TheRealNews on Sep 16, 2019
Retired UAW Leader Frank Hammer talks about why the workers struck, what it means for the union movement, and what this battle means.
Updated: May 20, 2014
with Ralph Nader
freespeechtv on Apr 28, 2014
Ralph Nader discusses his latest book, “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.” Nader highlights the common concerns shared by a wide swath of the American public, regardless of political orientation, including mass government surveillance, opposing nebulous free trade agreements, reforming the criminal justice system, and punishing criminal behavior on Wall Street. Nader also discusses the U.S. push for the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, General Motors’ new bid to escape liability for its deadly ignition defect, the revived nuclear era under President Obama, and challenging U.S. militarism through the defense budget.
Updated: Nov. 18, 2010
by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
November 11, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
The U.S. government bailout of, and acquisition of a majority share in, General Motors was an exceptional action, taken in response to exceptional circumstances. The U.S. stake in GM obviously poses novel managerial challenges to the government. The appropriate response to those challenges, however, is not to run from the responsibility through passive ownership and premature sale at a loss to taxpayers.
Note: DS changed the title July 3, 2009
by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
July 2, 2009
I’ve wondered often why people who go to “town meetings” held by campaigning politicians rarely ask fundamental questions.
Here is one that should have been asked of presidential candidate Barack Obama: “If you get to the White House, will you appoint to top positions Americans who have a track record of making the right decisions in their respective fields?”
“Of course, I will,” Obama would have undoubtedly replied.
Of course, he did not when it came to the collapse of the corrupt Wall Street casinos and the bailout of these gamblers by the American people. Obama chose the very Wall Streeters and Wall Street servants who were involved in, condoned, or profited from the speculative binges that led to the biggest government bailout scheme in world history. The President’s explanation is that he wants experienced people who know how Wall Street works. Yeah, right! In reality, he wanted political cover.
It may be prophetic that among the brands GM chose to kill was the Pontiac Firebird, a classic hot car of the 1960s sporting the fabled Phoenix on its hood. In mythology, the Phoenix was a colorful bird that incinerated itself in its nest, then rose from the ashes as its own offspring. GM too, says Michael Moore, could be reborn as something else. In a June 1 eulogy of sorts, he wrote:
“So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company’s body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with—dare I say it—joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown … Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job. But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company!”
What would we want with a car company? Moore suggests that the bankrupt mega-builder of obsolete gas guzzlers can be transformed into a mega-builder of things we need more—mass transit vehicles, including bullet trains, light rail mass transit lines, energy efficient clean buses, hybrid or all-electric cars, and alternative energy devices such as batteries, windmills, and solar panels. The factories that built the cars that helped destroy the environment can become the tools for cleaning it up. This would, of course, take some investment; but Moore suggests that to pay for it all, the government could impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline.
It sounds good right up to the gas tax, a regressive tax that would hit hardest in the wallets of the poor and would raise alarm bells for politicians, the oil lobby, and voters. Isn’t there some way to fund the plan without driving up the tax burden or the national debt? In fact, there is.
By Vi Ransel
June 10, 2009
“This is exactly what Obama’s idol, Ronald Reagan, did with his starter’s pistol in the race to the bottom 30 years ago with the destruction of PATCO, which accelerated the financial warfare against the working class in America.”
Picture this. A man who owns a Fifth Avenue apartment in Manhattan, a private plane and a horse farm, a man who profited from investments in Chrysler and GMAC, a private equity manager worth over $600 million, who had a million dollars in shares of both Chrysler and GMAC… That man is telling US auto workers – no, he’s demanding – that they take a permanent, and HUGE, reduction in their living standard, which includes the immediate elimination of dental and optical care for hundreds of thousands of retirees and their dependents. That care was in their contract, and contracts are so, dontcha know, sacrosanct that CEOs of “underwater” financial institutions could not be asked politely to take smaller, multimillion dollar bonuses – because those bonuses were part of their contracts. And these were very same CEOs who had overseen the “drowning” of those financial institutions, but, no, they got to keep their obscene bonuses while retired auto workers must give up their teeth and their eyes. How’s THAT for a classless society? Yep. In America we have ——- no class. You betcha.
With the government-mandated bankruptcy of one of the largest, longest-lived, and, until recently, most profitable manufacturers in the world, the takeover of the U.S. economy by the same East Coast forces that destroyed it is now complete.
The speed with which GM spiraled into insolvency was breath taking. Less than 18 months ago, just as the horrifying effects of Wall Street’s malfeasance were becoming clear, GM was profitably selling SUVs, making money for its shareholders and paying big ticket CEOs far more than they were worth, just like Wall Street.
Suddenly the rules changed. In a spectacular reversal, GM was deceptively accused of failing to sell what consumers wanted to buy, of being out of touch and out of date, of having too many built in personnel costs which made them unable to compete with foreign auto makers whose short history in the U.S. left them free of pension liabilities.
June 2, 2009
Nader: Ex-DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe Offered Bribe to Drop Out of 19 Battleground States in ’04 Election
Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader accuses former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe of trying to bribe him to stay off the presidential ballot in nineteen so-called “battleground” states in 2004. McAuliffe is currently running for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. [includes rush transcript]
Ralph Nader and Labor Professor Harley Shaiken Discuss the Bankruptcy and Future of General Motors
Auto giant General Motors filed for Chapter 11 yesterday in one of the largest bankruptcy cases in US history. Shortly after the filing, GM said it would close fourteen more plants, including seven in Michigan, and cut up to 21,000 more jobs. More than 2,000 car dealerships will be shut down, as well. After the factory closings, GM will have fewer than 40,000 workers buildings cars in the United States, one-tenth of a workforce that numbered nearly 400,000 in the 1970s. [includes rush transcript]
June 01, 2009
“We need to protect our industrial infrastructure, as I’ve said many times before, so that we are using these factories to built the things that we need — bullet trains, light rail, alternative energy, cleaner buses — things that society needs in the 21st century. … We have to kill GM in order to save it. … They’ve planned their own obsolescence by helping to destroy the middle class …” — Michael Moore on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Monday, June 1st, 2009
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I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.
As I sit here in GM’s birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?