Is Toyota Guilty or Victim of Justice Department Shakedown?

It’s all over the news today:  Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday the U.S. government has reached a $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota that ends a four-year criminal investigation into the automaker’s response to safety issues.  But is the Japanese automaker really guilty of wrongdoing?

Click image above to read more articles about the Toyota recalls.

Click image above to read more articles about the Toyota recalls.

I ask that question after today’s headlines prompted me to take a trip back into the Bob McCarty Writes archives.  There, I found several articles worth sharing again.

In a Feb. 5, 2010, piece, Obama Administration Sending Wrong Signals, I opened by stating that no one could blame Toyota Motor Company officials for feeling as if they’ve been on the “hot seat” for an inordinately-long period of time.  Then I listed four noteworthy incidents to back up my opinion:

• On Sept. 29, the company issued a recall related to floor mats interfering with accelerator pedals of seven Toyota models;

• On Jan. 21, the company issued another recall, this time related to issues with the accelerator pedals of eight Toyota and Lexus models;

• On Feb. 4, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood offered inaccurate off-the-cuff advice to drivers of Toyota vehicles; and

Today, Toyota President Akio Toyoda issued an apology on behalf of his company amidst news the company is reportedly considering a recall of its Toyota Prius model over issues related to its braking system.

I went on to cite an AFP article, Is US bullying Toyota on recall?, before asking and answering the question, “Why would the Obama Administration want to bully Toyota?”

I explained that two primary reasons existed for Obama’s actions:

• President Obama wants to hurt sales at Toyota and increase sales at General Motors and Chrysler, the companies in which the federal government has an ownership stake; and

President Obama wants to help the United Auto Workers employees who work at GM and Chrysler plants, many of which have shuttered in recent years.

UAW "Ready for the Next Course" by My Personal LitmusAlso on Feb. 5, 2010, I asked the question, Is Toyota Paying Price for Not Supporting Obama?, before highlighting Federal Election Commission records that revealed only two of the 151 executives whose biographies appeared on the Toyota web site at the time made contributions to Obama’s presidential campaign between Jan. 1, 2007, and Feb. 4, 2010.

Three days later, I pointed out how federal government officials had failed to issue a recall for the GM-produced Chevy Cobalt despite the fact it had received more complaints per vehicle than Toyota.  Going a step farther, I used one paragraph to ask and answer an important question:

So why hasn’t the federal government issued a recall on the Cobalt? Probably because Chevrolet is owned by General Motors (a.k.a. “Government Motors”), a taxpayer-owned company that stands to benefit greatly from having its foreign-owned competitors struggle with the public relations nightmares related to product recalls.

On Feb. 15, 2010, I offered a few thoughts as to why Japanese automakers should expect more recalls — namely, because executives at Honda, Nissan and Suzuki had, like their colleagues at Toyota, failed to contribute much to Obama’s campaign coffers.

On May 5, 2010, I shared news about Toyota passing the three-million recall remedies mark.

Nine months would pass before I shared news I thought might signal the end of the federal government’s harassment of the Japanese automaker.  But I was wrong.

Despite the fact that NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles, Toyota will, according to Attorney General Holder, have to pay a $1.2 billion financial penalty under a “deferred prosecution agreement.

Translation:  “Pay up or we continue our shakedown.”

Oh, what a feeling, Toyota!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Conservatives, Honest Liberals Opposed FCC Newsrooms ‘Study’

By Paul R. Hollrah, Guest Writer

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai

In a Feb. 10 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who occupies one of the Republican seats on the commission, broke the news that the Obama Administration was planning to place inquisitors in the newsrooms of television and radio stations across the nation.

Titled the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the FCC program proposed to send researchers into TV and radio newsrooms to interview reporters, editors, and station managers about how they decide which stories to cover… or not cover.

As Pai described it, the stated purpose of the CIN was to “ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about ‘the process by which stories are selected,’ and how often stations cover ‘critical information needs,’ along with ‘perceived station bias’ and ‘perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.’” As a guideline for their research, the FCC planners selected eight major categories for their investigators to delve into:

1) Emergencies and risks – immediate and long term;

2) Health and welfare – local health information and group specific health information;

3) Education – the quality of local schools and choices available to parents;

4) Transportation – available alternatives, costs, and schedules;

5) Economic opportunities – job information, job training, and small business assistance;

6) The environment – air and water quality and access to recreation;

7) Civic information – the availability of civic institutions and opportunities to associate with others; and

8) Political – information about candidates at all relevant levels of local governance, and relevant public policy initiatives affecting communities and neighborhoods.

