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The Justice Department's $1 Billion GM Shakedown for the Cobalt Debacle

Victims will see very little of the criminal penalties that GM will pay

The Justice Department announced that it is slapping General Motors with a $900 million fine for the 125 deaths and 250 injuries caused by its faulty 2005 Cobalt ignition switch and non-deploying airbags. No one will face any criminalDeployed airbagBreakfastPirate / Foter / CC BY-NC prosecution or jail time. And the fine is about $300 million less than what Toyota was forced to pay for its accelerating vehicles whose cause was never fully established.

Nevertheless, GM got a reprieve, Justice says, for cooperating with its investigation. That sounds hooey given that Toyota is far more culturally conditioned to grovel before government. (In fact, sources have previously told me that automakers were furious at Toyota for turning the other cheek to Justice rather than fighting it out.) Be that as it may, there are three things that are troubling about this settlement:

One: The GM settlement has cemented an insidious custom that Justice inaugurated with Toyota, namely, imposing criminal penalties on automakers without actually going to court and engaging in niceties such as presenting evidence and attempting to obtain a conviction. The actual charge against GM is “wire fraud” – a broad, vague category inherited from RICO that government prosecutors use to go after anyone for anything. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who pursued both probes, had dubbed the Toyota probe a “watershed moment” – and GM now proves that he was not kidding.

Two: If past is prelude, the actual victims of the crashes will not see a dime of the penalty money. General Motors obtained a liability shield during its bankruptcy restructuring that technically protects it from any liability for crashes prior to the restructuring. The court of public opinion has made it impossible for GM to completely diss victims and it is pledging to pay them $625 million in compensation. (It is impossible to say how this compares with the Toyota settlement because that settlement amount wasn’t disclosed.) But the $900 million dollars in Justice penalties will go to – you guessed it – Justice itself! As I have previously written:

In Toyota's case, the Justice Department put the entire $1.2 billion it collected from the carmaker in criminal fines—along with the$1.7 billion it received in the Bernie Madoff case—into its notorious civil asset forfeiture fund, an all-purpose slush fund where the department also parks assets seized during illicit drug raids from people never accused of a crime.

Although Toyota's victims had the option of filing copious amounts of paperwork to collect additional damages for economic losses relating to accelerating vehicles, it is unclear how many of them actually did so. (My queries to DoJ went unanswered.) What is clear is that the forfeiture program's operating expenses not related to any kind of victim payoff experienced a $1.3 billion boost in 2014—as per page 8 of this report.

Three: There is little doubt that GM fell on the job in failing to make a connection between its crashing Cobalts and the faulty ignition switch. Despite many red flags, it took GM nine years to figure this out and finally issue a recall of some two million vehicles.

But NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration), the agency that regulates automakers and is supposed to be command central for monitoring vehicle safety, also fell asleep at the wheel. NHTSA conducted three separate investigations into several different accidents involving the Cobalt and its sister vehicles and dismissed the connection between the crashes and the ignition switch, even though a state-trooper had flagged it.

But what will NHTSA’s penalty be for its lapses? Likely, more funds for more investigations in the future. The NHTSA chief started lobbying for this almost as soon as the GM scandal broke. (“NHTSA is not a large agency,” he insisted. There are 280 million registered vehicles in the country. But it has a staff of only 591 employees, many of whom end up “often working nights and weekends” to “protect consumers.”)

So the final score of the GM saga is that victims will get screwed, GM will be a few billion dollars poorer and the guvmint will make out like a bandit!

The good news in all of this is that despite such joint public-private malfeasance, cars are getting safer with fewer fatalities in crashes because of superior safety technology. Features such as air bags and seat belts have contributed to cutting driving fatalities from 26 per 100,000 people in 1965 to 10 now, which is really very remarkable.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara

    That name sounds familiar

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Was GM manufacturing defective woodchippers?

  • croaker||

    +1 ISWYDT

  • Rhywun||

    Yes, he is the one who was directed to give up investigating corruption in Cuomo's state government.

  • Sevo||

    Isn't it Indian for "flaming asshole"?

  • croaker||

    If it's not, it should.

