Friday, October 23, 2009

Fox News--the choice of 1% of America...

Fox stands alone against the massive liberal establishment...bla bla blaDuhhhh...Fox News MUST Represent the majority of Americans...Right? Cause they get the highest ratings
(the fine print: among people who watch the 24 hour cable news channels only. However, as a percentage of the total number of people who watch their televisions at that hour, Fox News' ratings are miniscule, as Tiny as Rush Limbaugh's heart.)

But...They Beat MSNBC and CNN, so they must be #1 right?

Yes, Fox news cable channel got an average of 2.2 million viewers during their primetime shows, compared to 946,000 for CNN and 788,000 for MSNBC. This means TOTAL DOMINANCE!!!!....right?

Of course if we were to average this with their ratings for all day, the average would be a lot lower.


But when you directly compare Fox News' ratings to all the competition that is available to American viewers:

Based on August 2009 ratings of the Cable channels only:

1 USA 2.7
2 FOXNews 1.9
3 TNT 1.8
4 NAN 1.6
5 ESPN 1.4
6 TBSC 1.3
7 HGTV 1.1
8 ABC-FAM 0.9
9 A & E 1.1


Then compare this to the ratings of the broadcast TV channels, just released this week:

CBS: 11.88 million viewers
NBC: 7.4
Fox entertainment: 8.4
according to the Nielsen Ratings people, when you compare Fox News ratings to the total ratings of all the channels that are available to the 300 million Americans, they are getting 2.2 million out of over 300 million, so less than 1% of Americans watch Fox News at the time when Fox gets it's most viewers. CBS, those annoying liberals, gets over 5 times as many viewers.

And Fox gets their asses handed to them on the Sunday political talk shows which are available to everyone with an antenna, not just cable viewers:

Network Program Total

NBC "Meet the Press" 3.02M
ABC "This Week" 2.65M
CBS "Face the Nation" 2.23M
FOX "Fox News Sunday" 1.30M

So is Fox News dominant, and therefore they represent the views of the majority of Americans, or do they just represent a teeny minority of brown-shirted super-rich racist yahoos? I'm just askin'...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Cure for Health Reform Fears...

Let's Do Health Care Reform in Several Steps:


My opinion:

I think most Americans have no idea what health systems are like in any other country because they've never been outside the US. People in Europe can travel to their neighbors so much more easily and see different cultures. I'm guilty of this--I've never left the U.S. either.

Fear of the unknown is understandable, but the health care reform debate should be based on truth, not lies. Unfortunately, I think the democrats are trying to reform the entire system at once. People are scared when the see a 1000 page law. I think congress should fix the worst problems first. Like congress should ban insurers from dropping people for pre-existing conditions and limit rate hikes for everyone to the rate of inflation. Even if we don't do the reforms that will cost tax money, we can change regulations and those changes can themselves fix a lot of the inequity.

It reminds me of how California's legislature cut back on strip mining abuses 6 years ago. Even though the federal government has this antiquated law that gives away federal land to mining companies, and congress can never get the votes to change it, our state legislature changed the local laws to require every mine to restore the landscape to what it looked like before the mining project. That raised the costs so high that several federal mine giveaways in the desert were dropped by the companies because they knew they couldn't make money doing it.
(I also write an enviro blog at . )

This is the way we could accomplish the same goals of a government plan by making the health insurers follow rules that curb their profits so much that they will be the ones seeking a federal bailout. And with a bailout comes government control, like at GM and Chrysler. If reform was done in stages, we could do this.

Most Americans hate the insurance companies--let's target their abuses right now.

We don't have to fix the entire system at once. We can knock down the power of the insurers now and later force them to be part of the fix of the entire system.

---Rex Frankel, for


“This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Exposing the Right-Wing's Lies about Health insurance reform

FACT CHECK: Health overhaul myths taking root

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer – Wed Aug 19, 5:39 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The judgment is harsh in a new poll that finds Americans worried about the government taking over health insurance, cutting off treatment to the elderly and giving coverage to illegal immigrants. Harsh, but not based on facts.

President Barack Obama's lack of a detailed plan for overhauling health care is letting critics fill in the blanks in the public's mind. In reality, Washington is not working on "death panels" or nationalization of health care.

To be sure, presenting Congress and the country with the nuts and bolts of a revamped system of health insurance is no guarantee of success for a president — just ask Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Their famous flop was demonized, too. After all, the devil does lurk in details.
It can also lurk in generalities, it seems.
Obama is promoting his changes in something of a vacuum, laying out principles, goals and broad avenues, some of which he's open to amending. As lawmakers sweat the nitty gritty, he's doing a lot of listening, and he's getting an earful.
A new NBC News poll suggests some of the myths and partial truths about the plans under consideration are taking hold.
Most respondents said the effort is likely to lead to a "government takeover of the health care system" and to public insurance for illegal immigrants. Half said it will probably result in taxpayers paying for abortions and nearly that many expected the government will end up with the power to decide when treatment should stop for old people.

A look at each of those points:

THE POLL: 45 percent said it's likely the government will decide when to stop care for the elderly; 50 percent said it's not likely.
THE FACTS: Nothing being debated in Washington would give the government such authority. Critics have twisted a provision in a House bill that would direct Medicare to pay for counseling sessions about end-of-life care, living wills, hospices and the like if a patient wants such consultations with a doctor. They have said, incorrectly, that the elderly would be required to have these sessions.
House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio said such counseling "may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia."
The bill would prohibit coverage of counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option.
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who has been a proponent of coverage for end-of-life counseling under Medicare, said such sessions are a voluntary benefit, strictly between doctor and patient, and it was "nuts" to think death panels are looming or euthanasia is part of the equation.
But as fellow conservatives stepped up criticism of the provision, he backed away from his defense of it.
THE POLL: 55 percent expect the overhaul will give coverage to illegal immigrants; 34 percent don't.
THE FACTS: The proposals being negotiated do not provide coverage for illegal immigrants.

THE POLL: 54 percent said the overhaul will lead to a government takeover of health care; 39 percent disagree.
THE FACTS: Obama is not proposing a single-payer system in which the government covers everyone, like in Canada or some European countries. He says that direction is not right for the U.S. The proposals being negotiated do not go there.
At issue is a proposed "exchange" or "marketplace" in which a new government plan would be one option for people who aren't covered at work or whose job coverage is too expensive. The exchange would offer some private plans as well as the public one, all of them required to offer certain basic benefits.
That's a long way from a government takeover. But when Obama tells people they can just continue with the plans they have now if they are happy with them, that can't be taken at face value, either. Tax provisions could end up making it cheaper for some employers to pay a fee to end their health coverage, nudging some patients into a public plan with different doctors and benefits. Over time, critics fear, the public plan could squeeze private insurers out of business because they would not be able to compete with the federal government.
It's unclear now whether Obama is committed to the public option. He described it recently as "just one sliver" of health reform, suggesting it was expendable if lawmakers could agree on another way to expand affordable coverage. Now the White House is emphasizing his strong support for it.

