Kill People, No Problem… Just Don’t “Cheat” Uncle

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A VW engineer may be going to prison – and has already been professionally (and probably personally) ruined… for having “cheated” the EPA. Which is like expelling a picked-on kid who outsmarted the playground bully.

Which, of course, is what often happens now.

Whether it’s the schoolyard bully – or the EPA (or other “agencies” of Uncle) – we are supposed to take it, never resist it – and may the motor gods have mercy upon you if you ever “cheat” it.

The engineer’s name is James R. Liang. He’s worked for VW since 1983, but not anymore. Bye-bye career (and pension) and hello Federal prison. Which he’s facing on account of having been a member of the engineering team that developed “defeat” software for VW’s TDI diesel engines. The software made the engines “compliant” when emissions tested by Uncle but less-than-compliant when driven by customers.

As I’ve written about several times before, this sounds bad but really isn’t. The EPA’s tests are both arbitrary and Pecksniffian – meaning much ado about not much. The media continues to parrot the line that VW’s diesel engines produced “up to 40 times” more pollution (specifically, oxides of nitrogen) than the EPA’s standards permitted.    

Maybe so. But – so what?

It continues to boggle sensible minds (if any still exist) that EPA hasn’t had to produce any evidence that harm has been caused by this. Not one crying baby, even. Probably because the “up to 40 times more” the media keeps squawking about amounts to less than 1 percent’s difference in the composition of the “cheating” car’s exhaust gasses.

The only thing that’s been established is that VW “cheated” – which is a legalism.

The German officers who conspired to get rid of the Fuhrer in July of 1944 were certainly guilty under the law. But did they do wrong? History has vindicated them (too late for them, of course).

Maybe events will be kinder to Liang. Maybe it will occur to his lawyers to ask the Never Asked Question: Where is the victim of this alleged crime?

Just one.

Arguing anything else is a loser. VW, via painful-looking public hairshirted writhings,has already admitted to “cheating” EPA. Now it is just a question of begging for mercy – which will never be given. EPA is like Al Sharpton who has found a “racist.”

Never forgive. Never shut up.

Liang himself has already begged for mercy – and is cooperating with Uncle’s Inspector Javerts in exchange (he hopes) for “leniency” when he is eventually sentenced for “violating U.S. clean air laws” and “conspiring to commit wire fraud.” The indictment handed down against him states that Liang and other engineers at VW “…quickly realized the diesel engines they were designing for vehicles target at the U.S. market could not meet government clean air standards while appealing to customers.”

Italics added.

Yes, exactly. VW’s “crime” was building engines that appealed to its customers – rather than building them to placate EPA. For this “crime,” Liang will probably spend time in a prison cell. It may not be hard-core prison and he may “get away” with house arrest, an ankle bracelet and probation – along with a healthy does of financial ruin and (as a result of all the foregoing) a ruined marriage. But consider his fate as opposed to some of the Wall Street crony capitalists of the Late Implosion (back in ’08) who caused actual harm to millions of people and who for the most part walked away with not so much as a parking ticket and in many cases, a golden parachute strapped to their backs.

And what about the war criminals in the government – the same government that is hounding engineers like Liang – who (The Chimp, for instance) are directly responsible for the calculated, deliberate murder of tens of thousands of people (low estimate) and who now (as The Chimp likes to) sit at home doing watercolors?

These actual harms triggered no consequence to speak of. Because their perpetrators did not commit the only crime that Uncle will not tolerate: Failing to obey.

That is Liang’s – and VW’s – fatal offense. They could have designed and sold shoddy cars that resulted in accidents and fatalities – actual harm caused to actual real people – and the worst that would have happened would have been recalls and lawsuits. They’d have lost some money, perhaps. But it is not likely anyone would have been criminally prosecuted.

Speaking of which: Ever wonder why that old bag Joan Claybrook (and Elizabeth Dole, wife of Bob, who, as Secretary of Transportation back in the ’80s, was also directly responsible for the harm that ensued) were never indicted for getting people killed by forcing the first-generation air bags onto the market, even though they knew ahead of time – because the engineers told them – that these bags were not just potentially but assuredly dangerous to small children, older people and people generally?

These bags – which were not “de-powered” and lacked sensors in the seats to adjust the force of deployment based on the weight of the occupant, to reduce (but not eliminate) the potential harm caused by the force of the bag’s explosive deployment – did in fact kill and maim. Real people were really hurt.

But Claybrook and Dole were never held accountable – because in their death-dealing they were Uncle manifested. And Uncle never indicts – much less convicts – himself. Or his minions.

But woe unto him who “cheats” Uncle.  

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82 COMMENTS

  1. And under the Trump tax plan Uncle will get more money from many Americans than under the Obama, Pelosi, Reid regime!

    Yes, you read that right.

    Will you be one of them?

    Details here.

  2. If you are called to jury duty you find potential jurors are asked several questions. When the first opportunity presents it is as simple as saying, “I am a fully informed juror”. If further questions arise “I know I have the right to judge not only the case but, also the law. If, in my judgment the punishment may be excessive, I have the duty to acquit.”
    You will not only be dismissed but, have been given the opportunity to “inform” all the others who were called.
    The nations best organization for learning about this is FIJA the Fully Informed Jury Association.

