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11385Re: [carfree_cities] GM bankruptcy

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  • Simon Baddeley
    Jun 2, 2009
      I¹ve blogged this with the link to Michael Moore


      Simon B

      Simon & Linda Baddeley
      Birmingham B20 3TG, UK
      00 44 121 554 9794 mobile 07775 655842
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      On 1/6/09 21:03, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...> wrote:

      > Forwarded:
      > Goodbye, GM
      > by Michael Moore
      > June 1, 2009
      > I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By
      > high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official:
      > General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.
      > As I sit here in GM's birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends
      > and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to
      > the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been
      > abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost
      > every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?
      > It is with sad irony that the company which invented "planned obsolescence" --
      > the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the
      > customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete. It
      > refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas
      > mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to
      > drive. Oh -- and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years. GM
      > stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives
      > arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would
      > become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on
      > punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no
      > good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the
      > corporation. Beginning in the 1980s, when GM was posting record profits, it
      > moved countless jobs to Mexico and elsewhere, thus destroying the lives of
      > tens of thousands of hard-working Americans. The glaring stupidity of this
      > policy was that, when they eliminated the income of so many middle class
      > families, who did they think was going to be able to afford to buy their cars?
      > History will record this blunder in the same way it now writes about the
      > French building the Maginot Line or how the Romans cluelessly poisoned their
      > own water system with lethal lead in its pipes.
      > So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company's body not yet
      > cold, and I find myself filled with -- dare I say it -- joy. It is not the joy
      > of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown and brought misery,
      > divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug
      > addiction to the people I grew up with. Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in
      > knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a
      > job.
      > But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company! I know, I know --
      > who on earth wants to run a car company? Who among us wants $50 billion of our
      > tax dollars thrown down the rat hole of still trying to save GM? Let's be
      > clear about this: The only way to save GM is to kill GM. Saving our precious
      > industrial infrastructure, though, is another matter and must be a top
      > priority. If we allow the shutting down and tearing down of our auto plants,
      > we will sorely wish we still had them when we realize that those factories
      > could have built the alternative energy systems we now desperately need. And
      > when we realize that the best way to transport ourselves is on light rail and
      > bullet trains and cleaner buses, how will we do this if we've allowed our
      > industrial capacity and its skilled workforce to disappear?
      > Thus, as GM is "reorganized" by the federal government and the bankruptcy
      > court, here is the plan I am asking President Obama to implement for the good
      > of the workers, the GM communities, and the nation as a whole. Twenty years
      > ago when I made "Roger & Me," I tried to warn people about what was ahead for
      > General Motors. Had the power structure and the punditocracy listened, maybe
      > much of this could have been avoided. Based on my track record, I request an
      > honest and sincere consideration of the following suggestions:
      > 1. Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the
      > President must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately
      > convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and
      > alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car
      > production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and
      > machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The
      > fascists were defeated.
      > We are now in a different kind of war -- a war that we have conducted against
      > the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This
      > current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products
      > built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest
      > weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of
      > our polar icecaps. The things we call "cars" may have been fun to drive, but
      > they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue
      > to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the
      > planet.
      > The other front in this war is being waged by the oil companies against you
      > and me. They are committed to fleecing us whenever they can, and they have
      > been reckless stewards of the finite amount of oil that is located under the
      > surface of the earth. They know they are sucking it bone dry. And like the
      > lumber tycoons of the early 20th century who didn't give a damn about future
      > generations as they tore down every forest they could get their hands on,
      > these oil barons are not telling the public what they know to be true -- that
      > there are only a few more decades of useable oil on this planet. And as the
      > end days of oil approach us, get ready for some very desperate people willing
      > to kill and be killed just to get their hands on a gallon can of gasoline.
      > President Obama, now that he has taken control of GM, needs to convert the
      > factories to new and needed uses immediately.
      > 2. Don't put another $30 billion into the coffers of GM to build cars.
      > Instead, use that money to keep the current workforce -- and most of those who
      > have been laid off -- employed so that they can build the new modes of 21st
      > century transportation. Let them start the conversion work now.
      > 3. Announce that we will have bullet trains criss-crossing this country in the
      > next five years. Japan is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first bullet
      > train this year. Now they have dozens of them. Average speed: 165 mph Average
      > time a train is late: under 30 seconds. They have had these high speed trains
      > for nearly five decades -- and we don't even have one! The fact that the
      > technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by
      > train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal. Let's hire the unemployed to
      > build the new high speed lines all over the country. Chicago to Detroit in
      > less than two hours. Miami to DC in under 7 hours. Denver to Dallas in five
      > and a half. This can be done and done now.
      > 4. Initiate a program to put light rail mass transit lines in all our large
      > and medium-sized cities. Build those trains in the GM factories. And hire
      > local people everywhere to install and run this system. [This is right and
      > fitting. It was GM (and the rest of the road gang) that killed the trams
      > in the first place. JHC]
      > 5. For people in rural areas not served by the train lines, have the GM plants
      > produce energy efficient clean buses.
      > 6. For the time being, have some factories build hybrid or all-electric cars
      > (and batteries). It will take a few years for people to get used to the new
      > ways to transport ourselves, so if we're going to have automobiles, let's have
      > kinder, gentler ones. We can be building these next month (do not believe
      > anyone who tells you it will take years to retool the factories -- that simply
      > isn't true).
      > 7. Transform some of the empty GM factories to facilities that build
      > windmills, solar panels and other means of alternate forms of energy. We need
      > tens of millions of solar panels right now. And there is an eager and skilled
      > workforce who can build them.
      > 8. Provide tax incentives for those who travel by hybrid car or bus or train.
      > Also, credits for those who convert their home to alternative energy.
      > 9. To help pay for this, impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline.
      > This will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new
      > rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.
      > Well, that's a start. Please, please, please don't save GM so that a smaller
      > version of it will simply do nothing more than build Chevys or Cadillacs. This
      > is not a long-term solution. Don't throw bad money into a company whose
      > tailpipe is malfunctioning, causing a strange odor to fill the car.
      > 100 years ago this year, the founders of General Motors convinced the world to
      > give up their horses and saddles and buggy whips to try a new form of
      > transportation. Now it is time for us to say goodbye to the internal
      > combustion engine. It seemed to serve us well for so long. We enjoyed the car
      > hops at the A&W. We made out in the front -- and the back -- seat. We watched
      > movies on large outdoor screens, went to the races at NASCAR tracks across the
      > country, and saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time through the window down
      > Hwy. 1. And now it's over. It's a new day and a new century. The President --
      > and the UAW -- must seize this moment and create a big batch of lemonade from
      > this very sour and sad lemon.
      > Yesterday, the last surviving person from the Titanic disaster passed away.
      > She escaped certain death that night and went on to live another 97 years.
      > So can we survive our own Titanic in all the Flint Michigans of this country.
      > 60% of GM is ours. I think we can do a better job.
      > Yours,
      > Michael Moore
      > <mailto:mmflint@... <mailto:mmflint%40aol.com> <mailto:mmflint@... >
      > >MMFlint@... <mailto:MMFlint%40aol.com>
      > <http://www.michaelmoore.com/>MichaelMoore.com
      > ----- ### -----
      > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      > mailbox@... <mailto:mailbox%40carfree.com>
      > http://www.carfree.com

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