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Justice Department Lets Giant Corporation Evade Prosecution for Deaths of Over 100 People


Justice Department Lets Giant Corporation Evade Prosecution for Deaths of Over 100 People

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

The $900 million settlement General Motors reached with the Justice Department over its defective ignition switches is being criticized as "unconscionable" for holding no executives criminally accountable for actions that lead to the deaths of over 100 people.

Reuters sums up the settlement:


Sorry to have to say this, but I'm afraid this is also speaking to the character of our country, Ms. Fiorina. What a sorry state of affairs.


Theres that pesky ole 'responsibility to shareholders' dangling in the ethical/moral ether. Wait, what is that chord its dangling on? It is necessary to drag the entire phenomenon of the 'shareholder' in from the waxy cold of 'externalized costs' apologia. At this point it fits the schema of feudal minion more than ever. With the spiffy shiny waxy-death patina of the underpinnings of ('to be or not to be') 'too big to fail', the toxicity intensifies with each societal vampire buffing applied by the "courts". In tennis parlance its like an 'advantage' of ash.


The parent of the deceased GM customer is wrong when she says our laws are lacking. The existing federal criminal code gives ample power to the Department of "Justice" to prosecute any GM officer or employee responsible for her child's death. The problem is that there is no justice in the "Justice" Department as it has been staffed for the past several decades -- under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. Our recent Presidents and Attorneys General are hirelings of corporate America; and until that changes, corporate criminals like GM will continue to kill people for profit.


The penal code now needs to be completely re written in order to accommodate punishment for our new "corporate" citizens. Sure, all civil penalties should be honored in the case of any defective product or malfeasance, but what to do with post Citizens United croporations that knowingly put people in harms way?
This case should have been very simple. The Vice President or president, or CEO, or board of directors, that approved the production of vehicles that they knew were substandard should be charged with at least manslaughter, and at most second degree murder. If my careless actions as an individual cause the death of another person then I can be charged with manslaughter and face years in prison as well as civil lawsuit.
We are overthinking this. The time has come to go to the mansion of the GM CEO at the time of these "accidents" and handcuff him and perp walk him to a waiting police cruiser (hopefully, one that GM built with that faulty ignition). Then visit all the members of that board of directors and toss them in the paddy wagon.
Oh, then I woke up.


"Meet the new boss..."
Ms. Lynch, Mr. Holder - birds of an ineffectual feather.
Just the way The Owners like it.


I'm interested in the big picture. The individual stories play out inside the big picture, supported and enabled by the big picture. The big picture appears as the merging of capitalism, politics and justice. The aberrant laws were largely crafted by wealthy capitalists, delivered unto their political minions who craft a justice system tailored to deliver the profit and power necessary to continue fascist, systemic domination. When we see a story like this GM horror, we are reminded that this is just another example of many where individuals are sacrificed to this unified tripartite system.
Functionaries all, each performing duties requisite to maintaining the hegemony of undemocratic, autocratic, fascist societal norms. It's business as usual. The individual rarely has the financial resources to combat and defeat such institutionalized power and deceit. I say deceit because what is presented as legitimate in this powerful trio, upon deeper investigation is often found to be a web of collusion, the ultimate monopoly as it were.
When the Who sung many years ago, "We won't get fooled again.", it seemed hopeful that change was possible. But as long as we remain functionaries, and are not committed in action to serving justice and democracy, we cannot be surprised that this trend continues. Capitalism has us by the throats choking our minds. Free the mind even if it's your last gasp.


Yes, the United States is a Fascist state as well as an empire in its dotage. What can voters do about it.


I remember a bunch of us warning people about Loretta Lynch. We told people she was just as corrupt as Eric Holder and Slick Oily. Evidently no one listened. So what does Ms Lynch's scorecard look like now? First she allowed HSBC bank off with a slap on the pee pee for laundering drug cartel money. Now she's letting GM off the hook for 100 or so lives for their criminally negligent handling of their defective ignition switches!
It would seem that George Carlin only had it partially right when he said that if you wanted to stop the drug trade you should hang the white upper middle class republican bankers who laundered the money for the cartels. It would seem that you should also hang the people from the DoJ who worked the case too


Just goes to show how corrupt this country really is...


Nothing new here. DOJ is still Wall Street's private defense legal firm.


The Corvair was perfectly fine - it's rear suspension was the same as that used extensively in Europe - including the VW beetle. I like Ralph Nader, but he was totally off-base with the Corvair.

There was a strong driver role - often full blown incompetence, in these "defective keyswitch" incidents. There is absolutely no reason to be losing control of a car simply becasue of an unexpected motor stoppage from a keyswitch getting bumped off. Every driver should be able to drive a car fine with the engine and power assist off (I have often deliberately turned the engine off on long downgrades to conserve fuel). If they can't, (i.e. due to being in terrible physical shape from... you guessed it - driving a car everywhere) they should not be driving. There are lots of other compelling environmental reasons for not driving car anyway.

