Stephen Colbert-- Here.

Our "Vintage" Video Collection Click On Image

Our "Vintage" Video Collection Click On Image
Great Political Moments Caught For Your Pleasure

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Toyota Metaphor

After 50 years of growing a corporation, a brand, a reputation, Toyota went down. It went down rather quickly, but began to trip over its feet several months ago, and some might rightfully say years ago. Toyota became the most respected name in automotive manufacturing. Quality and reliability were its first names.

It went down due to continued outsourcing of its parts, lack of quality control, and possibly, over expansion. It began to over-plant its fields stripping the soil of its vital nutrients. Instead of manufacturing its own parts, it outsourced them to places where they were far from the corporation’s laboratories. They fell from grace because of a sticky gas pedal. Several months ago, its flagship brand, Lexus, rolled a car off its line, and into the hands of an unsuspecting owner who, along with two others, met their death because the gas pedal got stuck against the floor.

At first, the cause was said to be from the floor mat, so floor mats were recalled and modified. But the problem persisted. It got to the point where around 8 of Toyota’s brands were suspended from sales. Dealers were freaked out that they would be risking defaults on their loans they made to obtain cars. Mortgages on dealership buildings were at risk of defaults, too.

Consumers were trading in their Toyotas for models not at risk of a sticky pedal. Consumers were over-reacting and began to panic over what the company had not figured out. This is America. The land of the panicked, and home of the over-reacted. Be afraid!!! Be afraid of the sticky gas pedal. We must have our solutions right this damn minute. There is no time to waste. We want it now. Keep government out of my Medicare!

Toyota worked day and night with the gas pedal manufacturer once they realized the US consumer was ready to storm the dealerships and surround them with their Camrys, Corollas, Tacomas, and more. It was starting to get primitive, and looking like the cavalry surrounding the enemy. “Keep government out of my Medicare”, I heard confused, flustered and angry Teabaggers yelling out at the local Toyota service department representatives.

There were signs with “Obama” crossed out reading “Toyotacare: Seniors will be shovel ready!” I guess that meant they were ready to bury their Toyota. Here is another sign reading “Seems like Toyota (liberals crossed out) can sell (dish crossed out) it out, but can’t take it back. (Democrat and Republican crossed out) Toyota, Chevy, Chrysler: same sh*t different heap (pile crossed out).”

I guess I would have to say to anyone who is still driving their Toyota and worried, drive carefully!!! Drive more defensively. And drive with caution and with due diligence that at any moment you might have to shove it into neutral, pull it over, and cut the engine. Machines do screw up. There is no getting around it.

I find it a bit funny that Ray LaHood, President Obama’s transportation secretary, saying Toyota was a “little safety deaf” because it dragged its feet over its gas pedal problem. In this AP interview story titled “LaHood says Toyota slow to respond”:
"They should have taken it seriously from the very beginning when we first started discussing it with them," LaHood told AP. "Maybe they were a little safety deaf."
 AP wrote, LaHood also said the government was considering civil penalties for Toyota over its handling of the recalls but declined to elaborate. Sales fell 16 percent in January, hurt by Toyota's decision to halt sales while it sorted out a fix for problems with faulty gas pedals. Most other automakers reported sales gains for the month as the broader industry continued to show signs of improvement.
That problem prompted the company to recall 2.3 million vehicles two weeks ago in the United States. In October, Toyota recalled more than 4 million vehicles to replace floor mats that were suspected of causing accelerators to get stuck, leading to crashes. The recall has since grown to more than 5 million vehicles. Toyota has announced a separate fix for that problem, and parts for that repair are expected to arrive at dealerships beginning later this week. Beginning in 2003, the government conducted several investigations into reports of unwanted acceleration involving Toyota vehicles but failed to find any evidence that the vehicles were defective. When the government probed reports of floor mats in Lexus vehicles jamming gas pedals, Toyota said there was "no possibility of pedal interference" with the floor mats if they were placed properly and secured.
But a government survey of Lexus owners found dozens of reports of sudden acceleration and evidence that in some crashes owners had pressed hard on the brakes but failed to stop the vehicles. The investigation led Toyota to recall an accessory all-weather floor mat for 55,000 Lexus vehicles in September 2007.
The problems grew last August when a California Highway Patrol officer and three family members were killed in a high-speed crash aboard a 2009 Lexus ES350. The Lexus hit speeds exceeding 120 mph, struck a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames as a family member called 911.
Toyota hopes a small steel insert the size of a postage stamp will solve problems with friction that are blamed for the potential glitch. Dealers said they expected to receive parts for the fix starting Wednesday. LaHood said the Toyota recalls "may be the most serious safety issue that we have faced here at DOT" during his tenure. "This is a big deal, this is a big safety issue," LaHood said. (End)

Toyota was legally required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to stop selling the cars that were at risk of gas pedal failure.

