Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Primed to fail.

Was an unwritten provision of the automaker bailout that some useless Party apparatchik's art school dropout brother-in-law would get the advertising contract for Chrysler? Who is making these snoozers?

Take the minivan ad: What's your target demographic for minivans? Parents in their late twenties to mid thirties who have outgrown the compact collegemobile with the advent of kid number two or three. I know that when I'm trying to appeal to kids of the Nintendo generation, I always start by filming my ad in black-and-white with a frickin' big band soundtrack.

Or take the ad for the Dodge Journey... Here's a vehicle that illustrates just how badly Chrysler is hurting: The company that just fifteen years ago was turning out love-'em-or-hate-'em bold designs like the '94 Ram is now selling a midsize crossover ute so bland and afraid to offend that you could lose it in a rental lot. The camera lingers on this totally forgettable rolling cypher for what feels like an eternity with no soundtrack save for the breeze over the mike, and then a hushed, cryptic golf-announcer-esque voice accuses me of not believing that the truckette had done really good in crash tests. Not believe it? Buddy, I didn't know your car even existed until you hijacked my TV signal, so well is it camouflaged, and now you're telling me what I do and don't believe? I hope you die in a burning Fiat.

Ugh. Are they deliberately trying to kill Chrysler?

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kill it? Of course he is trying to kill it.

Think of the smaller carbon footprint.

Think of all the unemployed union workers available for a government check and community organizing.

Democrats are like cancer, they feed on the healthy cells.

Shootin' Buddy

Flight-ER-Doc said...

How is Chrysler-Fiat pronounced in Italian?

Fiat: The Chrysler is silent. Or will be soon.....the only current product that will be left (for the time being) will be Jeeps...built by Fiat.

Which, I guess, is actually worse than GM vehicles built by the US Government. Me? I'll buy Ford, thanks.

Ken said...

Like most agency creatives, the creative director is building his/her book on the client's (the taxpayer, in this case) dime.

I worked in marketing for twenty years, and I can tell you with some authority that 10,000 creative directors at the bottom of the sea would be a hell of a start. Unfortunately, that probably would be when the sea gave up its dead.

Stranger said...

Not trying, doing. I used to buy a new MOPAR every few years. Still drive a '64 Dart with an infusion of 426 under the hood, and '93 Dakota with a rodded and reamed 440.

Just for giggles around the 'Vette set. Who never seem to look at the tires. The YF's daily is a Voyager. But no more MOPE's.

In a few weeks we will be visiting the Honda dealer. They have nice vans, too.

Stranger

Mudruck said...

Hearing how bad commercials are makes me glad that I don't have that movin' picture box in my living room anymore. Don't much care for the shows that are on it anymore and the ads are even worse.

Good riddance I say.

As a subnote, has adding the input of the .gov EVER made anything better? No really...just one example, come on... there has to be ONE right?

Tam said...

Good ads are much better than 90% of what passes for programming these days.

Joanna said...

Good ads are much better than 90% of what passes for programming these days.

Oh heck yeah. I've seen 90-second ads (even 30-second ads) with better developed storylines and characters than some feature films. Case in point: the Ikea lamp ad. (YouTube it if you don't know what I'm talking about; you'll be glad you did.)

Caleb said...

You know what really makes me sad? I loved the Dodge Charger. Whenever I'd travel I'd try to get one of those as my rentalbeast, because it was just so much fun to drive.

Shrimp said...

@ Caleb: I know just what you mean. The Chargers were pretty cool. When I went to Baltimore (No guns for you!) for my brother's wedding, I actually decided not to get one of the Chargers, because at the time, carjacking was on the rise (in Baltimore, it usually is on the rise, but there had been an especially bad rash that summer).

I finally went with the plain-jane Jeep liberty, which was underpowered and cute. Two words I don't associate with Jeep. Or , at least I didn't used to associate with Jeep. (sigh)

Jay G said...

Tam, I've been a big mopar fan since the early 90s when their cars still sucked (having a family friend who owns a Dodge dealership helps...)

Mrs. G. is looking for a new SUV. We're not even considering any of the offerings from Chrysler/Dodge. My dad, who is friends with the owner, AGREES WITH ME to stay away from their cars.

Sadly, when the Ram goes to the great automotive graveyard in the sky, it will most likely be replaced by an F-250...

(I'm assuming that Toyota will still think their trucks run on unicorn farts and expell fresh ice cream and will still be pricing them accordingly...)

2yellowdogs said...

