While Obama Blows Off Women’s Freedom as He Celebrates His First 100 Days, the Saudis He Bows to Clamp Down on Women Even More (UPDATE 1X – Souter Leaving Supreme Court)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

What, with Sharia Law creeping into our Treasury Department, Pakistani women trying to fend off the encroaching Taliban, etc. etc., it’s so good to hear that The One is so clear on the status of women when it comes to  freedom.  Go on over to Not Your Sweetie’s great post for some choice comments about  Obama’s little lecture about morality and ethics ad how the Freedom of Choice Act isn’t a big priority for the Ego-in- Chief:

Freedom of Choice Act – not a priority, and not “freedom” either

While women here in the U.S. bask in our knowledge The One thinks our reproductive decisions should be run past “our clergy”,  let’s see how that works in places like Saudi Arabia.

Here’s the latest indignity to consider:

Saudis clamp down on women’s gyms

(SNIP_

Women’s gyms have become popular in the ultra-conservative Muslim country where the sexes are heavily segregated.

But only clubs linked to medical groups can get licenses and others will be closed, the Arab News newspaper said.

Saudi women were reported to have launched an online campaign in protest called Let Her Get Fat.

Government departments are not allowed to issue licenses for commercial gyms and sports clubs for women, unlike facilities for men, the newspaper reported.

No more hiding gyms behind the doors of beauty salons…

Amazingly, some very courageous woman fighting back:

A group of women launched an internet campaign in protest against the move, saying facilities linked to medical clinics were too expensive, and their health would suffer as a result of the closures.

Woman are so precious in Saudi Arabia that they really MUST go to gyms linked to medical clinics.  The reasoning behind this must be surveillance, right?

As the article concludes:

Women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving, must wear a head-to-toe cloak when out in public and must obtain permission from a male relative to work, travel, study or marry.

And the Guardian reports that the clergy, of course, consider gyms for women “shameless.”

As a trade-off there’s been talk of letting women vote, but with the half-brother of King Abdullah looking strong as a possible successor, this sop doesn’t offer much solace.  After all, Prince Nayef, who acts as interior minister, said “the kingdom had no need of either women MPs or elections” just last month.

So now, many Saudi women won’t be able to the gym.

Meanwhile, the “President” who bows to the Saudi leader tells us that FOCA isn’t a priority.

I would like to use a string of profanity at this point, but it’s not good for my blood pressure.

By the way, thank goodness I can still go to the gym and work off the stresses of putting up with the insufferable Obama crowd…

UPDATE

With the news that David Souter is retiring from the Supeme Court, do you trust an Obama appointment?? This is the guy who wanted to vote to confirm John Roberts, but didn’t because of political expediency…

Obama could halt a lot of this “interpretation of the Constitution” stuff by pushing for FOCA and getting the court out of the “privacy” issue…but he continues to dance around. His “one hand giveth and the other taketh away” approach to women seems to leave women on the short end as we’re used for bargaining chips.  Well, he’s a misogynist, so why is that surprising?

Money Matters: “Banker to the Poor” In Impoverished Countries Now Lending in U.S.; “Money Goddess” Advises Obama Administration; IMF Bonds Update

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We’ve often heard about how the U.S. “is becoming a third world country.”  Well, maybe it’s true, if you see the “banker to the poor” doing business in Queens, NYC…with plans to expand!

“Banker to the poor” gives New York women a boost

Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:09pm EDT

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, known as the “banker to the poor” for making small loans in impoverished countries, is now doing business in the center of capitalism — New York City.

In the past year the first U.S. branch of his Grameen Bank has lent $1.5 million, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, to nearly 600 women with small business plans in the city’s borough of Queens.

SNIP

Grameen America now operates by lending out money gathered through donations and money from payments on existing loans. The bank is applying for a U.S. credit union license to generate the deposits it needs to make more loans

MORE

And, the bank is a CREDIT UNION!   Way to go!! No derivatives there!

While on the topic of money, American Lassie has discovered the REAL adviser to the Obama Administration on financial matters!!

moneygoddessindialee

This is a Money Goddess.  Pass it to 6 of your good friends, or family and be rich in 4 Days.
Pass it to 12 of your good friends or family and be rich in 2 Days.
I am not joking. You will find an unexpected windfall. If you delete it, you will never know!

SHE WORKS SHE REALLY WORKS!!
***

About a month ago, we posted this…

The Scanner–International Edition, March 24, 2009: Say Goodbye to the Dollar? China, Russia Proposing a New World Currency for “Non-Credit” Based Economies, Echo G-20 Agenda of Expanding IMF; China Will “Consider” Buying IMF Bonds; 10th China Develpment Forum Underway (UPDATE 1X–Geithner Supports China Proposal??)

Notice the story about how China will “consider” buying IMF Bonds?

Well, they’re going to get their chance as the IMF announced on Saturday (4/25/09):

IMF head says it will sell bonds to raise funds

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund will sell bonds as a way to raise funds to lend to struggling nations, the head of the organization said Saturday, in a victory for developing countries.

Emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India pushed for the move as an alternative to providing longer-term loans to the IMF. Those countries want greater voice in the institution before providing additional resources.

MORE

Here are a few stories on more of the specifics:

India Ready to Buy IMF Bonds

IMF chief: Some countries interested in buying IMF bonds

Prior to the Saturday announcement:

UPDATE 2-Emerging nations want IMF bond plan revamped-Brazil

Meanwhile, the World Bank was also holding a meeting and announced this on Saturday (4/25/09):

World Bank to aid poor countries with public works

WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Bank said Saturday it would provide poor countries with more than $55 billion for public work projects left in limbo when the recession dried up capital investment.

The goal is to create jobs and lay the foundation for future economic growth and poverty reduction. Africa is expected to see a large proportion of the investments, given the continent’s needs.

MORE

Will be interesting to see WHERE in Africa the money winds up…

***

Additional Information:

IMF Communique 4/25/09

Original statement by China 3/28/09

The Past Week: April 19-25, 2009 (Pakistani Women Pushing Back; French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde Speaks; Doubts About Toxic Asset Plan; UK Blogs)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

With Pakistan and the Taliban now center stage, I found this story from The Dawn Blog interesting. Women in Karachi are meeting because of their concerns about events there:

Women Push Back

…On Friday, the Karachi chapter of the Women’s Action Forum (WAF) invited members of the civil society to help craft a comprehensive strategy to stem the Talibanisation of Pakistan and respond to the recent passage of the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009. On short notice, about 60 women gathered at the Aurat Foundation’s Clifton premises to brainstorm ideas for concrete action against the spread of militant ideology. Participants included the crème de la crème of Karachi society – revered activists, teachers, artists, filmmakers, professionals and many women who described themselves as ‘concerned citizens’ and ‘mothers’ (I could start name-dropping but someone might mistake this for the social pages and not the Dawn Blog).

The general mood was somber and, as the discussion proceeded, panic and passions flared. As one long-term women’s rights activist put it, ‘we came of age in the Zia years. Then, we were fighting the state. Now, we’re fighting against public misogyny being encouraged by non-state actors who have grown more powerful than the state – and they don’t play by any rules.’ In short, the women assembled at Aurat’s offices knew they were there to put up a fight.

MORE

Let’s hope we don’t see the women of Pakistan have the same fate as those in Afghanistan.

***
Caught a brief segment a few days ago on BBC America’s nightly newscast with the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, but she’s been speaking about the latest IMF report elsewhere, too.  Here’a link to a transcript of  her inteview on Lateline which airs on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). It’s a worthwhile read if only to get a better understanding of what the people in charge of the money elsewhere are thinking.

But what caught my attention in the BBC segment was her comments about how unimpressed she was with the idea of creating stimulus package after stimulus package without getting a clear idea of how useful they really are.  She noted that France was early in pumping up government spending on infrastructure projects, like public buildings, etc. and programs versus cash payments, but the results were only just beginning to trickle in.  She was very pointed about how the French had started their stimulus efforts earlier than the U.S. and was quite clear that an idea of how effective the spending has been–and if it is getting to the right places–is needed before more spending is approved.  She also pointed out that the money really hasn’t started flowing yet, so it’s going to be a while before anything is really known here in the U.S.

Although Lagarde is “on the same page” with the Obama Administration in many ways, we’ll have to see if the Obama crowd and Congress keep creating more “stimulus packages” in spite of Lagarde’s warnings.

Here’s a something Lagarde said toward the end of the interview:

My personal belief is that this crisis stems from excess, abuses of the system. I don’t suggest, though, that it would be the end of free enterprise. I think that a liberal economy can also have its social dimension and that liberal economy, as liberalism is understood in economic terms, can only survive if it is properly regulated. And I think it would be a complete deterioration if you will, or abuse of liberalism itself, if it wasn’t regulated. So, when he says that government is back and policies are back, I totally agree with him if he means regulation, ownership of the development of a free market economy by politicians, by those who have been elected by the people to represent the general interest and to make sure that proper functioning of the economy is actually respected. And to that end, we need a combination of sensible and strong regulations, but also sensible and strong bodies that will make sure that regulations are actually applied. And if there are violations, that such violations are sanctioned appropriately.

“And if there are violations, that such violations are sanctioned appropriately.”

I’m not holding my breath here in Obamaland, are you?

***

Kenosha Marge spotted this article in the Financial Times….seems like Timothy Geithner still hasn’t dispelled a sense of mistrust among financial leades:

Warning over US toxic asset plan

By Francesco Guerrera, Deborah Brewster, Henny Sender and Aline Van Duyn in New York

Published: April 24 2009 02:03 | Last updated: April 24 2009 02:03

The Obama administration will on Friday get the first indication of investor interest in its $1,000bn toxic assets plan amid fears that the threat of government intervention and banks’ reluctance to sell will deter fund managers from participating.

Applications to become one of the five asset managers charged with raising funds to buy mortgage-backed securities from banks are due today and groups including BlackRock, Pimco and Bank of New York Mellon are set to apply.