  • Juan Segway, Sidewalk Avenger||

    Flaming assholes are just nature's way of paying compliments to good Indian food.

    Bharara, OTOH, is Telugu for "yellowish foamy discharge".

  • MichaelL||

    I thought that was santorum!

  • Zaytsev||

    No, it's Punjabi for goat fucker.

  • ReneeMcKenna||

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  • Don'tTreadOnMeChipper||

    Preet is Indian for prick, right?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "General Motors obtained a liability shield during its bankruptcy restructuring that technically protects it from any liability for crashes prior to the restructuring."

    Thank you, TARP!

    I'd say that was Obama's little gift to his cronies in the UAW, but since Obama is actually a crony of the UAW, it's the other way around.

    Incidentally, Obama reworked both the South Korean and Colombia free trade deals so that the terms were acceptable to the UAW, too.

  • ||

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who pursued both probes

    What. A. Surprise.

    So the final score of the GM saga is that victims will get screwed, GM will be a few billion dollars poorer and the guvmint will make out like a bandit!

    How is this not exactly what the government wants? I mean, a shakedown is a shakedown, amirite?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    I mean, a shakedown is a shakedown, amirite?

    Really, every government prosecutor and attorney aspires to be Don Fanucci from The Godfather:

    Young man, I hear you and your friends are stealing goods. But you don't even send a dress to my house. No respect! You know I've got three daughters. This is my neighborhood. You and your friends should show me some respect. You should let me wet my beak a little. I hear you and your friends cleared $600 each. Give me $200 each, for your own protection. And I'll forget the insult. You young punks have to learn to respect a man like me!

  • Trouser-Pod (The blowhard)||

    I would give ya a +1 Black Hand, but, you know....

  • ||

    It seems more like this to me, but maybe that's just because I'd rather laugh than think about how bad it is.

  • Trouser-Pod (The blowhard)||

    Now, that earns you a +1 Dinsdale!

    /yeah, different skit

  • Ken Shultz||

    "So the final score of the GM saga is that victims will get screwed, GM will be a few billion dollars poorer and the guvmint will make out like a bandit!"

    The money we'd take from them originally came out of our future paychecks anyway. The bonds they sold to finance TARP were mostly ten year treasuries. It's all a shell game.

    The principal on those bonds we sold to finance their bailout still hasn't come due. We shielded their liability under the rouse that if they got sued, it would be the taxpayers bailing them out...

    Meanwhile, last I saw, the largest shareholder in GM was still the UAW. They can't lose. They can't even get in trouble for killing their customers. The UAW is a menace to society.

  • SusanM||

    Past is prologue...

  • Paul.||

    You know who else Preet Bharara probed?

  • ||

    Your mo...wait a second, that's too easy. Is this a trap?

  • Hugh Akston||

    NO BUT YOUR MOM IS

  • ||

    I know, Hugh. I know better than anyone.

    (sighs)

  • commodious spittoon||

    Epi's mom?

  • ||

    Those sheep in the back 40.

  • sarcasmic||

    So if GM can't afford the fine will the government bail them out?

  • Paul.||

    At this point, the government fined itself, creating $900 million of economic activity.

  • Juan Segway, Sidewalk Avenger||

    It's an economic circle jerk, which is how markets are born.

    ^ THIS IS WHAT KEYNESIANS ACTUALLY BELIEVE ^

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    No, more like $3.6B because stimulus factor. You may ask Y, but that would a be a private sector factory, and not near the stimulus factor of public spending.

  • __Warren__||

    In Durbin, South Africa there is a thriving informal recycling sector. That is poor, unskilled folks gathering up any refuse that has value and moving it towards it's best use. They don't make a lot but it's better than nothing and it reduces the amount of stuff left in the street or that goes to landfills. So it's a huge win for everybody.

    However, until recently, police would harass these folks. They would have their recyclables taken and put in a garbage truck to be land-filled (couldn't leave the stuff where it could be grabbed by another street-level entrepreneur you know) and the excuse was that "they were scratching the pavement".

    That is some petty bullshit and the kind of person that would do that is seriously fucked up in the psyche.

