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  (Source: Sting Ray Studios)

Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles, including the best-selling Camry for unintended acceleration problems. Toyota has now received a massive fine for trying to deceive U.S. federal regulators.  (Source: Torque Report)
Fine is largest in U.S. history against an automaker

The atmosphere at the U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday was tense as Secretary Ray LaHood slammed Japanese automaker Toyota.  Lahood announced, "We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligationsWorse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families."

Defects are an automaker's eternal enemy.  Every year thousands, if not millions of vehicles are recalled for defects.  Toyota's critical problem was not so much the defects itself -- despite the massive number of vehicles involved.  Rather, Toyota's key mistake was the dangerous game of deception it reportedly played.

According to documents obtained from Toyota, the company began a recall on "sticky pedals" in September of last year in Canada and Europe.  However, it failed to inform U.S. regulators of the problem, and made no effort to launch a recall of the effected vehicles until it came under heavy fire in January.

That constitutes a gross violation of federal safety guidelines, which demand that an automaker inform the U.S. federal regulators within five days of discovering a defect.

As a result, the DOT has thrown the book at Toyota, proposing a $16.4M USD, the maximum penalty allowed under the law.  That fine far surpasses the biggest previous fine against an automaker -- $1M USD sum levied against General Motors for failing to promptly recall windshield wipers in 2002-2003 model vehicles.

Toyota has two weeks decide its response.  Despite the reportedly conclusive evidence, the Asian automaker is expected to appeal the decision, perhaps seeking a smaller fine.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to investigate the sticky accelerators, unsatisfied with Toyota's claim that floor mats were solely to blame.  NHTSA is looking at a host of mechanical and electrical elements for bugs, and is even examining whether cosmic rays could play a role, with the help of experts from NASA.

The government continues to investigate Toyota's behavior during the recall, as well.  DOT officials said more fines could brought against Toyota if further proof of wrongdoing is revealed.

While the defect mess is unpleasant for all those involved it does raise some interesting questions about governance.  Some say that the government should not police companies, and that the commercial press should be left to investigate reports of defects and inform consumers of safety risk.  Others argue the current system is a successful one.  And still others argue that current regulation does not go far enough -- that the federal government should have the ability to levy even bigger fines against companies who knowingly make products that could endanger U.S. consumers.

Likewise, the 135 pending lawsuits against Toyota raise similar questions.  Some argue that allowing such free litigation against safety critical businesses, such as automakers and healthcare providers allows citizens to take regulation into their own hands.  Others argue that it hinders free enterprise, raising prices, and worse yet leads to bigger government.


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Fox news lies
By Raiken3712 on 4/6/2010 7:23:08 AM , Rating: 2
This kind of comment is so stupid ...always shows up a million times but no one ever backs it up. Examples? Fox news obviously has some tendency toward leaning right on things but outright lying? Thats complete and utter bull.

Considering the rest of the media besides Talk Radio is extremely left in alot of cases it sorta balances things.

Not to mention the fact that not every person on Fox is even a Republican its not like its completely right wing or anything Shep is a Democrat and voted for Obama and from what he says sometimes is clearly an Obama supporter.




RE: Fox news lies
By BZDTemp on 4/6/2010 12:49:16 PM , Rating: 1
Fox news not lying. Are you kidding me!

I urge you to google the words 'fox' 'news' 'lies' and read just some of the documented cases where said channel distorted, manipulated and down right lied about issues. Seeing how many people get their news from Fox News and apparently taking their claim of unbiased report at face value is downright scary.

Oh, and for the rest of the media, except Talk Radio, being extremely left I really do find it hard to see how CNN, Wall Street Journal, NY Times and so many others can be considered extremely left.

You need to open your eyes and watch something else than Fox News for a while.


RE: Fox news lies
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 12:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
I tried that, and all I got were pages of spittle-filled diatribes by people too uneducated to distinguish between news and commentary (their remarks were directed against editorial comments made on talk shows).

Contrast that to the amount of distortion and outright fabrications broadcast by other news agencies, and Fox has a very good record. The CBS scandal of airing fake documents are real ("Memogate"), CNN's Tailwind Scandal, or worst of all, MSNBC's Olberman-Obama love-fest -- just a few of the countless incidents from the "unbiased" reporters of the mainstream media.


RE: Fox news lies
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 1:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Considering the rest of the media besides Talk Radio is extremely left in alot of cases it sorta balances things.


