New Year’s Wishes

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I got what I wanted for Christmas – Hillary’s face (and that voice) will not be everywhere for the next 4-8 years. But how about for the New Year? Here’s a short list of wishes:

*Move right … please – 

Trump has promised to rebuild infrastructure, including roads, but traffic will still be a mess until people re-learn the ancient art of moving over to the right except when passing – or when they are preventing someone else from passing.    

Consider the impediment to flow on an open road that can be created by a single vehicle whose driver refuses to move right. He is in the left lane – the lane that used to be known as the passing lane – but he refuses to pass the car to his right or move over to the right lane. Instead, he matches pace exactly with the car to his right, so that none of the cars stacked up behind either of them can get by.

Ahead of them, nothing.

Behind them, a growing conga line.

If that driver in the left – the passing lane – would just move over, the conga line could dissipate – like a sink draining after pulling a hairball out of the pipe. Faster-moving traffic could pull ahead and then move over in its turn;  the slower-moving cars wouldn’t be impeded in any way.

It’s no skin off anyone’s nose. We’d all get where we’re going faster and with less hassle. There would be less rage on the roads, too. All it would take is a little consideration.

And using your rearview mirror.

*The “Chicken tax” goes away… so compact trucks can come back –

The Ford Ranger – and other compact trucks – aren’t available for sale here, although they are available pretty much anywhere else in the world. It’s not because American buyers don’t want compact-sized trucks. It’s because the companies that make them can’t afford to import them to America – because of a noxious tax imposed by the even more noxious Lyndon Johnson back in the ’60s as a retaliatory measure to punish Europeans for taxing chicken exported from the U.S. to Europe. In return, LBJ applied a heavy tax to small trucks (and other similar vehicles) made overseas that are imported to the U.S.

Like the Ford Ranger – which is assembled in Thailand and so subject to the tax. Which makes it too expensive to bother importing. So, Ford (and everyone else) doesn’t.

Which leaves the U.S. truck market artificially restricted to mid-sized and huge-sized trucks that cost a fortune to buy and to feed. The latter is particularly ironic given the government’s obsession with fuel efficiency. Compact trucks with four cylinder engines (and four cylinder diesel engines) burn much less fuel than medium-and-super-sized trucks with big sixes and huge V8s.

You’d think the government would want more compact-size trucks available.

As opposed to none.

*No more “safety” fatwas

It’s a very strange thing that some people believe the “safety” of other people – other adults – is somehow their business. What’s next? Requiring that people eat their veggies, too?

This isn’t about defective cars – i.e., cars that are broken in some way.

The issue at hand is whether cars ought to be required to have “safety” devices like air bags and back-up cameras or even have to pass government crash tests.

These are things that ought to be decided by the people who pay for the car. If they don’t want those things, they shouldn’t be forced to pay for them because someone else – who isn’t footing the bill – thinks they’re important.

We’re free to buy (and eat) as much bacon as we like; to exercise – or not. Risks are involved, but it’s still our choice to make.

Why shouldn’t the same idea apply to cars? And if doesn’t apply to cars, then maybe it ought to apply to bacon and exercise, too.

If that’s not the sort of busybody world you’d like to live in, then resolve to respect the right of other adults to weigh risks and assume them, to make decisions for themselves in all things that don’t harm you.

And which, accordingly, are none of your business.

*The car companies stand up for their customers, instead of “working with” the government –

VW tried to do this, but when “caught,” pissed itself and begged for mercy – which will never be given. The company will be picked over by vulture lawyers and even worse creatures employed by the government, until there is nothing left to pick – and no more VW.

Instead, VW should have stood its ground and explained that the “cheating” it performed amounted to the equivalent of using a radar detector to avoid a speed trap. Illegal, certainly, But wrong, in a moral sense?

Only if you’re a Nuremburg Nimrod who believes “the law is the law” and one must always obey.

Not one person has been hurt as a result of VW’s “cheating.” VW should have demanded a victim – one, at least – be produced. And meanwhile, launched a PR juggernaut to tell the public that the “up to 40 times” more oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions its “cheating” enabled actually amounts to fractions of a percent difference and that the EPA is hounding them over a confected offense, like Inspector Javert, only at least Jean Valjean actually stole something tangible.

Regulations aren’t necessarily evil  – but ruining a company over what amounts to jaywalking is an obscenity.

Here’s to wishing for a return to sanity this coming year.

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58 COMMENTS

  1. Eric,

    Call it a gut feeling (or maybe years of experience), but I’m willing to bet that the Republicans back away from EVERY promise made during the campaign.

    I won’t be the least bit surprised, because they do it every time they gain control of the federal government.

    I’d like to think otherwise, but….

    • The establishment has narrowed the choices that North Americans had to choose from IMO. I believe that their successful attempt to with-hold the results of the Ron Paul champaign in both of the earlier presidential elections resulted in their becoming overconfident in their propaganda abilities. The republican dupes back then believed it when the MSM and their party leadership told them that they must tow the party line by using using obedience as the tactic. Most of them probably now view their internal change of philosophic views as being internally organic rather than being caused by extreme radicals such as many of us from years ago, and thus they will not likely go far enough!