However, financial executives warn that the plan is in danger of missing its goal of quickly shifting billions of dollars in troubled assets off banks’ balance sheets unless the government dispels investors’ concerns.

Potential buyers of assets complain that, a month after Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, unveiled the public-private investment programme, the authorities have yet to reassure them they would not be subjected to draconian Congressional scrutiny.

The Treasury did say that, aside from the small group of asset managers, investors who receive the generous loans available under the PPIP will not have to abide by restrictions on employees’ pay imposed on the banks that got funds from the troubled assets relief programme.

Yet some fund managers fear Congress and the government may change the rules mid-course, as they did with Tarp. Wesley Edens, chief executive of Fortress Investment Group, said: “The most important thing for the government is consistency.”

MORE

Wonder what Christine Lagarde thinks about all this?

***

Stumbled across this site which is a huge list of UK Political Blog Feeds.  It’s fun to check out what’s on the minds of folks across the pond.

***

THE PAST WEEK

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 25, 2009) The Squirrels Invade

While Pakistan Has Our Attention, Look What’s Brewing in Somalia…

The Financial Filter: How CNBC Handles Howard Dean vs. Susan Boyle

Labour (UK) Facing Poll Meltdown After “Smeargate” Allegations–Brown’s Fmr. “Spin Chief” (Now Political Director of a Union) Involved

The Past Week: April 12-18, 2009 (Newsweek Death Spiral?; Anti-Abortion Wars; Susan Boyle and Human Grace)

The Financial Filter: How CNBC Handles Howard Dean vs. Susan Boyle

~~By  InsightAnalytical-GRL

Lately, I’ve been testing my mettle by actually tuning into CNBC occasionally. We don’t have FOX Business here, but you get enough of their angle on the regular FOX shows featuring Neil Cavuto and the weekend financial panels.

Yesterday, I caught Howard Dean just around the Noon hour ET (on Power Lunch), slugging it out with that panel they have which features Larry Kudlow among others.  I was wondering what Dean was doing on there following the latest Geithner comments, but perhaps he’s getting warmed up to defend the upcoming healthcare “reform” that will be vomited out of the Congress and Obamaville soon.

Anyway, Kudlow was yelling again about “why can’t the markets be allowed to correct themselves” to which Dean retorted in perfect Obot fashion “Look what the markets did to the American people!” (sic).

Well, I waited for the comeback…I waited to hear one of these panel people, including Kudlow, respond snappily with how Congress, particularly Democratic members, failed to provide oversight over the housing mortgage debacle, which seems to have precipitated much of the mess we’re in.

CRICKETS!

But, as I thought about it, I figured that’s exactly what I was expected to hear. The GE family of companies that “bring good things to life” don’t consider history and full debate healthy for the 5th-grade level critical skills level of the American viewer. Kudlow is probably under orders “not to go there,” so he doesn’t go there. He’s loud and passionate about “the markets” but he pulled up short with Dean.

But that’s the way it is now. The media is in a permanent state of coitus interruptus when in it comes to discussing financial matters…or most political news. Especially since the Obama folks are so cozy with GE…

Sue Herera and Bill Griffeth, still at it after all these years,  are stuck in the middle of all this.  They’ll get a couple of people on and ask some serious questions, but the upcoming segments which follow always involve some provocative pugilism.  After listening to the Dean segment, which included another guest plus Dean and the four CNBC panelists,  I felt whiplashed, not informed. Mission accomplished!

After 3 PM, we get a lot more sober discussion for a brief time as The Closing Bell airs and things settle down.   Gone is the screaming on the panels and the minute-by-minute, breathless spewing that sounds like the coverage of a sporting event while the market gyrates. Maria Bartiromo anchors and does interviews and the discussions are less hysterical. Today, I caught a young guy from the NY Times and a few experienced hands getting down to the real problems with the financial sector…including the one-time things done this quarter courtesy government largesse that won’t be around to play with over the next few quarters when the rubber meets the road.

Yeah, but then it’s over as we get Fast Money then Jim Cramer’s Mad Money to liven the pace for evening prime time with their gameshow approach to finance and to appeal to the young dreamers who want to get rich quick and don’t have a clue. And then Kudlow returns.

In a comment to yesterday’s post, Lee M. had a musing which captures the zeitgeist of CNBC these days, too…I’ve done some word substitutions where appropriate:

…the cretins over at MSNBC CNBC, having crossed the Rubicon, have no where else to go.

They know that those of us who value our Constitution [journalistic integrity] have written them off, so they keep pitching their wares to the far left and the Obots because without them they would have no audience at all.

Like Julius Caesar before them, the die is cast, and they can’t go back. So they will continue their vile jokes [obvious bias and omissions] that would have gotten anyone else censored [fired] before this. They are tolerated because that is the way TPTB want it for now.

So Howard Dean is treated with kid gloves, the facts be damned!