Chrysler is a company with absolutely no products to recommend it. There really isn't anything in their lineup that isn't done better (better looking, better built, better reliability) by someone else.

And now with the govt bailout and ownership by that paragon of automotive quality, FIAT, why would any self-respecting American consumer look past the crap and throw their money away on this junk?

The Raving Prophet said...

The Journey is a useful shape; it's a not-quite minivan for people who aren't yet interested in a minivan but need more space than a regular sedan provides. The problem is that Chrysler has done an awful job of telling the world about it. I have a Jeep Patriot, but again, they've let this one go on nothing more than word of mouth- it's a great little mini-ute with decent mileage (for a 4x4 box). No funky weather can stop it and you can haul 2x4s inside the cabin with the tailgate closed. Does anybody know that? Nope.

Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep isn't exactly overrun with outstanding products, and the few that are worth a damn are going unnoticed because they refuse to advertise them based on what virtues they do have.

Bram said...

I wish Enterprise gave me a Charger. I had a PT Cruiser rental while the Mazda was getting the deer-dent fixed.

The Cruiser was the answer to any question you might have about Chrysler's bankruptcy. It reminded me of my wife's old '89 Civic with a noisier, less powerful engine.

Jeff said...

@ Caleb: Amazing what a 15 year old Mercedes chassis will do in a car, isn't it?

Schmidt said...

Do any US cars even have hydropneumatic suspension? Or TDI engines? Good riddance to them, I say. You'll be better off driving Mercs or BMW's, probably.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydropneumatic_suspension

BTW, bland cars?

I think they might be great. You don't actually see the car while you're driving it, so it doesn't really matter how it looks.
If it's bland and 'uncool', it's also less likely to be stolen.

Myself, I'd prefer a car that would be so unobtrusive when parked that I'd have to install a radio beacon just to find where I've parked it.

@Mudruck

I think a gov't effort solved the problem with water cooling in cars. Radiators used to boil over, due to some design element inherited from steam engines.
Military didn't want this anymore, so they made someone figure it out.
I'm amazed that the auto companies haven't solved that one before.

Also, such things as pollution control. Perhaps not in the US, but in Europe it took a lot of pissed off people demanding their elected representatives do something about the air.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Air_Act_1956

12,000 dead from smog. Not a lot, in a city the size of London, but puts other matters in perspective.

theirritablearchitect said...

"...the only current product that will be left (for the time being) will be Jeeps...built by Fiat..."

You're right, and I still have never figured out why. I guess it's just a Jeep thing, and I wouldn't understand.

aczarnowski said...

Love for the Charger? Huh.

I hate'em. From the Magnum through the entire Charger based range. I prefer to actually, you know, see stuff outside the vehicle when I'm driving. ;o

My typical response to seeing a Liberty is "Pfft. Liberty." They carry a 3.8L right? How can that be gutless in a body that small? I'll stick with Cherokees until i can't find any more.

perlhaqr said...

Flight-ER-Doc: I recall people on the Mopar Mailing List telling that same joke about Daimler-Chrysler. :)

Stranger: That 440 powered Dakota a strip only thing?

El Capitan said...

FWIW, My parents bought a Dodge Journey this year, and it's a quiet comfortable ride. Not my cup of tea, but I'm not in my 70's with the occasional need to haul grandkids around, either.

I'd never heard of that particular model until I saw it in their driveway. I wondered if we'd be seeing the Chrysler Rush and the Plymouth Van Halen, but that's not to be, it seems...

Rabbit said...

The oldest Incubus bought a Charger shortly after the introduction. Very pretty vehicle that still has seats that feel like Quasimodo was the anthropomorphic model. The big honkin' V8 is pretty impressive on acceleration and gets about half the mileage that they were told it would by the dealer, even with the cylinder deactivation 'feature'.

I'm old enough that I remember new mid-70's Dodge trucks that the bed rusted through in 8 months. Sorry, I'm just not going to buy anything with a Pentastar on it.

I'm ready to see Ford put a small turbodiesel in their products, although that new 5.0 scheduled for the 2011 Mustang may convince me I'm not buying another small SUV.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Jeff said...

I see Dodge putting Fiat turbodiesels on the market before Ford, even though I am not a fan of the Fiat motors (the Liberty had a Fiat diesel). But that new Mustang is looking appealing to me, a few hundred lbs less than a camaro, the new Coyote motor seems to be begging for a bit of boost. It'll need it to keep up with my Dodge Neon. I might even be able to live with the hideous Ford interior if I get one with the track pack.

og said...

