Dewey, Cheatem & Howe Recent cases of disturbing business practices underscore the need for good regulation, which is at stake in next year’s election. nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman: “No doubt I, like anyone who points out ethical lapses on the part of some companies, will be accused of demonizing business. But I’m not claiming that all businesspeople are demons, just that some of them aren’t angels.

There are, it turns out, people in the corporate world who will do whatever it takes, including fraud that kills people, in order to make a buck. And we need effective regulation to police that kind of bad behavior, not least so that ethical businesspeople aren’t at a disadvantage when competing with less scrupulous types. But we knew that, right?”

Recent cases of disturbing business practices underscore the need for good regulation, which is at stake in next year’s election.
nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

Cultural Revolution Shaped Xi Jinping, From Schoolboy to Survivor – The New York Times

“BEIJING — When the pandemonium of the Cultural Revolution erupted, he was a slight, softly spoken 13-year-old who loved classical Chinese poetry. Two years later, adrift in a city torn apart by warring Red Guards, Xi Jinping had hardened into a combative street survivor.His father, a senior Communist Party official who had been purged a few years earlier, was seized and repeatedly beaten. Student militants ransacked his family’s home, forcing them to flee, and one of his sisters died in the mayhem. Paraded before a crowd as an enemy of the revolution and denounced by his own mother, the future president of China was on the edge of being thrown into a prison for delinquent children of the party elite.”

Source: Cultural Revolution Shaped Xi Jinping, From Schoolboy to Survivor – The New York Times

After Volkswagen Revelation, Auto Emissions Tests Come Under Global Scrutiny – The New York Times

“In the United States, as attorneys general across the country opened investigations, Dan Becker, director of the safe climate campaign at the Center for Auto Safety, said the country also needed to rethink how emissions were tested. Independent testing has shown a widening gap between results in laboratories and the real world, raising suspicion.“The automakers have proven that they’re not trustworthy,” Mr. Becker said. “The government has to overhaul the testing to make sure that independent parties ensure that the cars that are put on the road pollute less and are safe.” ”

Source: After Volkswagen Revelation, Auto Emissions Tests Come Under Global Scrutiny – The New York Times

Volkswagen Test Rigging Follows a Long Auto Industry Pattern – The New York Times. Time for criminal penalties

“In the United States, automakers’ lobbying has ensured that the statute giving powers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “has no specific criminal penalty for selling defective or noncompliant vehicles,” says Joan Claybrook, a former administrator of the agency and longtime auto safety advocate. There are no criminal penalties under laws applying to the E.P.A. for violations of motor vehicle clean air rules, though there is a division of the Justice Department devoted to violations of environmental law.”

Surely, it is time for criminal penallites.

Source: Volkswagen Test Rigging Follows a Long Auto Industry Pattern – The New York Times

Trump and Fiorina’s Snake Oil Sales – Joe Nocera, The New York Times

“Business wonk that I am, my favorite moment in last week’s Republican debate came when Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump got into a spat over which of them had the lousier track record as business leaders. “The company is a disaster,” scoffed Trump, referring to Hewlett-Packard, the iconic technology company Fiorina ran from 1999 to 2005. Trump continued: “When Carly says the revenues went up that’s because she bought Compaq. It was a terrible deal, and it really led to the destruction of the company.” Fiorina responded by focusing on how Trump ran his three Atlantic City casinos into the ground. “You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses,” she said, “using other people’s money, and you were forced to file for bankruptcy not once, not twice [but] four times, a record four times.” They’re both right. Fiorina’s tenure at HP was indeed a disaster, and Trump’s casino interests did indeed file for bankruptcy multiple times. Now that Trump and Fiorina are number one and number two in a recent poll — oy! — it’s worth taking a closer look at their business records.”

Source: Trump and Fiorina’s Snake Oil Sales – The New York Times

Volkswagen Says 11 Million Cars Are Affected in Diesel Deception; Sets Aside $7.3 Billion – The New York Times

“FRANKFURT — The scope of Volkswagen’s diesel scandal broadened on Tuesday, when the company said that 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide were equipped with the same software that was used to cheat on emissions tests in the United States.The German automaker said it was setting aside 6.5 billion euros, or about $7.3 billion, to cover the cost of fixing the cars to comply with pollution standards. That could have a big impact on the company’s profits, which totaled €12.7 billion last year.The carmaker’s statement was its first admission that diesel cars outside the United States may contain the software that led the Environmental Protection Agency to accuse the company of deliberately evading pollution tests. Previously, Volkswagen had acknowledged only that the problem affected about 500,000 vehicles in the United States.”

I didn’t want to bother reading this, but it is big. When you read the comments, you realize that this story destroys the Republican argument that we should downsize government, that it can not regulate, or that we do not need the EPA. People, or at least Times readers get it.