In addition, the FCC identified two broad areas of critical information needs associated with each of these categories: 1) Those fundamental to individuals in everyday life; and 2) Those that affect larger groups and communities.

But this is all pretty boring stuff.  If the FCC was interested in conducting a study on which topics and which stories were most likely to put TV viewers and radio listeners to sleep, it’s pretty clear they were really onto something.  There have always been much more interesting stories to report.

Although everyone but the fascist thugs of the Obama Administration and the brain-dead rank-and-file of the Democratic Party were immediately horrified at what the FCC proposed, for the first time in history conservatives and the lawyers of the American Civil Liberties Union threw their arms around each other.  The thought of someone marching into the newsrooms of television and radio stations and demanding to know how they conducted their business was roundly denounced by conservatives and honest liberals alike.

Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative public interest law firm, cautioned:  “The federal government has no place attempting to control the media, using the unconstitutional actions of repressive regimes to squelch free speech.”

Without doubt, Sekulow had the Obama administration in mind when he cautioned us against “repressive regimes?”

Commentary magazine equated the proposed FCC study to the dangers of, say, a federal shield law.  The principal danger of a shield law is that, in order to legislate protections for a specific group… i.e. the “press”… it is first necessary to define that group.  Therefore, the government would be placed in the position of deciding who is a journalist and who is not.  As Commentary suggests, “The government could easily play favorites and have yet another accreditation – not unlike an FCC license – to hold over the heads of the press.”  Given the Obama Administration’s unprecedented use of the IRS to thwart its political opponents, is there any doubt that a shield law in their hands would be a very dangerous thing?

Commentary concluded that it is such rules that the FCC’s CIN calls to mind.  It opens the door to increased government scrutiny of the press, with an implicit threat to a broadcaster’s license.  It does so under the guise of “public service,” “quality control,” “fairness,” and other terms that usually hint the government is up to no good.  Left unchallenged, the CIN would support the premise that “news judgment is the FCC’s business.”

The FCC quickly issued a statement saying that Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler was in agreement that “survey questions in the study directed toward media outlet managers, news directors, and reporters overstepped the bounds of what is required.”  An FCC spokesman added that “any suggestion that the FCC intends to regulate the speech of news media or plans to put monitors in America’s newsrooms is false.”

However, what is most noticeable about all of the moral indignation directed at the FCC’s CIN program, whether from the left or from the right, is that it is all premised on the notion that we actually have a free press in the United States when, in fact, we do not.  Few conservatives, the most “underserved population” of all, would deny that because of many decades of leftish propagandizing by the mainstream media, any opportunity to get inside the newsrooms at the major networks to expose them for the charlatans they are would be far too tempting to ignore.

For example, in 2004, CBS newsman Dan Rather created a national stir when he charged that George W. Bush had been AWOL during a part of his service in the Texas Air National Guard.  Unfortunately for Rather, the documents used to support his charge turned out to be forgeries.  The documents, which Rather claimed were memos from one of Bush’s senior officers, contained superscript characters which were not available on typewriters at the time.  In truth, the documents that Rather hoped would ruin Bush’s reelection chances were created on a modern computer using Microsoft Word software, and artificially aged to make them appear authentic.

Nevertheless, the networks and major print media devoted hundreds of hours of airtime and countless lines of newsprint to the bogus story.  It would have been interesting to learn how the networks decided to spend that much time and effort on the phony Bush AWOL story.

Conversely, just three years later, when it became evident that Sen. Barack Obama would be a viable Democratic candidate for the presidency, legal scholars complained that, because Obama failed to meet the basic requirements to be a “natural born Citizen,”  as required by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, he would be ineligible to serve.  And although there was ample evidence to support the charge, the mainstream media all but ignored the story.

And when the Maricopa County, Ariz., Cold Case Posse, under the direction of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, provided irrefutable proof that the long form birth certificate uploaded to the White House website on April 27, 2011, was a poorly crafted forgery, that his draft registration card was a forged document, and that his Social Security number was stolen and would not pass a simple Social Security Administration E-verify test, the left-leaning newsmen of ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC looked the other way.  They simply ignored the story.

It would be interesting to have editors, producers, and reporters at our major networks explain why a few days absence by George W. Bush from his Air National Guard duty station should be a major national news story, while the constitutional ineligibility and the forged documentation of the country’s first black president deserved nothing more than to be swept under the rug.

These are not isolated incidents; they happen every day of the week, on every conceivable kind of issue, foreign and domestic.  The only constant is the fact that the reporting is almost always slanted in favor of liberal/socialist orthodoxy and against traditional conservative views.

Given that so much of the Obama Administration invites favorable comparison to Hitler’s Third Reich, it was only to be expected that the FCC’s CIN study would quickly attract comparisons.  Marilyn Assenheim, writing at Minutemen News, suggests that, “What (Obama) is establishing is a redo of historical absolutism.  The German National Socialist government could not have aspired to better.”

Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, reminds us that “Arbitrary power is ugly and vicious, regardless of what pious rhetoric goes with it.  Freedom is not free.  You have to fight for it or lose it.”  Further, he asks, “But is our generation up to fighting for it?”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming has said“I think Obama is learning.  By the end of his presidency he’ll have gone from less than useless to achieving parity with uselessness…  In America, we love rooting for the underdogs, so maybe a gigantic decline in our nation is just what we need to believe in ourselves again.”

Perhaps a close brush with fascist dictatorship will be enough to wake us all up to the realities of the terrible dangers Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi represent.

Paul R. Hollrah is a two-time member of the Electoral College and a contributing editor for the National Writers Syndicate and the New Media JournalHis blog is found at OrderOfEphors.comHe resides in the lakes region of northeast Oklahoma.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Attorney General Asked by Seven GOP Congressmen to Investigate Nation’s Top Intelligence Official

In a letter today, seven Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives called upon Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. for lying to Congress.

Calls for Clapper to Resign 12-19-13The letter began with a recap of the sequence of events that occurred March 12 when Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) if the National Security Agency collects any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans and Clapper responded with, “No,sir.”

Further into the letter, the representatives — Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.), James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Wisc.), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Blake Farenthold (Texas), Trey Gowdy (S.C.), Raúl Labrador (Idaho) and Ted Poe (Texas) — said Clapper “was asked a question and he was obligated to answer truthfully. He could have declined to answer. He could have offered to answer in a classified setting. He could have corrected himself immediately following the hearing. He did none of these things despite advance warning that the question was coming.

“The country’s interests are best served when its leaders deal truthfully with its citizens,” the letter continued. “The mutual sense of good faith it fosters permits compromise and concessions in those cases that warrant it. Director Clapper’s willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government and undermines Congress’s ability to perform its Constitutional function.”

TheClapperMemoFrontCoverLR 6-5-13At the end of the letter, the representatives set Jan. 10, 2014, as the date by which they requested a response from Holder to the matter they described as being of “the highest priority.”

I find it humorous that members of Congress are demanding an investigation of Clapper only months after the release of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, which is based on my own exhaustive four-year investigation of a scandal in which Clapper, as the nation’s top intelligence official, was discovered to play a major role.

So troubling is what I discovered that one retired Navy SEAL training program commander described it as “an unconscionable cover-up.” Others endorsed it as well.

Find out what all of the fuss is about Order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO, available in paperback and ebook versions.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Judge Says Eric Holder Must Produce ‘Fast and Furious’ Docs

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Monday against Eric Holder, saying the U.S. attorney general could no longer hide behind executive privilege and refuse to produce a portion of the records called for in a subpoena issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the United States House of Representatives.

Judge Fast and Furious Holder 9-30-13In short, this likely means that a fierce battle will take place soon in the Republican-controlled House to get at the truth about the “Fast and Furious” scandal involving supplying criminals and Mexican drug cartel members with guns that were later used to kill Americans along the nation’s southern border.

Judge Jackson’s 44-page Memorandum Opinion begins as follows:

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the United States House of Representatives has filed this action to enforce a subpoena it issued to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric H. Holder, Jr.  The Attorney General refused to produce a portion of the records called for by the subpoena on the grounds that they are covered by the executive privilege, and the Committee seeks a declaration that the invocation of the privilege is invalid in this instance and that the documents must be produced.  The matter is before the Court on defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6):  the Attorney General takes the position that a dispute between the legislative and executive branches must be resolved through negotiation and accommodation, and that the judiciary may not, or at least, should not, get involved.

The motion to dismiss will be denied.  The fact that this case arises out of a dispute between two branches of government does not make it non-justiciable; Supreme Court precedent establishes that the third branch has an equally fundamental role to play, and that judges not only may, but sometimes must, exercise their responsibility to interpret the Constitution and determine whether another branch has exceeded its power.  In the Court’s view, endorsing the proposition that the executive may assert an unreviewable right to withhold materials from the legislature would offend the Constitution more than undertaking to resolve the specific dispute that has been presented here.  After all, the Constitution contemplates not only a separation, but a balance, of powers.

Click here to read the rest of the opinion.

Also, be sure to read other pieces I’ve written about Holder, including one about his previous involvement in a case involving the murder of an American citizen.

Hopefully, this time, justice will finally be served.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

CIA Director’s Resignation Raises Several Troubling Questions

The timing of CIA Director (Gen.) David Petraeus’ resignation Friday raises several troubling questions the American people deserve to have answered.

Gen. David Petraeus

Did the timing of General Petraeus’ resignation have something to do with the Nov. 6 election?

Knowing President Barack Obama‘s propensity to do anything to save his own hide, one has to believe it played a part in the saga.  According to a report by Ronald Kessler, it came months after the FBI began investigating his relationship with Paula Broadwell, the author of his biography, “All In,” and it left some FBI agents fuming.

Did it have something to do with the House Intelligence Committee’s upcoming hearing about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya?

General Petraeus’ resignation came only days before he was — and, some say, still is — expected to testify Nov. 15 at a closed-door hearing during which members of the committee are expected to ask tough questions and demand truthful answers about the CIA‘s role in events before, during and after the attack which left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others dead.  One has to believe it played a part as well.

Did it have anything to do with the fact that, by virtue of his position atop the CIA, he knew he would be subjected to periodic, in-depth polygraph examinations and face questions regarding, among other things, his personal conduct?

As a high-ranking government employee privy to classified information of the highest order, General Petraeus falls into the category of people who expected to be subjected to polygraph examinations on an annual basis.  As a retired Army four-star general with more than three decades in uniform, he also knows that a host of countermeasures are available to anyone wanting to defeat the polygraph; therefore, I doubt he had any concerns about undergoing such an examination.

Did it have anything to do with General Petraeus believing foreign intelligence agents might try to compromise him if they became aware of his clandestine activities with Mrs. Broadwell, the married mother of two is not his wife?

Well-schooled in all manner of intelligence-gathering operations, General Petraeus knows that foreign intelligence agents keep watchful eyes on people like him with the hope of finding information they might use in attempts to compromise him at some future date; therefore, I’m sure he limited his reckless behavior with his mistress to environments where none of the “bad guys” could catch him in the act.  Likewise, he probably trusted his extramarital lover.

Unfortunately, General Petraeus must have known he could not hide his affair from FBI agents able to install wiretaps and conduct surveillance activities not available to foreign agents.  In knowing those agents’ chain of command leads to Attorney General Eric Holder, the general also knew that the information would likely be seen by President Obama and held over his head as a bargaining chip of sorts for use at some point in the future when the president was in trouble and needed his CIA director to be his “fall guy.”

Understandably, General Petraeus decided he would rather face the wrath of his wife now than end up “under the bus” at some time in the future on trumped-up circumstances.

Though I don’t condone the general’s pre-resignation actions in any way and despise him for the role he’s played in shaping DoD’s severely-flawed “catch-and-release” policies which have turned many battlefields into untenable environments for warfighters, I can’t say I blame him from protecting himself from his boss.

Hopefully, the whole truth will come out during this week’s hearings and beyond.

Bob McCarty is the author of “Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, a nonfiction book that’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. His second book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, is set for release this fall was released in May..

House Democrats Issue ‘Fast & Furious’ Report

Yesterday, led by Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a 95-page report on their investigation of Operation: Fast & Furious, the controversial gun-running operations that’s taken place during Attorney General Eric Holder’s watch at the Department of Justice.

Though I won’t go into many details about the smoke-and-mirrors report labeled “Fatally Flawed,” I will offer a quick look at the most-blatant evidence of denial in this report which appears on page 4 of the report’s Executive Summary:

No evidence that senior officials authorized gun-walking in Fast & Furious.

I will also point out the “Blame Bush” aspect of the report — that is, the subhead on the cover:  Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona.

Take a look at the report and the conclusions reached therein.  If you believe the report accurate, please let me know, because I have some prime ocean-front property in Oklahoma that I’ve been wanting to sell for some time now.

Read the report via Scribd.

Rumor Mill: Eric Holder to Resign Friday

This tidbit came in this morning from a well-connected friend, and I wanted to put in on the record just in case it comes true:

Eric Holder

“Just heard from a little bird who lives with in the Washington D. C. beltway… Attorney General Holder is going to resign, perhaps by this Friday.”

Perhaps my last article about the “Fast & Furious” scandal, republished Dec. 3 by Andrew Breitbart at BigGovernment.com, pushed him to the brink.

Stay tuned!

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