Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Government Oversight, A Defense of Government and No End to Religious Strife

Does anyone seriously believe Takata Corp. executives were ignorant of the truth that far from saving lives their airbags posed a mortal risk to drivers and passengers? When was the last time a company voluntarily admitted its output could injure or kill people? Or steal their money? That’s why we need the alphabet soup of government organizations: OSHA, FTC, FDA, EPA, NLRB, ATF, EEOC and so on.

Takata, as with General Motors and its malfunctioning ignition key switch, is the poster-company reason we need government oversight of business. Otherwise, companies would merely follow actuarial tables and determine it is cheaper to pay a few death or injury claims than fix a dangerous flaw in their product. Just look at Honda, long considered one of the gold-standard companies in the auto industry. As revealed Monday, for more than a decade Honda underreported deaths linked to possible defects in its vehicles (

To those who opine that President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration has poisoned his relationship with Congress, I ask, “Were you awake or comatose during the last six years? Did you not observe how obstructionist Republicans have been to all of his initiatives? Did you not witness their unrestrained enthusiasm to repeal Obamacare? When they talk of a mandate from the 2014 elections don’t you stop to wonder why they did not accept the mandates of 2008 and 2012?”

No, Obama was not acting as an emperor. He was merely, after six years, acting as a realist. 

The real tragedy in this political pas de deux is that it has painfully revealed how pitiful Democrats are compared to Republicans in framing national debates. Instead of hammering away at positive results in such areas as health care, minimum wage, income inequality, immigration, alternative energy, gun control, unemployment, economic recovery, inflation control and lowering of the national debt, Dems have had to defend (poorly, I might add) GOP lies and distortions that have poisoned political dialogue.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi might be good politicos and legislators but they lack dynamic speaking personas. Democrats need more combative, yes combative, spokespeople to carry the good fight to the public. Democrats must learn to control the debate, not react to it. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they need more outspoken leaders like Sen. Charles Schumer. In a speech to the National Press Club Tuesday, New York’s senior senator argued Democrats need to more vigorously defend the role of government ( 

The horrific murders inside a synagogue in Jerusalem last week are all the more repugnant because they reinforced stereotypical behavior that Muslims do not respect other religions, not even that practiced by different Islamic sects. It is no more or less abhorrent that repeated attacks on mosques and funerals by competing Islamic sects.

Truth is, Western religions (Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy) went through their own sectarian purges as they evolved into their present formats. So it’s not unique to the Muslim world that Shia kill Sunni, and Sunni kill Shia. Nor is it unique that they kill them during times of congregation inside religious buildings. 

Twenty-first century sensibilities are affronted by the Dark Ages values of Islamic militants, be they ISIS, Boko Haram or any other group that claims it is acting in the name of Allah or his prophet. I hate to be a Debbie-Downer, but we are destined to live with these extreme militants for the foreseeable future, and beyond, as it is impossible to totally eradicate individual or collective irrational behavior. Fanatics do not listen to reason. They are crazy with their own perceptions and ideas. We can only hope that saner minds within the Muslim community help us limit the evil the extremists hope to wreak on the rest of humanity.