THE POLL: 50 percent expect taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions; 37 percent don't.
THE FACTS: The House version of legislation would allow coverage for abortion, but the bill says a beneficiary's own money — not taxpayer funds — must be used to pay for the procedure. How that would be enforced has not been determined.
Obama has stated that the U.S. should continue its tradition of "not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care." Current laws prohibiting public financing of abortion would stay on the books.
Yet abortion guidelines are not yet clear for the government-supervised insurance exchange. There is strong sentiment in Congress on both sides of the issue.
The poll of 805 people was taken Aug. 15-17 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time to start paying...

Have you gotten used to reading your local newspaper on-line for free? Yeah, you look at the ads at the same time, so it's a fair trade, you're not really getting it for free, totally. Well, now, the big media corporations got you hooked, and now it's time to make you pay. Just like your local movie theater, you pay $11.50 a ticket and still are forced to watch TV commercials on top of the movie previews. You pay out the wazoo for cable TV and every channel is packed with commercials, unless you pay extra for a channel like HBO that doesn't have commercials. Commercials are everywhere we go -- and no one is paying us to watch them. They are assumed to be what we give up to get free or "cheaper" entertainment.

Well, the problem with newpapers, at least the big ones, is that they long ago forgot about local investigative reporting. They have created the opportunity which is being exploited by small-time bloggers. Charging for the crappy content that now is given away won't pull the big newspaper companies out of bankruptcy. Providing a better product is the only way to survive.

Here's a thought: pay the local bloggers to write a section of the newspaper.

Adapt to the future, or get replaced.

--from the big cheeze, Rex Frankel

Can Internet charges stem newspapers' losses?

Publishers hope readers will pay if content is no longer offered free.
By Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press
Posted: 05/25/2009

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is a rarity among large U.S. newspapers - it's selling more weekday copies than a decade ago. In Idaho, the Post Register's circulation has remained stable, while many print publications have lost readers to the Internet, where much of their content may be viewed for free. The executives behind the Arkansas and Idaho newspapers think they've been stable because they have been giving free Web site access only to print edition subscribers. Everyone else has to pay. "To just give it all away on a Web site is completely and blindly idiotic," says Roger Plothow, Post Register editor and publisher. That logic is starting to resonate with many publishers, who are preparing to erect toll booths on parts, if not all, of their Web sites. They hope the switch adds to online revenue and helps them keep print subscribers and ads. If it works, it would provide a sorely needed boost for an industry that has seen $11.6billion, or nearly one-fourth, of its annual advertising revenue dry up during the past three years. But ending free access could drive away many online readers and discourage online advertising at a time just as marketing budgets shift to the Internet.

As a result, 28 percent of newspaper executives responding to a recent survey by the Associated Press Managing Editors, a group of newspaper executives, said their publications are considering online fees.

Newsday's owner, Cablevision Systems Corp., plans to start charging for online access to the Long Island, N.Y., paper this summer. MediaNews Group, which owns the Daily Breeze and 53 other daily newspapers, has decided to charge for the online versions but hasn't said when. Hearst Corp. is assessing whether online fees could help save its 15 remaining daily newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Online fees will give people one less reason to stop subscribing to the newspaper" in the print format, said Steven Brill, Journalism Online's co-CEO. "Fewer people will be saying, `Why am I buying this thing when I can get it free online?"' Some commentators say the numbers don't add up. Former newspaper editor Alan Mutter, now an industry consultant and author of the blog, "Reflections of a Newsosaur," doubts most publishers understand how to produce the "content niches" that will cause people to ante up. Yet it's not an impossible task, said Walter Isaacson, former managing editor of Time magazine and now chief executive of the Aspen Institute, a think tank. Charging online fees "could create a discipline on journalism that produces more things of value," Isaacson said. "We could end up getting better journalism and a better business model out of it."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Like good dope dealers...

Big 5 Media Corps. are pissing off cable firms and DirecTV big time by letting the public watch shows for free on the internet;

Fox and NBC are Scheming together to give it to us free, get us hooked, then jack up the price.,0,5771665.story

5/11/2009 L.A. Times

...But in making a bid for the next generation of Internet- attuned viewers, Hulu's owners have strained their lucrative relationships with cable and satellite operators. Companies like Time Warner Cable Inc. and DirecTV Group Inc. pay cable networks billions of dollars each year to carry programming. Believing that they should have exclusivity because their payments support the enormous cost of producing TV shows, such companies have been pushing back against the Hulu freebies...

..."And now people are starting to wonder, do we even need the cable connections?"

The country's largest cable operators aren't waiting around to find out the answer. In recent months, the operators have taken a hard line against cable networks for funneling their shows to Hulu. Some have gone so far as to stipulate that cable networks limit the number of episodes they make available online. Others have imposed an outright ban. The strictures buy time for cable operators until they can develop their own response to Hulu....

...NBC Universal and News Corp. are considering whether to adopt a cable industry initiative called authentication, which would require users to prove they are pay TV subscribers before they can watch current shows on Hulu.

The partners also are discussing setting up a tiered system for online video, with some shows available for free -- such as prime-time network offerings -- while others would be reserved for existing cable TV subscribers.

"Everyone is coalescing around a central area -- authentication," said Tony Vinciquerra, chief of Fox's television networks. "If we can move this in the right direction, it will be something relatively seamless to the consumer, and good for business overall."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

After Setting Record for Text-Messaging, Two Men May Finally Get a Life...

Slaves to their cell phone company rack up a $26,000 bill in 1 month.

--Their next record to beat: buying millions of dollars of useless crap on their credit cards from infomercials all in one day! Can they do it? Inquiring swines want to know! Reporting on this exciting story are Billy Bush and Britney Spears for Excess Hollywood...

By BILL BERGSTROM, Associated Press Writer – Wed Apr 22, 7:13 am ET

PHILADELPHIA – Their thumbs sure must be sore. Two central Pennsylvania friends spent most of March in a text-messaging record attempt, exchanging a thumbs-flying total of 217,000. For one of the two, that meant an inches-thick itemized bill for $26,000.

