Saturday, May 30, 2009

Com.Ashok Hindocha-Secretary-BSNLEU-WTR-giving Speech in MUMBAI-WTR-Conference held on 27-05-2009

www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com

Com.Ashok Hindocha-Secretary-BSNLEU-WTR-Rajkot & Circle Council member-%the CGMM,WTR-MUMBAI giving speech in WTR-Conference held at MUMBAI on dtd 27-05-2009. Com. Ganesh Mathpati-AGS-CHQ-ND, Shri M.M. Gupta-GMM(H/Q)-WTR-MUMBAI- Com.S.S. Mishra(President)Com.P.P.Betkar(Dist.(regional) Secretary,Suresh Survey, Thomas, Vikas Redkar & from all over BSNL WTR-MUMBAI-Region office Bearers, delegets were remain present.
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hindochaashok@gmail.com
M-9426201999-Ashopk Hindocha

Retirement Party Photographs of Shri M.R.Trivedi-DE-OFC(M)-WTR-rajkot-inf. by Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)


M.R.Trividi-DE OFC(M)WTR-RJ Retired from the Service.Photographs of Retirement Party held at KR Ex.Bldg-Rajkot
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hindochaashok@gmail.com
Ashok Hindocha-M-9426201999

Friday, May 29, 2009

Com. P. Abhimanyu-DGS-BSNLEU-CHQ-ND-Visited Rajkot-Inf. by Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)


http://picasaweb.google.co.in/hindochaashok/Ashokhindocha03?authkey=Gv1sRgCKXI0L7h6_SPxQE&feat=directlink
Com.P.Abhimanyu-DGS-BSNLEU-CHQ-ND
Visited Rajkot during last Verification
giving interview to Sattelite News channel
TV-9 Com. P.K.Thakker, Ashok Hindocha
N.k.Trivedi, R.P.Joshi Etc are with
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hindochaashok@gmail.com
Ashok Hindocha M-9426201999

Ashok Hindocha"s Blog-M-9426201999


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hindochaashok@gmail.com
ashok HindochaM-9426201999

Congratulations to New Office-Beareres of WTR-BSNLEU-inf. By Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)

www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com
http://bsnleuwtr.blogspot.com

In Group Photograph Com Ganesh Mathpati-AGS-BSNLEU-CHQ-ND & Circle President Maharashtra along with Com. S.S. Mishra(regional President-WTR-Mumbai)Com. Vikas S. Redkar(Regional Secretary)P.P. Betkar(Regional V/P) Com. M.S. Muredkar(treasurer) Com.Ashok Hindocha(Rajkot-Gujarat) Com. Suresh Survey, om .A Thomas & other comred from MP, Chhatisgadh,Maharashtra & Gujarat etc. were remain present on 27-05-2009 at MUMBAI-Congratulations to all & wish you all the Best
Ashok Hindocha-Secretary-BSNLEU-WTR-Rajkot
wwww.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com
hindochaashok@gmail.com
M-9426201999
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Waht is a Visa?-Information by Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)

What is a Visa?


A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States (U.S.) generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship. Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the U.S. without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. (U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the country they wish to visit.)

How Can I use a Visa to Enter the U.S.?

Having a U.S. visa allows you to travel to a port of entry, airport or land border crossing, and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector to enter the U.S. While having a visa does not guarantee entry to the U.S, it does indicate a consular officer at a U.S Embassy or Consulate abroad has determined you are eligible to seek entry for that specific purpose. DHS/CBP inspectors, guardians of the nation’s borders, are responsible for admission of travelers to the U.S., for a specified status and period of time DHS also has responsibility for immigration matters while you are present in the U.S..

What Types of Visas Are There?

The type of visa you must obtain is defined by U.S. immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel. There are two main categories of U.S. visas:

Nonimmigrant visas – For travel to the U.S. on a temporary basis. Learn more.
Immigrant visas – For travel to live permanently in the U.S. Learn more.
Reading and Understanding a Visa




Additional Resources

Please visit these webpages as well as selections on our website's left toolbar:

Browse this useful A-Z subject index related to visas.
Review Frequently Asked Questions about visas.
See the latest Visa News.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Trade-Union-News-Inf.By Ashok Hindocha-M-9426201999)

LABOUR ISSUES
www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com
Advantage union
S. VISWANATHAN
A struggle by workers of a car major in Tamil Nadu for the recognition of their union shows signs of bearing fruit.

R. SENTHIL KUMAR/PTI

A. Soundararajan, honorary president of the Hyundai Motor India Employees Union, being arrested during a protest by employees of the company, in Chennai on May 6.
ONE of the arguments in support of foreign direct investment (FDI) put forth by the advocates of neoliberal economic policies is that it will speed up industrialisation and expand employment opportunities. In the past two decades several big foreign investors set up their units in Tamil Nadu to manufacture a wide range of products, ranging from mobile phones to motor cars. Successive governments in the State took pride in signing memoranda of understanding with foreign companies that invested hundreds of crores of rupees, on the grounds that thousands of people would be gainfully employed in their factories. They did provide jobs in a significant way, but questions have been asked about the kind of jobs, the pay and the working conditions.
Among the multinational corporations that have set up plants in and around Chennai since the start of the last decade when the Union government opened the gates to FDI are Caparo, BMW, Ford India, Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), Nokia and Saint Gobain. Trade union leaders said the contribution of automobile majors, for instance, to the creation of jobs was not up to the expected level and working conditions in the units left a lot to be desired. They also said that while there was no big resentment among permanent employees over salaries, the temporary workers were mostly underpaid and were often asked to do the work normally done by permanent employees.
As for working conditions, workload and the general treatment of employees, both permanent and non-permanent, there are a lot of grievances. Long hours of work, say 10 to 12 hours sometimes, job insecurity, harsh shop-floor practices and ruthless punishment for even petty slips have driven many of the workers to look for a protective shield.
Workers say that under the pretext of enforcing discipline they are denied many of their basic rights. Some employees said there was no independent grievance redress mechanism and added that the managements were generally allergic to workers opting to form trade unions. In some units the attempts to form unions proved abortive when managements challenged these with the threat of victimisation.
The situation, however, does not appear to be so hopeless for at least some workers. A case in point is the recent struggle by about 1,000 of the over 1,500 permanent employees of Hyundai Motor India Ltd. After about three weeks of strike and four days of fasting, they made a breakthrough in their two-year struggle to get a semblance of recognition for their union.
The workers formed the Hyundai Motor India Employees Union (HMIEU) in June 2007 and registered it. The management took the stand that on issues relating to workers it would have talks with only the seven-member workers’ committee already functioning at the factory for several years. It transferred two union functionaries, one to Delhi and the other to Kolkata. The union demanded cancellation of the transfer orders. When the two functionaries were placed under suspension, the issue went to the labour court. In the past two years, the union alleged, the management had dismissed 65 workers, suspended 34 and transferred nine. The management rejected the union demand that action against these workers be revoked. The union has taken all these cases to the appropriate legal forums.
In March, the union served a strike notice on the management demanding recognition and launched its indefinite strike on April 21. It also gave the management a charter of 40 demands relating to wage revision, better working conditions, housing and vehicle loans and so on.
Located at Irungattukottai, about 40 km from Chennai, HMIL is a wholly owned subsidiary of the $60 billion South Korean automobile major, Hyundai Motor Company. The Indian subsidiary, which started production in 1997, is the second largest car manufacturer in the country and the largest passenger car exporter in India. It makes nearly 40 variants of passenger cars from the popular Santro to the Sonata Embera and the Tuscan. Its total sales of vehicles in 2008 stood at 4,89,328 units, an increase of 49.6 per cent over the previous calendar year’s, and it exported 2.44 lakh units that year.
The factory has a total workforce of about 6,000, of whom only 1,556 are permanent and earn anything between Rs.8,000 and Rs.22,000 a month. The rest, numbering about 4,500, are temporary and in the categories of casual workers, apprentices, trainees and contract labour. Their monthly wages range from Rs.3,000 to Rs.4,500. Labour contractors supply a substantial number of workers in these categories.
May Day this year was the 12th day of the indefinite strike by the 1,000-odd employees to assert their constitutional right to association and their right to collective bargaining under the labour laws.
The HMIEU launched the strike in the absence of any response from the management to the strike notice it served more than 30 days earlier. The strike was led by A. Soundararajan, general secretary of the State committee of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and honorary president of the HMIEU.
The efforts of Deputy Labour Commissioner (DLC) R. Ravindran to bring the employers and the workers to the negotiation table failed at the very first sitting when the management’s representatives told him that the factory had a workers’ committee to deal with workers’ demands and that they would not have talks with anybody else on labour problems. They did not turn up for two or three subsequent sittings. The DLC then called both parties for a conciliation meeting on May 1.
Soundararajan was present for the meeting, but the management’s representatives did not turn up. The meeting was postponed to May 4 as suggested by the management, but again its representative did not come. Soundararajan said he then appealed to the Labour Department to prevail upon the management to participate in the conciliation process.
S.R. RAGHUNATHAN