  2. Speaking of the Chicken Tax, here’s a great vehicle that Americans aren’t allowed to own, the Hyundai H-1 van.

    This sells brand new for less than $20K, it seats nine, has plenty of different seat configurations, is huge, and perfect for camping/traveling, etc. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to the old VW vans. It’s also simple, has crank windows, and minimal electronics.

    This would sell like hotcakes here, if the Kommisars would allow us to buy it.

  3. Weren’t small trucks sold in the US for long after the 60s? I don’t see how a tariff would have taken so long to cause those trucks to be too expensive to import.

      • eric, to give you an idea of the genius hidden in the car salesman, I bought my Nissan 4WD in the winter. By the time the real heat had rolled around I was cussing the pitiful a/c it had. I complained to a salesman and he replied “Yeah, they put those a/c’s(factory installed to anyone who could see)on at the port in Houston. You might could forgive him for thinking a built in a/c was installed on these shores if the damned pickup didn’t have decals on the side windows stating “Made In Smyrna, Georgia”. Shit Ronnie, you gotta wonder if they can read. I know people who have worked there a long time.

        • Hi Eight,

          It is -2 here as I type… and hard packed snow. I miss my Nissan 4WD! The one I have – different one – is 2WD and as impotent in snow as Liberace in bed with a female. Meanwhile, the VW CC press car has 4.9 inches of clearance and “sport” tires. It is 3,400 pounds of deadweight for the duration!

    • I think it has something to do with the “safety” fartwar. I think at some point in the mid 90’s, the king decreed that small trucks would have to start meeting car safety standards, which they formerly were not required to. Having to do so would make them too heavy and/or expensive to make them suitable for their intended market.

  4. Car companies standing up for us: One huge line that was crossed was data recorders.

    Not even one…just one….car company honcho stood up and screamed about this travesty. I’d like to wake up tomorrow and learn that Uncle had been “Volswagened” on data recorders…they always record seat belts as fastened and speed is never over 30.

    • Aljer, the car companies LOVE data recorders. They get to deny warranty work legally or at least legally enough the customer can’t fight them. Several years ago Ford dissed the warranty on a lot of Mustangs and so many people were affected they had to reverse their dismissal. They were selling a certain Mustang as a drive on Monday, race on Saturday and that’s what people were doing. They weren’t over-revving them but simply using them as track cars. That’s the only case I know where the affected owners got a class action lawsuit and won.

      A decade or so ago, a lot of people were buying big diesel pickups, duallies, to haul 35′ tandem dual axle trailers full of firewood. They were hugely overloaded and the dealers and automakers were taking it on the nose with blown transmissions, rear-ends and most everything that make them go. One guy I knew kept blowing his Duramax transmission so the dealer finally downloaded all the data and denied him another new transmission. There was nothing he could do about it. They were denying them because they said they were not made to do that sort of work which is understandable.

      They finally got to where they couldn’t bootleg loads from here to the plains without the DOT fining them hugely for overloads which fairly much killed off that business. Now you only see big rigs hauling large amounts of firewood and mostly you don’t even “see” that as they have taken to hauling it in vans so it’s not visible since overloads of firewood are common and nobody weighs their loads.

  5. I think one of the reasons why VW is being raked over the coals is that the government regulators didn’t actually caught them. Some busybodies are the ones that discovered it. It would likely still be going on if it wasn’t for that.

    So not only did they “break” the rules, they also showed the incompetence of the government enforcers. And you know what happens when you expose government incompetence……………..

  6. VW is being drawn and quartered for a minor offense.Their damages are of a dubitable proof. Sure they cheated on their software, but the damages are in question.

    Climate change is a highly debated subject, with lots of questions as to its extent or damages, if any!
    But, we sure made an example out of VW for a minor offense, in my opinion. A very broad simple fine would have suffice. They should still be selling VW diesels in these United States, in my opinion. Heck, our animals on the farms are doing more damage to the climate than VW autos.

    Once the NUTS in California gets hold of anything subject…it is all distorted and redefined. Any this Feel Good Administration goes alone with any far left or things most Americans doe not see eye to eye.

    California sees Climate Change damages eschatological in their scheme of things. Its going to kill all mankind…if we do not make serious changes.

    We really did nothing to the big banks for their damages to our economy or the Mortgage companies.

    Thank God, Obama is leaving and lets hope California wont cause this Nation more problems with their Left Coast crazy mandates.

    • Ca. really is a piece of work….by fools. They have lost 10 refineries, have a moratorium on building any and the govco opposes pipelines so you have to ask yourself who’s benefiting. The average motorist certainly isn’t. Kinder-Morgan is trying to run a pipeline into Ca. but gets opposed by every wacko group around. So they keep getting finished product trucked and railed in, by far the most costly and dangerous way. While trucks don’t have a bad record, the RR’s certainly don’t have a good one and either way costs a great deal more than a pipeline. Pipelines are now an art and extremely dependable and durable. The remaining refineries in Ca. are maxed out yet the demand for petroleum products increases there more than most other states.

      I know people who live there and back when the price dropped from $4/gallon for gasoline in most states it was closer to $6 there and they saw the least price drop of anywhere and it took longer. Don’t know why they don’t just run the Hammer and Sickle up the pole…..or better yet, up Jerry Brown’s stupid ass.

