Monday, April 30, 2018

Ford's Near Abandonment of the Passenger Car Market Sends a Message from Detroit

Ford announced last week that it was reducing its new car production to the Ford Focus and Mustang. Gone will be the Fiesta, Fusion, C-Max, and Taurus. Ford will focus the future on light trucks, i.e. pickups and SUV’s, and electric vehicles. Left open is the question of Lincolns. President Obama’s administration focused on bringing Chrysler and GM out of bankruptcy with fuel efficient cars. The EPA adopted new higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) Standards to 54MPH by 2025. The goal was frustrated by Americans flocking to light trucks. The best selling vehicle in America for years has been the Ford F-150 pickup truck. High on the list are the Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram pickups. SUV sales, including the smaller crossovers, are booming. The Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CRV are large sellers. Detroit CRV’s are catching on. Therein lies the problem for Detroit. They are having trouble selling sedans to Americans. Detroit is being squeezed from the top and bottom of the passenger car market. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Kia, and Hyundai are eating Detroit’s lunch in small and midsize cars. The top selling vehicle (sales include leases) in the U.S. last year was the Ford F-150 pickup truck, followed by the Chevy Silverado. The top selling car was the Honda Civic in eighth place. No U.S. passenger car was in the top 20 of vehicle sales, although several crossovers and Jeep models are on the list. March 2018 is a startling picture of the U.S. car market. 1,653,529 vehicles were sold. Light trucks outsold passenger cars roughly 2-1. 1,097,904 light trucks were sold compared to 555,625 cars. Orange County, California is an example of the duality of the American car market. The large Japanese dealers are overflowing with cars while the smaller American dealerships feature light trucks. Californians simply prefer the imported car models to those of Detroit. Cadillac was once the dominate luxury car in the United States. Only 156,440 were sold in the United States last year compared to 375,240 Mercedes, 305,685 BMW’s, 305,132 Lexus, and 226,511 Audis. Cadillac barely outsold Acura and Infiniti. Detroit’s problem is compounded because it cannot make money on small cars, even when built in Mexico. Detroit has had a problem since the 1970’s of building small cars that can match the Japanese in quality, amenities, and price. The imports, often made in the United States, come loaded whereas the Detroit models nickel and dime on “options.” Ford has seen the light. It’s following the market; Ford’s President Paul Hackett said: “We’ll going to invest in the healthy part of our business and deal decisively with areas that destroy value.” Detroit is being squeezed out of the passenger car market in the United States. Ford will be investing into light trucks and electrics. It plans to introduce 40 electric vehicles by 2022. Fiat Chrysler is down to three car models: Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, and the barely selling Chrysler 300. GM abandoned the Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, and Saab brands during its bankruptcy. Buick and Chevrolet models may soon be dropped. Ford is making one of the biggest gambles of its century old existence.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Bill Cosby - We Hardly Knew Thee: The Tragedies of Bill Cosby