  • __Warren__||

    It stopped when an NGO stepped in and semi-formalized the collection of material by mapping the area and granting rights to collection to people and interfacing with the government on the behalf of the collectors. Now the local government is thinking about writing regulations to "help" the poor recyclers. My guess, is that in a few years time there won't be any collectors left except for a few rent-seekers who will not be incentivized to do a good job and that most of the stuff that was being collected will go to the landfill or pile up in the streets.

    It's the usual pattern:
    There wasn't a problem--- government creates a problem---special interest group steps in---government promises to solve problem---special interest group gets grant money---things get worse---government uses problem to grab more money and/or enact more laws---etc...

  • ||

    Ah, I see you're realizing how government works. How it always works.

  • __Warren__||

    I've known for a long time, but when I find a very clear cut case I like to post it. And the more mundane it is the better because people can relate to that more than some gigantic fuck-up that happens on the World Stage.

  • Paul.||

    granting rights to collection to people

    *Narrows gaze*

  • Devil's Candy||

    Lovely...trash medallions.

  • ||

    There's a really good documentary about how this was going on in Rio's biggest landfill, until the government finally shut it down. This is very much worth a watch, it's called Wasteland. It's on Netflix.

    Wasteland

  • Paul.||

    Libertarian moment:

    Parking in Seattle is tough, and it’s going to get worse
    The city certainly doesn’t want us to drive solo to work. From its website: “In general, the city’s priorities . . . do not support the use of on-street parking for long-term commuter parking.”

    http://www.seattletimes.com/pa.....h-choices/

    In addition, Seattle's Street Narrowing project continues apace. All the two laners in my area have just been reduced to one laners.

    Because now they've given me bike lanes that I can't use even if I wanted to.

  • ||

    I told you it was on purpose, dude. It had to be. Just another step towards turning Seattle into a vastly overpriced, commuter-hell shitshow that people will start to leave in droves.

  • Rhywun||

    I don't recall people leaving in droves from cities that actually are commuter-hell shitshows like NYC or SF. (Well, they do leave in droves only to be replaced by even more people.) Face it - you want Houston-style easy-drive, move to Houston. You're not going to make it *easier* to drive in a popular city like Seattle without destroying the things that make it popular.

  • ||

    As Paul explained before, this isn't some natural change occurring as the city grows. This is the city council specifically and deliberately making traffic worse in order to try and push people into mass transit and car pooling. The city was traffic-y but acceptable before. This isn't about popular things or destroying anything. It's an active, deliberate campaign to reduce lanes, reduce parking, and increase congestion, that is not caused by market forces or anything besides the environmental whims of politicians.

    It's like reducing the number of lanes on the major avenues of Manhattan by a quarter or a third on purpose. By just turning them into no-car bike lanes. Not for any market purpose, just because they want to increase traffic because they think that's "green".

  • Rhywun||

    If the city keeps growing 10% every census the options are destroying land for more freeways and parking lots, or pushing people into mass transit.

  • Paul.||

    or pushing people into mass transit.

    Which has been going on since the early 90s and has demonstrably and statistically failed spectacularly. What the 'city elders' are absolutely hard-headed about, is that they take an entirely Seattle-centric view of 100% of the population's habits.

    They believe that everyone lives in capitol hill, first hill, madison valley and commutes downtown. I mean, that's what the members of the city council do, so Paul. must do that too, right?

    Wrong. I have spent the entire 30 years I've lived here living in-city and commuting out of city. Paul. earns his salary out of the city and brings it back in (You're welcome, city council). My commute has traditionally been a reverse one, allowing me to drive distances of 12-20 miles in relatively short times.

    Because of my work location, public transit is a non-starter. My commute time would quintuple, and leave me with fewer options for changes in schedule-- especially as a single father.

    It would be one thing if Seattle refused or was reticent to EXPAND streets to accommodate more cars... but they're exactly NOT doing that. They're NARROWING existing avenues, hoping that somehow buses will magically become more attractive to people.

    I'm not against buses, but they add considerable time to any commute where transfers must be made. A 20 minute commute becomes 90 minutes the moment you add a bus ride unless you live along express routes.

