Author Archives: sterlingcooper

ALL SMALL BUSINESSES ARE CRIMINALS ACCORDING TO THE GOVERNMENT!

Get this, starting on January 1, 2024, our nasty Senators and Congressmen have now activated a LAW that considers all businesses with less than $5 million in revenue and 20 employees or less to be FIRST considered as financial criminals.

The law now mandates reporting of the BENEFICIAL OWNERS of ALL companies and businesses operating in the USA FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCEMENT NETWORK (FInCEN) or face fines and JAIL!

AS SMALL BUSINESS YOU ARE ALL SUSPECTED CRIMINALS1

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a final rule implementing the bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act’s (CTA) beneficial ownership information (BOI) reporting provisions. The rule will enhance the ability of FinCEN and other agencies to protect U.S. national security and the U.S. financial system from illicit use and provide essential information to national security, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies; state, local, and Tribal officials; and financial institutions to help prevent drug traffickers, fraudsters, corrupt actors such as oligarchs, and proliferators from laundering or hiding money and other assets in the United States.

Illicit actors frequently use corporate structures such as shell and front companies to obfuscate their identities and launder their ill-gotten gains through the United States. Not only do such acts undermine U.S. national security, they also threaten U.S. economic prosperity: shell and front companies can shield beneficial owners’ identities and allow criminals to illegally access and transact in the U.S. economy, while disadvantaging small U.S. businesses who are playing by the rules. This rule will strengthen the integrity of the U.S. financial system by making it harder for illicit actors to use shell companies to launder their money or hide assets.

Recent geopolitical events have reinforced the point that abuse of corporate entities, including shell or front companies, by illicit actors and corrupt officials presents a direct threat to the U.S. national security and the U.S. and international financial systems. For example, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 further underscored that Russian elites, state-owned enterprises, and organized crime, as well as Russian government proxies have attempted to use U.S. and non-U.S. shell companies to evade sanctions imposed on Russia. This rule will enhance U.S national security by making it more difficult for criminals to exploit opaque legal structures to launder money, traffic humans and drugs, and commit serious tax fraud and other crimes that harm the American taxpayer.

At the same time, the rule aims to minimize burdens on small businesses and other reporting companies. Millions of businesses are formed in the United States each year. These businesses play an essential and important economic role. In particular, small businesses are a backbone of the U.S. economy, accounting for a large share of U.S. economic activity and driving U.S. innovation and competitiveness. U.S. small businesses also generate millions of jobs, and in 2021, created jobs at the highest rate on record. It is anticipated that it will cost reporting companies with simple management and ownership structures—which FinCEN expects to be the majority of reporting companies—approximately $85 apiece to prepare and submit an initial BOI report. In comparison, the state formation fee for creating a limited liability company (LLC) can cost between $40 and $500, depending on the state.

Beyond the direct benefits to law enforcement and other authorized users, the collection of BOI will help to shed light on criminals who evade taxes, hide their illicit wealth, and defraud employees and customers and hurt honest U.S. businesses through their misuse of shell companies.

The rule describes who must file a BOI report, what information must be reported, and when a report is due. Specifically, the rule requires reporting companies to file reports with FinCEN that identify two categories of individuals: (1) the beneficial owners of the entity; and (2) the company applicants of the entity.

The final rule reflects FinCEN’s careful consideration of detailed public comments received in response to its December 8, 2021 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the same topic, and extensive interagency consultations. FinCEN received comments from a broad array of individuals and organizations, including Members of Congress, government officials, groups representing small business interests, corporate transparency advocacy groups, the financial industry and trade associations representing its members, law enforcement representatives, and other interested groups and individuals.

Balancing both benefits and burden, the following are the key elements of the BOI reporting rule:

Reporting Companies

  • The rule identifies two types of reporting companies: domestic and foreign. A domestic reporting company is a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or any entity created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or any similar office under the law of a state or Indian tribe. A foreign reporting company is a corporation, LLC, or other entity formed under the law of a foreign country that is registered to do business in any state or tribal jurisdiction by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or any similar office. Under the rule, and in keeping with the CTA, twenty-three types of entities are exempt from the definition of “reporting company.”
  • FinCEN expects that these definitions mean that reporting companies will include (subject to the applicability of specific exemptions) limited liability partnerships, limited liability limited partnerships, business trusts, and most limited partnerships, in addition to corporations and LLCs, because such entities are generally created by a filing with a secretary of state or similar office.
  • Other types of legal entities, including certain trusts, are excluded from the definitions to the extent that they are not created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or similar office. FinCEN recognizes that in many states the creation of most trusts typically does not involve the filing of such a formation document.

Beneficial Owners

  • Under the rule, a beneficial owner includes any individual who, directly or indirectly, either (1) exercises substantial control over a reporting company, or (2) owns or controls at least 25 percent of the ownership interests of a reporting company. The rule defines the terms “substantial control” and “ownership interest.” In keeping with the CTA, the rule exempts five types of individuals from the definition of “beneficial owner.”
  • In defining the contours of who has substantial control, the rule sets forth a range of activities that could constitute substantial control of a reporting company. This list captures anyone who is able to make important decisions on behalf of the entity. FinCEN’s approach is designed to close loopholes that allow corporate structuring that obscures owners or decision-makers. This is crucial to unmasking anonymous shell companies.
  • The rule provides standards and mechanisms for determining whether an individual owns or controls 25 percent of the ownership interests of a reporting company. Among other things, these standards and mechanisms address how a reporting company should handle a situation in which ownership interests are held in trust.
  • These definitions have been drafted to account for the various ownership or control structures reporting companies may adopt. However, for reporting companies that have simple organizational structures it should be a straightforward process to identify and report their beneficial owners. FinCEN expects the majority of reporting companies will have simple ownership structures.

Company Applicants

  • The rule defines a company applicant to be only two persons:
    1. the individual who directly files the document that creates the entity, or in the case of a foreign reporting company, the document that first registers the entity to do business in the United States.
    2. the individual who is primarily responsible for directing or controlling the filing of the relevant document by another.
  • The rule, however, does not require reporting companies existing or registered at the time of the effective date of the rule to identify and report on their company applicants. In addition, reporting companies formed or registered after the effective date of the rule also do not need to update company applicant information.

Beneficial Ownership Information Reports

  • When filing BOI reports with FinCEN, the rule requires a reporting company to identify itself and report four pieces of information about each of its beneficial owners: name, birthdate, address, and a unique identifying number and issuing jurisdiction from an acceptable identification document (and the image of such document). Additionally, the rule requires that reporting companies created after January 1, 2024, provide the four pieces of information and document image for company applicants.
  • If an individual provides their four pieces of information to FinCEN directly, the individual may obtain a “FinCEN identifier,” which can then be provided to FinCEN on a BOI report in lieu of the required information about the individual.

Timing

  • The effective date for the rule is January 1, 2024.
  • Reporting companies created or registered before January 1, 2024 will have one year (until January 1, 2025) to file their initial reports, while reporting companies created or registered after January 1, 2024, will have 30 days after receiving notice of their creation or registration to file their initial reports.
  • Reporting companies have 30 days to report changes to the information in their previously filed reports and must correct inaccurate information in previously filed reports within 30 days of when the reporting company becomes aware or has reason to know of the inaccuracy of information in earlier reports.