  7. Want another News Site that we taxpayers are keeping alive…Try NPR… It is the Middle East Radio that is broadcasting from America. They are replacing AL Jazzera….
    NPR Loves illegals but hates America and Americans that does not fit their twisted views., but they love Americans Money.
    All things Distorted.. is their slant..

    On the Ford Rangers… Just make the trucks in this country and sell them here. They can Double the chicken tax, if they DO NOT want to make them in America for Americans and which are manufactured by an American Manufacturer.

    Put a very hight import tax on all autos and auto parts that come into this country, period.
    If, I want that product, I will pay the duties.

    We can make those parts here!

    I will be glad to see these so call Free Trade agreements repealed. We need FAIR Trade Agreements.

    Lets create some new jobs in this country…instead of sending them overseas.

    Will this Plutocracy government do those things… NO NO.. it has been all lies told by our Rich Owners.. They have their own club and we are not a part of it. They like the status quo.
    Chamber of Commerce like illegals so to pay low wages. The Republicans hate minimum wages and any benefits for the working class. And the Rich Owners like to keep all those factories in third world countries…paying slave wages. I do not see things getting any better in this Government run by Special Interest parties.

    You are smoking dope if you think the Republicans care about the common man or the average citizen of this country.
    And the Democrats are all for Identity Politics. They are more worried about which bathroom to use or bringing in all the Muslims from the middle east…. Not about jobs or the average American’s concerns.

    Happy New Year.

    p.s.
    I can live with ads as long as they are not intrusive and keeps moving and popping up. That why I rooted my cell phone. Needed to stop the Ad invasion..

  8. Nobody can be just a little dishonest. A person or a company is either honest or he is dishonest. When you never lie or cheat, then you are honest. If you lie or cheat once or a thousand times, then you are in any case dishonest, because it doesn’t make any difference how many times you cheat. You are unfortunately dishonest already when you have cheated once.

    It is very bad for VW to cheat even once, and I will never again buy anything from them, because I know already that the company tries to survive by lying and cheating and I am not certain if everybody dishonest in the company has been fired without any more discussion.

    Volkswagen should have adhered to the regulation or they should just have told the authorities that we can not anymore make diesel engines under the current legislation. This would have been the only honest way to handle this.

    • Hi Jone,

      What would you say about a person who lies to escape, let us say, the Gestapo?

      Or uses a radar detector to “cheat” a speed trap?

      Are these actions immoral? Or expedient?

      You perhaps see the flaw in your logic…

      VW was placed in an impossible position: Comply with outrageous edicts and lose one of the things that made VW unique (a range of affordable, high-mileage diesel vehicles) or “cheat” and hope no one caught on.

      • A relevant question indeed, and I don’t know if I have any good answer. One argument is that one primarily owes it to oneself to always be honest and not lie or cheat. When one starts down the path of lying and cheating, then one accumulates a lot of serious long term problems, mainly for one self.

        Liars and cheaters seldom succeed in the long run, but today the authorities of the USA are so powerful that nobody, not even a large car company such as VW, can challenge the authorities and hope to win. Today, when private enterprise challenges or tries to cheat the authorities, then the consequences always are very severe for anybody trying to cheat them.

        In other words, in the long run it is always better to be honest and secondarily, it is very difficult to pick a fight with the authorities and hope to win. It was thus very stupid of VW to cheat and hope that they would not in the end be caught and made to pay a very high price for what they did.

        With regard to Gestapo my first line of defense would be to make myself invisible and stay out of their way as much as possible. My second approach would be to tell them nothing. If even this didn’t work I would lie to save my own or somebody other’s life, if I thought that this strategy would be successful.

        It is however a vert relevant question to ask when it is justified to revolt against very oppressive authorities. Do you think that VW really is in a position where they would succeed in revolting against the authorities of the USA?

        • Hi Jone,

          I’m encouraged to see that you admit that being honest is not a moral absolute.

          “If even this didn’t work I would lie to save my own or somebody other’s life, if I thought that this strategy would be successful.”

          But, why does it matter if you thought the strategy would be successful? The Gestapo, or any person or group of people, engaged in illegitimate acts, is not entitled to your honesty. VW chose to circumvent an illegitimate edict. Their only crime, as I see it, is that they lacked the balls to defend that decision.

          Jeremy

        • I see that VW is in no more or less of a position to revolt, but the revolt must be started in the court of public opinion, for if it becomes strong enough, policy eventually does change. I saw that twice in my lifetime.

          First, in the 1970’s, the oil companies were highly disfavored among members of the public and in the political arena. Mobil Corporation was one of the first that advocated removing price controls on oil and natural gas during the years following the energy crisis. Instead of operating in whatever environment Uncle Sam deemed correct, Mobil began a public relations campaign that eventually changed the oil market landscape. Mobil started advertising in newspapers, radio and TV using a technique call advertorial advertising. They wrote editorials disguised as stories or advertisements that illustrated that the price controls and allocation schemes were causing shortages Americans were dealing with at the pump. The ads began in 1976 and ended shortly after Reagan decontrolled oil in 1981. They were wildly successful. The focus moved from the oil companies to the government and the result was that America elected Reagan to take care of the situation. Oil prices were decontrolled in January of 1981 and we have never experienced a shortage again.