Nick Andes, 29, and Doug Klinger, 30, were relying on their unlimited text messaging plans to get them through the escapade, so Andes didn't expect such a big bill.

"It came in a box that cost $27.55 to send to me," he said Tuesday. He said he "panicked" and called T-Mobile, which told The Associated Press it had credited his account and was investigating the charges.

The two Lancaster-area residents have been practically nonstop texters for about a decade since they attended Berks Technical Institute together.

That led Andes to search for the largest monthly text message total he could find posted online: 182,000 sent in 2005 by Deepak Sharma in India.

Andes and Klinger were able to set up their phones to send multiple messages. During a February test run they found they could send 6,000 or 7,000 messages on some days, prompting the March messaging marathon.

"Most were either short phrases or one word, 'LOL' or 'Hello,' things like that, with tons and tons of repeats," said Andes, reached by phone.

Andes sent more than 140,000 messages, and Klinger sent more than 70,000 to end the month with a total of just over 217,000, he said.

A spokesman for Guinness World Records didn't immediately return messages asking whether it would be certified as a record.

April came as a relief to Andes' wife, Julie, who had found his phone tied up with texting when she tried to call him on lunch breaks.

"She was tired of it the first few days into it," Andes said.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Which "Losers" Should the Government Bail Out?

"Do We want to subsidize the loser's mortgages?"--Rick Santelli, CNBC financial analyst


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Concern over "class warfare" depends on which class you're in...

for full story, see,0,1356927.column

by Michael Hiltzik
March 4, 2009
"Class warfare" comes in many flavors. There's the variety practiced by feudal overlords upon their serfs, and the variety waged by the Jacobins of the French Revolution against the monarchists.

Then there's the variety that Republicans claim to find in President Obama's proposed budget -- a taking from the rich to reward the undeserving poor. The rhetoric has spread quickly, moving from the libertarian Heritage Foundation to the ranks of GOP presidential hopefuls like flames leaping from tree to tree in the Angeles National Forest.

"Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff," says former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead, but a Union of American Socialist Republics is being born."

Yet the true class war of recent American history is the one that has pitted the upper 1% of income earners against almost everybody else. Over the last three decades, a period that spans Republican and Democratic administrations alike, average family income has scarcely budged an inch, while the wealthy have grown measurably wealthier.

In 1979, the top 1% of U.S. households earned eight times as much as the middle 20% and 23 times as much as the bottom fifth; by 2005, the Congressional Budget Office found, the upper crust touched 21 times as much as the middle class and 70 times as much as the bottom. Adjusting for inflation, the average American worker made 16% less in 2004 than in the 1970s, according to economist Benjamin M. Friedman....

In a bad economy, Oil companies still profit

from a 3/4/2009 letter to the editor,

A few weeks ago there was an article in the business pages that should have been on the front page of every newspaper in the country and the top story on every television news show. While the whole country was suffering a recession, including giant corporations like Microsoft, the ExxonMobil Corp. posted not only the highest profits in its history but the highest of any corporation in U.S. history: $45.2 billion. ExxonMobil made this money through outrageous price gouging, which caused the entire economy to suffer. That cost was added to the price of everything you buy, and it caused every business except the oil companies to suffer. The Republicans did everything possible to help them get away with this. When Congress tried to get records of the secret meetings between the Dick Cheney, administration officials and the oil companies, they were refused even when the records were subpoenaed. For that alone, Cheney should go to prison. The Bush administration gave them huge tax breaks, and when gas prices shot up to record levels and the economy went into recession, their answer was more tax breaks for the oil companies. The Republican Party works for these crooks and against ordinary people. They should all be removed from office. - MARK BEGOVICH

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cable Industry Fires Back Against Viewer Choice

As We reported last week, (, the Big-5 Media monopolies are finding new ways to distribute their programming and that is breaking the backs of the big cable TV monopolies. Now the cable firms are fighting back, as usual, to restrict the ability of the viewing public to choose where they get their favorite shows...

excerpted from:

Cable operators seek platform to put TV shows online,0,7627468.story

2/25/2009--Wary of the growing number of consumers watching TV shows online for free -- and yet reluctant to upset viewers by yanking shows from the Internet -- the nation's largest cable operators are in talks with media conglomerates to take back control. They would create a platform to release cable TV shows online, but exclusively for paying subscribers....

Gaspin and others familiar with the project said the new service probably would be free to cable TV subscribers. But it's also possible a small fee might be assessed....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here's a very interesting 20 minute video on the cycle of over-consumption and how it's killing our planet.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

While Cable System Operators Have Fought Consumer Choice (aka A la carte) Cable, Consumers are taking their dollars elsewhere. In Response, the Big 5 Media Corporations are Dumping Less Lucrative Businesses...

2/18/2009--More and more the entertainment mega corporations, the big 5, ie., Disney, Fox, Viacom-CBS, GE-BBC-Universal and Time-Warner, are dumping their less-profitable cable and satellite distribution arms, while retaining their ultra-profitable broadcasting and content-production divisions (studios and cable channels).

Thanks to the internet reaching as much or more of the country than cable and satellite, a lot of the TV fare we have to pay big bucks for on cable can now be found on free websites sponsored by the Big 5. These sites typically have very few commercials, maybe 2 minutes in a half hour show instead of 8. Some of the best shows are archived forever, such as all 35 years of Saturday Night Live, and all ten years of the Daily Show. What the Big 5 are doing is cutting out the middlemen. And since cable system monopolies have jacked up their rates much higher than the rate of inflation for over 20 years, it's hard to feel too sympathetic for them.

Fox last year traded away the #1 DirectTV satellite service to Liberty Media (an owner of cable channels), and this month reported a $6.4 billion loss.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Time-Warner is spinning off the nation's 2nd largest cable system as an independent company. Given that Time-Warner owns numerous cable channels, which are essentially TV "brands" that they can distribute any way they want, they now can fully embrace giving viewers the maximum number of ways to see their programming, whether it's on the internet, cable, phone company TV or satellite. Their bottom line was really hurting, with their last quarterly loss being $16 billion, so I can understand why they chose to get out of a very competitive business. Contrary to what corporate propagandists say, they don't like competition.

Another big cable system owner, Charter, just declared bankruptcy. Charter is controlled by Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft who couldn't transfer his success in software to the cable business.