Next Steps

  • The BOI reporting rule is one of three rulemakings planned to implement the CTA. FinCEN will engage in additional rulemakings to (1) establish rules for who may access BOI, for what purposes, and what safeguards will be required to ensure that the information is secured and protected; and (2) revise FinCEN’s customer due diligence rule following the promulgation of the BOI reporting final rule.
  • In addition, FinCEN continues to develop the infrastructure to administer these requirements in accordance with the strict security and confidentiality requirements of the CTA, including the information technology system that will be used to store beneficial ownership information: the Beneficial Ownership Secure System (BOSS).
  • Consistent with its obligations under the Paperwork Reduction Act, FinCEN will publish in the Federal Register for public comment the reporting forms that persons will use to comply with their obligations under the BOI reporting rule. FinCEN will publish these forms well in advance of the effective date of the BOI reporting rule.
  • FinCEN will develop compliance and guidance documents to assist reporting companies in complying with this rule. Some of these materials will be aimed directly at, and made available to, reporting companies themselves. FinCEN will issue a Small Entity Compliance Guide, pursuant to section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, in order to inform small entities about their responsibilities under the rule. Other materials will be aimed at a wide range of stakeholders that are likely to receive questions about the rule, such as secretaries of state and similar offices. FinCEN also intends to conduct extensive outreach to all stakeholders, including industry associations as well as secretaries of state and similar offices to ensure the effective implementation of the rule.

 

 

 

 

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EDIBLE OIL FROM SAWDUST!!!!

Why this startup is creating edible oil from sawdust

ÄIO’s fermentation process creates healthy, sustainable oils and fats by upcycling low-value industry organics.

Palm oil production hurts the environment and biodiversity, but it’s difficult to replace due to its remarkable productivity.

  • The Estonian startup ÄIO has developed a process to make fatty oils with yeast that thrive on sawdust.
  • Its founders hope the technology will replace palm oil and promote local economies to be more circular and sustainable.

Just because something is natural doesn’t necessarily make it sustainable. Consider palm oil. The product was widely adopted in the 20th century to replace purportedly less healthy oils and fats in foods. Odorless, semi-solid at room temperature, resistant to oxidation, and — most importantly — cheap, it’s now found in almost everything.

In fact, the World Wildlife Fund estimates that 50% of all packaged products contain palm oil. It’s in chocolate, pizza dough, and margarine. It’s also in cosmetics like lipstick, and personal care products, such as deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste. We use it in cleaning products, in pet foods, and as a biofuel. The list goes on.

To meet the soaring demand, businesses around the world but especially in Southeast Asia are clearing tracts of rainforest to make room for palm oil plantations. The loss of such biodiverse habitat not only threatens close to 200 species, including the orangutan, it also throws millions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere (to say nothing of the industry’s well-documented worker exploitation).

Unfortunately, boycotting the product may not be a realistic option either, as the readily available substitutes may prove environmentally worse.

That’s because palm trees are remarkably productive. They create 2.94 tonnes of oil per hectare of land, far outpacing other vegetable oils. Sunflowers produce just 0.74 tonnes of oil per hectare, soybeans 0.46 tonnes, and coconuts a meager 0.23 tonnes. To maintain the current supply with these alternatives — to say nothing of increasing demand — would require dedicating vastly more total land to oil production.*

Rather than growing existing alternatives, it may prove more efficient to invent a new one. Estonian biotechnology startup ÄIO is doing just that.

A whole different yeast

ÄIO was founded in 2022 by Petri-Jaan Lahtvee and Nemailla Bonturi, a professor and senior researcher of food technology and bioengineering at Tallinn University of Technology, respectively. The two were initially part of a research group led by Lahtvee looking into biotechnology processes that relied on locally available resources.

After a year and a half of building and studying various processes, one stood out as special: a yeast created by Bonturi.

Conventional yeast are microorganisms that consume raw sugars from organic sources like corn, barley, or fruit. Through metabolism, they then convert sugars into various end products known as metabolites. And these are key to many of our favorite foods.

For example, baker’s yeast releases CO2 as a metabolite, and this is why bread rises. In beer brewing, yeast metabolizes sugars into CO2 and alcohol (more specifically, ethanol) during the fermentation stage.

Bonturi’s yeast works similarly; however, hers evolved to be robust and productive with raw materials far more challenging than corn. Her microorganisms can consume the sugar found in even sawdust and metabolize it into lipids chockablock in antioxidants and omega-3 — the building blocks of the animal fats and plant oils we eat every day.

This unorthodox yeast was nicknamed “the red bug” after the ruddy pigmentation of the resulting biomass. (Though Bonturi admits, the moniker is also a nod to her three favorite “Red Queens” — the character from Through the Looking Glass, the AI from the Resident Evil series, and the Red Queen hypothesis in evolutionary biology.)

“This microorganism was ‘architected’ by cultivating it through different selective pressures and letting nature do the work,” Bonturi said in an exclusive interview with Freethink.

She and Lahtvee then developed a fermentation process, one similar to brewing beer. They mix the red bug in large, stainless steel tanks with the sugars from sawdust or other upcycled organic sources. They add some heat to activate the yeast and let the microorganisms do their thing. Once fermentation is complete, they harvest and treat the lipid-rich biomass to create food-grade oil- and fat-alternative products.

ÄIO is currently focusing on three bespoke products. Its RedOil could be used as an alternative to vegetable and fish oils, or serve as a substitute for synthetic ingredients in cosmetics and lubricants in household cleaners. The company produces a powdered form for easy transportation and a “buttery fat” to replace lards and shortenings, as well.

“Our main goal is to replace palm oil,” Lahtvee said in the interview. “At the same time, we are working with precision fermentation of specialty lipids so that we can provide the chemical and physical properties that a customer needs, such as a specific melting temperature or taste profile.”

Think globally, act locally

ÄIO’s biomanufactured approach has several potential advantages over palm oil. For one, its powdered form can travel without risk of leaks, spillage, and loss. It can then be reconstituted on-site and emulsified to provide the consistency required for whatever product it is used in.

The yeast can upcycle “side streams” from many different industries, too. Side streams are the unwanted, low-value byproducts of industrial activities — think sawdust from lumber or weeds from agriculture. While ÄIO has focused mainly on sawdust, its versatility means the fermentation process can be implemented locally anywhere a compatible side stream is available.

Our technology contributes to the circular economy because it allows us to upcycle low-value products.

Petri-Jaan Lahtvee

“Our technology really contributes to the circular economy because it allows us to upcycle low-value products,” Lahtvee said. “It’s important to ensure food security, as well. Because our processes don’t rely on long supply chains, and you don’t have to transport specific goods to certain places, they can be locally produced.”

Finally, there’s the advantage of speed. It takes time to clear a dense rainforest, build a plantation, grow the palm trees, harvest the palm fruit, and then process it. The same can be said for raising animals for butter and lard. Conversely, microorganisms like yeast live on a far speedier time scale. This means ÄIO’s fermentation process has the potential to produce fats and oils far quicker once production is at scale.

All told, if RedOil replaced palm oil, Lahtvee and Bonturi estimate that their technology has the potential to “reduce land use by 74–97% and cut water consumption by up to 10 times,” as well as significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Food for thought

ÄIO is currently testing its products in the food industry — where two-thirds of all the palm oil produced is currently used. The company is specifically targeting plant-based meat alternatives, where their oils and fats have the potential to deliver the same taste and mouthfeel as animal fats, something that vegetable oils don’t imitate well. It is also fundraising and fostering new partnerships.

To scale production, Lahtvee and Bonturi have constructed a small plant. The plant will begin producing 20 kilograms of fats and oils a week by the first quarter of 2024. This will hopefully demonstrate that the process is robust enough for industry-like conditions. Looking ahead, Lahtvee and Bonturi are in the pre-engineering phase for a demo plant, which would increase production to more than 750 tonnes a year. They hope the plant will be operational by 2026.

As always with a young company, challenges lie ahead. As Bonturi pointed out in our interview, new variables might arise when scaling up, and they’re working to prepare for them as best they can.