Oh, but the folks at CNBC certainly DO have somewhere to go, if I may quibble a bit with that first line of the above comment. Where? Well, let’s visit the CNBC website where yesterday afternoon I found somebody dragging Susan Boyle along in a “humor” piece that ties the global economy to her performance…with an odd mixture of  admiration (?) and the requisite mockery (of course).  How appropriate…the taunts begin the day after I write about “Smeargate” in the UK and the level of “discourse”  we have here in the U.S.:

Apr.21
1:49 PM ET

As she concluded the song and the crowd jumped to its feet cheering, Susan Boyle blew a kiss. A kiss that, like the butterfly that flapped its wings, set in motion a flutter of dollars, pounds, euros and yen that will get this global economy humming again.

Will YouTube Sensation Susan Boyle Save the Global Economy?
Posted By:Cindy Perman

As the world grapples with headlines about troubled loans at Bank of America [BAC 8.76 +  0.74 (+9.23%)
and pirates wreaking havoc on the high seas, a lone dove has emerged to save the global economy.

SNIP
Boyle rolls her unknown-to-man hips.

Teenage girls roll their eyes. (Yeah, we saw you, eye-rolling girl at 1:24)

SNIP
Susan Boyle has given people a reason to hope.

A reason to look up from their flaming 401(k) statements.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by

A reason to walk over to their computer and log on to YouTube.com.

When hope was high

A reason to buy Kleenex in bulk at Costco. [COST 46.48 + 2.14 (+4.83%) ]

And life worth living

A reason to go to Amazon.com [AMZN 78.75 + 1.18 (+1.52%) ]

I dreamed that love would never die—

SNIP

I dreamed that God would be forgiving

A reason to watch the made-for-TV movie about her on Lifetime and expose themselves to millions of dollars in advertising. [DIS 19.47 + 0.06 (+0.31%) ]

Do you get the feeling that someone RESENTS the fact that Susan Boyle wasn’t manufactured by the entertainment industry and the mass media, but simply appeared and touched people’s souls without a filter? If the “money machine” were cranking up for one of their fake creations, would you get the slights and mockery that we see directed at Susan Boyle in this piece? Or the cheapening of a great performance (and a pretty darned good song, too) ? The vultures find it so distasteful that the the plebes responded spontaneously even though the entertainment biz types will be trying to make money off  her until the well runs dry?  Personally, I hope she makes a bundle on her own terms and then walks away…before we start getting the “whispers” about her single life that will probably be started up to shove her aside for some plastic doll that can be marketed and controlled for public consumption… Like, what? She doesn’t deserve to make any money off her REAL talent??  Mark my words, Simon Cowell will look like a compassionate saint compared to what could come down further along this road…

Yes, just like the filtering of political and financial news, we have to get a filter in place for Susan Boyle so the public can be redirected to enable the opinion/money makers can move onto creating a fab NEW item for which they can take full credit and reward themselves with extra executive compensation bonuses.  Maybe TPTB can recycle the filters they used with Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and a “feeble” John McCain as they deal with Susan Boyle.

Heart seems to have a short shelf-life these days…

Welcome to “Fiji on the Potomac”…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It was already Easter Sunday in Australia when I turned on my Grundig shortwave radio and tuned in to Radio Australia.  I always find the news interesting from Australia because the regional news often talks about events in Southeast Asia– places like Vietnam, Thailand and  little-talked about places in the media here like Fiji.

Well, the report that caught my attention that morning was about Fiji’s woes.

Fiji has had 4 coups in the last 20 years…and hopes of bringing democracy to the country are fading.

Fiji’s constitution has been scrapped and the screws are being put to the media. From Radio Australia:

FEATURE: Fiji’s political crisis

Fiji has been plunged into political chaos after the country’s Court of Appeal ruled that the interim government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama was illegal.

Last Updated: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 14:03:00 +1000

Campbell Cooney and Sean Dorney

(SNIP)

The scrapping of Fiji’s constitution also appears to mean the scrapping of any notion of a free and open media in Fiji.

“Emergency regulations are in force,” Commodore Bainimarama said on Saturday.

“However, these regulations are only an emergency measure. I am sure we will all, including the media, collaborate with the relevant agencies.”

But Fiji’s media hasn’t really been given a choice about co-operation.

On Friday officers from Ministry of Information and the Police Media Unit were placed in the country’s newspaper, radio and TV newsrooms.

In response, sections of Fiji’s media have launched a self-imposed news blackout in response to new censorship regulations.

Fijian media are boycotting political stories, with newspapers on Monday strikingly bland in their design and reports.

The Fiji Times on Sunday ran blank spaces where censored stories critical of Friday’s abolition of the constitution and the re-appointment of Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s government would have run.

For Monday, it ran no stories at all relating to the extraordinary events of the past four days.

The Fiji Sun says it will not print any political stories under the current censorship provisions, imposed on Friday.

The main television station in Fiji, Fiji One, refused to run a news bulletin on Sunday because the management objected to the censorship being imposed by the head of information, Major Neumi Leweni.

Major Leweni has been given exceptional powers as the chief censor – he can recommend the closure of any newspaper, television or radio station that does not obey his directions.