The blind, octogenarian Bill Cosby was convicted Thursday on three counts of sexual assault, thus bringing to an end the trailblazing career of William Henry Cosby, Jr. America now witnesses the unfolding of several tragedies. The first, and greatest, is the personal tragedy of each of the victims, of whom 62 have stepped forward. The sexual assaults and attempted assaults on scores of women spanned four decades from 1965 to 2008. The victims were violated first by Bill Cosby, and then ignored by society. Hollywood knew of his peccadillos, but nothing was done until a black comedian, Hannibal Buress, mentioned it in a standup routine at a Philadelphia club on October 16, 2014. Hamilton Buress was upset by the condescending attitude of Bill Cosby. He said: “Bill Cosby has the … smuggest old black man persona that I hate. He gets on TV: ‘Pull your pants up, black people, I was on TV in the late 80’s! I can talk to you because I had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So turn the crazy down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. But yeah, you’re a rapist.” A video went viral and the rest is history. Women again came forward with complaints about Bill Cosby. A jury failed to reached a verdict a year ago, resulting in a mistrial. This time five other victims were allowed to testify. This time they were listened to. Ironically the African American star of standup comedy was outed by an African American comedian in Bill Cosby’s hometown of Philadelphia. Hamilton Buress in 2014 and the election of President Trump in November 2016 opened the doors to #MeToo. The election of Hillary Clinton would have delayed the unleashing of the sexual harassment charges against scores of predators. To have done so would have involved pursuing the record of the new First Husband. Just like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and hundreds of other infamous perpetrators, nothing was done until recently to being the predators and perpetrators to account. Justice, rather through criminal or civil judgments, can never fully restore their dignity and personhood, nor right the wrongs. Earlier prosecutions in all these cases could have prevented many future sexual assaults. So too is the tragic fall of a trailblazing African American entertainer We see today a broken down man convicted of being a sexual predator. We do not see the trailblazing African American who broke through racial barriers. Bill Cosby rose to fame as a standup comedian, providing inspiration to comedians who followed. His rift on Driving in San Francisco is a classic. He quickly recorded record albums. Bill Cosby was rising fast. Two of his many TV shows helped change America’s atttitudes on race. He co-starred with Robert Culp from 1965-1968 in the highly successful TV show I Spy. Bill Cosby was the first African American actor to star in a TV series, paving the path for all who followed. Bill Cosby as Doctor Huxtable in the Bill Cosby Show from 1984-1992 portrayed an African American family as an ordinary American family. It led the ratings for years and was the cornerstone for decades of NBC’s Must See Thursday Night. The show featured many African American actors and actresses. His commercials, such as for Jello, were very popular. Bill Cosby during the height of his popularity even spoke truth to power in the black community. He declaimed the emphasis on sports, fashion, and “acting hard” rather than education, self-respect, and self-improvement. He also spoke out against racism. He reaped scores of honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Kennedy Center Honors, the Mark Twain award for American Comedy, a number of EMMY’s, and numbers of honorary degrees, many of which have since been rescinded. His reruns and residuals today are in the dumpster along with reruns of Amos and Andy. How the Mighty Have Fallen! The Greeks were right. Sometimes the gods build you up and then bring you down

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Will EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Be Yet Another Notch on the Media's Belt?

The mainstream media doing its best to impeach or indict President Trump. They’ve been a cheerleader and chorus to any wild charge hurled against the President. Russia Collusion? Obstruction of Justice? Sexist? Cavorting with porn stars and Playmates of the Month? Womanizer? Acting unconstitutionally (on almost everything)? Trust him with the Bomb? Tax Fraud? Liar? Lazy? Racist? Narcissist? Violating the Emoluments Clause (whatever that is)? Excessive golfing at his resorts? Melania will leave him? An Administration in turmoil? Can’t get a criminal lawyer to defend him? Policy disagreements in the White House become personal? Fascist? Fake News? The Dossier? The President is still standing tall. Not so much his Cabinet and staff! The media has been unable to destroy the President, but they’re picking off his Cabinet members and staffers one by one. The Democrat’s strategy is simple: Bork each and every Trump nominee, appointee, and ally. Accusations and scurrilous rumors are taken as gospel, amplified by a suppliant media. The Democrats are not deterred by the threat of future retaliation by Republicans because they know the media has a double standard for Republicans: slime Republicans but ignore the misconduct of Democrats. A column in the Boston Globe a few days ago wanted Justice Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court because of the decades old Anita Hill sexual harassment claims. Here are some of the notches on the media’s belt: National Security Advisor General Mike Flynn Mike Flynn White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price National Security Advisor T. J. McMasters Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin Secretary of State Rex Tillerson They’re trying to destroy as I write this blog the nomination of Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson even though the fitness reports by President Obama had high praise for the Admiral. Jared Kushner, Donald, Jr. and Eric Trump are routinely castigated and vilified Andy Pudzer didn’t even get to a Senate vote. They speculated two weeks ago that General Kelly will soon be out as Chief of Staff. One by one they fall. One by one the media celebrates. One by one the Trump Administration is portrayed as in chaos The President ignores his advisors in making decisions. Of course he does. Memo to the media: The role of aides is to give advice The role of the President is to make decisions! And now the media and Democrats are running a full court press on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The New York Times is pillowing Scott Pruitt from the front page to the editorial page and the pages within. Some of the Times’ choice descriptions of the EPA Administrator: “Self-aggrandizing and borderline thuggish behavior” “Industry lap dog” “Arrogant and vengeful bully” “Small time grifter” His alleged sins: Expensive first class airfares Profligate spending Large security detachment Abuses the use of security Ethical Violations Staff discontent and low morale His real sins: Scott Pruitt has proven to be one of the most effective Trump agency directors. He has been exceedingly effective in carrying out the Trump Agenda and rolling back the Obama rules and regulations. The War on Coal is over. The EPA, the Trump EPA, has rolled back many of the Obama Administration job killing rules and regulations. He opposes the Climate Change Agenda and the Paris Accords. He’s cleaning house at the EPA. The media is not bothered by hypocrisy in attacking the Trumpers. Scott Pruitt’s predecessors Gina McCarthy and Lisa Jackson were much more profligate. Ms. McCarthy spent $629,743 on 10 trips from 2013 through 2016, including $90,367 to Dubai (2015), $74,737 to Tokyo (2016), $68,267 to Vietnam (2014), and even $62,246 to Vancouver (2014). Vancouver? She said she never flew first class, but that’s not true. Lisa Jackson spent $332,000 of taxpayer money on four trips, including $155,763 to China in 2011. It cost $51,435 to send her to Montreal in 2011. Government policy allows first class tickets on flights over 14 hours. Scott Pruitt and his EPA has received substantially more threats than his predecessors. 24-7 security is expensive, such that his security staff consists of 20 employees. He is accused of violating federal law by installing a $43,000 in his office. His sin was not providing prior notification to Congress of purchase over $5,000. My understanding is the installation was for cybersecurity – clearly a critical need for our government. The purchase would not have been disallowed. The attacks on Messrs. Pruitt, Rooney, et al could be mounted against any appointee. We are all human, and thus fallible. Any of us could be excoriated by the media for something in our past. Fly speck anyone with an electron microscope and blemishes will appear.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tom Perez and the DNC Hit a New Low in Filing a Lawsuit Against the Trumps