  3. National Anthem: Taiwan (Republic of China) – 中華民國國歌
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvVRecQrHpU

    National Anthem: Saudi Arabia – عاش المليك
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deST8TcjKN8

    Jana Gana Mana
    “Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People”
    Indian National Anthem by AR Rahman
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1ENbqqPe-8

    #NotMyAnthems

    We live in a world of over 7 billion murderous philosophical cannibals. Rare is the true adherent of the NAP.

    • Sad but true.
      The only difference is in degrees.
      At the moment, the USG is the most flagrant violator of the NAP. It violates it not just at home, but all over the world, because it can.
      The “world’s champion of freedom” rhetoric while doing so merely adds insult to injury.

    • “Evidence that some diesel cars emitted up to four times more NOx pollution than a bus was revealed in 2015.”
      Is this The Guardian, or The Inquirer? This doesn’t necessarily prove anything except maybe that the standards are much stricter than necessary.

    • Reading the article a few relevant questions arise.
      Article said “UP TO ten times more NOx” in some cars under some conditions.
      Headlines say “ten times more toxic” Quite a difference.

      So which is more important, NOx per litre of fuel burned? Those oil burner VeeWees deliver somewhere north of 40 mpg, in Europe I hear closer to 50. Heavy trucks (EightSouthMan?) deliver maybe 8 mog? That’s five to six times more fuel per mile from the trucks than from cars. Since the smaller Diesel units product \about twice (500 Mg/Km) the amount of NOx than heavy iron (240 Mg/Km), they produce almost exactly the same PER MILE. Do the maths. These gummit hooh hahs are too stupid, or think WE are, to do the maths.

      Now, lets look at NOx per tonneKilometer. Yes, since the cars weight in at maybe two tonnes max, a big rig at somewhere around 40 to 50 tonnes, the big rigs do produce less per tonne Km.

      But let’s consider driving conditions, shall we? Most rigs work pretty hard, relative to capacity (maybe 70% availble horsepower used for 80% of the time, whilst a passenger saloon might use 25% availble that often. Anyone knows a diesel engine is most efficient and cleanest when working harder. Limit horsepower in the rigs and see what happens? Cars do a lot of stop and go in cities, waiting for the forever traffic to ease up enough to actially MOVE again. Idling away nothing gets a good clean burn.

      Next, have a look at NOx relative to total exhaust content. Isn’t Nitrous Oxide the same gas dentists use to make you happy whilst they are torturing you with heavy equipment, strapped helplessly into their escape proof chairs? So WHO is warting about THAT NOx? If its clean enough to use in a closed dental surgery where there are people captive, HOW can it be that horrid out in the open air? Make sense, anyone? Not gummint. Again, what percentage of total “pollutants” emitted is that dread NOx? And how about a comparison of TOTAL pollutants emitted by the infernal VeeWee compared to the mighty Fourteen Litre Volvo DT 140 in a large articulated lorry? Let’s compare green apples to green apples, shall we?

      This article is typical gummit sponsored propaganda. They take some hard figures, then twist, select, mis-compare, play word games, then try and convince us those diabolical VolkVagens are on the verge orf extincting mankind. If this isn’t gummit sponsored propaganda, its special interest which is guaranted to somehow profit from it propaganda. And since these corruptocrats have the ear of government, (in the EU, a non-elected gummint body) it is doubly corrupt.

      Statistics can, and are, used to “prove” whatever it is the “prover” wants proven. I believe it was Sam Clemmens who rather famously declared “there’s lies, damn lies, and statistics”. He was, and remains, right. Having studied statistics in each of a couple of degree programmes over my lifetime, I know how to (mis)use them. So do the folk who wrote this foul example of propaganda.

      • Tionioco, yep, it’s bullshit pure and simple. Compare grapes to grapeshot. I read articles of new trucks being so much better on mpg and that’s true when measuring the exact same type of tractor, trailer and load. As usual the nanny-made Volvo’s seem to be leading the pack but what they measure is their tractor hooked to a trailer tailor made for the tractor. New tractors, line trucks, have these single stalk mirrors that are small. No doubt they don’t pull much wind but you can’t use that type of mirror on many other sorts of loads and trailers. Nobody is showing you how to get a D6 down the road and onto a site using the least amount of fuel or a piece of a wind generator tower.

        The main problem with new rigs are unreliability due to all the bs for smog, DEF and other crap that has to be controlled with computers.

        One day I was speaking to a friend standing beside his 379 Peterbilt Classic, the old long nose Pete. It had an old style 3406B 3406 Cat engine in it. He walked me around to the front and it sounded like an electric motor running, smooth as could be. We walked back to another friends truck with a 3406E(electronic) engine and it didn’t sound worth a damn and if you hadn’t known they were the same engines you’d have never guessed. I’m biased because I work on one when it has a problem. It’s like a computer controlled car you have no idea what the problem is if they quit or began running roughly or strangely.