At Hyundai Motor India’s facility at Irungattukottai near Chennai.
He announced that the striking workers would go on fast until then on the premises of the Labour Commissioner’s office. “All of us, all the 1,000 striking workers, commenced our fast on May 4,” Soundararajan said.
The next day the management’s representatives went to the Labour Commissioner’s office, where Labour Department officials held discussions with both sides. The management said it would have to discuss everything with senior officials in Korea but was firm that it would not hold talks with the union. It also rejected the Labour Department’s advice that no vindictive action be taken against the strikers and against the union functionaries for forming the union. The strikers continued their fast. The police arrested them and kept them in a community hall before releasing them.
Consent advice
On May 7, both the management and the fasting workers’ representatives were called to the Labour Commissioner’s office, where Labour Commissioner A. Sukumaran heard both the parties and gave both of them a “consent advice”, which is a “half-way agreement”, said Soundararajan. The management agreed that it would not sign any settlement with the workers’ committee before May 20, in view of the voting on May 13 in the general elections.
“The Labour Department did not concede our plea for an interim relief to the affected workers under Section 10 (b) of the Industrial Disputes Act on the grounds that nothing could be done before the completion of the election process,” Soundararajan said. “A gain for the union is that the Labour Commissioner instructed the management that it should record its stand on each and every demand mentioned in the charter of demands,” he added.
When the management insisted on getting “a letter of regret or apology” from those who participated in the strike for taking no action against them, “we said that the strike was legal and nothing of that sort could be done”, the union president said. On the basis of the settlement the fast was ended and the strike was withdrawn. According to him, the suspension orders against some of the strike participants would also be revoked soon.
Soundararajan described the settlement based on the “consent advice” as “a very big opening in the formation of a trade union in multinational companies, all of which are at present intolerant of trade union activities in their units”. He said that in the absence of clear-cut provisions in the law, the Labour Department was often helpless. He also said the laws which facilitated the formation of a union and its registration had nothing to say on the recognition of unions, which is seen as essential to go through the process of collective bargaining, more particularly when there is more than one union in an industrial unit.
Soundararajan also said the West Bengal government amended the Trade Unions Act, 1926, to provide for making recognition of trade unions by management mandatory. When there was more than one union in a unit, the union that enjoyed the majority, which was decided on the basis of a mandatory referendum, got recognition.
Labour leaders say the issue of recognising trade unions has to be seen in the context of the policy of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation and in the backdrop of the global financial crisis that has cast its shadow on many a country, creating job losses and fall in incomes and destabilising thousands of families.
Trade union leaders emphasised the need for the Union government to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No.87, which deals with the Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise, and Convention No.98, which lays stress on collective bargaining and provides for protection against acts of anti-union discrimination. “There can be no two opinions about the need for industrialisation and expansion of employment opportunities, but it cannot be at the cost of the basic rights of workers,” said CITU State committee president A.K. Padmanabhan.

--
ashokhindocha-Rajkot
M-9426201999
http://ashokhindocha.blogspot.com

Congratulations to Com. VAN Namboodiri-GS-CHQ-ND-for Grand Success-News by ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)

Kutchh Dist President Bhupendra ganatra-welcomes & Congratulated to VAN Namboodiri-GS-BSNLEU-CHQ-ND
[20.05.2009] CONGRATULATIONS ! AS PER STRIKE AGREEMENT WITH UNITED FORUM / BSNLEU ON 18-05-2009, BSNL Management has issued orders vide 1-22-/2009-PAT (BSNL) dated 20-05-2009 granting 2 months pay as additional advances and HRA at new rates 30%, 20% and 10% w.e.f. 27-02-2009 << orders click here>> www.bsnleuchq.com

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Congratulations to Com VAN namboodiri-GS-BSNLEU-CHQ-ND-for Grand success-news by Ashok hindocha(m-9426201999)





[20.05.2009] CONGRATULATIONS ! AS PER STRIKE AGREEMENT WITH UNITED FORUM / BSNLEU ON 18-05-2009, BSNL Management has issued orders vide 1-22-/2009-PAT (BSNL) dated 20-05-2009 granting 2 months pay as additional advances and HRA at new rates 30%, 20% and 10% w.e.f. 27-02-2009 << orders click here>>www.bsnleuchq.com www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com
hindochaashok@gmail.com, M-9426201999

BSNL Today Issue Order For New HRA from Feb.2009 &additional intress free Salary(2 Basic Pay)-news by Ashok Hindocha-M-9426201999


My heartly Congratulations to Com, VAN Namboodiri-GS-BSNLEU-CHQ- & United Forum of BSNL Unions"s Team For Best Achivement-Ashok Hindocha-Secreatry-BSNLEU-WTR-Rajkot(M-9426201999)United we Stand-Workers Ubity Zindabad
www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com
[20.05.2009]Wage Revision in respect of Non - executives w.e.f. 1.1.2007 - Payment of Additional Interest Free Salary Advance and HRA. order issued <> www.bsnleuchq.com
www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com


[20.05.2009]GS discusses pension issues with DOT

Com. V.A.N. Namboodiri, General Secretary, BSNLEU met Shri. A.K. Das, DDG (Estt), DOT and discussed about the following issues.

1. 50% IDA merger for BSNL Retirees

The issue is referred to legal cell, DOT and is awaiting the report.

2. Promotion Policy for non – executives

After examination, the proposal will be forwarded to DPE for approval.

[19.05.2009]One major issue of BSNL Pensioners settled

BSNLEU has taken up the issue of implementation of revised rules of pension calculation for BSNL Pensioners as per VI CPC recommendations. Orders have now been issued by DOT. <>

MTNL-Phone-Net connection-Position-inf, by Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)

MTNL phone, net connections return to normalcy
NEW DELHI: State-run MTNL on Tuesday said it has restored the telecom and internet connections for most of the areas in the capital, except some pockets in South Delhi, where normalcy is expected in the next two hours.

“We have stabilised the network throughout Delhi, except few pockets in South Delhi like Hauz Khas and Nehru Place, where our people are working to restore the telephone connection in the next two hours. Internet connection is normal all over Delhi inclu ding these pockets.

“Only some telecom transmission lines are being repaired in these pockets,'' MTNL Director (Technical) Mr Kuldeep Singh told PTI. He said by the afternoon the telecom connection in Delhi -- both fixed line and mobile -- would be normal and “we are ready to act immediately if any further problem comes to our notice”.

MTNL sources said that yesterday striking employees of the Telecom Executives' Association of MTNL had disconnected few cables, which caused the disruption. The association officials, however, were not available for comment over the allegation.

The PSU, which operates in Delhi and Mumbai, had witnessed a severe disruption of telecom and internet connection yesterday as some of its cables were damaged. Mr Singh said, “Our people are working round-the-clock to restore the line. We hope (there is ) no discontinuation any further.'' – PTI

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Imp. Information by Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)

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PDA National News RSS FeedThe Financial and Economic Crisis: An Assessment and Action Plan
By Robert Roth
May 18, 2009
Take action!

Introduction and Summary:

Many of our fellow citizens are still euphoric over Obama’s victory and hoping to get change we can believe in. The government and the media clearly want us to start thinking the worst is over and the economy is on its way to recovery. So are we out of the woods?

By flooding Wall Street and the credit markets with cash--and even letting a few drops come directly to the rest of us–it seems the government has at least for now pulled us back from the brink of another Great Depression. But the economy is on the ropes for the foreseeable future, if not down for the count. Meanwhile, instead of change we can believe in, we’re getting changes we can hardly believe are happening. The war isn’t over, it’s just moving on from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Warfare is still winning out over healthcare, and single-payer healthcare is off the table. The usual gigantic business lobby has mobilized against legislation that could level the playing field for labor unions. There are mutterings that maybe we can’t even afford Medicare or, in the long run, Social Security anymore, while the government has dished out or guaranteed nearly $11 trillion to pay off or rehabilitate Wall Street, leaving the rest of us with the usual crumbs. And those are only some of the highlights.

Given the breadth of the onslaught, it may be a strategic error to approach these issues separately, one at a time, not only because acting on all these issues separately is inefficient, but also because our problems are related in both their causes and their effects and addressing them together can contribute to broader solutions. Specifically, each of the causes mentioned is related to any sustainable economic recovery. So we should be advocating for all of them at the same time, to the same people–our neighbors and friends as well as public officials.