          The other time we have been successful at beating government was the repeal of the 55 mph speed limit. By a concerted effort of a small group of motorists keeping the issue in front of newspapers, TVs and radio audiences over the years, public pressure against the speed limit was enough to get congress to partially repeal the law in 1987 and do a complete repeal in 1995 when the Republicans took over the House and Senate. In this case, we had NO help from auto manufacturers, oil companies or any corporate sponsorship. It was a single issue focus group of individuals that were sufficiently outraged against a system of law enforcement, insurance interests and nanny state politicians to effect a change. I personally was proud to play more than a background role in getting this done. The silence from corporate America and the public at large, however, was deafening. We were able to capitalize on the change in leadership that year to get the deed done. Today, no state posts a 55 mph statewide speed limit on any of its roads.

          The bottom line – change is possible. For too long, since the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, the automakers have assumed the bent over position when it comes to government edicts. The only time sufficient outrage over a mandate was when the NHTSA had to repeal the seatbelt interlock and also, FMVSS 127, the 85 mph speedometer rule. The opposition came from the public. German automakers have far more clout with their own government than we do, but there is no reason that VW or anyone else shouldn’t reach out to media and do their fucking job, which is to serve the customer. The customer doesn’t want cars that cost $30,000 and weigh 4,000 lbs. Automakers are relying on faulty data to suggest otherwise.

          It is high time that they got off their ass and talked with the public like Mobil did in the 1970s. We all might learn something.

          • It would have been acceptable for VW to agitate in the media and towards the politicians in order to relax the unnecessarily onerous regulations about exhaust gas emissions. This would have been a good strategy for them.

            However, to blatantly cheat with regard to the regulations is just stupid. What were they thinking? The consequences for being caught are just to severe.

    • Hi Jone,

      Lying, unlike murder or theft, is not inherently immoral. Other people do not posses a positive right to my, or anyone else’s, honesty. However, such a right can be created through explicit, or implied, contract. One does not owe honesty to a thief, murderer, rapist, etc… In fact, one does not owe honesty to any person, or group, that claims, illegitimately, to posses “authority”. The obligation to tell the truth is situational, not absolute. Surely, the owners of safe houses along the “underground railroad” were not morally obligated to reveal the truth to those wishing to capture and enslave men.

      So, the question is whether the EPA can legitimately demand honesty from others. I, and many here, would say no. The EPA was created through executive fiat by Richard Nixon. Nowhere in the Constitution can authority for such an act be found. Most modern political theorists argue that the legitimacy of government is created by the consent of the governed and maintained through a mutually binding contract. In addition, the right to vote is said to both perpetuate consent and serve as a mechanism to hold the government to the terms of the contract. That such a theory is absurd is not relevant to the particular question. What is relevant is that this theory provides government with supposed legitimacy and thus “our” supposed obligation to follow its’ edicts. However, when one party violates the terms of a contract, the other party is no longer bound by it. The creation of the EPA is but one of thousands of examples of such a violation. Under the terms of the contract, the EPA is neither authorized by the Constitution, nor subject to democratic constraints. Thus, on the terms advocated by government apologists, no one is morally obligated to adhere to EPA edicts, nor to be honest when dealing with it. The EPA is an entirely illegitimate organization whose “authority” rests entirely on the threat of force. Its’ edicts amount to nothing more than extortion, backed up by the power of the State. “We” are wise to obey, not out of moral duty, but from practical concern for our safety.

      Also, granting for the time being that the EPA’s edicts were legitimate, it is not clear to me that VW is guilty of violating them. As far as I know, the EPA created an emissions testing protocol and required that cars meet or exceed those standards, as determined by the test. Unless the EPA explicitly required that the results, as measured by the test, accurately reflect real world driving, they should have no legal standing. It seems to me that the vendetta against VW is likely due to the wounded egos of those who cannot tolerate the idea that VW got the better of them, while adhering to the “letter of the law”. While I certainly do not know for certain that such a requirement did not exist at the time of the “scandal”, I have been unable to find evidence for one. If no such regulation existed, the actions of the EPA should bother even those who do not understand its’ illegitimate nature.

      Jeremy

      • Well, I found the section of the regulations that specifically prohibits a “defeat device”.

        “(B) for any person to manufacture or sell, or offer to sell, or install, any part or component intended for use with, or as part of, any motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine, where a principal effect of the part or component is to bypass, defeat, or render inoperative any device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine in compliance with regulations under this subchapter, and where the person knows or should know that such part or component is being offered for sale or installed for such use or put to such use”

        However, that does not alter the fact that the EPA is not legitimate under supposed US law.

        Jeremy

        • I think the defeat “device” wasn’t physical hardware, only software. So that could be argued that there was no physical component that was “illegal”. The software was set to operate only when the car was being tested, and when in normal operation went back to normal operation. Probably why they put off installing DEF tanks, as they wouldn’t have emptied very fast or not at all.

          Software hacks are the best way to get around things, as you cannot visible see anything added or subtracted. You can “delete” the DEF tanks on modern diesel entirely by software, the tank etc could all be left in place without having to actually modify the engine at all. Just have the computer turn it off and bypass it.