        This is one reason I prefer working in the patch. It’s big rear-ends, transmissions and engines that have plenty reserve and aren’t likely to twist a driveshaft or break a rear-end. I also detest the new trucks with maybe half a dozen gauges and lots of idiot lights, many of which won’t let you go when they’re on. Just what the problem is you can only guess. The last Peterbilt I ran had oil temp and oil pressure gauges for the engine. Coolant temp for the engine, Pyrometer and boost gauge. Temp gauges for each rear-end and transmission. Volt meter and amp meter. Fuel pressure. Air pressure main and trailer and application brake pressure. With a pyrometer, a boost gauge and a fuel pressure gauge to go along with the other gauges concerning the engine I don’t get surprised. I see the smallest difference between those different readings and I already know when somethings not working perfectly. I know close to if not exactly where the problem is too. I’m reminded of the cars I’ve driven with no oil pressure gauge or ammeter or voltmeter. Driving in the dark.

        • well, whadya speck for today’s drivers that only know where the key goes, and run the rig till it loses power and blocks the road. I ran an old KW, Cummins NH 250 and two fours. Gave me 7 mog light, down to about five with 52K in the dryvan and pushing a headwind. Ran it quite a while…. I could HEAR something amiss…. one time I had stopped for supper, southbount Oregon on I 5, pulling up to speed something sounded “different”. Immediately pulled over…. listened, determined the drive end bearing on the generator was noisey…. engine running, I slipped the belt, tied it up to something bolted the generator again, got to destination, feared shutting down the drick whilst I unoaded…. left it idle. Pulled to the other side the lot, removed the generator, engine still running, tore it down, identified the dead bearing.. no numbers. Hmmmm… sent to a nearby truck stop/repair/parts place…. asked for the bearing by application. He laughed, GENERATOR? We got NOTHIN for one a them things. I plopped the noisey bearing on the counter… can you pick it b size? No way, we don’t have catalogs of bearings.. only by application. I asked him if he’d pull a 6202 off the shelf.. he looked at me like I was nutz… but humoured me. Walked back with a smirk on his face, slid the boxed bearing across the counter… I opened it up, compared, an exact match. I asked how much and gave him the money. He could only stare at me…. wondering HOW THE HECK did he know? I went out, slipped the new bearing into the generator, dropped it back into the cradle, engine still on the tickover, untied the belt, slipped that over the sheave, let the adjuster slide out, the belt took up the slack and started turning the generator, set the tension, hopped back up, hit the trailer, and drove back to Portland. Most drivers today would run till the voltage dropped so low it shut down the confuser and the truck rolled to a stop… then a two day wait while the right parts are found, because once that charging system bearing failed, pieces would begin flying all over the place.
          I’d love to find an old long nose Pete with a big block Cummins mechanical, or maybe that Cat. Most Cats I hear idling sound like they are about to come flying apart….. but once off the tickover they smooth out and sound sweet… and run forever. I knew of an old Ford schoolbus was auctioned off about 1987 or so, had a million miles on it then… Cat 3208 that purred nicely. It was then driven down to Nicaragua where it was driven all over that crazy place for years… hauling missions teams and serving two orphanages for maybe fifteen years.

            • Been using that one for decades.. ever since I had to tackle and sort out the K Jetronic fuel system on an early Porsche 914 that had been “desmogged” and would not run. No books. I was so confused before I spooked out how that mess works… took me three days to get it to light, another two to run right. My boss was impressed….. so, anytime I confront an ECU I always refer to it as “the confuser”. Since most of them are closely tied in to some gummint agency the term is doubly meaningful.

  4. “… through all the generations of political extortion, it was not the looting bureaucrats who had taken the blame, but the chained industrialists, not the men who peddled legal flavors, but the men who were forced to buy them; and through all those generations of crusades against corruption, the remedy had always been, not the liberating of the victims, but the granting of wider powers for extortion to the extortionists. The only guilt of the victims, he thought, had been that they accepted it as guilt.”
    — Hank Rearden, from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”

    America is looking more and more like Kafkaesque nightmare world depicted in Rand’s magnum opus.

    VW did nothing wrong. What VW did, was morally equivalent to lying to a home invader about how much money one has in the house. It was like lying to Negan, the looter from “The Walking Dead”, about how much stuff one had to “share” with him.

    VW, and Liang, should never have been required to admit guilt. They were guilty of absolutely nothing, except valiantly attempting to create a useful industrial product in the face of crippling interference by clover minded bureaucrats drunk with Caligula like arbitrary power.

  5. I’m almost 65, and I’ve only ever been called for jury duty one time, about 10 years ago as I recall. I responded by saying we only had one car then and that it would be inconvenient for me to participate, as my wife needed the car to get to her work; so they responded by mail and excused me from that “duty”.

    • i think people of a less collectivist mindset should Make the effort, and endure the inconvenience to serve on jury duty. You can then be a voice of reason with ACTUAL influence in that current event. If you should be called to a grand jury, so much the better. In this case, you can influence outcomes before they ever get to trial. Crimes without victims, and of no consequence to society can be dispensed with right on the spot. POM 1 (possession of marijuana, 1st offense) for example. If no one was harmed in the process, then it’s a no bill (no proceeding to trial, case dismissed.) Your fellow citizen found guilty of unlawful carry of a weapon? Easy pickings. The grand jury has the power to even investigate things that aren’t brought before it. Nothing of consequence occurred during my three month term (10 sessions over three months, heard a bit over 800 cases), but issues do occur where a case should be brought, but isn’t because the offender is someone in a position of power. Involved citizens can correct this, if they bother to be involved. Everyone bitches about “uncle”, yet ducks (and seems to be proud of ducking) the single most impactful way we can let uncle know what we think, and uncle has to live with our decisions.