If they start using Journey songs in the commercials, I'm gonna hurl.

I am past the age where I need a car's description to include the word "Exciting". I'm just not ready for it to read "Dead dull" yet.

HankH said...

"I hope you die in a burning Fiat".
Love it! Thanks for my daily belly laugh :)

HankH

Gregg said...

Jeep survived AMC. It can survive Fiat. Unless they keep killing off the vehicles driven by their core target market.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I bought my 08 Power Wagon when I did. Dodge did good on the 08 Power Wagons. With that said, when it's time to buy another, I'll either go Ford or back to Nissan. Maybe by then Nissan will have a 3/4 ton or a turbo diesel out.

staghounds said...

Joanna and Tam are right- it takes WAY more talent to make a good 30-90 second movie than a 90-120 minute one.

An Tam, we must be on a similar wavelength again...

TJP said...

I propose the Chuck Norris test. (See 2:27)

If Chuck Norris can't do that with a prototype, it's a piece of crap and should be canceled.

Seriously, though: the most compelling reason for keeping Chrysler around is to produce repair parts for the millions of existing vehicles.

rickn8or said...

Uh, Tam, what were you ready to trade the Zed in for about this time last year?

(runz.)

Anonymous said...

I've had several Ram pickups and all were great. The last one did well over 100K and didn't have one fault in it. Of course when I started looking around for a newer version I found they quit making the Club Cab version, which was their most popular model. Guess they sold too many and had to cut back. Morons

Ed Foster said...

Flight-ER-Doc:

"...the only current product that will be left (for the time being) will be Jeeps...built by Fiat".

"Which, I guess, is actually worse than GM vehicles built by the US Government. Me? I'll buy Ford, thanks".

Doc, I'll buy used Chevies and rebuild them. Ford still has the UAW, and is forced to offshore outsource more of it's product (simply to stay alive) than either GM or MoPar.

My '69 Chevy C-15 is approaching finish-itude, replete with snow plow and vintage original cap and liner. Never saw salt (it still has it's rocker panels and cab corners), and has a skinch less than 60k original miles on it.

It was weathered almost to bare metal, but otherwise undinged.

When it gets stainless valves and hardened valve seats, it's ready for another 40 years. And I get to rent it to movies in the meantime.

Kristopher said...

Schmidt: Those London Smog deaths that prompted the Clean Air Act of 1956 were caused by home coal furnaces coupled with an unseasonal anti-cyclone in 1952.

Not automobiles.

The cleanest way to heat homes then, and now, is with Nuclear power.

Using Nuclear powerplants and Lithium Iron Sulphate batteries, we could also replace burning gasoline for commuting.

I think a nuclear self-powered SUV has potential in the US. I'd certainly buy one. It could use Strontium-90 in a pebblebed reactor, thus giving us something useful to do with the heat-making portion of nuclear powerplant waste.

45 years between refuelings!

Ed Foster said...

Schmidt, check the archives on Deutsche Welle, concerning the collapse of quality in virtually all German made cars. Especially the electrics.

The most reliable German car? The BWM Z series, designed by a Japanese and made in Spartenburg North Carolina by NASCAR watching rednecks.

Pollution control is important to Americans in a dead-end place like Los Angeles, with the predominant breeze coming from the west and mountains to the east, north, and south. In Montana, not so much so.

From an engineering standpoint, vehicles in the Los Angeles basin should be required to burn nothing but alcohol, in alcohol only engines with a compression ratio high enough to offset it's lower energy content with it's better octane rating. E85 is a bad joke.

Perhaps Pittsburg and a few other cities situated in natural funnels could also benefit from alky, but most of the country could do just fine with 1980's technology, for considerably less money.

At a gut level it's difficult to explain to most Europeans how empty most of America is, how utterly huge the place is.

My Irish Son-In-Law is quite well travelled, having worked as a precision welder in England, Germany, on North Sea oil rigs, in Los Angeles and Australia, but he'd always flown.

After his wedding to daughter number one, they drove to the west coast, and he's never been the same.

He keeps talking about returning to Dodge City, and has inherited virtually all my Louis L'Amour books. Some of that is simply being Irish, the most unabashedly pro American people in Europe, and the Europeans most like traditional Americans.

But a lot of it is simply driving for days with flat horizon in every direction, up and down the side roads and through the small towns.

The place runs on forever, and there are entirely empty areas large enough to lose any European country in.

