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All things corporate malfeasance (and specifically Volkswagen)


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#21 indy

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 04:34 PM

It appears Germany and France and going to check if this isn't more widespread than just VW and look at the entire auto industry. I assume the EPA will also be giving them all the once or twice over. Just given how brazen it was and that testing is clearly inadequate and relied on too much industry cooperation, my guess is that more than just the VW is playing this game.

#22 drdredel

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 06:32 PM

View Postindy, on 22 September 2015 - 04:34 PM, said:

It appears Germany and France and going to check if this isn't more widespread than just VW and look at the entire auto industry. I assume the EPA will also be giving them all the once or twice over. Just given how brazen it was and that testing is clearly inadequate and relied on too much industry cooperation, my guess is that more than just the VW is playing this game.

If that's true, then I would expect VW to rapidly throw everyone else under the bus in exchange for a touch of leniency.
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#23 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 07:14 PM

View PostLFC, on 22 September 2015 - 12:52 PM, said:

In addition to the massive fines they deserve, I hope that the Feds pin the cost of retrofitting every impacted vehicle in the country back on VW with the threat that if they refuse, all of their vehicles will be banned for sale in the U.S.

You are going WAAAAAY too soft on them. People bought those cars based on the performance they expected from reviews and in a test drive. Retrofitting the "clean" firmware is going to have those same people blaming the EPA, not Volkswagen.

In other words, fraud.

I'd have VW compensate all of the owners at the time the cars get fixed, because by all accounts the truly clean Rabbit is more aptly named "tortoise." And the last thing we need is to have all of those owners blaming the EPA for Volkswagen's misdeeds.
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#24 indy

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 07:34 PM

View Postdrdredel, on 22 September 2015 - 06:32 PM, said:

If that's true, then I would expect VW to rapidly throw everyone else under the bus in exchange for a touch of leniency.

You're assuming they are in collusion (and therefore have knowledge who else is doing it). Maybe that's true, but it seems more likely that one or more just arrived there due to the same pressures. The big question in my mind is whether or not gas engines have the same issues. If so, it's going to be a big deal. I was already suspicious that they all seemed to easily make the new federal fuel and emission standards.

#25 Practical Girl

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 07:37 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 22 September 2015 - 07:14 PM, said:

You are going WAAAAAY too soft on them. People bought those cars based on the performance they expected from reviews and in a test drive. Retrofitting the "clean" firmware is going to have those same people blaming the EPA, not Volkswagen.

In other words, fraud.

I'd have VW compensate all of the owners at the time the cars get fixed, because by all accounts the truly clean Rabbit is more aptly named "tortoise." And the last thing we need is to have all of those owners blaming the EPA for Volkswagen's misdeeds.

Eh? The car owners need the recall fix-not because it hurt the owners, per se., but braise the company broke our laws. This is more about running afoul of US EPA standards ( very important) and if the proposed $18 billion in fines can, if not "make up for", then at least let's correct the cheat.

But it is also important to remember that VW is a huge employer in Germany. There are entire economies in the balance. So, as much as it might be troublesome, maybe we need to get to the real issue- the bottom line- before we start assessing more.

Car company in the balance, sure. But a country's economy, as well.
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--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

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#26 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 06:03 AM

View PostPractical Girl, on 22 September 2015 - 07:37 PM, said:

Eh? The car owners need the recall fix-not because it hurt the owners, per se., but braise the company broke our laws. This is more about running afoul of US EPA standards ( very important) and if the proposed $18 billion in fines can, if not "make up for", then at least hels correct the cheat.

All true -- but the buyers were also defrauded. I'd be with compensating them (at the time of the firmware fix) for triple the loss in value of their cars -- which have tanked on the resale market.

Bear in mind that we do not need to feed the "EPA Screws American Drivers" meme.

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But it is also important to remember that VW is a huge employer in Germany. There are entire economies in the balance. So, as much as it might be troublesome, maybe we need to get to the real issue- the bottom line- before we start assessing more.

CAr sompany in the balance, sure. But a country's economy, as well.

I'd be a lot more sympathetic if Germany hadn't been all righteous the last few years WRT screwing the rest of the EU to maintain their export advantages. Knocking them down a peg will, perversely, do a lot to help the other European countries.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#27 J-CA

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 09:23 AM

View Postindy, on 22 September 2015 - 07:34 PM, said:

.... I was already suspicious that they all seemed to easily make the new federal fuel and emission standards.
I am not actually all that suspicious about this, it took a very long time for many of the automakers to figure out how to make this most recent generation of gasoline engines with proper GDI and VVT systems and turning on and off cylinders (which is really annoying in some vehicles). The standards the government arrives at are in collaboration with the industry, the standards are very unlikely to be beyond what the industry already knows they can do.
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#28 Practical Girl

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 09:38 AM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 23 September 2015 - 06:03 AM, said:

All true -- but the buyers were also defrauded. I'd be with compensating them (at the time of the firmware fix) for triple the loss in value of their cars -- which have tanked on the resale market.

Bear in mind that we do not need to feed the "EPA Screws American Drivers" meme.

I hadn't meant to spread a meme. My main thought there is that the EPA seems to be far too vulnerable to manufacturers. High standards, government agency that nevertheless relies upon software created by companies for whom cheating will move the profit needle. And the EPA seems to have moved fairly sluggishly on this entire issue.

A US research group found the discrepancies within tested and actual emissions with a study in 2013. The discrepancies were so pronounced that they began to question their own study, but nevertheless reported their findings which were then corroborated by the EPA and CA Air Resources board. And just now- 2 years later- they're moving on it? Not just the customers got screwed, but US air quality, as well, within a continued stamp of approval by the EPA. Even when engineers were saying that the fix wasn't that complicated, as they are still saying now.

Is it worth considering that during the time of this study, Volkswagen opened their manufacturing plant in Chattanooga. Jobs creation and profit and all. Perhaps had nothing to do with the slow reaction. Perhaps it did.

In the end? Germany has so much more to lose than all the other players put together. Volkswagen and other brands under the umbrella employ a huge number of people in the country. Yikes. Maybe Merkel will do some "tough love" from her end, as well.
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---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
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#29 Practical Girl

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 10:16 AM

Volkswagen CEO resigns, despite what's been his public position.
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
Ernest Hemingway

#30 drdredel

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 02:48 PM

If he knew he's a criminal. If he didn't know he's not an effective CEO. Either way - time to go look for work as a barista at Starbucks
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#31 Practical Girl

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 04:31 PM

View Postdrdredel, on 23 September 2015 - 02:48 PM, said:

If he knew he's a criminal. If he didn't know he's not an effective CEO. Either way - time to go look for work as a barista at Starbucks

I know that I'm like a dog with a bone...But what is your assessment of the EPA? They knew, too, at least for a year or so that continued- unfettered- sales of so-called low emission, high mileage cars that...weren't. Still, the sales went on? If one is a criminal, then why not the other?
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
Ernest Hemingway

#32 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 04:41 PM

Probably little things, like an "investigation" and gathering "evidence"? I doubt VW just spilled the beans when show a report on a study of emissions.

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#33 drdredel

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 05:30 PM

View PostPractical Girl, on 23 September 2015 - 04:31 PM, said:

I know that I'm like a dog with a bone...But what is your assessment of the EPA? They knew, too, at least for a year or so that continued- unfettered- sales of so-called low emission, high mileage cars that...weren't. Still, the sales went on? If one is a criminal, then why not the other?

I think there's a pretty profound difference between incompetence and malfeasance. The EPA is a huge bureaucratic government agency. In terms of efficacy it *seems to me (and I admit I've done very little research into the matter) that they're operating at a pretty substantially superior level of achievement to some of their sister organizations, such as the VA and CIA and the Police - all of whose jobs (again - speaking with zero actual insight) appear a great deal more straightforward. Their mandate is almost undefinably amorphous, their jurisdiction is endlessly a matter of debate and contention and for all the good they do (the U.S. has the cleanest/safest drinking water and the cleanest/safest air for the landmass/population/number of corporate entities percapita etc. in the world (can't offer citations, but I've read this in numerous places) - largely because of the (surprising) efficacy of the EPA - their name comes up much more frequently in expressions of exasperation and criticism rather than the much deserved accolade.

To me their efficacy is tantamount to a small miracle.

In any event - The EPA is far from perfect and can only do what it can do. It chases after VW, with limited resources and limited ability to demand compliance and VW (along with every other polluter) tries to dance around them and decries them as being an arbitrary hinderer to their (ostensibly) totally benevolent and wholesome operation which can police itself thank-you very much!
it's all about the market, don't you know?? The consumer is smart enough not to buy vehicles that will pollute incrementally more thus making their overall living conditions largely unlivable.