      • Dear Truedat,

        There is indeed a good case to be made for intentionally taking on jury “duty”, even if one is an anarchist.

        Jury duty can be considered a golden opportunity dropped in one’s lap to throw a monkey wrench into the workings of the Leviathan State, through jury nullification. A single juror can hang a jury and cause a mistrial.

        It is even conceivable that he could turn the jury around, a la the scenario depicted in the classic courtroom drama “Twelve Angry Men”.

        At the very least, he can use the opportunity to educate other jurors about what is legal vs. what is just.

  6. This is just more of the EPA acting like a protection racket for the American car producers at the expense of foreign producers say like for instance Volkswagen. Something else rarely mentioned if at all by the crooked and lazy radical left wing and their so-called media mouthpieces. Shameful and disgraceful but what do you expect from such ethically challenged people? If they’re so interested in a “sacrificial lamb” I’d rather see a more senior management type taking the fall for this like maybe their CEO. That that would never happen makes me think this prosecution (or persecution?) shouldn’t be happening either…

  7. Charging ONE of the many engineers involved is a travesty of justice. He worked for VW, his work product is THEIR property. What they did with it is VW’s burden. I never would have entered a guilty plea. Even if I had to defend myself I’d force them to PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt I broke the law. THEN make them prove the “law” I “broke” was valid… and it is NOT. WHERE in the Constitution do FedGov have any authority over engineering, manufacturing any product, standards of peroformance, etc? Nowhere.

    VW also laid down and plaid dead….. to their shame. I’d have stood and fought. “Cheat”? Of COURSE I didn’t cheat. Why would I do THAYAT??!!??

    If I wore Trunp’s shoes I’d pardon this guy my first week in office. And reverse all the “puniushment” EPA wants to exact from the poor hardworking briliant man. Odds are, were he to put his mind to it, since he developed THIS system he could develop a better one that WORKS.

    • You could also ask where in the Constitution does it give the feds authority over the smoking of marijuana? Even if they could prove this, ask them for your right to question the one harmed by this action. And how many people are in jail because of this. As one of the Bushes said, the constitution is nothing but a goddamned piece of paper. And ask the majority of people and they will tell you we need to be protected.

    • Tio, he probably pled on advice from his shyster who wanted a payday with as little court time as possible. I’d like to hear of a lawyer arguing that an EPA regulation is not a law. It isn’t. I won’t hold my breath waiting for a lawyer who will do that.

  8. I say this lovingly as someone with Prussian and Austrian ancestors.

    Screw VW, they were weak.

    Every time some pussy backs down these tin badge tyrants it gets worse for all of humanity. Every time someone stands up at great personal cost to them, humanity wins, regardless of what they do to us. This is the real concept of duty and honor.

    • Ernie, I call this “pussy by proxy”. The proxy part is those above you who have no balls, the very reason they’re above you. If they’d ever had any balls, they would have been passed over. No corporation wants anyone, in any position, with balls. They want just what they have, “yes men”. It’s the “go along to get along” crowd, the ass-kissers who do anything they’re told regardless of the outcome or who you ruin in doing so. These are the people who form cliques almost as formal as if it was written into company policy and sometimes it is. We probably or at least most of us have probably been in a position to lap up every piece of shit thrown your way and say “yes sir, I’d like some more please”.

      Rick Waggoner had done a great deal to ameliorate GM’s bad past decisions, mainly with the unions, to put them into debt. It’s not as if what he had been doing wasn’t having good effect for the company and not as if he couldn’t have turned things around. So, why did Obomber illegally can him? Because he dare not stand with Rick against the unions either. We’ll probably never know if old Rick woke up with the figurative horsehead in his bed either but for the head of a giant corporation to simply be replaced by a politician is because that politician had someone pulling his strings. GM had the same problem Ford did and Chrysler did but they didn’t get loans with Obomber in office. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  9. I was recently reading a story about Indian call centers scamming Americans by claiming to be from the IRS and demanding back taxes. The story is here (http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/03/world/asia/india-call-centers-fraud-americans.html)

    This quote from the scammers really stuck out at me:
    “I think they actually are really afraid of their government,” he said. “In India, people are not afraid of police. If anyone wants to come and arrest, they say, ‘Come and arrest.’ It is easy to get out of anything. But in America they are afraid. We just need to tell them, ‘You are messing with the federal government,’ and that is all.”

    My family fled communism, we were afraid for our safety because of the government’s capricious behavior. The US is now equally scary, you’re guilty of something constantly, so it’s only a question of whether they want to make an example of you.

    I see no way of resisting this, since most of my otherwise intelligent and well educated acquaintances will defend such government behavior because “safety” or “environment”. US propaganda works really well.

    • This is where my broken record comes out again…. it starts in the schools. The permanent record and more…. It conditions us what even the lowest level bureacrat can do to someone without influence and friends higher than him. How they can wreck our lives. And in the USA they’ll do it just because they’ll enjoy doing it.

      • Dear Brent,

        Yes.

        Here’s an excerpt from an article that makes a similar point.

