Auto sales plunge, slowdown spreads

DETROIT/LONDON (Reuters) - The auto industry was hammered again on Tuesday as U.S. monthly sales plunged nearly 37 percent to the lowest level since 1982 and the slump spread to Europe and Asia, forcing automakers to slash production.

U.S. auto sales fell for the 13th consecutive month in November, led by a 47 percent sales drop at Chrysler and a 41 percent decline at General Motors Corp, and major automakers said there was no sign that demand would rebound in the next six months in the world's largest vehicle market.

Industrywide auto sales in November were down nearly 37 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of around 10.2 million, the lowest in 26 years, according to preliminary results released by the automakers on Tuesday.

Industry-wide U.S. sales of cars and light trucks dropped to 746,789 in November after falling below the 1 million threshold in September for the first time in 15 years. It marked the thirteenth consecutive monthly sales decline.

In annualized terms tracked by analysts, the auto industry recorded a U.S. sales rate of just under 10.2 million vehicles in November, down from 16.07 million a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp.

On a population-adjusted basis, though, the results were the worst in a half century for the U.S. auto industry.

Meanwhile, the three U.S.-based carmakers readied restructuring plans for the U.S. Congress, which is reviewing their request for emergency funding to survive the brutal downturn.

All major automakers reported double-digit declines for U.S. auto sales in November, hurt by a plunge in consumer confidence brought on by the turmoil in the financial markets and weakening U.S. economy.

Vehicle sales in November also tumbled in Europe, Asia and Africa, forcing production cuts across the globe.

New car registrations in Germany, Europe's largest car market, dropped 17.6 percent in November from a year ago, the VDIK association of foreign carmakers said on Tuesday, adding to a string of similar news across the continent on Monday.

As the global financial crisis makes consumers increasingly reluctant to part with cash and lenders unwilling to offer credit, carmakers across the world have struggled to find buyers to keep their production lines running.

U.S. sales for Toyota Motor Co dropped 34 percent, Honda Motor Co fell 32 percent, Ford Motor Co  was off 31 percent, Nissan Motor Co tumbled 42.2 percent and Chrysler LLC sales fell 47 percent.

GM and Ford set first-quarter North American production targets lower by 32 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

"Consumers are under more and more pressure," said Jim Farley, Ford's marketing chief. "We could see some strength in the second half of next year or at least stabilization, albeit at a much lower level."

GM sales and marketing chief Mark LaNeve said the bad news surrounding the cash squeeze the company was facing was affecting sales of GM vehicles.

"Am I going to do an ad campaign that says we're not going to go bankrupt? No, I'm not going to do that ad campaign," LaNeve said. "I certainly don't want to use bankruptcy as a foundation for my marketing campaign."

Toyota also said earlier it is cutting production and slashing management bonuses by 10 percent in response to the slump in sales in the United States, Europe and even developing markets such as China. which carmakers had hoped would fuel near-term growth.

"Consumers were simply not shopping," said Bob Carter, Toyota division US general manager.

Toyota is halting production at assembly lines in two factories in Japan for two days later this month, cutting production primarily of its premium Lexus brand, which has seen a 24 percent drop in sales so far this year in Japan and sharp falls in the U.S., its main market.

Tata said it was suspending production at its commercial vehicle plant in Pune for three days from December 5, while local rival Mahindra & Mahindra , India's top maker of utility vehicles and tractors, said its November sales slumped 39 percent.

Sweden's Volvo, the world's number two truck maker, said its order intake had dropped substantially in several markets, and it would make cuts in production mostly in December to adapt to the fall.

EMERGENCY FUNDING KEY

The sharp drop in demand across the globe and especially in the United States reflected the grim state of U.S. automakers, who are seeking $25 billion in emergency U.S. funding.

Ford, considered to be in the strongest financial position of the three Detroit automakers, submitted a restructuring plan to Congress in support of its application for a government credit line of up to $9 billion.

GM requested $18 billion in loans and credit line from the U.S. government to save it from failure, and laid out a restructuring plan that includes consideration of dropping or selling off the Pontiac, Saab and Saturn brands. The company also plans to reopen talks with the United Auto Workers union.

Chrysler is requesting a $7 billion bridge loan by the end of 2008 and said a prepackaged bankruptcy would not be plausible for the automaker.

Chrysler President Jim Press said on Tuesday that the automaker's plan would include cost-cutting and givebacks from all stakeholders, including suppliers and labor. He declined to reveal details.

Copyright 2008 Reuters. click for restrictions

Critical Race Theory: A special brand of evil

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Part of what makes it hard for us to challenge the left is that their beliefs are complicated. We don't mean complicated in a positive way. They aren't complicated the way love is complicated. They're complicated because there's no good explanation for them, no basis in reality.

The left cannot pull their heads out of the clouds. They are stuck on romantic ideas, abstract ideas, universal ideas. They talk in theories. They see the world through ideologies. They cannot divorce themselves from their own academic fixations. And — contrary to what they believe and how they act — it's not because leftists are smarter than the rest of us. And studies have repeatedly shown that leftists are the least happy people in the country. Marx was no different. The Communist Manifesto talks about how the rise of cities "rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life."