Controlling all facets of a business, or what is termed "vertical integration", has made a lot of money for stock traders who helped the big guys gobble up additional variations of their core business. The big guys haven't always done as well. AT & T really blew it 10 years ago when they bought TCI, which then owned Liberty Media and the nation's top cable system operator. Very soon they wrote off around $50 billion in losses, and spun off Liberty Media to the public, and sold the cable systems to Comcast. They recovered well (well, maybe not for us) by the Bush administration letting them merge with SBC and BellSouth and buy Cingular Wireless, essentially rendering the U.S. a 2 -phone company country (except for some tiny competitors).


This trend of binging and purging really hit Clear Channel, which hugely overpaid for over 1000 radio stations and hundreds of thousand of billboards 10 years ago and then they lost billions and dumped a lot of stations. CBS likewise gorged on radio stations and billboards and then wrote off a lot of paper-value recently. Time-Warner blew over $100 billion by buying America OnLine and found that Americans weren't that keen about buying everything over the internet.

In the end, we still have 5 mega corporations that produce and distribute most of our news and entertainment. But at least we have more ways to get it, at lower cost, and that's good.

--Rex Frankel, 2/18/2009

A Historical Trend of Sell-offs:

RADIO: ABC sold off much of their news and music radio stations to Citadel Broadcasters in 2006, while keeping their ESPN radio and Radio Disney stations. NBC had sold off their radio division in the 1980's. Only CBS remains heavily in the radio business but is selling a lot of stations in middle American markets in order to keep their big holdings in big cities.

MUSIC: All of the Big 5 have been out of recorded music since Universal Music (which had previously bought ABC's labels) was bought by Vivendi of France in the 1990's and CBS's Columbia and Epic records division were sold to Sony in the 1980's. NBC's RCA labels were sold off in the 1980's and are now owned by Sony.
Where were the Fiscally Conservative Republican/Conservatives that are Foaming at the Mouth Over Obama's Economy Fix for the Past 8 Years?
from February 15, 2009

Mr. ANDREW SULLIVAN (The Atlantic Senior Editor): They're also saying that
we are the party of fiscal conservatism. Now they...

MATTHEWS: Since when, though?

Mr. SULLIVAN: Well, since like I think like 10 minutes ago. I mean, they
spent, for future debt of this country, they added $30 trillion in a period of
boom. We're now in the swiftest downturn in employment in decades and they're
quibbling over something like $400 billion worth of spending. It doesn't make
any sense. The hypocrisy of these people, their ability to turn on a dime and
not even acknowledge their own responsibility. If they hadn't spent the
amount they'd spent in the last eight years, we wouldn't have this crisis in
the sense that we'd have much more leeway to spend our way out of the
recession. The one moment you don't want to be a fiscal conservative is when
the global economy is heading down into a down draft. And yet that's the one
moment that these Republicans pick to allegedly stand up for their principles.
It's insane, I think, and frankly, all these news cycle spins, I--that's the
old politics. The new politics is we're in a terrible economic crisis, have
we done enough to get ourselves out of it?

Is the Digital TV Changeover Really Just a Big Gift to the Broadcasters at the Expense of Consumers?

2/18/2009--Why should the public have to pay anything more in order to see ad-filled crappy TV channels that are packed with celebrity news and reality TV junk, along with a few programs featuring actors and writing?

The airwaves belong to the people, but they are occupied by mega-corporations, which, thanks to digital TV, will have many more channels to fill with junk.

To compensate, the 5 mega-media corporations are giving up their "analog" channels (the one our TV's currently can pick up). Originally, when the U.S. Congress approved the digital TV switchover in the 1990's, the promise was that we would now have all these local-owned stations. Instead, a few years ago the Bush administration auctioned those channels off to AT & T and Verizon, the U.S.'s 2 phone monopolies, so they can SELL us more cell phone services.

Call or write your congresspeople now!
This is a ripoff!

About a quarter of the nation's TV stations cut off their analog signals Tuesday, causing sets to go dark in households that were not prepared for digital television despite two years of warnings about the transition.

Though most viewers were ready - and people with cable or satellite service were unaffected - some stations and call centers reported a steady stream of questions from frustrated callers.

"It's kind of an irritation, but I understand that everyone will have a much better picture. As far as I was concerned, they could have left things the way they were," said Dorothy Delegard, 67, of Minneapolis, who bought a converter box because a friend gave her a coupon that expired Tuesday.

Phones were ringing off the hook at a walk-in information center set up by stations in Providence, R.I.

A volunteer at the center, Jeremy Taylor, said he tried to calm agitated callers.

"I try to explain that the digital switch is not something we're doing to extort them of money," Taylor said...



Early converts to digital are fuzzy about benefits

Some report getting worse reception and fewer stations, at least for now

…The switch to digital broadcasts will free up valuable airwaves for public safety officials to improve their communications networks and for wireless companies to offer new services. And for most people, it will produce sharper pictures with better sound. Digital TV also enables broadcasters to transmit four or more programs simultaneously on new sub-channels….

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tax Rates Fell by a Third for the 400 Richest Americans, Whose Average Income Doubled to $263 million a Year Under George Bush's Presidency

January 31, 2009
in print edition C-4

The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2% through the first six years of the Bush administration, and their average income doubled to $263.3 million, new data show. The 17.2% in 2006 was the lowest since the Internal Revenue Service began tracking the 400 largest taxpayers in 1992, although they paid more tax on an inflation-adjusted basis than for any year since 2000. The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9% was largely because of President Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15% in 2003. Capital gains made up 63% of the richest 400 Americans’ adjusted gross income in 2006, or a combined $66.1 billion, according to the data. In all, those taxpayers reported a combined $105.3 billion in adjusted gross income in 2006, the most recent year for which the IRS has data. “The big explosion in income for this group is clearly on the capital gains side, although there are also sharp increases in dividend and interest income,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington. In addition, “they are realizing more of their gains due to the lower tax rate,” Baker said. The data may provide ammunition for Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco who say they intend to increase the capital gains tax rate even as the credit crunch roils markets and is producing more investment losses than gains. President Obama pledged during the presidential campaign to increase the rate.


Are You Better Off Than You Were Eight Years Ago?»

Our guest blogger is Adam Jentleson, the Communications and Outreach Director for the Hyde Park Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asked America, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

After eight years of conservative rule, it’s worth posing a similar question – are Americans better off today than they were eight years ago?

As our new memo shows, unless you happen to be a big corporation or make enough money to be in the top percentage of earners, the answer is probably no:

A variety of metrics can be used to judge this question and assess what eight years of conservative policies have wrought. The picture painted here is clear: from job growth to debt, and from income disparity to national poverty indices, the conservative approach of putting big corporations and the very wealthy ahead of the middle class has failed to create prosperity that can be shared by all Americans.