This article shows some of the connections among the issues and provides a toolkit of facts and arguments that can be used in organizing and advocating for real change.

A couple of months ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke the words “green shoots” in a television interview. Since then, a rally in the stock market and some other financial indicators have some people debating whether the world economy is stabilizing and the worst will soon be over. It would certainly be nice to think so. But other measures continue to be troubling: unemployment continues to grow; the worldwide recession triggered by the financial crisis continues to deepen; and despite the hopeful talk it seems all but certain the US economy will get worse before it begins to recover. However, most of the mainstream discussion assumes we’re in the midst of a conventional recession, in which production and consumption have decreased for a time but can be relied upon to pick up at some point as part of the usual economic cycle. Unfortunately, there are deeper problems with the US economy, including increasing inequality and the decline of our manufacturing base and family-wage jobs, which have been building for decades. And on top of that, even as the damage to the Earth caused by industrialized economies is becoming undeniable, we appear to be hitting the limits of key resources such as oil, that have been both sources of environmental harm and the bases of our economies.

It’s hard not to be intimidated by the sheer magnitude and complexity of the cascading crises we face, and immobilized by the fear they have naturally engendered, but the situation is far from hopeless. The first step is understanding--recognizing and analyzing what we’re up against.

The latest analysis of prominent economist Nouriel Roubini is that the unprecedented government fiscal and monetary stimulus has reduced the risk of a global L-shaped near-depression, leaving us with a severe, deep and protracted U-shaped recession. Meanwhile, state and local government revenues are suffering massive declines, gutting essential services and the jobs through which they are provided. With the loss of experienced and knowledgeable staff in many fields, the damage here is not only the loss of jobs and other resources, but also the dismantling of services infrastructure that cannot easily be replaced if and when more resources are applied. Unless funding is provided to avoid them, state service cuts and likely tax increases will total about $350 billion over 2009 and 2010. This will create an enormous additional drag on the economy and effectively negate almost half of the federal stimulus.

In Oregon the recently proposed cuts in general-fund dollars would close courts, eliminate 5,500 jobs in the public school systems (resulting in increased class size and decreased school days in K-12), eliminate care for 14,000 senior citizens whose income is above official poverty levels, and cut $150 million from services to the most vulnerable populations such as people with developmental disabilities, despite the fact that this latter cut would trigger a loss of $200 million in federal matching funds for such services. And, of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The situation is similar in many other States.

Much more funding is needed to restructure and revive the real economy. Government efforts to “jump start” the economy should be seen as easing the pain on a short-term basis, but the economy needs to be substantially restructured before it can become a vehicle for long-term prosperity. The economy we had before the crisis began was based on illusions of wealth created by excessive and continually increasing debt, giving it the nature of a Ponzi scheme, while the real economy had been gutted steadily for years by stagnant or declining wages caused by decimation of unions and the export of manufacturing and other jobs; thus we cannot have a return to sustainable economic growth without debt relief and the creation of millions more jobs at substantially higher wages to stabilize and increase aggregate demand. This requires reversal of policies that promote the off shoring and outsourcing of jobs, and a level playing field for labor organizing and unionization. The passage of EFCA would promote all these goals. Universal healthcare and a strengthened social safety net would further strengthen the U.S. economy by enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. businesses.

Federal government efforts to address the crisis have massively favored the financial sector over the real economy, with less than $0.8 trillion allocated to stimulus of the real economy while the rest of the $12 trillion thus far spent or committed has gone to support financial firms and credit markets. It’s unlikely, however, that the financial sector and credit markets can be “fixed” by subsidization. The financial sector has also grown too large in proportion to the overall economy. Meanwhile, the trillions of dollars being thrown at the financial sector and underpinning the credit markets threaten to bankrupt the federal government, ruin the dollar and leave us without the resources needed for real economic renewal. And yet, despite the magnitude of the disaster and the fact that much of it was caused by intentional and deliberate human action and the systematic dismantling of protections enacted after the Great Depression of the 1930s, there has been no substantial effort to determine the causes of the crisis or prevent a recurrence going forward; and, for its part, much of the financial sector resists re-regulation. And, of course, continued uneconomic expenditures on the military further hemorrhage increasingly scarce resources without producing useful goods or services or building a sustainable economy with productive jobs.

Analysis and A Plan:

As George Santayana wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." So it’s a good idea to start with a very brief statement of what triggered our current crisis. James K. Galbraith has provided a great short statement of what happened, starting with a quote from Richard Cohen, writing in The Washington Post about the case of Marvene Halterman of Avondale, Arizona:

At age 61, after 13 years of uninterrupted unemployment and at least as many living on welfare, she got a mortgage … even though at one time she had 23 people living in the [576-square-foot, one bath] house and some ramshackle outbuildings. She got it for $103,000, an amount that far exceeded the value of the house. The place has since been condemned… Nevertheless, a local financial institution with the cover-your-wallet name of Integrity Funding LLC gave her a mortgage, valuing the house at about twice what a nearby and comparable property sold for. … Integrity Funding then sold the loan to Wells Fargo & Co., which sold it to HSBC Holdings PLC, which then packaged it with thousands of other risky mortgages and offered the indigestible porridge to investors. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service [two securities rating agencies] took a look at it all, as they are supposed to do, and pronounced it “triple-A” [that is, among the safest of investments].

That process of packaging many loans together into one financial instrument, called a “security,” is what is meant by “securitization.” And investors the world over--pension funds, school districts, and local governments--bought such instruments as investments, based on their triple-A ratings. As Galbraith sums it up, “The consequence of tolerating this and like behavior is a collapse of trust, a collapse of asset values, and a collapse of the financial system. That is what has happened, and what we have to deal with now.”

The financial crisis is rapidly evolving now into an economic cataclysm that may be even worse than the Great Depression, and much harder to dig our way out of. It’s critical that the crisis be handled in such a way as to build rather than burn our bridges to the future. The economic restructuring our country needs will be inordinately expensive. That’s why it’s so very disturbing that the Obama administration continues to throw trillions of dollars at the financial industry in a vain attempt to revive securitization by means of theft from the populace at large--socializing the losses of the financial sector, while continuing to privatize its gains. However, the various Fed and Treasury efforts appear to have no reasonable chance of reviving the financial sector and credit markets, though it appears they will be predictably successful at further increasing the wealth of already wealthy and politically powerful sectors while further impoverishing the citizenry at large.

After the initial mixed reception of the $700-billion TARP by the Congress, the Fed and Treasury have been circumventing Congress with a proliferation of additional, almost unimaginably costly schemes, described further below. The various Treasury and Fed schemes for “unfreezing” the credit markets are likely to fail for many reasons, but essentially because a crisis brought on by an excess of leverage cannot be resolved by more of the same. However, the schemes are in the process of achieving the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the Republic, and perhaps the world, to the already richest 1% from the rest of us. If allowed to continue, they threaten to leave in their wake an economy devastated beyond repair and a bankrupt government with a ruined currency, posing the real prospect of widespread hunger and civil chaos as unemployment and poverty proliferate out of control. Bill Moyers and Michael Winship report that, “According to Politico.com, at his March 27 White House meeting with the nation’s top bankers, President Obama [hearing arguments to the effect that the financial industry was being scapegoated] interrupted, saying, “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen… My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” Similarly, the Financial Times reported the remarks of Europe’s top employment official warning to the effect that social tensions and political extremism “could rise to dangerous levels unless Europe’s leader’s tackle rising joblessness (“Europe jobs crisis poses ‘threat’ to social order,” April 5, 2009).

Things are already even worse than many people realize. “Bubbles dot the economic landscape like it’s bath foam,” or, in Nouriel Roubini’s words, “a housing bubble, a mortgage bubble, a bond bubble, a credit bubble, a private equity bubble, and a hedge funds bubble--all are now bursting simultaneously.” As P. Sainath says, and as long as you try fixing the situation “within a dead framework, things will only get worse.” Whatever he does, President Obama asks us to see it as change we can believe in, and most Americans seem to be either cheering from the sidelines or simply standing around hoping for the best. But until more of us take action to define the future, we’ll continue to be, as Sainath puts it, “only gripped by change we can’t believe [we’re] seeing.”

The situation is worse than official data indicate. The way in which the unemployment rate has been figured in recent decades has been manipulated by the government. In an article in The Nation (4/20/09), Leo Hindery, Jr. and Donald W. Riegle, Jr. estimate the current rate at 16.7 percent:

There are 12.5 million officially unemployed workers, and America’s nominal unemployment rate is 8.1 percent. But … [w]hen we more accurately and honestly include the 10.7 million workers who are underemployed--either part-time of necessity (8.6 million) or otherwise marginally attached (2.1 million)--and the 3.7 million who … have abandoned their job search, then the unemployment rate rises to a staggering 16.7 percent.

