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Ed "warrantless wiretap" Whitacre to chair "new" GM

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This can be filed in the truly absurd department, or as Snagglepuss might say "unbelievable, even."

If not for FISA "reform" that gave the telcos retroactive immunity, Edward E. Whitacre Jr. would be in jail - you see, back when Ed's AT&T performed the "warrantless surveillance" for the Bush Administration, it was a felony.

Instead, the Obama administration is awarding him with the General Motors Chairmanship - say what?

When he was running AT&T, he said he didn't use computers or text messaging. Yesterday, he told the press in an interview after his appointment: “I don’t know anything about cars.” It figures. Just what GM and the US auto industry needs.

Ed "Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?" Whitacre is also the same guy that lobbied so heavily against net neutrality, something Obama told us he supported.

Whitacre, it turns out, is just another in the long line of executives running GM who knows next to nothing about cars, going back to Roger Smith, who destroyed the company's pride and global competitiveness in the 1980's - and it's been downhill ever since.

It's a damned shame. I was never a huge GM guy, but one had to respect them, and the cars they made. The American auto industry was a benchmark for the world and the American automobile was a symbol of our culture and the envy of the rest of the world. Buick, Pontiac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Cadillac were all incredible brands with passionately loyal customers. Now, most people are embarrassed to admit they own one of these cars.

The choice of Whitacre for GM is a black eye for the Obama administration and a clear indicator that politics in Washington have not changed. "We the people" are screwed, as usual.
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Mitch said...

What the automotive industry needs is innovation and streamlining of every aspect of its logistical and manufacturing systems, in addition to a healthy dose of transparency. Those are not Whitacre’s strengths. From deals to that rebuilt most of Ma Bell, reducing local competition in many regions of the United States, to locking sales of Apple’s iPhone to the AT&T network—as well as the generally lousy quality of AT&T service—he has emphasized big and unresponsive as the basis of his business. Whitacre has subdued more innovation than he’s enabled, relying on his ability to bully regulators on behalf of AT&T, which he insisted was under attack from all sides. In his home state, Texas, Whitacre’s companies, SBC and AT&T, have consistently attacked public wireless initiatives, trying to prevent them from operating through legislation instead of trying to compete with or enhance those services.

Is this the right model for a revived GM? Instead, it’s is a fairly complete description of the dying GM.

Because the government owns the majority of GM, each of us should have our say about it. This is my two cents. Appointing Whitacre on the recommendation of a hold-over GM board member is not a smart move by the Obama team. They wanted outside perspectives on the automotive industry, but hired the ultimate insider regardless of what industry he’s in.

Ken said...

The Obama administration says it has intervened in the auto sector only out of dire necessity, and looks forward to getting out as soon as possible. That's great in theory, but the reality of doing so is no so straightforward.

Like Iraq, the going in is easy - it's the getting out that's hard. And people on both sides of the aisle are going to be upset about it.