Monday, January 19, 2009


By Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009, the last day of George Bush’s term in office

When the stock market came crashing down just before the November 2008 presidential election, politicians scrambled to bail out failing corporate monoliths on the premise that helping them would help the average American. For a lot of the middle class who have or had their retirements invested in the stock market, on the surface this sounded like the politicians cared for them. But since the stock market index, or the Dow Jones, is simply an average of the prices of the stocks of the 30 biggest and richest corporations, ( ) merely shoring up the Dow is trickle-down economics on a colossal scale. The benefits go to the rich and stay there. For much of the Bush years, we have been told that the economy is great, job growth is great!, etc. while housing costs zoomed, outsourcing of jobs to India zoomed, and gas prices tripled. All this “good news” was based on a false barometer of health--the ridiculous rise in the top 30 stocks. The absurdity of it all is that the economic health of the 30 richest American corporations has not trickled down to the rest of us. America was not better off at any time during the Bush years. The people who made money were those that shuffled assets around, buying and selling companies and properties with little regard for the people who worked there. Bush’s friends created fake energy shortages and Enron and Exxon earned billions. Even after bankruptcy no one knows where Enron’s fraudulently earned riches went. Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton reaped billions in overcharges and no-competition contracts to run our war in Iraq. And after their crooked billings were uncovered, they simply relocated to Dubai.

Yes, the Bush insiders, the corporate managers and stock traders and money-movers made out like bandits. For the rest of us, the outcome of the Bush years is that control of things which we can’t live without are in fewer hands at the end of the Bush years than at the beginning.

This “look the other way—business can do what it wants” attitude in our government is not just a Republican disease. Under Bill Clinton’s presidency, the corporate merger mania continued unabated as it did through the 1980’s under Reagan and Bush #1. The difference between Republican and Democrat presidents is that job growth was stagnant under Republicans, while under Clinton we added an average of 3 million jobs per year. So even though mega-corporations gained ever more power under Clinton, American workers didn’t suffer like they did under Reagan and the Bushes. See

Oh, there’s nothing like a disaster to make us all lose our senses. After 9-11, we were asked to give up our civil rights, or we weren’t being good Americans. Then we were told not to question Bush’s invasion of Iraq, which possessed Weapons of Mass Pollution, AKA lots of oil. For the cynical, a disaster is an opportunity to get richer.

So the financial crash last year gave our leaders the opportunity to do real good for the average Americans or to again reward the rich campaign contributors. Guess what the Bush administration chose?

In the aftermath of the Bush years, key American industries are even more tightly controlled by a small group of people. When we debate whether the bailouts of our country’s key industries are really socialism for the rich, who privatize the profits but socialize the losses, it makes me wonder what capitalism really is. I believe that the infrastructure of this country should be owned by all of us. That means that the key industries—the necessities that we can’t live without-- should be owned and run by the government. Banks and oil companies and health care should be like public utilities, like our electric and water companies. They are vital to our existence--so vital that when bankers choose to engage in fraud, it affects all of us. When the oil companies use any excuse to raise prices, and we have no choice but to pay, that causes ripple effects on everything else. I am convinced that when gasoline hit $4.50 a gallon, it was the last straw. An economy that was already teetering finally gave out. Consumers couldn’t pay their mortgages and health care and car loans on top of the huge profits demanded by the oil industry.

That’s why any further bailouts of America’s big businesses MUST be accompanied by mandatory restructuring of their way of doing business. If socialism is good for our key businesses in the bad times, it’s good all the time.



BANKS: By the end of 2008, in the financial industry, we had 4 banks dominating every corner of the country: Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase. When Washington Mutual failed, Chase was allowed to scoop them up. When Merrill Lynch and Countrywide Financial flopped, B of A gobbled them up. When Wachovia blew up, Wells Fargo picked up the bones. With hundreds of billions in our tax dollars to prop them up, we might as well nationalize the banking system completely—and finish the job. (for more,

OIL: Once America had 7 big oil companies and several smaller ones. Now 4 oil companies are totally dominant and earned hundreds of billions in profits during the Bush years. When was the last time you saw gas stations compete with each other? In the 1970’s, when we still had competition, we had “gas wars”, where oil companies competed for customers by lowering their prices. Now the phrase “gas war” means something completely different: War on Iraq, war on consumers. (for more,

CARS: After getting fat selling SUVs for years, the car industry finally tanked after oil company greed convinced buyers that Hummers and monster gas hog trucks were not family cars. While they blamed workers, (again!), car company executives proposed to let 2 of the remaining 3 companies merge. Gee-that’s always worked before! Thanks to globalization and homogenization (or sameness), today we have worldwide only 9 car makers producing 100’s of virtually indistinguishable models under numerous brand names. These 9 firms have gobbled up numerous car makers. This illusion of choice for consumers, of fake competition by corporate monopolies, is another phony symbol of economic well-being. More monopolization is not the solution—innovation and ending our addiction to oil is. (for more,

AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE: Among the companies that help defend America, seven of the top ten defense contractors in 1995 are owned by three now. (for more,

FINALLY, TV AND THE MEDIA: In 1984, we had 50 media companies serving up most of our news and entertainment, as the famous book on media consolidation, the Media Monopoly, concluded. Now we have 5 companies controlling virtually everything we see or hear. Lest we forget, the taxpayers own the TV and radio airwaves. The big 5 media merely have a license to use the airwaves. Early in the Bush years, hardly anyone with a dissenting view could be found on the many TV and cable channels owned by the big 5. For more history of media monopolism:

A huge thank you is deserved by, which has made it possible for millions of Americans for free to create websites and post videos on their YouTube site to spread the stories that the big-5 media has ignored. Advertisers have discovered that viewers and readers have deserted other media and get much of their news and entertainment through the internet, thereby they are giving their ad dollars to internet sites that are not controlled by the Big-5. Google and YouTube were key to breaking the Big-5 Media’s monopoly and have brought democracy back to the corporate dominated media landscape. And Google accomplished this entirely without a government bailout.

My hope for the Obama years is that enterprising Americans come up with more innovations that further break the monopoly strangleholds on other areas of American business.


compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009



Main Businesses: TV stations and network, cable channels, film and TV production and distribution, theme parks

Bought During the Bush Years: Universal Studios, Telemundo TV network, Bravo, Oxygen and the Weather Channel

1932-Feds make GE and Westinghouse sell stakes in RCA radio networks

1957-MCA Universal buys Paramount’s pre-1948 film library

1980--RCA sells Random House book publisher to Newhouse co.