The Obama administration’s first proposed budget could begin to redress some of the enormous inequities that have been accumulating for thirty years, and accelerating recently, and seems intended to address longer-term recovery issues such as universal healthcare, green economic development, and education. But all that and more is threatened by the commitment of Obama’s team to “bailing out” the big banks at taxpayer expense. Continuing that policy creates a gargantuan black hole of inequity capable of sinking the administration’s other programs and plans. And Obama’s program has not one but two Achilles' heels; the other is his open-ended commitment to war in Afghanistan, “the graveyard of empires.”

We should stop throwing trillions we don’t have, but will borrow if we can, at Wall Street. Yet the Obama administration appears to be committed to giving the bankers everything they ask for, trillion upon trillion.

[Federal Reserve Chairman] Bernanke has provided generous “100 cents on the dollar” loans for Triple-A mortgage-backed collateral that is now worth 30 cents on the dollar. The Fed stands to lose trillions of dollars on these loans because the assets will never regain their original value. Eventually the taxpayer will have to pony up the difference in higher taxes, fewer public services and a weakened dollar.

And,

…Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner refuses to remove toxic assets from the banks’ balance sheets using the usual “tried and true” methods. A recent report from the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) headed by Rep. Elizabeth Warren revealed that there are three ways to fix the banking system: liquidation, reorganization and subsidization. Geithner has rejected all three of these preferring to implement his own make-shift Public Private Investment Program (PPIP) which is thoroughly untested … and is clearly designed to shift the toxic debts of the banks onto the taxpayer through publicly-funded nonrecourse loans. (Geithner’s plan will allow the banks to establish off-balance sheet operations so they can buy their own bad assets from themselves using 94 per cent public money.) The whole thing is an obvious swindle papered-over with gibberish.

Patrick Madden describes how the Geithner plan is designed:

[T]he terms of the arrangements are suggestive of the enormity of the problem. In order to entice private investors to buy these securities, the government is taking on almost all of the risk of the venture and loaning up to 97% of the purchase price of the securities to investors. In order to provide such an incentive the US Treasury will put up nearly $100 billion of its own funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and use its leverage from the Fed and the FDIC to borrow up to $900 billion that it will loan out to potential investors. The New York Times described the arrangement:

[The] crucial incentive for investors--traditional fund managers, hedge funds, private equity funds, pension funds and possibly even banks--is that the government would lend as much as 85 percent of the purchase price for each portfolio of mortgages… On top of that, the Treasury would invest one dollar of taxpayer money for every dollar of private equity capital to cover the remaining 15 percent of the portfolio’s purchase price… The biggest inducement in all the programs is the government’s willingness to provide “nonrecourse” loans to institutions that buy up the unwanted assets. A nonrecourse loan is secured only by the underlying home or building… If the borrower defaults, the government would only be able to seize the real estate. If the mortgages or the securities generate bigger losses than expected, the government and not the private investors would have to absorb the brunt of those losses.

The money generated from the TARP-backed plan could result in up to $1 trillion being handed over to investors--yet this is not all. The Troubled Asset-backed Loan Facility (TALF) will also create close to $1 trillion in loans for roughly the same purpose as the TARP fund.

It’s often said that the effort to shore up the financial sector--primarily its biggest firms--is needed to “get the banks lending again.” But the claim that the banks are not lending is false. What has broken down is not lending as such but securitization, the bundling of pools of loans into securities sold at market, described early on in this article. As further described by PIMCO’s Bill Gross:

Our modern shadow banking system craftily dodges the reserve requirements of traditional institutions and promotes a chain letter, pyramid scheme of leverage, based in many cases on no reserve cushion whatsoever. Financial derivatives of all descriptions are involved but credit default swaps (CDS) are perhaps the most egregious offenders. While margin does flow periodically to balance both party’s accounts, the conduits that hold CDS contracts are in effect non-regulated banks, much like their hedge fund brethren, with no requirements to hold reserves against a significant “black swan” run that might break them. Jimmy Stewart--they hardly knew ye! According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), CDS totaling $43 trillion were outstanding at year end 2007, more than half the size of the entire asset base of the global banking system. Total derivatives amount to over $500 trillion, many of them finding their way onto the balance sheets of SIVs, CDOs and other conduits of their ilk comprising the Frankensteinian levered body of shadow banks.

Pyramid schemes and chain letters collapse because there is no more credit to feed them. As the system of modern day levered shadow finance slows to a crawl, or even contracts at the edges, its ability to systemically fertilize economic growth must be called into question.

Efforts to revive securitization are not only almost certainly futile but unwise, in that a return to excessive leverage (debt piled on debt) is the last thing we need. People are broke, and they are beginning to save. The various Fed and Treasury programs also appear misguided in that their stated aim is to restore liquidity, while it seems clear the real problem is insolvency. But in any case, even the massive government efforts we’ve been seeing are dwarfed by the size of the crisis. As Merrill Lynch’s David Rosenberg observed in an interview:

Government cannot prevent nature from taking its course. While an additional $1.15 trillion expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet is large as a stand-alone event, it really is just a drop in the bucket when one considers that there is still almost $8 trillion of combined household and business sector credit that must be unwound in order to mean-revert the private sector-to-GDP ratio (which is still close to a record high). Once again, the government is cushioning the blow, but cannot prevent nature from taking its course. (1)

Similarly, as the markets have recognized, the Fed’s “quantitative easing” plan to buy $300 billion in Treasury debt is dwarfed by the multi-trillions in government borrowing that has already begun.
According to Edward Luce in his article “America’s liberals lay into Obama,” printed by the Financial Times (3/28-29/09), Paul Krugman describes the “toxic asset” purchase plan as “cash for trash.” Jeffrey Sachs calls it “a thinly veiled attempt to transfer hundreds of billions of US taxpayer funds to the commercial banks.” Robert Reich depicts Tim Geithner as a prisoner of Wall Street, and Joe Stiglitz says the plan “amounts to robbery of the American people.” No wonder, as a recent Financial Times/Harris poll on 4/14/09 shows, “public respect for business leaders is all but nonexistent.” The public is furious at the trillions being thrown at Wall Street. But the worst of it is that the bailouts are wasting funds we don’t have, but will borrow if we can, in an effort to do the impossible.

As William Black, deputy director of the former Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. during the thrift crisis of the 1980s, recently remarked in an interview, “Unless the current administration changes course pretty drastically, the scandal will destroy Obama’s administration, both economically and in terms of integrity. We have failed bankers giving advice to failed regulators on how to deal with failed assets. How can it result in anything but failure?”

The $787 billion stimulus package, on the other hand, contains some good things and may have some good impact, economist James K. Galbraith has called the emphasis on short-term, “shovel-ready” projects “a mistake” because, “As in the New Deal, we need both the Works Progress Administration … to provide employment, and the Public Works Administration … to rebuild the country.” But so far, more than $4 trillion in direct spending, loans and guarantees has been provided in conjunction with the federal government’s financial stability efforts (including FDIC as well as Treasury and the Fed) (4). This amount represents $590.4 billion allocated by Congress to the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) plus further expansion of the Treasury’s balance sheet that have been used to “leverage” TARP funds well beyond the amount appropriated by Congress. Using a broader assessment of all government guarantees backing various institutions and markets, Bloomberg News calculated the total as of February 24, 2009, at $11.6 trillion. (3)

As if that’s not enough, following release of the government’s so-called stress tests of the major banks, economist Paul Krugman points out that, “given the possibility of bigger losses in the future, the government’s evident unwillingness either to own banks or let them fail creates a heads-they-win-tails-we-lose situation. If all goes well, the bankers will win big. If the current strategy fails, taxpayers will be forced to pay for another bailout.”`

Meanwhile, only a fraction of the amount thrown at Wall Street has been allocated to the “real” economy where many of the workers who still have jobs are struggling just to keep food on the table. Substantially more is needed in the short-term. But looking ahead, we should also keep in mind that the economy that was operating prior to the onset of the financial crisis was unsustainable and cannot be revived, in part because it was based on over-consumption financed by excessive and continuingly increasing leverage (debt). An economy running on ever-increasing debt is one huge Ponzi scheme, and that’s what Treasury and the Fed are trying to revive. (4)

The bulk of the government’s effort ignores these problems. Instead, the Treasury gave AIG $183 billion to pay off financial speculators on the winning side of financial gambles. The flap about bonuses is a red herring to distract attention from the real scams.