          • Hi Rich,

            Whether such a legal strategy would work is interesting but, unfortunately, moot. VW chose not to defend itself on such grounds, or in any other way. They chose to capitulate and to beg for forgiveness.

            Jeremy

            • That they did, and that sucks. I wonder why they thought that would work, asking for forgiveness, they have to know that doesn’t happen with government. After going through all that trouble of “cheating”, you think they would have had a plan to fight back if they got caught. They couldn’t have thought they would get away with it forever.

      • Even the 10 commandments do not say, as so often paraphrased, “You shall not lie.” It says “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

      • “In fact, one does not owe honesty to any person, or group, that claims, illegitimately, to posses “authority”.

        I agree with you. One does not necessarily owe honesty to anybody, but one actually primarily owes it to oneself. It is not in anybody’s best long term interests to start down the slippery slope of lying and cheating. One may think that certain circumstances are so special that cheating or lying is justified just in this one instance. Nonetheless, the barrier against lying quickly gets lower and lower, each time one chooses to be dishonest. Soon there is no more a barrier against cheating and lying, because one does it all the time, to gain a short lived advantage.

        Therefore it would have been better for you and me and even for VW to not start down the slippery slope of lying and cheating. (I am not saying that this is easy. Unfortunately I am also guilty of not always being as honest as I should have been from the start).

        • Hi Jone,

          Thanks for responding. First, cheating and lying are not the same. Cheating, in most circumstances, is an act of fraud, which is immoral. If one voluntarily agrees to some rules, and one is not under duress, then cheating to gain advantage over others is fraudulent and wrong. If one is coerced to agree to follow illegitimate rules, enforced by illegitimate authority, then the concept of “cheating” should not even apply. Imagine you open a business and, a few days later, you are approached by a local mafia goon who informs you that you must pay for “protection”. Such a demand is illegitimate and measures you take to avoid paying this fee (hiding income, etc…) is not cheating because the entity demanding your money has no right to it.

          “One may think that certain circumstances are so special that cheating or lying is justified”.

          Yes, and one would be entirely correct in thinking this. Above I’ve described a circumstance where “cheating” is justifiable. As for lying, the circumstances where it is appropriate range from the vital to the trivial. In my earlier post I asked whether it was permissible to lie to a slave catcher. Obviously, the answer is yes, in fact telling the truth would be immoral.

          Here’s a trivial example. Imagine your wife returns home from the hairdresser with a new hairstyle. You don’t like it very much. but she is obviously happy, and likes her new style a lot. She asks you, “do you like it?”. To which, if you are a decent man, you reply, “yes”. To do otherwise, because of some idiotic notion of moral purity, just makes you a dick. You would be selfishly indulging yourself, at the expense of her feelings, for what, exactly. Do you really think that uttering a trivial nicety sends one down the “slippery slope”?

          I’m not advocating dishonesty as there are many circumstances where being truthful is morally required. Also, reciprocal honesty, or trust, is necessary for human flourishing. Still, honesty should be understood in relation to a concept of proper moral action. To claim that lying is always immoral leads to a very perverse understanding of morality. Of course, lying is often immoral, and one should strive for honest dealings with others. However, honesty is not an end in itself. Mature moral thought requires contemplating the “special circumstances” you mention. Deciding that honesty is a subset of morality, and not a moral absolute, does not send one down the “slippery slope”.

          To turn Kant against himself, “would you will that never lying, no matter the harm caused, become a universal law”.

          Kind Regards,
          Jeremy

          • We may not agree fully, and I can live with that. Yet my main problem with VW is that they tried to please the authorities by cheating them. That would be similar to trying to please the mafia by trying to cheat them. We all know that pleasing the mafia by cheating them, means that you are very soon going to sleep with the fish.

            Similarly VW should not have tried to please the authorities by cheating them. They should honestly have chosen one of these morally acceptable strategies:

            1. We cannot any longer provide reasonably priced diesel driven cars under the present legislating.

            2. We cannot any longer provide diesel driven cars under the present legislation.

            3. We cannot any longer conduct business in the USA under the current oppressive legislation.

            This would have meant “standing tall” for VW. Unfortunately they chose to try to please a bully by cheating him, instead of just telling the bully in no uncertain terms that they can not cooperate with him as, long as he presents them with fully unreasonable demands.

            Besides from that we must all be very careful with what kind of principles that we allow to govern our lives. If we choose to be honest and “standing tall” then that is good, bur if we choose to be dishonest, cheating and lying, then we will soon loose control and be slaves under the immoral principles that we incorrectly thought that we could control.

            Well, so much for philosophy.

            • Hi Jone,

              We’re dealing with legalisms here – not morality.

              I earlier gave you the speed trap/radar detector analogy. The government lays down an edict that it is illegal to drive faster than 35 MPH on a given stretch of road. It is a mere law, not a moral absolute. “Cheating” the law by using a radar detector involves no moral failing on my part.

              VW “cheated” in a very similar way.

              So what?

              The fact is all of us “cheat” similarly. Do you scrupulously obey every law? Or do you sometimes… cheat?

              Have you ever, for example, failed to declare all of your income to Uncle? Taken a deduction you knew was “sketchy” (and “cheated” the government)?