  • Paul.||

    hoping that somehow buses will magically become more attractive to people.

    Excuse me, hoping that buses and riding a bike in sideways rain 9.5 months a year will become more attractive to people.

  • ||

    I'm not sure why you're refusing to understand what we're saying here. They are already building tons of new buildings, underground parking, even making the Alaskan Way Tunnel. That has nothing to do with the fact that they are actively reducing road surface for cars, not increasing it. Do you understand what we're saying here? Because your continued responses in this vein state very clearly that you don't.

    This has nothing to do with growth. This is taking X amount of road available for cars and car transit and traffic flow and cutting it down without putting anything in its place. This much of the road? Now it is only for bikes. That's it. Flat out. Boom.

  • Rhywun||

    I get it - they want fewer people driving. And it doesn't seem to be driving people away the way you claim.

  • ||

    I can only give you anecdotal evidence from myself and people I know. But I know a number of people who are getting fucking sick of it and have openly mentioned moving away, including myself.

    Realize that Seattle's public transit sucks ass. In NYC, deciding to take public transit because traffic is so bad is a viable option, especially in Manhattan and the closer sections of the boroughs. But in Seattle there is only the bus (and to bike, in a city that has at least light rain for much of everything that isn't summer and is filled with steep hills) and the very, very limited stop selection of the light rail from the airport (it stops at Westlake downtown and has finally been extended to UW). The buses are usually either packed to the gills or completely empty, and remember, they get caught in traffic too because bus only lanes aren't everywhere.

    Paul and I are making predictions. We could absolutely be wrong. But we're merely noting trends among people we know, and it is growing dissatisfaction. Realize this is also coupled with a general recession and the fact that Microsoft's new rules about contractors only being able to work for 18 months straight before having to take a minimum 12 months off (meaning they are being dumped back into the labor market without the ability to work for MS for an entire year), which is flooding the labor market and making jobs scarce, and also often pushing those job seekers into Seattle since they can't go to Redmond.

    It's pretty fucked.

  • Rhywun||

    Sounds like SF - I recall bitching and moaning about the transit not keeping up with population growth when I lived there. Yeah, I agree that this plan of theirs does require transit improvement in order to make sense. If they're not doing that then it's bound to fail.

    Microsoft's new rules about contractors only being able to work for 18 months straight

    That's... odd.

  • ||

    It's a cost cutting measure. MS has a veritable army of contractors, and there are people who have worked at MS but not directly for MS for lengths of ten years or more. Consultants are fucking expensive (I know, I am one), and the MS brass decided that this was a way to try and shake some people off the rolls. You can come back for another 18 month stint after waiting a year, rinse, repeat. A lot of people inside MS aren't happy about it at all, but they're trying it.

  • RAHeinlein||

    Several of our clients are facing similar restrictions - cost-cutting, yes, but also avoiding contractor classification as employees.

  • Rhywun||

    I kind of don't get being a consultant at the same company for 10 years - we have a few of those and I don't see what they're getting out of it. I thought the whole point was flexibility?

  • ||

    You get paid a shitload. Think of doing a job that if you worked for MS, you'd probably have, say, a $120,000/year salary. Well, depending on what you get from your consulting company, you'll end up probably pulling down something more like $165,000/year. Plus most consulting companies provide health benefits, so you're not losing out there. (And remember WA has no income tax.)

    You don't get stock or options or whatever they offer nowadays, but that's where the flexibility lies; you can up and leave at any time without worrying about vesting and the like.

  • Rhywun||

    Well, my company tanked when we got taken over so I lost everything with the stocks.

    As for salary, wow - I guess I was under the false impression that the middleman took a big cut. My new company is probably going to lay me off soon so consulting is something I am thinking of.

  • ||

    The middleman does take a huge cut. Remember that the consulting company is paying the consultant anywhere from say $40-$100/hour, but charging MS things like $150-300/hr for their services. Yeah, they take a huge cut. But they have the in, and as an individual without them, you don't (you have to be an MS approved vendor and individuals are not that except in special cases).

    As much as working in Redmond sucks, the pay is fantastic. So much money being thrown around. But that's being curbed to a degree now.