The Democratic Party has become the party of trial lawyers. If they can’t win at the ballot box or in the legislatures, they file lawsuits before friendly judges. State Attorney Generals have besieged the Trump Administration and the federal government. Anything to delegitimize the Trump Administration. The Democratic National Committee under Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the Clinton campaign engaged in a blatant conspiracy to secure the nomination for Hillary Clinton and deny it to Senator Bernie Sanders, subverting the democratic process. The Attorney General of the United States met with former President Bill Clinton while his wife was under FBI investigation, and then made it clear there would be no prosecution. President Obama twice made it clear he thought the FBI investigation would go nowhere, a clear obstruction of justice and indirect nudge to his Justice Department. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, Chuck Schumer, Tom Perez, John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Liberman, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis are lawyers. Al Gore was not a lawyer. He had dropped out of law school. We like to say to law students: “Think like a lawyer.” That doesn’t mean we want lawyers dragging politics down to new depths of sordid litigation. Both parties were prepared to flood America with attorneys to contest the 2016 election, like the Bush-Gore 2000 election in Florida. The DNC filed suit against the Trump Administration. The complaint begins “No one is above the law.” Hillary Clinton so far seems to be above the law. The complaint calls the Trump Campaign a “Racketeering Enterprise,” charging them with RICO violations, shades of the Mafia. The DNC would love to win the lawsuit. Short of that, they hope to get past an initial motion to dismiss and engage in discovery. They will then embark on a fishing expedition, hoping to uncover real “dirt” on the Trumps and his tax returns. The act of political parties burrowing into the inner workings, strategizing, memos, financing, drafts and political opponents is a direct threat to democracy. Discovery works both ways. The defendants will seek the Clinton server, the DNC server, the missing emails, essentially the entire trove of DNC materials, including emails and finances. They will establish the incompetence of the DNC, advanced warnings of possible hacking, and the sweetheart treatment of Pakistani computer workers with access to the innermost secrets of the DNC. They will uncover acts of illegal fundraising. The DNC is not serious in the complaint. The first named defendants are the Russian Federation and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian federation. The Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and North Koreans have unleashed thousands of computer hackers on the United States. The DNC has responded by unleashing an army of American lawyers on the Russians with a 66 page complaint. Vladimir Putin is probably laughing. Other named defendants are Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone, Julian Assange. WikiLeaks, and Gucifer. The charges in addition to the RICO counts include trespass, trespass to chattels, conspiracy, misappropriation of trade secrets, and a host of statutory violations. Can’t win in November! Can’t win in the state houses! Can’t win in the legislature! So sue, sue, and sue some more