        “Environmentalism preys on our moral unease and fishes around for doomsday scenarios. If our ever-increasing population or life-enhancing chemicals have not brought about the apocalypse, then it must be our use of fossil fuels that will. Despite the colossal failures of past Green predictions, we buy into the latest doomsday scare because, on some level, we have accepted an undeserved guilt. We lack the moral self-assertiveness to regard our own success as virtuous; we think we deserve punishment.

        It is time to stop apologizing for prosperity. We must reject the unwarranted fears spread by Green ideology by rejecting unearned guilt. Instead of meekly accepting condemnation for our capacity to live, we should proudly embrace our unparalleled ability to alter nature for our own benefit as the highest of virtues.”

        https://ari.aynrand.org/issues/science-and-industrialization/environmental-issues/No-More-Green-Guilt

        • Makes me remember Tevye, in that crazy fun but spot on film from way back, Fiddler on the Roof. When someone is disparaging wealth, Tevye says something close to this: I like rich people. I like the way they live, I like the way I live when I’m around them. Then he looks to the sky and addresses the Lord: if riches are a curse. SMITE ME!!!!.

          I like his attitude and value set. It is particularly poignant coming from a hard working schlump who never seems to get ahead materially, but makes the best of it with family and friends. He feels no guilt over what wealth he has, nor over what he COULD have.

        • Morning, Bevin!

          That analysis of environmentalism’s allure is dead on. It’s also interesting that the term itself connotes a certain unearned hard science gravitas. Anyone can declare themselves to be an “environmentalist”… on par with a scientist, a physicist, a chemist… people with formal (hard science) education/knowledge. But what does it take to be an “environmentalist”?

          Nothing more than to so assert. Sixth graders do. And are taken seriously… by reporters, for example, during interviews with them.

          Thus, we have sixth grade-level policies, imposed by adults with sixth-grade mentalities.

          • Dear Eric,

            Isn’t it? Anyone can voice doubts about the sustainability of this or that technology, and presto, he or she becomes an instant “environmentalist”.

            Tender concern for the environment, “because mankind’s survival depends on it” is the environmentalists’ trump card.

            It enables them to argue that individual liberty invariably leads to mankind’s extinction, therefore saving the planet requires mankind’s enslavement.

          • Every time I hear or read the term “envirnomentalist” or “environmental” I somehow mostly hear the MENTAL part. Strange how so many of these creatures seem to fit the clinical descriptions given in “the books” for mental cases.

            then there is this jewel at the end:
            “Thus, we have sixth grade-level policies, imposed by adults with sixth-grade mentalities. ”
            Yup. Because sixth graders are the chief end product of our gummit skewlz. Thus they are in the great majority. Most still do what they are told to do when they are told to do it, perhaps with a “socially acceptible” delay of some time.

          • Hi Eric,
            “Anyone can declare themselves to be an “environmentalist”… on par with a scientist, a physicist, a chemist… people with formal (hard science) education/knowledge.”
            You mean like Leonardo DiCaprio? He came to my mind as I read your comment, so I checked him out at wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_DiCaprio
            Not a bit of education on that topic was listed. He does fly around in a private jet though, and he has a foundation as well.

            • Hi Brian,

              Of course!

              It’s interesting that some of the most ardent “environmentalists” are fabulously wealthy and – my guess – take their material affluence as a given and have lost all touch with the reality of life for the average person, for whom a $40,000 electric car (and so on) is preposterous. DiCaprio, et al, are not inconvenienced (much less impoverished) in the slightest by their “environmentalism.”

              It’s like the movie, Elysium.

              • Dear Eric,

                “It’s like the movie, Elysium.”

                That’s no exaggeration. Just read the many public remarks by the 0.001% on population reduction to discover what the elites have in mind for us “mere mundanes”.

                Here’s just one, to show their mindset.

                “Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license… All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
                — David Brower, Executive Director of The Sierra Club

    • Dear opposite lock,

      You put your finger on the problem. It always goes back to Etienne de La Boetie.

      La Boétie’s writings include… an essay attacking absolute monarchy and tyranny in general, Discours de la servitude volontaire ou le Contr’un (Discourse on Voluntary Servitude).

      The essay asserts that tyrants have power because the people give it to them. Liberty has been abandoned once by society, which afterward stayed corrupted and prefers the slavery of the courtesan to the freedom of one who refuses to dominate as he refuses to obey.

      Thus, La Boétie linked together obedience and domination, a relationship which would be later theorised by latter anarchist thinkers. By advocating a solution of simply refusing to support the tyrant, he became one of the earliest advocates of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance.

      Lew Rockwell summarizes La Boétie’s political philosophy as follows:

      To him, the great mystery of politics was obedience to rulers. Why in the world do people agree to be looted and otherwise oppressed by government overlords? It is not just fear, Boetie explains in “The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude,” for our consent is required. And that consent can be non-violently withdrawn.[4]

      • Bevin, thanks for citing Etienne de La Boetie. I’ll excuse your earlier cite of tedious old Ayn, since you obviously see where she glommed onto her idea in this case. 😉

        • Dear Ed,

          LOL!

          Ayn was a seminal figure, and a crucial intermediate rung in my educational ladder. Her minarchism made my later anarchism possible. So I hesitate to condemn her too harshly. Ditto minarchists such as John Locke and John Stuart Mill.