The several bailouts thus far have led to increasing dominance of the government by agents of the rich and the financial industry itself, which are already resisting and will be major obstacles to the reforms that are needed, and thus to any sustainable recovery. This may go a long way toward explaining the lack of investigations and prosecutions thus far. But considering that what caused this crisis may have been the biggest financial scam in the history of the world, the absence of prosecutions is striking. Bill Moyers’ 4/3/09 interview with William Black makes this clear, and Black clearly knows what he's talking about. The matter is often discussed as if it’s terribly mysterious and complex, and the financial instruments employed are certainly complicated. But the issue is ultimately simple, as stated in this particularly striking excerpt from the Moyers interview:

BILL MOYERS: I was taken with your candor at the conference here in New York to hear you say that this crisis we're going through, this economic and financial meltdown is driven by fraud. What's your definition of fraud?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Fraud is deceit. And the essence of fraud is, "I create trust in you, and then I betray that trust, and get you to give me something of value." And as a result, there's no more effective acid against trust than fraud, especially fraud by top elites, and that's what we have.
BILL MOYERS: In your book [The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One], you make it clear that calculated dishonesty by people in charge is at the heart of most large corporate failures and scandals, including, of course, the S&L, but is that true? Is that what you're saying here, that it was in the boardrooms and the CEO offices where this fraud began?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.

As a matter of routine law enforcement and in the interests of fairness and justice, it is imperative that the appropriate authorities investigate and determine the causes of the crisis. To prevent a recurrence of the current catastrophe that may yet cause a systemic collapse, responsible parties should be prosecuted and punished for wrongdoing and unlawful conduct. To obtain some of the funds needed to repair the damage caused by fraud as well as excessive leveraging (debt) and financial “innovation” gone wild, responsible parties should be required to return their ill-gotten gains. Going forward, financial activity should be re-regulated and financial transactions taxed.

The financial industry should be much smaller than it has recently become. We need substantial re-regulation, including the re-enactment of Glass-Steagall-type firewalls (that is, rules enacted after the Great Depression that required separation of commercial from investment banking, to shield commercial banks from the effects of unprofitable investments). Entities that are too big to fail are too big to be privately owned. What is too big to fail is too big. Companies or firms whose activities or failures create systemic risk should be nationalized or broken up by the enforcement of the antitrust laws, amended as needed to achieve that end.(5) As President Obama has observed, credit is the lifeblood of the economy. The big banks should be examined by the FDIC and, as appropriate, not subsidized but nationalized, at least temporarily and perhaps permanently. And ultimately it might be wise to establish a system whereby credit is allocated in the public interest, on the regulated public utility model.

But there were even more fundamental problems with the pre-crisis economy than that it was based on excessive debt. For decades it deteriorated due to the off shoring/outsourcing of jobs, especially in manufacturing, in substantial part pursuant to the various “trade” deals favoring investors above all, the resulting declines or stagnation in real income, the increasingly regressive tax structure and the resulting inequity of income, wealth and power. The U.S. economy needs not a “jump start” but a substantial restructuring. A sustained economic recovery will require substantial debt relief and more and better jobs at higher incomes.(6) Some of these jobs will come from properly structured public works programs that have begun with the first stimulus package and should continue as part of the next.

On a longer-term basis, we should reexamine the various so-called “trade” agreements (which in fact have impacts far beyond the mere exchange of goods or services) to ensure that the effort to rebuild our economy is not undermined by the continued off shoring and outsourcing of jobs. These agreements include the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act would address the provisions of these agreements that undermine our economy by rewriting the rules governing international trade to make it a positive force for working people in the U.S. and around the world. The TRADE Act will be introduced in this session of Congress, sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME); its details may yet be changed. But in broad terms, the TRADE Act would establish mandatory standards for future trade agreements regarding labor, the environment, consumer safety, trade in services, public procurement, agriculture, intellectual property, and other concerns; require the review and renegotiation of existing trade pacts, such as NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO, so that they meet the new standards; and reassert congressio nal authority and public oversight in the trade policymaking process.(7)

We, of course, also need repaired and improved infrastructure, with the emphasis on energy conservation, mass transit and renewable sources, education to prepare workers for the jobs of the future, and a universal healthcare system to enable U.S. firms to be viable and compete. Investing almost entirely in mass transit rather than automobile-related infrastructure could be a critical part of the solution. We should rebuild our rail system for the shipment of goods as well as alternative transportation. Restoration of train service in the vicinity of major cities would alone greatly decrease the need for air transit of a few hundred miles, which is comparatively inefficient and wasteful of scarce resources. But the federal effort continues to reflect a belief that resources are unlimited], ignoring the need for a new efficiency. As James Howard Kunstler observes:

One very plain and straightforward example at hand is the announcement … of a plan to build a high-speed rail network. To be blunt about it, this is perfectly … stupid. It will require a whole new track network, because high speed trains can’t run on the old rights of way with their less forgiving curve ratios and grades. We would be so much better off simply fixing up and reactivating the normal-speed track system that is sitting out there rusting in the rain—and save our more grandiose visions for a later time.
 


… With the airlines in a business death spiral, and mass motoring doomed, we need a national passenger rail system desperately. But we already have one that used to be the envy of the world before we abandoned it. And we don’t have either the time or the resources to build a new parallel network.

We also have the opportunity to re-tool old factories for the production of products used in the new green industries. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has sponsored a bill that begins to address this need. We should explore the regionalization of manufacturing to reduce shipping costs and provide jobs throughout the country, providing opportunities in states where manufacturing has not previously been a major economic activity.

Margaret Kimberley makes some additional useful suggestions, such as true healthcare reform (which would relieve considerable stress on existing businesses) and drastic cuts in wasteful as well as dangerous military spending (see further below). Apart from the horrendous impact on millions of people, the lack of universal healthcare places U.S.-based businesses at a competitive disadvantage to their counterparts in other industrialized countries, all of which have such programs. More generally, the social safety nets in other countries--unemployment benefits, welfare systems, and pension systems--are more generous, and these not only benefit their people as individuals and families but also strengthen their economies as a whole.

There is yet an additional dimension to the difficulty of economic reconstruction for long-term prosperity and sustainability. When we recovered from past recessions, we had abundant natural resources. With cheap oil now substantially gone and the Old Economy threatening the biosphere itself (breathable air, drinkable water, arable land), it’s both futile and unwise to attempt a “jump start.” We need an economy restructured as if people and the Earth matter, not billions to build or rebuild highways and tax breaks to buy cars and trucks nobody wants anymore. James Howard Kunstler again:

The truth is that we’re comprehensively bankrupt, and no amount of shuffling certificates around will avail to alter that. The bad debt has to be ‘worked out’--i.e. written off, subjected to liquidation of remaining assets and collateral, reorganized under the bankruptcy statutes, and put behind us. We have to work very hard to reconfigure the physical arrangement of life in the USA, moving away from the losses of our suburbs, reactivating our towns, downscaling our biggest cities, re-scaling our farms and food production, switching out our Happy Motoring system for public transit and walkable neighborhoods, rebuilding local networks of commerce, and figuring out a way to make a few things of value again.
 
What’s happened instead is … that our politicians [are mounting] a massive campaign to sustain the unsustainable. That’s what all the TARP and TARF and PPIP and bailouts are about. It will all amount to an exercise in futility and could easily end up wrecking the USA in every sense of the term. If Mr. Obama doesn’t get with a better program, then we are going to face a Long Emergency as grueling as the French Revolution.

Or as Paul Krugman has more mildly expressed it, “[T]hat’s one reason I’m so concerned about the Obama administration’s bank plan. If, as some of us fear, taxpayer funds end up providing windfalls to financial operators instead of fixing what needs to be fixed, we might not have the money to go back and do it right.”

Moreover, when the U.S. and Western economies have recovered in the past from such crises as the present one(s), the means of production could call upon the resources of the natural world--including not only cheap oil but also such resources as air and water, treated as “free goods” in calculating the costs of production--to resume operations. Now, with natural resources, especially oil, substantially depleted and the continued operation of the economy in its former form threatening the means of life (e.g., the oceans before overfishing) and the biosphere itself (e.g., breathable air, drinkable water), it is not only unwise but also probably futile to look for a “jump start” to produce much activity. The creation of more jobs at higher wages will require a complex process of reconstructing an economy as if people and the Earth mattered. We need something--indeed many things--to be substantially different, including, for example, the means of producing food by sustainable agricultural practices.

We probably need very substantial changes to the system of food production, with less chemically dependent agribusiness and much more locally based, smaller-scale and sustainable farming. Given the myriad difficulties of the present moment, the new agriculture envisioned by Wes Jackson in Robert Jensen’s excellent interview in CounterPunch and the 50-year plan to create it are eminently realistic, and would be one good way to start. We need not only new and better ways of farming but more people on farms, and if there isn’t the money to pay them but there are people starving for lack of work, that’s a flaw in the economy that can be fixed by human action.