1985-GE buys RCA, getting NBC TV network and stations

1986-GE sells RCA music division to Bertelsman of Germany. They eventually sell it to Sony.

1987-GE sells consumer electronics division of GE and RCA to Thomson of France

1987-NBC radio programming producer is sold to Westwood One, a firm now owned by CBS.

1988-NBC sells 5 of its radio station to Emmis Broadcasting

1989-Universal buys 1/3rd stake in Cineplex Odeon theaters. Stake is sold later to AMC Theaters

1989-NBC launches CNBC cable channel

1990-Universal and MCA is sold to Matsushita of Japan (now known as Panasonic)

1991-Polygram buys film producers Propaganda and Working Title Films and in 1992 buys Interscope Films. Polygram was jointly owned by Siemens and Philips of Europe.

1995 Universal is sold to Seagrams

1996-NBC and Microsoft launch MSNBC channel

1997-Universal buys October Films

1997-Universal buys out its partner in USA and Sci-Fi cable channels (Viacom)

1999-Universal buys Polygram pictures and recorded music co.

2000-Seagrams and Universal are sold to Vivendi of France. Deal is a disaster financially.

2001-Vivendi buys Houghton Miflin book publishing

2001-NBC buys Telemundo TV network which owns two stations in several major markets

2002-Vivendi sells Seagrams liquor business and Houghton Miflin book publishing

2002-NBC buys Bravo cable channel from Cablevision Corp. and MGM

2003-GE buys Universal Pictures leaving Vivendi with 20% stake in new NBC-Universal company. Vivendi keeps ownership of Universal recorded music division

2006-NBC buys Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants with Donald Trump

2007-NBC buys Oxygen cable channel from Oprah Winfrey

2008-NBC buys the Weather channel


Main Businesses: magazines, cable channels, film production and distribution

Bought during the Bush years: split the #3 cable system owner with their main competitor, Comcast (#1 in USA). Time Warner is the #2 largest cable system owner.

1944-Warners buys Looney Tunes cartoon studio and Bugs Bunny

1948-Warners sells film library to MGM

1967-DC Comics is bought by Kinney National Company

1969-Kinney National buys Warner Brothers, in 1972 Kinney spins off Warner Communications Co.

1972-Time inc. buys HBO pay channel

1978-Warner Communications buys cable system operator ATC

1982-CBS sells paperback publishing to Warners

1987-Time and Warner merge

1989-Warners buys Lorimar-Telepictures studios

1989-Time magazine publishing merges with Warner, which makes films and record

1991-Turner Broadcasting (18% owned by Time-Warner) buys Hanna-Barbera animation company

1992-Turner launches the Cartoon Network

1993-Turner merges with Castle Rock and New Line films

1996-Time-Warner buys Turner Broadcasting, getting CNN, TBS and other cable channels, and old MGM film library

1998-T-W sells Six Flags theme parks to Premiere Parks co.

1999-AOL buys Mapquest internet site

2000-Time-Warner merges with America Online. Deal is a huge money-loser.

2000-TW buys some magazines from the Tribune Company. It resells them in 2007 to Bonnier.

2003-TW sells half stake in Comedy Central to Viacom (already owned other half)

2004-AOL-TW sells music division to Edgar Bronfman

2005-TW buys remains of bankrupt Adelphia cable with chief rival Comcast Corp.

2006-TW sells its book publishing division to Hachette of France.

2006-TW buys half of Court TV channel from Liberty Media (already owned other half)

2009-Time Warner plans to spin off #2 US cable systems division to shareholders.


Main businesses: TV stations and network, cable channels, film production and distribution, theme parks, books and magazines

Bought During the Bush Years: Pixar Animation, top producer of computer animated films

1943-feds force RCA to divest itself of ABC radio network

1960-Disney buys out stake in Disneyland from ABC

1984-ABC buys ESPN channel

1985-Capital Cities co, owner of TV stations and newspapers, buys ABC

1993-Disney buys Miramax films

1994-ABC buys out Viacom’s stake in the Lifetime channel

1995-Disney Buys ABC TV and radio networks

1996-Radio Disney network is launched

1997-Disney sells its 4 daily newspapers to Knight-Ridder

1997-Disney buys asset of Cinergi Pictures, producers of Die Hard series

1999-Disney sells its women’s magazines

2006-Disney buys Pixar Animation, which had been founded by GeorgeLucas

2006—ABC sells its music, talk and news radio networks and stations to Citadel Broadcasting, keeping ESPN Radio and Radio Disney stations


Main Businesses:

Newspapers in USA, Australian and UK, cable channels, TV stations and network, magazines, book publishing, internet sites

Bought During the Bush Years: and Wall Street Journal

1935-Century Pictures and Fox Film merge to form 20th Century Fox

1977-Murdoch buys NY Post

1985-Murdoch buys Fox Pictures and also buys 7 TV stations from Metromedia to set up TV network. Murdoch buys the Boston Herald and Chicago Sun-Times but later sells them

1987-Murdoch buys Harper and Row book publishers

1988-Murdoch buys TV Guide and Seventeen magazine

1988-Murdoch buys William Collins book publisher

1991-Murdoch sells several magazines

1995-Sets up Fox sports channels in partnership with TCI, later brings in channels owned by Cablevision in east coast

1996-Fox News channel is launched

1996-Fox buys New World Communications, getting 10 TV stations

1997-Buys and in 2003 sells L.A. Dodgers baseball team, keeps broadcast rights

1997-Fox/Liberty Media buys control of FitTV channel

1999-Fox trades stock to Liberty Media for full control of Fox Sports channels

1999-Fox sells TV Guide to Gemstar corp.

1999-Murdoch buys William Morrow and Avon books from Hearst

Buys and later sells DirecTV satellite TV distributor

2000-Fox buys 10 Chris-Craft TV stations, gaining second channels in several major markets

2001-Sells Fox Family channel to Disney, had bought it from Pat Robertson in 1997

2001-Fox sells its 33% stake in the Golf channel and Outdoor Life to Comcast, getting full ownership of Speedvision channel in deal.

2003-Murdoch buys DirecTV from General Motors

2005-Murdoch buys

2006-Murdoch trades DirecTV to Liberty Media in exchange for Liberty’s 19% stake in News Corp.

2007-Murdoch buys Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Company. To finance the deal, Fox sells 9 TV stations in smaller market.


