Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mainstream media hints at bugs in Toyota's electronic throttle control

Did Toyota admit to electronic defects associated with unintended acceleration as part of the federal criminal settlement? Listen to the attorney for unjustly imprisoned Toyota driver Koua Fong Lee in this 3/20/2014 CBS podcast, segment 20:00 to 20:53.

***Updates 4/25/2014 -
> In this 4/24/2014 article, yet another attorney is saying Toyota's federal criminal case settlement of $1.2 billion was "for misleading motorists about a faulty electronic-throttle control system."
> This 4/25/2014 article states that "Toyota was fined by the Department of Justice for misleading motorists about a 'faulty electronic-throttle system' in their cars after settling a lawsuit in July that claims the same make, model and year of the Toyota Solara involved in the day care crash lost resale value after sudden-acceleration complaints."
***Has the Justice Department been lying to the public?


There's been some strange language in mainstream media articles about Toyota's $1.2 billion payoff - er I mean settlement - to end the federal criminal investigation. Real hoot for anyone aware of world-renowned embedded systems expert Michael Barr finding bugs in Toyota's electronic throttle control.

The Department of Justice gang made it clear from the get go that news is to be limited to concerns about Toyota's pesky floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals. Their position was underscored when EE Times' freelance writer David Benjamin asked the DOJ point blank, in writing, if they were aware of Michael Barr's findings, and if so, why they hadn't investigated. And the DOJ curtly replied, "No comment." In like fashion, Toyota whistleblower Betsy Benjaminson telephoned the DoJ, brought up Mr. Barr's findings, and was asked to spell his name.  

With Michael Barr's findings leaking out on the Internet, Associated Press kinda broke ranks with the DOJ, reporting that "until now" (7th paragraph) Toyota had blamed floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals, and driver error. Strangely, neither AP nor NPR saw fit to mention what Toyota is blaming "now," and I musta missed Toyota's press release.

Then there's this article, extolling Dr. David Gilbert, a professor at Southern Illinois University. He's the guy who'd been sayin' all along that Toyota's sudden acceleration problem was in the electronics. Even had the audacity to testify before Congress. The article says the professor - who nearly lost his job for daring to speak out - has been vindicated by Toyota's federal criminal settlement, 'cause "before the settlement" Toyota blamed floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals, and driver error. Here again, the article stops short of specifying what Toyota is now blaming, but it does bring up Professor Gilbert and his claims about electronics. That gives the Southern Illinoisan one up on NPR and the Associated Press. What we'll see next - and from which media source - is anybody's guess. Where, oh where, is that Toyota press release revealing what the Recall King is now blaming for its problems with sudden unintended acceleration?

Looks like a convoluted game of chicken is takin' place amongst America's presstitute mainstream media. Something along the lines of "Who will be first to dare to print the name Michael Barr, disclose his findings, highlight his testimony and the 150 feet of skid marks left by the plaintiff's tires in the Oklahoma case, and put it all in Toyota-settlement-mode perspective?"

Word is leaking out about Michael Barr, and it looks bad for mainstream media - not to mention NHTSA and the DOJ - to keep ignoring Mr. Barr's findings. Must be awful. Here the guvmint is, makin' it clear that electronic issues are not to be addressed, and here the Emperor is, out in public runnin' around stark naked. What is Police State Press to do? Reminds me of that movie where the lawyer was suddenly unable to stay quiet, and was also unable to lie. Watch mainstream media squirm as the heat gets hotter, turned up all the more by Columbia Journalism Review's scathing criticism of the Wall Street Journal's editorial blabber on behalf of Toyota. CJR exposed WSJ for "brazenly" ignoring the Recall King's own admissions of wrongdoing.

Ya can't have it both ways. At least ya couldn't "until now."

Let's face it. The time has come for government and its mainstream media stooges to address the  compelling evidence of problems in Toyota's electronic throttle control, and determine if there are bugs yet to be exterminated. Put up or shut up. Meanwhile - as complaints of sudden unintended acceleration continue - Mr. Barr's peers over at EE Times are proudly naming him as the guest of honor at their upcoming conference March 31st - April 3rd.

Betcha mainstream media won't dare to mention EE Times' conference. After all, it's only the public's safety that's at stake.

***Updates 4/25/2014 -
>   In this 4/24/2014 article, yet another attorney is saying Toyota's federal criminal case settlement of $1.2 billion was "for misleading motorists about a faulty electronic-throttle control system."
>  This 4/25/2014 article states that "Toyota was fined by the Department of Justice for misleading motorists about a 'faulty electronic-throttle system' in their cars after settling a lawsuit in July that claims the same make, model and year of the Toyota Solara involved in the day care crash lost resale value after sudden-acceleration complaints." 
***Has the Justice Department been lying to the public?   

Updates 4/1/2014 -
>  Found another Southern Illinoisan article about Dr. Gilbert, cleverly stating "Changes are underway with car manufacturers thanks to a SIU professor. It comes four years after David Gilbert shared his concerns regarding (electronic) acceleration issues in Toyota vehicles. Now, Toyota has been fined more than $1 billion for the way it handled 'the' (emphasis mine) deadly safety flaws." The rest of the article includes "tin whiskers are not the only issues that can cause acceleration problems..." http://www.wsiltv.com/news/local/Local-Professors-Findings-Spark-Car-Safety-Changes-253069331.html 

>  Strong criticism of Toyota today at the EE Times conference. Speaking to an audience of his peers, embedded systems expert Michael Barr said "Despite assurances by companies like Toyota that their software undergoes rigorous testing, the rush to get cars on the road means that you, the users, have been testing the software." http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1321734

Update 4/6/2014 - Yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also chimed in with an article about Dr. Gilbert (so far, the closest mainstream media dares come to mentioning Michael Barr), revealing that Professor Gilbert has support at NASA (don't tell NHTSA). And a physicist at NASA believes there's increased liklihood of unintended acceleration events as "tin whiskers" continue to grow, notably in Toyotas manufactured from 2002-2006. Toyota redesigned pedal sensors in 2007 and 2008, with the express intent of eliminating the tin whisker risk, and NASA Physicist Henning Leidecker asks the obvious question: "Why would (Toyota) do that if tin whiskers were never a problem?" As one might guess, Recall King Toyota "did not respond to multiple requests for comment."