Source: Volkswagen Says 11 Million Cars Are Affected in Diesel Deception; Sets Aside $7.3 Billion – The New York Times

The Marco Rubio-Carly Fiorina Option. The Grand Old Party is changing, but not to the extreme it’s flirted with this summer. nytimes.com|By David Brooks

This piece by David Brooks offended me, but has great hightlights. I have now read it four times. It is brilliant. The analysis is original.
For example: “One group wants to rip up the political process and disrupt everything. Renounce the Iran deal on Day 1, no matter what our allies say. Ignore the Supreme Court and effectively disallow gay marriage. Shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood. Magically deport the 11 million illegal immigrants.

This is more or less the Bobby Jindal-Ted Cruz wing. (During those milliseconds when Trump is capable of entertaining a policy thought, he wanders into this camp.)

The others, like Lindsey Graham, John Kasich and Jeb Bush, live within the confines of reality. You can’t actually defund Planned Parenthood or end Obamacare if you don’t control the White House. Offending every global ally on the first day of a new administration might have some nasty knock on effects. You can’t actually erase the 14th Amendment and end birthright citizenship.”

Brooks is not endorsing Rubio and Fiorina, he is saying this is where it appears the Republican electorate is heading.

The Grand Old Party is changing, but not to the extreme it’s flirted with this summer.
nytimes.com|By David Brooks

Carly Fiorina’s Revisionist Chronicles – Joe Nocera, NYTimes.com reduces Fiorina down to midget size

Joe Nocera, in 2006:

“The earnings numbers, though, tell only part of the story. “From the time she came to the time she left,” said Benjamin Rosen, the former venture capitalist and Compaq chairman, “based on the organization she built, the performance of the company, and the return to shareholders, it was not a good report card.”

The stock declined 50 percent during the five and a half years she was in charge. Although she said she was making employees accountable, she put in place an organizational chart with so many overlapping responsibilities that nobody seemed to be in charge. She larded the place with bureaucracy. She merged the highly profitable printer division with the struggling personal computer division, another questionable move.”

“But even putting that aside, look at how she carried it out. Michael D. Capellas, the chief executive of Compaq, was supposed to be her No. 2. There are many people on Wall Street who say that he was the one who really sold the merger to the Street — and, because of his operational background, gave investors confidence that it might work. But Ms. Fiorina never had much use for him, and he left within six months. In her book, she belittles him at every turn. She also took over his job as company president and head of operations, a role for which she was completely unfit. Her entire career had been spent in marketing and sales. Nor did she do much to keep other top Compaq managers. In short order, almost all of them left — and almost all of them landed big jobs with important technology companies. Most of them had skills she lacked — but she neither understood that, nor cared.”

Source: Carly Fiorina’s Revisionist Chronicles – NYTimes.com

Don’t Coronate Carly Fiorina Just Yet – Charles blow, The New York Times, draws blood from a vampire.

“As Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall put it Friday: “Fiorina has a habit of simply making things up.” But in a way, the veracity of the attack is only one of the problems here. The other is that Fiorina would deny reproductive health services to women who have vastly fewer resources, or choices, than she does. Advertisement Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story Adele M. Stan on Thursday captured Fiorina perfectly in a blistering assessment in The American Prospect. “The evil genius of Fiorina,” Stan wrote, “is her uncanny ability to play the gender warrior within the GOP while promoting the party’s misogyny.” Stan continued: “But her feminism seems to begin and end with the fortunes of Fiorina herself, and seeing as she probably doesn’t rely on Planned Parenthood for her health care, she’s happy to deprive millions of women of that care by promoting outright lies about the organization, as in her false description of the video she referenced.” ”

Source: Don’t Coronate Carly Fiorina Just Yet – The New York Times

The Pope and the Birth Control Ban – The New York Times

“Catholics around the world, meanwhile, largely support the use of birth control. A 2014 poll of 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries found that 78 percent supported contraception; in Spain, France, Colombia, Brazil and the pope’s native Argentina, more than 90 percent supported its use. In a 2008 survey, 71 percent of Catholics in the Philippines supported the country’s reproductive health bill.Expanding birth control access worldwide would have huge benefits. Some 225 million women want to avoid pregnancy but don’t use reliable contraception, the Guttmacher Institute says. Providing them with contraception would prevent 52 million unintended pregnancies, 14 million unsafe abortions and 70,000 maternal deaths a year.”

DL: If the Pope really cares about the poor, and reducing poverty, he should do an about face on family planning, and make population control a central tenet of stewardship of life and quality of life on the planet.

Source: The Pope and the Birth Control Ban – The New York Times