              Ever “cheat” a traffic signal?

              Etc?

              • “VW “cheated” in a very similar way”.

                Yes they did, and now they are paying a very high price for cheating.

                “Have you ever, for example, failed to declare all of your income to Uncle? Taken a deduction you knew was “sketchy” (and “cheated” the government)”?

                Yes I have, but not so much. The risk of getting caught is so high and the consequences of getting caught are so severe, that the risk of cheating on the taxes or breaking the traffic rules is not worth it for ordinary people. This is even more so for a large company like for instance VW.

                My primary point, however, is that everybody, even VW should be careful not to compromise their own moral integrity by cheating, thus very quickly becoming just as immoral as the authorities, which they are opposing. Again I would maintain that remaining honest is something that you owe more to yourself and your own long term best interests, that you owe it to anybody else.

                I guess that I am soon becoming boring, but it is said that the Swedes in Scandinavia are the good engineers, the Danes are the clever business people, and the Norwegians are the philosophers. This makes me a philosopher, so I guess I have to comment with regard to moral principles.

                • But Jone… the point is it’s not immoral to “cheat” in such cases! It is defensive and often the only reasonable option.

                  We’re all caught up in a Byzantine system that forces us to make such choices. I’ll give you another example:

                  I “cheat” the government by not paying the annual registration fee for several of my rarely used vehicles, chiefly old/classic bikes. I have one that is about four years “out of date.” Yet I ride it every now and then regardless. I’m not harming anyone. I’m just avoiding an obnoxious fee demanded of me (on top of myriad other fees) in a purely defensive manner.

                  I applaud “tax cheats” for the same reason.

                  And defend VW for the same reason.

                  • There are gray areas, for instance when you pay registration for only one of several motor bikes. As long as you only use one of them at once, what you are doing may not be so bad. Yet, cheating and lying is very corrosive to one’s own moral integrity. It is not easy to remain honest, when one makes it a habit of not being honest. Do you know where to draw the line when dealing with friends, customers and business partners?

                    VW is a very large car company. Even when disregarding the apparent moral implication of cheating, they should have recognized the very severe punishment they would receive, should they get caught cheating. Therefore, they went about opposing the authorities in the worst possible way.

                    What were they thinking, when just informing the authorities that they are not anymore in a position to offer reasonably priced diesel driven cars, would have been a more that correct reaction; and also a reaction not making VW just as morally bankrupt as the authorities. Why would VW choose to lower their moral integrity to be just as deplorable as the one of the authorities?

                    • You still don’t get the point that VW did nothing immoral, because morality has nothing to do with the EPA. Case closed, move on.

            • Hi Jone,

              You switch back and forth between an appeal to pragmatism and your notion of principled morality. As I understand you, the only acceptable moral actions are acquiescence or open defiance. Clandestine defiance (“lying or “cheating”) is never an appropriate option because you see “honesty” as a moral absolute. Of course, open defiance often leads to punishment or death, so you seem to be advocating submission to authority, no matter how illegitimate.

              “Besides from that we must all be very careful with what kind of principles that we allow to govern our lives”.

              Yes, we must. However, the principles you seem to promote lead to awful moral outcomes. Every person who protected runaway slaves was “cheating”. Every German who hid Jews from the Nazis was “cheating”. Every juror who refuses to convict someone based on illegitimate law is “cheating”. In all of these cases, acquiescence is immoral and open defiance won’t work. That leaves “cheating” as the only viable option.

              I suspect that you are heavily influenced by Kant, the most dangerous of moral philosophers. His is an insular, self righteous and anti-human morality. He explicitly denies that circumstance, context or expected outcome should play any role in moral decisions. All that matters is whether one’s actions comport with his bizzare notion of “universality”. To him, the prohibition against lying is a moral absolute because one could not will that “lying” become a universal law. He even insisted that one could not lie to a murderer, even if revealing the truth led to the death of his victim. He did allow that you could refuse to answer (openly defy). The moral option, deceive the murderer in the hopes that both one’s own, and his victim’s, safety be preserved, is not allowed.

              Remember, Eichmann sincerely believed that he had lived his life according to the “categorical imperative”. I imagine that, to him, the formulation would be: “would I will that defiance of authority become a universal law”. But, such defiance (open or clandestine) is only immoral if the authority is just.

              Of course, the actions of VW were likely motivated by short term self interest. So, I don’t want to imply that their actions were intended to be part of a noble fight against unjust authority. However, you are claiming that any such fight, if it involves “lying” or “cheating” (as you see them) can ever be moral. I cannot accept that.

              Kind Regards,
              Jeremy

  9. I wish for a job and for things to straighten out on my end, but that’s personal. I couldn’t agree more about the safety fatwahs. I want to see them rolled back to 2005 standards. I drive a pre 2005 Lexus and find it far easier to drive than post 2010 vehicles. There is excellent visibility. The controls are intuitive. Large buttons. No touchscreen. The only thing missing is all of the audio bullshit that we are used to in cars. I don’t really care though. I listen to talk radio most of the time. If I want music I will hook my smartphone to the cassette input and just listen that way.

