Detroit's Big Three automakers pleaded with a reluctant Congress Tuesday for a $25 billion lifeline to save the once-proud titans of U.S. industry, pointedly warning of a national economic catastrophe should they collapse. Millions of layoffs would follow their demise, they said, as damaging effects rippled across an already-faltering economy.
T'was a consummation devoutly to be wished in some circles:
The streetcar did not die, as [Van] Wilkins contended, because of demographics or economics or disinvestments or evolution; it died because GM in 1922 made a conscious decision to kill it and, for the next several decades, pursued a strategy designed to accomplish this objective. Yet, by reason of timidity or negligence or ignorance or cowardice, Wilkins simply cannot bring himself to admit that a powerful corporation would seek to maximize profits by eliminating its competition.
That's John Kerry's former Yale debating team partner, Bradford Snell, in full dudgeon mode, expounding his theory--which is the former Nader Raider's career--of GM's evildoing (oh, btw, GM also conspired with the Nazis says Snell).
As the FLUBA explained in 2004 Snell wanted to destroy GM as far back as (at least) 1974:
AMERICAN GROUND TRANSPORT: A Proposal for Restructuring the Automobile, Truck, Bus & Rail Industries
Presented to a Senate Committee in that year, Part III spelled it out:
[We] recommend...reorganization of the automobile and truck industries into smaller, more competitive units. More specifically, it assumes the wisdom of the decentralized method of operations adopted by the automakers. Motor vehicle assembly, engine production, body stamping and dozens of other major automotive functions are currently undertaken in hundreds of physically distinct plants located throughout the country. This proposal would not interfere with this arrangement. It would, however, suggest a change in ownership: Each group of plants now separate in law as well. Reorganization along these general lines, it concludes, would allow for a greater degree of competition and technological flexibility at every level of motor vehicle production. In short, a competitively structured industry would be better able to anticipate and adapt to a changing world.
And, this 2006 sighting seems to support the idea that he (and pal Ralph) are still at it:
On my flight home (the first leg of the flight was into LA) I ended up sitting next to a guy named Bradford Snell. We got to talking and shared a bit of info about what we do. He said that he was a writer and was working on a history of General Motors…..GM Streetcar Conspiracy. How strange is that?
We talked about GM and China. He said that his friend Ralph Nader had gone to China to try and convince them to invest in mass transit. He said China currently has 100 cities with populations over 10 million (that in itself is pretty scary.) and that they are quickly becoming the biggest market for cars, which will lead to all the associated problems. Nader was told while he was there that GM had been there 6 weeks earlier and had convinced the Chinese government that car manufacturing provides a base for large economic development…..
As we talked, I mentioned the GM Streetcar Conspiracy. Well, apparently he was the government attorney that presented information/evidence to the Senate in 1974 that painted the picture of GM systematically destroying the trolley lines in many American cities. The Senate was conducting hearings because the energy crisis at that time had many people angry. They wanted to know what led up to the current situation. So, it turns out that Bradford Snell is at the heart of the
You don't know the half of it, buddy.