What happened to the outrage?

Updated: Friday, April 11, 2014
What happened to the outrage? story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The world is still waiting for the internal report to put the finger on just why it took General Motors up to ten years to issue a recall for 2.5 million cars that may have fatally faulty ignition switches.

It's a problem the world's largest automaker more or less now concedes is to blame for at least 31 crashes and 13 deaths.

But for 10 years, GM simply sat on the problem.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, our Tom Van Howe wonders what in the world has happened to outrage.

=====================

Maybe we're just numb. But the last century was replete with people standing up and shouting about what they thought was wrong, unjust, unfair, and demanding action.

But not so much anymore. The voices of outrage have turned into whispers.

Maybe its because the new century began with the war in Iraq--as completely misguided vengeance for the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

We were told by experts there were no weapons of mass destruction there, and there weren't. The 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian...not Iraqi.

If one objected, that person was unpatriotic.

Then Afghanistan. Death, destruction, and torture--something we believed we didn't do.

Now we know that we did. Enthusiastically.

Then came the drones, raining death on both terrorists and wedding parties. We worry they'll be used on us to watch, listen, and record.

And why not worry? Credit the fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden for tipping us off on the incredible reach of the national security agency.

We live in a world where almost nothing is private.

We endlessly debate immigration reform in a Congress that accomplishes almost nothing. Its no wonder Congress has an approval rating of about 10 percent.

Meantime we're breaking up families on a daily basis--deporting record numbers of people back to Mexico.

We continue extolling our right to bear arms while gun violence continues haunting the streets of our cities.

We don't vote much anymore. In off-year elections roughly 15 percent of us make decisions for all the rest.

Big money is completely taking over the battle for free and equal speech. Its no longer free nor equal.

Wall street continues unregulated.  And while the way we pay for healthcare has people on the right apoplectic, no one talks much about the high-and-still-soaring cost of healthcare.

So maybe its just domestic battle fatigue that has people shrugging their shoulders about the way General Motors shirked a life-and-death responsibility for a full decade.

Executives in Detroit knew back in 2004 there was an ignition switch problem in Chevy Cobalts and HHR's, and in Pontiac G7s, Pursuits, and Solstices, and Saturn Ions and Skys.

They knew before and after their bankruptcy and the ensuing bailout that if the switches were jarred or if the key had too heavy a ring on it, it could malfunction and turn off the engine--leaving the driver without air brakes, power steering, or operable airbags.

Result? A documented 31 crashes and 13 deaths.

Consumer Reports says there have been more than 300 deaths in GM cars with undeployed air bags.

And none of it should have happened. None of it.
 
This is a company kept alive by the American people who in return were given a hand gesture.

Has it made me angry? Absolutely. I feel as though I've been had. Trouble is, I don't know what to do with my anger.

Ever since the Supreme Court said corporations are people too, its taken the wind out of my sails.

I want to shout at somebody. I want to punch somebody.

But neither option seems very effective against one of the largest corporations. And how do you punch a corporation anyway?

Maybe if I ignore it...it'll all just go away.

In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on July 07, 2015 07:36 GMT

GREECE-BAILOUT

PARIS (AP) -- Eurozone nations will hold an emergency summit today to discuss how to proceed following the `no' result in Greece's bailout referendum.

In the meantime, Germany's EU commissioner says he's optimistic that a new Greek finance minister and opposition parties' backing for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (TSEE'-prahs) could smooth negotiations between Athens and its European creditors.

Greece's polarizing finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, resigned Monday and was replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos. Three opposition parties offered backing for Tsipras in the bailout negotiations.

Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Deutschlandfunk radio Tuesday that Tsakalotos "doesn't have the same attitude as his predecessor. He knows the figures, the facts, he knows our reform proposals ... and he knows that we are flexible."

German officials insist that, even after its voters rejected more austerity in a referendum, Greece must accept conditions for any new aid.

Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel said "time is of the essence," after discussing the Greek crisis with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. She said that Greece must advance proposals to the table this week.

Greece's banks are facing the risk of collapse within days unless a rescue deal is reached. The European Central Bank maintained its level of cash assistance to Greek banks ahead of today's emergency meeting.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A few economic reports are due out from the federal government later this morning. The Commerce Department will release international trade data for May and the Labor Department will release its job openings and labor turnover survey for the same month. This afternoon, the Federal Reserve releases May consumer credit data.

ECONOMY-SERVICES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. service firms grew at a slightly faster pace in June, as business activity and new orders increased.

The Institute for Supply Management says its services index edged up to 56 in June from 55.7 in May. Any reading over 50 indicates that services firms are expanding.

Steady hiring over the past year has fueled a consumer spending rebound from a winter slump. Many economists say the economy will expand at an annual rate of 2.5 per cent in the second quarter, after shrinking during the first three months of 2015.

Still, the index's hiring component slipped in June to 52.7 from 55.3 in May, which indicates that the rate of job growth might slow.

The report corresponds with economic growth of around 3 percent annually in the second quarter, Lee said.

SKOREA-EARNS-SAMSUNG-ELECTRONICS

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung Electronics Co. forecasts its second-quarter profit has dropped 4 percent from a year earlier.

The maker of Galaxy smartphones said in its earnings preview Tuesday that its April-June operating profit was 6.9 trillion won ($6.1 billion). The consensus among analysts was 7.23 trillion won, according to financial data provider FactSet.

Samsung said sales fell 8 percent over a year earlier to 48 trillion won. The company is scheduled to disclose its net profit and breakdown figures among its business divisions later this month.

The announcement shows that recovery at Samsung's smartphone division was not as strong as expected.

Analysts have lowered profit forecasts on Samsung in recent weeks, citing the weaker-than-expected sales of its flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which went on sale in April.

US-STARBUCKS-PRICE-HIKE

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks says it's hiking prices again starting today, with the increases ranging from 5 to 20 cents for most affected drinks.

The Seattle-based company also raised prices nationally about a year ago.

The company says that a small and large brewed coffee will each go up by 10 cents in most areas of the country. That would bring the price of a large coffee to $2.45 in most U.S. stores.

Some other coffee sellers are cutting prices. Last week, The J.M. Smucker Co. said it would cut prices for most of its coffee products because of declines in future prices for unroasted coffee beans. In an emailed statement yesterday, Starbucks Corp. said coffee costs are only part of its expenses, which also include rent, labor, marketing and equipment.

US-SURVEYMONKEY-SANDBERG

Sheryl Sandberg joins SurveyMonkey board of directors

UNDTED ( AP) -- SurveyMonkey will add two new members to its board of directors, including Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

Sandberg is the widow of David Goldberg, who was CEO at SurveyMonkey from 2009 until he died in an accident while exercising in May.

The Palo Alto, California, company said Monday its other new director is David Ebersman, the CEO of Lyra Health and former chief financial officer at Facebook.

SurveyMonkey, which operates an online survey platform, also said Zander Lurie, its acting executive chairman, will take on the role on a permanent basis.

WAL-MART-ARMORED CAR HEIST

BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) -- Investigators say they have no suspects in the theft of $75,000 from an Oklahoma Wal-Mart by a man disguised as an armored truck driver.

Authorities say the suspect entered the Wal-Mart store in Bristow about 10:30 a.m. Saturday dressed similarly to a Loomis armored transport employee. The suspect strolled to the cash office, signed for the deposit and walked out of the store.

Wal-Mart employees called police after the real Loomis employee arrived about 45 minutes later. Bristow is about 35 miles southeast of Tulsa.

Bristow Police Chief Wayne Williams said Monday investigators have not identified the suspect whose image was captured by a video surveillance camera. Williams says officials don't believe the suspect lives in the area.

Williams says Wal-Mart has alerted its other stores about the theft.

advertisement
Washington Times
advertisement