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(The Fringe I Love To Hate) By Andrew Stergiou


Rumors are the extortionists weapons stock and trade.

Back in 1990 James Taranto (currently the Reaganite Associate Editor for the Wall Street Journal) writing for the "New York City Tribune", unknowingly referred to me  as a “pioneer of the wacky left”, He decided after a few of his brief clandestine encounters with an anonymous faceless person behind the Tentra Red Flag BBS that I was a socialist lefty, without creditability. Though I strongly strove for creditability as a matter of pride he denied me that. Thanks Jimmy you SOE!

Mr. Taranto, said he “logged onto the Tentra Red Flag BBS (212-406-9108), a 2-year-old Manhattan computer bulletin board system described as a "Socialist Labor/Art net." I was invited to call by a sticker I spied during a stroll on the Lower East Side.”. But for all intents and purposes Mr. Taranto failed to state that I could have been anyone, any where. In fact I could have been a government intelligence officer and how would he know it unless as I presume he was a government informant (agent).

For years I have been dogged by one spook informer type or another, but where he stated that “What's amazing is the similarity between the rhetoric of left-wing kooks and that of right-wing kooks.” I can agree. Though also most of what Mr. Taranto he wrote was 100% simplistic bogus trash.

 Perhaps Mr. Taranto decided I was part of the evil empire as he ranted and raved arguing ad nauseam throwing my words back at me as if they were properly quoted, and contextually correct. When he never identified himself as a writer desiring to interview me, or even discuss things for an article he was writing.

Though presumably he would see nothing wrong with me stating  "I have great respect for all honest, patriotic, loyal Americans,". Strangely, perhaps not so strangely he then would disagree when I would state the American “government doesn't represent American interests but the mega-multi-national corporations.", when it was convenient for him. Perhaps if we were referring to only Democrats he would tend to agree. Sheech I can’t stand cold warriors, I have known them my entire life and their rabid style and manner never change.

Today after twenty-eight years of Neo-Con occupation, and this great economic crisis caused by deregulation that started with Reaganite Libertarian invasion of Washington: perhaps most people would agree with me since it is obvious to most people in whose interests this country and government is run:

Since most people say it is all about the money and “the rich get richer, and the poor, get poorer”, though clichés like that are not always true when they are not.

For the most part Mr. Taranto mouthed of in the Cold War rhetoric of his master Reagan, and never bothered much to verify and check out much including his facts, namely he couldn’t even get my gender right.


Researching online, as I regularly do, one topic leads me to an idea, and idea brings me to a lead, the lead procures me documentation, documentation transforms into the foundational basis of what I conceive and then write about.

Regarding the economic crisis of 2008,  the information I received goes back and forth, but in the center of the storm of historic proportion, I have watched with many others the auto industry as it grovels before congress.

The right wing “fiscal conservatives” can’t stand the idea that most workers at Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are unionized though hypocritically they would say people should be allowed to profit from their industry and labor (just not union workers).

“Fiscal conservative” whom we used to call cheap skin flints until in office, when they overspent drove up the debts for US taxpayers to pay, in creation of a gigantic national debt that mortgages the future the United States while the rich get billions in free corporate welfare money.

It doesn’t matter that if the American automotive business went out of business that over 3,000,000 people would become unemployed (General Motors Corp.) .

It doesn’t matter if that would have regional, national, and international ripple effects, and repercussions that this country may never recover from.

Honorably the People’s Weekly World, stated “Only Nationalization can save U.S. auto industry” (John Case, People's Weekly World Newspaper, 11/18/08 13:10) though my first reaction is that though that may happen in even the conservative UK as Europe has a tradition of nationalizing industries in the national interests it would be the first thing on the agenda of Congress the Bush or Obama administrations. 

I worked on this research to understand the economic predicament that the nation has gotten itself into but soon realized: There is more bad information on the internet than there is not, there are more ill conceived statements than there is not, and good people are few and far between.

Automobiles and the automobile industry are an integral part of the American US economy. Without the automobile we would be back in the bad old days before the car. Today a good portion of the American work force get to and fro from work in private automobiles. Rural America’s workforce depends on it automobiles to get to work, to do business and owes its very existence to the automobile. But wait even if the American work force does not get to and fro from work in private automobiles, then there are buses. As also there are trucks, and don’t forget the all that military vehicles this country feels it needs, and exports.