Main businesses: TV stations and network, billboards, radio stations, film production and distribution, book publishing, cable channels

Bought During the Bush Years: rest of Comedy Central, and DreamWorks Pictures

1938-CBS buys Columbia record label

1964-CBS buys NY Yankees baseball team, sells in 1973

1965-CBS buys Fender guitar co.

1970-Viacom is formed when feds make CBS divest its ownership of TV show producers and syndicators

1981- MTV-launched 1981 by Warner Communications and American Express

1985-Viacom buys out partners, gets full ownership of MTV, VH-1, Showtime, the Movie Channel and Nickelodeon

1985-Mutual Broadcasting radio network is sold by Amway to Westwood One. NBC sells its radio network to Westwood One.

1987-Redstone buys control of Viacom

1987-CBS sells off it book publishing division to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

1988-CBS sells recorded music division to Sony

1993-Viacom buys Paramount Pictures

1993-Paramount buys Macmillan book publishing

1994-Viacom buys Blockbuster video rental stores

1994-Viacom sells Madison Square Garden and 2 sports teams to partnership of Cablevision and ITT.

1994-Infinity Radio buys Westwood One

1995-Viacom sells its cable systems to TCI (which eventually sold out to AT & T, which sold them to Comcast)

1995-CBS is sold to Westinghouse Corp, which owned 8 CBS TV affiliates, 18 radio stations, the Nashville Network cable channel and 31% of Country Music TV channel. Eventually most of Westinghouse’s non-media assets are sold off and company is renamed CBS.

1995-Viacom launches UPN TV network using Chris-Craft’s network of stations

1995-Viacom spins off its local cable TV systems, which TCI buys.

1996-CBS buys Infinity Radio getting 77 stations and up to 6 stations in several major markets.

1997-CBS buys American Radio Systems, getting 98 stations

1999-Viacom and CBS merge, with Redstone in full control.

1999-CBS buys Outdoor Systems billboard firm, largest in USA

1999-CBS buys King World-distributor of shows like Oprah, Wheel of Fortune

1999-Westwood One buys Metro Networks, producer of radio traffic reports

2000-Viacom buys Black Entertainment TV cable channel.

2003-Viacom buys other half of Comedy Central from Universal

2004-Viacom spins off Blockbuster video stores to shareholders, writing off big loss

2005-to boost stock price, Redstone splits CBS and Viacom in two, though he still controls them; CBS writes off $18 billion loss from purchase of overpriced radio and billboard assets

2005-Paramount buys DreamWorks pictures

2006-CBS sells Paramount’s 5 theme parks to Cedar Fair, owner of Knotts Berry Farm in L.A area.

2007-CBS sells off 39 radio stations and 10 TV stations in smaller markets


compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009

thanks to and for helpful data

4 Companies control virtually the entire USA railroad industry. The UP and BNSF control the western US, CSX and Norfolk Southern control the eastern US.

The Union Pacific

-1997, bought Southern Pacific RR

-1982 Missouri Pacific RR

-1982 Western Pacific RR

--1988 Missouri-Kansas-Texas RR

-1988 Denver & Rio Grande RR

-1995-Chicago & Northwestern

-Overnite trucking co.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe

--1970—merger of Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; Northern Pacific Railway, Great Northern Railway; and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway Co

--1980 St. Louis-San Francisco RR

-1995 merged with Santa Fe RR


--1960 merged with Baltimore& Ohio RR

-1979 merged with Seaboard Coast Line

--1991 bought Richmond Fredericksburg & Potomac RR

-1992-PL & E RR

--1998 bought Conrail from the federal government, splitting its assets with Norfolk Southern.

--SeaLand shipping co.

The Norfolk Southern

--1964 Norfolk Western bought Wabash, Nickel Plate, Pittsburgh & West Virginia RR and the Akron, Canton & Youngstown RR.

--1974 Norfolk Southern RR bought by Southern Railways

--1982-Norfolk & Western merged with Southern Railways



compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009


In recent years, America’s 5 dominant appliance makers (GE, Electrolux, Whirlpool, Raytheon and Maytag) have merged into 3.


Hotpoint (acquired 1918)

RCA—bought 1985 (but sold GE and RCA TV manufacturing division in 1987 to Thomson of France. Thomson in 2004 transferred all TV production to joint venture with TCL of China)


Roper bought 1988


Bought During the Bush Years: Maytag and numerous brands

Kitchenaid-bought in 1986 from Hobart Corp.

Estate-bought from RCA in 1955

Glenwood ???

Heritage ??

In the Maytag purchase in 2005, brands added to Whirlpool included:

Jetclean dishwashers

Neptune washers-introduced 1997

Jenn-Aire-bought 1982

Admiral-bought 1986

Magic Chef-bought 1986

Norge-bought 1986

Toastmaster-bought 1986 (sold 1987, now owned by Salton inc.)

Gaffers & Sattler-bought 1969 by Magic Chef

Gemini ranges

Amana and Radarange (sold by Raytheon in 1997 to Goodman, they sold it to Maytag in 2001)

Modern Maid, sold to Raytheon in 1979, then to Maytag,

Caloric-sold to Amana in 1967-

Hardwick bought 1981-

Dixie-Narco vending machines-bought 1986 (sold in 2006 to Crane co.(a division of American Standard Brands)

Hoover vacuums-bought 1989- sold 12/2006 to Techtronic --Hong Kong based-owns Royal and Dirt Devil vacuums, and Homelite, omelite, Milwaukee Sawzall (bought 2005) and Ryobi power tools, Stiletto hammers)


--1986-buys White-Westinghouse, getting

Frigidaire (brand was owned by General Motors from 1919 to 1980)

Gibson (bought 1979)

Kelvinator (sold by AMC in 1968)


--in 1986 buys Poulan/Weedeater, yard tools; In 2006-spun off Husqvarna lawn and garden products, including Poulan and Weedeater

--in 2000, buys back rights to use Electrolux name in USA, had sold it in 1968 to Consolidated Foods, later known as Sara Lee, which sold it to management in 1987.