Wow! If only Goldman Sachs were told by the Treasury to stop selling securities and derivatives until they reduced their leveraging, and held more capital reserves before selling a single at-risk investment, and required all transactions be made in the open market then our president might have some sharper teeth when he bites back today!

Now, if only George W. Bush and President Obama had handled this Toyota incident in the same way as our economy, maybe the economy would be running safer and smoother.

Ray LaHood claimed this mechanical failure was a big deal and a big safety issue. Well, I would say that so was the economic and financial hijacking of our economy by the banking mobsters, such as Goldman Sachs, and AIG, Bank of America, and Wachovia, and the rest of the ‘too-big-to-failure’ bankstas.

But our rescue of the economic “big deal” was handled not for the consumer and the middle class investor saving for retirement, but for the richest 1% of the corporate elite, or the ‘corporate totalitelites’. Did the government tell the Bankstas to go out and find their own fix; to find their own financing? No. The fix was in for them. Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Bush, and Tim Geithner, and now Obama handed them the crazy glue in the form of TARP, and other Treasury and Federal Reserve bailouts totaling a support structure of $23 trillion, and Senators Chris Dodd and Barney Frank’s Senate Banking Committee have now agreed to offer another $4T if they need another bailout.

Now, Paul Volcker has made a strong recommendation to President Obama how to fix his “broken gas pedal problem” by, once again, separating out banks from investment houses and creating regulation that works. But, Geithner seems to be saying that is a bad idea and will cause a storm in the financial markets, even though that is what caused it in the first place, and the markets have been rallying because there are no regulations to speak of.

LaHood says the Toyota sticking gas pedal incident is the most serious safety issue seen at DOT. How about we rephrase that and say that the mega-banks feeding from the public trough, not abiding by government regulations, buying Congressional legislators and Bush43 to make laws that assisted their looting process, being over-leveraged, and under-capitalized during the time when they were selling fake securities to unknowing “Johns” who were caught with their pants down, while making huge piles of billions of dollars as they engaged in the destruction of the Real Economy by sending investment capital overseas to build Chinese manufacturing plants so as to make cheap stuff they could then export back to the unemployed American worker. 

Wow, Ray LaHood, wouldn’t you say that what I just described out-does ya? How about that what I just described has ended up being the biggest national security issue to face the US government?

Maybe the fix would have been a bit more complex that a postage stamp piece of metal, but just as you had gone over to Japan to express your concern on behalf of the American consumer, had our government leaders went into the offices of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and the other banksta CEO mobsters and told them that they were responsible for their own fixing so that the consumer would be safe and protected, otherwise they would have to go into bankruptcy court, and the FDIC would then step in break up the bloated behemoths into smaller pieces as the government protected the consumer’s investments. Then an investigation into possible crimes would then proceed.

This did not happen. Instead, Geithner, Bernanke, and Paulson made fabulous deals with these bankstas protecting their wealth and balance sheets, as well as the opportunities to pay huge bonuses during a time of economic hardship. Oh well. Just Keep Government Out Of My Medicare. That is all I want!!!

Just as millions of consumers were at risk of death and/or injury from the gas pedal defects, more Americans were taken down by the financial banking mobsters, to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, than by this single car company, and the reverberations worldwide were much more powerful than aftershocks, yet our government reacted with more force and hyper-diligence to protect the consumer from risk of harm caused by a sticky gas pedal than we have seen over what many have coined the Second Depression.

Thanks Ray LaHood for making it clear that Toyota has been more important to consumers than this economic recession. I appreciate it, and feel better already.
So, is my Medicare looking freedom-like yet?

Thanks for reading, jerry