By American standards, all of continental Europe north of the Alps and east of the Pyrenees is a continuous belt of city and suburb. A tightly packed collection of tired old Pittsburgs and Chicagos, run by the same kind of self selected, luddite elites.

No wonder urban American politicians from the unassimilated coastal cities seem so familiar to the typical Italian or Serbian.


Perhaps controls make some sense there as well, given the population desity. But the cliches I hear over there (I have dual citizenship and travel for work), the thinly rationalised penis envy of an uncoiled society viewing another that can still show some dynamism.


Hydropneumatic systems wear and leak, and are not as tuneable as electromagnetic dampers, which also produce electricity to recharge the battery. Check it out in the M.I.T. Technology Review. It's an American idea.

London's breathing problems came about due to the combination of soft coal (mandated by a Socialist government to keep the Yorkshire mines open) and British fog.

Radiators improved in the U.S. because competition between auto makers forced longer and longer periods between antifreeze changes to reduce maintenence costs.

Simple idea really, make it bigger than needed, and let the thermostat function a restrictor that gradually opens as slag builds up inside.

An open society is more flexible, more amenable to new ideas. What's wrong with America is the way it increasingly resembles Europe, not what makes it uniquely different.

Dave said...

Ed - my brother-in-law is from England and now lives in Memphis. His father took a trip to Orlando and considered renting a car for a quick side trip to Memphis. Then he saw it was 800 miles each way. One of my favorite sayings is that in the USA 100 years is a long time, and in Europe, 100 miles is a long way.

Fenris said...

Ha! You make it sound like they're worried about actually trying to run a real company. All they have to do is look like they're trying and the government cash will keep rolling in. Too important to fail, don't you know.

Franke Schein said...

FORD?? the Ford foundati0n is one of the LARGEST contributor to anti-semitic propagana --giving millions to anti-Israeli groups and backwater enemedia...Research it yourself aboutr The Ford Foundations and NGO's..

Anonymous said...

Yes they are deliberatly trying to kill chrysler any more questions?

Ed Foster said...

Dave: I was walking home from school back in the 60's, one lane blacktop in Killingworth CT, and a German family in a rented sedan stopped for directions.
Specifically, Papa wanted to know how many hours drive it was to the Grand Canyon.

In das sehr schrammelish HochDeutch I used with my uncles, trying not to use the familiar form, I told him it would take a while to cover 4,000 kilometers. It really hadn't hit him until then, the scale on the map was so much bigger than he was used to.

To him, a country was something you could cross in hours. Any civilized country. Breakfast in France, lunch in Germany, and a late dinner in Poland. Hitler and Mussolini had their faults, but they made the trains run on time and built some excellent autobahnen.

As for the history thing, being split between two cultures as a kid, I noticed the effect of the word history on Europeans and Americans.

An American says "That's history" and means "That's over and done, something to be ignored. To a European it means "That's what I am, that's what formed me".

Pluses and minuses both ways. The famous line about those who don't study history repeating it tends to favor the Euros, assuming what they learned wasn't self serving propaganda about all the evil things done to "them" over the years by the "badguys", justifying some form of retribution.

With the best of intentions, Americans will step in Doo-Doo quite often, and have to learn serious lessons to get out of it.

But we're still out there trying and learning, not sitting in a corner sneering and rationalising reasons for doing less than nothing.

The Europeans used to be like us. O.K., the aristocracy and bankers were like us. Most people over there are, and always have been, pleasant, polite sheeple, doing what they're told. All the more so since all the ADD's left for the new world.

The Japanese are also sheeple, but they still have a dynamic upper class. China is a drunk, staggering along the face of a cliff. Anyone in India with the I.Q. of a clam in in the U.S or a Commonwealth country.

Sad to say, but if we Americans all blew ourselves away, the center of the world would be Australia and whatever Peronista wetdream Columbia and Argentina cooked up between them.

Poor, tired old Europe wouldn't matter at all. With no welfare system to live off, even the Turks would go home, and nobody would remain to push the wheelchairs of the childless Swedes and Germans.

RevolverRob said...

"Ugh. Are they deliberately trying to kill Chrysler?"

Personally, I would've long ago shot Chrysler and put it out of its misery. I wish Lee Iaccoca would have let it die in the 1980s. That way we could've been enjoy more of our own money these days...

-Rob

Schmidt said...

This:
The Europeans used to be like us. O.K., the aristocracy and bankers were like us. Most people over there are, and always have been, pleasant, polite sheeple, doing what they're told. All the more so since all the ADD's left for the new world.


