Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions by Ralph Nader

The Driverless Car Gets Stuck on a Curb

Image by Melody Joy Kramer via Flickr

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by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
June 26, 2017

The hype and unsubstantiated hope behind the self-driving car movement continues unabated, distracting from addressing necessities of old “mobilities” such as inadequate public transit and upgrading highway and rail infrastructure.

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King’s Gamble by Ralph Nader

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by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
January 17, 2011

Bob King, the new president of the United Auto Workers, whose membership is down under 400,000 from a peak of 1.5 million in 1979 is rolling out an initiative to organize foreign auto plants in the U.S., expand the union’s reach overseas and forge alliances with social justice organizations.

Ordinarily, the response to these ambitions would be “With What?” Few unions have been beaten down as much as the UAW whose workers enduring the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009 and a debt-burdened Ford Motor company. During this period the UAW gave up billions of dollars in wages and benefits. Thousands of workers were laid off to save these companies.

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Nader and Associates Letter to President Obama on GM’s IPO by Ralph Nader (updated)

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Updated: Nov. 18, 2010

by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
November 11, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

The U.S. government bailout of, and acquisition of a majority share in, General Motors was an exceptional action, taken in response to exceptional circumstances. The U.S. stake in GM obviously poses novel managerial challenges to the government. The appropriate response to those challenges, however, is not to run from the responsibility through passive ownership and premature sale at a loss to taxpayers.

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Road to Corporate Serfdom by Ralph Nader

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by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
Oct. 29, 2010

It was Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist, James Carville, who in 1992 created the election slogan: “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” For the 2010 Congressional campaigns, the slogan should have been: “It’s Corporate Crime and Control, Stupid.”

But notwithstanding the latest corporate crime wave, the devastating fallout on workers, investors and taxpayers from the greed and corruption of Wall Street, and the abandonment of American workers by U.S. corporations in favor of repressive regimes abroad, the Democrats have failed to focus voter anger on the corporate supremacists.

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Since Unsafe At Any Speed by Ralph Nader + Searching for the Crashless Car

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by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
Sept. 20, 2010

Ralph Nader after the speech - Green Lecture

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Let’s celebrate some good news, before some qualifications are considered. Traffic fatalities in the U.S.A have dropped to a 60 year low. There were 33,808 deaths in 2009—a 9.7 percent decline from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety administration (NHTSA). The reduction was across the board from passenger vehicles, light trucks, large trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians. Continue reading

Of Big Banks and ShoreBank by Ralph Nader

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by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
August 13, 2010

The Obama Administration’s treatment of its current majority ownership of bailed out General Motors and its standoffishness toward the pioneering but troubled ShoreBank, a community bank based in Chicago, are lessons in how the Big/Bad fare in Washington, D.C., as compared with the Good/Small.

Having shed its bad assets and abandoned its common shareholders, the new GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 with a clean balance sheet and lots of taxpayer cash. For the first two quarters of 2010, it has signaled a comeback by reporting over $2 billion in profits.

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What is good for Goldman Sachs is bad for the world By Jerry Mazza

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By Jerry Mazza
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted at Online Journal
www.jerrymazza.com
May 13, 2010

Excuse me, Charlie Wilson, for parodying your 1955 line as chairman of General Motors that “What is good for General Motors is good for America.” Especially since 53 years later GM’s stock is at an all-time low with little prospect of zooming back up.

It seems that dinosaur GM helped extinct itself through a series of errors. They are well documented by financial trader Adam Hewison, co-founder of the MarketClub.com, in his linked article and DVD. The errors include developing an electric car in 1996 when gas was $1.28 a gallon, naming the battery powered car the EV1, then scrapping it in 2002 when prices were climbing to $4 a gallon. Oops!

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Understanding Toyota Sudden Acceleration by Joel S. Hirschhorn

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by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.foavc.org
March 8, 2010

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As a materials and manufacturing engineer with decades of experience with failure analysis of manufactured products, and as an owner of a Toyota vehicle, I am saddened by the lack of expertise and insight shared with Congress and the public about the sudden acceleration problem.

