GM + UAW: Not a winning combination

Brilliant:

Big Three Bailout? Not So Fast, Declan McCullagh Says A Better Solution Is To Let The Automakers Declare Bankruptcy – CBS News
One of the best reasons why Detroit automakers should not receive a bailout can be found in a General Motors “Jobs Bank” program that, bizarrely, pays employees not to work.

A beneficiary of that program was someone named Jerry Mellon, who worked for GM until his division merged with another in 2000 and he was no longer needed. Except for a brief period in 2001, Mellon received his full salary for not working, which reached $64,500 a year by 2006. Include benefits, and the annual cost to GM exceeds $100,000.

To earn his pay, Mellon was given the formidable task of showing up in a windowless shed, sitting at a table, and doing nothing for eight hours a day for six years, according to a profile in the Wall Street Journal. Jobs Bank employees have the option of attending classes teaching such important manufacturing skills as dealing blackjack and poker. Mellon spent part of his time reading Reader’s Digest, learning how to play Trivial Pursuit, napping on a makeshift bed of chairs pushed together, or simply staring at the wall for hours at a time.

We can’t afford to have companies like GM around, or unions like the UAW.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

I agree with Tom, this Putin guy is pretty stupid. Putin’s a real piece of work — typical of the macho-man goon you get from the Gap. Idi Amin wrecked Uganda, Poppa Doc made sure that absolutely nothing positive happened in Haiti. Putin’s right out of this mold.

Cunning and crafty are not what comes to mind when I read this:

MOSCOW, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Russia may scrap its Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, Nord Stream, and build gas liquefaction plants instead if Europe keeps delaying the pipeline, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Europe must decide whether it needs this pipeline or not,” Putin told Finland’s Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen, at a meeting in Moscow.

“If you don’t we will build liquefaction plants and send gas to world markets, including to European markets. But it will be simply more expensive for you. You are free to make the calculations yourself,” he added.

The European Union has identified the plan to pump Russian gas under the Baltic Sea by to Germany — involving Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Germany’s E.ON EONG.DE and BASF (BASF.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Dutch Gasunie — as a key project to ensure secure gas supplies for Europe.

But EU lawmakers have called for a new investigation into the pipeline’s environmental impact and it has been criticised by Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, angered at being shut out of a leading gas supply route.

But what do you think his real motive is? Haha.

Bloomberg calls Putin’s latest move, a partial currency devaluation is clumsy. I agree.

We should be doing what we can to encourage a default by Russia, including looking at ways of limited Russia’s earnings of hard currency, potential nationalization of Russian industries (that is Gazprom assets) abroad, and so on.

Whether you say that Putin’s Russia is a comatose regime on life support or merely on an IV drip, it’s pretty clear that we have a Gap state operating on braindead form of autopilot which is aggressive to the extent it can afford to be, determined by oil and natural gas prices.