Through Thick and Thin
Yes, the auto industry wants a $25 billion dollar bailout. I suspect they are going to get it eventually. I find some things about this fascinating. For one thing it is getting far more scrutiny and public awareness (and public disapproval) than the $700 billion dollar bailout the bankers wanted and got. So bailing out an industry that employs huge numbers of Americans, one of the few remaining major manufacturing sectors of the economy…that gets public scrutiny and disapproval, while handing the better part of a trillion dollars to the financial wizards who made the mess in the first place gets made with no strings attached? I’m not in favour of any sort of bailout, but it is shocking how the people at the top are getting all the money and the closer the bailout is to the bottom of the pile, the less likely it seems to be. And let’s put things in perspective here, the auto industry is asking for the same amount of money that it takes to pay for the occupation of Iraq for two and a half months. Which pretty much shows where all the money has really been going.
Speaking of Iraq, the military has already told Obama that it is impossible to withdraw from Iraq in sixteen months. When Clinton was elected the military basically told him that they weren’t going to go along with gays in the military. Clinton backed down, and my respect for him basically ended that day. We will see if Obama lets the military call the shots or whether he will assert the fact that he is the commander-in-chief of the military and if he says jump, they damn well better jump. And for the record, the military isn’t saying we can’t get our people out of Iraq in 16 months, they are saying it will take years to dismantle and ship home the staggering amount of stuff we have shipped to Iraq. True enough, but I’m pretty sure the nation would survive if we left our ice cream machines behind. The troops and their essential military equipment could be pulled out in 16 months, probably faster. So we’ll see how this plays out.
I had another thought the other day. I’m wondering if all these last minute thefts, I mean bailouts, have another sinister aspect that is being overlooked. All of Bush’s deficit spending does have one positive result for the Republicans now, Obama will be in a position where he will have basically no choice but to raise taxes. And since many Americans have the attention span of a gerbil, a massive attack on Obama’s taxes by right wing pundits could be in the offing. Still, if anyone can explain to Americans that their taxes are going up because Bush took out multiple mortgages on the farm and gave the money to his buddies, it’s Obama. Again, it will be interesting to see how this develops.
And a bit of good news on the medical front. A woman has had a trachea implant grown from her own stem cells. The operation was a success, her body is not rejecting her transplanted trachea, and she will now live a normal life. At the present getting a transplant means taking powerful drugs the rest of your life, now it may well soon be possible to regrow other organs and body parts out of a patient’s own cells. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s not. And note these are her own stem cells, not the embryonic stem cells that are mired in controversy, eliminating that nasty little ethical dilemma.
In really local news, I have had the header upgraded. The whole thing was put together by my illustrious younger brother, Andrew. The background picture is the aftermath of a double kamikaze attack on the US Carrier Bunker Hill during the battle of Okinawa. It’s a fascinating and horrible story, which illustrates some interesting things about war and the war mentality, so I will blog on it soon. The inset picture, which will change regularly, is an American Sherman tank knocked out in Italy somewhere. Presumably two of its crew survived.
Coming soon, another contest. Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is a public domain image of a Ford Model T assembly line. The Model T, the car that “put the world on wheels” debuted exactly 100 years ago on October 1st. Click on the picture for the full size image. Courtesy of this fine site. Times have changed, I doubt any of these fellows would have believed that American companies would one day be asking for government handouts, while Japanese cars put the world, and much of America, on wheels.)