Hoover vacuums sold 12/2006 to Techtronic --Hong Kong based, owns Royal and Dirt Devil vacuums, and Homelite, omelite, Milwaukee Sawzall (bought 2005) and Ryobi power tools, Stiletto hammers)



Bernzomatic torches


Lenox saw blades

OFFICE PRODUCTS: Sanford, Sharpie pens, Eberhard Faber, uni-ball, Berol, rotring, Parker pens, Papermate, Waterman, Liquid Paper, Rolodex, Eldon, Dymo, Expo, Grumbacher

COOKWARE/HOUSEHOLD: Mirror, Wearever, Airbake, Calphalon, Anchor Hocking, Pyrex (not in USA)

Goody hair products



MeadWestvaco, which was sold to Cerberus Capital in 2005:

Bought Stuart Hall stationery products in 2001, from Pen-Tab Holdings. Pen-tab had bought it in 1998 from Newell Corp.; Brands: Mead, Day Runner, Trapper Keeper, Cambridge, Zwipes, At-A-Glance


EMHART BOUGHT 1989, they owned: Kwikset locks, Price Pfister faucets, Molly wall anchors, POP rivets, True Temper golf clubs

DeWalt tools

Porter cable-bought 2004 from Pentair

Baldwin locks, Weiser locks bought 2003 from Masco


Hamilton Beach, Proctor-Silex


Black & Decker small appliances

Spacemaker appliances



George Foreman grills


Stiffel lighting



Oster, Osterizer


Mr. Coffee

Borg scales


Diamond matches

U.S. Playing cards



Pine Mountain firelogs

Kerr and Ball canning supplies

Coleman camping gear


4/2007 buys Pure Fishing

4/2007—buys K2 inc. for $765 mil., maker of skis, Shakespeare and Penn fishing tackle and Rawlings baseball equipment


Bostitch staplers, nail guns

Mac tools

Proto tools


Delta and Peerless faucets, Hansgrohe, Brasscraft

Mills Pride cabinets

Behr paints

Milgard windows


Crescent wrenches

Lufkin tape measures

Plumb axes and hammers

Wiss snips

Buss fuses

McGraw Edison



Schlage locks

Kryptonite locks

-Thermo-King refrigerated trucks—bought in 1997 from Westinghouse-CBS

-12/2007 buys Trane air conditioning for $10 billion


Trane air conditioners-spun off in 2007

American Standard and Eljer toilets

Crane plumbing



compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009


General Motors,

sells under these brands:


Pontiac-bought 1909,

Buick—original car line of GM,

Cadillac-bought 1909,



Hummer—their SUV’s are actually made by A-M General Corp. , a former division of American Motors and later LTV corp., now a separate company

GM-Daewoo-bought in 2002-in South Korea

Saab of Sweden--bought in ‘89 and 2000,

GM also owned between 2000 and 2005 up to 20% of FIAT of Italy, which sells under these brands: FIAT, Lancia, Alfa Romeo-(bought 1986 from the Italian government), Ferrari, Maserati (bought 1993, 51% owned), and Iveco trucks, while FIAT owns 6% of GM. FIAT sells 46% of all cars sold in Italy, and also owns 90% of Polish carmaker FSM.

GM also sells under these brands in Europe: Adam-Opel in Germany, Vauxhall in the UK. GM also has technology sharing agreements with Toyota, and buys engines from Honda. GM also owned Lotus for a while, but sold it in ‘93.

Discontinued car lines:

Elmore, bought 1909-halted 1912






Rapid Truck-1909-1912

Reliance Truck-1909-1912


Former stakes in other car-makers:

Isuzu (49%)-sold in 2006,

Suzuki (9.9% sold in 2008),

and once owned Subaru (20%) of Japan.

Lotus of UK-1986 to 1993



#2 with 25% of the US market, sells under these brands:


Lincoln and


Volvo cars of Sweden-bought in 1999,

and owns 50% of AutoLatina with VW in Brazil. Ford also has a joint venture with Navistar to build trucks in Mexico

Discontinued brand lines:



Aston Martin Lagonda, made in the UK,- bought in 1989, sold in 2007

Land Rover & Range Rover (bought in 2000), Jaguar, (bought in ’89), in 2008, Ford sold Land Rover and Jaguar to Tata of India

-- Formerly owned controlling share of Mazda of Japan (33.4%, cut in 2008 to 13%, along with another large shareholder, Sumitomo Bank)



#3 in the US with 15% of the market, sells under these brands:

Jeep--bought in 1987 as part of American Motors Corp.,



Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, which is 24% owned by Deutsche Bank, bought Chrysler in 1998. Daimler also owns Freightliner trucks and Puch mopeds. In May of 2007, Daimler sells Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management for $7.4 billion, but most of the cash will go back into Chrysler, and Daimler will keep a 19% share and keep $950 million. Cerberus also controls GMAC, 51% sold 4/2006 by GM for $14 billion.

Discontinued car lines:

Maxwell-dropped in 1925

Chalmers-ended in 1923







Hudson- to 1957


Willy’s-Overland-until 1955

Kaiser-Frazer—until 1955

Chrysler formerly owned 15% of Hyundai, selling it in 2004 (which owns Kia--bought in ‘98).

Hyundai’s first model sold in the USA was the Cortina, marketed by Ford

Mitsubishi Motors--Chrysler owned stake between 1971 and 1993 and sold their cars under Dodge brand in the USA, then between 2000 and 2005, Daimler-Chrysler owned up to 37%.

Mitsubishi also owned 10% of Hyundai until 2003



Toyota, #4 in the US with 8% of sales, sells under these brands:



and Scion

--Subaru. A 16.5% stake is owned by Toyota; this stake was previously held by Nissan from 1968 to 1999, and by GM until 2005



Makes the Honda and Acura brands.

It used to sell the Sterling, which was made in England by Austin-Rover, from 1987 to 1992


Renault, was owned by the French government from after World War 2 to 1996.

It controls:

Nissan-bought in 1999 (and owns 44% of its stock, while Nissan owns 15% of Renault),

Infiniti –launched by Nissan in 1989

Samsung Motors of South Korea-70% stake bought 1998 (not sold in US)

-beginning in 1979, Renault bought a small stake in AMC-Jeep, eventually owning 47%; Renault sold that stake in 1987 to Chrysler


BMW sells under these brands:


Rolls Royce (bought ‘98),

Mini Cooper, bought in 1994 as part of Rover (Rover Cars used to be called British Leyland, and made the MG, Triumph, Austin Healey and Morris Minor; BMW sold off Rover to Ford in 2000, which sold it in 2008 to Tata Motors of India. BMW also kept the right to make a Triumph brand.)


Porsche bought a controlling stake in VW in 2008, they own:


Audi, bought by VW in 1964 from Daimler-Benz

Lamborghini (bought in ’98 by Audi),

Bentley (bought in ‘98,


SEAT in Spain-bought in 1986

Skoda of the Czech republic, bought in 1991

Bugatti bought 1998



Makes Mercedes-Benz

Daimler also owns Freightliner trucks and Puch mopeds.

Owned Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep from 1998 to 2007


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