  • Rhywun||

    Yeah I'm not in that league but I would like to know what our consultants are taking home for equivalent work to what I do now.

  • Paul.||

    The nuance that's not being told here is the city's disingenuous terminology which isn't designed to get people to their location faster, it's to punish people who already getting there just fine.

    The city has started this campaign where they claim they're going to get everyone "there" (wherever there is-- and hoo boy that's a controversial subject) faster by giving people more transportation "choices".

    What are these "choices", you ask? Well The Paul. is here to tell you.

    According to the current pack of semi-retarded Rhesus Monkeys running Seattle's highly politicized transportation department, if there were two car lanes going down a major thoroughfare, sharing with cars, buses (and bikes), the goal is to take away a usable car lane, give one to a bus, and create a dodgy "bike-only" lane- sometimes by eliminating street parking.

    According to theory, Paul. now has a "choice" of driving his car, riding the bus or riding his bike.

    ...contd

  • Paul.||

    But look at the actual math involved here. Before the change, Paul already COULD ride a bus, ride a bike or take his car. They haven't ADDED anything new. They have SUBTRACTED 50% of the vehicle flow in favor of giving the bus an exclusive lane (the actual number of buses moving down said streets hasn't increased by a single unit), and they've given bicycle riders the psychological salve of having their own little space separated by a slightly thicker solid white line.

    What occurs is lights now support twice as many vehicles in a single-file with a traffic light that stays green for the same amount of time as before. This results in HALF the cars getting through the light per cycle, while not changing the bus movement in any meaningful way.

    However, those right bus-only lanes must still be shared with regular cars for short stretches in 'right-turn-only' configurations. Causing traffic bunch-ups right before the turn, which in turn creates incentives for cars to 'dart' or 'lane-dive' at the last second to avoid 'feeling illegal' and driving in the bus lane early before the turn.

    In addition, those famous seattle drivers who go 8 to 15 mph below the posted limit can now slow down traffic exclusively because there's no second lane to get around them.

    All in the name of 'increased choices'. This isn't a theory, this is happening, it's measurable, people are seeing it, and tempers are starting to flare.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    The Paul is going to go all Michael Douglas in Falling Down, and I can't say I blame him.

  • Quincy.||

    +1 D-FENS

  • ||

    Don't talk any shit about Rand!

  • ant1sthenes||

    Well, buses are the poor man's train, and there's nothing progressives like more than forcing people onto trains.

  • ||

    when I's a boy, the poor man's train was... the train. And we just called them "hoboes".

  • ||

    Anyone see the online article about sleeping spaces, I mean just a bunk, no bedroom, bath, cooking space, nothing, renting in SanFran for like 2k per month? It's pretty insane.

  • Rhywun||

    It's worse than NYC from what I've heard. Though the big difference with NYC is that it isn't hard to find something affordable but still an acceptable commute. In CA it's just super expensive everywhere.

  • Sevo||

    Hyperion|9.17.15 @ 8:47PM|#
    "Anyone see the online article about sleeping spaces, I mean just a bunk, no bedroom, bath, cooking space, nothing, renting in SanFran for like 2k per month? It's pretty insane."

    The 'city fathers' would deny it to their dying day, but they pretty much designed it that way.
    Between 'rent control', zoning regs, and the ability of any relatively small pressure group to put 'anti-growth' measures on the ballot, it's pretty obvious that the population (with money) is going to outrun the housing supply.
    Until SF elects politicos who haven't capsized to port....

  • ||

    Go southward to Portlandia young man!

  • ||

    Oh, I've thought about it since I like Portland, and there's nothing closer (besides *sneer* Tacoma and Olympia) and would therefore be a relatively easy move and relocation. We'll see. Plus weed is now legal in Oregon too and they have good gun laws. But you have to trade no income tax but high sales tax for no sales tax but income tax.

  • ||

    One of my closest comrades in IT solutions lives there. He's always telling me how cheap everything is there. I'm a little jealous. I've only been out there a couple of times, but I liked it. It sort of freaks me out how everyone obeys traffic laws there and drives the speed limit, and how you cannot make a left turn in the city. But overall, I thought it was pretty nice.