The company is in the process of applying for a novel food permit with the European Union. EU regulation defines any food “that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU” before May 1997 as novel — anything from a biomanufactured enzyme to chia seeds.

MORTGAGE RATES SKYROCKET UNDER BIDEN

When President Joe Biden first assumed office in 2021, the average monthly new home payment was $1,915, but it has since ballooned to $3,322 as of the third quarter of 2023, according to an analysis from The Wall Street Journal.

MOST AMERICANS CAN NOT BUY A HOME TODAY!

Grandma treasury secretary instead of retiring and playing with her cats, is driving the economy down with her mentor dementia Joe.

We   are stuck with idiots running our economy down the rabbit hole..The appointments should be on merit not gender, and aged dinosaurs like her instead of experienced financial mavens..

Following the increase in costs, housing is now less affordable than at any other time in recent history, with mortgage rates exceeding 7% and median housing prices rising to around $392,000 as of October, according to the WSJ. High inflation and a relative tightening of the supply of housing have resulted in the increasing prices, while the high mortgage rates are in response to the increasing cost of credit.

The average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached an all-time modern low on Jan. 7, 2021, reaching 2.65%, just days before Biden took office, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Mortgage rates then reached a recent peak of 7.76% on Nov. 2 of this year, receding slightly to 7.03% as of Dec. 7.

UAW UNION SELF DESTRUCTING ITS JOBS IN EV CRAZE

United Auto Workers president  and MARXIST, Shawn Fain wore a T-shirt reading “Eat the Rich” and a deadly serious stare when he announced a major development in the union’s monthlong strike: General Motors agreed to include its electric vehicle and battery factories in the forthcoming labor contract. That deal will cover 6,000 employees at four coming GM battery plants.

“We have been told for months this is impossible,” Fain said during the October 6 livestream. “We have been told the EV future must be a race to the bottom. We called their bluff.”

If Fain has made anything clear, it is that he, and the 383,000 people he leads, are not bluffing. In the two weeks since GM’s concession, the union has redoubled its efforts to win similar agreements from Ford and Stellantis. Last week, every one of the 8,700 workers at Ford’s massive Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville joined the picket line, halting production of the company’s line of Super Duty pickup trucks.

GM’s promise to unionize its EV and battery operations comes after automakers sold 300,000 EVs in the previous quarter, and everyone involved in the labor dispute feels the electric transition is all but inevitable. The strike has increased pressure on the Big Three to include their electrification ventures in the master contracts they hold with United Auto Workers, or UAW. It also could press other automakers to increase pay or agree to unionize if they hope to compete for workers.

Fain has made negotiating stronger contracts, including cost-of-living adjustments and four-day workweeks, a priority since his election in March. He also has castigated the Big Three’s battery factories for their low wages. When contract negotiations stalled, UAW members went on strike on September 14. There are now 34,000 autoworkers on strike nationwide, a number that is likely to grow as negotiations drag on.

Dianne Feeley is a retired autoworker who, like other UAW retirees, remains an active and voting union member. She says the rank and file spent 40 years working toward this moment, a fight that started as years of stagnation and corruption kept the UAW from moving forward. That led to a band of members launching United All Workers for Democracy, which expanded members’ rights to participate in bargaining and helped propel Fain to into leadership. It’s also helped conversations about the EV transition and its impact on workers come to the fore.

“This [UAW] administration has said, ‘Yes, let’s do electric vehicles, but there has to be a just transition.’ Whereas the old leadership, they didn’t even want to hear about electric vehicles,” Feeley said.

Beyond ensuring that the workers assembling electric vehicles are paid the same as those assembling conventional cars, the risks inherent in battery production are a major concern to union members. Safety issues at GM’s Ultium Cells battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, led to the factory’s unionization earlier this year. An explosion and fire there in March prompted an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Its inquiry, released last week, found 17 violations, including inadequate respiratory protection equipment, emergency showers, and eye-washing stations. OSHA could levy $270,000 in fines.

We’ve been sounding the alarm for months about Ultium and these high-risk, high-skill EV battery operations,” Fain said in a statement to Grist. “This is dangerous work that deserves to be compensated well.”

Pay at Ultium has risen by $3 to $4 an hour since the union vote in December, even though workers do not yet have a formal contract. The master agreements the UAW holds with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis await ratification, so none of the union’s recent victories are certain.

“It’s a little too soon to pop the bubbly and have champagne and celebrate, but it’s all good news,” said Arthur Wheaton, director of the Labor Studies department at Cornell University.

The fact GM is ahead of its domestic competitors when it comes to EV battery production played a role in its recent concession, Wheaton said. GM had already planned to phase out gas-powered vehicles by 2035. The UAW’s success at the Ultium plant, and more broadly within GM, could have an impact even beyond union shops, given the ongoing labor shortage and a need to stay competitive when attracting workers, especially when there is some evidence that EV plants will not, as some believe, require fewer workers. Auto industry analysts say any wage increases resulting from the strike will likely pressure large, stridently anti-union manufacturers like Tesla, which pays significantly less than the Detroit automakers, to raise wages in the hope that it forestalls the risk of unionizing.

“If you get a big pay raise for GM and Ford, then many — not all — of the automakers will raise their wages to make sure they don’t get unionized,” Wheaton said.  “And you’ll see that in the battery sector as well.”

GM’s concession was far from assured. The Big Three co-own their battery plants with foreign companies, like Ultium, which GM co-owns with the Korean company LG Energy Solutions. These joint-venture plants are not automatically covered by existing UAW labor agreements, because they are what’s called a “permissive” part of those contracts that do not require either side to negotiate the terms of their operation.

THEIR SHORT TERM DUMB THINKING WILL PUT THE EV MANUFACTURERS OUT OF BUSINESS SINCE THE PUBLIC WILL NOT BE BUYING VEHICLES THAT COST MORE THAN WHAT HOMES USED TO COST AND HAVE $15,000 COST TO REPLACE THEIR BATTERIES.

The workers can hardly afford new EV’s….so who else is going to buy them

BEING IN  A UNION, ESPECIALLY IN THE UAW, IS A SELF DESTRUCTIVE JOB.

Truck drivers lost jobs when their overburdened trucking companies could no longer compete against non union ones.

These jobs will likewise go into the rabbit hole.

Beyond that, EVs have not had the same focus as other parts of the contract negotiations, despite the central role the cars, and the batteries powering them, will play in the future of both automakers and the men and women they employ. GM, Stellantis, and Ford had consistently claimed that conceding to UAW’s demands would make them less competitive against foreign automakers in the burgeoning EV market.

“That’s why [UAW was] happy to get GM, because they use what they call ‘pattern bargaining,’” Wheaton said, referring to a labor strategy, pioneered in part by autoworkers, that uses prior organizing wins to pressure other employers into take-it-or-leave-it offers. It may also bring the union fight back to an old battleground as EV battery plants open in an expanding “Battery Belt” spanning the right-to-work South, where several foreign automakers, including Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, operate factories.

The UAW has struggled to organize Southern factories like the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which builds the electric ID.4. In a staggering loss considered a massive failure for the union’s organization efforts in the South, Volkswagen workers rejected union membership in 2019. Fain told Grist that the union has since the beginning of the strike been fielding calls from non-union autoworkers, “from the West to the Midwest and especially in the South,” indicating organizing priorities beyond the current contract fight.

THE WORKERS IN THE SOUTH ARE MUCH SMARTER THAN THOSE IN MICHIGAN…THEY DO NOT WANT TO SUPPORT BLOATED UNION LEADERS, AND UNION MALARKEY AND POLITICAL DONATIONS ONLY TO DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE CAUSED THE PROBLEM NATIONWIDE.