Now apart from the fact that here in the U.S. the media was bought and sold for Obama during the election season and is still pushing his charms at us constantly,  we’ve also had rumblings about the government “helping” newspapers in trouble.  We know from the banking debacle that banks who take money from the government are either in cahoots with the people responsible for this financial mess or, it they were outside the cabal and forced to take money, they’re having a hard time extricating themselves from the Obama Administration’s grip.

Right now our own Constitution is being disregarded when convenient.  We have a compliant/complicit media along with a dying print media that may be willing to be “helped.”

So, while “officers from the Ministry of Information” aren’t quite in television studios or newsrooms here yet because so far very few feathers are being ruffled,  don’t you wonder if things will change if and when some of the mass media that adore Obama and helped create him begin to get a bit uppity? Obama and his crowd are so very good at applying pressure and intimidation…

In Fiji, the press is fighting back as best they can by ignoring any political stories or running blank spaces.

Wouldn’t that be something?  Dead air on all the talking heads’  TV shows?  A refusal by newspapers and magazines to run Obama’s propaganda?

One can dream..

Oh, but now there’s a new development…The courts are being “recreated” and there’s much talk of reform.

Fiji courts to be reinstated, says attorney-general

(SNIP)

In a wide-ranging interview with the ABC’s Michael Vincent, Mr Sayed Khaiyum [Fuji’s Attorney General] also: defends the actions of the Fijian interim regime as part of a long-term vision; speaks about the need for fundamental reform in the nation; and says communications blackouts are not as serious as had been claimed.

SNIP

The Attorney-General defended the actions of the interim regime. Asked about negative international reaction, he said: “With any changes, any reforms, people who are perhaps not in the country itself may take a different view.

“People need to look at our history, need to look at the objectives, the vision of the government including (that of) the President, and make their judgement calls then.”

Vision outlined

He said the national vision had been outlined in recent speeches by the President and the Prime Minister.

“Fundamentally, we need a number of reforms in Fiji, in particular things like electoral reform, before we can have true democratic and parliamentary elections.”

Present features of the electoral system were that “a huge gerrymandering (electoral boundary changes) takes place within it; you don’t have equal value of votes; you don’t have equal suffrage, and plus it’s based on ethnicity . .

“You don’t have basic notions of citizenry.”

MORE

Well, that’s the way to get true “reform”–have a few coups.  And the Police Media Unit and a military man running the “information office”–nice touches, yes?  But not to worry about those “communications blackouts”–who knows whether Radio Australia shut down its transmitters in Fiji–the AG doesn’t have any “personal knowledge” about it.  Anyway, it’s all OK because Commodore Bainimarama was once a U.N. Peacekeeper, doncha know.

We’re in the middle of our own stealth coup now and many of us saw it coming during the primaries as the Democratic Party acted anything but.  And, the “ethnicity card”…well, we had/have that, too.

The BBC report on the problems in Fiji includes the following observation by Professor Helen Ware in Australia:

“The country’s about to fall off a cliff…”

And other observers see the promises being made as “vague and worryingly-open ended.”

Sounds so familiar over here in “Fiji on the Potomac”…

Canada Follows the U.S. Terms for GM/Chrysler; Harper Still Worrying About the “Eased” ‘Buy-American’ Clause in Stimulus Package

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

About a month ago we posted on the subject of how GM and Chrysler were begging from bailout money from the Canadian government. (See: The SCANNER–International/Political Edition, 2/24/09 (Which Deficit is Obama “Halving”?; Canada Rubs U.S. Nose into Its Stable Banking System; GM/Chrysler Beg for Bailout Help in Canada, Too; Half of Foreign Criminals in Canada Are Fleeing to the U.S. [???]).

Here’s the relevant excerpt:

GM, Chrysler ask for billions in Canadian aid

General Motors has outlined a restructuring plan that would cut its Canadian workforce to 7,000 and seek as much as $7 billion from the federal and Ontario governments, while Chrysler is requesting around $2.8 billion in aid.

GM didn’t specify how much it will ask for, but Reuters quoted federal Industry Minister Tony Clement as saying the company is asking for between $6 and $7 billion.

The Canadian government doesn’t seem to want to bailout CAW pensions…time will tell.

MORE

Here’s an update on what’s going on now…right in tandem with what the Obama Administration is doing:

GM, Chrysler scolded but given more time to restructure

Canada, Ontario provide $4 billion in loans to troubled manufacturers

Political leaders on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border are giving General Motors and Chrysler extensions on deadlines to come up with viable restructuring plans, saying the auto manufacturers fell short in their first attempts.

(SNIP)

Disappointment in Canada

Canadian politicians also expressed regret that GM and Chrysler could not come up with viable plans.

Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement, along with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Ontario Economic Development Minister Michael Bryant, said GM has 60 days to come up with a plan for its Canadian division, while Chrysler has 30 days to reach a deal with the Canadian Auto Workers union and with Fiat.