So automobiles are very important to the American economy and anyone who does not take its demise as an American industry doesn’t do this country a service. Such overly verbose armchair generals, should be questioned vigorously for there must be something wrong with them.


For some time I have been frustrated and dissatisfied with the wacky left and wacky right, that if I called all those wacky right and left experts I have been meeting my entire life. Which brings me back to the subject of the lunatic fringe, the wacky all too persuasive left and right. From such prestigious Ralph Nader, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin, to their grunts in the street shouting “he is an Arab” and blaming everything from people wear animal products, to fluoride being in the water supply that today is sold to use as premium mouthwash.

Remembrance that “it takes one to know one”, Mr. Taranto seemed to have qualified me, all so many years ago, as an expert on wacky. The wacky left, or wacky right. In what began  all too many years ago magnifies the point that America seems to has come under the influence of the fringe left and right.

Not to detract from everything that extremists may conceptualize as even the insane have some basis (and therefore some credibility on the issues. But though almost everything in this world of string theory, and black holes is possible that does not mean they are probable.


As someone loosely with clerical credentials that moved from New York City to small town America, to gentrification of America’s urban centres, as I lived on a fixed and albeit limited income. Arriving in an area described by House Representative Murtha as “racist” that “was until recently redneck”:

Where President elect Obama on the campaign trail created a firestorm saying “it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,"

 But where also Hillary Clinton was correct stating “The people of faith I know don’t ‘cling to’ religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich,”.

 So I wonder where does this lunacy of paradoxical conceptual thoughts comes from.

 I settled down and bought a house not because it was the best town, or the best area, nor that  but because I could better afford rather than New York City where, I had to pay $500 a month in extortion payoffs to rent a small room with a shower and a toilet down the hall.

 There are no such thing as small town values as Sarah Palin stated them, maybe people perceive them, and believe but that does not mean they are true for there are people doing good where ever one goes. Weither it is urban or rural, America is besieged by a long series of problems.

 Undoubtedly Sarah Palin did not think small town problems with underpaid employment, unemployment, crime, drugs, alcohol, poverty, greed, vanity, avarice, aging industries and hate. When she referred to “small town values” she was catering to the small town elites, that like her are well off, living in a gold gilded cage of days gone by because small town America has all but disappeared under the heels of shopping malls and Wal-Mart workfare. Where the working poor work pass the retirement age not because they want to but because they can not otherwise afford healthcare (if they are lucky enough to find a job that offers health care coverage) need to pay the heating bills, mortgages.

 Small towns where the Neo-Con elites like the Sicilian elites maximize their profits, peppering the landscape with federally financed projects with cracking of poorly poured cement of redundantly non-productive pork barrel politics.

 Where the economic basis of racism is alive and strong in the father-son traditions of trades and crafts, that exists paradoxically side by side with large scale construction projects. Where even with trade diplomas and certifications, you need experience to get a job, a job to get experience, a business to make money, and money to make a business. You need a car to get a job, and a job to get a car.


 “In order to seek so-called Chapter 11 status, a distressed company must find some way to operate while the bankruptcy court keeps creditors at bay. But GM can't build cars without parts, and it can't get parts without credit. Chapter 11 companies typically get that sort of credit from something called Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) loans. But the same Wall Street meltdown that has dragged down the economy and GM sales has also dried up the DIP money GM would need to operate.”

But all the facts and figures does not deter American reactionaries who would have America exist as a third world country, while two thirds of the world exists on less than $2 a day:

Where proponents that fail to state how even the American middle class elite and businesses could sell products to a public that would have to exist on less than $2 a day. So much of America is nostalgically in denial of the political reality that confronts their memories of better earlier times. An America, that existed when America at the end of World War II was the industrial center of 85% of the world’s industrial production.

Today the internet is riff with rumors that often is unfathomable by those of average intelligence simply because they don’t have the time to pursue such matters and have often other priorities. Priorities burdened as they are by successive corrupt government administrations that serve interests which are not sympathetic with the American people as a whole.


 Personal Experiences

I recently called a neighbor who referred to himself as a socialist, but who had who previously supported the Green party, Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential primaries, and elections only to have him repeat a story from Coast to Coast radio.

Much like WBAI in New York City, to one degree or another:

“Coast to Coast AM is an American late-night syndicated radio talk show which deals with a variety of topics, but most frequently ones that relate either to the paranormal, or to alleged conspiracies. It was created by Art Bell, airs seven nights a week 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Pacific Time, and is distributed by Premiere Radio Networks.” (Wikipedia).