“We’re looking at organizing half a dozen auto companies in the coming years,” he said. “Pretty soon we won’t just be talking about the Big Three — more like Big Five, Big Seven, Big Ten unionized automakers.”

Yes destroy every one else jobs too!

It’s an opportune time for UAW, since Inflation Reduction Act funds are only just now flowing to EV manufacturing. The money comes with stipulations that have been favorable to the union’s cause, in particular incentives for manufacturing everything from solar panels to EV batteries domestically with union labor. Because the allocations are just beginning to flow, many factories aren’t yet online, so hiring won’t start for a while. That gives unions like the UAW time to organize, with help from environmental groups. The Blue-Green Alliance, for example, has worked to bring labor and climate interests together.

“The Big Three have argued that there has to be a choice between paying autoworkers at family-sustaining union wages and benefits, and making the shift to EV production at a pace and scale that will meet both consumer demand and the climate crisis,” said Jason Walsh, the organization’s executive director. “We think that that’s a false choice. They can do both. And the agreement with GM suggests that they now recognize they have to do both.”

Feeley had similar thoughts when she decided to support the strike. She believes the EV transition must be equitable and just — not just now, but decades from now, because “one generation comes to the plant after another.” When autoworkers demand fair treatment and better pay, they do so not just for themselves, but for the children and grandchildren who will build the cars of the future.

Fain has made negotiating stronger contracts, including cost-of-living adjustments and four-day workweeks, a priority since his election in March. He also has castigated the Big Three’s battery factories for their low wages.

Beyond ensuring that the workers assembling electric vehicles are paid the same as those assembling conventional cars, the risks inherent in battery production are a major concern to union members. Safety issues at GM’s Ultium Cells battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, led to the factory’s unionization earlier this year. An explosion and fire there in March prompted an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Its inquiry, released last week, found 17 violations, including inadequate respiratory protection equipment, emergency showers, and eye-washing stations. OSHA could levy $270,000 in fines.

“We’ve been sounding the alarm for months about Ultium and these high-risk, high-skill EV battery operations,” Fain said in a statement to Grist. “This is dangerous work that deserves to be compensated well.”

Pay at Ultium has risen by $3 to $4 an hour since the union vote in December, even though workers do not yet have a formal contract. The master agreements the UAW holds with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis await ratification, so none of the union’s recent victories are certain.

“It’s a little too soon to pop the bubbly and have champagne and celebrate, but it’s all good news,” said Arthur Wheaton, director of the Labor Studies department at Cornell University.

The fact GM is ahead of its domestic competitors when it comes to EV battery production played a role in its recent concession, Wheaton said. GM had already planned to phase out gas-powered vehicles by 2035. The UAW’s success at the Ultium plant, and more broadly within GM, could have an impact even beyond union shops, given the ongoing labor shortage and a need to stay competitive when attracting workers, especially when there is some evidence that EV plants will not, as some believe, require fewer workers. Auto industry analysts say any wage increases resulting from the strike will likely pressure large, stridently anti-union manufacturers like Tesla, which pays significantly less than the Detroit automakers, to raise wages in the hope that it forestalls the risk of unionizing.

“If you get a big pay raise for GM and Ford, then many — not all — of the automakers will raise their wages to make sure they don’t get unionized,” Wheaton said.  “And you’ll see that in the battery sector as well.”

GM’s concession was far from assured. The Big Three co-own their battery plants with foreign companies, like Ultium, which GM co-owns with the Korean company LG Energy Solutions. These joint-venture plants are not automatically covered by existing UAW labor agreements, because they are what’s called a “permissive” part of those contracts that do not require either side to negotiate the terms of their operation.

Beyond that, EVs have not had the same focus as other parts of the contract negotiations, despite the central role the cars, and the batteries powering them, will play in the future of both automakers and the men and women they employ. GM, Stellantis, and Ford had consistently claimed that conceding to UAW’s demands would make them less competitive against foreign automakers in the burgeoning EV market.

“That’s why [UAW was] happy to get GM, because they use what they call ‘pattern bargaining,’” Wheaton said, referring to a labor strategy, pioneered in part by autoworkers, that uses prior organizing wins to pressure other employers into take-it-or-leave-it offers. It may also bring the union fight back to an old battleground as EV battery plants open in an expanding “Battery Belt” spanning the right-to-work South, where several foreign automakers, including Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, operate factories.

The UAW has struggled to organize Southern factories like the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which builds the electric ID.4. In a staggering loss considered a massive failure for the union’s organization efforts in the South, Volkswagen workers rejected union membership in 2019. Fain told Grist that the union has since the beginning of the strike been fielding calls from non-union autoworkers, “from the West to the Midwest and especially in the South,” indicating organizing priorities beyond the current contract fight.

“We’re looking at organizing half a dozen auto companies in the coming years,” he said. “Pretty soon we won’t just be talking about the Big Three — more like Big Five, Big Seven, Big Ten unionized automakers.”

It’s an opportune time for UAW, since Inflation Reduction Act funds are only just now flowing to EV manufacturing. The money comes with stipulations that have been favorable to the union’s cause, in particular incentives for manufacturing everything from solar panels to EV batteries domestically with union labor. Because the allocations are just beginning to flow, many factories aren’t yet online, so hiring won’t start for a while. That gives unions like the UAW time to organize, with help from environmental groups. The Blue-Green Alliance, for example, has worked to bring labor and climate interests together.

“The Big Three have argued that there has to be a choice between paying autoworkers at family-sustaining union wages and benefits, and making the shift to EV production at a pace and scale that will meet both consumer demand and the climate crisis,” said Jason Walsh, the organization’s executive director. “We think that that’s a false choice. They can do both. And the agreement with GM suggests that they now recognize they have to do both.”

Feeley had similar thoughts when she decided to support the strike. She believes the EV transition must be equitable and just — not just now, but decades from now, because “one generation comes to the plant after another.” When autoworkers demand fair treatment and better pay, they do so not just for themselves, but for the children and grandchildren who will build the cars of the future.

Watch what happens to these jobs that are self destructing!

 

GREEN ENERGY SUBSIDIES-WASTE OF MONEY AND RAISE COSTS FOR CONSUMERS

Crippling Economic Costs of Green Energy Subsidies TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY!

The green energy subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) have been justified by the Biden Administration as a booster of U.S. economic growth and jobs.  But when the subsidies are tallied and the overall impacts evaluated, the IRA is a job and economic growth killer.

Under the IRA, the lion’s share of subsidies will be paid to wind and solar developers.  The subsidies will not expire until electric industry carbon emissions fall by at least 75% below 2005 levels, after which they will gradually decrease.  Even the most optimistic forecasts prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that this will not occur until at least 2046.  Thus, the subsidies for wind and solar will continue unabated for decades.  In total, the subsidies will far exceed what the U.S. government spent in today’s dollars to combat the Great Depression.

The single largest subsidy is the federal investment tax credit (ITC).  Most wind and solar projects will be able to claim a minimum 30% ITC, plus be eligible for an additional 10% credit if the projects rely on domestic manufacturing for components.

The EIA’s optimistic forecast projects about 900,000 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaics, 350,000 MW of onshore wind turbines, and 24,000 MW of offshore wind by 2046.  If all of this generation is built, it will result in direct ITC subsidies totaling between $500 billion and $1 trillion, depending on construction costs.  The greater the costs, the larger the subsidies.  Although wind and solar proponents still claim costs are falling, the reality is the opposite.   Offshore wind developers, especially, are clamoring to renegotiate contracts they signed previously, including guaranteed price adjustments for increasing costs, and relaxing the domestic content requirement so they can claim the additional 10% ITC.