          Besides, when she was right about the collectivists’ psychology, she was dead on. I’m not too proud to cite her or her disciples when they happen to get it right.

        • Ed, “glommed onto” fairly much says it all for her. She was a bullshitter deluxe. Probably the only reason anyone even gave her a second glance was because she thought so much of herself and there are just so many people who can’t resist the ultimate egotist. I guess they get some sort of ego boost from it. Fuck her and everyone else’s ideas she rode in on. And if that looks like hick Tx. speak…..it is.

          I have a hard-on this morning for ass-kissers and anyone who wants to do the “proper” thing. Have an original thought a-holes and you won’t need to use someone else to justify not just yourself but them and then yourself.

          And bevin, I was right in the 1st grade about collectivist, the very reason I got an S on my report card in…….in……WTF did they call it? Oh, Citizenship, yep, that’s the word they used for that score. I wasn’t much on citizenship, had little knowledge of such but I knew ass-kissers and bullies and the not often found real person who did their own thing.

          I knocked off the bully girl who wanted to be boss and would drop a dime on anybody in the first week of skewl.

          So bevin, she was a seminal figure for you? I’m guessing you choked the chicken to her rants. Seminal: pertaining to, containing or consisting of semen. I may be on the rag myself today but at least I’m accurate. Ayn….and that horse she rode in on……..and the horse was better looking…..Damn, I’m just not civil today….but then again, I rarely am “civil”. I can’t even bring myself to cite that “civil” war. What sort of contradiction is that? A damned sorry one in my book….or just my scratchpad. Well, at least you had to LOL and that makes up for a great deal of semen.

          • Dear 8,

            To me Rand’s chief contribution was her unapologetic rejection of “altruist/collectivist” guilt-tripping.

            Her two anthologies, “Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal” and “The Virtue of Selfishness” flat out rejected the guilt-tripping that lies at the heart of the Clover world view.

            The Clover witch hunt against VW is almost taken straight out of “Atlas Shrugged”, and the underlying issue is almost exactly the plot/theme of the novel.

            Later on the defects in Rand’s minarchism came to the fore and I had to move on. But I learned many valuable lessons about the nature of the struggle between collectivism and individualism from her.

            Live and learn mang. Live and learn.

          • Dear 8,

            Rand broke new ground insofar as rejecting the psychology of altruism/collectivism, as opposed to rejecting the economics of altruism.

            As far as I know, nobody of historic note ever made as relentless an effort to refute the “Anyone who demands economic freedom is unacceptably selfish!” charge as Rand.

            She was the original opponent of Obama’s scurrilous “You didn’t build that!” charge.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKjPI6no5ng

            Unfortunately her internal contradictions led to her hardline disciples becoming defenders of Israel, and rationalizers of “collateral damage”.

            • recently watched most of the series recently done of Atlas Shrugged into film. VERY well done, and it was uncanny how closely the plot of that film follows very recent events here in the US, and abroad. The philosophical aspects of her work were well illlustrated, too. And those who realied that profit iand prosperity arefine were portrayed as heroes. The certain failure that government intervention and control bring into any enterprise is also clearly shown. Decent production values, too… thoroughly enjoyable film series. I wish they would somehow become vERY popular.. maybe a few diehard liberal/socialist/whackjob government as god is great types MIGHT see through their failed philosophies and be awakened.

              • Dear Tionico,

                I watched all three parts of the trilogy.

                Fortunately it wasn’t a total disaster. But I guess I had much higher expectations, and therefore was sorely disappointed.

                Even with a limited budget, it could have been done much better to my way of thinking.

                The First Commandment of Screenwriting is “Show, not tell”. The film makers failed to follow through on that premise as consistently as they should have.

                Even though “Atlas Shrugged” is a story about ideology, it should have been filmed as something more closely approximating an action flick.

                The conflict between “You didn’t make that!” ideology, and “Yes I did make that” ideology, should have been expressed through physical conflict, not verbal declarations.

                I’m hoping that someone else will remake it as a miniseries. That’s the format that can really do justice to the novel.

            • bevin, while you’re correct….you are correct. I just never could take her views as original but I’ll admit she did put things in terms logic would be hard pressed to contradict. And then there’s the hard line that makes no peaceable sense.

              Mainly, I was just giving you a hard time for the hell of it. She did give a blow to cloverism and for that she should be applauded. I can support almost anyone who can show the error of collectivism.

              The main thing that keeps me here, besides being a gearhead is the wont of the people who visit and stand on their own two feet against the odds of the collective. Somebody gotta stand up and say “enough” now and then…..or all the time.

              I have to take my earpods to the doctor’s office what with the tv blaring shit like Dr. Phil and the “news”. Just flat can’t stand to hear it. So I tune in Pandora for one of my many great stations. And to add to that, I recently realized why I liked the movie Book of Eli so much. This has nothing to do with politics, just music, but in the beginning there is a version by Al Green of How Can You Mend a Broken Heart that’s the best version I know including the Bee Gee original which is right there with it. I was never a big Bee Gee’s fan but when you realize the significance of their getting back together and writing that song the first day of the reunion it makes it all the better. Well, enough of music I guess so I’ll retire and tune in and find some more great stuff. I should never have tried Pandora,, addictive as it is. peace b

  10. What I don’t get is why VW even agreed to call it a “defeat device”

    It wasn’t a special “device” but just smart engine management.

