Volkswagen (VW), for a few months the world’s largest automaker, installed a software that enabled a car to emit much less pollution when a test was conducted than it really did when it was operated for real. Out there on the streets the cars in question were emitting 40 times more pollution. There are at least 11 million such cars (11 x 10^6).
It was not a victimless crime: the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that air pollution from fossil fuels kills seven million people a year. In France alone, the government, which has favored polluting diesel cars (after making a scientific mistake, it claims) admits that 40,000 people die, each year from pollution caused mostly by cars.
Logically, the boss of VW, or those responsible (if they lied to their boss) ought to go to jail, for many, many years. Letting it happen that people would be gazed in extermination camps was often punished by death after World War Two (eleven thousands Nazis were executed in Germany). On the face of it, I have a problem seeing a distinction between that, and the behavior of VW. In both cases, it’s all about killing people, deliberately, to augment one’s power.
So why did the leaders of VW sink so low?
It’s the mood of the times. If Obama sees a wedding in Yemen, and he is told that has the “SIGNATURE” of a terrorist gathering, he orders to execute the wedding crowd, with remotely piloted bombing robots. Nobody “serious” sees a problem with that. Why can’t the boSS of VW do the same?
The mood of the time is that, when a big bank launders money for drug trafficking, it is told, if caught with enough evidence, to pay a fine, and the charges will be dropped. Excuse me? There would be no drug trafficking if the money could not be transported, and laundered. In other words, no big banks, no big drug trafficking. The first drug lords to jail ought to be the big bankers who partake in the activity. The boss of VW knew this: I am sure he read the papers, occasionally. So why can’t he do the same?
Surely, to spew lethal gases in the streets of the world, is not much worse than financing terrorist Islamist networks, as some big western banks such as HSBC more or less did not have to admit they did, once they paid a few billions of official blackmail. A few months ago.
Meanwhile some hedge fund managers made billions, in just one year, paying no tax to speak of. These billions were stolen to everybody else. Why can’t the boss of VW steal billions too? Is not his company more important?
The mood of corruption has been propagating worldwide: after all, if you spend nearly as much as the average family income in the USA, and IF (a big if) the plutocrats invite you, you can meet with the president of the USA. That’s corruption. And they call that “democracy”, piling up corruption of the soul on top of corruption of the pocket-book.
And why can’t Putin be corrupt too, and do like Hitler, and invade countries? Who is going to stop him? Corrupt plutocrats, his friends and mentors? This is exactly what made Hitler laugh, literally laugh, even using the word “plutocrat” between two bouts of laughter. It did not end up well. The plutocrats had the last laugh: playing with Hades, Pluto, Satan, one can get burned to a crisp.
(In his last few days, Hitler ordered the execution of Dr. Schacht, JP Morgan’s creature, who had done so much to put the Fuhrer in power; ironically Schacht was saved because he was going to be executed with Leon Blum, the Jewish French socialist PM: a Wehrmacht aristocratic officer berated the SS at the last moment).
Plutocrats are playing similar games nowadays. The West is supporting the Saudis plutocrats, who, at best, are bandits who ought to be jailed, and then judged. However Saudi princes would point out, they don’t see why they should go to jail if the big bankers don’t. Good point. We may as well appoint the Saudi gangsters to head the panel which decides who shall be an expert for the Human Right Council at the United Nations.
So now the Saudi torturers, who allegedly decapitate more people than the so-called Islamist State, want to execute and crucify a teenager who heaped disrespect on them. Until his flesh falls off onto the ground in a rotten heap. Why not? After all, he is a Shia, a type of apostate Muslim as far as the Wahhabists are concerned. That he is the nephew of a major opponent is also as good a motive as any.
George W. Bush seems to have committed, in Iraq, a war of aggression. At least he was told some judges in European countries think so, and are ready to have him arrested. Thus Bush does not travel there.
At the Nuremberg’s trial, some Nazi leaders were condemned to hang until dead, just for having committed a war of aggression. Why can’t we keep on applying international jurisprudence?
In August 1924, the German imperial government attacked the world. The leaders were not hanged, as they should have been, in 1919. So the mood of aggression against the world was repeated in the years leading to the 1939 war declaration of the French Republic against the “guide” Hitler. What did the German leaders risk? They thought they were not personally at risk. They found otherwise in 1945.
Now, of course, the moral fiber was stronger in republics in the past. In August 1914, the French Republic welcomed, as war refugees, one and a half million foreigners (1.5 x 10^6). In two weeks.
Now we just have austerity, meaning that the have-nots are viewed as still having too much. Plenty of austerity, and no humanity: ce sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble.