More with the recalls. What is the truth?

Again, the Democratic led Congress is pushing for more sanctions and financial penalties against Toyota due to "it's safety issues forcing the recall of millions of vehicles".

The worst thing to ever happen to Toyota, the government take over of GM and the US auto industry.  As reported earlier this month, recalls are nothing new.  The only recall that had any semblance of "outrage" that the Toyota recall has witnessed was the Firestone tire recall several years ago, but that was before Obama and his administration decided that Capital Hill should be a player in auto manufacturing!! 

I warned you!  I told you that the government would start blasting it's competitors in the industry, but few would believe.  "Recalls don't happen that often.  No previous recalls have been this extensive.  This is proof that Japanese manufacturing process aren't as good as the US".  These are just a few of the comments that have been made to me.

It's sad, but maybe it's time to get some education.  Recall's happen all the time.  There are thousands every year.  The only difference here;  now we have companies trying to compete with an oversized, out of control government.  Wise up!!!


Auto Recalls At A Glance

** Note, these are only the major safety recalls.  It is not inclusive of all safety recalls during this time frame.

- Jan. 26: Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. suspends U.S. sales of eight recalled car and truck models, including the best-selling Camry sedan. The aim is to fix gas pedals that can stick and cause unintended acceleration. Toyota says it's unaware of any accidents or injuries due to the pedal problems, but cannot rule them out. The automaker also says it will halt production of the models at six North American assembly plants beginning the first week of February.

- Jan. 21: Toyota announces U.S. recall of 2.3 million vehicles to fix faulty accelerator pedals, its second large recall in four months in the United States.

- Oct 13, 2009: Ford Motor Co. adds 4.5 million older-model vehicles to a long list of those recalled due to a defective cruise control switch that can cause fires, pushing Ford's total recall due to faulty switches to 14.3 million. The series of recalls, which began in 1999, becomes the largest cumulative recall in U.S. history. There were more than 1,100 reports of fires from the switches in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there have been no confirmed deaths or injuries, but lawsuits have been filed over three deaths allegedly connected to vehicle fires.

- Sept. 29, 2009: Toyota recalls 3.8 million U.S. vehicles to address problems with a removable floor mat that could interfere with the vehicle's accelerator and cause a crash. The recall, which on Nov. 25 is expanded to 4.3 million vehicles, is the largest in its history. Owners are advised to take out the floor mats on the driver's side and not replace them. The government attributes at least five deaths and two injuries to accidents in which the gas pedal may have become trapped under the floor mat, causing sudden acceleration.

- Oct. 2005: Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire agrees to pay $240 million to Ford Motor Co. to settle claims related to the tire maker's 2000 recall of defective tires and the 2001 tire-replacement program.

- Aug. 2000: Bridgestone Firestone recalls 6.5 million tires. At least 271 people are reported killed and hundreds more injured in accidents involving Firestone ATX and AT tires, which were widely used on Ford Explorers. Safety officials discover tires were prone to losing their tread, causing rollovers. Bridgestone Firestone spends more than $10 million advertising the 2001 recall and sent 2 million recall letters in 2003 to owners under a class-action settlement. Ford separately recalls more than 10 million tires, and the crisis leads to congressional hearings and the passage of the federal TREAD Act in 2000 to spot safety defects earlier.

- March 2004: General Motors recalls 4 million 2000-2004 pickups worldwide because their tailgates can break without warning. The culprit: common cables that hold the trucks' tailgates in place can corrode or fracture. GM officials say they received reports of 134 injuries related to the cables.

- March 1996: Ford recalls more than 8 million 1988-1993 cars to replace defective ignition switches in what was the largest single U.S. recall at the time. The switches can produce electrical shorts, causing engine misfires that led to stalling, as well as and brake and steering failures. The problem is implicated in hundreds of vehicle fires, and as many as 11 deaths and 31 injuries. Ford faces multiple lawsuits

- May 1995: Eleven manufacturers recall 8.9 million vehicles sold from 1986 through 1991 for Japanese-made seat belt defects, because of concerns the buckles sometimes jam or fail to latch or unlatch. NHTSA, which has been investigating the belts for nine months, says it received hundreds of complaints related to the belts, including some 90 injury reports. There are no reports of fatalities linked to the belts.

- April 1993: NHTSA asks General Motors to recall 4.7 million 1973-1987 full-size pickup trucks with side-mounted fuel tanks.

- Sept. 1987: Ford recalls 4.3 million 1986-1988 model cars, trucks and vans, including some of its most popular models. Ford says the recall follows 222 reports of engine fires caused by a failure of couplings used to connect fuel lines, which caused eight injuries.

- Feb. 1981: GM recalls 5.8 million 1978-1981 cars and light trucks for replacement of two bolts which could fail and send the vehicles out of control. The automaker says it had received reports of 27 accidents that resulted in 22 injuries, none of them serious.