Studies have repeatedly shown that leftists are the least happy people in the country.

Instead of admitting that they're pathological hypocrites, they tell us that we're dumb and tell us to educate ourselves. Okay, so we educate ourselves; we return with a coherent argument. Then they say, "Well, you can't actually understand what you just said unless you understand the work of this other obscure Marxist writer. So educate yourselves more."

It's basically the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, the idea that when you point out a flaw in someone's argument, they say, "Well, that's a bad example."

After a while, it becomes obvious that there is no final destination for their bread-crumb trail. Everything they say is based on something that somebody else said, which is based on something somebody else said.

Take critical race theory. We're sure you've noticed by now that it is not evidence-based — at all. It is not, as academics say, a quantitative method. It doesn't use objective facts and data to arrive at conclusions. Probably because most of those conclusions don't have any basis in reality.

Critical race theory is based on feelings. These feelings are based on theories that are also based on feelings.

We wanted to trace the history of critical race theory back to the point where its special brand of evil began. What allowed it to become the toxic, racist monster that it is today?

Later, we'll tell you about some of the snobs who created critical theory, which laid the groundwork for CRT. But if you follow the bread-crumb trail from their ideas, you wind up with Marxism.

For years, the staff has devoted a lot of time to researching Marxism. We have read a lot of Marx and Marxist writing. It's part of our promise to you to be as informed as possible, so that you know where to go for answers; so that you know what to say when your back is up against the wall. What happens when we take the bread-crumb trail back farther, past Marxism? What is it based on?

This is the point where Marxism became Marxism and not just extra-angry socialism.

It's actually based on the work of one of the most important philosophers in human history, a 19th-century German philosopher named Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

This is the point where Marxism became Marxism and not just extra-angry socialism. And, as you'll see in just a bit, if we look at Hegel's actual ideas, it's obvious that Marx completely misrepresented them in order to confirm his own fantasies.

So, in a way, that's where the bread-crumb trail ends: With Marx's misrepresentation of an incredibly important, incredibly useful philosophy, a philosophy that's actually pretty conservative.

We've heard a lot about critical race theory lately, and for good reason: It's a racist ideology designed to corrupt our children and undermine our American values. But most of what we see are the results of a process that has been underway for decades. And that's not something the mainstream media, the Democrat Party, and even teachers unions want you to know. They're doing everything in their power to try and convince you that it's no big deal. They want to sweep everything under the rug and keep you in the dark. To fight it, we need to understand what fuels it.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck exposes the deep-seated Marxist origins of CRT and debunks the claims that it's just a harmless term for a school of legal scholarship. Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer joins to argue why we must ban critical race theory from our schools if we want to save a very divided nation.

Watch the full "Glenn TV" episode below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck blasted the Democrats — and anyone else on the left — who have been so eager to open our southern U.S. border for the past several months, but also willing to turn a blind eye to the Cuban people in need of help today.

"While we are welcoming people from any country, all over the world, without any kind of information, and setting them into our country, putting them on American planes paid for by American taxpayers," Glenn began. "And our Coast Guard Cutters are turning these [Cuban] people away. Shame on you! Shame on you!"

Glenn said that he's "sick and tired" of hearing about "brave" leftist activists like Colin Kaepernick, who protest the America flag while wearing Che Guevara and Fidel Castro t-shirts. Meanwhile, the Cuban people are risking their lives by taking to the sea to escape their oppressive regime and come to America.

"Anybody who glorifies Che doesn't know their ass from their elbow. You can't call them a human rights activist. You're protesting the American flag, because you so deeply believe in the right to be free? And yet, you wear a Che T-shirt?" Glenn said.

Glenn went on to argue that, even though the left has "bastardized" the meaning of our country, he still believes America is the best nation on Earth. In fact, he'd give up his citizenship "in a heartbeat" if another country could prove to be better, more noble, and more free. But no other nation exists like ours, he said, which is why it's so imperative we fight for freedom here, in Cuba, and around the world.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn explain:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

There's a new "reality" spreading, and the mere act of questioning it has become incredibly dangerous, Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Abigail Shrier told Glenn on the most recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast."

Shrier's book, "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters," exposes the radical gender activism that — like critical race theory — has overtaken our children's schools and culture. But even worse, she warned, it could end your parental rights for good.

Shrier made it clear she is by no means "anti-trans," but simply speaking up against the extremes of this new "reality" has made her enemy No. 1 to many activists. Her book has been bashed so hard by the Left that Target has stopped selling it twice, Amazon once banned ads for it, and the American Booksellers Association even called sending it to others "a serious, violent incident."

In the clip below, Shrier explained why she believes "there may be no hope for the public school system."

"You have teachers behaving like activists across the country who have no interest in actually teaching. They believe their job is to remake your child," she asserted. "We're seeing so much evidence of that, I think it's fair to say that it may be too deeply rooted in the ideology being taught in public school. I'm not sure that the public school system is redeemable at this point."

Watch the video clip below for more or find the full podcast with Abigail Shrier here:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.