    Another thing I want to roll back is the fuel mileage and emissions requirements. Emissions should be rolled back to 1996 levels when OBD II was introduced to the marketplace. Fuel mileage should go back to the 27.5 mpg requirement that was in existence before 2010, when the government started phasing in the stricter gas mileage standards that were passed in 2007.

    Those things alone would restore sanity to the automotive marketplace. We would see the return of compact pickups and the return of super high mileage diesel engines. Trump could do it with a few executive orders. But will he? The jury is out. I doubt things like this are on his personal radar.

    • Swamp, when you think about it, the fuel mileage is a boon both for automakers who make pickups and the oil companies. So many people buy pickups now for the room in crew and Xtra cabs instead of large cars that once were affordable and now not so much since everything’s been downsized…..if they even make a large sedan. Of course, living in a state that one of every six vehicles sold is a pickup and out here in the boonies I see very little else except on the interstates. Don’t tell me schoolteachers are not making plenty dough. I see women driving things like crew cab Duramax’s just to drive to school with not even a KO filler knocked out of the rear bumper and shiny inside bed with the only scratches are where the cheerleaders put their stuff in. I did see some women in a crewcab Canyonero with kids the other day. I asked what sort of mileage the small Duramax got but they were clueless. “Better than the one ton I was driving” the driver replied. No shitsky.

  10. “And if doesn’t apply to cars, then maybe it ought to apply to bacon and exercise, too.”
    Don’t encourage them Eric.

      • They may have thought at the time, and maybe rightly so, that with Hitlery getting elected as all the big corporations thought……and gave big money to her campaign, that if they didn’t roll over and piss themselves like a bad puppy it would become Clinton Motorwerks. No doubt she was slathering over the possible scam money she could force outta them.

        • Oh I have a feeling she’ll still be around. Just that we won’t know what she’s up to. There are lots of boards of directors that would be happy to have her, and plenty of K street lobby firms that could use someone with her rolodex.

  11. Re: small trucks. I once had an ’88 S-10 4×4 with a 2.8 L engine, and I got 15 mpg with it in the Ozark Mountains. That truck was a lemon.
    I then bought a 2002 Ford Ranger 4X4 with a 3.0 L engine, and I got 15 mpg, but I had to mash the pedal almost to the floor just to get it to move forward at a decent speed. That truck had a mysterious overheating problem and therefore was also a lemon. I replaced the thermostat, flushed the coolant, made sure that the radiator fins were unobstructed, etc., but to no avail.
    I then got a full sized F 350 4X4 with a 7.3 L engine, and I get 17 mpg from that big powerful monster. I would have liked to had a choice to buy a small 4X4 pick-up truck with a diesel engine, but it might not have been hefty enough to tow a 30 foot travel trailer.
    As for New Years wishes: I wish that we could have an honest news site that doesn’t suck up processing power with pop-ups and other invasive adware. I already read and like the Lew Rockwell site and Strike-the-Root, but I am talking about actual news instead of commentary. We already know about how horrible the MSM is, including Fox News. Breitbart and RT aren’t trustworthy either, and soon after getting on either of those sites my cooling fan keeps kicking on as the sites throw ads and pop-ups at you. RT deletes comments that it doesn’t like. All the other ones I am aware of are liberal sites. Snopes is even left wing. It is maddening.

    • Hi Brian,

      I have a 2002 Nissan Frontier that averages mid-20s, which isn’t fantastic – but the true money saver is the cost of the truck itself, both to buy it and to keep it.

      Full-size trucks (and even “mid size” ones – which are now almost full-size) cost a ridiculous sum, new and used.

      And many have high peripheral/upkeep costs, too.

      The little four in my Nissan is virtually maintenance free and very easy to work on.

      • I agree Eric, but I really do need 4WD where I live at, and I do have to tow my travel trailer once in a while. I also dislike paying the insurance company extra for another vehicle. I certainly could buy a 40+ mpg car as a second vehicle, but the price of the car would buy lots of fuel for my F-350 without the need for additional insurance and property tax costs.
        I had chosen a 3rd option by buying a fixer-upper Virago 1100 cruiser. I had made a great many repairs, but cold weather hit before I had time to fix the charging system.
        I am now getting paid pretty well at my new job, and I now intend to buy one new vehicle in my lifetime.That vehicle will be a motorcycle because its value will not drop nearly as much as a car would from a dealership.
        My short legs with a 28″ inseam restricts my choices quite a lot. I am well familiar with the scooting over onto one of your thighs so that your other foot can reach the ground method, but I do not want to have to do that. I want to be able to sit on a disabled bike and use both of my feet to move it to where I need to put it.
        Right now I am looking at the new but previous year Honda CTX 700, the Honda Areo, and the NC 700X. I want good fuel mileage and the ability to pass slow pokes very, very quickly on these crooked and curvy Ozark Mountain Roads. I have no desire to drive at 150+mph, but I do want to be able to drive at 100+ mph. Reliability is also extremely important as this with be what I drive to work during the summer. I will probably keep the Virago as well, but I do not want to have to rebuild the carburetor every year or so.

    • On the pop-up ads and so on:

      I hate them, too. But how else to survive, financially?

      The Internet has been a very mixed blessing for journalism.

