Monday, June 1, 2009

Delenda Car (thago) Est

When I don't have anything intelligent to say, I simply reach into my bag of Graeco-Roman aphorisms, search for the most "appropriate" one and.. voila: A title to go with today's General Motors bankruptcy.

Yes, indeed, I do love history - even if it only applies by forcing linguistics into a horribly mangled state. Hopefully, a scintilla of meaning still manages to shine through.

It was Cato the Elder who ended every speech he made with "Carthage Must Be Destroyed!", the popular rallying cry against Rome's most serious contender for global primacy, during the Third Punic War (149-146 BC). And, to continue mangling associations a bit further, Carthage was located in North Africa, the continent whence our Mr. Obama traces his roots.

Roman Chariots In More Glorious Times

I do hope the administration's plans for the newly government-owned GM involve more creative ideas than selling it to other moribund Roman chariot-makers or vulture funds from further North.



yoyomo said...

Hasn't that been America's rallying cry for the past 110* years; except for Carthage substitute:

"any vulnerable country that refuses to do everything exactly as we demand of it"

*see Stephan Kinzer's book "Overthrow"

Joe said...

Dow rallys on GM bankruptcy. Now we should go for the trifecta and get a Ford BK and the recovery is in the bag.

Joe M.

Thai said...

re: "North Africa, the continent whence our Mr. Obama traces his roots."

Tisk tisk tisk Hell, I never pegged you as a multiregionalist.

... I guess there is there is a teeny tiny amount of wiggle room in the mitochondrial DNA data to suggest a few of us probably are not completely African.

But we are only talking about a few of us and unless you are Chinese, it is unlikely you are one of those "mutants".

Personally, I tend to be a bit more in the "Out of Africa" camp and actually rather like the idea that we are all cousins and that it is simply a matter of how far back you want to look before you realize our relatives just lost touch with each other.

As for the government doing something with GM, let it go bust.

There are too many cars in the world anyway and this saving them at the cost of something like $300,000/job is silly.

Let these guys make cars instead (although I do realize GM is helping them).

35 cents for 35 miles!

Debra said...

Once again, you guys are being singularly UNGENEROUS.
I feel no sympathy for GM. Or for any American car company, while we're at it.
High level management was reclining in places, and in hotels like Hell showed us here not too long ago. Putting out of their minds the fact that our civilization would not support those cars they were making for all that much longer.
That's a pretty pressing question, in my book.
If I were Barack Obama, I would be really worried about the answer to that question.
It is not an answer that has any statistic, any number in it, in my book. And as such, it is a really interesting question.

yoyomo said...


Join the imperial army; poverty is good for recruitment.

Thee Earl of Obvious said...

Deb you need to define "jobs" first before you seek an answer to where and when.

Take it from a former non union factory worker: The UAW jobs being lost can not be replaced. These workers were the aristocracy of the blue collar world. Fantastic benefits, great wages, mandatory overtime, 95% of pay during shutdown. Unskilled, no education required. Nepotism definitely needed.

There are blue collar jobs out there: one may have to move to find them. Benefits if they exist are laughable, wages are paid only when you work and overtime is available when overtime is required. The skilled workers get paid more than the unskilled. There are no "grievance procedures" and people are fired routinely sometimes for no real reason.

Those who can adapt to this reality will find work those who can't wont.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
yoyomo said...

WOW, that last comment must have been real spicy to get zapped, worse even than KILLING and RAPING a few MILLION people.

yoyomo said...

Here is a good labor intensive product that the future economy may be needing more of.

yoyomo said...

Oh, yummy; just reading this makes me thirsty:

"We don’t know enough about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to judge whether the process will contaminate drinking water supplies, harm the environment, and have harmful effects on human health.

A loophole inserted into the 2005 Energy Policy Act—known as the Halliburton Loophole—exempted fracking from regulations and oversight that would otherwise be required under the Safe Drinking Water Act."

Anonymous said...

There are now officially no more blue collar jobs.

GM can now how illegal Mexicans at low cost, no US labor rights, and taxpayer paid health care.

You fools taking about GM have no idea that capitalism is a balance of capital AND LABOR.

Without LABOR you have some facist / corporatism / cartel / oligarchy.

Free market democracy is NOT about giving power to a few elite brokers over the middle class.

If we have a capitalist democracy still then labor unions would be VERY VERY STRONG as that makes up the MAJORITY of American ie. Blue Collar and White Collar workers just trying to make an honest living.

Ask your grandparents on how "the Greatest Generation" lived in the 40s to 70s before the GOP started destroying America

Anonymous said...

I agree, no problem working hard in the fields or manfucturing in the 50s & 60s where a blue collar salary could buy a house, car, and support a family of 4 without the spouse working.

Oh, and you'd get a full retirement.

I guess America in the 50s and 60s was 100% communist according to you GOP retards today?

There is nothing more retarded then a middle class white or blue collar worker type supporting the GOP - destroying thier own country and wages

Jon said...

When the world and your crystal ball are out of sync, it's time to get a new one.

Debra said...

Once again, I am really mystified at the extent of American naiveté.
When I asked the question about the jobs, and the new found free time, I kind of had in the back of my mind a certain 14 year old who was trying to follow in Daddy's footsteps when he started the migration to Vienna in the early 1900's, leaving a small rural border town to seek his fortune in the big city.
And the poverty, unemployment, and ruthlessness he found on the streets certainly played a big part in making him what he became.
I'm sure I don't need to drop names on this blog. Y'all know who I'm talking about.
Looks like SOCIETY is once again not making the investment, or protecting the INDIVIDUAL in a way that would ensure its own survival, right ?

Anonymous said...


Society's investment in protecting individuals does not guarantee "no bad guys". How much have we invested in public education? How much does the "no child left behind" cost? Have you watched the riff raff that pours out the the typical middle school at the end of the school day recently? My generation stops to open doors at the public library for folks in wheel chairs; that is the exception with these kids. And remember, the next generation is going to deal with SS when the funds run out.

Thee Earl of Obvious said...

In my opinion we should be fostering enchantment and nurturing hope in our children. Instead we have decided to go whole hog into developing self esteem. The result has been the development of arrogance and ego that we have not seen since, well, the lad from vienna.

yoyomo said...

The lad(s) from Vienna are already in place, they only need to create the conditions for their populations to acquiese to and follow their plans.

Debra said...

My credo : every advantage has its disadvantage.
You have to live in France to really appreciate what the intensive gutting of children's self esteem does to their capacity to maintain their natural human curiosity, and their ability to take entrepreneurial risks that make for a healthy, creative society.
Fostering self esteem is a good idea for our kids, especially when adolescence is such a difficult, paroxysistic period, frought with intense physical and spiritual danger for the individual.
We just have been throwing money at the problem, and presuming that that is enough, and that it will go away BECAUSE we are throwing money at it.
Yup, everything is in place for that horrible scenario that was WW2 to repeat itself, particularly because this scenario was, metaphorically speaking, a cancer in the system of our industrial civilization.
In my book, in order to do away with a repetition of this scenario, we need to do away with the scientific materialism that reached its apogee during the successive waves of the industrial revolution.
And we need to revise our ideas about the role/function of work, getting rid of Taylorism, and the fragmentation of tasks that confiscates knowledge FROM the workers, and maintains it in the hands of an upper caste.
THEN we will be able kiss goodbye to the industrialized evil that was consummated during WW2. That doesn't mean that there won't be disadvantages in the new/old way of seeing things, by the way...