- 1980: The U.S. government allows Ford to mail warning labels to owners of more than 20 million 1970-1980 cars and light trucks with automatic transmissions that can slip into reverse, thus avoiding the largest safety recall in automotive history. The dashboard stickers advise drivers not to leave the vehicle with the engine running, to use the parking brake and to make sure the transmission has been placed in park. However, NHTSA considers the warnings a recall. NHTSA finds that slipping transmissions caused 6,000 accidents resulting in 1,710 injuries and 98 deaths.

- 1973: GM recalls 3.7 million models of 1971-1972 cars due to engine shield problem that could cause stones to lodge in the steering mechanism.

- 1972: Ford recalls more than 4 million 1970-1971 models because the shoulder seat belts could break free of the buckle.

- 1971: GM recalls 6.7 million 1965-1969 various model Chevrolets, to fix faulty engine mounts.


Mr. President - Please step out of the spot light!

Yet again today, I see President Obama giving another news conference on the state of the health care debate and using it as an opportunity to admonish the Republican side of Congress for being the "No" party.  Upon see this, it turned out to be all I could handle and I finally snapped.  Screaming at the TV, frightening the dog, and sending the cats running, I, in no uncertain terms, asked the President to please shut up in my own characteristic way.

Seriously Mr. President, you get more media coverage than a Brittany Spears crotch shot!  When, oh when, will you give the TelePrompTer a break and take a step out of the media lime light?  We don't want to see your face every time we turn on the TV, nor do we want you using your characteristic phrases of "Let me be clear" or "Maybe I'm not fully explaining my position".  WE GOT IT!!!  We know what you meant and we know your intentions.  No matter how many times you get on TV, you will not change the public view.

According to the CBS News organization, (hardly an Obama hating news front), you have only spent 21 days of your first year in which you didn't give a public, or press, appearance.  21 days out of 365 that you weren't directly in the public eye!  Even YOU have to admit that may be a bit too much to handle.

In your first year, you've given 42 news conferences and 158 interviews, which is more than twice that of your predecessors combined.   Of those, you've used your beloved TelePrompTer a total of 178 times (177 1/2 if you take into account, that during your July 13th speech, one of them broke).  Is it simply impossible for you to give a speech without their aid?  Yet, ironic that your press secretary made fun of Sarah Palin for making notes on her hand considering the previous fact isn't it?  You've attended 28 political fund raisers (compared to GWB's 6) and 7 campaign rallies, all of which garnished media attention.  Of the 124 bills you've signed, you saw fit to ensure that 13 of them were public ceremonies.  Don't you think that your time as President would be better spent "presiding" rather than getting a spotlight tan?

Worst of all, in the large majority of these appearances, you've given the American people nothing new.  You continue down the same path of "Let me be clear", when it's abundantly clear that the people understand you.  You make no announcements of direction changes, of policy shifts, of any indication that you have heard the people and what they are trying to tell you.  You seem to believe that if you spend enough time invading our personal lives, that maybe we'll change our minds.

We won't!  We do not want what you are offering.  We are growing tired of seeing you every time we turn on the TV.   We can't open a news paper without seeing a story of you on the front page.  In fact, the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University states that number of stories regarding you appearing on the front page thru August 2009 equals 119,678 column inches or 9,973 column feet.  It's too damn much!

Of late, most of your appearances have been used to blame the Republicans for standing in the way of a health care plan that the people do not want!  You use phrases such as them being the "No party", that "Just saying no is not leading", and blaming the election of Scott Brown as a Republican effort to thwart your health care takeover.  In fact, that statement is what prompted my outrage.   I take you to be an educated man, in fact, the media has crammed that idea down my throat since you took office.  If that is true, then please tell me how you cannot see that the people are speaking and the Republicans ARE the ones that are listening and leading!?  Scott Brown ran on a promise to stop your health care plan and IT GOT HIM ELECTED!  How can you miss such a loud and resounding statement?  You admonish the Republicans for "just saying no", but that is exactly what the people want them to do with respect to health care, cap and trade, and frankly, most of your policies.   It amazes me that you can be so tone deaf to the American people to not see that you are traveling the wrong way with regards to public opinion.

Look, it's simple.  We do not want a media celebrity for our president, we want someone to lead.  We do not want a President that spends his days with public appearances full of broken promises, explanations for failure, condemnations of news outlets that disagree with him, or false accusations towards the opposing party, but instead someone who spends his time affecting change and making this country a better place.  You have made it clear that you are unable and unqualified for this job, so please do us, and yourself, a favor and quit wasting our time with your appearances.

Maybe, just maybe, if you spent less time reading your TelePrompTer and giving interviews about how your policies are just misunderstood, but instead actually spent time listening to the people who elected you, you might just get the point.   Forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting, cause as I sit here writing this, guess who is on TV again.

