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This failing economy and troubled auto industry is the perfect storm for Obama and the Democrats, if the auto industry was strong — how could you get it to change direction? The writing was on the wall some eight years ago that the oil age was coming to an end – that to continue to pursue it would lead us into difficulty. And it was one of the hallmarks of Al Gore’s presidential campaign. Now we have seen the results of continuing down the same path. But with this disaster or more stripping of the sector – there is opportunity; the free market idea is to allow the auto industry to fail, or it can be bailed out under conservative socialism, or we can forget about the old titles and give the auto-industry the money it needs but with the strings attached – that it retools for the future car. Why can’t we have a hybrid/electric or an electric SUZ? And this merchandise can be exported – the market should be thrilled.
Bush is arguing – he’ll give Obama this – if in return Obama cedes with the Republican position on trade with Columbia. And it is a weak argument – because what Obama is saying – we will be happy to trade with you – but you are going to have to pull your act together when it comes to workers rights. This carrot and stick approach may do more to change conditions in Columbia – than all the diplomacy in the world. Doubtful if this is a chip that can be traded because it has a long term goal.
WASHINGTON — The struggling auto industry was thrust into the middle of a political standoff between the White House and Democrats on Monday as President-elect Barack Obama urged President Bush in a meeting at the White House to support immediate emergency aid.
Mr. Bush indicated at the meeting that he might support some aid and a broader economic stimulus package if Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats dropped their opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia, a measure for which Mr. Bush has long fought, people familiar with the discussion said.
The Bush administration, which has presided over a major intervention in the financial industry, has balked at allowing the automakers to tap into the $700 billion bailout fund, despite warnings last week that General Motors might not survive the year.
Mr. Obama and Congressional Democratic leaders say the bailout law authorizes the administration to extend assistance.
Mr. Obama went into his post-election meeting with Mr. Bush on Monday primed to urge him to support emergency aid to the auto industry, advisers to Mr. Obama said. But Democrats also indicate that neither Mr. Obama nor Congressional leaders are inclined to concede the Colombia pact to Mr. Bush, and may decide to wait until Mr. Obama assumes power on Jan. 20. […]
As the auto industry reels, rarely has an issue so quickly illustrated the differences from one White House occupant to the next. How Mr. Obama responds to the industry’s dire straits will indicate how much government intervention in the private sector he is willing to tolerate. It will also offer hints of how he will approach his job under pressure, testing the limits of his conciliation toward the opposition party and his willingness to stand up to the interest groups in his own. [….]
Obama has called on the Bush administration to accelerate $25 billion in federal loans provided by a recent law specifically to help automakers retool. Late in his campaign, Mr. Obama proposed doubling that to $50 billion. But industry supporters say the automakers, squeezed both by the unavailability of credit and depressed sales, need unrestricted cash now, simply to meet payroll and other expenses.
On Friday, Mr. Obama said he would instruct his economic team, once he chooses it, to devise a long-range plan for helping the auto industry recover in a way that is part of an energy and environmental policy to reduce reliance on foreign oil and address climate change.
Democrats close to both Mr. Obama’s transition team and to Congressional leaders seemed willing to call Mr. Bush’s bluff, calculating that he would not want to gamble that G.M. — an iconic, century-old American corporation with business tentacles in every state — would fail on his watch and add to the negative notes of his legacy. Also, economists as conservative as Martin Feldstein, an adviser to a long line of Republican presidents and candidates, have called more broadly for stimulus spending of up to $300 billion.
The major automakers — G.M., Ford and Chrysler — are each using up their cash at unsustainable rates. The Center for Automotive Research, which is based in Michigan and supported by the industry, released on Election Day an economic analysis of the impact of one or all of them failing. If the Big Three were to collapse, it said, that would cost at least three million jobs, counting autoworkers, suppliers and other businesses dependent on the companies, down to the hot-dog vendors and bartenders next door to their plants.
Organized labor is not the only interest group with influence in the Democratic Party that is weighing in as Mr. Obama plans his transition. Environmentalists are adamant that any aid be conditioned on the auto industry’s dropping of its opposition to higher fuel-efficiency standards and investing more in new technology. That puts them at odds with unions, who oppose any strings, leaving it to Mr. Obama to mediate.
Both as a candidate and now as president-elect, Mr. Obama has been in contact with former Vice President Al Gore, who last year won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. In a column published in Sunday’s New York Times, Mr. Gore wrote that “we should help America’s automobile industry (not only the Big Three but the innovative new start-up companies as well) to convert quickly to plug-in hybrids that can run on the renewable electricity that will be available.”
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If the offending picture is the White House – perhaps the they could tone the ad down a bit – know that you are competing with the old system – but perhaps be more subtle with it – the truth is nothing can stop the new energy – in 50 – 100 years – we are not going to be potting around with a combustion engine. The top of the range electric car is already more efficient than the gas guzzler, it goes from 0-60 mph almost as fast as you can put the pedal down, it is also faster and cheaper at 2¢/mile. Consider that like computers were 10/15 years ago.
The new buzz word is ET ~ energy technology, if we can do what we did with IT – with energy technology – then we don’t know where we will end up and what will be the power of the future. It is likely – the crude oil and its cousins – will go the way of the whale oil they once had to pour in the sea (as the barrels were worth more) and the oil lamps that it powered.
An environmental action group founded by former vice president Al Gore is accusing ABC of censoring an advocacy ad the group paid to air on the network.
The Alliance for Climate Protection late Wednesday sent an e-mail blast to supporters with the ominous subject line, “ABC won’t air our ad.”
“Did you notice the ads after last night’s presidential debate? ABC had Chevron. CBS had Exxon. CNN had the coal lobby,” wrote Alliance CEO Cathy Zoi. “But you know what happened last week? ABC refused to run our Repower America ad — the ad that takes on this same oil and coal lobby.” The message sent readers to to a web page where they could send a form letter to the network.
The ad in question, which was aired by several other networks, is a 30-second spot that starts off with a call to “Repower America,” with images of a little girl, windmills and solar panels.
Zoi sent a letter to Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney on behalf of the Alliance, protesting the decision.
“This advertisement simply points out that the massive spending by oil companies on advertising and lobbying is a primary reason our nation hasn’t switched to clean and renewable sources for our energy. The assertions that our ad makes are factual, common sense and are needed in the national debate about our energy future. Your viewers should not be denied the right to hear this point of view,” wrote Zoi.
“Your rejection is even more indefensible given the overwhelming number of misleading ads that the oil and coal industry have run on your network,” she continued. “This year alone, oil and coal companies and interests have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to convince the American people that they are focused on solving our energy and climate crises. On its face, these assertions by oil and coal defy all reason.”
Barry said the group did not receive a response from ABC. The “Repower America” ad ran on CBS, CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News, and MSNBC. ABC was the only one to reject the ad, according to the Alliance. The time spot purchased on ABC cost the group nearly $100,000, according to the Alliance. Instead of airing “Repower America,” ABC ran the group’s “Free Us” ad, which was already running on the network.