  • Don'tTreadOnMeChipper||

    Don't forget the relatively high property tax in Oregon....

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    Wouldn't it be nice to live/work just inside the Washington state line and be able to shop in Oregon ...

  • The Last American Hero||

    No, because then you'd live in Vancouver WA, which is an armpit.

  • ||

    And the Oregon liquor stores suck a$.

  • Devil's Candy||

    I take it none of the city planners and board-members have ever tried to ride a bike around Seattle. They probably think its just like a beardier Portland out there.

  • ||

    When I used to live in Portland, the city transit system actually worked, was cheap as you please, went everywhere, including great distances out of the city itself, and tended to be on-time. Plus one could get schedule updates that nailed down when a bus would actually hit his stop to precision of ± 5 min. I don't know how they did it, but from what I've seen since leaving, it was a fairly unique situation. But then, i had to go out there to the university earlier this year, and culturally the place has turnt into a fucking hell-hole. My idiot driver was using a GPS directive and refused to take my precise instructions on how to get around and so we kept getting stuck in weird tangles and curlicues of meandering arrivallessness. I was getting close to losing my mind for not being able to get out of the fucking town fast enough. I know a guy from Seattle who went out there on a similar trip about the same time. He talked about how sweet and friendly and pleasant and relaxing was the place compared to Seattle.

  • ||

    Then the day we was leaving town it was about the Indian pedants' day and it seemed that the entire countriside surrounding Portland for like a hundred mils was saturated with dispersed citifolk out "enjoying themselves". There wasn't a single fucking park or reststop or even a deserted turnoff that wasn't full of roving gangs of ravaging braindamaged retarts from Portland and their mongrel children and confused dog-slaves. I just wanted to stop someplace to sit down, take off my boots, and eat a fucking sangwitch. Nej! In peace. Finally gae up and stopped at some roadside park a fair distance from the city, and made a go of it. F you want to hear some really fucking stupid chattering, go listen in on some middle class Portlendings "talking" to each other. It gets physically painful pretty fast. Everything they think of saying is so mindblowingly stupid and divorced from reality...

  • ||

    "F you want to hear some really fucking stupid chattering, go listen in on some middle class Portlendings "talking" to each other. It gets physically painful pretty fast. Everything they think of saying is so mindblowingly stupid and divorced from reality..."

    I say this, while my neighbours are out having a barbeke. One guy declares, "There's only two people I'd die for. It's--my wife and... Barack Obama!" while some woman keeps yelling, "We're so fucking drunk. I mean! We're so fucking drunk," at irregular intervals. And this is like Oppenheimer and Feynman compared to the talking I heard in Portland.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    dismissed the connection between the crashes and the ignition switch, even though a state-trooper had flagged it.

    Only Government can really know how much it lies.

  • ReneeMcKenna||

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  • Raven Nation||

    That seems to be a lot of money for operating a woodchipper.

  • Mesteve||

    The Federal Government is a mafia. This is a shakedown.

  • ||

    World's largest criminal organization.

  • Libertymike||

    There's a reason why Irwin Schiff called his book, "The Federal Mafia".

  • Devil's Candy||

    But if not them, who else will make us be better people? /sarc

  • ||

    "World's largest criminal organization."

    I thought that was the Romish Popechurch.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Karnac (with closed envelope to head): Preet Bharara

    Ed: Preet Bharara

    Karnac: That's what I said.

    Ed: I was just repeating it.

    Karnac: May a crazed yak urinate in your bourbon.

    Ed: HO Ho Ho ho ho ho

    Karnac: Preet Bharara

    * gives dirty look to Ed, opens envelope, blows into it, pulls out piece of paper

    Karnac: Name the sound a whoodchipper makes when it hits the skull of an Indian bureaucrat.

    Ed: HOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOO

  • commodious spittoon||

    Do you want bullshit subpoenas? Because this is how you get bullshit subpoenas.

  • Don'tTreadOnMeChipper||

    7:01 man....the good ol' days...

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    It makes me sad that already most people don't get Carson/Ed McMahon references. My how fleeting is fame.