Despite spiraling deficits – almost $2 trillion in the fiscal year that ended this past October – green energy subsidies will be financed with still more government debt.  With the increase in interest rates to normal levels, financing costs will soar, adding an estimated $500 to $800 billion to the bill costs, almost as much as the subsidies themselves.

The envisioned spending and subsidies for green energy, several hundred billion dollars annually just for wind and solar generation, will distort energy markets.  First, they will crowd out more productive private investment in the energy sector and reduce the resources available for more efficient forms of generation, especially small modular reactors.  Second, as the deficit increases further, higher interest rates will crowd out private investment in more productive private sectors of the economy.

Along with the Administration’s push to “electrify” the economy, such as higher vehicle mileage standards that act as a de facto mandate for electric vehicles and proposed bans on natural gas appliances, the result, as has been experienced in Europe, will be soaring electricity prices.  Those higher prices will reduce economic growth and employment, far more so than the green energy investments can boost it.  Although the subsidies will benefit wind and solar developers, but the overall economic impacts for the country will be crippling.

One gauge of the adverse economic impacts of green subsidies is the cost to taxpayers to create the promised thousands of green energy jobs, especially for offshore wind.  Using offshore wind developers’ claimed employment impacts, the average subsidy for each green job created will be over $2 million per year.  Forcing taxpayers to pay millions of dollars each year for each job created, while claiming that doing so will bolster the U.S. economy, is Alice in Wonderland economics.

Politicians who promote green energy and their own short-term self-interests may prefer to ignore basic economic realities, but those economic realities will have their revenge.  Eventually, the profligate spending on low-value green energy will collapse under its economic weight, having inflicted much socioeconomic damage.

Sadly, this is not an experiment that the U.S. needs to undertake; European experience and basic economics tell us all we need to know.  The costs of keeping homes supplied with energy have increased significantly for homeowners wherever this ill-fated experiment was tried. But as the lyrics from the old song begin, “fools rush in …”

Is there anything the government does well to truly help its citizens? NO.

 

PEOPLE WOULD BE BACK TO LIVING IN CAVES IF FOSSIL FUELS ARE ENDED

COP28 ( the nonsensical meeting about Climate change)President: “No Science Behind Phase-Out of Fossil Fuels”.

The Cop28 president says there is “no science” behind demands to phase-out fossil fuels. UAE’s Sultan Al Jaber says phasing-out coal, oil, and gas would take the world “back into caves.”’

 

The president of Cop28, Sultan Al Jaber, has claimed there is “no science” indicating that a phase-out of fossil fuels is needed to restrict global heating to 1.5C.

Al Jaber also said a phase-out of fossil fuels would not allow sustainable development “unless you want to take the world back into caves.”

That has the UN globalist totalitarian chief Antonio Guterres deeply concerned. The UN wants control, and Al Jaber is telling the truth.
The comments were “incredibly concerning” and “verging on climate denial,” scientists said, and they were at odds with the position of the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres ( a global idiot whose turn it was to be in that position).

The far-left Guardian called his comments “ill-tempered” to cast the pale upon him, and they mentioned his role in oil also to belittle his statements.

“Al Jaber made the comments in ill-tempered responses to questions from Mary Robinson, the chair of the Elders group and a former UN special envoy for climate change, during a live online event on 21 November. As well as running Cop28 in Dubai, Al Jaber is also the chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc, which many observers see as a serious conflict of interest.”

To give you an idea of what went down, here is the exchange between Robinson and Al Jaber, which was followed by the totalitarian Guterres falsely claiming the science is settled.
Al Jaber spoke with Robinson at a She Changes Climate event. Robinson said: “We’re in an absolute crisis that is hurting women and children more than anyone … and it’s because we have not yet committed to phasing out fossil fuel. That is the one decision that Cop28 can take and in many ways, because you’re head of Adnoc, you could actually take it with more credibility.”

Al Jaber said: “I accepted to come to this meeting to have a sober and mature conversation. I’m not in any way signing up to any discussion that is alarmist. There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C.”

This summit to which many attendees could not get to on their private places which were stick in snow!!! Included that clueless King Charles of England, who can not figure out that England led the industrial revolution due to its coal reserves as well as North Sea Oil.

Other morons at the summit included Al Gore, who predicted we would all die in heat waves hated the Sultan for speaking the truth! The Sultan headed the conference!

Just think out it…the loss of fossil fuel for most of the world would mean no ability to operate industrial machinery, harvest crops or plant them, as well as generate electricity and power all modes of transportation.

Is there nobody out there that can think this through this nonsense???

HUMANOID ROBOTS ARE COMING ! WILL HUMANS ALL BE UNEMPLOYED?

By the year 2025, communist China plans to unleash large number of humanoid robots, meaning robots that look and act like people but are just walking computers and circuitry.

In a race with Elon Musk’s Tesla and other Western companies working on similar technologies, China hopes to start mass producing its version of humanoid robots by 2025.

The United States is more interested in DEI than the real world advances in robotic technology. If our businesses only hire on the basis of equity and inclusion and not merit, we will never see any humanoid robots in the USA.

According to banking giant Goldman Sachs, the market for humanoid robots could reach $150 billion per year in just 15 years. Fully operational humanoid robots are expected to be mass produced and working in factories between 2025 and 2028, and later in other jobs by 2030 through 2035.

Tech for Good author Marga Hoek argues that the technology is a good thing for the world, even though it stands to make human workers obsolete. She believes that up to one in every four jobs will be impacted by robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

“My biggest worry is that all humankind spends a lot of time on fearing, instead of accepting and anticipating,” Hoek commented, adding that more research still needs to be done to look at which job roles will still “add value” in a world kept spinning by humanoid robots.

“If we don’t train people, if we don’t anticipate, if we don’t radically change around the school programs, for instance, we’ll be too late,” she added.

In Chicago, the worst public education system in the USA, its college programs all offer due to need remedial reading education…are we to think that these students if they ever even graduate,  are going to be at the forefront of a robotic future and lead advances in technology? NO WAY!!!!

 

EV CHARGING STATIONS A $7.5 BILLION WASTE! NONE ARE BUILT YET.

Congress Spent $7.5 Billion on E.V. Chargers. After 2 Years, None Are Built.

More than $2 billion has been distributed, but only two states have even broken ground and most states haven’t even submitted proposals.

President Joe Biden has made a transition to electric vehicles (E.V.s) a key part of his presidency, spending billions of dollars both to help companies build them and to help customers afford them.

The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $7.5 billion to build 500,000 public charging stations across the country. Under the program, states can qualify for as much as 80 percent of the cost to build chargers and bring them online. But as Politico reported this week, not a single charger funded by the program is yet operational.

It’s the latest setback as Biden attempts to change consumer preference by force rather than allowing the free market to innovate its way there.

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency mandated that by 2030, half of all vehicles sold in the U.S. must be electric. This will require an enormous ramp-up in resources, especially around charging infrastructure. As Politico notes, “consumer demand for electric vehicles is rising in the United States, necessitating six times as many chargers on its roads by the end of the decade, according to federal estimates.”

Other estimates are even more dire: In January, Stephanie Brinley at S&P Global Mobility wrote that “even when home-charging is taken into account, to properly match forecasted sales demand, the United States will need to see the number of EV chargers quadruple between 2022 and 2025, and grow more than eight-fold by 2030.” As of this writing, there are just under 158,000 public chargers, meaning there may need to be more than 1 million to support the Biden administration’s timeline.

The federal program is off to a slow start: Politico reports that while more than $2 billion has been given out, only two states—Ohio and Pennsylvania—have actually broken ground on chargers, while just six others have awarded contracts. Fewer than half of U.S. states have even submitted a proposal for funds.
What’s the hold-up? “The slow rollout…primarily boils down to the difficulties state agencies and charging companies face in meeting a complex set of contracting requirements and minimum operating standards for the federally-funded chargers, according to interviews with state and EV industry officials,” the article notes.