And it's worked out perfectly for the people of Paris who have really horrible smog *precisely because their particulate and emission standards are much lower and then of course there's China... all their industry is doing a really bang-up job of policing itself... and they'll keep doing so until their "market" will choke to death.

So, I'm not sure which bone you are a dog to, but I'm totally bewildered by why anyone would take issue with the EPA. As I said, I'm just amazed they can do anything useful at all. Meanwhile, VW broke the law. My (totally speculative guess) is that a team of German engineers, feeling some sense of entitlement and general pomposity scoffed at American emission standards - taking the tact that if their cars are clean enough for Europe, they're clean enough for the States and it hurts no one to out maneuver the EPA with this sort of cheat. They may even have seriously thought that it's just complicated a gaff enough to never get detected. Impossible to know. I'm looking forward to finding out. But the point is the company broke the law and did so intentionally. And therein lies the rub.
The Blind have lost their sense of "sight";
The Deaf have lost their sense of "hearing";
Republicans have lost their sense of "common".

#34 Traveler

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 07:15 PM

Dead on with EPA. I deal with them a fair amount, and they have their heads screwed on pretty well. I have my own technical differences, (see nitrogen fate and transport), but all in all they are pretty good. Better than other supposedly "progressive" organizations like NRDC. They reviewed and commented on my work without having read it. That was pretty funny. But my big beef about NRDC is that they wont allow for nutrient trading. We could eliminate 6-10 times more crap going into the Chesapeake for the same dollar. But they fight it. Haven't figured out why.
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#35 AnBr

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 07:28 PM

Isn't the EPA a bit underfunded? I would be surprised if they have not been the target of POGer budget butchery.
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#36 Practical Girl

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 08:55 PM

View Postdrdredel, on 23 September 2015 - 05:30 PM, said:

I think there's a pretty profound difference between incompetence and malfeasance. The EPA is a huge bureaucratic government agency. In terms of efficacy it *seems to me (and I admit I've done very little research into the matter) that they're operating at a pretty substantially superior level of achievement to some of their sister organizations, such as the VA and CIA and the Police - all of whose jobs (again - speaking with zero actual insight) appear a great deal more straightforward. Their mandate is almost undefinably amorphous, their jurisdiction is endlessly a matter of debate and contention and for all the good they do (the U.S. has the cleanest/safest drinking water and the cleanest/safest air for the landmass/population/number of corporate entities percapita etc. in the world (can't offer citations, but I've read this in numerous places) - largely because of the (surprising) efficacy of the EPA - their name comes up much more frequently in expressions of exasperation and criticism rather than the much deserved accolade.

To me their efficacy is tantamount to a small miracle.

In any event - The EPA is far from perfect and can only do what it can do. It chases after VW, with limited resources and limited ability to demand compliance and VW (along with every other polluter) tries to dance around them and decries them as being an arbitrary hinderer to their (ostensibly) totally benevolent and wholesome operation which can police itself thank-you very much!
it's all about the market, don't you know?? The consumer is smart enough not to buy vehicles that will pollute incrementally more thus making their overall living conditions largely unlivable.

And it's worked out perfectly for the people of Paris who have really horrible smog *precisely because their particulate and emission standards are much lower and then of course there's China... all their industry is doing a really bang-up job of policing itself... and they'll keep doing so until their "market" will choke to death.

So, I'm not sure which bone you are a dog to, but I'm totally bewildered by why anyone would take issue with the EPA. As I said, I'm just amazed they can do anything useful at all. Meanwhile, VW broke the law. My (totally speculative guess) is that a team of German engineers, feeling some sense of entitlement and general pomposity scoffed at American emission standards - taking the tact that if their cars are clean enough for Europe, they're clean enough for the States and it hurts no one to out maneuver the EPA with this sort of cheat. They may even have seriously thought that it's just complicated a gaff enough to never get detected. Impossible to know. I'm looking forward to finding out. But the point is the company broke the law and did so intentionally. And therein lies the rub.

Within some reality? I can squint and see your point. But the EPA was- fairly, and within good science- notified a year a half ago that this company broke the law. Internationally? I'm not sure. But US policy/law? Yep. And EPA sat on it.

Perhaps it takes some time to build a case. But that also means that all those consumers continued to be defrauded, within VW claims. Claims the EPA had good, hard evidence that weren't true.

