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The General Motors Ignition Switch Debacle

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  • Was General Motors reckless in its decision not to recall these vehicles of death sooner because it put profits over people's lives?
    • Part 1: "A Culture of Timidity": Ralph Nader on How Regulators Ignored a GM Safety Defect Tied to 13 Deaths
    • Part 2: General Motors Cover-ups Result in Motor Vehicle Deaths, and Workplace Abuses in Colombia

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Mike-Thompson-Did-GM-put-profits-over-people- Mike Thompson 

Part 1: "A Culture of Timidity": Ralph Nader on How Regulators Ignored a GM Safety Defect Tied to 13 Deaths

Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | After hundreds of complaints and 13 deaths, the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into how the nation’s largest automaker, General Motors, may have covered up deadly safety defects in its compact cars. Six GM models made from 2003 to 2007 suddenly turned off while being driven — leaving drivers with no engine power, no power steering, no breaks and no air bags. For 11 years, GM reportedly treated the defect as a matter of customer satisfaction, not safety. Federal regulators also failed to take action, declining to investigate despite a flood of complaints. GM finally announced a massive recall of some 1.6 million vehicles last month. We speak with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who is no stranger to GM. After writing "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," he won a major settlement against the auto giant for spying on him and trying to discredit him. Nader faults what he calls "a culture of timidity" in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "bred by the lack of backing by the Bush White House and, to some similar extent, by the Obama White House." He adds: "That of course leads to a reluctance to follow up on the evidence, to stand tall for the American motorist. That is not why we established the auto safety agency in 1966, so maybe this will help turn it around. Often it takes a tragedy like this to turn it around."

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel). 

Full story (audio and transcript)…

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Part 2: General Motors Cover-ups Result in Motor Vehicle Deaths, and Workplace Abuses in Colombia

Colombian autoworkers take fight to the U.S.

Frank Hammer, Portside

RJ Matson  

March 28, 2014 | Media reports are exposing that GM was aware for over a decade of a design flaw in 1.6 million vehicles which led to upwards of 300 fatalities before announcing a recall of those vehicles.  Though GM re-engineered the part in 2007, it didn't issue a recall until February, 2014.  Meanwhile, complaints were piling up from drivers who suddenly lost engine power causing the power steering, brakes, and airbags to fail.  12 deaths have already been attributed to a faulty ignition switch.  GM explained that it didn't recall the cars because drivers could still maneuver them manually and even turn the ignition back on!

How GM blew off the complaints, injuries, and deaths was no surprise to a group of ex-GM autoworkers from a Chevrolet assembly plant in Bogota, Colombia.   They, too, were victims of GM's disregard for safety - not on the road - but in the workplace.  Workers at their factory routinely suffered disabling injuries to their spines, shoulders and wrists from the intense work pace, 60-80 hour work weeks, the very physical nature of the work, and lack of workplace health and safety standards.  This was particularly true for workers who operated bulky, heavy welding guns, or manually lifted car bodies, or carried transaxles on their backs.

Frank Hammer is a retired GM employee, a board member of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, and a former UAW-GM International Representative living in Detroit.

Full story…https://portside.org/2014-03-29/general-motors-cover-ups-result-motor-ve...

Food Stamps Don't Keep Walmart's Prices Low; They Keep Its Profits High

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  • The truth is that Walmart and all the other large and profitable retailersfast food companies, and other corporations that fatten their bottom line by letting the public feed their employees have made a business decision to shrink their payroll on the taxpayer's dime. It's up to us to decide whether to continue allowing them to do it.
  • Walmart Stumbles on SNAP; Warns of Lost Profits

Amy Traub, Huffington Post

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/n-452489609-large570.jpg Robyn Beck via Getty Images

04/04/2014 | "The same company that brings in the most food stamp dollars in revenue -- an estimated $13 billion last year -- also likely has the most employees using food stamps."

The name of the mammoth food stamp-reliant company is no secret: Walmart.

As journalist Krissy Clark notes in Marketplace's valuable new series "The Secret Life of the Food Stamp," Walmart benefits from food stamps in multiple ways, as taxpayers both underwrite the company's food sales and also subsidize its payroll costs. 