Most immediately, more funds should be allocated to facilitate economic recovery, but they should go to stimulus, not bailout. And the first priority should be further financial assistance to the States. As Robert Reich points out in his blog post on 4/09/09 entitled “Why It Makes No Sense for States to Cut Services and Raise Taxes Now”, all told, “state service cuts and likely tax increases will total about $350 billion over 2009 and 2010. This is nuts--exactly the opposite of what the government needs to be doing. That $350 billion is a huge fiscal drag on the economy. It essentially negates almost half of the federal stimulus.” Obama should return to Congress for a second stimulus, much of which should help the states maintain vital services and avoid tax increases, and Congress should heed the request. And the pitch should be made before the administration tries to get any more money “for bailouts of Wall Street, the automakers, life insurers, or any other industry whose bondholders should be taking the hit before taxpayers.”

Another step that could be implemented relatively quickly would be the cessation of our foreign military adventures deceptively marketed as the “war on terror,” or whatever our current wars come to be called, now shifting from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The so-called “war on terror” has been an enormous waste of resources as well as human lives, in that a substantial consensus among knowledgeable analysts finds--as was predicted--that the result has been not a decline, but an increase in terrorism. At the same time--and apart from the appalling and immoral loss of human life--an increasingly glaring fact about these wars is that we just can’t afford them anymore. We’re waging them on credit, and increasingly on credit from foreigners. And the resources wasted on these destructive activities are wholly unproductive from an economic standpoint, as well as needed elsewhere.

Proposals for Actions:

The crises we face come from many directions, and it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by their sheer size and complexity. But as I said at the outset of this discussion, there are many things we can do to avoid the worst outcomes and build toward a better future. What we need is a common understanding and the will to act constructively together. Although there are many ways to begin to address our unprecedented and multi-faceted crisis both immediately and for the long-term future, each of the following steps would be useful; and, taken together, they constitute a comprehensive approach. These suggestions begin with those requiring most immediate implementation. Some of them are longer-term and require or would be facilitated by further investigation, including Congressional hearings:


• Redirect federal resources to reviving the real economy. Begin with an immediate allocation of additional stimulus funds to states on a basis allowing and enabling them to determine local allocations based on local need. Assess the need for additional unemployment benefits, food stamps and similar relief measures at the time of enactment and include them in the package. Take action, here.
•Have no further bailouts and subsidies for the financial sector and instead nationalize and/or break up large banks and other firms whose failure could create systemic risk. Take action, here.
•Provide meaningful rather than token debt relief for consumers, with a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures and amendments to the bankruptcy laws as needed to empower judges to reduce the principal owed to levels reflecting current values. A measure to do this was recently defeated in the Senate by a vote of 45-51, with lukewarm support from Obama. However, people are losing their homes in droves, and the negative impact on lenders is already occurring without providing relief for households, as banks foreclose on properties they then hold off the market out of fear of further price declines. The measure should be reintroduced and renewed pressure placed on the Senators who voted against it. The Senate’s recent rejection of the measure to allow federal bankruptcy judges to amend mortgages is outrageous and undermines the incipient recovery. Take Action here.
•Near-term, end the current wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; in the medium term, close many or most U.S. military bases overseas; reexamine and substantially reduce military expenditures. [Take action, here and here.
•Investigate and prosecute fraud and unlawful conduct that contributed to excessive debt and disgorge profits from wrongdoers. Make Wall Street speculators pay for bailout expenditures thus far through a securities transaction tax as well as recovery of ill-gotten gains, and raise additional funds through a corporate minimum income tax, the elimination of subsidies for excessive CEO pay, and the termination of overseas corporate tax havens. Partly as a natural outgrowth of renewed regulation and over the medium term, shrink the size of the financial sector. Take action, here.
•Reinstitute worker rights protection at the federal level by re-staffing the National Labor Relations Board, revitalizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and enacting the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Take action here.
•Enact the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment Act. This legislation would re-write the rules governing international trade, to establish mandatory standards for future trade agreements regarding labor, the environment, consumer safety, trade in services, public procurement, agriculture, intellectual property, and other concerns; require the review and renegotiation of existing trade pacts, such as NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO, so that they meet the new standards; and reassert Congressional authority and public oversight in the trade policymaking process. Take action here.
•Enact universal healthcare on the single-payer model by extending Medicare to all Americans and strengthen the social safety net (bankruptcy laws, unemployment insurance, food stamps, pension protection, Social Security) to improve the quality of life of our people and the competitiveness of US businesses. Take action here.
•Begin to restructure the real economy to create more and better jobs at higher wages and revisit unfair “free” trade policies and agreements that undermine these goals. Take action here.

Footnotes

(1) Interview with Merrill Lynch's David Rosenberg on Tech Ticker, quoted in Mike Whitney, “Bernanke's Financial Rescue Plan,” April 6, 2009. Regarding the magnitude of the crisis, see a prediction and explanation from September 2007 by Satyajit Das, posted here.

(2) Congressional Oversight Panel, “Assessing Treasury's Strategy: Six Months of TARP,” quoted in Mike Whitney, “Elizabeth Warren's Devastating Report to Congress."

(3) Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry, “U.S. Bailout, Stimulus Pledges Total $11.6 Trillion (Table),” Bloomberg News, 2/24/09.

(4) Mike Whitney, “The Decade of Darkness”, CounterPunch, 4/9/09; Henny Sender, “A reality check on loan book values is still well overdue,” Financial Times, 4/11-12/09; Tim Price, “Time to learn that rules of the game have utterly changed,” Financial Times, 4/8/09; Francesco Guerrera, “Don't Eat Wall Street's big fudge--it's a dog's breakfast,” Financial Times, 4/4-5/09 (“The overworked Obama administration found time to devise a plan that will make some investors rich and some banks richer”); Aline van Duyn, “Financial industry will have to feel some pain,” Financial Times, 3/21/22/09 (“Not since the Depression have there been so many contracts that may need to be changed, either voluntarily or by force”).

(5) Philip Augar, “It is time to put finance back in its box,” Financial Times, 4/14/09; Martin Wolf, “Cutting back financial capitalism is America's big test,” Financial Times, 4/15/09; Michael Pomerleano, “Geithner and Summers need to address the banking problems square-on,” Financial Times, 4/13/09 (“The Obama administration is in denial regarding the problems of the financial system”); Maverecom (William Butler), “Too big to fail means too big,” Financial Times, 4/17/09, full text at www.ft.com/maverecom; John A. Lybeck, “It is time to consider breaking up the banking behemoths,” Financial Times, Letters 3/19/09; Mike Whitney, “Bernanke's Financial Rescue Plan,” April 6, 2009; Fred Mosely, “Time for Permanent Nationalization!”, Dollars & Sense, March-April 2009; Steve Perry, “UM economist V. V. Chari: Government bailout policy is 'cross your fingers and hope,” published 4/19/09; Nouriel Roubini's 5/7/09 Financial Times op ed (“Insolvent banks should feel market discipline”) asks why big banks shouldn't be allowed to fail. Roubini has a complex proposal but it basically supports the idea that the public shouldn't have to pay.

(6) See, for example, Samuel Palmisano, “Smart ways to prepare for a world beyond recession,” Financial Times, 2/20/09 (“Governments need to shape stimulus investments that envision and enable a smarter future”); Working Group on Extreme Inequality, “A Sensible Plan for Recovery,” 10/15/08, ; http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney01192009.html (by commentator Mike Whitney); and e.g., http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts01122009.html (by former assistant Treasury secretary Paul Craig Roberts).

(7) The WTO was apparently one of the bases for the repeal of Depression-era banking regulations and thus contributed to the current financial crisis as well as the longer-term deterioration of the U.S. economy with the outsourcing and off shoring of jobs. Take Action above to support the TRADE Act, and for more information, visit the Oregon Free Trade Campaign (ORFTC)'s "Trade Pacts and Financial Deregulation," and see Public Citizen's paper on the subject here. For further background and updates, a good resource is Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, at http://www.citizen.org/trade/.

Robert Roth, a retired public interest lawyer, received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1971, and has worked in financial fraud and consumer protection for the Attorneys General of New York (1981-1991) and Oregon (1993-2007). He may be reached at robert.roth99@gmail.com.





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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pension-important-Rulling-inf.by ashok hindocha-M-9426201999)


www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com
No full pension for those who retired before 2.9.08
at 8:17 AM
We all know that as per 6CPC recommendations for pension benefits which was also implemented by the Government, CG employees who have completed the qualifying service of 20 years will be eligible for full pension (viz., 50 % of last pay drawn). However, the Government gave effect to this order only from 2.9.2008 and those who retired before 2.9.2008, completion of 33 years of service is mandatory for getting full pension.