At the same time, Clement said the first of the $4 billion in interim loans to the two companies is going out. Chrysler will get $250 million on Monday of the $1 billion allocated, while the first of $3 billion in funds for GM will begin to flow in early April.

“We are making this strategic investment to support an orderly restructuring of a critical industry with [the] goal of ensuring that Canada maintains its 20 per cent production share in the future,” Clement said.

(SNIP)

Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza said the union won’t reopen its collective agreement with GM Canada despite pressure from politicians that more cost restructuring is needed.

“We did it once 10 months ago and we did it again less than a month ago,” he said. “Opening up bargaining won’t resolve this problem.”

Lewenza said the union is still trying to work out a new collective agreement with Chrysler in advance of a March 31 deadline.

The email newsletter I receive from Radio Canada International sums it all up this way:

OTTAWA: GOVERNMENT OFFERS INTERIM HELP TO AUTOMAKERS

Two struggling Canadian automakers, Chrysler and General Motors, were offered help on Monday by the federal government and the government of Ontario. The two companies will receive bridge loans totalling CDN$4 billion to help them to survive. Chrysler would receive CDN$1 billion and General Motors would get $CDN$3 billion. Further government loans will depend on whether the two companies can present acceptable restructuring plans. Tony Clement, Canada’s industry minister, has rejected plans that were submitted earlier, saying that they fail to ensure the companies’ long-term survival. General Motors has until the end of May to present its new plan. Chrysler has until the end of April. Chrysler’s plan must include the company’s merger with the Italian carmaker, Fiat, that was announced on Monday. The plans will depend in large measure on negotiations with the company’s unionized workers. The Canadian Autoworkers Union welcomed the Chrysler/Fiat merger as long as it preserves the Canadian auto industry. CAW’s negotiations with Chrysler will continue, but the CAW refused to renegotiate a deal with General Motors that was arranged within the past month. The CAW also welcomed the government’s insistence that the two American-based companies commit to maintaining 20 per cent of their North American production in Canada. The government offer also requires that company executives agree to limits on their compensation.

Now, here’s another rather ironic bit from the same newsletter, considering how tightly bound together Canada and U.S. are.  (See: What’s Going On North of the Border: The Canadian Economy and Stimulus Plan & THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner)

WASHINGTON: PRIME MINISTER EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER GLOBAL PROTECTIONISM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the danger of protectionism is one of his major concerns in the global economic crisis. He’s worried that if protectionism becomes a global option, the world could face a depression similar to the one in the 1930s when countries introduced trade barriers to save homegrown industries. The measures only accelerated and deepened the global economic downturn. Mr. Harper is concerned that the United States stimulus plan includes Buy-American clauses for recipients of government bailout money. Such a plan could hurt Canadian exports to the United States. Mr. Harper made his comments as he prepares to attend a Group of 20 summit in London this week.

In early February, the Senate “eased” the Buy-American” clause as Obama proclaimed he didn’t want a “trade war”…The EU, Canada, and Japan had protested; only the UK hadn’t complained at that point.

US Senate eases “Buy-American Provision in Stimulus Package”

(SNIP)

The measure had sparked fears of retaliatory measures by US trading partners and a possible spiral of protectionism in an already reeling global economy.

The requirement to favour US-made supplies to be used in infrastructure projects, included in a nearly 900-billion-dollar package being considered by the Senate, was softened to allow for exceptions as required by US trade agreements, broadcaster MSNBC reported.

Apparently, Harper isn’t completely satisfied with the changes to the clause. Maybe he doesn’t trust Obama or the U.S. Senate…probably a wise stance to take.

“It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis: Well, It Sure Seems Like It IS Happening Here…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I was driving home last night and happened to hear the opening salvo from Michael Savage.  Now, I’ve never been a fan of Savage, but he seems to have caught on to what’s really going on with the Obama Administration.  So, I don’t gag when I hear him as much as I have in the past.

Last night he brought up Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel, “It Can’t Happen Here”.  The novel was written as Hitler was on the rise.

Basically, the novel is about a right wing President, but the point of Savage’s opening was that much of this work sure sounds like the left wing today (except for the glaring Point 10 about Negroes…)

He read only a few of the points from the novel, but here is the entire list from that section of the book which reveals the platform on which Senator Windrip runs for the Presidency:

During the very first week of his campaign, Senator Windrip clarified his philosophy by issuing his distinguished proclamation: “The Fifteen Points of Victory for the Forgotten Men.” The fifteen planks, in his own words (or maybe in Lee Sarason’s words, or Dewey Haik’s words), were these:

(1) All finance in the country, including banking, insurance, stocks and bonds and mortgages, shall be under the absolute control of a Federal Central Bank, owned by the government and conducted by a Board appointed by the President, which Board shall, without need of recourse to Congress for legislative authorization, be empowered to make all regulations governing finance. Thereafter, as soon as may be practicable, this said Board shall consider the nationalization and government-ownership, for the Profit of the Whole People, of all mines, oilfields, water power, public utilities, transportation, and communication.