    They should have argued that all cars optimize their parameters for the situation they are in, they lean out, they enrich they do what is necessary for the best blend of performance, mileage and emissions per the situation.

    The legals fees for this most likely would have only been a tiny fraction of the ultimate costs and later they could have pled it down to “ok we will fix it and build more hybrids” and I’d be willing to bet that was as far as it would have gone. The EPA could have thumped their chest and declare victory and we’d still have our TDi’s

    Full Disclosure: I own a 2014 Cayenne Diesel and have ZERO intention of giving it up even if they offer to buy it back at full sales price. And I will NOT let them “fix” it.

    • What happens when they refuse to renew your registration until it’s fixed (in the same sense as “fixing” a dog?)

      • I am assuming at this point that they government will live up to its usual level of efficiency and not find a means to do that fed vs state and all that. I’ll blow up that bridge when I come to it. Even if I have to find an ECU from a wrecked one. I have a few ideas.

    • Yep, VW’s caving reminds me of the way tobacco corporations caved when the feds sued them without standing to do so. Not a single highly paid corporate lawyer challenged the suits on grounds of lack of standing.

  11. The problem with the media is that it compares the incomparable. They compare the standards of fed gov’s test to some ‘real world’ driving test some groups did. It doesn’t work that way but it produces a dramatic number.

    What we are looking at in reality is the difference between the fedgov standards (bins) that expired in 2008 or so to the ones that did not. That was the jump VW had a problem with. We’re talking tenths of a gram per mile as I recall. A step wise X percent difference. VW just kept making cars that in real world driving met the standards of the old bins.

    Imprisoning engineers is a dangerous precedent. Engineers often present alternatives to management which in era of finance are not engineers. These executives then decide the route to take.

  12. Well, I sold the A3 back on the 28th. Had cash in my bank account on Saturday morning. Whole process took about 15 minutes (plus another 20 for them to find a screwdriver so I could get my plates back). Now just have to see if I need to pay income tax or not (there’s some question since I’m not technically taking them to court, and it’s not a civil matter). Who wants to bet that the IRS will just let it go and let us keep the money tax free?

    • I’m trying to ‘sell back’ the Sportwagen, because the DSG went out, but they’re fighting me. When the trans went out I decided to save some money by cancelling the insurance. But in order to do that, I had to turn in the plates. When I did that, the MVA asked for the registration. Now VW says I have to fax them a copy of the registration. So I have to reinsure and reregister a car I can’t drive in order to sell it.

      • PbB, they never fail to find someway to bend you over eh? I bought a 2000 z71 on a mechanic’s lein. I pay $265 to some DMV person who has a side bidness ripping off people like me. Jump through all the hoops then the county charges me tax on $4800, $3000 more than I gave for “old dent”, not a straight panel on it except the hood and endgate but it runs like a scalded dog, shifts perfectly, uses no oil, 4WD works like a charm and it drives like shit, not a big deal since I’ll replace the drag link, tie rod ends and steering stabilizer. Shocks, the ones I like, Edelbrock Performer AIS’s will cost quite a bit but what the hey. A new set of tires and a new a/c compressor and I’ll only have a few hundred hours to get it right. Actually, it does what I need on the farm. I’m still looking for an early 90’s GM pickup, a vehicle they never intended to be so good.

        I bought out specialty tools from a GM dealer auction and have all sorts of thing including some I can’t identify. But I can break down a rear-end and rebuild it but hope I won’t have to on this one since it works great. Probably the only thing I’ll install is a limited slip front end. I like for all 4 to pull simultaneously. I might put an air locker on it so I can turn it on and off.

    • That would be great, but it looks like VW rolled over on this, he will likely not be allowed to put up any kind of a defense.

    • So few Americans know of the process and right to jury nullification, that the possibility of it occurring is almost non-existent. Besides, any potential juror who would ever mention jury nullification during jury selection screening, is never picked to be a juror anyway.

      • I have always figured that if on a case like that I would merely vote not guilty rather than argue nullification. I would probably even get a few free meals out of it as the judge locked us up to deliberate further. Trying to explain nullification to most, especially ad hoc, would be futile.

        I have, in the past, made the statement before hand by declaring I disagreed with drug laws during jury selection. After my declaration, another raised her hand and said she agreed with me. Obviously, both of us were preemptively excused by the prosecution. That way, the declaration was made in public, not locked behind doors with 11 others. I could have held out for selection and nullification, but that was not guaranteed.

        • I’ve often wondered what would happen when they send you(a felon) a jury summons, you got on the jury and then caused it to be deadlocked or nullified.

          I’m not curious enough to do this since it’s something like a 10 year sentence and I’m not hankering to die in prison. If you simply went along and the prosecutor got what he/she wanted I’m sure things would be just fine. But consider, you, the illegal juror, giving the prosecutor or judge a black eye. Doesn’t sound too great. Then again, maybe you rightly thought the law had changed since they regularly send out summons to felons so who’s at fault? They can argue you should have known the law and you could argue THEY should have known the law and not sent you a summons. Of course there’s probably no way to win this one even if you could afford a lawyer to get the charges dropped. I’ve given plenty to too many lawyers and they mainly “work with” the prosecutor. None of them ever stand up and point out the illegal goings on that brought you there in the first place. I’m not much on having a lawyer as a friend or being a client. If I had to back up a lawyer’s claim to help him avoid having charges stick to his ass, I’d most likely prevaricate and tell him to take a plea. They’re so good at that I figure they need to get some of it themselves.

          • I agree. Lawyers are price gougers anyway, so you’re going to pay through the nose without knowing if they’re any good, and most will sit on their hands and let the prosecutor run wild. They’re a waste of money in criminal cases, usually.

        • Along this line, during a jury selection I intentionally filled out the questionnaire with a “wrong” answer. The question: Do you have a problem with accepting the judge’s instructions? The only options were “yes” or “no” — “maybe” was not a choice. So I checked “yes.” During a review of the jury pool’s answers, the judge called me and both sets of lawyers up front (so as not to contaminate the pool) to question me about it. I told him I believed a juror has the right to weigh the law as well as the facts of a case, which he noted without emotion and sent me back to my seat. I wasn’t selected for the jury.

          • When I’m called for jury duty I just give them the empty-headed slave routine in the hopes of getting on a case where I can exercise nullification. It has not happened yet, but if it does I plan to go for the jugular.

            As a juror all you have to state is that the prosecution failed to prove its case to you beyond a reasonable doubt. As a juror you have the power to bring the entire crushing, oppressive gunvermin machine to a screeching halt and there is not a gotdamn thing the dirtbags can do about it.

            • I just got a summons for jury duty in April and am eagerly anticipating some jury nullification on my part. I’ll also give them the ” yassuh boss” answers they want in hopes of getting on a case.

              • If you really want to be picked for the jury, don’t act as if you really want to be picked for the jury. Defense lawyers and prosecutors have a nose for that, and it will smell like trouble to one or the other of them.

          • ” during a jury selection I intentionally filled out the questionnaire with a “wrong” answer. ”

            I did that once, Steve, but it was in answer to a verbal question by the defense during voir dire. The question was something like “would you take a police officer at his word when he’s giving sworn testimony”.

            I said no and the judge asked me to clarify. I answered that my cousin was a cop and I’d caught her in a few whoppers. Somehow, I was picked anyway. ‘Course, that was decades ago, and the system has tightened up a lot since then.

            • “Would you take a police officer at his word when he’s giving sworn testimony” was one of the written questions. I said yes to that one because it sounded more confrontational and I’d already checked off four “wrong” answers.

    • Normally at jury duty I don’t even get called into the courtroom. The last time I had to show up for it, I was. I did not get called into the jury box. As selection began the judge said something about applying the law as he stated. Making the jury in essance nothing more than an extension of the judge. At this point I knew I would be dismissed if by some reason I were to get called into the jury box as people were rejected. I wasn’t. I am pretty confident that the process will always prevent me from sitting on a jury.

      • Most of the time in my county, you don’t even have to show up for jury duty. You go to the county website the Friday afternoon the week before you due on Monday. If nothing is scheduled for that week, they release you then. At least they don’t make you show up early on a Monday morning only to be sent right back home. Guess they got tired of paying people for showing up. Less then 4% of cases in Indiana even go to juries anymore.

        Juries are deciding almost no cases already. Probably will be none before you know it.

      • Judges can say what they like, but only a ‘tard will take any direction from anybody during deliberations. The problem is that most people who get picked for a jury are going to be ‘tards.

        • Hi Ed,

          You’re right. The same “the law is the law” idiocy, only spouted by jurors rather than cops. If I – or you – or any conscious, thinking person were on a jury, we’d evaluate the specific facts and circumstances and if they indicated “the law” was stupid or unjust and a conviction and punishment therefore morally wrong, we’d so “rule” – regardless of “the law.”

          Classic case: 19 year-old guy has a 17 year-old girlfriend. He gets arrested for statutory rape because the girl is under 18 and he is over. What kind of fiend would sentence the kid to a lifetime of being labeled a “sex offender”?

          Answer: a Clover.

          • Well, I call ’em asshats instead of clover, but I get your meaning. I liked the way George Mason responded to a statement of “the law is the law” in a debate. He said something like, “But sir, what if the law is an ass?”.

            Mason was a good, clear thinker. His kind is extinct in politics today.

        • Ed, You’re probably aware that 20 years ago a good defense lawyer could nearly always beat a DWI case but that changed with some high court rulings so that now very few go to court, like everything else. Seems like less than 10% of all cases go to court nationwide.

          About a year ago a young man was charge with DWI in Ft. Worth. His lawyer took it to court. For whatever reason(none given in the article)the jury had a “not guilty” verdict in just a few minutes.

          Following that, a “visiting” judge from Mineral Wells who heard the case went off the deep end and called the jury some pretty atrocious names. He went on to tell them what horrible people they were and he was on the verge of sticking all of them with some sort of charge. The diatribe was lengthy and when he slammed out of the room someone there indicated he would most like never be called on to “visit” that court again.

          It’s an indication of what so many judges think of the process and their part in it. And that is one of the biggest problems in our country, not just Tx. Judges think juries are there simply to rubber stamp what the prosecutor says and be damned with “judged by the jury”.

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