Since I'm going to have some free time this summer, I was applying for a job with General Motors online and I couldn't help but notice that there are several career paths which do not require a college degree, which, I think, clearly explains why we'd bail them out and not California's education system: priorities.  Since "the American People" now own 60% of GM, I checked them out so I'd know how to vote at the next shareholder's meeting. On their website, I watched an inspirational video about a woman named Carmen who got hired "RIGHT OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL" as the Production Supervisor of a GM Auto Plant in Arlington.  It showed her supervising robots. She seemed to be really, really good at it. They all obeyed.  I'll vote to give her a raise.

Our GM is a big company.  They own Hughes Aircraft, the company that employed so many workers in Southern California and then closed its factories after World War II and left everyone here unemployed. Elsewhere, aside from making satellites and DirecTV, they also make Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, Advanced Cruise Missiles, Standard missiles, Stinger missiles, the Phalanx Close-in weapon system, and the Rolling Airframe Missile.  What kind of employee discount do you think we could get on a stinger missile? Maybe if I sell 15 Hummers, I'll win a vacation package for 2 to Massena (see below).  

Our company also has cleverly avoided paying taxes by offering to create jobs in order to receive tax breaks and then not creating the jobs!  Not only that, but this bailout followed by a bankruptcy won't be the first time that the Federal Government has cleaned up after GM.  No, as a matter of fact, in the middle of 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency cleaned up 23,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments and soil from the General Motors site in Massena, New York for disposal at a licensed facility in Utah after our GM left it where it lay (glowing probably) for 4 years. There was also 10,000 cubic yards of contaminated sludge from our active wastewater treatment plant there too. Our General Motors was ranked 10th (with a bullet) in the 2002 Toxic 100 for releasing 12,771,830 pounds of gases; most recently, however, they're slipping in the charts: in 2008 they only ranked 18th (www.peri.umass.edu).We shouldn't worry about Utah though, since it's pretty far away and researchers at Utah State University have been working on a way to dump radioactive waste-eating bacteria into the soil to help clean it all up.  What risk could that possibly have? I'm sure there's no connection whatsoever to the epidemic outbreaks of cancer, MS, kids born without vital organs, and spinal bifida in Utah (www.deseretnews.com).

Oh, and guess what? The University of Utah, home of the radioactive waste-eating bacteria, is offering (get this) FOUR summer sessions this year (www.usu.edu), so students can hurry up and graduate before they drop dead of radiation poisoning.   Go Uranium Miners!

GM has been accused of many other things including collaborating with the Nazis, killing the electric car, and conspiring to eliminate public transportation systems to increase sales.  That stuff about electric cars and public transportation is in the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?  On SFGate.com, in the article "Nazis rode to war on GM wheels," Edwin Black states: "Unquestionably, GM's Opel became an integral facet of Hitler's Reich. More than just an efficient manufacturer, Opel openly embraced the bizarre philosophy that powered the Nazi military-industrial complex. The German company participated in cultic führer-worship as a part of its daily corporate ethic."

During World War II GM-owned Opel (which, by the way, we still own but it's up for sale now), a facility in Brandenburg, produced bombers, trucks, land mines and torpedo detonators for Nazi Germany. During the War years GM declared it had abandoned its Nazi subsidiary, and took a complete tax write-off because of which they have received a tax reduction of "approximately $22.7 million" or about $285 billion in 21st-century money. After the War GM collected some $33 million in "war reparations" because the Allies had bombed its German facilities for which they had earlier declared a complete tax write-off and received an additional tax reduction. And GM still owns it, though; it's for sale here.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that basically the same as setting your own house on fire in the middle of the summer and then filing an insurance claim that you lost a precious work of art in the fire, then filing a tax write-off because you lost your house and asking both the insurance company and the government to replace your house, then suing the government for permitting fires and failing to file criminal charges against the arsonist, then putting the lost artwork up for sale on eBay using the computer in your new house, and then declaring bankruptcy?

Remember that movie Roger and Me? Michael Moore goes and investigates GM plant closures in Flint, Michigan. Here's a part of the film synopsis:

"These are a few of the results of General Motors laying off 40,000 people in Flint in the past nine years. It is expected that GM will eliminate another 10,000 Flint jobs in the next few years. 50% of Flint's GM workforce will have been abolished by 1989, an event of unprecedented proportion in American history.

Yet, since 1983, car sales have steadily risen and GM has posted record profits of nearly $19 billion. So why lay off all of these people? Moore points out that he and his friends were raised on the American Dream which promised that if you worked hard and the company prospered, you would too. Now, it seems, GM has changed the rules: you work hard, the company prospers--and you lose your job.

The film shows that GM has used these profits not to create jobs, but to buy data processing companies (EDS) and weapons manufacturers (Hughes Aircraft), automate their current assembly lines, and build new plants in Mexico and Asia. In addition, GM has bought a controlling interest in Isuzu, entered into a joint operating agreement with Toyota, and has become the second largest mortgage holder in the United States. Flint, Michigan, it seems, is no longer part of the GM plan."

Mortgage holder? Everything we touch just turns to gold.

California's debt is 24 billion; GM's debt is 172 billion. More disappearing money: In Dec 2008, Bush gave GM and Chrysler 13.4 billion. Six months later they filed bankruptcy. GM employs 244,500 people around the world; Community Colleges serve 1,723,225 students. So....GM's number of employees is a reason to bail them out, but education's employees are a burden on the system's budget. OK, sure.
At least I'll have a stable summer job now....

Darren C.

 

What are the legislators doing with all the tax money they procured from CA Voters in the name of "Education" and "the Children"?
Camara R

 

Many of you may have heard the conspiracy theories about 9/11 (and if not, check out the press release on the documentary Loose Change in this edition). This article from Pakistan Daily interviews an insider from the Bush Administration who claims that Bush not only knew about the attacks, but he in fact ordered them. Click here to read it.
Submitted by Gayle Goode

 

This article from the World Socialist Website details the most recent cuts, including the elimination of Cal Grants (and taking back grants already awarded), fee hikes, protests, as well as predictably pointing out how the dismantling of public education in California signals the downfall of capitalism.
Public Education Devastated by California Budget Cuts

 

Check out this article from Counterpunch by Pam Martens about how Wall Street investment scams have contributed to the deficit:
Pam Martens: The Two Trillion Dollar Black Hole
Submitted by Gayle Goode

 

I was just talking to a student last week and we were wondering where the money in California all goes; I mean, it can't just disappear into thin air and create a huge deficit: it circulates, right? So somewhere, like China or a building contractor's bank account or someone's pocket, is where all the money in California must be. It's hard not to feel like something corrupt is going on.
Then again, I remember reading that the Pentagon lost a couple trillion (or billion) last year...I voted for the CA Lottery so my kids would have a well-funded education, but their schools have weekly fundraisers. It's still unclear to me where exactly the money goes. Probably into corporate profits.

On further reflection, though, I think the money in the budget goes to prisons and cops. Apparently, that's a much more profitable business than education.

I added links to an SF Chronicle article to the front page, way at the bottom, along with 2 California spending graphs and stuff about Prop 98 and prison spending.

I also think this is all part of the trend toward privatization, like the utility companies that took over electricity or the phone companies that took over phones from the government...There's always a big disaster right before the "brilliant solution" of having an outside contractor take over.

I think we should sell California to Wal-Mart. That's my solution. Or maybe Starbucks. They have better benefits.

—Darren C.