Toyota: In the eye of the Socialist storm

We've all heard about the "safety problems" surrounding the Japanese auto maker here of late.  The reports of sticking accelerator pedals and possible malfunctioning brakes have caused a media frenzy and it seems that everyone feels the need to weigh in.  Even the Secretary of Transportation Frank LaHood cautioned the American public that they "Should stop driving Toyota's immediately, until such time that they could be repaired", therein sparking a nationwide panic.

So my question to you is, why is this such a big deal?  Out of 1.8M cars, there were 52 complaints of of Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) regarding Toyota vehicles.  It should also be noted, that both GM and Chrysler were also blamed for SUA complaints and accidents, however, only Toyota issued a recall and is undergoing the scrutiny of the Fed.  Why could that be?

Admittedly, Toyota had more complaints than any other manufacturer, but the same gas pedals being noted as fault here, were also supplied by the same vendor to the other auto companies.  Seems strange that only Toyota would be called out and so quickly critiqued for a problem that seems to wash over many.  The real pain point is a report of a San Diego family that was unfortunately killed in a Lexus SUV due to SUA.  While the rumors that it was a stuck gas pedal helped fuel this controversy, it should be noted that the real cause of this horrendous accident are still under investigation and the cause is not known.

So being a responsible auto manufacturer, Toyota has recalled over 2M cars, a much wider net than required, and has shut down it's US plants and stopped selling 9 of it's most popular models until all issues are rectified, an action which is expected to cost the company $2.5B per month.  In addition, Congress has now announced that it will begin congressional safety hearings and investigations, while also considering civil suits against the manufacturer, which will surely be a huge boon to the plaintiff's bar,  a huge Obama administration ally.

Let us not forget that Toyota has built a reputation on building safe cars.  That 3/4's of all the models in their line up receive 5 star crash ratings on both side and front impacts.  So again, I ask you why?  Why is this case so public and why does it demand so much attention from the Fed?  Mistakes happen with complex machinery, as it has happened to millions of cars from all makers.  Toyota is taking the steps, at great financial burden to itself, to fix the issue, so why?

Need I remind you that, with the federal takeover of GM, Toyota is a direct competitor to GM and by proxy, the US government?  Do not forget that Toyota is Union-Free shop, whose workers choose year in and year out not to become union affiliated.  That the government take over of GM was a joint venture between the Fed and the UAW (United Auto Workers) union and that the UAW is huge lobbying force for the current administration?

What we are seeing here today is the perfect socialist storm.  This is proof positive of how markets will react when the government is considered an "owner" and backer of certain industries.  Surely no one can doubt that all the troubles plaguing Toyota now will be of great importance to GM.  Better yet, the Fed is in the perfect position to help foster this paranoia via government agents (Frank LaHood?) making declarations of the disastrous outcomes of merely driving these vehicles.   We have the beginnings of the Fed being able to legislate competitors out of the market via the use of congressional hearings, new "safety" regulations, and penalties that will be difficult for any manufacturer, save the government owned one, to comply by.  Lastly, what better way to push the ideal that union shops are better, when all this public outcry is pointed squarely at a non-union shop (but ignoring that the same issues exist on union made cars).

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, that no industry can compete against a government that controls the ability to regulate and legislate in a manner that supports and benefits government owned entity.  The federal government has seized onto a prime opportunity to further it's socialist agenda by pointing to a incident as proof that "we are better off when the government looks out for us".  It's crap and it makes me sick to see this happen.  Toyota is a good company and it is doing the right thing by casting such a huge umbrella to ensure it catches the issue, an issue who's cause is not fully known and still under investigation.  What comes next?  Government mandates that UAW members do safety checks, thus paving the way to require unionization in the plant?  The passage of specific penalties and laws aimed solely at one of the main competitors to the Federal auto industry in an effort to run Toyota out of the market?  Targeting the next manufacturer (BMW, Mazda) should they ever have to recall a vehicle, like all manufacturers do?

The fed has no place in this matter.  Had Toyota not performed the voluntary recall, had negligent fault been found, had Toyota chosen to ignore the problem, then yes; however this isn't the case.  The government is on a witch hunt to further it's socialistic principals and push for more control of the industry.  Don't fall victim to the false statements and hysteria being expelled by our government.  Realize that this is nothing more than yet another power grab by an out of control government.


E-Verify - Is it the solution to our immigration problems?

There is no question that illegal immigration is a growing problem within our country today.  We currently have hundred's of thousands coming across our borders every day and that number just seems to keep growing. 

So what is the answer?  Many are putting their faith in the E-Verify system that uses several governmental databases, most notably the Social Security Administration, to verify the employment status of potential workers.  While it sounds like a good idea, I must be honest and state, I've divided on it's legitimacy as a viable option.