Doing what they're told.. you mean, like obeying the gov't?

I mean, come live in Europe sometimes. Maybe the Germanic nations are like this, but most Slavs have a healthy disdain for the rules. Italians probably too. If they can get away with it, they try to break or bend them. Sometimes, it's not so good. Especially with driving..

Funny thing is, we always make fun of how Americans think they're so free, while they're even more of wage-slaves than people in most of Europe (who likely borrow less, thus don't have to work all the time to make money to pay off interest). Certainly, people with good attitude to money are overrepresented among commenters here, yet you should consider the US savings rate. Has been negative for almost two decades, and only the crisis changed the overall trend.

We have much less to fear from our governments. Less thuggish police forces, less gov't spying (apart from UK). Much less prosecution for victimless crimes (cannabis, procuring prostitues). Some places, you can possess any drugs in small quantities, and they can't charge you).
Also, if you are an EU citizen living abroad, your home state tax authorities don't tax what earned abroad.. and a million other details.

As to childlessness, it's not universal.. and it's safe to assume it'll change once times get tougher. By the time unemployment hits 30%, gov'ts start defaulting left and right and French have a mini-civil war with their young hooligans, it'll probably fix itself.
It'll be easier to raise children if there is less employment. They won't have so many toys, but that'll actually be good for them.

The welfare system won't last, just like the American Empire. or EU farm subsidies. You can't run those things on debt forever.
Hopefully, we'll keep the good aspects(free trade) of the EU and ditch the stupid ones.

@Kristopher
I said nothing about cars. Just that people made the gov't do something about it. If it couldn't stop people from using the cheapest way of heating their homes (coal), nothing would have happened. Most likely.

Nuclear car engine? Get real. They had to rename NMR to MRI. And I think shielding would be a problem. So far, there are no land based nuclear engined vehicles. If it were possible, DARPA would be all over it, I mean, if you could ditch refuelling in military vehicles.. it'd make blitzkriegs a lot easier.

@Hydropneumatic suspension
You know, it's a proven technology used by many car brands, like Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Citroen ..etc. I have yet to hear about problems with it. My family's car has run without a hitch for the last seven years. Suspensions works like a charm.. whereas electromagnetic dampers are a somewhat theoretical technology. Is there a production car with those? I think it's an Audi :D There was some Corvette model with these, but googling info is very hard.

You meant this article:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/02/mit-students-de.html

Has fluid too, so it can leak. It's all down to engineering, and I think Germans & Japanese are better known for making reliable cars than Americans.

Schmidt said...

@Europe north of the Alps as city, suburb?

Nonsense. While it's all pretty densely inhabited, I actually live there, and have travelled around these parts. Houses are

generally clustered together, and you can sometimes go several kilometers through fields or woods before you hit another

settlement.
Hey, you can look it up at Google Earth. Looks far better than the mega-suburbs one sees in the US.

As to your wilderness.. you as a nation seem pretty hell bent on making it go away.

@Hitler, Mussolini
Fascists making trains run on time is a myth. They ran on time before that, and still run on time. Swiss trains are probably

the most accurate.. and they are most assuredly not a fascist nation.

While Hitler started with Autobahns, most of them were built after he snuffed it. Most railroads were built before 1914..

cheap labor and all that.

@Radiators..
Any source of that? I remember reading about it, and it wasn't regular business competition. Seems likely, but I remember

feeling astounded that no one solved it before than..
@This
Poor, tired old Europe wouldn't matter at all.

Well.. you may have a bit of a point, but I suspect many Americans lash out on China or EU simply because your nation has

been in a decline ever since you won the Cold War. I mean, every intellectually honest person is grateful for that. I

certainly am.

But you have to face the fact that the system of gov't in the US is hopelessly corrupt, and until it is rebooted, nothing

good will come of it. Insiders will get filthy rich off public money, taxpayers will field the bill and then it'll all go to

hell.. and no one knows what will emerge from that chaos. (and everyone holding US gov't debt will feel pretty pissed off

too)

Sure, you will dismiss what I just wrote, but I am pretty sure it'll happen anyway. That Marc Faber seems pretty sharp, and

has a good record of predicting this sort of thing.

Ed Foster said...

Again, pluses and minuses.

Please remember I have more relatives in the E.U. than in the states, including a lovely new granddaughter. I am saddened by what I see as Europe's terminal decline. I take no smug satisfaction in it.