That caters to loosely worded fringe elements that brew just below the surface of American politics.

“Coast to Coast AM covers unusual topics, and is full of personal stories related by callers. While program content varies, most nights are focused toward the paranormal, and subjects such as the occult, remote viewing, hauntings, shadow people, psychic predictions, conspiracy theories, UFOs, crop circles, cryptozoology and science fiction literature, among other paranormal and unusual topics.” (Ibid.)

“ Since the terrorist attacks carried out in the United States on September 11, 2001, the events of that day (as well as conspiracy theories surrounding them) and current U.S. counter-terrorism strategy have also become frequent themes.” (Ibid.)

A well organized radio produced format that in the current crisis finds a ready audience for its conspiratorial claptrap.

My neighbor repeated that “China was going to take over the American auto industry” of the Big Three, and they deserved it because “they were over paid and made crappy products”. Regardless of how such anti-union opinions would turn the stomach of any real socialists (as it did mind) what angered me the most was his adamant insistence on asserted rumors as truths, with little or no documentary basis, notes, or bibliographic references to support such a position.


For some time I had a suspicion he very well could also have been a snitch in Central Pennsylvania to damper and repress any possible local progressive actions. Adamant, I hung-up the phone on him angry that he asserted such cock and bull stories time and time again with little or no substantiation.


But interested getting of the phone I started Googling and researching what I at that point classified as a rumor. Time and time again I found secondary sources making references to the alleged existence of an article of an alleged published statement in a Chinese newspaper by a high Chinese official. 

Just like the internet rumors of the 2008 US presidential campaign regarding Barack Obama’s “birth”, “birth certificate”, “religion”, “terrorist”, “socialist”, connections I found no basis to the rumors relating to a takeover by the Chinese auto industry of the American industry.

 In fact it is my view that such rumors were perhaps spread to drive down the stock prices of Ford and General Motors  (Chrysler is privately held as part of a conglomerate and not publicly traded).

 The Rumors

After arguing with my neighbor that the story did not exist in the mainstream media, I first found mention of the rumor that: “China considers buying GM and Ford” on a chat board (Democratic Underground) that named the Chinese “21st Century Business Herald” as its source reported in as the basis for what essentially a lie.

 They stated:

 “Chinese carmakers SAIC and Dongfeng have plans to acquire GM and Chrysler, China’s 21st Century Business Herald reports today. The paper cites a senior official of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology– the state regulator of China’s auto industry– who dropped the hint that “the auto manufacturing giants in China, such as Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and Dongfeng Motor Corporation, have the capability and intention to buy some assets of the two crisis-plagued American automakers.”

“At current market valuations (GM is worth less than Mattel) the Chinese government can afford to buy GM with petty cash. Even a hundred billion $ would barely dent China’s more than $2t in currency reserves."

 With nothing more I would of ignored the rumor at that point because it was another nameless, faceless meaningless rumor on an internet chat board.

Tracing the source of the article, I found another article  “Chinese Automakers May Buy GM and Chrysler

By Bertel Schmitt November 18, 2008” that was published online at, that reveals their source as the “21st Century Business Herald”


 While they stated was made, obviously with input from higher-up, writes that Chinese industry must change and upgrade. China wants their factories to change from low-value-added manufacturing to technically innovative and financially-sound high-value-add industries. Says the paper: “It would be much easier now for strong Chinese automakers to go global by acquiring some assets of their U.S. counterparts in times of crisis.”

 First of all these rumors and speculations are made based on the unsubstantiated statements of naïve American commentary with little basis shown more than someone’s say so because actually since the Chinese already have a world class industrial basis for consumer goods. In what can already be seen in production of the Lenovo,  in what first produce the IBM Thinkpads but then started up under their own Brand name.

 Mr. Bertel Schmitt’s article was later quoted

 “Bertel Schmit at The Truth About Cars reports on the possibility that China’s largest automobile manufacturer may be interested in more than one of the Big Three:” (Below The Beltway Blog, “Will The Chinese Buy Up The Big Three? by Doug Mataconis @ 2:20 pm on November 18, 2008,

 A Doug Mataconis article that again referred back to Bertel Schmitt in reference to “China to Harmonize Safety Regs with EU (US, Not So Much) By November 13, 2008”

 Now that is the internet equivalence of solipsist circular thinking where one writer in the first case uses a second writer for validation in points they make, who then in turn like a good old boy validate what was written by the first writer.