(2) The President shall appoint a commission, equally divided between manual workers, employers, and representatives of the Public, to determine which Labor Unions are qualified to represent the Workers; and report to the Executive, for legal action, all pretended labor organizations, whether “Company Unions,” or “Red Unions,” controlled by Communists and the so-called “Third International.” The duly recognized Unions shall be constituted Bureaus of the Government, with power of decision in all labor disputes. Later, the same investigation and official recognition shall be extended to farm organizations. In this elevation of the position of the Worker, it shall be emphasized that the League of Forgotten Men is the chief bulwark against the menace of destructive and un-American Radicalism.

(3) In contradistinction to the doctrines of Red Radicals, with their felonious expropriation of the arduously acquired possessions which insure to aged persons their security, this League and Party will guarantee Private Initiative and the Right to Private Property for all time.

(4) Believing that only under God Almighty, to Whom we render all homage, do we Americans hold our vast Power, we shall guarantee to all persons absolute freedom of religious worship, provided, however, that no atheist, agnostic, believer in Black Magic, nor any Jew who shall refuse to swear allegiance to the New Testament, nor any person of any faith who refuses to take the Pledge to the Flag, shall be permitted to hold any public office or to practice as a teacher, professor, lawyer, judge, or as a physician, except in the category of Obstetrics.

(5) Annual net income per person shall be limited to $500,000. No accumulated fortune may at any one time exceed $3,000,000 per person. No one person shall, during his entire lifetime, be permitted to retain an inheritance or various inheritances in total exceeding $2,000,000. All incomes or estates in excess of the sums named shall be seized by the Federal Government for use in Relief and in Administrative expenses.

(6) Profit shall be taken out of War by seizing all dividends over and above 6 per cent that shall be received from the manufacture, distribution, or sale, during Wartime, of all arms, munitions, aircraft, ships, tanks, and all other things directly applicable to warfare, as well as from food, textiles, and all other supplies furnished to the American or to any allied army.

(7) Our armaments and the size of our military and naval establishments shall be consistently enlarged until they shall equal, but–since this country has no desire for foreign conquest of any kind–not surpass, in every branch of the forces of defense, the martial strength of any other single country or empire in the world. Upon inauguration, this League and Party shall make this its first obligation, together with the issuance of a firm proclamation to all nations of the world that our armed forces are to be maintained solely for the purpose of insuring world peace and amity.

(8) Congress shall have the sole right to issue money and immediately upon our inauguration it shall at least double the present supply of money, in order to facilitate the fluidity of credit.

(9) We cannot too strongly condemn the un-Christian attitude of certain otherwise progressive nations in their discriminations against the Jews, who have been among the strongest supporters of the League, and who will continue to prosper and to be recognized as fully Americanized, though only so long as they continue to support our ideals.

(10) All Negroes shall be prohibited from voting, holding public office, practicing law, medicine, or teaching in any class above the grade of grammar school, and they shall be taxed 100 per cent of all sums in excess of $10,000 per family per year which they may earn or in any other manner receive. In order, however, to give the most sympathetic aid possible to all Negroes who comprehend their proper and valuable place in society, all such colored persons, male or female, as can prove that they have devoted not less than forty-five years to such suitable tasks as domestic service, agricultural labor, and common labor in industries, shall at the age of sixty-five be permitted to appear before a special Board, composed entirely of white persons, and upon proof that while employed they have never been idle except through sickness, they shall be recommended for pensions not to exceed the sum of $500.00 per person per year, nor to exceed $700.00 per family. Negroes shall, by definition, be persons with at least one sixteenth colored blood.

(11) Far from opposing such high-minded and economically sound methods of the relief of poverty, unemployment, and old age as the EPIC plan of the Hon. Upton Sinclair, the “Share the Wealth” and “Every Man a King” proposals of the late Hon. Huey Long to assure every family $5000 a year, the Townsend plan, the Utopian plan, Technocracy, and all competent schemes of unemployment insurance, a Commission shall immediately be appointed by the New Administration to study, reconcile, and recommend for immediate adoption the best features in these several plans for Social Security, and the Hon. Messrs. Sinclair, Townsend, Eugene Reed, and Howard Scott are herewith invited to in every way advise and collaborate with that Commission.

(12) All women now employed shall, as rapidly as possible, except in such peculiarly feminine spheres of activity as nursing and beauty parlors, be assisted to return to their incomparably sacred duties as home-makers and as mothers of strong, honorable future Citizens of the Commonwealth.

(13) Any person advocating Communism, Socialism, or Anarchism, advocating refusal to enlist in case of war, or advocating alliance with Russia in any war whatsoever, shall be subject to trial for high treason, with a minimum penalty of twenty years at hard labor in prison, and a maximum of death on the gallows, or other form of execution which the judges may find convenient.

(14) All bonuses promised to former soldiers of any war in which America has ever engaged shall be immediately paid in full, in cash, and in all cases of veterans with incomes of less than $5,000.00 a year, the formerly promised sums shall be doubled.