If Germany and Sweden, as the cultural leaders of Europe, began having babies at or above a replacement rate tomorrow, it wouldn't help. The numbers all go critical in the next 10 or 12 years, long before those putative new arrivals could begin contributing.

The birth rate is running about one third lower than the death rate, and that includes many births to non-european Moslems, in the cities the majority of births. Things won't get better after a collapse of bureaucracy, for most they will simply end.

"You can sometimes go several kilometers through fields or woods before you hit another settlement".

In the U.S., particularly west of the Mississippi, you can go hundreds of kilometers between "settlements", virtually in any direction. You can starve or burn or freeze to death and your body might well be never found. I stand by the observation that Europe, by mid-west or western American standards, is essentially a contiguous urban or greenbelt development.

Germany has recently started to abandon large areas in the south-east, shutting off electricity and water to towns and cities that have been abandoned as the shrinking German population moves closer to Mother Government.

One way of creating wilderness areas I guess, but a sad way, indicative of a culture in decline, where most people simply don't care what comes after them, if anything.

Dammit, I like Germans! My very Irish Aunts and Great Aunts all married Austrians, Sudetens, Swiss, and Bavarians. I grew up speaking hillbilly German with cousins named Hilgert, Schweitzer, Piersig, and Ostlander.

The mountain people are, or were, a cheerful, hard working, hard partying bunch of people who lived for their families. About as far from the Prussian steriotype as you could find.

In point of fact, most of them came over here between 1885 and 1915 to escape the heel clikers, and were put in American uniforms in 1917 and sent back to kick Junker ass. Not one of them was drafted, all volunteered, and the number of German, forgive me, German-American, names on the 42nd Divison's butcher's bill is a stark reminder of the iron in those men.

But they were immigrants, people who had made a decision to move where the risks and personal responsibilities were higher, but the individual freedom and chance to profit from their intelligence and work ethic was also greater.

As for Slavs, I work with 160 of them, and they also have pluses and minuses. 1 in 10 is a ruthless hustler, determined to get rich at any cost, and the other 9 are timid little men who aren't comfortable unless they are being strongly led. They play at the "wolves" game among their peers, but are more security minded than interested in personal freedom.

The ones over 30 or 35 years of age do have a wonderful work ethic, something not commonly found in places like France, England, or Spain. But the younger ones have the European disease.

They are watched workers, needing constant supervision to keep them moving. They want to screw for a week or two with something new and exciting, mostly for the feeling of dominance, then go back to being drunk with their male buddies every night.

The Irish and Scots are supposed to know something about drinking, but I stand in awe of the Slavs. An entire culture of sodden, useless alcoholics by their late 20's.

A Russian friend of mine, Pyotr Malick from Moscow, once said "Most Russians will sit in the stink of their own shit and complain about the smell, rather than move two meters upwind where the air smells better but is colder".

More in the next post, I'm on another roll here.

Ed Foster said...

"We have much less to fear from our governments".

Sadly, just not true. I'm in Europe occasionally, and my sister, who works for IBM, is there every few months. Her stories are worse than mine.

I have family there, have an E.U. passport to go with my American one, and am saddened by the emotional and moral rot I see when I'm there. It's no different than being in Los Angeles or New York, neither of which is in America.

There are things to enjoy for a few days at a time in any of the places I've mentioned, but none of them have any long term future. Someone once described Europe as "Disneyland with castles". It's as true of Manhattan or San Francisco.

My son is an inner city police detective, as were numerous other members of my mother's family. I know how careful a police officer has to be, how polite and proper his or her behavior must be.

I know the risks he faces every day from the lawyers looking to crucify him, the politicians willing to "throw him to the wolves" for good press, the lazy and corrupted minorities who are looking for someone to blame for their own sociopathy.

There is the old joke about the European definition of heaven and hell.

In heaven the police are British, the mechanics German, the cooks French, the concierge Italian, and everything is organized by the Swiss.

In hell, the cooks are British, the police German, the mechanics French, and everything is organized by the Italians.

That's actually closer to the truth than the horror stories you hear over there about America. Remember, our news agencies are, except for Australian owned Fox, totally controlled by culturally distinct, very European behaving elites who despise mainstream America. They live in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, and have never been a part of this country.

A few more comments on your last post, then I'll start pointing out faults I see in Americans, many of which are in agreement with your observations.