This need for absolute safety and security is what is driving this USAn obsession with obscene gas-guzzling SUV's. The must common comment from people regarding my electric Smart Car has been "Aren't you afraid of getting killed in that thing?" WTF??? I tell them that my "other car" is a (electric too) motor scooter used every day in heavy traffic, and I fly hang gliders for fun. That shuts them up.

If GM should be prosecuted for these incidents - then shouldn't every motorcycle manufacturer, and every light aircraft manufacturer - (hell - even airliner manufacturers) be prosecuted for making their products at all?

USAns need to accept the risks in their lives (I think everyone who can should participate in a outdoor so-called "risk" sport - it builds character) and not expect a buy all their safety and security from big commercial corporation to protect them from ever little thing. Learn self-reliance - along with mutual aid.


Only one problem Yunzer, When the ignition switch kicks off, the steering column lock kicks in and you are unable to stir the vehicle!


The steering wheel did not lock in any of the incidents - that takes a much longer deliberate backward (CCW) turn or the key. And to answer Redravensounds comment - no the steering wheel is not locked by the computer when the engine stops. I've been working on cars all my life and never heard of such a thing.


Oh, and we don't exactly jump of cliffs, we launch our hang gliders off slopes or sometimes cliffs (or get towed up behind an ultralight or light-sport airplane) and climb thousands of feet and go dozens to hundreds of miles with no engine using only the gift of our wonderful dynamic atmosphere. And the FAA leaves us completely alone as long as we stay in class G or E airspace and clear of clouds - although getting sucked into a cloud and, in some western US areas, sneaking over FL180 sometimes happens.


Yeah, oxygen is definitely recommended for such flights. I've never flown in the western US, but the most popular place to bag a 17,999.99 ft. flight is the Gold Hill launch above Telluride, CO. Launching at over 12,000 ft. you already have a good head-start. Gotta run pretty hard down a gentile slope to get flying at that altitude though.

Coming from the eastern US looking out of airliner windows along the way, I'm always amazed at how high the top of convection ( as marked by the cu clouds) gets in the west where it is drier and has totally different meteorology (no cold fronts as we know them, no high-pressure lids like we're under right now), than the east.


Excellent point, that applies not just to this department but to the rest of the federal government as well. (Probably nearly ubiquitous in the states, too...) The problem: It's a "captive agency."

A crooksandliars.com blog post from 2010 is informative on the topic, and well worth a read IMO:

Inch by inch, the tentacles of industry reach further and further into the regulator, until it silently and invisibly comes under industry control and becomes the industry's puppet, until it is serving the special interests and not the public interest.

Sound familiar? Pretty much any issue that is your particular passion will have led you to a department that is supposed to "regulate" it, only to find that agency in the pocket of the corporate interests involved. The level of corruption is breathtaking. I now find it hard to listen to politicians or media people talking about corruption in other countries.

Causes? Solutions? Big topic. One idea that I think does not get enough attention is so simple that it often gets dismissed as simplistic: Big = Bad. Of course E.F. Schumacher put it more elegantly, but the negative formulation might more directly articulate what we're up against vis-à-vis corporate power. For my fellow bibliophages: I am much influenced in this thinking by Leopold Kohr's The Breakdown of Nations. In it he posits, and supports, the notion that it is invariable in human history, on every level from the individual to the empire, that if we are not subject to a sufficiently potent countervailing force, then we behave badly. I think it is fairly clear that the system of countervailing forces ("checks and balances") has broken down in today's U.S.A.


Capital punishment is essential for justice in this country

And I'm not talking about the death penalty.


Your last paragraph is interesting. I also think big is bad. Whether it is religion, politics or even stadium rock, the crowd become unable to act and think for themselves. We seem to mock the odd-man-out instinctively... the guy dressed differently at the party or the person who doesn't agree with the gang. Dogma replaces critical thought. Fear of exclusion is maximised. All sorts of psychological tests confirm all this stuff. So big structures are easily captured by ambitious power-hungry and scheming minds. Rule yourself - sod outside control!


A lax government made even more useless by a Justice Department leader who can't see beyond the quick fix. In this regard, Obama has been an abysmal President. He is no more concerned about people dying out here, than he is about what the cost of his shoe laces are. IMO. The easy way out. The outcomes that are quick, often hold no level of justice. That seems to be the Obama legacy. From his Secty of Agriculture appointment to all of his cabinet, we need to scrutinize him much more on decision making. We're letting him off way too easy, just because we're democrats. Or maybe we like quick fixes, too?