Amy TraubSenior Policy Analyst at Demos

Full story…

Related:

Walmart Stumbles on SNAP; Warns of Lost Profits, kavips, Daily Kos

  • Retail Food is a huge engine of our economy. Putting water into the gasoline that feeds that sector, will have dire consequences,of which we are beginning to now see.  Wal*mart and other grocers need to get active on the Hill now, lobby against any SNAP cuts in the Farm Bill, threaten to withdraw funding for all rural conservative candidates,.. or face a rather dismal, ten year slump.....
  • Everyday Low Wages at Walmart: Brought to You by Government Policy

The Kochs’ Fig Leaf

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  • Americans For Prosperity Fesses Up To Their Dirty Agenda
  • The Koch’s goal is to keep the economic deck stacked in their favor and that means a government that only work for the wealthiest. And they will spend whatever it takes to protect their bottom line.
  • Series | Class War for Idiots, Part 1: The Roots of Stalin in the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party Movement

Think Progress

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Jeff%20Danziger%20%7C%20Koch%20Brothers-%20Spewing%20Their%20Garbage%20Against%20Us.jpg  March 21, 2014 | Billionaires Charles and David Koch — who made their vast fortune through oil, gas and other energy related industries – continue to spread their wealth to benefit their own agenda. Their political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity have already spent tens of millions of dollars on ad campaigns attacking Democrats for support the Affordable Care Act. And today we found out why: Not because they care about health care, but to prevent action on climate change and protect their financial bottom lines. Their actions don’t stop at the federal level though. They’ve also been launching state fights in Kansas, Michigan and others. Below are just some highlights of where the Kochs are working to build a government that only works for the wealthiest.

Koch-Backed Americans For Prosperity Admit Their Anti-Obamacare Ads Are Really About Preventing Action on Climate Change And Helping Their Bottom Line. The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity have spent around $30 million in attack ads against Democrats in 2014 with the majority of those ads attacking Obamacare. Despite a public focus on attacking health care, the aim is really about protecting their bottom line and fighting against climate change, regulations and the government. Today in the New York Times, AFP head Tim Phillips admitted “We have a broader cautionary tale. The president’s out there touting billions of dollars on climate change. We want Americans to think about what they promised with the last social welfare boondoggle and look at what the actual result is.” The Koch’s have significant interest in reducing “big government”, particularly reductions in carbon pollution from power plants, oil refineries and other sources, since they have billions of dollars invested in energy, transportation and manufacturing. Even yesterday, a Koch subsidiary was fined by the Department of Justice for pollution violations and required to spend $45 million on upgrades.

Think Progress is an editorially independent, non-partisan, progressive project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Full story…

Related:

Series | Class War for Idiots, Part 1: The Roots of Stalin in the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party Movement, Yasha Levine, The eXiled Online

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  • The Koch family, America's biggest financial backers of the Tea Party, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the godless empire of the USSR.
  • A People's History of Koch Industries 
  • The Great American Class War
  • We Are In a Class War

BP raises estimate of Lake Michigan oil spill

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  • “This spill raises questions about the long-term safety and reliability of BP’s new, expanded production at Whiting,” US Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk said. They are among officials demanding more aggressive action from BP to prevent additional spills.
  • BP found another shady way to cheat public, get richer.
  • Four Years After Gulf Oil Spill, BP Is Recovering Faster Than Environment

Michael Hawthorne, Chicago (IL) Tribune

Cafe%20Latte%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpg If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

chi-oil-spill-2-20140325/1024 Crews clean up an oil spill along Lake Michigan in Whiting, Ind. — E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune

March 28, 2014 | BP today more than doubled its maximum estimate of how much crude oil spilled into Lake Michigan earlier this week from its Whiting refinery in Northwest Indiana.

In a statement, the company said a malfunction in a new distillation unit forced up to 39 barrels or 1,638 gallons of oil into the lake just across the Illinois border. A day earlier, the company had estimated that 18 barrels at most had been spilled.

Michael Hawthorne: Chicago (IL) Tribune reporter

Full story…

Related:

BP found another shady way to cheat public, get richer, John Upton, Grist

  • sign-btn.png  Misrepresentation. Fraud. Unjust enrichment.
  • Sign the petition. Stop BP from Profiting at Minnesota’s Expense

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Four Years After Gulf Oil Spill, BP Is Recovering Faster Than Environment, Miyoko Sakashita, Huffington Post

  • Despite the ongoing carnage, little has been done to tighten oversight necessary to prevent similar spills in the future.
  • BP found another shady way to cheat public, get richer.

Four Years After Gulf Oil Spill, BP Is Recovering Faster Than Environment

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  • Despite the ongoing carnage, little has been done to tighten oversight necessary to prevent similar spills in the future.
  • BP found another shady way to cheat public, get richer.
  • Special Project | Ecological Disasters: Week Ending March 30, 2014

Miyoko Sakashita, Huffington Post

Cafe%20Latte%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpg If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

banner-oilspill.jpg 03/26/2014 | Nearly four years after the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion dumped more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the slate has been largely cleared for BP -- the EPA ban on federal contracts has been lifted, and the company is free once again to bid on federal oil and gas leases.

