By on March 26, 2020

On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that the Real ID deadline — which had previously been delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak — has been pushed back until October 21st, 2021, as directed by President Trump.

Enacted in May of 2005, the Real ID Act was basically Congress over-responding to 9/11 by mandating that state-issued driver’s licenses be updated so they can be used for official purposes by the federal government (as defined by Homeland Security). While the primary goal is to mitigate air travel of undocumented immigrants between states, the aforementioned “official purposes” applies to whatever the federal government thinks prudent on any given day — including barring citizens without the ID from military bases or federal buildings, in addition to air travel.

If you haven’t heard of Real IDs (indicated by a little gold star in the corner), you’re not alone. The issue only gets a smattering of coverage every couple of years; plenty of states spent the period following 2005 pushing back against the plan, delaying its implementation several times via extensions. It was initially supposed to come into effect in four phases starting in 2008, but changes didn’t actually start until 2014. At this point, the nation is at phase three (which restricts access to federal facilities), with phase four applying new rules to U.S. air travel. (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2020

General Motors Renaissance Center

Fiat Chrysler wants to see General Motors’ racketeering lawsuit dismissed, but the automaker’s crosstown rival isn’t in a charitable mood.

GM contends that bribery of United Auto Workers officials by FCA over years of contract talks left that automaker sitting pretty, with extra labor costs dumped on its Detroit competitors. While FCA claims GM can’t prove it’s a victim, The General says otherwise. (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2020

The ongoing federal probe into bribery, money laundering, and embezzlement among UAW officials marches on, with former president Gary Jones being the latest figure hit with charges. While expensive villa rentals and tony hooch seemed to be common expenditures among UAW brass with ill-gotten financial gains, the scandal also highlighted a certain piece of lakefront property.

That property, as well as the spacious home built on it, is something the UAW would rather not have anything to do with. It can now be yours. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2020

UAW

Federal authorities have charged former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones with embezzling more than $1 million of union funds.

It’s the latest round of charges and the highest-profile target thus far in the ongoing investigation into corruption among the union’s upper ranks. A criminal information reveals Jones, who resigned as president last November, plans to plead guilty and cooperate with federal investigators.

Three of Jones’ former aides, all of whom were swept up in the corruption probe, provided assistance that led to today’s charges. The former UAW boss was one of several top execs who prosecutors say diverted union funds towards lavish living and toys. (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2020

It seems a rowdy (or perhaps lonely) Valentine’s Day evening turned into a somnambulant early morning in Troy, Michigan, where police responded to a report of more than one driver asleep in a McDonald’s drive-thru lane at the same time.

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck behind a solitary crossover or minivan in which every last occupant is ordering a full meal — with very specific condiment criteria — this boozy drive-thru tale could be your worst nightmare. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2020

Carlos Ghosn - Titan intro - Image: Nissan

Jeez, it’s a good thing they didn’t have kids.

Nissan has responded to former chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japanese captivity — and subsequent doubling down on his accusations of a corporate coup orchestrated by Nissan execs, with the help of Japanese officials — by filing a lawsuit.

As it attempts to free up cash elsewhere in the company, the struggling automaker is seeking to recoup losses from Ghosn’s alleged financial impropriety. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2020

Policing a population is expensive. Law enforcement departments around the globe have long sought a way to tamp down costs or, more often, find better forms of supplemental revenue. Unfortunately, sending the SWAT team on a raid or hiring additional officers to patrol the highway for speeders costs money. But the price of surveillance technology continues to go down, encouraging agencies to tap into their rather robust capabilities — potentially at our expense.

China, the world leader in mass government surveillance, already has the ability to use its vast network of cameras to take over all manner of on-the-street policing. Electronic eyes are everywhere, often networked to facial recognition or plate identification technologies that enable authorities to mail you a ticket for speeding, jaywalking, or whatever else the patrolman failed to see you do in person. While some of the penalties stop at being publicly shamed via a national database or having your social credit score dropped (potentially barring you from some goods and services), these systems have also increased the number of finable offenses that make departments money.