(15) Congress shall, immediately upon our inauguration, initiate amendments to the Constitution providing (a), that the President shall have the authority to institute and execute all necessary measures for the conduct of the government during this critical epoch; (b), that Congress shall serve only in an advisory capacity, calling to the attention of the President and his aides and Cabinet any needed legislation, but not acting upon same until authorized by the President so to act; and (c), that the Supreme Court shall immediately have removed from its jurisdiction the power to negate, by ruling them to be unconstitutional or by any other judicial action, any or all acts of the President, his duly appointed aides, or Congress.

Addendum: It shall be strictly understood that, as the League of Forgotten Men and the Democratic Party, as now constituted, have no purpose nor desire to carry out any measure that shall not unqualifiedly meet with the desire of the majority of voters in these United States, the League and Party regard none of the above fifteen points as obligatory and unmodifiable except No. 15, and upon the others they will act or refrain from acting in accordance with the general desire of the Public, who shall under the new régime be again granted an individual freedom of which they have been deprived by the harsh and restrictive economic measures of former administrations, both Republican and Democratic.

…”But what does it mean?” marveled Mrs. Jessup, when her husband had read the platform to her. “It’s so inconsistent. Sounds like a combination of Norman Thomas and Calvin Coolidge. I don’t seem to understand it. I wonder if Mr. Windrip understands it himself?”

Later in the work, a character comments on what has developed in America:

In La Voix littéraire of Paris, the celebrated and genial professor of belles-lettres, Guillaume Semit, wrote with his accustomed sympathy:

I do not pretend to any knowledge of politics, and probably what I saw on my fourth journey to the States United this summer of 1938 was mostly on the surface and cannot be considered a profound analysis of the effects of Corpoism, but I assure you that I have never before seen that nation so great, our young and gigantic cousin in the West, in such bounding health and good spirits. I leave it to my economic confrères to explain such dull phenomena as wage-scales, and tell only what I saw, which is that the innumerable parades and vast athletic conferences of the Minute Men and the lads and lassies of the Corpo Youth Movement exhibited such rosy, contented faces, such undeviating enthusiasm for their hero, the Chief, M. Windrip, that involuntarily I exclaimed, “Here is a whole nation dipped in the River of Youth.”

Everywhere in the country was such feverish rebuilding of public edifices and apartment houses for the poor as has never hitherto been known. In Washington, my old colleague, M. le Secretary Macgoblin, was so good as to cry, in that virile yet cultivated manner of his which is so well known, “Our enemies maintain that our labor camps are virtual slavery. Come, my old one! You shall see for yourself.” He conducted me by one of the marvelously speedy American automobiles to such a camp, near Washington, and having the workers assembled, he put to them frankly: “Are you low in the heart?” As one man they chorused, “No,” with a spirit like our own brave soldiers on the ramparts of Verdun.

During the full hour we spent there, I was permitted to roam at will, asking such questions as I cared to, through the offices of the interpreter kindly furnished by His Excellency, M. le Dr. Macgoblin, and every worker whom I thus approached assured me that never has he been so well fed, so tenderly treated, and so assisted to find an almost poetic interest in his chosen work as in this labor camp–this scientific cooperation for the well-being of all.

With a certain temerity I ventured to demand of M. Macgoblin what truth was there in the reports so shamefully circulated (especially, alas, in our beloved France) that in the concentration camps the opponents of Corpoism are ill fed and harshly treated. M. Macgoblin explained to me that there are no such things as “concentration camps,” if that term is to carry any penological significance. They are, actually, schools, in which adults who have unfortunately been misled by the glib prophets of that milk-and-water religion, “Liberalism,” are reconditioned to comprehend the new day of authoritative economic control. In such camps, he assured me, there are actually no guards, but only patient teachers, and men who were once utterly uncomprehending of Corpoism, and therefore opposed to it, are now daily going forth as the most enthusiastic disciples of the Chief.

Alas that France and Great Britain should still be thrashing about in the slough of Parliamentarianism and so-called Democracy, daily sinking deeper into debt and paralysis of industry, because of the cowardice and traditionalism of our Liberal leaders, feeble and outmoded men who are afraid to plump for either Fascism or Communism; who dare not–or who are too power hungry–to cast off outmoded techniques, like the Germans, Americans, Italians, Turks, and other really courageous peoples, and place the sane and scientific control of the all-powerful Totalitarian State in the hands of Men of Resolution!

The novel also digs into religion and preachers buying air time, political “gangs,” youth, political advisers and all sorts of other things that sound eerily familiar.  (Windrip’ appoints his political guru as Secretary of State:  “his former secretary and press-agent, Lee Sarason, who also took the position of High Marshal, or Commander-in-Chief, of the Minute Men, which organization was to be established permanently, as an innocent marching club.”)

Project Gutenberg Australia has the entire novel online, so go over and scroll through it.  I think you will be pretty amazed.

You might also find it very scary…

***

Background information on “It Can’t Happen Here”

Background information on Norman Thomas

For another eerie novel see “The Black President”: A 1926 Novel “Predicts” the Politics of 2008 with Some Eerily Similar Details