Volkswagen Vs. GM

by William Skink

Man, the people who thought they bought a clean diesel Volkswagen are pissed. There is so much anger I even heard NPR talking up the possibility that criminal charges will be brought against individuals at Volkswagen. Maybe that’s why the CEO was so quick to jump ship.

To be clear, what Volkswagen did is abhorrent, but it’s not like they killed people. GM, on the other hand, did kill people, and no individual was criminally charged. Not even Ray DeGiorgio.

The link is to a Democracy Now piece, and the following exchange is between Amy Goodman and a Laura Christian, the mother of a 16 year old who was killed in GM’s death machine:

AMY GOODMAN: Who do you think should be prosecuted?

LAURA CHRISTIAN: Well, certainly, Ray DeGiorgio. He’s number one on, I think, everybody’s list.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain, because—for those who aren’t familiar and steeped in this as much as you are.

LAURA CHRISTIAN: Oh, certainly. Ray DeGiorgio is the engineer that was in charge of this particular ignition switch. He was the one that knew that there was not enough pressure or torque in these vehicles, meaning that it was going to be able to go from the on position to the accessory position. He knew this. He gave the order at Delphi to go ahead and manufacture this particular part, even though it did not meet GM’s own specifications. He later on, you know, had the model changed itself, had the switch redesigned, but did not change the actual part number. That’s concealing it, not only to all consumers everywhere, not only to the federal government, but to some at GM, as well. I understand it made it a little bit more difficult to figure out what was going on. Though, nevertheless, it did come to light. Counsel in GM knew. Counsel, you know, basically, in some cases, strong-armed certain victims’ parents, family members, to accept minimal amounts of money, to—in some cases, bullied them against suing GM at all. And these are their own counsel.

GM was fined 900 million dollars for knowingly killing over a hundred people, further solidifying a separate set of legal standards used to address corporate crimes where individual culpability could be prosecuted, but is not.

So forgive me for rolling my eyes at all this tough talk toward Volkswagen. Instead of jumping on the outrage bandwagon, I’m wondering what other angles are lurking behind this clamor to prosecute a foreign corporation for fraud.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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2 Responses to Volkswagen Vs. GM

  1. James Conner has gone apoplectic over the VW scandal. Here’s a quote from his hateful anti-German screed:

    Germany never will bring Volkswagon to heel. The company’s profits über alles behavior is the quintessential expression of that country’s authoritarian national character.

    So the remaining question is whether the United States will have the wisdom and backbone to inflict the harshest possible criminal, economic, and diplomatic penalties on Volkswagon. The VW managers, board members, engineers, assembly line workers, everyone with knowledge of the crime, must spend their best years in the gefängnis. All VW products must be banned forever in the United States. Stop selling them. Get them off the road and out of the country. Seize VW’s assets in the U.S. Demand reparations from Germany. Suspend or break diplomatic relations with German until this is resolved to the U.S.’s satisfaction.

    I’m beginning to believe that Henry Morganthau was right when he advised Franklin Roosevelt that after WWII, Germany should be reduced to an agrarian economy and forbidden from ever again becoming a manufacturing powerhouse. Grow cabbage, but don’t build cars. That’s still a good idea. German character is too dangerous to entrust with any kind of power.

    I wonder if he missed the news that US corporations also deploy profit uber alles behavior and when they actually, knowingly kill people, like GM did, America’s institutions, like the DOJ, has proven its disinterest in bringing these bastards to heel with criminal charges.

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