Among the other victims were political blogs for the Los Angeles Times and The New Republic, each of which referenced false material from Eisenstadt's blog.

And in July, Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones magazine blogged an item about Eisenstadt speaking on Iraqi television about a casino in Baghdad's "Green Zone."

Stein later realized he'd been had.

"Kudos to the inventor of this whole thing," Stein wrote. "My only consolation is that if I had as much time on my hands as he clearly does, I probably would have figured this out and saved myself a fair amount of embarrassment."  

13 Nov 2008 @ 11:25 by jazzolog : Relieved
I'm glad to learn the thing about Palin and Africa was a hoax. I thought it was too stupid to believe, but who knows nowdays? I do check out my least as far as Google will take me. If all those sites fell for it, I don't feel too bad...despite efforts to the contrary.  

13 Nov 2008 @ 12:19 by martha : Here jazz
is the link to rusyn's log and the clip on Palin. In it she said she had no idea where the Africa rumor came from.

13 Nov 2008 @ 12:59 by vaxen : .

14 Nov 2008 @ 10:04 by jazzolog : Maybe She Should Have Been A Teacher
Look at that sparkling intellect as she explains it all to the Republican Governors~~~

From the Boston Globe coverage~~~

At a session titled "Looking Towards the Future: The GOP in Transition," Palin's introspective instinct turned less to the party's destiny than her recent past.

"I had a baby, I did some traveling, I very briefly expanded my wardrobe, I made a few speeches, I met a few VIPs, including those who really impact society, like Tina Fey," Palin joked at the outset of her speech.

The heart of Palin's remarks was a roll call of supporters galvanized by her candidacy - all, notably, were those inspired by her personal qualities. She saluted "prayer warriors," "blue-star moms," "all the young girls," "these everyday hardworking Americans," and "all the families with special-needs children who were the stars of the show at our rallies."

"I'll tell you, I came close to crying a few times because they just touched my heart," Palin said.

Palin visited Miami amid her most aggressive media push since she joined McCain's ticket. She appeared on two CNN shows on Wednesday.

She participated in a news conference here yesterday - which she never did while running for the vice presidency - but took only four questions before leaving the stage, while a dozen male governors in dark suits quietly stood around her.

"Anybody here that's talking about the 2012 elections has got to get their eye on the ball," said Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, emphasizing that the 36 gubernatorial races taking place in 2010 should be the party's priority. "The next two years are the only things that matter."

Some of the harshest critics of McCain's campaign were Pawlenty and Jindal, young governors who had been considered as potential running mates and could end up as future rivals to Palin, should she seek the Republican presidential nomination.

" 'Drill, baby, drill' by itself is not an energy policy," Pawlenty said, invoking a favorite Palin catchphrase. The party's inability to communicate environmental concerns contributed to its losses among young and politically moderate voters, he said.

"Republicans are losing market share at an alarming rate," said Meg Whitman, a former eBay executive who initially supported Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, and later advised McCain, and is considering a run for governor of California. "If we were losing market share at a company like eBay at that rate, heads would roll."

When members of a panel including Whitman and Pawlenty were asked to vouch for Palin's credentials as a potential president, none was eager to so.

None rushed to place the blame on her for McCain's failures, either.

Clearly Palin hopes we'll all get so used to her kind of rhetoric that we'll accept it as presidential by 2012. Meanwhile it's back to Alaska and her lawsuit against the US for trying to put polar bears among endangered species. It saves drilling time if oilmen just can shoot the pests.  

20 Nov 2008 @ 11:01 by jazzolog : Beating A Dead Moose---Or Is It?
Once a week (Wednesdays) the New York Times sends out an email containing the most popular articles of the past 7 days. I guess that means the ones that got emailed the most or got the most reaction. The Times always has a lot to read so I appreciate the summary. Yesterday contained a few things I had missed and maybe you did too.

If you watched TV in the '70s, you remember Dick Cavett. He was popular on ABC first and then ended up on PBS for a while. Witty, incisive interviewer. Frankly I'd lost track of him and didn't know even if he's still alive. It turns out he has a blog at the Times. I know you've had enough of this, but I can't resist referring you to his entry from Friday night. We old English teachers still struggle to preserve some semblance of universal intelligibility in our language. The comments at the blog contain reader favorites from that Alaskan governor~~~

I suppose it will be recorded as among political history’s ironies that Palin was brought in to help John McCain. I can’t blame feminists who might draw amusement from the fact that a woman managed to both cripple the male she was supposed to help while gleaning an almost Elvis-sized following for herself. Mac loses, Sarah wins big-time was the gist of headlines.

I feel a little sorry for John. He aimed low and missed.

What will ambitious politicos learn from this? That frayed syntax, bungled grammar and run-on sentences that ramble on long after thought has given out completely are a candidate’s valuable traits?

And how much more of all that lies in our future if God points her to those open-a-crack doors she refers to? The ones she resolves to splinter and bulldoze her way through upon glimpsing the opportunities, revealed from on high.

I've started reading Thomas Friedman again, but somehow missed his marvelous analysis of our sacred automobile industry from last Tuesday~~~

Last September, I was in a hotel room watching CNBC early one morning. They were interviewing Bob Nardelli, the C.E.O. of Chrysler, and he was explaining why the auto industry, at that time, needed $25 billion in loan guarantees. It wasn’t a bailout, he said. It was a way to enable the car companies to retool for innovation. I could not help but shout back at the TV screen: “We have to subsidize Detroit so that it will innovate? What business were you people in other than innovation?” If we give you another $25 billion, will you also do accounting?

How could these companies be so bad for so long? Clearly the combination of a very un-innovative business culture, visionless management and overly generous labor contracts explains a lot of it. It led to a situation whereby General Motors could make money only by selling big, gas-guzzling S.U.V.’s and trucks. Therefore, instead of focusing on making money by innovating around fuel efficiency, productivity and design, G.M. threw way too much energy into lobbying and maneuvering to protect its gas guzzlers.

This included striking special deals with Congress that allowed the Detroit automakers to count the mileage of gas guzzlers as being more than they really were — provided they made some cars flex-fuel capable for ethanol. It included special offers of $1.99-a-gallon gasoline for a year to any customer who purchased a gas guzzler. And it included endless lobbying to block Congress from raising the miles-per-gallon requirements. The result was an industry that became brain dead.  

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