But as a new study published this week makes clear, we're only beginning to understand the spill's devastating long-term implications for the region's sea life. 

r-GULF-OIL-SPILL-CLEANUP-large570.jpgMiyoko Sakashita, Oceans Director, Center for Biological Diversity

Full story…

Related:

BP found another shady way to cheat public, get richerJohn Upton, Grist

  • Misrepresentation. Fraud. Unjust enrichment.
  • Sign the petition. Stop BP from Profiting at Minnesota’s Expense.

 

 

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Special Project | Ecological Disasters: Week Ending March 30, 2014, David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

  • Climate change is real and poses a threat to every living thing on the earth. 
  • 9 New Items including:
    • Four Years After Gulf Oil Spill, BP Is Recovering Faster Than Environment
    • BP found another shady way to cheat public, get richer
    • Fukushima Fallout: Ailing U.S. Sailors Sue TEPCO After Exposure to Radiation 30x Higher Than Normal
    • The Crime of the Century
    • Canada vastly underestimated the tar sands’ cancer-causing toxicants
    • This man wants you to know the truth about Fukushima
    • How to Reverse a Slow-Motion Apocalypse
    • BP and Chevron accused of dumping toxic radioactive waste into Lousiana swamps
    • Keystone Pipeline: 125 Dents & other damage already! 

 

 

Minneapolis and the siren song of economic impact

  • Perhaps, however, we should resist the "sweet enchantment" of those economic projections, take them with a pinch of salt or at least try to understand what they mean.
  • Here’s Minnesota’s game plan to land the Super Bowl — but is it worth it?
  • Here's How The NFL Makes A Killing Off Of Taxpayers

Marlys Harris, MinnPost

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NicolletMallGrovesRedesign640.jpg Rendering of the "Nicollet Groves" area of a Nicollet Mall redesign. James Corner Field Operations Team

03/25/14 | It barely matters what the idea is — a new transit line, a baseball field, a hospital, an apartment complex, a widened road or expanded sewer system. Many of us, like terrible 2-year-olds, react with a petulant "no."    

But that resistance is often overwhelmed by the sweet yoo-hoo of the economic-impact study. Generally, one comes with each new proposal for civic improvement. Almost invariably, it predicts that the new project, whatever it is, will produce goodies beyond compare — jobs in the hundreds or thousands, spending in the millions, higher real-estate values and plushy tax revenues. Impressed, we say, "OK, let's do it."

A Minnesota native, Marlys Harris has been an investigative reporter and editor with specialties in consumer protection and finance for Money Magazine and Consumer Reports. 

Full story…

Related:

Here’s Minnesota’s game plan to land the Super Bowl — but is it worth it?

Briana Bierschbach, MinnPost 

VikingsStadiumFireworks640.jpg The new stadium isn’t built yet, but the plan is to have it finished by 2016 and Super Bowl-ready two years later. / Minnesota Vikings

01/30/14 | There are a few key ingredients to winning a Super Bowl in your home state. First get a handful of prominent business leaders in the mix, followed by the ringing endorsement of local and statewide politicians. Then bring up the fancy restaurants, convention centers and hotel rooms and raise a few million dollars. Last but not least, throw in a new football stadium.  

That’s the blueprint Gov. Mark Dayton and an all-new Super Bowl committee are working from as they aim to bring the 2018 game to the Vikings stadium in Minneapolis. The new stadium isn’t built yet, but the plan is to have it finished by 2016 and Super Bowl-ready two years later. By that time, it will have been more than 25 years since the football spectacle was held in Minnesota.

Briana Bierschbach reports on public affairs, higher education, politics and other important topics and issues in the news. 

Full story...

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Series | Super Bowl XLVIII Illustrated, Part Four: the concussion defense, Jason Novak and Mike Duncan, theguardian.com

  • The final installment in a four-part series
  • Series | Super Bowl XLVIII Illustrated, Part Three: the great pinkwash 
  • Series | Super Bowl XLVIII Illustrated, Part Two: the stadium swindle
  • Series | Super Bowl XLVIII Illustrated, Part One: the NFL gameplan
  • Here's How The NFL Makes A Killing Off Of Taxpayers

Don't Let Corporate Lobbyists Speak for You on Minimum Wage

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  • Don’t let the US Chamber of Commerce and corporate lobbyists against a raise speak for you.
  • Why Costco?

Holly and Bob, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage

If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

End%20Corporate%20Greed%20Occupy.jpg February 22, 2014 | From Costco, Eileen Fisher, Dansko, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, Organic Valley, and New Belgium Brewing to Zingerman’s, UnCommon Goods, ABC Home, Parnassus Investments, Longfellow Clubs and Vintage Vinyl – businesses big and small are signing the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement supporting a minimum wage increase. Won’t you join us today?