As per Office memorandum No: 38/37/08-P&PW(A) dated 2.9.2008 Government Servants who retired during 1.1.2006 to 1.9.08 after completion of 33 years of qualifying service will be eligible for full pension and the pension of those Government Servants who retired before 2.9.08 with qualifying service of less than 33 years will continue to be proportionate to the full pension based on their actual qualifying service.

However, this decision was objected by many of the pensioners as pay benefits except allowance were given with effect from 1.1.06 by the government. Their concern is denying full pension to those who retired between 1.1.06 to 1.9.08 even if they have completed more than 20 years is not rational. Also, according to the affected pensioners, this decision would create phenomenal disparity in the pension benefits between the one who retired from Jan-06 to Aug-08 and others who retired after Sept-08.

Many representations were forwarded to Government by the pensioners to rectify this disparity and to take a uniform stand for providing full pension to all those who retired after 1.1.06, if they have completed 20 years of service.

However, by issue of the Office memorandum dated 12.05.09, Government ruled out full pension for those who retired after 1.1.2006 but before 2.9.2008, even if they had completed 20 years of service. As per this latest clarification (OM dated 12.05.09), Government servants who retired before 2.9.08 with qualifying service of 33 years will continue to be proportionate to the full pension based on their actual qualifying service.

As per the said clarification OM dated 12.05.09, the basis for taking this decision is the Government took a policy decision to implement the the provision for full pension after 20 years of service with effect from 2.9.08.

It was also clarified by the Government that in light of various decisions of Apex Court allowing the employer to fix a cut-off date for introducing any new pension/retirement scheme, the decision of Government is in accordance with the law and there is no violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

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Holiday Homes in India-pertaining to BSNL-Inf. by ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)


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INFORMATION OF HOLIDAY HOMES IN BSNL
Address of
Holiday Home Officer In- Charge Care Taker Contact Nos. Booking Contact
Jyoti Nagar, Red Road, Kurukshetra-136118 SDE (Ext), Kurukshetra 01744-222600/228855 01744-222766 AGM (SR), O/o CGMT, BSNL, Haryana Circle, Ambala-1 0171-2645729/2651300


Himachal Pradesh

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Pension Issue Settlled-Congratulations-Inf. by ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)



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Congratulations to Shri VAN Namboodiri-GS-BSNLEU-CHQ-ND
[19.05.2009]One major issue of BSNL Pensioners settled

BSNLEU has taken up the issue of implementation of revised rules of pension calculation for BSNL Pensioners as per VI CPC recommendations. Orders have now been issued by DOT. <>www.bsnleuchq.com
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BSNL Latest News-AIBSNLEA-News-Inf.By ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)

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On 12th May, Hon. Supreme Court stayed the TDSAT verdict on allocation of spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz to the state owned companies. This is a great relief for BSNL which already had utilised the allocated spectrum for 2G/3G.

New organisational structure of BSNL >>>>>>>

The functional Directors of BSNL Board are redesignated as 1. DIR(Consumer Mobility), 2. DIR(Consumer Fixed Access), 3. DIR(Enterprises), 4. DIR(HRD) and 5. DIR(Finance). For faster decision making and greater financial accountability, financial advisors are posted under the same Directors.

As per the discussion held with GM(Pers) on 14-05-09, all the requests in the comp. posting who had completed 5 years as JTO in the respective recruiting Circles considered and transfer orders issued <<1>> <<2>>

Request transfers in the cadre of SDE <<1>> <<2>>
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BSNL"s latest Inf. New-Plan-Inf. by Ashok Hindocha(M-9426201999)

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BSNL's selection of Huawei appears very 'incidental'
TT Correspondent | New Delhi | 17 May 2009

BSNL has defied advice from the Home Ministry and the Defence Ministry as the company went ahead and opened the bids with Ericsson and Huawei indeed emerging shortlisted players for the contract.

Incidentally Huawei has emerged as the short listed player for the southern region, a region where it is already working as a partner for BSNL. Ericsson has bagged rights for North and East regions. BSNL is yet to open the bids for the Western part.

BSNL claims it has secured necessary clearances from the agencies except for Western region before opening the bids. This however leaves one wondering if views of Home Ministry and Defence Ministry come under the category of ''necessary clearances'

BSNL's process however is marred by growing speculation and discontent within industry players especially the left out vendors who are now complaining about the lack of transparency in the selection process.

And they have reasons to believe so. To start with vendors find it hard to believe that they failed to meet the technical requirements of the project. The general perception was that most of the vendors will meet the technical requirements and the differentiator will be in the pricing bids. But with only two vendors meeting the technical specifications and in most of the zones only one vendor left in fray, pricing has become irrelevant.

Ericsson had submitted bids only for North and East, incidentally the regions where it has emerged as the qualified bidder. Huawei had submitted bids for West, East and South. It has bagged rights for South and is in fray for West. For NSN which had qualified in the earlier tender floated by BSNL, the fact that it has been rejected on technical grounds may be hard to believe. ZTE was the only company which had submitted bids for all the zones.

It maybe remembered that Motorola had been disqualified on technical grounds in BSNL's earlier tender. The company had challenged the decision in court but ultimately gave up the fight and accepted BSNL's rejection. Motorola did not participate in the current tender.

Additionally, it appears more than incidental that BSNL's decision of allowing vendors without a manufacturing facility in India to have paid-off with selection of Huawei. It maybe remembered that BSNL had allowed vendors without a manufacturing base in India to participate in the bid. Huawei was the only company to be benefited out of this clause since it allowed the firm to participate in the project. One can only symphatise for those with manufacturing facilities in India and who have invested lot of financial resources as well as contributed to research and development in communications field in India and yet failing to meet the mark of BSNL's technical requirements. These same vendors provide communication solutions to world class operators across the globe who are much bigger in size as compared to BSNL and offer much advanced services.

Another fact to make the things more 'incidental' is that the DoT had stated a day before the bids were opened by BSNL that the firm should be given an independent hand and government agencies should not intervene in its decision-making process.

Incidentally Huawei is also reported to be front runner for BSNL's WiMAX project.

BSNL meanwhile will have less ground when it comes to negotiating with the short listed vendors as in some zones there is only one vendor and hence no competition. This however is not incidental and in fact is ironical for the firm which was expecting to benefit out of the competition in the tender project.

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BSNl Latest Devlopment plan-News-inf. by Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)

BSNL may award Huawei's contract to Alcatel-Lucent - ITI combine
18 May 2009, 1534 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: State-owned BSNL plans to award contract for 25 million GSM lines worth $1.5 billion to the French-Indian combine Alcatel-ITI for Western India. BSNL has identified this as an alternate solution as the telco cannot award this contract to Chinese equipment major Huawei on security grounds as the West zone shares ‘sensitive boundaries with Pakistan’, a top BSNL executive told ET. The telco had earlier shortlised Huawei for this contract.

This is part of BSNL’s contract for 93 million GSM lines, the largest ever telecoms equipment order globally. Ericsson was short-listed as the lowest bidder for north and east regions of the country while Huawei was selected for west, east and south zones.

As first reported by ET last week, BSNL had got the approval of a security panel consisting of representatives from the Intelligence Bureau, defence ministry and other intelligence agencies including RAW to award telecoms equipment contract to Huawei subject to the condition that the Chinese firm be given orders only in the Southern states of the country.

The logic: South Indian states do not share sensitive borders with countries such as Pakistan, China and Bangladesh. Besides, Huawei is already working with BSNL in south India.

Following this, BSNL had opened tenders for three zones - North, East and South Zones. Swedish equipment major Ericsson was awarded the contract for 25 million for the North Zone and 18 million lines for the East Zone while Huawei bagged 25 million lines for the South Zone.

BSNL had shorlisted only Ericsson for the North Zone. While both Ericsson and Huawei were shortlisted in the East Zone, BSNL decided to award the contract to the Swedish company as this region shares boundaries with China and Bangladesh.

A top BSNL executive said that awarding the contract to Alcatel-Lucent, which has manufacturing tie-up with state-owned ITI ‘is the best way out’ as the company was heavily short of network capacity and calling for fresh tenders would further delay the process.

They also pointed out that Alcatel-Lucent was the alternative as it was the only company other than Huawei that had bid for the 25-million lines contract in the West Zone. Besides, BSNL cannot award the West Zone contract to Ericsson since tender conditions also stipulate that one company cannot be awarded more than two zones. (The Swedish company has already been selected to the North and East regions).

At the same time, BSNL is also concerned that Nokia Siemens Networks whose bid for the North Zone was disqualiifed, may approach the courts if it were to award the contract to Alcatel-Lucent.