Manipulation does not balance a perspective based on facts. While there are some points of convergence in the end, (both propaganda and truth end up as beliefs which effectively motivate action,) propaganda robs people of their right to reason to sound conclusions. It makes them dependent on the priest caste to tell them what to do and how to think because they're so far removed from reality that they can't connect cause and effect.

Now, your typical conservative is not too good with this "thinking" thing. They're emotional beings, not intellectual. They get by mostly on instinct, which can get you by just fine in the day to day routine. But this leaves them at a severe disadvantage when they come across a talented spin doctor. They don't have the broad knowledge base nor rigorously tested methodology to disprove the BS. Without knowing the failings of their own mind, they have no chance against someone who is better at smoothing out their cognitive dissonance than they are. They don't differentiate between fact and opinion in their own head, so they're at a complete loss when they come across someone who is even more talented at blurring the lines. And so, they become little more than puppets.
Now, while I don't have anything against this in general (I'm sure it's quite comforting to just trust someone completely instead of using your own brain), there are issues with the various implementations:

If the blind are being led by the blind, the direction you're heading is a crapshoot.

With the unscrupulous leading the blind, the unscrupulous will use their army to subjugate the sighted (can't have differing opinions around, especially those based on facts, as those become so obviously true as to be undeniable after a certain point). They will concentrate resources to themselves out of greed, and concentrate massive amounts of power to maintain control.

Even the benevolent and knowledgeable leading the blind has problems. The tool for guidance is manipulation, but people don't always respond to it predictably. Just a small change in the overall emotional balance can dramatically affect how a group reacts. So even a philosopher king needs to gather considerable power with which to force people to do what is in their best interest when they mistakenly think otherwise. But, of course, the use of such force against the People rather goes against the "benevolent" aspect.

This is why true benevolence always comes back to Truth. The whole system works better if the blind stop being blind and instead choose their own path, reasoning from true premises. Manipulation and deception can work, but it's an unstable system. At the very least, it's always in a battle against Truth -- that very inconvenient second opinion.
A system based on Truth is much more stable, but the problem is it requires a population who can absorb the required baseline of data and that is willing to actually think.
The mentally lazy and/or stupid will be a danger to themselves and others, so those need to be led. But as social animals, they would follow the sighted unless the group started spitting out manipulators.
Like Fox News commentators.

Of course, this is all probably well over your head; and I certainly have no interest in being your philosopher king -- I'm not going to protect you from tripping over your own feet; because not only would it be an inordinate amount of work, I'd miss out on the lulz.

So do your own work. I'm not going to hold your hand and guide you across the Fox News battlefield. You either have the determination to do it on your own or you don't. If you have it, you will eventually triumph. If you don't, you will forever be their puppet; and you will teach your children to be their puppets, as they will teach theirs; a cycle which will continue until one eventually has the brainpower to truly begin to question on his their and in doing so frees themselves from the shackles of dogma.


RE: Fox news lies
By Yawgm0th on 4/6/2010 1:13:17 PM , Rating: 3
Cool story, bro.


RE: Fox news lies
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 3:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
wat


RE: Fox news lies
By borismkv on 4/6/2010 8:50:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now, your typical conservative is not too good with this "thinking" thing. They're emotional beings, not intellectual.


This is conjecture. You cannot prove this or disprove it, and it is entirely useless information that is very likely false. Realistically, your statement shows a considerable level of bigotry, rather than intelligence or independent study (This group is better than that group because...). The fact that you appear to be a member of the group which you consider superior strengthens the validity of this observation. Your obvious demeaning attitude towards the OP and conservatives in general further strengthens it. Perhaps you should begin taking your own advice. After all, people are far less likely to listen to individuals who are so obviously hypocritical.


RE: Fox news lies
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 8:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
Even as a stereotype he's wrong. The prevailing stereotype, fact actually, is that Liberals are the ones who are ruled by their emotions.


RE: Fox news lies
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 9:47:42 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, I've always thought Winston Churchill said it best. Somewhat paraphrased, it is:

- Anyone under 30 who isn't a liberal has no heart.
- Anyone over 30 who isn't a conservative has no brain.

Historically as it is today, the liberal movement has always been driven more by emotions than logical reasoning.


RE: Fox news lies
By Yawgm0th on 4/7/2010 1:19:03 PM , Rating: 4
Too bad Churchill never said that or anything remotely similar.
http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/myths/myths/...
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill#Mis...

Had he, it would have been capitalized Liberal and Conservative, referring to the UK parties and not widely applicable to American political ideology.


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