It has come to light that the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler approved last month by the Bush administration with the support of the incoming Obama administration includes a stipulation that effectively bans strikes or work stoppages by autoworkers.
The clause, which was revealed in a Security and Exchange Commission filing by GM last week, coincides with government demands that the 139,000 workers at Detroit’s auto companies agree by February 17 to accept mass layoffs, plant closures and sweeping wage and benefit concessions.
According to the SEC filing, the Treasury Department could declare GM and Chrysler in default and revoke $17.4 billion in loans, throwing the automakers into bankruptcy, if “any labor union or collective bargaining unit shall engage in a strike or other work stoppage.”
The effect of this provision is to revoke the legal right to strike, an achievement won by the American working class in bitter struggles against “criminal conspiracy” laws used against striking workers in the 19th century. It was only with the 1935 passage, in the depths of the Great Depression, of the National Labor Relations Act that federal law recognized the right of workers to strike. This concession to the working class was not some freely given gift of the Roosevelt administration. It followed general strikes that erupted in 1934 in Toledo, Minneapolis and San Francisco. Without the strike weapon, workers are reduced to the status of industrial slaves, legally compelled to accept the most brutal conditions of exploitation without any recourse to collective resistance.
Several commentators have questioned the legality of the anti-strike provision in the auto bailout bill. Nevertheless, under the terms of the bailout, the strike ban remains in effect as long as the auto companies have outstanding loans from the government, setting the stage for contract negotiations in 2011 in which workers would not have the slightest leverage to reject demands for even more draconian givebacks.
And it begins! The Battle Of The Collars.
People who drink too much coffee could start seeing ghosts or hearing strange voices, UK research has suggested.
People who drank more than seven cups of instant coffee a day were three times more likely to hallucinate than those who took just one, a study found.
A Durham University team questioned 200 students about their caffeine intake, the journal Personality and Individual Differences reported.
However, academics say the findings do not prove a “causal link”.
They also stress that experiencing hallucinations is not a definite sign of mental illness and that about 3% of people regularly hear voices.
“This is the first step toward looking at the wider factors associated with hallucinations,” said psychology PhD student Simon Jones, who led the study.
I knew there was a good reason for drinking coffee. And it is cheaper than LSD unless you frequent Starbucks.
That was the promise when the bailout crap was sold to the American people, that in the long run the taxpayer will make money off the bailout.
Two key Republican lawmakers say there’s a powerful silver lining in the taxpayers’ $700 billion bailout of the financial system: It has already earned the government more than $8 billion in profit.
The problem is, that supposed gain is an illusion. Even the accountant whose research they’re citing says he’s sorry he came up with the numbers.
The government paid $350 billion to buy stock and warrants — similar to stock options — in the nation’s banks. Accountant James A. Bianco said he came up with the profitability figure by assuming those warrants were free. So even though their value has plummeted, they still show up on the plus side of Bianco’s balance sheet.
In a Jan. 4 opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., wrote, “the estimate to-date is that the (bailout) has actually had a gain of about $8 billion, while recapitalizing the financial system.”
Gregg, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, is a key backer of President-elect Barack Obama’s effort to gain access to the second half of the bailout money.
Earlier, Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement that the $8 billion “initial profit for taxpayers … provides cause for optimism” and “demonstrates the value of transparency in the process.”
Financial researcher and writer Barry Ritholtz said the entire approach was flawed.
“It’s laughable — I can’t imagine anyone takes that seriously,” said Ritholtz, who is chief executive officer and director of equity research for the investment firm Fusion IQ. “You can’t take one slice of what the government did out of the trillions invested and say, ‘Look, we’re up billions of dollars!’”
To say the Treasury has made money, he said, “you have to say all the other spending came back,” including guarantees on assets from the now-defunct investment bank Bear Stearns and insurance giant American International Group Inc.
Let us go to another spot……..the taxpayer will make money….just how will that work? Will I get a check? Or maybe a direct deposit to my account? Just how will I make money?
Timothy Geithner, whose nomination as Treasury secretary has been delayed by his past failure to pay taxes, was repeatedly advised in writing by the International Monetary Fund that he would be responsible for any Social Security and Medicare taxes he owed on income he earned at the IMF between 2001 and 2004.
Questions about Mr. Geithner’s initial failure to pay more than $34,000 in taxes are clouding his prospects for confirmation. The Senate Finance Committee postponed Mr. Geithner’s confirmation hearing from a tentative Friday date to next Wednesday, which means President-elect Barack Obama will take office without a Treasury secretary amid the biggest financial crisis in decades.
Current and former IMF officials said the fund provided numerous warnings to U.S. employees about payroll taxes. According to IMF documents released by the Senate Finance panel, Mr. Geithner regularly received information about his tax obligations.
Mr. Geithner didn’t make any Social Security or Medicare tax payments on his income during the years he worked for the IMF, though he did pay income taxes. After the Internal Revenue Service audited him in 2006 and discovered the payroll-tax errors, Mr. Geithner corrected them for 2003 and 2004. Only after Mr. Obama picked him for Treasury secretary last fall did Mr. Geithner pay the Social Security and Medicare tax he owed for 2001 and 2002.
Funny how many of these white collar pricks that do not pay taxes, a priviledge most of us do not have.
As with everything, the American reader is just not that interested in what is now happening in the Gaza Strip…..the hits on the reports have dwindled down to about one a day….for that reason this will be my last daily report on the “War”….I will report on anything major that comes out of the area.
Diplomats said Wednesday they were closer to bringing about a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, but fighting in the coastal territory persisted as the Palestinian death toll in the 19-day war passed 1,000.
Delegates from Hamas, meeting in Cairo with Egyptian mediators, said that the Islamist movement was willing to agree to a truce with Israel but that obstacles remained. Points of contention included whether a cease-fire would be temporary, when Israel would reopen checkpoints and who might patrol Gaza’s border with Egypt to prevent smugglers from resupplying Hamas with weapons, officials involved in the talks said.
Details remained under wraps, but diplomats in the region said they were pushing for an immediate cease-fire, to be followed by further talks on border security and other issues.
Israel said it would send an emissary to Cairo on Thursday to hear details of a truce proposal that Egypt and Hamas have hammered out in recent days. Egyptian officials expressed optimism that a deal was near.