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Thread: It ought to make people angry

  1. #1

    Exclamation It ought to make people angry

    Silence of the Lambs?

    By eric - March 3, 2017

    You’d think maybe he killed someone.

    Oliver Schmidt is facing 169 years in prison.

    Earlier this week, the 48-year-old German national was frog-marched before the judge who will preside over his coming criminal trail, shackled at the ankles and waist, wearing an orange, Hannibal Lector-style one-piece jumpsuit.

    All that was missing, really, was the face mask.

    That – and a victim.

    Schmidt is one of several VW executives implicated in the diesel “cheating” scandal. He is the former chief of the now-writhing-on-the-floor, hoping-for-mercy German car company’s Environmental and Engineering Center in Detroit. VW has thrown him – and six other executives and engineers – under the bus, having already agreed to plead guilty to multiple felony counts.

    Not one of them identifying a single specific victim.

    This is routine. Which doesn’t make it any less bizarre.

    169 years in prison is a sentence harsher than the one meted out to Charles Manson (he has been up for parole several times already) and most run-of-the-mill killers, who generally serve about 20 years.

    And they actually killed someone.

    If Schmidt gets half the 169 years, he will spend the rest of his natural life behind bars.

    What was his “crime” again?

    He stands accused of attempted murder . . . of The Law.

    And not even that, really.

    A regulation.

    An EPA-issued fatwa regarding acceptable levels of exhaust emissions. VW – well, Schmidt and the six other fall guys – traduced the EPA’s regulatory standards by programming or otherwise adjusting the ECU (the computer that controls the engine) of TDI diesel-powered VWs to pass the emissions tests required for certification prior to sale, but revert to more mileage-and-performance-friendly programming that resulted in slightly, imperceptibly, higher-than-allowed emissions once out on the road.

    That’s it.

    Which, by the way, is industry practice.

    The car companies “build to the test,” meaning – they program the computers and set up the engines and transmissions to score the best-possible numbers on the government’s tests.

    Even if, out in the real world, they operate differently.

    Example: Automatic transmissions – the latest having eight, nine or even ten speeds – are programmed to upshift to the highest gears (which are all overdrive gears) to squeeze out the maximum-possible mileage (and soon, the least carbon dioxide “emissions” – that’s another rant) by cutting engine revs to the minimum. In some cars, the engine actually cuts itself off to coast at times. But out in the real world, without a Faberge Egg under the accelerator, the engine stays on and the transmission downshifts to keep the car moving at a decent clip – and from struggling to keep up.

    Your mileage (and carbon “emissions”) will vary.

    So why was VW singled out for a 1600s-style witch hunt? Because it was too blatant about its “cheating.” They admitted it. The execs should have said: Whoops! Our software must’ve had a glitch. We’ll fix that…

    Kind of like – very much like – telling a cop you “didn’t realize how fast you were going” when you drove through his radar trap.

    Now, there are two interesting aspects to this business. The first being, of course, the lack of any specific flesh-and-blood victim. It is very, very strange that you can put a man in prison for 169 years for affronting a regulation. That the punishment for such is more severe than that routinely meted out for actual crimes – those in which a flesh-and-blood human being has been brutalized, even killed.

    This tells us in a very direct, no-nonsense way that the government is a lot less worried about murder and rape and suchlike than it is about people who defy its authority.

    The extreme harshness of Schmidt’s prospective sentence and the billions of dollars in economic punishment rained down on VW the company ought to make this crystal clear.

    Have the shysters who run the “Federal” Reserve and who cynically, deliberately manipulate the currency to make their fortunes while ruining the fortunes of countless millions ever been criminally prosecuted?

    When the economy grenaded back in ’08 and serial financial criminality on Wall Street was found to be directly responsible, was anyone responsible looking down the barrel of 169 years in prison?

    George Bush gleefully admitted to having people tortured on his say-so. Today he paints John Wayne Gacy-style watercolors in Texas.

    Bear in mind the Supreme Court’s enunciation that law enforcement (the right term; as opposed to peace officers, which are not wanted) has no specific duty to protect the life of any individual citizen, or even his property. The thing the government – and the courts – are protective of is their prerogative.

    “The law” must be obeyed.

    It’s not much different, really, than it was in Henry VIII’s day, when men like Thomas More lost their heads not for any crime – properly speaking – but for less-than-genuflecting before the absolute authority of the sovereign. It’s no less scary because, in our time, the genuflecting is demanded of us not by a single absolute despot but rather by a beehive of them.