Jeez, I would bet that they have no real knowledge of Chinese either which would be most needed to analyze what is published in a Chinese language business publication. They probably relied upon a China Digital Times online reprint as their source as it stated very much the same BS in their article

 Though Chinese to English translations are notoriously inaccurate.

The Truth

Naively the aforementioned wrote an article in what reminded be of the William Randolph Hearst racist phrase mongering of a “yellow peril” when he brought and developed yellow journalism to new and greater height in the earlier century:

 My writer colleagues stated one hand that “Chinese Government: Our Car Exports Suck By Bertel Schmitt November 11, 2008 - The auto industry and auto exports have top billing in China’s current 5 Year Plan.” But that they also threaten to buy the big three, not to merely on of the American automobile manufacturers.

Naively also they wrote where they stated without any understanding of the Chinese corrupt and face saving culture, that in time of failure, an appropriate response is required even if not needed to cover up the facts that:

“China is still light-years away from fulfilling their master plan. The Vice Director General of the Department of Mechanic, Electronic and Hi-Tech Industry, Ministry of Commerce”. (Ibid.)

More reliably on, Kelly stated:

“SAIC, Dongfeng to buy GM, Chrysler? not confirmed By Kelly November 19, 2008 Shanghai,. November 19 (”

But also that:

 "GM will not sell its joint ventures—Shanghai GM and Shanghai-GM-Wuling in China,“ said Zhou Fangyu, former director of GM Business Development Department. Data showed that Shanghai GM posted a net profit of up to 3.8 billion yuan ($557,225,600 US dollars)”

 That “during Jan.-Sept this year, reflecting China is still a high-growing market for GM, so GM would not sell its joint ventures in China, he said.”

“Henry Wong, a Shanghai-based spokesman for the biggest US auto maker, told AFP in an interview on Nov.13 that GM is continuing its investment in China and actually the American automaker’s operation has been very profitable in China. "We are not withdrawing or holding back any investment in China," he said.”. 

“A source from SAIC told reporters in a phone interview that he hasn't heard of SAIC's any plan to buy GM or Chrysler. It is impossible for SAIC to acquire assets of GM or Chrysler directly in the U.S. as the Chinese auto giant has suffered a big loss in acquiring foreign assets, the source said. However, he also noted that it may be possible for SAIC to buy some suppliers or joint ventures of GM in China.”

“Another SAIC source also denied hearing the news report. He was just back from a SAIC corporate meeting held on Nov.18, and said the meeting didn't touch this matter. "It is unlikely for SAIC or Dongfeng Motor to buy any assets of GM and Chrysler in China or abroad, he commented.”

 “As Chinese automakers have been badly affected by the global financial crisis, many automakers have lowered their 2008 sales targets and have begun to cut production and jobs. Auto giants like FAW, and Dongfeng can't fulfill their sales target this year. A take-over of a large overseas automaker would not fit Chinese automaker now. Besides, SAIC has bought a lot of loss-making foreign assets such as MG, and Ssangyong, both being great burdens for the Chinese automaker now, so it will not consider another take-over, he said.”

 “A senior executive from a global famous Investment Inc said he knew the rumor, but he declined to comment. Many companies in China may leak out such rumors at this time, but whether it is true we should wait and see, he said.”

“Analysts said SAIC and Dongfeng, both China's state-owned enterprises under close supervision of the government, may intentionally leak such news out to incur the media and industry attention to the potential of acquisition.”


Perhaps one could speculate that it is an attempt of the auto industry to drive down their own stock prices so that they could buy up their own outstanding issues of stock and solidify control.

Perhaps one can speculate that others are striving to drive down the Big 3’s stock prices so that they could buy up their own outstanding issues of stock and seize control.

But Regardless of the sources of the aforementioned rumors they come at the expense of the American Automobile Industry, the UAW, the American Worker, and the United States itself:

At best the rumors appear to be nothing more than an attempt to depreciate US automobile stocks so as to restrict of their own stock as a mean of leveraging power, to hamper their finance ability to raise capital in the private bond markets:

As if it maybe by some enemy foreign or domestic its deserves no proper consideration though undoubtfully such rumors will be abound, fast and free flowing, until the current crisis is resolved in a solution that I would predict maybe three to five years in the making.



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RUMORS: CHINESE EXTORTION AGAINST AMERICA - The Fringe I Love To Hate by Andrew Stergiou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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