When products fail due to a systemic design, materials or manufacturing flaw, large and statistically significant levels of problems emerge fairly rapidly.  This is definitely not the case with the Toyota problem.  With many millions of Toyota models on which even more millions of miles have been driven, if there had been an inherent materials or manufacturing design defect, then we would have seen untold thousands of cases of sudden acceleration.  It literally would have been virtually a daily event happening all over the country in many Toyota models.  But, in fact, little more than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own.  This is a tiny, minuscule percentage of Toyotas.

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Ralph Nader on Bunning, Dodd, Cars and Poverty in D. C.

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Democracy Now!
March 2, 2010

Ralph Nader on the GOP Filibuster of Unemployment Benefits Bill, the Collapse of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Proposal, and the Latest Auto Recalls

Senate Republican Jim Bunning is continuing to filibuster a key spending bill to extend unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of American workers. The blocked bill also affects several governmental agencies, rural television customers and doctors receiving Medicare payments. At the same time, Senate Banking Committee Chair Christopher Dodd has abandoned an idea proposed by President Obama and favored by consumer groups to create an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency to protect consumers against abuses in mortgages, credit cards and other forms of lending. Meanwhile, General Motors announced today it is recalling 1.3 million compact cars in North America because of a power steering problem that has been linked to fourteen crashes. GM blamed the fault on a supplier partially owned by Toyota. We speak to longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader. [includes rush transcript]

via Ralph Nader on the GOP Filibuster of Unemployment Benefits Bill, the Collapse of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Proposal, and the Latest Auto Recalls

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How Prime Minister Hotoyama Can Stop The “Japan Bashing” By Mike Whitney

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By Mike Whitney
Information Clearing House
February 25, 2010

Japan should not allow itself to be publicly humiliated by the world’s biggest human rights abuser. It has many tools at its disposal which can be used to persuade sanctimonious senators and flannel-mouth congressmen that they need to stop their belligerent grandstanding for the cameras. The new Japanese government–particularly Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama–should be proactive in defending the reputation of its premier car manufacturer and national icon, Toyota. This is more than just a matter of saving face. It’s way to change the fundamental relationship between the United States and Japan by demanding that each partner be treated with respect and dignity. To achieve this goal, the prime minister should convene an emergency meeting of his administration and top members of the business community. They should outline the steps that will be taken if there is not a manifest improvement in the rhetoric and an end to the Japan bashing.

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Pharmaceutical Pillage by Joel S. Hirschhorn

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by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.foavc.org
February 23, 2010

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Business ethics has become an oxymoron.  Wall Street bonuses were up 17 percent to over $20 billion in 2009, the year taxpayers bailed out the financial sector after its meltdown.  So, everyone has many reasons to hate the banking and financial sectors that dumped our economy, and the general corruption of American politics by corporate interests.  There are good reasons to detest the pharmaceutical industry.  Besides raping people with onerous prices for prescription drugs, corporate greed coupled with ineffective government regulation and oversight is actually killing Americans through unsafe drugs.

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Out Of The Ashes Of GM: The Phoenix Of Renewable Energy by Dr. Ellen Brown

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by Dr. Ellen Hodgson Brown
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
webofdebt.com
June 10, 2009

It may be prophetic that among the brands GM chose to kill was the Pontiac Firebird, a classic hot car of the 1960s sporting the fabled Phoenix on its hood. In mythology, the Phoenix was a colorful bird that incinerated itself in its nest, then rose from the ashes as its own offspring. GM too, says Michael Moore, could be reborn as something else. In a June 1 eulogy of sorts, he wrote:

“So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company’s body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with—dare I say it—joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown … Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job. But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company!”

What would we want with a car company? Moore suggests that the bankrupt mega-builder of obsolete gas guzzlers can be transformed into a mega-builder of things we need more—mass transit vehicles, including bullet trains, light rail mass transit lines, energy efficient clean buses, hybrid or all-electric cars, and alternative energy devices such as batteries, windmills, and solar panels. The factories that built the cars that helped destroy the environment can become the tools for cleaning it up. This would, of course, take some investment; but Moore suggests that to pay for it all, the government could impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline.

It sounds good right up to the gas tax, a regressive tax that would hit hardest in the wallets of the poor and would raise alarm bells for politicians, the oil lobby, and voters. Isn’t there some way to fund the plan without driving up the tax burden or the national debt? In fact, there is.

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