    It may be worse – because there’s no focal point. The tyranny of bureaucracy rather than of one man.

    This brings up another thing in the case of poor Schmidt, et al.

    Who empowered the EPA to legislate?

    Congress – the legislative branch of the government – did not write any laws regarding “bins” and “tiers” defining acceptable and not-acceptable levels of exhaust emissions. EPA ayatollahs – self-appointed – did. They are called regulations rather than laws, but it is a distinction without difference.

    Like laws, regulations must be obeyed – or else.

    Regulations have the same throw weight. As Schmidt, et al, are learning.

    But, again: Who empowered the EPA – an “administration” – to legislate? It wasn’t Congress, which hasn’t got the constitutional authority to offload its legislative function onto unelected bureaucrats. No one within the EPA’s secular mosque was elected to their office. The ayatollas within are no more accountable to the voters than the bearded, ululating mullahs of Mecca.

    It’s a key point – if this business about “consent of the governed” is anything more than Orwellian doublespeak.

    Did you ever vote for “bins” and “tiers”? Did your congressman or senator? If not, what legitimacy do these “bins” and “tiers” have? There is a complete disconnect between the supposed democratic process we’re instructed to reverence and the authoritarian insolence of these unelected, almost all-powerful minions within “administrations” and “agencies” such as the EPA.

    Innocent men like Schmidt – who hasn’t even been accused of hurting a specific anyone – face ruin and life in a cell – because bureaucrats have been affronted.

    Meanwhile, the real criminals – inside and outside the apparat – pretty much do as they please.

    It ought to make people angry.

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  3. #2
    But it won't. Zippy and his ilk are cheering it on.
    * Enforce Border Security – America should be guarding her own borders and enforcing her own laws instead of policing the world and implementing UN mandates.

    * No Amnesty - The Obama Administration’s endorsement of so-called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, will only encourage more law-breaking.

    * Abolish the Welfare State – Taxpayers cannot continue to pay the high costs to sustain this powerful incentive for illegal immigration. As Milton Friedman famously said, you can’t have open borders and a welfare state.

    * End Birthright Citizenship – As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be granted U.S. citizenship, we’ll never be able to control our immigration problem.

    Reprinted from [Nov. 29, 2011]

  4. #3
    Truly disgusting.
    My website:

    "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ~ Charles Dickens

  5. #4
    Hell yeah, it makes us angry!

    Obviously, he should have avoided that by ponying up to the proper politicians. This is what you get in Amerika when you don't lobby properly. In an industry heavily involved in cronyism, you either play or pay.
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  6. #5
    VW had to pay out..what? $4.5 Billion in fines for having some exhaust farts. Takata's airbags actually killed people and were fined $70 million.

    Witch hunt, indeed.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    Hell yeah, it makes us angry!

    Obviously, he should have avoided that by ponying up to the proper politicians. This is what you get in Amerika when you don't lobby properly. In an industry heavily involved in cronyism, you either play or pay.
    The engineer who was told to do this either directly or indirectly by his superiors? You think they can bribe politicians? The company would just get a different engineer to do this if he didn't do it. This is what happens when companies tell employees to do X Y Z when only two of those are possible at any given time, employees cheat or the company hires someone else to do it and cheat.

  8. #7
    I feel safer. /s

    A judge has sentenced a Volkswagen senior manager to seven years in prison for covering up a scheme to evade pollution limits on US diesel vehicles, calling it an astonishing fraud on American consumers. Oliver Schmidt, who is the second person to be sent to prison over the scandal, was dispatched to the US from Germany in 2015 to meet with suspicious California regulators, the AP reports. But he didn't disclose rogue software that had long fooled authorities into believing that VW was meeting emissions rules on nearly 600,000 vehicles. He also misled American investigators and destroyed documents. US District Judge Sean Cox called Schmid, former general manager of VW's US engineering and environmental office, a "key conspirator" in the deception.

    "I'm sure, based upon common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as an opportunity to shine—to climb the corporate ladder at VW," Cox said Wednesday. The diesel vehicles were programmed to trigger certain pollution results only during testing, not during regular road use. Schmidt, 48, was arrested in Miami in January while trying to return to Germany after a vacation. He's been in custody without bond. "I accept the responsibility for the wrong I committed," Schmidt told the judge. Engineer James Liang cooperated with the FBI and was sentenced to 40 months in prison last summer. Six others at VW or Audi were charged, but they are in Germany and out of reach of US authorities.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    This intellectually stimulating conversation is the reason I keep coming here.

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