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto Uprising

The Nazis crammed 300,00-400,000 Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto (1.3 sq. mi.) beginning in October and November 1940. Many died in the ghetto from disease and starvation. About 254,000 Jews were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp during the summer of 1942. The remaining Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto raised up against their Nazi oppressors 75 years ago on April 19, 1943. The SS had emptied most of the Ghetto. The remaining Jews knew deportation meant extermination at the death camps. The Jews once believed the Nazi promises of “resettlement.” They could say “Next year in Jerusalem.” No more; they knew the Nazis were sending the Jews to death camps. They knew their fate. Armed resistance began in January 1943 as the Germans started a second wave of deportations, which soon stopped. The Germans entered the Ghetto on Passover Eve, April 23 with the intent of liquidating the Ghetto – the “Final Solution” in Warsaw. About 400 Jews confronted the Nazis with a limited armory consisting of 2 heavy machine guns, 4 light machine guns, 21 submachine guns, 30 rifles, 50 pistols, over 400 hand grenades, and their spirit. Their fight was not a replay of David v. Goliath. The odds of defeating the SS and the German Army were nil, but they could send a message. They fought, as did the rebellious Jews at Masada 19 centuries earlier against the Romans. The Masada Jews committed suicide as the Roman Army was about to conquer Masada. They were not 300 Spartans at Thermopylae or 200 Texans at the Alamo buying time for the larger army. The Warsaw Jews exemplify the human spirit. They exemplify the Jewish spirit. They would not go quietly. Better to die with dignity than be part of a mass slaughter. They would take Germans with them. The SS attacked under the war criminal Jurgen Stroop, waging a scorched earth policy, building by building, block by block, basement by basement, tunnel by tunnel with dynamite and flamethrowers. Everyone and everything in the way was destroyed- an estimated 13,000 Jews. They razed the Jewish ghetto in the process. Only a few remnants remain. Fighting continued into mid-May. A few of the leaders and fighters managed to escape, to fight another day. Poland remembers their heroism, as it does the Warsaw Uprising a year later. The Jewish world remembers their heroism. Government financial support and worldwide contributions funded the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which initially opened in 2013 and had its grand opening in October 2014. It faces the Ghetto Heroes Monument, growing out of the rubble of the decimated Warsaw Ghetto. About 13,000 Jews died during the uprising with another roughly 50,000 survivors sent to the death camps. Stroop’s final report lists 110 casualties, including 17 fatalities. Unofficial reports are much higher. Jewish uprisings also occurred at Auschwitz, Sobibor, and Treblinka. The Jews did not go quietly. The Jews in Warsaw, Auschwitz, Sobibor and Treblinka are chapters in the epic history of the Jewish struggle for freedom.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garrett Believes LA and Iowa are Alike