My first, and most concerning point, is that this system puts the responsibility of detecting illegal workers on the shoulders of  businesses within America, turning them into bona-facto immigration officers.   In my opinion, the Federal Government has failed in one of it's main constitutional duties, which is  to "provide for the common defense" as dictated in the preamble.  Additionally, Article 4, Section 4 of the US Constitution clearly lays out the enumerated power of national defense by stating:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion;

However, it's clear to see that our border states are seeing an "invasion" of illegal immigrants that are cause to a clear and present danger to our economy and national sovereignty, yet the government's reaction and response has been severely lacking.  With the Federal Government failing in their role to prevent this invasion, E-verify appears to be a method in which to offset this responsibility to the American private enterprise.  

Rednex Note:  To be clear, I'm not speaking specifically of those of Mexican decent here, but of all illegal immigration which happens across our southern [and northern] borders. 

It's easy to see why the Democrats seek to end the E-verify program, as the increase in illegal immigrations adds to the pool of "zero-liability voters", who will most likely vote for the party as it pushes for increasing social welfare and entitlement programs.  Likewise, I see the Republican side as a method to help reduce the burden this invasion causes on our nation and it's citizen.  However, I think it seeks to cloud the true failure, which as I stated, is for the Federal government to perform it's enumerated duty of border protection and national defense as assigned by our Founders.  So to that end, I am automatically suspect of it's viability.

Secondly, I'm very concerned about the growth of power and scope of this program as it continues.  A foreseeable next step to this program would be the institution of a national ID program that could include things such as job, medical, and tax information, biometric recognition, and RFID chips to track movements and whereabouts.  I could see the combination of the National ID and the inclusion of the Social Security Administrations (SSA) database, being used as a method to track and control an American public.  In fact, the previous Dept. of Homeland Security director (DHS), Michael Chertoff, even made comment that he believed that the the SSA should be moved under his control.  If this were to happen,  what checks would be put in place to prevent the system from becoming one of governmental overbearance to control and track the populace?

Adding to this, what are the possible implications to an increase in identity theft crimes?  If we start making the information of the SSA the cement for the ability to work, would we not raise the profitability for criminal organizations to begin the counterfeiting of such information?  It's been noted that false documentation is already a mainstay of criminal enterprise, so what checks do we have in place to prevent an increase in fraud with this program?  It's my understanding that the system currently just does a check against name and social security number.  Therefore, in order to pass validation under e-verify, one would simply need to provide an existing name/number combination.  Social security cards aren't the most difficult of documents to falsify.  How many of you out there know where your card is now?  So, how does this system truly intend to prevent the spread of illegal workers and rise of identity crimes?

I think the real answer here is to allow the states, and their governors as they are closest to the issue, to help the federal government to address the underlying "security" issue.  First and foremost, allow state and local municipalities to provide for the deportation of illegal immigrants encountered during their duties.  If arrested for any offense, driving infractions, criminal, etc, and found to not be legal, they should be processed for deportation.   Secondly, provide an mechanism of reporting of illegal/suspect peoples wishing to utilize public services, such as hospitals, motor vehicle driver licenses, etc.  At some point, everyone requires the use of these services and it should be required to validate citizenship for eligibility to these services.  Should an illegal/suspect be found, only the care immediately required to the preservation of life administered (in the case of medical services).  After that, a method of deportation to originating state be provided.  Lastly, a reaffirmation of the point that the duty of border protection and national defense falls to the Federal government.  Our representatives need to stop the cowardly stance that speaking out on immigration reform will cost them votes in the next election.  Many blame the last election loss for the Republicans on the fact that they alienated the Latino vote by speaking out on immigration reform.  Several key party members have stated that, in order for the party to survive, that they must be open and accepting of the illegal's place in America.  Personally, I think this is a cop out and sacrifice of American safety.  The republicans wouldn't be worried about the loss of votes had the immigration problem not grown to the epidemic it is now.  The more that cross the border and depend on government entitlements for survival, the more votes gained by the Left regardless.  It's time to stand and defend the security of our borders.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the E-verify program should be dismissed [yet].  Currently, it is one of the best ways to combat this growing issue, however, as stated, I have concerns regarding the program.  I think it needs more investigation and control at the state level.  In addition, I think it's presence is detracting from the real issue, which is one of  Washington's failures in this area.  If illegal workers can cross our borders so easily, then what is the net being used to prevent terrorist, and those wishing us harm, from crossing at the same route.  With each day, this issue becomes more critical, either from a pure safety stance or from the harm that illegal aliens impose on our economy.  It's vital that our country secure our borders for both our preservation of liberty and security.  I have no problem with people seeking to come to America, it is the greatest nation in history, but in order to do so, they must abide by the legal process or be sent back.

Being divided on the issue, I'm open to comments and opinions, so feel free to post them below.  I would love to hear anyone's take on this.