And so? All the stupid outrage needs to stop. VW was a villain, sure. But a US agency was also complicit- sale after sale- in allowing sales to continue, once they, themselves, confirmed the information.

This is messy. And I don't think VW is the only culprit. They sucked, as an actor, for sure. But the EPA- after learning and confirming that VW had to have cheated? Sucked as a 'parent"- the one you pay to pay attention to environmental issues like this.
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
Ernest Hemingway

#37 indy

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 06:04 AM

View PostPractical Girl, on 23 September 2015 - 08:55 PM, said:

Within some reality? I can squint and see your point. But the EPA was- fairly, and within good science- notified a year a half ago that this company broke the law. Internationally? I'm not sure. But US policy/law? Yep. And EPA sat on it.

Perhaps it takes some time to build a case. But that also means that all those consumers continued to be defrauded, within VW claims. Claims the EPA had good, hard evidence that weren't true.

And so? All the stupid outrage needs to stop. VW was a villain, sure. But a US agency was also complicit- sale after sale- in allowing sales to continue, once they, themselves, confirmed the information.

This is messy. And I don't think VW is the only culprit. They sucked, as an actor, for sure. But the EPA- after learning and confirming that VW had to have cheated? Sucked as a 'parent"- the one you pay to pay attention to environmental issues like this.

It was around May of 2014 that ICCT reported the issue to the EPA. The EPA ordered VW to investigate and fix the issue. VW said they did. At that point the EPA still didn't have a reason to suspect this was flagrant lying and intentional deceit by VW but rather it was just some technical glitch or other. It wasn't until the second round of tests failed that everybody said WTF? So it doesn't really seem like the EPA was sitting on their hands so much to me.

In all of this stuff there is some amount of trust between government agencies and the people and corporations they deal with. It isn't going to work otherwise. This is just the reality of limited testing and enforcement resources. If VW was in fact the only one cheating every other auto maker should be mad as hell at them, because going forward that trust has now been undermined and they will ALL pay for it with additional restrictions and requirements.

#38 indy

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 07:32 AM

Another interesting tidbit I found (I'll try to locate where) is that this was actually uncovered in Europe but that the people who uncovered it couldn't seem to get the European agencies interested, so they specifically came up with a plan to redo the test in the US because the US has higher emission standards AND a history of enforcing them.

ETA: http://www.bloomberg...clean-air-group

#39 indy

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 07:37 AM

And now, reports that BMW may also be involved.

#40 Traveler

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 07:56 AM

Interesting background on why the EU went for diesel, thinking that it would help AGW.

Quote

A third scandal, even more costly than the first two, also needs to be noticed and examined. It concerns the economic and environmental policies that first set European car manufacturers and consumers on course to this pile-up. Remember that "clean diesel" was a government-led initiative, brought to you courtesy of Europe's taxpayers. And, by the way, the policy had proved a massively expensive failure on its own terms even before the VW scandal broke.

It's this scandal that teaches the most important lessons. Beginning in the mid-1990s, mindful of their commitments to cut carbon emissions, Europe's governments embarked on a prolonged drive to convert their car fleets from gasoline to diesel. With generous use of tax preferences, they succeeded. In the European Union as a whole, diesel vehicles now account for more than half of the market. In France, the first country to cross that threshold, diesel now accounts for roughly 80 percent of motor-fuel consumption.

What was the reasoning? Diesel contains more carbon than gasoline, but diesel engines burn less fuel: Net, switching to diesel ought to give you lower emissions of greenhouse gases. However, there's a penalty in higher emissions of other pollutants, including particulates and nitrogen oxides, or NOx. Curbing those emissions requires expensivemodifications to cars' exhaust systems. To facilitate the switch, Europe made its emission standards for these other pollutants less stringent for diesel engines than for gasoline engines. The priority, after all, was to cut greenhouse gases.

Except that the switch to diesel probably didn't cut greenhouse gases. Making diesel cheaper by taxing it at a preferential rate encouraged people to drive more. And emissions of GHGs higher up the fuel-supply chain are worse for diesel than for gasoline. (Increasing demand for diesel drew in more supplies from Russia; producing and moving those supplies caused more emissions.) Treating diesel to lower its sulfur content adds yet another carbon penalty.

At best, the clean-diesel strategy lowered carbon emissions much less than hoped, and at ridiculous cost; at worst, as one study concludes, the policy added to global warming.

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire





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