Visions of the Presidency result in delusional behavior by otherwise smart politicians as they are blinded by the snow in Iowa and New Hampshire. Senator Chris Dodd moved his family to Iowa in 2007 in hopes of capturing Iowa. He came in sixth in the Iowa caucuses. Los Angeles Mayor is testing the Iowa waters, racking up frequent flyer miles and frequent sleeper points in Iowa. He doesn’t have to move to Iowa because he declared Iowa and Los Angeles are alike: “We’re the same as Iowa.” Yes, Iowa and Los Angeles are like Siamese Twins, or two peas in a pod, one blue and one red. He further stated that “Los Angeles is the heartland and Iowa is the cutting edge.” Yes, LA is the heartland in opening the new Selfie Museum. Yes, LA is the heartland in spending $40,000/mile to whitewash 6,500 miles of roads with white asphalt sealant to reduce global warming while 25% of its roads are rated “F” by the Bureau of Street Services. Iowans understand that white asphalt sealant does not fill the pothole ridden City of Angels. Nor does hot air. Los Angeles has potholes; Iowa road apples and road kill. La has the Dodgers; Iowa the Field of Dreams. Iowa is in the heartland of hard work. Iowa discerns the difference between bovines and bloviate. Iowa is full of bulls, LA BS. Iowa isn’t planning to place homeless shelters in peoples’ backyards, one of Mayor Garcetti’s ideas. Mayor Garcetti will have to spend more barnstorming chucking down corn dogs at the Iowa State Fair than he has even spent at the LA County Fair. Mayor Garcetti can check off many boxes: Mexican American Italian American Irish American Jewish American Navy Reserves Rhodes Scholar Fluent in English, Hebrew and Spanish Musician Youthful Telegenic Empathetic Multi-Cultural Multi-Ethnic Metrosexual But not “Farmer” If Mayor Garcetti gets out of Des Moines, he will open his eyes, ears and nose to new scenes, sounds and scents: skyscrapers in the form of grain elevators and water towers, working farms, and water flowing in a mighty river, the Mississippi, rather than the cement Los Angeles River, pigs squealing, grunting and oinking, sheep bleating, and cows mooing. The sounds of urban coyotes and rural coyotes will. however, be the familiar howling. He will pretend to be appalled at the cows contributing to global warming through their flatulence. Mayor Garcetti apparently shares the elitist view of farmers as “Rubes” and “Hayseeds,” or “Deplorables” living in Flyover Country, who can be snookered by a city slicker. Beware if the Mayor starts wearing a John Deere cap in Iowa. He probably doesn’t know the difference between the front end and rear end of a combine. Iowa has the National (Hot Air) Balloon Classic. Politicians spew hot air. Iowans don’t like being patronized by elitists.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Stormy Daniels' 15 Minutes of Fame

Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, is sucking up her 15 minutes of fame as Storm Daniels slowly blows over America. CBS even gave her 60 Minutes. CBS, CNN and MSNB are obsessed with the porn actress. She made page one of the New York Times. Their news programs dolt on her, as if she were a Goddess, the Goddess of Porn. Fake Blond Fake Boobs Fake Truth Fake News Anything to bring President Trump down. Hence the blow by blow account of the President’s boorish and tawdry behavior 12 years ago. Blinded by contempt and hatred for President Trump, much of the media has given up any pretense of journalistic integrity in their Crusade to force President Trump from office. They are shilling a porn star of questionable morals. The mainstream media let the Clintonistas get away with alluding to Paula Jones as “Trailer Park Trash. James Carville, the Bill political guru said regarding Paula Jones “Drag a hundred dollars through a trailer park and there’s no telling what you’ll find.” Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said on a talk show that Paula Jones was “some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of trailer parks.” To Evan Thomas’ credit, he was ashamed of his statements a few years later. Few others have actually recanted their remarks, but many are now prepared to throw former President and no longer politically useful Bill Clinton under the bus. Relatively few column inches were spent on the Paula Jones outcome. Federal District Judge Susan Webber Wright on April 12, 1999 held the President was guilty of false testimony in a deposition, fined him $90,000, and referred his matter to the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Committee. The President agreed to a $25,000 fine and a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license and then surrendered it. President Clinton further faced disbarment from The United States Supreme Court. The reprobate President resigned his license prior to the disbarment ruling. The media’s attitude has been to toss everything up against the wall and see what sticks: The Russia-Trump Collusion Obstruction of Justice The President’s Mental Competence The President’s Hand on the Nuclear Button He doesn’t read the intelligence reports He doesn’t follow the advice of his advisors Chaos in the White House An Administration in Disarray Their favorite words and impeachment and indictment. Stormy is not sticking. Every storm shall pass. Voters remember President Clinton and the Democrats/media rabid support of the Clinton libido. The attention on Storm Daniels is in contrast to the media’s conduct during the Bill Clinton years. His campaign against “Bimbo Eruptions” was led by his wife, Hillary, and abetted by the media. Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Gennifer Flowers, and a host of others who did not want to publicly come forward. Voters are not seeking Saints and angels in the White House. They seek a leader who reflects their dreams, aspirations, fears, concerns, visions. They seek a leader who addresses their needs. They seek a President who believes in their America. They don’t care about Stormy Daniels. They see her as just another example of morality and ethics of convenience and as a political act of hypocrisy as the Democrats and media pivoted 180º for partisan purposes. Stormy is suing President Trump’s attorney for defamation. What defamation? The law of defamation protects a person’s reputation against false statements. How can the reputation of a lying, immoral porn star be damaged? Storms will pass. The question is how much detritus do they leave behind?