The Mega-suburbs are, as the Latin name suggests, adjacent to those cities I mentioned, the un-American laagers of collectivist hatred. The American ideal of romantic individualism has always been essentially a rural and small town phenomenon, with perhaps an extension into the new Greenbelts springing up, similar to those rural areas you mentioned in Europe.

The Greenbelts are along major highways, but far removed from the dying urban areas. They are centers of high value manufacturing and research, with little of the crime, incipient race war, and corrupt politics of the old cities.

If American culture will ever have a second anchor, other than the small town, it will be here, in these clean, safe, stable places, where small town values and urban refugees can meld into a new version of the Jeffersonian man.

Ed Foster said...

My take on the decline business is that we have suffered only from becoming less ourselves and more like our detractors.

That's not an anti-European observation, every dying culture has sped it's own demise by drowning in excessive legislation, taxation and bureaucracy, from Mesopotamia to Rome, the Ottoman empire to modern Britain.

These failing cultures also suffered from excessive libertinism, which also saps cultural cohesion and initiative.

I drink, moderately, but I rarely get drunk, and have no tolerance for alcoholics. The only reson for doing weed (I did as a kid, numerous times) or anything stronger, is to get high.

Drug user = alcoholic, the only difference being that stoners are harder to spot, and alcohol is a puritan drug, that punishes you in direct proportion to the degree in which you indulge.

If Europe, and the urban oriented parts of America that are modern Europe, want to produce the equivalent of 19th century China's opium class, I think it too is self destructive. There has to be a line somewhere between allowing personal freedom and allowing massive damage to society.

Having churchy people around is one way to engender proper behavior. Most of them have a sense of shame, an unwillingness to violate societal norms.

But for many others, only fear of prosecution will keep them half way functional. We punish alcohol abusers when they use it as a drug, why not everyone else who does it too?

And carrying any amount of the stuff is prima facie evidence of willingness to use in a public setting. If you were only going to use it at home, you would leave it home, true?

I'm sorry, I just can't see any use to society to be found in legalizing the stuff, and if Europe wants to do that, it's one more thing speeding the collapse.


Europe is not the enemy, it is an arthritic older brother, who's struggles will be ours in a few years if we don't start taking our medicine.

Go to a town meeting here in Connecticut, where every point of view (including some very strange ones) is heard, indeed, shouted. A concensus is arrived at only after often long and detailed arguement.

For example, I've seen town budgets hung up for months, and finally brought somewhat more into line with reality after as many as three extra votes. Government works better the closer it gets to the people, and the possibility of corruption is lessened dramatically when everything is open to public scrutiny.

It works, without legislative fiat and the fixed overhead expenses of unelected, unresponsive government "functionaries". The ultimate oxymoron.

I suspect the capability for innate evil in any form of government can best be measured by it's ratio of bureaucrats to taxpayers.

Ed Foster said...

Next part of the Phillipic:

On European workmanship:
As a group, German cars suck. It becomes apparent more quickly over here because we drive so many more miles, and spend more time idling in traffic.

From Deutsche Welle OnLine, "German Cars Drop in Reliability Ratings".
In it’s latest survey released in August, the UK-based consumer magazine Which? gave VW bad marks, putting it in the lowest “poor” category, a position it has now held for two years. Mercedes-Benz, which used to be in the top “best” category has steadily slipped two notches into the “average” category. Audi, once judged to be “good,” is now considered “poor,” and BMW has gone from “good” to “poor.”
While BMW faired better, with only 264 problems per 1,000 vehicles -- above the 269 industry average, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, with 295 and 327 problems per 1,000vehicles respectively, scored well below the average. Volkswagen, with 386 problems reported per 1,000 vehicles, was near the bottom of the list.

Appearances can be decieving, and media can propogate self-serving beliefs and unfounded predjudices.

On European birth rate:
Looking at the Polish kids I work with, the cream of the European crop, well educated and cultured, I don't see any hope of a baby boom, and that's here in the states, where nobody will go hungry if things crash.

We are by far the largest agricultural producer in the world. Two thirds of our oil is still in the ground, waiting for the future, while we use up that of Arabia and Russia.

But as one young eastern European friend of mine put it, "Babies?". "That's for animals".

The annoyance and expense would cut into his party and vacation time, his hobbies and night life. This is a brilliant young computer engineer with multiple master's degrees. What a waste.

Next, I'll tear the Americans a new asshole.

Ed Foster said...

You're totally right about the savings rate. Instead of financing our own growth through reinvesting savings, we've been using cheap Chinese money and spending like children in a candy store. We, as in the silly urban liberal culture I so loath.

