The Hightower Report

A Japanese, Chinese, and Canadian affair; and 'The Hammer' gets prayerful

CHEVY'S REVOLTING REVOLUTION

For years, Chevrolet has advertised its cars and trucks as the very essence of the American way of life, and its latest multimillion-dollar blitz of TV ads tells us that the newest Chevrolets are nothing less than "An American Revolution."

Well, you can stick a feather in my cap and call it macaroni, but wrapping your corporation in the red, white, and blue doesn't make it a true blue Yankee Doodle Dandy. Check out Chevy's "Equinox," for example, a new SUV that's a central feature of the company's current star-spangled ad campaign. Chevrolet doesn't want you to know it, but there's not much that's American in the Equinox. It's assembled in Canada, its transmission is made in Japan, and – well, here's something revolutionary – its engine is made in China!

While General Motors has been shutting down its auto plants in Michigan, Maryland, and Ohio, it has been quietly investing more than a billion dollars in joint ventures with China's ruling elite to make cars and car parts there for export back here to the USA. The Equinox engine, made in China through GM's 50-50 joint venture with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, is produced by the lowest-paid auto workers in the world. To fatten its profits, GM has entered into this diabolical partnership with a brutal regime that dictatorially represses workers' wages, outlaws independent labor unions, and routinely imprisons those who complain, protest, or try to organize.

GM seems shy about this Chinese connection, however, for it doesn't bother to mention Equinox's Chinese engine in any of its extensive promotional material. Also, if you check under the hood, you won't find a made-in-China sticker on the engine itself. Indeed, it's been reported that at some auto shows, GM has even been removing the country-of-origin labels from the windows of its vehicles, in apparent violation of the American Automotive Labeling Act.

GM's Equinox isn't revolutionary ... it's revolting.


OUR HUMBLE SERVANT, TOM DELAY

When I first read it in my morning paper, I nearly choked on my Cheerios. It was a comment by Tom DeLay.

Maybe you're one who thinks that, surely, the bottom of the barrel has been scraped when it comes to the sheer obtuseness and self-bloated arrogance of some of our congressional leaders. If so, you obviously have failed to look under the barrel, which is where you'll find DeLay, the ethically challenged Republican majority leader of the U.S. House.

Tom, known unfondly in Washington as "The Hammer" for his thuggish legislative tactics and blatant selling of legislative favors to corporate interests, is so corrupt that he already has been slapped with five official reprimands by Congress' bipartisan ethics committee, is under investigation by a host of Republican-controlled committees and agencies, and faces the live possibility of indictment by a Texas grand jury investigating his role in an illegal scheme to launder corporate money into state legislative races.

Yet, this guy asserts with a straight face that he is God-sent to reign over Congress and impose his personal sense of biblical morality on all government policies. When criticized for his obvious ethical failures, he not only poses as a martyr who is beset by vengeful political "enemies," but he even goes messianic on us, comparing his plight to that of "Jesus on the cross."

All of this is why I gagged and damn near upchucked when I read that DeLay had attended a recent prayer gathering on Capitol Hill, where he issued a clarion call for public officials to practice – get this – greater humility! In God, he piously intoned, all things are possible, "even greatness from sinners like you and me – especially me."

"Greatness?" Great sleaziness, maybe! Then Tom added: "Humility is something I work on every day." Not enough, Tom, not nearly enough. That's why your public approval rating is only 27% – about the level of mad cow disease.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Chevrolet, Equinox, globalization, General Motors, American Automotive Labeling Act, Tom DeLay

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