      Yes, it’s possible to publish (and access) material that, per-Internet, would never have been printed or read (or read by very few). But pre-Internet, people had to pay to read newspapers and magazines. This paid the salaries of the reporters and the editors; whole staffs of them.

      Today, a site (like this one) that has a circulation/readership comparable to that of a pre-Internet national magazine or medium-sized city daily newspaper can just barely support a single does-it-all writer/editor.

      Maybe.

      The financial pressure is enormous.

      As bad as the ads are, though, be grateful for the fact that some of us have not sold out – and accepted money (these offers come in almost daily) to publish “guest posts” and “content” … that is, write hack stories that are just vehicles for ads-in-disguise.

      • I’ve used AdBlock+ since it came out. It only blocks those loud, flashy things by default so I still see embedded ads on the site. I had to manually block those flashy clover things but the rest of the ads on this site still show. The problem is so many sites don’t realize how many readers they lose to all that flash and pop and noise. A lot of people still use IE and seemed like forever they didn’t have the add-ons Mozilla and others have or the people that continued to use IE just didn’t know anything about add-ons. I’ve got to make an Amsoil order and I’ll use the link on this site as always though it doesn’t lead directly to my rep but I’m guessing they still know what link got me there. Never mind, I looked around and didn’t see it. Hard to believe so few people being the gearheads they are don’t use Amsoil. I wouldn’t use Amsoil if they didn’t publish the specs of the different brands of oil and filters. I was surprised the last time I looked to find they gave another brand motor oil superior specs to Amsoil, proof they ain’t lyin.

      • Hi Eric, I understand the need to raise funds, but the sites I have mentioned overdo it. I see your ads and my computer never has to kick in the cooling fan. I use Firefox with various blocker plug-ins including pop-up and don’t track me. I do not object to your site even though I dislike how some of your ads work. I DO object to the ads on Breitbart and RT because I see constant pop-ups that my browser quickly blocks, and my laptop cooling fan has to keep kicking on to cool the processor.

      • Advertisers are continuing to put up with phony click through numbers, but probably won’t for much longer. Many sites use really inflated stats, or resort to click farms to get their numbers up. And there’s still no evidence that ads (outside of maybe Facebook, where they are blatantly in the timeline), are the least bit effective. In the last year I have bought 3 products based on what would be considered marketing (not advertising): An upgraded phone, a UAV drone, and the Cherokee. I bought all three after reading some in-depth reviews of the products. I never saw an ad for any of them other than the drone, which was only because I checked pricing on Amazon. The phone was a pretty easy sell since it was just an update of what I had before.

        The shotgun approach to advertising is dead. The “sponsored content” approach is the new normal. I don’t have a big problem with it, as long as the site makes it clear that they are being paid for publishing the piece. I really don’t know what will happen with news, especially traditional broadcast TV news. We all make fun of the “health” news that trumpets a new weight loss diet, followed up with a Pizza Hut ad. Or the “miracle” drug that happens to be made by the same company that’s selling boner pills in-between the B and C block. But it really is a serious problem. Not because journalism is some kind of sacred duty, but because most adults were never exposed to yellow journalism and having competition in their news. No one seemed to care that most towns only had one newspaper, and in the 1970s journalism was thought to be unbiased. Most news outlets were proud of their neutral stance, even if it wasn’t true. TV news was actually required to air “both sides” of an issue well into the 1990s. It wasn’t really until Ted Turner decreed that CNN would be transformed into his (Jane Fonda’s) personal mouthpiece. Then we got Fox News and MSNBC and now it’s just all political theatre all the time. That’s all fine with me, but we all end up ignoring news we disagree with in favor of our own echo chambers.

        We don’t need adblockers, we need BS detectors. As long as they sit on my PC under my control, that is…

        • Hi Eric,

          An advertiser should pay for space (exposure) as well as “clicks.” There is no way to quantify how many people view an ad, but exposure has value. The viewer/reader may not buy whatever it is now, but the brand has been touted and associations formed. It is more likely he will buy at some point down the road.

          This business of paying per “click” is beyond obnoxious. It is like Ford only paying for its SuperBowl ads when a person buys a Ford and says he bought because he saw the ad.

          Ideally, ads would not be necessary.

          Ideally, people would be willing to pay for what they read; it’s obviously of value to them, else they would not read it.

          But in the real world, that which is available for “free” will most often be taken for “free.” Maybe one out of ten (and that’s being generous) people who regularly read a given web site will support the site financially.

          Hence the “sponsored content” and “guest posts” – and much worse.

          • I started my career in local cable ad sales. The constant complaint was, based on Nelson data, no one was watching cable channels. Of course we could easily counter that with popular shows on second tier networks, but our bread and butter was college football, especially on ESPN/ESPN2. I got my first gig because of Gulf War 1 and CNN. But the ratings never actually showed much more than a bump in ratings for either football or big news. It was always a hot topic amongst the sales team as to what strategy was better, but I know the salespeople who could get customers to look past ratings were the ones who made their budgets. So I get what you’re saying.

            But that’s not the modern world. The world we’re in now is one where everyone has the mathematical equivalent of a small nuclear device on their desk, and the accounting department wants numbers to plug in to their spreadsheets. Because you can’t (yet) directly draw a line between an ad impression and a sale 6 months from now there’s no justification for squishy numbers.

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