Even with federal funds, part of the problem may also be cost, because the chargers are quite expensive to build and maintain. The types of chargers mentioned in the law are either Level 2 or Level 3, also known as Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC). Level 2 chargers use alternating current electricity and take between four and 10 hours to charge an E.V., while DCFCs use direct current and can charge an E.V. in less than an hour.

Any long-term solution would prioritize DCFCs—no road-tripper will want to wait all day for their car to charge when fueling up a gas burner takes minutes. But DCFCs are considerably more expensive to install: A 2019 study by the Department of Energy found that while Level 2 chargers can cost up to $6,500 to install, DCFCs can cost as much as $40,000. Depending on factors like hardware costs, other estimates have put the price between $50,000 and $100,000.

GENERAL MOTORS -GM-HOW WOKENESS DESTROYED ITS VALUE

General Motors, the American industrial icon, who was the envy of its competitors for decades, has now been taken over by woke management pandering to the likes of the climate change fanatics-and right down a rabbit hole of future predictable losses and corporate destruction.

Sje wants GM to exit the ability to manufacture fossil fueled autos, yet the Sultan of the UAE said that the world would be back to living in caves if they gave up on fossil fuels.

Mary does not have to worry…she will not have to live in cave since she gets compensated over $20 million in various benefits annually for the abysmal job she is doing leading this company down the path of financial destruction.

Mary Barra, the aging and woke “Chair and CEO” of GM, who in her retirement is all set to receive over $40 MILLION–yes $40 million or more payout, along with payments for being terminated, has led this one mighty enterprise down the rabbit hole of wokeness and invited the lost and fumbling Joe Biden, who keeps saying he is from Scanton, pretending to some worker’s roots, to have photo opportunities as he sat rather confused in a ELECTRIC auto; god forbid they let him actually drive it!

Now keep in mind that at the time of that woke photo op, GM could claim that it was predicting that the future was all about Electric autos, EV’s but it hardly produced any, and those they they had sold often were pictured being on fire or smouldering afterwards. GM just announced no longer manufacturing its leading EV!

Ms. Barra, likes photo ops, and lays claim to being the most highly compensated WOMAN CEO of a auto manufacturing company, rather then being the smartest. She still likes to post her apparently high school photos of herself!

She got to that role again due to the woke board of directors and again the majority being women, not picked for their skills and competence, but for their gender. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is the motto of GM’s management and hiring, not “best in class”…just striving to be the most woke.

However, it is the only duty of the management to first make money for the stockholders, and not subscribe to woke theories to gain the support of senile politicians who never had a real job and yet want to dictate the future for all.

Wokeness has set GM on a path of self-destruction with being “all in” on that path to EV mania, as its corporate mantra.

I was so disappointed that Mary Barra, who absolutely has no business running a bakery, much less this storied enterprise, has swallowed the kool-aid of EV mania and is dragging GM down the rabbit hole with that thinking.

She was proud to announce that Cadillac dealerships worldwide would have to do away with all gasoline powered vehicles, and have to convert all their maintenance service centers only to Electric….Many dealerships simply closed, and were paid to do so, rather than to go along with the nonsense of Mary Barra and her sycophants on the Board of Directors and senior management.

That was one of my favorite automobiles, and it had exuded luxury as it would be always distinctive as a “land boat” and over the decades would be a world leader in the luxury category.

Limousines that were Cadillac branded, were the most sought after for wealthy buyers and corporate titans. The President’s limo, nicknamed “the Beast” due to its armor is the most famous.

I still fondly remember my first Cadillac. What an automobile it was!

It was a 1979 Cadillac Coupe d’elegance! It was a very shiny pearl white with red pinstripes and an interior of pillow-like fabric material in chocolate color. Everyone who rode with me just raved about it. Later models had a hard time to copy the d’elegance interior, mostly settling for leather interiors.

That was the start of the nonsense of GM’s EV madness, and the declaration to phase out gasoline powered automobiles was the beginning of the end of a mighty auto brand.

GM stock was over $60 a share a few years back, and lately is got to a low of $26.30.

That is a loss of APMX. $40 billion in stock value!

That is a very significant decline and a staggering loss of value for institutional/mutual fund investors, a well as the portfolios of individual investors and 401-K holders, and created losses in future retirement benefits for those who held GM shares. NOT FOR MARY BARRA, whose retiremt is safe and not affected by the staggering decline in value of the company shares and value.

Even he “Oracle of Omaha”, Warren Buffet, whose Berkshire Hathaway owned billions in stock lost faith in the hapless Mary Barra and sold some of its stock holdings after holding for years-apparently waiting for the miracle of wokeness and GM’s success with EV’s promised by Mary Barra to the sheep in the media and woke administration EV zealots.

Now, instead of at least helping the stockholders to make us for a loss of half their share value, this **** Chair and CEO, announced that instead of declaring a $10 billion dividend payable to stockholders who have been hurt by her nonsensical policies, she announced the most ridiculous plan of a STOCK BUYBACK!

The buyback is a desperate effort by a clueless Mary Barra and the sycophant Board, hoping that buying shares that are bargain basement priced, will keep up their value and stop the steep decline caused by the woke policies…since now there will be a buyer for $10 billion worth of stock to prop up its stock price!

You see, the rest of the holders are stuck with a big loss on their investment, so they see a possibility of a higher price by holding out and selling out their holdings to cut their losses during the buyback….Mary is hoping that investors and stockholders do not see through her “smoke and mirror” plan to artificially boost the stock price.

Instead, the Company should have announced that they will use that $10 billion to pay out a long delayed dividend to all the stockholders, which would amount to approximately $7.50 a share!

That would be a great way to make up for the loss of share value and reared those long term shareholders who have lost half of their investment.

Mary Barra, is no financial genius but has managed to keep her post at this company for the destructive reasons of the woke agenda….she’s a woman so we can fire her for sheer incompetence…that would look bad!

The future of EV’s in the United states and the world is bleak. China will control most of the world’s supply of necessary minerals for the manufacture of batteries, and GM can say nothing about it because it makes EV’s and other autos there..so criticism is not allowed.

The EV’s have proven to be a losing boondoggle for all auto manufacturers, and GM is the leader of the losers! It’s additional commitment to self driving CRUISE division continues to lose hundreds of millions and billions to date.

Wokeness does not pay, when will GM management and Board replace this very bad woke executive and get back to making money in the real world instead of the EV fantasy?

Mary Barra is an EGO diva…her actual current look is that of an ugly old woke woman, yet in the GM stockholder reports she keep showing her photo appearing to be her high school photo!

What a fraud!

NISSAN’S CARLOS GHOSN-ESCAPE FROM JAPAN

NISSAN’S Carlos Ghosn’s
Brazen Escape From Japan
REPRINTED CREDITED AT END OF THIS POST….
WHAT A DARING JAMES BOND TYPE CAPER BY MR GHOSN-NOW HIDING IN BEIRUT!!!!

The scheme involved stacks of cash, a stealthy dash to the airport, and plenty of cloak-and-dagger tactics. In the end, though, the auto executive had to hunkerdown in a claustrophobic box, hoping no one would look inside.

Ever the thorough operative, Michael Taylor began laying the groundwork of his cover story as soon as the private jet he had chartered landed in Japan. He and George Zayek were violinists who would be performing nearby, he told a worker at the Osaka private-jet terminal shortly after the Bombardier Global Express arrived from Dubai at 10:10 a.m. local time.