  • ||

    Who the fuck is Marty Feldman?

  • Trouser-Pod (The blowhard)||

    +1 Schlossen Cutoff

  • Vapourwear||

    I'm starting to wonder how this Preet fellow keeps showing up.

  • Juan Segway, Sidewalk Avenger||

    He's like a bad penny.

    Or herpes.

  • straffinrun||

    The pumpkin headed, albino garden gnome's chicken bones have spoken? No rate hike. Wrong thread, but I was sleeping. The emperor isn't only naked, he's spreading his buttchecks as he parades by.

  • See Double You||

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who pursued both probes, had dubbed the Toyota probe a “watershed moment."

    In a just universe, Mr. Bharara would be fed into a woodchipper repeatedly. Feet first, of course.

  • Almanian - Micro Trumper||

    "A watershed moment"

    Like a golden shower - cause they got pissed on but good.

    Fuck Toyota, but not for that whole bullshit episode. Fuck the US gov for that one.

    Well, fuck 'em both. For good measure.

  • PapayaSF||

  • ||

    That doesn't make any sense. If you're a permanent legal resident here already, it's easy to get citizenship.

    And I don't see this even working in their advantage at all. I know a lot of legal immigrants here and some of them do not want citizenship. The ones that I know that are on the fence about it, aren't going to vote for any Democrats, period.

    And even if they were. WTF? What are they going to do, just dub them citizens even if they don't want it?

    Obama and his entire administration are somewhere between clueless and retarded.

  • ||

    I love when your mask slips. So now legal immigrants are a problem too? So it's just immigrants in general you have a problem with, then.

    You earn every accusation of xenophobia or nativism ten times over. Keep it up, you're doing a great job of disproving it.

  • PapayaSF||

    I have a problem with too much (or too many) of anything. It's not "xenophobia" or "nativism" to not want my country made less free by mass importation of people who will vote against liberty. Which is the whole point (from the Democratic Party point of view), just as it was with the Labour Party in England.

  • Sevo||

    "I have a problem with too much (or too many) of anything"

    Red herring.
    Too much liberty? I doubt it.

  • Libertymike||

    How can there be too much liberty?

  • Sevo||

    You'll have to ask Papaya.

  • Libertymike||

    Sevo, I ask everybody.

  • Sevo||

    Nice, Mike, but I didn't suggest otherwise. Ask those that do.

  • PapayaSF||

    Immigration does not equal liberty.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I have a problem with people that want to impose their definitions of too much (or too many) on everyone else.

  • Sevo||

    There's that, too; danke.

  • PapayaSF||

    Does not the majority of the country have the right to "impose their definition" regarding immigration? Because we are at an historically high level, it's having many negative effects (including Trump), and the vast majority of citizens want less of it.

    “When I was a Revolutionary Marxist, we were all in favour of as much immigration as possible. It wasn’t because we liked immigrants, but because we didn’t like Britain. We saw immigrants – from anywhere – as allies against the staid, settled, conservative society that our country still was at the end of the Sixties. Also, we liked to feel oh, so superior to the bewildered people – usually in the poorest parts of Britain – who found their neighbourhoods suddenly transformed into supposedly ‘vibrant communities’. If they dared to express the mildest objections, we called them bigots.” —Peter Hitchens

  • LynchPin1477||

    Under our current system? Sure. Doesn't mean I have to like it and can't argue against it. Especially when the arguments for more restriction are pretty weak.

    Under my ideal system? There would definitely still be a role for democratic decision making but it would be more limited in scope than what we have now. So basically what almost every libertarian wants compared to our current level of government.

  • PaulW||

    Some people are just willing to die on that hill.

    Being a utilitarian is unpure. Ironic, no?

  • ant1sthenes||

    I think his argument is that the Democrats' mask is slipping -- that, since they can't win over the existing electorate, their strategy is to simply import a new electorate to place them into power.

    The fact that the immigrants in question are legal isn't terribly relevant, since it still suggests the Democrats might have the same agenda regarding illegal immigrants -- probably even moreso, since the latter are more likely to be poorer and more in favor of the government programs the Democrats are selling.

