Thursday, February 04, 2010

Toyota, The Supreme Court, and the Recession

There is one tenuous string connecting the recent gas pedal recall, the Supreme Court decision regarding campaign finance, and the entire Recession- it's name is George W. Bush. I know, I know, haven't we blamed him enough? Well until I see his and Cheney's asses dragged before a Grand Jury- No we haven't blamed them enough.

First I'd like to start with a small discussion on what I consider to be the three major pillars of power in the United States; 1. The Government, 2. The Media, 3. Corporations. These three powers keep each other in check as a sort of unwritten checks and balance system that is on a social level (rather than the checks and balances that the Gov't has between the judicial, executive, and legislative branches). Hence the First Amendment stating keep your grubbing fucking hands off the media.

Corporations don't really need that protection because they have their own protective power- MONEY! Hello, Supreme Court, I'm talking to you. What The Fuck (I thought an abbreviation would just dilute) were you thinking? Did you think that that Corporate America was not influencing politics enough? Did you think that somehow we had left them out of the power pie in the last decade? Corporate America almost single handedly erased 20 years of gains by the middle class in a matter of 5-8 years depending on how you want to slice it. Now they can spend any amount of money they want influencing the other two pillars. The Media has already been bought by Corporate America, luckily it is really difficult to run a for profit newspaper these days because of things like blogs and the internet. That all has yet to be flushed out, but I can guarentee that if there is money to be made there, Corporate America will be on the coattails. So anyway, "Screw You little guy, your opinion doesn't count," is what I heard from these five robed ones.

Whew, I feel better. What does this have to do with GW? Well he got the chance to appoint two of those five justices to the court. What a wonderful legacy he is leaving us to deal with for the next 10-20 years. I can only hope that Obama gets to swap out at least one of the conservative judges during his (fingers crossed) eight years in office. It really is going to be the only way we have a chance to balance the court back out to something more reasonable (if this recent act of lunacy is any indicator).

Next, Toyota- lately in the news is this huge recall over gas pedals. Did you know that the agency that oversees transportation saftey The National Traffic Highway Safety Association (NTHSA) didn't have a head for the last eight months while GW was in office. Also, since Obama has been in office we haven't had a head either. The wonderful Republicans have been blocking most of Obama's nominees for other more important offices and so the committees are way behind in approving other less important offices like NTHSA. Basically the NTHSA has gotten behind the ball on looking into reports. They actually did look into the Toyota gas pedal issue a few years ago, but took Toyota's word that it was "operator error" meaning people were pressing the gas instead of the break. Yeah, that was their argument, and the NTHSA accepted it.

The bigger issue here is why they would side with Toyota? Well it is because of the politics of GW Bush. He systematically put people into the various watchdog agencies (EPA, FDA, CPA, etc) who were friendly to business. He made sure that the so called revolving door was in full effect by allowing lobbyists, industry insiders, and former employees of the very businesses they were supposed to be watching run the show. This is all very well documented and explains the various issues that we have seen cropping up regarding lead paint in toys, insane credit card companies raping people, and now cars going on acceleration rampages.

Finally, I'd like to wrap this all up by pointing to the complete and epic failure of government regulators to notice the ridiculous practices going on Wall Street. Many people have been asking why the failure? I have always thought that the answer is relatively simple. The people who were watching were specifically hired to look the other way. They knew shit was going down, but why would they rat out the very people that they were working for in the first place? When you put stupid people in charge, stupid things happen. The bigger issue is when you put a stupid person in charge of the entire country- REALLY stupid things happen.