As personnel at Kansai International Airport unloaded suitcases, a guitar case and two large black boxes, Tomoyuki Matsui, the manager of the private-jet terminal’s ground-service team, ushered the men to the terminal bus, which took them to the posh Premium Gate Tamayura. Kayoko Tokunaga, a 30-year-old employee fluent in English, was waiting to greet them and comfortably struck up conversation with Messrs. Taylor and Zayek as they waited for their passports to be stamped. “Your stay is so short,” she remarked, according to transcripts of police interviews.

They had an important meeting outside Japan the following day, Mr. Taylor explained. But he planned to come back for the Olympics in Tokyo the following summer. From the little that Mr. Zayek contributed, he struck Ms. Tokunaga as blunt and disagreeable.

As their luggage was wheeled into the terminal, Ms. Tokunaga and her boss, Mr. Matsui, started discussing the odd couple they were dealing with. As Mr. Matsui spoke, Ms. Tokunaga eyed the massive cases that she figured must contain amplifiers, even though they looked too large for the purpose.

She also saw a guitar case. Why were violinists carrying a guitar? Mr. Matsui and Ms. Tokunaga had been told the passengers were attending a concert by celebrated violinist Taro Hakase as guests, rather than as performers. 

In reality, they were neither. Mr. Taylor had been hired to help Carlos Ghosn, the former chief of Nissan Motor Co. NSANY 0.70% and Renault SA, RN0-1.03% flee Japan, where he was facing serious criminal charges, having been accused of orchestrating a complex flow of money between Nissan, the Middle East, and his own pocket.

Mr. Ghosn, who has denied wrongdoing, had been the world’s most prominent car executive of the 21st century. To the astonishment of naysayers worldwide, he had forged two middling car makers into a global powerhouse, the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Near the end of his career, he had been ready to push through his last great act as an executive—a merger between the French and Japanese car makers.

By Mr. Ghosn’s account, a plotting group of Nissan executives had prevented that by conspiring to orchestrate his downfall. His careful plans had been thwarted by a dramatic, unexpected arrest in November 2018. Nissan has said: “The sole cause of this chain of events is the misconduct led by Ghosn.”
In mid-2019, Mr. Taylor received a call from one of Mr. Ghosn’s acquaintances asking whether he could mastermind an escape. Mr. Taylor roped in his old friend Mr. Zayek and also enlisted his son, Peter Taylor, to play a limited, supporting role in the scheme. The plan was to flee to Lebanon, where Mr. Ghosn had grown up and—most important—a country that did not extradite its citizens.

The men who had come to sneak Mr. Ghosn out of the country made about the least likely pair of violinists imaginable.
Now Mr. Ghosn, 65 years old, was out on bail while awaiting trial, which he feared would be unfair, he has said repeatedly. Furthermore, he believed the Japanese court process moved so slowly that he might die before a verdict was delivered. He was willing to risk everything for a chance at freedom.
This account is based on police interviews, security footage, bank statements and other documents, as well as interviews with people familiar with how the escape was conducted, including Mr. Ghosn himself.

On Dec. 29, 2019, Messrs. Taylor and Zayek landed in Japan to pull off the plan.
* * *
The men who had come to sneak Mr. Ghosn out of the country made about the least likely pair of violinists imaginable. Mr. Taylor looked like the former Green Beret that he was. Fitter than men half his age, with closely clipped salt-and-pepper hair and a square jaw, he was straight out of central casting.

Mr. Zayek painted an even more striking image. He openly bore the scars of his former life as a Lebanese militiaman. He was partially deaf in his left ear and partially blind in one eye and walked with a pronounced limp, the result of a leg injury decades ago.

From the airport, Messrs. Taylor and Zayek took two vans to the Star Gate Hotel, where they checked in at 11:12 a.m. Mr. Taylor was given room 4009, where hotel staff dropped off their suitcases and the guitar. Mr. Zayek checked into a room six floors above, to which hotel staff brought the two large black boxes.


Mr. Zayek returned to the lobby and waited for Mr. Taylor. While he sat there, an anxious employee from the terminal showed up with a suitcase they had forgotten on the plane—a slip-up that hadn’t been part of the plan. The worker bowed and apologized for the mistake. The employee noticed that Mr. Zayek turned his head as the employee was speaking. Mr. Zayek the “concert violinist” explained that he had difficulty hearing out of his right ear, then told him not to worry about the delayed suitcase.
Messrs. Taylor and Zayek hadn’t determined whether they would get Mr. Ghosn out that day or if the whole exercise would turn into a dress rehearsal. As seasoned operatives, they tried to make sure that there would be no surprises or unpredictable scenarios on such a high-stakes, high-risk mission. Just in case, Mr. Zayek took the opportunity of chatting with the employee to seed their cover story more fully, asking whether airport staff had screened their luggage. “The boxes contain amplifiers,” he explained, adding that the cargo was fragile and would be compromised if put through an X-ray machine.
Mr. Taylor came down a few minutes later, and just before noon, they flagged a taxi and headed for Shin Osaka Station, a hub of the shinkansen bullet train. Mr. Zayek had traveled to Japan twice before the escape and had learned his way around the Japanese train system. He walked to the counter and purchased two tickets for Tokyo.

As Messrs. Taylor and Zayek were checking into their hotel room in Osaka, Mr. Ghosn was having a leisurely morning with his youngest daughter, who was 27. He packed some bags. Ms. Ghosn’s return flight to the U.S. provided a convenient cover to send out some of her father’s personal belongings ahead of his escape.

They went to lunch, probably for the last time in Tokyo. If anything went wrong, it would be the last meal Mr. Ghosn would eat outside a jail cell for a long time—maybe forever. The pair chose a restaurant called We Are the Farm, a trendy farm-to-table eatery in a former dry cleaner located in the chic Azabu Juban neighborhood. The Ghosns loved this side of Japan. The food was excellent and the atmosphere lively. After lunch, they stopped by the house again to drop off Mr. Ghosn and pick up his daughter’s luggage. Mr. Ghosn pushed five suitcases to the garage, where his driver was waiting. Ms. Ghosn looked at the unusually large amount of baggage. She told the driver that she had too much and would need to drop some off for a friend to carry back to the U.S. Mr. Ghosn has said his own family played no role in the escape; his daughter hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Before they drove off, Mr. Ghosn told the driver to take the rest of the day off. He would call him again in two days, he said. At 2:05 p.m., the car carrying Ms. Ghosn pulled up in front of the Grand Hyatt. She shook hands with the younger Mr. Taylor, who had checked in to the hotel the previous day, and he took two of her suitcases up to his room. She got back into the car and headed for nearby Haneda Airport. 

At 2:30 p.m. precisely, Mr. Ghosn pushed open the front door of his two-story home and stepped outside. The moment before he crossed the threshold, he was Carlos Ghosn, revered auto executive fighting to clear his name. As soon as he stepped across it to execute his plan, at best he would become Carlos Ghosn the international fugitive. If he was caught, it would be back to jail, perhaps for the rest of his life.
Dressed in a dark jacket and scarf with a woolen cap and sunglasses, he walked west on the main road. He paused and looked over his shoulder before continuing. He had recently complained to a court that Nissan’s security contractors spied on his every move.

Nissan wasn’t the only monitor. Cameras had been installed outside and inside the foyer of the home by the court, checked once a week by the prosecutors. In addition, a constellation of security cameras on homes and buildings captured every step of Mr. Ghosn’s 25-minute stroll from his spacious rented house to the Grand Hyatt.

It was a brisk, sunny winter Sunday ahead of the New Year’s holiday, one of the few times Japan shuts down. It was the perfect time to escape. Within a half-hour, Mr. Ghosn had reached the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo. Keeping his head down, he made his way through the lobby to the guest-room elevators. He got out on the ninth floor, walked down the hall, and entered room 933, where the younger Mr. Taylor was waiting.