While similar systems have been available in the United States, it seems the country’s penchant for liberty has drastically slowed their implementation. Yet it’s still happening, and there’s reason to suggest items like license plate readers and facial recognition software will soon become standard equipment for many (if not most) North American police departments.  (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2020

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI brown

While it absolutely pales in comparison to the fines levied in the United States, Volkswagen will still have to fork over a pile to appease the Canadians.

This week, the automaker pleaded guilty to 60 charges relating to its deception of regulators and consumers with emissions-rigged diesel vehicles. While $196.5 million sounds like small potatoes in this day and age, it happens to be the largest monetary fine for an environmental crime in the country’s history. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2020

Earlier this month, two GM engineers were arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky for illegally street racing the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette. Three Stingrays were present, but only two of the men were caught breaking the law. Kentucky State Police stopped Alexander Thim and Mark Derkatz on January 8th, on Lovers Lane in Bowling Green, for exceeding the road’s 45-mph speed limit.

Thim was busted doing 120 mph while Derkatz settled on a nice, round 100 mph, according to local outlet WNKY. However, even 26 mph over the limit would be enough to haul them into custody and set court dates that could end in a suspended license. It seems the two men were also fired from General Motors for hooning the mid-engined C8 before the general public was provided the opportunity. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2020

A long-standing legal battle pitting Tesla against the state of Michigan has finally been resolved. It was announced Wednesday that the automaker’s 2016 suit against the state, which forbids the direct-sales model employed by Tesla, ended in a settlement a day earlier.

The result? A way for Michigan residents to own and conveniently service a Tesla in the notoriously protectionist state. (Read More…)

By on January 14, 2020

Passat TDI engine, Picture Courtesy of Volkswagen

The fallout from a scandal that broke in September 2015 after percolating for years has spilled over into the new decade. German prosecutors have laid charges against six Volkswagen employees whom they claim played a role in deceiving regulators and the public.

While the vehicles involved in the diesel emissions scandal have either been fixed or crushed, Germany’s still marching ahead with its investigation into the matter, seeking out those who helped fool the world into believing the brand’s “clean diesel” technology was legit. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2020

UAW

UAW President Rory Gamble, who took the helm of a scandal-rocked union following the resignation of former prez Gary Jones late last year, is reportedly under federal investigation himself.

Gamble embarked on a wide-ranging clean-up operation soon after taking the job in the hopes of avoiding federal oversight, while at the same time charting a bribery- and corruption-free path forward for the union. The investigation’s scope is a broad one, peering beneath every stone, and Gamble claims this particular probe is par for the course. (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2020

Former Renault and Nissan boss and current fugitive from Japanese justice Carlos Ghosn said he’d open up in front of the cameras, and boy, did he ever. After discussing what he says was brutal confinement and “injustice” at the hands of Japanese officials, as well as the motivation behind the alleged “plot” to oust him from his Nissan chairman position, Ghosn meandered into other topics of interest.

Clearly, the former auto titan wishes nothing but the worst for the company he once chaired. (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2020

Carlos Ghosn

There’s no love lost between former Renault and Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn and the judiciary of Japan, and the same goes for the automaker that dropped him as chairman following his November 2018 arrest — an arrest he fled in the waning days of 2019.

A fugitive from justice following his daring escape from Japanese authorities, Ghosn opened up during a Wednesday press conference in Beirut, Lebanon, reserving his harshest remarks for Nissan and the country in which its head office resides. (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2020

Tokyo prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife Carole on Tuesday for allegedly lying during testimony. While Japanese authorities have also speculated that she may have helped orchestrate the movie-like escape of her husband from the island nation, something Mr. Ghosn proactively denied, she’s only officially charged with perjury.

The warrant accuses Carole Ghosn of having falsely denied knowing or meeting individuals tied to the company who received payments from Nissan Motor before funneling a portion of those funds to a firm owned by her husband — which is one of the reasons why he was arrested in the first place(Read More…)

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