Google up the numbers on mortgage defaults and you'll see that they are overwhelmingly in urban areas that went heavily for Obama. Half of them are in California and adjacent urban areas of the west coast and southwest. Children who think government can simply print more money and give it to them when they need it.

Which brings us to another excellent point you made. People holding U.S. government securities are going to get shafted.

Deficit spending, borrowing the money wanted for buying votes, is a clever euphemism for inflating the currency. Paying back in less valuable money what you borrowed is a certain way to get people to stop buying government bonds.

Which simply leads government to raise capital gains taxes on stocks. Those dirty Wall St. millionaires don't need all that filthy profit, right?

Except that three fourths of all the money on Wall Street is Joe Six-Pack's pension, IRA, or 401k fund. He needs that to augment Social Security, which will have no cost of living increases over the next two years, and will pay out more next year than it recieves. More borrowing, more debasing of the currency.

We have less need of gold today than a year ago. More of it is being mined, and industrial usage has fallen. Yet it's price is up 50% since Obama was elected. Why?

Gold hasn't incresed in value, the dollar has dropped in value against it. This morning, gold was $1,105 an ounce. It was $731 when Mr. Obama was elected. That's how much the dollar has been devaluated in a year of socialist spending.

Americans have been insulated from much of the effect because we pump 40% of our own oil and eat our own food. We also get most of the rest of our energy from "captive" sources like Mexico and Canada.

But America is the largest exporter in the world by far, most of it high value goods like aircraft, computers, and telephone switching equiptment. For reference, we export 2.5 times what China does.

As the world's economy contracts, people will need fewer of our luxury items, being forced to get along with older systems already in place. A cheaper dollar will make our products more attractive in the short run.

But it will drive up the cost of the oil, chromium, platinum, and titanium we need to import in order to survive, more than offsetting any momentary advantage the currency debasement give us.

There are things we could learn from Europe. Not only the negative lessons of too much bureaucracy and the initiative-sapping evils of NannyStateism, but the things Europe has gotten right.

The VAT tax lets everyone know what the real tax rate is, is simple to collect, and doesn't hide taxation by building it into the cost of products.

The guest worker system made Germany and Switzerland wealthy. We should offer blue cards to every illegal in the U.S. today. Offer them work as long as there is any, legal passage across the border, but no citizenship or welfare benefits ever.

Our knowledge of who was where and how many of them there were would save us billions every year.

Enforce it with detainee labor camps building walls on the border, $500 bounties paid for every illegal turned in, even if paid to illegal aliens being deported, all financed by the confiscation of the cars, homes, and businesses of the illegals detained.

Our common western culture is in danger of dying. Anything that people of good will and intellect, in any country, can contribute to holding back the darkness is a positive

Anonymous said...

Ed Foster, I hate to correct your geography, but the BMW roadsters are build in Spartanburg, SOUTH CAROLINA. So what if they are NASCAR-watching rednecks?

Schmidt said...

@Ed

I have a longish reply, but I feel Tam doesn't appreciate us going off on tangents on your blog. Do you have some email or forum where we can continue discussing this stuff.

Anyway, I should take time off from internet. Exam time is fast approaching.

Someone who should've gone to bed two hours ago. said...

Schei├če, it's late..
should be, "going off on tangents on her blog"

Ed Foster said...

Anonymous, my ass is as red as a horny chimpanzee. And serious appologies to any and all Kalinky folks who might take umbrage. All I can say is I'm bombed out of my skull on painkillers (what, you didn't notice during the ramble?).

Schmidt said...

Seemed kind of weird, but I don't take my antipsychotics over the holidays.

Ed Foster said...

I have to try some of those antipsycotics one of these days. What flavors do they come in?

Hey Schmidt, write me at edward@continentalmachinetool.com and I'll give you my personal e-mail. How close to the Alps are you? Ed.

P.S., word verification is licky. I ain't going there.

Schmidt said...

I take Rispen. Low doses, 0.5 - 1mg per day.
I'm not schizophrenic ;-) , they of lower the level at which your thoughts start 'intruding' into your consciousness. If I don't take it, I am prone to lying in bed all night, and thinking about stuff like "novel magazine types for submachine guns" etc. It's easier to sleep, and I can concentrate slightly better.

Alps are pretty far away, about 150 kms. Last year I went mountain hiking to Austria for the first time. Climbed to the top of Schneeberg. I really enjoyed it, took some decent photographs.