Today’s $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is the same as it was in 1950 and a third less than in 1968, adjusting for inflation. We can’t build a strong economy on a falling floor. Workers are also consumers. Today’s minimum wage impoverishes working families and undermines the consumer demand that businesses depend on to survive and grow. Instead of raising wages, Walmart, McDonald’s and other low-paying companies are pointing workers to charity and public assistance.

Take%20Action%20button%20with%20arrows.jpgWould you sign the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement in favor of gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016? Or, if you already signed, help spread the word!

The more business people publicly FOR a minimum wage increase, the stronger our likelihood of success. Don’t let the US Chamber of Commerce and corporate lobbyists against a raise speak for you.

Click here to Tell a Friend

  • Sample Tweet: [your biz or biz org], Costco, Eileen Fisher, big & sm biz signing @MinimumWageBiz petition to raise minimum wage-Join us! #raisethewage bit.ly/187FFui
  • Sample Facebook Post: Momentum is building for a minimum wage raise with [Your biz or biz organization here], Costco, Eileen Fisher, New Belgium Brewing, Ben & Jerry’s, Dansko footwear, Seventh Generation, Organic Valley, ABC Home, Zingerman’s, UnCommon Goods, Vintage Vinyl and a growing number of businesses and business alliances voicing support. 
  • Check out the issue and if you are a business owner or executive join us by signing the business statement here

Current Federal Signers

Thank you very much!

Related:

images/costco_wholesale_214_64.pngWhy Costco? Peter Dreier, Huffington Post

  • 01/29/2014 | On Wednesday, on the heels of his landmark State of the Union speech about income inequality, President Barack Obama will be touring a Costco store in Lanham, Maryland. Why Costco and not Walmart, which is a much bigger and better-known discount retailer?
  • The answer is that Costco's labor practices help reduce income inequality while Walmart's labor practices widen it. Yes, Walmart is better-known, but what it's known for is low wages and abusive labor practices.

The Real Welfare Queens

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  • Most of the political rhetoric about dependency is punitively aimed at the poor. That’s because, unlike the huge corporations receiving all those subsidies, the poor don’t have armies of lobbyists and truckloads of campaign contributions.
  • A new report shows corporations like Koch Industries have gotten billions in government subsidies.
  • Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic?, Part II
  • Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic?, Part I
  • Duluth doctors: PolyMet study skips health impacts

David Sirota, In These Times

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Corporate%20Welfare%20Piggy%20Bank.jpg February 28, 2014 | Remember when President Obama was lambasted for saying “you didn't build that”? Turns out he was right, at least when it comes to lots of stuff built by the world’s wealthiest corporations. That’s the takeaway from this week’s new study of 25,000 major taxpayer subsidy deals over the last two decades.

Entitled “Subsidizing the Corporate One Percent,” the report from the taxpayer watchdog group Good Jobs First shows that the world’s largest companies aren’t models of self-sufficiency and unbridled capitalism. To the contrary, they’re propped up by billions of dollars in welfare payments from state and local governments. 

David Sirota is a staff writer for PandoDaily, television commentator and nationally syndicated weekly newspaper columnist and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Wired, Vice, The Nation, and Salon.com. He covers the intersection of politics, technology and popular culture.

End%20Corporate%20Greed%20Occupy.jpg Full story…

 

Related:

Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic?, Part II, Gary G. Kohls, Duty to Warn

  • Experienced psychologists tell us that sociopathic individuals that have committed crimes have to be locked away or otherwise isolated to protect society from them.
  • Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic?, Part I

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Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic?, Part IGary G. KohlsDuty to Warn

In 2010 the NeoConservative, pro-corporate, anti-democratic Roberts’ 5/4 Supreme Court’s decided in the  Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling to grant personhood to corporations by allowing unlimited, anonymous monetary contributions to political campaigns and candidates. This ruling, called by many to be the worst Supreme Court decision of the past century, has emboldened the already powerful and corruptible multinational corporations (that now have achieved dominion over US politics as well as the economy) to “buy” any number of politicians and brain-wash voters by multi-million dollar ad campaigns that the rest of us can’t afford to counter in state and national elections.

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Duluth doctors: PolyMet study skips health impacts, John Myers, St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press

  • The 19 health care professionals say the state and federal agencies conducting environmental impact statement "have not been clear about the health impacts that sulfide mining will have on the people of northeastern Minnesota and visitors to the region."
  • Take action to stop PolyMet from getting a permit!

 

 

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