The Nozomi express pulled into Shinagawa Station in Tokyo at 3:22 p.m., and Messrs. Taylor and Zayek, both wearing baseball caps, got off and headed for the north ticket gate. They exited the station on the western side and boarded a taxi for the Grand Hyatt.

For more than 30 minutes Mr. Ghosn had been in Peter Taylor’s room, where he’d changed clothes and was making small talk.
By the time Michael Taylor and Mr. Zayek reached the lobby of the Grand Hyatt, Peter was there waiting, having come down shortly before their arrival. When the two older men appeared, Peter immediately made for the elevator. The trio wanted to appear to be strangers in case the surveillance camera footage was reviewed. More than anything, Mr. Taylor wanted to ensure that his son wasn’t seen as an accomplice.

Michael and Peter Taylor, along with Mr. Zayek, entered the ninth-floor room. It was the first time Mr. Ghosn had met his would-be rescuers face-to-face.
“It’s time to go home,” Michael Taylor told Mr. Ghosn, greeting him with a large smile.

Seven minutes later, the four men left the room with Mr. Ghosn’s luggage. Peter Taylor headed to the hotel parking lot and took a taxi to the airport, where he was booked on a flight to China. Michael Taylor wanted his son to get out of the country before anything potentially illegal happened. Messrs. Ghosn and Zayek
and Michael Taylor left through the main entrance of the hotel and hailed a cab to Shinagawa Station. Mr. Ghosn now wore a pair of black, thick-rimmed glasses and a surgical mask, a common sight in Tokyo during flu season, as a convenient means of preventing people from recognizing the face of Japan’s most notorious criminal suspect. The station was packed with holiday travelers. The three men headed for the train platform.

Mr. Ghosn entered carriage 1 with Mr. Zayek. Michael Taylor entered carriage 2. The train left the station for Osaka at 4:55 p.m. The men tried to regularly keep on the move during the journey. Mr. Ghosn’s face had been a fixture on TV and plastered on magazine covers for two decades. Seeing him there would be like spotting Steve Jobs on a New York City subway. Mr. Taylor had given him advice about how to behave, urging him not to speak in case people recognized his voice. Don’t catch anybody’s eye, he counseled. Keep walking, but look straight down to the ground.

The bullet train arrived at Shin Osaka Station at 7:20 p.m. The men filed out and headed to the south ticket gate. They walked with military precision in single file, a few paces apart: Michael Taylor, then Mr. Ghosn, then Mr. Zayek.
They piled into another taxi bound for the Star Gate Hotel, with Mr. Ghosn and Mr. Taylor in the back seat and Mr. Zayek up front, next to the driver. Once in the taxi, Mr. Ghosn, who had remained bundled up for nearly three hours on the train, removed his mask to take a few deep breaths of fresh air. He also took off the hat but put them both back on a few minutes later.
At 8:15 p.m., the trio walked through the entrance of the Star Gate Hotel. Messrs. Ghosn and Zayek went directly to the 46th floor, where the boxes were kept, while Michael Taylor went to the front desk before going to his room on the 40th floor, grabbing a piece of luggage and the guitar case before heading up to meet the other two.

Mr. Ghosn took his time, inspecting the box carefully. He turned to Michael Taylor and Mr. Zayek, resolute. He wanted to get out of Japan that night. There would be no dry run.

While Messrs. Ghosn and Zayek rested and made preparations in the hotel room, Michael Taylor returned to the private-jet terminal to ensure that the plane would leave as planned and to double-check that the personnel there had received the message that their bags shouldn’t be scanned. Most charter airlines don’t require bags to be checked, so passengers can choose their level of security. Obviously, if the airport were to insist on opening the case containing Mr. Ghosn, the trio might never leave Japan. Mr. Taylor walked into the terminal at 9 p.m., catching the staff by surprise.

Ms. Tokunaga, the English-speaking employee, asked what he was doing there. Passengers who fly on private jets don’t often show up 90 minutes before departure.
“Are we going through a security check when we leave?” Mr. Taylor asked.

Ms. Tokunaga told him that there would be no security check. She then called Mr. Matsui, her manager, who was with the pilot. The pilot and Mr. Taylor talked briefly on the phone. Mr. Taylor hung up and said he would head back to the hotel, but not before handing Ms. Tokunaga an envelope.

“Here’s a tip for you,” he said. Inside, Ms. Tokunaga saw a stack of 10,000-yen notes, each worth roughly S100, held together by an elastic hair band. She had never seen that much money at once. She figured there must have been at least $10,000 in there.
Ms. Tokunaga told him she couldn’t take it. Tips were forbidden. Mr. Taylor declined to take back the envelope and told her to share it with her co-workers. He reminded her that he was returning for the Olympics. Ms. Tokunaga didn’t want to offend Mr. Taylor, so she held on to the envelope. Shortly after Mr. Taylor left, Mr. Matsui, the terminal manager, dialed Ms. Tokunaga. He had been surprised by Mr.Taylor’s sudden appearance and wanted to know what was going on.
“I think he just wanted to check the status of the aircraft,” Ms. Tokunaga said. Mr. Matsui asked to talk to Mr. Taylor, but he had already left for the hotel. Mr. Matsui made his way to the terminal and again asked why Mr. Taylor had come so far ahead of the departure time. Ms. Tokunaga told Mr. Matsui about the envelope of cash. It presented Mr. Matsui with a conundrum. He had handled ground services at the terminal for the past three years. He was used to foreigners who flew in and started handing out cash, not understanding that that was not done in Japan. But no one had ever handed him an envelope stuffed with such a huge amount.

Mr. Matsui dialed a manager at another agency to discuss whether they could accept the money. They decided it should be returned politely and in a way that wouldn’t offend Mr. Taylor, which could jeopardize future business. Mr. Matsui decided to wait until the last moment to return it to minimize any conversation.
When Mr. Taylor got back to the hotel, he asked for a luggage trolley to be sent to his room. A few minutes later, porters removed two suitcases from the room and took them to the lobby.
Mr. Taylor headed to the 46th floor and entered the room around 9:30 p.m. The private jet was due to leave the Osaka terminal, bound for Istanbul, in one hour.

Mr. Ghosn stood contemplating the box that was supposed to smuggle him aboard the jet. It was the last hurdle—and by far the biggest. Up until now, he had not technically done anything wrong. He was allowed to travel around the country. But he couldn’t explain this away. Nonetheless, it was the box he had chosen. It was that or a jail cell.

Taking a final deep breath, Mr. Ghosn lay down on the base of the box, and Mr. Taylor pulled a sheet off the bed and laid it over him. Mr. Taylor then put his guitar on top of Mr. Ghosn and tried closing the box. It fit, but the guitar pressed down on Mr. Ghosn. He would have to spend at least an hour in there, and he needed to be comfortable. The sheet stayed. It would be the only camouflage if airport staff decided they needed to look inside. The guitar case would be placed on top of the box.
Mr. Taylor could sense that Mr. Ghosn was nervous.
“Have you ever gone scuba diving?” he asked Mr. Ghosn.
“Yes,” said Mr. Ghosn.
Mr. Taylor told him to imagine that he was scuba diving and mimed taking slow, controlled breaths. He looked him in the eyes, communicating calm and confidence.
“Breathe slowly,” he reminded Mr. Ghosn.
Mr. Taylor lowered the top of the box, and everything went black.
This article is adapted from “Boundless: The Rise, Fall, and Escape of Carlos Ghosn” by Wall Street Journal reporters Nick Kostov and Sean McLain, published on Aug. 9,2022, by Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp).
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