  • Sevo||

    ant1sthenes|9.17.15 @ 10:38PM|#
    "I think his argument is that the Democrats' mask is slipping -- that, since they can't win over the existing electorate, their strategy is to simply import a new electorate to place them into power."

    That might work in a local election, but to presume it would have a national effect is presuming the Ds are planning X years in advance and that they hope the 'preparation' is effective in the interim.
    If you are to choose between stupidity and cupidity, take stupidity. You'll beat the house.

  • PaulW||

    I think it is evolution.

    The parties in power are in power because they've evolved to be the fittest. The lion doesn't know why he is the king of the jungle, but he is, and he acts in his best interests with little self-awareness.

  • PapayaSF||

    They don't need some complex, long-term plan, they just need to import the kind of voters they want. It's exactly what the Labour Party did. The memos were later published: open the immigration taps to make England less traditional, less white, less Tory. It was an explicit plan.

  • ||

    You are a xenophobe and a nativist. And, even worse, your conspiracy theories are boring.

  • PapayaSF||

    Your political opponents (and mine) are doing something to their advance their cause, which is to defeat many libertarian causes. Obama and the Democrats would not be eager to create millions of Rand Paul supporters just before a Presidential election, would they? It’s not a “conspiracy theory” to point that out. It’s not “nativism” or “xenophobia” to say “too much immigration has many negative effects, including diluting the libertarian vote and enhancing the statist vote.”

    “Freedom of movement” is a fine principle, but not all principles are equal, and that one is being used as a demographic weapon against the “small government” principle, against the “fiscal responsibility” principle, and against others. Saying it’s legal does not make the political motive, or the real-world results, irrelevant.

    And remember, children: abuse is not an argument! Next time, let’s try for a higher-level response, shall we? Without the tedious and low-IQ name-calling.

  • Devil's Candy||

    This, at the exact moment that the Feds just refused to renew a friends visa. He is a German engineer that has lived in the U.S since he was a child, who but for some weird quick of the law, has never been able to get naturalized. No reasons given, just GTFO.

  • SamDod598||

    lol, US politics, best politics money can buy!

    www.Full-Anon.tk

  • ||

    I hear that there was a thread here last night with over 1400 comments?

  • Quincy.||

    WHY U HATE Carlard Trumporina?

  • ||

    She/he has bad hair, a horse face, and white girl ass?

  • Quincy.||

    Czech.

  • Don'tTreadOnMeChipper||

    Mate!

  • LynchPin1477||

    $900 million < $1 billion
    $900 million + $625 million < "$few [i.e. 3-5] billion"

  • ||

    I meant to comment yesterday but got derailed.

    "U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who pursued both probes, had dubbed the Toyota probe a “watershed moment” – and GM now proves that he was not kidding."

    Ah yes. King Asshole of the Retards.

    Of course he'd think it was a watershed moment. It's the day the government found another way to display their Mafia instincts.

    Scumbags. Pure scum.

  • Egypt Steve||

    re:
    "Features such as air bags and seat belts have contributed to cutting driving fatalities from 26 per 100,000 people in 1965 to 10 now, which is really very remarkable."

    No way. Or if so, so what? Who knows how many jobs were killed by these so-called "remarkable" regulations. Let the free market determine whether or not people drive too fast without seat belts after tossing back a few scotch & sodas -- once they realize the cost of hospital care and funerals, they'll slow down. Or not -- but if not, it's their choice. Instead of mandating seat belts, why don't we cut taxes for medical device companies, to spur innovation so people who fly through windshields can be saved?

  • Edwin||

    Can we admit that airbags are a touchy technology, that will never work perfectly?

    It has to sense in a split second if there's been an accident, and then deploy a small explosion without harming the driver. That's impossible to master. Either it's too sensitive, and you injure people with the bag when only minor accidents happen. Or you set the sensitivity too low, and your bag doesn't deploy in accidents and people get hurt.

    People think scientists and engineers are magicians. They're not. There's is PLENTY that they CAN'T do.

  • Devil's Candy||

    Except other auto-manufacturers seem to be doing ok on this topic.

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