BSNL is also looking at imposing certain conditions before it awards the contract to Alcatel-Lucent. First, it must match the prices offered by Ericsson and Huawei in the other zones. BSNL will also insist that Alcaltel-Lucent manufacture a significant part of these 25 million lines with loss making PSU - Indian Telecom Industries.

Alcatel-Lucent already has a tie-up with ITI to use the latter’s production facilities in Rae Bareily and Mankapur for manufacturing GSM base stations, mobile switching controllers and broadband (digital subscriber link-DSL) equipment.

As reported by ET recently, Alcatel-Lucent executives had said that the French-American combine is open to buying out a part of ITI, if the government were to enforce the ‘offset clause’ for all telecom tenders issued by BSNL and MTNL, the two main clients of ITI, who contribute over 80% to its revenue.

Under the offset policy, 30% of all telecom contracts (for hardware and equipment) awarded by BSNL and MTNL should be sourced and manufactured by ITI. Of late, facing pressure from MTNL and BSNL, Department of Telecom has not enforced this clause, as ITI did not meet delivery schedules for previous contracts.

So BSNL’s tender for 93 million lines for mobile expansion, the world’s largest GSM equipment contract, did not automatically give 30% to ITI. For the past several years, the government has been exploring various options to revive the ailing 12,750-employee-strong ITI, which has accumulated losses of Rs 2,000-crore in 2007-08.

Last updated on 18/05/2009

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BSNL/Telecom Latest News-Inf.By Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)

www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com
Issue-full telecom directory
18 May 2009, 0111 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip & Rashmi Pratap, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s return to power with a clear mandate will allow the combine usher in much-needed reforms in this sector, notably a new spectrum policy and listing of government-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL).

Finally, India’s mobile phone users can also look to enjoy high-end services such as high-speed internet and video conferencing, as the new government speeds up the auction process for third generation spectrum. The 3G auctions have been postponed many times since 2007 due to constant sparring among the ministries of finance, defence and communications.

But the thumping win by the Congress-led alliance may see the party get the telecom portfolio, which will enable it to push for the 3G auctions and double the floor price of these airwaves to over Rs 4,000 crore as demanded by the finance ministry. The DMK’s A Raja, who held the telecom portfolio in the earlier regime, was opposed to hiking the 3G auction base price.

The UPA is also set introduce more rural India-oriented policies—besides taking high-speed internet to villages, the new government is also expected to usher in mobile number portability before the year-end. BSNL’s listing is also on the cards, say industry observers. The previous government was forced to drop plans for the country’s largest listing yet as again, Mr Raja was reluctant to pursue it.

The sector can also expect to see the introduction a new spectrum allotment policy as the UPA would want to bury all ongoing controversies associated with the allotment of airwaves. Spectrum-related controversies have plagued the country’s telecoms sector for years, and the DMK ministers had failed to come up with a comprehensive solution.

“The telecom sector needs a stable spectrum allocation policy. Be it linked with the subscriber base or through auctions, we want more spectrum and a stable regime,” Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal told ET.

The clear verdict will enable the new government overcome opposition from vested interests who are opposed to massive policy changes aimed at giving a boost to the sector whose growth has a direct bearing on the country’s GDP. The government is also set to address a long pending demand by the industry to reduce and simplify the existing levy structure.

Indian consumers enjoy the world’s lowest tariffs despite its telcos being subject to the highest levies globally, where they have to share 25-30% of their annual revenues as different forms of taxes.

“The new government should simplify the existing levy structure. There different levies for mobile, domestic long distance, spectrum charges and so on. There is also different levies for different areas. Service tax, licence fee, microwave fees... there needs to be some uniformity in levy structure for all segments,” Mr Mittal said.

The UPA may also revive its plan to try and make available free-broadband facility for a sizeable section of the population.

Shortly after this grand plan was announced in 2007, the then communications and IT minister, Dayanidhi Maran, was forced to quit.

The proposal could not be implemented as it was not on the agenda of Mr Raja, his successor.
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Congratulations to BSNL workers for Good Achivement-Ashok Hindocha(M-9426201999)


[18.05.2009]CONGRATULATIONS! AGREEMENT REACHED ON STRIKE DEMANDS. STRIKE DEFERRED.
Congratulations to Com VAN namboodiri-GS-BSNLEU-CHQ-ND
Dear Comrades,

Today, 18th May 2009, there was a marathon discussion with Director( HRD) on the demands raised in our strike notice in continuation of the discussion held on 15th with CMD BSNL & Director (HRD).

After detailed discussions the following decisions have been arrived at:

1. Two months pay will be immediately paid as advance in addition to the 4 months pay advance already made.

2. New HRA will be paid immediately with effect from February 2009.

3. The wage negotiation will be expedited

4. 5 year periodicity for wage revision will be referred to DOT as required.

5. Pension orders issued as per VI CPC recommendations for BSNL retirees.. Management will make efforts to get the 50% IDA merger orders from DOT.

6. Contract Labour wage issue according to management is beyond scope of the BSNL. However we discussed the matter and asked the management to peruse the matter.

Etc.etc.

On the above basis, the United Forum has deferred the strike on 19th and 20th Strike.

The agreement copy is being put in the website after some time.

It is only because of our strength, determination for struggle and support from all that the management has been compelled to agree as above.

Congratulations to all comrades.

VAN Namboodiri General Secretary, BSNLEU &

Convener, United Forum

For minutes of the meeting <> <> [19.05.2009]

www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com

TOWARDS TO TWO DAYS STRIKE ON 19-20 MAY 2009 FOR ENSURING:

· JUSTICE TO NON-EXECUTIVE WORKERS

· FOR A SATISFACTORY WAGE REVISION

· AGAINST ARBITRARY DECISIONS OF MANAGEMENT

· ISSUE OF CASUAL/CONTRACT WORKERS, INCLUDED

· PENSIONERS ISSUES RAISED

www.bsnlnewsbyashokhindocha.blogspot.com
hindochaashok@gmail.com M-9426201999-ashok Hindocha

Monday, May 18, 2009

Congratulations to all BSNL workers-stike deffered-news by Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)




CONGRAGULATION TO ALL COMRADES-VAN Namboodiri-GS-CH@-BSNLEU-ND

Discussion was held with management on 18th. Management agreed for 1) Two more months basic pay as IR will be paid immediately ,
2) To issue on revised HRA rates immediately,
3) 5 Year periodisity will be refered to DOT and fitment will be discussed in the wage commitee,
4) wage negociation will be done expeditiously .
On this ageement united forum has deferred the strike ----- VAN, G.S.

VAN Namboodri-Welcomed by Com N.S.Kariai-Rajkot B/S CSC-JB Rajkot-News by Ashok Hindocha(m-9426201999)


Shri N.S.Karia-B/S-CSC-JB EX.Branch-Rajkot welomes Com VAN namboodiri-G/S-CHQ-ND during kutchh Visit during last Verifications
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on Specrtum-Important Information by Ashok Hindocha(M-9426201999)


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Telecom industry seeks resolve of spectrum, levy issue

Telecom industry wants the new government to tackle the issue of multiple levies on the sector on a priority basis.

"The government should make uniform licence fee of 6 per cent across all services to avoid arbitrage opportunities," said GSM operators association COAI Director General T V Ramachandran.

His counterpart, S C Khanna, Secretary General of CDMA operators association, also echoed the same. He also sought for reduction in telecom levies saying at the present rate of 30 per cent, it is globally the highest.

"When we are paying 10 per cent service tax and revenue share also, why should there be any other tax," he asked.

Since both the associations have different agenda, they focussed on their priority areas which they want the new telecom minister to take up immediately.

Ramachandran said the new minister should resolve the 2G spectrum issues immediately adding a committee has submitted recommendation which should be finalised without delay.

On the spectrum issue, Khanna said new GSM operators should be given 6.2 Mhz of spectrum instead of the existing 4.4 Mhz. COAI's other priority was Government should do enough to increase rural connectivity and as part of that it should restore the two per cent reduction in USO levy which has been rejected by the PMO due to some procedural glitch.

"This should be immediately rectified and restored to boost rural connectivity," Ramachandran said.

COAI wants the 3G spectrum auction to start as early as possible so that private operators start the service soon.

Khanna called for more competition in the sector to ensure tariffs going down further.

"The new minister should ensure that competition must be carried on based on number of operators," Khanna said.

Khanna feels with a strong footing this time, Congress should be able carry out telecom reforms better this time than the last time.

The mobile subscriber base in the world's fastest-growing wireless market stands at 391.8 million as on March 2009, as per the the Telecom Regulatory Authority.

In April, GSM operators added 8.93 million subscribers taking the total subscriber base to almost 400 million mobile subscribers.







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